Making friends in Rift and Guild Wars 2

Last week, Rift’s expansion “Starfall Prophecy” launched and yesterday, Guild Wars 2 released another content patch. Both games made me very happy as the patches feature my most favourite animal ever. Guess what animal that is!

No, not dogs. Although that’s true. Not rabbits either, although those are also my favourite animal. But no, my third “favourite animal”: Dragons!

Guild Wars 2 added a baby dragon, Aurene (not with this patch, but with a previous one – or else I wouldn’t mention her here as I do not want to add spoilers just one day after the patch’s release!). But seriously, a baby. dragon. How cute is that? I feel like Hagrid with Norbert!

Baby dragon Aurene in Guild Wars 2

And in Rift, there’s Tasuil. A dragon who at the beginning of the expansion story gets into trouble, because he accidentally broke something. Again, I don’t want to add any spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that. But I felt so bad when Tasuil kept apologizing. The poor thing didn’t want to do any harm, after all! It was an accident.

Rift Tasuil Dragon

To top the cuteness overload of dragons, you can apparently earn Mini Aurene in Guild Wars 2. I assumed ArenaNet would add her to the shop to be bought with real money, but the pieces needed to get the Mini are crafted! I definitely have to get that one as fast as possible!

If only Rift gave us a mini Tasuil as well… on the other hand, he’s disguising himself as a corgi while we’re out exploring the comet. I guess that counts for something as well, right? And while he’s with me, I can take out one of my mini corgis to have two corgis with me.

Tasuil disguised as corgi

More Starfall Prophecy Tokens in Rift

When the expansion was first announced, Trion told us that we would get a Starfall Prophecy token each day when claiming our daily login chest. The main goal for players was to get Opie, a tiny squirrel mount that lets you reach artifacts more easily (if they’re hidden in hard to reach places). But it costs 50 tokens, so you would have had to pre-purchase the expansion 50 days ago to get that mount. The expansion comes out on Wednesday next week, but Trion just announced that they prolonged the login tokens and now if you pre-purchase, you get tokens for 60 days more giving you enough to get your own Opie mount (and you can even miss 10 days). I think that’s pretty nice, especially as we now know much more about the expansion and players can choose more easily whether they want to make the investment or not.

rift opie mount

If you don’t care about a mount, there is the “Sack of Infinite Void” that increases your inventory slots by 40 which costs 20 tokens. It’s unique per character, but account-bound, so you can hopefully collect the tokens with one character and buy the bags for your alts. For 15 tokens, you can also get a “Tenebrean Mystery Box”, but nothing is known about the content yet. Apparently, we need to wait until the expansion’s launch. On the other hand, since we will still get tokens after the expansion launches, the vendor will also still be around, so we can keep the tokens and wait until more is known about the box’s content. This is what I’ll be doing, at least. I have one Opie and as cute as it is, I have so many other mounts that I love using that I don’t really need this mount on my other characters. I also don’t go artifact-collecting that often. And let’s not forget that in order to use those special jumps with Opie to reach artifacts more easily, you need to feed it with pellets which are supposed to be kind of rare in the game. So the bag and maybe the mystery box sound like the better choices for me.

Rift: Waiting for the expansion with the primalist

Starfall Prophecy, the next expansion in Rift, will launch on November 16. That’s not too far away now! So whenever I log in with my main character, my cleric, I just don’t feel too motivated playing her. Since I bought the primalist last month, I thought I should probably play her a bit more. She is now level 18 which is basically nothing, as you can level really fast below level 60 by just doing “instant adventures”. These are open world quests that you do with whoever else signed up for instant adventures (if such a group passes you in the open world, the game even suggests joining them if you like). In between these quests, you get teleported to wherever you need to get to, so you don’t need to worry about travelling or anything. In theory, this sounds great. In reality, it is a boring grind-fest with no challenge except for some bosses which appear. Not that they themselves are too challenging, but if your group lacks a healer, they are. :p

Still, I like doing them once in a while because it’s easy and doesn’t require too much thinking. My primalist had a melee build, but I soon switched to ranged (Maelstrom as primary soul which is a single target ranged DPS), because the mobs die too fast and it’s just frustrating having to run to mobs all the time just to see them get killed right in front of your eyes by everybody who isn’t melee.

rift primalist in instant adventures

The primalist has a special class feature. Certain skills move the class bar to either Cunning or Fury. Some skills get boosted when you’re in Cunning or in Fury. So I guess I will have to watch that bar at some point… at the moment, I don’t notice it, but with level 18, I only have a few of the skills and abilities unlocked anyway. It reminds me of the Runekeeper in Lord of the Rings Online which has a similar mechanic called attunement. I played Runekeeper before I switched to my little hobbit warden as I liked playing a tank more than playing an elf healer. But back to the primalist: She’s okay. Maybe even fun, but I’ll have to see what it’s like in a higher level. It could also be a bit annoying having to watch that fury-cunning-meter all the time and having to memorize which skills move the meter into which direction.

Either way, come next week I will be playing my cleric in the new regions, so it’ll be a while before I get to find out more.

A few hours in Civilization VI

Bookahnerk had pre-purchased Civilization VI for himself and for me and we’ve both been looking forward to the game’s release for weeks now. Since I’ve spent the week being sick while still going to work every day (thank you, painkillers, for helping me out), we spent Friday evening being very lazy. He brought home Subway sandwiches, so I did not have to cook. I had started a single player game on Friday morning before work, but in the evening, we decided to start a game together. Difficulty setting “Prince” gave us a very unpleasant experience. Within a couple of turns, we were both occupied by barbarians with no force to counter them.

Civilization VI playing as France

We restarted both with “Warlord” which is one difficulty setting below “Prince”. I think Warlord is too easy for us, but it worked fine to start and get to know the game. Especially if you’re playing together, it’s just too frustrating if you need to restart all the time because one of you got overrun by barbarians. ;)

In the single player game, I had chosen England as my civilization while I tried out France in the multiplayer one. The introduction video for France says that it’s a perfect civilization for those going for a cultural victory. I really like and prefer going for the non-domination victories, so it sounded like the perfect choice. But I’m not so sure right now. But that’s probably because I have not seen too much of the game yet and am not really sure what I’m doing, especially when it comes to focusing on one path for victory. I just always love the exploration part and England seems like a better choice there as it gives you an advantage in naval movement. It also seems that I go for the female leaders more than the male ones. Come to think of it, I don’t remember when I last willingly played a male leader in the Civilization games other than getting a random leader. Most of the time, the female leaders have the attributes or bonuses I want, though. Especially England!

The biggest controversy before the game’s release was probably the graphics. I even saw lots of comments about how the game was “dumbed down” which seemed to be related to the impression they got from the graphics (Halo Effect at its best, I assume). I myself was not a big fan of the graphics changes, but I also said from the beginning that the actual gameplay was much more important to me than the look of the game. My impression so far is that it does not look or feel like a “mobile game” at all. After all, it’s not even the graphics alone. It’s the combination of graphics, user interface, animations, sounds and music. If there were such a mobile game, I would probably start playing games on my mobile phone. :p

I had also heard the game’s main theme before playing and I was… disappointed. Of course, after Baba Yetu, it’s difficult to come up with something better if you ask me, but this song, “Sogno di Volare” just seemed so boring. However, I started the game and watched the introduction video which is where the main theme slowly starts playing and I can tell you: It fits perfectly. It’s no Baba Yetu, but it’s definitely a great song for the game. I also received a newsletter mail from the composer, Christopher Tin, who let us all know that the song can also be bought on several sites like Amazon or iTunes – just in case somebody is interested. :)

So altogether, after playing for a few hours, I can say that I am definitely not disappointed with the game. I have not found anything to be “dumbed down” so far and I really like the addition of the city districts. The builders only having a number of “charges” to improve fields before you need to build another builder is annoying, though. Probably very good, but annoying. I keep building other stuff in the city (like fighting units etc.) and forget that I also need builders to improve my city. It adds another strategic element, though, as you need to consider even more what you need to build in your city next and what you want to focus on.

My conclusion so far: It feels like a true Civilization game and a worthy successor to Civilization V… but I still don’t like the way the trees look. :p

WoW: Say cheeeeese!

Now who’s more photogenic, eh?

I like how silly World of Warcraft is sometimes. I had seen that they implemented the S.E.L.F.I.E. camera some time ago, but both my characters received their very own ones in the game today. Oddly enough, despite it being very silly, it’s not really breaking the immersion for me. Maybe because the game has always had pop references and the like (Haris Pilton…). I laughed quite a lot when I saw the picture I took with my draenei, but the pandaren is just adorable.

I have been playing my draenei mage as my main character ever since I first created her (when Burning Crusade released). However, when I went back to the game after Mists of Pandaria had released, I had created a little pandaren monk and I really liked that class. I made a different one (I wanted a different name), Gechi, and boosted her to level 100. But she has to wait as my draenei mage is questing her way through the previous expansion’s story content. I want to know what happened before I continue playing the current expansion! Although I somehow doubt it’s going to be too relevant considering the previous expansion put is in an alternate universe. Not really my cup of tea, but I’m also not a fan of Rift’s lore and I am slowly getting bored with the elder dragons in Guild Wars 2 as well. Let’s just say I apparently do not really care about the stories much but about the rest of the game. Anyway, this post is not about my love or hate for lore. It’s about my love for silly things in MMOs and this S.E.L.F.I.E. camera certainly is one of such things!