Posts Tagged ‘Rewards’

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Played Lately: Some Thoughts From The GW2 Headstart Weekend

August 27, 2012

In a word, my experience during the Guild Wars 2 headstart weekend was awesome!

One of the things I love about GW2 is the fact each race has its own starting area. Maybe you make multiple characters of the same race, but you don’t want to do the same starting area over and over again. Maybe you love a particular race but hate their starting area or vice versa. It wouldn’t matter one whit, since you can move to any of the other starting zones pretty much right off the bat. It’s one of the things I’ve always appreciated about World of Warcraft, and really missed about some of the recent MMOs like Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic or The Secret World where all of us are funneled into pretty much the same zone or limited areas on start up.

This weekend, I only did Caledon Forest because I was a Sylvari and their starting area was the only one I’d never seen, as I had purposely saved it for live. In the future, I’ll likely start in Queensdale all the time, because while I dislike the look of the human models in GW2 and will likely never roll one, I love their lands with their fat cows and little pink hearts.

Ultimately, I achieved 100% completion in the zone, collecting all the Waypoints, Vistas, Skills Points, Points of Interest, and Hearts in Caledon Forest as well as in The Grove. Since GW2 doesn’t have a real quest log, exploring entire maps will do nicely to satisfy my “checklist syndrome”. The was rewarded some nice loot, including a nice chunk of experience as well as a Black Lion key, allowing me to open my locked Black Lion Chests, which led to more loot and more keys. The result was a pile of gear, tonics, and a whole bunch of boosters like the ones you can buy from the store. Better be careful, Arenanet, I want to spend money on your game, but I see you’re not going to make it easy.

The weekend was not without its hiccups. Though I was mainly unaffected, a chunk of downtime occurred on Saturday morning and server errors abounded. Methinks that a few years ago, the quality of this launch would have been hailed as amazing, but the near-flawless launches of some of the aforementioned MMOs in recent years have no doubt raised the bar. The GW2 launch was no where near the best I’ve experienced, but then I have been through worse, much worse.

My weekend was only marred by a few negatives — there were the little ones, things like a non-functioning trading post, and then there was the HUGE one — the wonky overflow system. An otherwise great concept, ironically it sure made it hard to let you play with your friends. As longtime readers know, my husband and I place a lot of importance into playing together, especially during an MMO launch. Alas, out of the many hours we spent in GW2 this weekend, our characters were only able to spend a small fraction of that time in-game adventuring with each other.

We experienced the worst luck of never being placed in the same overflow instance. Sometimes one of us would also log in first, but enter the main world last. We tried every trick, logging out and logging in together, entering cities and exiting together, partying up and not partying up, but we never did manage to find a consistent way to work around it; there just didn’t seem to be any rhyme or rhythm. What we ended up doing was tackling our personal story quests, entering and leaving those solo instances until we randomly happened to end up together. When that happened, we took care not to zone again, which explains why I’m finished with Caledon Forest but still way behind on my main quest line there.

I expect many of these issues would be ironed out by Arenanet, or even disappear altogether once launch hype winds down and the zone populations start to spread and even out. In any case, I still had a great time playing this weekend and hanging out in guild vent parties. Being part of the greater gaming community while everyone is playing is my favorite part of a new game launch; the company and the fun I had made up for any and all obstacles I encountered.

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Riftshot Of The Day: Not Fair, I Want What She’s Wearing…

October 3, 2011

When it comes to my Rift veteran rewards, I love the skirt in the back of my Centurion chest piece, but to be honest, I would still so much have preferred the gold bikini version…

Starting with Update 1.5 that recently went live, being a veteran of the game meant getting some pretty nice rewards, including stuff like several new pieces for my wardrobe and Jeeves my personal vendor. It’s the kind of fluff I love. It also reminded me that I’ve been subscriber continuously since launch, never once having to pine for more content in part because the hardworking Trion team is constantly churning out those updates.

So it is a little sad when I think about the inevitability of my Rift sub coming to an end — if not now, very soon. And not just because the Star Wars: The Old Republic launch is around the corner. Fall 2011 is also the season of single-player games for me, and as well in my personal life, a time for getting ready for some major changes to come. I’m proud to support Trion, to be a Rift veteran, and no matter what, it’s always a pleasure to adventure in Telara.

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Star Trek Online: Remastered “Diplomatic Orders” And “Doomsday Device”

May 31, 2011

Star Trek Online keeps giving me reasons to hop back into the captain’s chair. This long weekend saw the release of two remastered episodes and I thought I’d take some time to share some thoughts and screenshots — because some of the new changes the devs have made to “Diplomatic Orders” and “Doomsday Device” are seriously neat.

Diplomatic Orders

Not surprised at all that this was one of the episodes that got remastered, since in my opinion it was always one of the best missions in the game. In fact, “Diplomatic Orders” was also the first episode I did again when the rerun feature got put into the game, way back when. The story has since been updated, with new cutscenes and voice overs.

Just a couple of highlights — I absolutely adore the new Vulcan. The environmental tweaks to it are especially impressive — lines making up the landscape are much smoother, easier on the eyes, and looks more natural. No more awkward structures and strange dips in the sand. As to why I feel this is noteworthy, the fact that I got my stupid ass stuck behind a monolith the first time I ever set foot on the old Vulcan might have something to do with it. This new Vulcan, on the other hand, is beautiful and dummy-proof!

My other favorite part about this mission is the new reward — Data Recorder which allows you to replay Leonard Nimoy’s lovely Spock voice over again and again as much as I could ever want. I’m also quite keen on the likeness, which by the way, Cryptic, any chance we can ever get a Spock holo? T’Androma would love something like that to put on her bridge so she can…um, okay, never mind.

Final verdict: Excellent.

Doomsday Device

Not that I didn’t appreciate the alterations to the story, the conclusion, and all the good stuff like the new cutscenes, but…simply put, I felt out of my element for this remastered version of “Doomsday Device”.

Firstly, T’Andy gets beamed over to the Klingon ship alone. I had some NPC back up, but I was never able to shake the nagging feeling that my bridge officers should really be the ones doing this with their captain, or at least the part where we clear the ship. Secondly, much of the space combat in this episode now happens in a Klingon ship. It felt different, but wouldn’t have been so bad if it didn’t also feel so grossly under-equipped after being so used to flying and fighting in my own Maelstrom.

Speaking of which, T’Andy’s Klingon disguise is hideous, her unfortunate features only offset in the image above by the awesome sauce that is the majestic Bird of Prey docked in the background.

The new cutscenes and voice overs were great as usual — I honestly never expected to be serenaded to by a Klingon! Albeit it was a war song, probably about breaking my spine, or some such. A rousing tune, nonetheless, and what is arguably one of the most epic cutscenes in any game.

The new story elements, however, have its costs. Maybe it’s just me, but I seem to remember the old version of this mission being a little more action-packed, with a lot less chatter and running back and forth. The mechanics for the final fight has also been changed, which confused me at first — I kept wondering where to go to pick up my special torpedoes as that was what I remembered most about from the original! As it is now, the Hargh’peng torpedoes are already loaded which made life a lot easier, but the doomsday device is just as deadly.

Good thing I’m not above getting myself blown up for a couple of nice screenies!

A lot more where that came from, as the remastered environments are probably what I appreciated most about this episode.

Final verdict: Didn’t like the remastered “Doomsday Device” as much as I thought I would but it’s still a lot of fun, and in my opinion much improved from the original.

In fact, I would recommend my fellow STO captains give all the remastered episodes a try if you haven’t already; it’s worth it, and if anything the new rewards are nice. Even “Stranded in Space” has a new Azura Personal Comm Code reward that will allow you to access your bank, mail or a store from anywhere in the galaxy! It’s very handy.

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Star Trek Online: Breen Back!

May 9, 2011

May is Star Trek Online’s “Rerun Month”; just like network TV they are bringing back all the Feature Episodes this time of the year for another chance to nab exclusive rewards. The Breen arc that’s going on will run until the 12th, so until then players who weren’t subbed at the time or didn’t realize the Breen bridge officer was a time limited reward have another chance to grab him.

It appears that a new “Breen set” has also been added to the mission rewards. In the words of the great Daniel Stahl, “a sack of potatoes” (the Deferi Snow Tubers) just wasn’t cutting it.

Huh. Now that I think about it, I guess that was kind of a rip off. Though admittedly, the Cryo Tribble was really cool (oh hahaha I slay me).

So on Saturday, I joined up with my Federation News Service fleeties and we blitzed through the Breen arc again. It’s always a pleasure doing missions with my fleet, and for once I felt perfectly at ease — since I’ve done all the feature episodes already, I didn’t have to worry about stopping to read every single word of quest text or pause every five seconds to snap a screenshot and risk having my head caved in with a phaser blast by the annoyed people I’m playing with.

I ended up picking up three pieces of the new Breen set — Impulse Engine, Shields and Deflector Dish. Aesthetically, I didn’t think it was going to alter to my ship’s appearance, but I was surprised to see that the impulse engines, at least, seemed to have made my warp trails an icy blue. Not a very significant change, but it’s more than I expected and still better than nothing.

Icy blue trails.

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Rift: Prelude To Riches

May 5, 2011

Yesterday marked the beginning of Rift’s minievent which will last until May 9th, heralding the Spoils of War 1.2 patch expected to drop on the 10th. My anticipation levels are officially through the roof as I await the arrival of new features like Appearance Slots, Crafting Rifts, as well as the addition of a new type of event called “slivers” which are entrances into alternate time streams. I plan on checking all that out regardless, but this prelude event is nonetheless a welcome diversion to tide me over, injecting some fresh lore into the world and allowing me an excuse to spend more time on my Cleric and giving me some activities to do in the meantime.

Corrupted coin! I knew it was too good to be true…

There are four new daily quests available; one requires you to gather up coins found around the city, the other three asks you to collect Ancient Golden Dragon Egg Shells that drop from creatures of the fire and earth planes. In other words, nothing really all that special. Okay, so I’m not exactly the biggest fan of dailies, that much is true…but to me, the grind for shells also makes these quests an even bigger pain in the ass than the ones from the first phase of River of Souls.

But the rewards? Oh, dagnabbit, they actually are quite nice. Considering how this thing is only going to be on for a few more days, and completing all the quests took just a little less than an hour and a half, I conceded to myself they are probably worth doing. Yep, these “gifts of burning greed” have decayed my usual sensibilities indeed.

To complete the “Gold Aplenty”, “Heroic Spoils”, and “Hunting for Riches” dailies, I needed to gather 80 shells in all. Collecting the coins already gave me 10, so I struck out into the world and murdered me some planar creatures to get me the rest.

Sticking together...

As a level 50, I hit Shimmersand and found that the best thing to do, if you’re lucky, is to join up with the first raid group you see and go rift hopping across the zone for fire and earth incursions. Traveling with this convoy made up of both Guardians and Defiants ranging from the mid-30s to 50, I was able to get all my shells within 90 minutes, at 4-6 shells at each rift depending on whether or not there are also invasions present. People were very cooperative.

As for my rewards for the first night, I managed to rake in a pile of platinum, a couple ultra rare artifacts, and best of all, a dozen Artisan’s Marks for crafting. Unfortunately, no “Gritty Kitty” companion pet in my plunder…yet. Cross my fingers for another day.

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Rift: Rolling On The River

April 11, 2011

With the first phase of River of Souls extended, I can relax a bit.

Along with many others, I logged into Rift this Saturday afternoon eagerly awaiting phase 2 of the world event, only to find out that it had been delayed. Apparently, complications had occurred on the European shards…

With the opening of the final phases of the River of Souls World Event in Europe we have identified several issues that only came to light in a live server environment. Due to this we have had to temporarily disable the World Event in Europe and are delaying the opening of the event on North American shards until a full investigation and corrections can be made.

Ah, bummer. But hey, it happens. And so with the hold on the final phases, Trion has decided to extend Phase 1 an additional week.

I won’t deny that I’m a little disappointed, since I’d been very much looking forward to phase 2 and beyond. Still, my unhappiness was in no way directed at Trion over a few hiccups with their event. Rolling out this thing can’t be easy, and I’ve danced the old MMO dance before and know how often snags can occur along the way despite the best laid plans.

To be honest, I just haven’t been entirely “enthusiastic” about phase 1. I mean, I’ll do the dailies and seal a rift or kill an invasion when I see one, but I’ve been pretty ambivalent towards it for the most part.

And yet, there was also a little part of me that gave a sigh of relief when I saw the announcement. I’d been meaning to hit level 50 or close to it before Phase 2 so I can be sure that I’ll be ready for anything by the final stages of the event. By Friday night, however, I knew I wasn’t going to make that goal. I didn’t have as much time to play as I would have liked last week, and it felt like my leveling rate took a huge dive around the mid-40s.

Pushing myself to level is never fun, especially for a game like Rift where there’s so much to do and you’re really meant to take your time. I decided to enjoy my weekend and play everything else by ear.

The extension was a blessing in this regard, and it seems like many others are taking it in stride too. Furthermore, new rewards have been added to the world event merchants and the amount of Otherworldly Sourcestones you can earn from quests, rifts and invasions has been increased. I’ve already gotten my vanity pets, but I did have my eye on the ring and there were a few other items I wouldn’t have minded. Before this extension and the increase in rewards, I don’t think there would have been a chance in hell I could have gotten everything I wanted.

But now this changes things.

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Rift: River Of Souls

April 4, 2011

Last week, Rift saw the release of Patch 1.1 and the start of their first world event:

* The Endless Court invades Telara! This worldwide event for all present-day Telara zones and level ranges culminates in the opening of the River of Souls raid zone.
* Events and rewards are available for characters of all levels!
* The new World Event UI keeps you up-to-date on current and future event progress. Check it out to see where your server stands in the fight against the Plane of Death.
* Quest starters in Meridian and Sanctum offer currency rewards for special vendors, including limited-time items only available during this event.

For the last few nights, I’ve been participating in it, trying to mix it up a little by questing and fighting Alsbeth’s forces at the same time. At first, I loved it — it brought new lore to the game which is always a welcome addition, the raids were a blast, and most importantly, I appreciated the inclusiveness of the event. There’s something for everyone.

Yet, after the first couple of days, things started to feel like a chore. In Rift’s defense, it’s just a matter of time anything involving doing dailies will start to feel like that for me. I also realize that this is only Phase 1, and things may still be in the process of “ramping up”. Currently, all zones can open death rifts and spawn invasions related to the event. In subsequent phases, however, I’ve heard that things get a little more crazy and interesting — massive incursions and boss attacks on cities, etc. The next phase begins later this week, so I’m looking forward to that.

Still, I must have the most rotten luck or something! Of the four daily quests that are currently active, there’s two that always give me a hard time — “Harbinger of Sorrows” and “Exorcising Evil”. Sealing three death rifts of my own level for the former is more challenging than I expected, though perhaps not surprising since everyone and their mothers are jumping into them as soon as they spawn. My new routine has become questing in one area for about 2 hours in the evening, which is what I would normally do anyway, but now I’m also keeping my eyes peeled for death rifts along the way and crossing my fingers that I’ll hit three before the night is over. Sometimes I get lucky, sometimes not.

For “Exorcising Evil”, the problem of course is finding a death invasion — of any level, really. Last night it took me over an hour of bouncing around Telara to finally find one. Death rifts are usually sealed within minutes of their existence, usually before they have the chance to spawn any invasions at all. A quick patch over the weekend showed that spawn rate of River of Souls rifts, invasions and zone-wide events have increased, but I haven’t noticed a big difference personally. But like I said, I may just be having horrid luck with this.

No matter! So far, I only have two main goals — those who know me shouldn’t be surprised that I have my eye on the vanity pet rewards on the special vendors, and if all goes well I should rack up enough Otherworldly Sourcestones to afford them all, if not by the end of this phase then surely by the end of the entire event. That shadehound is cuuuuuute.

My second goal is to get to level 50! Phase 3 will undoubtedly require players to be of a higher level to participate; I figure it would be nice if I could be a part of that. Seeing as I’m currently sitting at halfway to 45, I think I have an excellent shot!