Willow Tree Inn

I apologize for the sudden silence in the middle of my posts on Allure’s progress – I got wrapped up in a player-run quest line that started on Pristine, and I’ve been working on a secret project in the desert on Release for the past week!

If you haven’t seen the quest line on the forums yet, it starts here and continues on through several more steps, until the last part that I was just working on – found here.  Last Wednesday, those of us who wished to participate were taken to the Northern shore of Release, and given that quest to complete within the next week (ending last night). My entry is here – the Willow Tree Inn is our submission to the competition. If you’re interested in voting, the poll is open until Saturday!

Side view, so you can see the guard tower back behind the house.

The name of the inn actually was inspired by an inn that Vin had made back on Indy not long after we’d started playing Wurm. It had willow trees to either side of it because I thought they were pretty – so he named it the Willow Tree Inn. The building there has long since decayed, but when I told Vin about my plans to plant willows near my safe house for an oasis-in-the-desert feel, he reminded me of our first inn and we just had to carry on that legacy.

Dark, I know – but I love the castle look combined with a dark and stormy night!

I took way too many screenshots to even sort through yet – I’ve uploaded them all here if you’d like to see the whole process! I love the castle-like appearance of the house, and the guard tower behind it seems to complete it so perfectly. The willow trees work to pull it all together and give it some color to stand out from the desert further. If I could change one thing though, I would have brought more cotton with me.  I think a few banners on the castle would have been the perfect finishing touch, and maybe a rug just inside the front door. I tried to travel light though, and all of my materials were gathered in the nearby area. I’m sure that, had I asked, many of the locals who let us join their alliance would have given us cotton, but I really didn’t want to ask too much of them. It was really important to me that this project serves to help the community – I didn’t want to burden them in any way while building it.

View from the front, standing on the major highway through the area

On the community aspect – I seriously couldn’t have found a better place to build. The hardest part of this project for me, without a doubt, was sailing away afterwards. From the very beginning, everyone I met on Release was so nice. Lotus, whose post gave me the inspiration to build there, was not only willing to listen to my crazy rambling about building a secret project in the middle of the desert, but also helped to put me in touch with other folks in the local alliance. Zabba was one of the first folks who was willing to listen to my plans, and offered any assistance he could give – including rushing me a few last minute supplies when I realized I was running short. Abrem (and his wife, Alendria) invited me to their deed, which was right down the road from my project, and gave me unlimited access to anything I might need (including their animals to hitch my cart, and their mine to get enough rock shards to build). Earwicker spent hours and hours with us on Wednesday, standing there for hours and attaching pieces to the guardtower – there’s no way we possibly could have finished it on time without his help.

Working madly to finish the guard tower!

I really can’t express just how awesome that whole alliance is. They were all willing to not only take in two complete strangers and let them build nearby, but also offered any assistance they could provide. On top of that – the awesome comments they all left for why they voted for my entry nearly made me cry! More than anything else, my favorite part of this whole quest series has been getting the opportunity to interact with these amazing people. It was such a bittersweet feeling to sail away afterwards, having made so many great friends and memories. There’s nothing quite like being attacked by so many critters that the whole alliance has to coordinate who has a free templar to run to! If I could find time to play on four servers, I’d have made another character to stay on Release – as it is, I’ve been invited to go back and vacation on several of their deeds, and I’m sure that I’ll be back to visit soon!

These critters are from only a few hours online – if you look closely, hubby’s running around the corner of the inn to escape another one!

Rebuilding Allure (Part One)

Trying to rebuild has been a very slow process. When I got back to Indy, nothing was left of Allure but the houses (and a few stray fences). I had three houses total – a kitchen in Upper Allure, a workshop in Lower Allure, and our main house, also in Lower Allure. My first thought was to leave them all in place, and just finish them by adding on additional stories or a roof, as needed. Then I realized that at the very least, these houses were going to need new doors added – they were so old that double doors hadn’t even been invented yet, not to mention inner walls!  At that point, I decided that with the amount of work these houses would need, I might as well rebuild them to make them exactly as I’d like them, since I’m on my own in Allure now. I threw out the old plan for Allure, and started working on really making it mine this time around.

Very old image of our last Allure plan before leaving Indy

To give you an idea of how Allure is laid out, I dug up an old file (dated Aug 08, 2011!) that I can’t even open in Wplanner anymore, so I had to use Paint to edit in some details. Upper Allure is outlined in blue in the top right corner – the upper area is about 200 dirt above the lower level. The paths on the top and right edges both lead from the lower to the upper level. At that point in time, I was breeding TONS of aggressive animals, so the entirety of Upper Allure was filled with pens to keep them in. I discovered that feeding them meals seemed to keep them well fed longer than just tossing in meat/veggies, so I’d cook up a couple hundred meals in the Kitchen every day or two to feed them all. This time around, I don’t plan on keeping any aggressive creatures, so I just demolished the kitchen.

Main house, upon my return to Allure

The main house was built before the days of internal walls, so we made it in a sort of “U” shape to simulate different rooms. One wing was our bedroom area, with a bed each for Vin and I, one for our priest, and an extra just in case. The other wing was a secondary kitchen area, where we stored most of our crops and other foodstuffs. The longest wall, at the back of the house, was lined with BSBs so we could store various quality materials. When I got back to Allure, I had to re-deed a slightly smaller area than I’d had before, and my new deed line actually cut off the bedroom wing completely. The house needed a roof and a new front door anyway, so once I realized that part was also off-deed, I just decided to move it back up to Upper Allure and take advantage of the view there instead. This became my first big project upon coming back – designing and building a new house, then moving the contents of 2 FSBs and about 10 BSBs to Upper Allure!

Vin’s old Workshop, pre-rebuilding (and a sneak peek at my new main house in the background!)

Vin always did the blacksmithing work at Allure, and he wanted a building near his mine so he didn’t have to drag the iron across the deed to work. When we first moved into lower Allure, we’d done some digging to try to finish flattening the whole area and realized that Allure has many, many large spikes of rock sticking up underneath it. We mined quite a few down, but by the time we built his workshop we were very tired of digging and surface mining. When we found another rock spike where he wanted his workshop, we decided to just flatraise his workshop up a bit instead. As a result, his 2×3 workshop was built about 100 dirt up from the rest of lower Allure. We moved our deed token at one point to cover our land better, and the token ended up falling right on the slope next to his workshop. We never really liked it there, but also didn’t have much choice about it at the time. When I got back, I decided that I was going to fix that!

New Workshop & path

I flatraised an additional tile next to the original workshop, for a 3×3 raised area instead. The workshop is now only 5 tiles, with a 3×1 pen attached so I have a place to put horses if I’m using them in lower Allure and don’t want to drag them all the way back up top. The token is now in the corner of the pen (you can see it through the fence in the picture here, which also shows the entrance a little better), and there’s a gate next to it that can be locked or unlocked as needed for access. I also dug out and re-did the path leading up to the workshop, as it was a little steep at the bottom because of another rock spike. It’s now a perfect 20 slope all the way up, and finally properly paved!

Inside the new Workshop

The rest of Lower Allure is still in progress; it’s currently mostly full of overgrown oak and fruit trees. My plan for Lower Allure currently involves adding some breeding pens for horses, and building a guest house in the corner that used to be our cattle pen. Upper Allure is mostly finished at this point, but I decided to wait to post the “big reveal” for that area until I finish up the last of the inner walls and can post screenshots of the inside too. Sorry everyone, you’ll have to wait for the next post! ;)

The History of Allure

Apparently my definition of “soon” needs some work – it’s been two months since I promised more details on both deeds. Where does the time go?!

I got caught up on the Epic servers for a bit, so rebuilding Allure has gone much slower than I originally anticipated. I converted to a Vynora priestess on Epic, and then hit 50 Faith and could finally cast useful enchants for my village-mates… so I was distracted over there for a bit, and only popped over to Independence to keep up with my animals and such. But I’ve still been making some progress on Indy – if very slowly!

I wanted to give a bit of background on Allure itself and how we first ended up there, but what started out as a short snippet of history evolved into an entire post of its own. So rather than cram both then and now into one post, I’ll talk more about rebuilding Allure later, and leave you with this bit of history for today:

Vin had been looking for a game to play in between our other MMOs, just something to waste a bit of time in. He stumbled across Wurm and decided to give it a shot, creating a character on Independence and wandering until he found a spot to try to make his own. He didn’t think I’d have any interest in Wurm, so he never really drew my attention to it – but after watching him play for a bit I had to try it. Somehow he managed to direct me to where he’d ended up (we had no idea there was a map back then!), and we started trying to dig out a little spot on a hillside. We made friends with some locals (who have ended up being great friends that we’ve kept in touch with for years now!), and continued working to carve out a spot on the hill.

We did a bit of exploring in the general area we’d been trying to settle down in, and found a nice flat spot nearby; it had to have been a settlement at one point, but there was nothing left by the time we got there. Frustrated with trying to dig out a patch of hillside, we thought about moving in on this nice flat area but ultimately decided that it was too far from the water (hubby wanted immediate water access to be able to work on shipbuilding). We eventually started working on a relatively flat spot right on the water just a bit down the coast while living out of our Noob Shack on the hillside, and ended up directing someone else who was looking for a place to settle to the flat area we’d found – he named his new deed “Allure”.

Fast forward to maybe a week later, we logged in one morning to find that the nice flat spot we’d been working on, and that we thought we had secured, had been mostly deeded over. We’d built fences and a gatehouse to enter the area, but we didn’t know that to prevent someone from deeding it, we should have built houses on each side of our area. The person who deeded over it wouldn’t work with us at all (or even talk to us), and with much irritation we ended up moving back to our initial spot on the hillside. After telling our friends in the area what had happened, the person who founded Allure told us that the area he’d deeded actually had flat land on two different levels, and he wasn’t using the smaller upper area at all. To prevent us from going through any further loses, he invited us to move onto his deed with him and offered us the entire upper area to ourselves. We talked it over and ended up accepting his gracious offer – and thus our tie to Allure began.

Upper Allure, shortly after we moved in.

We moved into Upper Allure and started making it our home, eventually making our first real house on the corner overlooking lower Allure. A few weeks later, our friend told us that he’d founded another deed, Port Allure, just a bit further down the coast and right on the water. He wanted to move there to work on building boats, and wanted us to have Allure. We had no idea what we would do with an entire deed to ourselves, but how could we possibly say no to such a generous offer?! It took very little thought before we accepted – and thus Allure became our home.

The main house we eventually built in lower Allure – Home!

It’s had many complete makeovers through the years, but somehow this little patch of land worked its way into my heart and has become my home in Wurm. It doesn’t matter where else I might end up in game, or on which character – I always end up bringing Mayrin back to Allure eventually.

Mayrin’s Return

So, fast forward a few months from my last post, and Vin & I are both deeply entrenched in Wurm again. Big surprise, right? I’m pretty sure this game will always keep sucking me back in (if I ever manage to put it down again!). Currently, Vin and I are playing together on Pristine (new server launched 12/12/12), and I’m back to playing Mayrin when he’s at work.

The initial plan was that I was going to keep up with Jewelspar, our deed on Exodus, while mostly playing on Epic with some friends (and then playing on Pristine when the hubby’s home). Well, that worked great, up until the Impalong (what’s an Impalong? Go here to read more). As soon as I crossed the server border back to Independence, I pretty much got hit with a huge wave of homesickness.

Indy was my first server; it’s where I made my first home in Wurm, and made my first friends almost two years ago. I never really wanted to leave it, but I also understood Vin’s desire to start over fresh when we came back the first time. So moved to Exodus, and founded Jewelspar. We eventually took yet another break, and Vin had no interest in going back again – so Jewelspar was left to me. After crossing that server border on the way to the Impalong, and seeing Indy’s familiar Southern coastline… I couldn’t stay away. On a whim, I decided right then and there that I was moving back – and I did!

I moved my stuff from Exo to Indy a few days later, and I founded Allure again not long afterwards. There’s a ton of work to be done now; I had to re-open the mine (twice!), and all of my fences are long gone. The houses remain, as I’d traded the writs to a good friend so he could make use of anything we’d left behind. I’ll be completely remodeling most of them though, and moving the main house to take advantage of the awesome view:

Upper Allure view

The view from my (as-yet-unfinished) balcony.

Out of time for today, but more details to come soon about rebuilding Allure, and working on our new deed on Pristine: Stonehaven!

Where We Are Now

Yeah, so I guess I’m bad at keeping up with this. Whoops!

Mostly, we’ve just been game-hopping; it’s tough to find much to write about when we haven’t been sticking to any one game for long.

Sadly, The Secret World didn’t work out for us long-term. It’s an awesome game, and it’s a nice change from most mainline MMOs – I’d still highly recommend it to anyone who wants something a little different. In our case though, there just wasn’t enough content to keep us around past a few months. We spend a good chunk of our free time together gaming, and even though we tried to take it slowly, we still hit that point where we were logging in once a day to run end-game content and nothing else. That gets pretty boring, fast!

We did, however, make some good friends in TSW. After bouncing around in a couple games (Minecraft, Terraria, etc), we dragged them over to the Star Wars Galaxies Emulator for a bit – until I introduced these guys to Wurm. I brought all three of them to Jewelspar for a day or two so they could get a feel for the game, and they were hooked! We all went to Epic together, and have a nice little town going up there. You’ll excuse me if I don’t post too much about our PVP server settlement, I’m sure. ;)

While I’m always happy to go back to Wurm, Vin tends to finish up a main project and get bored pretty quickly. He started looking around for other games to play, and somehow or another we ended up going back to WoW. We used a Scroll of Resurrection on each of our accounts, so we got a free upgrade to Cataclysm (we’d quit a few months prior to its release) and a free level 80 character.  I honestly expected that Vin would be rather apathetic towards WoW and I’d be the one who was really excited to go back – but it’s been almost reversed! Vin’s gotten into the pet battles and has been having a blast. I’m happy enough to be back just because of the amount of content – it really doesn’t matter what you like to do in an MMO, WoW’s got a good amount of it. Lots of dungeons, lots of pets / collectables, lots of quests. I’m pretty sure that running out of content and getting bored won’t be an issue here! It’s a nice change from the other games we’ve played recently.

So for now, we’ll be hanging out in the lands of Azeroth again. We’re keeping our eyes open for a good casual guild to join for end-game content, so if anyone knows people on Kirin Tor, let us know!

We’ve Been Sucked In!

I didn’t really mean to disappear for almost a month… it just sort of happened!

When hubby and I tried out a beta weekend for The Secret World last month, we knew it was going to be our next MMO. We’d been looking for one for a while, but hadn’t found anything that we both thought we’d enjoy long term (the last one we tried was SW:TOR, before running out of content after 6 months). Vin participated in The Secret War (the social game precursor to The Secret World), but I hadn’t really checked it out at all and I knew almost nothing about the game itself. After trying the beta though, we were both hooked. Vin didn’t want to play anything else – he’d log into Wurm, and then get distracted looking at anything to do with TSW. It was a tough couple weeks of waiting between that beta weekend and launch day!

Like we did with Star Wars, we’re trying to take it slow so we don’t run out of content too quickly. We both absolutely love this game, and we’d hate to end up bored with it because we ran through it all too fast! Even with taking it slow though, we’ve worked our way through Solomon Island and Egypt, and we’re just entering Transylvania.

This has been an interesting zone for me, because apparently something about the weather effects (lots of fog / rain) is making me really, really struggle with motion sickness again. I don’t have issues with most games, but there are some I just can’t play – like Portal (to my extreme sadness). If I play too long, I end up feeling really terrible and usually going to bed for several hours to try to get over it. I haven’t had any issues with TSW prior to Transylvania, so it’s weird that it just now popped up – but that’s why I’m guessing it’s the weather effects. My first thought was that they’d made a change to the camera /graphics or something, but then I realized that dungeons weren’t bothering me – we’d been running dungeons for several hours with no issues, but within 10 minutes of questing again I’d start feeling sick. I tried turning my effects settings all the way down, but the blurriness that resulted in seemed to make things worse… so now I’m trying settings all the way up. It makes my client run a little choppy, but reducing the blurriness from the fog seems to be helping a little. We’re trying not to rush through things overall, but we’ve had to step it up a little in Transylvania to try to get out of the fog. I miss bright, sunny Egypt!

Mayrin & Vindale in Egypt

Mayrin & Vindale in Egypt

If you’re playing The Secret World, look up Mayrin and Vindale! We’re playing Templar side on Arcadia, but you can group with people cross-faction and from different servers – so you can play anything anywhere, and still join up with your friends. We’re always up for a good group, whether it’s for questing or dungeons!

Looks Familiar…

Slightly bored this afternoon, I opened up my Google Reader to see if there was anything good to read. I think to myself, “hey, Massively’s One Shots can be pretty cool; let’s see what they’ve got today.”

One Shots

Wait, that looks oddly familiar… whoa, that’s my house!

Last week, they asked for submissions of people’s houses, so I figured I’d send in my favorite Wurm screenshot – the one that I turned into my header here! I didn’t expect to ever see it come up again, but I have lots of fond memories of that old house; I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show it off.

House

The whole image I sent in last week.

 I feel a little silly for being so excited about it, but I had to show off that my house was featured! Click the first image above to see the whole article.

Happy Birthday, Bognus!

I’m not sure the hubby even keeps up with my blog, but here’s a special post just to wish him a happy birthday. :D

happy birthday banner

If you guys catch him in-game, make sure to wish him a happy birthday! :)

Busy Week!

As the title says… it’s been a busy week (and a half)! I was busy for a couple days making Father’s Day cards for several people, and birthday cards for several more – plus planning what to do for Bognus’s birthday this week! In between all of that, I managed to get our fields dug out a bit more, so we now have 4 really good-sized fields for farming / keeping animals. We have way more cows and horses than we actually plan on keeping in the long run, but we’ve been trying to get Animal Husbandry leveled on the priest – and the more animals, the faster it goes! The fields look great though, and we have so much more room. I’ll post some before & after pictures soon – once I remember to take the after shots during the day! I looked back at the ones I have, and they’re all dark and /or foggy. Whoops! Must not have been paying attention when I took them.

To add to the list of things we’ve been busy with, Bognus and I have been trying out a couple betas for upcoming games. Most recently (the weekend just past) we tried out The Secret World, and the weekend before that was Guild Wars 2. While GW2 didn’t quite seem like our cup of tea, we both had a lot of fun with TSW and can’t wait for launch next month!

Guild Wars 2 seemed like a relatively amusing game, but we honestly couldn’t really get into it. I never played the original Guild Wars, so I went into it with no knowledge of the world, or expectations for the game as a whole. The characters were cute, and the combat system was okay, but it felt very grindy. We didn’t really find any quests, just lots of affection-based area grinds (go kill this many things in this area, or perform this many simple tasks, etc). It was fun to dabble in for a bit, but we honestly didn’t see much to hold us there long-term, and we were bored by the end of the weekend. We went back to Wurm before the beta event was quite finished (and then got our priest killed right outside our gates, when the power went out for hours right as she got attacked by multiple spiders… /sigh). It was okay, just not what we were looking for.

I also went into The Secret World not knowing much about the game. Hubby didn’t think that I would enjoy it for whatever reason, so neither of us really had our hopes up about it at all. We mostly just wanted to try it because we’re still in search of an MMO, and it’s one of the ones coming out pretty soon. I was honestly not expecting to like it anywhere near as much as I did. As Moxie said on her blog, I definitely think it’s more of a niche game. I don’t really think that it’s going to be “the next big thing” – but I’m okay with that. I play Wurm, so I already tend to like the helpful communities and slightly more mature player-base that’s found in smaller games! TSW has a more modern setting (you start out in London, New York, or Seoul depending on your faction), and has a very interesting travel system that will make it very easy to expand the world further. I can see lots of potential for future expansions here!

The game itself really makes you think. There are lots of little riddles to solve and puzzles to figure out. Some are text-based and some are more platform-based. They do have some pretty straight-forward “go here and kill this many dudes” quests, but they’re usually interspersed with plenty of quests that require you to pay attention to your surroundings and pick up on little details to be used later. It’s hard to really go into much more detail without giving away some of the quests, but it was really a lot of fun to run around completing quests that you actually have to think about! Plus, the whole underground Templar / Illuminati thing has always had some appeal to me. As a whole, I really enjoyed the beta this weekend. It was tough to put it down and save the rest until the game actually launches (July 3rd)!

So that’s what we’ve been up to for the last week or so. More deed pictures to come, soon!

Jewelspar Manor

After working on it almost non-stop for several days, our house is finally finished! Bognus almost made himself late for work today to get the last wall or two in place, but it’s done! Let’s take a tour. :)

Front door

Here’s the front door, from the walkway. The back of the house is overlooking the harbor area, and the front will eventually look out on all the trees and bushes we’ll be planting on the middle tier. The small carts will find a home somewhere else soon, and the BSBs will also be going!

Entryway

This is the entryway (front door on the right). There’s one tile to either side of the front door, with doorways leading to other rooms. We’ll eventually be putting a coffin on the far wall in each alcove for lots of tool storage.

Hallway

Here’s the view straight back from the front door. The hallway basically runs the entire length of the house. I hate how the corners look different (in the front) – one looks finished and smooth, and the other one looks like the walls don’t line up right! We’re planning on putting a hanging lamp on each corner to try to disguise the messy corners some.

Kitchen

The first room on the right when you enter the house is our kitchen. We may end up building a forge in here as well for higher difficulty when we get Hot Food Cooking a little higher on the priest, but the oven is good for now. Lots of room for food storage in the two FSBs, and several barrels of water ready drinking or meal storage. There’s a ton of kindling and wood scraps in the BSB, so we don’t have to go far to heat up food! The window here overlooks our church, on the other side of the deed.

Bedroom

The next room down the hall and on the right is our bedroom. It’s nice and open and not too cluttered with stuff – for now, anyway. We only really needed two tiles (one for each bed), but the extra two tiles here will be good for storage if we need it later. Bognus and I each have a chest to hold our personal tools that we don’t want to carry around all the time, and I get to log in to a great view out the window every day!

Priest's room

Straight down the hallway from the front door is the priest’s tiny little bedroom. She also has a great view out over the water, and a chest to keep her belongings in. Her room will double as a guest room if we have visitors who need a bed to sleep in!

My Workroom

Down the hallway on the left is my work room. I’ve got a loom for tailoring needs, and lots of storage for low/medium/high QL materials. The chest holds all my leatherworking and tailoring tools, plus whatever extra pieces I might be working on at any time.  I love that I have two windows with a nice view! It’s very bright and cheerful.

Man-cave

This is Bognus’s workshop. He would prefer not to have to leave his cave unless he has to, so his workshop is dark and cave-like: no windows for him! He’s still working on setting everything up in here, but he’ll have at least the one forge (maybe two), and has the same setup for BSBs (one each for low/med/high QL).

Side view, plus harbor

And that’s Jewelspar Manor!

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