Ark: Aberrations. First day in pictures

Ark bought out it’s new DLC,  Aberrations today and I am super excited about getting to play in a new world. One thing that is universal across all the different DLC’s is that all the maps are gorgeous and this one is already showing itself as a stunner.

    We made a new server and decided instead of transferring our leveled toons over, we’d start again with fresh characters for now and explore the map as we level. It’ll be a bit slower as we’re all little again but it should be fun.

One thing that is really refreshing and a big change from WoW, is just how easy it was to not learn too much in advance. I didn’t see any of the massive datamining that you see in the lead up to a WoW expac so most of the new dinos/items are still a surprise. Having said that, I do have a bit of a vague idea of the overarching lore behind this map. Apparently it’s the result of one of the 3 obelisks that support the world breaking, and the ensuing chaos that the power (radiation?) running free has caused on the Ark.

Because it’s an official DLC, it should have more of the lore boxes that tell the story bit by bit dotted around for me to find, so I can’t wait to piece the puzzle of this place together.

Being only little, we didn’t stray too far from the easier starting area for the first night though there were lots of deaths as we tourist’ed around a bit at the start. Almost all the familiar dinos are slightly different with glowy markings their Island counterparts don’t have.

I’m utterly in-love with the mushrooms and already have way way too many screenshots of them. Their glow fades in and out and they seem to release little glowy spores at times.

I can’t wait to dive in over the weekend and do quite a bit of levelling and exploring.

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Wyverns! Dragons of Ark

Each map for Ark has some map-specific dinos and for Scorched Earth, it’s Wyverns. Huge and dangerous dragons, and ever since I saw one flying over the desert, I’ve wanted one.  Unlike other dinos, Wyverns can’t be tamed (or bred), the only way to get one is to steal it from the nest in their spawning grounds, which immediately aggros all the other Wyverns into the area. They’re faster than all other flying mounts and with the fire, lightening and poison breath, they’re also super deadly.

We ended up popping back to the Island and taming another Giga to make killing off the waves of Wyverns easier and then we were able to find a few high level eggs to take and hatch. Though, we did learn the hard way not to take eggs across servers, as they reset their data to Level 1 on hatching. Luckily we had collected a few high-level eggs but I was really disappointed when I realised one had dropped all the way down to a level 1 hatchling.

We didn’t have air-conditioners on S.E to auto-regulate the temperature, so we had to do it the manual way, and heat the eggs with tons of torches to get them hot enough to hatch.

You have to feed them on Wyvern Milk when they are growing, which comes from knocking out female wyverns and collecting it from their inventory. I utterly love that the milk comes in little bottles!

These guys are so cute (in an utterly ugly way) when they’re little. Their heads are much too big for their bodies, but then they start growing,

and growing,

and they are huge when fully grown.

These guys are so fast! I thought they’d be similar to Quetzal’s which are huge sooo slow birds from the Island, but these dragons are super zoomy. I’m looking forward to being able to fly around this huge map a little quicker.

The ones we first hatched are Fire Wyverns so they have the flame breath which looks awesome.

Chilling in the fridge waiting for the next hatching weekend is a poison and a lightning egg, I can’t wait to see them grow up.

Random Tuesday Mutterings

Random Tuesday Mutterings is the perfect place to put the random assortment of what-nots I’ve got up to in games this week.

Wowsers it’s been way too long since I’ve written a random Tuesday post.

Let’s see, all my games times have been cut down a bit because I took a good look at myself and realised that a year ago, I ran a half marathon (20km/13.1miles) and now I’m struggling to run even a kilometre. So I’m back to getting up early before work and heading out on a run; at the moment it’s a very slow, short run but hopefully if I stick to it long enough I’ll be back to being able to get  in a 5km run in the mornings. The running in the mornings has meant I’m super tired by night and instead of playing as late as I usually do, I’ve been in bed hours before. RIP game time.

Having said that though, there’s still been gaming going on.

I realised while running through The Dreamgrove yesterday that I’ve filled in all the appearances in the little pond for my Resto Weapon. My favourite is still the Owl; I really need to see what I have to do to unlock the other tints before Legion ends.

I’m finding as much as I hate the resto druid spell changes, I’m loving the boomy spell changes. Celestial Alignment is gorgeous, putting a blue starry pool below my feet that trails behind me when I run.

Ok.. Argus players – tell me how those greater invasions work. I turned up to one tonight (it had globes of blood around you had to kill as stage 1) and I was the only one there despite going into the portal right behind 2 other people. I decided to bum around and kill off the 8 globes while waiting for other people and ended up getting all 8 done and it went to the next stage. A mage turned up not long after and together we filled the stage 2 bar and got up to the 3rd stage, still only the 2 of us. We decided to kill the end boss together, we were taking about 20% off his health each time before we’d both be dead so it was a slow process but we ended up 2 manning it. So lucky that when you die, the end boss’ health doesn’t reset.  So tell me, all those other ppl clicking the portal before me – where did they go? Why did no one turn up in the one I was in? In all the others I’ve done there were people and it was fast and easy.

As always, there’s also been a lot of Ark time. Best thing in Ark this week was clearing Swamp cave, the 2nd hardest land cave. Yay for my beautiful Baryonyx’s as they could just squeeze into the cave and made it a lot easier to get through.

Max level wild dinos in the game are 150, but in the Swamp cave they can spawn up to level 400,  so it’s pretty challenging. Add to that, the cave is full of poisonous gas so you have to wear oxygen tanks and masks at all times or you die to the gas, and one of the mobs in the cave spits acid at you that instantly destroys all your gear if it hits you, including your oxygen tank. First time through we took 10 sets of gear each and luckily only ended up needing 3.

The loot in the cave is amazing though and now we make a point of clearing it each day. Nerve-wracking each time we go in, but worth it for the best quality saddles and armor patterns that come out of the loot boxes.

To make it even more spooky, Megalania’s are little lizards that hang from the ceiling, and we had a  moment when we spotted one on the ceiling ahead of us, and then looked up and behind us to realise we had passed under about 4 others. Thankfully they don’t seem to aggro onto the Baryonyx’s but I’m still a lot more careful to check the ceiling as well as the floor for mobs. 

The Artifact shelf is starting to fill up now. Only 3 Artifacts to go and they’re all from really hard caves. Snow Cave where you can’t take dinos and 2 underwater caves. We haven’t started taming the dinos we need for the underwater ones so they’ll be a while away yet.

And that was my week.  How was yours?

 

 

Day 624: Holy Heck that’s a lot of Rex’s

We’re still working towards building a dino army to be able to attempt the first boss of the Island map, and Rexs are going to form a large part, so this weekend was a Rex breeding weekend.

We started out with 13 Rex eggs but there was a slight misclick when I went to place 2 of the eggs; ‘e’ is the keybind that pretty much does every action and ‘o’ is the keybind to drop items from your inventory.. muscle memory failed me at a critical time and I clicked ‘e’ over not1 but 2 eggs instead of ‘o’ and ended up eating them /sigh. At least we still had 11 un-nibbled on eggs, and 1 egg hatched twins so we have a good start to Rex army.

Babies get hatched in the breeding room so they’re all in the one place as you have to run between them adding food manually to their inventory until they get to 10% then they can eat automatically from a food trough as long as you keep it stocked with food.

To give you an idea of size – that’s a full grown rex leg showing through the door at the back.

Once they got close to not being able to fit out the door, they got booted out into the paddock with the adults. Normally I keep the server on over the whole weekend but we’ve found that if there’s no toon active in an area it goes into stasis and the dinos stop eating, which is fine for adults who need very little food if not active, but disastrous for  babies. The first time we raised a baby we nearly lost it when we logged in the next morning and the server automatically adjusted the food levels and it was nearly dead from starvation. Lesson learnt and the server got turned off overnight.

It was awesome watching them grow up slowly over the course of 2 real days, by the end of their growing stage, I was walking through a sea of Rex legs every time I went outside. 

The plan is to have about 25 Rex’s in the final boss group and the new additions bring our total Rex count to 18, so another weekend of breeding is ahead. I think we need to come up with a new place to store them all first though, the front yard is getting a little crowded.

Battle for Azeroth- missed it’s mark?

For the very first time in a long long while I watched the next expansion’s trailer and I wasn’t excited, far far from it in fact. Feeling utterly saddened as I watched Alliance and Horde battle each other on the outskirts of Lordaron, I wondered if this is an expansion I even want to pay for. Not really what I would have ever expected myself to feel on a Blizzcon morning.

As someone who loves playing both factions and who has eagerly watched the story bring us closer and closer to the other side, working alongside and eventually with – I have just as many horde followers that I can take as bodyguards as I do Alliance members, seeing us now at out and out war with each other is not what I was expecting or wanting.

A constant theme I’m hearing from the people I play with and on podcasts I listen to is a desire for cross-faction content, the ability to group with our friends regardless of their faction and with the way the expansions have been going, this didn’t seem like a mere flight of fancy until now.

Maybe after this expansion we will end up closer again, after all we all live on the one planet and when Azeroth is eventually in danger again it doesn’t make sense to not be working with each other, but that does mean sitting through 2 years of division and having to listen to each side qualify why they are better than the other and deserve the spoils of war.

I’m hoping my reaction will change in time, but for now I’m turning off Blizzcon news because it’s just not exciting knowing all the changes that might be great are tempered by the overarching story that I just do not like the sound of.

Photo courtesy of Polygon

Caves in Ark

A lot of this weekend was spent exploring caves in Ark.

Caves in Ark are where you can find the best loot items but oh boy are they hard and slightly scary places. Some caves are full of lava and really boiling hot, and some are freezing cold with tiny little paths over really high drops so they’re challenging places to survive even without the dinos that spawn inside.

The caves are full of bats and snakes and spiders and all sorts of nasty little dinos intent on killing you. But there’s a really good reason to go into each of them outside of the the loot chance of really good saddles for the dinos or best quality armor and weapons. Each cave has a specific Artifact (I just can’t get away from Artifacts!) you can collect from inside it and you need the Artifacts to be able to access the end bosses but.. even more exciting than that, collecting all the artifacts gives an achievement and opens up a new hairstyle. Even outside of WoW I’m chasing achievements.

The first couple of times I tried going into some of the caves I died a horrible death to either the climate or contracting rabies from the bats. It took leveling up some points into fortitude which helps your toon withstand extreme temperatures and doing a spot of cooking to make antidotes to the diseases and some extra soups and medical brews to give back health quickly to make the caves a bit easier. But mostly, it took taming the right sort of dinosaur to come along with us.

Baryonyxs!

Skinny little crocodile-like dinos they fit into most of the caves, are strong and fast both on land and in water, and they have a stun attack they can use when underwater, which is handy as a couple of the caves are almost completely underwater. This is by far my new favourite dino.. move over Raptor Army, Baryonx’s is where it’s at.

I’m so glad I got over my fear of going into the caves and decided to go back because all the caves are really interesting and each one has been really different inside.

 

Even with the Baronyx’s to help with the mobs, some of the paths were so narrow I was sure I was going to fall to my death at times as I tried to wind my way down them. But amazingly I didn’t die in any of the caves we went into over the weekend, and managed to complete quite a few of the caves.

I made a shelf to show off all the Artifacts we’ve collected. They each glow and light the whole area up at night.

5 caves down! 7  left to do including one where no dino is going to fit, that’s going to be a little scary for sure.

Random Tuesday Mutterings

Random Tuesday Mutterings is the perfect place to put the random assortment of what-nots I’ve got up to in my games each week.

I’ve been sitting at 19/20 completed Black Rook Rumbles for ages because normally I only ever see that WQ up around 1am, so while I finished the other 3 a long time ago, getting 20 Black Rooks was taking forever. But this morning it was up at a relatively reasonable hour.. 7.30am! I logged in straight away hoping it would be relatively deserted and it was.

I’m so glad I’m Alliance for this achievement mount because the Alliance Horse is really quite pretty (ignoring the skulls hanging off the saddle) and I much prefer horse mounts over the wolf that Horde always gets.

I took another step in Ark and decided to further build my raptor army by breeding the ones I had.

Once the females mating bar filled up, she drops a fertilized egg instead of the normal types of egg. I haven’t looked into just what I have to do to actually have the egg hatch yet but luckily you can store them in the fridge, you can craft and power, and it keeps them fertile for up to 7 days real-time. I let all 4 females mate so there are 4 eggs chilling away in the fridge waiting for the weekend when I have time to have a look at the egg layers breeding side of Ark. I can’t wait to see what colours I get.

I made a few random dyes by throwing a mix of berries into the cooking pot to see what I would get. The colours came out ranging from whites, golds and a few pinks and purples. Very pretty, so I went on a bit of a painting frenzy on some of the storage boxes.

I like how they turned out so if Dec doesn’t have a fit at the rainbow boxes when he logs in tomorrow, I might paint the rest of them.

Frogs with saddles. These guys jump so high and attack by flicking their super long tongues out. It’s hard to take them seriously when I see them, they just make me laugh so much. I wish they could wear the party hats.  

And that was my week in games.  How was yours?

 

 

The Raptor Fiasco of 2017

My Raptor Army is growing!

Though not without some difficulties along the way. Let me tell you the story of the Great Raptor Fiasco. For background, Raptors are fast, vicious little creatures that even now are slightly terrifying to meet in the wild.

So our story starts when I saw 2 raptors roaming around the base tonight and peeped at them through my spyglass to see one was level 10  and one was level 110! Max level is 150, so I was happy to see a such a high level one. The higher the level the stronger they are once tamed and Raptors are apparently very useful to take into Caves as protection as they can slip through places larger dinos can’t.

I got super excited about the 110 and grabbed the biggest bird we have and flew over and  picked up that unsuspecting raptor and dropped her into one of the pens we made to tame animals in. Taming pens are built with gaps left in the walls so we can shoot dinos we drop in there with tranquilizers but they can’t get out. But.. I quickly found out, the pen wasn’t built with skinny little raptors in mind and while most of the openings were too small for her to squeeze out of, one was just big enough for a very mad 110 raptor to escape and chase me. Which immediately annoyed my other dinos in the area and 3 Stegosaurus and  2 T-Rexs came rushing to my defense and started killing the raptor, which I wasn’t pleased about. I managed to fly my bird back into the mosh pit of fighting dinos and picked up the very bloody near death Raptor and used the whistle command to put all the dinos in the area on passive so they wouldn’t attack anything while I hovered the bird in mid-air dangling the raptor below and thought about where would be safe. I ended up dropping the raptor into the breeding pen which had a small doorway in it that the raptor couldn’t fit through. Luckily it was empty at the time, so it made a suitable temporary home.

Once I finally knocked it out, I went out to go get meat for it to eat while it was knocked out, only to find its level 10 mate had got rather upset about me taking its lady and was now attacking a completely passive Steggo. The Steggo had apparently calmly been taking the raptor attack for a while as it was covered in blood,  so I whistled every single dino onto attack mode (I might have panicked a little). Every dino we owned ran to the one spot, if they were inside and couldn’t get there, they all bunched up on the wall closest to where the Raptor was. It was a mess.

It was a rather large job moving all the dinos back into their various pens and houses when I noticed  2 Steggos were missing. I looked around the house but no Stegosaurus. I looked at the tribe log but there were no Steggo deaths recorded. I finally I wandered over to the cliff edge and peered over and there they were.. far down below, neck deep in Piranha infested water and still on passive so unable to defend themselves. /sigh

I grabbed a T-Rex, in case there were any other dangerous dinos in my way, and held my fingers crossed the Steggos would still be alive when I got there as I ran (well briskly walked as T-Rex’s are slow) down the hill and around the cliff into the water. Luckily they were still swimming and I could lead them safely home.

And that was the great Raptor Fiasco. The very next thing I did, was build a pen that was raptor-escape proof!

 

A bit of Ark and a bit of WoW

I think I’ve found a happy medium between the two games, though Ark is still getting the main played time. I’ve found myself logging onto WoW a little more this week to dip my toes into world quests on Argus a bit more.  Boy that place is confusing trying to find my way around. I’m pretty sure I’m missing something because I remember doing a couple of weeks of quest campaign and now I can’t find any follow on. It’s frustrating me a little because I’d like to see more of the story.

Playing only Boomy while I’m questing about, I decided to drop all my AP I’m collecting into my balance weapon to get it up to 60 and then I’ll probably go back to putting it into Resto.I feel a bit guilty not focusing on my resto weapon but it’d be nice to have the first row of boomy relics unlocked. I noticed the guild message of the day was telling the raiders they should have Artifact level around 67-68 this week as they’re starting mythic Avatar. Z’s resto weapon is only at 64 which makes me realize there would be a ton of catch up if I wanted to get back into raiding any time soon. For now though, I’m enjoying running around Argus as a boomy, she still has the dumb arms out to the side animation but the fights are short so I don’t notice as much and I’m usually distracted by the cool flashy lights and glowing spells that come with throwing moons and astral beams at mobs.

Playing boomy more means a whole new transmog is needed. I really don’t like the boomy scythe that much but decided to embrace the style I disliked the least and make an outfit to match it. I love the top I picked; I’ve wanted to use it for ages but every time I went to make an outfit with it, I’d try to match it with something blue and I just don’t have any blue leather that looks good. Last night, I was trying every pair of pants I had and finally found a pair I like, picking up the brown colour for a change.

Up to Day 197 in Ark and the house just keeps growing. I knock down walls and add new rooms as I go and as the dino count expands past the space we have inside.

It’s a bit haphazard but I like how it’s looking so far.Inside it’s spread across 4 different levels and still mostly wood and stone but I’m getting close to the point where all the big metal pieces of crafting equipment are made so then all the metal collected can be turned into metal building parts.

I really love the staircases that can be built and basically made a whole room just to use the staircase. It’s completely empty at the moment until I find a use for it, but I love going into the room, climbing the staircase and looking out over the river and forest from the balcony.

Early morning mist over the forest.

Taming went crazy over the weekend with heaps of new additions. My favourite at the moment is the Thylacoleo, he’s an amazing climber and in the wild they usually perch about half way up large trees in the Redwood Forest and leap out onto you as you fly past. It makes the forest really scary, you should have heard me scream when one of these leapt off a tree and knocked me off my mount and killed me on the forest floor today. Tamed though, it’s such a cool dino as it can climb up walls and cliffs and jump really really high.

Look at these cheeky little Raptors. They are so hyperactive when they’re in the wild and come in so many different colours. No surprises that I want to tame every colour way lol.

The snails can wear hats! These little guys are so cute just wandering around the place and you can equip them with hats and then put different hat skins over them. My favourite is by far the party hat one.

It’s a good mix of both gaming worlds at the moment. It honestly was the best feeling looking at my watch this lazy Sunday afternoon and realizing I didn’t have to be logging on to WoW to lock myself into Tomb for the rest of the night. Wonder if I can get through next expansion or next raid without burning myself out?

 

Day 36

My server is 36 Ark days old and I’m still on my starting island, though my house has grown from the thatch hut I started with.

I’m still in the safe part down south so wood should be fine to keep most of the predators out, though once I start expanding up north I’ll need to move into stone building. The further north you go on a map in Ark the more you encounter the stronger carnivore dinosaurs that are able to break wood and thatch, though every now and again you may get an exploring carno come down even to the south zones. Case in point was last night, I spent a good hour taming a triceratops only to have it eaten 5mins after taming by a level 60 (I was level 14) carno who had come down out of his usual hunting grounds. Most frustrating.

Dec and I had a talk after that and decided to bump up the xp and taming timers on the server. His new work hours and the time difference between us means we have about half the play time together each night we’ve been used to  having. The faster rates means we can actually get things done when we’re both online and as I’m playing by myself after Dec logs off for the night, I’m more likely to go tame something alone if I know it’s only going to take me 30-60mins rather than 2 or more hours. We also bumped up XP gain a little to help with the  fact that when I shut my pc down at night, the server shuts off and we don’t accumulate passive xp like we would on a normal server which keeps going even if we’re not online.

After the carno/taming shenanigans last night, taming the next trike in only 15mins was much more pleasurable. The faster tames also means if a dino accident does occur it’s not such a huge effort to recoup.  To tame most dinos you need to knock them unconscious and then feed them while they’re asleep. They actually make little snoring sounds while they’re out, it’s really quite cute.

Once she was tamed though, I added a pen to the main house to try to help keep her a bit safer.

We’ve had a beaver move in on the river near us which is awesome as it’s a nice handy source of wood but I have to be really careful the beavers aren’t close by when I raid their nest as they get really aggro and chase for ages. Some dinos, if they can’t catch you will actually go for your house, so I’m really careful about when I go help myself to free wood because I don’t want a cranky beaver to turn around and destroy my house in retaliation.

Inside is coming along, we put down a forge and workbench to start making metal tools but this house is definitely going to only be a temporary one as it’s quite a long way from any metal spawns so trekking through the bush and then lugging heavy metal back isn’t going to work too well.    It’s early days yet, I can’t wait to get out and explore more.