Sunday 29 April 2012

LOTRO: A week's raiding worth a fortune

Last week's raiding was lovely. First we defeated Lightning T2 and I won a First Age symbol! I've won some before, but passed them over to DPS classes (as they profit far more from it than a lore-master). Now almost everyone in my kin has one, and the captain I offered it to refused to take it. I'm secretly really happy with it! I made a staff and it finally got the four majors it needed - a personal record since Mirkwood-times. It was also really nice to clear up a lot of vault space by getting rid of all those iXP runes rotting there. I also found out that the First Age staff looks much better than the Second Age staff cosmetically spoken. Or is that just me being blinded by my happiness?

The next day we did Fire & Ice T2, Acid T1 and some Shadow T2 tries, all in one night. My kin has completed Shadow T2 before, but I had never seen the fight myself, as I could not raid at that time due to internet connection issues. I was really happy to be able to see it now, although it was getting late, our group setup was not ideal and I found the fight pretty chaotic for a lore-master. It still was great fun, and I'm sure our next try this week will be more productive.

I also found a sudden love for the dragon raid, since he now drops a treasure of around 60 seals. I'm not sure if this is working as intended, but I'm not complaining, as it's a good reward for a pretty long and tedious fight. And besides, it's a dragon, so it's supposed to reward with a part of his fortune, right? I think I got quite my share of fortune this week. With the seals of this week's Tower of Orthanc plus the dragon, I had gathered enough to buy my last two pieces from the rune-keeper Tower of Orthanc healing set, hurray! Minor setback was that I found out that I still need to complete the lightning boss on my rune-keeper to be able to buy the helm, but at least I was able to buy the chest piece. Doesn't Ravalinde look gorgeously gothic in her new robe? It's almost as beautiful as the lore-master robe, or perhaps it is. Both those robes are of a cosmetically great design.

Friday 27 April 2012

Change of scenery: planting plants to shoot zombies

I had to live several days without internet connection (hence the low amount of posts), but luckily have it back now. Having no connection makes you think though: you realize how dependent we've all become on it. I'm just old enough to remember the days without internet and it totally changed all our lives. I don't think I'd be able to explain that to someone who grew up with internet all around them.

Apart from these philosophical questions, the practical question remained: what does a gamer girl do without internet? My favorite games were out of reach. I've played a lot of Mass Effect II with my boyfriend (to the extent that I've now already completed half of the game's content), but he does the shooting and at a certain point it's nice to do something by yourself. I looked around in my house for the Sims and Myst II: Riven, but they had somehow disappeared. I could only find shooter games and Grand Theft Auto - everyone who's seen me in a car knows this is a bad idea. Eventually I searched my boyfriend's pc for games and resorted to... Plants vs Zombies. It actually was fun, too!

You played what?!
Now don't tell me that you don't know Plants vs Zombies. It's been the Game of the Year and all, it was really hard to miss. Perhaps you like to pretend you don't know Plants vs Zombies, but that's another story. In short: In Plants vs Zombies you have to stop zombies from reaching your house by planting plants. That's right, plants. You can get the game here - the free online version is already nice enough to start with.

Don't pea in the pool
I had this brilliant idea of putting garlic in the water so the water zombies would go out of the pool and suffer a long and painful death (if you can speak of 'death' when already dead) walking over spikes. It was less brilliant of me that I didn't realize the water zombies didn't want to come out of the pool at all: they would just zigzag from garlic to garlic. Which did look brilliant, by the way, I was laughing my ass off. In the end I apparently had completed the achievement for not using any peashooters in a pool level ("don't pea in the pool"). Not the best way to do it, but nevertheless very much fun! 

My favorite garden
After defeating quite some zombies, I determined the Walnut is my favorite 'plant'. Those things are so OP! I'm also very much a fan of Spikes, Venus flytraps, Firewood and the 4x Peashooters. Yes, I realize those are not the correct names, but I'm still a noob, as you will find out soon. Anyway, below my favorite garden setup. I got rich from it, too! The zombies were falling all over, it didn't really matter what type they were. Huge firepower for the win! When I proudly showed my garden to my boyfriend, he told me I had done it all wrong, though. The blue slowing peas turned into normal peas when going through the firewood, so I could better have used the watermelons that shoot over the firewood. Hey, nobody had told me this game contained a sense of realism! Ah well, I guess it's not that bad to be a noob in Plants vs Zombies. I don't really want to know what people would think of me if I would say I'm pro at this!

Wednesday 25 April 2012

ME 2: Claiming a substitute Krogan

It is almost as if the Mass Effect game read my former post about missing Wrex and anticipated on that. Creepy. Wrex is apparently still busy on his homeplanet sorting out who-knows-what, so my employer Cerberus sent me off to a planet to collect a substitute Krogan (picture above).

Stuff started out the old fashioned way when the planet appeared to be inhabited by crazy mindless Krogan that attacked upon sight. After fighting through these, I found the Krogan I was supposed to be recruiting: a mad scientist that was trying to breed 'the perfect Krogan'. He worked with clones and genetic modification and tried to indoctrinate his subjects with emotions and commands before waking them up. All cloned super-Krogans that were not good enough were set loose to fight mercenaries in some sort of sick minded merc-training program on the planet's surface. And I am supposed to recruit this guy? I understand there are different ethics widespread in Shepard's galaxy, but I'm still a 21st century girl from Amsterdam making the decisions here. Thanks, Cerberus, but no. Not gonna happen.

At this point the Mass Effect game was being creepy again by reading my mind and letting the crazy Krogan get killed by his employer, who was pissed off by all the Krogan that had been killed by my hand. I can see a point there. I mean, sure, I would've wanted to call, set an appointment beforehand and not having to fight all those mental Krogan as well, but the game didn't let me. I guess it's not proper 22th century etiquette to knock before entering. Sigh.
Anyway, just before he died, the mad Krogan scientist asked me to take his latest super-Krogan clone with me and take care of it. And of course my natural talent to do things that sound like a ad idea (think: Rachni-queen) popped up: I took the frozen super-Krogan with me to the Normandy.

The super-Krogan was pink with lilac of colour with light blue eyes. This should have warned me that there was something ominous about this one. A pink Krogan... it just doesn't feel right. What exactly had the crazy Krogan in mind when he thought of 'the perfect Krogan'? Of course the first thing he did when I awoke him on my ship was to try to rip my head off. I needed to remind him of in what what position he was to get him back in line. After that he gave himself the most charming name "Grunt". Great.
BioWare, if you are listening: please give me Wrex back!

Sunday 22 April 2012

LOTRO: Saruman contemplations

Why is it so hard to take a good Saruman screenshot? There's always someone jumping in front of your screen, red damage numbers above a Saruman, tanks running away from clouds and after that the squishies running away because there have been brought Sarumans close to them... On top of that I can't put my settings on high because my computer dies from the special effects in the second phase.

Ah well, I should not complain. It's already hard enough to complete the fight without all sorts of silly things (of which you in most cases can't do much about) going wrong. Here's my top five:
  1. Ring-bearers getting blown off the tower and not being able to get back inside, thereby making it impossible to complete the fight (luckily they've fixed this now by letting those rings spawn after that phase)
  2. The interface thing of newly spawned rings getting stuck behind people's raid panel so they're not in time to use it - preferably at the last transition after fighting ten Sarumans without having any rezzes left, just before the end of the fight
  3. Blade of Elendil. I don't have to say anything more, the lore-masters among us know what I'm talking about
  4. Any ring-bearer DC'ing, making you to stretch the current phase while only being able to hope that they will return
  5. Specifically a tank DC'ing for ten minutes in the phase before the ten Sarumans phase, causing someone to run around in circles kiting the remaining Sarumans - preferably with the whole raid on follow on the tank while blasting "Benny Hill" over vent (as depicted)
Mind you, no. 2 to 5 actually happened to us within the last two weeks! Don't get me wrong, I do like this fight - it's a great design overall. It can just be really unforgiving for unforeseen events such as DCs. I don't even want to think about the amount of concentration and luck needed for the tier 2 fight. My advice: whatever happens, Benny Hill is a good remedy for all!

Thursday 19 April 2012

ME 1: Ode to Wrex

I've been playing quite a bit of Mass Effect lately, to the point where I finished the first game. My, what an epic conclusion that was! It was really exciting, apart from all the shooting that had to be done - luckily I could abuse my boyfriend for that. I don't want to tell too much about the ending of Mass Effect I though, that would be a huge spoiler for those who have not played it yet. I can only say it is really good. 

In Mass Effect II, one doesn't have the same squad mates as in I: there has been some time in between, and everyone has gone their own way. I'm suffering from some withdrawal effects in Mass Effect II though, as my all-time favorite character Wrex is not available. My boyfriend promises me "another Krogan", but I don't believe anyone can be a substitute for Wrex! Mass Effect II is really nice, but I miss my favorite Krogan. I almost ragequit when I heard I was not going to have Wrex in my squad this time and went into 'drawing therapy', resulting in the Wrex drawings presented below. Perhaps writing a bit about him here will cheer me up.

Wrex' quotes

Krogan are famous for their violent nature and being very, very tough (in case of Wrex, make that near unbeatable), but also for their dry humour. My favorite Wrex-quotes, in order of appearance in the game (imagine them being spoken with a sturdy bass voice):

C-Sec officer: Wrex, do you want us to arrest you?
Wrex: I want you to try.

Tali: How can you fight your own people?
Wrex: Anyone who fights us is either stupid or on Saren's payroll. Killing the latter is business. Killing the former is a favor to the universe.
Shepard: You must have family other than your father. Don't you miss them?  
Wrex: You trying to make me cry, Shepard?

Upon walking into an bureaucratic barrier:
Wrex: If these "executives" don't blame Anoleis for provoking this, they're fools. You should eat them.

The most famous Wrex-quote has even become a meme among Mass Effects fans. It describes the regular sturdy and cool meeting of Wrex and Shepard on the Normandy and goes like this:

"Shepard." "Wrex."

There are a dozen of videos scattered about the net showing what, according to a video comment, Shepard and Wrex were doing when supposed to be saving the universe:

Three years later...

*Reapers invade*

Anderson: Where's Shepard?!?!?!?

*Aboard the Normandy*

Wrex: Shepard.
Shepard: Wrex.


The drawing by Jennifer Stolzer / aka "jameson" to the left shows what really should have happened, though!

This is the best piece of Wrex fan art I've seen out there (so cute!) and I wouldn't want you to miss it. You can check out more of Jennifer's art at Jameson's deviant art page.

Krogan with brains

There's more awesome about Wrex apart from having cool/funny quotes and looking extremely cuddly. While most Krogan are satisfied with killing each other in clan wars, Wrex realizes that this will only drive their species closer to extinction. A genetically designed virus (referred to as the "genophage") introduced by the Turians made the krogan infertile. The Krogan were up to that point threatening to overtake the rest of the universe. They had only known their own world's clan wars so far, and with the new technology gained through their mercenary work in the war against the Rachni, it was only a logical continuation by their nature to go and raid other planets.

The genophage debate is a well constructed one: it seems a bit harsh to exterminate a whole race, but on the other hand you don't want that race to exterminate everyone else, either. I'm still hoping to be able to get some sort of cure for the genophage, preferably without Krogan killing the rest of the universe. I heard Wrex is trying to do something idealistic on the Krogan homeworld in Mass Effect II. I may then not have him in my squad (*sob*), but I'm still very much looking forward to see what's going on there!

Wednesday 18 April 2012

LOTRO: The art of burning things

A little pyromaniac

Fireworks! My little warden woke up in Bree after a long winter sleep and saw the sky turn all colours of the rainbow. Half of Middle-earth seemed to have gathered at the north gate of Bree and was blasting big colourful things into the sky. Okay, perhaps I'm exaggerating, but it certainly seemed like a lot of people for such a small hobbit as Cicely.

It wasn't long before the pyromaniac in me awoke, and I was burning things myself. This was fun! 

I'm not sure for how long setting off fireworks is going to be entertaining, as everything gets boring if you have to do it for hours to gain tokens, but the idea certainly is good. All that fireworks really was looking gorgeous!

The only thing I was disappointed at was that following the orders of quest-givers didn't result in cool combo's. I would've wanted to see flowers, or dragons! 

Yup, things certainly were better when Gandalf was still around...

Staring into the sky taught me that watching fireworks is much like watching clouds, though: if you look long enough, you will always see what you are looking for!

Character portraits

The reason I was logging my warden in the first place was because I wanted to see the new character portraits. You can now choose to customize your character portrait depending on how many years you have been playing. Each year apparently gives you a silver leaf, as you can see on the picture to the right. I must say I much prefer the look of the one leaf of Cicely over the four of Ravanel though - the latter just looks weird. I guess it looks nice again when you have played so many years that your whole portrait gets surrounded. I'm not sure if we'll get that far though, as I saw someone walking around with the gold leafed portrait above. My guess is that he has been playing for five years.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

LOTRO: Five-year anniversary

My favorite online game is already five years old! I still remember my excitement when I first heard it was going to be released. I was at a Fantasy event and was allowed to try out the elf intro in Ered Luin (of which I did not understand a thing!) and got a voucher with a Founders code. Being a huge Tolkien-fan, I just knew I had to get this game. Freely walking around in Middle-earth just sounded too good to miss. There was one small problem though: I had no computer that could run Windows.

Thus it was that it took a while for me to get to play my first MMO. After a few months, I made a friend install the game on his computer so I could sporadically play when I was there. I bought a lifetime subscription right away since I just knew I wanted to play it for longer than 1,5 years. In 2008 I finally got my own computer that could run Windows (I sort of bought it for this particular game!) and that's when my adventure into Middle-earth really started. How did yours start? It would be fun to know!

When I logged in today, I was happy to find several anniversary giftboxes in my character's inventories. There is one box for each year. Note that the three-year giftboxes are currently bugged (lockbox keys really seem to haunt Turbine!), but will be bestowed later this week. It is a shame that my former computer problems make me miss out on the five-year giftbox, which apparently contains a gorgeous steed. As Lothirieth pointed out, I'm already really lucky to have gotten the four-year giftbox, as there is no other way to acquire the stuff that's in the boxes. I guess we all have to hope they keep giving these boxes each year. On a positive note, there are nice things for everyone to get by collecting anniversary tokens. I just hope the grind is not as horrible as it was for last year's whipped cream cake horsething.

The most stuff from the giftboxes was crap, but I did really like the cosmetic items from the four-year giftbox. It contained:
I'm usually not much of a fan of tunics for female characters, but I do think this one actually looks nice (and also will on a male character). The dress is a real princes-like one and the cloak fits both very well. A huge improvement compared to last years anniversary outfits!

The 5-year anniversary festival ends at April 30th.

Monday 16 April 2012

SWTOR: Speedy stuff

We reached level 40, the illustrious level at which you are allowed to buy a speeder with increased speed! Being out of money, we had to duo some heroics to be able to get it, ending up being level 41. It was totally worth it though, as we found out after logging back in after update 1.2 that the speeder price had been reduced by 30%. Lucky us!

Buying a speeder is much like buying a new car (I think): you have a vague idea about what models/brands there are out there, but need to look around a bit. A quick look through the speeder offer on the Republic fleet was not very encouraging: only 'lawn-mowers' and the orange specimen my boyfriend bought were for sale. Lawn-mowers are out of the question, and people who know me, know that orange is not the colour to appease me. I once even started an online 'Orange club' (de Sinaasappelclub) with as sole purpose to vent my detest of everything being orange and having to drink orange juice each day. (A search through resulted in the conclusion that the Sinaasappelclub has been removed - a severe loss for the online community!) 

Off to Tatooine it was, to shop speeders.

On Tatooine, I had the last chance to admire my old girly speeder (picture above and left). It's much like the scooters those too-lazy-to-cycle girly types in real life ride around with. Mine is of course much cooler because it can fly!

The vendor on Tatooine only had slow speeders though, and a quick search through the internet showed me that Quesh was the place to be. In retrospect not much of a surprise, as a polluted industrial planet seems just the place for these racing models that don't look very environmentally friendly, modestly speaking.

If you are looking for a speeder yourself, SWTOR Things is the place to be. It has an overview of all models plus their looks and where to get them. This website successfully directed me to Quesh.

It was on Quesh that I found my lovely poisonous green Lhosan Racer that fits perfectly with my flashy green consular lightsaber and my dark green Anointed Dramassian Silk Vestments. Keep rocking!

Sunday 15 April 2012

Yoda the... squirrel?

Today's entry is going to be a bit off-topic (meaning, it is not game related), but will still be fun for the Star Wars fans. I have been watching some episodes of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series (2008) lately, and was surprised in the first one by the nimbleness of Yoda, depicted above. (This picture for a change has not been created by me, it's picked from the internet somewhere and looks similar to the Yoda of this series.) His fighting was hilarious and reminded me of a certain furry tree-animal. Watch an excerpt of the episode below and you'll understand what I mean!

Yoda fun starting at 0:43.

You can imagine how surprised I was when I found on the all knowing source of wisdom called the internet that my suspicions were true all along. Without any doubt, Yoda has been trained by jedi squirrel elite forces!

Isn't that just brilliant?

Friday 13 April 2012

SWTOR: Legacy update

There's a new update online! It's apparently called update 1.2 (click here for the release notes). I didn't have time to play SWTOR at all, because my computer spent the whole evening downloading it, but I did have the chance to take a quick look in-game. A lot of promised nice changes have now been implemented, including the legacy system and the interface editor I wrote about earlier. Let's take a look at the things I encountered straight away after logging in.

High texture graphics

They apparently improved the graphics quite a bit. On the picture below you see my jedi sage with the old graphics to the left and the new graphics to the right, taken on the same computer. Can you tell the difference? (Apart from wearing a different dress, of course!) On my boyfriend's account the change was more clear: the cap he was wearing now all of a sudden appeared to have ridges! Overall, I do have the impression that all characters look a bit 'sharper', and that is always good. The only graphical thing we were disappointed in was the absence of our promised 'hood toggle': you would be able to choose whether to wear the cap of your cloak on your head or to leave it off, laying on your back. They should totally implement that option in other games too, by the way (*thinks: LotRO*). We will have to wait until the next update for this, though.

Legacy system

The second, quite straightforward change was that they implemented something for us to do with our legacy points! We've all seen the videos of what crazy stuff there was going to be, and it seems like it all actually is there. The first thing you see when opening the new legacy panel (icon to the right of your skills icon in the top bar) is the possibility to create your own family tree. You can freely drag your characters around and create bonds between them. Icons show the nature of the relationship: you can add characters as each others rival, ally, spouse, sibling or child/adopted child. The extended family tree looks totally cool and is another thing they certainly should implement in other games (again, LotRO comes to mind). There is still room for improvement though, as you are limited to setting one relationship per character. Another drawback is that it isn't possible to adopt other players into your tree. I can see how that could get complicated because of legacy advantages other players would get, but it would be a great addition for the role-players among us.

How does it work?

It seems you can achieve a lot of different things (skills, emotes, features, species...) through your legacy level. Some are unlocked automatically by an achievement (social rank, light/dark side points or legacy level), others you need to purchase yourself (legacy level requirement plus credits to buy it). A few stood out for me:

  • Ship unlocks
          You can buy features for your ship, i.e. a mailbox and a vendor droid. You can also get things like an operations training dummy. This must be really helpful for end-game! (Once again: I want this in LotRO!)

  • Class improvements
           By completing your storyline, you will improve a skill and get an emote. And now the cool thing: if you complete the end of it, your alts will inherit a skill of your class they can use during a 'heroic moment'. For me, this would mean my other characters will eventually inherit the skill Project (the pick-up-something-that-is-nearby-and-throw-it-at-your-enemy skill that is quite handy and, literally taken, sometimes not so handy). 

  • Species unlocks
          Once you reach level fifty with your character, you will be able to pick that species for an alt, regardless of their class or side. I love this idea lore-wise since it makes the game less one-dimensional: you could be a Sith that has been converted to the light side and vice versa. I'm probably not going to use this much, since I like playing different classes, though. Oh, and if you play a human (who always can pick all classes and sides already), all your characters get a +100 presence bonus. I'm looking forward to this already.

There was one surprise for me, and that was that I had already unlocked some new emotes! All that questing together with my boyfriend resulted in a lot of social points, which automatically bestowed me a companion dance emote and some tech emotes (/holocom, /map, /datapad, as shown from left to right on the picture below). Sadly, I have not found out how to use the companion dance emote yet, but the tech emotes look fun. I imagine they're mostly useful for role-playing though.

The changes of this update seem much fun and are very extensive. They will no doubt cause headaches for the completionists among us, since there is too much to choose from and too much to do to get it all. That's their problem though, I myself like this idea of creating your own lore into the game. The influence of the legacy system on gameplay is not very big, and that wasn't the goal either, but I think it's a great addition to the game in terms of diversity.

Thursday 12 April 2012

ME 1: Plants plus zombies

It was time to play my oh so cool shooter girl again. With the roaches of last time in mind, I was looking forward to seeing what they invented to scare me away now. I was sent to the planet Feros, which was being attacked by the Geth. At first everything looked alright. There was an ancient giant plant just under most of the planet's surface. I like plants. I also like ancient. The only drawback of this one was that it had the ability to control the minds of people, using them to perform tasks for it when needed. That was not really nice of it, but on the other hand, it had already been there for millions of years and we were colonizing its planet. The second problem was that this plant apparently saw me as a threat and felt it was necessary to send hordes of zombies after me. Yes, zombies. After we all learned that plants work versus zombies, the next step in evolution apparently is zombie-spitting plants.

To be entirely honest, I much preferred the roaches. I don't really like shooting human shaped lifeforms, I couldn't laugh at my boyfriend being scared by them (as he wasn't) and they splat out green stuff all around you when killed. Just gross. On top of that, there were also really freaky dogs with a fishlike skin. *shudder* I just let my boyfriend kill everything and went on to other planets to do my companions' personal quests as soon as possible.

The only thing that bothered me was that we had to kill that plant. The thing to the right is the plant, by the way. I do understand it is sort of evil to infiltrate the minds of people and let them do chores for you, but technically speaking we were the invaders. You'd also hope that even a plant would develop some sort of intelligence after a billion years and would understand it's not very smart to just stupidly attack someone. In the end I was left no choice but to kill all that ancient wisdom, though. I was able to gather information from it about the Protheans just before, but still feel it's a shame.

Letting roaches go, feeling sorry for killing evil plants... I'm starting to doubt that this game has a positive effect on me.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

SWTOR: Companion roulette

We're done with Hoth! I finally caught the big bad guy with the overrated armour (picture above) and could return to the continuation of "Wie is... de Mol?" where I shortly spoke of in my last SWTOR blog entry. It was the final episode, so to say, as I think I found out who it was! I met up with all the ambassadors on my ship and they seemed generally more in favour of the Republic as before, which is good. I did chase half the surface of that horrible cold blue planet after some guy for them, after all.

The Republican guy that has been ordering me around on Hoth (picture to the right) sniffed an opportunity to get off the planet as well and asked to join my party. Can't really say I blame him. I hope he likes my ship though, because I'm probably not going to take him out that much. No offence to my token black guy, but he just doesn't have much personality. I know he is in service of the Republic, that his name is lieutenant Iresso, and he seems friendly, but that's about it. 

I enjoy my current companion Tharan Cedrax (picture below) much more. He's this crazy gadget scientist guy that also is very lazy and vain. He carries his personal hologram, the pink girl Holiday, with him wherever he goes. Their relationship is... interesting, to say the least. I think they did a great job on designing his character: the silly quotes of this big kid keep entertaining me.

"Holiday, were you watching?" (proudly) - upon defeating an enemy

"Did I mention I'm a pacifist?" - upon entering combat

As his codex entry describes him:
Likes: aiding scientists and beautiful women, getting something for nothing
Dislikes: mystical Jedi nonsense, destroying science, heroism that involves danger

Tharan is a huge coward, sometimes resulting in hilarious topic commentary. I usually even answer him in real life when he says something like "Did I mention I'm a pacifist?" ("Well, actually... yes you did. Like a hundred times or so"). Luckily my boyfriend doesn't think this is weird in any way. He has had enough time to get used to the idea that I'm plain crazy.

I've been running around with Tharan for about 20 levels now though, and I'm secretly hoping to get another interesting companion (not telling him about this, of course!). I don't like spoilers and didn't read anything of her wiki page, but I really, really hope I'll get Nadia Grell (picture to the right) as a companion. She is the daughter of the leading ambassador and probably has the most brains of them all. She was the one that found the tracking device a spy put on my ship, and it was also her who just now found out that someone sent a hidden com signal to the Empire.  Together we traced it back to the stuttering ambassador who left a few days ago on a diplomatic mission. My next mission will be to follow him to find out what he's up to. 

Another interesting fact about Nadia is that she can control some force powers. She never joined the order though, and I suspect her father was behind that, not wanting her to leave. Wouldn't it be great if I could persuade her to join me and learn more about the force? I'd have my own padawan! I'm sure Tharan would understand. After all, he still has his Holiday... 

Tuesday 10 April 2012

LOTRO: Traveling by starry night

Latest outfit 

The lore-master looks afar in the distance, thinking of the many travels that lie ahead. She doesn't have to worry: her furry robe will keep her warm in the cold mountain climate. She especially enjoys traveling under the cover of night, her cloak blending with the starry sky.

It is an old armour set by now, but what's wrong with some nostalgia? The Ost Dunhoth set still looks beautiful and provides a nice break from all those people running around with their Tower of Orthanc sets. Besides, it apparently makes you look like a "nice lore-master". A few days ago, I showed a curious befriended hunter some of the lore-master sets. The Draigoch and Tower of Orthanc set resulted in dreading cries: "waah, you look like an evil lore-master!" The Ost Dunoth set, on the other hand, apparently made me look like a nice lore-master. And who doesn't want to look nice?

I enjoy this set the most when traveling under a dark blue starry sky. It looks gorgeous with the pretty blue of the clothes! The whole set cries "lore-master" to me. The simple brown fabric and feathers give it its down to earth nature look, while it at the same time looks fancy because of the classy dark blue. This is what the lore-master is for me: connected to the earth, but radiating style.

I have not been enjoying this look for that long. In the days of Ost Dunhoth, I always passed on the robe for kinnies who could use it. The other five pieces had better stats for lore-masters and I didn't want to steal it just for cosmetics. It was only when we did an Ost Dunhoth six-man rushthrough in the early Draigoch days that I finally could take it. Since then, I've been very lucky to find a cloak and a horse that suited the robe. The Prized Dunlending Steed somehow looks great with it, even though it has totally different colours (picture to the left). It might have something to do with the fancy look and the metallic reflecting decorations. Whatever it is, it makes me feel happy when riding through the fields on its back. I also found a cloak that came with the Dunland update that fits perfectly. The good news is that it is easy to achieve through drops, barter and quest rewards. It has the exact same colour as the robe and has a mountain decoration that fits well with the traveling theme. Below a picture of my lore-master wearing it on one of her travels, waiting for the sun to rise.

    Outfit of the Starry Night         

The pieces of the Memory of the West set can be gained by defeating bosses and winning a piece-specific token in Ost Dunhoth. They can only be won by a lore-master.

Monday 9 April 2012

LOTRO: Moar rabbits!

And there I almost forgot to add some Zrinko-style screenies of me facing these terrible furry rodents.

Friday 6 April 2012

LOTRO: Raiding rabbits

Last week's raiding

The past week was a nice week in terms of raiding. We did some Acid T2 bashing on Tuesday, and it was a lot better than last time. This time we got through the trash in a controlled way and had plenty of time to experiment on the boss. Hopefully we can keep this up so we can focus on the boss only from now on. On Wednesday Saruman was took down (T1), but I was not in the group. Yesterday night we did Lightning and Fire & Ice T2. We've given up on the Fire & Ice challenge now, since the whole LotRO community agrees that it is actually impossible to achieve ("Even the Germans didn't do it!"). We got two first age symbols to drop, and my boyfriend finally won one - I think he was the last of the DPS-classes in my kin to get it. He actually rolled something like "3" again, but the captain who won one gave it to him. I'm happy I'm in a kin with such nice members!

Easter weekend

It's Easter weekend, and I'm going away for a few days. You'll have to miss my posts, but I thought of something to do in the meanwhile. In the Netherlands, there's a tradition to look for Easter eggs in your garden that are hidden by "the Easter bunny". In the Lord of the Rings Online, the Easter eggs are the bunnies themselves. There are several bunnies hidden throughout Middle-earth. After I read about this in a thread on the official forums, I spent yesterday evening in between the raids looking for them. It was really cool to actually find them all. LotRO's bunnies have something ominous though...

Middle-earth's Most Wanted

1) The killer rabbit
Region: Enedwaith
This rabbit hops around in a strangely familiar cave filled with bones and bloodstains. You don't want to think about what's been going on here...

Hint 1: Southwest

Hint 2: Ost Dunhoth

2) The bear flattener
Region: The Great River
The remains of this bear are flattened, as if something violent has hopped over it with great force...

Hint 1: The Wailing Hills

Hint 2: Island

3) Hidden Burrow dictator
Region: The Great River
Looks like the killer rabbit found a place to breed...

Hint 1: The Wailing Hills

Hint 2: Cave

I can of course do no else than to end with the one and only. Enjoy!

Locations (spoiler!)

1) the killer rabbit: 73.9S, 20.3W
2) the bear flattener: 29.0S, 70.5W
3) hidden burrow dictator: 27.5S, 64.6W

Read more

For the conclusion of my rabbit-related adventures, check LOTRO: Moar rabbits!

Thursday 5 April 2012

SWTOR: A holocron discovered

Holocron nostalgia

I was leveling a bit with my jedi knight Haradwen today, and found some old pictures of her on my computer. Remember these holocrons that give you a permanent stats boost? Every planet is supposed to have at least one or two of them. I'm never going to find them all, nor am I going to try hard: I don't like grinding or spoiling their location by looking them up on some wiki. If you are the same, I suggest you don't read any further. I do however love to explore and discover them myself. This happened to me while I was on Ord Mantell for a class quest.

Ord Mantell is the place where baby smugglers and troopers grow up, so the creatures roaming it were several levels below me and didn't pose much of a threat. At a certain point my mission tracker was a bit off and sent me the wrong way. I didn't really trust it, but decided to follow the directions anyway because I was curious where I would end up. It was not much later that I  saw a huge mountain with a strange red light glowing on top of it. The tracker was sending me back again, but I decided to run around the island, killing the strong enemies and trying to keep away from a huge monster that was parading in front of it (a world boss?). I kept trying to climb the steep rocks and finally found a place where I could. And then, finally on top, I found it: there was a holocron! 

Now I'm usually not into touching strange glowy objects, but my game character apparently thought differently, and luckily in games it's a good thing. +1 Aim! (Not that I think Aim actually does something for a jedi knight, but ah well...)

The holocron contained information about the history of space travel. If you discover what it has to do with aiming, I'll give you a cookie:

For centuries, safe and reliable travel through hyperspace had been the biggest obstacle to galactic exploration. Finally, Corellian scientists managed to perfect hyperdrive technology on par with that of the ancient Rakata, allowing travel between the Core Worlds in mere days. Joined by trade and renewed communication channels, the Core Worlds signed an accord and united as the first Galactic Republic. The newborn Republic began exploration of hyperspace routes in earnest, supported by daring Duros scouts and eventually established the Perlemian Trade Route. This route connected Coruscant to many worlds, including Ossus, where the Jedi Order's enclave had been established centuries before (...). 


On another note, I watched the video the developers released on their upcoming UI element customization system, and it's looking good! I always found the UI in SWTOR very annoying: changing your skill bars is very confusing (only extensive trial and error will teach you), you have to do it all over again for each character, and you are only allowed to have two windows open at a time, without being able to drag them around (one window would always block your message box). I would describe the total as poorly designed. It was about time, but it looks like they now made a plan to fix it, and they made work of it too! All aspects I just moaned about seem to have been taken care of. You can check the official video (with background story from an interface dev who reads aloud from a screen behind you, creating the eerie illusion that he's looking through you) at:

Now we only have to wait until we actually get update 1.2, whenever that will be.

Below an unofficial vid showing all UI options. I sort of get a headache from looking at all those colours, but hopefully it will make more sense in-game.