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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