WoW – Level Cap At Last!

I haven’t mentioned Bragtoberfest yet because a) I haven’t really had anything to brag about and b) I’m not a very braggy sort of person to begin with. I’ve never been one of those people that parade around banks riding high-end mounts and wearing raid gear to make everyone jealous. I usually wear rag-tag outfits that don’t match.

But this is undoubtedly the braggiest thing I will accomplish this month so: I dinged 90 in WoW! First time I’ve gotten to the level cap in WoW since I started in 2006!

The Rift server Wolfsbane was down for some mysterious reason this morning, so I jumped into WoW for a bit. I had roughly half a level to go, so I spent roughly 35 seconds on some Krasarang Wilds quests and made it to 90 while killing some random mob.

(I’m kidding. Leveling in WoW is super fast, but in reality it was more like 45-50 seconds. Ha! Still kidding. I actually don’t know how long it took but it couldn’t possibly have been more than a half hour to get half a level with the help of rested experience.)

Thoroughly unimpressive screenshot of the Level 90 milestone.

Thoroughly unimpressive screenshot of the Level 90 milestone.

It would be nice if the screen would do something more interesting when you gain a level. Because screenshots of leveling look quite bland. At least that was one thing WildStar was good at. The entire screen filled with the “ding” message so it would make a great screenshot.

You may or may not notice from that screenshot that I am not running a single addon for WoW right now. Weird, huh? I would like to say that the interface changes Blizzard made in 6.0.2 make addons much less necessary, but um, yeah, not so much. WoW still lags far, far behind the curve in basic quality-of-life.

I also noticed that my Aspect of the Hawk was gone, too. The class changes that Blizzard makes seem entirely random sometimes.

So yay! I guess I can do endgame stuff now! For like, half a month. Although honestly I never wanted to do endgame stuff with my hunter. I’d rather be using my mage, who is my second-highest level character now at somewhere around 68. I wonder if I can get him to 90 in dungeons before Draenor launches.

Ping-Ponging My Way To Nightmare Tide

I took a little break from ArcheAge and it turned into an unintentional gaming ping-ping-a-thon. Don’t worry, I still log into ArcheAge to gather the fruit from my trees a couple times a day. Also, I finally destroyed my Scarecrow Garden to make a Farmer’s Workbench. I hated to do it, though. I wish I could rotate my house to face a different direction.

FFXIV

First I dropped back into Final Fantasy XIV again because I had an active subscription. I didn’t really have a goal but it turned out that there was a Halloween event going on so I went through that quest line. Seasonal events in FFXIV are very quick and easy, so it didn’t take more than an hour and I ended up with some neat-looking scary barding for my Chocobo. (I think it’s the only barding I’ve gotten so far.) The rewards this year were far better than the silly ghost costume we got last year.

Speaking of FFXIV, an upcoming expansion and nailing consistently high-quality content every quarter reaffirms my belief that FFXIV is the best subscription game to have right now, if you have to pick just one.

WoW

Then I went and got 3 months of subscription for WoW so I could take a look at 6.0.2 and be ready for Draenor. My night elf looked only slightly different, but when he runs around now he sort of hops spryly instead of what he used to do, which looked a bit like someone running with scuba flippers on their feet (or maybe clown shoes). If I hadn’t known that they changed the models, I might not have even noticed it was different. It’s too bad they couldn’t up-res the textures on the armor, though.

My main hunter was 88 when I left him, so I quested around in Krasarang Wilds until I reached 89. (Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long.) Right away I noticed that my Serpent Sting DoT was gone, which caused some confusion for a while. I didn’t realize they were making class changes in this patch. Not that it was a big deal or anything since I can still mow through anything while questing. (Usually I don’t even have to do anything; my pet can handle everything by himself.) But I’m not sure what I’m supposed to use for a DoT now. I’ve never taken the time to “learn my rotations” with my hunter since it doesn’t matter a whit while questing.

Anyway the point is that I only have one more level to go before I get my hunter to level 90. I still haven’t bought the expansion yet, though. But I probably will. Probably.

Rift

Lastly, it came as a total surprise to me that Rift’s Nightmare Tide dropped! It shouldn’t have been a surprise, because I knew it was coming. It’s just that I didn’t realize that The Day was actually upon us. October has been flying by apparently.

I panicked at first because I thought that I wouldn’t be able to buy any of the Collector’s Editions any more, but thankfully they were still available. I logged in first to verify that buying one would be a good decision (the items cost a ton of some currency I didn’t have), then I went ahead and bought the $49 starter pack. I debated getting the $25 one, because I don’t actually need an insta-60 boost (I already have two level 60s), but it might be handy to boost my alt rogue or cleric from 50 to 60, and anyway I wanted to reward Trion for making new content.

Nice landscapes to look at.

Nice aquarium, but where are the fish?

So far I’m enjoying it. It’s nothing radically different, so if you didn’t like Rift before, you probably still won’t like it. I’m starting out with my Mage, who has always been my main, and I think I might create a new build with a mixture of Harbinger and Arbiter to see if I can make an even more indestructible soloing build. The mobs in the first new zone actually hit kind of hard compared to the level 60s in, say, Hailol, so it’s a good thing they gave us more health.

The Minions are nothing like what I was expecting. Somehow I had it in my head they would be similar to Battle Pets, but it’s not even close. It reminds me more of gathering resources in Star Wars The Old Republic. It’s also like the adventures you can send your retainers on in FFXIV. That is, you task your minion to do stuff and then wait for him to complete it. When he gets back, he’ll gain some experience and presumably he’ll bring you cool stuff. (I haven’t seen any yet, though.)

Now that Nightmare Tide is out, Rift is probably what I’ll be playing for a couple weeks. It’s too bad more people don’t play it. A game like ArcheAge, to me, can be played with a basically empty server, but Rift is much better when there are a lot of people on the servers to gather together for Rifts and Instant Adventures and Zone Events. So all you people complaining about the ganking in ArcheAge, go play Rift!

ArcheAge – What’s Wrong With It

I feel like I’ve been giving the impression that ArcheAge is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it isn’t all sunshine and roses. I’m mainly playing it just because “it’s the new thing.” And I do enjoy the fact that you can progress by doing “non-standard” MMO things. But pretty soon, Rift’s Nightmare Tide is going to be “the new thing,” and then a bit later, Warlords of Draenor is going to be “the new thing.” Anyway, here are some things I don’t like about ArcheAge.

Flying around in an invisible glider.

The invisible glider. You will believe a man can fly.

I’ve said many times before that the questing is average at best. Actually that’s being kind. It’s terrible. I have never played another MMO where I have had so little interest in reading anything the NPCs have to say. (Admittedly, perhaps it’s because I was conditioned to ignore them from way back when I experimented with the Russian version.) I feel bad saying that because most of what Trion did to the game was translate all the NPC dialog, and I generally like what Trion does with their games. All in all, the questing is probably my least favorite thing to do in ArcheAge. I only turn to it when I have nothing else to do. In many ways, it’s superfluous anyway because I feel like I get just as much experience progression from commerce activities.

In many areas, ArcheAge doesn’t seem to be “finished.” There are so many places that you can visit that are essentially empty. There are no monsters, no NPCs, no houses, no ruins, no nothing. Just empty landscape. It might as well have a big sign on it that says, “This part is still under construction. Come back later.” These empty areas are often not very far away from the main roads, either. So exploring the terrain turns out to be a bit pointless. All you’re likely to find out in the wilderness is other players trying to hide things, which is not very interesting to me.

Wouldn't it be great if we could put houses on all that empty land at least?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could at least put houses on all that empty land? Or maybe find a chest with cool stuff in it?

Empty, empty space.

More empty, empty space. So much space that could have had houses or mobs or just about anything on them.

Some places in ArcheAge quite literally have an "under construction" sign on them.

Once, I came across a place that quite literally had an “under construction” sign on it.

I find the trial system to be a bit of a joke. It does nothing to deter criminal behavior. If anything, it incentivizes people to behave badly so they can appear in court and have a big public forum for their buffoonery. In other words, people seem to want to be caught. To me, there should be more incentive to avoid being caught for it to have any kind deterring effect on anti-social behavior. Being sentenced to jail for a handful of minutes is not exactly a hardship. It should deduct levels of experience or something. Otherwise why bother having it in the game.

The graphics and animation quality of ArcheAge are sadly not up to the standards of today. Technologically, it looks and feels like a game from five years ago. Rift, Guild Wars 2, Neverwinter, WildStar, Elder Scrolls Online, and definitely Final Fantasy XIV all have far superior game engines, in my opinion.

One of many texture problems that you may encounter in ArcheAge.

One of many annoying texture problems that you may encounter in ArcheAge.

Bots and hacks are a problem in ArcheAge, although for me personally they haven’t yet affected my gameplay. I actually don’t see very many of them out in the world, but then I don’t spend any time looking for them, and I play on one of the less popular servers. (Calleil doesn’t even have a subreddit!) I’m not one of those players that “plays the auction house” so it’s not a big deal to me if bots ruin the economy. Honestly I don’t even know what a “ruined economy” looks like. Economics is a baffling, un-scientific subject to me so it mostly goes over my head. I’ve heard about hacks in PvP, too, but they could just be ordinary exploits. Every MMO that has PvP in it has exploits, and people flock to them.

It seems like everyone else will be driven away by the PvP, but that part hasn’t bothered me much. It’s the things above that will eventually cause me to stop playing. That and the fact that after a certain point, there isn’t much of anything to do except make more and more gold.

ArcheAge – PvE After Level 30

I’ve been dinged in comments for not having experienced the PvE game after level 30 and misleading everyone about ArcheAge. While the game might be rosey for people under level 30, they say, the “real” game begins at 30, and after that milestone, they say, then the game turns into a PvP gankfest.

Well as of this post I’m level 40, and I’ve spent many hours questing in Cinderstone Moor and Halcyona, and sailing around on the ocean. Naturally, I don’t think to take screenshots while I’m in a PvP situation, so I have nothing to illustrate this post.

On Land

It’s true that the PvE game does change after level 30. The quests take you into zones where it may no longer be safe to ignore your fellow players.

But in my experience so far, I’d hardly call it a gankfest.

Once in Cinderstone Moor I was accosted by a couple of “robbers.” I was out by myself in a crater, and a pair of folks rode up and demanded I pay them. I ignored them, because that’s a silly demand, and then they killed me. It was 2 on 1 so that was pretty inevitable regardless of levels. After that I rage quitted and ran to the Trion forums to post a nasty note about how awful the ganking is in ArcheAge. Just kidding. I actually respawned and continued my day with a shrug. (I did a different quest for a while first, though, and re-thought the idea of wandering too far away from population centers by myself.) That was the sum total of the questing trouble I encountered in the whole Cinderstone Moor zone.

Let me reiterate that unless you’re carrying a trade pack, there is absolutely no reason to fear death in ArcheAge. Particularly a PvP death, because you lose no experience or even health. All you have to do is run back to where you died. Or run somewhere else. Exactly the same as if a PvE mob killed you.

For me, I think of dangerous enemy players as elite world bosses wandering around the landscape and treat them accordingly. You wouldn’t run up to a boss that’s twenty levels higher than you, so you should also steer clear of reds or purples if you see them. Keeping your eyes peeled and watching your surroundings actually adds a little bit of mystery and excitement to the otherwise relatively dull questing grind.

But I get that not everyone wants questing to be exciting. I know all too well that sometimes you just want to mindlessly tune out everything and blindly kill mobs until you reach a zen-like state of meditation and calm. (This week I am in exactly that mood.) If that’s the questing mood you’re in then yeah you might want to steer clear of contested zones, or play a different game for a while.

Keep in mind, though, that the contested zones also have occasional Peace Times. During Peace Time, which lasts 3 or 4 hours I believe, it’s completely safe to quest. All those reds wandering around nearby won’t attack you, and you won’t attack them, because you can’t target them. Peace Times appear to occur at roughly the same time every day, too. For example, during my evening play time, the Halcyona zone is usually in Peace Time.

Even if you’re questing in a contested zone, there are a few things you can do to make yourself less of a target. One is to stay close to others, as I alluded to above. If you’re one of those people who actually has gaming friends, if you quest in a group you’ll probably be completely safe. Gankers usually look for individuals to target. Another is to make sure you keep your health topped off as much as possible. Gankers will look for somebody with low health. I would also suggest not engaging any mobs if you see anyone standing around suspiciously nearby. They might be waiting to take you out while you’re busy.

At Sea

The ocean is a different story. From my experience so far, nobody is your friend on the ocean. If you see someone, you should be prepared to turn and run, or fight them if you’re able. Reds will almost always turn to follow you, and sometimes greens will, too. They tend to gather around ports and trade destinations, and roam up and down the coastlines.

Ocean thugs are probably looking for trade packs, so they might lose interest if they discover you don’t have one. But some people will attack anyone. Once I sailed too close to another Harpoon Clipper and they snagged me. Inexpicably, they said, “JOIN US OR DIE.” I don’t know if they were role-playing or joking or what, because threatening to kill me in a game with no death penalty doesn’t carry a lot of weight with me. I was thinking, “Um, okay, sure go ahead and kill me then.” But I kept sailing and swerving back and forth and I got away from them. They never actually attacked me so I guess they were just messing around. Maybe they lost interest and detached or the harpoon timed out. I don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to use a harpoon yet so I don’t know how it works.

So don’t expect to have much of a relaxing time on the ocean, unless you go way far out of the way of everyone. I personally can’t imagine how people fishing from a boat wouldn’t get accosted all the time. But then the ocean is really big, so unless you’re on a popular trading route, you might never be found. (Strangely, the ocean is not very deep, though.)

ArcheAge – Calleil Diary, Water-Faring Days

Previously on Calleil Diary: First Five Days, Next Four Days.

Calleil Day 10, Tuesday

After I got home from work, I built my Harpoon Clipper ship! It took about 1700 Labor in total, by the way, which was just about everything I had at the time. Oh also I believe it cost 10 gold just to set up the dry dock, which was an unexpected cost. The order of packs you need to use is Lumber, Iron, then Fabric. And then for some reason there are three steps of simply spending 25 Labor Points each.

Building my Clipper at dry dock.

Building my Clipper at dry dock.

I sailed around Feuille Sound for a while looking at the water, wondering what to do. I passed a few blood stains but didn’t encounter any people and hardly any beasts. The clipper wasn’t as fast as I thought it would be, but it sure beats a rowboat. I hope it sails at the same speed with a trade pack. Anyway now I can troll the coastline looking for people with trade packs in rowboats like everyone else did in Alpha. (Actually I’d be more likely to defend the rowboat people from others if I saw somebody accosting them, but I probably need to level up to 50 before I try anything like that.)

Unfortunately now that I have a Clipper I feel like I’m “finished” with ArcheAge. Once you have a farm, a house, and a boat, you’ve got the basics covered. I have about 100 gold but I don’t really have anything to buy. And leveling to 50 is not all that appealing because I haven’t heard of anything to do at 50 except PvP. I don’t even think there are any dungeons or raids at 50. At least I’ve never heard anyone talk about them.

Anyway it’s much, much more challenging to “level up” your crafting proficiency. You can get your class up to 50 in a week, but it looks like it will take years to get your crafting proficiencies up to the maximum levels. So I guess I will do Blue Salt Brotherhood quests for a while and grow different things.

Calleil Day 11, Wednesday

Long work day, so I didn’t do much that was productive. I think I completed one Blue Salt Brotherhood quest.

But I did get out my Clipper and sail around for a while, and I learned a few things. Firstly, the ocean is HUGE. By which I mean the space between the Eastern and Western continents and the Northern continent. I didn’t encounter a soul in that vast space, and it seems like a chance encounter would be pretty rare. Even if there was a chance encounter between two players, both of you would probably be AFK.

Sailing on the open sea.

Sailing on the open, empty sea.

Secondly, it’s easy to avoid the sea creatures in a Clipper. You can outrun the big Jellyfish and smaller Seabugs. If you sail straight through a bunch of Seabugs, some of them will jump up on your boat and attack you, but they will eventually disengage if you keep sailing away from them. They hit for a decent amount of damage, though, so I wouldn’t recommend sailing straight through them.

Thirdly, there are the people you might encounter on the ocean. Most of these people are not friendly. I had a quest to discover Freedich Island which is just about smack in the middle of the ocean. So that was my first task. I sailed up there without incident and got close enough to fulfill the quest log. As far as I could tell, there were no followup quests after that. But I disembarked and wandered around to see what was actually on the little island. The answer is almost nothing except a trade run destination in the center, and of course all the players hanging out there to defend it. I didn’t get close enough to actually talk to any of the NPCs, because I got killed by some red dudes pretty quick.

And that’s when I learned the penalty for dying in PvP: Absolutely nothing! If you die to a PvE mob, you lose a little bit of experience and you have to pray to the priestess and spend some Labor Points to get it back, and also wait for your stats to recharge. If another player kills you, you don’t lose any experience and your stats are right back at full. Wow. Talk about a carebear PvP game. :) No wonder people like it so much. You can just throw yourself into anything with zero risk. (Unless you’re carrying a trade pack, of course. See below.)

(I haven’t yet learned if you gain anything for killing another player, other than bragging rights. Honor points I guess but I have no idea what they’re for. Probably buying stuff that makes you better at killing people.)

So I got back on my boat and sailed around some more. I sailed all the way up to the Auroria continent, which took forever. I approached the coast of Nuimari, and then the game said I had gone into an area that wasn’t complete and promptly teleported me all the way back down to Freedich Island. Nice. That’s when the realization that the Northern Continent hasn’t yet been released sunk in. Not sure what they’re waiting for. Anyway I sailed back down to Nuia without incident.

After that I did a relaxing donkey trade run from Gweonid down to Two Crowns. (Out on the ocean I felt like I had to constantly scan my surroundings for threats. On a donkey, there’s nothing to worry about. Well, technically not nothing but it’s like worrying about getting struck by lightning or hit by a meteorite.) While I was on the dock in Two Crowns, I decided to see how long it would take me to sail back, thinking that perhaps I could cut some time off this particular trade run by using the ocean.

To make a long story short, it is faster, but the risk is considerably higher. I passed two other Clippers on the boat trip from Two Crowns up around the peninsula of Cinderstone Moor, and into the Fueille Sound. Both of them immediately turned to follow me as soon as they saw me. The first one was someone of my own faction who doggedly pursued me all the way around Cinderstone Moor. Fortunately both our ships had the same speed, so we stayed roughly the same distance apart the entire time. (I can’t understand how that was fun for him, but whatever.)

The second Clipper I encountered was inside Fueille Sound, and this boat was red and obviously looking for victims. Again, he wasn’t able to catch up to me until another Clipper happened to come sailing across my path, forcing me to turn to avoid hitting him broadside. I did a complete circle and of course my pursuer caught up to me, at which point I noticed there were two of them on the boat. I thought I was going to die, but thankfully they bungled the boarding process. One of them started firing arrows at me and tried to jump on my boat, but he fell in the water. The other guy stepped away from the steering wheel and tried to come after me too, but I just kept sailing. I lost about 25% of my health but got away from them again while they scrambled to get back on their boat. I think they lost interest after that because I didn’t have a trade pack.

So I guess the lesson I learned is that while you’re actually on the ocean and sailing at full speed in a Clipper, you’re relatively safe from getting killed and losing a trade pack. But when you arrive at your destination and somebody is still chasing you, you’re going to be pretty vulnerable getting off of your boat. Still, even with the relative safety of the ocean, I think I’m going to invest in whatever that fuel is that gives you a speed boost, just in case. If I can find it.

Calleil Day 12, Thursday

Decided to experiment with carrying trade packs on my Clipper. First of all I can report that trade packs do not slow down Clippers in any way, which is awesome.

Taking a trade pack out for a spin.

Taking a trade pack out for a spin.

Second of all, as I suspected, Clippers do not in any way help with your safety once you arrive at your destination. I went to Austera in the Solis Penninsula, the same trade run destination that you have for the Scarecrow Farm quest, to see 1) How long it would take by clipper and 2) How much gold it would make. Unfortunately as soon as I got off my boat and started up the stairs I spied not one but three red dudes hanging around there on the pier coming down to meet me. At that point there’s not much you can do. I couldn’t have gotten back on my boat fast enough to get away, and I certainly can’t defeat 3 opponents. I only targeted one of them but he was 5 levels higher than me, so naturally I didn’t live very long and lost my trade pack. I didn’t care about losing that money but it sucked that I didn’t get to see how much the Trader would have paid for it. It probably doesn’t matter because of the high risk factor anyway.

By the way, it took me about 20 minutes to get from Gweonid to the ocean by donkey and then about another 15 minutes to sail down to Austera.

Other than boating around for the fun of it, I don’t have any pressing goals right now. I sort-of kind-of want to build a Farm Cart just so I have one, but I feel like finding a Thunderstruck Log is going to be a pain. Other than that I’m just doing those Blue Salt Brotherhood farming quests and occasionally heading back out to Cinderstone Moor to level.

ArcheAge – Calleil Diary, Next Four Days

Continuing my diary of ArcheAge on Calleil, the newest, emptiest North American server. To make a long story short, it looks like most of the land in safe zones was gone about a week after the new server came up. So if they start a new server and you want some good land, get ready to sprint for it. (The really prime spots.. those cool lone houses up on hills..  are probably gone within 24 hours. A really dedicated player can probably collect the 15 Gilda Stars from the main questline to buy a house design in under 2 hours.)

Calleil Day 6, Friday

Morning. Continued harvesting grapes and goose feathers. Placed some geese and grapevines on public land to increase yield. Completed a bunch of Dyed Feather trade runs for 8 gold each. Ran out of Labor Points, so I got a 1000-point Worker’s Compensation potion with 25 of my 75 Loyalty Points. (Nothing else in the Loyalty Store appeals to me anyway.) Spent some time doing plain old questing since that doesn’t cost labor and sometimes in ArcheAge all you can do is wait.

Afternoon. More Dyed Feather trade runs. I lost count of how many but I should have tons of gold rolling in throughout Day 7.

Evening. Bought 100 lumber for a mere 40 gold on the auction house! (Out of the 42 gold I had at that point.) I didn’t think I was going to get my Scarecrow Farm built until Day 7 but this surprise bargain made it possible a day early.

UPDATE 10/13: Now, it is quite common to find 100 Lumber on the auction house for 15 gold or less. Which is great if you’re building houses but awful if you’re growing trees for money. I stopped bothering.

Carrying a lumber pack to use on my Scarecrow Farm.

Carrying a lumber pack on my trusty donkey to finish up my Scarecrow Farm.

Once the Scarecrow Farm was built, production shifted from goose feathers and grapes to lumber for the house. Planted five Hornbeam trees in the public nursery in White Arden and a few Yews on my garden. Yews yield less lumber but they mature in 4 hours, as opposed to the Aspens which mature in 10 hours. So my theory is that if you’re going to be around, you might get more lumber from two batches of Yews than one batch of Aspens. But if you’re going to be away, say, sleeping, then the Aspens are the better choice.

The Scarecrow Farm is up and running. You can fit a mind-boggling SIXTEEN aspen trees on it!

The Scarecrow Farm is up and running. You can fit a mind-boggling SIXTEEN Aspen Trees on it!

I realize now that one thing Labor Points do is even the playing field a little bit between people who have all day to play and people who can only play in the evenings. I don’t know if that was intentional or just a happy side effect, but it’s really easy to use up 5,000 Labor Points if you spend a lot of time playing. Back in Alpha, I never thought I would ever use up 5,000 Labor Points, but it doesn’t take long when you’re building houses. If you just play for a couple of hours a day, you’ll never have to worry about your spending, but if you play all day, you might have to ration them a bit.

Calleil Day 7, Saturday

A leisurely day. Planted a whopping 20 Aspen trees on my land and another 5 Hornwood trees in the public nursery. It is shocking how big a 16×16 farm is compared to the 8×8 garden. Crafted 100 Stone Blocks into a Stone Pack to build the second part of my house. Only a lumber pack left and the house will be complete. Making 100 Stock Blocks cost me 500 Labor Points, so I was left with less than 100. That meant spending most of the day questing and leveling. Also collecting gold in the mail from Day 6’s trade runs.

The hard part about planting trees in a public nursery is finding your trees again.

The hardest part about planting trees in a public nursery is finding your trees again. That little blue-white glowing shaft points out my tree.

Finally figured out the optimum opening combo for my “Dawncaller” class (Battlerage-Defense-Songcraft): Charge, followed by Shield Slam, followed by Triple Slash, followed by Whirlwind Slash. That would probably apply to any Battlerage-Defense class wielding a shield. I don’t usually play a lot of sword-and-board classes but I’m digging smashing mobs in the face with this one.

In the evening I harvested all my Aspen Trees and re-planted more. This left me with more than 300 logs, which is enough to put together a Lumber Pack to finish my house, but I wanted to wait until I regenerated some more Labor Points first.

I grew my Wolfhound Battle Pet outside my house. Unfortunately I thought it required regular milk and bought a bunch on the auction house. Then, after placing the pup, I realized it was the wrong kind of milk and I had to run all the way back down to where I got it from to get “special” milk from the cows near where you receive the wolfhound as a quest reward. Anyway, I rescued my ailing pup and he grew up fine. I named him Corporeal to protest all the other white wolfhounds named Ghost.

Me and my wolfhoud hanging out at the beach.

Me and my wolfhound hanging out at the beach.

I jumped into the Sharpwind Mines at level 27 and killed enough of the Blackbeard Thieves to finally collect the 8 pieces of stuff I needed to make that last piece of that set of gear you collect all throughout the Dewstone Plains. It was tough to solo the level 19 elite mobs at 27 but manageable with my sword-and-board class. I don’t know why I did this because I can’t wear that gear any more, but it bugged me that I didn’t have the complete set.

Tackling the Blackbeard Thieves in Sharpwind Mines for their armor.

Tackling the Blackbeard Thieves in Sharpwind Mines for their armor.

At the end of the day, I reached level 28, and ended up with almost 80 gold. (Of course I blew 10 of it on the wrong milk, but I’m hoping to make that back by re-selling it.)

Calleil Day 8, Sunday

Finished building my house in the morning. But I’m more interested in the land around the house than the building itself. It’s kind of ridiculous how much land you get to plant on with the garden, a farm, and the little bit of land surrounding a house. It actually costs quite a significant chunk of money to buy the seeds and saplings to fill up all that property, and then quite a chunk of Labor Points to harvest them. Since I don’t need lumber for a little while, I planted a bunch of Barley and Rye in an effort to work on making Breads and Soups.

My first house! Since I'm not much into housing, it will probably remain mostly empty.

My first ArcheAge house! Since I’m not much into housing, it will probably remain empty.

Discovered that you don’t actually have to water plants. I’ve always assumed it was required, but I discovered that it only accelerates the growth process. Has it always been like that? I seem to remember plants would wilt and die if you didn’t water them. Maybe I’m imagining that.

Otherwise spent most of the day questing. Completed three donkey trade runs from Gweonid to Two Crowns. Tried making Apple Pies instead of Dyed Feathers but they still made the exact same 8 gold and change. So far 8 gold is the best I’ve been able to do on a trade run through safe lands. Still, it seems like the resources for Apple Pies are a little easier to collect.

Shiny new plate armor which looks rather bad on a skinny male elf.

Shiny new plate armor which looks rather bad on a skinny male elf.

Reached level 30. Now maybe I’ll get to see all that ganking I hear about but never actually see. Since I’m almost out of safe zones, I assume my questing will soon take me into unsafe territory. I also switched my gear from leather to plate because I wasn’t happy with the damage I was taking. My character’s arms look pitifully unmuscular in plate.

Calleil Day 9, Monday

Kind of a slow day. Did the Elf quest line end with the king in Two Crowns? From there it said something about re-taking Auroria, which is the PvP continent up north. Surely they don’t expect me to go up there next, do they? :) I assumed I would be heading to places like Cinderstone Moor or Halcyona.

My next crafting goal is to build a Harpoon Clipper, which requires 50 Gilda Stars, 1 Lumber Pack, 1 Iron Ore Pack, and 1 Fabric Pack. That translates into 300 Lumber, 300 Iron Ore, and 1,000 Cotton (and some 1,500 Labor or more to process it all). I had the Iron Ore and some of the Lumber already so Day 9 was a Cotton-planting day.

Cotton for the fabric of my soon-to-be-built Clipper.

Cotton for the fabric of my soon-to-be-built Clipper.

I figure I should be able to build my Clipper on Day 10 or 11. Once I have the Clipper I’ll be able to explore around the oceans and up around Auroria with a little less chance of dying instantly. Maybe I’ll be able to look into trading across the sea, too. But only if it’s fairly low-risk. I’ll have to do some trial runs to gauge my success rate.

My donkey dinged level 20 so I can use the carrot-stick ability and go 30% faster for one minute at a time. When combined with the Songcraft Quickstep ability, donkeys can put on an impressive burst of speed for a short time. I lost track of how many carrots it takes to spur a donkey continuously from Gweonid to Two Crowns but I would guess somewhere around 20 to 30. Fortunately carrots are super-quick to plant and grow.

Heading into the dreaded warzone of Cinderstone Moor.

Heading into the dreaded warzone of Cinderstone Moor. Also the first and only cloak I’ve received as a quest reward.

The non-Elf quests did indeed lead me to Cinderstone Moor, the first “dangerous” zone I’ll be doing quests in. After a couple of hours questing in prime time, I still wasn’t ganked or inhibited in any way. Although I did see a lot of blood stains on the ground. And I think I saw a pair of gatherers kill someone to get to an iron node, though I didn’t actually see the deed. I’m not sure what happened actually. These two guys in a guild passed by me with green names and then a minute later I saw them with purple names (meaning they had attacked someone of their own faction), and I saw that someone had died in the log between the two sightings.

There’s a Specialty Workbench fairly close to the entrance to Cinderstone Moor so I’ll be interested to see if I can make any better profits donkey-running from there back up to Gweonid or Solzreed.

Toward the end of the day I had over 1,000 Cotton so I switched back to Aspens to finish out the 300 Lumber I need for the Clipper. My character was level 32 at the end of the day with somewhere around 700 Labor Points remaining. Just need to get this Clipper built and then I won’t need to use them up so fast.

ArcheAge – Calleil Diary, First Five Days

(Updated with the rest of the screenshots I meant to include.)

If memory serves, Trion brought up the NA Calleil server on Sunday afternoon (Eastern time). Since the queues on Naima were horrible at the time, and there was little or no chance that I would ever find a place for a house or farm there anyway, I decided that I would make a character on Calleil to see how fast property disappeared.

I wasn't the only one who thought it might be a good idea to start on a new server.

I wasn’t the only one who thought it might be a good idea to start on a new server.

This time I made an elf. I don’t know why. I really can’t stand the male elf model. I tried to make him look like a hideous vampire creature with a disfigured face. Of course, from the back, he looks like any other elf: Lanky and awkward.

Calleil Day 1, Sunday.

Character created around 8 PM. Rushed to around level 12 which took maybe an hour.

All by myself out here in the corner at the start of Day 2.

All by myself out here in the corner. Kind of surreal.

Calleil Day 2, Monday.

In the morning, placed a Scarecrow Garden in the corner of a field in Lilyut. Tried to situate it so that I could later replace it with a 16×16 garden.

1 PM, placed a stone house next to the garden, bought with Gilda earned from main storyline quests. I honestly don’t care about having a house; I just wanted to place it in such a way that it would block anyone else from interfering with my plans to replace my garden with a 16×16 farm later. Sadly there was still a way someone could block me on the other side, though.

By the way, my personal philosophy is that building stone houses will be easier than building wooden houses. I find it much easier and faster to wander around collecting raw stone than to grow trees for lumber. Especially on a relatively quiet server.

8 PM, began first trade run quest from Solzreed to Memoria. The housing space around the Solzreed Specialty Workbench was shockingly empty.

It's extremely weird to walk across empty fields in a house zone these days.

It’s extremely weird to walk across empty fields in a housing zone these days. I should be weaving around houses and gardens here.

Calleil Day 3, Tuesday.

When I got home from work I completed the second two trade run quests. I was able to do them faster because I bought the necessary olives on the auction house instead of waiting forever to grow them. (Those olive trees take a long time to grow.)

But of course, someone planted a garden in the exact spot that would prevent me from ever replacing my 8×8 garden with a 16×16 farm. So I demolished my house because I knew I couldn’t stay there. The space around my garden was starting to get more crowded with houses anyway.

After I demolished my house because of that idiot who planted a garden next to mine.

After I demolished my house. It’s getting crowded around here anyway.

Calleil Day 4, Wednesday.

Harvested Narcissuses’s [sic] in the morning and evening for the fourth trade run quest. Also looked for a new place to move, and found a nice spot in Dewstone Plains. Placed my house, then later moved my garden down there next to my house. It’s situated in a little alcove so nobody can place a garden directly next to mine. Anti-social behavior completed!

Calleil Day 5, Thursday.

9 AM. Nerve-wracking Austera trade run quest across the ocean completed with a rowboat. No players encountered, sea monster seen on horizon but avoided, seabugs seen but avoided. Seemed a lot easier than it was in alpha. Received 16×16 Scarecrow Farm design. (Sold my pack for an inconsequential 1 Gilda Star since they weren’t paying gold.)

Luckily, this was the closest I ever came to danger on the way to Austera.

Luckily, this was the closest I ever came to danger on the way to Austera.

Placed Scarecrow Farm in Dewstone Plains next to my unfinished house. Didn’t realize I needed a whole Lumber Pack to build it though. That will have to wait for a while. Very happy with my property placement. It’s not “prime real estate” but I like it much better than what I got on Naima. And I have a garden, house, and farm all together. Somehow I’ll have to wrangle up another garden design to make a farmer’s workbench, though. Not sure how to accomplish that. I guess I’ll have to buy one from somebody or find one on the auction house. I don’t think there’s any way to craft or earn another one.

Garden on the left, House in the middle, Farm on the right.

Garden on the left, House in the middle, Farm on the right.

11 AM. Four hour maintenance began just before I completed a Dyed Feather trade run from Gweonid to Two Crowns, hoping for 6 gold or more. (It was over 6 gold at Marianople so I wanted to see what it would be in the next zone.) I’m hopeful that I can earn gold a bit at a time and buy lumber on the auction house faster than I can actually grow trees and harvest them. I think I saw that 100 lumber was around 60 gold.

2 PM. Maintenance over. Completed trade run from Gweonid to Two Crowns for 8 gold. Not bad for riding a donkey from one place to another. Eight of those runs should get me the lumber I need for my Scarecrow Farm, then maybe I’ll be able to really ramp up production on Day 6.

Calleil Dyed Feather Gold

9 PM. Completed the first step of building my house by crafting and using a stone pack, which requires 100 stone blocks, which requires some 300 raw stone. Two more steps to go: 100 more stone blocks and then 100 lumber. Also completed a few more Dyed Feather trade runs at 8 gold each. Sadly it takes 22 hours to receive payment for each trade run so I won’t see that money until Day 6.

Hammering in the first batch of stone for the house.

Hammering in the first batch of stone for the house.

Conclusion

Based on my experience with observing real estate in the first five days of Calleil, I don’t think Trion needs to add many more North American servers, if any. There are still going to be plenty of places to put down a garden even on Day 6. But on Naima, I had a hard time finding a spot on the second day. Basically I think they did the right thing by sticking to their guns and not adding tons of servers. Maybe a month from now they might consider adding one or two more, but right now I don’t think it’s necessary.

ArcheAge – Head Started

ArcheAge continues to top the list of most popular posts and search terms on my blog for some reason, so I feel like I should say something about the head start.

Suddenly player collision doesn't seem like such a great idea.

Suddenly player collision doesn’t seem like such a great idea. Make way! Coming through!

I played a bit over the weekend, but not as much as you might think. For one thing, I kept getting disconnected due to the persistent server issues, and for another, I didn’t particularly want to spend all of my time staring at a queue screen. (Eventually I figured out I could leave ArcheAge on the queue screen and fire up FFXIV at the same time.)

As it turns out, if you didn’t play within the first hour that the game was up, you lost out on your chance to get a good spot for your farm and/or house. And by “a good spot” I mean “any spot anywhere in the entire world.” I feel bad for anyone who comes in September 16 thinking they’re going to be able to do any farming quests. I can’t even imagine where they’ll be able to build. I guess they’ll have to sail up to Auroria and stake out some land on the permanent PvP continent. Good luck with that.

That used to be a place where you could put a house.

One of the many places you won’t be able to put your house. And this isn’t even a busy server.

I managed to grab a spot for my scarecrow down in the Dewstone Plains north of Royster’s Camp on the Naima server. (I had some designs on playing on EU Kyprosa but that server is slammed all the time right now.) I’m playing a human on the Western continent. Neither of the Eastern races appealed to me, which I guess makes me a racist.

By the way, even though ArcheAge has 50 million character creation options, I can’t help but notice that everyone still comes out looking basically the same. There are no body customizations at all, it’s all face customizations which you never actually get to see in the game. Maybe it’s just the males. The females have more hairstyles at least.

In the alpha I played a fairly plain Sorcerer-type build. This time I started out running an Occultism-Vitalism-Auramancy build which ends up as an “Edgewalker” whatever that is. I wanted something mobile with lots of crowd-control abilities, because, you know, PvP and stuff. That’s pretty much the entire philosophy of playing PvP in any MMO: Stun the other guy so he can’t attack you.

Hey horsie, you could help you know.

Hey horsie, you could help you know.

Unfortunately the Edgewalker is extremely defenseless against archers, which is probably what 99% of everyone in PvP is going to use. So I swapped out the Auromancy for Battlerage and presto, I have an instant gap-closer and can smash archers in the face with my staff. (Being able to melee with a staff and produce reasonable damage is one of the cool things about ArcheAge. I love using non-standard weapons.) Time will tell if it’s any good for PvP, but it works great against mobs.