June 30, 2009

Mirror, Mirror...

Still a lot of stuff to explore and try out in the desert. Overall i very much enjoy LotD so far. The main gripe right now is the not working guild/alliance chat, which is becoming very annoying. This is just a quick post, as a reminder for players that its faster to use the mirror of infinity to travel into the desert then to walk the path all the way through the mountains. When you die and want to regroup you head for the healer anyway in the warcamp. Right behind him (at least for destro, but I'm sure order has something similar) is the questgiver for the mirror transport. Use it! :)

June 29, 2009

How the ancient zandri pyramid architects botched (Exploration)

Since i like to know my surroundings properly, I went for a proper exploration tour into the Land of the Dead. Before i tell you how the ancient zandri architects messed up the large pyramid at the Temple of Ualatp, lets talk about the other things to find in LotD. There are four glyphs spread out over the zone that will yield an achievment tome unlock each. Tells you an interesting story how the scepter was broken in four pieces and of the casket of souls - don't want to spoil it for you. Should you have trouble finding them, the maps that were spread out over the fanpages for the last event have all marked one glyph on them (nice touch!). There are also a few hidden quests that yield a scarab and in addition some trash item with flavour text, not sure if you can do something with those or not.

In some remote locations there are also small camps with either bandits or skeleton workers that are usually commanded by one of the different disciples. I have no idea what these are for, maybe later during the key of zandri (?) questline you have to find them? Beside those disciples there is nothing really interesting to find in those camps, at least i could not see anything else to interact with.

One really weird thing i ran into the first day exploring the zone is a zombie named "Test". He runs around the whole zone, across the river and through mountains. Hes running quite fast as well. First time he crossed my field of vision i was like "WTF?!?" You can't target or interact with him tho. I wonder what kind of purpose this kind of test mob could have for zone development? Maybe hes running around everywhere randomly and tested for places you can get stuck in? Who knows... *shrugs*

The next weird thing i encountered are groups of spirits/ghosts walking the desert. You can encounter them "from" your own faction or the enemy one. Both groups will disappear once you get too close to them. What is the purpose of those illusions? I don't know, but when you get near the library in the southern part of LotD you can get a glimpse at a mysterious "Mirage Controller" on one of the column structures. It's hard to see or to spot and i could not find any way to get up there or to interact with it.

Now you finally wonder what proof i have the ancient zandri pyramid architects botched? Well, i found a way to bypass all those invisible walls (that really destroy the immersion btw, bad design IMO) you encounter in the zone. Usually there is the "teleport out security" in place, but it has holes and you can bypass it. You can access two areas (at least i found so far) called "zone 306" and "zone 304" this way. The areas are vast desert/mountain parts without anything interesting i could find. BUT, you can access the large pyramid at the Temple of Ualatp from the backside. I tried to climb the huge pyramid, but you can't. :( The thing you can see on the screenshot is, the pyramid got no wall on the back. Ergo there is no collision and you can pass through the inside of it.

The bad thing about this is, you'll end up *below* the floor next to the pyramid - where the architect/glyph PQ is. This could be exploited, since its an RvR zone, you can see everything that goes on above and there are parts you can get up to appear on the floor level again. I'm sure (did not try) you could also attack players there while being below the floor or surfacing at parts where the other players can't access you. This needs to be fixed by Mythic. Luckily it won't be many players that will find the way anway, but you never know. It's not possible to access rooms from there you can't access from the normal floor level. I did not jump of the edge of the world down there, no idea what will happen. Here are a few more pictures from below the pyramid. If you find anything else interesting while exploring, feel free to share with us in the comments. There is also a place up in the mountains where Dwarf miners do their business and you can trigger areas that will port you directly into the library of Zandri. Happy Hunting!

June 28, 2009

The dead walk the desert

So I'm back in the game. The first day, after being offline for several weeks, felt like being a Black Orc without arms or legs... if you know what i mean. I did set up my UI properly again for Thulf (did not have the heart to do it for my Choppa yet). Did i have fun? Yes, i did. But first things first... Since GOA merged a bunch of more servers towards Karak-Azgal, our server is more alive then ever. Tho many known faces/guilds are gone since people stopped playing. The game performance did not get better, stayed the same then before for me. Some transparent textures still have problems displaying properly and a few things like the obelisk at one PQ did lack textures at first. The screenshot feature for super screenshots is still broken, so i keep using FRAPS.

The Land of the Dead reminded me immediately of Stygia, which i liked in AoC - so its not a bad thing. Atmosphere is good in the new zone, a mix between Stygia and the Mummy movies if you ask me. Although there are a few places you run into invisible walls, which destroy the immersion of a vast desert. There are PQs all over the place. PQ rewards are bags with crafting materials, scarabs (new LotD token currency) and sometimes a r31 epic weapon. So for r40 players the PQs are just a giant timesink, since you have to do them to collect glyphs, which you need to enter the four Tombs (sun, stars, moon and sky). The scarabs you also collect via the PQs are ok to buy a lot of new stuff, but eg. the best talismans cost a shitload of scarabs and are on a short timer. I don't see anyone getting those. Most new talismans are special in a way that you need special weapons/shields from LotD to use them. The tomb bosses drop epic/mythic talismans as well... there are a bunch of new sexy procs/attributes for those (some are even permanent). A few talismans for weapons are bugged, you can't see what they do. The tomb bosses can drop new epic r40 weapons and some are badass. The tomb fights - i visited sun, stars and moon so far - are nicely done and fun. Mythic needs to fix the bugged/exploitable sun boss tho. All fights have a nice twist to them and are something quick to do, IF people have the glyphs already. Else you run around for a while and have to collect the missing glyphs for party members. I'm not so sure yet the glyph mechanism is a good timesink, can imagine it will become rather annoying once its less people doing the PQs (right now its fast to get them). The only glyph very annoying is Ricci's Raiders. Basicly its a caravan of bandits running around you have to find and from the looks of it they don't respawn immediately. Therefore many people lack the scorpion glyph. Some of the PQs are nicely scripted as well, not all tho. To enter the Tomb of the Vulture Lord you *have to* finish the Temple of Ualatp PQ and enter the door while the reset timer runs.

IMO it's too early to say how LotD impacts RvR on my server. So far there is always RvR going on, either inside LotD once access is being flipped or in the normal world to regain access to the zone. If too few players are fighting for zone control there might be a push towards a capitol. So far it looks ok to me and inside LotD its more small-scale RvR, which is great. I haven't been to the Vulture Lord tomb yet, but I'm not sure for how long Land of the Dead will entertain people. There are some nice new items, but Mythic also reused a bunch of crap items (like useless blue repairables) that didn't even get unique models to look cool. I fail to understand why they can't use some unique models at least so you can run around with some of the lower level items in the capitol or something, just for fun.

Overall there are still a bunch of bugs in LotD, some you wonder why they have not been fixed yet as they are major annoying... like guild/alliance chat is bugged in the LotD zone. You can only read it from people you're grouped with, no one else. It does work while you're inside a tomb tho. stupid.

A few more things i noticed:

- The dismount at the stairs at the Apex in IC is *finally* fixed.
- New & powerful pocket items with "use" (absorb damage, immune to crit hits for 10secs, etc.) from LotD. Good stuff, cooldown 1 hour.

- There is some kind of bug with the enhanced bags, sometimes half of them becomes unresponsive. You have to switch eg. between crafting/normal to get rid of the bug.
- They implemented the new whacky tradeskill titles, but those (like me) that "triggered" it before still have ??? and can't use the title.
- Friendlist is broken for me. Doesn't show if people are online or not.

This post has been long already, so I'll write about some LotD crafting stuff and tome unlocks next time.

June 26, 2009

Loading WAR...

The LotD hit WAR and i figured its time to go back into the game and get a look for myself what going on, if i should keep my subscription active and get back playing or not. First thing was an "orgy" of patches and updating addons, which nearly gave me a headache. I'm still in the process to set up my UI again, since a few mods i used for hotkeys etc. are not working anymore i have to redo it completely, meh. When i logged into the game the first things i checked out was the enhanced bag space (nice!) and the new ward system. Hmm.. at least its very viable for me to get the Darkpromise Wards without getting the drop. At least something... Although i saw so many people running around in Invader gear and even bits of Warlord, it would take ages for me to get the required renown level. If i understood right you need to equip the gear to get the ward, right? Just having a warlord item in my inventory won't be enough, or? I checked the AH if there were any new items to buy, but nothing of interest for me. Of course due to me not login into the game for such a long time all my mailbox stuff (loads!) decayed and is gone. Ah well, i still have enough gold left to get back on my feets and due to some recent bugs that made it possible to make thousands of gold coins easily i hear the inflation is hitting WAR badly anyway atm. Probably as there is not much else to buy with gold still. Strangely one of my characters got "duplicated", i have no idea why and its just a low level with not much stuff on him (8g, yay!).

I traveled to the Land of the Dead and checked out the "starter area" but due to my UI being messed up so badly i could not go on further. I'll have to fix that first and hopefully will have some time during the weekend to have a proper look.

What happened in the meantime? Mark Jacobs left Mythic. A lot - and i mean a LOT - of WAR blogs closed their sites due to people not playing anymore. GOA did send some bloggers letters, finally, like the US did, maybe the less and less blogs are the reason it was only three blogs? Well, we will see how this translates over the near future, but i was quite shocked to see so many blogs close. People lost interest, time or are waiting for Aion (I only had a brief look and could not decide yet if that would appeal to me). What is the status about the EU merchandise programs or even the announced WAR veteran program? Anyone knows? Is there anything important to know for crafting or a Black Orc that happened during the last two month? If so, feel free to share with me and point me into the right direction to get me up to speed again.. ;)

Edit: Talking about Aion, i just saw that Eurogamer is handing out keys for the next beta-weekend. Check here. In the comments is a link that will let you download the client before.

June 3, 2009

Yes, it's true...

...I'm still alive, despite the rumours Order got me. =)
So what's happening? I wanted to update my blog a long time ago, but did not just want to post some lame ass post without any content, when i started to look what happened while i was gone i saw that a large bunch of other blogs vanished and people stopped playing WAR. huh. :S So i figured i had to havea closer look and then just got caught up with transitioning relationships and looking for another job. Simply a lot of everyday stuff that kept me from getting back into WAR. I still did answer email requests tho. BUT my account is still being payed for (tho i guess my mailbox vanished meanwhile) and i intend to stick around for the land of the dead. I'll be at a large Rock festival for the weekend and hopefully next week i can take some time to log back in and start posting again. Maybe not as frequently as i did before, but we'll see...