Monday, October 23, 2017

It's Yours To Take, It's All For Free : GW2, DCUO, SWL

What is it about free stuff? Yesterday I patched and logged into two MMOs I haven't played for quite a while, just because I heard they had free stuff. Then, when a friend logged into GW2, the first thing I said to him was "There's free stuff in the Gem Store!" (To which his reply was "Thanks!" followed by a brief pause, then "Uh, what's the Gem Store?" He's been playing for five years. Anet must just love customers like him.)

I'd already taken my freebie from Evon Gnashblade's Emporium of course. It was a box of fireworks. I don't need a box of fireworks. I don't want a box of fireworks. I spent over two hours in GW2 yesterday just trying to clear some inventory space because one account bank is full and most of my characters have scarcely one empty bag.

But, hey, free stuff!

The main reason I was clearing inventory space was so I could run around and around The Mad King's Labyrinth hoovering up drops like it was an ARG. Bearing in mind I don't even like ARGs. Not to mention I already had 2000 Trick or Treat bags banked from last year.

When I hit 3000 it occurred to me to open some. Mainly as a way of making space. Of course, that would mean my inventory filling up to overflowing with all the food, finishers, candy corn and plastic spider fangs. None of which I could remember the use for.

Much of my Sunday afternoon was taken up with reading the wiki, trying to find out what you could do with all this stuff. Presumably it has some purpose. You'd hope.

It took me another couple of hours but I finally worked out that most of it could be converted into other stuff at a rate of about 1000:1. Moreover, the concentrated versions go in the material bank. Well, so do the ordinary versions but of course I already filled those slots about five years back.

I opened about a thousand bags. That was fun. I started off opening them slowly and looking at the contents then clicked faster and faster until by the end my mouse finger hurt.

I got super-lucky opening the first stack of 250. Out popped the Touch of Madness, a "torch" weapon
that consists of a fire effect surrounding your bare hand and which, not surprisingly, goes for big dollar on the TP. Not that I'll be selling it.

It's unusual for me to get anything I immediately know I'll use. I just checked my main account bank and I currently have one hundred and eleven unopened boxes of armor, weapons or other items that require me to make a choice. If you add in the unopened boxes where no choice is required I have seven hundred and seventy four.

Let's be honest - I have more stuff in every MMO than I want, need or know what to do with. I frequently bank reward boxes unopened because not only do I not have any use for their contents but I don't have anywhere to put them. If opening a box will clear an inventory space (because the box doesn't stack but the contents do, for example) then I'll open it. Otherwise it goes in the hole.

And despite all that I still run towards free stuff, waving my arms and yelling "Gimme!" I logged into DCUO yesterday because I saw there was a free cat scratching post. Wait a minute? What!?

Yes, for Halloween the superhero MMO chose to give out pet furniture. Do I have a cat in the game? No. I don't think there even are cats in DCUO, are there? Well, other than Streaky, and I'm not sure Streaky's canon any more. There aren't any kind of vanity pets as far as I know. Well, there kind of are but not really...

So what? It's free stuff! And there's more. Stuffed bats! And dead tree branches! Wait, I can't breathe, I'm so excited! Also a free aura that makes me glow orange, which must be a Halloween thing because I got a trinket in GW2 with the same effect.

Next thing you know, there I was, in my base, trying to remember how the UI worked, looking for a good spot to place my bats and my cat toy and my tree parts. They won't go with my free Flash gym workout gear, that's for sure. Lucky I have this massive, empty secret lair!

Actually, it turned out to be more fun that it should have been. Hanging a bat, I hit twenty placed items, which removed the trainer wheels from my base-decorating skills. Don't have to use hooks any more. I can put things wherever I want.

Looking at the forums I see base decorating is very much a thing in DCUO, just like house decorating is in EQ2. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. It's probably the same people - both games are on All Access after all. And the bases are huge. So much potential...

No time to ponder the possibilities - there's more free stuff to be had. I left the one I thought would be the best to last. It's not every day you get offered a free motorbike but there's one with my name on in Secret World Legends.

Not, sadly, literally with my name on. That really would be cool. Still, I have never had any kind of mount in TSW or SWL so it's a big deal. Also more patching because it's been a while. And more googling because I've forgotten how to take screenshots or where to find them after I've taken them. And I can't remember which key is "Sprint" (because riding a motorcycle is sprinting, of course it is...).

I got it all sorted in the end. Then I revved up and roared off down the open road.

Okay, no I didn't. I had Sprint 3 in TSW but that didn't copy across, apparently. I'm stuck with Sprint 1 for now, which means I putter along like a 1950s district nurse on a sit-up-and-beg pushbike. Also, the motorcycle handles more like a yacht in a stiff breeze than any kind of wheeled vehicle.

But it's free stuff. Free stuff! And look, it had exactly the intended effect. I logged into all those games and I opened the cash shops in every one. Didn't buy anything but, hey, I might have!

Hmm. I wonder if there's free stuff in any of the two dozen other MMOs I'm nominally still playing?

Better go check.

P.S. I nearly titled this post Cat Scratch Fever, which would have been so perfect, but then I realized people might think I actually liked Ted Nugent...


  1. People can actually like Ted Nugent's music of old and not like the person he turned out to be.

    1. That's 100% true and I'm a big advocate of separating the work from the creator. However, I was an early adopter in the not liking Ted Nugent stakes. I've been not liking him since the 1970s, on purely musical grounds. If I'd heard The Amboy Dukes in the 60s I could have gotten started even sooner!

  2. "I started off opening them slowly and looking at the contents then clicked faster and faster until by the end my mouse finger hurt."

    Not sure if you're aware, but you can right-click and "Use All" to open a stack all at once. Split it into smaller stacks (alt-drag) if inventory space might be an issue.

    1. Thanks for the tip. I did think of doing it that way before i started but I like to look at the contents of each bag as I open it - or at least I do for a while. The first 250 were fun. It got a little less fun after that but I was still going slowly enough to monitor the item stream on the right of the screen in something like real time. I do actually really like opening bags.

  3. Glorious madness!

    My new game du jour, a F2P beauty Warframe, has a twitch streaming benefit. One that if a streamer you are watching gets an in game achievement you get something free. The other day I got over 200 things, including some really good stuff (lots of money too from duplicate bluprint items which sell,, which helps in the in game marketplace)

    Of course I didn't watch a single stream but had 6 tabs open of streamers in the background... when I went to bed.

    And what is it with fireworks? That is the 90% "win" option in Warframe too!

    1. SynCaine was complaining that Twitch drops stink just the other day. He concluded with a rhetorical question: "Imagine if you are playing 3-4 different games at a time, and since each has a Twitch partnership, you have 4 background stream tabs? Ugh… that’s going to happen isn’t it?"

      You should let him know it's already happening - he likes to claim prophetic powers!

  4. "P.S. I nearly titled this post Cat Scratch Fever, which would have been so perfect, but then I realized people might think I actually liked Ted Nugent... "


    +1 Internets for you, good sir.


Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide