Sunday, 21 December 2014

Gold Making for Noobs Part I: Scavenging

I hate it when I see players asking other players for money because I feel it is due to pure laziness if a player runs out of money. Money run is part and parcel of every MMORPG, MUD is no exception. Like it or not, it's here to stay.

Alright. Not everyone can do money run like Nobody. For instance, I tried and spent 20 minutes or more to kill a single mob with Nectar in Olympus when I was a low gen. That's hardly a run isn't it? So is that the end of the story for new players with low gen toons too weak for anything the game offers? Not quite. Today I am going to show you how a Gen 1, Level 1 player can make some money instead of relying on online begging. In fact it's 10,000 gold in just 3 minutes. To do that I have to make a Gen 1, Level 1 player. 

Here it is:

Next, I have identified these two shops in Midgaard for noobs to start out with.

The armory and weaponsmith shown above will be the shop who will buy the items we are going to find in our scavenger hunt.

First off, go to Cloudy Mountain. Go to the Void (recall;s;s;s;e;e;e;s;u) and look for 1 coin, then a pile of gold coins then exit via the Mountain Road exit then w;n;e;n;n; and hey presto, you reached the gates of Cloudy Mountain. That will take you a minute once you get the hang of it. It's time to walk about the perimeter of the fort or even through the market areas for free loot. Don't worry if you bump into agro and  die. You are just a Level 1 toon, as good as a ghost. What's a little bit of dying? Anyway, soon I found stuff lying on the ground left over by some crazy leveling nut earlier. That took me another minute.

Pick these up

Sell these items at the armory and weaponshop highlighted earlier.

There you go, 10,000 gold in 3 mins.

The method can be repeated as you go higher level at popular leveling areas such as Canterbury (rings, earrings, cloak etc) and Hotel 81. (bedroom slippers, whips etc). Shops that buys in your scavenged items are not limited to the above 2 either. There are more shops in North Midgaard, for starters and other shops in non-agro areas such as New Thalos or even Canterbury itself. Explore around and you'll find more. Then tell me about it.

Thief is a go

This article is about why Thief is the strongest in HOTL3. Note that I'm very specific about picking out the Thief school instead of the Rogue class. That is because Bard school, as everyone knows by now, is well and truly broken - along with the hearts of the players who attempted to make something out of it. Along a similar line, my time spent building a Mage-based class felt like a waste of time too, because I was constantly outplayed by Thief players not less than 3 gens below me. That was when I need to reflect if it was truly game mechanics or I simply suck as a player. To verify that, I spent the weekend leveling a Gen 1 Thief and proceed to test it out.

My target mob was Lady Mara of the Realms of Wizardry. She is afraid of typeless and water. To make it worse, fire damage heals her. Fair enough. As a mage, we are expected to know everything in the book of elements. If a page or two is missing, tough luck. As such, it happens that I did not have Adv Water learnt at the moment. So my only feasible attack is Cyclone from the Wind School. Even at E7, it did modest damage. Lady Mara was healing faster than the pathetic damage I could deal, along with nice spells up such as Manashield, Counter, Reflect not to mention Complete Heal at ridiculous intervals. Ok. It was my fault that I didn't have Water damage equipped so I deserved to get my arse skewered by Lady Mara's Dagger of the Sun.

Up stepped the Gen 1 Thief. Haha! Noob. What could it possibly do? Scratch Lady Mara's eyelash? Surprisingly I could land a Double Backstab on her and brought her down to yellow, A Few Wounds. What?! Even if I used Ice Ball against her as a Gen 8 mage, I would be very lucky to take Lady Mara down to Few Wounds state within the same time frame - not even factoring in the high possibility of stopping to dispel her endless defensive spells. Alright, how did Divine Shot fare? I was able to unleash a double beauty of Atomise damage on Lady Mara. That made E7 Cyclone look like a miserable failed card trick.

I guess it's time for a re-roll.

Alright, let's discuss the disadvantages of a Thief commonly lamented by Thief players who must be either in mock horror or honestly unaware how difficult it is to play the other schools. One - high mana usage. That is true. All thief skills takes up extremely high mana and according to these Thief Masters, it doesn't seem to improve with Gen ups. 

What's my take on it? If I have to cast 5 Iceballs (or any spells) to match the damage of 1 Divine shot (of the same E), would my mana usage be close? How about the AP taken to do both? You do the sums. To me, I'll take the ability to deal the biggest damage in the shortest possible time. Besides, a Thief is not designed to spam attacks to kill their mob. What makes a Thief special is Backstab, not dagger attacks. The powerful skills are just icing on the cake to finish their heavily wounded mobs. With that in mind, high mana usage is a disadvantage that should and can be managed.

The second major disadvantage I was told was that it is hard to level a Thief up, especially in later Gens. I would respectfully disagree with that because other skills can be taken up (even temporarily) once we gain a couple of slots. By Gen 3-4, a Thief should have enough alternative skills to help out in leveling. The argument is that we have to get to Gen 3-4 first and it is really hard to level a Thief especially in the first two generations. Try that argument on a Wind Mage and you have no case. I have been playing a Gen 8 Wind Mage.

Now the advantages of a Thief. 

The Master of the Elements

To be an accomplished mage that can kill almost any Quest Mobs of your KP range, you need a decent mix of skills. To be fair, if you have Fire and Water, you should be able to kill most mobs. Until you meet a Margoyle or friends like that. Even so, how many slots will a Mage needs to hold up opposite skills of at least 2 schools? How about the Thief then? 22 slots - because a switch of dagger is all a Thief gotta do. It makes Wands usage looks like complete tool in comparison. What can a mage do when the mob is only afraid of typeless damage? No problem for our Thief. A modest Jewelled Dagger will finish it off. Suck it up.


Enough said. However, the biggest advantage of a Thief happens to be its biggest disadvantage in a no flee room but as I mentioned earlier, by a couple of gen ups, a Thief will have enough tricks up his sleeve to kill a mob that he cannot backstab repeatedly, at a normal pace.


A Thief's stealth ability will be as high as his gen. For a mage, cleric or fighter, that is a minimum of extra 4 slots for Invisible, and even more slots for hide. 

A bit of fun

Unlike the other schools which are basically spam-the-keys type, the fighting style of a Thief provides a refreshing difference.

My conclusion - A brilliantly designed school

In my opinion, there are no other school as well designed as Thief. For a start, none of its skills are completely useless as compared to skills like Ventriloquate. Each skill is also designed for a purpose so there is no wastage, unlike in the Wind school, skills like Armor, Shield, Bark Skin and Golden Skin basically does the same thing, robbing a Wind Mage of variation. Peek is a incredibly useful skill for Spec Book hunting. You wouldn't mind having a skill like Pick Lock in your pocket. Heal blade heals for an extremely high cost but the thing is - it heals. Being able to heal, bringing a mob down to its knee before the battle starts, impressive damage, able to hide the in shadows and the fact that all but a few locked doors stand in his way, a Thief can roam anywhere and survive. Even without skills from other schools as a complement, it is already the complete package.

I love it.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

My Reflections - 2 Months into HOTL3

A week or so more, it would be almost 2 months since I stepped into the precarious text world of HOTL3. I woke up this morning and felt a strong urge to pen my reflections about my gaming experience with HOTL3. Reflections being reflections, are not meant to entertain or hurt though it usually will, if it is done the way it should be - honestly.

I believe most players who interact with me in the game would agree I have a strong interest in the game thus far. I have been playing the game (a lot), actively coming up with suggestions (bad or otherwise), helping and getting helped by others regularly. Some may even describe me as a passionate player. If there is passion, I feel it comes from not just the game itself but the fascination of the rich history of the game. When I say history, I meant the ex-players, the crooks and the legends. Without incredible players, any game (however good) is just a few bytes of data, dead and cold without life. So there I was, absorbing any great tales any old players would stop and share. There was 'that bastard Cyrano' who killed mindlessly (and PKed me!). There was this living legend Uglyduckling who completed all his quests in Gen 1. Kaori the Obsessed, who got himself to Gen 30, enough said. Etc. Etc. I never grew tired of legendary folklore. Unfortunately, you will not hear of old players gushing about how a particular IMPlementor coding an entire area in 1 day and stuff like that.  Legendary tales are about players and always will be so. If you think about it, that's the way things are in many aspects of life too. The star lead singer or the star striker will usually get more limelight than his band and team respectively.

That led me to wonder if we understand this basic principle. However great a game is, the players, the community defines the true greatness. Thor probably (hopefully) understands the fact and shared with me his ambition of tripling regular players in the game. To do so, he felt a compelling need to complete a new tutorial for newbies before he sends his invitation to his huge mailing list. Regarding the tutorial, I have been roped in to test out the tutorial. In my opinion, it wasn't going too well and Thor must know that, judging from his clear frustrations last evening, which I felt he vented some on me. He was unhappy with the way I did my test plans. Truth to be told, I felt I was unfairly treated. None of the bugs we encountered in the last test was new. I have been actively noting them down in our shared chat but it seems that no one bothers to read or address them. True enough, when Celine was roped in to test the tutorial and went through it 'stage by stage', he/she found nothing wrong and pronounced the tutorial 'a go.' From my testing point of view, the tutorial remains broken. However, I don't need anymore hints that I am regarded as someone who is playing the fool in my testings and I decide I shall take part no more in this. After I moved to Perth from Singapore, I came to realise and adopt one important principle in my life that makes me a much happier person - I don't work with angry people. In any case, without me, these unsavory bugs wouldn't surface, since I get the impression none of the earlier testers seem to have pointed them out. The future testers shall make the testing work less frustrating. 

Having said that, I am not out of the game - yet. I'll come to that later. At the moment, I will still be contributing by updating stuff on this blog such as the Hint Area Specialise Books project and other useful information such as the latest Pet Shop navigation guide. I told Az, who is currently updating the official website, to lift any information he find useful from me. As for suggestions or ideas, Thor told me he was focusing on nothing except the tutorial. Oddly enough, for my short 2 months stay here, I've experienced multiple changes to the AP system, a complete nerf to my money-running method (which I believe I'm the only one doing so recently) by making the entire Keep of Mahntor anti-transportation and I also just found that unlike previously, I am unable to gain anymore gold after 100 million gold. (the number just froze.) Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to tell someone how to arrange furniture in his own house. The key fact remains that I am a guest and I know exactly where I stand. That shouldn't restrict me from sharing the irony though, for a lighthearted laugh.

Like I shared in the beginning of this blog, I'm a newbie in HOTL3, but I'm a veteran in gaming. I have been there, done that as much as any players in HOTL3 - just that I did it elsewhere. There isn't anything that will really surprise me. I've seen games rising to greatness and falling to dust. I've participated in close knitted gaming communities. Stepping away from a game one day is inevitable. The officials and community define the length. That's all. They decide the demographics of the players they want to keep and alienate.

I couldn't help but be amused each time someone give me comments such as, 'Wah, Dragonspawn so fast!' They were referring to how fast I progressed in the game. I respectively beg to differ. The last time I checked, I have chalked by more than 50% of the time logged in held by the 'No-lifer' record holder Pris in less than 2 months. With that kind of hours, doesn't it seem natural my toon will progress the way it is? From my observations, players who joined the game around the same time as me, such as Eken, has at least 3 toons higher than Gen 2 by now. That adds up to about 6-7 Gens easily, about the same as my only significant character in the game. Kregar, a player that recently joined, got two toons to level 50 in 2 weeks. I believe there is no real need to make any changes to the game to 'slow down players' because we may be under an illusion that is due to the imbalance of the game, masking the fact some players are just more obsessed than the others. For one, I will still be among the richest players in the game as long as I play because of a simple fact - I run and most others don't. I have to agree with Az on this - If it ain't broken, don't fix it. There are surely more things worthy of attention, such as a tutorial.

Or is it?

If you ask me as a 2 month old not-so-newbie, what will a good tutorial do for me when I first join the game? Before I answer this question, I will like to share that there was a player who joined the game almost at the same time as me. He chose a Titan as his race and he was obviously struggling like me trying to figure how the heck this game works. He did not advance beyond level 2 and I have not seen him since. If I may make a wild guess, that is a scenario Thor hopes to avoid when he open the floodgates to the expected influx of newbies. But if you think about it, for the Titan who quit at level 2, there is another Dragonspawn who advanced to Gen 6 and is still playing today. What is a possible reason behind this and will the tutorial change this? Of course, I don't have an answer for that. On my personal note, I wouldn't have stayed in the game for long if Thor did not teleport to me and chatted me up, pumped me up with some newbie EQ and enchanted my Dagger of Intellect which I still fondly kept with me till now. I wouldn't have advanced so far after he weened me off without ridiculously helpful players from my clan or the rival clan alike. I would have strayed mindlessly in Gen1 and quit the game eventually if Cee didn't offer to fuse me to let me have a taste when E1 skills actually meant. From time to time, I learnt new things from players who taught me intriguing things about the game, such as hunting for Specialise Books, which I eventually include in my daily routine. With due respect to the smashing new tutorial to come, these players offered me much more beyond at a profound level. Personally, I concluded that is what made me stay, along with the play-ability of the game. (for now). I believe if we want a HOTL3 population to flourish, we should garner the existing players together to pay attention to new players. The tutorial is a good tool, but not the key. Already, I've seen the population almost doubling from the time I started out even without the tutorial launched. I believed how I 'cared' for Goran and Groot makes a bit of difference just like what Thor did for me. 

And that will probably work wonders for the future Glint, Devona or Patsy.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Pet Guide

I've included a speedwalk to the respective locations of the pet shops. All you need to do it to copy my speedwalk, paste in your client and hit enter! Pass door will be helpful.

13Macaw2601690Town of solace
13The Spearman1601690The Bazaar
15Raven3002250Town of solace
19Hawk3803610Town of solace
21Falcon4204410Town of solace
22The Bowman4404840The Bazaar
28The Swordsman5607840The Bazaar
35Nimbus Cloud70012250Dragon City
40Green Dragon80016000Dragon City
the bazaarrecall;s;s;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;n;n;n;n;n;
dragon cityrecall;s;s;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;w;s;w;w;s;s;w;s;w;w;w;n;e;n;e;open n;n;n;e;