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[Various Games] It’s been a while. . .

Fighting sea serpents is fun.  Too bad Daedric light armor always looks like a dress, though.

Fighting sea serpents is fun. Too bad Daedric light armor always looks like a dress, though.

IRL’s been rather nuts for the past month.  Been putting in a lot of hours at work due to an office move, and my significant other’s got new meds so she’s needed some time to adjust to them and that requires my attention as well, so… gaming time has been reduced and “slow time” at work that I’d typically use to post has been non-existent.  Up until now, anyway…..

On the ESO front, my NB tank is now up to level 32, so he’s gotten 9 or 10 levels since I last reported on him.  Mostly running around in light armor and using the 1H + Shield anymore (as you can see in the screenie), since blocking is the only armor that matters and magicka is the only resource pool that matters for damage, so…. light armor is the only one worth wearing.  Man, I hope they balance that better soon.  I wanna play my melee sorcerer again sometime without feeling gimped.

Did a bit of Civ5 also.  Not really too much to report on that front other than that it’s still insanely addictive with the whole “1 . . . . more. . . . .turn . . . . ” thing going, so when the “Beyond Earth” version comes out I’m thinking I’m going to be losing a lot of sleep for several days after that.

The “Director’s Cut” of Shadowrun Returns was released last week.  The new UI is wonderful.  The customization/upgrade of your companions is very nice.  The enemy AI makes more informed decisions — they focus fire, if you ever bunch up prepare to see some incoming grenades, and they take advantage of cover and don’t leave it unless forced, so it overall feels a lot more tactical.  Armor’s been changed to be straight damage reduction now also, instead of reduced chance to crit.  Overall, combat feels a lot better, though it can take quite a bit longer now as a result of the changes.

Even so, the only time it got a bit frustrating (so far, anyway) is on the mission to retrieve the “MKVI.”  Where before he’d just spray everything with his minigun and it’d all fall down, now everyone’s hiding behind behind cover so he misses a lot and then what does hit takes half damage due to cover, which is then further reduced by their armor, so……. getting out during that mission is, well….. I haven’t succeeded at it yet.  Failed on my only attempt so far becuz I peeked my main character around the corner and every enemy focused on him.  Only had 2 trauma kits for “rez” and used both but couldn’t pull him back far enough, so he went down a couple more times and well… time to reload last save, but that fight had gotten annoying enough that I didn’t feel like it at the time.  And then a car crashed into a power pole just behind my house and it took 11 hours for the power company to get a new pole in and the lines hooked back up, so. .  . . .

I hope all is well in the gaming world.  I’ll eventually dip my toe into the F2P version of ArcheAge once the initial launch rush dies down, but until then. . . . Happy Gaming!

[Blaugust] [ESO] 2 Toons Enter, 1 Toon Leaves

Welcome to Skyrim: Online Edition!

Welcome to Skyrim: Online Edition!  Graphically anyway. . .  .

Well no — more like 2 toons got played this weekend. . .

I decided that I wanted to get a light horse for my new DK right from the get-go, but I only had about 25K gold in the bank, and it costs 42.7K, so… back to the Templar since in the higher levels you can make a lot more cash off of quests.  I’d done a little bit in Eastmarch with that toon, but not a whole lot, and since I’ve only ever done the zone once on my original DK way back at launch, I barely remembered any of it, so that was nice to have it be “new” again.  Something that surprised me, though, is that when I’d finished the zone (and I did everything in it except for 2 world bosses, but all quests, the dolmens, every nook and cranny, etc) I’d still not quite made it to VR5.  Guess it’s a smaller zone and thus has fewer quests.  I was close.. just not quite there.

The Skyrim game itself has pretty aurorae, but this is still pretty close

The Skyrim game has pretty aurorae (though maybe due to a mod?), but this is still pretty close.

Moved on into The Rift and it only took 3 or 4 quests in there to hit VR5, so it wasn’t bad.  In the interest of getting rid of that hideous Ancient Elf motif look and also to re-do my gear to take advantage of the new set bonuses, I then made myself a new set of gear.  It matches the set I made for the new DK — 2 pieces of Magnus, 3 pieces of Willow’s Path, and another 3 pieces of Twilight’s Embrace.  Seems to me to be the best combo for casters anymore.  I went with Primal for the set since I like how it looks the best of any of the “sets of a single motif” anymore, though I’ll admit to having given some thought to some of the “custom sets” people are submitting to the eso-fashion site.  Some of then look really nice. 

The VR1 Equipment Upgrade -- Daedric Motif staff, and Primal Light Armor.  Other than the open-toed sandals I quite like the look.

The difference between the VR4 and the VR5 gear was less than 1%.  Not joking.  Weapon damage went from 113 to 114.  Armor ratings on the various pieces also only increased by 1 from their prior values either.  Just shows that upgrading your gear every level isn’t worth it.  Of course, I’ve got materials coming out my ears and have been selling off excess, so it’s not like it really “cost me” anything, and I no longer have that hideously ugly armor suit on my logon screen anymore, so it’s very worth it to me.  Of course I forgot to screenie it, but other than that I dyed it completely black (the undyeable parts wreaked havoc with trying to make anything look decent otherwise unless I wanted to make a carbon copy of the new DK’s look) it looks just like the pic to the left anyway, so…. there ya go.

One of the Elder Scroll Temples in Cyrodil.

One of the Elder Scroll Temples in Cyrodil.

By this point I now had about 45K gold banked, so it was time to hit up the DK again.  I wanted to get him to level 10 and get the 2 free skill points from doing the intro to Cyrodil quests.  It’s kind of odd how by the time you hit level 40-ish you’ve got plenty of skill points, but up until then the game is very much a case of “interesting choices” as to where to put them in order to get the most bang for your buck, so to speak.  Right now on him I’ve got the active skills I want, but I’m still trying to backfill the passives in, and there are quite a few to get as of yet. . . .   But yeah, got him to 10, ran the intro to Cyrodil quests, and then it was midnight before a work day, so I logged out.  Tonight I get to craft him his level 10 upgrade suit and see about finishing up Stonefalls.  Fun fun fun!

Happy gaming, wherever you play!

[Blaugust] [ESO] Gear Makes a Difference Even At Low Levels

Keodan the DK

Keodan the DK

As mentioned below, my alt-itis was working on me and I created a new DK to play.  As is my wont, I ran through the Coldharbour tutorial, since it easily gets you to level 4 in about 15-20 minutes, where skipping it starts you at level 3.  Then after getting to Stonefalls (I went Ebonheart Pact on this character) I ran around collecting the outdoor skyshards and the lorebooks to get my Mage’s Guild skill line to level 2 so I could grab the Mage Light skill.  From there, I went into Deshaan and over to Mournhold in order to respec past some of the crappy 1st-tier skills, specifically Fiery Grip and Spiked Armor.  Fiery Grip is seriously one of the worst skills in the game.  It does very low damage and just annoys everyone around you when you use it on a mob that they were attacking.  It does have some limited use when you’re tanking, but in general there are better skills to use then either.  And since I don’t plan on tanking with this character, I don’t need the Spiked Armor skill either, so there ya go.

Anyway, as I ran around I got the exploration XP, so I dinged to level 5 while still in Stonefalls (and thus also ran the level 5 story mission since it’s just the Prophet talking to you, so free XP, skill point, and blue-quality ring), and dinged 6 about as I got to Mournhold.  While I was level 5, though, I decided to take on a 2-pack of level 5 mobs while I was still “stuck” with just Fiery Grip, Spiked Armor, and Dark Talons as my only 3 active skills.  I could take out single mobs well enough, so I figured that I could take on 2 as well.  Boy was I wrong. . . . . . .  Well no, I did manage to kill the 1, and got the other one down about halfway.  But I was still using the level 1 weapons I’d picked up in Coldharbour with their 11 damage rating, and my armor was only 3 pieces out of 7 and all white quality with no traits or enchantments, so it could definitely have been better.

Who comes up with the base color palettes in this game?  *shudder*

Who comes up with the base color palettes in this game? *shudder*

After dinging level 6, I swapped to my crafting DK and made a full set of gear for myself.  For the lower levels I like to use 5 light, 1 medium, and 1 heavy piece in order to level the heavy and medium armor skills to 22 in case I decide I want to grab the active skills that unlock at that level, so I made a heavy chest and medium helm, and also since I don’t have weapon swapping yet, I just made the single weapon type for myself, though since my current weapon of choice is dual-wielding it was still 2 weapons, just not to swap. 😉  With the recent crafted set bonus changes, I went with 2 pieces of the Torug’s Pact set for the bonus Magicka, 4 pieces of Twilight’s Embrace for the Spell Crit and Spell Damage, and 3 pieces of Willow’s Path for the Magicka and the Spell Crit.  Armor I upgraded to green quality and I made the daggers blue.  A full set of white-quality magicka glyphs and 2 of the flame glyphs for the weapons rounded out the set.

All this served to take my weapon crit to 5% (from weapons) and spell crit to 20% (weapons, plus Mage Light and the gear set bonuses), more than doubled my magicka pool (which increases class skill damage quite a bit), and added a touch to my health pool too from the Twilight’s Embrace set as well.  Each weapon now has a damage rating of 26, and on my character sheet I was sitting on 29/25 for the weapon damage, so I was well into overcharging.  I went back to Stonefalls and took on that same level 5 2-pack of mobs and finished the fight with 96% health.  So if anyone tells you that gear doesn’t mean much in the low levels of a game — laugh at them!  Okay, not really…. but yeah, quite a difference.

After all that was done, I headed off to Bleakrock Isle since it’s pretty much free XP, and I actually rather like that little zone.  Of course by doing it at level 6 instead of level 4 and in a full gear suit with set bonuses it was very easy and very quick, and I still made it to level 8 by the time I was done.  I’m now in Bal Foyen, but just went into the town of Dhalmora as of yet.  Haven’t picked up any quests or started the zone at all.

And there’s the latest update.  Happy gaming, whatever you’re playing!

[Blaugust] [ESO] Alchemy is very easy to level

NB Tank under the effects of the Absorb Magic skill

NB Tank under the effects of the Absorb Magic skill

My incurable alt-itis is hitting me pretty hard in ESO and I’m wanting to start on a new DK to play as a non-caster.  Well, Dual-Wield / Fire Staff, and in light armor, so still magicka based, but using completely different skills than on my original DK — having the Dual-wield being my primary weapon, rather than the staff, which I’ll use when I need AE or some range.  Problem is:  I have 2 sorcerers in the VR levels, a templar in VR levels, and the other templar is my enchanter and I am *not* deleting that character for anything, since Enchanting as a craft is a ton of work (though the upcoming patch doubling the xp gains when working on it will help a lot), then I’ve got my NB Healer and NB Tank, and of course my main crafter is VR1 DK…. leaving me only 1 character I’d consider deleting — the alchemist.  Level 8 sorcerer, level 50 alchemist.  But I don’t need 3 sorcerers —  8 slots, 4 classes, that’s 2 of each, right?

I'd forgotten how silly the Dunmer cultural garb is, but hey, gotta have a reason for the Pact emissaries to call the greeter wearing it the court jester, right?

I’d forgotten how silly the Dunmer cultural garb is, but hey, gotta have a reason for the Pact emissaries to call the greeter wearing it the court jester, right?

So…… I swapped my crafter to using her pack horse to increase inventory space to 150, then dropped all the crafting materials the alchemist was holding into the bank for her to use.  Had her grab them all to clear out the bank again, took the wayshrine to Mournhold and hey!  They moved the wayshrines to be in more convenient locations!  Awesome!  But anyway, re-spec’d her skills (only 50 gold per point now instead of 100, so it felt a ton cheaper) to completely remove all combat skills and focus her solely on crafting.  Since I’ve researched everything in Woodworking now, I even got to save myself the 3 points in the research skill in that line, so nice little bonus.

I then ran over to the alchemy station and leveled Alchemy from 6 to 50 in about 45 minutes.  Yes, alchemy really is that fast to level up (as noted in the post title).  I used an add-on to guide me through finding all the various combos, then turned it off and simply crafted using the “crap” materials that I had multiple stacks of.  Crap materials are defined as the ones that give no real benefit that anyone cares about on a potion, so out of the 17 materials, that’s about 12 of them.  There are 3 “awesome” ones, and a couple of “good” ones, but the rest are “crap.”  But that’s neither here nor there, just means that I had a lot of “useless” mats to use to grind with.

Keodan the Alchemist is no more.  Oddly enough, I took this as a "before" picture when dying his armor to not look this silly, but I never took an "after" picture.  Oops!

Keodan the Alchemist is no more. Oddly enough, I took this as a “before” picture when dyeing his armor to not look this silly, but I never took an “after” picture. Oops!

And now my DK is a 50 Woodworker, 50 Blacksmith, 50 Clothier, and 50 Alchemist.  Go me!

After that was done, I deleted the old level 8 sorcerer and made a new DK to level up.  I re-used the name from the sorcerer since it’s a name I like, and hey, I knew it was free. . . . .   The new character is a male Dunmer (I’m going dual-wield on a fire-using class, and Dunmer get bonus xp for DW and bonus damage with Fire.  The race is simply made to be a DK. . . .).  I decided to make him old, craggy, tattooed and bald to give a more “experienced and perhaps a bit jaded” roleplay vibe to the character.  I think he looks quite awesome.  Sadly, I didn’t take any screenies of him last night as I wanted to wait until I hit level 6 and actually made some gear for him, but… soon.  Probably tonight, actually.

[Blaugust] [ESO] [DDO] Back in the ESO saddle, sorta

Don't like either much, but the one on the right is far less bad

Don’t like either much, but the one on the right is far less bad

Honestly, I’ve not played a whole lot of games this week, and I’ve been inspired by Syp to break out DDO again and see where it goes to boot, so that’s diluted game time to boot.  So far as ESO goes, I’m enjoying the dye system greatly.  You get dyes based on your achievements and they’re account-wide, so a fresh-out-of-Coldharbour newbie can do anything my VR4 Templar can, color-wise.  I like that rather a lot, plus getting new colors for simply playing the game is always nice.  And since the “most popular” colors (black and red) are rather easily obtained, I think it’s going to satisfy a great majority of people who are playing.

Reddish instead of blue-ish, plus the belt doesn't stand out as badly anymore

Reddish instead of blue-ish, plus the belt doesn’t stand out as badly anymore

It’s saved a couple of outfits from looking atrociously hideous.  Interestingly enough, the base color palettes of a couple of my toons changed with the update even before adding dyes.  My NB Tank in his Daedric Leather went from a hideously fugly green and blue palette to a more natural looking brown on brown color, my NB healer went from a metal with copper trim color base to pretty much all yellow, my alchemists went from a white-ish base to … um.. different, and my VR1 DK in full Imperial look … changed, but I don’t quite recall how now.  Of course then I went in on some of them and made my own changes.  It was very tempting to just use a standard black and red palette on all of them, as it’s a classic look that I like a lot, but I decided to go for a bit more individuality for each character in the end.  It’s not like I can’t change it later, after all….

Purple and Gold are Imperial colors, aren't they?

Purple and Gold are Imperial colors, aren’t they?

The DK is now a purple base with gold trim (as you can see to the left), the NB tank is a black base with white trim (see below), I didn’t touch the NB healer or the alchemist since I don’t really play them much, my enchanter was in fugly green which I’ve now changed to a black base with brown trim (but don’t have a screenie of), my VR2 sorcerer’s Barbaric set retained its brown base but I changed the trim from blue to red (you can see that above also), and finally… my VR4 templar’s hideously fugly brown/green Ancient Elf palette is now black and red, as you saw up at the top of this post.  I still don’t care for the armor model of that set, and thus cover it with my Golden Saint costume while playing, but at least it’s not quite so hideous on the login screen anymore.

Daedric leather is much improved

Daedric leather is much improved

As far as actual play goes… the templar’s VR4 and in Eastmarch zone now.  sure I could go grind in Craglorn with the cool kids, but… I like questing.  And as mentioned in a prior post, now that it’s impossible to outlevel a zone as I work through it, I’m enjoying running around and exploring and questing anything random I come across a lot more than I did before, so… there ya go.

On the DDO front, I’m really just trying to re-familiarize myself with the game.  As Syp noted in the post I linked up above, they’ve added a lot of things like Epic Destiny and I still don’t know what PRR stands for, so… working on it.  They’ve also redone the feats and enhancements a bit and gave everybody a free Lesser Reincarnate as a result.  I used it on my Warforged Rogue/Wizard to redo his feats to make him a bit more solo-friendly, and tbh haven’t really looked at any other characters.  I had a free slot on the same server, so I had the option to create a new “Iconic” character (insta-15, really) if I desired, but….

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a quarterstaff monk/thief-acrobat hybrid, and since the new druid class has a lovely buff spell for wood weapons, the current “build” is 13 rogue/6 monk/1 druid (at 20).  Since I can start characters at level 4 I’ve got a shiny new 1 Druid / 1 Rogue / 2 Monk going now.  With Power Attack going plus the monk’s Wind Stance for faster attacks, this thing’s putting out a LOT of hurt.  Generally 22-28 damage per hit (vs mobs with 15-30 HP, usually).  I can Cleave vs groups an 1-hit kill all of them.  Quite nice for a new character.

Back on the Wizard front, I’m still figuring out where best to position my hotkeys and whatnot, as well as a preferred spell selection.  The enhancement changed for casters give “Spell Like Abilities” which have very reduced spell point costs and can have any meta-magic feat used on them for free, so that sounds quite awesome.  Wizards are considered more of CC and “Insta kill” casters than Sorcerers, which tend to be the ones known for tossing around lots of damage spells, so I went with Conjuration as my preferred school as it gives the Web spell as an SLA, and since I’m level 7 wizard and I’ve got the Fire Wall spell now….. trap a mob in the web, then drop a Fire Wall on it, then just wait for it to die in the DoT.  Supposedly this works well vs groups too — get a bunch of mobs following you, get through a door to channel them, toss the web in the door, then the fire wall on that, swap to a tower shield, and just turtle up (in case any are ranged mobs) until the wall gets them.  Haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds like a solid plan, so…. soon.

Happy gaming!