World of Villains Online

21st July 2008 – 8.34 am

I was a little concerned when I bought my new computer a few months back. It was an expensive purchase and was replacing what was essentially a World of Warcraft arcade machine. As I had been burning out on a regular basis I wasn't sure I could fully justify replacing the computer, never mind that it was five years old. Having just spent the weekend bouncing from soloing in EVE Online to wreaking havoc in City of Villains before returning to the refreshed World of Warcraft, I feel better about my purchase. Not only is it the focus of my main hobby it is also an Intel-powered Mac, which has let me play the Mac client of EVE Online, and Crossover Games has enabled me to play City of Heros/City of Villains, as well as the Orange Box games of Portal, Half-life 2 and Team Fortress 2. Let's see what I got up to over the weekend.

It was double XP weekend in City of Heroes/Villains, and I wanted to take some advantage of the bonus to make some quick advancement. Magnet Magnetson bumped in to Melmoth and Zoso, from KIASA, to perform some nefarious deeds, and we ran around doing just that. I think we stole some underwear off a washing line, and maybe knocked on someone's door before running away, I was a little bewildered most of the time. I was not used to the sheer mayhem that was enacted before me as wave upon wave of enemy was thwarted apparently by steamrolling right over them. I'm not sure if being a Mastermind with lots of bubbles helped me to cope or not. I spent most of the time making sure my defensive bubbles were protecting everyone, and the rest of the time trying to catch up with where the other two had run off, meanwhile leaving my robots on aggressive mode to dish out the damage. Had I been a different archetype it's possible I could have got just as carried away and blasted anything in sight, and it was only because I was trying to take it all in that my mind couldn't cope. It was quite an experience, though.

I entered the Rogue Isles a couple more times over the weekend, revelling in the double XP extravaganza by, um, creating a new costume. I still hadn't created a second costume after running the quest at 20th level, and there I was at 22 in my old but still neat battle suit. Having luckily picked up some alchemical silver the previous day I could finally make the dragon wing costume piece that I had got the recipe for back before I'd hit 10th level, so I invented that before going off to complete the quest to get a cape. Zoso came along to help me steal a cape from a hero, and after that I hit the Facemaker's joint. I added a neat cape to my original outfit and created a second, more casual look for Magnet, with big dragon wings. I think it looks quite good, but it still isn't anywhere near to the thematic creations other people are clever enough to dream up.

Another solo mission or two got me a random invitation to team up, which I turned down as I was happy enough to take it easy. I was told that people in the team were levelling with each completed mission, and I replied that I was happy with already gaining three levels over the weekend. An incredulous reply came back seemingly belittling my lack of dedication to the One True Game that is City of Heroes (and Villains!), and that this random stranger had gained around thirty levels on several characters already by that point. I apologised and promised that I would try harder next time, just for him, before ignoring him and going back to enjoying my casual mission running. If only I hadn't wasted time also playing EVE Online and World of Warcraft I may have been a more credible gamer to a stranger. Shame on me.

My mission running in EVE Online continues apace. The new contact I made out in Lonetrek was sending me out to blow up Guristas most of the time, which was okay with me. My skill training has continued steadily, although I am a little without focus at the moment. Although I have plenty of interesting skills that can help me out individually I have no overall plan or goal to aim for, apart from getting a bigger and better ship. Having only just made the transition in to a cruiser it may be a bit premature to start to think about battlecruisers, although with the time required to train some skills it may be as good a time as any to start learning how to pilot larger ships.

Before I can pilot a larger ship I will need to buy a larger ship, which requires ISK. My wallet has not only recovered from the millions spent buying, equipping and insuring my Caracal but also jumped a few million higher than before that expenditure. Whilst the mission rewards, time bonuses, and pirate bounties continue to bring in some good money it is still the salvaging business that is my big earner. I have probably earned a couple of million ISK from missions, and in the same time the salvage that I have brought back and sold has netted me around six million ISK. It takes a little while to clear up after myself on a mission, but it's a great source of income. If only vacuuming were as profitable.

I took another speculative look around for different agents. I was making some good money from the agent in Lonetrek, with her +7 quality level, but I wondered if my continually rising faction standing might make more people amenable to dealing with me. Two agents jumped out at me in the list, offering another leap upwards in quality, being +17 and +18 the pair, and to make finding them even more attractive they were both in the same station, somewhere in The Citadel region. I pulled out my strategic maps, found their star system and plotted a course. The system wasn't too many jumps away, using Jita as a base point for convenience for now, and although it is in the low-end of high security space it was still in high security space. There are some systems fairly close that are low security, and I will have to watch out for that when asking for missions, but hopefully I can keep clear of any real trouble.

I packed my essential equipment in to the hold of Tiger Lily and made the trip to The Citadel. I spoke to both agents after I arrived and ran a mission for each of them as an introduction, happily not getting a courier mission to begin with this time, and received a nice chunk of ISK as a reward. I am looking forward to dealing more with them soon. They had more work for me lined up but I excused myself, saying that my LARP group needed me to get dressed up as a gnome and run around stabbing things with nerf daggers. I hope admitting to that won't affect my standing with them; at least I didn't mention the pink hair. I fired up World of Warcraft to join my weekend transatlantic group.

All but one of the group has hit 60 in World of Warcraft, and I found them wandering around Hellfire Peninsula looking for parts of a crashed zeppelin. With the huge zones of Outlands being shared almost equally between Horde and Alliance one of the group got a lesson in how people can be jerks that he had surprisingly managed to avoid in the almost-deserted Azeroth when various other characters kept picking up the zeppelin pieces that he was seeking. Yes, people will ignore that you're fighting a mob whilst standing on the quest item, they will loot it anyway. The real frustration is that there is nothing that can be done to discourage such behaviour. Even so, there was plenty of zeppelin parts scattered around for the handful of us looking for it, and there was no problem completing the quest before moving on to a different one.

I mentioned above that I had been burning out in World of Warcraft quite regularly. There were several factors invovled, one of which being running out of anything to do on my two level 70s, which prompted me to jump servers, and continent, to start a new character after some friends invited me to join them. Another factor was having done it all before, and Azeroth was quite boring for me to work my way through yet again, although this was helped along by the decreased levelling time as all as the new content in Dustwallow Marsh. Even so, there wasn't much appeal to Azeroth and without my friends I couldn't shrug off the malaise easily. But going back to Outlands is like a breath of fresh air.

Even though I have completed the Burning Crusade expansion's content twice already it still seems relatively new and exciting, something different, more interesting. Maybe it is simply it being less familiar than Azeroth, or maybe it feels more open yet cohesive as a whole, but rather than languishing in my fate of the next zone I am now positively looking forward to progressing through the different areas again. I didn't get much time in Outlands this week, and differing time zones don't help with getting together with the group, but I hope to get plenty of opportunity to enjoy the Outlands as a rogue.

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