Saturday, December 20, 2014

Simple Guide to Tier Ability and AMP Power Upgrade Unlocks in Wildstar

Now that I am level 50 and trying to be the best that I can be, I want to unlock all of the available Tier Ability and AMP Power points. I could not find a simple guide to all the sources for the unlocks anywhere so I collected all the data and made this chart. Hope you find it helpful!

Let me know if I missed anything!

-Virika Nightly

Friday, October 3, 2014

Summer is Over! Back to Nexus!

   So Virika and I have taken a longer video game hiatus than we intended. However, we just don't have the hours to indulge in video games during the summer months. First off, I work in the children's summer camp business and go away from early June to late August. Technically speaking, I have 3 weekends off during that time period but my job pretty much owns me for the summer. Even when we do have free time, it's really hard to stay inside when the sun is shining and the air outside is warm and inviting. We had an amazingly mild summer in NJ without any major heat waves or big rainstorms. Most of the summer was mid to high 80s and breezy. Instead of running dungeons and exploring Nexus, Virika and I put in lots of miles cycling (our current obsession), did a bit of kayaking, and hiking these last few months.We also went on a trip to Hawaii to celebrate her parents 40th anniversary. 
Virika & Gubjub Biking in Hawaii
   Basically, the early June release of Wildstar was pretty terrible timing for us. I imagine lots of die hard video game fans, even the misanthropic basement dwellers among us, spend less time in front of their computers during the summer.  That being said, I am super excited to return to Nexus starting tonight! I'll be spending today checking out Wildstar news and catching up on my blogroll. Tomorrow is a gonna be a horrible rainy day here giving us the perfect excuse to over-indulge in online shenanigans! 
   Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

6 Secrets you need to know about Skill Amps in Wildstar

  1. You need to obtain and learn items in the game called Skill Amps to unlock skills (talents) in the second and third tiers of your Amps tree. 
  2. You can buy Skill Amps from reputation vendors but beware- they are soulbound! Don’t buy more than one, because you will not be able to sell or trade them and you will lose gold selling them back the vendor (learned the hard way).
  3. You can buy Skill Amps from the Commodities Exchange.  However, even if you cannot afford the price listed, you might consider putting in a Buy Order for less to see if someone more reasonable will sell it to you, I have had luck this way.
  4. You can make a little silver buy buying underpriced Skill Amps on the Commodities Exchange! By mousing over the item you can see the vendor price- I have seen many selling for less than the vendor price.  It is not much gain but if you can afford it, you can increase your bank by buying and selling them.
  5. When you complete a Challange, especially if the other options are not useful,  the Salvaged items box sometimes contains Skill Amps that might be useful or sold on the Commodities Exchange for a profit.
  6. Keep in mind, you should focus on the Amps that you need for your primary spec, don't waste gold on Amps you won't use!  
Hope you find these secrets useful!  I have not had much time to play Wildstar as I might like- my dad had a very successful bypass surgery, my sister visited from Oregon,  my Grandma turned 90 and a good friend had a baby shower.  Besides all that, I am finding it hard to level by myself; Gubjub is off at his summer camp job.  But I will keep at it and hopefully I can find some time to play with my old WOW friends Dryss and Derentis who have joined me on the server!
We would love to hear about any other secrets you have discovered!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pros & Cons of Playing An MMO With Your Significant Other

Virka and I have had tons of fun playing Wildstar.  Playing together is a great experience. Someone I work with asked about what it's like to game with her and this list and this just kinda formed in my head...

Top 10 Pros & Cons Of
Playing An MMO With
Your Significant Other

*Please excuse any vague, confusing or biased pronouns. This was written based on our experience but we think the ideas expressed are possibly universal for any and all gaming couples.

1.  You work well as a team and you always have someone to help you kill the tough baddies.
1. It’s easy to overlook guild chat and miss out on other social opportunities because you attention is focused on the person sitting at the desk next to you.
2. You can brag about your spouse’s game prowess to your friends and guildies.  Gamers are sexy chic nowadays… or at least that’s what we’ve been telling ourselves.
2. The logs show that your special someone did twice as much healing as you did on that heroic boss encounter.  It doesn’t show that you had extra responsibilities and besides, everyone knows disc is OP!
3. You have someone to watch your back in PvP.
3. It sucks that she’s better at PvP than you are…
4. It is easy to discuss strategies quickly and negotiate different tactics against difficult objectives.
4. They’ll have no problem reminding you that you were supposed to be healing them just then.
5. You have someone who kinda has to lend you gold to buy that mount.
5. You kinda have to lend them gold to buy that mount they want.
6. You can offer each other constructive criticism and help each other become better players.
6. Your significant other often sounds mighty arrogant when they are telling what you are doing wrong.  They obviously think you are stupid and you are not going to take this one lying down!
7. You have someone to do those silly holiday events with.
7. You have to do all those silly holiday events no matter how lame they are.
8. You are probably going to get some the night you down that big raid boss that’s been wiping you for weeks.
8. You probably aren’t getting any the night you spend wiping to that tough raid boss… she/he most likely has a headache.
9. Someone is always around that you can discuss the upcoming patch with, all the new features, and the great new add-on you are excited about. 
9. You spend so much time talking about and playing the game that dishes are piling up in the kitchen and the house is a wreck.  Also, it’s your turn to scoop the kitty litter.
10. It’s great to have a hobby you both enjoy.  You are more likely to enjoy more facets of the game as you explore it together.
10. Your spouse sometimes embarrasses you in front of your guild by showing them silly videos from your college days like this one where you are the girl in the polka dot dress: Watch the Demonessa trailer:

And remember that no matter how well you and your special someone game together, it can sometimes feel like this.  If you haven’t seen this video, you must watch it now!

It's Not About The Nail was written and directed by Jason Headley.  
It stars Monica Barbaro and Jason Headley.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

2-Step Verification ---- uhhhh whaaa?

Head Start & Launch has been great so far! I think we both feel pretty good about joining Chili & Cornbread. It's a friendly guild, nice and reasonable people. We also met up with an old WoW friend who joined us for the first bout of questing. A full post on this will come tomorrow.

For now... one thing has me puzzled: the 2-Step Verification process. It's great that Carbine has set this up. When we first tried to log in at 3 AM, I didn't even notice the random ordered numbers on the screen.  I just thought I was very tired and boy was that hard to do.  But all is well and good and of course it's worth a little hassle to be more secure.  Great.  

To my dismay, when I logged into my account on the Wildstar website from work yesterday I was able to do it without the 2-Step Verification. What the hell? Furthermore, I was able to get to this screen:

UPDATE: Okay, I just tried it and you can't deactivate the 2-Step Verification without having the code- BUT you can get into all my personal information including address and phone number. You can also adjust the subscription plans and do transactions of that nature.

UPDATE #2: Been getting some messages about this.  I am referring to the ability to sign into your Wildstar account [through the website] without the authenticator. The game itself has NEVER failed to veryify me. I assume that the purpose of the authentication process is to thwart a malicious person (who has already gained a player's username and password) from doing harm to that player's account.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MMO Boot Camp

We could not be more excited or more ready for the big head start! I've been encouraged by the high quality of all Wildstar-centric blogs popping up.  Also, I've had a good time joining the world of Twitter (yeah, really late to the party) and interacting with some cool folks.  Luckily, we have found a guild that seems like it will be a really good fit for us. 

On top of that, I have instituted MMO Boot Camp. As excited as I am to play Wildstar, the idea of sitting on my ass all weekend is not so appealing... A while back Virika got her old mac set up with Windows through the use of Boot Camp in order to play SWTOR. It's not a great machine but it works. Since she upgraded it's been sitting on a shelf near our treadmill for playing vids and music while running.  Eventually, I built a desk for it and MMO Boot Camp was born. I found that I could still play decently well while going around 2.5-3 mph on the treadmill. I often ran instances and leveled in SWTOR while burning calories. I could even raid in WoW on non-progression nights. Diablo was fun too. 

Last weekend, I got Wildstar running on the Mac at a decent FPS, albeit at low graphic settings. I'm excited to try it out. It will be tougher I think, simply because Wildstar is a harder game than any of the other games I've played while on the move. It requires much more movement and coordination than WoW or SWTOR ever did. 


Also, we took Gracie's advice from Moonshine Mansion and got well stocked on provisions. A successful trip to Trader Joe's provided plenty of healthy vittles and decent wine. Tomorrow, we will get our chores done and get a good night's sleep. This weekend is going to be amazing! All that is left is to decide what class my first toon will be...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Back From the Abyss

Real life and technical issues have kept us away from Wildstar this past little while. The real life stuff wasn't all bad. Virika and I rode the NYC 5 Boro Bike Tour on May 4th. It was an awesome 40+ mile bike ride through every borough of New York, over bridges, through parks and ending at the Staten Island ferry. We had a good time and our team raised over $11,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. This past weekend while most of you were hopefully enjoying time in the beta, Virika and I were re-upping our Wilderness First Aid certification which we need for work purposes. Not the worst way to spend a weekend but we've done it many times (every two years) and there is only so much fun you can have learning to make splints out of improvised materials.

The one night we were able to get into the game, we were unable to get a group going and the LFG tool was no help. The other nights were plagued with one or both of us having technical problems. It started on Friday for me. V got into the game easily, but mine wouldn't patch. Got a "Patch Failed" error many times with a link to some help files. Most of them involved suggestions like "run as administrator", disable background processes, turn off firewall, creating new "uncorrupted" user account, and flush DNS, etc. I tried everything (including the repair feature) to no avail. Virika screwed around in game doing crafting while I was freaking out chatting with others having the same problem on forums and in chat. I tried to uninstall the game and re-install which also sucked. Apparently, the game will not uninstall correctly if not fully patched:
Who were the two people who found this useful? I want to PvP them.
This was ridiculous to me. If the game won't patch and repair won't work what are you supposed to do? If this continues to be the case, Carbine really needs to come up with a functioning uninstaller. The thing that bothers me most was that when it finally started installing I really don't know what I did to fix it. The re-install problems began with trying to get the .exe file from the NCSOFT website and continued as the game tried to install. After an hours long comedy of errors, I finally got it to work. I checked my mailbox and then went to bed.

We played a bit the following night, but as I said we weren't able to get a group going. We did dailies and played around with housing. Last night, both Virika and I had the same problem again. After trying everything again, submitting a ticket, getting a generic reply, resetting our FIOS system twice... it miraculously started working again at around 12am. Grrr... got in, checked my mailbox and then went to bed.

Plan for tonight:
  1. Leave work on time.
  2. Make sweet potato & caramelized onion pizza with arugula salad for dinner.
  3. PvP and run instances until Nexus itself learns to fear our names.
PS- I think we found an awesome guild for us! Will tell more when Virika gets her app in!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Virika’s Tradeskills Secrets

This is our intro to crafting in Wildstar.  I would really love to hear feedback on this post and any corrections or suggestions!

Every MMO has it’s own version of crafting, in Wildstar it is called Tradeskills and they are quite unique!  I found the progression of leveling my crafting skills less obvious than other MMOs and I think I can share a few secrets I found along the way.  I hope you will find this guide will give you the confidence to wisely use your precious mats for the most benefit.

There are 2 types of crafting, Tradeskills that you pick and Hobbies that everyone can do:

  • Farming (Hobby)
  • Mining
  • Relic Hunter
  • Salvaging (Hobby)
  • Survivalist

Crafting (production):
  • Architect
  • Armorer (heavy armor)
  • Cooking (Hobby)
  • Outfitter (medium armor)
  • Runemaking
  • Tailor (light armor)
  • Technologist (potions, etc)
  • Weaponsmith

Here is a graph showing the relationship between the gathering skills and which crafting skills supply components:

Relic Hunter












We have found that you can learn 2 gathering skills instead of one crafting and one gathering. So far the draw back is that you will have to obtain and hold 2 gathering tools for faster collection.
Hopefully this information can help you decide which Tradeskills you will pick when you get to level 10, I think they all have the potential for profit and to be useful but that has yet to be proven.  I recommend looking at Chief Sarcan's post for a more detailed explanation of each Tradeskill.

Tradeskills interface:

Press K to open the Tradeskills interface; there are 3 tabs available at the top:
  • Schematics – where you can see all of the patterns, including locked patterns, with the name, components and how to unlock if applicable.
  • Tech Tree – this shows you the path to learn the patterns for each skill as well as displays your XP towards each level, there is drop-down box at the top center.
  • Talents – another tree that shows the Talents (bonuses) for each Tradeskill that you can earn.

Leveling your Tradeskills and Hobbies:
  • Hobbies have only one level, you can always farm any item that is ready to be picked and salvage any item in your inventory!
  • Tradeskills have level 1-5, gather nodes in lower level zones for level 1 to earn XP to increase level, higher level zones will have higher level nodes.
  • Salvaging also has only one level.  To salvage you can either click on the 2 arrow/recycle button in the bottom of your bag to review the salvageable items in your bag or drag the item to the button.  Note- there is a slight delay as the salvage button lights up and then you click it, I assume this is to help you to avoid salvaging the wrong item. Salvaging destroys the item and returns items used for Tradeskills (that might have gone into the crafting of the item) and grey items of very little value.  I found the power cores to be particularly useful, however sometimes the items that you recover from salvaging might NOT be as valuable as vendoring or selling the item on auction house.  Keep this in mind!
Crafting (production):
  • Cooking (Hobby) has only one level but earn Stars in the Tech Tree to earn Talent points.  It seems impossible to make the higher level items unless you have talent points.
  • Runemaking has one level.
  • Tradeskills have 5 levels (Novice, Apprentice, Journeyman, Artisan, Expert), craft items and complete branches in the Tech Tree to increase level.

In the Tech Tree you will see that completing some branches reward not only a new pattern but also a Star with a 1 as shown below:

The Star is 1 Talent point which is spent in the Talent tab to earn bonuses for the Tradeskill – in Beta they seem to be automatically spent, although the interface infers that they might be selected.  These will be useful so you should try to earn them!

Crafting Vouchers:  Complete dailies to earn crafting Vouchers – these can be spent on crafting bags of random crafting components (although I do not recommend it) but at Expert level you will need spend Vouchers to buy rare patterns, crafting those rare patterns can unlock even better patterns (also requiring the voucher-bought pattern), so I suggest you save them up!

Expert Research:   I have not gotten mats for this yet so I do not know much about it, but I assume it has to do with raiding.

Practical advice:
  • Pre-max level crafted items are nice but probably not essential, so I would not break your bank or your mount fund in order to level your Tradeskills!  Questing with found, quest and challenge reward gear seemed sufficient, so crafted gear was not required.
  • Collect the items you can use for your Tradeskills as you quest by salvaging unwanted soulbound items and collecting nodes.  Luckily in Wildstar you have a massive Tradeskills bag so you will not have to worry too much about bags space!
  • When you are ready to start crafting, begin by getting the zone crafting dailies and work your way through the Tech Tree to learn those patterns – this way you will level your Tradeskill while getting crafting Vouchers, a Talent point (one point for completing 3 dailies in each zone) and zone rep.  You can use the cheapest mats and items with the least upgrades for quest turn in.
  • Craft items that are upgrades for your current gear.
  • After completing the above, craft items to complete branches in the Tech Tree that will yield a Talent point.
  • Once you get to Expert you will be able to use crafting Vouchers to make upgraded gear. 
  • Be ready for some fun surprises! I would love to hear or see what you find!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Healing Is Hard (but it gets better...) REPOST

EDIT: Not sure why this post disappeared.  Here it is again.

  I was pretty excited that the Beta weekend was extending an extra day. With the holidays, bike riding, and the wonderful weather we didn't get in much playing time this weekend. However, last night we were unable to get a group together to run instances and the group finder was no help. We ended up messing around with housing stuff and Virika did a some cooking. She rather enjoys the way Wildstar handles crafting and I'm sure she'll write more about this later.

   The most obvious thing to talk about is the incredible new UI. It's more sleek than the original, taking up much less space on field of play. It highlights important information more prominently where players are likely to be looking. It needs a bit of polish still. Certain tooltips for UI elements are cut off and some are completely unreadable. I had several option boxes pop up obviously asking if I was sure I wanted to do the current action but all I could read was Yes and No. On my Esper, focus was just a percentage without a graphic bar or anything. And the white percentage text was hard to see on the colored background. Addons will obviously help further customization and I'm sure many more will be available after launch.

   Also added were body type options for character creation. I'm sure a lot of people will love it. For me, it's not the most important feature of the game. When we couldn't get an instance going early Saturday morning, we made some Granok toons. I went with warrior and Virika made a medic. Good times!

   And about healing... it can't feel very daunting at first. We had run through the last 12 levels or so without any instances beyond shiphand missions just racing to 50. This weekend, I was eager to jump back in. The first attempt we made was with Swordmaiden. At first I was failing very, very hard. We ran with a stalker tank that was jumping all over the screen like a jack rabbit. I don't know about stalker mechanics yet but he said he needed to move to keep his power up. And he moved and moved out of my aimed healing spell's telegraph most of the time. He was also moving so far that I believe he was often out of the range of my Mental Boon, a pulsing AOE heal over time spell. I realized as we got into it, that I was relying on the builder spell Soothe a bit too much.  It's disadvantage is that it has to be aimed but I believe it costs no focus and it can build up PSI points rather quickly. As of the latest patch, the Esper can move after the first charge is going, which certainly helps. But I was still missing probably half the time. It went especially bad when we pulled to many groups. As I started to rely more on spells like Mind Over Body and Warden to single target heal the tank and generate PSI points things got a little better . The tank still seemed to take a ton of damage and I did start to run into lack of focus issues on big pulls and boss fights. I improved as things went on but I'd like to get in some more practice before launch. At the end of the day, I'm glad the game feels challenging and I'm not feeling bored ever.

   I've been reading Medicating Nexus and I'm eager to see some more Esper specific healing from other sources. I plan to crunch some numbers myself but I lack the know-how to make a model like the one MN uses. But I do believe numbers are only part of the equation in Wildstar. The combat is much more active than other MMOs I have played. I think strategy of movement combined with quick reflexes and knowing what spells you can cast before you have to move again will play a major part in theorycrafting for Wildstar.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Couple of Thorns

   I have one nagging worry about Wildstar. There was something slightly off. As I mentioned before we hit level 50 just before the last beta weekend came to a close. While Virika and I both enjoyed leveling, I kept thinking about what will make Wildstar a great and successful game. So what makes a great MMO? I've been thinking a lot about this and here is the list I came up with:
  1. The experience of leveling and exploring the game world must be fun and feel rewarding.
  2. End game must be filled with enough content that is challenging and rewarding enough to keep the players interested.
  3. The game must be fun to replay. Leveling an alt character must be a unique experience that is just as fun as the experience a player had with their main.
   Obviously, there are certainly other factors behind successful games, like player base, community and several other factors. For now, I want to focus on the three above. 

   To the first item, Wildstar definitely has a great leveling experience. Nexus is a richly designed game world with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. The lore is fantastic and players log out wanting to experience more. At least to me, Wildstar has enough comedy to keep the player laughing and doesn't take itself too seriously. On the flip side, the conflict between the two factions is believable and the player feels heroic taking part in the struggle. A great sense of adventure dominated every zone I played through and I don't think it could have been much better.  

   As far as end game, I don't know yet. In terms of adventures and instances, Wildstar delivered heaps on the way up. Hopefully this upcoming beta weekend I can try out the level 50 veteran instances and cut my teeth on some serious PvP. Hopefully, I'll get the chance to experience the raiding situation before launch, but we'll see about that.  I am optimistic that Wildstar will deliver a fairly decent endgame with the launch.

   Replay. Alt characters... about this I am nervous. Although the leveling process was great, the zones were very linear.  I did the missions on the ship. I had a choice of two starting areas which were pretty good. I got to the main city and went to the next zone appropriate to my level. When I finished that one up or got to a point where the xp rewards were trivial I moved onto the next zone.  So on and so forth. There weren't options. My fear is that playing another character of the same faction will be an arduous chore on the way up to the end game. Everyone will be doing the same quests they did the first time through. That's just grind and not very fun.

   As I see it, there are two things a player can do to keep it interesting.  The first is make a toon on the other faction. While most long time players will want to do this anyway just for the experience, many will want their alt character to help support their main. Also, players want to keep playing with their friends. The other thing a player can do is choose a different path. This will provide some different content along the way. I don't know that it's enough though.

   Overall, Paths are a great idea. If you haven't seen it yet, check out this post by Tobold. He discusses some of the appeal of the paths system and why it works for players. Personally, I had fun doing the soldier missions and all that but I couldn't help but feel a little let down. I feel Carbine missed an opportunity with paths. Each path could have been a lead in to another unique story line. The objectives and rewards could have been a lot more thrilling. Some of those soldiers holdouts were difficult but most of them weren't. Throughout the game, doing path missions felt a lot like doing chores. Especially, the settler I played. There was way too much stuff to collect and it seemed never ending. The rewards for settler seemed a little better but at the end of the day I'm not good at doing chores at home and I don't really want to do them in the game. If a player could raise their character level by doing path missions, they could at least change up the leveling grind a bit.
   Obviously, I am still really excited about Wildstar. However, the linear questing model, I think is a serious flaw. It probably won't break the game but I hope that the designers think about this in the future.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

UI 2.0 PATCH NOTES (4/8/14) review

New patch notes were released yesterday, you can find them here: UI 2.0 PATCH NOTES (4/8/14)With only 2 more Beta Weekends scheduled before the launch, here are some big fixes to the game. This is a huge laundry list of changes, so if you really want to know it all, make yourself some popcorn and maybe some coffee, and just read it all for yourself.

This patch balanced a lot of class abilities and mechanics.  We haven't done nearly enough PvP or instances yet to fully understand the impact.  Mostly we were interested in changes related to quality of game play and player convenience.  Here are a few of our FAVORITE CHANGES for those of you who scrolled down hoping for a TL;DR.
  • New UI is out!
  • Fixed lots of mechanics so that they work as intended!
  • New character customization options have been added such as more hair options and body type. One can only assume this means that Nexus will be graced by lots of heavy set characters and females with larger boobs.
  • Many items such as potions, food, item specials, rune sets, and gadgets and AMPs have received a balance pass. We assume this means they have been balanced, but of course we shall have to wait and see.
  • Look to buy new AMPs at reputation vendors
  • "Completing the Thayd or Illium introductory tour quest now rewards the Player with a new recall spell to the capital city." This may seem trivial but it is a nice convenience. Anything that allows players to spend more time actually playing and less time getting ready to play is very good for the game.
  • Mailboxes have been added near Auctioneers in Capital Cities.  YES!!!
  • Telegraphs no longer get stuck being displayed after combat. When this happened it was very distracting especially when larger telegraphs overlapped with smaller ones and a player could not tell if an ability was going to hit.
  • The Group XP bonus has been increased for open world groups. Ungrouped players should no longer earn more per kill than players that are grouped. WTF? Were we getting jipped the whole way up to 50? Well, glad it's fixed.
  • Players in a Taxi will no longer hear someone else's Taxi Driver while on route. THANK YOU LORDS OF NEXUS. While I really enjoy the Taxi banter, it's very nice that Wildstar entertains you on those flights you have to take and are usually boring... but hearing overlapping voices telling different stories hurt my brain.
  • The player's cursor should now be visible on the zone map while mounted.We were constantly getting frustrated when we could not see each other on the map while questing together.
  • When we started reading about crowd control changes we were glad to see they are keeping the breakout mechanics. Basically, things like tether and disarm players have to do the mechanic to escape ill effects. Debuffs like blind, disorient without a breakout mechanic will be dispellable.
  • MOST IMPORTANT: Players can now enter the outhouse and sit on the toilet. Thank goodness the developers are concentrating on what's important.   I can hear the death narrator telling them, "Good job guys, we wouldn't want your player base having to go boom boom in the middle of a quest, now would we?"
Maybe we piqued your interest to read the whole post? Let us of know if you think there are any other must know points that we missed?

Unfortunately they announced on Twitter that there will not be another "bonus" Beta Weekend this weekend. The Wildstar Team will be at PAX East.  Have fun if you are going.

Thanks for reading!