Archive for the ‘Flamebait’ Category

Dauntless full-plate set

May 2, 2012 9 comments

This set is probably my most decadent effort so far in the area of vanity armor:

The decadent thing about it is that this is the T3 PvP armor set for guardians, so it requires 330 Campaign Badges (minigame tokens) and 5500 Conquest Trophies (Bori tokens) to buy it, and it requires PvP level 10 to wear it (at least for the chest and legs). And it takes approximately 2 million PvP XP to reach PvP level 10. I suspect this ended up being quite a bit more time-consuming than it would be to farm an Epic Kheshatta set or an level 80 old-world dungeon set. (Though nowadays these things would also be more time-consuming than they used to be, since it’s hard to get a group for Onyx and probably impossible to get one for Epic Kheshatta bosses. But I digress.)

I have to admit that, now that I have it, I get the impression that this is one of those sets that look better on a male character than on a female one — especially the helmet. Another downside of the helmet is that it covers your character’s face almost completely. So although I used to think of the helmet as the most impressive-looking part of this set, I’ll keep it hidden now; it doesn’t look so good on my character and, besides, I didn’t roll a character with a beautiful face just to then have it completely obscured by armor!

Apart from that, I think the set looks great and it’s really a pity that it isn’t more widely and easily available — Funcom should make a social armor set with the same appearance and sell it in the item shop. For many other sets of armor there exist similar-looking social armor alternatives from the item shop, but I didn’t find anything that looks like this one.

As it is now, the set is really unreasonably difficult to obtain, at least for someone like me. I utterly hate PvP combat and am no good at it (which of these two things is the cause and which is the effect is somewhat debatable, and in any case I tend to think they reinforce each other very nicely); I particularly hate its excessive reliance on CC and on quick movement. In fact I’m really curious how the PvPers can move so quickly and in all directions; surely it can’t be just by pressing the WASD keys (even if you remap A and D for strafing instead of turning).


So, for a long time, I avoided PvP and everything associated with it like the plague, and had no real ambition to get PvP armor, not even for vanity. For me the big change came when they removed the premade option from minigames (in update 2.1). Before that, if a random player like myself signed up for a minigame, it was practically a pointless and suicidal thing to do; you’d end up in a group of 6 random people like yourself, most of them inexperienced and undergeared (just like yourself), and the enemy team would be a carefully composed premade consisting of 6 experienced and well-geared PvPers with teamspeak and everything. Of course you’d just get farmed pointlessly and wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning.

So from that perspective, the removal of premades was a wonderful thing. Now it’s much more likely that both teams are approximately equally good (or bad :P), or if they aren’t, you have an approximately 50% chance to be in the better team. Whereas before I had almost no chance to be in the winning team of a minigame (except maybe if there were no premade teams in the queue, but that was rare), now that chance is almost 50%. Another benefit is that if you lose, you can tell yourself that it’s just due to bad luck that assigned you to the worse team in that particular minigame, so you don’t have to worry that it’s your own fault. So whereas the hardcore PvPers whine about the removal of premades (because they can no longer easily farm noob pug groups like they did before), it’s a wonderful change for people like me, and I think the amount of people participating in minigames has increased considerably when they removed premades.

The introduction of the Jhebbal Sag minigame was another boon to people like me. Since there are 12 people in each team, rather than just 6, the influence of each individual player on the outcome is smaller, so the fact that e.g. I’m a crap player at PvP isn’t as disastrous for the success of my team than it would be in a smaller minigame. Additionally, doing the quests to win the minigame gives you a lot more tokens and XP in the case of Jhebbal Sag than for the smaller minigames. So although I also did the smaller minigames occasionally, I got most of my minigame tokens from Jhebbal Sag games.

One method that I did to preserve my sanity, and that I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone, is to leave the minigame as soon as it became evident that my team is unlikely to win. There’s nothing more annoying than fighting for 20 minutes against a stronger enemy and then losing — you get no tokens, no PvP XP, nothing. (Well, admittedly, a full-length Jhebbal Sag minigame can give you around 600 PvP XP even if your team losees and you don’t get any quests done, as long as the game was at least somewhat balanced so that your team was able to get a reasonable number of kills against the enemy.) And on those occasions when I happened to be in the winning team, I found it extremely annoying if the losing team kept on fighting instead of simply giving up and waiting on the rez pad so the game could finish quickly. If you keep on fighting in that sort of situation, it’s just a waste of everybody’s time — at least from the point of view of someone like me, who just wanted to farm PvP XP and tokens as efficiently and effortlessly as possible. Another benefit of leaving the minigame is that it tends to piss off the PvPers, who actually enjoy the fighting. This is an added bonus since my relationship with PvPers is based around fervent mutual contempt 😛

I levelled from PvP level 0 to 6 just by doing minigames; in the course of doing this I got enough tokens to buy the smaller parts of the PvP T2 set and still have enough minigame tokens for the entire PvP T3 set. This took me many months as I generally couldn’t stomach doing more than one or two minigames a day.

In a way, I think I was lucky to do these things on a guardian; sometimes you see people with undergeared low-PvP-level characters of squishy classes in minigames and such, and they just get 1- or 2-shotted by nearly everything. On the other hand, if you’re there as a guardian with T3 raid armor, you have a certain amount of survivability even if you’re of a low PvP level and don’t have PvP gear. Getting the first few PvP levels through minigames was frustrating enough, but I suspect it would be even more horrible if I had played some squishier class.

Shrines of Bori

After reaching level 6, I did some math and realized that the total PvP XP required to go from level 0 to level 6 is just 20% of the total XP required to go from level 0 to level 10. In other words, to reach level 10 I’d have to do another four times as much as I’d done until then. I also got around 800 Bori tokens by then (from the loot boxes that are generated when a player is killed in PvP), so even if I had done another four times as many minigames I’d still have only around 4000 Bori tokens at the end, whereas the PvP T3 set requires 5500 Bori tokens — so I’d have to to still more minigames after reaching level 10.

So at that point I decided I’d do the rest of my PvP levels by farming the Shrines of Bori, if possible (or give up; I certainly wasn’t going to do any more minigames). In case someone is unfamiliar with Bori, you can read a very informative explanation of how it all works in the 1.07 patch notes. (The main change since the time when those notes were written is that the mechanism isn’t as guild-focused nowadays; you can do it with a group that consists of people from different guilds.) Basically, the idea is that you gather resources and sacrifice them at an altar, and when enough offers have been accumulated there, everyone in your group gets some PvP XP, prowess AA XP, and tokens.

British government’s Bori poster, ca. 1941.

You can do some maths again at this point. Initially each sacrifice gives you 990 PvP XP, though if you do several sacrifices without zoning out, you get buffs which gradually increase this by 25%; you can also buy a book which increases this by another 25% for 1 hour (from an NPC vendor in the Cimmerian End) and a 4-hour potion from the item shop which increases your PvP XP by another 10% or 20% for 4 hours. Thus in the end you can get around 1500 PvP XP per sacrifice, and if everything goes really smoothly in your group you can have one sacrifice per 7 minutes or so (faster than that really means just that you’re temporarily getting lucky with digging the rare resources).

We can round things down a little to take into account the fact that things aren’t always optimally smooth, and come to the conclusion that you’ll get around 10k PvP XP per hour by farming Bori (if things go reasonably smoothly). To get from PvP level 6 to level 10 you need around 1.6 million PvP XP, so at least around 160 hours of mining.

Now, ostensibly Funcom’s idea was that the existence of this mechanism would encourage people to fight for control over the shrines, thereby encouraging PvP in the Cimmerian End (which is of course a PvP-enabled zone even on a PvE server). But when you look at the numbers — numbers like 160 hours of mining at nearly optimal conditions, i.e. when no fighting whatsoever is taking place — it’s obvious that the system wasn’t designed around the idea that people will fight over resources. With numbers like those, the only explanation is that the system was designed around the idea that people will be able to farm in peace (and at near-optimum efficiency) for weeks or months.

So people who come to the Cimmerian End and molest the Bori farmers, based on the excuse that it’s a free-for-all PvP zone so what they are doing is perfectly well within the rules of the game, are nothing but giant retarded assholes. They are ruining another player’s fun for their own selfish entertainment. Most of the time they don’t even do it with a view to chasing you out so they could farm the shrines for themselves; instead they leave the zone themselves after they have ruined your fun. The intensity of hatred I feel for such gankers is downright pathological. Besides, if they were really in it just for the PvP — a popular excuse among the gankers — they could always go do a minigame instead, or do like any decent person does when he wants someone to play with: advertise in global until you find some people who want to play with you, rather than trying to harass other players and interfere with their gameplay against their will.

What Funcom should do is change the Cimmerian End so that it isn’t a free-for-all PvP zone; it should be a zone in which people would be able to flag themselves as either being up for PvP or not, and then those who are up for PvP could attack the others who would flag themselves as such, whereas those who just want to farm the shrines could flag themselves as unavailable for PvP and then dig in peace. Or, what would be even better, Bori could be made into a group-instanced playfield so that there wouldn’t be any problem even if multiple groups wanted to farm it at the same time (though at the current level of population in the game, this is very rarely the case).

(Another thing they should do is remove the rogue classes from the game. I’m deadly serious; none of those are particularly useful nor fun to play, and 99.99% of Bori gankers are from those classes. By my guesstimate about 80% of those are rangers, the rest are mostly sins and the occasional barb.)

And the ironical thing about this is that, as long as there aren’t any gankers and other PvPtards interfering with the farming, Bori is actually pretty fun. Since you’re doing it with a group and watching the numbers go up on the altar all the time, there’s inherently more things going on than if you’re solo farming PvE resources (e.g. in Poitain and such). As a person who did a shitload of PVE gathering (I single-handedly gathered materials for around one-third of a guild city’s T3 walls), I have to say that Bori is quite a bit more tolerable than solo gathering in PvE. And unlike with PvE gathering, where you just get resources from it, here in Bori you actually get character progression — tangible things like PvP levels, Conquest Trophies, not to mention prowess AA xp. What’s not to like?

Anyway, it fortunately turned out that it’s often possible to farm Bori with a pug group without being harassed by gankers, so overall it was possible to make progress at a decent rate, so I was able to get from level 6 to level 10 in about four months with an amount of stress that was negligible compared to minigames.