Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011: One Player's Opinion on What We've Seen

An Honest Critique of Some Changes in 2011 -

I'm usually not too critical of how Fiesta is run, the decisions that have been made to further the game, and the changes both good or bad that we experience.  I'm typically supportive of OutSpark and I usually take some time before rushing to judge any changes that arrive on our doorstep.  I try to see their side, understand why some changes are made and why other's aren't.

With that being said, and with some time to absorb the changes we've experienced in 2011, I thought this would be a good time to reflect on what's been going on, improved upon, what didn't work, and any thoughts or suggestions I may have for 2012.  Needless to say, I love Fiesta.  I wouldn't dedicate myself to running a blog about Fiesta if I didn't find the game enjoyable.  I wouldn't have leveled as many characters as I have, nor invested as much money as I have if I didn't relish my time in Isya.

So where do we begin?  How about with the most controversial change we experienced:
  
Bind On Equip:
Bind On Equip (or BOE) basically places a lock on any armor or weapon piece that you equip.  BOE does not affect all equippable items, but it does affect much of the end game content.  Starting from some of the level 95 sets on up to the level 105 Secret Laboratory and Lucky House Weapons and Shields, BOE rears its ugly head.

There is no reason other than for profit that this "feature" was released in June.  We never had anything like this before, nor did the items they decided to bind have this limitation when they were first introduced into the game.  While some items from Leviathan's Nest were instantly bound to whomever picked them up, the items acquired from Secret Laboratory were able to be drop traded (meaning you'd have to trust the other player enough to have one of you drop the item and let the other person grab it as you also exchange the gold for it).  According to OutSpark, drop trading was never supposed to occur, but since it was there, the players took advantage of this mechanic.  We also received no warning of this feature being implemented causing many armor sets to be locked onto other players accounts who were borrowing them.

In October, we received a "solution" to the BOE dillema, Binding Reset Resin.  Some players found the item prematurely by scouring the store's pages and there was an immediate outcry over the intial price listed, 14,000sc ($20 USD).  The GMs were quick to acknowledge that the price wasn't definite and would be evaluated.  Upon release, the Reset Resin was priced at 8400sc ($12 USD).  As you would expect, there was still outrage that the playerbase would have to pay real-life money simply for the choice to sell their old pieces of equipment.

Fatal's Take:  Personally, I've never purchased a Reset Resin and I'm hoping to never have to.  With now five characters at prestige (SharpShooter, Warlock, Wizard, HolyKnight, Gladiator) and two more approaching (90 future-Spectre, 89 future-Ranger), you would think this would affect me greatly.  Thankfully, so far, it hasn't.  Currently, the only piece of equipment that I have enhanced that is BOE is a +10 Storas (Lab) Wand.  No other gear I own that is bound has been enhanced.  I honestly hate this feature.  While I don't typically sell too much gear that has been enhanced in fear that I may have an alt someday that will re-use this piece, at least I still have that option.  With BOE, I don't without draining my wallet.

False Fixes (Mob Populations):
This was something that's just come to my attention recently, but for some reason nobody else seems to make a fuss.  In November, we received a patch that increased mob populations for the 9x-10x areas.  What we saw was a dramatic change in Swamp of Dawn's mob placement.

With this new enhancement, the map basically got flipped.  The hardest mobs congregated near the Burning Rock gate, while the weaker mobs were relocated to the Alberstoll Ruins gate.  While I can see a little bit of thought in this, that if you scrolled to AR before taking off for SOD, it was a bit easier, however the natural progression of maps and mob spawn points got out of whack.

On December 13th, the map reverted back, unannounced, to the most recent iteration of Swamp of Dawn. 

Fatal's Take:  A lot of players were relieved when this happened, myself included, but what about the promised change?  We were told that we'd experience denser mob populations, but now that the mobs went back to where they were, where's our population increase?

False Fixes (Leviathan's Nest):
With that same patch that adjusted SOD mob placement, we were also told that we'd see a decrease in difficulty of Leviathan's Nest.  But did we really?

Fatal's Take:  OutSpark and OnsOnSoft are fairly notorious for telling us that a change had occurred, but won't detail what exactly that change affected.  In the case of Leviathan's Nest, I saw no change.  Recently, the OS GMs have been preaching "transparency", but when false fixes like these arrive, why won't they throw us a bone?

Archer Fixes:
This is a particular sore spot for me as my highest level character is a SharpShooter.  While I knew full well of some of the limitations of the class (and subclass) before I started seriously leveling her, the rate and quality of changes that we've received is pretty poor and barely negligible.

Some of the highlights: 

"True" attack rates on Archer weapons at any distance.  Archers were plagued by the "only-one-arrow-on-screen-at-a-time" issue where a second arrow couldn't be fired until the first arrow hit the target.  When auto-attacking from 13m away, you can see how this would be problematic.

Fatal's Take:  While this was a nice fix, I'm still not convinced it truly works or it just didn't have the impact that we had hoped for.

Animation Changes.  While aesthetically this is a welcome change, it really slowed down the spam rate of the Archer's AOEs.  With a longer draw and longer animation, the time between casts increased greatly.  Archers AOEs were already fairly weak, but now they're weak AND slower.

Fatal's Take:  A change that really wasn't necessary.  To make matters worse for the SharpShooter subclass, the animation on the Bow AOEs takes longer than the XBow ones meaning Rangers have another advantage besides damage, kiting Attack Rate.

Additional Damage added to Passives.  This helped pretty-up our stat windows, but the increase in damage to the passives really didn't equate to much.

Fatal's Take:  Archer's tossed a bone.  A rotten bone with no marrow.

Increased DMG Empowerment to Aimed Shot and Power Shot.  I don't remember how much greater the increase was, but it wasn't game changing by any means.

Fatal's Take:  Another bone with little meat.  It would have been nice to eliminate the cast times on these for the SharpShooter subclass as I've suggested so many times before.  As it stands now, it's still better for a SharpShooter to spam auto-attack than waste time using skills with drawn out cast times.  How does that even make sense?

Multi-Blood Shot finally corrected.  MBS's DOT effect finally got classified correctly as a Bleed instead of a disease.  For two years we've been plagued by this skill not having the correct DOT.  It was finally fixed.  Unfortunately, this DOT does the least amount of additional DMG, 69 DMG/sec.

Fatal's Take:  It was about time.  I'm not a programmer, but I have taken some classes back in college.  I really don't see how a simple change to this skill took so long to correct.  It would be nice if the skill became spammable along with the other two AOEs and also saw a bump up in the DOT damage output.  69 DMG/sec on a mob with 50,000HP just doesn't do much y'know?

Nature's Aim Party Buff Introduced.  This skill is still not without its problems, but it was a nice touch.  Archers have been pleading for some type of self/party buff that would increase their value in parties.  Nature's Aim increases the party's Aim and Evasion.

Fatal's Take:  We got a buff, but as Obi-Wan would say, "These aren't the buffs you're looking for."  First off, the buff itself only lasts a few minutes.  With the cooldown being longer than the buff's duration, it's a pain.  Fiddling with the empowerments allows you to recast the buff before it expires, but again, it's something that has to be recasted far too frequently.  A nice buff to have when you remember to use it.  Would be nice if the duration were just bumped up to 30 minutes or 1 hour and be done with it.  Some players that have empowered this skill are finding that the skill's CD gets bugged when they login/map change.

Ranger Changes.  Rangers were fortunate to see a few changes that definitely help them out.  First off, Rangers received several new variants of their Entrap skill.  Depending on the tier of the skill, Entrap now had AOE status effects (Blind, Slow, Bleed, Stun).  They also recieved a nice boost to Hide's success rate making it 100% effective.

Fatal's Take:  Giving the Ranger's the ability to Blind, albeit in the form of a trap, and an AOE one to boot, was really a slap in the face to the SharpShooters.  Blind Shot was one of the "signature" skills of the SharpShooter subclass.  I really didn't appreciate this change, but I'm happy for the Rangers to at least get shown some love.

SharpShooter Changes.  SharpShooters saw a couple of changes to Detect and to Blind Shot.  Previously, Detect only uncovered Rangers, it was changed to also be able to ground flying, Metamorphosed Warlocks.  One problem with this is that it's difficult to even see the Warlock flying up in the air much less be able to successfully target them using the AOE reticle.  Blind Shot effects went from a blinding white screen that was more like a flash bang grenade to the now black haze that you see today.  Your victim's Aim is also decreased for the short duration of the skill.

Fatal's Take:  I still think Detect should be a passive that uncovers Rangers only, or gives you the ability to see and target hidden Rangers.  Warlocks using bird-mode should take damage from the Archer AOEs.  You'd think arrows falling from the sky could hit that fat bird no?  Blind Shot really needs an increase in duration to be more effective.  With the new black haze effect, the victim can still see thier character.  A common, yet effective technique for SSs in PvP was to Blind then Neutralize (disarm) their opponent during the fight.  But now the victim can easily see their character weilding, or not weilding, their weapon.

Overall Takeaway from Archer Fixes:  Honestly, I think the class itself just needs a reboot.  None of the changes that we've received have remotely leveled the playing field in PvP.  While Archers are fast leveling after 51, they slow down tremendously later as they just don't receive the party invites that other classes enjoy.  Take the class down, retool it, and relaunch it.  Give every Archer a full stat and full skill reset once the relaunch occurs.  A SharpShooter should basically be akin to a ranged Gladiator minus the HP/DEF, make it so.

Party EXP Distribution:
While well intended, I don't think this new system had quite the affect the Developer was hoping for.  Instead of newbies begging for powerlevels in the lower leveled towns (which still occurs btw), they've shifted to the higher level maps where their EXP gain is tremendous.  Gone is the old +30 level limit to mob EXP gain and with it reigned in a new form of powerleveling.

Fatal"s Take:  The GMs have stated that they are still evaluating this change and that a fix may be in the works at some point.  However, when this patch was implemented, we also witnessed an overall reduction of mob EXP even while soloing.  This change has not been corrected despite being acknowleged in November when we received a serverwide EXP boost of 24%.  Will this related issue just be swept under the rug?  Is the "corrective" EXP boost still ongoing?  Was our +50% EXP boost in November truly 50% or was it simply the 24% correction + a 26% boost?

Video Player Earnings:
This was a great feature that was implemented this past year.  It gave all players the chance to acquire some cash shop items simply for watching and rating some commercials. 

Fatal's Take:  I love this.  I've used a ton of one-day items so far and continue to use the video player to earn views for redemption later.  The assortment of items in there is decent considering they're basically free.  I'd like to see some new stuff, but the stuff in there presently is fine unchanged also.


Collector's Packs:
With the start of Autumn, OutSpark released "Collector's Packs" in the store.  Basically Collector's Packs were megabundles featuring everything that was newly released in the previous months.  While the huge pricetag scared away many buyers, overall it was a good deal if you could afford that much SC upfront.

Fatal's Take:  I liked the packs.  Personally, I never bought any because I find zero value in cash shop pets and they were also included in abundance in these bundles.  Also included were multitudes of permanent mounts.  With the inability to gift these mounts, they're basically a waste since I already have multiple mounts on each character on this account.  I was disappointed to see no packs for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Iron Box Release:
The Iron Box cashshop item was finally released.  This allowed the players to access the third and fourth pages of their storage permanently.  However, the access was limited to the one character that activated the Iron Box.

Fatal's Take:  As someone that does a lot of productions and hordes a lot of gear, this was a godsend.  I took advantage of the Iron Box/Iron Case BOGO.  While it's a bit of a pain to have to switch characters to access my third and fourth pages, it's understandable, no complaints.

Missing Decomp/Comp Recipes:
For years, we've been missing about 80% of the T5 Comp/Decomp Alchemy recipes.  This made some alchemic skills a bit problematic when trying to obtain materials. 

Fatal's Take:  With capped productions, I had been waiting for this for ages.  Still don't quite understand why it took so long.  I'm happy it's here though, now just a matter of tracking down all the recipes.

The Forge Discounts and Availability of 10k/25k Weapon Skins:
Weapon Skin availability is another thorn in the sides of many players.  Presently, when Weapon Skins are offered for sale in the store, only the 3k durability variants are available.  Gone are the ability to purchase the 10k or 25k versions.  Instead, these types have been only available in James' Forge.  Basically, the player needs to gamble their SC on the hopes of acquiring the particular skin they want.

From time to time, OS has offered discounts on Forge Credits, however, whenever they've run this promotion, there were no Weapon Skins in the Forge to be won!

Fatal's Take:  I, along with just about everyone else, would greatly appreciate having at least the 10k skins available again in the store.  As it stands now, a player has a roughly 1:44 chance of getting the particular skin that they want, not to mention that skin may only be the 3k.  The Forge is loaded with other items like 50%/Perfect T1-T5 Enhancement Stones, Repair Kits, and the Skins of weapons you may never use.  At least once a quarter, please release the 10k skins into the store?

1111 Sale:
On November 11, 2011, OutSpark ran an "1111" sale to commemorate the day.  A ton of items in the cash shop were made available at an 1111sc price point. 

Fatal's Take:  This was probably one of the highlights of the cash shop in 2011.  Needless to say, I spent quite a bit taking advantage of the huge deals on some of the items offered.  Some bundles were originally priced at around 6k and discounted deeply to 1111.  Thanks OS for giving back to the players on this one.

Obviously this isn't a complete list, I left out some major changes like: Lucky House, Hard Mode Raid Bosses, "The Rollback", the additional quests from 7x-9x, and the release of the Tricksters.  Feel free to comment, agree/disagree, I ask that you try to keep it civil.  My apologies for the wall of text, kudos to anyone that actually read it all!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ask Fatal - Dragon's Tomb Edition (Trickster)


Alright!  Welcome to the final installment of my Dragon's Tomb series of postings.  So far we've covered Fighters, both Tank-style as well as Damage Dealing / Sub-Tank style, Mages, Archers, and now Tricksters.  Sorry to you Cleric lovers out there, but I highly doubt I'll be doing a Cleric version as I really have no desire to level up another Cleric to 80 just for the sake of making a guide!  Let the questions begin!

What is the Trickster's primary role in the party?
This is the question that everyone asks and depending on your playstyle and gear, therein lies your answer.  The Trickster can be extremely versatile if you get a better grasp of some techniques.

Versatile?  Tricksters are squishy by nature right?  What do you expect the Trickster to do?
While it is true that a Trickster's defense and HP doesn't measure up to a Fighter's, the Trickster has the Evasion advantage.  While not the ideal "Tank" in Dragon's Tomb, the Trickster is surprisingly serviceable in this capacity.

Tanking?!  Are you nuts?
Maybe.  But to me, that's the most fun a Trickster can have in Dragon's Tomb.

Yeah, you're a bit loco... wanna explain?
Tanking for a Trickster is a bit err "tricky" in that it involves a lot of cooperation from your party.  This is where the Tanking-Trickster really needs to assert themselves.

Okay, so where to start?
As a Tanking-Trickster, you need to set a few groundrules to the party to make sure that it is successful.  The first off being that YOU set the pace.  So no Archers running up front, no Mages going off to pull, etc.  The reason for this is because you need to establish aggro quickly.

Alright, that sounds reasonable.  What else?
For some reason, Mages are more apt to cast Inferno first rather than Frost Nova.  As a Mage, I never do this, so I don't really understand why they do it, but the Mages I've partied with as a Trickster typically drop Inferno first.  This, for the Tanking-Trickster led party, is a mistake.  This technique for a Trickster takes some timing and a bit of practice.

What's so hard? I just grab a soul and cast Soul Trap right?
Hmm... not so fast.  You first need a better understanding of how Soul Trap works.  If you've ever played as Fighter, you know that the skill Devastate is directional.  Typically you only stun those mobs that are in front of you.  Any mobs behind you will be unaffected by Devastate's damage or Stun effect.  Soul Trap works much the same way.

Okay, so what does that mean for me?
This means that you need to position yourself to set up Soul Trap so that you can freeze as many mobs as possible.  This also means you damage as many mobs as possible.  More damage means more aggro generated towards you.

Establish proper positioning prior to Soul Trap.
Ahh.. that makes sense.  So what's the sequence of events that leads to a successful pull?
For the smaller, regular mobs, typically you need to pull all of the close-ranged melee-type mobs into the ranged mobs so that you can freeze/damage them all together.  If you attack only the melee-types without pulling them towards the ranged, the ranged will continue attacking you, then as the Cleric heals you, they will refocus their attacks onto the Clerics since you are no longer generating aggro.  Again, remember to position yourself in front of all the mobs, you don't want any behind you if possible.

Wow, so I need to understand some basic tanking principles?
Yes.  In order to do this successfully, you need to have a working knowledge of how to tank.  Tanking on a Trickster is much more difficult compared to tanking on a Fighter.

Yeah, I imagine so, but why?
Tanking-Fighters have many advantages over a Trickster trying to fill that role.  As stated before, higher DEF and higher HP for one, but also an abundance of aggro-grabbing skills like: Kick, Mock, Demoralizing Hit, and Slice and Dice.  The Trickster's only source of aggro are generated through damage and positioning.  Again, this is why you need a cooperative party.

So what happens when the party isn't cooperative?  What can go wrong?
Again, a Trickster is not ideal for Tanking in DT, but it can be done effectively.  A couple of the problems aside from just uncooperative party members would be Stuns and Fears.  Nothing's worse than getting stunned or feared before establishing aggro.  This is when chaos typically occurs and party members start panicking.  So again, you need to keep a level head and work on re-establishing aggro.  This doesn't mean killing!  You re-establish aggro via damage, once you established aggro on that mob, target the next one, then the next.  You may have to sacrifice your Soul Trap skill just for the sake of an Aggro grab.

Okay, so what about the party members?
If you allow the Archer or Mage to get out ahead of you, you're going to have problems establishing aggro and keeping things in order.  I always warn both Archers and Mages to be patient, wait for me to get in there first before they start AOE'ing.  This is especially problematic with Archers.  With a normal Tank, an Archer is free to move out ahead and start AOE'ing to pull mobs back to the party where the Fighter can just Mock them all to him.  This pace setting technique for Archers is detailed in my Archer-DT guide.  However, this does not work well with a non-traditional Tank.  When that Archer starts pulling, they will typically just continue kiting along avoiding damage.  This is extremely problematic for the Trickster trying to establish aggro when his targets continue running down the hall.  So again, rein in your party members and be assertive.  Not rude.  Assertive.

In the case of the Mage using Inferno, you'll see that you'll have a hard time re-establishing aggro without the help of Soul Trap's freeze effect.  It can still be done based on the strength, or in this case weakness, of the Mage, but it's more difficult.  Kindly remind your Mage to Nova first once you've pulled the mobs.

What about those panicked party members that continue just running mobs away?
Well that's really on them.  If they want to pull the mobs all the way back down the hall, then it's on them to finish them off.  If the rest of the party is safe from immediate harm, then by all means, give chase and help, but if there's danger around the main party, focus there.

Okay, I think I understand that a bit.  So what do you use to Tank?
Again, not everyone plays the same way or has the same resources.  I understand that.  This is what I use on my Trickster (Level 89 as of this write-up):
+50% HP/SP Extender
+10 BK Dual Swords (45end 33dex 6int 34spe)
+9 86 Helm (36str 35spr)
+9 85 Wonder W Armor (32end 11dex 43spr)
+9 85 Wonder W Pants (40end 41dex 30spr)
+9 85 Vanity Dance Boots (27end 41spr)
+0 40 Bloody Gem Necklace (3str 5dex 4end)
+0 85 Guardian's Wish Earring (3end 1dex +325HP +4%Evasion)
+6 40 Ring of Chaos (Totals 9str 18end 25dex 13int +42MDef)
+9 40 Ring of Chaos (Totals 7str 21end 20dex 22int 6spr +70MDef)
I always use a full compliment of T4 Scrolls (Vit, Def, MDef, Eva) as well as T1 Speed.

Geez, I can't afford that.  So what do I do with limited resources?
Much of what you can and can't do will be affected by your resources.  I've stated that in pretty much every write up.  How to play DT as a Trix fully +0?  I really wouldn't know.  That's not something I plan to, or would want to do, but I don't begrudge anyone for doing it that way.  Just understand your limitations and work from there.

If I'm fully +0, what can I do?
A fully +0 Trickster at 85 sacrifices about 700 DEF from what I use.  That's significant.  The Trickster in this case is primarily just support.  This isn't enough DEF to really be considered a Sub-Tank either.  If this scenario happens to be you, I would just focus on having Soul Trap ready when you're Tank is pulling as well as focusing your damage primarily on ranged mobs to help out your Cleric.  In the end fight vs. Cornelius, you'd get 1-hit by his AOE.  You're better off not approaching him, honestly.  You could try and help kill the spawned Shellas and Nerpas, but if you do charge in there, you run the risk of getting flattened by the Dragon.

Anything else?
Pre-85, I primarily just filled the "Sub-Tank" role.  I had an incomplete +9 75 Set (+9 pants, +7 armor, +0 boots, +0 hat, +10 Emberflame Dual Swords), but that worked fine for everything except Cornelius.  Again, if you've experienced DT on mutliple classes, you're much well equipped to figure things out and understand how every other party member will react in certain situations.

If you're an aspiring Tanking-Trickster, take it slow.  Keep going into DT with a Fighter as the primary Tank, but take a few opportunities here and there to try and increase your comfort level with Tanking.  Get out ahead a little bit and start the pull.  Work on positioning.  Understand mob positioning in relation to their status effects also (like pulling Krugers away from other idle mobs so in the event you get feared, you don't end up pulling everything).  Basically stretch your limits and improve every run.  I would also highly recommend that you keep HP pots on you at all times.  I carry T3/T4/T5 HP as well as T3 Cure potions into Dragon's Tomb.  T3 Cures are especially convenient during the fight with Cornelius as this will cure his nasty debuff.  Do keep in mind though that a Cure potion shares it's cooldown with a regular potion, timing is critical to this.

The Tanking-Trickster is NOT ideal, but it works.  If there is a Tank-Fighter available, go with that route. it's safer for the party.  But if there are none available, hopefully this helps you fill in that gap.

Below are two walk-through videos, I will be adding annotations to them a bit later.  The first video (which still needs to be uploaded) is a basic DT run with the Trickster serving as the Sub-Tank.  The second video is an example of how to run DT without the traditional tank, with the Trickster filling in.

Video I:


Video II:  Tanking - Trickster

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fiesta Christmas Carol - Archer Got Run Over By a Fighter


This year, OutSpark is hosting a series of Holiday themed events and of course, I'll enter and support them any way I can.  Here's my entry... Fiesta related:


Archer Got Run Over By a Fighter
(To the tune of: Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer)


Archer got run over by a Fighter,
Walking out from Roumen's F B Z.
Onson will say this game's pretty balanced,
But as the Archers will tell you, don't believe.

This Archer had been charming while grinding,

Still we begged him not to go
But he thought he just might have a chance
So he walked in F B Z and readied his bow.

When they found him dead in the corner

At the scene of the attack
There were bruises all over his body
And incriminatin' axe marks on his back.

Archer got run over by a Fighter,

Walking out from Roumen's F B Z.
Onson will say this game's pretty balanced,
But as the Archers will tell you, don't believe.

Now we're still proud to be Archers

Some say our class is worse than jail
Sure we complain and post on forums
But we keep playing and hoping not to fail.

It's not Fiesta without the Archers

We pray for the missing skills that we lack
And we just can't help but wonder
How many retired Archers would come back

Archer got run over by a Fighter,

Walking out from Roumen's F B Z.
Onson will say this game's pretty balanced,
But as the Archers will tell you, don't believe.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Secrets of the Mystery Vault


In all honesty, this is a re-hash of a forum posting put together by boo_me.  I get tired of looking for some of this info, and I figure you do too, so why not re-post it here?  Anyway, here are the vault contents from start to finish:


Damaged Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 7
Item(s) Obtained: Angel Wings (7 Day) - 5% Critical,
Lv10 Green Weapon for your class.
_________________________________________________

Chipped Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 12
Item(s) Obtained: Bunny Ears (1 Day) - 5% Critical.
Tear of Legel (10 Units)
Lv15 Green Weapon for your class
_________________________________________________

Inferior Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 17
Item(s) Obtained: Mini Phino (1 day) - All Stats +2
Lv20 Green Weapon for your class
_________________________________________________

Ordinary Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 21
Item(s) Obtained: Cat Ears (1 Day) - 3% Critical
Sakura Costume (1 Day) - 5% Critical
Butterfly Wings (7 Day) - 5% Critical
_________________________________________________

Polished Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 25
Item(s) Obtained: Raccoon Mount (7 Days)
Level 30 Stated Weapon
_________________________________________________

Flawless Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 31
Item(s) Obtained: Red Elderine Uniform Suit (1 Days) - 7% Critical.
Corrupt Angel Wings (1 Days) - 5% Critical.
_________________________________________________

Perfect Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 38
Item(s) Obtained: Yellow Dragon Wings (7 Days) - 5% Critical
Lv40 Weapon for your class
_________________________________________________

Pure Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 46
Item(s) Obtained: Shark House (7 Days)
Lv50 Weapon For Your Class
_________________________________________________

Absolute Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 56
Item(s) Obtained: 50% Health Points Extender (7 Days)
50% Mana Points Extender (7 Days)
Lv60 Weapon For Your Class
_________________________________________________

Blessed Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 66
Item(s) Obtained: Blessing of Teva (7 Days)
100% Exp Boost (7 Days)
_________________________________________________

Enchanted Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 76
Item(s) Obtained: 20% Charms of Strength (10 Units)
20% Charms of Defense (10 Units)
_________________________________________________

Brilliant Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 86
Item(s) Obtained: 20% Charm of Might (10 Units)
50% War Rant (7 Days)
100% King's Touch (7 Days)
_________________________________________________

Colossal Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 96
Item(s) Obtained: Blessing of Teva (1day)
100% Exp Boost (1 day)
Puppy Ears (7 days) - 3% Critical.
_________________________________________________

Ultimate Mystery Vault
_________________________________________________
Level Requirement: 106
Item(s) Obtained: Tears of Legel (10 Units)
20% Charm of Strength (10 Units)
20% Charm of Defense (10 Units)
20% Charm of Might (10 Units)
_________________________________________________

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Character Profiles - Coming Soon!


Hey everyone, wow it's been AGES since I've written anything of any significance!  Well honestly, I wrote a few things, but didn't like them so I just never posted them.  They're all saved as drafts, maybe one day if the mood strikes I'll finish them up, if they're still relevant of course.

I'm going to start doing a Character Profile of each of my characters.  I'll reveal inspirations behind their name, their builds, empowerments, my playstyle with this character, and maybe some other little bits of info about them.  Look for it soon, hopefully the first installment will be up some time today or tomorrow.

Thanks everyone for sticking by me even with the lack of updates!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fifth Prestige Done! -- Wizard


Exhausted... it's 2:43am here.  But yeah.  Done!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Just an Update....

Well I promised an update of what I've been up to, so here it is!

After finally leveling WinterLace to 100 and finishing up her Gladiator promotion, I had to choose another character to focus on.  Since my 91 Mage, Dharalyn, was the next closest to prestige, I figured I'd just take that on next.

The Leviathan's Nest "grind" is fairly easy once you're able to make it down to the bottom.  I do not know whether the technique used to grind there is truly an exploit or just clever use of a game mechanic, but it's there and quite literally, hundreds of players are using this strategy to level up fairly quickly through the normally rough 9x levels, myself included.

I've always wanted a Wizard, particularly after my old guild, Ryekarayn and I, put together all of the completed Leviathan's Nest armor sets.  I particularly liked the Wizard set especially compared to the weird Warlock set.  The floppy witch hat is particularly appealing to me.  The Skeleton summon, along with Blink are okay I suppose, but oddly to some, not my general want out of my Wizard.  I do have a sneaking suspicion that once the Thunderbolt AOE is finally released, that it will be a Wizard-only skill.  I've been waiting three years for this skill and when it finally becomes available, I'd love to be able to use it.

I don't know how far I'll take the Wizard character.  In a matter of about 9 days, I've managed to get from 91 up to 98, using some 1-day and LH EXP Boost cards along the way.  Since the Leveling Bundles were on sale this past weekend, I used that opportunity to snatch up an Elite Bundle and activated it on her.  She's only 2 levels away from prestige, but she still has probably 27 days or so remaining on that bundle.  I guess I can continue to stick it out in LN through the expiration of that bundle or passing the 105 LN cap, whichever comes first. 

I also made an offer on a +10 Manitcore Staff, stats aren't great, but it's priced @7 Gems and the fact that it's already enhanced is uber appealing to me.  I really hate enhancing.  Whether the buyer will eventually sell it to me is another story.  The offer I've made is over a week old now and she hasn't been fielding better offers despite roaring about it daily.  If I do end up owning that Staff, that's definitely a bit of extra motivation to at least hit 105.

Some of the more observant of you (yes, you HolyD) have also noticed some activity on my HolyKnight, AutumnsVeil.  This is also attributable to Leviathan's Nest.  Thankfully my future-Wiz and my HK are on separate accounts, I'm able to play both simultaneously or use one or the other depending on the party's needs.

Being that Clerics in our guild are in somewhat short supply, I've been asked to fill in in that role at times.  While I had dreaded it at first, it's actually not so bad.  I have my progression of skills pretty much locked down, maximizing party damage, EXP gain, and survivability of the Mages/Archers in particular.  I'm actually having fun playing the HK role.  So much so that I even bought her a 50% EXP boost card! 

So how far will I take Autumn?  Again, I don't know.  I was fortunate enough to win a "Mace" Shield from the Lucky House in week one of its release.  Unfortunately, I think, I haven't gotten the offers I had hoped I'd get for it.  So pretty much, I've decided to just keep it.  I continue to vend it from time to time, but most of the offers I get are in the 2-3 Gem range, not at all what I would consider selling it for since the LH Orange rate is awfully low.  (Just FYI, I play about 8.5g worth of LH red capsules daily and that Shield is still the only Orange I managed to acquire through capsules).

Some other projects on the horizon, getting my 87 Archer up to Ranger (she's not listed on my character screen as I use her to really just get away from everyone) and possibly leveling up my Trickster again.  A cap raise was mentioned in the latest OSKI, so these future project may get put further on the back burner.

If a cap raise were to come, I'd want to switch my focus back to my SharpShooter... unfortunately, she's currently still 108 with only about 30% EXP gain.  Still a long way off from hitting the current level cap.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Another Prestige Down ... What Next?


Well after over a year of inactivity, I finally busted loose on WinterLace and got her to 100.  Much thanks to Blizzard_ and his Meteor_Shower guild for the help and motivation.  Couldn't have done it without you guys!

So what next?  Wizard?  Reaper?  Ranger?  Oh the possibilities.....  check back soon for an update!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Forum MVP - Silver Screen

While no longer a "weekly" MVP, forum events are always a great opportunity for players like myself to showcase some of our out-of-game talents.  They allow us to push our own limits of creativity and oftentimes help us expand our own knowledge base as we strive for better and better results.

This particular MVP event was a video and poster submission.  The theme of this MVP was that we were required to act out a scene from a movie using the Fiesta game engine.  For the posters, we just had to recreate a famous movie poster using Fiesta elements.  Pretty straight-forward.

This is the first video event I've entered so I hope I do well.  The prizes were definitely a factor in deciding to take on a project like this.  There are three grand prizes for the video category being awarded, a "custom Fiesta themed HD Flip Camera" + 30-day SparkCash item, and seven honorable mention prizes, "permanent SparkCash item".  Looking at the prize list, I figured I only needed to land in the top 10 to qualify for a decent prize.  We have no idea what the "permanent SparkCash item" really is.  Is it a costume?  Accessory?   I hope it's not a mount....

For the poster portion of the event, the prizes are what we typically expect, three grand prize winners receive a 30-day SparkCash item, five honorable mentions receive a 7-day item.

For my video submission, I had originally planned to find a movie scene with a female voice-over and recreate the scene with my Fiesta characters using multiple computers.  I had considered the opening scene to Underworld, where Selene (Kate Beckinsale) gives the backstory of the movie, or Lord of the Rings, where Galadriel explains how the One Ring came to be.  I finally decided on a scene from Terminator 2, where Sarah Connor contemplates the situation she finds herself in, entrusting the safety of her son, the last hope for humanity, to the very machine that previously tried to hunt him down and kill him.

Here's that original entry:



After giving it some thought, and watching it over and over, I just didn't like it.  The voice-over quality was extremely poor and it just wasn't exciting, so I decided to rethink it.  Instead of a monologue-type scene I decided to go with something a bit more action oriented.  A scene that had no spoken dialogue but was still powerful all the same.  For that, I turned to TOP GUN.  Anyone who's seen the movie immediately remembers the opening sequence with all the fighter jets taking off and landing from the aircraft carrier, the ground crew hustling about, inspirational, powerful music playing in the background... So that's where I went.  I figured I could use movers to simulate the jets, use some newbie looking male characters to work the grounds crew detail.  Well, here's the result:



I'm much, much happier with this entry.  Although the editing isn't perfect, I thought it was decent.  Since I only used Windows Live Movie Maker to edit the video, I was fairly limited to what I could do.  I wanted to best replicate the original scene, but I couldn't do the close-up zooms, or backlit, shadowy actors like the original.  I did what I could just dropping a sepia-toned filter over the movie and dimming the brightness to try and match as best I could.  Like the original scene, the brightness gets amped up as the scene progresses, simulating more daylight.

We were only allowed one video submission, so I chose my second one.  I think I made the right decision.

For the posters, we were allowed three entries, I only squeezed in two, but I think they're good enough to land in the top 8 at least.




The first submission was based on the I Am Legend movie poster:

















The second submission was, of course, based on Jurassic Park:

The event submission deadline passed about 2 hours ago and the GMs closed the submission thread.  Hopefully we see the results back shortly!  Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Dream Come True .....

No words need to be spoken.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Warp Scroll Inflation - The Elegant Solution?


We've all been there, pressed for time, shouting, going vendor to vendor looking for an Uruga or Alberstoll Ruins scroll only to find prices in the hundreds of silver.  Do you bite the bullet and shell out nearly a gold for a scroll or two or hop on your mover and get to walking?

Warp Scroll prices affect us all, and while I absolutely commend those that take advantage of the market pricing, enough is enough.  Some changes were proposed by members of the community requesting all travel scrolls be sold via NPC.  And while that is a nice solution to have, if the scrolls were priced right, it absolutely decimates the existing Warp Scroll market.


That's why I'm a big proponent of something a bit different.  We've all seen the giant Airship in Uruga right?  Some of the more attentive of us have also seen it crisscrossing the skies in Burning Rock.  Wouldn't it be nice to actually have a use for this invention?  While I'm not suggesting a complete working model ala FinalFantasyX, just a warpable use would be sufficient.  Here's what I propose:

1. Warp Scrolls to remain as drops in game and will not be sold via NPC.
2. The Uruga Airship becomes active as a 'warp gate' of sorts with transport from Uruga to Burning Rock and Alberstoll Ruins and back.

Let's look at point 1 in conjunction with point 2.  The reason I do not want a simple NPC selling warp scrolls is because it would destroy that market completely.  The Warp Scroll market should remain in place, but having an option like the Airship, will bring the costs significantly down.  The current sellers can continue peddling Warp Scrolls as a convenience item, saving the player time from running all the way to a waypoint to use the Airship.

Warp Scrolls will provide an alternative when out in the field, when the Airship and any landing point aren't a time-saving alternative.  Say you're grinding deep in Temple of Spirit farming Black Shadows for 95 Jewelry pieces, wanna quickly restock before someone snakes your spot?  You still have the option of using a Warp Scroll to Alberstoll.  If that's still too much of an expense you could always scroll all the way to Elderine, hoof it to Uruga and board the Airship.  You have options.

The Uruga Airship would offer 3 destinations:  Uruga, Burning Rock, and Alberstoll Ruins.  A Swamp of Dawn waypoint is also a possibility along with Dark Land and the next town release.  Your available destinations are determined by your current level.  At level 80, you are allowed transport to Burning Rock, at level 90, you are allowed transport to Alberstoll Ruins.

As far as where the waypoints would be located, I proposed the following:



In Uruga, the choice is simple.  The Airship is located near storage, so the waypoint would be located there.


In Burning Rock, the "settlement" area where the NPCs are provides a great, open landing space.  I don't think Kidmons spawn in the camp area anymore, but this can be fixed if they are.


In Alberstoll Ruins, the area near the Water Stone/Black Bears.  This little area is a little odd as it's fairly wide open and home to only about 9 Black Bears.  I soloed some of my repeat quest there, but I never see anyone else in this spot.

Use of the Airship, however, isn't free.  I would suggest the Uruga to Burning Rock route cost 100 silver one-way, either way, Uruga to Alberstoll costing 150 silver one way, either way.  Travel from Burning Rock to and from Alberstoll would also cost 100 silver.  While it's not exactly cheap, it is a cheaper alternative to what we're faced with now.  And of course you still will pay a premium for the convenience of having Warp Scrolls available anytime purchased from players.

Let me know your thoughts on this.

Oh and hey, if you're wondering about that NPC in there, he's apparently supposed to be used for something in Roumen.  He's been sitting quietly in the game files for quite some time, why not get some use out of him!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Making the Most of Your Time Whilst Doing Boring Tasks - Gathering


Hey, welcome to a quick little tips & tricks post that hopefully will save you some time or help you make a little bit of extra money.

As we all know gathering is one of the most boring things that we as players are tasked to do while working on our productions.  Personally, I'd rather just set up a shop and buy, buy, buy, but sometimes I'm left with no choice but to hike up my skirt and get to digging.


With the somewhat recent change to gathering that rewards a double drop when you successfully click that yellow gather line, it's become much more important to be able to hit that line consistently.  With this quick, pretty brainless tutorial, I'll show you how to up your success rate tremendously.

If you can hit the line with fairly good consistency, more than half the time, this will be a godsend to you.  If you struggle and only hit the line occasionally, maybe 10-25% of the time, hopefully this will give you more practice and you can get a little bit better at it.

Depending on the placement of the line, you typically have 6 or 7 cracks at it to hit it per gather.  For me, the further out to the edge the line appears, the easier it is for me to hit.  Other people have more luck with the line in the middle, it just varies player to player.  You need to remember that you CANNOT spam click to hit the line, there is an invisible cooldown period with each click.  As with anything, the more you practice, the more efficient you will become.


Okay, so what's the trick to increasing your efficiency to the limits shown above?  Simple.  "Cancelling".  What I do is I attempt my timed picks up to the 5th pass of the moving bar.  If I'm unable to hit it by then, I simply move away from the gatherable item so that it resets.  Then I try again.  Having the opportunity to double your drops is worth taking the extra time to Cancel, typically.  If you're there for several minutes on the same item, then yeah, maybe this isn't a good idea for you to try unless you've got patience by the boatload.  Without Cancelling, I can still hit at about a 60% rate so using this technique doesn't slow me down at all, it increases my gathering tremendously.

If you're in a high-traffic picking area like the Nox area in Uruga, or farming chests after a GM run event, this tactic is probably not best to attempt as you'll run out of resources quickly if you don't pick quickly.  However, if you have a farming spot all to yourself, you can take the time and get it right.  The Nox spot in Uruga is particularly efficient when you're alone.  If you pick all of the items on your first run through (perfectly timed or not), you're stuck waiting for the spawns to reappear.  If you take the time to do a couple of perfectly timed picks, the spawns will probably start to overlap.  Keep in mind that you've also just doubled what you would have otherwise gathered!

Here is a short video about the technique.  You can either move away from the gatherable or hit ESC to cancel the targeting on it, either variation works fine.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Extreme Makeover - Remi Edition


"Greetings everyone!  As you all know, my name is Remi.  I'm the first person to greet you when you arrive in Isya.  I meet tons of new people everyday, and while I can't help them all, I do try to help a few here and there that I feel are most deserving."

"So let's see who we have here today... hmm... 'PrettyPrincess313' pass, with a name like that she sounds like a gold digger.  Who else... 'SmokinYouNoobs' no, too hmm... controversial.  'GoldNP', wait him again?  I'll call the guards later... oh! Here's one!  'WinterLace' she sounds lovely!"




"WinterLace!  WinterLace!  Hey there!"








"Hmm?  Huh?"




"Remember me?  I am Remi, the guide for beginners!"








"Oh.  Err, what's up?  I still know where to get HP stones at."








"Haha!  You're so silly!  How would YOU like to get an Extreme Makeover courtesy of yours truly?"








"Oh, I guess that sounds cool.  What do I have to do?"








"For the low, low price of 1500sc, I'll offer you a prize!"








"Wait, what?  This sounds like a scam."








"A scam?!  I am Remi!  I am the first person that greets you when you arrive here!  It's only 1500sc, look at all the cool stuff you can win!  Permanent Costumes!  30-day Costumes!  Mounts!  Charms!  Exclusive items found no where else!"


 



"Wow!  I can win all those items for just 1500sc?  I did just hit level 95, maybe I do deserve to treat myself to something nice!"






 "Yes you should reward yourself!  Just think of all the FABULOUS prizes!  A winner EVERY TIME!"


"Cool, I'm in.  I've got 4,500sc left, man I really want to win a Permanent Costume, that Lovesick costume is great!  But I'd be satisfied with something for 30-days too.  What a deal!"






"Alrighty, I'll take that first 1,500sc, go ahead and take a pull on that lever!  Good luck!"



"Alright, here goes....."








"Congratulations!  You won Heart Fireworks!  Would you like to keep this or trade it in for a Credit?"



"Fireworks?  What the.... I definitely don't need that, I burned down parts of Alberstoll the last time I was trusted with those... I'll take a credit.  Two more spins, my luck's gotta improve!"






"Okay another 1,500sc please.  Thanks.  Go ahead and pull again!"



"C'mon perms!"







 "Wow!  Congrats!  You won a 7-day Tiger Hoodie!  This is one of the wonderful EXCLUSIVES I was telling you about!  This will look fabulous on you and it has an amazing 3% critical bonus!  Would you like to keep it or turn it in for a Credit?"




"Uh, I guess I'll keep it.  It's something I can use afterall.  And you did say it was exclusive!"



*giggles* "Undoubtedly!  Are you ready for your last try?  I'll take that final 1,500sc from you.  Thanks, good luck!"



"Cross my fingers, last pull!"







 "Wow!  Listen to all that fanfare music!  You won a 7-day Tiger Costume!  You completed the tiger set!  You have the EXCLUSIVE hoodie AND the costume!  So rare, so chic, so cosmopolitan, and a 7% crit bonus to boot!  Rawr!  You want to keep this right?"



"Err yeah I guess so, I guess I can use it and it's all Tiger stuff so it'll match!"








"Great!  So now that you've won TWO FAAAAAAABULOUS prizes, why not try them on and see how you look?"



"Uh, okay.... here goes."








"AHAHAHHA! *points* "Another satisfied customer of Remi's!  Now THAT is an EXTREME Makeover!  Enjoy your items!  Ignore the laughs, they're clearly laughing WITH you and not AT you!"



*sigh*  "What is this, I don't even--"








"Oh hey Winter!  Congrats on 95!  Umm.. what's with the get up?  Early for Halloween?"



"No, I was talking to Remi and -"



"Oh no, you didn't!"



"I did, I played three times and won these items.  You look great by the way, what costume is that?"



"Oh this?  It's called the Holy Rebirth."



"Wow, it's pretty... how much was it?"



"I got it on sale!  It was a little over 4500sc!"



"Oh my god....."



"Wait, why?  You look umm... great? too!  We spent about the same, and hey at least yours is good for 30-days too just like mine!"



"Err, no.  These are 7-day items."



"Poor Winter, can you ever win?" *whispers* "You do know that they call that Tiger Hoodie the "Hood of Shame" right?  Remi gives that to all her victims..."



"Nope.  But I can see why..."  *sigh*  "Really wish I had kept those fireworks, Remi's box would make fine kindling...."
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