Category Archives: Rift

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (August 7, 2014)

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchWelcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch and the first Geekwatch in 2014! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to Guild Wars 2 – and on occasion, other games.

If you have thought about trying out Trove in their alpha, but thought that paying 18.99€ for a game that you have not been able to try out first, then this deal may interest you: From now until August 10, you get alpha access for spending 4.99€. What’s especially nice about this deal is that you will get almost every of the milestones you can see listed on that page. You can read my first impressions here on the blog. My opinion about the game hasn’t changed since then and I do not regret spending money on it despite having free alpha access. If you need more information, have a look at gameplay videos on YouTube or Twitch. There is no NDA on Trove. :) If you still don’t want to spend any money on it, then watch their Reddit page, as they apparently always include a multi-use alpha key with their patch notes.

Rift has had another patch which revamped the auction house interface. For the most part, I love it! It now shows you suggestions for prices based on the sale history of items. This is a great feature, if you ask me, especially for players who do not “play the auction house” regularly and spend hours memorizing prices they have seen for various items. Unfortunately, they also increased the fee you pay for listing items. Artifacts used to be very cheap with a flat amount (I think it was based on a low percentage of the vendor price) you paid for listing them, but now it’s always based on how much gold you’re asking for. On the other hand, at least they will increase the time the items will be listed to 7 days. I always found 48 hours as the maximum amount to be much too short. For more information, this blog post may be useful.

And the last bit of news today – isn’t about Guild Wars 2 either. I wrote about that game yesterday already. :p No, the last bit of information is that WordPress has released a new feature last night. You can now “like” comments. For existing blogs, this feature is automatically disabled, so you need to manually enable it if you want your readers to be able to like comments. I have done so. So, if you’re ever here and see a comment that you like, feel free to hit that button!

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (June 25, 2014)

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchWelcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch and the first Geekwatch in 2014! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to Guild Wars 2 – and on occasion, other games.

I’m going to take a quick break from our summer break to post, because there have been two quite cool announcements today. For one, we finally heard something “official” about the next Rift expansion. We have already gotten the new crafting profession (Dream Weaver) as well as the four new souls and the PvP dimensions. But as far as I know, we hadn’t yet heard the name of the new expansion or what the new content will be about. A new producer’s letter was released today: The expansion is called “Nightmare Tide” and the new content will be free. There will also be new equipment slots which you will have to unlock on a per character basis by playing the game. They also announced a “digital edition” of Nightmare Tide with no further details. It will unlock those equipment slots for your account immediately. We will see what this means exactly, I guess, how much it costs, how difficult or time-consuming the unlocking process will be in the game and so on. For now, I’ll remain excited about the fact that they did announce their expansion and gave it a name and even said that it will be here “this year”. Hey, you never know… ;)

Let’s switch over to Guild Wars 2. By now, the whole Maguuma trailer is old news, I assume. But that’s not the news piece that I meant anyway. Guild Wars 2 now has a tumblr account as well. I had already seen that account before today’s announcement, but I really like what they are planning to do with it. It is not just another page where they mirror their news posts, etc. Instead, they want to use it to promote fan art! The good thing about tumblr is that you can submit your work to them. So, you won’t have to wait and hope for anybody at ArenaNet to spot your creations. Point them at your art instead! If tumblr is totally your thing, by the way, we are mirroring all our posts over there. ;)

And now, let me go back to stressing over the upcoming move. If all goes well, we will have uninterrupted internet access, at least! :)

The excitement of getting an expansion

MMO shelfIf you’re following Rift, you may have noticed that they’re handling their second expansion, Plane of Water, differently than they did the previous one or than what other MMO developers are usually doing: Instead of giving you everything at once, they are giving us the expansion piece by piece. The reason they stated is that they don’t want their players to wait until every last thing is done and release all features together, but instead, they want to give us the features when they’re ready. The first part was a new crafting profession, Dream Weaving, together with new dimensions. The profession mainly makes items for your dimensions and it can also craft the keys for the new dimensions. The second part was the PvP dimensions feature which got released with the last patch.

The next part will be the four new souls (something like “skill trees” for the non-Rift players) which we were told would arrive some time in May (but not late May!). I’m excited about that, because it means my warrior will get a healing soul and bookahnerk’s mage will get a tank soul. So, we can be an unconventional healer/tank duo!

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is really great to get those features as soon as they are done. I am slowly levelling up Dream Weaving and others are creating their first PvP dimensions. It gives us something to do and I have had those short moments of excitement when logging on after a patch knowing there will be something new in the game. But at the same time, I am not sure I really prefer it over the “traditional expansions”.

I still clearly and fondly remember my very first MMO expansion: World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade. Bookahnerk, his cousin, a friend and I drove to a city nearby for a midnight sale that a shop was having. We went out for dinner first, then went to that store. They had us wait in front and at first, I felt a bit silly. World of Warcraft was my first MMO and here we were, in front of a store, at night in cold January 2007, waiting for them to open the doors, so we can buy an expansion and it would be very late until we got back home. The employees of the store actually walked along the line and handed out free hot beverages (coffee at 11pm – smart idea! :p).

While waiting there, we started talking with some people behind us. As is usual, we first checked who played which faction (For the Horde!), then we talked about which servers we played on, which classes were our mains and so on. At some point, I had a look behind us as I had not paid attention to the line and I was shocked: The line that hadn’t looked too long in the beginning had grown huge. I had not been able to see the end of it. All those people were there only for one expansion? After they opened the doors, I think it took us 20 minutes until we finally got to buy our expansions.

After that, we still had about a one hour drive back home. I installed the expansion, downloaded another patch and created my blood elf mage at which point I fell into bed. But to be honest, it had not been about playing in the night. It had been about going there, meeting other players, and doing something with friends. This is something that I miss with the digital expansions only. But while it is a nice memory, this post isn’t about digital or physical expansions. It’s about the lack of an “all at once” expansion (or, in ArenaNet’s case, developers considering not doing an expansion at all).

The next morning, I was ready to get into the expansion. Finally! I did not even know where to start: Blood elf starting area with my mage or should I rather take my main character to the expansion region? Or did I actually want to make a short trip to Alliance side and see what the Draenei were all about? Did I want to check out the new crafting profession? There were so many things I wanted to see and check out! I felt the magic again that I had last experienced when I had first set foot into World of Warcraft. The feeling that I always get when I explore a new MMO for the first time.

And this is the reason why I’m sad that we’re not having this with Rift (and maybe Guild Wars 2 as well). As nice as it is getting expansion content piece by piece and not having to wait, it also takes away this magic moment of feeling like the game is brand new again.

Rift: Carnival companion picture gallery

The “Carnival of the Ascended” just went into its second week. This was originally meant to be the final week, but due to popular demand by players, Trion Worlds decided to extend the carnival by a week. This means that if you haven’t gotten enough prize tickets yet to get the rewards you want, there is still plenty of time left.

One Carnival Celebration Crate costs 150 prize tickets. If you do the weekly quest, which involves doing 50 carnival quests, you will get a crate as a reward. These crates can contain a companion. If you collect one of each kind, you will get Tito, another companion, as a reward. I initially didn’t want to complete the set, but then I got an item out of one of those crates which is worth quite a lot, so I could actually buy all the other companions of the auction house.

I find some of them plain ugly, to be honest. I like that not all companions in Rift are cute and cuddly, but that still doesn’t mean I’m a fan of such atrocities. ;) Anyway, I did not easily find pictures of some of them, so I didn’t know what I was getting until I had collected them and once you do that, they are bound to your character. Which is why I decided to make a screenshot gallery, in case others have the same issue and want to see what they are getting before buying or binding a companion.

Rift_Deadwater height

Deadwater at full height

I was most impressed with Deadwater. It does not look dead to me at all. ;) The pictures probably don’t do it enough justice. It really looks like it’s some kind of liquid form moving and morphing. Also, its height is very impressive, at least to a dwarf. However, there are also several other companions that I do not like at all. Coradus and Bubbles, for example. And some are what I would call cute, at least for Rift’s standards which does feature some very unique looking creatures. Fuzzworth most notably. And Lubbytubs looks like a big friendly puppy. It can also get on its hind legs!

The gallery is complete. All companions that you need for the achievement plus Tito which you get as a reward for having all the others are pictured below! A big thank you to bookahnerk who helped along the way.

Rift_Alfred

Alfred

Rift_Anuxy

Anuxy

Rift_Aschbacher

Aschbacher

Rift_Bubbles

Bubbles

Rift_Cliklik

Cliklik

Rift_Conflagurous

Conflagurous

Rift_Coradus

Coradus

Rift_Deadwater

Deadwater

Rift_Fuzzworth

Fuzzworth

Rift_Gusto

Gusto

Rift_Kepple

Kepple

Rift_Kipp

Kipp

Rift_Lubbytubs

Lubbytubs

Rift_Moonshadow

Moonshadow

Rift_Noms

Noms

Rift_Sola

Sola

Rift_The Tickle Monster

The Tickle Monster

Rift_Tito

Tito

3 years of Nerdy Bookahs – and 2 giveaways!

Edit: The Giveaways are over. You cannot participate anymore.

It’s that time of the year to get all nostalgic again. Nerdy Bookahs is celebrating its 3 year anniversary on March 12. As we have recently “expanded” and added a German blog, we are also going to host a giveaway in each blog. If you don’t care about my nostalgia and only care about the giveaway, click on the images. Otherwise, read on and click on the images afterwards. ;)

NB_3 year anniversary_800 gemsNB_3 year anniversary_fluff items

Back in August 2010, I had made the decision to start blogging about games. I knew I wanted it to be in English. Reaching more people was one of the reasons, but not in order to gain more page views. I’ve just always enjoyed the heterogenity that comes with people from different parts of the world. And I knew I could not reach all of you if I wrote in German. The other reason was that I wanted to practice my written English skills. During my studies, I’d done a lot of reading of English scientific papers, but not that much writing or speaking. I also knew I wasn’t and still am not in it for any money. No ads, no trying to get as many hits as possible in a month. This is for fun only. At some point, bookahnerk wanted to join the fun as well and we decided that it would make more sense to have one blog together. He does not write much here, but he’s quite often reading my blog posts before I publish them and gives me feedback. He is also in charge of the good videos on our YouTube channel. ;) And recently, we decided to have two blogs, after all! Why not have a German branch of Nerdy Bookahs! We’ve switched roles for that part and bookahnerk is responsible for publishing posts while I take on the editor role. When it comes to nice-looking videos, nothing has changed. That is his domain. ;)

Oddly enough, while Guild Wars 2 had been on my radar from the beginning, Rift had been, too. And just when Rift launched in March 2011, Nerdy Bookahs launched as well! This is a coincidence, but I still quite like it. :) It had also been the time where I’d been studying for my university diploma. I succeeded and started my work at a university a few months later (I like universities too much. They won’t get rid of me easily). Hated the job I got, looked for another one, found one in April last year and couldn’t be happier. So much about my private life in the background. ;) But all of this has happened in those three years and it’s nice to look back at this as well.

Gaming-wise, when we started Nerdy Bookahs, I was still playing Lord of the Rings Online, had found Rift but soon realized that I do not want to play games with monthly subs anymore and was looking forward to playing Guild Wars 2. By now, I am playing Guild Wars 2 and since Rift went f2p, I’ve been playing this game again as well. I got my warrior in Rift to level 54 and only need 6 more levels to reach the current level cap. In Guild Wars 2, I have gotten 3 asura to level 80 (mesmer, warrior, guardian) and added one level 80 sylvari ranger and one level 80 charr engineer to the mix. I have a love-hate relationship with my asura elementalist and just can’t warm up to the other professions, unfortunately. I would love if ArenaNet could release a profession close to the GW1 dervish. I never got her to max level, but I still loved that style! ;)

Some of you have been around for the last three years. Thank you for that! And even more visited at some point in between, of course. I always love receiving comments with your thoughts as that is what I love about blogging the most. And now that I managed switch from talking about our blog to you, our readers, let us continue with the giveaway: We’re going to have two, actually! One will be here and will be open for EU and US GW2 players. The second one is only open for owners of a EU GW2 account (because the code is only valid for those. Sorry!) and can be found in bookahnerk’s blog. Click the images above to jump to the blog posts.

Housing in MMOs: Rift

This is part 3 of the series “Housing in MMOs”. After looking at Lord of the Rings Online and Aion, I will focus on Rift today.

The most important difference to other games is that you do not get a “house” in Rift. You get a “dimension“. This dimension is a small instanced map of a region that exists in the actual game. So, you will not be able to get just any region in the open world. But you can buy a dimension version of it – as long as Trion Worlds added it as a dimension, of course. Not all areas are available, as you can probably imagine, since the world maps of MMOs are usually very large.

Before I get into any details, let me point you to the video I made. I have found two very pretty “Shoreward Island” dimensions. The first part of the video shows the dimension “Shoreward Island” in its empty state (I have a few items in there, but they’re not shown as they are inside the tower). The second part shows “Shady Bay” by Zunk of EU-Zaviel and the third part shows “Mind the Gap!!!” by Marlynielle on EU-Zaviel. I would say that Zunk added to the dimension while Marlynielle completely altered it. If you look closely, you can still see a resemblance, though. :p

Quick FAQ

Is there a minimum level required to get a house?
No. You get your first tiny dimension for free as soon as you reach the NPC who gives you the quest for it (“Sanguine Shore” for Guardians and “Warden’s Point” for Defiants). This means that you need to leave the instanced tutorial area and then walk to the respective NPC (this one differs for the two factions in the game). It’s not difficult at all and you can comfortably go there as a level 7. For this article, I created a second account to test some things out and see where the limits of dimensions are when you haven’t spent any currency (in-game or real) on them yet and when she reached the NPC, she had just hit level 7.

Is there a fee/a recurring fee to keep the house?
Yes and no. As mentioned above, you get your first dimension for free. This is just a tiny dimension, though. It’s cozy and all that and even comes with a small shrine, but you will probably feel its limits very fast. Its area isn’t as big or as high as others, for example.

Rift StoreAll other dimensions need to be bought. The prices vary depending on the size of the dimension. Most dimensions can be bought with either in-game currency or credits. Credits are bought with real money OR via REX which is worth 1250 credits – and 2500 loyalty – and currently costs about 1500 platinum on my server. 1500 platinum isn’t something a new player just earns within a few days of playing, though. So it’s not cheap, but I think it’s a good alternative for those who have been playing for a longer time and have a source of income in the game.

The cheapest dimensions cost 10 platinum or 170 credits (if you do pay for a sub, called “Patron time” in Rift, you get a 10% discount when buying something with credits). The most expensive ones cost 900 platinum or 1700 credits.

Once you unlocked a dimension, you own it, with no recurring fees. I assume this is because there are no neighbourhoods like in Lord of the Rings Online or Aion. It doesn’t matter how many dimensions are owned by players or if a player who owns a dimension leaves the game. Supply isn’t limited, so there is no need for a recurring fee.

Which choices do I have when it comes to my house?
A lot, actually. At the moment, you can buy 17 different dimensions with platinum or credits. Then there is your free dimension that you get at the beginning. Additionally, there is one dimension (Strozza Estate Villa) which you can only buy for a special in-game currency that you earn by completing different things like achievements. You cannot buy that one with credits!

One word of warning: If you fall in love with Faen’s Retreat (like I did), think twice before purchasing the key in the store. When you finish the first tier of loyalty (earned through spending credits and/or REX), you get that dimension as a gift for every character on your account! That’s a much better deal than just buying one key for one character. In the higher loyalty tiers, there are currently two more dimensions to be earned which you can’t get in any other way. But those loyalty tiers are pretty high up, so you’d have to spend quite a lot of money or REX to get there.

The next patch will introduce “roughly 15 new dimensions”. The keys (which you need to own and use to unlock a dimension for yourself) for those will be crafted by the new crafting profession “Dreamweaving” that will also be added with the next patch. Rejoice: You do not need this profession in order to get your hands on the dimension keys. You will be able to buy them from other players in the auction house!

Is there an item limit? What about item placing?
Yes. This seems to range between a minimum of 50 items and a maximum of 2250 items for personal dimensions and up to 4000 items in guild dimensions. Your free dimension comes with an initial limit of 50 items. You can upgrade your dimensions to be able to place more items. The first upgrade for your free dimension brings you to 75 items for the cost of 1 platinum or 1 credit. The maximum item limit for the free dimension is 400. Bigger dimensions have a bigger maximum item limit. Faen’s Retreat comes with an initial limit of 190 items. The first upgrade costs 10 platinum or 5 credits and lets you place 285 items in there. They have changed the maximum amount of allowed items a few times in the past, but they are apparently at the current possible maximum.

Items can be placed anywhere in your dimension! You can also rotate them and resize them. They can also be clipped into one another if you want to make new items (bags of flour stack together nicely to make a couch).

Can you expand the house?
Yes and no. You cannot expand the map of your dimension. You can expand the item limit as mentioned above. And you can build new houses, temples, whatever you want in your dimension or add to any structures that are already there. For example, add a balcony by placing a stone floor or wooden planks. You can also place prebuild huts and houses that you can buy. So it all depends on the definition of “expanding” here.

The general layout of the dimension is determined by which dimension you have. Faen’s Retreat is a deserty place which comes with one hut and a small oasis in the middle of some hills. So the hut and the oasis are always there. Usually, you can build quite high up in dimensions (and there is no fall damage – don’t worry about getting up there!), so you can build not only your own houses, but you can also build a skyscraper if you want. If building something from scratch isn’t your thing, just settle with pre-build houses to add, or just fill the existing hut with some items and make yourself comfortable at the oasis.

Are there any advantages when you own a house?
Well, it is a convenient place to go afk in. ;)

This is actually a bigger deal in Rift than you may think at first. Since Rift features dynamic events (called “Rifts”) which open up in lots of places on a map and lets loose hostile NPCs, it’s always a wise idea to switch to your dimension when you want to go afk and leave the dimension again when you’re back. You will get placed exactly where you were before entering your dimension. It has happened countless times that I went afk on a street that seemed safe enough, only to be killed by roaming hostile NPCs that spawned on the map while I was away.

Other than an afk-hideout, you can also get rested XP when logging out in your dimension. Rested XP give you an XP bonus when killing mobs. You also get the rested XP in your capital, so this isn’t an advantage over other players. But again, it is convenient, because you’re just a click away from your dimension wherever you are in the game world.

What’s the maximum amount of houses per characters / per account?
Rift Dimension SlotsThis is a trickier question to answer. As mentioned above, you need to buy a key for a dimension to unlock it with your character. You can unlock all available dimensions with your character. Unlocking means that theoretically, you have access to it. However, in order to access the dimension and be able to put items in there, you also need to activate it. Every character has two “active dimension slots” by default. Out of all dimensions you have unlocked, you can choose two and put them in those active slots. This is per character, so you can have more active dimensions than just those two if you’ve got more characters! Just unlock and activate the dimensions with your alts.

That’s not the only way to get more active dimensions. If you prefer to have more active dimensions with just one character, you can also buy active dimension slots. The third dimension slot costs 100 platinum (or 1200 credits). I don’t know the prices above that one, as I have never bought another dimension slot. I prefer giving the other dimensions to my alts first, before I get more for my main character. And to be honest, unless you’re one of those crazy dimensioneers, I guess it’ll take quite a while to even fill two dimensions. If you choose to go this route, then you can end up with up to 20 active dimension slots.

By the way, you can access and build in your alts’ dimensions with any of your characters (as long as they are on the same server, I assume), so it’s easy to manage and a much cheaper alternative than buying more active dimension slots.

Are there guild houses?
Yes, there are guild dimensions! Some are the same than regular player dimensions, but with a higher item limit, and some are exclusive for guilds. You can choose which member ranks are allowed to do what in your guild dimension, so you can all build in it together. I am actually not sure how many guild dimensions there are. I can see 5 possible guild dimensions in the guild panel, but since Trion Worlds has added dimensions in the past, this number could be bigger now. Our guild owns the Stone Flask Tavern, because I fell in love with that dimension and figured it would be even better to have it as a guild dimension! Unfortunately, guild dimensions do not serve any purpose other than being a convenient gathering place where you can also place combat dummies (those items are available for personal dimensions as well) and a bartender that gives you ale (also available for personal dimensions). Though I’m not sure that really counts as any advantage.

In order to unlock a guild dimension, you need to pay a certain amount of platinum (no way to buy those with credits, apparently) and the appropriate guild level.

Are there any limitations unless you pay real money?
There are some general account limits: You only get 2 character slots per server and 3 bag slots which doesn’t influence your dimensions, though. The bigger “issue” is that with a free account, you do not have access to the auction house and your currency limit is 2500 platinum. Okay, the latter won’t be a problem when you’re just starting out. ;)

You’ll need 1500 loyalty to automatically unlock the last two restrictions (currency limit and auction house access). You get 2 loyalty per credit bought and another 2 per credit spent. If you could buy 375 credits, you would get 750 loyalty immediately. When you also spent them, you would get another 750 loyalty. Unfortunately, the lowest amount of credits you can buy is 975 for 5€. On the other hand, this purchase will immediately get rid of the platinum and auction house limitations. And you will have the full 975 credits to buy stuff in the Rift store. None of the credits get lost.

If you want to try the game first and don’t want to invest any real money, you can do so! There are plenty of items you can buy from the dimension NPCs. With the introduction of the “free to play”-system, they added NPC wares to the Rift store. Look at the tab called “Dimensions” and you’ll find everything you need there. As is usual for Rift, most of the items there can be bought with in-game currency or credits. Choose your preferred method and start building! As you have seen in the starting dimension picture gallery above, you can do quite a bit with your free dimension.

Additional information
One thing that always bothers me a bit is that the borders of your dimension are invisible (you can see that in the video above). Of course, when going through a dimension, it’s good that you don’t feel like you’re inside a glass dome, but when you actually want to know the borders of a dimension, it would be great if we could toggle them on.

There are two more things that I and others criticize. For me personally, it’s a bit lonely sometimes. Lord of the Rings Online has this cozy little neighbourhood where you can even see what your neighbour placed in the garden. Aion has whole villages – and that area had quite a lot of other players running around, actually. Both make it seem a lot more lively. On the other hand, how would they implement that in Rift? Since it’s instanced and there is no “house with garden” per se, it would be quite difficult or even restricting your creativity if you had to pay attention to a neighbour.

Another point raised by players is one I had not even considered until now. For me, it’s perfect to just spend time in my dimension and build and decorate, but others want a purpose, some advantage of having a dimension. Maybe even crafting stations, etc. in there. Especially the guild dimensions could profit from having some reason for guild members to enter, I guess. With the next patch, Trion Worlds will introduce the first crafting station that can be placed into a dimension. It’s the one for Dreamweaving which will be the new profession and since this focuses on dimension items, I guess it makes sense to have it placed in a dimension. :)

Other than that, it feels like housing heaven to me. I can just be “lazy” and put finished items in my dimension and pretty it up this way, or I can start building my own furniture (using a stack of hay as a parasol, for example, or round cheeses as a sunlounger) and even whole houses!

As a side note, in case I have made you really curious about what dimensions are out there: You can enter people’s dimensions without finishing your instanced tutorial. Create a character on any server you like, open the dimension window and just start browsing.

Last but not least, this article would have been released much earlier if I hadn’t tried to find good screenshots of people’s dimensions. The issue wasn’t in finding good dimensions. The issue was that whenever I entered one, I ran around to spot every little detail and be in awe. There are some incredibly creative people around, to whom I sadly do not belong. But either way, I spent too much time fawning over other people’s creations and could not leave without taking lots of screenshots. Some of which you can find in the image galleries and the video.