WildStar: Making post-50 plans

wildstar plans

I don’t think I mentioned it here on the blog, but the other night I finally crossed the level 50 mark with my engie — my first level 50 to date. It caught me off-guard, so I wasn’t able to take a screenshot, but believe me that it did happen.

Uh huh. Sure it did, Syp.

I’ve been chewing on what to do next, really. It’s not that I’m out of content or ways to advance, and off the top of my head I can think of the following:

  • Finish up the Grimvault zones and Crimson Badlands
  • Grind out elder gems and buy more amp/ability points
  • Get more money and work on housing
  • Take on contracts and work my way up those reward tiers
  • Dip my toes into dungeons and veteran adventures
  • Hunt down challenges for specific rewards

What I won’t be doing is any sort of raid attunement or PvPing. Not my thing at all and I’m not going to let peer pressure or this game convince me that I need to change up what I’m doing in the endgame.

However, I’m heavily leaning toward parking my engie for a while and taking another class up through the leveling process. Possibly, probably a Medic. I have a few goals that I would like to do better in a second run-through, including:

  • Snagging as many costume pieces as possible
  • Hunting down all of the Tales from the Fringe copies in each zone
  • Fully leveling up the settler path
  • Taking the time to level up architect crafting and pouring those items into an awesome house

Plus, we’re getting closer now to free-to-play and Shade’s Eve, so there’s going to be a lot to check out and enjoy this fall whether I’m on my high-level character or not.

Just thinking out loud here.

Grappling with combat mechanics

combatWhile one might chalk this up to middle age, the truth is that my dislike for fancy combat mechanics in video games has been pretty much a running theme for my entire career. I appreciate that game designers want to keep shaking things up with new combat systems and styles, but thank you but no thank you for me.

I don’t really like combo systems nor mechanics that require me to build up certain resources to expend them. Usually this comes down to UI frustrations. In combat, my eyes are on the action and not on my hotbar or anywhere toward the bottom or the edge of the screen. I want to be able to attack with the keyboard from muscle memory, relying mostly on a tried and true rotation with the occasional special thrown in depending on the circumstances.

What I don’t want to have to do is to keep flicking my eyes down to see if I have enough go-juice to power an ability or if I’ve proc’d a certain skill or if I’ve built up sixteen tiny buffs that can now be spent. Yet if the game works with me, I’m willing to meet it halfway.

For example, my SWTOR Operative has combat abilities that rely on a two-stacking buff called tactical advantage. There are certain skills that will always trigger a TA and throw a buff up on the screen informing me of the fact, but better yet, my agent does this little audio chuckle to let me know that one is good to go. It might be silly, but that audio cue makes fighting with this mechanic silky smooth — I don’t have to look down to see the buff, I just know it’s there from the sound. Really, any audio or visual cue that the devs can arrange around my character is a great help when it comes to fiddly mechanics.

Classes that require a lot of high maintenance to get fighting properly usually turn me off. I’ve been struggling with Psylocke in Marvel Heroes due to her style, and there are a LOT of other characters in that game that are built on quirky mechanics that are more trouble than they’re worth.

I’m a traditionalist — I like having an energy or mana bar that skills draw power from, or better yet, skills that simply have cooldowns of varying times depending on their power.

This is why I’m struggling with my Engineer in WildStar; I hate the volatility mechanic, which runs through most skills. There’s one skill that I can set up to be insta-fired if my volatility is between 30 and 70, but in the thick of combat I don’t have time to be looking down to see if I’m in the sweet zone. Thank goodness I’ve found at least one rotation that’s pretty much frustration-free.

What combat playstyle mechanics do you like and which do you hate?

Pointless Poll: What’s the most overused MMO faction/species?

Check out this amazing WildStar house!


First things first: My friend Larry grabbed me one of the fancy dress coat codes from PAX, so now my Engineer has a dapper suit-and-gas-mask ensemble. I’m loving it.


Anyway, so last night one of our guild officers, Celeste, was holding a dance party at her pad. I jetted over there and hung out for a bit, utterly amazed at what she had managed to do with her housing island. Here is her sweet DJ booth.


She turned her spaceship house into this incredible tri-level masterpiece that felt downright huge. Plus, clickable doors! I need clickable doors.

Here’s one of the food displays she built. So nifty!


And of course she built a bathroom. I’m looking at pictures like this and breaking down how it was built. The details on the cabinet are impressive.


She built an arcade cabinet…


…and a homemade fooseball table. Best use for plushies that I’ve seen yet.


There’s lots of creative use of glass, which is something that I haven’t experimented much with.


She had an outdoor tiki shack, which is exactly what I’ve been wanting to build. I wandered around taking notes and wondering what some of these pieces are.


This was stunning: In the back she’d built a huge church-like house with statues and stained glass windows. It was downright amazing.


My favorite room of the church house. The lighting just amazed me here. I really need to learn how to work with glass and build structures from scratch.


I really liked how she took ordinary building elements like wood and made roofs like these.

I came away from her house thinking two things. One, I need to do some research and learn some of the tricks of building in this game. And two, I really need a lot more money to afford all of the stuff I want to build.

Bio Break site news: Blogroll updated!

As Blaugust comes to a close, I’ve made it a point of updating my blogroll over to the right there. As you may recall, I have three simple qualifications to being part of the Bio Break blogroll:

(1) Being a blog or podcast that talks about MMOs

(2) Not being a raging jerk, especially to other bloggers

(3) Having written at least one post in the past month

So I’ve added several new blogs over the year (and especially for Blaugust), but I hadn’t culled the list until today. Thus, what’s over there are all blogs that are more or less currently in operation. Ones that have gone dark or offline have been removed.

As always, please let me know if I’ve overlooked your blog (that meets the above qualifications) or if you’ve started writing again and I had previously taken your blog off of the list.

Guild Wars 2: Grudging respect from afar


MMO-wise, there’s no doubt that Guild Wars 2 stole the show at PAX Prime this year — and that’s even with some big SWTOR companion talk, a new Trion game, and other various titles vying for attention. With the game’s anniversary, the announcement of the October 23rd launch date, the revelation of raids, and the release of the core game for free(ish), I could hear gamer eyeballs snapping back to Guild Wars 2 from all over the world.

And you know what? Good for it. Even if it’s not in my rotation right now (nor will be for the foreseeable future), I bear no ill will for the game. As I said when Bree told me that this news made her miss the game, I miss things about Guild Wars 2 but not necessarily the game itself. I miss the beauty of it, the neat animations, the casual-friendly nature, and certain systems. But I feel that there’s this intangible line marking true fans from the rest of the crowd, and I’ve never been able to cross that.

I did log in to get my third anniversary gifts on my engineer. The choice of dye was nice indeed, and now I have yet another level booster if I ever want to power-level another character.

Even with a certain media outlet breaking embargo on some of the big news, GW2 had a strong showing at PAX. Raids… eh, that wouldn’t have interested me if I was still playing. The big world boss fights weren’t major attractions, so I can’t imagine raids pulling me in. But the date announcement and giving away the core game are both really good moves on Anet’s part. Were there a lot of people not playing Guild Wars 2 who really wanted to yet — in the span of three years — never ponied up for the game? Eh, at least it’s a good permanent trial and will help to boost sales for the expansion.

This also means that October is looking hecka busy. We’ve got SWTOR’s expansion right around then, and I’m willing to bet that WildStar’s F2P patch will land that month too. Plus, there’s all the Halloween content and whatnot. October is the new September for MMOs?

Farewell Blaugust!

So today is the last day of Blaugust, the community blogging event initiated by Belghast with the hopes of encouraging bloggers to establish a once-a-day posting pattern for an entire month. I am really impressed by how many people stuck out the entire month and how many more made a genuine effort. Lots of great posts this month, and I would love to see these writers take their increased frequency and keep it going through the fall.

For me, it wasn’t much of a change than how I normally posted, although I did make one tweak to the format: I started putting my retro gaming posts on the weekend. I really like that, so I think I’ll keep that going from here on out. I don’t get time to poke around a retro title every day, but enough for two posts in a week? No sweat.

Way to go, Blaugust writers! Was a lot of fun writing alongside of you all.

Retro Gaming: Star Trek Judgment Rites part 1

(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Trek Judgment Rites. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

A year after the incredible Star Trek 25th Anniversary came out, its sequel, Judgment Rites, was fast-tracked. By all accounts, it was a marked improvement on the first game, utilizing CD-ROM for better graphics and voice-over (the first game was later reworked into a CD-ROM version). Judgment Rites is also notable for being the last performance of DeForest Kelly as Dr. McCoy before his death in 1999.

I’m genuinely excited to go through this game because, unlike 25th Anniversary, I have never played it. Honestly, I don’t know if I knew it existed back in the early ’90s, which is a shame because 1993 was near the height of my Star Trek fanaticism.

With eight episodes, this is no slapdash sequel, so let’s get to it!


Here’s one very welcome change for the sequel: You can choose a difficulty level for space battles including the option to turn them off completely and play Judgment Rites as a 100% adventure game. I have never clicked an accept button so hard.


Episode 1: Federation

Holy CRAP this episode starts out with a bang. As Kirk is making a mundane log, a tear in space spits out a heavily damaged Alexander. Coming right from 25th Anniversary, I can already tell that the look and sound of this game are a step up.


The captain hails the Enterprise and says that he’s from eight days in the future where the entire Federation has been destroyed. But he’s unable to say more before the Alexander blows up. Would’ve been nice to beam them over, wouldn’t it? Guess we’ll have to back-track the ship and see what it was up to in the previous week.

Also: “Luke Rayner” is the coolest captain name ever.


The Alexander apparently came from Espoir Station, and when the Enterprise arrives the station commander says that Elasi pirates (the bad guys from the first game) have been harassing the station as of late. Kirk beams down with the away team.


The second Kirk arrives, the station commander traps the Enterprise in a tractor beam overload shell thingie and threatens to destroy the ship. I would have given anything for Spock to slap the guy upside the head and calmly reach down and turn off the beams.


The mastermind of the trap is revealed: It’s Dr. Breddell, the cyborg dude who was controlling the Enterprise-2 from the end of 25th Anniversary. Apparently he survived and is hellbent on taking revenge on Kirk. And revenge right now is… merely throwing him in the brig.

Kirk talks the security officer into freeing them, since Breddell had the officer’s father executed a while back for trying to let the Federation know about the illegal ship program.


I love maps.


I also love stunning obnoxious technicians who are standing in the way between me and my precious 3-D chess game!

Kirk and Spock then play out the remainder of the game — a nice nod to their matches in the TV show — with humorous interaction between the two. The conversation in this game seems more natural, I must say.


Taking over the station room by room is quite enjoyable, especially when Spock takes out two guards at the same time with the Vulcan nerve pinch.

So I found out what happens when you die in this mission (after some gas knocked my team out). A weapon above the station fires beams out in all directions and one hits Earth (!), exploding it. That causes the time rift and knocks the player back to the beginning of the mission when the Alexander comes out of the rift. Neat!


My favorite thing about this mission is that McCoy invariably is the first to get stunned any time there’s a firefight. And he takes this about as well as you might imagine. Poor guy.


All space stations have murderous four-armed beasts roaming around, right?


After a lot of work — this is a very, very long mission — Kirk confronts Beddell in his adorable quarters. I love the dart board with Kirk’s face on it.


The proto-event weapon is destroyed by the Enterprise soon after, and the temporal paradox involving the Alexander is resolved. Hooray for us!