Archive for elementalist

Wake Up, Cor!

Posted in Diary, Guild Wars 2 with tags , , , on May 13, 2013 by Corleth

“Hey Cor! Wake up!”

“Huh, whadya mean, ‘Wake up!’?”

“Well, you must be asleep, right? You haven’t posted for…like…weeks!”

“Ah. Well. Yes. That’d be down to stuff. Other stuff. Real life stuff. You know?!”

“Ah Cor, who cares about real life?! I mean we’re talking Guild Wars 2, here – much more important than real-life! So….what have you been up to??”

“Ah well, I see your point. Okay, here’s my tale…”

I’ve spent a lot of time with my necromancer of late. Leveling has been far quicker with her than it was on my first toon, my elementalist – probably because I now know how to play (a bit!), where to go, and what to do. Just as importantly, I possibly now also know what NOT to do!

Currently level 62, my necro is likely to hit 80 before the end of May, without any sort of rush. Just tipping-away, exploring, doing dailies, and running personal story quests, will do it. The necromancer’s survivability is far greater than that of the elementalist so deaths and subsequent repair costs are much less. Add to that, the very different and interesting range of skills, and I’m still loving the class.

Necromancer in action!

Necromancer in action!

Not that I’m neglecting my elementalist either. During fractal and dungeon runs in late March and early April, I came to the inevitable conclusion that my ele’s build was just poor. A ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ build. Fine, I had a mixture of exotic gear which had a general bias towards toughness, power and precision…BUT, the same gear also had a good smattering of other stuff in there too:

  • a bit of extra healing
  • a dash of additional magic find
  • a chunk of improved condition damage
  • some improved critical chance/damage

The result? I found I was dying too fast and often getting one-shotted, especially in dungeons. In other words – too squishy. So, I embarked on  a mission to focus my build solely on:

  • Power
  • Precision
  • Toughness
  • Vitality

Anything else had to go. This has meant an expenditure, to date, of nearly 15 gold, on replacement runes, etc.

However, such an expenditure whilst not ‘large’ in most people’s terms, was until recently, out of my reach. I’d only managed to net a little over 10 gold in six months of game-play, up until mid-March. This in turn meant I needed to have a long, hard, look at how I accumulated in-game wealth.

Some nosing around turned up some interesting ‘flipping’ guides and my eyes were opened. Staring off slowly with some small, trial, investments, in this trading-post activity has since resulted in my funds rapidly expanding. To cut a long story short, without grinding (I don’t have the play-time for grinding, nor the patience), I more than trebled my 10 gold pot in less than a month. I’ve paid for everything my elementalist required off the TP and still have plenty of gold left to invest going forward.

So, the final result? Last night we ran through the new dungeon, the Molten Weapons Facility, and my ele didn’t die once (a first!). Add to this increased survivability, increased damage, and I think the transformation is now complete.

My Sylvari Elementalist alongside a Norn Necro!

My Sylvari Elementalist alongside a Norn Necro!

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The End Is Nigh! (at least for 2012)

Posted in Diary, Guild Wars 2, lotro, Mass Effect with tags , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2012 by Corleth

So, as 2012 moves into its final hours, I thought I’d cast my casual gamer’s eye over what I’ve played during the year.

At the start of the year, I was spending most of my gaming time in Star Wars: The Old Republic. My bounty hunter was brought to level 25 during January but the monthly subscription was not something I was willing to pay on an ongoing basis, so by end of the month, I was looking for pastures new.

SWTOR - Bounty Hunter

SWTOR – Bounty Hunter

During February and March, I went back to LoTRO, bringing two alts though the Rise of Isenguard content, and engaging in the new Draigoch raid with my kin, together with some of the 3-man instances as well as ‘The Foundry’ 6-man. About the time that the Great River (Update 6) was released in early March, however, I began to suffer a serious bout of LoTRO burn out. Three toons brought through to level 75 turned out to be more than enough and The Great River offered only limited interest, together with a further reputation grind with little tangible reward. My attention wandered…

So it was that on the advice of a friend, I stumbled across the Mass Effect series. My first long period away from MMOs since the latter half of 2007 ensued. I played my way through Mass Effect 1, 2 and 3, twice over; once with a male Commander Shepard and once with a female. I can’t recommend the ME series highly enough, and I’ll have a huge soft spot for these games for many years to come. The ending to ME3 was the only sour spot…one that was sweetened only slightly by the free DLC that Bioware brought out during the summer. The ME series tells a super story, and it’s a story where the ending is, well, not what I’d have liked, even with the amended ending that comes with the DLC.

Mass Effect 3 - The Finale

Mass Effect 3 – The Finale

After Mass Effect came a gaming-lull which I filled with a semi-enthusiastic return to LoTRO, this time as a free-to-play player as opposed to a VIP (subscription player).

The LoTRO event of the year, the launch of Update 8, The Riders of Rohan (ROR) expansion never really titillated me, but I eventually took the plunge and pre-ordered the ‘basic edition’ two days before its release in mid-October. Surprisingly, at least to me, I have in the main enjoyed what RoR has had to offer and am still playing LoTRO a few days a week on the back of its content and updates. Mounted combat, open tapping and auto-looting have all been greatly appreciated. That said Turbine, or ‘Turbgind’ as I now call them, are still insisting on bringing out highly-grindy content, as evidenced by the unnecessarily long ‘rebuild Hytbolt’ requirements (40-odd days?? Why??!), together with the grind required to pick up the very handsome war steed cosmetic set within this year’s Yule festival. Others concur, I think!

LOTRO - Mounted Combat

LOTRO – Mounted Combat

For many, the visibility of the LoTRO store is now destroying their ‘immersion’ and in this vein Jacquotte recently wrote a post that indicated why she wouldn’t be blogging about LoTRO for the foreseeable future. For my part, game world immersion is not a priority and I have no issue with LoTRO’s multiplicity of store links – I just ignore them. As I see it, world immersion is obviously important if you’re actually looking to not just associate with your toons, but also to role-play them. I’m not interested in role-playing and whilst association with my characters has to be achieved to hold my attention, I don’t need to believe in their virtual worlds while playing. My kids build Lego models and play with them on their bedroom floor. I build MMO characters in game-worlds more graphically spectacular than any bedroom floor, so my imagination has less work to do than that of my kids’…but what my imagination does manage is generally enough to keep me absorbed, unless I’m asked to do the same tasks over and over and over and over and…you get the idea?

So, enough of LoTRO. At this point it’s worth mentioning that I did consider a return to SWTOR’s now free-to-play environment, but numerous reports of the overly restrictive nature of the SWTOR free-to-play model have simply put me off even being bothered re-installing the game. Unless things change dramatically there, I won’t be going back, not even to take a small peek.

Guild Wars 2 has made up the majority of my gaming diet for the last few months of the year. I bought this title on the back of some excellent feedback from fellow kin-mates, and have totally fallen for ArenaNet’s gem. I’ve now brought an elementalist to the level 80 cap, and remain only a run though the final dungeon of Arah away from completing her personal story. Unlike Syp, I’ve no real interest in going for 100% world completion on a single character, but I do share the same contentment with the current end-game exotic gear such that I see no reason to chase ‘ascended’ or ‘legendary’ versions. This means I’m now enjoying the delights of my new level 10 necromancer as I move to my first GW2 alt.

GW2 - Elementalist

GW2 – Elementalist

As an aside, whist I dabbled in the GW2 Wintersday events, and have my very own ‘Plush Griffon’ mini-pet, similar to LoTRO’s Yule festival offering, I think it’s too grindy. Most of the rewards are therefore off my radar.

My only surprise with regard to GW2 is how many of those that initially extolled the virtues of this game, have since disappeared – moving back to LoTRO, or on to pastures new. Admittedly I was a latecomer to the game but I feel that my engagement with this fine, fine MMO will last a good deal longer than a few more months. 2013 will tell a lot anyway.

A quick mention to some titles in which I’ve invested at least a little of my time, but not mentioned above:

  • I really enjoyed Orcs Must Die which I picked up for almost nothing on Steam. A bargain and one that my 9 year old son still appreciates too!
  • My dislike for Portal and Portal 2 is still strong. Despite several attempts to ‘get into’ these games, recommended to me, they just keep leaving me cold.
  • Left For Dead 2, for me, doesn’t have the grip of LFD1. A fun game in its own right, I just prefer the original.
  • My latest ‘a bit on the side’ game is The Walking Dead, which is something a little bit different…if my current love affair with GW2 begins to wane, I’ve no doubt I’ll enjoy digging further into its story.

So, what do I see in my gaming crystal ball for the forthcoming year?

  • Well, more GW2, that’s for sure.
  • LoTRO on a casual basis.
  • Finishing up ‘The Walking Dead’.
  • Possibly dipping my toe into ‘The Secret World’.

Beyond that…anything else will be a nice surprise! I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2013.

Shhhhhhhhh! Whisper It Quietly!

Posted in Diary, lotro with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2012 by Corleth

Such is my level of enjoyment, when playing my elementalist in Guild Wars 2, that I simply had to choose one of my squishy spell-casters in LoTRO, in order to begin my journey through Rohan in a semi-familiar vein. In the end, I chose my loremaster, and even then I nearly gave up before I really got going. In some ways, I think I was looking for a reason to not play RoR at all, just so I could stick with GW2. Anyhow, I gave it a go, and this is how it’s gone…

The continuation of LoTRO’s epic quest line, introduced with ‘Update 8’, picks up in Lothlorien, in less than exciting fashion. It’s a typical LoTRO style opening, where you have to run from A to B, back to A, on to C, back to B, etc, blah, blah, in order to complete a quest that could have been handled in less than half the time if the designer(s) had thought about from the player’s perspective. Anyhow, I stuck it out and, eventually, found my way into Rohan proper. And then, shock horror, the fun started.

Update 8 - Continues the LoTRO epic quest line in Rohan.

Update 8 – Continues the LoTRO epic quest line in Rohan.

So, at this point, it’s worth getting a single fact out there…whisper it quietly, but *I’m actually enjoying Rohan*. The music is fantastic for a start, and I simply adore the auto-looting; open tapping is a nice extra too. Most of all though, I’m loving mounted combat. Heck, I hadn’t even thought about mounted combat until the expansion was actually downloading and many folks are comparing it to “trying to control Bambi-on-ice”, but I have to say I feel quite at home, to the point that I now feel naked when engaging enemies on foot. Whoever would have thought?! I’m currently using a light war steed with my now level 81 LM, and it seems to fit my mounted combat style well. Fast. Manoeuvrable. The job.

There’s a fair amount of comment out there with regard to the cost of the cosmetics for the war steeds, but I have no real interest in their cosmetic look so I can’t say I’m breaking sweat, one way or the other. That said, if you are into your cosmetics, the prices do indeed look exceptionally steep! I genuinely feel sorry for the likes of Hymne who have had a metaphorical bear-skin rug pulled from under themby Turbine’s pricing policy.

Falls of Rauros

Falls of Rauros

Elsewhere in RoR, now I’m a genuine free-to-play ‘Premium’ player, I’ve been unpleasantly surprised by some of the items that Turbine wants me to cough up Turbine Points (TP) for. A good example would be access to new guild crafting tier – Eastemnet. I’m thinking that once all of my crafters have maxed out their Eastemnet tier, I might subscribe again for a single month, just to avoid having to pay the 300 or so TP on 7 separate toons (Weaponsmith, Armoursmith, Woodworker, Scholar, Cook, Tailor and Jeweller).

The other ‘nasty’ that seems to have caught many folks, me included, is that the sixth bag (as and when Turbine get it working, allegedly in release 8.1) can only be bought once you’ve bought the fourth and fifth bags. Most VIP players, past or present, have access to bags one though five on their toons, but, critically, they still have to buy bags four and five before bag six becomes available to them in the ‘Store’. That’s worth a BIG ‘Meh’ from my perspective.

LoTRO - still very pretty

LoTRO – still very pretty

In general though, RoR has a real epic feel to it, and in terms of game-play, I reckon that it blasts the last two expansions – Mirkwood and Isenguard – out of the water. Not since Moria was released, has LoTRO made such a big jump forward. Graphically speaking, I’m not seeing anything too radically different in the landscape, but the demands of mounted combat are certainly pushing my two-year-old graphics card to its limits (nasty laggy stuff happening from time to time), so I’m now thinking that an upgrade is going to be necessary in the not-too-distant future. Time to start writing my list to Santa…

I Dream In Tyria

Posted in Diary, Guild Wars 2 with tags , , , , , , on September 18, 2012 by Corleth

I never played the original ‘Guild Wars’ and knew practically nothing about Guild Wars 2 until just before it went on general release a few weeks ago. I had noticed that a good number of my kin (double figures) were off playing the head-start, and I was intrigued when some pretty stunning screenshots started appearing on our kin website. A bit of research on my part then followed; in the end it was the ‘look’ plus the lack of a monthly subscription that persuaded me to give GW2 a go. I therefore ordered the basic edition for GB£34.99 from Amazon, and two days later I was off.

GW2 - very photogenic

GW2 – very photogenic

That was two weeks ago. I now have a level 19 Elementalist and am thoroughly enjoying the game. First, it’s very pretty and atmospheric. There is a goodly amount of voice acting too, which I like (but not to the SWTOR level), and great music too.

Apart from the central story, there are no set quests and absolutely no quest chaining – for me, this is a huge bonus after the likes of LoTRO and SWTOR. Group events occur in each area that you discover and you are free to join in – or not. The more you help out with a given event, the better your reward in terms of coinage, experience points, etc.

The game world is easy to get around via the use of way-points (once you discover them) and everything has a fine degree of polish. Yes, there are some bugs, but no showstoppers that I’ve found, to date. Having said that, I’ve only clocked up 25-odd hours of play so I might be being premature with that statement!

As Lothi intimates in her recent post, the vistas are amazingly detailed and it is well worth the effort needed to root each and every one of them out. The ‘puzzle’ nature of some of them really adds to the game too. In fact, on a couple of occasions, I’ve spent the best part of an hour figuring an individual one out (although maybe that says more about my lack of skill!).

The Grove

The Grove

Crafting is still a bit of mystery to me. I’ve so far tried my hand at tailoring and jewelry making, but I’m finding materials quite hard to come by. I’m also finding the same issue as I found in LoTRO – in that by the time you’ve acquired enough raw materials to craft items of a particular level, those same items are no longer any use to you because you’ve out-levelled them. Maybe I’m just slow at gathering, but it feels like crafting is only useful for lower levels alts. So a ‘Meh’ there.

Much of the experience, both in terms of gaining levels and in terms of simply enjoying the game, in GW2, seems to revolve around exploration. As mentioned above, we have vistas and waypoints to discover, and each area has other points of interest too. However, this leads me to worry about replay-ability. With exploration being so key, once you’ve played through an area once, will you want to ‘explore’ through it again? I’ll leave that question open because I honestly don’t know the answer as yet. Only time will tell, for me. For the time being, I’m just loving the journey and am in no hurry to worry about where I’m going or what I’ll do when I get there…

Caledon Forest

Caledon Forest

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