• MMO/Gaming

    Aion: Just Visiting

    I resubbed to Aion yesterday for a month. I’m stuck in the “I don’t want to raid but don’t feel like levelling another character to 85” feeling in Warcraft, and am waiting for the next Rift beta for a new-game fix. Aion is the game that I most regret no longer playing. I read everything I could about it for probably a year before it finally released, I started a legion and levelled a Templar tank that I absolutely loved. The grind, the bots and the goldspammers finally did me in. Mainly the grind, to be honest – I hit the grind wall that existed at the time between 35-40 (and probably up from there) and couldn’t face it. But I missed it so much.

    So, this weekend I went back. The game still runs like a pig on my very nice computer, although it does install more easily than it did with the crippling GameGuard software included. It’s still beautiful, and I love the new character selection screen. Supposedly a lot of the mindless grind has been removed by increasing XP and adding content and more repeatable quests, but I haven’t had a chance to see for myself yet.

    I logged my templar in in Beluslan Fortress, where she had been languishing for months and months. I didn’t have very much kinah on her, but I have a vague memory of giving everything of value that I could away before I cancelled my subscription. Darn. There are some adorable companion pets available now. I quite liked the little monkey-lemur thing, and the little Shugo in the Scream costume that would posture menacingly until his mask fell off was quite funny.

    Excited to be back, I went outside, picked on some innocent wildlife to try to remember what all of her skills and abilities were…and immediately got ganked by one of those stupid bobble-headed tiny characters that pvp dickheads build, which appeared out of nowhere and one-shotted me. I really hate non-consensual pvp. I hate being ganked by high-level characters. I hate that whole tard and asshat mentality.

    Does that mean that I am probably not very well suited to Aion, which has a famously nasty teabag-happy playerbase? Yep, you bet. :)

    I’ll mooch around for a bit, and revist old areas that I used to love. If I can’t go anywhere alone and quest without gankage, then that will be that.

    But it sure is beautiful…

  • Personal

    In Retrospect

    I have to say, I’ll be very glad to see the back of 2009. It’s like 2008 – both were spectacularly sucktastic years. (2008 saw the startup that I’d been working on fail, leaving me thousands in the red…and without a job. In 2009 I was working, but at a job that I hated. Still hate, in fact.) Here’s hoping that 2010 is a much better year for us all.

    2009 wasn’t a great year for creative projects – I completed very few personal projects due to the exhaustion of the job and long commute.  There is one special project that I am still sort-of working on…although the longer I leave it without actually getting stuck in, the fuzzier it all gets.

    We got a few Christmas cards, and didn’t send out a single one. We are mean-spirited holiday Grinches. Or just bone lazy, one of the two.

    We somehow acquired four cats. Four. Cats. Including one who weighs 26lbs who likes to sit in my lap, or laying along the top of my hip and side if I am lying on my side watching a movie. Afterwards I seriously need a chiropracter.

    I read a lot of books. A LOT of books. I need a proper library somewhere in the house, one room completely lined with bookshelves. And a comfy reading chair and a good lamp. The only things I need to be really happy.

    I played a lot of Aion, even taking a week of holiday for headstart weekend. In the final stretch before level 40 I quit…I couldn’t face the grind any more. The bots were everywhere, and NCSoft customer support is the worst of any game company ever, in my experience. Horrible. I still feel a bit betrayed by Aion, actually. It is a stunning game, and the early levels are a lot of fun. The grind in later levels is a killer, though.

    I got burned out on Warcraft, stopped raiding and became a social member (read: wanker) of my guild, had a long break, and then started playing Horde-side and found a new love of the game. I’m having a lot of fun now.

    I missed my family, a lot. I wasn’t able to go home in either 2008 or 2009. I WILL be going home for a visit this summer.

    Fitness levels have fluctuated, culminating in a embarrassingly slothful holiday period where I ate EVERYTHING. The cats were nervous around me, lest I decide to grab them, smother them in brandy butter, and eat them all up. The new year will be different. I’m now staring at a package of plain, sliced chicken breast and cottage cheese. Oh, goody.  :/

    All in all, 2009 was the year of surviving…nothing more, nothing less. 2010 will be a year of doing things.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Aion: Slowing Down

    Tonight I’m handing over the legion leadership to another member, who is well-liked and will no doubt do a very good job (probably better than I have, to be honest). Ravven is 35, and it was damned hard doing that. Many of our members are looking at 40, and I just don’t play enough to keep up. I could do, of course…but it’s reaching the point where it’s not fun. So I am in danger of burning out, and by handing over leadership to a more active player, it will be better for the legion and better for me. But I do feel a little sad…we’ve built a very good group here.

    This image from Aion’s Issues at MMORPG.com made me a bit apprehensive:


    That is one steep curve. So far, to be fair, I’m not really running out of content, although I am doing a fair amount of non-quest grinding for XP. I do hear about higher-level players, though, doing their handful of quests at the start of each new level and then feeling horror at the site of that long XP bar. I would feel the same.

    Am I still having fun?  Decidedly yes. Is it becoming a grind? To be honest…yes. It’s hard to deny.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Aion: First Fortress Run

    I have to qualify this by saying that another legion had already taken the fortress, so we just kind of went in impromptu and did the run to see what it was like. The two that we did were timed, which was quite interesting because we didn’t have a hope of getting all the chests in the time allowed.  One was tank-n-spank, then split up to do the wings which are filled with non-elites – quite easy. The other involved running the circumfrence of a circle, opening chests as we went, which tons of elites strolling around in twos and threes. That one was problematic, as it was very easy to pull additional mobs in from the side and wipe.

    Overall, though, it was a lot of fun, and I look forward to doing more of these. Due to the timer, they’re quick, so you’re not looking at a several-hour dungeon crawl. Nice.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Warcraft Faction Change


    After not logging in to Warcraft for simply ages, I logged in on a bank alt, checked how many people from the guild were on, saw that there were approximately 5,000 people online who hadn’t seen me in ages, and chickened out.  :D  I got a wild hair and decided to do a faction change on my baby paladin to a belf. (I’ll make my grand entrance on my main early in the morning sometime.)

    Ah….sweetie?  That £15 charge on the account?  That’s what that was. *hides*

    I’ve been a bit burned out in Aion. I was 34 all of this week, and then this morning I finally ground the last 1/3 level to 35. It was hard. Now, I don’t mind hard, but it was also boring. And that is another thing entirely. So, I decided to take a break for a bit, and logged back into Warcraft.

    The thing that I didn’t expect about faction change, but should have?  All my quests, of course, have disappeared. (Obviously.)  Where do level 56 Horde pallies get all their quests?  I haven’t the slightest idea.  lol…

    Her feet are bare. Do blood elves have bare feet?  I don’t remember that. I know my troll always did, of course – but I seem to remember proper boots on my low-level belfs. Maybe it’s just the ones that I’m wearing. Maybe it’s because she had bare feet, I mean hooves, as a Draenei. But she looks like a poor orphan chile.

    My map is blank. This is sort of a pain, and sort of cool because discovery is one of the things that I love about exploration in MMOs – it’s rather like those maps of the States that you used to get at the library as a kid, and you got to fill the States in with stickers by checking out books, or doing reports, or something.

    I did some Halloween quests, flew to Winterspring, and logged off…happy that I was now a skanky, stick insect blood elf rather than a blue space goat.  :D

    Oh, yes – Happy Halloween to you all. We’re the house with all the lights off in the front room, hiding from trick-or-treaters. Hey, in our neighborhood all we get are vaguely threatening, spotty teens in hoodies, anyway.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Epic Pug Fail

    Hahaha, just got a message from a friend playing Aion at home. He’s been trying to get a Black Claw Village pug for his Chanter alt for ages, but every group falls apart.

    wow, I think I reached a new level of epic fail…

    started with 6, including a lvl 25 templar to suck all the xp out of it… russian, barely spoke english. a 23 glad who couldn’t stay connected. A healer that couldn’t heal and didn’t know how to change channels which took FOREVER to get him to do. A spiritmaster who decided he had to go after 15 mins… so we’re down to 4, then the healer keeps screaming ‘MUMUSSS!!!!!!!! I need MUMUS!!!!!!!!!!’ then the tank says after 20 mins, ‘ok, have to go now, sleep time’.


    Just had to share.  :D

  • MMO/Gaming,  Personal

    The Zen of Grinding

    This weekend was spent grinding mobs and levelling. If I’m in the right mood, it’s quite mesmeric to grind. (If I’m in an impatient or irritable mood, however, it’s not something that I can do for any length of time.) You get into a rythmn, a rinse-and-repeat cycle as you chat or listen to music or whatever…enjoying the snow falling in game, the excitement of the occasional nice drop, seeing the bar slowly fill up without any expectation of trying to reach a certain level, just grinding.

    If I have a goal, like trying to gain another level or whatever, then the pressure of my expectations make it a chore. If I’m just there, in the zone, killing whatever mobs are present, doing quests, gathering, it all kind of fades into a haze, and the time passes as I chat with friends. Quite nice, actually. I suppose it’s the process of enjoying the experience for itself, rather than something that you have to do to achieve a goal (reaching end level, or whatever).

    Aside from zen grinding, what did I do this weekend?  I got my hair cut into messy layers and coloured it bright red. I think the hairstylist was bored…it was raining, we were talking, he kept playing with my hair, and two hours (!!) passed before I was done. Again, I enjoyed it because I was in the moment, just listening to him make predictions about my life (he said he was a little psychic, and liked guessing things things about people). Had I somewhere urgent to go, I would not have experienced that.

    I told my parents about the Pamplona plans. I think they took it well.  :)  My family is awesome in that everyone trusts you to know what you’re doing, and will let you just get on with it. There’s no pressure, or guilt trips. My parents totally rock. My dad thought about it, and then said that he supposed that most people who get hurt get hurt by other people, not by bulls. Very true. (Aside from the admittedly rather spectacular cases where that is not true, the thought of which which would have most parents in hysteria.)  I’ve always been thankful for my family.

    The call to my parents was prior to a family conference later on that day (being so far away from everyone means that I miss out on everything). They wanted to discuss my mom’s wishes with all my sisters. My mom has Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or what is called Motor Neuron Disease here in the UK. Her wish is that once she’s no longer able to breathe or function on her own, she doesn’t want to be put on machines or kept alive artificially. And how could any of us say anything different? We trust each other to make their own decisions. She’s the bravest person I know.

    Running in front of fighting bulls takes balls, or stupidity, but it doesn’t really take courage. Not when you compare yourself to someone like my Mom, living each day in good spirits, still helping others even though her body is becoming increasingly non-functional. That takes guts. I will never be the person that she is, but at least a small part of what I am is due to the wonderful people who raised me – I feel so fortunate to have had my family.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Fire Temple

    Saturday was a fun, but very expensive day. We ran Ice Claw Village, Sky Temple and Fire Temple.  For hours! Due to various wipes (Ice Claw seems to be famous for other groups kiting mobs through people, trying to make them wipe, and as for the rest? To be honest, sometimes I just fuck up) I had an xp restoration bill of over 120k. At one point, I had a grand total of 2 kinah (!!!) to my name. Since then I’ve managed to make some cash back, and I even managed to pay for the next level of my gathering skill, which made me very happy. Now I’m trying to save for my level 34 training.

    As much as I hate and loathe goldsellers, the lure of buying kinah occasionally sings a siren song of better gear and profession levelling. I have a warehouse full of armorsmithing mats, and no way to level the profession. Templars are very gear-dependent, and I am still carrying the Big Ladle of Whoopass quest-reward mace, amongst other substandard gear. I resist temptation, not wanting to get banned (hey, I totally admit to having somewhat flexible morals and am entirely ok with hating goldsellers and still wishing I could buy kinah safely). Because I know I would…I just have that kind of luck. Other people play Indy 500 on the freeways, but if I don’t come to a full stop at a stop sign, a cop will immediately jump out from behind a bush to give me a ticket. I just have that kind of luck. So no easy kinah for me, even though there are shops advertising it in front of the bank, and bots outnumber players in Beluslan.

    I’m really enjoying tanking. I’m not saying that I’m especially good at it, mind you – but I try, and I have fun. One of the problems that I have is having absolutely NO sense of direction, either in real life or in game. It’s almost a disability; it’s something that I was born without. Spin me around twice, and I’ll be lost, I won’t remember which way I was travelling. So that makes it a bit difficult to lead groups through the maze of an instance, when you haven’t the faintest idea where you are or where you should go next. I’m trying to get runs done faster, but it conflicts with my natural caution. I can’t express how miserable I feel for bad pulls, especially in a game where a death has real adverse consequences and a substantial cost. As I level, I’m hoping that taunts get more effective – once a healer has grabbed a solid amount of aggro, it’s quite difficult to peel mobs off them. And sometimes when you’ve used everything you have, someone gets aggro on a boss, and for too many seconds there’s nothing to use to grab that aggro back – you just watch that skill count down until it can be used again, hoping whoever it is can survive until you do.

    Encounters in Aion (so far) haven’t been technical fights at all in the Warcraft sense. Perhaps the higher level instances are, but so far they’ve been extremely simple fights. I rather like the challenge of technical fights (the famous Heigan Dance, for instance), but I do like how casual “raiding” in Aion has been so far. I do think that it would ruin the game for me if there was proper endgame raiding. As it is, we can run Fire Temple a few nights, do some questing, do some pvp, and look forward to the time when we’re a bit higher level, and have more legion members, so we can start fortress raiding. It’s the perfect combination, at least for me.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Will Tank for Food

    Ravven is broke. Flat broke. Now this is a girl who has a lot of expenses – vodka and Krispy Kreme donuts don’t come cheap.

    I seem to have no talent at all for making money in games. I know people that just seem to accumulate cash out of thin air, through getting lucky drops and gaming the trade broker.  I just can’t do it. When Ravven hit 30, I had something like 140k kinah. The level 30 armour questline requires a massive bribe to a mercenary daeva in the form of a 90k Divine Lamp. I have approximately 140k of training to do as soon as I hit 31, and my gathering skill is maxed out at 199 because it requires something like 118k to pay for the next level. Forget doing any levelling of armorsmithing.  I’m wearing low-level gear and can’t upgrade it.  *cry*  I’m really not sure what to do.

    I suppose I need to spend a few nights just grinding mobs and gathering mats – that route around the cliffwall in Brusthonin is very good for gold and gems.

    But money sink issues aside, we are getting more people in the legion, and we’re having fun. So I suppose I’m poor and undergeared, but still happy.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Bosses with empty pockets

    We spent most of the night in Ice Claw Village last night, clearing up quests and grinding some XP. Before I realised it, it was 11:30 and I was well aware of how early 6:00 am comes…I am spending too many late nights at the PC, because I’m having so much fun. Ravven dinged 30 and got her lovely Collector’s Edition wings.

    There was a lot of competition in the area, including one guild that kept gathering up mobs and running them through our group, hoping to cause us problems; they must have done this two or three times. I just don’t understand the attraction of being a jerk in MMOs. Really – what is it? But we persevered and created a lot of carnage.

    There was a boss of sorts located through a portal at the back of the village. Again, like the “boss” in the Training Camp, he dropped nothing. This always shocks me, being as used as I am to Warcraft, where every boss-type encounter will drop loot. If they’re a normal mob, with no loot table, why design a boss fight situation?  That confuses me.

    Kinah, or lack of, is becoming a really urgent issue. I’ve maxed out gathering, and need to come up with a metric buttload of kinah to take it to the next level. I have tons of armorsmithing patterns and mats in my warehouse, some of which have been donated by others in the legion, and I can’t afford to level it and still have money for training and soul healing. I do a lot of grinding, but I can’t make any money. Partially this is because I try to send any decent drops, or any crafting mats I get, to people in the legion (as we all have been doing). Boo hoo….I need to reconsider what I am doing. If I can’t afford to level a profession, then I should probably give the mats and designs that I’m holding to someone who is, but that makes me sad.

    So basically, I suppose I can sum up my game experience currently as being happy but flat broke.  :D