Monday, September 28, 2015

A Week in an MMO Life: Saberstalker Reputation achieved

Still not quite done with the Saberstalkers

I have done the weekly Saberstalker quest and joined a group each time and between the two I have made it to revered with them, leaving me one more revered reputation (Order of the Awakened) to earn before I get Draenor flying.  I mentioned in my last post that I find this grind annoying since it's behind a daily quest that required finding treasures or rares.  The good news is I only have to do it 4 more times.  The bad news is that I have already picked up almost of all of the obvious treasures, so I'll have to finish the quest more with Rare mobs.  Since, with the Saberstalker quest and totems, you can be guaranteed for 3 rare mobs weeks and usually 6 of the 10 tokens needed for the daily quest, I'll probably keep doing it weekly until I have the last revered reputation I need to fly.

Looking back at the goals I set for myself in March, I have done many of them, even some of those that seemed unlikely.  At this point, I am again at a lull.  It may be that I'd like to be able to fly since it'll help with leveling the other characters but I would rather not grind those last four quests.  I wish they had set up some other way to get reputation - the other two Tanaan Jungle reputations have that.  Even if this was the 'best' way, options are always helpful psychologically to have multiples ways of completion to make something seem like less of a grind.

In other gaming, I have been playing Minecraft and Terraria on our mobile devises with my daughters.  I finally made a house and mine that goes deep enough into the earth to mine red stone and diamonds.  I also started exploring over land, building three houses due south of the original spawn, but I haven't found anything particularly interesting and don't feel like going to the nether (though I have a diamond pickaxe and several good places to gathering Obsidian, something I haven't done in Minecraft before).  Terraria is probably the first game I've played with my daughters where they are noticeably better than I am.  I guess I need to get use to it.

I have bought a WoW Token but am holding off exchanging it for game time in case I decide I need a break.  I'm pretty sure I'll continue until more of my characters are max level.  I keep thinking that Kanter has a high enough iLvl that he should go ahead and do some of the dungeons and raids for the legendary ring, but I still can't be bothered.  I'd rather just be casual, which seems to be a theme in the blogosphere recently.  Maybe more on that later.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Flying in Draenor

I'm spending more time in Lion's Watch and Tanaan Jungle again.
Flying was introduced in Draenor in World of Warcraft on September 2nd and I am still firmly on the ground.  I starting writing this post in early July around the time that Blizzard decided to allow people to jump through several hoops in order to be able to fly.  Before that time there was some comments from Blizzard employees that there might never be flying in Draenor and much consternation from some players because of it.

For me, it was what I expected.  There were a number of things to do in Draenor that were supposed to be a challenge because you were on the ground.  Even before Warlords of Draenor (WoD) was released, we were told that there wasn't a plan for flight.  It was fun to be able to finally be allowed to fly in Burning Crusade but WoW is a game and I am fine with the developers tweaking the rules to add new challenges.

That said, now that flying is here and I've started testing what it will take to get Revered reputation for the three factions, I'm pretty sure I'll complete them.  One of the factions, Hand of the Prophet (for Alliance) is part of the quest line that gets you the Shipyard and to the Tanaan Jungle, so it's pretty straightforward to get the reputation.  There are seven daily quests and you get to choose one of two every day.  After I had done the campaign quests and each of the dailies once, I believe I only needed to do 3 or 4 more to get to Revered.  Right now I'm only 100 reputation away and will just wait to do one more daily (they provide 500 reputation each).

The second is The Saberstalkers.  I visited once briefly by myself and then just joined a custom group twice and already half way through honored.  There is a weekly quest, Rumble in the Jungle, where you can use three totems that you buy with the claws that you gather as you kill Saberstalkers to challenge three elite Saberstalkers.  I will wait until I can get this quest next week (after the Tuesday reset) and join one more group which will probably put me at Revered.  You also get Fel-Corrupted Apexis Fragment that can be used for the last reputation from the three elites.

The last reputation is the most annoying, Order of the Awakened.  There is primarily one daily quest that gets you this reputation and it requires gathering 10 Fel-Corrupted Apexis Fragments.  These fragments come from treasures or rare mobs in Tanaan Jungle.  The combination of only being able to do this quest once a day and having to either search for treasures (I did buy the map for 600 gold) and hoping to find the rare mobs to kill.  It feels both too constricted (only once a day) and too random (finding the treasures and rares).  That said, I have made it about 25% into honored and have decided to purchase the Hunter's Seeking Crystal for 1000 gold that will teleport me to a nearby rare so I can complete it.  I still find it annoying as I did the Timeless Isle.

I enjoyed finishing most of the quests in WoD with my hunter and priest and I'd like to get some of the other toons to 100 so I can get all the crafting high level recipes that require a level 3 garrison but I wouldn't mind making that faster for them.  I figure it is worth getting flying and buying the Excess Potions of Accellerated Learning to speed getting the other three or four characters to level 100.  The potions cost 100 garrison resources and I am wasting most of my resources now since I don't have a use for them outside of the missions I do about once a week.

I would have been fine with them leaving everyone on the ground in Draenor but jumping through these hoops has probably kept me playing longer than I would have otherwise, so I guess it's a win for Blizzard this way and I am sure I will enjoy being able to fly from place to place once I have it.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Tale in the Desert Telling 7

Definitely NOT my stuff

A Tale in the Desert is planning to start it 7th Telling on September 11th and the Beta that doesn't have a reset already started on August 28th.  I often hear people asking for more variety in their MMOs and have always heard of A Tale in the Desert (ATOTD) as an example.  There is no combat in ATOTD, it is built around crafting and working together to accomplish goals.

The game first appeared in 2003 and has had 6 approximately 18 month tellings since it's inception.  You can play the 6th Telling for free until the September 8th (when it ends) and I've probably played for 30 minutes in a couple of sessions, so I know very little about the game.  The game is subscription based with 24 free hours and then $11.95 a month (with discounts for buying more than one month at a time).

The two things I do the most in World of Warcraft is crafting and questing.  ATOTD would allow me to do both of those things without having to deal with killing things which sounds good in practice.  When I downloaded the game a week or so ago I thought I'd subscribe for a month or two and see how it works.  However, I don't think I'll be doing that now.

If you think about how games appeal to us as represented in the Bartle Test, there is no 'Killing' in this game, but there is also very limited Exploring.  I like the idea of learning the crafting game and I understand there are puzzles to be solved as part of it, which also appeals to me, but a lot of the pleasure I get out of playing has to do with wandering around different areas, particularly new ones. The graphics in ATOTD are very basic (as you can see above) and, though I didn't explore extensively, there doesn't seem to be a lot of variety (it is a Desert, after all).

I am glad this game exists and I am glad it is getting a little bit of press, but I'm not sure I'll play it again.  Sometimes it is better just to enjoy the idea than to actually participate.