Monday, 24 October 2016

NWO: Cryptic Abortion

It's too late in the evening to post one of my current running stories, so I thought I'd instead talk about how Cryptic is continuing to "Abort" it's baby Neverwinter Online. They certainly love taking things out of the game.

A: Foundry is too hard to support, lets get rid of that.
B: I know, lets remove some dungeons! Yeah less content is awesome!
C: Oh, and the Sword Coast Adventures! Yeah, no one plays that.
D: What the game will be if this continues: Broken and Dead.

To me, Cryptic has more than a few problems as of this posting which I feel like listing out right here and now.

1) Serious connection flaws on their end prevent me from playing when I want to play. If I could connect right now I would but instead, here I am listing their failures.

2) Greed. More and more things that help players progress either keep getting removed, or put behind a paywall or an incredible grind. Also comparing their real world money conversion into ZAX to say, Mabinogi's Nexon cash is a real eye opener on how much of a premium they put on their pixels.

3) They like lying. Often blaming the slow abortion due to bots, or reclassification of bugs or whatever else. It would probably better if they just went "We need more money". At least that would be honest. There are those also still waiting on the promised reduction of stronghold influence since... last year?

4) They don't listen to their player base. If you saw that 48+ page post I linked to of people raging against that change, or the numerous calls to reduce the required amount of influence (or add methods to gain influence) for Strongholds, I think we're out of luck.

5) There is a disconnect between content designers and D&D. This is one that really pisses me off. A repeatable fishing quest in a level 70 zone and more fishing in a level 70+ zone? So you are sending characters who have likely defeated Baphomet, Orcus, Tiamat, a number of Balors and armies of who knows what else off to catch (regular) fish? If this was a table top session how would you swing that and keep people interested?

6) There is obviously a disconnect / lack of communication within their own company too. The latest module features Frost Giants who seem to enjoy throwing boulders that they pick up from the ground. That's cool and looks neat. But then you fight around 33% of said Frost giants ON WOODEN SHIPS. Of course they retain the boulder throwing attack which is idiotic.

7) They abandoned the one thing that made them stand apart: the Foundry. As a foundry author myself, that really upsets me.

8) Cryptic encourages Elitism. Those new dungeons / zones require some pretty high levels of gear to participate in. I'd personally always favor inclusion over exclusion but I have to let it slide because people asked for it and apparently the few metrics I can see also make it valid in the "majority rules" sense.

Anyway, enough venting for tonight. More regular content will continue tomorrow.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Skyrim: Archeron

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Certainly has a sense of humor.

After pushing enough Thalmor into lava we catch up to Archeron just before he can take his doohickey. The banana puts up a decent fight, forcing me to use all the tools from Lull-Mor to undo his color coded god modes. After hurting him enough he decides to change into his final form(?) which is a giant floating skull and skeletal hands! While the hands are moderately annoying at trying to push me off the many cliffs in this arena, the skulls fireball is the main damage threat. Takes me a short time to identify its weak spot (I've had practice looking for these now) and capitalize on it.


Sofia and I awake in some huge chamber. Llavados and Memory (the girl he wanted us to save, and quite possibly the MacGuffin herself) are here. Apparently she will be a big part in people surviving some sort of catastrophe in the future. He thanks us, says that I've met him before but I don't remember, and sends us on our way. But not before Memory totally kills my winning mood with this line.

What? Why!? How? So many questions...

PS - Damn this was a really good mod! Highly recommended!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Dark Souls: Vision of Beyond

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

My next stop was to revisit the Demon Ruins and thanks to the Lord Vessel I could just warp straight to the timid drider girl to save on travel time. After a much easier combat against the demon I fought the last time as well as defeating Kirk the invader, I found an easy and very visible shortcut to a bonfire guarded only by one immobile Rock Worm. At this point I noticed Gravelord signs nearby and figured I'd try interact with one. Oops, PvP time.

The game doesn't really give a lot of info for things like this.

It brought me to the world of another player (a gravelord) whose duty it is to "infect" other players with bad things (which I never actually saw). Another person was already here fighting the gravelord though, and slew him before I could even get close. Still, this banished whatever bad stuff was happening in my world so I was free to continue deeper into the fire themed place.

I soon came upon the Firesage Demon which took a few goes to survive his immolation, but beyond him was a shortcut elevator back to the drider girl's fire which was awesome. Just want to say I really like the level design in this game. Not only are there lots of looping shortcuts to unlock, you can also "see" zones long before you reach them which really adds to the whole world immersion.

A lower corridor then led to a lake of lava (the one I was walking above earlier) to fight a gigantic lava centipede (who I could also see earlier). Fortunately my buddy Solaire is present to tank the beast for me which leads to an easy victory! The ring of lava walking it drops is surely going to come in handy.

It almost killed Solaire too.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Skyrim: The Bottom of the World

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Stumbling around the dark we are surprised to encounter Llavados, the Dunmer cyborg who first brought us to Lull-Mor, and he is surprisingly sane. Apparently if I can survive the bottom of the world I will find what I need to defeat Archeron. Inspired, we look around and find puzzles that mostly rely on sending lights back to open doors. This is really cool, and sets the stage for a boss fight against a giant robot who can only be defeated by laser light beams.

Finding the light in the darkest places.

He drops the Lullian Shield, which has the impressive ability of being able to throw people around through bashing. After practicing on a wandering golem, I get to use it for real as Masscroft comes down from an elevator (to the bottom of the world... sure why not) to make sure we are dead. Fortunately there's a handy hole in the center of the room (to the bottom-est of the world?) and regardless of his god mode or invisibility potions, it's pretty easy pushing him into it repeatedly. Eventually he fails to crawl back out.

Taking the lift back to Lull-Mor, Medeliu Hammar tells us that Archeron has sent through his whole squad of immortal experiments into the dig which doesn't bode well for Numinar or his folk. Sofia and I give chase and thankfully the caves give way to lava filled chambers, the type that's just perfect to push god-mode enemies into!

Tossing god mode baddies into lava. I'm getting good at this!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Dark Souls: Crystal Clear

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Oh sh...

After eating some bacon I was one elevator ride up to the grand library guarded by dancing wizards and crystal infected hollows who packed a decent punch, but were quite slow. Climbing up to the top I suddenly came into a room occupied by Seath the Scaleless dragon, and not expecting a boss fight so soon promptly got my ass handed to me. Interestingly I revived in a prison cell, one I could not warp out of so I had to bust my way out past the lizard guards and jellyfish people before returning to the other half of the library proper.

On the other side of it was a field with crystal golems, one of whom contained a person who was freed it shattering against my sword. Ser Chubby popped out! Well, no it's the daughter of Ser Chubby looking for her dad. I tell her to check Blighttown before proceeding on into a large crystalline cave with even more crystal golems, giant moth magi and invisible paths over drops to certain death (because those are always fun).

Running to the end of the cave (literal dead end) on a "suicide scouting run" I am again jumped by Seath, surprising me this time with a lack of a boss fog. At this point I'm also being chased by weird crab things so I just figure I'll try my best since I'm cornered now anyway. Fortunately between my blade and the dragon breath the crabs all die, along with half the decor in the chamber.

Due to Seath's strangely ineffective dragon breath which summons lots of easily avoidable crystal spikes and big gaps to drink from my Estus Flask I'm soon going toe to toe with the overgrown reptile and surprise myself when I finally kill it! One lord soul down. It was even nice enough to spawn a bonfire so I could teleport out of there!

Not this time, dragon!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Skyrim: Into Darkness

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

So that's what an undead cyborg looks like.

These undead cyborgs turned out to be random undead critters that lived in a really dark forest. Skeletal charrus and skeletal mammoths which were tough but killable. The were somehow led by a skeletal giant which Sofia easily slew, but his death caused a great explosion which knocked me out. When I awake, I am back in Lull-Mor with two strangers who supposedly helped drag me out of the rubble.

It's starting to get crowded down here.

I don't get to talk long though because Lull-Mor soon comes under a Thalmor attack! Fortunately these are the regular types of bananas who are easily put down, but after the combat the same people who saved me frame me as the Thalmor's inside man! Numinar has Sofia and I locked up before departing to claim the MacGuffin. Alone with the two strangers, they shed their magical disguises revealing themselves to be Justicar Archeron and Masscroft!

Archeron gloats a little bit on how he played everyone and decides to drop our hanging cages down a "bottomless" pit. Nothing I haven't done before. This time though, Sofia and I end up at the bottom of the world.

Looks like this world is built upon gears!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Dark Souls: Lord Vessel

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

After that super easy fight against Smough and Ornstein (yeah right), I find myself rewarded by meeting Princess Gwynevere, daughter or King Gwyn who is huge in all the right places! She gives me the Lord Vessel and asks I serve her as a princess guard, I don't hesitate to say yes. Because I'm an idiot like that. She then tells me to return to the sock puppet, Kingseeker Frampt, and to take her father's place. "Yes, your highness!".

These player messages are great.

The Lord Vessel is pretty handy too, it lets me warp to almost any bonfire I've lit so in a flash I'm back at Firelink Shrine getting eaten by the sock puppet. Wait what? It's ok - he was just transporting me to the altar below which use unlocks four orange fog gates via cut scene, behind which are located the four lord souls I'd be needing. That's what Frampt tells me anyway, before bringing me back top side.

I notice that Ser Dick is gone, but a new merchant is now semi-hiding on the aqueduct bridge. From this fellow I purchase Ornstein's armor, which not only looks cool - it makes for very functional "scout" gear. Havel's set would still be my go to from bosses though, and since I only knew where one of those orange fog doors were, I headed there first: back to Anor Londo and up to the library known as the Duke's Archives.

A pair of armored boars guarded the passage leading to it, and there was no fire to let them run into this time. However, just like in a bed time story my dad used to tell me I ran between two trees (actually an iron fence and a pillar) where the boars got stuck and easily poked them to death with a spear.

The Uglaboogs method works again!