Quest for Glory II: Being a hero is a thankful job

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(This is part of my journey going checking out Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

Let me say that if you’ve ever felt taken for granted in RPGs for all of the acts of benevolence that you perform for the population only to be practically ignored afterward, play this game. From minute one, the NPCs are tripping over themselves in their eagerness to praise you. Every elemental I eliminate gets me a chorus of ego-boosting encouragement. I AM HERO.

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And if you need even more validation, there’s always your way-too-loyal saurus who keeps charging through the city just to tackle you with wet slobbery kisses. Cracks me up every time, it does. Pesky saurus.

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I am really not exaggerating the praise that this game gives to you. Nights later, Omar the poet is performing a piece that’s all about how awesome I am (and name-dropping the title of the game) while his associate gives me a purse of money from the sultan as a thank-you.

I might be humming “We Are the Champions” while I play this game. A little bit.

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Enough basking in my glory — there’s two more elementals about, with the earth one threatening the city on day 12. Apparently the Liontaur Rakeesh COULD have fought him but he got a leg boo-boo and so it’s up to me. Hey, I wasn’t even aware that there was anyone else in this place fighting for the city, so it’s not a major let-down.

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OK, so here’s the part of this playthrough where Syp confesses what an idiot he is. Ready? Oh, you’re always ready for that. Good, I guess.

So you might recall that this character was imported from Quest for Glory I. When I did that, I went back to the playthrough I wrote in 2013 and saw that I had rerolled as a thief, so I’ve been assuming ever since that I am a thief (the character sheet doesn’t tell you what you are). But some weird things have been happening, such as the money-changer not offering me a job even though I made the sign of the thief, and now that Rakeesh loans me his fire sword — which he only does for fighters — I guess I have been a fighter all along. A fighter pretending to be a thief.

Give the game credit, though — it’s let me play as a thief for the most part. But man do I feel dumb.

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After wandering the alleys of the city for a very, very long time, the earth elemental shows up for a rumble. I love that his name is “Rocky,” although I’m a little peeved that the game just puts me as a generic “Hero.” I *did* enter in a name at character creation, you know.

Instead of winning or losing, after about two blows Rocky disappears. Sigh. More wandering!

Actually, it turns out that I’m being a doofus again. Because I practiced with Uhura, my stamina is rock-bottom and I’m unable to fight. So I ask Rocky for a raincheck, go take a nap, then come back and kick his butt. It takes about three swings of the fire-sword to do it. Man, I wish I could keep this thing!

Recharging the MMO interest meter

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Hey guys, meet Yeetii, my new Imperial Agent in SWTOR. With my new computer, I’ve been (re)installing several MMOs, mostly just to have them there in case I want to branch out on a given night. Some are old favorites while a few are on my list of games to try.

I’m on the fence as to whether or not I should go back to SWTOR right now. You see, with MMOs it isn’t always a question of available time (which there never is enough of, but which you can make time for if you want to). Sometimes it matters how full or empty my interest meter is.

This is totally nerdy and probably a product of my years spent playing RPGs and MMOs, but I see my interest in any given game as a bar that goes from empty to full. On the empty end, that represents complete burnout and disinterest after a long time playing. On the full end, it usually signifies excitement to return to a game and plenty of interest to sink into it for a good long while.

When to return to an MMO is tricky sometimes. If I haven’t “refilled” the bar by letting enough time go by (and enough changes come to the game), then by jumping in I’m just going to re-deplete it faster than before. I don’t want to be mildly interested in playing a game, I want to be downright enthusiastic about it. But if I wait tooooo long, well, then I could forget about a game entirely or feel as though too much time has gone by for me to really reenter the scene.

One other way of refilling that imaginary meter for me isn’t just by taking long sabbaticals from the game, but by playing it in short, occasional bursts. Right now this is me and The Secret World. I’ll pick it up about once a week, so that’s about six days of gradual recharging and one of depletion. That keeps the game almost always interesting to me, although it’s not going to re-top that meter any time soon.

So when I return to a game I’ll be cautious about feeling it out. Maybe a new expansion or big news (such as in the case of SWTOR) helps with an interest boost, but I’ll usually spend the first couple of days just puttering around and seeing if the game triggers any “ugh, been there, killed that” negative emotions or if it’s sparking genuine interest in me.

For SWTOR? Too soon to tell. I have an idea of replaying the entire Agent storyline, only this time completely dark side with a sniper — two big changes from my light side operative.

Fallout Shelter just turned into a kind of awesome game

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Recently I reinstalled Fallout Shelter onto my phone and I discovered something surprising: It had actually turned into a real game.

I mean, it was always an above-par base builder with a little more interactivity than your standard time-gated builders, but the decision to take some of the action outside of the shelter and into the wasteland was a terrific move. Sometimes you just want to leave home so you don’t feel so claustrophobic, you know?

The new quests and exploration events aren’t super-involved, but they are a lot better than I would have thought. Parties can now explore various structures, fighting, looting, and questing their way through them. There are even storylines to follow, and I am getting a kick out of seeing my party banter as they shoot up packs of ghouls and radroaches. Plus, the art has that retro-futuristic Fallout feel, so even the environments are fun to discover.

This one change has really made Fallout Shelter far more compelling than it used to be (and again, it wasn’t a bad game to start with). The other night one of my explorers found a cabin where a girl greeted us and warned us that her ma and pa were biters. Sure enough, in the basement were two feral ghouls looking for a meal, which felt like a classic little Fallout tale.

I kind of want more. I kind of want to see a full Fallout game done with this 2-D art. But for now I’ll just take pleasure in seeing what else is out there in the wasteland to discover.

World of Warcraft: Classocalypse

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The more I think about it, the more I think it was probably a wise move to roll out the sweeping class changes for World of Warcraft a good month and a half before the expansion launch. Tuesday was certainly an interesting day for the game, with folks logging in and loudly expressing both joy and despair. Change, even good change, can be stressful and make us grumpy, so best to get that out of the way before the true expansion launches.

So far, I’m of a divided opinion when it comes to all of these class changes. Some of my classes I liked very much as they were, and now I’m forced to adapt to fewer skills and new talent builds. Some are definitely better, and I do think the ability pruning was needed in some spots. A good rotation for me is about 4-5 skills with a handful of extra abilities, which is where most of these have landed.

Here are my thoughts on the “classocalypse” of 7.0’s changes:

Shaman

I’m going to start with the worst, which is for me the Shaman. I’ve loved enhancement as a blend of spell-based melee and pet-lite combat, but with 7.0 Blizzard took away all four of my totem pets (along with, y’know, most of my totems period), nerfed spirit wolves to the ground (shorter duration, no longer heal you), and doubled-down on the whole spell combat rotation. The rotation itself isn’t horrible and there are some nice effects, but it simply isn’t that fun any more for me to play. I miss the pets, badly.

So the shammy is going into mothballs, although I may try out elemental for a few just to see if there’s something redeeming there, especially since it looks like the pets mostly migrated over to that spec.

Warlock

Huh. I know demonology got a total rework and I’m generally in favor of that — especially with more pets and the loss (good riddance) of metamorphisis. But after some play with it, I’m not feeling the rotation at all. I can make it work, sure, but it’s a shade too clunky for me. Also, I truly, deeply miss my Terrorguard. I loved those advanced versions of the pets.

I actually experienced more satisfaction by switching over to affliction. Lots of instant-cast dots, a remodeled mage doggy (at least to me, I haven’t used one of those in forever), and a couple of neat spells. Still, I will probably also table this class for a long while.

Hunter

There’s lots of grousing over beast mastery, and to be fair, lots of these classes won’t feel complete until you get artifact weapons and hit level 110. But BM seems to be on the outs with MM in… except that I am very loyal to beast mastery and don’t mind the changes so much. It’s definitely more cooldown-based, but after experimenting with different talents, I think I found a good assortment that keeps the pressure up.

Death Knight

Definitely the highlight of the patch so far for me is the unholy spec rework. There’s a stronger emphasis on pets (I get to have two out regularly, plus army of the dead, plus an avenging angel) and the melee attacks start spreading diseases quick and often, making fighting packs of mobs a cinch. Oddly enough, one of my favorite abilities is the quick movement spell (void walk?) where you turn transparent and float quickly like a ghost. It feels great to use, every time.

What about you?

If you’re playing, what do you think of your class now? Making any class or spec changes based on 7.0?

Star Trek Online: Seven of Mine

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After hopping back into the U.S.S. Rain Bunny, the crew returned to the Delta Quadrant (third best of all quadrants!) for the next mission of Delta Rising. We responded to a distress call from the U.S.S. Callisto, but when we got there, it was smashed up and good.

However, some (all?) of the crew beamed off to a nearby station, including Seven of Nine. Guess it’s her turn for a mission spotlight, so get ready for catsuits and wondering why she couldn’t take off those last two bits of facial prosthetics.

Turns out we landed in the middle of a tussle between Voyager alien species that are obviously from some episode I never watched. Instead of turning around and politely booking it out of there, we did what Starfleet does best — stick our nose into everyone’s business and perform photon torpedo diplomacy.

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After a couple of rather tough fights (the Rain Bunny is definitely not a cruiser), we ended up down on a planetary surface trying to reboot a defense grid so that falling ship debris didn’t wipe out all life there.

Also, Seven of Nine showed me that she has no concept of personal space. For the first few minutes, she was about six inches away from my face at all times, as the above picture attests. C’mon, lady, I’m not even trying to fuel some sort of weird fanfic story. Also, my Breen officer is watching.

Breen guy: “Don’t mind me! Heh heh.”

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I actually like how they stepped up the fight difficulty in this mission. It wasn’t a pushover the way STO battles usually are, but instead delivered a frantic, down-to-the-wire firefight from all quarters.

Although when giant mechs dropped out of space I groaned at how unfair the devs were being… until I realized that those guys were on my side. Then I groaned that I would never get to use something that cool in this game. Cryptic, I would pay to stomp around in a mech all of the time, do you hear me?