This entry is taken from my actual blog site at:
Putting the lessons we learned from Saturday into action, the wife and I ran into the first Tabula Rasa instance we could find once we learned they scaled to the number of people in the group. This led us to the Pravus research facility. We already the quest to find the 3 logos inside there, and then we grabbed another one to clear some radar dishes of infestations and another quest to shutdown the facility itself. Once I turned in the "collect 3 logos quest" I gained 22,000 xp at level 10 and it dinged me over to level 11. Not bad. My wife also hit level 11, and she started the day at level 1. I had to log after that and she kept trucking along. I learned that she is rather bloodthirsty in this game. She was pumping round after round of ammo into the enemy and getting her xp bonus to +250% per kill by slaughtering 10's and 20's of Bane one right after another with me behind her repairing her armor. Once I logged she went over to the Control Point to farm defense tokens. She had the hang of the game within one hour and by level 10 she had become a pro Bane killer. I watched her get pretty pissed if she got knocked back and just run up to Bane pumping clip upon clip into them. It was pretty humorous actually given how boring WoW combat is compared to this game. She also got a purple armor drop which I had never seen before.
Pravus was a pretty awesome experience for an MMO instance. First off it had its own little village that we zoned into before we even started fighting. We were able to sell and repair there and grab some front line quests as well. The village was a great starting area and a small road out led to the front lines where we encountered for the first time the Machina, or reanimated corpses resembling the Borg that the Bane had created to fight against us. The creepy thing about these zombie like creations was that when we killed them, they got back up for more. Always had to watch our backs. After collecting the 15 or so parts we needed we moved on up the hill and entered the Pravus Research Facility where the Bane were creating these abominations with dead Humans and Foreans. We fought our way to the center of the facility and blew up the main power core, thus shutting it down and "winning the instance". Once we talked to the NPC inside and made our way out, we had another quest to do that took us all up and down the map. The great thing about the way the instance was set up was that it was like another seperate land area for us to explore and get XP in, as there were constant battles being fought. You literally could sit inside it and solo if you wanted to just clear the mobs out in there without other people bugging you.
Overall with the cinematic before hand and the excellent layout inside I have to say it was more fun in an MMO instance than I have had in a while. However, this is not without its drawbacks in my mind. It is all fun and terrific the first time around but I do wonder about the replayability that this game has should you choose to start over. Cloning for the most part obliterates the need to ever "reroll" and I think that is what Garriott was shooting for. You shouldn't have to grind instances over and over to finish the game or get gear. The option however to go back into Pravus does lay open to us if we want to get some more XP and possible loot. We did not see any named mobs inside, so I am not sure where the loot tables are contained, they may be random even on normal mobs.
I managed to get some videos of us inside the facility so here they are. The first video features us working our way inside the first security door. I have found quickly that I actually like healing, or "repairing", in this game. There is no mana, just ammo for your repair tool or your healing disc, and I still have to ability to fight. I don't have to hide in a corner like healers in most games, but just make sure you have your hotkeys set up so you can switch weapons quickly. Usually on tough encounters I let the wife go in blazing while I repair her armor and throw grenades. Grenades are a ability so I do not have to switch weapons and they are area effect so it works well.
This second video is real quick, just an early room inside the research center and shows how you can slowly go in and pick mobs off at a distance and stay calm to get through and dup the place. The aggro range on most mobs is pretty small in the facility compared to outdoors, so we just poked our way around and took them out cautiously. You really have to be careful in the middle room though as the Machina aggro like mad and can do some hefty damage if you don't pull them down a tunnel . All in all it was a good time so we can't wait to see what lies ahead. I want to get to level 14 badly to clone again and then choose another profession branch. I think I will lean toward Exobiologist so I can reanimate dead things. Yup, that sounds cool.