Friday Five: favorite MMO boss fights
Apr04

Friday Five: favorite MMO boss fights

I’ve been kind of psyching myself out of posting lately by thinking that whatever topic I have in mind is “not serious enough” or “ugh, enough about WoW already Liore”. I mean, that is clearly silly because at the end of the day it’s my blog and I’ll write if I want to, and honestly I don’t think any of you delightful readers care that much, but there you have it.

So anyway, here is a lovely fluffy post for Friday about five of my favorite boss fights in MMOs! Listed in no particular order.

(That’s right, no talk of the Warlords of Draenor alpha notes that came out yesterday evening. I haven’t even read them, to be honest. I just have a hard time being too concerned about changes 6-8 months before a game launches, plus I enjoy being a little ignorant about WoW things now. I will smell the flowers once they bloom, and until then I ain’t gonna worry about it.)

Archimonde – WoW
As will quickly become apparent, two things I love in my boss fights are movement and teamwork, and the Archimonde fight had both in spades. Players had to avoid Doomfires, and be ready to click their tears when they got shot up into the sky by Air Burst (wheee!). It’s also a fight where a single person’s death can wipe the raid (even more than usual), so coordination was critical. And even beyond all that, the setting was cinematic and Archimonde himself was satisfyingly gigantic.

volan 500x256 Friday Five: favorite MMO boss fights

Volan – RIFT
Despite my misgivings about the Storm Legion expansion in general, I have to give props to Trion for this showpiece of an encounter. Volan is technically a world boss, although he’s associated with a regular daily event. He is huge — like, really really huge — and spawns by bursting out of the side of a mountain. Often there would be 80+ players in the fight using jump pads to leap through the air, or manning giant cannons, or occasionally even jumping on Volan’s head. I would love to see more MMOs invest in cinematic world bosses!

Sartharion with 3 dragons – WoW
The cool thing about the Sartharion encounter was that you could adjust the difficulty by killing up to 3 of her henchdragons before engaging. Choosing to engage her without killing any was known as Sarth 3D, and it was in its day one of the most difficult fights ever in WoW. There were multiple tanks, and clouds of whelps, and portals to spirit worlds, and occasionally even gigantic waves of lava that everyone had to dodge. This fight required crazy amounts of coordination, felt amazing to complete, and rewarded a rare dragon mount.

Soa, The Infernal One – SWTOR
My time raiding in SWTOR was brief, but this fight stood out for one big reason: jumping. After phase 1, the floor of the room you were in collapsed and the raid had to simultaneously fight robot minions AND slowly hop down to the underfloor by jumping on debris that was stuck to the walls. Unfortunately the fight was frequently buggy back in the day, but when it worked it was really great.

mimiron 500x233 Friday Five: favorite MMO boss fights

Mimiron Hard Mode – WoW
This fight, my friends, is my favorite fight ever in an MMO. It is amazing, right from the very moment you push the giant red Do Not Push button to start the fight. There is fire — oh, so much fire — and organized cooldowns and multiple tanks and robots. There is Mimiron himself, taunting the raid in a very sassy fashion. And did I mention the fire? This fight is all movement and controlled chaos and it is never, ever not fun.

Making Gold in WoW: 2014 so far
Apr03

Making Gold in WoW: 2014 so far

As I’ve mentioned before one of the things I love to do in MMOs is use the auction house to make my fortune. There are a few reasons for this — I genuinely enjoy activities that might require spreadsheets, and as someone who budgets fiercely in real life I like being a shopaholic in my games.

At the same time, I’m kind of lazy. Daily quests are a total drag, and farming seems like a lot of effort for little return. I don’t have the time or dedication to play the undercut game 8 times a day on super volatile markets. Instead I have focused my efforts on two things: flipping transmog gear and selling top shelf glyphs.

(Nothing I say below will be surprising for experienced gold makers!)

Flipping Transmog Gear

Transmog gear is a huge market. Huuuuuuge. It seems like most players don’t keep tabs on AH price history (probably not surprising) and will happily post all the green items in their bag for a couple of gold a piece.

Now, dear reader, I will impart upon you the one thing that will let you generate hundreds if not thousands of gold every day. Are you ready? Get a pen! …. It’s this link, only for your own server and faction. Buy cheap things, flip at average market price. That’s it!

Tips: Transmog is all about cosmetics, so don’t buy deals that you can’t see, like necklaces and trinkets. Also I don’t buy level 90 epics even if they’re on the deal page because the market history is just too unstable for that kind of investment.

Tip #2: The more a pair of pants looks like a thong, the more someone will pay for them.

Results: When there is good stuff to snap up, you will make the big bucks. Unfortunately some days everyone has priced their stuff correctly (jerks!) so your inventory levels will vary.

Top Shelf Glyphs

Players can make gold by the wheelbarrow load by dominating the bulk glyph business, but that requires a considerable amount of time and effort. Instead, I prefer to just focus on the biggest and most profitable glyphs. Every time I use the auction house I do a quick scan for cheap herbs (usually less than 50% of the average market price according to TSM) and mail them off to my monk.

Then every few days I log her on and turn all herbs into dust and all dust into inks. I use TSM to identify glyphs where I will make at least 50 gold over crafting cost, and queue up one of each. Craft, mail to my AH bot, done.

Results: My glypher is only level 60 and so doesn’t know many of the high level recipes yet, but I still make roughly 500 gold a day from this.

The overall result of the above two gold-making methods is about 8-10 hours of effort each month for 30,000 gold.

Shopping!

Of course the best part of making fake game money is spending it, baby! Back in January I bought a Onyx Panther and it has quickly become the mount I use the most. There’s just something really pleasing in a tactile way about it — I’m not sure if it’s the way it moves or responsiveness, but the mount feels fun to ride.

yak 500x466 Making Gold in WoW: 2014 so far

picture from WoWHead

After that I saved my gold for three months to buy a certain someone a Grand Expedition Yak for their birthday. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see one up close yet (they are sold by a Grummle vendor for 106,000 gold), it’s a pretty amazing mount. It comes with nice graphical touches like a parasol and a lucky cat statue, along with a reforger and a vendor NPC who can be thrown off in favor of carrying around two friends. The vendor even sells Tomes of the Clear Mind for a few silver a piece, which is much better than the 8-10g you’d spend on the AH.

I may get one myself in the future, but right now I’m focused on building back up the coffers and throwing gold at levelling up engineering and inscription on alts.

Cat Context 48: The Games That Influenced Us
Apr02

Cat Context 48: The Games That Influenced Us

cat context vertical Cat Context 48: The Games That Influenced Us

This week Liore, Arolaide, and Ellyndrial sit down to talk about the games that influenced us as gamers and as people.

From the first games we ever played to the ones we played for hours, from games we learned on our own or played with loved ones, it’s undeniable that games have shaped our lives. Each of us talk about five games on our own influential list, from consoles titles to a certain MMO.

Also, what we’ve been playing lately, including The Binding of Isaac, Spelunky, and more adventures with Orangelady in SWTOR.

Like to watch? This podcast has a livestreamed video version:

If you enjoyed this podcast, please “Like” or “Favorite” it in your media consumption method of choice! It makes us feel nice.

* The article on TAGN that inspired this episode.
* Free Music Archive page for our theme, in THE crowd by The Years

Learning to Appreciate Alts
Mar31

Learning to Appreciate Alts

I have never really been much for alts in MMOs. I mean, I’ve rolled alts of course, but they were always clearly secondary to my main. Often I would create alts with the best of intentions, but they ended up being just extra bag space or profession slaves.

I think a lot of it came down to my achiever nature in games, as well as being a serious raider. When you have one character with the best gear in the game and a collection of mounts and pets that took hours to amass, and another character in quest blues with a sparklepony it’s tough to find the motivation to take the latter anywhere outside of a major city.

And then even if I did play my alt(s), any unique achievements or whatever I got during that time would just have to be repeated on my main for completion’s sake, not to mention that I just plain didn’t have the time to start raiding on another character.

That was a few years ago, and while I am still not an “altoholic” by any stretch of the imagination it appears that both me and WoW have mellowed out enough to make alts much more enjoyable.

Props — mad props, even — should be given to Blizzard for some of their recent changes in this area. Shared pets, mounts, and titles help a lot, as does the fact that most of the major achievements are also shared by account. The new token thingy that gives your alts double faction reputation is amazing, and even the hated LFR (and Flex too) is a nice easy way to progress with your character without having to think about it too much.

The results of these changes, along with my own casual-ification over the years, is that I am enjoying my boost baby paladin much more than I ever expected.

She is levelling up mining and engineering, and although engineering is the same boring grind as any profession I enjoy churning out 5 explosive sheep or fabulous goggles much more than another gem cut or enchanting my bracers over and over. The double rep means she’s already revered with Tillers and has 12 active plots on her farm. (I like tending the plants, okay? I don’t know why. Don’t judge me.)

Thanks to being a healer the paladin has LFR queues of 10 minutes or less for pretty much any wing, giving me an endless stream of gear drops, legendary quest bits, valor points, and victims on whom I can practice my heal skills. And I haven’t even gotten into PvP yet, where I hope to combine my slightly masochistic love of MMO PvP healing with the gift of plate armor.

And speaking of plate armor, man, paladin gear looks cool. It looks way cooler than anything priests have seen after TBC.

pallyhat Learning to Appreciate Alts

paladin hats: PUT A BIRD ON IT.

Long story short, suddenly I am playing my main and my alt for equal amounts of time and when I’m on my paladin I no longer have that nagging feeling that alts are just wasting time I could spend on my main. Thanks to a few changes in both the games I play and how I play them, it turns out I could get used to this alt thing.

One Night in Landmark
Mar27

One Night in Landmark

The closed beta for Landmark (no longer named EverQuest Next Landmark!) started up yesterday afternoon, and I was fortunate enough to be given a beta pass by alpha investor Aurelia, she of the awesome Democracy 3 DLC review video from a while back.

When you first boot up the Landmark beta client you’re treated to a mandatory 3-ish minute video by David Georgeson, the game’s Director of Development, where he talks about what happened in alpha and what players can expect from beta. It was charming, if totally weird in that trademark SOE way.

The character creation is very simplistic, and the character graphics are not great. I run oddly, there’s no strafing (not that there’s anything to strafe away from exactly, but in a world of exploration I occasionally like to move diagonally), and I can’t zoom my camera.

That all being said, we’re not playing Landmark for the character generation, are we? No sir, I’m here for some mining!

2014 03 26 21 53 44 Landmark v0.92.1.65442  x64    RELEASE   500x281 One Night in Landmark

I suspect that the same cartoony graphics that hinder the character display help the look of the environment. And it does look good, in a creamy sort of way. I liked that hopping up steep hills is totally acceptable, and there seems to be some mechanic to keep players from plummeting to their death when sliding down the side of a mountain.

Eventually I stumbled across a shiny patch of what I correctly suspected was copper, and started to mine.

2014 03 26 22 03 46 Landmark v0.92.1.65442  x64    RELEASE   500x409 One Night in Landmark

It might sound like I’m damning the title with faint praise when I say the following, although I assure you I am not: Landmark has the most satisfying mining experience I have ever encountered in a game. Seriously! The voxels, however they work, make me feel like I am actually excavating a seam of materials. Chunks break away in different shapes, and the pick’s animations give it the right amount of heft.

Unfortunately I didn’t find crafting so compelling. That is more a statement about my short attention span than the crafting, really. I looked at the list of ingredients needed to make a claim flag and spent a few minutes trying to gather them, but I quickly got bored and instead focused on digging a tunnel to the center of the world.

2014 03 26 22 38 16 Landmark v0.92.1.65442  x64    RELEASE   300x294 One Night in Landmark

Goodbye, world!

I was digging for quite some time when a random player jumped and/or fell down the ice hole. He seemed to quickly shake off his misfortune, and started digging downward with me.

2014 03 26 22 40 48 Landmark v0.92.1.65442  x64    RELEASE   300x288 One Night in Landmark

Eventually my new friend started digging off in his own direction, and after about 20 minutes of finding nothing but subterranean ice I logged off the game.

Overall my first impression of Landmark is that it’s definitely on the road to being a good multiplayer Minecraft. I’m not sure I personally am interested in a game that frontloads gathering so much over crafting, but that’s more a design issue than a fault. Should you get the opportunity to try the game for free, I highly recommend that you mine something.

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