Much of the Easter weekend was spent furthering my noob adventures in Path of Exile.
In the span of time a pro PoE player probably takes to get to level 80 (likely in hardcore to boot), I have been slow crawling my way in softcore past my prior lifetime peak of level 66 and moving officially into mapping (and farming, and getting semi-bored out of my mind, and farming some more.)
I’d been entertaining the vaguely optimistic thought that I might go from 62 to 70 on Friday, 70 to 75 on Saturday and maaaaybe 76 to 80 on Sunday.
Of course, I very well knew that a) Path of Exile’s level curve is decidedly exponential – no linear GW2 easy mode here, and b) there was the possible danger of running out of maps for one’s optimal level range, so I expected to not quite make it and possibly need to go another week to finally hit the magic 80.
I end Sunday at level 77, so… not too shabby, considering I’ve never done this before.
Fearing that I’d run out of maps too quickly, I spent a while farming in the level 67 Library zone in Act 3 merciless while I was still in the range for it. (+- 7 levels, apparently, so I could theoretically hit 74 before I started getting an xp penalty.)
I also learned that I don’t quite have the mentality for repeatedly farming the same damn map over and over again, because it started getting awfully boring.
If I hadn’t set myself the goal to reach as many of the 1 month challenges as I could, I would definitely have stopped and went to play another game by now.
However, necessity is the mother of all invention. I discovered that I -could- farm quite well if it wasn’t the only thing I was focusing on (perhaps my safe flame totem build was also a bit boring to play, but hey, let’s not knock what was actually working to level me up.)
It ended up being a great opportunity to catch up on all the Swan Song and Mirrorshades roleplays in the other screen, led into being tempted to subscribe for ad-free video-on-demand on itmejp’s Twitch.tv channel, which then meant I needed to -make- a Twitch account and on the side, begin investigating this strange phenomenon of ‘Why would someone watch someone else play games when they could play ’em themselves?’
I’m still working on figuring that one out.
Sure, it’s kinda fun to flip through games on Twitch like flipping TV channels, marveling at how many people are just sitting around broadcasting themselves playing games, but really, I can only last for 15 seconds at best on most streams before I end up boggling at how this disgustingly low resolution stream has several thousands of viewers, or how that streamer’s voice grates on my spine, or how amateur the production values are on that stream, or hey, absolutely nothing is happening on this stream because it’s one of those PvP sandbox games where the idea of someone else playing the game for me -does- appeal… except that it appears to consist of a whole bunch of standing around waiting for something to happen and my attention span only lasts so long.
Well, maybe I should choose games closer to my heart, where I can actually understand the UI and the jargon and where I don’t have to fear spoiling myself.
So I try to watch a few GW2 PvP streams, which aren’t too shabby, except that GW2 is so active combat that my eyes have to stay glued to the other monitor to keep up, and that doesn’t work when I just want something to vaguely glance at while -actually- playing Path of Exile in the main monitor.
Oh hey, maybe I should watch a Path of Exile streamer being all pro in one screen while I noob it up in the other screen, that sounds all meta and stuff… Except that I realize it becomes -doubly boring- to see two little figures endlessly farm loot and xp, and it’s also depressing to see how the ‘pros’ do it – apparently they party up and trade a lot, both things that I don’t wanna do, thanks, and am ok with being slower as a result.
So I’m not exactly learning anything by watching how three people co-op and kill things much faster than my lonesome (I would rather watch them when they are solo racing to learn that particular fast playstyle) which makes this channel worthless too. Bah. *flip*
I end up going for the one type of Twitch content that -does- make sense to me, competitive matches with a commentator, because watching eSports is way cheaper than paying for a cable TV sports channel over here.
It so happened that an ESL Evolve tournament was going on, which was nifty. Here was a game that I know how to play, know how the game is supposed to be played, don’t have the time to play it and certainly not at a competitive level. I still ended up bouncing channels because one of the commentators in one stream sounded like they knew absolutely nothing about the game, which got on my nerves, but it was a great Path of Exile farming accompaniment for a while.
Until the third time I died by accident just standing around and letting a wandering mob beat on me because my attention was riveted on an exciting monster vs hunter play in the other screen.
I’d have more use for Twitch if I was still playing A Tale in the Desert, that’s for sure. Now there was a game with hefty amounts of downtime.
I ended up following Youtube links for audio music instead, but that’s another story.
Somewhen during the weekend of endless farming, I finally caught up with the one last Tormented ghost I needed and completed the first of four challenges. Hurrah!
On Sunday, I got around to setting up a hideout and getting some Forsaken Masters established in my abode for the daily missions, so as to increase my chances at filling in some of the missions needed for another challenge.
I also finally managed to get a first sighting of Zana, the mapping Master, in a level 70 map and quickly ran her mission and got her set up in the hideout.
Her daily mission was delicious in terms of maps produced. (Beginner’s luck, maybe, but there was a cartographer’s strongbox in the mission and it popped a ton of -admittedly low level- maps.)
A week or two more of this and I suspect I should be able to get at least three of four challenges done.
As for the last, I have no clue if I’ll ever get to high enough a map level to meet one of the unique bosses I’m supposed to kill, or whether I’ll get brave enough and venture in to Atziri – I have one complete map of the four vaal fragments sitting in my stash, but I’m thinking I’d rather hit level 80 first.
I -think- the non-uber version is only level 70, but y’know, it’s a fight I’ve never done and I don’t know how many deaths and re-entries I’ll get (usually 6 if it follows the other maps).
I peeked at a video and it -almost- looked doable, except that I worry that I a) don’t have enough dps, and b) don’t have a good solution to running out of flameblast aoe yet. That video someone was using lightning warp to zap out of there, but it’s definitely a reduced duration lighting warp and I don’t have that gem yet (sad face.)
I’m kinda vaguely entertaining the hope that it’ll drop during my farming and get me set up that way… or I could bite the bullet and send someone a whisper (the horror) or, and this just occurred to me while writing this, I could go check out the possibility of another travel movement gem instead of slavishly following the forum build (leap slam or flicker strike comes casually to mind.)
Honestly, I’m getting very antsy and kinda want to start another alt (or two or three). I’ve dropped a stash tab full of uniques that look great for leveling, a whole bunch of skill gems that make me want to make a bow character, a lightning tendrils or arc character, but but *twitch* I just need to stay the course a little while more until I hit level 80.
The focus I’ve been devoting to Path of Exile also reminds me that I could be doing the same thing in Guild Wars 2 and leveling and playing all the lowbie classes I’ve been ignoring for a long time. Which I kinda want to do once my PoE stint is done.
Certainly there’s no shortage of things I could be doing until Act 4 in PoE arrives (and Heart of Thorns in GW2 too.)
In other news, they say that Path of Exile is going to get a customizable item filter soon, allowing one to hide junk and highlight desired items in different colors and borders.
Yep, can’t wait for that functionality.