Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nard a word

Okay maybe it should have been "hardly a word," and speechless is a bit of what I was this evening when I received a lot of help from Nard. First we fought together in the mines north of Hurnscald. Nard kept healing me while I kept trying to attack the snakes and missing most of the time. It was enough help that I managed to get a snake skin for the Cat's Ears quest. Nard helped me get on my way for another quest and was really gracious when I wanted to return the favour, citing that I'd need what I was willing to trade for his help. It's often like this in Mana World.

Occasionally  you run across less helpful people, but overall people are generally willing to help. When I previously played I played this way, helping others out, and it's really nice to get some of that selfless good will back. I hope Nard gets some good will back by some of the higher level characters in the game, but I suspect Nard can handle most situations.

Thanks Nard!

Halloween in Hurnscald

Grim Reapers cutting through swaths of characters is the news for Hurnscald today.

If you ventured into Hurnscald this hallow's eve you might have caught a glimpse of the grim reapers that savagely cut through a huge amount of players. 

Here's a better picture that shows the reapers outside of Hurnscald.

Tulmishar mines - giant maggot quest

I reported the other day that I decided to complete the Tulmishar mine quest. I completed the first half of the quest defeating enough Ancient Archants to get 3 keys and open the chest. The second half of the quest involved destroying one of two giant maggots and bringing what the maggot dropped back to Sema.
The giant maggot is mincemeat, but what is an iten?

Before embarking on the quest I decided to do a little research. I came across this thread on the Mana World forums which indicated that the giant maggots are extremely tough even at level 45. Well, I'm level 42 and defeated one without dying or needing to run too far away.

The key seems to be a combination of hit and back-up, and heal. Defeat any monsters around the giant maggot first, you don't need the extra work of trying to stay alive when they hit you. The giant maggot is strong and when he hits it hurts (34 average damage), but he can be defeated by hit and back up. I stood toe to toe with him a couple of times while my hits were high and other monsters around were eliminated, but he did manage to get me down pretty low (at which point I walked a little ways away and healed).

The drop is a boring cube-like item called iten. Not quite sure who came up with this name, but it feels like an unfinished part of the game, iten is not a good name. Still, I got the desert shirt reward, which wasn't much of a reward since I already bought one. As I mentioned in the previous post this series of mine quests feel more difficult than the log quests in Hurnscald and the overall reward is much less, especially since the desert shirt can be bought.

I missed the fact that Nathan will give you miners gloves before Sema's quests, but since I already completed half the Agostine quest I already have better furry gloves. I'd love to complete the second half of this quest, but I only have 10 furs left and after spending 47 to get the gloves I doubt Agostine will grant the boots in less than another 30. Back to Hurnscald for awhile I guess...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stones on the head

The other day I was going through an old Linux Journal magazine and I came across an Iliad spoof of Samuel L. Jackson's wacky flick Snakes on a Plane. In the spoof it's all the installations of Linux on the back of seats on a Singapore flight that a Microsoft exec is taking and complaining about "Motherf^#&%g penguins on a plane." I couldn't help but be reminded of this while playing TMW last night and this morning.
Tulimshar Desert Mine, 2nd Level
I spent a lot of time in Hurnscald collecting furs knowing full well that it might take a full compliment of 60 furs to satisfy Agostine's requirements for boots and gloves. While I didn't have the monetary requirements for both, I could do the gloves. I'd previously handed over 14 furs the last time I tried, hoping luck would be on my side, which it wasn't. Well damn if it didn't take another 33 furs (47 total!) to get the gloves. Agostine is suppose to be a 1 in 30 chance, looks like the game has either changed or my luck this time around is pretty bad.

I decided that while I was in Tulimshar I should finish the mine quest. Little did I know that the mines had changed. No more red slimes and spiders, now there are ice goblins and angry scorpions along with three buttons which need a key. So everyone knows, the key is not dropped (before you needed keys to open a chest on the second level - which is still true). The key for the first level is obtained by talking to the miners and moving some ore. This was a simple task, but getting the key combination wasn't so easy. Not only do you have to turn the key to the correct side, but you have to do it in a certain order. Clicking followed by a thud is good, clicking alone is not.

The second level sports Archant (Arachnid Ants) which do drop keys on very rare occasions. Also present are Yellow Slimes, which is great because they drop Ore. This means no heading back to Hurnscald for Ore. You need to collect 3 keys to open the chest. I was really looking forward to the Short Sword until I discovered it was a dumpy short bow... doh! Archers will love the quest, but I already had obtained my forest bow in Hurnscald, a much better bow that was obtained easier and was much more rewarding both in terms of experience and financial reward. The Forest Bow quest in Hurnscald is more rewarding for a few reasons:
  • The Forest Bow is better (+70 damage vs +50 of the short bow)
  • You get more experience for killing log heads (something like 190xp/each)
  • Log heads also drop roots which fetch 200gp each in the market - a much better way to make money than bat wings and teeth.
The only thing that really makes this mine quest worth doing is the fact that you can collect ore killing Yellow Slimes while you're trying to collect 3 keys. In fact I collected about 15 ore while trying to get the 3 keys necessary to open the chest.

... Then I died...

No, it was not from the monster that was suppose to be lurking in the mine. I went from full health to dead in one shot... what from...

Falling stone on the head! Seriously. So killing all those monsters wasn't enough... I had to die from a stone falling on my head.

All I can say is that I hope this area gets reshaped a bit. Hurnscald should be a more difficult area and I remember the mines there are, but the quest for the bow in this mine shouldn't be more difficult or less rewarding than the forest bow quest in Hurnscald. And the shirt that comes next isn't much of a reward since it too can be bought (and I already have it).

I did level twice during this quest, but it felt really slow. Archants are only about 88 experience compared to the average log head of 190 experience. Log heads don't tend to hit for high damage as much either, though they do take longer to kill. In the long run you level faster, get greater rewards, and have equal quest opportunities (2 quests) pummeling the log heads for logs and roots (wooden bow and shield). If you're over level 20 you should probably head to Hurnscald before doing the mines. Finish the pinky quest first and then chop some wood in the log head quests.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

From 1 to 20 and beyond

Yesterday I realized that I unconsciously was taking my own advice about leveling up in the early stages. From 1 to 20 are a little difficult because you just have to start killing as many maggots as you can and closer to 20 start tackling scorpions.

I went from 1 to 20 without changing weapons, but buying a sharp knife or dagger might improve your capacity to kill monsters faster. One thing that did help was trading monster points for items (and it helps in further quests as well). A couple of characters in Tulimshar, Aidan and Ishi, are responsible for telling you how many points you have and awarding you items for those points. In my case rewards have included a snake skin (difficult to get even at level 50), some iron ore, and shorts (extra basic defense). I equipped the shorts right away giving me a bit more defense against lower level monsters.

At 20 I decided to take the ferry (North) over to Hurnscald. It turns out this is probably exactly what you want to do at this point. I left one of the quests in the mines below Tulmishar undone. In one of my past posts I mentioned one of the quick ways to gain experience was to go to Hurnscald and start killing pinkies for their Antennas. (Not all give up Antennas) Collect 10 and give them to Hinnak (in Hurnscald) for a powerful Scythe. The Scythe does massive damage compared to the Dagger (though it's a slower weapon, but does have better reach).

The next step which I didn't mention before is to do Dougie's Cave Snake lamp quest. I found it a bit difficult at first, I didn't have the vitality to kill a lot of cave snakes without resting. At this point it seemed better to level up, so I went back to the areas around Hurnscald and started killing off Pinkies and Fluffies. Why Fluffies? Both Pinkies and Fluffies are relatively easy to kill with the Scythe, they don't deal you a lot of damage, and they give around 100 experience each much of the time. It's a bit of a balancing act:

  • How many slices does it take to kill the monster?
  • How much damage does the monster deal back to you?
  • What kind of experience reward do you get? (e.g. 154 exp)
  • What kind of other reward do you get? (e.g. Cobalt leaves)
Ideally you want to tackle monsters that give you lots of experience but require fewer hits to kill. In my experience it's not the whole story. Killing Squirrels results in relatively low experience, but you often get a variety of coloured leaves which can later be used in dyes.

Back to Doug and the lamp quest. The cave is north of Diamond's cove on the second level of the "bat cave." As I mentioned killing the cave snakes was a bit of a struggle before level 31 (and after I still needed to rest a fair bit). I'm at 19 lamps (the quest calls for 20). At this point just killing cave snakes and spiky mushrooms has raised me up from level 31 to 36. The snakes dropped 13 tongues, 17 cave snake eggs, and 3 jean shorts (better than the shorts I described earlier, Def 4). It's been a long quest. I think this is one of the patience testing quests, especially if you're doing the quest solo. If you don't have patience have someone more powerful assist you on the quest. But realize that if you take a shortcut you may miss out on experience (in my case 5 levels). The quest does result in experience (5k), but compared to the amount I earned from leveling in the cave 5k is small.

Battling cave snakes

Monday, October 25, 2010

Changes in a year

It's been over 1 year since I last posted about The Mana World. I attempted to log into TMW a couple of times over the past year without success because I couldn't remember what name I used to log in (it wasn't Tarq, that was the character name). I set up a new account a couple of months back but did nothing with it. Last night I logged in and started playing. I noticed in the TMW Forums that there was a big account sweep, and sure enough I recognized the user name, Charm, that I used for Tarq *deleted.* As an administrator I understand deleting used accounts, but it still kind of sucks, I put many hours in... But I know the game much better... or so I thought until I headed over to what I thought was going to be the location of Hurnscald... gone.

But I did make a friend, Lux... thanks for the update. And I got to reminisce about some of the players I used to know. In the mines north of Hurnscald I used to bump into Katze (Editors note: I was wrong it was Wayne). I think it was Katze (Wayne) at least. At one time he was wearing a red robe and the red mask, then the black top hat and a black robe. I think when I met Wayne he was in the Level 90+ range, because he was always far more powerful than I. After a few months of playing it seemed that Wayne had hooked up with a female player, I think it was SugarCorgit (no it was Freya), who did a lot of drops. I'm going from memory, and my memory has been bad of late, so I could be wrong (Yes I was wrong).

I think it was Wayne who first directed me to the wiki and I earned my Setzer because of him. Later (I think I was level 69) I decided to switch from being a lug-headed fighter to a magic user. Much of that story and my quest for a robe of every colour is documented on this blog.

So starting over again. Actually I'm level 16 already after playing an hour or so one evening and a little bit of time this morning. Some things I remembered to do: remap the auto-target key. I always used the left Alt for auto-target instead of a, it makes it easier to pick up items (z) after a monster is killed. I also remembered about monster points. Shockingly I was able to trade monster points away for: a snake skin, iron ore, one of those yellow things useful for magic (can't remember), fluffy skin, antenna, etc.

I completed a few minor quests, but I'm a long way from where I left off (in the 80s if I remember right).

The good news is that since I'm almost starting from scratch, and because the game has been updated, I can put more relevant information for new TMW users.