Category Archives: Game Info and theories

Guild Wars 2 – Making Gold part 1

GW2-logo

When in game, one of the most frequent topics that new or returning players ask me tends to be around getting gold.  It might be to buy something, it might be to be put towards a goal or different ways to get gear they want, or merely because they want to save up a nice hunk of cash for the future.  Whatever the reasons, the topic is fairly extensive, and while there are many videos out there declaring ‘x is the fastest way to get cash’, I am very much of the belief that you will make more money by doing things in ways you enjoy, so having a variety is good, and this is what this guide is about.

The Trading Post

No matter what way you may choose to go about making money, the one thing players should understand from the start is that the Trading Post is the way you are going to be making it.  It doesn’t matter if you choose to do dungeons, chest farms, gathering, world bosses etc, as you will be primarily be trying to sell a lot of loot of whatever kind to other players, and that requires the trading post.  You should take the time to get to know the trading post, and become familiar with it, because not doing so will impact on whatever profit you make.

What will also impact on your profit is what you go about trying to sell, and why.  Understanding the reasons why some items will give you more profit than others will help you to pinpoint what activities you feel best about doing.

Trading Post basics

You might think that using the trading post is a fairly straight-forward activity, but you might be surprised to find that quite a number of players are not quite as certain of it at first, especially if they come from a game such as World of Warcraft.  Why?  Because this isn’t an auction house, it is a trading post, and there is a distinct difference even though the trading post has a ‘place order’ option that players sometimes mistake it for.

Note: Players should always attempt to sell their items on the trading post (other than grey junk items) rather than vendoring them, as you will make significantly more money doing so.

Selling on the Trading Post

When selling an item, you can either right click it in your bags, and select the ‘Sell at the Trading Post’ option which will bring up the Black Lion Trading post UI, or you can open the Black Lion Trading Company from the Menu at the top left of the screen and click on the Trading Post tab there.  The other way is to talk to a Trading Post npc in the game, which mostly are situated in major towns, though sometimes in smaller outposts in the world as well.  You can see their icon on the minimap.GW2-tradingicon

Note: You can buy or sell items from anywhere in the game, which is useful for keeping your bags emptier, however if you need to collect an item you purchased, or gold from selling items, you have to speak to the Trading Post npc.

So you have an item in your bag, and you have the Trading Post open with your item selected.  You now have two options in front of you:  ‘Current Buyers’ and ‘Current Sellers’

Current Buyers is sort of like a player instant-sell vendor, where other players in the game have placed an order for an item in the game and given the Trading Post the money for that item in advance, money that they feel they are willing to part with for it.  This price will be less than ‘Current Sellers’, however if you pick this option, the money will be given to you instantly.  Players will often try to buy using this method because impatient players want instant cash, and are willing to take less money for the item as a result.

Current Sellers is when players put the item up on the Trading post for the amount that they feel the item is worth.  This will always be higher than the Current Buyers option, but if you sell it for this higher amount, you will have to wait for a player to purchase your item at this amount.  This can take time, and you cannot tell how long it will be as the prices fluctuate.  This means that eventually you will get a higher price (assuming it sells) but you will have to wait for the sale.

Once you put an item up on the Trading Post, there is no time limit on that.  It will stay there indefinitely until it sells, or you remove it from the Trading Post.

Practical walkthrough

gw2-tradingpostSo lets say you have, through relentless gathering, managed to get 250 iron ore.

If you look on the image to the right, you can see that on the left (that is highlighted), I could sell the 250 ore for 1 silver 33 copper each, making 3 gold 32 silver 50 copper (before listing fees and sale deductions).  I would get this gold instantly at the Trading Post.

However, if I decided that I thought I could get more money for the ore, and was willing to wait a bit for the income, I could put the listing up for a higher price, which would be a listing on the right hand side under ‘current sellers’.  If I did this, and put the ore up on the trading post for 1 silver 63 copper, I would make 4 gold 7 silver 50 copper (before listing fees and sale deduction), if/when the ore sold for that amount.

Trading Post fees

As with any game, the Trading post has fees for putting up items for sale, but it also has fees for when an item is purchased.  This means that the fee is split, so that if the item does not sell, the seller does not have to pay the full fee.

Note: Buying items does not come with a fee

The Listing fee: 5% of the sale price
The Exchange fee: 10% of the sale price

If you sell the item, you will therefore be getting 85% of the sale price, and you should take this into consideration when working out your profits.

More information on the different functions of the Trading Post can be found here:
Guild Wars 2 Wiki – Trading Post

How much should I sell it for?

This is another question that I get asked quite a lot, and the answer tends to be fairly specific on what you are selling.  Some items will sell well and quickly, while others will not have nearly as much demand.

In general, I am not much of a risk-taker.  I like a regular and predictable income.  When selling items, I tend to always sell items within the top six ‘current seller’ prices, because those are the ones that will sell first.  The higher you set your price, the more of that item has to sell before your one gets a chance to, and if the supply of that item is being put up faster than the sales then it may be a very, very long time before you will ever see that money, if ever.  I might put those 250 ore up on the trading post for 500g each, but that ore would never sell, and I would have wasted a lot of money on the listing fee.  It is up to you what you judge the level of risk you want to work with when trading for this reason.

External Websites

If you have a lot of an item, such as crafting materials that you want to put up, there are websites that will help you judge what risk is worth it, as they keep track of the listings over time.  This will show you on graphs whether the price you are currently contemplating is far beyond what is generally normal for the sale, and thus how likely you are to sell it.  If the price has never gone above 1 silver 70 copper in the last month or two, then it is unlikely to do so (except under special circumstances, but more on that later).

The websites are not full-proof, as they are not now maintained, but they are still functional enough to be of use, especially if you plan to do more high-risk selling.
GW2 spidy
Gold Wars 2

While these are useful, if you stick to low-risk strategies like mine, there really is no need to use something like that.

What sells the best?

Ah, the age-old question.  It might surprise you to know that while crafting really doesn’t make you much/any profit, almost all of the most in-demand items or items that are sold the most frequently are in fact crafting items or items related in some way to that.  Why?  Although crafting doesn’t make you money in general, having the best armour and weapons in the game does require you to craft, and those particular items eat resources by the ton.  Ascended crafting is a long-term goal for players and the resources it requires echoes that.  As crafting resources are consumed in the process, the demand remains high, and Ascended crafting requires not only high level crafting materials, but also low level ones as well.

If you are interested in seeing what sort of crafting materials are needed for Ascended Armour and weapons, you can find the information below.  Be sure to scroll down and explore just how many resources each item actually requires.  It might say ‘bold of damask’, but there is a lot to go into making that one bolt of cloth.
Guild Wars 2 Wiki – Ascended Armour
Guild Wars 2 Wiki – Ascended Weapons

Selling vs Salvaging

As the economy currently stands you can be fairly sure that crafting materials will be fairly quick to sell, but also other items, such as armour and weapons in vast quantities.  Why?  People salvage the gear in order to get the crafting resources and luck (increases the magic-find of your account for chances of better loot).  This is especially true of any cloth items that will sell for a great deal more than their leather or metal counterparts.  Cloth is one of the most in-demand items in the game, because it is by far more difficult to get hold of.  In general, I would say you should be salvaging ALL of the cloth armour you pick up (that you do not use yourself) and sell the cloth, rather than the item as you will generally get a better price that way.

Items of a certain level will sell for more than others.  In general, leather items will sell for the least and cloth for the most, with wooden items and metal items falling in between.  Most of this is to do with the type of resource that will be gained from salvaging it, while sometimes, like with low level gear, it can be because of the demand for new gear for new characters.

In the image below, I have listed the type of crafting resource alongside the level of item it can be salvaged from, and whether it is from Armour or Weapons, or both.  More information about crafting materials and how to get them can be found on the Wiki page.

gw2 salvage levelsMaking the most of the items you have

Another good tip is to make the most of what crafting resources you manage to gather.  If you have levelled up your crafting a little, you should be able to change ore into ingots, and logs into planks.  This will help improve your profit since they will almost always be worth more when done so.  Not by a huge margin, but by enough that if you are doing it regularly then it adds up.  You would have to judge whether the cost of levelling your crafting professions is worth that small increase in profit overall.

Practical walkthrough

If we look back to the earlier example of 250 iron ore, and we assume that they could be sold for between 3g92s50c and 4g07s50c, however if we smelt those into iron or steel ingots:

250 iron ore = 83 iron ingots = between 4g05s04c and 4g09s19c
250 iron ore = 83 steel ingots = between 4g08s43c and 4g12s58c after coal deduction.

As you can see, even though with steel ingots we require a purchased resource, it is still worth more than the iron ore and iron ingots, so it is in our best interests to smelt it before selling.

Trading Post Flipping

Trading post flipping is when players will purchase items from the trading post at a low price, then sell them for a higher price, making profit.  There are some players who spend the majority of their time in-game doing this, but they are in the minority.  However if you want to make money in the game, then you could try it.

As when I was talking about selling resources, if doing trading post flipping in any great amount, you should probably take a look at one of the external websites like spidy or goldwars2 in order to not make poor investments.  In general though, you will want to be buying things on the ‘Current Buyers (place order)’ to get a lower price, then sell it for a higher price on the ‘Current Sellers’.  Remember to take into account the 15% Trading Post fees when working out whether the flipping of an item is worth it.

Note: It is better to purchase during the day when most players are on and the supply is high, and sell at night when late-night players are buying up the items making the price rise.

If you are looking for more information on flipping there are many blogs, guides and videos out there that will likely give far better tips on it than I can, as it isn’t something I do very much at all.

Continue to Part 2 (coming soon)
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Guild Wars 2 – PvP rank farming explained

GW2-logoPvP rank farming, Explained!

Okay, so why would you first of all want PvP rank in Guild Wars 2, especially if you are not into playing PvP.  Well, there are several good reasons, but the most important is -loot-, what else!

I will be explaining the basics of rank farming here and how to go about it, so you can get some of that sweet loot, even for those that have never gone into a PvP room before.

Sweet, Sweet Loot

There are some unique items, and just generally pretty good loot that you would usually only get for doing dungeons, as well as dungeon currency to buy more.  This is useful if you are generally either not playing dungeons, or are playing the game at times of the day that make finding dungeon groups difficult.  Many players doing rank farms for instance are looking to gather the Lost City of Arah gear, because apparently it is pretty difficult to get groups for that dungeon these days.

GW2_pvp_reward_trackIf you open the PvP tab on your menu bar (top left of the screen) and click the rewards tab on it, you can see the various reward tracks you can work on (click the image to the right here for details).  Each reward track is split into sections, shown here, and each section also has mini-loot bags within it, so you still get loot pretty much each turn while working your way up the reward track to the big end item.

But why would you want to do a PvP rank farm?  Surely it is just as rewarding to just go into a normal pvp game and just try and kill people?  Well.. yes and no.  It isn’t going to be as mentally rewarding.. farms are dull, but they are also designed to give all participating players the best possible chance of getting the maximum amount of rank points you can gain in a game.  There is actually, in general, no PvP actually going on in rank farm arenas, and that is great for someone like me who despises PvP with a vengeance.

Finding yourself a PvP rank farming room

Okay, so the first thing you need to do is find yourself a PvP rank room.

GW2_rankfarm_roomsThese rooms are player-made rooms, and will generally have [rank farm] or something like that in the title.  Here you can see I have saved ones that I like on my favourites list, but they can be found in the standard listings, usually near the top since many people use them.

When they say things like -no pets- it is because sometimes accidents do happen, and necromancer pets in particular cannot be recalled, and just keep attacking.  Bad manners and all that.  I will get to the capping/decapping description in a moment.

In the farming room – the basics

So you get into the room, and you will find there are two teams, Red and Blue.  Farming maps tend (but not always) to use the Battle of Kyhlo map.  There are three points of contest (The windmill at the north side, the clock tower in the middle, and the mansion at the bottom).  GW2_rankfarm_teamsPoints are given for when you neutralize and take over these points of contest by standing within the boundary of that point until the point gets turned your team’s colour.

If it is a red-capping farm map, players on the red team will cap the north and south points, then everyone (generally) moves to the clock tower and the real farming begins.

Collecting points

There are several ways you will be trying to collect points:

  1. Capping and uncapping the clock tower
  2. Making sure you are, at some point, in the winning team
  3. Defeating the enemy’s trebuchet (+5 rank points over the cap at the end)
  4. Repairing your team’s trebuchet (+5 rank points over the cap at the end)
  5. Clicking the volunteer button at least once (+25 rank points over the cap at the end)

In truth, you actually do not need to collect more than 10 points in the red team (neutralizing a point doesn’t seem to count, only a full cap or others).  Your total rank point score is not dependent on your score in the score board in the room, but on how long you were playing for when the game finishes.  The longer in the room, the higher your score towards the cap of 500.

However be wary of going afk, since you can get kicked pretty fast, plus it’s boring.  For this reason most people spend the time capping the clock tower, or perhaps because they don’t understand that it is the time in game, not the points in game that give the end rank point score.

Capping the Clock Tower
The main activity when in a rank farming match is capping the Clock Tower.  Both teams face off on either side of the contested point and take turns at turning it fully onto their team’s colour, then stepping back off it so the other team can neutralize it and then turn it to their colour before stepping off.  GW2_rankfarm_clocktowerEach time you neutralize the point you gain 10 points, and each time you cap the point to your team’s colour you also get 10 points.  It only takes a few seconds to do this for each side, so those points add up fast.  Points mean prizes from your reward track.

Note that there is, in general, absolutely no fighting from either team.  This tends only to happen either when someone mistakenly hits an attack button, when there is a troll in the room, or at the very end of the match when the score hits around 495 or so (the game finishes at 500) since players downed when the map changes automatically gives you a kill.  Players that do fight outside this time will in general get reported by other players in the room to the room’s moderator by mail, since it disrupts the reason for the room’s purpose.

Making sure you are on the winning team

The name of the farming room will always have details of the winning team in the subject line.  All the ones I use stick to having the red team winning (I will use red as the winning team in this article for simplicity), but there are ones that use blue.

There are several reasons why you want to know beforehand what the winning team is:

  • You don’t want to waste time.  Having both teams fight for supremacy doesn’t get you more points because of the rank point cap, therefore making sure that one team caps the two other contested points and they stay red means the game ends more swiftly and you can get the maximum number of points swiftly.
  • You will want to know what team to aim for when in the game.  The winning team gets more rank points for playing than the losing team.

Of course, everyone is going to aim to be on the Red team, but if you don’t get in as red right at the start, don’t stress!  Even if you start off on the blue team, you can still switch sides during the game if you play your cards right and get the victor’s extra rank points.

Switching sides and Volunteering

If you are on the blue team, you will want to be trying to get onto the red team even after the match has started, because the red team is the winning team and will get the most points.  Because of this, the red team will always be the team with the higher numbers.  Do not fret though, because you CAN get onto the red team, you just need to know how.

The matches have a system that will auto-balance the player numbers if one team has two or more players more than the opposing team.  We can use this to our advantage, allowing the blue team to get into the red team, and allowing the red team to get extra points by using the volunteer button to switch sides during the match.

Red Team: Volunteer button
The volunteer button pops up on the screen of the team with the higher player numbers.  You can see on the screenshot below that it appears on the middle left of the screen for a limited time.  I have already clicked the button here.  Volunteering will get you an extra 25 rank points per match.

Red team should always volunteer so long as they have gained points in that team.  This will allow them to be switched to blue team and still get the red team win-award, while allowing people on the blue team to go into the red team to get their win-award as well.

GW2_rankfarm_volunteering

Blue team: switching sides
If you end up on the blue team you can usually manage to get into the red team on a good rank-farm match.  To do this you open up the score board by clicking the scores at the middle-top of the screen.  You can see the board open on the screenshot above.

Red team will get the volunteer notice when there are two more red team members than blue, as you can see on the screenshot above.  The call for volunteers takes around 30 seconds I think to complete, and then a red will be chosen to get shifted teams.

Note: The volunteer system only works up until Red team get to 400 points.  Do not spectate after this hoping to get into red, as you generally will not be able to.  Switch early to avoid disappointment.

Blue team members can take advantage of this by clicking the button on the top right hand corner of the score pop-up labelled ‘spectate’.  This will take them out of active play, and they can use the buttons beside the spectate one to attempt to get into the red team.

Note:  You cannot spectate if you are in combat.  To get out of combat, run out of the area until you are no longer in combat. 

This does tend to be a click-fest, and if there are new players coming in, or there are other players also trying to get into red from spectating, then it is a gamble who gets in and who continues to wait.  There are some tricks I picked up to help everyone get the team they want that I will go into in a minute, but that is basically how it works.  Everyone on a rank farm map, as long as it is working smoothly, should get the win-reward.

Tips on getting onto the red team
I have found that many players will wait and spectate for ages trying to get into red, while blues need more players.  This actually makes the room far slower to get working properly, because players trying to spectate to get onto red from in the match end up spectating for ages when others beat them to the click.  This is counter productive, and will usually mean that more people do not get the red-reward, and get less of the rank rewards because they were not participating as long.

So, how to work the system a little better?

If you are entering a match, and it looks like you wont get into red immediately, go into blue.  Run to the clock tower and start gathering those points by capping and uncapping with the others.  However, keep the score board open to one side and keep watch on the number of players.

  1. If there is one less Blue player than red, go and spectate (making it two less Blue players, like the score board shown in the screenshot) and trigger the volunteering event for Red.  You may have to wait up to 30 seconds for this to finish but then one of the red team will be added to Blue, making it even numbers on both teams, and you can then freely join red team.
  2. If there are two or more Blue less than Red, stay where you are.  This will not get you into Red quicker, because it will generally always end up with the volunteering going through and ending up with the Red team only one player ahead, meaning that you are stuck in spectating and no closer to getting into Red.
  3. If you are spectating at the start of the match, and there is one Red more than Blue in the game and there is at least one other spectator still sitting there, join the Blue team.  This will immediately allow someone to join Red, putting the game position back to the first point I listed above, at which point you can go spectate again and get into the red team when the volunteer event triggers.  This also means that there are less spectators vying for the chance to enter the red team.

A good rank farm will do these steps as standard, but there will be some who don’t understand how the spectating thing works and just stand in red without volunteering, or camp in the spectate until they can get in.  Paying attention to team numbers and when to enter spectate mode will help combat these blips in the farming machine.

Dealing with Rank-Farm Trolls

Unfortunately when people come up with a system like this, there are going to be players that disagree.  It is understandable since the farming system I have described here bypasses PvP entirely.  Some see it as cheating (which it technically is not, although it isn’t exactly working on the intended pvp format), while others just really love messing with other players, especially in a PvP environment.

Some of the behaviours you are likely to see once in a while can include:

  • Players manning the trebuchets and bombing the clock tower, constantly knocking people back off it, or downing them
  • Players coming in and mouthing off in chat
  • Players coming in and hunting down players trying to take part in a peaceful rank farm and killing them, over and over.

If a player is being particularly bad, many of these farming rooms will have the owner listed on the room name.  This will allow you to mail them the name of the offending troll, and the owner can then block that user from entering in future.

If the player is being verbally abusive or behaving in other ways that go against the terms and conditions of the game, report them to ArenaNet via clicking their name in chat and selecting ‘report player’.

The rank farming rooms are a place where players are working together, and there tends to be a level of friendliness and helpfulness there that I have found particularly heartening.  Try to always be polite or at least civil to others as it helps to keep the flow of rank points at its peak.

If you do happen to come across a troll attacking people at the clock tower, they are generally considered fair game and people will gang up on them and kill them before going back to the farm.  Avoid aoe though since that will target other players as well.

Daily Achievements: More Sweet Loot!

There are four daily achievements relating to PvP each day, and each of these completed will give you a chest of loot as well as a hefty reward track boost.

Some of these achievements could be:

  • player kills, (do this at the end of the match, not during it),
  • PvP defender (kill a player while beside a capture point of your team colour)
  • Win with a specific class of character
  • Gain a specific amount of rank points
  • Gain a rank point reward on your reward track

Always check your Daily PvP achievements through:
Hero Panel > Achievements Tab > Daily Achievements

Keep a watch on the Daily Achievements.  If ‘player kills’ is on the list for the daily, you are liable to find far more players killing each other in rank farm rooms than on other days.  A good rank farm though will leave these until the very end of the match (at around 495 points) so it doesn’t disrupt the farm.

Likewise if ‘PvP Defender’ is a daily achievement, put a shout-out in Map chat for players to meet you at one of the other contested points (not the clock tower so it doesn’t disrupt people) to do the daily.  Many players will willingly help you out.  Remember to ask, rather than just taking it over and waiting for a Red player to come and fight you as some people get annoyed.

Please note that you should not be using Finishers in a PvP rank farm.  If you help get people to a downed state at the very end of the match, and the map does its refresh things, you should get your kill count for the daily.  The only time you should be using a Finisher is when dealing with a troll by common consent.

Conclusion

So there we have it.  A rather beautifully engineered solution to getting PvP loot for doing no PvP and very little brain power required.  I love it!

Remember, keep watch on the player team numbers, keep your weapons sheathed and be polite.  Happy Farming to you all!

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Dragon Age Inquisition – review, thoughts and tips

DA BannerDragon Age: Inquisition – Review

Ah, so long awaited.  In all honesty I was not sure what to expect from this game.  The developers said they were going to try and mix the good points of both Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age 2, learn from them both and make something new.  I can say that in most respects they have indeed lived up to that since it seems like an amalgamation of those games and Skyrim in many respects.  There are bugs still, of course, that is only to be expected with such a new game, but they are not debilitating.  There are some UI annoyances as well, but more on that in a bit.

In some ways it is the plot itself that lets the game down a bit, and I find that interesting because it didn’t actually occur to me until after I had completed the game.  You don’t tend to notice it when playing because there is -so- much to do, but nearer the end of the game there are still bits I am baffled as to not have been explored more, Lilliana companion quests especially.  I won’t put a spoiler in here, but those that play the game will understand when I say there really should have been more to that.  Indeed, I think the game could have benefited a lot from having far more companion quests for each one.  I am thinking that more may be explored in a dlc or expansion, but the fact that it wasn’t left as a cliffhanger, things were just left as if forgotten, and that didn’t really sit well with me. Again, I am not sure how noticeable this is to other players.  (More on my thoughts about the story, plot and quests here.)

Another thing is that despite all the tactical work, it is fairly difficult to tell what impact your choices have.  In Dragon Age Awakening, the first game’s expansion, the tactical work had very real consequences that were felt really profoundly.  I didn’t get it in this game with the exception of the mage vs templars and one other choice later on.  Most of the tactical work you do in the war room seems to have almost no impact really at the end, not in a way that is felt by the player.

When the credits rolled at the end of the game, I was satisfied, but when you see what happens next (the cliffhanger of this game, a very real pointer towards a dragon age 4), the game took on a new light in terms of the story, and gave me a very real reason to play it again with a different outlook.  In that respect the game does exceedingly well for Dragon Age fans, because even those (or perhaps especially those) that have a good working knowledge of the lore get so much to put their teeth into.  As another review has mentioned, you will get more out of Dragon Age Inquisition if you have played the previous games and read the books, and people that have not may not get the same level of immersion or understanding of characters and motivations.

My general impression of the game is that it is good, even very good despite my above concerns, and yes, it is worth your money if you like rpgs.  Don’t expect to get quite as immersed in the game as quickly as in other rpgs.  This game is a slow burn at first, and it isn’t until further within the game (of which there is a LOT of game to get into) that you get that deep immersion and connection to the npcs.  Heck, I didn’t manage to get a kiss from my chosen romance option until 42 hours into the game!  It took me around 100 hour of play-time to complete the entire game, get all the quests done etc (in a rather ocd manner), and I still have bits left I could have hunted for, such as all the collections, not to mention replay value.  From what I can gather, between 80-110 hours is the standard for a single play-through, not bad for under £40.

In-depth Reviews

I won’t go into a full review here, that isn’t my purpose in this since there are a lot of sites out there that offer reviews and have had them out far quicker than this will be posted.  Check these ones here if you are interested, a general Google search will bring more:
Dragon Age Inquisition the review by Kotaku.co.uk
Dragon Age Inquisition Review by IGN


 Thoughts and Tips

Character Creation

The character creation is very good for details of the face.  You can make incredibly precise faces if you have the patience to work at it.  It does take patience though, since there are so many options to edit and change.DA character creation

What the character creation does lack, and lacks very noticeably, are the amount of hair styles to choose from.  There are so very few, and not even the variety of the ones from older Dragon Age games especially since about 1/3 of all hairstyles are shaven/close-cropped head types.  Considering how amazing the face customization is, this and the stick-on beards just jump out as awful.  I have been told it looks far worse on ps4 and xbox due to their rendering (I think the term was ‘hair hat’).

Tip:
When on the face customization page on an option that uses the cursor drag box (as shown in the image above) you can turn the head by using the space above, below or to the right of the box, not the left. Took me a while to work that out lol

UI

The user interface (UI) is pretty clean and I got used to the style fairly quickly.  I do feel it could use some improvements though:

  1. Second option keybinding
    It is not possible to have more than one keybinding for each task.  I cannot, for example, have a potion keybound to one of the side buttons of my mouse for those ‘oh shit’ moments that happen from time-to-time,
  2. Extra mouse buttons
    Currently, at least with my mouse, only the three basic mouse buttons work.  The game does not recognize extra buttons on the side of the mouse that I am used to using all the time.  This is highly inconvenient and makes gameplay annoying.
    Edit: It seems that pre-programmed mouse buttons work (like mmo mice) but not extra buttons on an ordinary mouse
  3. Inventory and shop sorting
    There simply is not enough options for sorting your inventory quickly and easily.  There is no designated junk bag option either to sort items for vendoring later.  Trying to sort out useful items from sellable items is also a pain. Many items are needed for requisition quests and research, and it is possible to sell those items, since they look like junk items.  The same sorting issues are true of crafting, as you will want to discount low level schematics when you get better, but they ALL show.
  4. Minimap
    The minimap, while sort of useful, doesn’t actually give enough detail.  So while it will show some nearby quests and locations, it won’t give them all, and gives no indication of the land, so I found myself shifting back and forth to the big full screen map way too much.  Sometimes less is not more.

Crafting and Loot

Crafting in the game is actually useful.  You can, with the right schematics and materials actually craft the best gear in the game (I think). It is better, right from the start, crafting your own stuff or at least upgrading items you do have. Sadly, I found the selection of armour to be minimal and not great to look at, and you don’t get to craft an armour type with a skin you like, they come attached.  Consequently I spent most of the game wearing great armour that I disliked the look of.

Tip:
When you are at your home base (not a camp) go through your items and equip the best ones you have on all your available characters.  Bag space is an issue in this game, and you won’t need those extra equipment items.  Sell all the ones not equipped after that.

Near the beginning of the game, you will come across more items that will be useful to you, but as you explore more you will find that the amount of useable drops decreases.  This is especially true if you explore more than you level.  Items do not drop based on YOUR level, but the per-determined level of the area.  This means that you can end up doing areas when you are level 15 and getting item drops of level 8 or something, which are really not that useful, no matter how epic they look or how historically important.  I think this is a poor decision in terms of a game this large, as I found more than once that I would go and do a sprawling quest through demon-infested ruins only to get loot that was useless to me, and that doesn’t breed happiness.  It does however make crafting your own stuff more worthwhile.

Tip:
Research table THEN the buy/sell vendor
When you are selling things, do not auto-sell all the items in your valuables section. Many will be used for requisition orders (+power) or research (+influence). Research items are generally yellow icons and can be handed into a research table automatically on click.

Unfortunately there is also no storage box in the game (so no sharing items with alts) so you only have your bag space.  Upgrades are available to purchase from Influence via the war room though, and you will want those.

I do feel that having a place to hang up key pieces of weapons and armour (as you do with collections) would have gotten around the issue of useless equipment, even if they were no longer able to be used when placed.

2014-12-04_00015You collect many historic and significant weapons, and it feels wrong to vendor them.  Very wrong, especially from a rpg standpoint.  Being able to put them up in your room or hall would both give a visible representation of the weapons as well as something for collectors to collect, like the mosaic tiles.  Perhaps something like this will be added in an update or dlc.

Requisitions (and those valuables you want to keep)

As I mentioned, there are many items that you will not want to sell to a vendor from your valuables.  Most of these will be used in requisitions.  You can see a list of most of the requisitions for each land here, but I have listed the items below since many are duplicated. There may be others that have not yet been found or noted down.

Dragon Age RequisitionsThe two highlighted in yellow are places you have to find, not items in your bags.

Skills, Talents and Leveling up

The skills are fairly standard when you look at previous dragon age games, especially initially.  Mages especially may well be somewhat disappointed by the range of skills available at the start since they are so similar to previous games.  Be aware that more options are available after a certain key story point has been reached, so do not despair.

Types of missions, objectives and quests

There are several different types of quests, missions and objectives that you will come across in the game:

War room and tactical questsDA war table
This is the place where you can see the different locations of tactical quests and story arc quests.  Tactical quests are ones done entirely on the table.  You have an issue and your three advisers will offer different solutions.  Which one you choose to employ will change the outcome.

Tip:
If you are having trouble with your mouse not working on the war room screen, do a right click then sweep your cursor broadly over the map options.  This seems to fix it for me. 

War room quests include these types here:

  • Main story arc quests
  • scouting areas and opening up new land (to be able to travel there on the world map),
  • diplomatic tactical quests that will influence what quests you may get, or what support you can gain in coin resources or manpowerDA story quest
  • gathering quests that give resources
  • story updates and responses

Main story arc quests
This is what moves the main plot onwards.  These are shown as little keeps on the map (in the war room) with a green rift marker above it.  All other quest or mission types do not move the timer on, so you can do those at your leisure between clicking these ones.

Companion questsDA approval
You get these by engaging in dialogue with your companions (like Solas and Varrik) in the main town/area.  You will generally have to have increased their approval of you before they offer you these quests by talking to them.  You gain approval by doing things they like and making choices they like.

Tip:
Companions do not need to be in your active party to get approval/disapproval effects, so if you do an action that one of them will dislike, leaving them back at town beforehand will not save you from their ire.

Local quests
These are scattered all around.  You know the type, ‘collect 10 rams for food’, ‘please scatter my wife’s ashes somewhere dangerous’, ‘please kill the bandits in the camps to the north’. Some local quests will gain you items, and in others if you do enough you can gain ‘agents’ from an area that will help work with the inquisition (reducing the timers for that agent type in the war room).DA puzzles

Puzzle, exploration and collections
You find these scattered all around the place in the maps.  Not too many puzzles, but lots of collections and things to find.  The bottles and mosaic tiles in particular are good because they get updated in your main building with each find, which is nice to see.  Wish there was more of these visuals in the game.

 Story pacing

I feel that the story pacing could do with some changes.  I don’t feel there are enough rpg aspects for character building at the start of the game, only action and reaction.  (More on the story pacing in my article here).

Another issue is the increasing time delays in the war room as the game progressed.  For most of the game, the time delays worked okay.  There were plenty of things to do between the war room timers, but as I got late into the game the timers for many quests increased massively, some to just under 24 hours despite my having done so many of the quests and got tons of agents to decrease the timers.  This ended up being problematic for me, and annoying, because I found myself with actually very little to do except wait for timers.  There is a way around it (see below) but use it sparingly, because ticking off the war table too quickly leaves it feeling largely pointless.

Tip:
The war room time delays are fine for most of the game, but if you are struggling with the ones late in the game and it is causing detriment to your enjoyment (some of the wait times are super long), there is a way around it.  Alt+tab to minimize the game and change the date.  Ta-da!  Mission timer complete.

Combat

DA combatAh, combat.  I have a rather mixed opinion about the combat, because currently the game isn’t functioning as smoothly as it should, nor is it really reacting quite as it did in previous games.  Here are the issues I had with it:

Keybinding
Part of this is because the game uses a system commonly seen in mmos, where the player uses the number buttons to activate spells or abilities.  This isn’t new in Dragon Age games, but due to the mouse button issues I mentioned earlier in the article, the functionality in games that I am used to using this system doesn’t exist here.  I would usually have potions and search facilities keybound on my mouse, as an example, but have to use the keyboard for that here.  Only having one keybind option per action is annoying not to have as well.

Response times
What is also lacking are the response times when in combat. So many times playing my mage when I saw this massive tank of a creature coming at me with a two handed axe and I try to move, try to run away, but my character resolutely continues to stand there casting before finally deciding it might want to react, only to have my head smashed in as I slowly turn.  This also impacts when playing melee characters, when you have to move after enemies but your character stands there slashing the air instead of doing something more useful when told to.

Tactical Camera
Ah, the tactical camera.  This seems to have been added to try and upgrade the pause function seen in earlier games.  Allowing the time to stop and let you command each member of the party to do one action.  This was in previous games, but it doesn’t really work as well here.  Part of that is because the tactical camera doesn’t move far enough away, so you can’t get a good overview of what is happening (and I am not over exaggerating on how close that tactical camera can go.. it is pretty ridiculous).  This makes trying to organize members pretty difficult.  It is highly possible that I just have not tried hard enough to learn the tactical system, but it just doesn’t seem to function as well as in previous games.

Tactic behaviour
I guess people will remember the plethora of different tactical options to pre-program your companions to act like in the earlier games.  However with DA Inquisition they seem to have moved away from this to try and make it simpler to understand and use.  Now there are only four different types of actions, and you can only edit each one within their type, such as healing potion, or target etc.  I haven’t had to use it much, since I have not played it on Nightmare yet, but it does seem to be rather restrictive.  A lot of the games these days are trying to minimize UI stuff to make it easier on new players and on consoles, but after previous games, this doesn’t seem to be that useful.  I am no expert though.

Hold!
What else doesn’t seem to work as well is the ‘Hold’ button.  There are times (thankfully few and far between) where you need to have characters hold position in different places for a puzzle thingy.  What is the problem with that?  In previous games, when you pressed Hold, all the characters would hold, and you could move them and they would stay there.  Moving a character after commanding the Hold in DA Inquisition will make them move again, and they will follow the character you currently have active.  Oh the rage.  Again, maybe I just didn’t understand the system properly, but either way, it was not fun doing those puzzles as a result.

Tip:
If you click the Hold button twice it will hold all party members.  Only just found that out.

Overall
I think, overall, the combat is okay.  It certainly needs some tweaks, but I don’t think there is anything inherently broken or unfixable with it.  I enjoyed a lot of combat, especially against small groups.  I enjoyed the spawning changes you saw in this game for example, where you think you have cleared an area, then just as you are starting to pick up loot someone yells ‘look out, reinforcements!’ instead of mobs being entirely oblivious in other rooms nearby.  I liked that since it was more realistic.  I don’t really pay too much attention to combat in games, (I tend to follow the creed of ‘hit it till it dies, level up more if you die’) but in general I think the combat is certainly workable.

 PC or Console, and FPS

The age-old question of PC or console, and I have to generally go on the side of the PC.  From looking at reviews of the graphics, I would say that a decently specced PC will look better than the PS4 and Xbox version of the game.  Watch this in full HD to see the differences (remember to watch it in full screen on full HD settings). They are not really that noticeable until you get to around 3 mins in, and then you can see some of the differences in the colour rendering on people better.  The PC seems to have far more depth of colour and realistic lighting, which backs up other screenshots I have seen.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftsvO-AaOf0

There seems to have been some worry by fans questioning whether the full ultra settings on the pc were being used in the above video, which means that some of these settings (as supported by the IGN staff after review) are at lower settings by mistake, which only goes to show just how different the gap is between the pc and the ps4 and xbox.  To see the differences between low and ultra settings on the PC you can check them here (remember to watch it in full screen on full HD settings):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R58l7trgMbE&t=3m10s

Tip:
If you are getting shiny hat hair on your PC, try turning up the Meshing option in the settings.

But before you run off to buy the PC version, be aware that this game is pretty harsh on your PC’s specs.  My computer is not shabby, and even I have been having some FPS issues when loading new cutscenes or maps.  My computer struggles unless I stand around and wait a while longer for the place to load before moving, and if I am launched straight into a cutscene I have been getting some stuttering.  However I have heard this isn’t merely a PC issue, but actually happens on PS4 and Xbox as well, though I didn’t look into that too closely.

Tip:
If your computer struggles and you don’t want to turn down graphics settings, wait at least 15-20 seconds before moving when you enter a new map.  In Skyhold I watch until 5 seconds after the metal bands on the roof appear and that seems to work.  Do not enter the war room directly on logging in (if you saved outside it), or it could crash you while trying to load up the town around you as well.

not-loaded

loadedWhat you do need to take away from this is that Dragon Age Inquisition demands a lot from your PC even on their auto-detect settings.  This is the first game in years I have felt my PC could really do with an upgrade to run better, but even so I prefer using the PC and I expect some clever people will introduce mods for it over time (as they have already) despite the lack of support for it from Bioware.  Either through mods or updates, I hope some of the niggles and annoyances I have with the game will be remedied.

Now.. time for playthrough number 2!

More tips and guides

For more general tips on the game from another perspective, I found these useful:

Guild Wars 2 – new player tips

GW2-logoTips for new players

Since one of the main things that can put players off Guild Wars 2 can be how complex the game to grasp in the beginning, I decided to put up some useful tips for new players, a sort of simplified guide.

Contents


User Interface (UI)

GW2-UIMost of the things you will need on a daily basis are linked on the Menu bar, such as your bags, the trading post and all the settings.


 Skills, talents and weapons

GW2-toolbarWeapons
Different classes are able to wield different types of weapons.  You can check which weapons your class can use by checking here:
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Weapon Skills

  • When you first try a weapon, you won’t know how to use it, but the more you use a weapon, the more of the skills you unlock in it.  Once you have unlocked the skills on that character, you will always know them.
  • Different classes that can use the same weapon have different weapon skills related to that weapon.
  • Most classes will unlock weapon swapping at level 7. Elementalists and Engineers do not have this because their learned skills have a similar effect.

Healing
Every type of class has one main healing skill, this is always shown as the 6th button to the right of the health circle.  You can learn several healing skills from the selection listed, but you can only have one active at a time.
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Slot Skills

Slot Skills
Slot skills become active as you level up, the first one opens up at level 5.  Using the Skills and Traits page, you can pick slot skills to learn, but to learn one costs skill points.
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Slot Skills

  • The more advanced slot skills will use more skill points.
  • You gain skill points through levelling up, or finding Scrolls of Knowledge from rare chests found from defeating very strong enemies.
  • Like healing skills, you are limited in how many you can have active.  You can have a maximum of 3 slot skills active, and the slots for these will activate as you level up.

Toolbar
The toolbar skills will change depending on what class you are, and what healing and slot skills you have active.

Traits
Traits will start to unlock at level 30.  These will allow you to choose some passive buffs, that will help boost your chosen skills and abilities.
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Traits


 Chat tips and useful Chat commands

You will generally find that depending on what map you are on, map chat tends to move quite fast, and you can miss when guild members, friends or people around you speak with you.  I find adding new tabs and customizing them for different circumstances works well.  I have one set up to show any items I pick up, as well as party chat and whispers, having map chat on a different tab.  Play around with it until you find something that works for you.

Here are some useful basic chat commands.  For a full list, check out the wiki page here.

Shortcut Command Channel Seen by
/s
/l
/say
/local
Say All players nearby your character. (Appears to be 2000 weapon range)
/g /guild Guild Active guild.
/p /party Party Current party.
/d /squad Squad Active squad.
/t /team Team Active team (PvP and Keg Brawl only).
/m
/y
/map
/yell
Map All players in your current Zone or City.
/w /whisper
/tell
Private Sends private message.

Guilds and Banners

In Guild Wars 2 you can join up to 5 guilds, but you can only represent one of them at a time.
Menu Bar > Guilds

Joining and representing a guild may give you some benefits such as some passive bonuses, the ability to do special guild events and so-forth. There is also the guild chat.

A guild that has levelled up their perks will also have the ability to put down different banners that will give anyone (including non-members) the chance to click it for different buffs, such as increased resource gathering, increased Karma gain and increased magic find.  You may come across these banners while out and about as they tend to linger for quite a while, but the most likely place you will see them is around Boss events where guilds will put down banners to increase the chances of getting good loot.


Bags, sorting and bank space

Bag upgrades
You can upgrade the space of your bags by buying larger bags to add to your backpack.  Drag and drop these to the slots on the left side of the bag to increase the size.  You can buy larger bags from the trading post, by crafting them from some professions, or by finding them from some more difficult monsters or sometimes even from quest rewards.

Bank SpaceGW2-bankicon
Everyone has a bank automatically, and the bank space is shared between all your characters.  You can access it via a Bank Teller in major cities and some outposts, or from any crafting station.

Collections
In addition to the bank space, each character has a collections space.  This is where crafting items and miniatures can be stored.  You put items into your collections space from your bag, by right clicking on the item and choosing ‘Deposit collectable’, or opening the drop-down list at the top right of the bag, and select ‘Deposit all collectables’.  You can access the collections once more from your bank or from any crafting station.


 Sweet loot

Changing your settings to loot things easier is always a good start:

GW2-lootMenu Bar > Game Menu > Options

  • AoE Loot On Interact (loots more than one corpse within an area)
  • Autoloot (loots all items without you looking through them) 

Selling Loot

Any vendor will buy loot from you, but you will get more for it if you trade it to other players on the trading post.
Menu Bar > Black Lion Trading CompanyGW2-tradingicon

GW2-tradingpost

Remember that you can put any of your items up on the trading post, or buy items no matter where you are through the menu bar, but you have to actually visit a Black Lion Trader in order to pick up any items or gold from trades.  These can be found in all major cities, but also sometimes at outposts.  The vendors always have a little scales icon above their heads.  The same icon will show on your map and mini-map.

    • Sell junk to npc vendors
    • Soulbound or Account bound items cannot be traded to other players
    • Small bags that have random items in will generally sell for more than the contents are worth
    • Cloth armour and cloth salvage items will generally sell for way more than their base price

Currencies

There are several currencies in the game.  You can see your different currency amounts at:
Menu Bar > Hero > Wallet

  • Gold / Silver / Copper – the standard and most used currency
  • Karma – this currency is used instead of gold by karma vendors for special items.  Doing renown heart quests, random events and boss events earn karma
  • Laurels – got from doing daily achievements, rare and high level items on this vendor.  There are laurel vendors in all main cities.
  • Gems – the cash shop currency
  • Badges of Honor – pvp vendor currency
  • Transmutation Charges – used to change the look of your weapons and armour
  • Dungeon currency (various) – used for special items relating to each dungeon

 Quests

Quests in the game tend to come in two main areas:
Personal Story Quests
This is the first type of quest that a player will come across, because the start of their personal story is the start of the game. Your personal story will generally be shown on the top right of the screen, or alternatively you can check on your hero page for more details:
Menu Bar > Hero > Story Journal

  • Your personal story is dictated by the choices the player makes at character creation, and then later the decisions he/she makes in the game.
  • Your personal story will continue as you level up, bringing more content and exploration right up to level 80.
  • When you complete your personal story, you open up the new Living World story content that goes after it

Renown Heart Quests
These are quests that are scattered throughout the world.  Instead of there being random npcs with a quest here and there, you have Renown hearts showing up on the map, where you have npcs needing things done for them.

  • Do items in the area of the heart to fill it.
  • When you have it filled you get a reward of karma, gold and experience
  • When you have filled it the heart npc will have things to sell to you

Travel and Exploration

Exploring can be both useful and profitable!  Each map in the world has a certain number of items in it that you can find and explore.  Finding each will give you experience, and finding all the items in the map will give you a chest filled with loot!

  • Vistas – shows a view of the surrounding area
  • Points of Interest – places of note
  • Hearts – quests/tasks given by npc
  • Waypoints – travel locations
  • Skill challenges – completing these gives you a skill point

Waypoints are the fast way to get around Tyria.  They let you travel instantly from anywhere to a waypoint you have discovered.  Waypoints in a city cost nothing to go between if you are already in that city, but travel anywhere else by waypoints will cost you money.  That cost will increase as your level does.


 Achievements

Achievements give you more things to do in a game, but in Guild Wars 2 they can actually give you loot, special weapon and armour skins and permanent account buffs.  You can view the achievements page here:
Menu Bar > Hero > Achievements
The ones that players should take note of the most are the Daily Achievements:
Menu Bar > Hero > Achievements > Daily and Monthly > Daily
Doing five of the daily achievements each day will give you loot, as well as a laurel.  You can buy some of the best accessories and jewellery in the game on the laurel vendor, so it is worth doing.  The daily achievements change each day so there is always variety.


 Customizing your Weapons and Armour

In Guild Wars 2, you can change your weapons and armour into any other look that you have already unlocked the skin of.

Unlocking SkinsGW2-unlocked
To unlock a skin of a piece of armour or weapon, you can Soulbind it by putting it on, or you learn the skin when salvaging the item with a salvage kit.

  • You will know you have unlocked the skin of an item by the tooltip changing from ‘Skin Locked’ to ‘Skin Unlocked’.
  • Once you have unlocked a skin on one character, it is available for all your characters.

Changing your look
To change the look of any weapon or armour you have, you can go to the Wardrobe panel:

  1. Menu Bar > Hero > Wardrobe
  2. Click on the item you want to change, this brings up a list of the skins for that item on the left
  3. Select the skin you want to change your item to look like
  4. A box will appear on the right allowing you to apply the change/changes to your armour and weapons GW2-transmute

 Useful Links

Guild Wars official News page
This is generally good to keep checking, as it can list useful information, links and point out when they have certain promotions or free items when you might have missed them.

Guild Wars 2 wiki
If you are looking for information about, well, anything to do with guild wars 2, the chances are that information is going to be listed in this wiki.  It is very well maintained.

Dulfy.net
If you are looking for information on the newest events, cash shop items and different guides, this is the one-stop-shop.  They are super fast at getting new information up, as well as great guides.

Boss Timers
Dulfy.net timer – Allows you to get audible reminders
Guild Wars Temple timer – has a more visual representation of the bosses

Guild Wars 2 Armor Gallery
This is a very handy page for seeing how different armour will look when searching for that -perfect- look for your character.

Divinity: OS – Tips: Crafting

divinity-logodivinity-button2divinity-button1

Game Tips: Crafting

One of the most time consuming, interesting and yet vastly frustrating things in the game for me was the crafting.  Unlike in many other games, the crafting in Divinity Original Sin is not logical in it’s setup and even when many things are done logically, you will often come across things that defy that logic.  I have tried to list below some of the things that I feel that might benefit players who want to do some crafting in the game.

Contents

 

 

Tools and their uses

divinity-crafting
Identifying Glass – Used on unidentified loot items.  You need Loremaster skills for better gear
Cooking Pot – Used in combination with a bonfire to make a (not so) portable cooking station. This is a one-use item, but it does tend to stay there for future use. Used for some cooking items.  Also used to upgrade leather items.
Water Bucket or Cup – used for cooking. An empty cup can also be used for making juice.  Using a cup to add water to food does not consume the cup, but drinking juice from a cup does consume it.
Mortar & Pestle – used to grind herbs, mushrooms and bones for potions and making dust for other crafting.
Pickaxe – used for mining ore.
Hammer – used for blacksmithing, also useful for making lockpicks (hammer + nails)
Shovel – you need this to dig anything up, like graves or treasure.
Axe – any axe will do, its useful for turning logs into branches and woodchips
Knife – any knife will do, used on hides, branches, and other things for crafting
Shears – not shown in the image above. Have these in your pack on a character that has Pet Pal talent and it will give you some wool when you talk to sheep.

In addition to this, I would say that having extra bags and boxes of different sorts in your bag is super useful for sorting.  Just drag and drop them from the world into your pack.  Most will only weigh 5, however larger chests will weigh 50, so watch out.  Items in bags will not show up on traders screens, however the bag/box itself will, and you can sell the entire thing which saves time, assuming the vendor has enough gold.

Crafting general useful items – (crafting skill)

There are some commonly used items that are useful to know the recipes for, especially if you go in for crafting.  Here are some of the ones I found the most useful.

  • Leather Scraps = Animal Hide + Knife/dagger
  • Backpack = Leather Scraps + rope
  • Lockpick (x4) = hammer + nine inch nails
  • Lockpick = soap + key (key is not consumed)
  • Bonedust = skull/bone + mortar & pestle
  • Stardust = Stardust plant + mortar & pestle
  • Pixie Dust = bonedust + stardust

Crafting Food – (uses crafting skill)

In general, I have not really found food to be that useful in the game, but should you wish to make use of the items you find, even just to sell them, then you will first need a cooking station and oven depending on what you want to make.
Cooking Pot + campfire = Mobile Kitchen
To cook items, drag different ingredients together in your bag to make different combinations (some may work), or onto the mobile kitchen or oven.

Crafting Potions – (uses crafting skill)

I didn’t find potions that useful early on, but later in the game they become more useful, especially since your crafting will be higher which makes your potions stronger. Empty potion flasks or bottles + ingredients = potion
These potions can then be combined to create different ones.  These are the ones I found to be most useful:

Mushrooms & Plants Combinations
  • Penny Bun Mushroom – healing potion
  • Bluegill – water resistance potion
  • Jellyshroom – air resistance potion
  • Guepinia – fire resistance potion
  • Earth tongue mushroom – earth resistance potion
  • Drudana – poison resistance potion
  • void essence – invisibility potion
  • small potion + small potion = medium/large potion (depending on crafting skill)
  • potion + Augmentor = larger potion
  • healing potion + whisperwood = magical armour potion
  • magical armour potion + Air resist potion = invisibility potion
  • fire resist + earth resist = resist all
  • air resist + water resist = resist all

Crafting Arrows – (crafting skill)divinity-arrows

Arrows are fairly logical considering the rest of the crafting

Log + Axe = Wood Chips + Branch (x2)  
Branch + Knife = Arrow Shaft
Arrowhead + Arrow shaft = Arrow

You will accumulate many different arrows and arrowheads if you compulsively loot crates and barrels etc.  Have a bag set aside for arrows only to stop insanity from occurring.

You can make your own special arrow heads by dipping plain Arrowheads in different things, such as Barrel/cup of oil, Ooze barrels, debuff potions and some resistance potions.

You don’t actually need arrows in order to use a bow.  Keep special arrows only for difficult boss fights or situations.

Crafting Spells – (crafting skill)

Crafting spell scrolls and spell books is actually fairly straight forward and logical to do, however the game does seem to have increased the crafting required recently.  If you are playing a spellcaster, I would highly recommend getting high crafting for this alone as it is super useful.

Note that you cannot craft man-at-arms, scoundrel or archer spells or books, only the others.  Also, there are some scrolls that cannot be made into books, like the magic unlock spell and resurrect, however you can buy some of these from vendors if you are lucky.

divinity-scrollsMagic Quill & Ink Pot
You only need one of these, they are reusable.
Pillow + Knife = Feather
Feather + Knife = Quill
Quill + Ink Pot = Quill & Ink pot
Quill and Ink Pot + Pixie Dust = Magic Quill & Ink Pot

Paper
You can make paper or loot paper/parchment, but you can also use pre-written paper from quests you have completed.  Make sure the quests ARE done though, as it is easy to destroy quest items that way (I did it).  Quest items are not immediately obvious in this game.

Log + Axe = Wood Chips + Branch (x2)  
Wood Chips
+ Water (well/barrel of water/cup of water) = Wood Mush
Wood Mush + Furnace/oven = Blank Paper

Scrolls and Books
Paper/parchment + elemental essence/pixie dust
= Blank spell scroll
Blank Spell Scroll + Magical Quill & Ink Pot = Random Spell Scroll
Blank Spell Scroll + Blank Spell Scroll = Blank Spell Book
Blank Spell Book + Scroll = Spell Book

The elemental essences will start dropping in loot and appear in vendors as you progress through the story/your level improves.  Elemental essence for fire/water/earth/air scrolls, pixie dust for witchcraft scrolls.

The level of the spell scroll you craft is dependant on your crafting skill.  It is also random, so you might want to do a quicksave before making it.

Crafting Jewellery – (crafting skill)

This is where crafting starts to get pretty .. frustrating.  There are so many items that could potentially be used to craft auxiliary items and it is difficult to tell what may work and what won’t, no matter how logical it seems.

The following is generally true:

item + pixie dust = magic item
magic item + Jeweller’s ring kit = magic ring
magic item + leather helmet = magic helmet
magic item + thread/bowstring = magic amulet
magic item + rope = magic belt
rabbit foot = lucky charm
chicken foot = initiative
Claw = strength
Eye = perception
Feather = dexterity
Rat tail = lesser poison resist
Skull = intelligence
Starfish = HP
Tooth = charisma
Tusk = loremaster

You will find better items than the ones you can make here, but for the early levels, especially when equipping other party members, these are pretty decent.

Crafting Weapons and Armour – (crafting and blacksmithing skill)

There is really no logical or simple way of explaining how to make different weapons and Armour without actually listing them all.  They don’t even all require the same skill, for some are crafting (wood based items) while others are blacksmithing (metal based items).  To spare repeating things already listed on other websites, I shall instead merely point you in their direction.

Overall, I never actually crafted any weapons or armour, since the loot I found was generally better than the ones I could craft.  Upgrading is another matter however.

This link doesn’t have everything on it, but it has a lot.  Many recipes listed on this post have come from the compilation here.

Upgrades and Enhancements – (crafting and blacksmithing skills)

There are different ways of upgrading your weapons and armour, even some ways of doing the same upgrade different ways.  Some items seem not to be able to be upgraded as well, so my basic advice is to try different things until you find something that works for you.  I have tried to list the main ways of upgrading items below.
Note: the name of the item doesn’t seem to change when you improve items, despite the fact it is meant to.

The higher your crafting/blacksmithing, the better the result.  Thanks again to this page for the main information.

Armour Weapons
  • Any Apparel + Void Essence = + Sm, Sneaking
  • Any Footwear + Nine Inch Nails = + Immunity to Falling/Slippery
  • Any Cloth Armor + Leather Scraps = +Sm, Def
  • Any Cloth Chest Armor = Metal Scraps = +Med, Def
  • Any leather Armor + Mobile Kitchen = +Sm, Def
  • Leather Armor + Metal Scraps = +Med, Def
  • Any Metal Armor + Anvil = +Sm, Movement
  • Plate Armor + Plate Scraps = +Med, Def
  • Any Armor + Pearl = +Gold Value
  • Any Chest Armor + Ruby = +Sm, RES All
  • Any Helmet + Ruby = +Sm, RES All
  • Any Chest Armor + Elemental essence = Elemental resist
  • Any Wooden Shield + Metal Scraps = Boosted Wooden Shield
  • Any Metal Shield + Anvil = Boosted Metal Shield
  • Any Shield + Elemental Essence = +Sm, Elemental Resist
  • Any Metal Weapon + Grindstone/Whetstone = Boosted Metal Weapon
  • Any Weapon (Except Staff) + Tenebrium Bar = +Tenebrium Effect
  • Any Weapon + Tormented Soul = + Sm, STR & Sm, DEX
  • Any Bow/Crossbow + Bowstring = Boosted Bow/Crossbow
  • Any Bow/Crossbow + Sextant = + Sm, PER & Sm, DEX
  • Staff/club + Moonstone = +Med, Dmg
  • Any Weapon + Poison = +Sm, Poison DMG
  • Any Weapon + Elemental Essence = + Sm, Elemental damage
  • Any Weapon (Except Staff) + Joshua Spice = +Lg, Fire DMG

Useful Links

Steam Forums – Crafting and Cooking FAQ and recipes
This has a good FAQ for people starting to craft

Larian Forums – Crafting Recipes & Guide
This has most, if not all of the recipes listed.  Use the browser ctrl + f to find items you have in your inventory

Game Pressure Website = Crafting and Blacksmithing
Although the layout of the crafting information is annoyingly split over many small snippet pages, I have found this website a treasure-trove for non-crafting hints and tips, including quests and maps.

Divinity: OS – Tips: Skills and Talents

divinity-logodivinity-button2  divinity-button3

Tips: Player Skills and talents

 Attributes

These are fairly self explanatory.  I would like to mention that having a character that has good perception can help avoid instant-death via traps. I have one hired character that has excellent perception.  This also helps her find extra treasure once in a while.

Abilities

Weapon skills
Weapon skills only seem worth it if you are actually hitting an enemy with your weapon.  This usually applies except for mage types who are casting spells, so I -think- that adding ‘two handed weapon’ skill to a mage is worthless unless you are physically hitting them with the staff in melee.

Defensive Skills
All these are useful, but I would say that they are most useful to melee characters who are going to take the brunt of the damage.  Ranged characters are likely going to find better use of their skill points.

Spell Skills
All your characters will want to have most of their points in these (with perhaps the exception being a tank (the character who tries to take the most agro and keep mobs away from the other players in the group) who may well have more in melee weapons and defensive skills.

What I would say is that it seems useful for most of your party to have at least one skill point in Hydro, because I found it super useful being able to throw up a ranged heal to a struggling party member when needed.

Other than that, be aware that spell skills, everything from pyro to man-at-arms, limits how many spells you can learn depending on your skill level.  Once you get to level 5 however you can learn ALL of the skills of that line should you wish to.

Personality Skills
Leadership – This is worth one party member having.  I put mine on the tank as it buffs all your characters.
Charisma – worth it only if you want to avoid extra fights
Lucky Charm – Not worth it.  Only gives you a small chance at extra basic loot, not a chance at better loot for the ones you naturally find I don’t think.
Bartering – This decreases the sale price of items from vendors automatically.

Nasty Deeds Skills
I have not had much chance to test out the nasty deeds skills to be honest.  I have a couple of points of lockpicking (one natural, one via gear) on a character, but most chests I have found actually have keys nearby, or you can blast them apart with spells.

I am guessing pickpocketing might give you more loot, but I have had little need for extra except in the beginning, although sneaking might well help a rogue type character during combat.. I just don’t know.  Not tried it.

Craftsmanship Skills

As you progress in the game, you will get loot with bonuses to craftsmanship skills.  Don’t sell those, as swapping out gear for crafting etc will save you skill points.  Keep a bag with crafting/blacksmithing/lockpicking/loremaster gear in it.

Blacksmithing – Being able to repair your gear is useful, but you need some smithy to do that.  So far though I have found far better gear than the ones I am able to make, and I was able to upgrade high level gear with only Blacksmithy level 4 for the most part.  Overall though I found Crafting a far more useful skill to have.
Crafting – I have found this one super useful.  You need crafting to craft spellbooks, which I use a LOT.  You also need it to make potions and upgrade other types of weapons and gear.  Having level 5 crafting is highly recommended.
Loremaster – You need this to identify items.  Most of the good loot is unidentified, so yes, a great skill to have.  I seem to find +loremaster gear the most frequently of all the skills, but you will likely need at least one point in order to identify that gear.  Make sure you get up to level 5 loremaster, because without that you cannot use the best gear that you get as loot drops.
Telekenisis – This skill is sort of useful. It lets you pick up items and move them without being physically near them.  This is useful for a character disabling traps or picking up loot from hard-to-reach places.  Putting it on a character with high strength would likely be the most useful as they can pick up heavier items anyway.  I didn’t use this skill much though, and any points were through gear bonuses.

Talents

Many of the talents in the game are worth it depending on your playstyle.  I have listed a couple below that I felt were worth mentioning.

Lone Wolf – Be aware of this talent. It decreases your party size.  Without this skill, you have a potential party size of 4, if one character has it you have a party size of 3, but if both your characters have it, you only have the two main characters.
Pet
Pal
– some animals can help you find loot that would be near impossible otherwise, sometimes they give hints as to where things are etc.  Not a critical skill, but it can be useful for one of the team to have
Leech – This is super useful for melee characters.  You get health when you stand in blood, and if you are in the middle of the action, this is free health.
Opportunist – Great for melee characters. If a mob is beside you and moves away to attack another player, you hit them for free.
All skilled up – 2 extra ability points.  Super useful since each upgrade to a skill increases in cost
Bigger and Better – 1 extra attribute point.  Super useful
Far out Man – useful for spellcasters, increases the range of spells and scrolls

Dialogue Traits

Depending on how your characters speak with each other, you get certain character traits, such as Compassionate, Righteous, Blunt etc.  These give you certain buffs.

Thanks goes to http://divinity.wikia.com/wiki/Divinity:_Original_Sin_Traits for the table below:

Left bonus Left Right Right bonus
+1 Willpower Independent Obedient +1 Willpower when an ally with Leadership is in sight
+3% Critical Chance Compassionate Heartless +20% chance to hit when backstabbing
+2 Reputation Altruistic Egotistical +1 Bartering
+1 Leadership Righteous Renegade +1 Pickpocketing
Immune to Charmed Blunt Considerate +1 Charisma
+1 Initiative Bold Cautious +1 Sneaking
+1 Crafting Pragmatic Romantic +1 Lucky Charm
Immune to Cursed Forgiving Vindictive +20% chance to hit on attacks of opportunity
Immune to Fear Spiritual Materialistic +1 Loremaster

More information and useful links

Game Pressure Website – Divinity Original Sin
I have found this website a treasure-trove for non-crafting hints and tips, including quests and maps.  Beware though that it has very easy access to all the maps, quests and secret locations etc.  Use only if you are stuck or it can ruin the exploration experience.

Elder Scrolls Online – Skill Choices

ESO banner
Skill Choices

Following on from my earlier post on my initial impressions of Elder Scrolls Online, I wanted to take the time to really look into the Skill Choices in the game, as I feel they are something that deserves discussing a bit.

This is going to be a bit of a show-and-tell article, so open up the handy skill calculator by Esohead here in another window/tab.

For the moment, choose Sorcerer (the class I am most familiar with) and Breton.

If you were anything like me, you would initially look through all those skill options in each of the tabs and feel slightly overwhelmed or excited for the possibilities.  It does look like there are quite a lot.  However, the more I have been considering these options, the more restrictive the system seems.  Let me explain why.

Keep in mind that the Elder Scrolls Online combat system only allows you to have 5 Active Abilities and one Ultimate Ability (hotkey here is R) equipped per weapon set (mas of 2 weapons).  The button on the left that is shown below is the slot for potions.

ESO skill bar

ESO skill bar

 Class Skills
There are three lines of class skills for each of the four class types.  In Sorcerer you have:
* Daedric Summoning
* Dark Magic
* Storm Calling

Each of the three skill types have 5 active abilities, 1 Ultimate ability and 4 passive abilities.  These, plus your weapon skills are the main skills you will likely use.

All the active and passive skills require you to have a certain level in the class.  You will need to spend skill points in gaining passive effects, and like the active effects and Ultimate ability, unlocking these requires you to have certain skill within the field, which means that you have to be using the skills that unlocked earlier.  If you look at Dark Magic, for example, you need to have 20 skill levels in Dark Magic in order to unlock the skill ‘Rune Prison’ and 42 for ‘Daedric Mines’.

In short, this means that you have to pretty much use a ton of your skillpoints to gain levels in a skill merely to get the skills you actually want to use.

But I digress.

If you look at the different skills for Sorcerer, you will notice that the three have very specific types of gameplay involved with them.  Daedric summoning skills are all about summons (naturally), Storm Calling is about damage and shielding, and Dark Magic is about damage and crowd control.  Having a different mix of them depending on the situation would give you a good range of skills, however when you consider that these are ALL the skills for mage class that are available, I came to realize that in fact 15 skills plus 3 ultimate skills was really not a great deal to choose from if you like making alts.  If you level up a character once, the chances are that you will already be familiar with all the skills of that class already.  Nothing new is there.

Ah, I am sure you are thinking of all the other skills that are on the list that I haven’t touched upon yet.  So lets look at each of these.

WeaponsESO - Staff

There are 6 different weapon set types, 4 of them use stamina and the 2 staffs use magic.  While each of these weapon sets do have some interesting and useful skills, it should be noted that certain classes will of course find some weapons more useful than others.  A sorcerer, for example will primarily use a staff, though I can see that there might be call to have a melee weapon as backup.. though in truth, I would think that having more mage skills would be of better use than splitting them to have a melee set as well.

However, be that as it may, you can only equip two weapon sets at a time, and so ultimately you will only ever be using one or two different weapon types, and so putting skills in more is likely a waste of time.

This gives you an additional 10 active skills, as weapons do not have ultimate abilities.  These skills do, however work well with your class skills if you choose your weapon logically.

Armour
Armour only offers 1 normal ability plus passives.  Useful, yes, but not that interesting for varied gameplay

World
The world skills are three skill-lines that you can gain for different gameplay.
*  Soul Magic – 1 active ability, 1 ultimate ability, 3 passive abilities
*  Vampire – 3 active abilities, 6 passive abilities
*  Werewolf – 3 active abilities, 8 passive abilities

Soul magic is likely to be fairly useful for filling soul gems, and if you are not a character with other stun abilities then that ultimate ability might be of use.

Vampire and Werewolf abilities are likely going to be more for rp purposes, or for people looking for a different sort of gameplay.  I know there was some rather heated comments on the beta forums in terms of pvp and vampires and werewolves, considering their weaknesses, but I honestly don’t know too much about them.

On the whole though, it seems like these skills are more for an add-on interest, rather than what the core abilities of your character are likely to be.

Guilds
There are three guilds that operate in ESO and each of them have their own abilities that could be useful for different styles of gameplay:
* The Mages Guild
* The Fighters Guild
* Undaunted

The thing that bothers me about them is this: Would you level up the full guild skills and use them all?  You only have 5 active skills you can have up at a time per weapon set.  Are these all viable as your main ones?  I have not got far enough along in the quests to get the higher skills, but looking at the descriptions, it doesn’t really seem that viable to me.  However in order to make what skills you do use as useful as possible, you need to spend a great deal of points getting all the passives.  That is a lot of skill points just for one or two skills in the case of the Fighters and Mages guild.  Something to think about.

Also, the Fighters Guild skills are really only useful against Daedra and the undead, so it has limited use, while the Undaunted skills.. I don’t really understand at all well.  I will count them, but be aware they are limited in use and situation.

Alliance War
All the alliance war skills are mainly geared towards pvp, although you could argue that some of the passive skills could be useful outside of it.  While a lot of players are going to engage with the pvp in the game, not everyone will, and it is from the pve perspective that I write from.  I would say that they can be used, so that would add another 4 active abilities and 2 ultimate abilities to the list since they could be used in open world raids against anchors or something.

Racial
The racial skills are a bit of a sticking point for me, because unlike in other games, ESO has in fact made the race skills useful.  Too useful.  

Why do I say that?  Because it means that whatever race you are going to choose will impact on how well you play different classes.  I have listed the areas of bonus for each race below to illustrate.  You can see the details of each on the Skill Calculator

Breton  Light armour, Magic, Spell resistance
Orc  Heavy armour, health, sprinting
Redguard  Shields, stamina
High Elf  Destruction staff, magic
Wood Elf  Archery, poison resistance, stamina, stealth
Khajiit  Medium armour, health, stealth, crit
Argonian  Restoration, healing, swim speed, health, poison/disease resistance
Dark Elf  Duel wield, magic and stamina, fire resistance, fire spells
Nord  Two handed weapons, health, armour, cold resistance
Imperial  Shields, health, stamina, melee weapons

As you can see, each race choice has pretty strong racial traits. These traits are such that if you want to really play a strong character, then you really should be playing one of the races that supplement that class. It wouldn’t be very good being a wood elf if you planned to be a staff-wielding sorcerer. I mean, it can be done, but it would further limit your choices, and I expect at top level, players are going to be needing those extra passives.

The way I see it, with the choices in ESO being so slim, players are going to be quickly finding that there are several ‘best builds’ and those builds are going to require racial choices as well as the other skill choices.  Useful race choices sounds great on paper, but it also means that we will be seeing a lot of high level sorcerers being Bretons and High elves, and not much else.

Craft
Craft skills are all passive skills, and so have no bearing really on your skillset, other than to eat at the number of skill points you have to work with.

Decisions, Decisions

So, now you have had a look at the skills, what does it boil down to?

You have 5 active skills and 1 ultimate skill per weapon set, and you get to choose out of the skills offered.  But how many are there to choose from?

Class skills – 15 active + 3 ultimate
Weapon skills – 10 active
Armor – 1 active
World – 4 active + 1 ultimate
Guilds – 14 active + 2 ultimate
Alliance War – 4 active + 2 ultimate

total = 48 active + 8 ultimate
Out of all these skills, I would personally cross off the Alliance War skills, and almost all of the Guild skills.  This leaves us with:

total = 30 active + 4 ultimate

All of these skills are split up neatly into roughly 5 main sections.  Three class skills, and two weapon set skills, and most of the skills in these you will have to learn in order to get the skills you actually want to use.

This means that you actually have very few skills you will choose to utilize once you are levelled further, and by that point you will know the skills you have learned very well.  Well enough to be bored of them.

Where is the choice and interest in re-rolling compared to other games?  Even World of Warcraft, known for its increasingly simple skill trees, it offers more choice in gameplay skills and choices than this does, partially because there are more classes.  When you look at games like Rift, this skill offering in ESO is like the dried up bones in a parched desert plain.

Now, I do think there is some difference in gameplay and effectiveness depending on what passives you collect, however my main gripe about the skills is just how samey the gameplay is going to get when playing the same class.  Skills are going to get boring, and fast because you end up using the same ones all the time, and with only 5+1 skills to use, it also limits what you are using each time you fight.

I understand that ESO limited it to 5 in order to try and simplify the gameplay, possibly trying to make it easier for non-mmo players to learn, but for people who are used to playing mmos, especially those who like making several alts, this basic skill palette is going to get dull very, very quickly.