Saturday 31 March 2012

SWTOR: Maelstrom Prison

It's been ages since I last played Star Wars. I've been just under level 39 for about a month. Yesterday I called my friend on Skype though, and we dragged our boyfriends with us to Maelstrom Prison. It was great fun!

The flashpoint apparently featured one of my favorite enemies: Grand Moff Kilran (picture to the right). His voice actor does a great job. He sounds extremely posh and confident about killing you (even though we've already defeated him before), which is fun. It must be great to have such self-confidence, because we just killed him again.

There were also these huge high-ranked robots patrolling everywhere in the hallways, of which I wasn't sure of their function. We could just all four DPS them, I didn't even have to put a bubble on someone, and we'd all still be on full health after killing them within several seconds. Weird stuff. I was also surprised in general by how well we were doing, given the fact that we all hadn't played our characters for a month. We had no deaths whatsoever.

The most fun part about the flashpoint was that it actually contained some good Star Wars-lore. I've played the old Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (let's be honest, who hasn't?), in which you play Revan, a fallen jedi who returns to the light side. At the end of that story, Revan disappears into deep space to look for the Emperor. In this flashpoint, you find out what happened afterwards.

Apparently Revan was caught by the Emperor, being imprisoned and artificially kept alive to control his mind and learn about the light side. While being in this condition, Revan was able to influence the Emperor slightly through the bond they had, resulting in the peace treaty that stands during the story of SWTOR. Now it was time to free poor Revan from his bonds, guided by the spirit of Meetra Surik (who apparently is the protagonist of the second KotOR game, which I haven't played though). I was a bit shocked to find out that Revan had undergone a gender transformation, as I played him as a woman during KotOR, but it was awesome to play through this storyline nevertheless.

Friday 30 March 2012

LOTRO: The sad story of Ravanel and the evil wallet

I'm not into negativity. No matter your age, gender or profession, you're playing a game to have fun. The many traps of MMO's (feeling too responsible for people, regarding your game time as a job instead of free time, clashes with people...) should be avoided at all costs. If something happens after all it's best to take a deep breath and look at things in perspective: it's just a game and you're there to have fun. So now I'm experiencing a feeling that is very unlike me, namely, I feel seriously annoyed. I need to vent a little about Turbine's newest creation of evil: the barter wallet. 

A short history of the barter wallet

Oldschool players will remember those days of Mirkwood when we were running around and noticed that, besides the Moria and Lothlórien medallions, silver branches and golden leaves, we now also had to gather bronze feathers and golden star emblems. It was all getting a bit much. Perhaps we could get an in-game feature that would store these barter items out of our inventory, like a wallet? The developers reacted positively on this idea, but nothing was yet to be seen. They liked the idea, but could not promise a Soon. Then this new 'revolutionary' system was introduced. No instance would ever be the same again! You would get rewarded with marks, and each cluster had their own type, and stronger enemies would also drop other special marks and... they would all go into your inventory. The horror. These were dark days for people gathering stuff, especially for people with a weakness for cosmetic appearances...

But then there was hope! A barter wallet was announced, and we all eagerly awaited its implementation the next update. Imagine the anti-climax when we found that only (a part of) the skirmish marks went in there. Sure, in time the other marks were added to it as well, but the barter items we had wished for were still in our inventories. Time went by, free-to-play and the Store were introduced and now we got our wallet... but we have to buy it.

Depicted above: a very sad lore-master without premium barter wallet

Like a virgin

Now I'm not the only one being deeply disappointed in this, but the past has taught me one thing: you cannot win from the greed of the Store. The barter wallet is a game-changing thing that every regular player should have. It's not a stupid invention such as stat tomes or store pots that you can simply ignore. Something needed to be done, I needed to get that thing, but... I did not have enough Turbine Points to purchase it.

A distinct lack of currency marks Ravanel's downfall into grinding deeds for Turbine Points

I had heard stories of people grinding Turbine Points before. Apparently there are even people who refuse to buy anything from the Store and spend half their gaming life killing mobs to buy quest packs. But not me, I had avoided the Store at all costs. Until now.

With the store coupon I wrote about on March 28, I would be able to buy the wallet for 697 instead of 995 Turbine Points. That meant I had to grind 90 before the coupon would expire that evening. Would that be possible?

As this was my first time, I decided I could just as well do something useful with my deeds. I had always wanted to complete all deeds on my main character, but never put much effort into it. I now found that I had many deeds open that were almost finished, especially exploration deeds. So I headed north into Thinglad, where I was supposed to find a location called Foulmaw's Den. Now there's another thing you need to know about me: I don't like spoilers. If I haven't done something yet, I refuse to look it up at the lotro-wiki or another website, no matter how long it takes. I thus spent quite some time running in circles, expecting a wolf den of some sort, before I saw a tiny icon in Thinglad on the map, that looked like a beast. Heading in that direction, I soon found a...

...that someone with a lack of imagination had called Foul-maw. I mean, he's sitting (can one not feel anything else than adoration when seeing sitting bears?)! All alone in those big woods...

I left the bear, the deed was completed, and I went on with an astonishing amount of deeds of which I won't bore you with the details:
You have discovered Uflûmp-mur - hell yeah!

  • Explorer of Thinglad (5)
  • Zirakzigil (5)
  • Western Durin's Way (5)
  • The Waterworks (10)
  • Explorer of Khazad-dûm (15)
  • Rath Teraig Exploration (5)
  • Orc-slayer & Orc-slayer (Advanced) in Bree-land (5 + 10)
  • Nemesis of the Fallen & Nemesis of the Fallen (Advanced) (5 + 10)
  • Stronghold Exploration (5)
  • Warg-slayer (Advanced) in the Lone-lands (10)
= 90 Turbine Points!

The end was fun, as I grouped up with some lotro-wiki friends, who happened to be doing the very same thing. We made it into some sort of match. I lost from my German wiki-colleague, who managed to complete his last deed five minutes before I mine. I bought my wallet right on time and... there was much rejoicing! Twenty-eight spots saved, and that is only for one character.

Afterwards I visited the lonely bear again, to show my boyfriend the last location of his exploration deed. It was time for act two, and this act didn't end so well for the bear...

I won't post any details or pictures here, as this blog is supposed to be kid-friendly, but one can guess the ending of this story. I did tell them the bear was cute, but it was no use. He had an ugly name, he might be dangerous to wandering elves, he smelled etc etc... and oh, detail, he had a gold token hidden in his stomach.

Today's sad events teach us a true thing: greed always wins. 

...not that I mind that, though, I'm going to enjoy my premium barter wallet!

Thursday 29 March 2012

LOTRO: Enjoying the morning sun

On the picture, it looks like the elf is closing her eyes, enjoying what little sunlight shines upon her face in the Rushgore. The sky turns turquoise and there is finally no sign of the eerie white-glowy fog that normally characterizes the area.

Latest outfit

My lore-master is wearing her newest outfit, composed of various drop items and quest rewards that fit well together - simple, but nice. It started when I got the chest piece from a Stangard quest. Many of those quest rewards recycle old Shadows of Angmar cosmetics, but this one struck me, because I had not seen it before. You must know that I hold a collection of these oldschool chest pieces in my vault, and this one was not there! It must have already existed, since it quite clearly shows an Annúminas star on the chest. I soon decided I needed to add this one to my collection, and started to look for possible combinations.

The green and yellow parts of the chest piece cannot be dyed, so I started of with the legs in pink, as that was the original colour of the chest piece. I like how the squares of the chest piece continue in the upper part of the trousers, only divided by the belt. The pink fitted well with the turquoise, but I had to endure regular squints of my boyfriend, saying: "oh god, you look sooo girly!" He did not reply to my response that I am a girl. Now this might have been a weak moment, but realizing that the vast majority of this game consists of members of the male gender that might all think the same when I parade through their screen, I changed the colours to the more formal burgundy, and I'm quite happy with it such as it is.

I especially enjoy this outfit when questing in the Rushgore - which I have done a lot lately - and then even more so while riding the Theodred's Riders steed. The horse and burgundy colours of the outfit tend to blend in with the reed, and the turquoise with the sky. I like the horse because it is simple, just like the outfit, but has a beautiful skin colour and a saddle with squares that fit the chest and leg pieces.

Now 'Outfit of the Morning Sun', as I called this one, might sound a bit strange, seeing the chest piece features a star. Remember those similar shaped Annúminas stars hanging from the ceiling of that particular instance, though? You had to open the curtains so the sunlight would fall inside and the evil spirits would become vulnerable. That's where my inspiration came from.

To the left the view one enjoys most of the time - the view of your character's but, basically. I keep staring at the cloak: it's just a bit boring. Sure, the colours are good, but I would have liked one with stars at the back. I could not find any unhooded ones to my liking, though. Let me know if you have an idea!

   Outfit of the Morning Sun   

Wednesday 28 March 2012

LOTRO: A precious clasp

An acidic delusion

Last night was raiding night with my kin. We were ready to take a deep bite into Acid T2. The group was looking good, that is, we only had one lore-master and one burg, but we had three guards to make up for that. Only... it didn't exactly work out as intended.

While we took down the Acid trash on T2 the previous lock and had some good tries on the boss, it just didn't want to work this night. I'm not even sure what was going on. We had experienced people, good DPS... you name it. Do you know that feeling? One night you take down Lightning T2 Challenge and Fire & Ice T2 in one go, the other night you're banging your head against the wall and don't know what's going on. This night fell into the second category.

It's not that much to be ashamed of... right? I mean, look at those freaking things, they got three eyes!

Oh precious clasp

With the upcoming lock reset in our minds, we decided not to bang until our brains fell out, so we resorted to T1 instead. The only downside for me (personally) was that I still was needed on my lore-master even though my rune-keeper has been needing to complete the T1 deed for acid and shadow for months now. Soon the vent chatter filled with remarks of typical high standard. This approximately went as follows:

Upon Shadow T1:

Player 1 (tank): "Hey guys, I just activated the fight so I'm going to tab out."

Player 2 (quasi-shocked): "What?! I mean, nooooo, you can't do that!"

The raid watches as Saruman starts a pep talk to his soon-to-be-lost minion and, after what feels like ages, slowly dodders off to his tower. Yes, you should think hey had fixed that. But no, it was actually working as intended. Aargh.

And a few minutes later, after Bukot lost some illusions (and his life):

Player 1: "<Player 2> , would you mind healing up there?"

Player 2 (rune-keeper)'s vitals suddenly show a distinct lack of morale.

Player 3: "<Player 2> just jumped off the tower, man!"

This is no source of concern, though.

Player 3: "Don't worry, I know he bought 1h FAIL immunity from the Store..."

"Wasn't that obvious?"

It might not sound as a surprise that our Saruman take-down wasn't flawless. On our first try, one of the tanks decided to crash right when the last phase started. On our second try, we were so deluded by our one hour fail immunity that we bluntly forgot to pop our wtf-skills and big heals alltogether when that same phase started. We realized this when we suddenly had two dead tanks, one dead healer and someone running around with nine Sarumans after him. This was a moment of fun though, as I could go crazy on dazing Sarumans all around me. My moment of glory arrived when I could root almost all of them with Cracked Earth, because they were finally neatly grouped up. Stated like this, it sounds like I saved the day, but this was not the case. Everyone kept their heads cool and, last but not least, we got that 1h fail immunity...

This time we made it, and I got my favourite reward:

... a free lift from Gwaihir, the giant eagle! Really, I cannot resist that feathery thing of cuteness. Especially when it just saved me from certain death. Nevertheless, we also got a more mundane reward: our kin's first clasp! We figured the whole fight out, killed Saruman (T1) as first of the server... but never got a clasp. Ordering everyone to wear that lucky horseshoe surely did the trick, and our guardian could go home in a very happy mood.

30% off Coupon

Last but not least, as I was told by my raid-mates, you should use a coupon if you plan to buy something at that filthy Store. It's only valid these coming days, but you'll get 30% off for whatever item you pick. Just place your order in the snail basket, go to the purchase window and enter the following code:


Be fast though, I heard it expires on Thursday.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

A New Beginning

This is it. I'm still searching for all the buttons in this complicated thing called blogging. I'm mostly just writing this post because I want to find out how to change the background colour for it. But it all doesn't matter. I am writing, and I'm actually writing my very first blog.

Why Ravalation? It probably occurs to you that this word has similarities to an already existing word. Perhaps the writer is dyslectic, a fail speller. Or she is suffering from megalomania, believing each message she sends into the world will be an eye-opener to all who's gaze fall upon it. Or she simply thought it sounded better than 'Small corner of the huge world that is called the internet where I can direct all my futile thoughts nobody is interested in'. For you to decide.

Anyway. First post about to be sent into the big scary world. Breathe. Publish. Test.