This entry is taken from my actual blog site at:
The problem, as I sat and emailed Bildo over at Ramblings of a Bildo, was instances that require you to wait for a full party before you can run them. The solution: Tabula Rasa. The instances in TR scale to fit the size of your party, a brilliant move ala Lost Dungeons of Norrath that I think may have finally sold me that TR will be my home for the next month at least. City of Heroes does this as well but "meh". The wife thinks it is a great idea as well, and I have gotten her on her own account in TR. While it is taking a while to break her from the WoW right click interface and use that CTRL key, she is enjoying the game in terms of character customization and some of the other cool features.
In TR the instances can be done solo (if you know what you are doing) but they are ideally made for 2 people, and scale up in difficulty with the more you add. This is a great concept that saves anyone the time of looking for those extra people and getting a perfect group mix together. It also means, like we did in 2003 and 2004 in EQ1, that the wife and I can duo instances and have a blast. A couple of things are happening here for the first time also. She is fighting, and I am healing. I am also playing a female clone of my male Soldier, Julius. I left Brock on the crowded East coast server and moved to Orion and then sent Bildo a guest invite and he is up and running. I created Julius Rymar and Elisse Rymar, his clone, and went to town. I cloned way too early as it turns out, and after listening to TabulaCast over on Virgin Worlds, I should have waited. Tabula Cast is a great podcast that I wish was longer but has a ton of info packed into it. Last week he did the 10 most common mistakes/tips. Among them was not spending your skill points willy nilly, not cloning at level 5 (oops) and paying attention to the weapons you have. You can see the show notes here. The Torcastra Prison Instance is still bugged from what I read in the latest test server patch notes as follows:
For the Torcastra Prison Instance, the spawners inside are not scaling in number in relation to the player group size
So be warned if you try that one solo or duo. Some of the other things I have been doing in the game include crafting. Crafting is an odd mix of Star Wars Galaxies and World of Warcraft. You insert items into a machine, and use a recipe, and it takes ingredients but the similarities end there. First off, you can't keep remaking items because you learn a recipe (at least not from what I am seeing dropping at my noob levels). Crafting is meant to be fast and to the point, and create enough of the item for you to use for a bit. For example you may get a grenade recipe and use it to make 10 grenades, but you will use up the recipe once you do it. Unless I am missing something that is the way I think it works. Since however I am far from a TR pro if I am wrong please post a comment and let me know. At any rate, I make some ammo, some healing disc cartridges and other things. However I don't really see a purpose behind it other than to save money, which is why the devs probably made the recipe disappear after one use. Ammo costs can get high real fast in this game, and to find a recipe for standard grade cartridges can be a real plus. You go and run over to create them, and you are done. Once the auction house goes live I can see how you could make some money but undercutting the vendors and what they charge for ammo. One last warning. When you craft something it stays IN the crafting machine, so remember to look for the little tab at the bottom of the machine interface and get your items out of there. Just a little advice. Don't log out like I did and leave it all in there to rot.
As far as the duo combat has been going, I am still detecting some interface delay in switching between items in my weapon or ability bar. When I try to repair the wife’s armor, I want instantaneous selection of my repair tool, instead I hit the key (“Q” to switch weapon) and there is a small delay as it switches over. I think if they could tighten the interface a bit more this game would hit a home run. As it is I feel like I have to struggle with the interface more than enjoy it. Another tip I can offer is turn up your mouse sensitivity to reduce the slow turn times and sluggish movement of your character. Another thing is in this game it certainly helps to have a friend to tag along with. You will get attacked. You will get attacked A LOT. So be ready for it and always have a load of medkits for the using and rez trauma kits as well. I have actually had to go back to higher populated instances to make sure I could get to quest locations, since in the lower populated instances of the Wilderness I cannot get to where I need to go without 8-10 Bane attacking me. Learn to use your radar to track mission locations and be smart if you travel off the road. I like to keep my adrenaline in reserve for sprint getaways in case I get really overwhelmed so I don't use it to travel fast unless I have to. Also get those checkpoints early, it pays off to be able to warp all over the map. If you need locations of the Logos abilities, check out Logos Atlas.Com.
I will post more impressions later but right now I want to log in and get to cracking on some exploration and quests. I really am enjoying the game but I will not be passive in pointing out its issues. This is mostly because it is very close to being a WoW killer for me, but is just missing that last bit of UMMPH to put it over the edge. IGN.Com has posted their TR review, and they gave it a 7.5 out of 10, which was a little low I thought. So far I think the game is a solid "8" but honestly, what the hell does that mean in the long run. The game is ever evolving but as IGN said in their review quote: "At least it doesn't have elves."