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 The wiki must have been out of date because there were no teleporters to be found.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.

Warframe: Just a Bit of Railjacks

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We took a break from GTFO this week as it’s been getting stale for a few of us. I think we’re going to move to play every other week to break things up. Before we started GTFO, our Saturday night group game was Warframe so we headed back over there this weekend.

It’s surprising what was a month and a half off a game will do to your enthusiasm about it. I still enjoy Warframe but logging in last night I didn’t have the excitement I had for it not too long ago.  I was farming and progressing on my own, crafting warframes and weapons left and rights. Now I’m just not as into it.

Unbeknownst to us, one of our group members didn’t stop playing when we did. So when we came back to the game last night he had a nice surprise for us. A Railjack.

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Now me, being great at avoiding spoilers, didn’t really know what a Railjack was. I assumed it was a ship and you did space ship things in it. I thought it was a one-man thing. But I was wrong. The Railjack was MUCH bigger than I thought it’d be and the gameplay much different.

It’s basically a 4 man crewed ship and each person has a role to fill. There’s the pilot who drives, a gunner who guns, an engineer that mans the forges and patches up wholes in the ship, and the ship boarder who flies around on an Archwing and takes over enemy ships. The whole thing reminds me of Guns of Icarus.

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I was the designated engineer for the night. I couldn’t do much because my engineering was level 1 but I fixed a lot of holes in our hull when our shields went down!

The issue we ran into was only the guy with the RailJack could use intrinsic to level up certain roles. So while he kept unlocking all these useful perks the rest of us were stuck at the basic levels. We were hoping it was upgraded to the ship but sadly it was upgraded to the warframe.

It was a fun diversion from the usual gameplay but at the rate we play this game I don’t think the rest of us will be seeing our own Railjacks for a long time.

Holding Pattern

Since the beginning of the month I’ve been putting off starting new games that require a large time investment. This is due to the announcement that Phantasy Star Online 2 would come out sometime at the end of May. Up until Monday, this still hadn’t been announced. Now that I have a date, May 27th, I’m even more reluctant to start any new games.

It’s not that I have these high hopes that an 8-year-old game is going to rock my socks off. Phantasy Star is an IP that I really enjoyed on PSP. It always felt like a single-player MMO and well…here’s the MMO version of that. I think it’s going to be something fun and a bit nostalgic for me. Plus my friends are excited about it and that means it’ll have more sticking power for me as long as they stick around.

For the most part, I’ve avoided spoilers of any kind. Just this week I’ve been looking into what class I might want to play and what the monetization looks like. There’s a premium subscription with some boosts so I’ll probably end up getting that. Subs are my preferred spending in free to play games anyways.

I did see that there’s a talent point reset for purchase. That brings me back…way back to the days where I played Flyff. That game taught me always to look at a guide before I messed around with stats on a character. I couldn’t afford a stat reset so my first character there was a mess of stat points and low damage.

It’s a little weird that I’ll be getting the launcher to form the Microsoft Store. It’s not a place I think of when I think of video games. The only game I’ve bought from there was Forza Horizon 4 and until just now, I forgot I even owned it.

So for now, I’m sticking with games I know. Lots of Trove and our weekly GTFO runs until Wednesday. It’s too bad it releases on a Wednesday, I have Monday and Tuesday off!

 

Some Short Term Trove Goals

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It safe to say I’m back into Trove. The new update has breathed new life into the game for me. There’s also the added benefit of having an excuse to listen to podcasts again. I bought my patron pass for the month and have been happily plugging away at a few new goals.*

Level the Lunar Lancer to 30

The original idea was to level a new class specifically for delves instead of changing the stats around on my Dracolyte. I’m still leveling my Lunar Lancer to 30 but I’m not sure I want to completely switch over. I like the different play style but I know how long it takes to get a class to the stats I’ll need and it might just be easier to try and get my light up on my Dracolyte.

One of the added bonuses of the new class leaderboard rewards is having a reason to play another class. Originally, you just needed above 10k PR on every class to guarantee 12 empowered gem boxes a week. This lead to slapping a whole bunch of bad to ok gems and gear on classes and never playing them again. With the new system, playing them for a short time is the only way to get your Weekley boxes.

This week it’s the Shadow Hunter, the Revenant, and the Boomer Ranger. The Shadow Hunter is my second highest class and main farming class so that’s easy enough. I haven’t’ played the Revenant or the Boomer Ranger since they came out a few years ago. It turns out the Revant is quite fun and I may look at leveling him up after the Lunar Lancer hits 30. The Boomer Ranger still isn’t for me but I’ll run a few dungeons and challenges with him to get my boxes.

Level the Knight to 30

The knight is one of the original classes. I’ve disliked the Knight for as long as I’ve played Trove. But he does have one thing going for him: his subclass.

The subclass for Knight grants faster ground mount moving speed and up to 6 extra flasks. The ground mount speed is meh since you’re flying most of the time, though it could be useful for delves now.  The flasks are huge. Not only will it allow you to live longer but since activating flasks activates your emblems as well, it gives you more DPS. And if there’s one thing you want in Trove it’s more DPS.

Lucky for me, his class gem makes him much more fun to play. He’s been sitting at 20 for years but I’m finally getting around to leveling him to 30 for the extra flasks. I don’t enjoy it enough to want to play it often though. So I wait until Saturday, which is XP boost day, and pop a double ex[erience potion which has been working quite well. He’s currently sitting at 25. I should be able to get him to 30 either this week or next.

Erimatra, Scourge of the Everdark: +250 Magic Damage, 1% crit hit, +50 Magic Find

This is the next Dragon I’m after and only for that 1% crit hit. Sometime between the last time I played and last week I lost 3% crit hit. I’m not sure why but I’ve been slowly using the gem stat boost items to get my crit hit back to 100%. This will make it that much easier to do. It may not be the most important permanent stats to go for right now but I’m tired of seeing 99% crit hit…

The only thing I need to craft it now are 180 dragon coins. I should be able to get those through daily challenges and using my cubits to buy Dragon coins this week.

 

*This is definitely a post more for me to keep track of the things I want to do than anything else.