So what have I been up to…

Well, since my peers can’t take the server trouble in Granado Espada around the start of 2009, we took time off from the game and haven’t been back ever since (except one…Vledlin is still around apparently). I’ve been trying out different games, not only for the PC but also for the PSP. There’s too many of ’em to mention and I didn’t stick to playing anything for months except Monster Hunter 2 Freedom (now playing Monster Hunter Freedom Unite) and World of Warcraft so I don’t think I should make a list or something.

Yes, WoW. I’m not sure what came over me but I renewed my subscription back in March and have been playing since then. I was choosing between Final Fantasy XI or WoW on which subscription to renew, but I figured I might as well go with the latter since Final Fantasy XIV is going to be another online game (and most probably play that one instead when it arrives).

So, what’s up with WoW? Well, since I stopped playing around patch 2.3 and came back only after patch 3.0.9, I was pleasantly surprised with the new content from Wrath of the Lich King and additions such as dual talent specialization, glyphs, and Inscription. I made a new character, a human mage, in Dreadmaul (US, Oceanic) so I can be with an old friend. After a month of playing, I lured invited another friend, Bry, to play so I could have someone to exploit level with. He’s now raiding with his guildies in Naxx while I’m still stuck with Heroic stuff (I’ll be raiding soon though).

I’m not really sure whether to insert non-gaming stuff here or not but what the hell…I’m currently busy with a client’s website (dental) so I haven’t been playing much for the past 2 weeks. I’m finally over my ex so maybe those “Oh God, let go…” requests from various female friends would stop coming. I’m also in a temporary financial bind (until I catch up on my bills) so having a new girlfriend is probably out of the question…not that I care or anything, really.

"Yep. That's right. One last rape."

"Yep. That's right. One last rape."

Granado Espada – Grandice

During our first months in GE, we called Grandice the “impossible” RNPC since she’s so hard to get. Whenever we thought of who our final teams would be, we simply dismissed the idea of including Grandice. Back then, how was I to know that I’ll be killing the boss in the Room of the Dead…much less getting the Ring on my first try?

Christmas Day of 2008. around 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Santa (IAH Game Master) was giving away prizes to those who participated in the forum contest. The prizes ranged from Adelina the Pirate cards to 70,000 gpoints. Sadly, it was only then that I knew the existence of the said contest. A bit disappointed, I went to the 3rd floor of Skullic Dungeon to check if Ravyn (the boss) is alive.

I had only one key. It has been with me for ages. I don’t even remember where I got it. Anyway, when I used the key on the crystal skull at the end of the 3rd floor, it announced that the Room of the Dead has been opened. Great, possible competitors may arrive. Luckily, I was the only one who went in. It was my first time inside the area so I was surprised to find it so desolate and lifeless. Aptly named, I guess. I started bragging to my peers that I was in the room until…surprise! Ravyn spawned on top of me.

Instead of continuing with what happened, I’ll just detail the step-by-step process of getting Grandice (since most folks who read this will probably want to know more about that than my personal experience). Anyway, on to the guide.

  • First, you should have completed the Ustiur Quests up to getting Romina’s card.
  • The next step is to look for a clickable rock on a hill in Zona Quatro overlooking a rather large waterfall. To reach it, once you enter from Zona Tres turn left and follow that path, then turn right to climb a hill where you can see a waterfall. Walk towards the rock (you can click it but nothing will happen) and a message should appear saying that “You found a waterfall…”. Run around the rock until you get the message if it doesn’t appear immediately. Go back to Grandice and she should thank you for the discovery.

capture_00040“Yeah, that’s one big rock! But forget that, let’s just report finding a waterfall in Zona Quatro…”

  • Here begins the hard parts of the quest. You will need to get a key to the Room of the Dead by hunting in Skullic Dungeon or getting one from a Bellem’s box. The mini-bosses in Skullic Dungeon drop them though they’re quite rare. Some have reported getting one from regular mobs but it never happened to me yet.
  • The rare key opens up a warp gate to the Room of the Dead via the Crystal Skull at the end of the 3rd floor of Skullic Dungeon. Inside, you will find a bunch of skeletons moving around, four non-moving skeletons, Ravyn, and Ravyn’s heart.
  • Now, the first thing you will notice among those mentioned above is that only the heart can be attacked. Ravyn himself is not attackable as well as the four big skeletons around the heart. What you have to do is to attack the heart until a skeleton gets “unfrozen”. Kill the skeleton then go back to whacking at the heart. Repeat the process until all four skeletons are dead. Take note that you may have to stop and wait for the skeletons to get unfrozen if the heart is taking damage too quickly. If you’re soloing the boss, you can lure a skeleton to the starting point so you can solo it without Ravyn casting those annoying spells at you.

capture_00031“Hah! Can’t touch this!”

  • After killing all four skeletons, kill the heart. If you’re lucky, a message will appear saying “Ravyn, the Unholy has appeared” and the boss himself will say a few lines.
  • Kill Ravyn (he’s a pushover) and pray that the Viscount Skull Ring drops. If not, get a key and try again in a few hours.

capture_00032“Hey Ravyn! You do realize your guards are much stronger than you are, don’t you?”

viscount-skull-ring

  • If you’re lucky and got the ring, return to Grandice and she will take it, shower you with praises as well as challenge you to a friendly duel.

capture_00035“3 vs 1 is hardly fair. Much less against an old woman.”

  • After beating her, she’ll give you her card. Quest complete!

grandice-card

Her character starts at level 60. She has 7 STR, 6 AGI, 9 HP (!), 5 DEX, 3 INT, and 4 CHA. Her stances are Bareknuckle, Plow Guard, Roof Guard, Tail Guard, and Sidewinder (Yes, all great sword stances).

The difficulty comes from getting two items, the key and the ring. I may have gotten it on my first try but I was just lucky. My friend, who I’m helping in getting the ring, is on his 5th try with no luck. We managed to have Ravyn appear twice but still no ring. Others have reported killing Ravyn 32 times without getting a ring. Still, I’m happy I got mine and on Christmas too! Life sure knows when to give a pleasant surprise.

Soho The Wind

I’ve replaced my main character (Reginald) a lot of times over the months I’ve been playing Granado Espada. I just couldn’t choose what character to use for my team so I’ve switching from all the stock classes (Fighter, Musketeer, Scout, Wizard, Elementalist) and RNPCs (Coimbra Trooper and Soho). I consider the elementalist I just recently leveled to veteran as “version 9” since he’s the ninth and latest incarnation of my main.

Now, after using Soho for a bit (he was actually the one I kept before I temporarily left GE), I was hoping to get Soho the Wind since he has an extra stance and a rare RNPC. I’ve bought a few My Bellem’s Boxes recently just for the Adelina’s Booty Search promo in hopes that I can get one. After getting two of them (100 searches each plus 10 for the GVC topup included in package), all I got were level 52 elites and a bunch of other crap. I was disappointed but I simply thought that I was gambling to get one so no hard feelings for losing. I recently bought 2 more just for the fun of it and imagine my surprise when I finally got one. Had I gotten the Adelina the Pirate card instead, I would have given it to Peakstar who’s a good friend of mine. Well, this really made my day (well, as a bonus, I met with my girlfriend earlier so I’m pretty happy about it too) after all the hassle I went through while traveling this morning.

sohothewind1

Yep, that’s me right there. Nobreza.

Getting to Veteran level and Faction Quest

So much for weekly updates. =/

Anyway, after getting Claire, the next task we had was to get our characters to veteran level and create a faction. When Rinderfon got a free Forgotten Territory pass from Soho’s quest, he tried leveling in Torsche’s Mansion annex and found the area great for leveling. I suggested getting a combat manual – expert for double experience, which he did. He was so enthusiastic about it that he spent money on the cash shop to get more FT passes and combat manuals and he managed to train to level 100 in a few (2 or 3) days. We followed suit and now three of us were at veteran with Aleksandrov nearing that goal. Currently, the ones at veteran level are Rinderfon’s Grace, Rin’s Claire, my elementalist (Reginald v.9), my Calyce (Vampy), my Mi Karjalainen (Mika), Peakstar’s Grace, Adelina, and scout. Rinderfon’s scout (Alexander) is at 100.

It was also part of our plan to create a faction as soon as one of us got to 100 but we decided to create it earlier so we can use the faction chat for convenience. I asked Rinderfon to create one as he had been guild leader in most of the games that we’ve played together (also so he’ll be the one to treat us to pizza as our tradition goes…just kidding, I’m the working guy in the group so I get to treat them to pizza). We named the faction Scarlet since Scarlet Nightmare wouldn’t fit with the character limit. The faction has only 10 members at the moment but we’re expecting a few more members shortly.

    Scarlet Faction Members:

    Rinderfon (Faction Leader)
    Nobreza (Deputy)
    Peakstar (Deputy)
    Cryfelt
    Aleksandrov
    Fiamatta
    Natsukiii
    Vledlin
    Gaugin
    Elmissa

I asked Rinderfon to level the faction to 50 (by paying the faction NPC) and he did. After a bit of research, we’ve decided to do the faction quest to get it up to 51 and receive some bonuses like additional family level and another deputy slot.

The first task was to defeat the Great Hill Giant in Vegas Javier. Four of us were available (actually 5 but Alex was indulging in self pity around that time…oh come on Alex, you know it’s true *laughs*), so we quickly assembled and Rin summoned the giant. Cryfelt’s Catherine RNPCs weren’t really suitable for the job because of the Hill Giant’s earthquake so he swapped to his musketeers midway during the fight. We just kept pounding at it with Rin’s Claire doing the tanking and 2 scouts (Rin’s and Peakstar’s) doing the healing and resurrection. The giant fell in a few minutes.

The next task (and the hardest) was to go through Prison de Joaquin and enter the portal to a raid dungeon and defeat Chrysalis. This task took us around five or six tries since we couldn’t get the timing right. There were also times that Cryfelt’s Catherine NPCs got wiped out. After taking a break, we tried it again and managed to clear the room with the revolving blades. After the mobs were cleared, I was expecting the warp to Chrysalis open but I was surprised to see Dr. Fran Moth Mothtein hitting my elementalist. His AoE attacks were a real pain but it didn’t take us too long to take him down. We immediately passed through the portal that opened and headed for the final boss of the dungeon.

capture_000211

Chrysalis was huge and intimidating. His attacks also covered a wide area and hits everything around him. This made Catherine useless as her dolls would simply get wiped out when they got near him. I sent my elementalist in to check how much damage Chrysalis did with normal attacks and his AoE skill but found them…pathetic. I sent my whole team in (Elementalist, Calyce, and Karjalainen) and pounded him with Absolute Zero and Calyce’s Dark Judgment. Rin sent in Claire to do damage with her great sword but kept Grace outside of its range and set her to use Kneeling Shot. The scouts and other people in the team stayed outside and waited to resurrect anybody who died (which rarely happened, my team did not even die once). It took us around 20 minutes to take it down and it felt nice to watch it fall dead. With only 5 families finishing the quest, it was the best victory we’ve had in a long while.

capture_000231
capture_000241
capture_000251

Granado Espada – Getting Claire

claire

Getting Claire isn’t easy unless you have a lot of patience. The quest itself is pretty simple as long as you already have Claude Baudez and an elemental jewel (purchasable from the item dealer for 10 million Vis). The first few steps involve a lot of talking to different NPCs like Jose, who you have to give an avocado sandwich and later get the option of paying either 500,000 Vis and 50 Family Reputation points or killing 3 Escudo Pechers in an instanced quest; Vicente Rio, Emilia Gulliano, and the Reboldeux Investigating Team.

Now here comes the hard part, getting 2 unknown ores. Unknown ores are quest items that go directly to your quest inventory after killing Elite Storm Cockatrice in Bonavista River. Sounds easy? Although some people have been able to complete it in a short time, others take weeks to get it. So what’s so hard about killing the Elite Cockatrice? First, the spawn rate seems to be one every 10 minutes or so. Second, even if you do find it and kill it, it doesn’t guarantee you getting the quest item. The drop rate for it seems pretty low as some of the squad members reported killing 50+ without getting a single ore. Here’s my experience:

Day 1 – I finished the first few parts of the quest up until the unknown ore part. I immediately headed to Bonavista River to kill some birds. At this point, I wasn’t sure whether the Giant Cockatrice or the Elite Storm Cockatrice dropped it. I tried killing the Giant Cockatrice but my party was wiped out from it and the mob around the place. I went back for another try and encountered a squad positioned around F4 – H4 of the map. They invited me out of the blue so I accepted and stayed on the northeastern area. I managed to kill the Elite Storm Cockatrice a few times but by the end of the day I didn’t get a single ore.

Day 2 – I positioned myself in the middle of G4 so Calyce (who I just got) wouldn’t get attacked. Rinderfon joined the squad since he was hoping to get Claire as well. That was when I discovered how long the other squad members have been staying in the area. Two were on their 15th day while some of the others were hunting for only a few days. After killing an Elite Cockatrice who was outside the range of our riflemen, Saprious got an ore. This prompted me to take a few tests.

Day 3 – I took Andre’s white feather quest that also involves killing cockatrice. I moved around the area to test the maximum distance for getting quest items from squad members. Unlike previous claims made by other squad members, the test seems to show that you have to see both the monster and the squad member who killed it on screen to get a quest item. When I’m close but can only see the squad member on the map, I don’t seem to be getting anything. This prompted me to stay in the middle of the squad so I can see most of what they are killing. I got an ore while taking a nap. Three squad members were able to finish the quest while a few of us simply gave up.

Day 4 – Monday, I didn’t play much after I got back from work and instead bought 3 barracks slots and opened a lot of Bellem’s boxes. I spent the day selling junk, turning equipment with options into enchantment chips, and selling stuff.

Day 5 – It was a Tuesday, I had to leave early so I left GE running while I go off to work. As usual, I was positioned in the middle of G4. I sent Rinderfon a message to protect my family (Nobreza) and revive anyone who dies. When I got back home later that day, there was an emergency maintenance but GE was still running (although disconnected). I checked the ore count and it was 2 of 2. I’m done! I finished the quest as soon as the server got back up and created Claire’s character, replacing Idge in the barracks.

Return to Granado Espada

Since I loved Granado Espada when I first played it, I’ve always wanted to come back and play again. I got the chance to do so when a friend went back to playing GE because his school friends wanted to play it as well. Taking a break from Asda Story, I downloaded the 7 part installer and reinstalled the game.

Excited, I checked the updates to see what I’ve missed. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there were new RNPCs available, with one who I’ve never seen before. Her name is Claire. No, we don’t need to spend money on the cash shop or like half a billion Vis to get her. No, we don’t need to be at a really high level to do her quest (unless you think 65 is already high leveled). Yes, her quest is frustrating – a lot more than getting Viki.

There were also other updates like a new currency (Peso or Feso), socketing, and pets. I haven’t really gotten into any of those so I’ll probably mention them in future updates.

Ooookay, so as soon as I logged on, I found my family name changed to Noble[]Legaspi_1. Great, now I have to do something about that. I bought 18000 electronic game card credits for GE from Gameshop (cost me around S$24.90 or around P820) and topped up for gpoints. I used 11000 to have my family name changed to Nobreza, which is Portuguese for noble (my middle name) or nobility I think, and the rest were used to buy 31 pieces of mystery powders.

Adelina’s bounty search was fun. I was hoping to get Soho the Wind, but the best I was able to get was a recipe for an Elite Dragon Coat which I sold for 350M (cheap!). Then I bought 19 more mystery powders from the market manager, bringing the total to 50. Time to get Calyce.

Calyce’s quest was easy. Went to Port of Coimbra, and talked to her and the bodyguards. It triggered an instanced quest where the goal is to protect the princess Gabriella (who’s really hawt by the way…damn that cleavage…). Easy, I just hid and let the NPCs handle the situation (Gabriella, I think is invincible). I got disconnected before the quest was finished but as soon as I logged on, the bodyguard already asked for 50 mystery powders so I believe the first one was successful regardless of the disconnection. I gave the mystery powders, talked to Gabriella in Cite de Reboldeux, went back to Calyce and finally got her card. I deleted my scout to make room for her character and named her after a “close friend”.

Next project was to get Claire. At this time of writing, I already got her but the quest was long, boring, and a bit frustrating. I’ll detail the incident on my next post, which should come shortly if I find time to do so here in the office.

Finally! An Update!

Alright.

So yeah. I got pretty much bored here in the office so I decided to make a post.

Well, what have I been up to since the last update? After the job at Telus/EA games, I worked as a writer/blogger under different personae. It was a home-based job so I didn’t have to commute to the office and back. It was fun while it lasted but alas, I had to leave and work at another company.

I’m currently working as a content writer for Hobble Creek Trading and I’m still trying to adapt to the new job. Unlike the previous job, I commute from Makati to Alabang and back. Tough. I had communication trouble with my boss (who’s also the owner of the company, by the way) as well as trouble with attendance but thankfully everything’s going to go smoothly from here on.

Oh yeah, games. This blog IS about games, right? Yeah, yeah.

Where to start?

OK. Well after playing DOMO (see previous post), I jumped to different MMOs for a while – even going as far as playing Ragnarok Online again (gasp!). There were a couple of games that I remember I enjoyed playing: World of Warcraft, Granado Espada, and Final Fantasy XI. My FFXI account is still active since I’m breeding a chocobo. It has yellow feathers with red ends and is around 30+ days already with Discernment and Receptivity at “Impressive”.

I named it Noble Sun. Weird name.

Anyway, I stopped leveling for a while and just login to check the chocobo and the “garden” in the mog house. I’m currently playing Asda Story and I’m currently “grinding” actions to get as many titles as I can.

I also recently reinstalled Granado Espada and planning to have my family name changed. The return of the old serif font messed up a lot of names that used ASCII characters for spaces – including MY family name. The server merge also caused my family name to get a “_1” since I had created families in all previously existing servers. Aaanyway, I’ll have that fixed this weekend.

Hmm…only a few sentences to cover what transpired in 10 months? Bah! I’ll go write something when I remember something good enough to write. Meanwhile, here’s a pic of Reginald the Scholar.