Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Vindictus: Newbie Guide

So you've just started Vindictus, made a character, maybe fought a giant spider already, and are now in the town of Colhen wondering what is next? Here are some tips that hopefully help someone out there. Note: The information here is based on the US servers.


Don't Use Steam
This is dependent on your setup of course but I find that Steam lags me. Playing through Steam might be convenient, but you will get a more enjoyable experience if you play the game without it. If you installed it via Steam, have no fear. You can go to \Steam\steamapps\common\Vindictus\en-US and run Vindictus.exe from there. Moves that make you travel big distances are more likely to disconnect you than any other (like Kai's dodge grapple), so if latency is an issue for you keep this in mind.

Free Gear
You will notice pretty quick that gold is pretty hard to come by. Indeed, apart from the loose change you might pick up in missions you won't be getting paid for your work until you reach level 20. This is an intentional anti-bot method applied to the game. To balance it out, you can "shop" with Ceara at the Mercenary Outpost to get free equipment - as much as you want! Make the most of it because once you reach level 20, all of it becomes unusable to you. Not to worry though because at that stage the gold starts flowing in.

Go Questing
All quests are a good source of EXP and Gold. Some just involve talking to people to complete. Press "M" to view the list of what you have to do. I strongly recommend doing all the optional quests too. Most are collection quests for items that you can simply buy at the Marketplace. Obviously use your best judgement but most are a good trade off for gold vs time loss and EXP gain.

Use the Marketplace
All items have two values, a sell price (the price if sold to the NPC) and a market price (the average price on the market). Many items have a higher market price than the NPC sell price so make use of it! As mentioned before, also use it to buy quest items to save you some time and effort. You won't be able to do this in Season 2, where you are forced to farm all quest items yourself. Don't worry about the gold. It will come on its own. Unless you intend to craft yourself, then you might need to be more clever than I am here. 

"Jumping"
You will eventually come to areas that require "jumping". While there actually used to be a Jump function that has been removed. Instead just use your evade (Space) or sprint (double tap direction) in the direction of the gap and hopefully you will clear it. Of course this will only work if you are starting from a higher ledge than the one you are aiming for. As there is falling damage you should practice this early on. Later gaps will be fatal if you fail to clear them.

Honorbound
Check your inventory ("I" key) for an Honorbound event ticket. If you have one, use it! It will ask you to name someone who introduced you to Vindictus. The named person and yourself will recieve very useful bonuses every level you gain. If you are playing with a partner then name each other, or a friend you play with. If you have no one else to name then please name me "Josephsky" (if you are on US East)!

Carraige Driver is a Liar
The path to Rocheste is -NOT- dangerous and is only home to sheep. Feel free to run it on foot.

That's it for now! More tips, especially for archer characters, will be coming up soon! :)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Vindictus

For the past month I've been playing the free to play action MMO "Vindictus" a fair bit and obviously find it quite cool. That said it I also see that it has its fair share of problems. The town hubs really serve as the main MMO aspect of the game, where players can interact and pick up quests. All the action itself is packed away into segmented instances hosted by the party leader, so two parties adventuring in the same place will never meet by chance for example.

You will also be stuck with whatever class restrictions you chose at the start. For instance, I made a Kai (bow wielder), and while I can customize his appearance to be slightly more unique, I am restricted to bows as my primary weapon and can never use weapons or armor of the other classes. As expected, the story is quite linear too and the side quests while being optional and grindy, are really optimal places to get EXP and gold from. While most battles are repeatable, none of the quests are. Much like the action, the story starts pretty slow but ramps up very nicely as you go through the game.

The combat itself is one of the big highlights for me, specifically the numerous boss fights. Really, none of the regular mobs have caused me any problems but the bosses require some good timing, concentration and on the later ones (season 2) some light planning. These are made more awesome by the fantastic sound track in the game. I like that they opted to not play any background music while actually running a mission and only to turn on the awesomeness once you reach a boss.

You can find the music under Vindictus/en-US/sound/bgm/

I do take issue that they put mandatory raids as part of the main story which is a bit of a downer since I absolutely hate the whole notion of raids to begin with. These also serve as pseudo walls to my enjoyment as it is very dependent on other people taking part. Given that the story is the my main reason for playing it, having stupid blocks like this only serve to drive players like me away. There's also a very tangible "pay to win" factor in the game in that people with NX cash can pay to be revived (or to revive the entire party) within mission.

I think Mabinogi (to which it is related) also beats it in one aspect: the "Life" part. The question of "after you finish the story, what is there to do" leaves a bit of a blank for me in Vindictus. It's the reverse in Mabinogi, where there seems to always be too much to do! Anyway, Vindictus is my "flavor" at the moment so you can expect more posts related to it coming up!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Tales of the Blight: Aftermath

[Part of my Dragon Age: Origins play through. Spoilers ahead!]

With no one on the throne again, Queen Anora quickly claimed it as her own and held a celebration to honor our victory. I also convince her to strip all lands and titles from the Howe family and give them all to the restored Cousland line, namely to Lord Ferghus Cousland. Yup, my big brother somehow survived and sat out of everything but is a-ok now. I bid him and Oghren, who decided to become a general in the Queen's army, farewell to continue my travels elsewhere with Quickly and Leliana.

In the months that followed the Queen proved to be a good ruler for the people, even providing the Dalish with new lands to settle in but the untrusting elves remained restless there. King Harrowmont didn't fare as well, isolating the dwarves further from the surface. He tried rebuild the Anvil of the Void to catastrophic results and was under threat of an exalted march by the Templars for harbouring free mages. Eventually he was killed by poisoning.

Knight-Commander Greagoir retired and died of old age while Arl Eamon had another gifted child. This one he gave to the newly built Circle of Mages as his wife Isolde died during the birth. As for Ferghus I heard he didn't make such a good lord at all, hitting the drink pretty hard and breaking things left and right. Eventually he left for a different land to become a blacksmith of all things! Well it's been awhile since I've seen him. Maybe I should go pay him a visit?

90%(?) chance of repairs! :P

Here ends the Tales of this Blight. Maybe it will continue it one day.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Tales of the Blight: The Price of War

[Part of my Dragon Age: Origins play through. Spoilers ahead!]

With 50 Redcliffe Soldiers, 50 Dalish elf archers, 50 Dwarven Warriors and 16 Templars behind me I decide to try clear as much of the city as I can before chasing down the archdemon. The darkspawn on the firey streets are all pretty tough, numerous and later on well entrenched, but we persevere - slaying two enemy commanders before marching up to Fort Drakon, the top of which was where the archdemon was last spotted crash landing after Riordan managed to wound the creature. Alas, the Grey Warden himself did not survive the attempt.

Somehow Leliana managed to squirrel herself back to the entry gate too, just as darkspawn reinforcements were coming in but between her, the handful of Denerim soldiers and Quickly, who had transformed into a mighty beast during his long down time, they are no match and are easily driven back. Leliana then magically made it back to the rest of us in time to storm the fort itself, fighting our way past elite darkspawn until finally reaching the roof.

The archdemon was a beast to combat, but thanks to Arl Eamon, Knight-Commander Greagoir, my archers and emplaced ballista it was brought down easily enough even with darkspawn reinforcements coming to its aid. King Alistair, being the "older" Grey Warden and not actually wanting to be king anyway opted to end the beast by stabbing it in the face. An effective move against pretty much everything! With a big explosion, he and the archdemon died and the remaining darkspawn - now leaderless - fled the city. Victory was ours!

Everyone else up there somehow survived.

Friendly losses incurred were: Riordan, King Alistair, 13 of his Templar brothers, 28 elves, 28 dwarves and all the soldiers from Redcliffe.

*Sorry Rakuno: That was a very short summary to eat popcorn to. :P

Friday, 21 November 2014

Tales of the Blight: Beginning of the End

[Part of my Dragon Age: Origins play through. Spoilers ahead!]

Riordan shares with Alistair and myself why Grey Wardens are needed to stop the blight. It is specifically because to ultimately kill an archdemon, the last blow must be struck by a Grey Warden or the fiend will simply reform itself elsewhere. Ultimately, whoever does that also dies due to some absurd magical reason. Morrigan claims that she knows of a blood ritual spell that can save one of us from dying, it just requires sex. Man that sounds like an awesome spell.

However it also turns out that this will result in an "old god" being reborn so I'm not keen on it. Especially the "blood magic" part. Despite my best negotiation attempts, Morrigan gets upset by me not letting her do her ritual and leaves on the eve of the battle. Oh well. It's not like mages are a necessity anyway.

Not willing to be making any more "old gods" thank you very much!

The next day sees the army march forth to Denerim which is already in flames. After rushing the gates and defeating the outer most of the darkspawn horde it is clear the army is badly out numbered. Riordan suggests the only way to win is to go after the archdemon directly and advises I take a small team with me to try do so.

It falls upon Quickly to defend the gates, though Leliana claims she can command the defense there to prevent darkspawn reinforcements from appearing while at the same time joining me deeper in the city. That will be an interesting feat!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Tales of the Blight: Ye Olde Rope-a-dope

[Part of my Dragon Age: Origins play through. Spoilers ahead!]

Since Anora will serve as another divider among the lords which cannot be dealt with right now, King Alistair orders her locked away in a tower for the time being while we deal with the blight. We make one last detour though to rob the Tears of Andraste from the pompous lord who set up an ambush for us last time - a pretty easy task. After anonymously donating the artifact to the chantry we head to Redcliffe to fight the darkspawn horde.

Sure enough the village has already fallen by the time we get there. Despite the numerous enemies present they are all lowish level making it a joy to wade through and slaughter. Clearing the castle courtyard is also just as easy. Fortunately the soldiers stationed there kept them out of the castle proper and soon, all the darkspawn are defeated! It is too early to rejoice though as Riordan, a visiting Grey Warden who I previously rescued from Arl Howe's dungeon, arrives to tell us that the main bulk of the horde is heading towards Denerim and there's no way we'll reach it with our forces in time to defend the walls.

We be clever!

That doesn't mean we're not going to try though, and plan to march at first light. This would be the last night before the great battle. Sharing a drink with Oghren, I learn he loves the surface and intends to find some old flame after our victory. At least he's optimistic!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Tales of the Blight: Matters of Leadership

[Part of my Dragon Age: Origins play through. Spoilers ahead!]

Before returning to Arl Eamon's estate I sort out a few other leadership issues first for the local thieves guild and the Blackstone Irregulars, killing the upstart faction leaders. I also decide to hand in all the evidence of the Mages Collective who previously were enjoying freedom from non monitored magic to Knight-Commander Tavish who is overjoyed at having someone to hunt and destroy.

I also make a pit stop at the local tavern where many of the visiting lords are relaxing, handing in tokens of their relations that I had freed from Howe's prison to earn their favor before letting Arl Eamon officially beginning the Landsmeet at the palace. It is a big event with lots of people in attendance and Loghain at every turn trying to win votes to his side. Too bad for him I'm simply better and win 5/1. El Presidente would be proud.

Loghain doesn't take defeat lightly and chooses to have a duel against me which I allow. Too bad the supposedly "great" general cannot detect stealth so it is easy for me to take him down, finishing him with a strong nut-shot kick. Humiliated, he surrenders himself for punishment and despite my best efforts to please Anora by not executing her dad, Alistair decides to claim the crown for himself (which I support) and as his first act - beheads the traitorous Loghain.