WildStar: The search for more money

I’m happy to report that all of the WildStar server woes seem to have calmed down considerably in the last few days. There’s been no queue, no lag, and no annoying bugs that I’ve seen. That’s allowed me to do what I’ve been wanting to do all along, which is just to log on and play.

I spent a couple days doing almost no adventuring, but instead working on a new house with my Medic and taking the first steps into architecture crafting with her. Both of these activities were completely engrossing to an almost embarrassing degree. I also realized that I should be running my Thayd challenges for reknown alone, since there are tons of decor in the vendor that I would love to get but costs reknown to buy.

Yesterday I came to another conclusion: continuing this path and focusing so strongly on housing would leave me completely broke. I was already down to my last plat, from a personal high of about eight, having frittered the money away on different characters and different projects. In WildStar, money is really important for so many things, especially if you’re into housing, and it was chafing me that I was so broke. Unlike other MMOs where gathering mats and selling those on the auction house is a legitimate money-maker, in WildStar there’s an overabundance of mats (thanks to housing plugs) and they’re worth very little on the whole.

So I had a coming to grips with reality moment. I needed money, and playing on my Medic wasn’t going to do the job. Plus, I’ve been away from my Engineer long enough that I’ve come to really miss her and her bots, so it was only logical and emotional to switch everything over and play once again on my level 50.

I did a bit of reading up on various guides and threads about ways to make bank in WildStar, and most of them said roughly the same things:

  • It’s easier to do this at level 50 than anything lower
  • Once you get your elder gem cap for the week, subsequent XP activities turn into cash
  • Veteran shiphands — such as Infestation — are good, quick money-makers
  • Doing dailies in high-level zones (perhaps with contracts as a parallel activity) are lucrative as well
  • Sell gear and rune stuff on the auction house, salvage everything else for possible sellable items
  • Farming is not horrible either

It took a little bit of work to transfer all of the money and tradeskill mats over, then to dust off my Engineer and rework her build following a few skill changes with the patch. Then it was back to questing in Grimvault where I had left off months ago.

Other than the unrelenting purple landscape of the Strain (which gave me weird RIFT flashbacks), I was greatly enjoying myself. Having a strong goal in mind — to make money, to work on housing — with a better build in an area I hadn’t explored before was all sorts of good stuff. I was getting some decent drops here and there, along with omnibits and lots of cash. Nothing to write home about, but I did make 50 gold or so from questing my way through the area all while taking detours to harvest trees, plants, and ore.

My plan is to get into a good endgame money-making groove, occasionally taking trips to lower level zones to harvest mats, and then eventually switching over to architecture to work on decor for me and perhaps to sell as well. Building up a firm base of money and materials right now seems like the smart way to go about it.

So for you WildStar pros out there, any advice on raking in plat in this game that you’ve found?

Nostalgia Lane: 4 bizarre shareware titles from the 90s


keen1. Commander Keen

PCs were never the platforming powerhouse that consoles were, and we mostly had to go to shareware to find decent substitutes for Super Mario Bros., etc. Commander Keen was a particularly good one, I recall, as it boasted a lot of personality as you played as an imaginative kid going up against space aliens and other bizarre enemies.

Probably my favorite detail is if you left Keen alone, he’d eventually start tapping his foot and going through other annoyed animations.  I can get it on Steam now and I probably should.

jill2. Jill of the Jungle

Jill was kind of the Tarzan contemporary who explored a jungle in a somewhat non-linear fashion. Lots of platforming and tricky jumps, along with some fighting against oversized ants and the like. I thought the animation here was pretty impressive for the time, especially with everything Jill had to do. Although I always thought that her lack of pants  meant that she must have had scratched up legs.

wolf3. Wolfenstein 3-D

Everyone knows Wolfenstein, although not as many remember its predecessor (a top-down stealth game that I played on a friend’s Amiga) or how it used to be segmented into different episodes. There was an episode, the second I think, that was more about zombies. I just loved the fluid, non-stop action, the secrets, and feeling like a Rambo going up against Hitler.

bio4. Bio Menace

OK, I admit that I remember nothing from this game itself, but when I saw this splash screen I was awash in “oh yeaaaaah.” Because how wonderfully cheesy is this? I think it’s the hero’s ‘stache and mullet that really sells it.

Nostalgia Lane: Gaming in the early 1980s

tronI certainly didn’t realize it at the time, but when I was growing up, I happened to be right smack dab in the middle of the video game revolution.

Sure, there were arcade cabinets and even a couple of the older consoles that released prior to my birth in 1976, but thereafter we saw exponential growth (marred, of course, by the video game crash of ’83). I wasn’t aware of any of the larger scope of it, of the industry, of anything outside of my personal sphere. But video games popped into my life more and more regularly as the years went on.

There was a night when our family went to our pastor’s house for a Christmas party and I ended up watching his son play Adventure (a text adventure game) with wide eyes and an even wider imagination.

There was the joy of getting to go to the Spaghetti Warehouse for dinner, because we knew that it had cabinets like the Star Wars Arcade game. Really, any time that we got to visit a place with cabinets was a special time, whether it be Pizza Hut’s tabletop Castlevania, Indianapolis’ Union Station, the Pole Position cabinet at our local IGA, or even the rare arcade room loaded with more games than we could digest.

There was the excitement of having the Atari 2600 come into our house, with games like Ms. Pacman and Defender and Asteroids. It became our family’s go-to console for most of the decade.

There was the envy of seeing my friends and cousins play on the newer Nintendo Entertainment System (and occasionally getting to play myself). Even though a NES never graced our house, Zelda, Contra, Spy Hunter, and the rest all played a big part of my childhood and sparked my imagination about what could be in games.

There was the shady purchases of shareware disks at kiosks at the mall, with dot matrix printer labels proclaiming “100 programs!” and the like. Less shady were computer stores with their giant game boxes, most of them with system requirements past our family’s PC.

There was the invasion of video games into movie and TV culture, particularly cartoons: Captain N, Super Mario Bros., Zelda, The Wizard.

There were the days that I tried to make “video games” with legos (like pinball machines) or started programming my own in BASIC. And the day that my friend showed off Manic Mansion on his computer — using a cassette tape drive.

To me, it’s surprising how clearly I can remember playing certain games even at a young age, like Tron and Gauntlet and Centipede with its track ball. Even so, I can’t say that my youth was dominated by games; they were merely a fraction of my experiences and interests. I’m happy to say that my parents kicked us out of the house every day to play across the neighborhood, go swimming, and do chores. My friends and I talked about games once in a while, but just as important were stickers, crawdads, Garbage Pail Kids, and how awesome transformable robots were.

My WildStar housing wish list


It figures — in a good way — that right after I complain about all of WildStar’s F2P server woes, it’s calmed down to the point where I can log in without a queue and enjoy a session with no lag whatsoever. One of the devs recommended a full reinstall for improved performance, which I did this past weekend, and it does seem to be running more smooth.

However, I regret to inform my reading audience that there were no heroics performed in-game by me last night. Instead, I ended up hanging out in my house almost the entire evening, putting together a floor plan.

The Cassian cosy house is surprisingly big and wonderful to work with, I’m finding. There’s an indent in the far side of the place that is perfect for a staircase, so I spent a lot of time creating a three-story structure (with attic! I’m so excited). Throwing in the floors and subsequent walls was a lot easier. I have the first floor mapped out already and ideas for the second and third.


All of that time spent doing nothing but housing (and not even the fun part — decorating) made me ponder my ever-growing wish list of improvements for this system. So listen up — especially if you work for Carbine and for some reason revolve your life’s advice around this blog — because here are my top five most desired wish list items for housing!

(1) Shared crate inventory

One of my biggest frustrations is how my collection of terrific decor is spread out across three toons. I would give so much to be able to un-soulbound and un-crate those items and send them to the only character I’m playing these days, but alas, I can’t and they go wasted.

So why not make crates an inventory-wide thing? Allow us to toss decor in there from any character and use them from any character. Man, that would make my day.

(2) Pre-made house floor plans

Some of us don’t want to have to fiddle about with building the interior of a house from scratch — we just want to decorate and adjust. Creating rooms and stairways and the like are the dullest and most time-intensive parts of housing, and I’d love it if we at least had the option to move into pre-made houses that were empty except for rooms, hallways, and stairways. Maybe let players design templates that could be shared?

(3) Snap-to-fit building elements

Along that line of thought, man it would be cherry if building elements would snap together like LEGO bricks when you are aligning them. Getting walls and other building blocks to fit exactly can be really difficult at times. I envy MMOs where housing is arranged on grids for speed and clarity.

(4) Outdoor shack and house FABkits

Again, some people don’t mind building houses outdoors from scratch, but I’d deeply appreciate FABkits that would plop down a smaller house/cottage/shack that was empty for some simple renovation.

(5) More walls — and matching, please!

The selection of straight walls in the vendor is remarkably skimpy — only four types, I believe, and no color variations of those types. Walls and wall color are so important to putting together a house that we really need more of what’s available to all.

Also, it bugs me that the curved/triangle walls don’t match the straight walls. I usually work with Aurin wall, and the straight wall does NOT match the triangle/curved elements for some unknown reason. So if I’m transitioning from one to the other, it’s very noticeable (which is why I had to get creative with triangles in the top picture there instead of using a straight wall segment).

Battle Bards Episode 60: Endless Journey

journeyFor our whopping 60th episode, we explore the endless journey of MMOs! So wait, what is this theme really about? According to Syl, “it is all about the rich, multi-faceted, multi-part tracks that tell a story, come with transitions or surprises and have a certain length to allow for that to happen.”

Tall order? Sure, but the Battle Bards have never shirked a musical challenge!

Episode 60 show notes

  • Intro (including “Blackburrow” from EverQuest 2 and “Along the Broken Ridge” from Wurm Online)
  • “Oriel Residential” from Aion
  • “Roaming Free” from Lord of the Rings Online
  • “Peace, the Jedi Consular” from Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • “After the Storm” from Lineage II
  • “Combat Hymn” from Anarchy Online
  • “Alas, the Dragon Shall Break” from Elder Scrolls Online
  • “Path of Tears” from World of Warcraft
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Jukebox: Final Fantasy XI (“Autumn Footfalls”), Dear Esther (“Ascension”), Ori and the Blind Forest (“Naru, Embracing the Light”)
  • Speakpipe challenge reminder
  • Outro (“Disband Deed” from Wurm Online)

Listen to episode 60 now!