Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Grandpa Anarchy Tales -- The Magic Knight

The Magic Knight
Mark Allen Davis

The cave was hot and dark like the pit of hell. Black smoke hung in the air, lit by the glow of a corner forge. A cloaked figure stood poised, a thick leather tome in hand.

In the center of the room stood an old man in a gray suit and fedora. He looked startled. He had a silver anarchy symbol on his lapel, and a butter knife in one hand.

"Welcome, Otherworldly Knight," the robed figure intoned, bowing low. The old man stared back. Peanut butter plopped down on black stone and chalk runes.

"Damn," the old man said. "Wizard, am I right? You Gandalf rejects have always got the most craptastic timing. Here I am, putting the finishing touches on a beautiful double-layer PBJ, and you gotta summon me to your crappy world for some crappy quest. You think you couldn't have waited five minutes? Give a fella a little warning, that's all I ask."

The robed one was momentarily taken aback. He rallied. "Yes, I am, as you have surmised, a wizard. I have summoned you to the world of Ascord to aid us in our hour of need, according to the thousand-year-old prophecy. Only you can save...."

"Yeah, yeah, spare me the details," the old man said with a wave of his hand. "I've heard it all. You're the wizard, I'm the hero. 'Nuff said. Name's Grandpa Anarchy, by the way. So, what's the situation? Dragon needs slaying? Dark Lord to depose? Princess needs rescuing? If so, is she cute?"

The wizard coughed. "My name is Grand Vizer Zel Gotti....."

The old man's eyes narrowed. "Grand Vizer's are always evil, in my experience...."

"I am not evil," the wizard snapped. "Now shut up and listen. Mr. Anarchy, according to legend only you can save my world. You must first fulfill several quests...."

"Quests?"  Grandpa frowned. "Hey look, I didn't sign up for no quests. I'm not missing Thursday night pinochle with the Archons of Excellence just because you guys can't get your act together on your own."

The wizard sighed. "Mr. Anarchy, I promise to return you in time for your scheduled social event. 
Now can you please allow me to proceed without interruption?"

"Yeah, ok," Grandpa Anarchy replied. "You're the magic guy. Lay it on me."

"First, you must retrieve the Fang of Kaytla, the sword which King Zo Iffelo wielded in the battle of Thermata...."

"Magic sword, got it," Grandpa replied.

"Next, you must retrieve the Shield of Land's Edge which is said to block any magical attack...."

"Now that sounds useful," Grandpa commented.

"Lastly you must retrieve the Amulet of Thorofu, upon which the fate of the world rests. Should it fall into the hands of our enemy Thorufunaut, all will be lost."

Grandpa nodded. "So this Amulet of Tofu is the magic maguffin? Let me guess: I'm supposed to destroy it, right? So that the bad guy can never get it?"

"Not 'Amulet of Tofu'", the wizard snapped angrily. "It is called The Amulet of Thorofu. For it was created by Lord Thorofunaut to grant him immense power over the world. Yes, you must destroy it, by casting it into the very fires from whence it was forged."

Grandpa Anarchy snapped his fingers. "I knew this was a Lord of the Rings riff!" he crowed. "Damn. Those are the worst. Well, they don't call me a hero for nothing, so let's get crackin'. The sooner I start, the sooner we'll be done. Where do I find this magic sword, then?"

Grand Vizer Zel Gotti gestured to the far wall. "It's over there."

Grandpa Anarchy frowned. He crossed the room and lifted a sword from the wall. "What, this?"

"Yes," the wizard replied. "Next, you must retrieve the Shield of Land's Edge. You'll find it in the next room."

Grandpa left the room. He returned with a round shield. It glowed blue.

"Look," Grandpa Anarchy said, "I don't mean to complain, but I can't help but notice that your quests are... how shall I put it? A bit lacking in epic scope."

"Naturally," the Grand Vizer replied. "Knowing what would be required to fulfill the prophecy, I spent months in preparation. I have gathered within these rooms everything needed to complete your task...."
"And you call this a quest?" Grandpa retorted. "In my day we had real quests. People suffered. People sweated blood. It took courage, faith, and heart...."

"Look," the wizard replied peevishly, "nobody said it would be difficult, only that you were the only one who could do it. I've already done all of the hard work for you. You want to return to your world in time for this 'pinochle' ceremony, don't you?"

"Yeah, ok," Grandpa said. "Knock yourself out. What do I do next? Oh, right the Amulet of Theraflu, right?"

"It's Thorofu," the wizard growled. "You'll find it on that table there."

Grandpa Anarchy retrieved the amulet. It glowed red, like an evil amulet should. Grandpa glanced at the forge in the corner. "Don't tell me," he said. "This is the fire from which the amulet was forged?"

"The very same," replied the wizard.

"And I just toss this in there, and I'm done? World saved, and all is well?"

"Yes. Now, hurry! Only you can do this!"

"What's the rush?" Grandpa replied.

"As long as that amulet survives, our world is in peril! The enemy threatens us all!"

"Yeah, but I'm right here," Grandpa said. "Besides, something about this just don't feel right. How can a great victory be so easily achieved? Who's going to write an epic poem about how I spent five minutes picking up things in a room? How can a victory without sacrifice have any meaning?"

"Listen, you pea-brained fool," the wizard growled. "I'm the one who made all the sacrifices! Do you think it was easy to gather everything here in this room? All you have to do is toss the damned amulet into the forge! Now do it already!"

"Yeah, yeah, I got it," Grandpa replied. "But I'm doing this under protest. If there's one thing I know from all my days of heroing, it's that great victories are never so easily achieved. It just never happens that way, hear me? Like that time I was fighting the Deadly Dervish of Doom. I thought I'd defeated him, but just when I let down my guard, BOOM...."

With a sound like a clap of thunder, the wall exploded. Dust settled, revealing a hulking, shadowy figure with glowing red eyes and sharp black spikes on his gloves and his massive pauldrons.

"Give me the amulet," the newcomer said. His voice was deep, hollow, and grating, like the opening of a sarcophagus.

Grandpa Anarchy cracked his knuckles. "There," he said. "Now we're talking. I told you it was too easy. Now, hold this.... He handed the amulet to Zel Gotti. Lemme show you how I saved the world back in my day with my fists."


Friday, September 28, 2012

Characters 7 -- My Other Scrappers

I have a lot of level 50 scrappers.  I've already posted about the MA scrappers (Shinobu, Tiffany Blackheart, Nina Ballerina, Jalia) and about my earliest characters Organica and Mouse Police, and my favorite character Sparks Fly, but I liked playing scrappers quite a bit so I got several more to 50.

I sometimes forget that my first shield scrapper was Valkyrie of Atlantis.  This is probably because I didn't play her to 50 -- she was level pacted with Tiffany Blackheart and got a free ride.  I IO'd her out and started playing her when she was above level 40, but I never played her a lot.  I also didn't give her an "overpowered" shield build like my other shield scrappers and brutes got -- full softcap with high damage and high global recharge.  She had a very good build, make no mistake, but not a "money is no object, can farm at will at +4/8" build.

Also, I had a sort of love/hate relationship with the character's look and background.  On the one hand it was very creative and I loved that, but on the other hand I had a hard time getting into playing the character.

Maiden Knight was my "other" regen scrapper -- aside from Mouse Police and Organica, who were both katana/regen, I had Maiden Knight, a broadsword/regen.  This was an older character because I was very tired of playing regen at least three years ago.  But I got her to 50 and gave her a very nice recharge-saturated build, and moved her to Justice where she stayed, but wasn't played very much.  I always loved the knight look and wish I'd made her as a broadsword/shield.

Once I'd really IO'd Sparks Fly (electric/shield) out with a godmode build, I wanted to try fire/shield as well.  I created Trinkets and pushed her to 50 in a very short amount of time.  She got a very similar build and was one of my two go-to toons on my primary account for Power Leveling (Sparks Fly is on my secondary account).  Only slightly less powerful and destructive than Sparks Fly, Trinkets does better in single target damage so it's almost a wash.  I really like playing her.

Right after Trinkets hit 50 my next project was a spines scrapper.  I wanted to try everything, and my friend Multiple Girl loved spines scrappers, and had a very tough and dangerous spines/invulnerability scrapper.  But for Sister Kate, I went with spines/willpower, and softcapped smashing/lethal damage.  I had an idea that if I could manage to softcap smashing/lethal on a Willpower, I'd be almost unstoppable, and this is pretty much the case.  It was hard to do with Spines because there aren't a lot of single-target melee attacks (and one attack is ranged) but I think I softcapped both melee and energy defense.  After this success, I eventually went back and did the same thing for Tiffany Blackheart and Nina Ballerina, making both of them exceptionally powerful, and I created more Willpower scrappers and brutes on the same formula (War Maid was one).

Thorn Kitten was my only other spines melee character ever.  She predated Sister Kate but I don't think she's a Willpower, which is why I made a different character when I started the Sister Kate project.

Broadsword/Shield was a very reusable combination for me, because there are so many different concepts you could make with it.  Aside from the brute Princess Shinobu that I posted a few weeks ago, I had Valkyrie of Atlantis (a knight from the ocean's depths), Sabine Hun'andar (a dark elf knight) and, just as a catch-all for all of the other options, there was Medieval Crisis, who took the form of different warrior champions from different eras and fantasy settings.  Medieval Crisis could be a Valkyrie (above), or a Dark Knight, or a Dwarf, or an Elf, or a Samurai, or a Magical Girl, or a Barbarian Warrior, or an Ogre.  Here's a picture that captures all of the different looks:

One Divine Hammer is yet another shield scrapper -- a mace/shield.  Mace was, for a long time, the providence of tankers and brutes only and was once considered a lackluster attack set.  But it got fixed and ported to scrappers where it really stands out as an excellent high-damage set.  I hadn't even noticed when it got ported, but when my friend Multiple Girl mentioned that mace scrappers were supposed to be awesome, I had to go make one that very night.  And not only that, but after seeing mine in action, another friend Cobalt Avenger had to make his own mace/shield scrapper.  :D  I'm hoping to get One Divine Hammer up to 50 before the end here.

I could do a whole separate blog entry on all of the Mouse Police characters I have (one for nearly every server).  The original was one of my earliest characters on Pinnacle, and my first catgirl.  She was an invulnerable/energy melee tank that I got to level 19 and I got tired of the low damage numbers from tanks and lower level energy melee attacks, and I redesigned her as a dark melee/invulnerable scrapper.  Ultimately I moved her to Justice and got her as high as 45, but I will probably never make it to 50 with her.

I had a 40+ ice blaster on Freedom named Mouse Police, and a high 20's empath defender on Infinity named Mouse Police, and a Warshade Mouse Police that got up to level 13 or so I think.  But most of them were level 2 characters I never did anything with.  I had vague plans to get a level 50 MP on each server but only accomplished that on two -- my katana/regen scrapper on Virtue, and the Mouse Police on Victor, a fire/super reflexes scrapper who I really loved playing, but after I got her to 50 I didn't play on Victory that much.  She was my only Super Reflexes character, and my first fire melee to get to 50.

I had a lot of other scrappers too of course, including at least two dual blades.  Scrapper was one of my favorite ATs to play.  ^_^

Thursday, September 27, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 27

I have today off but I'll be at the convention by Noon (and I'll have to turn in my rental and go pick up my PT Cruiser this evening, assuming it's actually finally fixed by tonight).  But I logged in this morning for a couple of hours.  I spent my time working on my build for Swift Sky, and then Power Leveling her three more levels to level 38.  My build is mostly complete to what I can actually slot at level 38, but I still have bids in for a few things.  I spent some money this morning!  Hope it went to someone who is still playing the game and can use it.

Usually I try to get pictures from whatever Task Force I did that day, but I'm often busy and forget, and even when I do remember, there's not always time to swing the camera around to get a good angle (and I wish the camera controls in this game were more robust).  I don't usually consider taking pictures while I'm PLing, because PLing is not exciting, so it doesn't occur to me that pictures from it would be interesting.

But I was thinking today that I really enjoy just beating up on bad guys, even on a Council Earth map that I've run over and over.  No other game is going to let me run at super speed, take a flying leap, land in a group of 15 oor 20 enemies above my level, and then unleash massive AoE destruction upon them, all while dressed as a ballerina girl, or a cat, or a barbie doll, or a demon, or (insert your character here).  Just the act of leaping into the enemy group is a blast, I do that all the time and it's one reason I usually take combat jumping as a pool power.

So I thought, "I really like doing this, I should document it.  It's one of the things I'll miss when the game's gone."

Also since I control the pacing and there's only my character to deal with, I can generally get better pictures. So here's a few of me smashing Council:

I'm going to miss all of this.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 26

The first thing I did tonight was scour my bases for IOs that I needed for Swift Sky's build.  My bases are growing a bit bare in some respects, because of all my recently IO'd alts.  I used to keep a lot of Miracle and Numina uniques lying around, but could only find one lone Miracle for Swift Sky.  Also I need a bunch of Eradication, regular Numina, and Reactive Armor IOs for my build, which I've had in the past but not much t be found at the moment.

On the other hand I had some of the other stuff I needed -- all the Luck of the Gambler Defense and +7.5% rechage IOs I could want, full scrapper ATO set, Rectified Reticle set, Glad Armor +3% IO, Performance Shifter endurance IO (but not the +endurance proc), run stealth proc, and 3 of 4 pieces for four different sets of Kinetic Combat (I never have any of the damage/endurance lying about).  Also full set of Basilisk's Gaze even though I haven't picked up Char yet. So my build is about half done.

I did a little more PLing of my scrapper.  I accomplished three things:   1.  Got Swift Sky to 35,  2.  Got to 28 shards on Trinkets and proceeded to craft my Favor of the Well and my T4 Alpha, and 3.  Got another purple drop, a sleep IO this time.

I like to drop my IO into a global channel to show off when I've got a purple drop.  Since this dropped to Swift Sky, the one being PL'd, that account was on the laptop.  Earlier I'd tried to alt for what I thought was an ITF being started by a friend, but the game had crashed on my main computer, and having Swift Sky still on the laptop I'd started to send a tell to the friend who I thought was starting the ITF (while I was logging back in on the main computer), before realizing they were doing some other kind of Nemesis mission instead.  So I hadn't completed the tell, but in my chat bar I still had /t @friend sitting there.  My laptop sits off to the side and has a weird keyboard (it was a German-made laptop I got cheap) and the numlock key is always on, and I tend to play in the dark so I can't see the keyboard (I have a bluetooth keyboard if I need, but nowhere to set it on the desk, so it's either in my lap or set aside).  Suffice it to say, I hadn't bothered to clear the chat bar because it was too much trouble, and I might have sent my friend a blank message or garbage character message in the process.

So I tried to send to my global channel a link showing off my new purple recipe, but instead I sent it as a tell to my friend.  Felt kinda dumb doing that, although he just made fun of it.  But then, I figured, what the heck, and sent him my crafted purple from the night before.  This had been a Coercive Persuasion, but after all of these PL runs Trinkets had 15 converters on her and I'd converted it into a nice Armageddon.  So random stupid tell becomes nice purple IO!  :D

Just after I got Swift Sky to 35, a Manticore formed and I joined on Trinkets.  Wanted to get my high-damage scrapper out on a real TF for a change, instead of running around a Council earth map over and over.  We had an electric melee/shield brute, and a mace/shield  brute, and a street justice/willpower brute, but I still think I was the tank!  :D

Finished our Manti in 37 minutes.  That was my evening.

I won't get to play much for the rest of the week, I'll be at a con (Rainfurrest) so that may be all I have to add.  Might do a little tomorrow morning and/or Sunday evening, we'll see.

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 25

Tuesday I logged to do some more PLing on my new scrapper Swift Sky, but a WST respec trial run was forming and that sounded fun (well... apart from all the wait time in the reactor core) so I joined that.  I was on One Divine Hammer, my mace/shield scrapper.  I forget what level she is or what I got to, but close to 40 by now.

It was a really good team and a lot of fun, and predictably I found the very last sky raider out in the hallway where he'd ported.  Anyway, had fun.  Right after that an ITF was forming, but I was inclined to spend some time PLing rather than commit to an hour long ITF, and anyway it was only a  day removed from a 2 hour 20 minute ITF.  So I was a bit gun shy I suppose.

Little PLing got Swift Sky up to level 32 and got Trinkets to 25 shards.  I had 3 notices of the well on her, so I really only needed 28 shards and I could break down one notice and craft my Favor of the Well for my T4..  I got three shards in a row to get to 25 and was really excited... and then I got nothing the rest of the evening.  But I got another purple drop -- my third or forth in the last week, a Coercive Persuasion that I crafted before logging off.

The other thing I did was work up a build for Swift Sky in MIDS, but it was too late to try and actually implement it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 24

I've been on a few ITFs from hell in my time, and I don't know that the one I was on tonight would qualify as the worst.  But it was probably one of the longest and weirdest.

To start with, I was PLing my new toon Swift Sky a bit (from 22 to 27 actually) and a friend asked me if I wanted to do an ITF.  This was before he announced he was forming it.  I don't know that I've ever done an ITF with this person, but I've run many other TFs with him, so I had no reason to be worried.  But right after I joined, he proposed PuGing the rest of the team.  That worried me a little.  And I wasn't able to respond, because I had a sudden graphics glitch and decided to reboot.  By the time I got back, he'd already started filling via the LFG channel.

I was on Forest Goddess, a Nature Affinity defender.  My friend was on a corr.  I suggested I could switch to some kind of melee type, but he said we'd be just fine.  Anyway, I broadcasted to a couple of channels and two people I knew joined, so I wasn't that worried.  We had two scrappers and a tank who didn't have taunt, but he was an invul tank with a lot of set bonuses showing.

Our leader gave up the star to someone who was 50 and after discussion decided to run at +1.  We didn't have any incarnates on the team and a lot of sub-50's, but he figured we could handle it.

Our first problem came in the first mission, and it didn't seem like such a problem to me.  Leader announced that when the door was unlocked he'd head up to the temple and ATT everyone there.  He did this while we were fighting the last couple of guys in the tunnel leading to the outside, so we left 2-4 enemies behind, and we skipped the path.  I know the group I normally team with likes to take the path, but not everyone does it that way.  But one of my other friends threw a fit.  "Why the hell did you teleport everone up here?  I didn't know we were doing a speed run!"  He was way overboard, the leader apologized, said that's the way he'd always done it, and then my other friend was still complaining in one of our global chat channels about it.  I really thought he was blowing things out of proportion.

Anyway, in the second mission someone asked if we were going to wait for the ambuses, and when the nominal leader said yes, friend2 said, "So we're not doing a speed run anymore?"  But anyway, mission 2 went well enough.

When we got to mission 3, friend2 asked what the plan was, and the leader asked what people wanted.  This seemed to be his M.O. for the rest of the task force, let other people decide what to do.  I said it was a good thing to be decisive and tell people what the plan is, and he asked me privately why he should say anything if we were just going to "be boring and steamroll the TF anyway".  Well, for starters, you haven't said we're going to steamroll, or speed, or kill all, or go for shards/XP, at any point.  That's part of the problem.  Plus I like steamrolling an ITF -- at least, on a good team that can steamroll quickly and efficiently.  We weren't that, exactly though.

At the computer leader said he was going to pull the AVs... well actually, he asked if people thought he should, but he was encouraged to do so.  This failed, and we defeated the computer with the AVs still waiting up top.  There was general disagreement about whether they should be pulled down or we should just fight on the platform -- I'm all for fighting on the platform, especially since we'd already finished off the computer without pulling them, but I was on a defender, the tank decided to pull and the leader insisted that the turrets up top would kill him quickly.  Anyway, we pulled, and didn't bother clearing the platform.  Oh well.

Things got more interesting in the final mission.  By this point, even I was annoyed that our leader wasn't really giving any instructions.  Which path we took was essentially a vote.  We got to Rommy and cleared around him, and leader said we should attack him where he was instead of pulling him to the grass -- he asked what good it would do to pull him to the grass, which just set friend2 off again in private channels -- anyway, we charges in, and here's where thing went from slow and sort of disorganized to downright stupid.

The tank couldn't keep Rommy taunted.  At all.  I don't really understand why not, Invulnerability has a very strong taunt aura and an invul scrapper can taunt Rommy pretty well, I've done it, friends have done it.  But our tank couldn't do it.  I think NA's debuffs tend to make enemies want to run, but what am I supposed to do, not debuff the AV?  Most of our team was level 49 and Rommy was level 52, so that was a problem, we had trouble generating a lot of damage, but basically the main problem was Rommy ran everywhere, even under the ramps to one side of the platform.  It was a nightmare.  We had a dom on the team too, but she didn't seem capable of holding Rommy except on very rare occasions when she'd lock him down for, oh, 30 seconds.

At one point the scrapper who was the 50 placed in charge died, and then mysteriously vanished, never to return.  I know things were going bad but I really hate people that just quit like that.  That's one reason I prefer to run with friends, you know what they're capable of, you know how they like to do things, and most of all you know they won't bail on you.

The entire ITF took 2 hours and 20 minutes.  :p  We did stay around to clear the towers and part of the right path so that friend2 could get the final bubble to 50.  Forest Goddess got level 44 and more than halfway to 45, so that was good I guess, but it was a long and painful 1.5 levels.

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 23

To begin with, there was this picture:

This was posted in the "Costume Redesign Thread" because someone was trying to replicate that look.

Now, we are told that this is a male character, so the best replies were imaged of male characters.  But I and a couple of others submitted female versions.  Here's mine:

This was all a few weeks ago.  This past week I came across this picture again, and suddenly I really, really wanted to make a character with this look.  I know I've sworn off making new alts -- but surely one more couldn't hurt?  I've only played titan weapons to 50 once, and that was with a sword.  I know the set is no different with a hammer, but for me looks and concept mean a lot, so really, it does make a difference.  After all, I have 5 or 6 different broadsword/shield scrappers and brutes because each one embodies an entire different concept/look.

The next step was the Virtue Name Watch thread.  Well, actually, the next step was finding someone to delete.  I have 48 characters on Virtue on each of my two main accounts, and while I clearly won't be playing all of those characters again before the game signs off, I don't really want to delete most of them.  But I had a Street Justice scrapper named Tori Blackheart (sister of Tiffany Blackheart) who was all of level 4, and not likely to ever see level 5.  And I already had a Street Justice brute (Megamisama) and stalker (Shinobi Shinobu).  So into the dustbin went Tori!

Then the next step was Virtue Name Watch.  Some people had "released to the wild" names that they'd been saving (hoarding) against the day they might use them for a good concept.  I searched through said name list and came across Swift Sky, which I liked quite a bit.

Thus was my new scrapper born!

I gave her three different looks, so she's not always a near-clone of the original picture.  ^_^

This will almost certainly be the last new character I create, and my goal is to get her to 50 as well.  Maybe just by PLing most or all of the way there, we'll see.

I spent a lot of time Sunday powerleveling Swift Sky up to 22.  Then a friend wanted to start up a Numina Task Force, so I joined that with Black Snake Sister.  This was good -- in my rush to get more characters to 35 and Numi-capable, I'd completely forgotten that the actual friend who was running all of the WSTs for the helper badge wasn't going to be around for a while.  But there's always someone running whatever TF is the WST, I suppose.

Anyway that was all I got to do Sunday evening, I was busy for most of Sunday until about 5 PM, so I only had a few hours to play.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 22

This morning my goal was to get a couple of my level 25-30 characters up to 35 so I can join a Numina or ITF with them.

Most of these characters are on my 2nd account, and I have several I want to play.  First and foremost is Eternal Sweeper, my staff melee / ninjitsu stalker.  I only have 1 level 50 stalker, but I like Sweeper a lot so I want to get her to 50 too.  Then there's my crab spider Black Snake Sister, and my Bane Spider Barbie Bane, and my dual blade scrapper Vashti Ahandra.  The first three were level 30, Vashti is only 26.

Anyway, my primary goal was to get one or two of them to 35 so I could do Numi with them.  I logged in Trinkets my fire melee/shield scrapper and logged Eternal Sweeper on the laptop, and after an hour plus of PLing I managed to get Sweeper to 35.

I switched to Black Snake Sister, but by this point friends were logging in and starting up task forces and stuff, so I only got her to 32 before I decided to join a Numina that Freaky was forming.  This meant switching back to Eternal Sweeper on the main computer, and it also meant I had to level up fast, check my MIDS build so I knew what slots I wanted where, and I also spent time at the university in Founder's trying to craft all of the IOs that I had on me while the team was still forming.  (Eternal Sweeper is one of those toons who I had level locked at 30 for a while so that I could run SSA's once a week and do random rolls on level 30 recipes -- she was nearly full on level 30 recipes that weren't crafted yet.)

I didn't use an XP booster this time -- Numi is a lot of stealthing missions and running around zones and not so much experience (except for the end bonus of course).  I was still level 35 when we finished, but immediately another friend was starting up a Citadel, so I joined that.  We finished that off in 1 hour 17 minutes, and I got to 36 and halfway to 37.

I went back to PLing Black Snake Sister.  Having run Eternal Sweeper through a Numi, I was once again without a level 35+ character that I really wanted to run through another Numi with friends, which I expect I'll run at least once more before Tuesday.  I wanted to get my crab to 35 for that.  ^_^

Just as I was hitting 35, the Saturday hami raid was starting up.  I switched back to Princess Ozma for this.  We didn't get a lot of people to come out (no Zombie this week!) but we managed to pull off the raid anyway.

Spent some time in Ouro talking to another player that I've teamed with before, and that was pretty much it for my day.  ^_^

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 21

Friday night I logged in to find that the Valentine's Day Spring Fling event had been turned on.  I'm sure I have toons that could use the toga as a costume part -- but off the top of my head I wasn't sure who, so I decided to get a toga for Princess Ozma.

I joined a full group that was running the event from start to finish.  For the hero side, I wound up being in charge, and then throughout five runs on the Snaptooth mission.  Got the costume pieces, got all the badges including the red cap one which I didn't realize I was missing.

I didn't get a really good picture of Ozma vs. Snaptooth, but anyway.

Right after that some friends ran another Numina Task Force.  I brought Princess Shinobu for that as well, but I've already run it once this week with her so there was no notice of the well awarded.  Right now my friends are running Numina as often as they can (one is working on the WST badge) and I'm running out of characters that are at least level 35 that I want to get experience on.

We ended the night with an ITF run, for which I switched to Forest Goddess.  I hit my usual XP boster and Windfall, and I gained 2 levels (up to 43 now) and got a Ragnarok drop.  Can't complain about that!  (I also got a Performance Shifter +endurance recipe :D )

Considering that my goal on Sept 1st was to play Princess Ozma and Forest Goddess to 50 and have fun with staff fighting and nature affinity/water blast, I think I'm well on my way to achieving that goal!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 20

Today we were supposed to run a bunch of Positron missions as part of one of the "Save CoH" events, I guess.  But Zombie wanted to run an ITF, and I'm always partial to the kind of experience you can earn on an ITF, as well as a shot at a purple drop.  So I logged in to Forest Goddess and headed to Cimemora.

I didn't take any pictures, but you've all seen an ITF before, not much new to see.  ^_^  The impoortant information:  started at level 39, turned on an XP Booster and a Windfall, got to level 41.5 and actually got a Hectacomb drop at the very end when we were doing the towers.  :D

We were going to run a Numina after, but not enough people were interested so we put it off for another night.

I asked in one of my global channels if anyone knew where I was if I said I was looking at a movie poster for "Brass Monday".  So... where is that?  :D  One person answered correctly in the global channel, most people ignored me I think, lol.

It's too bad there was never a Nemesis Task Force, I'd run it for a "Brass Monday" event, haha.

I took pictures of a few more of my older characters.  Sometimes I run across a bio that I'd completely forgotten about writing, such as this strange little tale for Thorn Kitten:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 19

Today was simple -- logged in, Freaky was starting up a Numina.  It's the WST!  So I joined with my level 38 mace scrapper One Divine Hammer.  We had a good team, we finished in about 52 minutes, I got to level 39.5.

In the meantime CA was on a different (mostly PuG) Numina.  Theirs was a bit slower.  By the time we were both done, Jane had logged in, and wanted to... you guessed it... do a Numina.

So we did.  I got Forest Goddess most of a level, nearly 40 now I think.  We ran with only 5 people this time but it went fast, we were done in 40 minutes I guess.

That was my evening.  ^_^

I'm hoping to get Forest Goddess to 50 by some time next week.  I'm trying to figure out which other characters I'd like to work on in the coming month.  One Divine Hammer, mace/shield scrapper, I will probably get to 50.  I'd like to get Eternal Sweeper, staff/ninjitsu stalker, to 50, I only have 1 level 50 stalker.  I may work on Death Ace who is 40 or Cupcake Overdrive who is 43.  Other possibilities are a dual blades brute named Vashti Ahandra (don't have a level 50 dual blade) or my bane Barbie Bane or my crab, don't have a 50 of either.\

I've kind of slacked off on my project to document all of my characters, but I did two more tonight.  Here's my Crazy 88 toon Wall Street Brawler:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 18

I didn't get any good pictures from tonight, but here's what we did:  a Katie Hannon Task Force, for which I brought Forest Goddess, who is now my main focus to get to level 50.  By the end of the task force she was 39, so we're doing okay.

I play so many scrappers and brutes (who can pretty much all tank) that I sometimes wonder if we'll be okay if I bring something else.  Often when I decide to play a defender, we have five of them, or when I pick a blaster there are three others and two corruptors.  But tonight I was one of two nature affinity defenders and the rest of the team was melee except for a blaster.  Anyway, this game really doesn't care what you bring most of the time as long as you're a good player and/or you've built your character well.

And there was one point on the last Mary MacComber wave where nearly the whole team was dead or at a sliver of health, but I was at more than 50% health because I'd chewed a bunch of inspirations.  Tanking fender, go!  But we avoided the team wipe and pulled through.  The rest of the TF, of course, is more tedious than thrilling or dangerous, especially leading the hostage out of the caves that are invariably 100 miles deep and twisty like a copyright lawyer.  That's another thing to be angry about the game closing:  they never fixed Katie Hannon correctly.  It's still too much work for too few merits.

Right after the TF we looked for Eochai and Jack in Irons and found both battling each other.  We got 4 merits for killing them, but only the Giantkiller badge.  And.. 50 feet North of where we killed them, we found both of them again killing each other.  I've never seen that, we could have had a four-way fight if we'd realized.  Again, 4 merits, but no badge for Eochai.

A bit later we ran a Numina, the WST this week.  I switched to Princess Ozma since we needed a higher level to run it.  It went well, we finished in 52 minutes with only 4 deaths.  Now Ozma only needs a Manti for Task Force Commander.

Monday, September 17, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Days 16,17

Here's the real life story of my weekend:

1.  Car started breaking down.  I took it to the shop Saturday and they decided to keep it until Monday, not sure what's wrong with it.

2.  Did not drive up to Seattle for Writer's Night with my friends, as I had no car.  Instead went to dinner with an old friend and we saw Avengers again at the cheap theater.  Made me want to play City of Heroes, but it was really late when I got home.

3.  Sunday I was supposed to have dinner with my parents and sisters for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary, but it turned out to be an early brunch and they did not bother to call me until they were at the Space Needle in Seattle wondering where I was.  Still had no car.  Friend picked me up instead, we went to a Half Price Bookstore warehouse sale and ate dinner at Gordito's.  Got home late, had to get up early, did not play much.

4.  Monday -- dinner with parents after work.

Basically I didn't get a lot of time to play on the weekend.  Sunday I did manage to run the Ramiel alpha unlock arc, and in the evening I ran most of SSA 2.2 which I completed on Monday.

I've been pretty stoic about the closing of the game.  I always knew I wouldn't play it forever, in a way I'll be glad to find a way to break my addiction and try to get more writing done, and I leave behind few regrets -- I've done just about everything in the game, I've played just about everything, all ATs to 50, over 40 level 50s, most of them IO'd out to the gills with money-is-no-object builds.  I have over 1100 badges on Mouse Police even though I haven't done serious badging in a couple of years.  There wasn't much left for me to do in the game.

But what makes me sad are the things that were planned or on test that I'll never get to see live -- the cool costumes, the new AT sets and changes to game play, and the last parts of the second SSA arc.  Just running the first three parts of SSA 2 makes me sad, because I know I can't finish it or find out what cool stuff the had in mind.  That's just something that can't be changed.  Even if the game is miraculously saved, you probably won't see the same Paragon dev team that was there on August 31st, and whatever ending they might publish for Pandora's Box probably would wind up different than what they were planning.

But most likely you won't see it at all, and that makes me sad.  But I'm not one of those people who feel like NCSoft kicked my puppy and I'll never ever buy one of their games again.  All of the angry posts directed at NCSoft just seem silly.  They made a business decision to close a game that had a really good run, and before that decision they'd done very well for the game.  I may not like it, but I don't hate Paragon Studios so I certainly don't hate Arenanet.  I haven't bought GW2 but I may try it out, who knows.  (And I've already sworn to never buy anything from Sony and Electronic Arts, I can't write off every gaming company out there, and I believe have much better reasons for hating those two.  ^_^  )

Monday we did an Abandoned Sewer Trial.  That was cool, it doesn't get run that often and I hadn't been on one on probably a year or more.  The last several I've joined have been very easy -- these days, with overpowered characters and disciplined teammates it's actually quite easy, whereas it once seemed near impossible to complete.

I brought War Maid, and like I said in my post about the rikti raid, she's nearly invulnerable against lots of enemies.  I didn't have to hide from the hydra's psionic attacks, I ran out and slaughtered tentacles at will and went toe to toe with the tough monster-class baby kraken.  Much fun!

After that we ran one last Moonfire while it was still the WST.  I brought Cupcake Overdrive for this one and got her to 44, but I'm still ambivalent about getting her to 50, she does nothing that other level 50 characters don't already do for me.  But I had fun.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 15

Saturday is Hami Raid Day on Virtue, and will be right up to November 30th if Exxxcaliber has anything to say about it.

Normally I bring Nina Ballerina to hami raids, but I was on Princess Shinobu and she's 47 now and well IO'd so I figured, why not?  This meant that I got placed on the taunt team because she's a brute.  I was going to say I didn't have taunt... but actually, it turns out I do.  I picked it up at 47.  In my original build I was going to take Innocuous Strikes and was not planning to take taunt, but it turned out by my mid 30's that I had more than enough attacks already and they recycled quickly enough that I didn't need another.  I was slotting the power for defense, and I could get good fire/cold defense from 5 pieces of Mocking Beratement in taunt.  And I needed that.

Also, I think Innocuous Strikes is that dumb-looking attack that has you stabbing the ground multiple times.  I hate the way that attack looks.  So I don't need it, and I can definitely use taunt.

So!  Off we went!  I took pictures!

Nya nya!  Missed me!

You will bow down before the great and powerful Ozma!

We paused in the fight to balance a giant boulder on my staff.  :D

This is me taunting George.  It turns out the back left yellow mito is named George.  Blade Wielder said so.

From the depths of hell, I stab at thee!  At... your knee!

This is what it's like when you take on the wall.  I love doing it, titanic enemies on all sides!  Better bring someone who can take a beating!

Anyway, the raid went a little rough but we pulled it off.  Once again, there were people there who had never been to a hami raid, or hadn't been in years.  That's very cool, everyone should experience it once I think.  ^_^

A bit later Jane mentioned that her 45 troller was sitting around in Cimemora looking for something to do... Zombie said he could do an ITF, I said that I had 2.5 levels left to 50 on Princess Ozma... and soon we had an excellent ITF team rolling.  ^_^  It's DXP, it's ITF, I popped an XP booster and a Windfall.  I was level 48 by the end of the first mission, and level 49 only a few minutes into the third mission.  By the time we reached big bad Rommy in the final mission, I had one bubble to 50.  Right after his first death and rez, it came:

So that's one of my big goals for the last 3 months accomplished!  I still need to respec and finish the build, and I need to run the Ramiel arc, but that can wait until later.  ^_^

Friday, September 14, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 14

Tonight started off with a Friday night Riki Mothership Raid.  These have been happening every Friday night on Virtue like clockwork for years, same guys running them, but I don't usually make it to the raid.  Then again, the zone usually fills up quick, but not now.

I brought War Maid.  She's a Claws / Willpower brute who has smashing/lethal and energy/negative energy defense softcapped, and fire defense at about 32%, and has excellent hit points and regen.  There's nothing to not like about playing her, and she was perfect for a rikti raid, I never died and only came close once, and I spent most of the raid facing down rikti magi, sometimes 3 or 4 at once, although any time I managed to get 2-3 together in one place, someone else showed up to help kill them almost immediately.  I even ignored warnings to get out of the way when people set bombs, was never at less than half health after the blast, and regen'd quickly.  ^_^  In any case, it was a very good raid.  I have no idea how many merits I got, I really only did it because it's fun.  ^_^

Since War Maid seems to have at least one admirer... or at the very least, admirer of a specific photo of her -- I used the same costume as in my signature and tried to get a good photo of her during the raid.  I took a lot of pictures -- my approach is not to demo record, but just hit print screen an awful lot, and try to position the  camera for good shots.  Only one of them really came out halfway decent, so here it is:

I had expected to maybe spend some time handing more stuff out -- but nobody noticed m second list of stuff in my giveaway  thread.  This is probably because I posted it near the bottom of page 2, rather than editing the original post to show new stuff.  I didn't really think about it at the time, but most people only read the first post, especially in a non-discussion thread like that one is.  Maybe I'll go back and fix that, though it's kind of an interesting experiment to see who notices the new list first (or reads about it here in my journal.)

After that we ran a Moonfire Task Force.  I used One Divine Hammer for this.  Technically I want to level up Princess Ozma and Forest Goddess, but both have been through Moonfire this week.  The experience from the WST is so good that I really can't just run either of those toons through another Moonfire and miss out on the xp bonus, so I'm playing a lot of my other toons that I may or may not be trying to get to 50 after Ozma and Goddess.  One Divine Hammer is one of those -- a mace/shield scrapper.  I'd heard that mace was sweet on a scrapper, and it really seems like it to me.  She was 35 when we started and I got her to 37 by the end.

And then... we ran another Moonfire.  Why not?  :D  For this I switched to Death Ace, one of two toons on my third account (the Dilithium Flower account) that I leveled up during the DXP weekend in August.  I sort of feel like starting a new toon and leveling them up from level 1 during a DXP weekend is the thing to do, even though I didn't have any new concepts I desperately wanted to try.   I started that Friday with Cupcake Overdrive, an electric melee/shield brute, and then when Street Justice went on sale on Saturday I bought it and started Death Ace, who is a Street Justice/WP scrapper.  Neither character really represents anything I haven't done before, so my will to get them to 50 by November 30th is not strong, but Death Ace was already 38 and Cupcake Overdrive is 42, so it may happen.  Death Ace hit 40 tonight at the end of the Moonfire.

I suspect I'll run 2-3 more lowbie toons through Moonfire before Tuesday if I can manage it, although my weekend is looking pretty busy, so we'll see.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 13

I totally haven't been documenting my characters the last few days.  First, I bought an iPad over the weekend and I've been wasting time playing with that, and then last night I started another project to give away a bunch of the extra stuff I have in my various bases.  Full sets of ATOs for the most part, but some nice PvP IOs and a few purple sets and other useful things, hami O's, Obliteration sets, etc.

I've been thinking of the best way to do this for more than a week.  One idea was to hold some sort of contest to fully IO someone's character, and maybe have as many as three winners -- whatever build you want, money no object, but maybe a limit on how many purple sets you can cram in.  But that would have been a lot of work and coming up with a way to pick the winners was a problem, and having winners means you have losers too.

So instead I just decided to group things that I have that I don't need into lots and offer them up for free, first come first serve.  So a lot might contain a full set of a given ATO, or a full set of something like Obliteration, or maybe just an Overwhelming Force KD/KB IO or a Glad Armor +3 Def IO.  I made my post last night and soon had enough responses to claim just about everything.  I like this approach, it's easy to let people pick whatever they want from the list of what's still available, and even though I'm not giving anyone their dream build, I'm giving a lot of people something to help out a little bit at least.

So tonight I missed a Manticore run by friends because I was too busy making sure everyone that had replied to my thread got the stuff they'd asked for.  Then I missed an ITF.  And Double Experience has been turned on too, so that made me a little sad, even though I very much wanted to get my deliveries done (and that was fun to do as well!)

Later when I was done I was able to join a Moonfire, which is the WST.  The last time Moonfire was the WST during DXP was this last Spring, and it was almost perfect -- Moonfire is short enough to be run in about an hour, but long enough that you get a very good end-of-task-force experience bonus.  Add in the WST, and that bonus doubles.  Add in Double Experience, and it quadruples.  My nature affinity/water blast defender Forest Goddess started the task force at level 36 and I used an XP booster, and I did not actually level until we were fighting the AV at the end... but then I leveled 5 seconds before Arkhan died -- and then I leveled again with the ending bonus!  So that end bonus was worth a full level of experience (plus one bubble) at level 37.

I was level 37 for all of five seconds, lol.  :D

Didn't do anything else tonight but that was fun.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Grandpa Anarchy Tales -- Garden Variety

Garden Variety
Mark Allen Davis

Doctor Zero Hour the Third paused to laugh a maniacal laugh.  About him, lights flashed.  Machinery hummed.  Behind and above him, a large computer screen displayed a map of North America.

“So!  Grandpa Anarchy, and his dumbkoff sidekick.  Vhat vas ze name again?  Oh, yes.  Ze Great Society Kid.  So, you thought you could sneak into my Zero Fortress und put ze halt to mine evil plans?  Fool!  You haff fallen into mine trap!”

“You’ll never get away with it!” the Great Society Kid screamed.

“Oh?  Und how vill you stop me, silly boy?”

"You know," said Grandpa Anarchy, struggling to free himself from the grip of four beefy storm troopers, "I killed your grandfather, Hiemmel Schnitzel.  Berlin, 1943."

"Indeed," Doctor Verner Schnitzel said.  "Und it vas such a pity.  Grandfather vas a brilliant man.  If not for you, his plans vould surely have resulted in victory for ze third reicht!"

Grandpa nodded.  "And I also killed your father, Doctor David Schnitzel.  Paris, 1959."

"Dat vun has alvays confounded me, Mister Anarchy.  Vat vas my father vas planning to do?  Alas, he never confided his plan to anyvun, not evun his own son.  No vun but you."

Grandpa Anarchy shrugged.  "I got no idea,” he said.  “I killed him before he could explain it."

"Ah.  Vell, no matter.  Father and I ver never zat close.  But as for you and I... I do not think things will be ending in quite ze same vay.  Today I vill haff my revenge upon not just you, but upon all of ze vorld!  Muhahahahhaahahahahahhahahaha!"

“You’ll never get away with it!” yelled the Great Society Kid.

Doctor Zero Hour the Third frowned.  “Silly boy.  You repeat yourself.  Haff you nothing more to say?”

  "You'll never..." the Great Society Kid paused.  "I do not!" he retorted after a moment.

“Indeed," replied the villain.  "So, Grandpa Anarchy, before you die, I vill reveal to you my evil plan.  I am sure you van to hear it....”

Grandpa shrugged.  "Not really."

"Vell too bad!  I am going to tell you anyvay!"

"I figured as much."

""Well you see, according to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principal....”

Grandpa Anarchy slammed his heel down on a jackbooted foot.  An arm came free.  He slammed an elbow into a chin.  He pulled a glock pistol from its holster and shot its owner.

"Vait, vait!  Vhat are you doing?” exclaimed Doctor Zero Hour the Third.  “I haff not evun explained my master plan!"

"Fine by me," Grandpa said, spinning.  He aimed and pulled the trigger.

“Great Scott!” exclaimed the Great Society Kid.  “Grandpa, you’ve killed him!”

"Yeah,” Grandpa said.  “Easier that way.”

The remaining stormtroppers fled the complex, leaving the hero and his sidekick alone.  The Great Society Kid stared down at the lifeless corpse of their sworn enemy.

“I’m pretty sure this is a violation of his civil rights,” said the Kid.  “More importantly, he was going to reveal his evil plan....”

Yeah, and you know what?” Grandpa said.  “ I didn't care.”  He flopped down in the villain’s command chair, then propped his boots up on the console.  “See, I ain't your garden variety hero.  Why wait until the last minute to save the earth if I can stop him sooner?  Makes things much more nice and neat, lets me take a load off.”

“But Grandpa, how are we going to stop it if we don't know what it is?"

Grandpa Anarchy spread his arms wide.  "Doctor Zero Hour the Third is dead.  His plan is stopped.”


"What if he's already set it in motion?"  Grandpa laughed.  He lit a cigar.  "Nah, kid, it don't work that way.  See, Doctor Zero Hour was precisely a garden variety villain.  I don't mean he wasn't brilliant or dangerous.  I just mean he'd never ever set a plan in motion without explaining it in painstaking detail to me first.  Like all these fruitcake mad scientists, he wanted me to see his dream in action.  As if I give a rat's ass how he did anything.  Trust me, he was just waiting for us to realize the full horror of his plan before pushing the button or throwing the switch.”  Grandpa took a puff on his cigar, then added.  “Just be careful, there's probably some sort of switch or big button around here somewhere."

"Uh... speaking of which...." Great Society Kid began.


The kid pointed to Grandpa Anarchy's boots, propped on the desk.  Grandpa lifted them.

"Aw, horse puckey," Grandpa swore, staring down at the now-depressed red button.  "Dang it all!  ...I wonder what it does?


90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 12

Today's accomplishment was a Citadel Task Force with friends, which got Princess Shinobu to level 47 and only a Manticore and a Numina from Task Force Commander.

Later I joined some of the same friends to take down the Kraken, which took all of two minutes.

Citadel gets a bad rap for being a very generic series of council missions on council maps with no variety at all.  But I tend to play the game to have fun with friends steamrolling enemies, and council are pretty good fodder for steamrolling.  Story is a secondary concern most of the time, or even a non-concern.  That doesn't mean I don't like better-built TFs more, but I don't hate Citadel just because it's generic.

Anyway, I had fun, we finished in 1 hour 4 minutes which is a very good steamroll Citadel if you ask me.  ^_^

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 10/11

I bought an iPad over the weekend so I have to confess, I spent most of my time yesterday after work playing around on that.  I logged in for a short time later in the evening and bid on some of the last IOs needed for Liberty or Debt's build, and said hi to a couple of people, but nothing much was happening.

Tonight I logged in earlier and joined a speed Manti with friends.  I brought Liberty or Debt, and was happily not the only energy blaster on the team.  We had only one melee (scrapper) to complain about knockback, but luckily we had stone control holds to prevent knockback, and a kin to let me nova as often as possible.  Getting Liberty or Debt to 50 and doing the respect and build was totally worth it, even if I only play her this one time.  :D  But I expect to play her more than that in the next couple of months.

Right after that we ran a Moonfire which is the WST, and I brought Princess Ozma for that one.  I used an XP booster, and with the xp bonus at the end I made it to 46 and am now halfway to 47!  I should be able to hit 50 by the end of the week or Saturday at the latest.

That was my evening tonight.  Two TFs, one level, not too shabby.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 9

Not too much to say about what I did today in-game.

First, since I had grabbed an Ouro mission with Princess Ozma the day before in order to hold a torch up in Atlas Park for a long time without auto-logging, I decided to complete that Ouro arc.  This was "A Madman's Council" which leads to the unlocking of the Hess Task Force, so I hadn't exactly picked a mission at random.  It's a fast arc and unlock.

(You can tell the arc has just ended because everything's gone all sepia-toned.)

Anyway, I'll have to try and run a Hess this week I suppose.

Freaky ran a Sara Moore TF Sat evening which I wasn't able to join, and this morning he wanted to run Justin Augustine.  He was working his way through all of the shard TFs.  Now, JA is what I consider the worst task force in the game -- most people have hatred for Citadel or Synapse, and Doc Q is famous for being the longest, most-drawn-out series of generic maps in existence, but what JA has over all of them is a bunch of hunts.  Over and over and over.  There are about 3 actual door missions in the TF, but JA is, to me, the #1 example of the "I'm too lazy to create an actual task force, I'll just throw stuff together and call it good" Task Force.

But I was willing to help Freaky do it anyway.  Only it was too early in the morning so nobody else joined, and he said he'd try later.  Woo, bad TF averted!

My big plan for the day was to PL one of my old blasters to 50.  Liberty or Debt is a fun character that I've had forever, and has been 45 for a while.  I came up with a build for her a couple of months ago but hadn't implemented it (she still didn't even have inherent fitness yet -- sooo many characters to respec, and I hate recpec'ing).  So I fired up the laptop and soon was PLing away, and got her to 47.  Then I spent maybe 2 hours doing the respec and digging up all of the IOs needed for the new build.  While I was doing my respec, Freaky came back and started up his Justin Augustine TF.  He sent me a tell asking if I wanted to join but I didn't get it until the respec was done, and he'd already started by then.  Bad TF averted again!

I took a long break from the game,  When I came back, Freaky and my other friends were already running the last shard TF, Faathim the Kind.  Ah well.  I went back to the PL thing and got my blaster to 50.  Along the way I got complimented on her costume and bio, and tipped 5 million influence because someone enjoyed it so much.  So here it is:

I got to 50 and ran the Alpha Unlock mission, and that was my evening.  Oh, and I got two purple recipes in the process too -- both times right after I'd deleted some generic recipes because my inventory was full.  :D

Not probably the best example of how to spend your last days in CoH, but I'm hoping to play Liberty or Debt a few times with the new build so it should be worth it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

90 Days to the Apocalypse -- Day 8

Last week Freaky promised to run a Shard TF marathon on Saturday.  So first up this morning:  Doctor Quaterfield, the task force tour de force!  22 mind-numbing missions against Rularuu, Crey, and Nemesis!  Multiple in-mission ambushes!  Simultaneous 4-computer clicks!  Defeat alls!  Missions jump from Firebase Zulu to Paragon city and back three times!  And then to crown it all off, a "mop up" mission hunting Rularuu on a large Oranbega map, with Circle of Thorns thrown in for good measure!  Who could resist?

Resist would have been a good idea... or at least, a resist- based brute instead of a defense-based one; rularuu shred defense toons (Nemesis tend to as well actually).  But ah well, I want to level Princess Ozma, so a defense based brute it was!

We had 4 brutes, a scrapper, one nature affinity troller, a warshade... another support toon I think.  It was actually a similar team to the MLTF of the night before, though not all the same people.

Aside from its insanely long size, there's very little that distinguishes a Doc Q TF.  Eventually you reach a series of four missions near the end that are in a white crey lab tile set, you don't see these maps very often.  Also along the way you get to defeat bosses with names like Doctor Salad, and that seems really interesting because the TF is so mind-numbingly repetetive.

At one point I said I couldn't imagine doing this TF without the team transport power... but of course I've done it many times without that.  :p

Anyway we were rolling right along and all the while, people were lining up in Atlas Park to hold torches and protest the ending of the game.  And at some point, the server couldn't take it anymore, and I saw this:

Virtue was down for about ten minutes or so.  The brute in the picture with me, Redeemed Clock Royal, never returned, so we were down to seven for the last few missions.

There was an awful lot of dying along the way, but we finally made it to the last mission.  As promised, rularuu on an oranbega map!  No AV to be seen anywhere.  Boy, what an epic way to end such an epic task force, right?  Right?

As if all of this wasn't enough, there were tornado warnings in the Northeast (where some of the team mates were) and then one of our team members started getting brownouts in the final mission, then DC'd and was gone for nearly five minutes.  We cleared the last room, but missed one lone brute in another room.  Violet returned, so we held off killing the last brute... then Violet DC'd again, but came back much quicker.  As soon as she zoned in we finished it.

Look Ma!  No defeats!  (We probably had 75 or more, actually.)  Doc Q is never a  quick TF, but 2 hours 30 minutes is a really good time, and 3 hours would be average.  We weren't all that fast but the crashing of the server added at least a half hour to our end time.

I got Princess Ozma to 45 though, halfway to 46 even.  :D  Afterwards I went to AP6 and held up a torch.  I won't be able to play for the rest of the day, but I stopped in Ouro to start an ouro arc so I could leave Ozma in AP for a long time.  Last I heard, there were over 20 AP instances on Virtue.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Characters part 6 -- the Brutes

For a very long time I had multiple scrappers, a few tanks, but only one brute.  This was Huntress Midnight, who was, for a very long time, my only level 50 villain.

I had an on-again, off-again relationship with Huntress Midnight.  I originally had a "buzzsaw" build on her, meaning a lot of very quick low-damage attacks that were loaded with procs.  The idea was that slower attacks weren't as good in the DPS department and that fast quick attacks built fury, and dark melee was a very good set to accomplish such a build with.

Later on this general build strategy was debunked, I think.  Shadow Maul was actually a really good DPS attack, despite the length of animation.  In time I tried to rebuild Huntress Midnight for defense, but I still didn't know how to do that properly so I eventually gave up and went for a massive recharge build with lots of purple IOs.  But she was still very squishy, so I left her alone for years.  She was one of those characters that I planned to fix up someday.

Well, that day came this last spring.  I rebuilt Huntress with a much better build that focused on softcapping smashing/lethal defense.  I moved her from villainside to heroside, and I started playing her more, even on a few itrials.

Long before I'd reached that point, however, I'd come to the conclusion that having 10+ level 50 scrappers and only 1 level 50 brute was an imbalance that I needed to rectify.  This started with Shinobu Eden, a super strength/invulnerable brute who was essentially a brute clone of my invul/energy melee tanker Sailor Shinobu.  She was built to fulfill the role of Eden Trial runner, and was level locked at 41 because for years you could only start this trial if you were 39-41.  By the time I decided I needed more level 50 brutes, the trial had been fixed, and so Shinobu Eden shot up to 50.  She was my first and only level 50 super strength character and was a lot of fun to play.  She became one of my favorite toons, and the nominal head of Hero Force in the last two years of the game.

I was hardly done there, however.  Next up was War Maid, a claws/WP brute that I quickly got to 50 and IO'd out.  Another favorite of mine, she was placed in charge of one of my private SG divisions.

Mina Evangeline got to 50 not too long after that.  She was something of a tribute character, based partly on Evangeline A.K. McDowell, the child vampire from Negima, and partly on Mina Tepes, the child vampire queen from Dance in the Vampire Bund.  She was dark/dark, my only level 50 dark armor character, but ultimately I didn't like playing her as much, in part because any armor that obscures the character's looks annoys me.

Those were my original "big four" brutes.  But I didn't stop there.

Shinobu Hime was created on one of my extra accounts -- one of only 2 50's that weren't on my main two accounts.  She was a "CEBR" brute, or in this case a "CFBR" because she was claws/fire rather than claws/electric.  CEBER was a TopDoc thing which meant "Claws Electric Brutes Rule", and was built around the idea that, you gained experience fastest at the very lowest levels, and a claws/electric or claws/fire brute had a great AoE attack in spin, a great AoE damage aura, and could leverage their damage output via fury.  CEBER brutes would load up on insorations at the AE building, then run in to a CEBR-style AE mission which placed you at level 1 and spawned enemies in huge numbers.  If you chewed inspirations as fast as they dropped, you could self-PL at amazing speeds.

I got Shinobu Hime to 50 this way, just to see what it was like.  I never did much with the character after IOing her out though.

When Street Justice came out, I built a street justice/shield brute named Megamisama (goddess in Japanese).    This was my third level 50 shield toon, after Sparks Fly and my fire/shield scrapper Trinkets.  I built all three very similarly, and they were all amazingly powerful.  Megamisama became another of my favorite toons.

Megami Hime was my Titan Weapons brute.  I even got the Excaliber sword for her, for which I paid a lot of money.  She was a lot of fun too.  She was Megamisama's sister.  I had plans to make a third sister who used staff melee, but that character never really got off the ground.

Those were my seven level 50 brutes -- in the end, while I didn't craft a stable of 10+ brutes like I had for my scrappers, I was able to increase my collection of level 50 brutes by quite a bit, and in so doing created some of my all-time favorite CoH characters.

I did have a few other brutes who were working their way up to 50 eventually:

a trained monkey's primary function was to make NPCs say amusing things.  :D

"Did you hear that the Council were defeated by a trained monkey?"

Princess Shinobu was my main character on one of my many extra accounts.  I had hoped to eventually have a level 50 on each of those accounts.

In my quest to play every melee set to 50, I was working on Vashti Ahandra (dual blades) and Candy Smash (stone melee) among others.

Shinobu Thirty was level locked at 30.  Her only reason for existence was to earn hero merits and then random roll level 30 recipes.  But she was my highest level Kinetic Melee character.

Known as Rocker Girl on Virtue, I transferred her to Exalted where she became simply "Rocker".  Only a month or two later, I teamed with a different Rocker Girl on Virtue, so the name didn't remain unclaimed for long.  ^_^

Princess Ozma, of course, is the toon I'm currently working on and plan to get to 50.  She may not be my last 50 brute, however, because I also have....

Cupcake Overdrive, who I started on Double Experience Weekend in August, just a couple of weeks before the closing of the game was announced.  I'd like to get her to 50 as well.