Next Island and Ancient Greece

This is the second post attempting to sum up everything I’ve done in Entropia since March.

Next Island was our next stop on the tour of Entropia Universe. There awaited beaches, roving hordes of monkeys, and the end of my mentoring. This is where most of April was spent.

Next Island was a colony set up to be a utopia built on science and reason. Separate from Earth and far away from all of it’s problems. A colony ship was sent, and this “First Wave” was sent with a bunch of robots to help set up the colony. The second wave was suppose to bring more people. They never came and the robots went about building anyway.

First off, I want to say that the writing on Next Island is much better than Arkadia. The quests have some humor to them and there’s a lot more exposition to set up the planet. Some time’s there’s too much but overall it’s a much better written set of quests. My favorite of which is Helen’s Super Epic Hunting Adventure.

Go forth and kill 10 boar. No! That’s way too easy! Go forth and kill 25 boar! No! There’s nothing epic about that! Kill 25 boar and 17 papoo! But not the smart talking papoo like Sebastian, of course.

Go forth and slay 63 Mutant Boar and 63 dumb papoo! And by dumb I mean mute because it’s rude to judge the intelligence of a creature you can’t even talk to. 

Helen Venture

Words to live by for sure.

Next Island’s native wildlife include mostly, you guessed it, Papoos and Boars. There’s Red Papoos, and Yellow Papoos, and Grey Papoos. And then there’s village boars, mutant boars, sand boars…ect.

But then there’s also GIANT elemental drakes and snakes. So you get some variety.

Next Island has a bunch of different wave events. Once you walk in to the area the wave event starts and you better hope you have enough ammo to get through it. It spawns ever increasing amounts of creatures at various levels. You would think this would culminate in a boss fight but we only found one wave event with an actual boss. The rest just kind of ended. Pretty anti-climatic.

I watched Greg lose 100 PED killing these birds….

The issue for me with Next Island is there wasn’t really much I could do at my level. Mobs that I can kill on my own either take to many shots for the loot they give or don’t have good enough spawns to make hunting there enjoyable. I think once I have some more levels on me, Greg and I could come back here for sure. I also noticed a decent size community here. I even logged on one weekend to see a giant Hide and Seek community run event going on in chat.

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece is a sub area on Next Island that can be accessed by a teleporter in Orpheus Cave. Much like Next Island, it doesn’t feature a whole lot to do for a player at my level but it does feature some pretty landscapes and cities. With Greg along, I did get to see some of the native wild life. Mainly, Cyclops and Minotaurs.

We didn’t stick in Ancient Greece long but we did stay long enough to grab a few teleporters if we wanted to visit again. I also ran a quest chain which gave me a nice beginner unlimited sword for when I want to train melee.

Finishing Mentoring

The whole reason we came to Next Island this early was for me to get the Atlas armor when I finished the Mentoring program. When we arrived I was at about 95% completed so I just needed to get out there and hunt for a bit to fil it up . It was a bit slow to fill since the aforementioned level problems for me here but I did manage to fill it up after a few Papoo hunts.

When you’re ready to graduate there’s a button you have to press on the mentoring menu. The mentor then has to log in to approve it and once approved both parties get their rewards. The rewards for the disciples are much better than for the mentors. I think that’s to encourage new players to link up with old ones when starting out.

Like everything in this game so far nothing goes right the first time. I clicked my button, Greg approved it, I saw a nice flashy congratulations animation. I opened my inventory to find….a Pixie Armor set….That’s the set you get if you finish mentoring on Calypso and it looks terrible. Apparently this happens so often there’s forum posts about it dating back years. .

So I did something I’ve never had to do in an online game before: I put in a support ticket. Which was an adventure all on it’s own. I was descriptive as can be and armed with screenshots and time stamps. Only to get through the whole thing only to be told there was an error and to contact support….Attempt number two went through though adnd 3 days later my garish Pixie armor was replaced with my sleek Atlas Armor

Yay!

Leaving Arkadia for the Moon

Since it’s been a bit since my last Entropia post I’m going to try and summarize the events of the last month in two posts. This is the first.

The whole reason we started on Arkadia was to fill up the Mentoring experience as quickly as possible. The rewards are too good to pass up: an armor set with some nice stats and a vehicle. The mentor doesn’t get much, I think Greg got some gloves or something.

Once my mentoring experience was around 95% we planned to leave Arkadia behind and go over to the planet of Next Island. So when I completed my mentoring I would get the reward armor from Next Island. I thought the Atlas armor looked the coolest.

Once I was around 93% we left the Carabok fields and headed over to Akaas so Greg could show me instances. With instances, instead of killing mobs outside, you get to kill mobs inside. And for that privilege you need to craft/buy a key to enter the instance. Luckily, it’s only one key per person.

Oh, and you also enter the area through the head a giant snake.

As with most things in Entropia, it’s not exactly user friendly to get in there. Greg and I spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure out how to start the thing. It involves talking to NPCs and then a door in the correct order otherwise you get a 2 minute loading screen that can’t be closed out of until it fails to load anything….

Once inside, the structure of the instance is kill creatures in the room to unlock the next room. After a certain amount of rooms you go down a level. Lather, rinse, repeat until you get to the ground floor with the big boss! Kill the boss, open the chests and leave. It’s basically a dungeon.

The levels of the mobs and the density of them increase depending on the level of instance door you open. What makes instances different is the monsters don’t drop any loot. All of the loot is given at the end. I believe the split is based on damage dealt. I assume so anyways, There’s a nice little score board that tells you how much damage each player in the instance is doing. So it’s either there for that or just so you can yell at your friends for not pulling their weight.

The highest we went was the Akaas 3 door. That one was rough for me since I couldn’t do enough damage to clear out mobs fast on my own. Greg definitely carried me through that one. I did end up looting an actual item from the chest that run: a mind force chip worth about 12 PED. I got lucky though for doing so little damage over all.

After finishing up the Akaas instances we headed off to the Arkadian Underground to take a look and the mobs there and run some different instances. These instances were much the same as the Akaas instances but they had cool Sci-Fi tunnels. They were also a lot shorter, taking about 5 minutes to complete.

We also took a look at some of the mobs in the Underground. I have to hand it to Entropia, it has some of the most interesting creatures.

Like this one:

And this one

The Underground was our last activity on Arkadia. We got is Greg’s ship and flew to the Arkadia Moon. Which really didn’t have a lot to do. There were some creatures we could hunt but weren’t really worth it. There’s also a daily quest there which awards 2 PED of universal ammo. That’s not a ton but it’s something.

The daily also awards pieces to a Hazmat suit. The way you get the quest to even start this is talking to an NPC choosing a very specific set of conversation topics before he let’s you start it. This quest has to be run 18 days in a row to get the full hazmat suit. I ran it once and that was enough for me.

This is the most exciting thing I did on the Arkadia Moon

We didn’t stay there long before leaving for a Next Island. Where my mentoring armor awaits me!

Eight Thousand Caraboks

This is a Carabok.

For the last two weeks, when I’m not out and about with Greg, you can find me in the carabok fields outside of Celeste Quarry. There, the caraboks spawn in the hundreds, as far as the draw distance can display.

The caraboks are small, defeneless creatures, with 10hp. But they’re also level 4 which makes them great for leveling skills on the cheap. And right now, leveling skills is my top priority.

As far as I can tell, skills experience is rewarded sometimes on hit but always on a kill and they’re awarded semi randomly. Based on the weapon used, there’s a pool of skills that can gain xp. These assortment of skills in turn level up Professions which are sort of like classes but are mostly just more skills.

For example hunting with a laser rifle will guve xp for skills related to the laser rifle and hunting. Once enough points are obtained in those skills The professions related to laser rifle hit and damage will level up. But there are also skills shared by various professions so sometimes I’ll see a BLP weapon profession level up without every using that weapon type. The Profession levels seem more important than the individual skills as they determine what equipment can be used effectively.

At this time, Planet Arkadia still has the classic Entropia missions. These ask you to hunt x number of creatures. Once turned in, they award skill points and offer the next tier of the mission which is to kill more of that creature.

The carabok started out with a mission to kill 75, then 400, then 5000….and now I’m here on the kill 10000 missions with 3,000 more hunted.

I know the spawns, I know where to look for more when there are too many people on my ureent hunting ground, I can spot a carabok from a mile away.

I’ve become one with the carabok.

EU: Space Taxis and Sweat Sellers

For the past few weeks Greg has been planning the best way to introduce me to Entropia Universe. I made sure I followed his instructions to the T. I set up my account, downloaded the launcher, downloaded the correct planet data, and made sure I could actually log in, and purchased the Starter Gold Pack. All of this had to be ironed before hand out since we were going to stream the whole thing.

The plan was to start on Planet Arkadia because Greg thought it was the planet with the best new player experience. There’s a nice quest chain that takes the player around the map and teaches the basic mechanics of the game. It also rewards a hoverpod (pictured above) to drive around. It also has some good skilling spots which would be beneficial after I ran the opening quest line.

Things didn’t exactly go as planned.

The first sign of trouble was immediately out of character creation. I had entered into Genesis, the tutorial zone for Planet Calypso, not Planet Arkadia. We thought I might need to get through this basic tutorial and at some point I would be able choose what planet I wanted to start on. So I went about doing various tasks: learning how to use my weapon, learning how to mine, learning how to interact with the world and how to spawn a vehicle.

Mostly, I learned how to navigate the obtuse UI. The normal key mappings are there: J for quest Journal, M for Map, I for inventory. There’s also an Action library that lists all of the actions available in the game. These are buttons ranging from emotes to system preferences all in one long list. At least it’s searchable.

Each action can be placed on the screen too quicker access. There isn’t a typical hot bar but these icons can be moved around like desktop icons. F10 also brings up a keyboard lay out to map icons to keys. It’s a bizarre layout, probably due to it’s age, but now that I’ve played with it for a few days it’s not so bad. The one nice thing about the UI is that every window can be moved around. I haven’t quite figured out if it can be resized though.

Once I reached the end of Genesis I frantically looked around for a way to start on my preferred planet. We traveled over to the wiki which clearly showed there should be some teleporters around to choose a spawn. The wiki must have been out of date because there were no teleporters to be found. So hoping for the best I talked to the NPC to take me out of Genesis thinking I might get a choice right at the end.

I was deposited straight on to Planet Calypso and Camp Icarus. A literal world away from my friend. What had happened was that I was suppose to download the launcher from Planet Arkadia’s website instead of the Entropia Universe website. I was also suppose to make an account over there as well in order to start on the planet. I still don’t quite understand why but that turned out to be what the problem was.

But for the time being we had to solve the problem of getting me off of Calypso and on to Arkadia. And this is where I got my first introductions to warps.

From my understanding, players own ships that can travel real fast between planets and they sell this service to other players. Space can be traversed by smaller and slower craft but since we were streaming we didn’t have time to wait for an hour an a half one way for Greg to come pick me up. Before I knew it I was getting a private message from a pilot who would come pick me up in 5 minutes. Fresh out of the tutorial, I had no idea what to expect but I kept getting messages about how it would all work. I would be summoned to the ship, we would be making a stop at another planter, Toulan, and then I would be brought to Arkadia Space station for Greg to pick me up. Space is also a PVP zone so it was recommended to log out if I had tradable items on me during travel. 10 minutes later, I was in Arkadia Space station and it only cost Greg the price of a small cup of coffee.

So now I’m in the correct place, on the correct planet, with the guy who’s going to show me around the game. So far so good. I get in Greg’s little flying vehicle and we make the short journey from the space station to the planet itself. Once there, we land at the Arkadia Welcome Center and I make my way to the NPC to start the starter quest chain. There’s just one small problem, he won’t talk to me. He tells me I’m not a citizen of Arkadia and will need to talk to the passport Official next to him. The passport official tells me I’m not a citizen either and won’t issue me a passport either. Well he will, but I have to pay him a bribe of ten thousand bottles of sweat…..oh boy.

At this point Greg’s reaching out to his various contacts to see what we’re doing wrong. What was suppose to be a 15 minute tutorial has turned in to 2 hours. Eventually, we arrive on the answer, we need the passport to start the quest chain. And so the hunt for a sweat seller commences.

Lucky for us, sweat is plentiful as it’s the main resources people who want to play for free collect to sell. The general consensus is it costs more money in electricity to run your computer than you would make sweating monsters. But people do it any way. In fact, the first time I had ever seen Entropia Universe was years ago when Greg was AFK sweating on his laptop while we were playing some other game…it did not look appealing at the time. So of course, it would all come full circle and back to sweat to get this adventure started.

We found a sweat circle in all of it’s glory at Celeste Outpost. In about 5 minutes Greg was able to rustle up a seller. Finally, after about 4 hours I was able to start the quest chain on Arkadia, got my hoverpod, and actually started going through what Greg thought would be a good introduction to the game.

I can’t think of a better introduction to a game than what it took us to get to that point!

My Entropia Universe Project Begins

Yes you read that right: Entropia Universe. That game with the Real Cash Economy that you probably last saw an ad for in, like, 2010. It’s one of those games that get’ an article someone making 6 figures selling virtual property every once and a while and then goes back to the niche corner it’s been hiding in. The game I lovingly refer to as the Flea Market of MMOs. I have a long and storied history with Entropia Universe and I’ve never played it. But I’ve been hearing about it for 11+ years now from Greg.

To be homeset, the whole “Real Cash Economy” thing has always weirded me out. I can sort of understand the appeal. The hope that you get more out of the game than you put in. Every thing has a monetary value so you’re not “wasting” your time playing other games. On the flip side, everything costs money and the amount of enjoyment/playtime you can get out of it depends on how much you spend.

So, when Greg approached me a few weeks ago with the idea of trying out the game and he would pay for most of it I was intrigued. Here was an opportunity to have my closest friend show me a game he’s been passionate about for years with little monetary investment on my end. Of course, I didn’t want him to pay for everything so I bought the Gold Starter pack which came with some armor, a weapon, some XP pills, and $25 worth of ammo. We’ll see how long that lasts me. When the ammo runs out I’m not likely to buy more.

The idea is to give the game an actual try, to experience the game as a new player and experience a niche game/community I wouldn’t have otherwise. Which means adding it to my stable of regularly played games and playing it on my own; not just when Greg’s around. Greg will have a bunch of items and weapons for me so I can try all aspects of the game: Hunting, Crafting, and Mining. We’ll also be going on a tour of all the planets in Entropia Universe so I can see as much as I can.

I’m not sure what to expect but I’m sure it will be an experience to say the least.

You can check out my continuing adventures in Entropia over at twitch.tv/welpsquadtv Along with other great content from my friends.

The Second Time Around

Over the weekend I finished up A Realm Reborn for the second time. The first go round took 322 hours over the course of 3 years or so. This time it only took 40 hours over a little less than a month. Of course, that first time around started when Heavensward was the only expansion and I wanted to try out everything the game had to offer. This time I stuck to running the Main Scenario Quests and focusing on one class.

The original plan was to level a healer for quicker dungeon queues which I did for a while. I stopped that after I got my White Mage to 30. For one, I didn’t remember the dungeons after that point all that well and didn’t want to drop people left and right. But the DPS queue wasn’t actually that bad. The longest I had to wait for most of the MSQ leveling dungeons was 12 minutes. The last two dungeons, Castrum Meridianum and The Praetorium, had a wait time of about 25 minutes each. I passed the time by finishing entries in the hunting log I had been neglecting.

Since the last time I’ve run these two dungeons the cutscenes have are now unskippable. The last time I ran these I had to skip the scenes or I got left behind. It was nice to see the end of the story here but the cutscenes felt never ending. Just when I thought it was over, BAM, another cutscene! One of the best parts of all of this was my party members riffing off the melodrama at every turn.

Now that I’m done with ARR I’m on to the Seventh Astral Era Quests. This is where I left off on my last character and the part I haven’t been looking forward to. I got through about half of the quests last time but I couldn’t tell you what the story was about. Maybe paying closer attention this time will make things more interesting. I read that the 100 quests between ARR and Heavensward were reduced to…90 so that’s something, right?

This week I plan on working through these post ARR quests but I’m not in a rush to complete them. The last time I wantedget them over with and ended up burning myself out. With ARR, I found a nice balance by doing a few quests throughout the week and spending a larger chunk of time with the game on the weekends.

This time I’m going to get to Heavensward!

Titan Who?

I spent a lot less time in Final Fantasy XIV last weekend than I was planning. My wife’s 10 year old car finally died and most of the weekend was spent figuring out how to replace it. I was able to log in for a little bit and knock out more of the MSQ and a couple Black Mage class quests.

From my first playthrough of A Realm Reborn, I clearly remember everything leading up to Ifrit. But in between Ifrit and Garuda I was drawing a black. I remembered snippets like the Brayflox Longstop dungeon and meeting a “member” of the Company of Heroes somewhere outside of Limsa Lominsa. But that’s about it. I was drawing a blank on what Titan looked like or what the fight was actually like. Even when I was in there I couldn’t recall ever doing it. Lucky for me, it was easy to figure out what I was suppose to do once I was in there.

I’m sure there will be more large swaths of story coming up that I’ll have no recollection of either. I have no idea what happens between the Garuda fight and the end dungeons with all those unskipable cutscenes. Or anything that happens in between the end of A Realm Reborn and the start of Heavensward.

I’ve said it before but there’s something about the writing or delivery of dialogue in FFXIV that requires me to either pay full attention or miss out completely on what’s being said. So part of it is I’m actively paying more attention this time around and picking things up I didn’t catch before. The other major factor is that I’m playing on PC rather than PS4 this time. I find it’s way easier for me to read on my monitor rather than the TV.

I’m hoping to get some more play time in this week to advance the story some more. It’s a race to see if I can get in to Heavensward and play actual new to me content before my interest in the game fades again.

Back in Final Fantasy 14 Again

Hey Eorzea, it’s been a while hasn’t it? It’s most assuredly been over a year. Maybe even two.

Checks blog posts….July 2019! Well it has been quite some time.

How did I end up here? Well out of all things it started with getting my account transferred in Black Desert. I had intended to transfer and maybe start up a new character there. But when I logged in the character slots were all filled up. Black Desert has a 1 day character deletion timer so I wasn’t going to be able to play right away. I came across the FFXIV icon on my desktop and decided I would resub and play that again instead. Very much an impulse decision there.

So here I am again faced with the decision to start over or continue where I left off. Considering I don’t remember anything from my last visit to FFXIV it was an easy decision. I’ve made yet another new character. This time on the current preferred server Midgardsormr.

So far, I’ve been really enjoying my time back in Eorzea. I decided to start out as a Thaumaturge since Black mage was the only original class I’ve never tried out. On my last character I want to say I may have gotten it close to 30 but never quite made it there. Also, I always thought the level 50 gear looked really cool too.

The plan is to run through the Main Scenario with the Black Mage and run dungeons with a White Mage at least until the end of A Realm Reborn. I never did get out of ARR in 2019 and I think this will be my second, maybe, third run through the base game.

With the boosted XP from the preferred server I’m blowing through the Main Scenario. It’s much more enjoyable this time around and better paced without having to take breaks to level up in between MSQs. My Black Mage is sitting around level 40 while the MSQ is around level 27 right now. Every time I hit a dungeon for the MSQ I’ve been switching over to the conjurer to get a feel for healing again. Which in turn is keeping that class pretty close in levels. This weekend I did all the class quests to get my White Mage job crystal.

One of the things I’m trying to be conscious of this time around is keeping my focus on reading dialogue text. I don’t know what it is about the way FFXIV delivers the dialogue but if I’m not 100% focused on reading it I’ll read the words without really thinking about what they’re saying. I notice when my mind slips I’ll be 3 paragraphs in and have to figure out what’s going on. As a result of all that, I’m picking up on story bits that I hadn’t before. I remembered the story pretty well up until the first Ifrit fight. But after that, everything has felt brand new to me. Which is great because I don’t feel like I’m running the same old content even though I technically am.

Maybe this year I’ll actually get to see what’s waiting outside A Realm Reborn.

Corruxian Lands in Trove

I was a bit surprised yesterday when I saw the announcement that there was a new dragon in Trove. I don’t remember the last time one was added. Dragons are kind of a big deal, they provide a ton of mastery, a new mount, and a small but permanent stat boost to all classes on your account.

Corruxion can be found in the hub below the platform Luxion stands on when he’s in the hub…wait a minute…Corruxion….Luxion….oh come on Trove! Just like Luxion, Corruxion will arrive in the hub every 2 weeks which gives players a chance to peruse his shop which takes Chaos Cores instead of Dragon Coins. Hence the Corr part of his name…probably. There’s also a small quest you can accept from Peetza in the hub to deliver a, wait for it, pizza to Corruxion which will reward 1 Chaos Core on completion.

Players can purchase 10 Chaos Dragon Egg for 1 chaos core each. Fragments each time Corruxion arrives. Which makes this yet another time gate to our favorite time gate simulator. You’ll need 50 Chaos Dragon Egg Fragments to craft the dragon so at minimum we’re looking at 10 weeks here. In addition, Charl the Chaos Dragon, requires 25k flux, 75 Chaos Chests, and 300 Dragon coins to craft.

Among such dragons as Khadavros, the Waiting Oblivion, Rachnaphon, the Silent Spectator, and Thallasion, Shaper of the Currents, the name Charl the Chaos Dragon is a bit unaspiring. However, Charl does come with a 1% Crit hit boost, +50 light, and the standard +50 magic find. Any chance to get a bit more Crit Hit away from your gems is always welcome. It let’s you squeeze focus on squeezing a few more percent out of one of the damage stats for all you min/maxers out there.

Corruxion’s shop is also filled with empowered gem boxes, lustrous gem boxes, Double Experience Potions, and Bound bBrilliance. It’s a nice addition for those that have already crafted the mounts and costumes that require chaos cores and have nothing else to do with them.

I’m happy to see Trove has continued to get updates this year. We’ve gotten Delves, and updated Hub and he addition of a new dragon is a nice way to cap it all off. Hopefully, we’ll see continue to see more content added next year!

Back in World of Warcraft…Again.

It’s that time again, the one where my feed is filled with WoW content. It’s that time where I say: Hey, that looks like fun let’s jump in! It’s that time where I fire up the Blizzard launcher, download many, many gigabytes, and get crackin’ on a new character in the free trial. That’s right, it’s expansion time! But you already knew that…probably.

I’ve tried a few times now to get into World of Warcraft. I’ve gotten to level 20 a few times in the free trial. I’ve even subscribed a few times only to have my interest wane a month later. This time was much the same until it wasn’t. See, I’ve known about the level squish that took place right before Shadowlands came out but I wasn’t in the right mindset to try it out. I guess there wasn’t enough hype for my easily swayed brain.

I pretty much forgot there was a new starting zone until it was offered after I created my Panderan Mage. I had to see what it was all about. I was pleasantly surprised to find it had a nice condensed story mixed with a bit of a tutorial. I was also surprised by the number of voice-overs and cutscenes. It helped me stay focused on the story throughout the zone while I went from quest to quest. Apparently, I forgot there was a screenshot button too because I have none from Exile’s Reach.

Now, the one thing that’s put me off to the game for years has been the sheer amount of content. I’ve said it before, 16 years worth of content is intimidating. While I’ve enjoyed my time in the previous starting zones I’ve always felt lost after leaving them. So I welcome the new leveling changes.

Sure, I was abruptly dropped off in Stormwind, told the king wanted to see me, was surrounded by characters I didn’t know, and whisked off on a ship to Kul Tiras in mere minutes after I finished up Exile’s Reach. But once I got there I could pick up on enough of the story to get my bearings. Overall, it feels like a better player experience for me so far. I can still go through all of that other content but I only have to go through one expansion to get to the current one. I foresee many characters being created to check out the stories from previous expansions.

At the moment, I’ve been content just questing through Kul Tiras and taking it all in. My mage is at level 32. I’m not too much in a hurry to hit 50 but so far the pacing is just right for me. I picked up Shadowlands to give my self a bit more of a reason to stick around this time. Was that a good decision? Maybe, I guess we’ll see where I am a month from now when it’s time to renew my sub.