Grüß Gott Adventurers! Happy Oktoberquest! The annual celebration of FOMO :)

Ah, the Realms has looked festive with avatars of all sorts prancing about in Dirndl and Lederhosen, looking all over to get their hands on some hot, steamy sausage.

In case you missed it, the two are linked…. (case … linked … waka waka!)  If you gather your sausages in your Oktoberquest themed Dragonhide Breastplate or Godskull Shinguards you only have to gather 6, which qualifies you for the secret bonus.  The super secret that Zist cooked up after people complained about HAVING to wear the quest themed gear … well, now you don’t HAVE to … but there’s 5 points a day if you do.  Incentivize the behaviour you want to see.

About a week into this quest we had a blow up, Zist and I.  I’m sharing this because in the aftermath, I realized that once again Zist has poured a ton of time into creating this quest and continued working on it when it was live so that it would be a fun experience and the reward for his hard work is a lot of complaints and gripes.  I think there’s something to be learned on both sides but I’m going to start the conversation on his side.

He told me he started working on the quest in late July.  In order to pull it off there are several thousands of lines of programs written in the SMAUG language.  Having worked in it a bit, I can tell you, the word fussy doesn’t start to do it justice.  Now … that’s normal programs, but things like trying to make a wall clock 10 second delay, as opposed to just saying “meh, 3 ticks whatever that works out to, about 9 seconds” to make Marius very predictable on timeouts … I’m not even sure where you start on that.

I’m looking at this year’s design and I see that Zist took the feedback from last year’s quest quite seriously.  Last year’s quest was insanely time consuming both for Zist and for questers.  The goal of making it very accessible to people in different time zones led to people trying to be available at EVERY point opportunity.  Simply saying you could only try 2 a day or something like that might have worked, but again, gripes if you do.  Lots of people scripted the entire thing.  Triggers were written to allow people to run their characters like bots.  Before the big reveal that the mobs could be shared with more than 5 people and that you could farm off everyone and share with everyone, the quest was getting quite nasty as different groups tried to maximize their team’s earnings – paying people gold to share was frowned on but at least you could see the logic in it, after all, you could always offer more … but some of the comments directed at people actually caused some people to just log off and not come back.

To avoid that there’s a fixed rotation of things to go do, once you’ve accomplished your bit for the day, you’re done.  There’s still things to figure out, but it’s very much an individual effort with some communication.  Big problem that Zist faces is … how to spread the points out in a way that people can “win” and yet have it so that people can potentially catch up/swap positions/have some “action”.  Well really, it comes down to the Keg smashing tapping that is pretty much RNG … getting 4 reliably is fairly doable, getting 6 is riskier, and Bill.  F@$%ing Bill.  Now I’ve been a fan of solo mob kills … Brutus, Jimmy Da Fence, the Falcon … I enjoy those challenges, but Bill is certainly not killable by all classes despite assertions to the contrary.  My shieldbash would need a large jump up (yes, a paladin this quest, as I continue the hunt for prestige) before the 20 or 25 point Bill would be doable.  Like others I have lost lots of points trying to kill the stronger Bills wondering if typing “kill bill” was the insane healing trigger, or if using quaff heal instead of q heal, or if it was the potion chest or or orrororororoorororor…. before learning that to weaken him depended on how many miniquests you’ve done that day, and then again trying to move up 1 level from 10 point Bill to 15.  1 attempt per day for a major chunk of the points has not left much room for error … and my error was choosing Paladin.  The winner of this round is apparently Infernalist in the great crap shoot.  Yes, there’s a guy on top of the points scale that might disagree, but I don’t think Incendi has to be involved with Operation Move-The-Potion-Store-To-Bill’s-Room every day.   Disappointing because lots of effort going in, and doing a lot of the right things and knee capped by the class choice.

Yet in the hopes that Zist will do tiers of prizes, as the 25th anniversary quest was done, just keep plugging away, do your best, and hope he calibrated his score system so that it doesn’t expect you to do damn-near-heal-to-full-every-round Bill.

So the blow up… Marius got new dance moves part way though a day.  Zist’s side: hey man it’s getting late, I held off and I’m tired.  My side: yeah but lots of people have already got points today on easy Marius and I get effed up because of this change.  Already falling behind because of Bill, eff this!  There was lots more to it like an arms race on how many triggers I could write and how annoying he could make the programs.  For the record, no one wins in an arms race.  Did I write one trigger for each social?  Nope.  I wrote 3 triggers to get my character to do every social, another to detect the output message and a third trigger to write the triggers for me.  I can see this as frustrating for Zist, he works on this stuff and we just script it because we view it as annoying, an obstacle to the points and prizes.  Guess what, that’s how we view levelling, golding, farming apples, brewing potions, buying and selling gear, fighting Seth … and we respond with scripts and it works because the scripting languages are more expressive than the mud’s language and our computer only has to deal with 1 person … where the mud has to be responsive to everyone online.

I asked then if Joe had already locked in his win… here 2 days from the end I see it’s not far from being a true prediction.  Good for Joe, no sour grapes, no gripes, but there was never a hope of “competing”.  Which takes me back to FOMO.  WHY does this stuff get under my skin?  I know I’m not alone but I’ll just talk from my own experience.  Well that fear of missing out.  In a lot of contexts around Realms FOMO is just part of it.  You’re not part of the right group to get into the right runs, so go gold and when someone feels the time is right to auction gear, you can get upgrades.  You know you’re missing out.  Oktoberquest, and other long quests, have presented an opportunity for people to complete the Guardian set, arguably better than the drow set or the glory for a month long quest.  I don’t even think about the aff flying ankles and stuff like that, I’ve been near the top but I know my life is too busy to pour the time into really mastering a quest to get there.  So those opportunities are things to look forward to.  When they feel like they’re disappearing it’s a kick in the ass where you hoped to improve your character.  Yet it really doesn’t matter.  It’s text on a screen that one day won’t matter at all.  Well … it’s nice to compete and to be thought of as being competitive.  To be held in esteem by your peers for playing well.  It might be virtual reputations but within the community that helps open some of those doors the year round.

For Zist, I’m sorry that I, and others, give you so much grief and not enough appreciation for the hard work you do designing and administering the quests.  We look forward to them and they do stimulate activity in our shared fantasy escape.  Thank you for taking the feedback into account, not just of this one ranger’s gripes, but of the entire community.  If we didn’t care we’d just log out and pull the plug and never look back – in some strange way our complaints show you we care, not just about the one line of text loot at the end of it but also for how we get there.

25 years of Realms of Despair

Happy silver anniversary Realms of Despair!

25 years is an amazing amount of time, especially to those of us not yet resigned to our actual ages. I was in my early 20’s when I started playing … and now I’m not, can you relate? No? Go to bed you whippersnapper!

I can remember this game in an era where I had just graduated from predominantly single line, turn based, multiplayer games on BBSes.  Coming online and seeing 300-500 characters online was amazing.  Today the numbers are a long way down, and there’s probably more people bidding on some of the auctions we look at in those last crucial 10 seconds, but the game is still alive and well.  By and large it’s stable and people continue to contribute to it regularly.

One of those contributions was the Silver Anniversary Quest hosted by Zistrosk that concluded with the end of August.  This post has been on the back burner for a while, but his gentle nudging has finally got me typing it tonight.

I enjoyed the quest.  Unlike Oktoberquest 2018 there was no sniping at one another.  There were definitely groups working together, groups that kept their lists quiet, but that’s normal competition.  I enjoyed working with the people I did both in and out of the Order of Ringbearers.  Lots of people were definitely hustling to do everything they could, Myrr, Joe, Incdeni and many others were spotted running around the Realms in the great hustle.  My very slow prestige leveling paid off when I was able to retrieve some items from Ezard’s Fields, Sentinel, Gauntlet, and elsewhere.  Aside from killing some mobs I’d never killed before I made a new character of each class and finally made a list of the Sunless Sea area items, explored every hometown, visited every single deity I could, no Grishnakh or Tempus upgraded sigils though and mapped my way though the Badlands getting my first gryphon lantern, a neat item that gets even cooler when you wear it on pk character.

For more information see the RodPedia entry for the Anniversary Quest

In closing a thank you to Zistrosk and Stoneheft for their work on this particular quest, but also to all the immortals, leaders, firsts, seconds, avatars, pre-avs who didn’t make it who have walked the Realms.  For 25 years the lights have been on.  Whatever our goals as players I think we feel some investment in this game and community.  It is a place like no other where you have so much input into the game.  If we want the lights to stay on find some way to chip in and help out.  Say thanks to your favourite hard worker.  And thank you for being there along with me on this journey against the random number generator.

Trick or Treat! Happy November

Ahhh November 06 after reboot. For us pumpkin chasers and killers of Jerry it’s a calm, relaxing time. Not so much for Zistrosk and the quest to deliver the prizes.

I want to start today’s blog off by thanking him for his efforts on Oktoberquest 2018, as he put it, “it’s like a third job”. I know many of us felt like it was a part time job, constantly checking in on the pumpkins, coordinating our groups and on and on.

In the last blog I talked about some of the tricks people were using to get ahead, and I’d love to report that post-blogging things cleaned right up but alas, when the competitive spirit is in the air you can be sure that there will be people who will push every lever to try to get ahead.  I’m not here to talk about that right now, I’m here to talk about the Trick that Zistrosk pulled on us.  As the quest started to wind down some people figured out they could give away more than 5 helper points a day.  It’s believed that Inconnu figured this out first, but we know that Mossweaver tripped over it by accidentally sharing his Jerry mob with more than 1 group in a single day.  Do you know what that means?  All the gold, all the trash talk, all of it was a waste of time and effort.  It also made for a crazy last day where a room full of people banded together to swap points off each other.  Even if you didn’t want to really work with some people, you had to be there to make sure you didn’t fall behind.  After averaging 30-35 points a day to suddenly jump to 50 at a time when the next guy down is 60-80 points behind you?

Now certainly, if we had all just gotten along and all 67 questers had traded points evenly, then we’d all be bunched up in 1st place, so that wouldn’t work.  There would be groups that would decide only to trade internally, or to restrict some people so that they had an edge, but there would be less incentive.  Getting a good rapport with people and having them want to help you would mean more opportunities to trade points regularly.

Zistrosk … you bugger … you put a moral in the story!

He made good with the treats though.  Most questers got some glory, 20+ seeming to be very common and 2 immortality potions in a jack o’lantern container.  The next group up also received a piece of the drow equipment set, either the bracer or the earring.  The next group up also received a piece of the Guardian’s Exigency.  Finally, the very top tier people got a nifty anklet with 15 ac and aff protect on it.  The top 10 were all over 1,000 points.  To put that in perspective, 31 days of doing your 1-6 and taking your 21 points would be mean 651 points.  The rest were either 1 at a time, or in bursts of 10 for a kill blow.  My 14 pumpkin kills gave me 140 points which meant hundreds of helper points, 1 by 1.  The top 20 all managed to be above the 651 marker, with #20 coming in at 746.  Towards the bottom of the pack we do see people who game in for 1 or 2 days and then didn’t reappear.  Thanks for helping and visiting.  Come back soon 🙂

Let’s talk about some of the positive things I saw during this quest.

  • As the need for more bodies to share Jerry points grew I saw people in several organizations reaching out to older players and getting them to log in.  Getting people back and logged in is fantastic.  Some might have left because of a specific thing that was going on at a time, something that’s long gone, and they have a chance to check it back out.
  • I saw a real outreach to the solo questers to get them to be part of a team and band together.  Yes, in some cases this will prove superficial, but in many others we’ve broken the ice.  The newer players got to work with some experienced players and now feel comfortable asking for help or engaging in conversation.
  • I saw a ton of cross order co-operation between groups that aren’t traditionally working together.  That’s not to say one group locked to another – at one point Arcanes was working with Dragonslayer and other times with Ringbearers.  Baali’s active members were well represented and competitive, even spotted an Ascendere or two, though one looked like a Guild of Origin character (teasing Bri!!).

Personally I got to chat with a few people who I don’t know that we’d regularly chat.  People like Indious and Semiramia and Merit.

There were definitely caches of people who were playing hard but clean and I really appreciated that.  When I started using Quantum Spike scrolls on Pumpkin Day because the mob tank switching was nerfing circle at DYING some people’s initial reaction was “cheese” or “trying too hard”.  Fair enough.  I disagree, you’ve gotta hit hard at the end and it still takes luck, but ok.  A short time later many were doing it.  Cool.  To me though, the person who took that idea and innovated was Semiramia who switched to Quill mage so that she could recite spellbooks that cast 3 quantum spikes at a time.  She stepped up and proved mages can get kbs on quest mobs.  My hat is off.

I finished in the top 10, tied for the 2nd most kill blows on the pumpkins with 2 others.  Dang it Sartanis, you got the 15th one!  I’m pleased with that finish.  More important than the finish though is that I’m glad I was part of a group that coalesced almost out of nothing and managed to challenge an contend in this quest.  Good quest to Sartanis, Jethren, Morphina, Klaatu, Strador, Netherwood, Aisic, Brianey, Emrakuja, Ceir, and the many others we worked with.  Today some of that group went an chilled out at Corsterix for a while, got some Nasrs and helped a couple new players with gear.  That’s the big prize.  For those already in working teams, tend your garden.  It takes work to keep teams engaged, and lots of engaged teams fall apart.  I hope all of our groups stay busy over the next while, busy groups are good for the Realms as a whole.

I offered Zistrosk the final word on today’s blog, he earned it:

Zistrosk tells you ‘I loved how everyone came together and helped each other, and it was great to see so much activity.  More questors signed up for this quest and actively participated than any quest I’ve ever run before, which was totally awesome.  I hope next year’s quest is as popular, and not as exhausting!’

 

Oktoberquest 2018 Part Deux!

Well we’re getting into the home stretch!

Same old, same old fatigue is setting in and the leaderboard is very tight despite weeks of questing.

The competition is really tight and I’ve found it is not bringing out the best in us, or in me. One group has been paying people upwards of 50m coins/day to take them out to the player’s helper point fights. When 1 member of that group is invited they show up with a crowd hoping to be asked to join in the hopes of turning the 5 guaranteed available points into a lottery. They’re sending tells to anyone they see who is on the quest to solicit those helper points.

Ok, so yeah. There’s definitely a legit way to view the behavior I think: doing everything they can to aggressively try to get their team in the top 10. Competing as hard as they can.  I’m not sure I like their style, but ok.  In some way we’re all trying to manipulate the quest to our advantage.

I got a little wrapped up and over competitive this morning using quest channel to encourage people that if they’re sick of being nagged about their 6ths just to solo them, invite whoever they want, or invite a huge crowd and make it a random chance thing.

I’ll apologize for getting carried away with this. It’s unsportsman like. Fixating on that top 10 because in the past the top 10 has earned a piece of quest equipment. Forgetting that part of the point is to get out and meet some other people from Realms so that the rest of the year we might adventure together, kill something, solve some in game quest or riddle.

We don’t even know what the prize structure will be, we’re speculating based on the past 2 years.

Thank you to Zistrosk for his continued efforts to balance this quest and make it fair to as many different groups as possible.  For the people I’ve been teaming up with I’m enjoying exploring Edel quests, the Glass Menagerie rooms, and looking forward to some post-quest mob kills.

Let the pumpkin seeds fall where they may.

Oktoberquest 2018

Last year I didn’t participate in the Oktoberquest. I tried killing a white walker, it was absurdly hard. I asked myself, do you want a month of this? The answer was no and I quit.

The real answer is I wasn’t super motivated to be playing Realms, I was uber focused on Star Wars:Galaxy of Heroes and work and didn’t want to find the time to figure the quest out.

This year, because someone set up a Discord server, I was aware of Oktoberquest an thought I’d give it a go.

I’ll preface by saying Zistrosk puts a tremendous effort into making Realms fun for us and I appreciate his work. Whether the quest is a win or misses the mark, he is trying to design fun activities that are well balanced and I’m positive it’s not easy.

You can read about the quest itself at RoDPedia if you’re not familiar with it.

In 2016 we all actually lost sleep trying to compete. I managed to come in 2nd just because of feeding the OCD competitive demon that lives in my head.

In 2017 it looks to me like anyone who was on a team strong enough to defeat the Night King regularly walked away with the prize. The scores seem to reflect that.

The quest swung from a purely individual effort to something that seemed locked up to strong teams. I say seemed because I wasn’t there.

This year it’s falling somewhere between those extremes, so while there might be ground to criticize the execution there’s a clear attempt to balance this out. Your daily dose of points can be very individual. 21 a day and maybe a few from lucky kill blows on the big pumpkin mob.

The other, team based component has been from sharing points on the 6th challenge mob kill every day. Competition brings out the best and worst in us all I think. I’ve seen messages on channels almost cyber begging for 6th points. I’ve heard stories of people offering gold to be on teams to get 6th points, though it’s possible these stories aren’t true (I wasn’t approached directly and the person involved denies it). Someone even suggested that people were using alts to get to 6th and spoofing IPs to get IP1 points for their own characters. I’m not sure I believe it because it’s an awful risk to take to scam a point here and there.

There certainly was an initial reaction of jealousy at the tight team that Inconnu fields for every event. Some jealousy at the team that Dragonslayer is fielding. The question is what do you do with those feelings? One route is to get angry and frustrated: they’re cheaters or there’s no point in trying because they’re going to win.

Then there’s a different reaction, one that I have been witnessing all over the place. Probably one of the hoped for reactions. I see people from different, far flung, smaller organizations banding together and helping each other out. This quest is bringing people from disparate groups together and making them interact in order to be able to compete. It is my great hope that we continue to nurture these relationships after the quest and translate them into team building. Those Inconnu and Dragonslayer teams didn’t come out of thin air. They’ve worked together as a team for a long time and deserve to be doing well, even if they are making me really work my butt off to stay top 10! 🙂

In my post about IOPK I said there were probably too many organizations for the number of active players that we have. I still think that’s probably true, because membership in an organization tends to segregate us from other players – if by no other method than lack of a common channel to talk on. Yes we have av and other public channels, but it doesn’t put us on a playing field with people we always want to talk to. Sects and sect talk are good, but restricted to non-order players. It is time for something like a friendchat channel, but I don’t think there’s any motivation to create that in game. Instead I think it’s time to go back to an idea that worked in 2000 when we used ICQ to stay in touch with all our game friends. I think the day of a public Discord server where players can make their own semi-private channels is probably here. I think it would help players maintain the sort of friendships and connections that this quest has brought about.

In SW:GOH Discord is key to coordinating guild activities and activities between people who are not in the same guild. It’s not new tech, it was built for the express purpose of putting gamers in touch with each other.

Would you use an off game chat server to stay in touch with your in game friends?

The Scourge of the Undead Falcon

The grand finale of the Undead Scourge quest hosted by Zistrosk happened just before Hallowe’en and it was quite a hard hitting mob kill that was reminiscent of the old days, mobs like Coco the Cabana Boy, who made short work of many an avatar regardless of skill level.

Despite all the precautions, spell ups, repairs, repairs on the fly, anti-scrapping triggers and so on, my day was marred by one particular line of text scrolling across my screen:

Mask of the Master Rogue falls to the ground in scraps!

Still, despite this loss I felt the quest was good, the rewards were ample and no use in crying over spilled milk.  I was not about to change mains, given that I have invested time in obtaining Guardian’s Exigency pieces and also Lareawan has become well known as the Guild of Origin Guildmaster.  All it meant was that I had an new opportunity to add a watch puppy muzzle or something like that to the wish list.

Nonetheless I half jokingly said to Destre that I’d trade her my rename scroll for having my tag rubbed out so I could redo the quest.  We joked, laughed and she said to ask Kinux.  Well no one dares me, I mean, why not give it a try?  So I emailled him about it and eventually heard back that yes, players would soon have that chance!  This might have been in the works for a while but the timing couldn’t be any better from my point of view.

Today it was announced and became official, news 1070:

(1070) Kinux 11/09/16 The Falcon Quest

For those of the rogue persuasion, it is now possible to visit the Falcon more
than once. While NPC’s within the quest may note that you have already done the
quest may acknowledge you have already done it, you will be able to gain
access to the elusive master rogue should you wish.

That’s the second time that persuasion has been used in a news item recently, I don’t think Lare needed any persuading, but THANK YOU to Kinux and anyone else involved in this decision.  It’s not a trivial thing to kill him off to get the mask in the first place and with the Guardian set pieces overlapping with some of the Falcon set items the mask becomes key to getting both bonuses.  Ownertagging means that it’s not something you’re going to stock up on and low AC vs difficulty means we’re still going to try to take good care of it.

Huzzah!

Undead scourge (no … not the infrequently updated blog!)

It’s hard to post when you’re not playing much, and that’s been the case for me for quite some time.  I might log in for a short burst of activity and then I’m gone again.  My last kick was in May and given my summer schedule I had planned to play a fair bit.  I wasn’t back in the swing more than few days when drama erupted and utterly killed my desire to be around.

So when I saw the soldier’s quest I just ignored it and I had intended to ignore the current month long Undead Scourge quest.  On a whim I ran out on an early morning Dibbler quest that Destre was hosting and tripped over a gravestone.  A short kill later and I was, in full OCD mode, mapping the Realms again with CMud trying to track down the room names that the gravestones were located in.

If you’re just getting started on this quest here’s a few things you want to know.  The gravestones can be found with the locate object spell.  Zistrosk chose to allow this in order to make it easier for less experienced questers to get involved.  When a gravestone is destroyed a mob may appear that you can then fight for additional credit.  Further once a gravestone is destroyed a haze will appear on the ground that is also locatable.  So if every gravestone was cleared you could still make note of where they were showing up.

Easy peasy to rack up the points right?  Wrong.  In order to make staking or botting the gravestones more difficult there is a delay on how quickly you may clear them, roughly 2 hours between gravestones (it appears to have changed since the start of the quest when it was closer to 90 minutes).  If you rush out too early then the message you receive when attempting to destroy the gravestone will also add a little extra time to your wait.  It can be frustrating … there’s no clear indicator when you’re ok to go for the next one and I suspect I’ve gone out mere minutes too early and then had to stay up later than I planned to waiting for the tag to disappear.  Oh yes, the tags only tick off when you’re online, but I think most of us are pretty used to that idea.

Zistrosk posted a week 1 summary on the archives and I was impressed by how many people had at least come and checked it out.  He’s updated it since I last looked at it and it looks like lots of people are out and having fun.

[ 21] Zistrosk: OKTOBERQUEST Leaderboard (current as of posting)
Sun Oct 9 08:14:55 2016
To: QUESTORS
Name Total Sacs Kills      Name Total Sacs Kills
Indious 085 049 036         Taokor 002 001 001
Tharius 081 044 037        Cidal 002 001 001
Lilmyrr 074 041 033         Taelc 001 001 000
Charas 066 038 028         Rayen 001 001 000
Orkadi 056 026 030         Olvar 001 001 000
Tarb 053 030 023             Madazanirt 001 001 000
Aleq 045 027 018             Gaonllyx 001 001 000
Corisar 042 023 019        Easop 001 001 000
Zatade 041 022 019
Padrik 039 021 018
Sialaxx 029 017 012
Semiramia 026 016 010
Smee 015 009 006
Vhaenum 011 006 005
Jagnic 010 010 000
Cerf 010 005 005
Nomak 008 004 004
Sid 004 002 002
Vilexur 003 002 001
Uzbekiel 003 002 001
Joandaxjimli 003 001 002
Zanalani 002 001 001
Vexile 002 002 000

I resurrected my previous project of mapping the Realms and have visited more than 60 areas this week.  I’m having a ton of fun and hope that you get out and check out the game more.  Today I went on a walk into Blasted Lands and visited Ra.  This isn’t a big hike but I don’t think I’ve been there since I was a new avatar when I poisoned and fought Horus for bracers on the advice of people like Ganymede from Guild of Rangers.

A few days ago we saw an imp mkill quest tie in and tonight looks like it’s zombies.

Have fun!

PS: Happy Birthday Romani!

Who watches the Watchdog?

Woof!  Woof woof woof! *pant pant pant pant* You hear someone’s death cry!

These words can only mean Gorog’s Watchdog is out … or in this case a Watchpuppy!  What’s the difference you ask?  The number of avatars required to kill the critter is the main thing and correspondingly the rewards are not as large.  For those who aren’t familiar with the rewards there is a reason the word “goroggles” enters into every conversation about top of the line characters.  The “doggy ear” is a nice devout piece and an ok all around piece with aff fly being maybe the most interesting thing about it.  Somewhere along the lines the “dewclaw” got added, a nicely statted ankle piece and finally making a debut not too long ago was the muzzle, a statted face piece which is decent but gives thieves an interesting dilemma.

Now, no one is saying you can’t get goggles off the puppy but no one has seen a pair off a puppy yet.  There have only been a handful of puppy kills so there’s no way to even really speculate about possibilities … oh and since they could be changed at any time without warning, it’s pointless to bother.

Aleq did a great job of being the cheerleader, with others like Mephie contributing to help get mass established.  For my part Arca and Ravith came and got a hold of me and I almost didn’t bother.  These things can drag on for hours and hours before we get mass and even when we have mass it can be a mess 20 different ways to Sunday.  Still, I figure if you don’t log in and help out you have no reason to bitch when you want other people’s help getting mass.

We made a few kicks at it and wiped a few times.  Mass came and went.  Someone commented that if we didn’t get a few more people that it would take a little imm pity (downing the doggie) to get a kill in.  Around midnight we said “one more try”.

Whether the stars aligned or whether we got some pity or a bit of both we managed to get a dead puppy.  I had joked earlier in the night that it was a nice birthday gift and when I saw that I had a kill blow it sure felt like a gift wrapped present.  Prior to this the closest I’ve been was 2 spirals from the kb.

I almost didn’t log in.  Instead I logged out with a dewclaw.

Goes to show that you have to keep in touch and just keep trying even if you think you have no chance.

Around the Realms in Twenty ^MORE Questions

Not so long ago I posted about Ceir’s Twenty Questions standing semi-quest.  It’s been a bit of a mind twister that requires a lot of luck but has some strategy to it as well.

This round of Twenty Questions will go to Aimeric unless I’m mistaken, he, Klaatu and I were all teleporting at the same time and it turns out with the same guess in mind.  The disadvantage I had was that I had posted the last question and had to wait until one of them posted before I could take a guess.

One of the tricks to this is to ask questions that narrow the field of possibilities down without completely giving it away to the other people who are guessing.  In this round I had it down to 2 possibilities, both of which fit the criteria.  I like to go and find the item in game to verify that the database I’ve looked at has the stats correct.  I could find a fairly obscure broom in Dunhill but couldn’t get the squirrel’s tail in Wyvern’s Tower to pop so I went with the broom as my first guess.  As I say, a lot of strategy and a lot of luck need to come together to win this thing and congrats to Aimeric.  It’s nice to be there at the finish line even if you fall a little short.

So teleporting around looking for one room is in an of itself stunningly boring.  Many times it took up to 4 hours of non-stop zombie eating triggers to find the room.  Sometimes it was the 4th candy.  Welcome to RNG.  To make it more interesting I’ve been spending some time investigating the puzzles inside Vast Horizons.  There are a lot of spots that seem disconnected; isolated rooms that feel like they are there for the purpose of theme.  Some of them might be and others might in fact hold clues to other rooms, it’s certainly far from cut and dry.  Some of the zones are clearly mini areas with small puzzles.  For example finding the butterfly wing within the lighthouse or the golden buckle in the well.  Many of these items have fairly high values set on them so some may be there to defray the cost of teleporting while others clearly interact with other parts of the area.

This time through I’ve managed to take out Jimmy da Fence a couple of times and come away with Jimminator!s, worked up a pile of radiant garnets, shy emeralds, stirring spoons and rays of the sun.  I’ve also become motivated to try coming through on a pre-avatar character and try some of the puzzles that aren’t open to avatars.  In addition I think trying some other races will open up some of the puzzles I can’t access.  When you can’t squeeze your large frame any further down a corridor it’s a clue that there’s something else to be done.

I want to thank everyone who worked on Vast Horizons.  It’s a fun, strange area that by and large gives clues when you’re doing something wrong.  Unlike other builders who expect us to dream up the solution to the puzzle out of the ether and pick the one correct race, class, gender and alignment out of the 1,638 possible combinations (double that if it’s a clear pre-av/avatar only puzzle … the math gets too hard for morning coffee to figure out if it’s a specific unknown level).  The puzzles are challenging and open to a huge range of players with luck of the draw becoming the great equalizer.  Sure you know the room.  Sure you know the solution.  Can you get there next?

Happy adventuring!

Around the Realms in Twenty Questions

A new Vast Horizon feature, for the regular readers of Ceirana’s Window to the World is a new noteboard for a game of 20 Questions.  For those not familiar with the game the basic idea is that the host will pick something and you have 20 questions to figure it out with your guesses at the answer counting towards the 20 questions.  For this incarnation the question has to be a yes/no question.

I managed to figure out the first mob (yay) was Weeping Willow in The Keep of Mahn-Tor by a process of elimination.  A couple hours of running around looking at mobs and maps.  All in all it was pretty fun, I encourage you to look for it the next time you’re out telescanning.

Some hints for players:

  • keep your questions simple… yeah you want to get the most out of it but if it doesn’t give you info in both the yes and no it’s not so good (example: is it a male? Good!  is it a male or a horse? Bad! a male dragon isn’t a horse, of course!)
  • try to use your question to narrow the field … we had every mob in Realms to pick from, narrowing it to non-male non-humanoids who wore no equipment and were aff sanc or who could cast it made the list so much more manageable
  • be specific: the question “Is it in the Forgotten Woods Geo?” could mean the area that when you type where you see the Forgotten Woods or it could mean any of the areas IN the Forgotten Woods
  • don’t be too specific: asking a question that applies only to a very narrow field of choices doesn’t help.  If you get a yes then you’re golden, but it’s more likely you’ll get a no.  “Does it have brown hair?” is perhaps not as good as “Does it have hair?”

Ok … happy adventuring.