Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A year in the life

It has now been a year and two weeks since I started playing Age of Conan. I don't think I've mentioned it here before. Although I have put a lot of time into the game, I suspect its not something most of my readers would care about.

I started playing with Paul and Julie - the choice to play on a PvP (player versus player) server - Bloodspire - rather than a PvE (player versus environment) server was theirs. Left to my own devices, I likely would have chosen PvE, although I don't really regret the decision much. Ali joined us for a very short while, but she found the personalities of PvP a little hard to bear - understandable, there were then, and there remain, a lot of players who are immature in their communications and in the way they play the game.

My main toon (and still my only toon to reach the level cap) is Danlara, a Cimmerian guardian. I chose to play a tank because my previous MMO experience (in WoW) had been as a healer, so I thought I would try the other essential (in my opinion) group PvE role. My only other toon is a (as of last night) level 79 barbarian named Rokito.

The thing I have enjoyed most about the game has been the people I have played with. We started with our own guild, Hashhashin (or something like that), which was fine while we were levelling up our toons to the level cap (80). When we approached the cap, we merged into a guild called Wake of Fury, with a bunch of other (mainly) Australians. WoF dipped their toes into raiding in late October, and despite not really having the numbers, it went well.

I had a break over Christmas, and when I came back near the end of January, I found that Wake of Fury was doing weekend raids with a US guild called Immortal. I enjoyed these, and started having a significant role in the raids as one of the main tanks. Near the end of February, guilds started abandoning the server we were on because of falling population, in favour of the more populated Tyrrany and Cimmeria servers. Immortal was one of the last to leave, and Wake of Fury decided to follow them to Cimmeria, rather than be left as the only guild on Bloodspire.

When we arrived on Cimmeria, we merged with Immortal to briefly form Immortal Fury, which quickly reverted to the name Immortal. I became their main tank (with first dibs on guardian gear), and we were raiding tier 1 fairly comfortably. One weekend, though, Immortal quite suddenly fell apart, and the oceanic members (including those of us that had come from WoF) all moved across to the main Oceanic guild on Cimmeria, Primal Fury.

Primal Fury had recently absorbed the Acadians guild, and we fairly quickly moved up to easily completing the tier 1 raids and attempting the tier 2 raids. After 6 weeks or so (in April) we had 3 tier 2 bosses on farm, and had downed 3 more tier 2 bosses (leaving just 3 to go). However, a bunch of the most experience players, including the guild officers and raid leaders, moved to other guilds, or tired of the game and returned to playing other games. There were a couple of weeks where numbers were well down, and it looked like the guild might fold. A couple of weeks ago, I and another ex-WoF guy stepped up to lead some tier 1 raids with the remaining members and a few new raiders. The raids went well, and with the new members (and a few returning members), in the last week we have downed all but one of the bosses we had previously. I now find myself an officer in the guild, and frequently involved in forming and leading raids, and it is gratifying to be able to help new people come to grips with raiding.

I am really happy with the guild I'm in. Wake of Fury had great people, but was too small. Immortal had the size, but raided at inconvenient times for me, and had some members who were sometimes a bit too precious. Primal Fury, though, has mature people whose (virtual) company I enjoy, and in numbers that make all of the (PvE) endgame content available to us.

The server, too, is a step-up from Bloodspire. Being a PVP-RP server, and because the game has been around a while, there are a lot fewer adolescent ("zOmg, I wtfpwned you, n00b!") morons running around. Being a non-Oceanic server, we aren't able to participate much in mass-PvP sieges (the siege windows are during Australian workdays), and the combination of latency and battlekeep buffs (and IMHO some exploiting) prevents us from competing with the top guilds in PvP. I'm not really a PvP fan though, so I don't feel like I'm missing much.

I will now return you to regularly scheduled programming talking about sport and my other, less geeky, day-to-day banalities.

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