Thursday, 30 April 2015

Neverwinter Online: Vigilance Quest Guide

With Module 6: Elemental Evil came a whole bunch of repetitive "Vigilance" quests and now that I've gone through the whole lot twice I thought I might make a little guide to help clear your 16 (tasks) x 3 (areas) x 4 (zones) quests as efficiently as possible. In subsequent posts I'll be going into each zone by detail, but for now just some general info.

  • You can "properly" start Elemental Evil upon reaching level 60. Talk to Sgt. Knox.
  • I suggest doing the first three intro quests with Minsc as it introduces you to the new mobs.
  • You can only carry 4 vigilance tasks at one time.
  • In theory you can finish a set of 16 tasks by doing the same quest 16 times but that isn't a good use of time.
  • If you have finished quests and are near the quest givers, go back and hand them in / pick up new ones.
  • Each area has 16 vigilance tasks available but only in batches of 8 which switch over each hour.
  • Each area offers an instanced dungeon. Only go in if you have the two dungeon quests (one before the hour and one after).
  • Personally, I try skip the instanced dungeons (if solo) as you can get more done outside them.
  • It is faster and easier to clear quests in an organized team (carrying the same quests).
  • Reaching level 70 gives you an artifact off hand weapon. Talk to Sgt. Knox. (thanks Shintar!)
  • Finishing the Vigilance cycles of Spinward Rise (last area) gives you an artifact main hand weapon.
  • It is possible just to level up to 70 elsewhere and charge Spinward Rise directly, skipping the other zones.
  • Don't forget to buy potions and sell loot during down times when there are no (decent) quests available.

Clear as mud? Next up, we'll start looking at each zone in detail. :)

Drowned Shore Vigilance Guide
Reclamation Rock Vigilance Guide
Fiery Pit Vigilance Guide
Spinward Rise Vigilance Guide 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Ambitious Dynasty: Western Region Campaign Finale

[Part of my Dynasty Warriors 8: Ambition Mode story.]

After selling a whole bunch of treasures I finally am able to pay the academy to max out my defense rating. Sima Yi responds to this by proclaiming that he doesn't think I'm an idiot. Guess he -was- planning on killing me at some point after all! :P

Sure looks like the enemy has been broken morale wise as despite being the biggest region on the map, this actually offered the least amount of challenge to conquer. The final enemy commander turned out to be the sickly Guo Huai and with his new apprentice, Jiang Wei, barricaded themselves at the Chang'an fortresses. This only delayed the inevitable for them, but they still managed to kill my fire sorceress, Zhenji. :(

Zhenji: It's because my clarinet broke! *DEAD*

Jiang Wei: I've leveled up since we last met! *DEAD*

Guo Huai: *cough* If I can't live... no one else can! *DEAD*

Finally, it was time to face the false Emperor at his palace defended by siege weapons, wizards, ambush archers, cavalry, tigers (always the tigers), all led by his servants the ten eunuchs. They really weren't anything special with Sima Yi and He Man even killing one each while I wasn't looking - but after they were all defeated we had to cross a courtyard to reach the false Emperor and all ten returned... in perma musou mode! Holy crap, suddenly they became a difficult boss fight and He Man was killed!

By the power of Gre... *DEAD*

Never underestimate a eunuch.

With enough defensive fighting (a new one for me) they were finally all out of the way and we were free to face the lone "false" emperor. He too was on fiery overcharge but because there was only one of him it was pretty easy to chain lock him to death. With that, the land united under the true emperor (the dude still occupying my palace) and entered an era of peace. While it does let you continue to do whatever after this, I decided that was the best ending I could hope for and will end this tale here.

Thanks for reading!

The final survivors were:
Sima Yi, Zhurong, Xu Shu (me), Lu Lingqi, and Da Qiao

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Ambitious Dynasty: Northern Jing Province Campaign

[Part of my Dynasty Warriors 8: Ambition Mode story.]

Rage mode: on!

My character, Xu Shu is now Level 120 and becoming quite a tough cookie. Lu Lingqi also manages to obtain a rare(?) skill called "rage" which lets me start with a full rage meter if she is one of my three bodyguards. Of course this earns her that position as you can trash a LOT of people with a full rage bar. It is a small solace given that I lost a lot of people in the previous campaign.

Now we find ourselves in the Northern part of Jing, having to traverse a pretty fortified Changban river. Despite the "cleverness" of their "brilliant" commander, Zhuge Liang here, his forces are simply spread too thin for their own good and soon he is found and killed.

You go into battle with a fan, not sure how wise you really are. *DEAD*

It is at Luoyan castle that the enemy put up their strongest defense, led by none other than Zhuge Liang's old partner, Sima Yi and his son (my first ally) Sima Zhao. It doesn't help that Luoyan castle is apparently home to a bunch of ice wizards either as my allies begin falling one after another.

Lianshi: Ice Wizards!? What is this - Frozen? *DEAD*

Diao Chan: Who will wear all my pretty dresses now? *DEAD*

Li Dian: Oh! I like pretty dresses! Wait... I mean... *DEAD*

Lu Bu: A billion ballista bolts!? I still have one HP LEFT! *DEAD*

I was a little annoyed because Lu Bu was doing so well up to that point, AND he lasted so damn long. He was my friend! DAMNIT! MY FRIEND! My psycho, opera singing friend who dismembers people with other people as evidenced by this video clip! After breaking into the keep I didn't hesitate to fight and kill Sima Zhao.

Sima Zhao (by mollymous): Now it's just you and m... *DEAD*

His father, Sima Yi, managed to stay my blade though by reminding me I was literally out of allies and that he could be a useful asset. After all, he did just almost wipe me out. It was a good argument and so I decided to let him join. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer kind of thing.

Sima Yi (by shibakaien): Weren't you impressed how I killed all your people? 

Now, I don't usually keep the "less important" officers but there is this one fellow we freed from the dungeons who had an interesting enough name for me: He Man!?

Most likely not what he looked like.

Monday, 27 April 2015


This is to Sleeping Beauty as Wicked is to the Wizard of Oz.

A re imagining of the Sleeping Beauty story, this film follows a fairy named Maleficent - from when she is a young girl to when she grows up to be an ultra powerful and hot woman in the form of Angelina Jolie. She forgets she has magic often though and likes taking a more physical approach to violence.

Despite that, the plot is not bad and the special FX are fantastic (it is Disney), though you do get that feeling of wire work every now and then, and for some reason some flight scenes reminded me of How to Train your Dragon. Jolie is great to watch which is good since she's on screen for most of the time. When she isn't though things seem to turn down a notch.

One horny fairy. Erm... I mean, horned fairy. Horned.

I was also being thrown by the accents a bit. Funny that the folk of the "magical land" speak with the English accent and the inhabitants of the "human land" speak with a Scottish or Irish accent. Still, it's a very entertaining film and the lack of any musical numbers might be a plus for some people. Not sure if it is still as age friendly for the little ones as the original but I recommend it, giving it four out of five black wings and wouldn't mind seeing it again.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Ambitious Dynasty: Southern Jing Province Campaign

[Part of my Dynasty Warriors 8: Ambition Mode story.]

Are you asking for a challenge?

Before heading out to battle - Lu Bu, now my good friend, tells me that I've grown powerful as a warrior and might one day surpass even him. He looks forward to the challenge. Aww. He's a nice guy. He's also a terror to the enemies in combat since for some reason the game just puts him x levels higher than the stage I think. That didn't dissuade the enemy defenders of the Southern Jing Province though, as they made good use of the mountainous region's defenses to kill a number of my allies.

As we pushed through the Jiangxia canyon, the bodyguard Dian Wei fell to an ambush while the old bandit Zuo Ci got crushed by a rock. A rock in the form of a few hundred enemy soldiers raining from a nearby cliff. Not only raining arrows. They were jumping down with spears.

Put your faith in the cards! *DEAD*

This must be... what porcupines feel like... *DEAD*

We then had to cross the Chibi river where Cao Cao became too ambitious and got his ship sunk, leaving him to sleep with the fishes.

What!? No one told me my ship was sinking! *DEAD*

Finally we made it to the Yiling mountain near Baidi castle (I have no idea how near or far they are in real). The mountain had a maze of dark caves leading to the base at the top, and it is in that darkness that Wang Yi the insane died miserably, stabbed by a gazillion blades. Wang Yuanji didn't fare much better in there either. The enemy leaders, Sun Shangxiang and Guan Xing fought tooth an nail to keep us out but they ultimately failed and perished in battle.

Ow. A gazillion blades is painful! *DEAD*

I have everything under contr... *DEAD*

Remember how I said I had feelings for you? I lied! *DEAD*

They broke through our defenses!? *DEAD*

Having to kill her own brother probably broke something inside her as Guan Yinping lost her focus and was killed soon after by a stray arrow at Baidi castle, a position that was comparatively easily taken, having no named commanders at hand.

We should try settle things peacefully! *DEAD*

In the castle dungeon we found only one prisoner, suffering wounds of torture. She was more than agreeable to get some payback.

Don't piss off the blonde Chinese barbarian(s).

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Nameless: Sedrite

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

They were terrifying to behold, covered from head to toe in blood and leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake. The sight of even the leathery winged creatures being dismembered by the three she demons in the fiery darkness finally caused the bandits to flee - mounting what wyverns remained and taking to the star-lit sky.

"Get back here you cowards!" yelled Nessa as she saw them retreat.

It had taken them a few days travel from Gedrin before reaching here, the village of Sedrite. Jasmine's directions had proved accurate, as did Drisana's knowledge of the wyvern bandits who happened to be raiding the poor village just as they arrived. A figure moved in the corner of her eye, causing her to ready her weapon but the shadowy form put two hands up as a sign of peace and slowly advanced into the nearby firelight. It was a woman. One as well built as them.

"You sure picked a good time to arrive," she said. "It's always a pleasure to meet another ex-gladiatrix. I am Chaya, leader of what remains of this village."

"How did you escape from the arena?" asked Nessa with more than a little suspicion.

"I didn't," Chaya laughed. "I escaped from my previous owner's bedroom. Right after I slit his throat."

"Looks like you have a bandit problem," said Nerith absent mindedly as she looked around at the state of the village. Chaya shook her head.

"No, I have a wyvern problem. I can fight back the bandits just fine but I can't chase them up to their base on the mountain. You can't see it right now but when the sun comes up it's pretty easy to see the old castle. The cliffs are just too steep to climb and I didn't want to risk being away when they decided to run another raid. Bastards have taken almost everything now: our tools, weapons, supplies. They'll be taking lives next."

"They haven't killed anyone?" asked Nessa incredoulously.

"Not for lack of trying. Me and the boys have always managed to send them running before they can do any serious harm. At least serious enough that our healers can't fix it. Alas that also means we're spread pretty thin chasing them off and not actually managing to kill them either. If you are interested in getting rid of those wyvern riders just let me know how I can help. Just remember, I'm not comfortable leaving my folk on their own."

"Do you know of any cave systems nearby?" asked Nerith, already searching for a way up the mountain. "There must be a path up there for people on foot, unless they built the whole thing while flying on wyverns..."

"There is one cave entrance I know of a bit West from here, but it is home to a nasty ravager so we always steered clear. Those beasts are not to be taken lightly. Have any of you ever fought a Ravager before?"

The sisters looked at each other and shook their heads. Indas, quietly towering at the back smiled and nodded.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Ambitious Dynasty: The Jiangdong Campaign

[Part of my Dynasty Warriors 8: Ambition Mode story.]

Before embarking on this next campaign I decided to clean out spare gear from my armory to gain enough gold to max out my ATK rating. Studying at the academy seems to be the major gold sink in this place! Anyway, with my new/old friends in tow it was time to subjugate the Jiangdong province and while that in itself wasn't so bad the enemy forces did have the advantage of two solid castles: Hefei and Jianye. They were also led by Lu Bu's old lieutenant Zhang Liao who promptly ended Chen Gong's life.

I don't suppose we could talk about this!? *DEAD*

Unfortunately for him, I had Lu Bu himself on my side so he and his "sneaky" accomplice Taishi Ci met their end at Hefei Castle. The "hook knight" Yue Jin also found himself on the wrong side of the battle and met his end at Jianye but not before killing the wizard, Zhang Jiao.

The heavens shall prote... AAARGH! *DEAD*

Enemies Killed:
Yue Jin, Taishi Ci and Zhang Liao

Less prisoners freed this time means I only recuperated my losses:

Lianshi and Li Dian rejoin!

Thursday, 23 April 2015


This game trumps its predecessor in all ways.

The Payday clown gang are back, and this time they have more allies and a better skill upgrade tree system that lets players juggle skill points between different class trees. You have the option of specializing or being a jack of all trades. You also have a wide array of weapons, modifications and masks to spend your money on but ultimately it is the skills that will be burning most of your cash - especially if you try to become "Infamous" which literally burns your stock piled money as a sort of New Game+.

Unlike the previous game you can actually complete missions stealthily now and move hostages around, which is pretty close to a multiplayer cooperative Thief game that I've been wanting for ages. Also, you are no longer thrown in (as) blind like before where the ludicrous objectives would often catch you by surprise. Now you can purchase mission beneficial equipment to help your task, and some missions offer blueprints which you can draw on to strategize with your allies before hand.

Probably the only thing I can complain about here is that it becomes a more serious game that the last? The previous game had tasks were so wacky and police waves like an assault of lemmings that it was pretty funny, letting me toss aside the "I'm playing a bad guy" somewhat. In this one there's a mission where you have to make drugs. Meth to be precise. Not just a button click either, you get the components and have to actively put them into the makeshift lab to get bags of produce. Because you're branching out from armed robbery into drug dealing I guess. More annoyingly sometimes it takes forever to connect to a multiplayer game. Not sure what that's about.

Those issues aside it is a pretty addictive coop FPS and/or FPSneaker and I give it four and a half bullets out of five. Unfortunately, it also makes the first Payday pretty moot. If you are new to the franchise, feel free to skip buying Payday: The Heist and jump straight to this one. I'm putting my brothers video of one of their early runs if you want to see what its like in game.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Ambitious Dynasty: The Zhongyuan Campaign

[Part of my Dynasty Warriors 8: Ambition Mode story.]

With such low numbers it was no surprise when the enemy forces led by Dong Zhuo complete with staff wielding wizards and siege weaponry came knocking on the door. It was a long fight to push the invaders out and a learning experience for me as the battles were bigger and tougher than any I've been to before.

I was also caught off guard when people started to die!  I lost four lasses in the opening battle at Ji Province: Bao Sanniang, Yueying, Cai Wenji and Xiaoqiao as each of their positions were over run by Dong Zhuo's horny bastards. Suddenly, the shit just got real.


Through blitzkrieg-ing the enemy commanders I got them to withdraw to Xiapi Castle where Lu Bu again faced me and again was defeated after putting up a harder fight this time. This made the remaining enemy try flee through Xuchang, and where they all met their doom. Their fat leader Dong Zhuo was captured and executed on the spot.

I have no regrets.

Surprisingly, I did make it out with more people than I started with as enemies Lu Bu, Chen Gong and Zhang Jiao decided to join me upon being defeated again, AND I managed to free a few familiar prisoners in the process.

Dian Wei: Sir, it looks like we have been rescued!
Cao Cao: Do I look blind to you?

Zuo Ci, Zhenji, Lu Bu, Zhang Jiao and Chen Gong also rejoin!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Nameless: Gedrin

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

It didn't take long to reach Gedrin village, even with Jasmine's slight detour to collect and prepare a stone artifact to use against the sorcerer Wyrmias. For obvious reasons Jasmine opted to keep out of sight while the gladiatrices simply marched right in to the quaint and dusty town square, at the center of which stood a massive, four-armed but headless statue. Just as Jasmine had described, most of the men folk were out searching for what they already carried while the rest of the villagers seemed to walk around aimlessly in a trance, under a powerful spell of the evil sorcerer.

There were still a few armed soldiers, obviously Wyrmias' personal guard but they all just kept a watchful eye on the new comers from a distance. It was only when the trio stopped in front of the headless statue and unwrapped what Jasmine had given them that they started to spring to life. In mere seconds, a man in long robes, no doubt Wyrmias himself, appeared and walked quickly towards them.

"Do you really think this belongs up here?" asked Nerith loudly as she held up a grotesque statue head.

"Excuse me," said Wyrmias, staring at the statue head as if though it was the most precious thing in his life. "May I ask where you found this?"

"Oh, we just came upon it on the desert," lied Nessa. "Our tall friend suggested it might belong here."

"That it does!" exclaimed Wyrmias excitedly. "Now, if you would be so kind... please hand it over."

The girls feigned ignorance well as they hesitated.

"My apologies. I forgot to introduce myself," said the sorcerer. "I am Wyrmias, servant of King Tectuk. By law you must do anything I tell you to. Don't get any fancy ideas either. I've enslaved the minds of the women and children here and can kill all of them with but a thought before you can even draw your weapons. Now... give me the head."

As planned, Nerith silently handed it over while Nessa moved to block the view of the guards from what Indas was preparing to do.

"Finally! I have it!" Wyrmias laughed as magical energies flowed from his body to the statue head that he was re-attaching to the headless body. "I will be immortal!"

At the height of the energy transference, when the guards were most distracted by the light, is when Nerith and Indas struck: the first jamming a knife through Wyrmias' skull and the second smashing down on the weak spot of the statue head they had prepared with her hammer, causing the entire thing to crumble into a pile of dirt. With no vessel left to hold his essence, Wyrmias screamed as his energy particles were suddenly pulled in every direction until he was nothing. At that moment the spell he had cast on the entranced villagers was lifted.

The few guards that managed to react either found knives being thrown into them by Nessa or magical balls of fire by Jasmine who had been watching the events from hiding. Those that survived either fled or surrendered, the later being executed with a slow, burning death by the blonde mage they had abused and left to be eaten.

"Thank you again," said Jasmine as she watched the fire slowly die out on the blackened corpses. "If you ever need anything, of me or my people - please do not hesitate to ask."

Monday, 20 April 2015

Ambitious Dynasty: The Game. It Just Started.

[Part of my Dynasty Warriors 8: Ambition Mode story.]

Boy was I in for a big surprise when I talked to the Imperial Official to continue to the next stage of Ambition mode, because there is a cinematic time skip of two years during which time the land doesn't do as well as the Emperor hoped, because a SECOND Emperor has arisen elsewhere and with each calling the other "false" my forces were divided as to which one they truly believed.

I imagine the other guy had a better PR campaign because all those people I gained? 815 allies (officers) to be exact. You didn't expect me to name all of them in this story right? I cut it down to the "imporant" ones. Well, now I'm back down to ten (pictured below). I loaded the game at this point to be more selective of who was remaining were but it still came down to luck. Everyone else either switched sides, got captured or simply went elsewhere I imagine.

Why all girls? Because strong bonds perform better!

Now with my small handful of people, I am meant to go conquer the five regions that oppose my Emperor! Ooookey dokey! I guess that's one way to weaken my army! To compensate I spent all my gold at the academy to max out my life bar.

Sunday, 19 April 2015


An entertaining action film where all the bad guys get their comeuppance.

Arnie is back as the leader of a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) strike force filled with skilled but morally questionable individuals. The opening action sequence quickly grabbed my interest as he isn't that squeaky clean either, leading his team to steal some dirty money during a bust, in the sum of millions. Complications arise when they try to pick up their loot and find it already gone.

Despite his age, Arnie is still one person you don't want to piss off.

It's good to see the team have practice sessions and that Arnie is looking pretty fit for his age. I also quite enjoyed the silly one liners that still came up now and then. There's also a fair amount of violence and gore in this movie, which are both pluses in my book. Plot wise I only question one moment (maybe two) where Arnie gets lucky (you'll know them when you see them), but otherwise it was good and kept me pretty interested throughout the whole thing.

All up, I give this film three bullets out of five and can recommend it easily to action buffs and definitely wouldn't mind watching it again.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Today I Smiled: Too Much of a Good Thing?

My little cousin stayed over for a night of boardgames and did we go through a whole bunch! Won two rounds of Pandemic (easiest level then easiest with mutation), lost two rounds of veteran level Flash Point: Fire Rescue, lost one and won one novice round of Forbidden Desert, and surprisingly won two games of Eldritch Horror, without any detective casualties, against Azathoth and Yog-Sothoth!

We then moved onto more competitive rounds of regular playing cards and a game my cousin calls "Chinese". She won 4 out of 5 of those, followed by me winning two rounds of Bluff and finishing off with two games of Lords of Waterdeep where once again my wife proved she was the ultimate Lady of Waterdeep winning both games by a huge margin. As you can imagine a little bit of board game fatigue has since followed. :P

I've also finally gone through all the "vigilance quests" (just shy of 200, counting repetitions) introduced in Neverwinter Online's Elemental Evil and am now level 70 on my rogue. At least you get a lot of good gear for going through all of that - an artifact main hand and off hand weapon to boot! I normally put video links at this point, so for those who don't play or haven't reached any of the dragons, here's a clip taken by my brother. That's me with the knives and the weird helmet! Or, if that doesn't interest you - have a trailer to Batman vs Superman instead. :D

Hope you all have a great day!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Ambitious Dynasty: The Strongest Bonds

[Part of my Dynasty Warriors 8: Ambition Mode story.]

Warning: Heavy Picture Post!

During all these battles I've actually been forming strong bonds with all the female characters (lol selective!) and I thought I'd share their reactions as they grew ever closer to their commander. I should point out that almost ALL of them are actually already married!? :O

Lu Lingqi had no friends and now has a best friend.

Guan Yinping says she is happiest while together with me.

Xingcai can only say she likes me when she's dead drunk.

Bao Sanniang (by jfamily) wants to be with me forever because I'm handsome.

Wang Yuanji says a woman shouldn't need to say what she wants.

Yueying will do anything to be close enough to hear my heart beat.
That's... a little creepy.

Zhenji (by_licornezsu) cannot imagine a life without my heroism.

Sun Shangxiang says she might love me in a shy, round about way.

Daqiao (behind) wants to stay be held by my strength forever. 
Xiaoqiao (foreground) is the only one to say "I love you" straight to my face.
Too young? They are both already married!

Lianshi offers to let me rest on her pillows whenever I need.

Zhurong thinks I'm delicious. O.O

Cai Wenji wants night time visits to make music with her.

Diao Chan showed me her secret special dance, but wants to remain a social butterfly.

Zhang Chunhua likes that I'm hard to manipulate.
Of this lot, she's my favorite.

Wang Yi (by lightningnight) dreams of me, and in those dreams I'm on fire.
Psycho much? >.<