Memorable Moments – Chapter Two

Today I’m going back to a great experience I had in 2009. As a line member of KIA Alliance I was living deep in nullsec for the first time in EVE Online.

Our home base was the TN25-J system in Period Basis. As long as we were part of the anti Band of Brothers coalition spearheaded by Goonswarm we had often traveled to Delve and Querious to fight BoB. After their defeat we didn’t have a clear focus or purpose for a while – which lead to most corps leaving the alliance in the end – and we mainly roamed around Period Basis and Stain shooting everything that wasn’t blue (i.e. allied with us).

Naturally Stain’s residents were keen to return the favour, so gangs of pilots from THE KLINGONS, Systematic-Chaos and Reikoku (a former BoB corp) came to harass us regularly.

One day nothing was happening and I ran missions to earn some ISK on my second account. Fortunately I was on Teamspeak just in case because suddenly one of ours called out “Guys, I need help, they have tackled my carrier in GR- !”.

At the time capital ships weren’t nearly as abundant as they are today and the prospect of losing one, no matter the circumstances, was devastating (well, at least it would’ve been to me), so we knew we had to save it. We didn’t have an experienced fleet commander online though, and there were a few moments of ‘Oh god, what are we gonna do?’.

The pilot reported that there were about 20 of them, all sub caps, and that he could tank them for quite a while. There was still time.

I quickly checked what ships I had ready to go, and since no one else seemed willing to step up I decided to at least get the ball rolling.

I asked everyone to grab any ship fitted for close range gank with a bit of tank and tackle, undock and meet up at our jump bridge in TN25 directly leading to GR-J8B. I hopped into my blaster fit Deimos and headed out to the bridge.

EVE Deimos
A more recent shot of a Deimos of mine – I was much too nervous to take screenshots then

While everyone scrambled to get their ships ready someone was mindful enough to contact our allied neighbors, Zenith Affinity, who would join us on site.

After a while a dozen or so sat on the jump bridge good to go. Some more weren’t quite ready, but the carrier was taking more and more damage. The clock was ticking.

I said “Jump, jump, jump! Latecomers just catch up when you’re ready.”

We landed in GR- and I let everyone align to our outpost. The carrier had been caught 15km off of it (how or why we’ll never know) and was still sitting there, tackled and slowed to a complete halt.

As soon as we got word that the Zenith guys were also in system and aligned I gave the command to initiate warp to the carrier.

To be honest, I don’t remember many details about the fight itself. I was in a frenzy, my heart pumping, my hands sweating. I think I called the enemy ship nearest to me when we landed primary, after that the carrier pilot took over the target calling. Astonishingly he seemed to be the calmest of us all.

Their DPS consisted mostly of Tech I cruisers, so our mix of battleships and Tech II cruisers was superior from the get-go. We destroyed the first ship, then the second, and on it went. More and more reinforcements trickled in on our side too, and before long we had wiped out the majority of their fleet. Only a couple managed to avoid being tackled and got away.

We rescued the carrier and didn’t even lose much – actually hardly anything – in the process while delivering a decent blow to our hostile neighbors. Op success!

The battle report consequently shows a very one-sided affair, but for me it was one of the most exciting battles I’ve had in EVE, and one of those rare gaming moments that was not only fun but also really meant (and still means) a lot to me.

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Memorable Moments – Chapter One

In my very first blog post I outlined my main reason for starting to write: to preserve and share great memorable experiences that might be forgotten otherwise.

One of those events came to pass in ArcheAge. Lakisa, our friend Tristron and I had a day full of adventure and excitement, and this was the catalyst that kindled my desire to write stuff down for the first time.

I had no idea how to start though, and unfortunately didn’t put in the effort to find out at the time. So now I’m going to try and reconstruct that day, for stories like these really shouldn’t pass into oblivion.

In order to get your medium sized farm in ArcheAge you need to do a couple of trade runs. Trade goods are crafted at certain workbenches and can be sold to trade NPCs for gold or other rewards. The farther away you sell, the more it’s worth. The kicker is that trade packs are very heavy and slow you down considerably. You wear them like a backpack one at a time, and if you put it down on the ground anyone can pick it up and steal it.

If you don’t own a farm cart yet you can only speed up the process by using public transportation (carriages or airships), or by riding a donkey.

ArcheAge Adventure2

ArcheAge Adventure4

ArcheAge Adventure3
We did all three during the quests leading up to this one

The last quest requires you to deliver a trade pack to the other continent, so you need to cross the ocean by boat. This is where it gets dangerous because as soon as you leave coastal waters you’re in lawless territory and anyone can attack you. We were still pretty low level at the time, so even without tradepacks on our backs we’d be easy prey for pirates.

When we finally reached the shore I spawned my clipper and we set sail.

ArcheAge Adventure1
Myself at the helm, Lakisa at the harpoon and Tristron ready to reef or hoist the sail as needed

We were very nervous and kept our eyes peeled because the sight of any sail on the horizon was more than likely to mean trouble.

We tried to avoid the direct trade routes and zigzagged our way towards the destination. Nevertheless we spotted another ship once and collectively held our breath, hoping that whoever it was didn’t see us or had other things in mind. After a couple of tense seconds it was out of sight again. Phew.

Luckily the quest doesn’t actually require to hand over the trade pack to an NPC, you just have to reach a specific area with the cargo on your back. You have to get pretty close to the shore though, and since it’s the enemy continent it’s residents can attack you anywhere. I held my course towards the dock with trembling hands, ready to turn around as soon as the quest updated.

Then it happened. “Reef the sail!” I shouted on Teamspeak and turned the rudder (i.e. pressed the D key) as hard as I could. After having turned about 120° I gave the command to hoist the sail again, and we quickly gained pace and sped towards the open sea. Mission accomplished.

We made our way to our own continent’s nearest shore unharmed and delivered our trade packs to an NPC for a bit of profit.

Since this had been so thrilling and fun we weren’t ready to call it quits just yet. Instead we decided to try getting our hands on snowlion mount pups, which meant we’d have to do another trip across the ocean and even venture into the heart of the hostile country.

ArcheAge Adventure5
First we took the scenic route by rowboat at night with Tristron on minstrel-duty

This time we crossed the sea without incident and soon Haranya’s coast came into view.

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The continent’s eastern theme is easily recognisable even from afar

But where to disembark? Enemy players weren’t our only concern, for NPC guards, too, would attack us on sight. The coastline consist of steep cliffs for the most part though, so we had no choice but to head for the village pictured above.

We found a spot without any guards close by, jumped off the clipper and tried to sneek our way into the hinterlands. We had to pass by a guard much too close for comfort once, but got through unharmed.

Once out of the village guards were no longer a problem, but we were still wary of other players and had quite a distance yet to cover. We decided to try going over the mountains instead of using the roads and paths.

We indeed managed to get pretty high up with the help of our gliders and some bold jumping maneuvers.

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And were rewarded with some breathtaking sights for our troubles

This proved to be a veritable shortcut. Not only did we not see another player the whole time, we were in fact very close to our destination once we started to descend the mountain range on the other side.

Now it was time to tense up once more though, because if the location of our own continent’s mount NPCs was anything to go by chances of encountering other players would rise dramatically the closer we got.

Shortly before we hit ground level we could actually see the NPC as well a a couple of players from a distance. Luckily the players were rather low level, so we figured we’d probably be able to talk to the NPC and buy the pups before anything serious happened to us.

We mounted our gliders and sailed right towards the NPC. We managed to land right next to him, quickly bought the pups we wanted and legged it as if the devil was on our heels.

We got what we wanted and didn’t even die in the process. Victory again! We decided it was time to port home, nurse the pups to grow them into mature mounts and call it a day.

It was a funny, exciting and very rewarding adventure, and this is why I really love to play sandbox-like games.

Black Desert Online – making adventuring great again

When I reached level 49 with my Witch the Black Spirit offered me a new quest. As long as you don’t finish that quest you can’t ding level 50. This is important because from level 50 onwards you’re enabled for PvP.

I had already read that some folks decide to lock their life skill characters at 49 so they can go out and do their stuff without ever having to worry about being ganked by some bored PvPer. Since there’s a penalty system in place for killing folks who haven’t flagged themselves for PvP this doesn’t appear to happen all that often, but it’s still a thing to consider.

While I thought about it I had an idea. During 2017 a few new classes have been added to the game, among them the Striker, a martial arts fighter. I’m a big fan of martial arts, and had already thought about trying him out. So why not play one for a while, and if I liked him let the Witch sit at 49 and level the Striker beyond 50 as my combat main?

Which is exactly what I’ve done. The Striker has lots of punches, kicks and combinations thereof in his arsenal, is beautifully animated and pretty fun to play. And he’s at level 50 already. Here’s how that happened.

Since I’ll continue to do life-skilling with the Witch I fully focused him on combat content from the start. Playing on one of the double XP servers and stacking all available daily boosts to combat XP on top of each other makes leveling a breeze. I outleveled main and combat quests very quickly just by killing enough mobs to fulfill said quests. Hence I decided to ignore all further quests for a while and just go to where mobs of the appropriate level are. The map has helpful icons depicting what type and level of mobs inhabit certain areas, even if you’ve not yet been there.

Black Desert Map Mobs

This indeed led me to regions I hadn’t been before very soon. A change of scenery was nice after having stayed in Heidel’s surroundings for quite some time.

When I reached the mid-40ies I chose another unexplored area where skeletons ought to dwell. After crossing a river the landscape changed dramatically, and instead of Serendia’s wide open spaces with mountains and the occasional group of trees and shrubs I found myself in a pretty dense forest.

BlackDesert64 Forest

It’s beautiful. The music there is quite ominous for some reason though. While I still relished the ambiance dusk came, and the world went very dark really quickly.

Black Desert Dark Forest
Like, really dark.

The spooky music made a lot of sense all of a sudden, and I now felt a very real sense of danger. I was far from known and safe territory, surrounded by high level mobs (which are stronger at night to boot), and I could hardly see the path right in front of me. Now I know what those lanterns and corresponding oil the game keeps handing out are for. Sure enough I had neither with me.

What the hell, I thought, I’m here to kill mobs, so let the pummeling commence! First I backtracked a couple of yards to park my horse in a supposedly safe spot, then I stormed into the fray.

I killed mobs left and right, just following the little red dots on my minimap. Soon I had no idea where I was anymore. The enemies didn’t exactly look like skeletons, but they gave XP and loot either way. They weren’t pushovers, but I didn’t take too much damage, so on I went.

After a while I arrived at a graveyard, and here I finally found the promised skeletons. Battering those is tremendously fun because they shatter to pieces, bones flying everywhere, with appropriate sounds to go with it.

BlackDesert Skeletons
I came back at daylight for your viewing pleasure. Yes, that’s a ribcage flying there.

I indulged in beating the crap out of the scraggy fellas until I dinged 49. Then I consulted the Black Spirit and took the quest to get to 50. Seeing that I had to travel a good bit further into unknown territory I decided to make my way there right away. So I just had to fetch my horse and…dude, where’s my horse?

Not only had I no idea where I was and where I had parked my horse. The button used to either whistle for your horse to come to you (if it’s close enough) or show you a path to it…was gone from the UI. Just not there. That didn’t bode well.

After contemplating alternatives for a minute I concluded that my safespot hadn’t been safe after all, and my horse had indeed died. This hadn’t happened to me before, so I wasn’t quite sure of the consequences. What I did know was that I now stood in pretty much the middle of nowhere without a horse.

Well, it couldn’t be helped. The course to the quest’s target area was plotted, so off I went. Fortunately the Striker can give himself a little speed buff regularly and is additionally wearing a pair of boots with +1 speed at the moment.

After a while I reached a little village that looks kind of like a base of operations for a bunch of lumberjacks. I ignored all of it’s inhabitants but one for now – I was relieved to see that there’s a stablemaster there. Sure enough he resurrected my horse for a fee, and it wasn’t even transferred back to Heidel, where I had stabled it last, I could use it right then and there instead. It has a Death Count of 1 now, which as far as I know might be a problem should I decide to use it for breeding. I will deal with that when/if it comes to that. At least I didn’t have to walk the rest of the way.

I reached the quest area without further complications, summoned the boss I had to fight, gave him a walloping, finished the quest, and after one more killed mob I dinged 50.

This was the first time in quite a while that I felt like I had a real adventure in an MMO. Which is exactly what I was hoping for when I picked up the game. So: yay!

What’s more, the next adventure was already waiting around the corner. But that’s a story for another time.