RotMG: Oops #2 – Expected Expiration and a Variety Break

I’ve been getting in bouts of Realm of the Mad God over the last week. More godlands farming for stat pots. Nothing exciting to post about. It might help if I actually counted the stat pots that drop per session, but I’m a failure at OCD planning where that is concerned.

I just shoot stuff, see nothing drop most of the time, shoot more stuff, check the purple bag, shoot even more stuff, hey, a stat pot. Pick it up. And when I’m sitting on 2-3 of them, head back to the Nexus, put it in the Vault, switch characters, chug the potions down, and switch characters back to shoot some more.

Count? What count? That would break the flow.

So it was inevitable that this would happen one day. (About seven days to the last wizard, says the news postings on the game.)

A couple milliseconds too late to absorb the fact that the squishy glass cannon had absorbed one too many ghost god bullets.

Ah well, easy come, easy go.

Got a bit tired of the endless farming, so I decided to switch it up a bit. My Steam RotMG account hadn’t unlocked all the character classes yet (though my Kongregate one had, so I didn’t find it a rush to do so for the Steam one.)

Still, Steam has Steam Achievements! Nothing like a few popups to raise the spirits.

I had Assassin and Paladin left to take to 20 and unlock the rest. Should be easy since I figured out how to get to lvl 20 in 20-30 minutes.

Lucked into a massive quest mob spawn on the assassin. Fairly insane hordes, but amusing.

Also discovered I don’t really have much skill at playing the shorter range classes. Often can’t dodge in time. I like the higher base speeds of the dagger using rogue classes, and I think the dagger range is decent – playing it well can probably be learnt some day.

I suspect I didn’t have a good enough ability item for the assassin – I couldn’t find any higher tier poisons to twink him out with (I think I chucked the one or two I had on the Kongregate account, and I was too lazy to log in on that) so no decent aoe damage.

Worth trying again some day. As is, I got tired of him failing to kill gods efficiently once he hit lvl 20, so I put back all his gear into the vault, and hurled him into the mouth of random death.

Paladin time.

I was missing a sword, so he started out really slow with the base sword. Just kept grabbing any sword upgrades that fell off the mobs, making sure not to push him too fast beyond his killing ability (he was decked out in 20 def armor and +6 def ring, so fairly impervious to anything lowbie).

At level 10, he found a Giant Snake quest mob. On death, it dropped a Jungle portal, so in he went.

The Jungle is a pretty fun dungeon for level 10s, nothing too hard, just some annoying mobs that like to hide behind the trees.

One of the mobs has this cool debuff bullet effect called “Hallucination” which turns everything on your screen into… well… see for yourself 🙂

Got him to level 20, unlocked the class and the achievement, and also decided to kill him off. I can’t manage melee at present. I’m sure it’s fun to stand around impervious to most things, but to do it at high levels means I’d have to farm enough defence first, and we’re still having problems on that avenue 😛

As of now, range is too short to do anything without eating some very painful shotguns and risking death every god mob, so off went his gear and into the lava he went.

Their total lifespans, about an hour for the assassin and half an hour for the pally.

For the hell of it, I took a mystic to 20 next to try out the stasis ability. Unfortunately, players are so well trained to ignore the three orbiting golem gods that even if you stasis, they walk away and don’t help you to kill them. And I was dismayed by her lack of base attack and dex, which made god farming slightly more tedious than on the wizard.

Commit harakiri, she did too.

So I guess it’s back to farming wizards again. (Priests and necromancers I also like, but we’ll save that for the next time I get bored.)

ATITD: The Bijou (and Gem-Cutting)

Before I played this game, I had no idea such a word existed. And to be honest, I only looked up the definition when writing this post.

bi·jou [bee-zhoo, bee-zhoo]

noun, plural bi·joux

1. a jewel.

2. something small, delicate, and exquisitely wrought.

Etymology: 1660s, from Fr. bijou, from Breton bizou “(jeweled) ring,” from bez “finger” (cf. Cornish bisou “finger-ring,” 13c.)

Welp, learn something new every day.

Despite my ignorance of many things French, the Test of the Bijou produces one of my favorite minigame puzzles to play in A Tale in the Desert.

You are presented with a target gem cut to achieve (top left, on the sticks.) A cuboidal gem sits on the Scholar’s Gem Cutting Table. Your job? Cut the gem to match the target gem cut.

Essentially, bijous (the player-created puzzles) are like training wheels for the skill of gem-cutting.

Similar to blacksmithing in ATITD, which involves actually hammering polygons towards a target shape and allows for true player skill development (unlike typical wussy progress-bar increment blacksmithing in most MMOs – I’ll cover blacksmithing in a future post, in the meantime, you can check out Van Hemlock’s old old post about it which first got me involved with the game), gem-cutting involves cutting (or subtracting) away at polygons until you reach the desired shape.

I find gem-cutting slightly easier than blacksmithing, in the sense that the cuts are more predictable and less pixel-finicky.

What’s less fun is that mistakes cannot be taken back. If you cut wrongly, that’s it, you’ve screwed up, and you’re one cuttable gem down.

Cuttable gems are obtained by waiting around for a water mine to spit one up every ~4-20 minutes (definitely on the longer side most of the time) and there are seven types (that the mine appears to rolls randomly from) so waiting for the exact type you want can be an exercise in significant patience and time.

Gem cutting is also reliant somewhat on luck. The cuttable gem you start out with has a defined set of flaws, and certain gem cuts must have flaws in some pattern to achieve. If the gem you placed on the table didn’t have those flaws, tough luck, you can’t cut that gem, go look for another best possible gem cut to make with the existing gem and try again with the next gem.

Bijous shortcut all that. You’re guaranteed that the gem it presents you with is one that you can achieve the solution at the end. And you don’t need a cuttable gem to start a bijou puzzle, nor do you get any product from it. All you get is some satisfaction and a little better at gem-cutting.

The best guide to gem-cutting that I’ve found so far is on the Tale 3 wiki page here. (This may not be obvious to many new players, but the later wikis Tale 4-6 sometimes take shortcuts with explanations because the veterans are already quite familiar. I find browsing back to the Tale 2 and 3 wikis can sometimes provide a clearer explanation to newbies just gettingthe  hang of things.) There was even a school in Tale 3 that set up a bunch of bijou tables to teach gem-cutting to people, which makes me wish I was clued into ATITD a lot sooner.

But well, we do the best with what we have. Some day, I’ll work through that immense list of gem cuts. For now, I’ve just about progressed to the point of being halfway competent at basic cuts and able to solve bijous like these.

First off, orientation. People normally stand facing Disc 1 like so. There are three discs. Disc 1 does a complete horizontal or vertical slice in the same plane as the saw disc showing.

Disc 2 does a kind of diagonal slice. And disc 3 does the other kind of “angled” diagonal slice.

(The technical wiki explanation for those who find it more helpful: Each disc will remove all the outermost vertices along a plane. Disc 1 removes the left side of the gem. Disc 2 removes the diagonal plane touching on the upper and front sides of the gem. Disc 3 removes the diagonal plane touching on the upper, front, and right sides of the gem. )

Me, I just got turned around by the wiki after a while. You have to try it to get the feel of it.

Rotating the gem is also a “by feel” thing for me. The J and K keys rotate the gem left and right. Technically, this is “rotating the gem along the Z axis” as pictured by my cruddy diagramming above.

U and I rotate the gem up and down, or ahem, “rotating the gem along the Y axis.”

The last set of keys O and L rotate the gem left and right along the unseen faces in the picture above (or “along the X axis” for those more comfortable with 3d modelling terminology.)

Now that we can move the gem around, we can get to cutting:

Step 1 – Find the flaw that matches the target gem cut

The target gem cut as pictured above has that particular shaped flaw. Rotate the cube about looking for it.

Here I’ve already sped things along by showing it in the picture… except it doesn’t quite match up. There’s some other ugly flaws in the way.

This calls for a straight slice from Disc 1.

Tada! That looks a lot more like it. Just um, upside down.

We can fix that. Rotate rotate.

Step 2 – Cut away excess layers to approach the target shape

We don’t need the other stuff in the way, so disc 1 to the rescue again, keep rotating the gem to face unwanted planes to the saw and trim it down to the appropriate size.

Wheeee! Done?

No, I lied. I didn’t show you the other camera angle yet.

This target gem cut actually has 4 symmetrical “angled diagonal” faces behind.

Step 3 – Choose the correct blade and trim the other faces to match.

This always throws me off, I’m just about getting better at it, choosing between disc 2 and disc 3. In this case, I made a guess that disc 3 would be the appropriate one and did a hail mary cut.

Phew. It was the right blade. Now that face matches.

From here, it was a matter of rotating and using the same blade to clean up the other three sides.

In similar vein to the other thought tests, I won’t show the final steps, but it’s quite easy from here. I’ve also gone into a bit more detail with showing you all this bijou ‘solution’ because frankly, it’s a lot easier described than done. A good part of the challenge is in the gem manipulation, managing camera angles,  and the not accidentally over-cutting 🙂

Here’s a peek at another bijou:

See the flaws and the shape of where the target gem cut should lie?

Trust me, it’s easier when I show the correct face to you here, rotating to look for it from six possible faces is a bit less easy. 🙂

What disc(s) should be used to chop it to its super duper thinness?

Disc 1 was the correct answer, getting rid of all the stuff behind it essentially. Now which other disc to clear the remaining junk?

That would be last disc we haven’t used in this post as yet.

And soon after that… done.

One more recognized bijou, and one more level.