A Tale of Four Mounts

Griffon is Reasonable

Back in October I started working on getting the Griffon Mount in GW2. After some frustration I have that mount now. Mounts in GW2 are account wide, so all my 18 or so characters have access to the Griffon.

It turns out that you don’t have to do all the story quests of “Path of Fire”, but only the last section. At least there’s that. There are some good guides for getting the Griffon. Mostly this is a matter of jumping puzzles to get Eggs and then the cost of about 250 Gold to buy the items required. In each of the Five maps there are eggs to collect and Events to participate in. You purchase various items from heart vendors and others. All in all, a reasonable effort.

Obtaining Skyscale is Punishing

The Skyscale is a whole other matter entirely.

I’ve pushed my way through most of the effort, and after grinding for a few days on getting Eternal Ice to get Kralkatite Ore, and a few more days farming Diflourite Crystals, I now need Inscribed Shards. Fighting my way around the map and doing some events got me about 20, and I made another round today for only 6. What a waste of time.

The reason I want Griffon and Skyscale is to have them for the upcoming End of Dragons expansion where we go back to Cantha.

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Tera is now Gacha?

So as of about a week ago, Gameforge has taken over Tera from Enmasse. And apparently Enmasse has shut down and when you go there, Firefox says the certificate is Expired. Not even a good bye.

Enmasse Certificate Expired?

So I fired up Gameforge Tera this morning and made a new character in one of my “Saved” slots. I saved slots we got over the years by putting dummy characters in them with names like “Place.Holder.A” and so forth.

The startup screens have changed and there is some choice that I didn’t look into. The left choice is the game I’ve played before.

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Credit Cards Stuck in Last Century

So, the operation of Credit Cards is apparently stuck in the last Century. The major suppliers of credit cards have not kept up with the requirements of the modern age of online transactions.

On-line Credit Card Fraud is a Major Headache

Case in point: My credit card was used Fraudulently. I have a couple of cards, one for physical transactions where I’m always present – well almost always present. And another that I only use On-Line. Of course, the fraud involved the credit card that was used online. I purchased some Game Currency from a game I play a lot for $10, and less than a week later someone tried to purchase $5599 at Best Buy. There was a lot of confusion about whether the transaction occurred On-Line, but the address was given as Minneapolis, Minnesota. Which is far from where I live. So the transaction was declined, and I was alerted. But that’s not the end of the problem. That card number is now stopped. It can no longer be used. And if this were last century, I could just use another of my few cards to eat take-out at restaurants, or buy groceries.

But this is 2020, and that credit card is in the hands of over a dozen on-line merchants whose computers will automatically try to use it on some random schedule to provide services that I use. These include Netflix, my internet service, my satellite tv service and so forth. I’m “waiting four to five business days” for the new card to arrive. And any of these days one of these many services’ computers might try to use that dead card. To say nothing of the fact that it will take an hour or so to go through all the services’ websites and give them a new card number. I need a better way.

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Skyscale – “Flight” in GW2

The amount of work to get Skyscale to “Fly” in GW2 is punishing. For this amount of work, compared with the amount of work to get flying mounts in other games, this Skyscale mount should fly at the speed of sound and have a damage skill that could kill anything in the game in one shot.

But no. It doesn’t even really fly, as we mentioned before.

This is not a guide. There are better ones out there. I used a Youtube video to find all the Skyscales – Here’s the one I used. Most of them can be gotten if you have the Springer and you can borrow Skyscales from around the world once you unlock the Achievment. For two of the Scales, I had to get help to kill mobs that were nearby. Most of the scales were actually far from mobs, and I had no problem soloing them.

Finishing the last part of the story to unlock the achievement is very well written. Part of it is an arcade game where you’re riding Aurene to bring the Big “K” down. Quite a ride.

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Computers Breaking

So, back on 6 October 2020, my main computer broke. This story is going to be complicated, so let’s call this one “Crystal”. I name my computers after the cases they are in, usually.

The verdict from the shop was the the CMOS battery was weak – replaced. And that the Ryzen 1800x CPU was bad. Good enough to run memory tests, but could not access storage. When the shop put in a Ryzen 5 CPU into the motherboard, the system ran just fine.

So I purchased some upgrades.

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Why Not Just Fly?

I’m working my way through Path of Fire to get the Griffon mount. It’s the first mount that looks like it’s flying, but it’s not.

The second “Flying Mount” introduced into GW2, Living World Season 4 is the Skyscale. This has enhanced flight mechanics, but still can’t really fly.

There must be some “religious objection” to flight. Ever since Gliders were introduced in Heart of Thorns, we could only “Glide” while all other popular games in the genre have True Flight. Well, not really…

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WOW Pre-Patch Starter

Ok. I admit, I’m just a lurker. I don’t pay for Wow any more, I just play the starter or trial or whatever they call it. Yep. Recall that I played it for years and left when in Legion they did the “Universal Level Scaling”. That ruined it for me. Anyway, I check in periodically to see how things are doing, and of course yesterday was the big “Shadowlands Pre-Patch”. So I logged in, made a new toon and ran through the tutorial. I’m not going to spoil all of it. But you can do it too for only about a two hours investment. And you’ll wanna check out the new character customization options, although after FFXIV, I find those completely underwhelming.

You are led by the hand, literally, through the experience on Exile’s Reach. It’s a common trope, nothing original here, Blizzard:

  • The ship to far off lands
  • The catastrophe that washes you up on the beach
  • The buddy that’s going to walk you through the whole experience, step by step.

But there are a few Wow specific tropes here too:

  • The obligatory “Bomb the masses from some sort of airship”, although this airship was just a little rotor and you dangle from a rope. Come on Blizz, the Goblins and Gnomes have better little one-man airships than this.
  • The “dress up an on Ogre” quest, or dress us as anything else, to sneak into the fortress, after which everybody ignores you anyway as you walk around with no costume.
  • and the minor dungeon tutorial where the NPC acts, or says she is acting, as your tank while you kill some trash and a boss.
  • Minor spoiler – watch out for those treasure chests lying around. They keep getting bigger and bigger as you go.

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GW2 vs FFXIV Story Trials

Doing Guild Wars 2 Stories Again

There is a marked difference between the GW2 Story Trials or Instances and the FFXIV Story Instances. I have many GW2 characters of all races and classes, but haven’t played it much recently. Back when Path of Fire came out I worked through the story and maps enough to get many of the mounts: Raptor, Springer, Skimmer, Jackal and Warclaw. I recently decided that I’d like to get the Griffon mount. To do this I need to complete the Path of Fire story on at least on character. So I started with my Necro, which was farthest along this journey. After about 4 hours I gave up in “The Departed” when I could not figure a way to kill “The Soul Eater”.

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Computer Failed Today

Back in October 2017 I built a new system with an AMD Ryzen 1800x CPU. The system has been great. With 8 cores and 16 threads and a nice Nvidia RTX 2060 Graphics card, it has been a real performer for gaming and video editing.

In January 2020, the power supply died and I replaced it with a similar model to avoid having to rewire the system power lines.

Today, I’d played FFXIV through the morning and just finished a 1/2 hour dungeon run – nothing special or stressful. And as I finished that and it suddenly stopped working. Just rebooted out of no where. No blue screen. Just a reboot. Boot loop. I tried to trigger a repair but looks like windows has removed “Safe Mode” boot. But after booting a couple of times, it displayed a message  that it was attempting to “repair and restart”, but it just kept rebooting.

I assumed at this point that the SSD was bad, or so worn out that it was causing the error. So I tried SpinRite, a HD diagnostic that I have which boots into DOS from a DVD. No go. That booted, but then just looped forever with the message “Discovering Systems Mass Storage Devices…”.

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