Monday, July 25, 2016

That Summer Feeling

We're more than half-way through 2016 now and these are the MMOs I've played and blogged about so far this year:

Black Desert
Blade and Soul
Celtic Heroes
City of Steam
Dragomon Hunter
Dragon Nest: Oracle
EverQuest 2
Guild Wars 2
Project Gorgon 
Riders of Icarus
The Secret World
World of Warcraft

The lion's share has gone to GW2, as it has done for almost four years now. I've played every single day. I always do the dailies on all three of my accounts. It rarely takes more than three-quarters of an hour to knock them all off. Depending on my work schedule I either run through them all before breakfast or after tea. It's relaxing and enjoyable.

Most days, once I've cycled through the two minor accounts, I settle on the only one that has Heart of Thorns enabled. It's been good having three accounts in different states because the dailies vary according to whether or not the account has HoT and also according to the level of the highest character.

To maximize the difference in dailies offered I've made sure that the account I bought during ANet's 75% off sale has no level 80s. Indeed, it doesn't even have any level 70s. I've retired an Engineer and a Ranger both at 68 and now I'm leveling a Necromancer.

Next up to the plate: The Necromancer

The recent half-price sale caused a moment of anxiety. I didn't want to miss out on a good deal and somewhat to my surprise I find myself looking forward to going through the whole HoT process again - Masteries and Ascended weapons particularly. On the other hand, I don't have any characters on the account that has 80s but no HoT that I particularly want to play right now, while I am very fond of all the characters on the account that isn't allowed to get to 80.

In the end I solved the dilemma in the way I usually do - by kicking the problem down the road. Instead of upgrading either account from within the game, as Mrs Bhagpuss did with her second account, I went to the website and bought a standalone half-price HoT. Now I have the code available to upgrade either of the accounts if and when I feel like it, or I can use it to start a fourth one.

Meanwhile I carry on doing whatever takes my fancy - World vs World, World Bosses, Current Events, HoT Metas and so on. I play each day until I either run out of things I feel like doing or out of time to do them. Then I log out and play another MMORPG.
Somehow it's just not the same without DK and Chris.

The GW2 content drought has made a lot of space for other MMOs, which is the very definite upside of an otherwise unfortunate situation. The desultory state of WvW hasn't helped, what with one of our main Commanders upping sticks to move to Isle of Janthir and the other going on hiatus due to a combination of unresolved internet issues and pending vacation time. Mrs Bhagpuss, who generally only plays one MMO at a time, has drifted away from playing as much as she did, spending more time watching documentaries and playing non-MMOs.

Having no particular goals left in GW2 right now, with Mrs Bhagpuss often absent from the game and not feeling the call to Defend the Honor of The Yak as strongly, I have slipped into a routine of playing three or four different MMOs each day. The choice varies. Earlier in the year I was taken up by a couple of refurbished imports, Blade and Soul and Black Desert but, while I thoroughly enjoyed them both at the time, neither seems to have stuck.

It's hard to predict which MMOs will stick. I'm slowly and sporadically plugging away at both Dragomon Hunter and Celtic Heroes, with characters now in or around the twenties in both. Mostly, though, when I log out of GW2 it's to log into an old favorite not a new pretender.

The two EverQuest titles never really drop out of rotation. I am always doing something in one or the other. Still, it's quite unusual for me to find myself playing both concurrently, as I have been this month.

It really is quite embarrassing when the peak of your ambition is to kill "a small insect"

In the elder game I've been logging in almost daily to chip away at the levels on my Magician. A couple of days ago she finally dinged 92, a significant level in that it opens up a number of gear options I've been eying up on the Broker that require level 92 to equip. Somewhat awkwardly, she's on the F2P account but that does free up the All Access account to operate as a full-time storefront for the copious loot she acquires, since AA accounts are able to trade while offline.

In fact, there's a good deal of unattended play going on in EverQuest. Not only is my trader hawking his wares 24/7 but, at least when I remember, I log into EQ on the Magician's account and leave it running in the background while I play something else. The Magician, her Mercenary and her pet idle in the Guild Lobby, sopping up MGBs, so that when I come to playing them they're all raid-buffed.

Then the Mage scoots out to Plane of Knowledge on her Highland Craigslither (a kind of flat-to-the-ground lizard she got from a Legends of Norrath loot card), chats up Franklin Teek for a task or several and heads for the Hot Zones. The efficiency of this method of leveling is variable.

The change to how Hot Zoning works that happened back in the spring means there are three zones in rotation for each five-level bracket and they are by no means all either as convenient or as efficacious as each other. Currently the Level 80 zone is Valdeheim, the Giant's city from The Serpent's Spine expansion. It's very easy but the xp was poor at 91 and will be worse at 92.

Sometimes I just wander around the Guild Lobby slack-jawed.

The level 85 zone, much better xp, is currently Meldrath's Magnificent Mansion, which is too cramped for comfort. So it goes. They will all switch again soon so I'm hoping for something better suited to my playstyle. Both The Foundation and Gyrospire Beza (or was it Zeka?) would be preferable.

In EQ2 I'm plugging along with the new Bruiser I created for the patchwork pony deal. The pace seems just about right and I really love having a character who has to do everything for himself for once, rather than leaning on the immense largess of his well-established, high-level account-mates. Currently he's sitting at level fifteen in both adventuring and tradeskill.

When the Race To Trakanon reaches the finish line and the server closes down I'll move him to my regular server. Whether he'll level much further after that is another question altogether. I suspect that, if DBG follow the plan and replace RTT with another "event" I'll be more interested in starting over there instead of playing him up any more.

Lettuce? What do you want lettuce for? You're not a real rabbit!

It's not news to me but recent events have re-emphasized that what I enjoy most of all in MMOs is starting new characters and playing through the lower levels. The other MMO in my daily round at the moment is WoW, where my Gnome Hunter has also reached the dizzy heights of level fifteen, albeit in about a quarter of the time.

While I still believe WoW isn't quite as super-easy as people like to suggest - I'm not one-shotting anything for a start and a bad pull can still result in an ignominious scramble for safety - it certainly has gotten easier as I've acquired better gear. Now mostly in greens, every quest is easy (although finding the quest location sometimes is not). Much easier, definitely, than I remember the same areas and quests being back in 2009, last time I did them. Moreover, the amount of xp per quest seems to be enormous. I think that has changed and, for my tastes, changed too much. Still, it's a lot of fun.

I ran into a Blingtron 5000 two days running, which meant I was able to hit the Starter Account cap of ten gold and then some. By comparison I don't believe either my Starter Warrior or Goblin had hit that cap by level 20. At least it's allowed me to buy some extra bank space, although as yet inventory hasn't been an issue.

I don't usually accept gifts from strangers but in your case I'll make an exception. Now gimme!

The final piece in my present MMO jigsaw is Landmark, where I log in every few days to make sure my house doesn't fold itself up and put itself back in my pack. Then, inevitably, I end up tinkering around with things and stay there for an hour or several. I'd like to make time for several other MMOs too but there are only so many hours in the day so TSW, B&S, BD, RoI and the rest of the acronym crowd are just going to have to wait their turn. I have managed to log into Rift a couple of times. Come to think of it, that might be an interesting place to start over from scratch...

All in all it's been a very enjoyable and restful period of MMO gaming. I'm making the most of it while it lasts because, unless ANet really shoot themselves in the foot tomorrow, the next few weeks should set the focus firmly back on Tyria. 

Right now, though, I'm off with Mrs Bhagpuss to take a stroll around a real-life castle and, I hope, eat an ice cream in the sunshine. It is summer, after all.


  1. If you are looking for a new one to add to your rotation, but with little commitment, you may try Warframe. Its F2P on Steam. Its more of a lobby game than an mmo exactly, but does have clans and progression of a sort. Each mission is self contained and can be completed in short bursts of 5 to 30 min or so, depending on how much of a completionist you are.
    I've thrown some money at it to open up access but its not completely necessary. Its an enjoyable distraction between visits to SWTOR, WOW, RIFT and a fair bit of Elite: Dangerous

    1. Oh, thanks for the suggestion. I know the name but I haven't investigated Warframe yet. I'll add it to the list!

  2. I enjoyed hearing of players providing those Blingtron 5000 for the new Gnome Hunters, always nice to hear of generous and considerate fellow players. :)

    That Farleigh Hungerford Castle does look like a nice outing!

    1. I'd never heard of the Blingtron until I came across one in the middle of the road. Then the next day I ran into one in Ironforge. I have my eye open for them now.

      The castle was more interesting than I expected, with a creepy crypt filled with lead coffins and some interesting stories on the audio commentary. The ice cream was the best part though :)

  3. I'm also on the RTT EQ2 server. I have not played much which is pretty typical of me during summer times. Too much real life stuff going on. I have a coercer in the lvl 11-12 range, Nazear. Look me up if you are on.


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