Tag Archives: Nightmare Tide

Weekly Wyrm ~ The Case Of The Missing Muppet Bait

paladin kitty rift screenshotThis week I played the stock market again more than Rift.

Imagine a 24/7 live national cable channel dedicated to favorite MMORPG. The channel features panels of expert commentators and pro players chatting endlessly about the latest patch, the best ways to make money crafting, or the newest builds for PvP or raiding.

That’s CNBC. The stock market is the game, and I’ve watched the channel 5-6 hours a day this week. Yesterday Alibaba, China’s biggest company, made a slew of negative headlines, sending its stock and that of Yahoo (Alibaba’s biggest stakeholder) plummeting.

A commentator (Dan Nathan) today called Alibaba “muppet bait”, meaning a hot new investment vehicle that lures lots of less savvy investors and “dumb money” to buy it, while the professionals are selling.

This is a rather wild accusation in this kitty’s opinion, but maybe I’m bitter because I was one of those muppets. No, not so much.

I could go on for several more paragraphs on this, but the point is that Rift’s patch 3:1 “Storm At Sea” went live yesterday, and it’s got a little bit of everything – except muppet bait.

Sure, there are a few hardly-noticeable buttons on the minion panel for shuffling cards (unlike LotRO’s more aggressive UI store-festooning). There is also the Molten Thresher mount and a few new cool items for your personal housing: bank access and a raid combat dummy.

But overall, there is just a ton of good, free stuff, including a new challenging Chronicle that mirrors the T1 raid, complete with nail-biting boss battles – but in solo/duo mode. I can’t wait to jump in and play this.

Sometimes you feel like a muppet in a Free-To-Play MMO. Sometimes you don’t, and this is one of those times. I’m taking this as a good sign for the continued health of Rift on the downside of the Nightmare Tide financial cycle. I hope Elder Scrolls going F2P doesn’t hurt Rift.

This week I haven’t played quite so much, but I’m leveling my rogue alt a little bit, and I put together a cheap outfit using auction house items and some tangerine dye, which I crafted using my savant Apothecary skills. It’s an arcane paladin look, crossed with a tabby cat. Or maybe a tiger.

I also finally got an awesome dungeon drop: a purple healing trinket! This is the trinket that shoots beams of light to your party and raid to heal them while the combat is raging. I’ve always wanted to feel this special and healy, and now I do!

So thanks Trion for a great patch and for keeping it classy. Happy gaming, whatever you’re playing!


Weekly Wyrm: Rift Dungeons Deep

The game blogging trend for 2015 is the travelogue format, as Keen mentioned in a recent post. The kitty is going to try this style.

First, the news!


LotRO: Plans for 2015


This week LotRO put out its 2015 plans. These plans remind me of an old Sesame Street children’s story called Greedy Grimes, from 1972. Yes, this kitty is an old kitty.

As I remember the story, Greedy Grimes was a fisherman. He never threw anything back. He kept fishing up junk out of the sea and piling it all onto his bad ship Sloppy Slop. He piled fish, old tires, pianos, cars, and everything he could hook until his ship became a mountain of junk, and it sank.

If you’re an MMO gone to F2P, this might be your metaphor.

I agree with Justin Olivetti that the LotRO LI system failed in the beginning, but Turbine has never been willing to give it the heave ho. Adding onto it makes it worse, and this is the top item on the 2015 bucket list for LotRO–another opportunity for store monetization.

To be fair, players no longer have to toss their legendary items anymore. So the new plan is the result of that trade-off. The strategy of alt advancement instead of level advancement is also a good one.

Other 2015 LotRO goals include new instances, which should have been at the top of the list, and then developing server transfer tools to accommodate merges. LotRO had been teasing a new PVMP map for years, so this is unbelievable even for people who want a new PVMP map.

We’ll just have to see how LotRO goes. Turbine has a creditable history of keeping things going. I hope Trion moves forward with such a history. On to Rift.


Rift: Dungeon Delving


This week I successfully pugged five of the six Nightmare Tide expert dungeons. I scraped together a few upgrades over my “world gear”, but I have a lot more dungeon running to do. My hit score is up to 950 from 800. I can supposedly do raids at 1000, but my DPS is lagging more than my hit.

I have L65 Stormlock and Pyromancer DPS builds now, and I’m switching between them based on fight mechanics. The weekly sparkle quest for a random piece of T1 raid gear is going another week, so I’ve spent the most time, again, working for that.

In my first week of traveloguing, I made a rookie mistake, losing a lot of screenshots due to pressing the wrong key! Silly kitty. So I don’t have anything from the rare Draumheim zone event on Thursday, where over 300 high-level players showed up at one spot early in the morning, crippling the server.

Some complained they got no achievement. I got mine.

I also jumped into PvP, although I’m trying to get better gear first. The highlight was also on Thursday, where the Defiants shut down the opposing Guardian team, and I earned over 100 achievement points for ten minutes of focus-firing with DPS.

rift mmo screenshot

The cosmetic outfit of the week goes to this guy, who went the extra distance and transmogrified both of his weapons into fish.

rift mmo screenshot

This last screen is from a remote tower in the Dendrome (level 59-60 Storm Legion zone). I was hunting for artifacts. I spotted a rare monster spawn inside a tower. I killed him and went up the tower to find a ritual room at the top.

This image is iconic from Storm Legion, but I never knew who she was. Apparently it’s a mystery also to the cult priestess in the image, who begs the woman in the stained glass window to give her a divine clue or sign.

rift mmo screenshot

That’s all! Like I said, I was bad with the screenshots, so I have no dungeons. Maybe next time. Until then, happy gaming with whatever you’re playing!


Weekly Wyrm Nov. 5, 2014 ~ The Topping Tail

topping tailIn candlestick stock charting, there is a formation called the topping tail. It happens at the top of a chart and marks where the stock makes a final crescendo of buying, which then exhausts itself, and the stock goes downhill from there.

That might sum up where I’m at in Rift. Goboro Reef was the most enjoyable MMO zone I’ve played since Moria. It was a great story with fascinating and funky writing and some bells and whistles sprinkled in: mermaid songs and a lost enclave of Eth, which is the most interesting of Rift’s races. I thoroughly enjoyed this zone.

It gets everything right.

After Goboro, the Rift expansion falls back into the Storm Legion organizational chaos, although it’s kicked up a notch in quality. I would bet Draumheim was written by a completely different writer. In this kitty’s opinion, whoever was responsible for Goboro should oversee and have goddess-like powers over all future story zones made for Rift.

This writer is brilliant. She uses sentence fragments, which I’m not thrilled about. She also uses the word “evil” in two or three dialogs to impress the player with the badness of the baddies, and I don’t agree with this either.

Still. It’s all about the characters and creative writing. At the moment, Rift seems to have made the same questionable decision as LotRO and abandoned the best-written character in the entire game (Arethea) after developing her so well. I hope not. I hope Arethea will show up again.

I also hoped for Nona in LotRO, and we saw how that turned out. I’m on hiatus from Rift at the moment.


Blizzard-Activision = Win


A few weeks ago, I called a stock pick in Blizzard. I said that Blizzard’s stock was undervaluing the strong post-launch performance of Destiny based on what I’ve seen on the street, and I was betting that the earnings would surprise. That’s exactly what happened last night, and now I’m out. I just don’t want to be holding Blizzard.

A lot of big name game makers had very strong earnings this last quarter, by the way. This includes Take Two, EA, and Sony. This is good for games. I saw an interview with the Take Two CEO and he didn’t seem like the sort of horrible caveman that would champion the GTA games. This kitty suspects that looks can be deceiving when it comes to a corporate CEO.

If I were catwoman, I’d investigate.


Saint’s Row 4


I finally got this on a Steam sale last weekend thanks to a tip from Yolari. I paid like $10 for an Ultimate Pack (or something), and now I feel guilty. I wanted to pay more. I just didn’t want to pay lots and lots more.

On the other hand, I would have paid full price a long time ago if the Saint’s Row franchise had stayed in the category of a quirky but still classy underworld story (like the Mafia franchise). So there’s that.


Wasteland 2


I really enjoyed this until near the end of the first real zone. It sort of turns into torture. I mean–in the very first level of the game, you’ve got poisons, incurable diseases, corpse explosions, traps, puzzles to solve with Google, locks you can’t pick, and waves and waves of enemies.

That’s good right? Only up to a point. I’ve heard a lot of players wash out in the first levels, and that was me. I don’t regret supporting this game, but save the torture for the later levels. I was worried I couldn’t cope with managing a party of seven, and that was also a factor.

Seven characters means seven monsters at a time, and you have to kill them one shot at a time, since micromanaging ammo is a real factor. That’s all. Happy gaming, and watch out for those topping tails.


Weekly Wyrm Oct. 26, 2014: Sex And Crime Edition

rift nightmare tide screenshot goboro reefA few notes before I get to Rift.

In my last post, I mentioned a sort-of sex scandal in an upcoming big-name RPG title. After a few days of reflection, I’ve decided I can’t name and discuss this developer or the possibilities for pushing the edge of RPG romance.

So I’ll only say that a female lead on the writing team in this RPG project is a professional erotica writer, a writer who I’ve worked with in the past. This was in an online writer’s group. She’s also a long-time supporter and former participant in National Masturbation Month, having tweeted about it as recently as this year.

(I took a pass. This kitty is too lazy to ooh-la-la every day.)

She’s completely open about her credentials–as an award-winning fiction writer and professional. Now she’s in the gaming industry, however. Given the current climate of #gamergate and the disgusting current climate of harassment of women in the gaming industry, this is cause for concern.

Felicia Day came out this last week in support of #gamergate commenting on her own experience of harassment, speaking candidly of her own fears and depression. Her Tumblr post has 44000 notes a few days later. To underscore the realness of this issue, Felicia immediately faced the consequences with her personal details being posted online.


Art, Crime, And Consequences


The other highlight of this week (besides the Rift expansion), was a tweet re: an Associated Press article about artistic defacement of rock formations, a story first reported by Casey Schreiner on modernhiker.com, leading to authorities getting involved.

Casey went on to write a followup article on why this is such an important issue.

I’m a big fan of Casey Schreiner from his former show “The MMO Report” on G4. I’m also a big fan of hiking, and it was cool to see him suddenly pop up in the national news, no longer citified and clean shaven–instead with a big bushy hiker guy beard.

My take on this issue is that it’s a symptom of American narcissism. Social media is like addictive candy for the need to be special and get attention.

So it’s ironic that social media is this graffiti artist’s downfall by providing the proof. It wasn’t enough for Nocket to just sneak away and leave her art in the park, content that lots of people would see it. She had to post it.

Whatever Nocket’s psychological needs are, they are too strong to overcome better judgment. And that’s sad. She’s a girl who needs help and better parenting like most criminals, but instead she’ll get a fine and/or a prison sentence.

If there’s a world capital of narcissism, it’s California, and as of yesterday, Nocket’s Tumblr blog is gone, only to be taken over by a California street art group looking for attention and promising copycat crimes.

You dudes are so badass! Spray painting rocks is so cool! Almost as cool as a few other dudes last week shooting up the Canadian parliament and attacking police with hatchets, but no. Not really.


Rift: First Impressions (Mostly Positive)


This week has been a mess. On Thursday I went to play, and there was a bad patch forcing everyone who updated at the wrong time to have to completely re-install the game. Fail. Trion compensated with 750 credits, which was generous.

On Friday, three shards destructed, and the Faeblight shard was the hardest hit with a 24+ hour rollback. People were not pleased. Luckily I was busy and didn’t play much until yesterday. I lost a bunch of artifacts I’d harvested.

On the other hand, last night I was doing an event (shown in the image above), where someone called a guild in with a rally flag, and we had at least two full raids on a road where it passed under a giant natural coral archway.

During the epic battle against the evil, the mermaids in the reef started singing. It was one of those memorable game moments! Wow!

The use of “evil” verbiage to give the impression of an enemy is actually one of my very few objections. Otherwise the expansion writing so far is fantastic, nailing the three most important points–characters, characters, and characters. With a sprinkle of narcissism on top.

Overall, the expansion has been awesome, maybe the best I’ve ever played. More Rift impressions next time. Ciao for now and happy gaming.


Elf In Real Life: One Week Until The Nightmare

waiting catRift:Nightmare Tide is supposed to release in one week. I haven’t been playing Rift much except for helping newbies in the forums.

Today was my first day back in the stock market, and I made a $12 profit while the market plunged again.

$12 is like a free hamburger in a hurricane, but it’s still a $1.50 raise on my crappy day job. I haven’t gotten an annual raise–no rank and file in my office has–for over 5 years.

I wish I could go out and harvest artifacts in the neighborhood and sell them on EBay. Maybe if I lived in Greece or Ireland and wanted to engage in criminal archaeological activity.

Everything looks bad except for oil prices, which Citigroup is declaring to be a 1 trillion stimulus. Meanwhile, the headline on CNN.com right now says “brace yourselves for financial crash.”

Ironically, anecdotes say that by the time the headlines of major news outlets are declaring a financial crash, the worst is already over. Maybe CNN is saying this on purpose, trying reverse psychology. Or maybe they’re looking to drive prices further down so they can buy.

Important money people are going on CNBC this week, like the CEO of Blackstone, and saying whatever it takes to help their own interests. It’s like a mini-game trying to guess the ulterior motives of everything the people say on CNBC.

I look at the expressions of the nervous-looking Wall Street guys and imagine them wearing burly beards, with the terrified caption “We dug too deep!”

How deep is Trion still dicking with Nightmare Tide? I’d guess it’s still a bit creaky, but we can pray it’s playable. They have one more week to tie on some flippers and send this girl off the deep end.