Saturday, July 31, 2021

Welcome to #Blaugust2021 -- am I ready for this?!

Whoo boy . . . here we go. It's that time of year again where the blogging coalition that's gathered around Belghast unites to write and write some more during the month of August.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, please head over to Bel's Blog and catch on up with what's what in the MMO/videogame blogosphere.

I joined in back in 2019 where I wrote topics on everything from Terreria to Dungeons and Dragons -- it even led to a year-long romance with Project Gorgon and me blogging about my adventures there. 

My beautiful OC Project Gorgon picture commissioned from Mia Smith.

In 2015, I crushed it with several posts that reminisced about my favorite spots in DCUO, DDO, Everquest, WoW, and Wizard101. It's also a trip down memory lane for me seeing these old pictures of my family when we went to Classic Game Fest.

That kid is now as tall as his dad . . . maybe taller . . . 

Both times those were really grueling experiences with Blogging, so I know what I'm getting into here by joining in once again, but I'm confident that I can keep pace this year and I hope you're all excited to read along as I am to participate with my fellow bloggers. Be sure to follow along with the #Blaugust2021 tag on Twitter! There will be plenty of reading to do this year.

I've been writing up a short list of blog topics, and I'm falling well behind 30 days worth, so there are sure to be some surprises along the way. When the topics fall short, I can always fall back to Bel's handy dandy calendar of events.

So come along, let's get excited, and if you have any topics you'd like to see me tackle, please leave me a comment or a tweet. I appreciate your time. See you tomorrow morning!

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Re-imagining the Regatta in Pirate101

There's an interesting ship dungeon in Pirate101 that's a little off the beaten path. It's a one-of-a-kind in game, and that makes it naturally more interesting than the dozens of other dungeons you can find in Pirate101.

As it turns out, two-boxing the Regatta is not too difficult!

As the Pirate's Regatta was one of two remaining quests in my quest log for Pirate101, I decided to duo it with my two box account to see how it'd go. The end result was that I was able to finish the event without much mishap! Well, a few of my companions got knocked out on that final fight, but it wasn't too bad.  

After the hour and a half that it took me to complete the event, I had a lot more scrip than I started with, but I'm pretty sure I'd need to run the regatta at least a dozen or more times to really get what I want from the Black Market shop where you buy exclusive rewards with said scrip.

I decided to take it to Twitter to see if there was a consensus and while I didn't get a ton of responses, I did get a response from @Telekneticissue that kind of summed up some of the suspicions I had while playing through the event.

I remember there was a little discussion about it on ye' old Pirate101 forums as well, and a quick search led me to mixed feelings about the Regatta, so I started thinking . . . if I was asked as a Designer to improve the Regatta, what would I suggest? 

It's a tough one to answer because the event is tuned to bringing a full party of 4, but can be done with as little as 2 . . . maybe even as little as 1, but I'm sure the time to complete the event escalates the fewer people that are involved.  In addition, you can't really adjust quest requirements based on the number of players that enter an instance together, so you want to ensure it's a fun challenge for all party sizes.

So, taking all that in stride, I think the real problem of the Regatta is player population, time decay, and motivation. To further explain it:

1- Player population in Pirate101 just isn't what it used to be, point blank. There are plenty of people that still play, but you can see it when you run around and play in the game . . . it's a bit barren these days.  

2- It's been five to six years since the content has released with no new update to the Scrip rewards a person can earn. 

3- When a person can get 4 players together who all want to earn Scrip, their time is probably better spent at the Smuggler's Arena where the scrip rewards are infinitely better, but the difficulty is ramped up. There's less risk in the regatta, but also fewer rewards.

To counter act all that, I'd suggest the following changes:

1- Place new Scrip rewards in the Black Market to freshen the motivation. It's been long enough that if players are going to be excited about the Black Market again, new rewards should be added. Maybe take some of the Boss rewards from around the Spiral and make new alternate versions of them with effect glows and a high price tag.  Or maybe pick one piece of ship equipment and make it more interesting -- I'd love to see ship cannons have more importance IMHO. Yes, there are probably a handful of people sitting on a glut of unused Scrip, but I'm sure it's not the majority of players.

2- Instead of increasing the difficulty of the Regatta, I'd simply suggest removing the first two waves of ships and bosses, so that there are only 3 waves total to defeat. This makes the Regatta more digestible and short, which leads me to . . .

3- Make the Regatta an event that can be turned on and off, so that it is cycled in and out of the game. This would give it more increased focus when it was active, and because it would now be limited time, the rewards could also be slightly increased.

4- Create a second Regatta event out of the first two waves you removed from the original Regatta and then add a tower boss as the final wave of the event. This then gives you a second, unique event you can turn on and off between the original regatta. 

5- For bonus points, make a third Regatta where the tower boss from the second Regatta is seasonal themed -- a giant Christmas tree, a sized up turkey platter, a giant cupig, etc. Turn this version of the Regatta on during holidays.

6- Make the Regatta entrance appear in Avery's Court so that it's in a location with more foot traffic . . . probably up by the Muskateer's Roost. It's so out of the way currently, that it's easy to forget the Regatta is even there.

So, that's a lot to ask for. If you could only choose one of the six suggestions, I'd take a look at numbers 2 and 3 above.  A little goes a long way, and that's my hot take on the Regatta on this fine Sunday morning! Of course, what people really want is not changes to the Regatta, but more story content . . . so . . . 

Thanks for reading and Happy Dueling!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Pirate101: Sidequests Fini

And thus it happened, on 22 July . . . it was a rather time consuming task from Ludovico Muratori in Valencia Part 2, where you had to travel to all the different libraries in the spiral--gathering over due books and then returning them to their proper place in Valencia--but it was my last side quest, earning me the final sidequest badge, the Callabrian Completionist. Tada!

I'm wearing that one for awhile for sure!

The fancy quest finder tool in the quest log gave me its message "Try Again Later," and I was done.  All that's left in my quest log now is the Corsair's Challenge Nautical Quest and the Tower of Moo Manchu, and I gotta say . . . it feels pretty good to join the army of people who have already done this in Pirate101. Now I can log on and gather my daily quests to earn my 40k gold in peace and move on to new challenges!

That's all she wrote . . .

I even decided to treat myself by buying the S. M. Arson companion since I was whining about wishing I had chosen mutiny for the Dead Mike companion.  A Dead Mike clone will do nicely! 

So now the question becomes . . . what next?  Well, I've got a short list of things I still want to do in Pirate101.

1- Level all my under-leveled companions to 70.  That shouldn't be too tough.  I can get an easy 4 companion tomes a day with just logging on and doing the daily quests, plus collecting tomes and experience from the Brawling task.  That should happen pretty quick in fact.

2- Get the perfect pet.  I do like my skeletorous pet that I'm using currently on Thomas, but a Stingaloon. Dimetorsaur Phantasm, or a Grimtooth Reaper could be fun.  I still need to figure out what the perfect talents would be.

3- Get some moo gear.  You know what I'm talking about . . . the Nefarious Staff or the Imperial Boots . . . stuff like that.

4- Get enough scrip to buy something awesome like the Witchdoctor banner or smuggler's garb.

5- Move on to leveling my Buccaneer.

6- I also want to say that discovering Christmas in July was an absolute joy this morning. I'm not sure if I've played through the Krampus event yet. Getting the Krampus staff would be pretty great!

I really should do this event . . .

Anyway . . . thank you for following along with my Pirate101 side quest journey if you've been reading along.  It was pretty great to really devote some time to Pirate101.  There was so much left to do and it really did feel like the perfect time to jump in again and play.

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Pirate101: I need more Bob in my life

I've been continuing to spend an hour or two here and there playing through all the side content in Pirate101. Call it the adventures of following Control+Shift+Q . . . that magical hotkey just targets you to the next "nearest" side quest and GO! Unfortunately the definition of "nearest" leaves a little to be desired. Because of that, I've been traveling to Skull Island and back over again.

Also managed to complete my dailies with the help of Captain Avery while I was at it

One of my favorite forays of the last week involved completing the "Bob's Your Uncle" quest to promote my Origin Story Companion, which for me is Lucky Jack Russell because I chose that my parents died in a shipwreck.  If I had it to do all over again, I probably would have chosen mutiny because Dead Mike makes me laugh and he's undead.

Give 'em the boot, Lucky Jack Russell!

This quest is pretty epic. You get a nice bit of lore about your parents and specifically your mother Jenny as you run into a pirate named Bob Carrington who happens to be . . . your uncle.

Love that Bob Carrington ... the moustache, the feathered hat, the obvious signs of ultimate betrayal . . .

By the end of this quest you've gone back and forth across Skull Island fighting legitimately difficult mobs (I had several on bed rest when I was done), being double crossed by your uncle, and defeating your mom's old nemesis, one Captain Hande. This is a high value companion promotion quest and honestly I can't believe I sat on it as long as I did.

That fully promoted Lucky Jack Russell is lookin' FINE!

Hey KingsIsle!  If you're listening . . . I'm excited for this new Sinbad stuff, no lie, but can you also find a way to bring back Bob Carrington and Captain Hande? This whole pirate triangle of betrayal is just too good. I need more Bob in my life. Maybe tie them in to the daily quests somehow? Thank you for your time!

Anyway, the amount of content I never completed in Pirate101 is a little staggering to be honest, but I seem to be whittling through it pretty good. It is funny though, every time I think I've shortened my list a bit, I run into another yellow exclamation mark.  I don't mind though. It's nice to have content to complete that I set off to the side back in the day.

Currently I'm going back and forth between temples in the Subata skyway in Mooshu. I'm starting to run into a problem though because control shift Q pointed me toward the Tower of Moo Manchu. That one's always given me a bit of a problem because of the difficulty.

Also, I dropped in on RRRRZZZZ while he was streaming last week and said hello. He's such an interesting and genuine streamer who simply loves Pirate101. The deep south accent and conversations about favorite fast food chicken is pretty entertaining as well. Joining in on one of his Tower of Moo Manchu runs on stream might be a good opportunity for me to temporarily get that out of my quest log. ;)  I wouldn't mind getting some of the great loot from the tower as well. 

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Pirate101's Wonder Woman -- It's Zeena Time!

 So, I know last post I said I was most likely headed to Mooshu for side quest fun, but I got sucked into Aquila instead and . . . so there I stayed. I ended up doing the promotion quest for Buffalo Bill and a bunch of random skyway missions involving vulture pirates. 

Buffalo Bill . . . ever waxing about Wyatt and stroking his magnificent beard.

There's one quest in particular there that has an abysmal drop rate, but nothing as awful as the original white buffalo quest in Cool Ranch . . . that was the stuff of community manager nightmares. I finished it up in 30 minutes or so and earned a bunch of gold and scrip while I was at it.  Not bad. It was a bit sad to see the skyways so barren in Aquila.

I also helped a band of cyclops bros, made offerings to all the statues of the gods around Aquila, defeated Grohl and his foo fighting band in Nevermind Cave, contacted students and poets for Chiron the Centaur, defeated a highly conflicted ettin, and gathered up every last missing eagle for Zeke. 

Thank you to a great band for standing so closely together in perfect aoe formation

While these were all great quests and profitable toward my seemingly neverending goal to level all my companions to level 70, the most memorable of the bunch had to have been the one where you obtain Zeena the Warrior Princess as a companion.

You know, there's a lot of min-maxers out there in Pirate101 who will purposely avoid side quests that grant companions until they are max level for the sole purpose that many of them come in at a higher level than your pirate, but I can't say that was my motivation for waiting. Mine was just pure laziness, and honestly, I'd rather just have the companion and play with it than wait until its power is prime. 

Of course, this isn't my first time doing the Zeena quest . . . I ran through it on the Pirate101 development servers so that I could make her Rogue's Gallery spotlight back in June of 2017. Sam Johnson (aka Blind Mew) wrote up some pretty awesome backstory to make her more than just an obscure headnod to Princess Diana of Themyscira or Xena: Warrior Princess.

(Much like there might be a conflict between the Atlanteans and the Amazons in the DC Universe at times) Zeena finds herself embroiled in conflict between the Bird-like race of amazons in Pirate101 and the Centaurs of Aquila. In resolving the conflict, you'll be running into the statue of Ares and the raven sisters, aka the Fates who have lost their shears.

In the process you get a wake up call as the player when the Statue of Ares tells you he's a big fan because all the war and trouble you've started in the main storyline, and good ol' Ares is really the one who's caused the misunderstandings (as the character of Ares would similarly do in the Xena: Warrior Princess series) because WAR GOOD! So you fix things up between the Amazons and Centaurs, and Zeena joins your crew to learn a thing or two about controlling her temper. 

Welcome aboard, Zeena! What's one more mouth to feed, eh?

I'm enjoying having Zeena as a part of my crew. She has a pretty great Rain of Fire ability that sets a nice pattern of fire on the battlefield that's great for damaging approaching enemies or those already upon you, and since she's coming in at level 72, I can see why the min-maxers like having her on their team.

As for me, I'll keep hitting these side quests! Hopefully I can clear out my log and then start looking at doing the daily quests more often. 

Happy Dueling!