Well, I'm back from my trip to Paragon City, while never having left my apartment, and it was an incredibly productive journey. I had a choice as the Double-XP Weekend approached: Do I try to work on lower characters and try to hurry them through to greater power, or do I take my main character, Adjective-Noun, and work on badges?
Badges...These are earned in a variety of ways throughout the game. Sometimes, all you have to do is end up with the right mission, and completing it will give you a badge. Sometimes you'll be running through the streets of Paragon City, pass a certain spot, and you'll get a badge that way. There are also badges for monumental missions called "Taskforces," and for defeating X number of a certain kind of villain. Selling so many items, creating enhancements from recipes, and even months paid into the game...all these things can earn you badges. There are even badges for earning badges, and those badges count toward earning the next badge-count badge!
Adjective-Noun is my "badge whore." Sometimes it takes an insane amount of grinding to earn a badge, and he's the one I turn to when I'm trying to get one. When I last checked, Noun had earned 603 badges. Just when I thought that was an impressive number, I see other players with even more than that! It's lunacy.
So I decided to work on Noun's badges, and the one that's been plaguing me for the six month was the one earned for gaining the player money called "influence." There are two such badges that I'm missing, and the next one is for earning ONE BILLION INFLUENCE! This money has to come from combat or mission completion; it can't come from selling loot. And I thought I'd found a way to earn that money.
There is a zone in the game called Ouroboros. It's a pocket dimension in time, where players can access old mission arcs on the chance that you missed the opportunity to play through them. Missed a badge mission? You can play that too! And there was one called "Division: Line" that seemed to be awarding gobs of influence. What's more, if I put my character in "supergroup mode," he could earn "prestige" for the group. (After the horrors last year of my old group trying to kick me, I am a group of one.) So I played this story arc several times, and at the end of each mission in said arc, I would enter SG mode and earn a pile of prestige. To complete the arc, it took about five to six hours, and I thought I was making excellent progress toward the next influence badge.
Silly me...I was VERY wrong.
Someone started broadcasting for what they were calling "Mary Bashing." This involved forming a taskforce and doing only the first mission repeatedly. In that mission, you had to defeat an archvillain, (one of the most powerful baddies in the game), named Mary MacComber...ten times. Each time she's defeated, she respawns more powerful than the last time, and she is surrounded by a dozen underlings. The more people on your team when you start, the more opponents there are to fight. So with the team maxed out at eight players, they were going in, running that first mission, quitting the taskforce, and they repeating the process. The rewards for defeating an archvillain are high to start with; on double XP weekend, the rewards were INSANE!
I joined a group that was doing this, and found that each run earned about 4.4 million influence per run, with each run taking anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. NOW the money was rolling in! I foolishly got involved late on this, and only did it Sunday. But with my previous efforts to earn influence for that pesky badge, my combined earnings were around 207 million! That was for just my character. For my one-man SG, I earned around 87,000 prestige.
Oh, how I wish I could turn each point on Noun into a dollar. I'd be wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice! But in terms of me having fun on my favored MMO, it was a good weekend.
In other news, however...Arguskos called. Operation Nike is a go, and it looks to be happening next weekend. The remainder of my time here in AZ will be a cat-less experience, and I'm missing her already. Unfortunately, he and the folks coming with him cannot wait until it's close to leaving time. I don't exactly know when that's happening. Stu and I discussed it today, and all we can settle on is that it will happen some time in September. Argus and friends will be back in college then, and won't be able to just take a road trip to get her. Her return to me will also take some time, as they'll have to wait for some kind of holiday break before they can continue her journey to TN.
Even then, Argus and I had a chat about Nike in that I reminded him it's "people first." I was preparing to give her up before he volunteered to take her. I don't want to have to give her up if I can avoid it. But if she becomes a problem for him, and he can't handle it, and can find no other solutions, I've made it clear that he should contact me and we will discuss what to do. If he has to hand her over to an animal shelter, so be it. I'll weep for my kitty, but this is a matter of people having to be more important than my beloved pet.
Okay...Y'know what? Change of heart. KILL THE CAT! I just paused in my writing to find her and give her some snuggles, and she wasn't in the mood. The result is a bleeding wound on my palm because she gave me a bite of annoyance. One sharp tooth and my "tissue paper" skin, and I have a new wound to speak of...Yay? She got a swat on the butt for that one.
But who am I kidding. I love that cat more than most people. Yeah, she gets a little moody and sometimes wants to be left alone, but those moments are rare. I'm going to miss her seeking me out for kitty lovin'. Like when she approaches me when I'm at my computer, angles herself to see if my lap is clear, and then hops up to make herself comfortable. She starts purring as I pet her, and sometimes starts grooming my arm with that sandpapery tongue of hers. Or when I lie down to start getting ready for sleep, and she comes along to find the best spot on the bed that allows her to lean right into me.
Heck...the only bonus will be my ability to wander my apartment naked without her opening up the blinds at moments like when I just step from the shower.
Hopefully, she'll adjust well to the new, temporary staff. That's something I saw in the chat window on my game over the weekend. "Dogs have owners. Cats have employees." And we'll have to wait for a school holiday before we're reunited. At least I know I'll have a friend watching over her, and just "some person."
Be well, my friends.