Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just a little Patience... yeah yeah

Running a Guild as it is growing is a mind frazzling experience. As a guild leader trying to build a solid core of players it can be harrowing and at times make you thin you are banging your head on rocks. You are trying to work with everyone's need and balancing your game time play along with the administrative portion. Then, there is the issue of recruiting solid officers. Now there is a challenge. It used to be everyone wanted to be an officer. Now, yeah not so much. A lot of good ideas out there, but taking on the hassles and responsibility...not so much. The ones who I see as really helpful to other guild mates are content to doing just that..helping but not taking the forefront.

This is tough as it is hard to get the guild to progress through instances and learning their roles for later raiding etc. On top of this, while I have a serious NO DRAMA rule, I see it crop up from time to time. So..rush to crush it then get back into the game. All the while, building a City and trying to understand my other toons to be able to run them effectively down the road. It's a ton of work. Being a guildmaster ain't no joke.

The other day someone commented that many of our free to players aren't pulling weight in the guild. I sort of disagree here. They still bring us guild reknown as they quest which has been a major factor in the guild's progress. And also, some of those F2Pers are trying to help out in instances etc. Sometimes it is a money issue. Not everyone has the extra money to blow these days. One of my best F2Pers runs an assassin that has extraordinary abilities in understanding instance mechanics and often takes the lead in looking at strats...also one helluva kite master! So yes F2P members do in fact help the guild.

Keeping turn over is difficult at times. We lost one of my best members as he was from Australia and the time differences just weren't working out. It was understandable, I held no grudge but his efforts for the Guild will be missed sorely.

So, back to recruiting and seeing who has potential, scheduling events, and working our ass off trying to get the City built.

Tier 2 Weaponsmith
On a happy note, got our Tier 2 Weaponsmith up! Now onto the Alchemist Tower.
Its rewarding to see this city built on sweat and toil. We didn't buy any mats, we farmed them the hard way. That's accomplishment to me and shows the hard work of all our guildees who donate the tons of materials. I'm pretty damned proud of them for it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Ghost Wolves Progress

Well, as a guild we have over 170 active members. By this I mean watching over last 72 hours on a daily basis. On average we are seeing between 20-30 members online during any point in time. Lowest I have seen so far is 6 during the wee hours of the morning. We are 50% the way to Guild Renown 3. 2 of our members recently hit level 80. We are running beginner dungeons at level on about twice a week schedule. All runs are strictly guild events.

The Guild City now has it's Tier 2 Armorsmith and we are now working towards the Tier 2 Weaponsmith.

Tier 2 Armorsmith up!
 This is a quick update as I have been pretty busy running the guild. I also have been raising a Guard Tank for fun. Anyways, hope your Holidays were wonderful!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Guild Spotlight: No Quarter

I had the chance to raid with a very friendly guild a few days ago. I mentioned them yesterday but had the pleasure to get an interview with the Co- Leader and Leader of No Quarter.

Tigeran, Hiei, Orilissa, Mairenne, Budakis, Skulk, Zykora, Arcanyx
of No Quarter
 Now these folk were very friendly to new raiders or those that needed to knock a lot of rust off their blades. They were patient with Strategies and willing to teach As we went along on two Tier 1 Raids. I felt right at home. there wasn't a bit of arrogance or attitude and we cleared both Yakh and Vissy in no time at all. Here is a guild shot of some of their crew.

First a little about yourself:
Mairenne: I’m a 32 year old, single mother, living in Minnesota.  I’ve got no pets now, but have had 3 cats over the years, and expect I’ll have more pets in the future.  I’m night owl and can sleep all day long on the weekends if I’m given the chance.  Someday I’d love to be a published writer, but I need more schooling for that.
Budakis : I'm a 26 year old single father, Live in Texas. I usually only play AoC once the daughter has settled in for bed. Other then that I enjoy hunting and fishing.

Give us a little background about how long you have been playing AoC, what is your favorite character class and what spurs you to continue playing Aoc?
Mairenne: I’ve been active in the AoC community since January of 2008.  I joined my first guild’s forums before the game launched, and made my first virtual step on Hyborian ground May 17, 2008.  I’ve been involved and playing ever since.  My favorite class is tough to choose.  I’ve had three true main characters – ranger, barbarian, and conqueror.  I’ve got 9 80s and will end up with 14 when all is said and done.  As for what keeps me going, I just love the game.  I love the combat style, I love the graphics, the content, and the community.

Budakis: Well I am not a tenured veteran but I do catch up to speed quickly I started playing AoC in February of 2011. My favorite class would have to be the Dark Templar, It just seems to be the most versatile you can go do so much without even having to re-feat. AoC offers a lot of challenges that most games do not. Before coming to AoC I lead a top raiding  guild in Dungeons and Dragons Online but after a while the game got mundane, They would come out with new " Epic" content and we would have it down on farm mode in less then a week. Then it was just to repetitive. AoC still has allot that not " everyone" can do, and most of it I haven't done yet. So i guess the game just still has a lot to offer.
What aspects of the game are your favorite?

 Mairenne:  I truly enjoy raiding and raid leading.  I’d have to say that’s my favorite part of the game.  Be it a quick T1 or going where the big boys play in T3+, that’s where I prefer to be.  Doing six mans can be a blast as well, old or new world.  And architecture – can’t forget that!  My PoM is my architect, and currently I have almost 100 of the 150 or so guild city decoration recipes.  My goal is to get them all one day.  The combat system is fantastic.  I’ve tried playing other games here and there, and nothing compares to AoC’s combat style.
Budakis : I would have to say Hard Mode 6 mans and raiding. I also like leveling with the quest it helps allot most other mmo's its just all about grinding xp from mob kills.

Do you feel the game has progressed technically throughout it's lifespan?
Mairenne:  At launch there were so many bugs and issues, but one of the biggest complaints was that DX10 was not enabled as it was advertised.  With the Dreamworld Technology, Funcom has been able to do a lot more with the game behind the scenes and technically, so yes, I think the game has progressed.  DX10 has been available for quite a while now, the graphics have been enhanced even more so than they were at launch, and overall, it is a very technical game.  It’s not a game you can just learn within a few hours of playing, which is more than I can say for other games I’ve tried.

Budakis: I haven't been playing very long so I guess I don't have much input on this.
Give us an overview of your guild, what server your guild is on, how long has it been established, Guild goals, accomplishments and recruitment policies?

Mairenne: Our guild is on the Wiccana Server (US), and has been live and recruiting since October 27th, 2011.  It’s a new guild, but the drive behind it has been with me for a few years now.  I think our main goals are to fill with players who know the game well, or can learn it well.  We want to have fun, progress, and be one of those guilds people look up to.  Currently we can raid T1 and T2, and I hope that within the next few months at most, we’ll be knocking on Thoth-Amon’s door as a guild as well.  We want to play hard and enjoy Hyboria  But as our guild name suggests, we give no quarter – meaning we won’t carry you though.  You’ve got to want to learn and play well, want to be active, and want to participate to make it in No Quarter.

Budakis: Our guild is on the Wiccana Server (US), and has been live and recruiting since October 27th, 2011.  We are currently working to get to T3 raiding. I usually prefer to group with someone before they join be it a 6 man or a raid, But we do recruit people in before that, They would just be expected to show up to raids and willing to play their character to its potential or take the help given to get them there.
What makes your guild stand out among the rest on your server?

Mairenne: I’d like to think we stand out because of our raids.  Even before No Quarter was formed, people would ask me after a raid if they could join guild to raid with us.  At the time, the guild I was in wouldn’t allow that, but now we can, and have picked up several members simply because of our raiding ethics and style.  I am one of the server’s only female raid leaders, and I think that right there makes us more memorable.  We are patient with new players, and will teach them the things they need to know.  We explain strategies on every encounter, and best of all we joke around and have fun.  I’ve raided with so many other people that are cold and harsh, so down to business that their raids aren’t even fun to be a part of.  I don’t like that.  They are not ‘newbie’ friendly either and can be very discouraging to a new 80.  My viewpoint is this – we all had to learn somehow.  So if others aren’t willing to teach, I am.  I have had to kick a few people here and there from raid, but the person has to really screw up for me to consider that (going afk during all the trash, parsing on the bottom as a dps class, healers being out healed by tanks, or being a right ass in vent, etc.).

Budakis : I would agree with Mairenne and say our raids. We try to keep a fun atmosphere and not be to serious. I mean it is a game after all and we should be playing to have fun.
What things about your guild you are most proud of?

Mairenne: All of them? Haha.  I am proud of our guild city, the activity level of most of our members, and the willingness to work together and help each other out.  I am especially proud of our guild’s website – I put that together, so it’s my baby.

Budakis: Our members they pull their own weight and stuck it out when we were just a few people working together. Most importantly our raid leader Mairenne she does a great job, and if she is leading the raids that means I don't have to lol, although i do lead one here and there.
How do you keep guild members motivated and keep new blood coming in?

Mairenne: We encourage everyone to partake in as much as they can together, be it mini games, raids, or six mans.  We recognize those that have donated mats for our guild city progression, and will help gear out their characters by giving them the last relic they need, run instances for them, and give them advice on class builds, etc.  As for keeping new blood coming in – we recruit in global and on AoC’s official forums.  If we see someone in our raids/six mans that’s not guilded, and they’ve done well, we’ll ask them if they’d have an interest in joining as well.

Budakis: We try to be very active, Encourage people to come on raids, 6mans and minigames. As for recruiting it seems that it has been pretty even between people hearing about us and approaching me about the guild or me posting in global.
What would you like to see in future patches and expansions?

Mairenne: I’d love for Funcom to offer more items with Vet points.  For those relatively new to the game, they may struggle to buy all the various paths and mounts, but for someone who’s got hundreds of vet points on each toon, they really have nothing to spend them all on.  Bigger quest and resource inventories would be awesome, and even a bigger bank for guilds.  I’d love to see an expansion in several different lands – Pictish Wilderness, Black Kingdoms, Asgard/Hyperborea, or even Argos/Zingara.  As for new content – that’s for them to figure out – I’m no game designer.   I just want it to be fun and challenging, but not a grind.  I would also like to see some good quality PvP content too.  I’m no PvPer, but I know the majority, if not all of the PvP crowd is unhappy with what the game offers now.
Budakis: A working LFG ( looking for group) Window, This would make almost every aspect of the game better, from leveling a new toon to end game 6 man and raiding. Just have a window that pulled up the group/raid leader could put in what they were doing, what they needed and what level. All you would need to do would be open up the window and it would show your who was running what.

Where do you see the future of AoC?
Mairenne:  People have said since launch that this is a dying game, and that it won’t make it.  But based on Funcom’s community newsletters and updates on their goals for 2012, all I can see is a whole bunch of good stuff.  There will always be people who aren’t satisfied, people who think Funcom – or any gaming company for that matter – isn’t doing all they can to please their community, but it is straight up impossible to please everyone.  So I think Funcom is heading in the right direction, by finally putting out content they said would be available at launch (House of Crom), fixing T4 in Khitai, and then some.  They have visions - big ones.  It’s just a matter of making those visions come to life.  And I have faith that Funcom will find a way to do just that.

Budakis : Usually as long as there is a player base there will be a game. I see maybe another merger to keep the servers population high, But I don't see the game going away any time soon.

The Ghostwolves got thier Tier 2 Keep

Our team busted their ass getting mats and gold in place and we now have a Tier 2 Keep. This is the culmination of our guild as a whole donating materials and god from sales. Thought I would post this to show their efforts and my pride!

Some of our Guildees present for the Build
Here are some of my fine guildees present for the Build. Titannai, Mharush, Myself (Khadoc), Rhotan, and Lerk. All of them fine members who work hard to make the guild fun.

Tier 2 Upgrade

Here is the Tier 2 Upgrade. There are subtle differences in color and banner additions. IT was a lot of hard work for us to do this along with getting the members to progress. Members not present donated a serious portion of gold and materials to get us this far. Good Work Ghostwolves!!

Ok, that's it for now. We continue to work on getting the other Buildings to Tier 2 though it is a hellafied long haul of a grind to do it. Still, to me it's worth it to see our progress as a whole. With that, Good luck out there in Hyboria!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Raising a Conqueror

Ok, first and foremost, my Conq is a female, yes I am going in drag on this. She is just to cute dammit! Meet Mytrellah!

 Now I decided to try duel wield as a Conq just to see where it would take me. Most often I see Conq's on 2 handed sword and used as an off tank/battle rezzer. Very useful. But I wanted to try and see where a duel wield would take me, so I created Mytrellah. For beginners, its easiest to level to 10 simply on the 2 handed option since that gives you a Nice burst damage and the combos that are supplied aren't that stamina intensive. But at lv 10, I decided to go ahead and make Mytrellah a duel wield for the challenge.

With duel wield, initially its very Stamina intensive as it only creates one combo, Bloodbath for class specified. The rest are the normal Enraging and Brutal enraging combos. All of which are very stamina intensive. For the class, this means timing is everything. Make sure all levels of your combos are available and hot keyed. I prefer Strage UI for this as it can give me 3 rows of hotkeys.  Now in the beginning levels you get Formation Fireweave. Nice...but I rarely had need of using it's technique spike. retribution Discipline on the other hand is your life saver. Having that on hand to create it's techniques gives you a damage immunity for a bit. Very very useful when faced with multiple opponents. So, I Specced into carnage which has so far given me some awesome bonus damages. Around lv 14 or so you get Breach which is a nice debuff. Long cool down though, so save it for multiple opponents. The one and twos fall like melting snow with your opening Bloodbath and then combo rotations. Make sure you have plenty of rotations on hand to suffice for any directional attack to keep your opponents off balance. This is key to keeping you dps up fast enough to burn them down before they get you. Keep the Discipline for Retribution on hand when you see your health bar about 50% or you have 4 plus opponents. Dropping too soon is a waste, too late and your dead. Remember to watch your cool downs as you play to make sure you are constantly rotating through them to create your max DPS. When you get the chance, drop some points into fierce opening for feats. I find the opening damage very nice on low level opponents.

Ok, these are hints that I am dropping out for the beginning conq who likes duel wield. It's only based upon my experiences so if other;s have different opinions they are welcome to share.

Finally, on Wiccana, the economy is very buyer friendly right now. It isn't hard at all to keep yourself in solid equipment for minimal effort. Keep looking for the best deals since there are so many new players who don't realize the value of what they are selling!

Good luck out there in Hyboria!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The week in review 19 DEC 11

As far as the guild goes we have almost all our walls up for Tier 1 and by mid week we should have our tier 2 Keep up and running. The guild over all has swelled to well over 100 active members (those that log on regularly within a 48 hour period of time). We should be at Reknown rank lv 2 in another day. This brings up an issue. Reknown hasn't been recalculated in some time. FC seems to be pretty hush hush about it. We haven't capped yet and so are still earning ok. But I do feel bad for those guilds who have capped and are waiting on their next set to progress.

I got to do some raiding with No Quarter on a Tier 1 Raid set against Vissy and Yak. They are a fine group to run with and pretty newbie friendly. I'll be featuring their guild this week as a Spotlight. They seem to be a very player friendly lot so they got points in my book.

3.1 still seems to have a few bugs in it. The trader is better but not where it should be. I didn't notice all the hassles of serious banding or lag spikes. The occasional one happens but it isn't too insane. I am currently on vacation so will be playing more. I got Khadoc up to 80 which is essential for gathering and getting the raid strats down again since its been so long from my last raid experience. Anyways, Things aren't doing too bad over all. The game is getting back on track a little and there are hints of good things to come during the spring months from the developers. I do hope this continues.

As a note to the general reader. If you are looking for an assassin's resource, check out Assassin's Hideout . This is written by Slith, a fine blogger and one to follow.

Ok, that's it for the moment. I will be posting the Guild Spotlight in the next day or so. Take care one and all!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Guild Anyone????

No folks, The Ghostwolves are not disbanding!

Actually what I came to talk about is some of the things new players might want to think on when creating a guild for AoC and making it a success. Initially, getting a guild together is super simple. It just takes you, the player to decide to create and name it. There are many people in AoC that this is all they want, extra bag space via the Bank tab. But for those wanting to start a new guild, it can be daunting.

There is a lot to consider, but down to brass tacks, you have to have a vision of your end state as a guild if you plan on having it a large scale guild. This requires vision, and that vision may even change over time. So, lets take a look at different end states first before we go on.

You are all set, you got your cool guild tag and some bank space and are the KING!
Deciding what your guild focus is and keeping that focus through thick and thin is critical. It is hard to break into an established MMO and attempt to build a guild out of nothing when there are many wealthy guilds in existence on any given server (all 4 of em...yup). Obviously as the guild founder, the guild needs to work with your play style, otherwise you probably are suited to be a member, not a founder. But lets look at guild play styles.

There are social leveling guilds (that's originally what The Ghostwolves was designed to be but then sort of...grew into something more focused). This is the easiest to get started. Relaxed atmospheres, just level away and chat away. The focus is actually a lack there of. Play your way and have fun. For new players there is a distinct advantage to joining a guild such as this. No pressure gives them breathing room to figure out the game as a whole. However, it will be difficult to do raiding or serious 6man instances unless tagging along with a more established guild down the line. Often there is also a lack of experienced leadership that can assist in developing other players. The biggest issue you might find is maintaining your recruitment base after turnover. Zerg recruitment can alleviate initial turnover, but maintaining a core set of players will over time get difficult to keep. The casual atmosphere may be inviting, but as a Guild Leader the satisfaction is fleeting, especially if you plan of building a Guild City or Battle Keep. More often than not you will see several log on, yet no interaction whatsoever. This is ok, but it isn't building your guild. It would be about this time when you as the guild leader need to decide on a future focus if any for your guild, or it will crumble and you will grumble. Think on this, social leveling guilds are great to chill out with, but over time they kinda sputter out. You may have a few close knit friends that stay on for awhile, but they aren't seeing all the endgame content, they may very well be tempted to move on if you don't provide that purpose as a new guild leader.

Then there are the hardcore raiding guilds.
 These take a lot of work ahead of time as well as being extremely resource intensive and you better know your shit from the get go. Furthermore, you prolly have decided to hive out from a different guild that you no longer have a desire to be in. For the hardcore raid guild you are looking at a pretty elite group to form. You need experienced members, not level racers. You need to be able to put up that guild city to Tier 3 pretty damned quick for the extra perks and build renown fast. But you also need your guild large enough to handle the AoC Raids. They ain't easy! Even the 6 mans at the end game are wicked. This can be very rewarding, but if you aren't careful, you will let elitist attitudes rule which allows for almost zero defect execution. Yes it is an accomplishment and a worthy one, but it will mean as a guild leader you gotta be a bastard. I don't recommend this mindset for beginning players, even if they are experienced in raiding from other MMOs. Take some time and figure the game out, raise a core group of players so they know their classes and are willing to work together.

Next we see the PvP Guilds. In AoC this is the blood and mud out there.
You need to decide if you out there as a group that is going to have fun and just kill everything you see, you if you are going to be focused on Seiging, BG mini's (bad move since both are still pretty borked). Thing is, ok PvP guild, got a few bragging rights, but you will need to decide still on a focus. Furthermore, it takes a ton of training to get your Horde of axe wielding barbarian brothers to work efficiently and deadly. Yep this one takes a lot of grind in the end as well. PvP gear I hate to say it, will super enhance you survival and there is a huge difference between pvp 9 and pvp 10. Like as not its a long haul. Unfortunately, the pvp servers are pretty desolate. You have a tough job ahead of you if you wish to make a new guild that ill compete with the mega guilds. You'll have to figure out a niche or sell point that stands out above the rest.

There are RP guilds with various focuses to look at. The cool thing about RP guilds is you can also have a secondary focus of raiding or pvp. Or keep it social. But to keep it Social you are gonna have to create a RP focus that stands out and makes others want to join you. This can run into issues. Cultural guilds are awesome, I've been in a few. If their leadership is solid, they get storylines going that involve everyone in the guild. Problem is, they are very niche orientated. It can be detrimental to your guild size by limiting the races involved. Most often I see either Cimmerian or Stygian cultures. I guess because really, Aquilonian isn't quite as exotic, though it could work if done right. Lore is a huge thing for RP guilds. But Leaders should do a little research to decide where they want to take it. They should also plan on doing some secondary guild focuses too for end game. The RP Leader needs to also think about holding events that invite other RPers to join in. It gets people out there to know each other more. Leaders will also need to decide if its hardcore RP or casual. Its up to you, just remember your size will diminish with the more constricting rules you apply. Understand your guild focus as an RP guild is a double edged sword, it can make you an empire or crush you. Then again, some RP guilds only want a very small amount of members. This is alright, just be sure you are looking at the focus.

Some Tips.
 Research the Official forums and wiki's to have a baseline knowledge of the game so you don't look totally incompetent. Be ready to google shit often.

Help your new members. Don't leave them out in the cold to level in the void and darkness of minionhood. This goes a long ways in keeping a low member turnover rate. You deserve thier loyalty, they deserve your respect and leadership.

Choose your officers wisely. Look who contributes to the success of the guild. Give them specific roles over time. Remember they are the face of your guild when you aint around. They need to be able to execute your intent without you micro managing them. They also need to be willing to help out new members.

Get ventrillo - this goes a long ways especially if you are working in large groups for raiding. Trying to type out a strat during raids is epic fail, same with seiging when seiging sort of works.

Shadowscript, GET IT! This allows you to make all kinds of hyperlinked text based information sets. Its useful in recruiting, setting up initial raid strats, putting out over all information within your guild as well as guild guidelines. Numerous applications, very worth the time. DO IT!

Remember to build friend based relationships with your crew. They will stay longer that way.

KEEP THE DRAMA OUT!  Cant stress this one enough. Drama destroys guilds. Keep it out and be quick to slam it when the ugly head arises. You end up being a mediator in this. Guess what, you volunteered to lead, so Lead. But if you make sure everyone knows it up front, the hassles will be minimized. Make sure you are swift to kill drama though, let it run rampant whether on your guild website or in chat, you will wreck your guild.

Website ~ Good to have. They are much cheaper now than they used to be. just make sure it's functional and that there is an honest need for it. I got burned a couple of times in investing serious money for premade websites. No one ever used it. Most people were too busy to use it. Just make sure you are ok with having it and paying for it, none of your members will. Weigh in having one or not. Creating a Facebook page for your guild is a very viable option, and that is free...FREE IS GOOD!. Not as functional but still very useful. Just keep that in mind.

Ok, that's enough for now. If you have additional tips and tricks you might want to share with our readers concerning running a guild, feel free to post!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Week in Review

Overall, this week has shown better playability for fans of AoC. There are still the occasional banding issues and I personally think the Trade Posts are borked all to hell. BUT, the game as a whole seems to be playable again.

Our Guild, The Ghost wolves have continued to take off with plenty of new blood arriving every day. Currently, looks like we have about 70 active members along with additional alts. The guild has been hard at work getting more materials in for the Guild City. The hardest thing now is the price for drawing up wall and tower plans. We have started gathering the Tier 2 materials since all of our Tier 1 buildings are finished. Four members have shown such dedication towards helping others that I made them officers. They seem to come up with excellent ideas for the guild at large so I am pretty happy.

Khadoc reached level 60, probably would be faster but I continue to gather mats and run my alts as well. Overall, a success. One of my officers has created several quick help scripts that we use to pass out information. Next week I'll be getting Ventrillo up and running for those wanting to do instances and such. Things are looking better after the harsh beginnings of December. In the meantime, here is to Hyboria and all it's glory!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What Celebrety face would you like to see as a toon in AOC?

I love classic Rock music. I love AoC. Often when I am out bangin rocks I like to tune into some of my favorite music bands from the 60's and 70's. This got me thinking. Who would I like to see as a toon face or as a celeb cameo on AoC? Hands down for me it would be Stevie Nicks. Oh ya! The hottie from the 70's that put a real cool mellow edge to rock and had guys droppin to their knees at the time. The real question is how you would invision this little Vixen Goddess. Me? I could see her as a PoM or as a Demo. Either way, I think the facial structure as well as the mood setting would be wicked. There has been much speculation that she was a pagan in real life. I can't verify that though officially she denies it. My point is though, her mood music and her pouty look of beauty is striking. It would make an incredible AoC Cameo or Character face creation.

The Seer herself
 Here is a small sample. Gypsy Queen, Seeress, Sorceress, she has bewitched a generation that grew up during the late 60's and 70's/ I think it would be wicked to see her in AoC as a cameo. So with all of this, who would you like to see as a celeb cameo in AoC?

Servers UP!

Ok not sure if its been 30 minutes, but the AoC servers are back up. Guess I'll see how it works. I'm not sure what they accomplished with this. Perhaps it was to dump all the extra memory usage between client and server side. At any rate, the game is back on. I'm not too pissed, the reset was quick. I'm drunk so can't get mad this Sunday morning. I decided to work on a new toon, Assassin for kicks. Normally I'm a total barbarian or Conq fan but decided to expand a little in my melee fighters. Lets see what happens.

For better or worse, FC is committed towards getting this 3.1 patch fixed. They have indeed crossed the proverbial Rubicon, now lets see if they can march on the gates of Rome lol. See you in game!!!!

Slogging through the Mud and Blood

After several days post 3.1 it's been a bloody mud slogging mess. I am still playing, but it's getting tougher with lag spikes and rubber banding and combo drops. This by the way is in the open world. Not bitching but it's been frustrating. I love this game. I have a fledgling guild that have a great bunch of players. But it's been very difficult to advance forward right now. I am starting to wonder if they need to roll the servers back to 3.0 and start from scratch software wise. I am the first to admit that doing what they are doing is totally cutting edge for graphics in a mmo. I know it is one huge pain in the ass. But I think they need to seriously restructure the coding etc and hopefully drop it in a little later. I will keep playing, but it is literally like wading through mud at the moment. Well, here is to hoping for the fixes to finish.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Player Highlight for Wiccana Server ~ Zaraseret

Ahh one, of my favorite long time players known on the forums as Lamiastrix was kind enough to drop by and give her take to AoC. She used to be on Cimmeria before the Tyranny merge but came over to Wiccana for a PvE RP focus. She is vocal on the forums and an excellent RP advocate. So, without further adue, let us look at the player Highlight for the week:

Wicked Beginnings

Give us a quick overview/background of your character:
Name: Zaraseret (aka Lady Zaraseret, just Zara to a select few).
Age: 26
Race: Stygian
Class: Necromancer
Zaraseret is a Stygian noble from Luxur, a cousin of Pharaoh Ctesiphon and heiress of her House. Her father is mad and confined in the palace and her mother has withdrawn to the great temple and is a Priestess of Set. Unlike most of the rest of the nobility Zaraseret is very "awake" and curious, hungry for both power and knowledge. She eschews lotus and drinks sparingly. She has taken an active interest in her family's business affairs and oversees everything herself rather than leaving it in the hands of stewards, servants and slaves. Because of this, her House has prospered despite the scandal of her leaving the palace and taking a suite of apartments on Akhet Isle to better involve herself in business affairs. Of course, this unconventional lifestyle gives her the freedom to pursue her study of necromancy. Determined to escape the yoke of a dynastic marriage and being turned into a royal broodmare whose duty is to produce the next heir she has determined that she herself will simply never die and will thus sit the family throne forever.

Do you belong to or run a guild?I run Hedj Dejet (loosely translated as Bright Snake), a tiny RP Stygian cultural guild.

If so, tell us about your guild?We have a rudimentary website recently set up at:
The idea of the guild is that it is a Stygian noble House comprised, primarily, of Stygian characters. I hope to eventually also have an elite guard core of Dark Templars who have derived their power from Stygian gods and/or demons and have become de facto Stygians themselves. All other races within the guild are slaves. We are different from other guilds in several ways. As a very small niche guild we have limited appeal and even those who are attracted by our premise may hesitate to join because they prefer to also enjoy the benefits of a large guild with all the bennies of a high renown guild city and the ability to raid and PvP easily. I understand those things and feel it's unfair to make people choose between roleplaying their character authentically and getting to experience a great deal that the game offers. Therefore to join Hedj Djet you don't actually have to join and wear the tag at all. You merely have to join the website and post your background for review to make sure your character is suitable within the limited scope of the guild. This allows people to be in any guild they would like and yet still get to roleplay in a deeply immersed way with a strong Stygian cultural structure.

What motivated you to play your particular class?Are you kidding? What's not to love about Necromancers? OK, kidding aside, I've always loved to play villains and/or darker characters. Bad guys (and girls) just have more fun. And while all the classes in AoC have their issues (and these often change) the class has consistently been a blast for me to play and I've been playing a Necromancer since launch back when the Cimmeria server was still going strong.

What are your character motives immersion wise?I've probably covered most of that above. She has the double whammy of being both a noble woman and a sorceress so a fixation on power and mastery is pretty deeply in her bones. Though her family drives her crazy she is fiercely loyal to them and to Pharaoh. She is not a particularly devout Settite but does meticulously observe the forms and also accords reverence to Dereketo and the other Stygian gods as well. She is no fan of Thoth Amon and views him as a threat to Stygia, thus making her a reluctant advocate of King Conan in Aquilonia. Secretly she would love to find a man who is an equal, who is the opposite of the silk clad lotus addicts lolling about their palaces in Luxor. Unfortunately, she is also deeply xenophobic and would likely look down on any man not of her race and social class, which leaves her in a bit of a predicament. Therefore she often seeks solace in her studies, deeply immersing herself in the arcane arts of necromancy, gladly risking her very humanity.

What things do you most enjoy about playing AoC?1. The genre. I grew up reading the RE Howard books thanks to my dad. It's a magnificent world he created, savage, lush, treacherous and beautiful full of surprisingly complex characters. There's nothing else like it going. 2. The game itself is stunningly beautiful and easy to lose myself in. For a little while I can actually feel like I'm in Howard's amazing world and I really never get tired of exploring it.

Are you a premium subscriber or free to play?Currently I'm enjoying a month of free premium membership. I haven't quite decided if I'll reup when that's over or if I'll give f2p a try.

What do you think of the in game store?They have some neat stuff but right now I think they are really under utilizing it. Premium subscriptions should come with some Funcom points to use in the store each month. They really need to step up the social clothing and make it a little cheaper as well since it's just statless vanity gear. People love to individualize their characters and change their looks from time to time. They really need to come up with some good cultural clothing. I think the stuff they sell with stats is about right and I hope they DON'T expand on that as it would really cheapen the earned gear in game. I'd also love to see a slew of new hairstyles in the in game store!

What aspects of the game have improved since launch?Overall graphics and smoothness has improved. Otherwise, there's still much to be desired. Like smoothly function seiges.

Do you enjoy pvp, pve or both and why?I enjoy PvP when it's among well balanced groups and engaged in with a good nature rather than the childishness that is unfortunately so often prevalent in PvP. I don't care for mini games because, to me, they make no sense in the context of the world. I prefer groups of people fighting over RP objectives. Since that's hard to find I'm mostly a PvE girl and I really do enjoy questing.

What areas do you think need improvement specifically?A new game director that doesn't hate roleplayers?

Where do you see the game direction going as a whole positive or negative?That's a tough one. I cannot forgive the death of Cimmeria, the only RP server in the US. Doing away with it, and thus ANY pretense at supporting roleplaying by Funcom itself, leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. I've retired all my Cimmeria characters. I am finding that I can still have fun on Wiccana, a PvE server, and I do not miss the "style" of PvP that dominates on Tyranny. Overall, I feel the game has really gone downhill with Craig at the helm and I resent all the resources being poured into Secret World that should be being used to improve this game. Still, as long as I'm managing to have fun, I'll keep playing even if just on a casual basis.

Any final thoughts?I'll let Zara take that one.

"Death is just the beginning."

*cue creepy music and fade*
The True Power of Luxor
Thank you very much for dropping by Zara. It has been a wicked pleasure to see your dark presence here in Hyboria!!! Folks, if you are looking for RP on a darker side, I am telling you even on the fly, Zara is definitely one of my favorite people to go to. Intrigue, dark plans, ironhanded ruling, she has it all  along with a wealth of experience and understanding of how Mr Howard envisioned Hyboria!

AoC Guild Spotlight! The Free Companions

Ok my fine readers, today I am putting an up and coming guild into the spotlight with an interview. Today we will talk to the Free Companions on the Tyranny Server. When Cimmeria and Tyranny merged I thought all was lost and the community that I cut my teeth on in AoC was dead. I was WRONG! I came across a fine group of PvPers who really enjoy helping new pvpers and players. Seknetari was kind enough to spend some time with me and tell us how the Free Companions work in Tyranny. For those new to the AoC PvP scene this is an excellent guild to learn from and a fine bunch of folks who really enjoy AoC! Without further adue, read on!

The Free Companions Ready for Mayhem!

Damios: First a little about yourself:
Give us a little background about how long you have been playing AoC, what is your favorite character class and what spurs you to continue playing Aoc?

Seknetari: I bought the game at launch, but never installed it since I was having a good time playing World of Warcraft and then EVE Online. I finally tried out Age of Conan in the Spring of 2010. I enjoyed it for a while until Cataclysm was released, then I was sucked back into WoW. After a few months though I returned to AoC and have been there ever since.
My favorite character class thus far is the Ranger. Although, I have enjoyed playing many of the classes, especially the melee and healing classes. I like the clash of steel. Overall, the classes seem to be balanced. Each class has its strengths and weaknesses. This is quite an achievement when you can choose between a dozen classes. That is one of the reasons I continue to play. That and it also keeps my attention with fun PvP, great graphics, funny quest story lines and one other thing: the game has a raw and gritty feel to it. Oh, and the music is great too!

Damios: What aspects of the game are your favorite?

Seknetari: My favorite aspects of the game are the PvP, stunning graphics and epic scenery, and the social aspect of the game. Funcom did a good job portraying Robert E. Howard's fantasy world. In a nutshell, this game is sexy.

Free Companions in Tarantia
Damios: Do you feel the game has progressed technically throughout its lifespan?

Seknetari: I wasn't around at launch, so I cannot confirm all of the problems that supposedly occurred during that time. Although, if true, the game has come a long way since then. The classes are balanced and the game is stable (well, most of the time!). Even the free-to-play model, which I dreaded at first, is a success story as more and more people are giving the game a chance and finding out how good it is.

Damios: Give us an overview of your guild, what server your guild is on, how long has it been established, Guild goals, accomplishments and recruitment policies?

Seknetari: Our guild is a new medium-sized guild. The Tyranny server Free Companions were created in July 2011. We currently have over 50 active members. The name was inspired by Robert E. Howard.  Our main goal is to have a fun time playing AoC. We have a good group of people in the guild and we like to help each other out. As per recruitment, we are open to people that are mature and easy going. We are tolerant and give most people a chance.

Damios: What makes your guild stand out among the rest on your server?

Seknetari: We're new and successful. Some players want to join an old established guild. There are many old guilds on the server and I can understand why some players go that route. Then you have the Free Companions where players, especially new players, can help build and shape something new. And we are still at a stage where our character is being shaped. This is an exciting time for us. We like to have a broad leadership in the guild too so advancement to officer status can come rapidly for those interested.

Damios: What things about your guild you are most proud of?

Seknetari: Some of our accomplishments include a guild city (we currently have three tier 3 buildings) and we have reached renown level 5. This might not sound like a big deal, but our guild started from scratch with mostly new players. We have come a long way since July.

Damios: How do you keep guild members motivated and keep new blood coming in?

Seknetari: We try to run events to keep people motivated. We run six-mans and PvP mini game events. Recently we had a level 6 PvP mini game event for fun. I finally got to use Slam on someone. It was a good time and every guild member had the opportunity to join. We also like to run level 19 minis once every week or two. During and after the mini games we will talk to unguilded players and ask them if they are interested in joining us. This way we keep new players entering the guild. I believe new blood is very important for the life of a guild.

Damios: What would you like to see in future patches and expansions?

Seknetari: I would certainly like to see cross-server mini games and a dungeon finder. One of my favorite guildmates, Elue, wanted me to give a shout-out for shorter HOX combo animation times. For those of us building a T3 city, I'd love to see the In-Game Store offer building materials (slab!) at a decent cost.  If it was cheap enough, I would buy building materials. This way I could spend more time playing the fun parts of the game.

Damios: Where do you see the future of AoC?

Seknetari: If Funcom continues to support the game with updates, new content, and more importantly advertising, this game can have a long and strong life. I enjoy it. I hope it does have a long life.  This is a great game.

Damios: Any final thoughts?

Seknetari: Thank you for inviting the Free Companions to do this interview. If people want to find out more about us, please check out our website: .

Thursday, December 1, 2011

AoC 3.1 patch hotfixes

Well we are in our 3rd day of hot fixes for the 3.1 patch that FC put out. The forums are a mix of rage, disappointment and, well, optimism. It is hard no doubt to deal with all of the hot fixes. However it seems the Dev team is busting their butts in trying to fix the code issues. Meanwhile, the custom UI designers have been attempting to keep up with the patch updates. I know the Fire UI designer has been trying to keep up with the changes though it is a daunting task.

Here is the thing, I have yet to see another MMO come close to stretching the boundaries of graphic design and execution that AoC has obtained. I have yet to see another MMO that has attempted to increase backside capabilities so that the game performs better for the client. Look, trying to improve upon a graphics engine is a pretty insane task. Test Live servers aren't always going to identify the bugs and glitches. And while I know some TL players are diligently reporting problems, there are still alot who aren't reporting them. They go in, play around, get the lowdown and disregard reporting. Here is the other issue. Test something out, report bug. It could be an anomaly unless a pattern develops that the software engineers can break down code wise. I think that while there is a surprising amount of issues and glitches, the game has improved and continues to do so. It isn't perfected yet, but it is getting there.

What I have experienced:
*Crashes during combat only when using a customized UI.

*Rubberbanding during the first 2 minutes of play if I try to move about. this only happens 3- times then it clears up

*Lag spikes that redline during combat combo sequences (this a lot more frequent, especially while doing extended chain combat sets with mobs)

*Extended reload times between zones

*Black numbers appearing for damage/gains resulting in combat related game crashes

Ok, Now I personally wont go into instances while new patches come out until the bugs are cleared up so I cannot account for the issues there. I would say a lot of players have crashed during fights in the raids, even just clearing trash mobs. Me, when things clear up I'll go back doing instances. In the meantime when the servers are up, I got alts I want o experiment with and level. I still enjoy working questlines past the LV 30 zones. The storylines of chain quests and the rich world is always a fun thing with little serious repercussions.

Sounds grim? No, I am actually impressed by the amount of hard work they are attempting to put into creating the most immersive MMO environment I have seen to date. Now, I do get a huge increase in FPS as well as excellent graphic settings. Where I used to get 30-35 fps, I have started to get close to 50 fps. Once the servers stabilize, I know I'll enjoy the increased frame rates and performance. The end note is while it is taking an increased amount of time to get stuff working, the game seems to be getting better all the time.

I think part of the problem is the nasty attitudes I have seen in regards to this patch. I got decent feedback from Famine (Asst Sr Community Manager) simply because the suggestions I put across were polite, respectful, to the point and reasonable. I don't believe in being rude, it only turns people off. Famine did reply to my post and while he can't guarantee what compensation FC will give, he definitely did pass on my suggestions to the company to consideration. Famine doesn't run the company, but he is the liaison and does try to convey the community issues.

Anyways, those are my thoughts for the day. In the near future I will be showcasing certain guilds and players of the game in interview form here on the blog. I look forward to their responses and interaction. Good luck out there, and may you spill all the blood you need to in Hyboria!