Wednesday, 20 November 2013

SWTOR: Dun dun dun

Is has been a while since the last post. I didn't even make my golden one-post-a-week goal, oh my! The worst part is that I even can't seem to feel guilty about it.

The last couple of weeks I've had to digest some bad news. In fact, I'm still digesting it. No, don't worry, I won't fall over and die (yet). I usually keep my personal stuff out of the way of this blog, but I guess in this case it's relevant in the sense that I've spent little time in games lately - simply because I just do not care so much about games right now. I want to spend the time I have on things that I consider meaningful: my studies and the people I care about (uhm, maybe not necessarily in that order!). I guess my life is just a bit more off-line than in games right now and it is hard to find enthusiasm to write here as a result.

School time: priorities in life, anyone?

Oh, I do know games are meaningful. After all, how could they not be when I met my Tiger in an online game? The whole gaming blog network itself is prove that they have meaning. However, for me at this moment other things provide more meaning.

For the record: this does not mean I'm quitting this blog. My posts just might be a bit less numerous right now, because there is enough stress in the world without having to worry about posting schedules. And this is just so that you know.


Okay, Rav, enough of this emo-shit already. If you're not providing me with happy stories on your in-game experiences, where should I go else? Besides, why are you taunting me with these sexy vanguard pictures?

I have to admit that I did play *some* Star Wars in the past weeks, although not as actively as usual. I've attended the progression team runs of Obviously on Imp side, and I've played some lowbie PvP on my vanguard Xialin with Tiger and friends. I finally finished chapter 2 of the class story on her, which meant I received my last legacy-wide buff. I now have all four class buffs on every character, so that's worth a little hurray.

Unfortunately, my XO Elara got injured during the chapter, and much to my dismay I found that she is now greyed out from my companion panel! As she is still recovering, I'm forced to play with other companions in her stead. The whole operation had already been quite the challenge because the story forced me to play with Yunn and then Vik as my companions, and they walk around in the green gear I got them with (so they basically just fell over and died in each fight). Normally, I only play with Elara, as I like both her healing and her character. As a result, she is the only one properly geared for my level.

In a rush to get Elara back, I completed the next part of the story and freed some diplomats. However, this still turned out not to be enough: her character is still greyed out on the companion panel. In the meanwhile, Elara's companion bribes gifts keep piling up in my inventory.

Seriously though, I got super scared when I saw Elara lying down like that, I thought she was dead! Even though my virtual crew assured me that her injuries were bad but she was going to be okay, I'm still worried. I guess even in games as much as in life, all I want is just a happy end.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

LOTRO: The Balewood

Help, I'm surrounded by Ents!

I wasn't disappointed when Tiger and I ventured into the Balewood: it was full of Ents. In fact, we seemed to be surrounded by them!

A good wood

Har har, that rhymes! I really love the look of this wood. It has a pastel green-blueish teint that is very pretty, and the trees are done in a manner which makes you really feel like you are walking through a wood. I don't know if you remember the first large wood that the developers made, the Old Forest? It is still my favourite wood up until this day, and it created the illusion of being one big maze very well (I always got lost in there, but I did not mind), but Balewood is in all ways its superior. Here there are no impenetrable "walls of trees", a cheap way of filling the forest up, but every single tree is there. It truly feels like walking through a real forest, with dense and less dense parts, although it's sometimes a bit heavy on the computer and trees may appear right in front of you at the last moment. 

My heart broke at the Ent's tale of the bringing down of one of the oldest trees of the Balewood by orcs. The tree fought back and many orcs died because of it, but eventually it was brought down. It was such a terrible thing to have to look at.

This conflicted and helpless feeling only became worse when I had to do a Nurzum session play and actually had to play the monster, having to kill Ents left and right. But but... I don't want to kill Ents! Yet I had to, to continue the story. I also felt a bit sorry for Nurzum, because he had only three skills in total. It must be such a boring existence, you're bound to get frustrated and violent like that, right? I guess it's all to mentally prepare us for our 'challenging' skill trees with Helm's Deep. /sarcasm

We finished all the quests in Balewood, and I must say that I found this the most awesome part of Wildermore. The quests were fun and the wood itself with all the Ent tales felt very immersive. A good ending of the long and very elaborate Wildermore region.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

SWTOR: I have saved the galaxy

To jump or not to jump - can the voices in my head please shut up?

It's been over a month or so since the new raids on Oricon have been launched, and yet I haven't spoken a word about it. What is happening? Have I grown fat and have I retired from raids? I can comfort you and tell you that this is not the case. In fact, I have been meaning to write something about our raid progression, but I always end up feeling that my writing about raids is so utterly boring. Somehow it seems more fun to write about trivial things such as a funny billboard or in-game fashion, and thus you all believe I'm frisking about, looking at flowers while sometimes participating in a raid, while it is actually more the other way around.

As my Republic guild has ceased to do progression raids for now, my actual 'main' in terms of who I play the most and accumulates the best gear has switched from sage Ravanel to my sorcerer Fárah. It is a nice feeling to play with great players and discover the new raids with them. The Dread Fortress was easily overcome (I'm not counting getting terribly lost in the crystal-maze here!) on hardmode, with the exception of the last boss, the one with those arms and fingers randomly emerging from the ground.

It took us a couple of tries to conclude that our unintentional handicap of having four melee DPS was really holding us back in this case. Somehow our best DPSers tend to play marauders (3x) and operative (1x). Not a conscious choice, but something that just came to be as a result of personal preference of the players. At the end there is a phase in which everyone needs to be physically close to a finger (each has one) and everyone takes a lot of damage. Once we let our operative spec heals and our healing merc DPS we could focus these fingers a little bit better, and apparently having one ranged DPS saved us just enough damage taken to clear the fight in one go. Our merc had never played DPS in raids before and both switched players did not have gear for their role, and yet it made all the difference. Funny how these things work sometimes.

Then there was the Dread Palace. We were amazed at how easy the first boss was: we did it on our first try without knowing of any tactics. The second boss was trickier, but worked out fine when we had figured the right way of dealing with the tiles. The third boss with present and past took some time to work out, but was very much fun. I really like the fight's design. After that there's the arena-in-space boss (picture above) which wasn't that complicated, but struck us with movement, range and boss mechanics bugs that I, simple healer, too obsessed with looking at health bars, didn't all get but were holding as back. So we need a couple of tries here each week, depending on our luck factor with the bugs - sometimes it's done in one go, sometimes not.

Uhm yeah. Sorry about the "arena-in-space boss" terminology, but there are so many dread masters and they keep on returning from death during the various raids that I can't hold them apart anymore. I'll just have to hope you understand.

The last fight of the Dread Palace took us weeks to figure out, though. I experienced the fight as very healing intensive and the fact that I got much better gear throughout the weeks didn't make a noticeable difference. I came in that state caused by repetition, I don't know if you know the feeling: I knew exactly when to use which heal on who at the first part of the fight. It's like your hands take over the keyboard, working together with your brain in a sync at a pace that your own thoughts cannot follow anymore. It is this rarely occurring flow that I really like about end game raiding.

This Sunday the time was there: we finally took down the last boss of the Dread Palace on hardmode and it was great. Bye bye, dread masters!

Dread master Tyrans having a bad day: defeated by Rav and her team

There is no nightmare mode of the Oricron raids (yet), so we have beaten the new content. What now? Luckily Bioware has provided us with many ways of saving the galaxy over and over again. After our final victory the night was still young, so we cleared the first boss of Scum & Villany on nightmare mode. We haven't looked further inside there yet, so working on that will be our next goal.