Some people are great at taking screenshots, and I’m not one of them. For starters, while all the important moments go by with me saying “Yay!” in my chair, the last thing I ever remember to do is to hit the screenie key — I therefore have quite a few memories, but very few mementoes. Secondly, when I do remember to take them, they usually end up looking weird rather than “Oh my, I must play this game, that looks fabulous!” My poor warden is supposed to be flex-emoting in an amusing way, below… not sniffing to make sure she doesn’t need a shower, though I can understand how the viewer might be confused.
I do have a few nice game landscapes, many of which I’ll cycle through as desktop wallpapers… And this may be part of the problem. I really enjoy landscapes and on the rare occasions when I do real photography (not often right now, camera ist kaput) landscapes and plants and things tend to be subjects I vastly prefer. People… meh. Maybe I was subjected to one too many studio tortures as a kid, maybe I’m just a curmudgeon, but I detest being photographed, and thus I’m not usually too keen to photograph others — even in games.
It occurs a little more regularly to me now, because sometimes I think “hey, I could post about this!” or “hey, this would make a decent pic for the blog!” — but I’m not practiced enough yet (or quite possibly, lack the general artistic skill) to make full use of those inspirations. I also suspect a fancy border thingy would help the pix I do post here, but that would mean… *shudder*… using PhotoChop — well, in my case the Gimp, because I’m too cheap to shell out for the big PS. I am just good enough at image manipulation to make complete hashes of them, though I suspect even I could manage to add some artistic framing doohickeys. However, if you routinely take stunning and apropos screenies of moments you’ll never forget, feel free to leave advice!
(Phallic monuments? I’m sure I don’t know what you mean. But see?! If I’d looked properly, I’d have reframed the screenie. As it is, I’m staring at that on my desktop these days and wondering if I should book myself in with a Freudian shrink…)
In other news, I’ve been thinking about mudflation in the last few weeks, since returning to “mature” games always forces one to confront how prices have shot up since the last time one played. Back in the EQ2 day, I had 20-ish plat and while I wasn’t stinking rich, I wasn’t too badly off. Now, that 20 plat is just enough to make maitre d’s laugh at me when I walk into Qeynos restaurants (so at least they’re acknowledging my existence), but not enough to get me seated. Some things are, surprisingly, much cheaper than they used to be — many basic crafted items are, because most people have the high level crafters they need and most of the population is high level anyway and because, as far as I can tell, crafting still remains an adventurers’ hobby that’s funded by adventuring, and not by actually trying to make a living from what one crafts. (There are of course quite a few exceptions, but even in a craft-heavy game like EQ2, it’s fairly evident that adventuring remains the great economic wheel-greaser.) And some things, conversely, are so stupidly overpriced that I have to wonder at our collective idiocy in these games.
Transmuting has been introduced as a secondary tradeskill since I left and, like enchanting in WoW, it requires items of a certain quality to be deconstructed in order to provide materials for making other stuff. This means that dropped loot of the right profile (“treasured”) is ludicrously overpriced, whereas crafted goods (which aren’t adequate for transmuting unless they’re made with rare resources) remain free of the hike. EQ2 combat arts and spells need to be upgraded, and one way to do that is via drop-loot books… which can be transmuted. So the apprentice IV version of a spell (crafted) is likely to cost you a few silver now, while the Adept I version (dropped, transmutable) will cost you at least 10 times as much — and trust me, the improvement to the skill between one version and the next does not justify the price tag.
It’s not so bad if you understand the underlying reasons for the ways in which prices evolve over time, but for new players — and there are some — it has to be quite baffling. That said, mudflation in EQ2 has been nowhere near as bad as that I saw when I returned to SWG, where prices had risen in truly ridiculous ways: stuff that used to cost 4,000 credits now costs 4,000,000 in some cases, and having a billion credits barely entitles you to a chair by the kitchen (at that same snooty-maitre’d restaurant, keep up with the metaphor over there in the back!).
What makes things difficult for the rare new player is, of course, that coin generation hasn’t changed much in-game, and so it can be pretty hard to figure out why level-appropriate gear costs 10 gold per piece when NewPlayer0002 is being paid 3 silver per completed quest. These days, being skilled at reading auction houses, forecasting trends and jumping on hot-item bandwagons seems to be as important as knowing how to cleave a kobold in half.
What’s really getting to me, however, is run speed. There was a time, what I’ll call the PJ era (Pre-Journeyman’s cloak), when a +20% run speed was really quite adequate, and +40 was definitely like owning a Jaguar. Now, +40 is laughed at and a horse is totally 2005 — bears, warthogs, rhinos, and giant squid (for all I know) are where it’s at in the mount stakes. If it isn’t +60 AND shooting flames out of its ass, it’s just not a mount these days, honey. OR there’s the Journeyman’s cloak, which all new accounts (I think? created a certain way? anyway, it’s not hard to get) receive, and which provides a base +25% run speed. I have no idea if it stacks with a mount, because it does stack with class runspeed buffs, so my level 8 newbs are faster than my level 80 provisioner on her 9 platinum horse. That, as horsey people say, chaps my ass — to the extent that I wish all my old accountees had access to the cloak. My poor ranger, with her +16, just seemed to be running through treacle the other day, and we all know how I am with runspeed.
All is not lost, however. As long as I can figure out what sells these days ( transmuting stuff and collection stuff, basically), making the plat to buy mounts for my poor old ladies shouldn’t be too diffcult. And then, J-cloak or no, they can at least travel in speed, if not in the latest flame-shooting, strange-animal based style.