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?

IOPK (or Make Realms PK Again)

Hi all,

Questnews and Twitter and Facebook are telling me all about the Inter-Order Pkill Event that Gonnil will be hosting on May 8th and my personal response is that I’d rather slam my thumb in a door.

I’m not anti-pk so I’d like to establish a few points here

  1. I suck at pk due to a thorough lack of experience.
  2. I think that mk gameplay gets stale and boring and leads to mpdamage programs designed to make you scrap, to disrupt fight triggers, to muddle with your ability to quaff, to penalize you for normal gameplay.  Alternately the mob is placed somewhere that’s a royal pain to get to and/or highly sensitive to the game crashing and ruining a couple of hours of effort.
  3. PK is the only gameplay mode that actually offers any reasonable, sustainable challenge because human players are adaptive.

With that said I completely object to the idea of an Inter-Order event that allows game play on non-ordered alts.  Why not just make this a “teams” event an be done with it?  Well because the Order of Arcanes was recently revitalized from the ranks of PK players instead of being deleted from the game as it probably should have been.  Inactive organizations die out .. it’s not a big deal, it’s a normal thing.  We have 7 orders… given the playerbase … really that’s lots.

I spoke with Gonnil and his replies were along the lines of “anyone can have a pk character” and that nerfing the quaff speed of the PK characters was the biggest needed equalizer.

Maybe, but once more, why bother calling it IOPK?

Good luck to all who compete.  I know Arcanes will be solidly represented and I imagine so will Dragonslayer, pkJoe and pkJim leading the way.  I don’t know but I can imagine Inconnu being solidly represented.  Ringbearers is not an org with many pk people in it so it’s doubtful we’ll participate, but I hope that the event is fun for those who want to be involved.  All I can say is that if this was an attempt to engage with what little community exists on Realms and stimulate interest I think it’s a fail.

The Annual Blog Post

You know, I really have to visit here a little more often if I expect you to 🙂

My interest in the game waxes and wanes with how busy my life is and last year was a whopper.  Lots of changes, a 5 week strike at work, and just generally having to be selective in my choices with entertainment.  What brings me back to Realms once more?  News 1090 naturally.

About 3 years ago I was approached by Akael to work on an update to the Darkhaven Art Gallery.  I was really honoured to participate, I know that it’s such a pivotal area for so many newer players.  I felt that there was a lull in the levelling areas for the 30’s so that’s sort of where I put my focus.  I also looked at the gear in those levels and where I was still wearing academy equipment or other similarly low level stuff and thought, hey these are gaps to fill.  You can let me know if I hit the mark or not, but I think at least some people will be happy with the stuff that was brought in.

I’ve been around this week testing and helping to fix some logic errors in the area.  I can’t thank Destre enough for her efforts, that woman is devoted to seeing things in the game be top notch!  Thanks also to Akael, Ceirana, Zistrosk, and all the others who worked on this project in the background.  To my mind having such a great and diverse group working on these projects helps keep the quality up.

I’ve heard people in the past complain about how long these projects take, hey, there’s lots of time spent checking and rechecking and then fixing things.  Let’s not forget our imms are volunteers giving their leisure time to do these things.  I had to take the idea that “I did my part, it’s in their hands” … but it was exciting to see it ported.  This is the 3rd time some piece of work of mine has found it’s way into Realms and it’s a thrill every time.

The first was an IOQC area I wrote as a member of DS waaaay back in the day.  You had to find and return dragon eggs, but everyone just ended up killing the dragons… the only problem is the dragons used “murder” instead of “kill” and so the spam was unbelievable.  Also killing the dragons was ridiculously hard to discourage that behaviour but … when IOQC teams go at it, they are definitely determined teams and view challenges as things to be overcome.  It went … oh… 4 or 5 hours?  Intended time… 90 minutes?  Yeah.  Learned a lot about not assuming how people will approach the problems.  Sometimes when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail 🙂  Funny thing is that it was Destre helping then too, with an emergency assist from Moonbeam if I recall correctly.

Many of you may also recall I worked on the Guild of Spirits, stepping in to help with that project.  Though I didn’t have much to do with the initial design I am happy with the touches I left on it.  There are times I wish that I had been more active in the Guild of Origin build but you do what you can.

So what’s next for me?  To be really honest I don’t get a big thrill out of playing the game anymore.  I see equations when I look at the game… damage in, healing potential, damage out … scheduling problems like getting 4 people online who want to do the same thing etc.  These days I do continue to enjoy mapping as much of the Realms as I can, I do have a project underway that I put down 2 years ago that I think I should finish and share.  I also see a couple of unfinished building projects I think I may be ready to put my hands to and see if they can get to the finish line.  Of course there’s also more ideas … a totally new area … but finish one thing before starting the next!

I have not yet explored the other new paintings that my fellow builders worked on, I look forward to exploring them soon.  If you see one of them online, thank them!

Falc-on, Falc-off!

It’s fitting that here today on my 100th post I have good news to share.

Back in October I shared how Zistrosk’s quest mob managed to beat my repair triggers and cause me to scrap my Mask of the Master Rogue.

In November Kinux allowed the Falcon to be challenged again by those of us who had defeated him previously, to the delight of several of us.  I know at least 3 people who had retired thieves that went and have remasked their old characters.  Yet even with the news of the successes Lareawan continued to be told he wasn’t ready.

Frustrating?  You bet!  I thought perhaps it was because I had completed redoing the quest prior to Kinux’s announcement that I wasn’t tagged correctly or something to that effect.

The truth was much simpler… I wasn’t wearing the Falcon set.  When I first levelled Lareawan and obtained the set of course I wore the pieces, they were upgrades to what I was wearing.  I confess I missed the jade strand for a little while but after a while I got over it.  Now that I’m adventuring as a more mature character I’ve swapped out some pieces and had relied on the mask as my 3rd piece.  Well, back to storage I went and picked up the greaves from the floor and trotted back to Shadowport to try again.

This time … I wasn’t ready again … but at least it was the half screen of spam not ready message that came with trans back to the thieves’ guild!  A couple hours later I tried again and before long the magic words scrolled across my window:

Your pierce tears the Falcon!
The Falcon is DEAD!!
As The Falcon falls, his most prized possession falls from his face…
The Falcon says ‘You have done well to best me, Lareawan… You are a true master.’
The Falcon gasps its last breath and blood spurts out of its mouth and ears.
You get 10821253 gold coins from the corpse of the Falcon.
You get the Mask of the Master Rogue from the corpse of the Falcon.

Thank you Kinux.  Happy 100 all!

More info for realmsofdespair.info

Hi everyone,

Earlier today I completed migrating Rodpedia to the site.  The migration itself wasn’t a huge job but I took advantage of the task to move the entire site to a new server that can support a more modern PHP programming environment.

One of the things that has been holding me back from working on the site is an inability to use the frameworks I prefer, hand writing everything from the ground up was never an option.

Additionally the site now runs on https which will make passwords more secure, especially with the changes in the pipe.

That’s it for now, I’m still around, alive and kicking, busy as heck but that’s nothing new.
Cheers!

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!

Salute to Kellian Waverunner

Shortly after I returned to Realms I got involved with the Guild reogranization build that was taking place on Zistrosk’s server.  This is where I got reaquainted with Kellian, aka Steve.  I saw the energy he poured into the game and thought quite highly of his contribution.

Fast forward a while and we’re together on Newbie Council, flip the page and we’re working together as leaders in different guilds.  Every time I turned around I’m having a talk with Kellian about the game and things we could do better.  Not griping, real “how do we improve the spirit of friendship and comradarie” type better.

Kellian was one of those people who seemed to have great reserves of strength and energy, though perhaps more of the former than the latter due to his illness.  I will not pretend we were close friends or that we had gone on many adventures together, but what is true is that I will miss his presence and hope that I grow to emulate many of his better qualities.

I can only express my condolences to his family, both his real world family who are mourning and to his Guild of Nature family.

Goodbye Kellian.

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!