If there’s one thing that strikes me about the Heart of Thorns expansion, it’s that ArenaNet has been really trying to up the scale on this one.
Everything is larger than life and supremely gorgeous. There may be only four maps, but they are probably some of the world’s most dense and tangled maps that an MMO has ever produced.
Perhaps LOTRO’s Moria might try to compete, but your typical MMO’s maps are merely only spacious but barren – this area is for that quest hub, kill 10 such-and-such named mobs, pick up 20 blah items and the rest are just mobs to grind through or run past.
Also, you cannot glide over or down to various scenery in Moria, and thus it loses by default to any MMO that offers flying or gliding.
Funny story about an item fetch quest that an NPC on GW2’s Heart of Thorns personal story sent me on. He told me to go get 6 ‘Chak Enzymes,’ either by talking to various other NPCs that had various ways which you could obtain said item, or by running around the open world killing said Chak, which are really annoying bug monsters that apparently eat ley line magic energy or something. Sorta like karka on magic steroids, triply annoying.
I talked to two NPCs, attempted to go in search of some items they wanted in trade, stumbled into some Chak bugs and thought, oh well, may as well kill them and get some enzyme that way…
…and then I followed a tunnel down, another tunnel around, slipped and fell and glided to safety somewhere, killing a bunch of Chak along the way, and realized “Oh, I have 6 Chak Enzymes now, I can go back.”
Except that I was thoroughly turned around by this point and made about six or seven abortive attempts to get back to the NPC, cleaving through a whole bunch more Chak along the way…
…By the time I found my way back to said NPC, I had about 27 Chak Enzymes on me. Oh well. Let’s just pretend I’m an over-achiever and say nothing about my sense of direction. Or lack of.
I digress. Let’s talk about scale. I poked my head into the new Desert Borderlands WvW map today. (Confession: Not to WvW, just to use a crafting station quickly without moving from where I was in the PvE world.)
This map greeted me when I hit ‘M.’
After swearing a little, I scrolled down to see the rest of it.
Well, -that’s- going to take a while to learn how to get around, and what all the special spots/events are… when I get to it eventually.
My NA guild claimed their guild hall a couple days ago, and fortunately nabbed Lost Precipice, so I have access to ogle both map variations.
Yeah, well, we say “guild hall,” we really mean a wide swathe of territory in which you can build multiple buildings. The scale of it may not be obvious in a map, so just take a look at the circular formation in the southeast corner of the map…
It’s this thing. A coliseum. I presume it can eventually be upgraded into a place where small PvP duels can take place (the space within looks comfortable for 1 vs 1 PvP, or 2-3 players to dodge around), and spectators can gather on the bleachers above to watch.
The guild banners on display around the map are really cool.
Random scenery around the map. I think half a pumpkin is sticking out of the right hand side. One can apparently place guild decorations in the zone, but I haven’t had time to check out that functionality yet.
I think it’s lovely that our community’s decorator types (you know who they are, there’s bound to be a few compulsive ones in every guild or community) can step up and prettify the place for those of us with somewhat less interest in investing lots of time making things look nice aesthetically. (And you just know there’s gonna be a few jumping puzzles and other displays of creativity eventually.)
And this is the other map, Gilded Hollow (courtesy of one of the OCE TTS guilds)…
…yeah, the mind boggles.
(The draw of Lost Precipice – while seemingly slightly smaller in map size – is gliding, supposedly. There are apparently jump pads around the place that one can activate for updrafts to glide on. Unsure of just how it all works right now, whether stuff has to be unlocked or whatever.)
No other screenshots as yet, I’ll have to find the time to run around both maps in depth eventually.
I do have a few more screenshots I want to show off, but this is where I lay out a certain amount of spoiler warning:
There will be three pretty pictures from the Heart of Thorns story. I do not place them in any context, but they may show off some environments which you may prefer to stumble on yourself.
IF SO, STOP READING NOW. GO AWAY. COME BACK LATER.
If you have very little plans to ever complete the Heart of Thorns story, or don’t feel that you will be spoiled by seeing alien environments with no context or commentary whatsoever, then proceed on.
Even the tree on top of the three waterfalls is there, and the color of that sun…
Day 2 was essentially sample-lots-of-meta-events day.
I logged in to hear on Teamspeak that TTS NA was planning a trial run of the Dragon’s Stand meta-event.
Dragon’s Stand?! Wtf is that, was my first reaction. Turns out, it’s the very last fourth zone on the map. Which I have obviously not even been to yet. (Nor did I touch the third zone until late tonight.)
Fortunately, all those Teleport to Friend items from the third birthday present ended up proving themselves handy. We were advised to just grab one of those consumables, party up with a guildie and teleport to friend directly over, skipping through a great deal of unattractive running past Mordrem and dinosaurs.
Damn, the meta event is like Vinewrath, Triple Trouble (and possibly Marionette too) on steroids. You know all those people wishing madly that the devs would split up the zerg and have different groups running through different channels doing their own things and contributing to the overall map goal? Yep. Dragon’s Stand has it in spades.
My group had the south/east-most one, a whole set of chained events moving through various tunnels and corridors, involving in turn a fair amount of group splitting because we had to escort NPCs, prevent really nasty bosses from wrecking said NPC’s faces, and so on.
It ended in what is suspected to be a penultimate challenge before the real boss Boss – one chamber for each split zerg that required even further splitting to take down three objects simultaneously, and eventually I suspect, a small group will split off to keep the legendary champion causing chaos in the chamber from doing that. (Our first attempt pretty much had said champion wreaking serious havoc on one of the groups who was trying to take down said object.)
Said legendary champion has an invulnerability shield, which is only taken down when all three objects are destroyed.
Oh. And all three legendary champions have to be killed simultaneously.
Hahahahahahahaha… Talk about a serious coordination challenge.
I’m looking forward to further attempts though. This is going to be pretty meaty content for large-scale organized groups, something I was a little worried we were moving away from with impending raids.
I’m super keen for the day when everyone has learned roughly what to do and has all the masteries needed, and we get to see super-organized parties and groups and squads splitting up in perfect synchronisation to do their jobs and slide through the encounters smoothly.
The one criticism that I’m hearing so far is that some of these pre-events can take upwards of an hour or two to get through before the main event, so to speak. That’s quite a bit of time that not everyone may have to spare.
Not sure, maybe things will speed up as people figure out how to split up groups so that things don’t scale insanely and learn how to do each event efficiently. Waiting for NPC escorts to move though, tends to put a finite limit on the pacing. Swiftness can only make ’em run that fast.
This Wyvern Patriarch encounter in Verdant Brink was nuts. A really good kind of nuts.
I didn’t manage to finish this one yet, as I was peacefully soloing my way through Maguuma masteries and decided to be an iconoclast and actually DEFEND one of the rally points during the night meta-event of Verdant Brink.
I know, I know, how dare I not act like 95% of the other players and be constitutionally incapable of staying in one place for a couple minutes for an event to start.
I basically defended for 20 minutes or so, leaving the rally point vicinity only to try and run Pact Supplies into the rally point to build it up and/or try and escort a nearby Pact Soldier carrying supplies in.
Eventually the choppers arrived to take folks to the canopy… where this guy was waiting at my particular rally point – Shrouded Ruins.
(There are apparently champion encounters for each rally point. Haven’t seen all of them. There’s a Legendary Wyvern that nearly everyone sees, as it’s on top of the central Pact Encampment waypoint.)
I was plinking away at it solo for a while, observing its attacks (mostly a really nasty cone AoE painted on the ground if you got close, and a projectile one that left a circular burning AoE on the ground if you stayed at range.)
A second guy turned up, he of the minion master kind, and we were tackling him for a while as a duo, when I looked at the time limit we had for remaining night time and the state of this legendary wyvern patriarch’s health bar and decided we kinda really needed a few more reinforcements.
So I called out on map chat for help and provided directions on how to get to said boss, and we managed to attract 3-4 more players with that…
…it was enough to take him down to 75% of his health, whereupon he cheerfully showed us his next phase.
He coated the entire rocky platform with burning flame, forcing us to jump off the platform and glide around, using updrafts to get back. On a lower level below, some adolescent wyverns popped up, that could be attacked, and there were wyvern eggs that had to be picked up.
The idea was that you had to jump off the platform, glide to said cavern, grab a wyvern egg, jump off and into an updraft, and be lifted over the wyvern patriarch, whereupon you would toss the wyvern egg at him to break his shield. Literally dive-bombing with gliders.
It was ridiculously fun. Only about 1-2 of us managed to figure out what to do (or had the requisite masteries) but we nearly got all of his shield off before we ran out of time. But that was a really good kind of nuts. Can’t wait to eventually find a group that can actually do it in sync. Would be hilarious, methinks.
Another Verdant Brink champion fight of the very satisfying kind.
This particular one felt satisfying because it was just five PUGs, we were essentially strangers who had never met each other before, just happened to be defending the same rally point together, and we went up the chopper to see these two frog champions.
Someone had apparently done this fight before, and he took the time to type out some quick advice – mostly of the “this is a pretty hard fight” “someone with masteries needs to hop up the mushrooms to prevent one frog from healing in a fountain” “both need to die near simultaneously, so keep them low on health but don’t kill” variety.
Basically felt like a Vassar and Ralena sort of fight, two champions acting in tandem, one big fat Nuhoch frog doing stompy stuff and the thinner frog doing stealthy snipery stuff.
Both frogs’ bars had some words along the lines of “buffs/heals each other when in range” so I decided that it would probably be best to try and keep them separated as much as possible.
Turns out I have a rather crazy capacity to attract aggro with my scepter/torch (there’s some rumor that it’s the number of hits that might play an effect, and definitely I can output a really alarming amount of hits between smite, scepter auto and torch spamming, all critting in zerker so probably fairly good damage too), so I decided to just focus fire the big Nuhoch guy and pull him away to one side while the other four were duking it out with sniper frog guy.
I really really like fighting Nuhoch. They’re really big and kinda slow, so their tells are obvious enough for me to see, read and respond. It’s really satisfying to see him get ready to leap, and then roll away to the side just as the orange circle appears under me and he comes leaping over or belly flopping.
The other four got their frog to low (whereupon he promptly vanished, heading for the fountain presumably) and I saw them come over to mess around with Nuhoch guy. One guy ran off after the sniper frog in the fountain with mushrooms, and I decided to join him since I had the bouncing mushroom mastery, and the other three looked like they could manage the Nuhoch.
We hopped all the way up to the fountain, where we found thin sniper frog bathing and healing at an ungodly rate in the fountain, and I unleashed all the crowd control I had at my disposal in an attempt to interrupt him before he got to full.
(Fortunately, a little before this, I had swapped to Signet of Power (knockdown on activate) and Hammer of Wisdom (knockdown on command) while in Auric Basin because there were just way too many angry dinosaurs that needed breakbar damage. Add on an immobilize for DoT and I can normally juust take down a non-scaled breakbar while soloing, and do a sizeable chunk or at least -contribute- to most breakbars in a group – assuming non insane scaling.)
Sniper frog had a tidy sliver of breakbar left, and luckily the other guy jumped the frog and did some manner of thiefy or revenant thing to him which took out the last bit of breakbar. That shorted out his healing, and he returned to the ground having healed up only half his health or so.
(Presumably if there were one or two people already stationed up there waiting for him, they could have returned him to the ground faster. We had to improvise, pretty much.)
The three on the ground had smacked the Nuhoch dead in the meantime, so it was just a matter of clean up on the other guy.
Before you knew it, a Froglicker achievement was had, and everyone was high-fiving each other for being awesome.
Impromptu five man fight. Really neat.
Then there’s encounters of the not-so-neat kind.
Hahaha, the Legendary Wyvern…
I was a little spoiled. Besides the beta fights of this wyvern, where after much say chat coaxing, I managed to get enough revenants to hit one skill on their weapons in sync to net the wyvern -once-, my first fight of this guy on the live servers was with a TTS group where a considerable number of people actually know what an interrupt/crowd control is, and someone was yelling “break bar break bar” over Teamspeak every time the green bar showed up, so about halfway into the fight, the group had more or less managed to keep it relatively grounded (but still cutting it a bit close, because not everyone had specifically specced for it, I don’t think.)
In subsequent PUG maps where I just pop my head in, because I’m grinding masteries and the choppers show up… well, you can forget any hope of grounding this fellow, because the horde of 40-50 people are pewpewing uncontrollably at it and probably thinking that the wyvern sweeps are unavoidable, and the break bar is scaled up to the point of 2-3 people being unable to compensate for the lack of everyone else’s cc contribution.
I have more or less resigned myself to lots and lots of puke green lines of death in a PUG wyvern fight for now. I suppose eventually everyone will learn, but urgh, it’s painful right now.
There was one rather funny fight where I tried to type break bar instructions into say chat, and an Anet guy was there in the same fight, and he said ‘cc’ when the green bar came up… and both of us watched the entire group promptly fail to even take it down 75% of the way, because apparently no one was a) reading say chat, b) had cc on the bar and/or c) couldn’t get out of combat to switch.
After which, I crashed out of that map – one of the few times I haven’t minded an out of memory error – and logged back into another wyvern fight. Whose map group also equally failed to take down the break bar, but it was at least really low on health compared to the other map so the pain was minimized somewhat.
The latest technical problems seem to be said out-of-memory crashes.
I haven’t seen hide nor hair of them since I swapped to Windows 7 and 16GB of RAM in the new computer, but somehow they are back in the last few patches of GW2 – possibly a combination of some memory leaks, the amount of time I’m spending in-game and the number of different player models I keep bumping into while doing group content and it being forced to render all of them.
I’ve had to crank down graphics settings a bit – rumor mill suggests something to do with anti-aliasing, as well as lowering visible player models. I knocked off some shadows while I was there. Less crashing now, but still somewhat unpredictable.
The last meta-event attempted was in Auric Basin, with the Octovines.
This is another rather intricate affair, with some really lengthy pre-event chains that have different groups splitting up to all four cardinal directions to help light up some pylons for extra magic armor.
The jury’s still out on whether these chains are necessary, or no, but for the first few attempts, I think the whole group wanted to maximize our chances. (Also, getting more people mastery xp and more of the map explored couldn’t hurt.)
It ends up in the city proper with four different groups performing different mechanics to weaken a shield and kill the Octovines. Simultaneously, mind you.
There’s some role differentiation. People with specific masteries can dress up in glowy armored suits and perform a tank/control/support role, doing their best to push some traps away from the main group and keep some big nasty dinosaurs stunned/controlled/out of the way.
The main group has to do their thing bombing down the Octovine shield with said different mechanics.
A particularly nice touch that we discovered was that there are interconnecting corridors within the city, so one group can run to another side’s aid if theirs is done and another side is having a bit of trouble.
I suspect the meta-event also rewards partial success, if only some Octovines go down. It’s just that no one had figured out where all the loot chests were located prior to this.
In other news, the solo story continues…
(It’s pretty hard trying to find a screenshot absent of spoilers, but I think this one is ok. Hey, it shows that it’s not ALL green jungle out there.)
If we measure success by the sheer number of things that one could do, without doubt, GW2’s Heart of Thorns expansion is an unmitigated success.
One look down the achievements list (sorry Bhagpuss, it’s still here), the collections tab, the new masteries, the legendary precursor sections, the Heart of Thorns zones, the Heart of Thorns story chapters, the new guild initiatives, and oh, there were elite specializations and a new revenant profession, wasn’t there? (haven’t had time to even progress on any of those.)
Not to mention, all things WvW and PvP related that I haven’t even glanced at.
Oh, did we mention Halloween is in full swing in Lion’s Arch, so you -could- also be grinding out limited time festival goodies for shiny skins if so prioritized?
If we measure success by server stability and lack of game breaking bugs or everybody-can’t-login-or-play crashes, ArenaNet completely blows the competition out of the water on this one.
So far, most of the problems I’ve been hearing about are related to people being impatient and jumping straight into the game once it’s downloaded past the “playable” mark, and then charging headlong into a new zone or a story chapter where the content hasn’t fully downloaded yet – whereupon it either pauses/hangs or unceremoniously crashes the player out.
I was patient (albeit in a knuckle gnawing, restlessly listening to others on Teamspeak, “I think I shall go and have some lunch while I wait for the full download” manner) and downloaded to 100% before logging in, and the whole experience for me has been silky smooth and perfect.
The servers are holding up in a remarkably rock solid manner, considering that my online friends list that usually is about half a page of people online stretched out to about 2.5-3 pages of people all online and checking out the shiny.
The jungle feels a lot better than I thought it would be.
One thing that’s definitely helping is the music. I turned it back up from silent to appreciate the new scores and wow, the one on the character loading screen has to be heard to be believed.
Everything has a new coat of HoT shiny. The launcher now features a green tinted charr (Rytlock?); the character selection screen looks super-dramatic and shows off more helpful information, including which crafting professions are on which character.
The new HoT zones feel better when they’re all interconnected in one giant three-tiered map that goes from treetop canopy to roots, as opposed to one tiny section on reveal during beta. The former feels expansive and freeing, the latter felt small and cramped.
Add on some good accompanying background music, a little mob clutter, some NPCs (though some of them are chattering away at a slightly abnormal cranked up pace) and they become zones that seem worth exploring.
It also seems to me that they may have populated the floor with more jungle plant entities, which helps the atmosphere greatly (though I have no idea if this is an issue for older, slightly less updated computers now. The ‘perils’ of enjoying a new-ish rig.)
The story feels promising.
I just passed chapter 7 – Personal Possessions (which made me rage quite a bit, I’ll tell you, frickin’ latency and zephyrite-ish jumping puzzles = most of the drama and pacing taken out by multiple fall/deaths to the point where one was running as essentially naked charr), which properly segues us into the next zone past Verdant Brink, Auric Basin.
Given that there are two more zones past Auric Basin, and that I’ve only uncovered about three-quarters of the Verdant Brink map and definitely not touched a great many events and mastery points and adventures in VB itself, there appears to be a sizeable chunk of content on offer.
It’s the chapter before that lets us meet some old friends and has significant plot movement.
It’s amazing how many people have rushed past the story and into just wandering about the new zones though.
I would have really appreciated some alone time playing through all the story chapters, but I knew one of my guilds was looking to claim a guild hall ASAP, so most of yesterday was spent with Teamspeak voices in the background, doing my best to power through some masteries while waiting for the expedition so that I wouldn’t miss the essentially one-off event.
Turns out that one was still lacking an Exalted mastery to get past a gate, but fortunately, there are mesmers to help guildies skip through that part, and I managed to zone into the instance.
Wasn’t too bad. It definitely needed some communication and cooperation, along the lines of “split up your zerg, you morons.”
Whatever messaging system the devs were using for cues and instructions -needs- to be used and repeated in future zone events and even raids, imo. The pop up message was concise and offered feedback of the direct “shove it down your throat” kind – you failed this, this consequence now happens. Try doing X instead.
Given the mess of 40+ players running around, whose first impulse tends to be “follow the other yellow dots and commander tag,” the direct messaging was very helpful.
It took a bit of turning like an oil tanker (and one failure phase, but not failed in its entirety) for the group to learn and figure out what it had to do, but it was done in the end.
Oh, speaking of other guild changes, the yellow dots are an interesting touch.
Some people don’t like it, but I’m fairly neutral about it. I kind of like that it makes me feel a bit more interconnected with the other people in the guild, in that I can see their names repeated in my daily game encounters (leading to a sense of familiarity) and at a glance, you can also see if there are any fun congregations of group activity going on in certain zones.
The multiple guild chat channels, though. FREAKING GODSEND. ABOUT TIME. HOW DID WE PLAY THREE YEARS WITHOUT THIS.
That one change makes my chat window suddenly worth looking at and reading, rather than mostly ignoring.
Makes the whole place feel a lot more lively and social now.
(And I don’t even talk much. Just listen to the chatty ones mostly.)
My one criticism of the Heart of Thorns expansion?
The 6 new stats sets being introduced.
Apparently, even though we are not having any increase in item gear rarity ever (so sayeth Colin), someone has figured out a clever little workaround and decided that they can get away with putting two primary stats and two secondary stats on new gear, as opposed to the one primary and two secondaries of old.
Um, are we power-creeping a little here? Did we just obsolete the desirability of things like Berserker or Sinister because now everyone should want one of the newer stat combinations for that secondary stat bonus now?
Not sure. I haven’t looked at the actual numbers to compare yet, but I’m sure someone will be doing those calculations sooner rather than later.
And then we shall see if there was any attempt at equivalency or just an outright “this gear is better, by X%”.
In the meantime, there are masteries and lots of candy corn to chase.
And I suppose I should make that revenant some day. (I’m in not that much hurry, I don’t think the asura name I have in mind will be grabbed any time soon.)
Yeah, I’m aware I haven’t posted regularly on this blog for what seems like a phenomenonally long time by now.
Truth is, I feel like I’ve been struggling with routines over the past few months.
There are set things I do every day at specific timings. I do them, I get them done, I even enjoy doing some of them when I’m doing them.. and then after that, I’m left feeling a little… empty, with just a niggling worry in the back of my mind that I’ve left other things to fester because I don’t have sufficient hours in the day to prioritize doing them.
My whole life right now feels like one repeated routine after another.
I wake up. I engage in assorted morning rituals of toothbrushing and breakfasting and getting changed to go to work. I go to work.
I return home. I watch a TV show. I have dinner. I spend 30-90 minutes in GW2 depending on how much energy I feel I have, usually completing the daily cycle or attending Triple Trouble or visiting my home instance or crafting up time-limited materials or harvesting nodes in a set, regular pattern. I spend another 30 odd minutes in Trove filling up the daily star bar playing through one set of repeated dungeons or another.
Somewhen between this, I’ve been trying to squash in a regular habit of exercising for 15-30 minutes, preferably multi-tasking it in between game routines.
If I have any time or energy remaining, I squeeze in another hour or so of playing another game, usually something new on Steam or Minecraft. (Blogging, what’s that?)
I go to sleep. Repeat 6-8 hours later until the weekend.
This is undoubtedly a comfort to people who enjoy a highly structured existence, but personally, I feel like I’m a few degrees away from climbing the walls or gnawing off my arm.
Except that seems like too much trouble, so better to continue in my zombie-like cycle of drudgery and rinse and repeat… *brain melts*
I’m not exactly sure -why- either. I’m not 100% certain that it’s routines or lack of change to be blaming. It -could- simply be that there’s a lack of challenge or lack of anything new or novel that prompts learning or adapting that I’m craving subconsciously.
(Except that I -have- taken up a new exercise hobby, though I only have time to pay attention to it on the weekends, so it’s slow progress there. Too slow, sometimes, leading to impatience.)
It’s not that I haven’t been purposefully trying to incorporate something new or challenging in what I’ve been doing lately.
I spent 3-4 days playing Technobabylon, after nabbing it when it went on Steam sale. (Great game if you like sci-fi cyberpunk, by the way. Wadjet Eye makes very enjoyable adventure games with interesting characters and a solid enough story.)
I finished the “reach fractals level 50” challenge some time in the first week of October. (After which, all my motivation for doing further fractals evaporated like ice in a volcano and I stopped.)
I’ve broken routine now and then to have nights out and have a tasty dinner at a nice restaurant with others.
I even managed to rearrange my GW2 inventory to some degree, making space in my bank to accomodate the anticipated need to swap Ascended gear sets between characters, come the expansion.
I made a very simple pen and paper template for noting down trait builds, and a half-baked plan for accumulating more Ascended gear, after anticpating that I might have to swap characters between direct damage zerker, condi damage sinister, and maybe support/healing or tanky or control (been thinking about zealots or settler or nomad stats.)
I bought some RPG ebooks from Bundle of Holding, plus have a collection of nonfiction ebooks that are ready to be read whenever.
I picked up Tales from the Borderlands just the other day and was quite entertained playing through three-quarters of the first episode.
I’m slowly learning that I only like stuff from Telltale Games whose themes resonate with me. The comedic cynical corporate/cowboy cel-shaded theme is faithful to the Borderlands franchise and I’m enjoying it a great degree more than the hopeless quasi-realism nihilism of Walking Dead.
(Mysterious/supernatural/superpowered noir detective atmosphere of Fables? YES. MOAR PLS. No-win political/sexist brutality of Game of Thrones? Likely to be a no, unless on 75% off someday.)
Somehow, despite all this, I still feel vaguely… stuck and aimless.
Like I’m going in circles.
One cycle after another.
The scary thing is, when I ask myself, “Well, if you’re not happy, then what -do- you want? If you tell me, we can fix it and add it as a goal to strive toward.”
The answer comes back, “I dunno. I don’t really -want- anything right now. I’m happy, I guess? I’m content?”
Drives me nuts, I tell you.
Life is okay right now, but weirdly, I don’t seem to be (entirely) okay with that.
Nothing else to report for the moment. Maybe that’ll change when Heart of Thorns releases.
Or maybe I just can’t muster the energy to care about minor things like that when it’s just a game that I’m choosing to play, like any other.
(eg. It’s distinctly obvious that there’s going to be a move towards Ascended gear being the new baseline. Presumably there will be more opportunities to receive it as a reward in the coming days.
I can’t quite summon up any passion to either complain or comment, I just feel more like shrugging and shutting up and making my Ascended gear and continuing with playing the game until I one day get tired of it.)
On the Minecraft: Regrowth front, it’s been more expansion and progression down the HQM book, though I’m getting to that stage where the HQM quests stop handholding and I start cudgeling my brain and running out of ideas for, “Well, I could do anything I want, but what do I really want to do NOW?”
My little hobbit hole is still functional, if cramped, for now.
I finally got to the point of discovering storage drawer controllers, which make sorting out all the little pretty items much easier.
Eventually, down the road, I expect that one could automate the whole chain of growing things, harvesting, sending them along pipes into a drawer controller which feeds into a giant storage drawer wall of everything-you-could-want (that is, until Applied Energistics comes along with their inventory system.)
I live and work so primitively and manually that I often find myself making things I don’t have an immediate use for right now, like the worktable just sitting up on the ceiling. I’m -sure- I’ll eventually have use for it, assuming I remember I have it, but eh, I don’t really have that many recipes I’m repeating right now, beyond a lever, a piston and some magical crop food that have already been stored in the picture frame thingummies.
Function a little limited by form. I made a second drawer controller system for flowers and dyes and seeds downstairs in the experimental breeding chamber. Would it be nicer in one single gigantic storage system? Maybe. Possibly. But it would also mean a gigantic wall of drawers that my hobbit hole can’t exactly accommodate right now.
It was made somewhat brutally clear that in order to get Mutandis to experimentally mutate through different plants to collect all the possible specimens, one was going to need quite a bit of Mandrake.
Problem is, if you pull Mandrake by daytime, they come alive and become a little annoying mob that creates nausea and screams horribly into your ear.
I’d figured out by chance that keeping them in a pit helps to limit all the crazy running around chasing after them, and watching a Youtube video suggested the clever idea of using Punji sticks as mandrake killing traps (they like to run towards you and screech, so you can pull them places.)
A coincidence of sorts, I’d made a little chamber under this room because I’d previously found a rock hive while digging out stone to replace it with dirt for the crops. (The flowing dirt seems to be some kind of texture bug with an Agricraft water pad, but I kind of like the effect as it sort of hides the pit.)
Inside the pit is a little safe zone for me to climb up and down with ladders, and at the far end, a little tunnel that connects to the Mandrake growing zone, filled with Punji sticks.
Basically I can cut down the whole Mandrake zone with a few Scythe swings, and then race up the ladder leading out of the Mandrake area and down this ladder into the pit. Any live Mandrakes that have been humping the walls screeching realize they can path right to me via the tunnel, and run through many many spiked punjis, conveniently falling over dead by the time they get to or near me.
Since I made a Ring of Magnetization via Botania some time ago, even if they fall over dead further away, the delicious Mandrake crop that is looted off their dead bodies floats right to me regardless of which trap offs them.
Further along, I improved my mushroom and nether wart growing corridor from lazy pitch black 1 person-wide tunnel risking mob spawns and blocked by a door to a small low light growth chamber.
Me attempting a little primitive aesthetics, while wondering if it was possible to block the brightness of light emitted by torches with a semi-translucent block or microblock. I ended up with stained glass microblock covers over an empty square with a torch in it.
There’s a page of the HQM quest book devoted to creating life from Spawn eggs.
So I had to improvise little animal holding pens/zoo/stables thingummies.
At first they were just stone chambers with fence and fence gates at the entrance, but the opaqueness of the walls annoyed me. I wanted to be able to look through the pens and see what was being kept as I walked by.
I was debating something with glass dividing up the chambers, but some experimentation later, I couldn’t really find a good shape that would take up exactly the middle point of the block beyond a microblocks pillar or post.
Couple this with the madness of clucking chickens and baying cows doing their best to cross pens (the grass looked greener on the other side, presumably), I soon gave up making it perfect and just went for something, anything, vaguely fence-like and got out of there.
I count my blessings that no one has modded in chicken shit and cow dung yet in Minecraft (not in this pack anyways.)
Can’t seem to find a noise muffler block in Regrowth, sad to say.
Ok, this might be slightly inhumane, but well… it keeps them easily accessible for trades!
I’m contemplating some kind of see-through monster tank/specimen chamber for the other side. Part of said quest line is to make things like Spawn Zombie and Spawn Creeper eggs. Not sure what I would do with those really. It’s not like they’re really endangered species…
The crops chamber has stood up to massive expansion, thankfully.
Presumably one day I’m either going to have to rearrange some of them so that they make sense (flowers together, metal crops clustered somewhere else, etc.) or make an even larger chamber to grow squares of crops and pipe them all to a big storage wall somewhere…
Machinery experiments have been haphazard.
It’s been one Forestry machine after another (Carpenter, Squeezer, Centrifuge, Fermenter, etc) and the odd grey Rolling Machine all opportunistically hooked onto anything that supplies RF power.
The garishly candy-cane colored pipe is a quartz kinesis pipe that transports said RF power.
There’s a starter Hobbyist’s Steam Engine behind that mess somewhere, which I was initially using, and then swapped over to the multi-block steam boilers feeding into a more intermediate steam engine version in the background.
More garishly colored Buildcraft pipes, along with my absolute disregard for linear systematicity.
On the left is a steam boiler consisting of a low-pressure tank block and a solid fueled firebox, and the right is a low-pressure tank block coupled with a liquid fueled firebox.
I’d been working desperately to try and get to the liquid fueled one, because I’d been accumulating a LOT of creosote oil from the coke oven, but progression-wise, the solid fuel one had to come first.
In the end, well, why waste either?
Both are temporarily still manually filled with water and the desired fuel. I’m still looking for the equivalent of an RF storage in this modpack – I’m used to not wasting RF power and storing it all up in a RF cell of some kind – before I start automating it all.
The neon green extraction pipes are emerald fluid transport/extraction pipes – one step up from the wooden extraction ones – that pull a fluid out of the block’s inventories.
In this case, they’re pulling Steam and feeding it into the Steam Engine (blue thing in the center), which then converts the Steam into RF power.
Said RF power is then being pulled out by the neon green kinesis pipe version and fed into the mini-network of rather haphazardly linked machines.
Oh, and the bright yellow pipes are gold fluid transport pipes, which are the more efficient fluid transport versions.
Having been completely defeated in my attempt to hook up the white quartz kinesis pipes adjacent to the green fluid extraction pipes so that the RF power could power the extraction, I threw my hands up and stuck Wooden Engines (with lever attached) onto each and every one of the green pipes. Now they will go and keep going and I don’t have to think about it further, beyond how ridiculous the whole thing looks.
(You may safely ignore the cactus. The cactus is for the bee hives. Turns out the edge of this cobblestone platform was conveniently reaching over into the Ocean biome, which has a conducive temperature/climate for normal-ish bees, and I just used the most available ocean biomes squares I had left.)
Yet another primitive and garishly ugly attempt for me to work through and understand the various machines involved in this cycle.
The block on the left with a whole bunch of Wooden Engines sticking out from it is a Buildcraft Pump, pulling water out of a 3×3 infinite water source.
It is pumping an unlimited supply of water into the (currently green) Combustion Engine, which is supposedly one of the top tier engines of this mod.
Cos if you don’t and it runs out of sufficient water coolant, it goes boom.
Or so they say.
I am frankly not interested in finding out (there’s already enough craters in this ‘ere blasted wasteland), hence an infinite water cooling system first of all.
Said Combustion Engine can run on Oil, to produce RF power, but inefficiently. It does better on Fuel.
In order to convert Oil into Fuel, one needs a Refinery (the red gizmo) and to power it with RF.
Hence the tank of oil on top of it, to constantly feed oil into it. (Much to my exasperation, the pipe was incapable of delivering oil via gravity, and thus yet another clunky emerald fluid pipe with a tail of Wooden Engine+Lever was attached onto it.)
The converted fuel is then extracted into another tank, by way of Emerald Pipe+Wooden Engine+Lever contraption. (Can I shorten it to EWEL from now on?)
One can feed the Fuel back into the Combustion Engine to keep it going, but I’m sitting back on joining more pipes and larger tanks to this for now, mostly because I’m still looking for something that can store up all the RF energy produced.
I pumped up the little oil pool on the left into the big tank too, by the by. I was getting tired of falling into it accidentally and trying to clamber out of it, with its quicksand-like properties.
Turns out it didn’t really have that much oil in there, but well, some is better than none.
I’ve seen much larger geysers and spouts of oil, while exploring out on the ocean, but I’m not 100% sure how I’m going to collect those, beyond a gigantic ugly kilometers-long golden pipe floating in the air and leading to an impromptu pump platform by the spout… I suppose I could lay it down on the ocean floor for a little more authenticity…
This part of the outside is devoted to machines that look a lot less rainbow.
The red brick Bloomery Furnace creating Wrought Iron from Iron is in the foreground, the Tinker’s Construct Smeltery behind it with casting basins and a casting table, while the multiblock Blast Furnace for making Steel out of Wrought Iron is on the left.
Mariculture’s Crucible Furnace, hastily automated via hopper and adjacent ingot caster, is just beside the Blast Furnace.
I’m starting to run out of easily reachable short-term goals, which is a little bit demotivating.
Everything I consider doing next seems like it’s going to take a while.
I still have magic seeds to create via runic altar and grow, but collecting the requisite components is a rather tedious multi-step process. One has to find the ingredients, operate and power the runic altar, dig out further expansion in the seed chamber, fill it with more rows of garden soil and crop sticks, etc.
I can make more spawn eggs of different creatures, but ditto, it’ll also involve a lot of runic altar creation, digging out chambers to house the creatures, and so on.
I could make an upgraded automated farm, but that would mean finding the space, digging it out, laying in the blocks, growing stuff, automating it and hoping it works…
Maybe I’ll run around in the Nether and hope I can find Nether Copper Ore for the next quest in my HQM book… except I’ve already searched the area around my portal in a 50-100 block radius and can’t seem to find any…