The Secret Adventures: Thought and memory (Savage Coast #9)

(You can follow my playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page! WARNING: Spoilers and stories ahead!)

thoughtStrangers from a strange land (investigation mission)

  • Wow, I’ve been doing so many action missions that I almost forgot what investigation missions were like!
  • Red delivers an important piece of backstory. A thousand years ago, invaders from the south (the Mayans) came to the island and tried to awaken the evil that lived under the mountain. The Wabanaki fought back and almost lost if it wasn’t for Vikings coming across the sea with Excalibur. Or somesuch. Anyway, they left and took the sword with them, but apparently they also imbued powerful magic in the stones of the island.
  • Red’s map indicates that there are several of these important stones — and that they’re all in Blue Mountain. That’s right, this Savage Coast mission is actually a Blue Mountain one in disguise. Time to zone hop!
  • Make no mistake, it’s a lot of running around a zone that, for most people, will be completely new to them when they get this quest. At each rune, two ravens come down and say cryptic things, starting off with “I’m thought, he’s memory. You can have that one for free.”
  • Well, they also tell the story of the thousand-year-old war between the Vikings and the worshippers of the dark sun. I guess these are Viking spirits in bird form? TSW needs a study guide.
  • After a while, the runestones come with riddles that must be solved (or else trigger a nasty little fight). Fun riddles, Viking-themed, nothing difficult.
  • The ravens make mention of Loki being among the good guys, although he tricked them and then headed south to find out more. Geary says that he’s been spotted on the island multiple times since, although the sword is still AFK. This will be important for an upcoming test, class.
  • I never noticed before that when you’re in the Ash Forest, your screen picks up flecks of ash around the edges. Neat detail.
  • So the first time through the game, the whole storyline of the island being a battleground for this war 1,000 years prior kind of escaped me in a flood of other details.

beauDawning of an Endless Night (story mission, tiers 8-11)

  • With all of Savage Coast done (yipee!), all that’s left here is to blitz through the main storyline. Zip back to the beginning and go to a mysterious house I’ve been avoiding thus far.
  • In the basement is a door that opens on a tunnel with Beaumont standing at the other end. He magically causes a cave-in and summons a filth guardian to fight me. And I’m not doing too bad against it, either, when John Wolf appears, kills it, and patronizes me for trying to fight it. Seriously dude? I HAD IT. Go back to your front porch and leave the real work to the bee people.
  • Wolf says that Beaumont is in search of an ancient artifact that’s controlling the fog, the artifact that will control the island. He also suggests I go talk to the folks over at the Academy. Fine with me!
  • Annabel, Carter, and Montag admit that the Academy got ahold of this artifact — a weapon — but had no idea how dangerous it was. It got stolen right out from under their noses, and only a top-secret Illuminati vault under the school might have more ideas about how that happened.
  • The vault is apparently under one of the other school buildings, so I head on in and retrieve the same eight symbols that I keep finding all over the place. There’s a cleverly hidden trap door, too, that rewards the patient observer.
  • Who changes the light bulbs for these top secret underground vaults that not even the headmaster knows about?
  • Beaumont shows up again, this time wielding Excalibur. He’s more than a little annoyed with me, but knows that the bees will resurrect me, so he casts a spell to stall me instead.
  • Beau, dude, you have the absolute worst taste in clothing. I am not so much afraid of you as I am curious what Salvation Army mumu store you’ve been shopping at.
  • The vault is a suitably freaky place to be trapped — it’s filled with dessicated caretakers who love to make bizarre sounds and won’t attack unless attacked (giving me a rare opportunity for up-close screenshots). I love that TSW knows that freaking you out means sometimes not attacking but making you feel that any moment hell might rain down on you.
  • Down among the stacks I find a book that looks like the Necronomicon from Evil Dead that talks about Beamont visiting the island in 1881 looking for something in the Blue Mountain mine.
  • I escape through a hidden doorway and Kirsten Geary berates me for messing up so bad. It’s not my fault! Blame the cutscene! WHY IS EVERYONE YELLING AT ME THIS IS MY FIRST WEEK ON THE JOB.

rogueRogue Agent (action mission)

  • The Labyrinth calls me up and tells me to come home to NYC for my promotion. Considering that this is tier 1 of 6, I’m guessing it’s going to be more work and less celebration (unless tier 4 is “get punch” and tier 5 is “get jiggy with it”).
  • No sooner do I get to NYC does the Labyrinth send me to Seoul to track down a Templar agent who’s stolen something from the Dragons. Y’know, you could have just told me that over the phone earlier.
  • In Seoul, the rogue agent spots me and a merry footchase ensues deep into Agartha. It’s pretty bland and very linear, with the very occasional fight against other factions’ agents.
  • But the interesting thing is that it finally dumps me out into a completely new area that we only see for this one mission: Shambala in the Himalayan Mountains. The Labyrinth tells me that it’s a place of great and mysterious power, but the Council of Venice kicked the factions out of it for fighting over it so much.
  • I get into a scrap with three enemies at once, but by now I’m so dang good that I don’t even break a sweat. Then it’s off to hide the artifact from everyone but the Illuminati’s computer AI, who says that not even my superiors can be trusted with it.
  • And that’s it for Savage Coast! Time to hit up Blue Mountain and upgrade my gear!

It’s a good day — three new soundtracks!

icostI was pretty psyched to discover not one, not two, but three new online game soundtracks are out this week in the Amazon MP3 store (and presumably elsewhere as well):

  • Elite: Dangerous: 86 tracks! This one doesn’t come out until tomorrow, however.
  • Infinite Crisis: This release was a complete surprise, but 28 tracks, I’m not knocking it.
  • Izanagi Online: Mobile MMO releasing this month, 20 tracks.

As always, these will be listed along with any other links to MMO music (free and paid) on the Bio Break MMO Music page.

LOTRO: A return to the Shire

musicYou know how it is with growing older — sometimes you want to go back and revisit your youth, to see if you can recapture some of what made the places you used to frequent so special. Of course, that’s a great way to be disillusioned as well, but it doesn’t stop us from doing it.

This week is the 7th anniversary of my LOTRO kinship, the Lonely Mountain Band. To cap off festivities, there was a concert and a special guest speaker at Ales & Tales last night. That was enough encouragement for me to return to the place of my character’s youth, the Shire.

outfitMan, I have not been back to the Shire in what feels like ages. After months in Rohan and Gondor, it feels like a completely different world to return to a place where pie-tasting, mail-running, and player concerts are the norm. It’s great to see that it’s still a place where players congregate in large numbers.

I took advantage of the moment to whip up a new outfit, as I had become a little bored with my current wardrobe.  I worked with a piece — eastenmet armor — that had frustrated me in the past, but I think I got a combination that came out looking good. I like the high collar and how it all goes with the campaign backpack. I think I might even be looking at the outfit I’ll be wearing through the end of the game.

Speaking of finishers, I am happy to report that I finally wrapped up Update 15, including the epic storyline, and can add LOTRO to the list of games where I have a capped character waiting for the next big update (which, for this game, will be sometime this month).

I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen in the coming year, but my heart and love for this game will always be way back in the beginning, back in the Shire. I doubt we’ll ever experience a place like that again in this game.

Battle Bards Episode 48: Back to the ’90s

Ultima_Online_coverDid you know that the Battle Bards have a time machine? Well they do, and this week they’re setting it all the way back to the 1990s! With the help of guest host Scott (Ramblings of a MMO Gamer Guy), the crew examines music from an oft-overlooked era of MMO gaming (and soundtracks). Just because it’s older doesn’t mean it’s ancient!

Episode 48 show notes

  • Intro (featuring “Main Theme” from Neverwinter Nights AOL and “Excalibur” from Asheron’s Call)
  • “Bard Guild” from EverQuest
  • “Dungeon” from The Realm Online
  • “Minoc” from Ultima Online
  • “Main Theme” from Nexus
  • “Neriak” from EverQuest
  • “Main Theme” from Meridian 59
  • “Nebula” from Rubies of Eventide
  • What did we like the best?
  • Mail From Tadamichi (Quiet Life and In Memories)
  • Outro (featuring “Age of Heroes” from Dark Sun Online)

Listen to episode 48 now!

Quote of the Day: Basements

“Advice To Game Developers

Please perfect your basic artwork assets, models, and animations before releasing anything to the public. It’s a huge turn-off to see placeholder models and animations that make your game look like a high school project. It’s literally the first thing I evaluate to determine if your development effort is serious business or you’re just a bunch of kids messing around in somebody’s basement.”

~ Endgame Viable