Archive for February, 2007


Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

The devs have nerfed the NPCs with the unbeatable hands. Great news, except that I loaded in expecting to grind on my current favourite only to find that my killer deck was useless against his new, much weaker, set of cards.

I did hit 75 though, which means I can now parley against rank 125 opponents.


Sunday, February 4th, 2007

After the tribulations of the last few days I’m glad to have found an NPC on which to do some good old-fashioned grinding. There’s a guy in the Crafter’s Forum in Khal with a hand that can be consistently (ie 100% of the time) be beaten with the right deck.

And beat him I have. Over and over again. Grind grind grind!

Now at rank 69 in Diplomacy and level 7 in Adventuring. Which means I’m "eligible" – nice word, devs – for XP debt and corpse runs should I die. Yay.

Turning the tables

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

Another day and some progress has been made! I found my way from Khal to Lomshir where there are more guards with lower rank to parley with. Although their hands were arguably still too good for their level I did manage to find one I could beat … and beat him I did. This enabled me to finish my quest at last. As a reward I was given a baton which grants Noble presence. Not enough to talk to the nobleman in my other quest but enough to get started.

Aside from that I spent some time exploring and got my third "You are the first to discover this area" message. In quite a cool place too. The Coward’s Plunge is the name, I think (going from memory), of a nice coastal cave system.

Then I went a bit too far and got wtfpwned by a level 38 hyena thing. Oh well.


Friday, February 2nd, 2007

I’m less excited about Diplomacy than I was yesterday.

I have a quest to parley with guards. Out of all the guards in the city only ONE is of low enough rank that I can actually talk to him. Actually this is a benefit of today’s patch; yesterday I would have been allowed to attempt to negotiate with a high ranking opponent and be easily beaten – at a cost of Prestige. But I digress.

So I can parley with one guard. And he has an unbeatable hand. Two cards which each move the Indicator two points in his favour without any cost. A card which gives him two points of Flattery. A card which moves the Indicator five points at a cost of three Flattery. I don’t even know what his fifth card is because he has no need to play it. I simply cannot compete with four free points on low timers. The best I can do is throw Rebuttals at him and use Snippet of Wisdom to delay the inevitable.

I have another quest to talk to a nobleman. The nobleman won’t talk to me because I don’t have enough Noble presence. How do I get that? I’unno. Diplomacy clothes I suppose. How do I get those? I’unno.

I have a third quest to talk to a guy who requires Academic presence. See a pattern emerging?

On the plus side I did do a quest to get a horse. However as I don’t have level 10 in combat I can’t keep the horse. Great.

I’m getting a bit fed up of it.

PS I’m at level 4 in combat.

PPS I should have mentioned yesterday that parley is how it’s written in the game.

Diplomatic relations

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

I’ve spent some time – not a massive amount of time but more than five minutes – in Vanguard, which launched yesterday. In fact I pre-ordered the game and was able to play for a few days before then.

The feature I’ve been concentrating on is Diplomacy. Basically this is an alternative method of advancing your character separately from combat and crafting. The roleplay is that you engage in "parleys" with NPCs where the quicker-witted and smoother-talking protaganist will emerge the winner. In game mechanics terms this is represented as a type of card game.

You and your opponent each pick up to five cards from your deck. The cards represent debating techniques and have names such as Threat of Reprisal and Snippet of Wisdom. Each one may add or subtract from one or more of your or your opponent’s four pools – Demand, Reason, Inspire and Flattery – and may move the so-called Dialogue Point Marker towards you or your opponent. At the end of each turn you gain a point if the marker is closer to you.

Think of it in very, very loose terms as like the pazaak contests of Knights of the Old Republic.

The bottom line is that instead of running around whacking rats for combat XP you can do quests and play cards for Diplomacy ranks. Thus far I’m finding it quite interesting in the same way I enjoyed Bio-Engineering in SWG.

One of the quests on which I was sent did involve riding (yes, on a horse) some way out of town where I was at the mercy of aggro mobs patrolling the route. It remains to be seen how much Diplomacy you can really do without levelling up combat as well. Of course I do want to level up my adventuring abilities too. Up to now, however, I haven’t done so. My Ranger is level 2 and very weak.