Hardware Update Required….

Posted in lotro with tags , , on October 23, 2013 by Corleth

I was interested to read the minimum and recommended spec for Battlefield 4, recently. I’m not a Battlefield player, but it’s good to get a feel for what’s currently “recommended” for the latest gaming-industry releases, together with what is likely to be the “minimum” spec.

My current graphics card is a Radeon 5830, a piece of hardware that was originally released in February 2010, meaning the technology therein is approaching its fourth birthday. Old, in other words.  Having said that, it would still meet the minimum requirements for Battlefield 4, but would be well off the pace of the “recommended” graphics card models.

[A quick aside, here – DICE is recommending the HD7870 card together with 3Gb of memory, for Battlefield 4…however, my understanding is that the HD7870 only has 2Gb of memory, so what gives?!].

On the back of DICE’s recommendations, I’m now looking at putting a new graphics card on the top of my Christmas list for this year. After some research, my current thoughts are running towards one of the new R9200 series cards – probably a 2Gb R9270X (circa €200), but I’d love to stretch to a 3Gb R9280X (circa €320)…Regardless, an upgrade to either of these cards would certainly be a big improvement on my current card and also would complement my recent birthday pressie, a 27 inch HD (full 1080) Phillips monitor, quite nicely.

With regard to the rest of my system, I’m running with Dell (*cough*) model that sports an AMD Athlon II x3 [3 core] 435 2.90Ghz processor, 4Gb RAM, and running Windows 7 64 bit. I’ve no idea what my motherboard is, but it’s definitely not going to win any prizes. Suffice to say that this build would satisfy the minimum requirements for Battlefield 4, but probably isn’t going to do much more. In the New Year I’m therefore making plans to self-build a new PC, at the centre of which will probably be an ASUS/AMD motherboard/processor/memory bundle, incorporating 8Gb RAM, and a 3.5Ghz+ 6 core processor (along with the previously discussed ‘new’ graphics card, of course!).

Watch this space!

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Blogroll Update

Posted in lotro with tags on October 23, 2013 by Corleth

Just a quick post to say that I’ve just updated my blogroll.

Any blog/site not updated in the last six months or so has now been removed.

If you think there’s an interesting site or blog out there that I might be interested in adding – let me know. 🙂

A New Regime

Posted in Diary, Guild Wars 2, lotro with tags , , , , on October 18, 2013 by Corleth

Game rotation is a bit of a mystery to me. Throughout my gaming life, I’ve been pretty much monogamous, when it comes to games. Pick one up, play through it and don’t move on until I’m done. Once I’m done, don’t look back. So, in the interests of freshness, I’ve decided to a little MMO rotation. Nothing too structured, but I’m setting out to play at least one session on each of three MMOs, each week, for the next month or two – and see where that brings me.

The order of play will, for starters, meander between LoTRO, GW2 and TSW. It’ll be tough not to get drawn into one of these more than the other two, I think, but I’ll try to persist.

First up, was LoTRO. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have an itch to scratch with regard to starting afresh in this…so I’ve started scratching. I first picked a well-populated server – Landroval – which is already proving a much more lively base than my ‘home’ server of Gilrain (which currently has one of the lowest populations of any server). My character pick was a minstrel, because I always enjoyed the technicality of this class. For race, I went for an elf,  and therefore found myself in the Ered Luin starter zone, for the first time in a few years! As of now, I’m through to level 22 and having a ball. As a premium player (ex VIP) who has purchased both the ‘Mithril Edition’ and the ‘Steam Edition’, over the last few years, I have a good number of freebies on any new toon, so staring is relatively easy for me. Still, having zero gold in the bank was interesting. That said, is it me or is it easier to accumulate gold now than it used to be? And heck, how the prices on the AH have risen! More updates to follow.

The bright lights of GW2

The bright lights of GW2

I’ve also picked up Gw2 for the first time in a couple of months. After cleaning up my mail inbox, I took my necromancer off to Orr to finish up her personal story, at least as far as the final ‘Kill Zaitan’ part (anyone for Arah?!). I then broke out my level 50 mesmer and toyed with the latest dailies. Since then I’ve been engaged in the Frostgeorge Sound champion ‘chochoo’. Needless to say, I’m ignoring the Living Story – at least for the time being.

I’ll play TSW a visit over this weekend – watch this space for an update from the Savage Coast.

All Dilled-Up in GW2

Posted in Guild Wars 2 with tags , , , on October 9, 2013 by Corleth

About four months ago, when I was flat-out saving money in GW2 for exotics, I spent a good amount of time ‘flipping’ on the trading post (‘TP’). Back then I wrote the post below, but never published it. However, I’m now back playing again, and was interested to see if the contents of the post still held true – I’m amazed to say that the answer is a definite ‘YES!’. So here it is…

In my last post I mentioned that I’m now engaging in some ‘flipping’ on the TP in order to supplement my in-game income. As part of this, a couple of weeks ago I noticed that there was a larger than usual profit to be made in flipping Dill Sprigs – at the time, we were talking about a flip profit of about 1 silver per sprig. So I dipped my toe into the dill market.

My first batch of dill was bought and sold with no problems, and a tidy profit of over 1 gold went into the bank. However a crash on the market then saw dill sprig then drop from around 5 silver to only 3 silver in the middle of my next  trade – so I ended up with over 100 dill sprigs, each of which I could only sell for a loss of about 2 silver each! Help!

A wee bit of research followed – and sure enough one of the uses of dill sprigs, is for the Bowl of Creamed Dill Sauce. At the time these were selling for around 7 silver a pop, so it made perfect sense to convert all my dill sprigs into dill sauce, and them sell these on the TP…So that’s exactly what I did, and I netted a sum of about 2 gold (by the time all other ingredient costs were taken into account).

I then forgot about dill for a while until I checked the prices at the end of last week, and the same dill sprigs have now rocketed to over 20 silver each! As for dill creamed sauce, this is now over 30 silver a bowl. Outrageous prices, but why? The only item that can be made out of the dill cream sauce is Krytan meatballs – a useless item that sells for coppers on the TP. So why the mad prices for Dill/Dill Sauce?

Well, I’ve now done some further digging and the reason seems to be down to a large number of folk, power-leveling via the cooking skill. Googling ‘GW2 Cooking Guide’ will return a bunch of links, but top of the list is this power leveling guide. One of the key components of this guide is…25 Bowls of Dilled Cream Sauce. A connection!? Well, this post here on the GW2 forums makes the same connection and extrapolates. As DCS is mostly purchased in batches of 25 from the TP, the link between the power-leveling guide and the demand for ‘the sauce’ seems clear.

The one question that remains, for me, is “Why are people so daft as to pay sky-high prices for dill products when there are plenty of other cooking recipes that would get the job done for far less TP expenditure?”. Hmmmmm!

So that was then. As of now, there’s still plenty of gold to be made from selling Dilled Creamed Sauce on the TP. The most expensive ingredients for making the sauce are the Dill Sprig (currently at 12s each) and the Rosemary Sprig (currently just under 4s) each. Harvesting these on the landscape, and then making the DCS, will net you nearly 20s per DCS on the TP. Alternatively, you can buy all of the ingredients, make the sauce yourself, and still make nearly 4s per sale. See this spreadsheet, acurate (I hope) as on 9th Oct 2013: Dilled Cream Sauce calc

Better than a poke in the eye with a cooking spoon?

Never say ‘Nevah!’ again?!

Posted in Diary, Legendary Items, lotro, Radiance with tags , , , on October 4, 2013 by Corleth

Just recently, I’ve been contemplating something that even three or four months ago, I never would have countenanced. Loading up LoTRO. The human mind is a strange thing, and absence nearly always makes the heart grow fonder, no? To some of my kin-mates, I may even had uttered the dreaded phrase  ‘Never again!’ in relation to LoTRO. But hey…never say ‘Nevah!’, right?

That’s not to say I’ve taken the plunge yet. My LoTRO client maybe fully patched up, but that’s ‘cos by kids still play occasionally. Me, I haven’t set foot in Turbine’s Middle Earth for, well, six months or more. So, if I do go back, what’s my motivation? Why would I do it?

Pre-dawn in the Lonelands

Pre-dawn in the Lonelands

In truth, I still love the start-to-mid part of the game. Leveling from 1 through to 60 is a fun experience in LoTRO. For me, once you hit the far side of Lothlorien, it all starts to go pear shaped, but before that, there’s a huge amount to admire and enjoy. But let’s do a quick recap of where LoTRO is and how we got there…

Originally, the level cap was 50. Many players that hit that mark then spent countless hours grinding out end-game gear in ‘The Rift’ and other salubrious locations in Angmar. I never ran the Rift in anger because, by the time I got there, the level cap was already at 60; but It was a fun time, apparently, and I believe it.

Then came Moria and the level cap got bumped to 60. All that level 50 gear got binned (at least metaphorically speaking) but this was acceptable as everything was new; legendary items had arrived! ‘Radiance’ became the goal for all would be raiders so that they could take on ‘The Watcher’ – and in the process hope to complete their Moria armour set. Shinnies all round!

Next came ‘Lothlorien’ and the raid of Dar Narbugud, which required yet more radiance. So another set of armour went  in the bin and another was ground out, by those that cared. DN was a tough nut though, and those that survived in there could honestly say that they knew their class(es) well. Elitist? Maybe. Tough, challenging and rewarding? For sure.

Lake Evendim

Lake Evendim

Mirkwood was released, raising the level cap again, this time to 65. New dungeons and yet more requirement for radiance in the Barad Guldur raid. The gear grind started all over again, and folk began to get a little tired of dumping their hard earned sets. Oh yes, and don’t forget to ditch all of those level 60 legendary weapons, folks, ‘cos you need level 65 ones now!

Then what? Ah yes, scrap radiance. A good thing in isolation, no doubt. However, for those who had been grinding it out through the previous expansions, it was a little hard to take. Suck it up and move on, you oldsters.

So on we go. The level cap was moved to 75 with the advent of Enedwaith. Again, ditch all that level 65 gear – and start yet again with your legendary items while you’re at it.

Rinse and repeat for Rohan at level 85, but this time throw in an additional legendary item in the war horse bridle. Oh joy of joys!

So, here we are, 35 levels on from when we first picked up a legendary item at the entrance to Moria. Still were stuck with the dreadful legendary item system that means that nothing legendary is really legendary at all, because the damn things drop like confetti at a wedding, and have to be replaced more regularly than a baby’s nappy (diaper for any US reader)! Am I bitter?!

Looking forward, the recent whisperings on the development progress of Helms Deep, do not fill me with any enthusiasm for the level 95 end-game, either. The introduction of ‘skill-trees’ sounds like it might well result in the further dumbing down of the once unique LoTRO classes. I say ‘further’ because the said dumbing down process has been ongoing for some time now. The likes of my once-loved guardian class, was once a tank and only a tank, can now be turned into pretty okay DPSers. Captains, originally buffing machines, can now both tank and DPS. The list goes on.  Turbine have, under the eye of WB, ceased the production of complex-but-interesting mechanics that we saw in the original versions of Dar Narbugud, Skumfil, Dark Delvings and Samath Gul (to name but a few), and, with the advent of Helms Deep, look to be introducing what sounds like a zerg-centric battle system. Maybe they’ve been looking at how GW2 does end-game?

Misty Mountains

Misty Mountains

I very much doubt I’ll pre-order Helm Deep. I’ll bide my time and read the reviews. Maybe I’ll buy post-release, maybe not. But, in the meantime, I have an itch to see the likes of the Lonelands, Evendim, Eregion and Forochel again. And if I do decide to pay them a visit, I may just play on a new server too – it might be even more fun to start from the very beginning, with no 200 gold in the bank, and no ready-made crafters in support.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

TSW – No Sparks

Posted in Diary, The Secret World with tags , , , on October 2, 2013 by Corleth

You meet somebody very attractive, you go on a date…or two, get to know them a little…and then realise, they’re nice. But that’s it. There’s no spark. That’s me and TSW.

With GW2 ‘parked’, I found my gaming time was missing a ‘major player’, come mid-July, so I took the plunge and purchased ‘The Secret World’. I’d read many good things about TSW, and several of my kin also play, so I was hopeful that I might find a title that would catch my imagination. And it did…sort of…

I started off by rolling a Templar, but I admit to finding the character creation process somewhat underwhelming; the visual options just aren’t in the same league as the likes of GW2 and, whichever way you cut it, your starting toon is not going to stand out in any crowd. The cosmetic system works just fine, but the starting outfit options are not my cuppa; the body/skin/hair options not much better. All in all, uninspiring, I felt.

TSW - Armed and dangerous?

TSW – Armed and dangerous?

Anyhow, off to Solomon Island I hopped, soon ending up in the starter zone that is Kingsmouth Town. My initial impression here was all very ‘Walking Dead’, with a  touch of ‘Men in Black’ thrown in. The questing is smooth and progression (without ‘levels’, per se) equally so. I love the  ability wheel/points system for skill progression and its unique way of implanting the tank/healer/DPS trinity. A toon can be as specialised as they choose to be once, of course, the necessary skill points have first been earned. Ability points  are more restrictive, but overall I like the whole system. Every player has more than enough rope to hang themselves with and, equally, more than enough to be relatively unique in their own approach to any role they wish to fill.

The crafting is just bizarre, although not in a complicated way, but rather in just a plain ‘odd’, way. The story? Well, very Cuthulu, but, for me, just not in any way immersive. After playing GW2, I also find that having a toon that doesn’t talk (i.e. no voice acting for player characters in TSW) is also odd. That said, toons in LoTRO don’t have their own ‘voice’ either, but in games that are ‘new’ to me, I think I now expect and prefer to hear a voice. But maybe that’s just my imagination being lazy.

After playing for about a month or so on a fairly ad hoc basis, I have to say TSW is an MMO with oodles of character. I’ve played completely through Kingsmouth Town and now find myself resting about half way through the Savage Coast (part 2 of Solomon Island). I’ve even run a couple dungeons. However, when all’s said and done, the game just hasn’t grabbed me. I think I’ll continue to play on an occasional basis, but TSW is not going to be a ‘major player’ for me. That said, it’s still installed and maybe, just  maybe, there’s a streak of enthusiasm for it that’s awaiting my discovery.

GW2 – Break In Play

Posted in Diary, Guild Wars 2 with tags , , on October 1, 2013 by Corleth

Ok. You may have guessed, but GW2 has taken a bit of a back seat in my life. Maybe it’s just a phase. Probably, in fact. That said, I thought some sort of GW2 wrap-up was appropriate, seeing how the last time I posted, I was still leveling a necromancer, and enjoying Tyria’s delights on a daily basis. And now, I’m not!

So, I brought my necro to level 80 a few months back. I ran her around Orr and completed all but the final part of her ‘personal story’ (i.e. Arah), kitted her out with a full set of exotic gear, plus a couple of bits of ascended accouterments, and finally gave her a ‘total makeover’ so that she looked the part (in my eyes, anyway). Job done.

My level 80 Necro

My level 80 Necro

As an aside, I liked the ‘Total Makeover Kit’ so much that I re-did the look of my elementalist too – the change drew quite a few comments:

My 'new look' elementalist

My ‘new look’ elementalist

But then what? Well, then nothing really. I was left with a combination of one or more of these choices:

1. Leveling a third toon – which realistically meant picking up my mesmer again at level 40-odd, or starting from scratch with AN Other.

2. Partaking of the now bi-weekly Living Story updates.

3. Committing myself to WvW and/or PvP progression.

4. Legendary weapon grind.

I didn’t fancy any of these options and still don’t, so I just haven’t played GW2 since my necro was polished. I guess horizontal progression just isn’t what I’m looking for. I mean, how many skins for weapons, armor and back-pieces do you really need? Not to mention cuddly toys (aka mini pets)? Unless you change your ‘look’ regularly, ‘not many’ is my answer. As for the latest ‘Tequatl Rising’ living story event, I shudder at the requirement for mass organisation of the player base (I’ve never been a fan of the GW2 zerg), so my break from Tyria continues.

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