Thursday, July 4, 2019

More Hot Fun In The Summertime: Riders of Icarus

When I went to log in to Riders of Icarus this morning the servers were down. I clicked through the link to see when they'd be back up and found myself facing a wall of patch notes. Actually, not so much patch notes as a lengthy list of freebies.

The feeling at Nexon seems to be "why have one event when you can have two? Or three. Or four". Before you can add more, though, you need to clear away the ones you already have. When the servers came back up the last remnants of the Cherry Blossom event had vanished, along with the quests offered by Amier Khat, the Otherworldly Cato.

The Cato himself (herself? itself?) gets to stay, at least for a while. Well, the patch notes say he does  but he must have moved because I couldn't see him pacing in his usual place. Instead I found his replacement, VION the Mecha Emissary.

VION looks like a crystalline dog so I'm surprised they missed the opportunity to call him Otherworldly Doggo. It (definitely "it" this time, I think) comes from the same alien world as Amier Khat, bringing with him what I would normally consider to be a sinister plan. As the patch notes put it:
Cato has leaked the intel to the Mecha Emissary about this world. The power of this world has been discovered and VION is here to counter them. For now, the mecha familiars will try and look for new things for their own use and gain.
You might imagine that, as players, our role would be to foil this invasion but you would be wrong. Three of the four quests offered by the Mecha involve bringing ore for the invading army to eat, fetching alloy and ingots to improve their gear and handing over tempering stones to upgrade their offensive and defensive capabilities even further. One of the quests is even called "Aiding the Invasion"!

I skipped the last event, which seemed to be far more trouble and expense than the rewards justified. This one seems completely out of my reach, since the ore the Mecha wants is found only in a zone that a) requires you to be Level 28 before you enter and b) is enabled for non-consensual FFA PvP.

Fortunately there's plenty more going on that's very much within my reach. About all I needed to do was clear enough bag space for the free loot.

First up, Nexon has opted to celebrate Independence Day, even though they don't seem quite sure how to spell it. They do understand that it's something no-one outside the United States joins in with, and to prove it they've done something I don't believe I have ever seen in an MMORPG before.

If you play on North American servers, as I do, you get the following buffs:

  • Character EXP 50%
  • Familiar EXP 50%
  • Fishing Rate 20%
  • Taming Chance 20%
  • Dropped Money Total 20%

If you're on an EU server, however, you get a generic "Holiday Celebration", which comes at half-strength:

  • Character EXP 25%
  • Familiar EXP 25%
  • Fishing Rate 10%
  • Taming Chance 10%
  • Dropped Money Total 10%

That might be quite annoying. There are several reasons why I always prefer to play on NA servers rather than EU or UK ones but only getting half the buffs was never one of them - until now.

Luckily for everyone outside the North American continent, the reduction only applies to buffs. Everyone gets the same freebies (with the sole exception that the EU Talisman is called the "Holiday Celebration") and there are plenty to go around:

  • Independence Day Talisman Package x1
  • Ellun (30 Pack) x1
  • Macbain Coin (10 Pack) x1
  • Full Attack Power Tincture x5
  • Overall Defense Tincture x5
  • Lv. 240 Elite Tempering Stone (2 Pack)
  • Catnip Sack (5 Pack)

But wait! We're not done yet. It's the third anniversary of Riders of Icarus's launch! Have some more free stuff! Yes, all of you!

To Celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of Riders of ICARUS! The GM Team prepared these rewards for both NA and EU Region
  • Ellun (50 Pack) x1
  • Hero's Blessing Potion x3
  • Premium Service (7 Day) x1
  • +5 Legendary Seal Stone Extractor x1
  • Taming Points Potion (50) 2Pack x5
  • Ultimate Refining Stone Package x3
  • Legendary Honing Stone Package x3
  • Grand Lucky Box x5

Even that isn't everything. There's something called The ICA Day Chat Buff - "Rider4Life". I have not the slightest clue what that is but it comes with a load more buffs.

And of course there are the usual daily rewards you get just for logging in. Those are some of the most generous and useful I have seen in any MMORPG. They're so good, in fact, I've been making certain I log in every day, even if I don't plan on playing.

Already I've received a load of cash shop currency and a Legendary Familiar I'm using in every battle. There's another one of those coming tomorrow and today I got a pair of realy cool sunglasses.

The shades were a major improvement on last month's summer-themed cosmetic. That was a blue bikini so revealing I am not just unwilling to let any of my characters wear it in game, I couldn't even bring myself to take a screenshot of it. That said, it's positively modest compared to some of swimwear I've seen in FFXIV...

When I logged in to wallow in my freebies like Scrooge McDuck in his moneybin, at first I couldn't find them. Eventually I worked out they were all in something called Ellora's Storage, accessible from a chest icon at the bottom right of the screen.

Ellora's Storage is a very clever idea. It allows for event items to be allocated to your character without filling and overspilling your bags. You can select any or all of them at will but they all have a timer, in this case six days.

Since there turned out to be three pages of them, fifteen items in total, many of which were bundles that exploded into more items when used, I was very pleased to have them all safely stashed to one side of my real inventory. One of the freebies was seven days of Premium Service (yet another name for what we used to call a Subscription). That came with a 24 slot bag so I opened it first.

The bag itself lasts 999 days but you can only use it if you have the Premium Service running. Since a bunch of the freebies also last for six days it's the ideal place to stuff them and forget them.

Giving everyone a week of the paid-for membership level is a very smart move on Nexon's part. Unlike many MMORPGs I could mention, Riders of Icarus's offer has a lot to recommend it. It includes very useful things like 20 free 100% health and Familiar stamina potions per day, free use of the transit system, and the use, anywhere, of a summoned banker, broker and mailbox.

Your pet also gains the ability to pick up loot and you get yet more buffs, including the very useful doubling of all Elluns (the cash shop currency) from quests. I'm not sure I'd go as far as paying for it myself but it's very nice to have for nothing!

I have another post in mind about actually playing the game, something I have been doing, on and off, and am extremely likely to continue doing, quite possibly as soon as I publish this post.

I think that's enough Riders of Icarus blathering for today, though.

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