I just wanted to kill Murlocs in TBC

I was watching lore videos earlier this month and I got the itch to play wow again. Not classic server but TBC whose full or more populated servers offer a better user experience, in my opinion, at this stage of the expansion.

Then, after leveling my horde paladin blood elf to level 8 in about 8 hours of game time (I only play about an hour per day; super casual although I was invited to a guild last week and gladly accepted) I realized why I stopped playing: it all came rushing back! The tedious grids of the mobs, questing that felt more sandbox than the by the rails, by the numbers in retail wow, and the feeling of isolation in what is supposed to be an mmo because most people are either too high level or don’t feel like being too social in what’s supposed to be a social experience.

What drew me in tonight and what kept me going was killing murclocs. Murlocs may be the perfect mob from a game design perspective. Simply put: They are so freaking annoying! And they make that distinct sound which just makes you want to kill a bunch of them.

Eladrinn the Blood Elf Paladin killing Murlocs on the coast.

As if Murlocs weren’t annoying enough, some of them can temporarily poison you, it won’t be a long lasting effect, but just like Murcolcs themselves, boy is it ever annoying!

I never really knew the lore behind Murlocs so kudos to Youtuber hirumaredx for this amusing look at Murloc lore. Yes they may be one, if not the most iconic, mob races in the game, but they are so freaking annoying.

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Excited over cross-faction play in World of Warcraft

Courtesy Blizzard Entertainment

IGN reported this week that an update is currently in the works that will allow Alliance and Horde players to form parties together for dungeons, raids, and rated PvP. Though not available yet, the change is planned for release as part of an eventual 9.2.5 update sometime after the upcoming major patch, Eternity’s End.

The article can be read here.

Personally, this makes me excited to play wow again, even retail, since I had been dabbling with Classic trying to find a home in a server in that version of the game but not having been too successful due to Classic TBC dropping which resulted in a lot of empty servers in the Classic realms. Also RL got in the way (work, house duties etc).

Though this change will probably affect more high-level players or those who have max characters wanting to group up with their friends, for a casual such as myself, it does present the advantage of being able to do instances with the other factions and people I know who only play Alliance (as I am mostly horde) and that will be cool.

But before I pull out the old credit card and resub to wow, I need to finish some goals on my other retro mmos which I have returned to in 2022. For example, lately I was concluding the Hardcore season in DDO even though as I posted before, I was late in discovering it. How did it go? Not great lol, it was fun but I died at level 2! One life one death is a pretty punishing ruleset, especially when you wander into an area and pull a bunch of mobs and don’t give yourself enough time for your Cleric hireling to heal you.

And another adventurer bites the dust in DDO
This is what the Harbor Marketplace in Stormreach looks like in DDO after you die, very creepy and eerie.

I actually made a few n00b errors while on the HC server: Mainly I played a ranger for the first time but ran out of ammo fairly quickly. Note to self: DDO is not retail wow, you don’t have unlimited ammo! You have to stock up! Actually, it was not that simple, I did have ammo, but I think it was for the wrong weapon. I didn’t need potions, though I had them, due to the hireling but I found out you can only have one hireling active at a time. (mistake 2)

Noob mistake No. 3: Poor coordination with hireling before pulling too many mobs. Yes, I mentioned this one before, but I think it bears repeating if you ever find yourself in the HC server and venture into a wilderness area, even one where you are familiar with the map and feel safe, make sure you are full health at all times or close to it. 50 HP sounds like a lot but they quickly get reduced if you pull incorrectly. You can be close to a shrine but that should not make one overconfident because mobs can overwhelm you in a hurry and even if their C.R. is low, they still hit hard when they bunch up and the damage adds up! By the way, how cool is it that this game based loosely on D&D 3.5 uses C.R., a system that has been carried into 5e (well with some modifications.)

So there you have it. I did play Dark Age of Camelot a bit last night and it was fun, teamed up with random PUG which turned out to be not a PUG at all, just a long-time player partnered with a bot who hit pretty hard. It was still fun. More on that some other time.

Posted in Azeroth adventures, Dark Age of Camelot, Dungeons and Dreagons Online | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why didn’t I know DDO hardcore was a thing?

I think at some point in my long history of playing DDO (OK so it is admittedly a checkered history because I have left the game to play other mmos for long periods of time) I must have been made aware that there was a hardcore mode for the game, if not a dedicated server for this ruleset.

I am saddened by the fact that this is not a permanent situation on DDO as it is in Classic wow, to name another popular venue for HC mode, as I mentioned back in December of last year when I was heavily into trying to make it to level 60 without dying, a feat that seems almost impossible at times in Classic, without dedicating a major amount of time to it. As a casual gamer and definitely a casual in mmos, I grew weary with this seemingly futile endeavor and quit.

Lo and behold, I came across someone who vlogs at the official DDO Youtube channel and he made me aware that indeed, there is much HC action happening on a dedicated server and evidently, this happens a few times per year. How did I not know this?

Mind blown.

courtesy of jman1784 Gifs on Tenor

So of course, I rolled up a character on the official DDO HC server, even though the HC season only goes for another week, and managed to level 2 in one afternoon where I played a good 3 to 4 hours. I didn’t come close to dying, but that was only because I did not get too far past the Korthos Island tutorial and a few other quests before moving on.

My DDO HC elf!

So behold: Carric The Stealthy, he is an elf and hails from Khorvaire, mostly because I was too cheap to spring for a paid race in the early levels for a character who may or may not make it out alive in this rule set. No that would just be dumb, can’t, musn’t get attached! That was something I did not do in the Classic wow HC server, become attached, which goes counter to having a “main” in your favorite mmo, unless of course you suffer from altoholism. I have had a touch of that once or twice, even with blogs! Retro mmo wasn’t, by any means, my first blog, but I am aiming for it to be my last in 2022.

Kimber Cotely please train me. what do you mean I don’t have enough Action points??

Also: get a load of this: In all my years, even though I am sporting a 15-year anniversary cloak to show how much I love the game, I never played a ranger. What? Why not? I love playing rangers in the tabletop version of the game. I reasoned that it was because I like melee more than ranged attacks in mmos, which is basically true, but I corrected this oversight with this latest DDO toon.

Heal me you heal hire, do as thy is commanded.

As an aside, because I did not feel like doing the entire Korthos Island story line and all the familiar quests, I sidestepped it completely and moved on to the keep on the Borderlands after traveling to the Harbor. It may prove to be a bad idea for a level 2 ranger, but hey, not getting attached remember? Good moving on…

I hate puzzles, I suck at solving DDO puzzles and after a few hours trying this one I flat out gave up. ‘Twas an ordeal and a bad idea to try.
Level 1 starting out on the HC journey in an official server until Feb.1 then a free transfer

So yes, it felt great to be back in DDO, yes it was nice to visit the inn again, (Wayward Lobster? No that is the Harbor inn I think) but I felt like a flake reading back on my posts from November and late 2021 in which I envisioned posting more about my DDO and Classic wow adventures. But hey, it’s a newish year and the good news is that even after the latest DDO HC season ends next week, I can (for free) transfer the elf main to a new home, a permanent server, if he survives this week. And yes, I plan to get back on track both with this blog and with my gaming goals overall. Any suggestions from you DDO vets to which server he should make a permanent home in the eventuality death does not come to him?

I leave you with this, because reacting to mmo and DDO Youtubers will also be (apparently) a thing in 2022.

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SOM casual hardcore mode

Casual hardcore? Isn’t that a contradiction of terms? Well not when it comes to my approach to Classic wow. I am still doing the hardcore challenge on the new fresh servers but I can only play casually during the week. I calculated that since I resubbed I atually have played an average of about an hour a day which explains why my Orc rogue jadegiant has barely dinged to level 7. And I have died twice!!

Confused about the hardcore challenge? Want to know more about my mmo adventures in old Azeroth? Check out this video I dropped for my youtube D&D channel where I also play mmos based on D&D and some like Classic that are derivative of my favorite pen and paper RPG. You can also message me in game on the Shadowstrike pve server on the horde side.

Goodbye dwarf hunter we hardly knew ye!

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Season of Mastery Day 5: The push for 60

Skin and bones is still kicking in Classic Azeroth

A little bit over 10 hours in five days is what I have been able to commit to SOM thus far in the Nightfall server where Skinandbones the undead warrior is still kicking having dinged level 9 recently. But just to make things more interesting, we decided to take up the hardcore challenge and though we have come close to death a few times, running away to fight another day has been the answer to a few tight spots.

Skin and Bones after his latest kill. But it came at a price.

We took on the Rot hide graverobbers and Mongrels even though they kept putting the curse on us. That’s not the spirit of the artists formerly known as Prince, that’s S&B after his latest kill.

That will show you stupid gnoll not to mess with the undead, lest you be dead.
Putrid claws returned, 40 percent xp check. Progress achieved, only 51 more levels to go.

Do you have those putrid claws? Yes and after I figured out that the best way to get them was to lure those stupid zombies from under the bridge to the guard which killed them every time, it got less dicey despite the repetitive nature of the task.

A lot of us have answered the call and a lot of us are not making it through. To wit:

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S.O.M. Day 1 in Classic Wow

Recently I discovered that hardcore mode is a thing in classic wow. Why didn’t anyone tell me that this was an option? Back in the pre TBC expansion, this would have been a perfect solution for the mmo doldrums which accompanied the servers at the time.

In case you were clueless like me and had no idea what Hardcore mode was all about, essentially it is a previously unofficial way of adding “permadeth” options into the classic servers. The main rule of this ruleset is level to 60 with one life, you die, you delete the character or you leave it as a ghost.

I guess I have Youtuber Doveskie for informing me about this fun challenge. I think I attempted it before about 4 years ago when it was called the Iron Man, but this is a variation of that ruleset.

Doveskie tries to level to 60 with her rogue but is having a heck of a go of it. She obviously has way too much tine on her hands!

There’s even a cool website set up explaining the rules and welcoming the community.

Now I was already going to go back to Classic in order to experience the launch of the fresh servers. I am a sucker for new servers, there is something very appealing about joining a new server and seeing all those players running around starting the journey to max level.

Holy heck! Look at all the players in Deathknell at the undead starting zone I know so well. Skinandbones was born shortly after launch and the handy dandy /who command revealed the presence of 50 players in the lowbie newbie zone.

Before long, I was doing the quest where you kill all the spiders outside the cave, and even though I was invited to a group, grouping in the open world is a no no in hardcore, so goodbye to PUGs. This is a journey which I make alone, or literally die trying. (well I guess still figuratively dying in game). I could not get attached to my undead warrior because who knows how far he can go, and that’s kinda the point and where all the fun is.

Taking on the Rattlecages, waiting for the mobs to respawn. The whole thing brought back memories of when Classic was new and back in 2019 pre COVID and before I grew tired of it all. But this time I vowed it would be different! I don’t think I have the fortitude to start undead from scratch in the same zone like Doveskie, but I do think that my strategy will consist of trying out new race and class combos every time, for variety’s sake. I think I would go mad re-rolling the same toon in the same zone over and over.

Hey there my queen! You don’t know you will be queen yet, but just wait my queen, patience!

By my second day in the server I had achieved level 6. I ended my day in the Undercity where I made it official by visiting the NPC and grabbing the Soul of Iron. I know I know, that actually happened with only about 3.5 hours of play, but I did take a long break to work today. I am off all next week though for Thanksgiving vacation so that maybe a good time to see how far I can take Skinandbones, will he survive or will he perish in the harsh cold world of Azeroth? Come back next week for the next Warcraft Wednesday and we shall find out together.

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DDO Tuesday and Warcraft Wednesdays coming to retrogamer blog

When you are going up against bugbears, kobolds and hobgoblins in DDO, best along to bring a healing hire if you are soloing the wilderness area.

It is not often that you get a second chance at anything in life. However, earlier this month I found out that Wow Classic is dropping fresh server and realms on November 16 and I all I could do is smile and think to myself, “I’m in.”

The year was 2019 and it does not seem that long ago that I had dedicated myself to going back in time (gaming time that is) along with seemingly hundreds (thousands?) of nostalgic Wow players and rolled up a character for the upcoming Classic server launch.

Well fast forward to the end of 2021 and I regrettably didn’t get very far in my previous endeavor to casually level a toon in the new classic server. With work and RL getting in the way, soon the expansion dropped and I lost interest in Classic, especially after the servers seemingly became ghost town empty realms as everyone else had jumped to TBC.

By now most of you know Blizzard is planning to drop what they are calling their Season of Mastery servers, but in case you were out to lunch when the announcement was made like I was, here is some info with all the deets.

Well, I have not been updating the old blog because frankly I have not been playing a lot of mmos, even in the casual manner in which I am accustomed to because these days most of my free time has been spent vloging on my Youtube channel dedicated to D&D and not playing many mmos. That changed this evening when I decided to dust off my level 4 (soon to be 5) barbarian on DDO. This is the game I want to play when I am not leveling up in Classic.

For one thing, this is the best time to be getting back into DDO. Players ca use the Coupon Code DDOQUESTS2021 between now and the end of the year (through December 31st, 2021) to get all of the game’s currently-available adventure packs for free.

Take a hire and solo an area or dungeon of your choosing in DDO.
I went to the inn after a few quests, because that is what you do in Stormreach and practically every other mmo and fantasy game in the history of fantasy gaming.

So until wow classic fresh servers drop a week from today and I am once again able to roll up un undead warrior, rogue or caster to fight for the horde in classic Azeroth, I will be biding my time with my alternate mmo of choice.

This is my casual gaming schedule and blogging plan:

DDO Tuesdays

Warcraft (classic) Wednesdays

Everquest 2 over the weekends or whenever I need a break from the other two.

Won’t you join me and come along for the ride? It’s gonna be epic. Well, maybe not epic but I guarantee community and fun.

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Return to Norrath in the Antonia Bayle server

The most important command in any retro mmo nowadays is probably the /who command. This is because if you want to know your server or zone population, that magic command will let you know how many other players are sharing in your mmo adventure at the time.

I personally had been itching to get back into mmo gaming but have been more occupied with D&D tabletop gaming since I joined a gaming group in my local hobby store which observes all the COVID protocols including masking for those not vaccinated and plenty of social distancing.

Last night I decided to fire up Everquest 2 and although for some reason I could not find the character I created just the week before, I decided to start from scratch on the Antonia Bayle server with a dwarf Guardian. Seemed “tanky” enough for me to enjoy playing. According to the EQ2 wiki, the Guardian is the front-line force in a party. Combining the power of armored protection and physical prowess, the Guardian can take large amounts of physical damage from enemies and remain standing. This style of combat requires the Guardian to be in close range with his target at all times. The Guardian’s role allows the less resilient members of his party to perform their roles more effectively.

I made my way back to the Queen’s Colony and it was just as I remembered it. First stop was training with Hayl McGuinness, a master of combat training who helped me reacquaint myself with ranged and melee combat.

Before I knew it, I had dinged multiple levels and was making my way through the newbie zone quests until I ran into Deianeira who is an NPC with some philosophical deep thoughts on the old D&D alignment or who seemed to be conflicted about her nature in the universe and the distinction between good and evil. “All those around here who are ‘good’ avoid me because I was born ‘evil.’ I grew up in Freeport. Does that make them better than me somehow? Yet, I must be evil; I can sense the evil in others.”

Who the hell knows lady? I am just an EQ2 n00bster making my way through the newb zone, give me a break, these questions are a bit deep for a Sunday night casual sojourn and I’ve never even been to Freeport!

Honestly I was just having fun switching between the powers found on my hotbars. If there is one thing I recall clearly from my previous forays with EQ2 is that it’s easy to get powers and skills. For God’s sake, you don’t even have to move them in there, as soon as you level up the game automatically dumps a new style or skill in your hotbar and all you have to do is swing your weapon or aim your bow and shoot at something from a far. It’s really pretty sweet.

My Sunday trip took a turn for a more fun experience after I made use of the old /who command to figure out there were only four players in my zone and two of them were myself and Tatsianna who happened to be max level “on vacation” from raiding or whatever the hell it is that max level toons do in this mmo. Tatsianna was pretty cool, he let me follow him around out of the newbie island and into the world, showing me the “ins” and “outs” of the coercer class. Mostly he enjoyed running around the world and cloning mobs and hirelings.

From the EQ2 wiki I learned that the Coercer serves a party best behind the front lines. They can subdue multiple opponents, send enemies fleeing in induced unbridled terror, and even seize control of minds. A Coercer can also mentally augment their allies, improving their abilities in combat. The Coercer wears cloth armor and can use staves, wands, and daggers as weapons.

They also get some pretty neat spells at higher levels like Shock Wave which is an AoE damage spell and Dmg proc on spell attack: Destructive Mind, to name but a few. Tatsianna was also pretty good at crafting and in addition to crafting me a sweet sword and shield, he also promised to teach me how so I could become a master crafter myself. Sweet.

Crafting area where Tatsianna makes some pretty sweet gear for me

One of the big draws in these retro mmos is learning to craft because it is fun and can get you good stuff to sell at the auction house.

Crafting even more gear

And finally we spent a lot of time outside of Qeynos looking at the many hirelings available in the game. Oh boy this game has a lot of hirelings to choose from, some you need to be a higher level or some requisite to get, this birdman with the sweet looking red armor was one of my favorites. Tatsianna was also fond of it so he cloned a version to run around with. LOL.

All in all, I would say my return to Norrath was a big success and I can’t wait to go back and continue to level up my Guardian.

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Slumming in good old DAOC until wow fresh server drops

So what makes an mmorpg engaging enough these days to want to log in and continue to play? What makes it stand out for me to want to spend my spare time on it almost exclusively and favored over other mmos or games? Before I answer those questions I should preface everything by saying that I have not done a very good job of keeping this blog’s purpose going: To document my advancement and enjoyment of the retro mmos I enjoy playing, at least not in a consistent basis, but I aim to try and change that in the final quarter of calendar year 2021.

Back to the questions: Ideally most of us would like to spend our gaming time in a game with a healthy server population, fun game play mechanics and maybe some goals to reach. For me that game is Dark Age of Camelot, the mmo I turn to again and again when I am feeling the mmo doldrums. I have achieved some goals I set for myself in this retro game in the past including: Having leveled at least one character to max 50, having fun running with pugs, and experiencing some fun game mechanics such as pvp battlegrounds and pve dungeons and zones.

I first attempted in 2019 when Blizzard dropped classic wow, and again earlier this year, to make Classic World of Warcraft my mmo of choice, my main game if you will, but that did not happen, primarily because players outleveled me in my server of choice the first time and most recently because I was not willing to spend that much time in TBC Classic realms where you had to spend money to transfer a character from the classic realm and where the majority of the server population seemed to be engaged in higher level content, thus leaving the non TBC servers barren.

However, I like the Warcraft lore so much, and I also like the game enough to probably give it a go once the new fresh servers drop in the near future. Until then I will continue to play DAOC because I never made much progress in a co-op server, Gaheris being my server of choice these days, even though I have a 36 level zerker on another server. It almost seems contradictory to spend any time leveling in a mostly pve server in a game like DAOC where pvp is its main attraction and done so well, almost to a legendary level, but I do like the idea of all three DAOC realms working cooperatively to achieve certain in game goals. I think the Gaheris community is pretty solid and I may be joining them on Discord as the forums seem to be more quiet nowadays that Discord has become the defacto recruiting and social tool for mmo gamers and gaming in general.

Looking back at my previous posts when I was blogging more regularly, I had attempted to return to DAOC almost a year ago but did not really give it the time and the effort it deserves, something that I aim to rectify now. I spent over two hours on the tutorial earlier, reacquainting myself with the game mechanics and with the berzerker class, but I still have much to learn about playing a character at a maximum proficiency (if there can be such a thing) and about playing on a specialized co-op with unique rules. I hope to make some online friends and maybe a mentor or two to help me on this new journey.

Of course for new players or returning players, this is a good time to jump back in the game as Broadsword recently announced its third Catch up in Caledonia event starts Monday.

From the herald posted on August 26:

It’s a way to start fresh and rapidly progress to the end-game with players around your level!

The 7-day long event that will take place entirely in the Realm vs Realm-enabled Caledonia battleground zone.

Players will start at level 1 and rapidly progress to level 50 all while earning gear, master levels, champion levels, and realm ranks along the way!

By event’s end participants will be ready to compete in the Frontier!

When does the event start and end?

The event starts precisely at 3 PM EST / 9 PM CET on Monday, August 30th and will end at the same time on Monday, September 6th.

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Hello Everquest (again) and goodbye wow Classic (for now)

In my latest vid, I give a basic overview of EQ live servers and character creation in that mmorpg.

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