Thursday, November 26, 2020

CR 325 and Holding in DCUO's Long Live the Legion

Long Live the Legion released just 20 days ago, and since that time I've been hitting up the futuristic roads of this 31st century version of Metropolis and helping out a "unique" legion of superheroes, which I know nothing about. Um, I totally missed the boat here on this group of DC heroes. I had no idea there was a comic book series and even a 2006 animated series about a legion of future heroes.


I may have to watch a few episodes now!

~~

To describe what it's been like to run this new DCUO content for the past 20 days, it's all about running the morning MMO treadmill:

1- Fly around the hub gathering all the exclamation point quests that refresh daily.  Usually there's just a free "talk to me" quest to get a free source mark and a free solar credit and four other quests.

There's a lot of hub bub going down in the town hub!

2- The first dialy has you hunting down "sources of magic."  These typically take the shape of enchanted weapons floating around in a purple circle.

There's a  sword trying to stick itself in my back.

3- The next daily has you destroying / deactivating rogue robots that are possessed by magic.

No one's quite sure why the probteks are attack futuristic garbage cans, but *shrug*

4- The next daily has you helping students of the Legion while magic demons try to harass them (they ALWAYS try to harass them).

Crazy kids from all over the galaxy come here to learn superhero moves!

5- And then the final daily has you just go around hunting down big groups of magic demons.

Down with demons!

6- At the start of the week you also get a quest to repair signs and antennas around town that's worth a hefty 8 solar credits and source marks.

7- At the start of the week you also get a quest to defeat the open world bosses of the expansion, which are also worth another hefty 8 credits.

Validus is a big boy. A very big mean boy.

If anything has changed in my time of playing DCUO, it's this.  Hanging out and killing world bosses over and over is the new pink in DCUO. You do this over and over and earn a secondary currency to the content you're in while killing time in game. If you're lucky, other things will drop for you as well . . . like rare furniture or cool trinkets.

Gotta Love a Loot Shot! Yay for Time Beacons, Might Mods, and Housing Furniture!

8- There is a new, short (2 bosses) 4-player instance you can play every day.  There's three versions of this instance: easy "event" mode, basic mode, and elite.  If you do the easy mode you only get solar credits. If you do the basic mode, you get solar credits and source marks.  If you do the elite? I don't know . . . it's above my skill level. 

9- There's also a new 8-player raid (3 bosses) you can play once a week with the same three difficulty levels.  It's pretty epic. You basically get to help the legion take down Mordru and trap him in Amber. 

~~

And that's it. That's the expansion! You'll be doing this content over and over and over for a few months while the DCUO team puts together something new for you to play. 

I've got just enough upgrades now to reach my first big wall while playing since my return to DCUO. It's going to take a lot to move the needle into higher CR ratings while waiting for the next update.  That's fine.  

The good news for me this week is that it's double source marks from 26 November to 2 December. I need so many source marks, it's not even funny. I guess it's not a problem for people that haven't just returned to the game like me.  I'm just happy it's a thing.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Sweet Satisfaction of Karamelle in Wizard101

 Oh this world, my friends. Can you believe this world?

It's like Disneyland and Willy Wonka got together with Swiss Miss and held a party.

First, a little backstory. It all started back in 2009 when (as I foggily remember it being recounted to me) Kiersten Samwell wandered into the Wizard101 writers and after a little quick brainstorming, Professor Greyrose had a new bit of lore to share with the fans of Wizard101 through answering a question on an interview I was doing with her for this blog.  From that time, players of Wizard101 were always listing "Candy World" as a possible world of the Spiral they would someday visit.

Fast forward to 2012, after getting hired at KingsIsle as Pirate101's community manager, I came up with an idea to make these really cool "Rogue's Gallery" spotlights. To get them done, I worked with Sam Johnson of the writing team and Damon Brown, our video production guru. Sam would get me the text, I would grab the video footage, and Damon would put them all together with some voice over. We ended up making 29 of these videos.  It was a huge effort to put these together every month.

Eventually, we hired on Leala Ulrich and she took up the mantle to make professor spotlight videos for all the Wizard101 professors in kind of a "Rogue's Gallery" style production called the "Ravenwood Roll Call." The hardest of these to make seemed to be the spotlight for Professor Greyrose. In 2015 Leala went to all kinds of lengths to get the video and assets she needed to make this video. In addition Leala worked with the writers for the lore and story in the video, and this is really when the rough lore idea for "Candy World" then solidified into the world of The Spiral known as "Karamelle."


And here we are now in 2020, and the amazing Wizard101 team has unleashed a cheerful bunch of joyful content known as Karamelle, Wizard101's latest world of the Spiral . . . and I'm playing through it with my wife in its fully realized state. The Wizard101 team has really outdone itself!

Riding around in our cookie cars is the sweetest way to experience Karamelle together.

We're only a few hours in at this point, and it's been super fun.  We've fought marshmallows, gummy worms, gobblers, witches, gummy bears, and even cotton candy rams with candy cane horns. "Candy World" is everything I dreamed it would be and more.

The actually growl like a Tiger. Hilarious.

I really love this world so far and can't wait to play through it over this week with my wife.  If you see us in game, please say hello! 

Hope you all are enjoying "Candy World" as much as I am.

Happy dueling!

Monday, October 26, 2020

CR 313 -- Out with the Wonderverse, in with the Legion in DCUO?

 Behold the wonders of the Wonderverse!

How did I shoot a lighting bolt from the back of my head into Athena anyway?

As of this weekend, I was able to finally raise my CR up to what I'd call "current and casual" on DCUO at a respectable 313.  I mean, for the big raids in DCUO right now, you're going to want 318 and above on your teams, but (according to Lord Spode of Team Spode) I'm probably right where I want to be for when the next big expansion hits DCUO.

That's right! I said I'm current and casual! You gotta problem with that?

The big reason I was able to hit 313 was because of the "double splintered coins" promotion going on in DCUO right now.  Splintered Coins are the main currency you earn from running Wonderverse content, and the same currency used to buy all the Wonderverse gear.  Having Double Splintered Coins meant I could pay to reset all the raids, and my once hefty balance of 2,000 reset tokens has been whittled down to 500.

When I say "reset the raids," I'm talking about the amazing circuit of open world raid bosses in Wonderverse that just continue to cycle every 30 minutes.  It's really quite ingenious, and you could spend night after night grinding this raid boss circuit for hours on end and fill up on mods and oddities, but what you're really going for (at least when you're my level) is to complete three weekly quests that are worth 8 splintered coins and a large loot box EACH:

  • Hydra Havok
  • Conquerer Counterstrike
  • Circe's Panthemonium

Paying to reset those is a whopping 87 badges each, but during double splintered coins that means I can get 48 splintered coins for 30 minutes of lazy open world raid stuff.  Easy.

Anyway, I think it's probably best to sit on that balance of reset tokens for the next big expansion, which was actually just recently teased on a Twitch stream: Long Live the Legion! From the sounds of it, we'll be traveling 1000 years into the future where a legion of superheroes is banding together and Mordru just wants to end it all.

Screengrab from the Twitch Stream preview of Long Live the Legion. Pretty!

In the meantime I'm trying my best to find how the heck to spec my sorcery character with 200 feat points, and it sounds like the pendulum has swung away from precision and weapon-based builds and more towards might and super-power based builds.  I don't know . . . I'm going to have to figure it out.

I SAID I HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT! *cough* sorry, got emotional there . . .

It's times like these that I wish I had 2 more armory stations so I could really play a strange DPS build and save it so I can easily compare my builds, you know?  They cost 500 station cash each . . . hmmmmm . . . maybe.

Anyway, I'm just happy to be playing with Team Spode again on Sunday nights. It's an absolute pleasure listening to these peeps talk again over Discord. Good times. Good times.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, October 19, 2020

A luck-filled and grindy week in DCUO -- CR 299

I went a bit crazy last week, team. Crazy. 

It all kind of started back on 11 October when:

  1. I started thinking about DCUO when I read an old article on MassivelyOP about spiritual successor games, which got me thinking about DCUO (and why it wasn't mentioned somewhere in the more "super hero'y" sections of the article
  2. I dropped in on Discord and asked old Team Spode how long it would take to catch up.  My old gaming buddy Tony was like, "pretty easy tbh," 
. . . and that's how it began. 

I've only mentioned my DCUO days in passing on this blog, but crazy enough, I have a whole OTHER blog where I've talked a ton about my experiences leveling through the ranks. All of my previous efforts at DCUO left me at a-one-time-impressive combat rating (CR) of around 180. 

One of my favorite "old" screenshots of my DCUO hero.

A needed sidebar here: once you hit level 30 in this game, all your "leveling" is then done through increasing your combat rating, which is a statistic found on player gear.  As you equip more and more pieces of gear with higher and higher combat ratings, you likewise get a Combat Rating score for your character.  End of sidebar thought.

To put things in perspective, my buddies were all sitting around the CR 315-320 range. From CR 180, that gap seems like it's gonna take forever, but I'm happy to announce that by Sunday night game time on the 18th, I had managed to raise my CR to 299. 

Whew.  

What's so important about 299?  Well CR 299 is the perfect number needed for the most recent DCUO expansion, which is all about the "Wonderverse." That's a magical place where a "sourcewall" has cracked and created a point where all the earths have combined, and you get to chill with a multiverse full of Wonder Women . . . and fight against the gods and a pretty magnificent looking hydra.

~~

Here's how it happened:

1- My timely return to the game was timely, and as it turned out, DCUO was giving away a free bump to CR 255 thanks to Fallfest.  BAM!  I mean, come on, what stars aligned to make that happen?

The Hallowings are pretty great btw.

~~

2- I began grinding up the Wonderverse Single Player adventure . . . over and over and over and . . . y'all . . . I played that instance about 35-40 times. It takes about 10 minutes per run, which means I spent about 6-7 hours grinding this same instance over the course of a week. Each run would consistently net me 1 to 2 upgrades. Easy.  To do this, I had to use a lot of replay badges, but I actually had a glut of them from when I was playing DCUO all the time.

Me and the wonderwomans in an explosion of color!

~~

3- Welcome to the magic of the Metalverse! Back in September of 2019, DCUO released an expansion that began a two part series of a "metalverse," where people start to turn into Metal versions of themselves and a crazy Flash / Batman hybrid from the multivese starts tearing up Gotham.  

All my grinding in the Wonderverse unlocked this zone for me and BAM! I discovered a vendor there that sold gear upgrades for sourcemarks.  That's a currency you can earn in DCUO to buy legacy gear. Once again, I had a glut of sourcemarks from my old days of playing DCUO and what is "legacy" to modern DCUO players is all brand new to me. 

Long story short, I bought a complete set of gear from this equipment vendor and BAM! I was CR 282.

~~

4- The next few days I was able to log in and complete dailies in both the Wonderverse expansion and Thanagar because of my new CR 282 rating. Thanagar was introduced back in December 2019 and was the second part of the metalverse story. 

Sportin that fresh I'm-an-edgey-hero look in Thanagar

Hehe, you better believe I looked for another sourcemark "legacy" vendor in Thanagar, but it's considered current content and because of that, no dice.

~~

5- New solo encounters opened up as I was grinding up these levels and those also offered new opportunities to grind content, but I gotta tell ya . . . those solos are TOUGH.  In the grand scheme of efficiency vs. upgrades, it was well worth my time to hit the wonderverse single player event over and over instead of running those encounters and dying and dying and dying time and time again.

Red Death is terrifying

I mean, I won eventually, but not after repairing my gear a few times.

~~

6- One hour before the scheduled start time of the Sunday night game, I had resubscribed to DCUO and had 500 premium station cash to burn and about 40 lockboxes in my inventory. I'd need 3,600 station cash to open ALL the lockboxes, but I had enough to buy 5 lockboxes, which contained just enough gear inside of them to push me up over the edge and get to 299 just in time.

299!!

~~

So there I was, game ready and ready to go one week later. It felt pretty awesome, and Team Spode didn't fail to provide a fun night as we instantly started the raid circuit in the Wonderverse expansion. It's pretty smartly done and definitely deserves a blog post of its own to explain how it works. I had enough upgrades by the end of the night that I was CR 302 and feeling a lot tougher than I was a week ago.

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

of Love and Wardens In Project Gorgon -- When Pigs Fly

 The past week in Project Gorgon I decided to finally take a look at the animal only sub-class in the game that was added about . . . when was that? a year ago? Anyway . . .

THE WARDEN!

Wardens are like animal cops and being an animal cop is a legit gig: you get your own warden-specific quests, your own special currency, you have access to a special wardens-only area of the game with a special wardens-only vendor that has warden-only food . . . you get the power of flight and electricity . . .

Off we go! Into the wild grey yonder! Off we go! Above Kur Mountains!

You heard me right, you get to fly! At level 40 there's a skill you can unlock that gives you 12 seconds of flight every two minutes. It's just enough time to get you to troublesome Z-axis locations you wouldn't have access to otherwise.  I dig it. Not to mention the big electricity thorns damage and the cool fire chain pulling trick. (I love the cool fire chain pulling trick! It yoinks mobs right to you!)

Even better, you start the class at level 30. I guess they did that since you went to all the trouble of leveling an animal class and doing the lengthy prequest?  I'm not sure actually.  

DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! (You get the idea)

About that prequest . . . they really have you running everywhere for this thing. You see, it all starts with a suspicious cow. Literally that's the name of the NPC, and it's an NPC that will only talk to you if you're in animal form.

The cow sends you off to talk to a spooky door in Kur. 

Creepy Door is Creepy!

I've passed this creepy door several times in the past and thought to myself, hmm, "future content thing?" And merrily skipped along my way. Now I know better.  That's the door way to the Sacred Grotto of the Warrens.

When you get there, someone behind the doorway asks you for the secret phrase "Horse-Rabbit-Maelstrom" and then . . . doesn't let you in. Apparently they're short staffed and the best they can do is give you the name of the "External Resource Coordinator," which happens to be a pig named Norbert in Animal Town in Sun Vale.

"A little sullen, for a pig."

Ol' Norbs tells you that the External Resource Coordinator title was just an inside joke title that Pickles the Panther gave him. Then he realizes they must be in really dire straights and does his best to make up a "ritual" to get you in. It involves collecting 10 bananas and killing some ranalon (frog peoples). After this, you take vows to protect intelligent animals, defend nature, and always side with intelligent animals.  After that, Norbert sniffs you and you pass the nose check. You now smell like an animal cop, gratz!

This time when you go back to the spooky door in Kur, they literally smell you coming and let you on in. Milton, the head sheep around the place finishes the process of becoming a warden and you're given a handful of delivery quests that will earn you the precious Warden currency that allows you to purchase things from the shop and train your spells.

The whole thing is quite charming, and I have to say I love getting the new Warden-only quest every day. They seem to typically just be a kill quest, but still, it's kind of fun, and after doing today's daily Warden quest, profitable as well!  Trekker laid down two Vervadium for me as a quest reward.

VERV YEAH!

I think what I'll do with this class is kind of level it on the side after the big exp buffs you get at the Saturday Poetry Jams. I don't think I have the fortitude just yet to grind up a new class beyond that. Those poetry jam buffs is how I raised the class up to 41 and unlocked flight.

. . . of course Project Gorgon has flying animals . . . of course . . .

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Mystery Blogger Award!

 I, and several others, were tagged for the illustrious . . .

MYSTERY!

When this happens, several things are required. 

1- Thank the blogger and link to them:

Thank you Magi at Indicator!!

2- Display the award logo on your blog

Done!

3- Mention the creator of the award + link

Check out the award details at Okoto's Enigma's Blog for all the deets.

4- List the rules

Doin' that as I type.

5- Tell your readers three things about yourself

I am a Game Designer at KingsIsle Entertainment. I have 3 kids, a cat, and a beautiful uber wife. I started this blog because of Wizard101, but really I had been blogging for a long time before that on a blog that's now been shut down.

6- Answer five questions from the nominator

- You have to ban one game for eternity. This game shall never be played or watched again and nobody is allowed to talk about it. Which game do you pick?

You know, countless games fall under the axe everyday that you don't even know about. Games that no one outside of a test market will ever play. This is incredibly evident to me now that I've been working in the games industry. It's such an oversaturated sea of games out there and each one was built by someone with dreams, hopes, and families to feed.  Cutting one is harsh, but let's kill World of Warcraft.

Wow . . . saying that was surprisingly easy. I agree with everything Tipa said on the subject.

. . . and then after we kill WoW, let's take out Monopoly, because why not?

- How was your day? What have you been up to? Hope you’re well. 🙂

Thanks, yo! My day is pretty good so far. It's only 8:00am, and I've done my morning exercises, collected all my fishing traps and set new ones in Project Gorgon, read some Twitter, took a shower, ate avacado-filled breakfast tacos, and started typing this blog post.  Gotta get to work now! 

- If you could take any vehicle/plane/etc. from any game/show/book/whatever to use in our world, what would you pick and where would you go?

I miss you, sweet unicorn ride.

I would take my Free Realms unicorn mount with it's undulating rainbow mane, sparkling hooves, and glowing unicorn horn into every MMO ever and say "behold my greatness" as I rode past every player, and they would say, who was that motorcycle helmeted fairy on the most amazing unicorn ever? And I would become the myth of Thomas Lionbolt, unicorn rider!

- This one’s weird! It’s not a question… it’s an answer! “No, but the raisings certainly belong to this office.” – Find the question that this answer answers!

lul whut?

- What’s your favourite Indie title that you personally love that nobody seems to know?

I mean, I'm over here trying to do my best to raise awareness of Project Gorgon. I do what I can. Outside of that though, let's say Gems of War.

7- Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, including one weird or funny question

Oh, I'm not gonna do all the nominee stuff . . . but anyone that responds to this blog in the comments can answer these questions:

  • Combine one super hero with one pop culture icon and one insect . . . describe why what you have created is the most amazing thing ever.
  • Choose one of these: spiked club with force powers, flame thrower with infinite fuel, or blowgun with self-loading heat-seeking darts. Explain why it's so important to your character.
  • Have you ever played D&D and if you have, what was your favorite moment in any adventure.
  • Favorite band/artist and why.
  • If you could only eat one type of cereal for the rest of your life, but it was absolutely free to do so, what would it be?
8- Nominate 10 to 20 bloggers

. . .man that's a lot of bloggers.

9- Notify the bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog (though, I’d just message them where possible)

N/A, but I love you all!

10- Share the link to your best post

Well, apparently my most popular post is this one about where to find the Grizzleheim books in Wizard101. I still get hits on it all the time.

. . . any my most popular YouTube video, coming in at 139,000 views is my Day Without 101 parody song.  Enjoy!


Thanks again for the nomination, Magi! It certainly has been nice getting to know you through the Blaughust Blogger crew.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Weekend Update . . . and then the Worgen Struck!

This past weekend was pretty good at the Friendly Necromancer household! I mean . . . "quarantine good," but still it was a good weekend! I mean, it wasn't like we went to Six Flags and had an epic day of swimming at the beach. But a day spent binge watching great anime and playing MMOs is what it's all about!

Let's jam about it!

~~

1- My son and I started watching The Dragon Prince last week. It's surprisingly good! If you liked Avatar the last Airbender's style of storytelling, you'll probably like this adventure as well. It's meant for kids, but totally enjoyable for adults as well. 


On Saturday we had an epic watching party for the two of us, complete with jelly-filled powdered sugar cookies and golden kiwis, which I highly recommend. Have you guys tasted a gold kiwi? It's like a kiwi and a pear had a delicious fruit baby.

You gotta get your hands on one of these. So good!

I can't wait to see Season 4 of The Dragon Prince now, which is supposed to be hitting Netflix sometime late 2020.

~~

2- Project Gorgon held their epic Crafting Caravan event that only happens once or twice a year, and let me tell you, there is nothing more amazing than gaining 5 levels of Cooking experience at the back end of the game. I was kind of blown away that I could move the needle from level 52-ish to level 58-ish over the weekend.

Like, you guys know I hate cooking, right? I despise it because of all the inventory problems it naturally creates because . . . it's not simple. Yes, yes, I know nothing is simple about Project Gorgon, but having 50 to, I don't know, 100-some-odd ingredients for making food gets super messy in your inventory. I've got milk bottles and fish fillets tucked away in every refrigerated and non-refrigerated corner of that game.

The "surprise" moment of the event happened for me when I was talking to the cooking NPC at the very start. Get this. Kinira told a grand tale of being trapped in a Gazluk snow storm with her band of crafters and drawing straws to see which member of the crafting caravan would be cannibalized. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), one of the apprentices named Etana got the axe and Kinira admitted to really liking the . . . uh . . . meat.  I think the words she used was, "Etana was freaking delicious!" AND THEN, she hands me a bowl of "apprentice surprise." Sure, why not?! I appreciated the free gourmand experience I got from eating a bit of one of the caravan members.

Um, Yum?

But again, the real surprise was the experience. HOLY APPRENTICE SURPRISE, BAT FOX!

I agree Pandakiller . . . <3 crafting caravan experience indeed!

~~

3- You ain't gonna believe this, but, I actually played World of Warcraft, y'all. 

I've missed so much in this game, and I never really gave it a good play past Vanilla WoW as some of you know. I've talked at length a few times before about my WoW days, or as I used to call WoW: "The game which shall not be named."

As a reminder to those that don't know, you get to play the first 20 levels of any new character for absolutely free in WoW, so I thought I'd re-experience the game with new aged eyes and try the Worgen race since I hadn't done that before.

After spending a while with the character creator, my new level 1 Worgen Hunter was ready to go. I was quite surprised when I logged in to my character the first time and he looked like a super normal human. WHAT?

Normalizing being the most normal normal human ever.

I couldn't even imagine how many service tickets those poor Blizzard customer support people must have fielded. I can see the responses now, "Yes. Yes. Not to worry, keep playing and you'll soon see the real Worgen inside you."  It did take about 10 missions or so before I was finally bitten and awoke a couple quests later, firmly in the stocks.

Here's to hoping they never find a cure for the werewolf virus!

Gotta say with the new Shadowlands release for World of Warcraft being only 28-days-and-some-change away from launch, buying it and getting a level 110 character boost is kind of attractive. How hard can it be? Just follow a guide or two on building up your character and then just click the buttons, right? 

JUST CLICK THE BUTTONS, DUDE!

Anyway, to cut a story of long quest lines short, I had a lot of fun, and especially a lot of fun with my cute Overwatch baby Winston pet that I have no idea how I earned. What an awesome surprise!

And I even got to catapult myself on to a spooky pirate ship! Winning!

So that was me this weekend . . . hope you had a fun gamer'y weekend as well!

Happy Dueling!