Cox Cable’s Epic Fail

You can't make this stuff up

You can't make this stuff up

For a little background, I’ve been a Cox Cable subscriber for a long time. I’ve had their cable internet service since around 1999 or so. And on the whole I’ve been largely happy with it, but as time goes on the email service I get from them seems to continually get crappier and crappier and crappier when I compare it to the great golden emailing calf that is Google’s Gmail.

Before this incident occurred I’ve had the feeling that some of my emails have just been going into the ether, just plain disappearing. Usually they’re things like verifying accounts for services, like, WordPress. Or Gmail. In response I checked the spam filter settings on my account. You see Cox filters emails before they even hit your email client and by default they delete anything that their filters decide is spam. You can’t turn this feature off, but you can change it so instead of deleting the messages it will put a big — SPAM — in the subject line so you can let your email client filter it. Since I thought my emails were mistakenly being deleted I decided to turn on this option and no whatever Cox thinks is spam gets a great big — SPAM — in the subject line in my inbox.

Imagine my surprise when I opened up my mailbox just now and saw the picture above in my mailbox. That’s right. Cox marked their own newsletter as spam. While I appreciate Cox’s honesty about the content of their newsletters, I have to ask my self just how badly you have to mess up when you neglect to make your own spam filter not mark your own messages as spam. Remember, if I hadn’t changed my spam filter settings this message would have been deleted before I could even download it in Outlook. No Spam folder, no logs to check, just gone. Brilliant.

Oh yeah. Some of my messages still dissapear into the ether of the information superhighway even after I changed my spam filter settings. Gotta love it.

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The Horrible Dust Covered Optimus Prime Giveaway

Now if only Bumblebee could transform into a can of lemon Pledge

Now if only Bumblebee could transform into a can of lemon Pledge

Well a week has gone by and the poll has closed and while during the middle of the week the X-men vs. Street Fighter arcade machine interior, the Guitar Hero 1 game and guitar, and the (yuck) disgusting bunch of used socks were beginning to close the gap, they just couldn’t match the surge in votes that the Horrible Dust Covered Optimus Prime got after the poll first opened. So as my thanks for all those views, one of you “lucky” people could receive the Horrible Dust Covered Optimus Prime you see pictured to the right. Aren’t you glad you know what he looks like now?

So how can you enter to win the Horrible Dust Covered Optimus Prime? It’s very simple. All you need to do is make a comment underneath this post to enter. When you pick your email to put your comment under make sure the email you use is valid so that I can contact you if you’ve won so that I can get an address to send your Horrible Dust Covered Optimus Prime to. Remember, I’ll only guarantee to have him shipped within the United States. If you’re outside the United States you might be on your own for arranging shipping.

This contest will remain open for new entries until November 1st. Once November first has come around the winner will be randomly chosen by a random die roll, and they will be contacted. The selected winner will have three days to reply to my email, otherwise another winner will be selected. Invalid emails where delivery errors are received will be disqualified immediately. Once I have a winner who responds to the email that winner will be announced in a new blog post. Horray.

Good luck everybody. 🙂

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Vegeta, What Does the Scouter Say About his Power Level?

Can you decode the secret message?

Can you decode the secret message?

As some of you may have noticed I was posting a lot yesterday about how happy I was with the traffic this blog was receiving on Friday, only to be totally be blown away by the traffic this blog received on Saturday. Needless to say I’m overjoyed with this result and in honor of my very first 1,000+ hits in a day I’ve decided something special needs to be done. Something more special than putting together a lame animated gif which shows how all of you completely squashed my traffic graph yesterday. So to decide exactly what that something special should be I’ve decided a poll should be opened to see what out of my collection of useless junk treasured items will be given out to one, or all, of you as a gift to say thank you for all the views. Here are the options for what the “gift” will be in detail, followed by a poll. The “gift” will be whichever item has the most votes by next Saturday.

Option 1: Youtube video of the interior of an X-men vs. Street Fighter arcade machine. It’s something I have in my possession, I’m probably going to be giving it to a family member soon, but while I still have it I can film it, and wouldn’t it just be dandy to see the inside of a particle board box with a 25″ Wells-Gardner monitor in it, a Capcom CPS2 board, and Happ controls and coin-mechanisms as far as the eye can see? Probably not, because these things aren’t exactly made to be pretty inside. But, if you’ve absolutely got to know, vote for this one.

Option 2: Upload of silly 33 second stop motion video I did back in the nineties. “Filmed” with a crummy digital camera, and put together in Paintshop Pro’s animation shop on a shiny state of the art computer with a 300Mhz AMD K6 processor and encoded in Intel Indeo codec. Wow your friends with your new found knowledge of just how bored a human being can get when stuck in a house in the middle of winter!

Option 3: Contest for one lucky winner to get this tiny Japanese Optimus Prime PVC collectible statue thingy on my desk. What does he look like? You don’t know! That’s half the fun! I will tell you he stands about four inches tall and is a statue, which means minimal posing, and is fairly chunky and he comes on a clear base. He’s definitely Optimus Prime but he’s some version I don’t recognize with a more samurai looking helmet and just some slightly different shapes to his parts overall to make him much more stylized. He also comes with complementary dust. I’ll pay for shipping this to anyone within the US. International shipping is possible depending on how much it is, but no promises.

Option 4: Contest for one lucky winner to receive Original Guitar Hero 1 Playstation 2 game with guitar. Hey, who likes old used and abused video games? Obviously you do if you picked this. If you’re not sure what this is, go google it. Last I time I checked this worked, but hey, who knows! This also comes with complimentary dust. Just like the Optimus Prime Statue I’ll pay for shipping this to anyone within the US. International shipping is possible depending on how much it is, but no promises.

Option 5: Contest for one lucky winner to receive a bunch of used socks! Oh joy! Do I really need to explain what socks are and what used means? Why would you pick this? I don’t know, but it seems to work for Carson Daly so let’s go with it. As with the other contests I’ll pay for shipping this to anyone within the US. International shipping is possible depending on how much it is, but no promises.

So those are the options for the absolute junk clogging my closet trove of treasures you have to pick form. You may choose all of the options that you would actually like to see, and the option that has the most votes after time is up will be the one that happens. Choose wisely.

Editor’s Note: In the case of a tie at the end of the voting period the tie will be broken by a random die roll.

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How Not to Respond to Good News

Statistics in graph may be smaller than they appear

Statistics in graph may be smaller than they appear

If for some reason you should goto dinner, especially if it was good and way too expensive for your income, and you should come back and your usage stats have magically gone up, as if shoe-making elves started working for Google, first do not panic. Above all else do not do a happy dance, as it will undoubtedly find its way onto Youtube. Do not proceed to then IM your friends and tell them how your (meager) traffic numbers have spiked all of a sudden, and most certainly do not post or blog about it, thus preserving evidence forever on the internet of yourself being a complete spaz. And finally, do not under any circumstances take a screenshot of your usage stats graph and write “w00t w00t” upon on it.  Especially not in red, crimson, scarlet, or any other shade thereof. Failure to heed these most dire warnings could lead to such unfortunate consequences as eternal ridicule, banishment from dance floors, or being forced to listen to stories about your friend’s cat. You have been warned.

(Thanks for all the views guys. It made my day.)

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Let Free-dom Ring: Getting the most out of DDO Free to Play

So after reading my previous article on the subject of free to play, or Premium accounts, in DDO you’ve decided that you want to go the free to play route or premium account route in DDO. However you’re not sure what is available, what there is to do, and how to make your free to play experience better. That’s where this article comes in. Today we’ll be discussing which quests are free to play, what sort of favor you can get out of them, and how you can roll that favor over into Turbine Points using Free Player and Premium accounts in game.

To begin with here is a chart detailing exactly what quests are available to you for free. Next to each quest is the amount of favor you can gain on the quest by completing it on elite difficulty.

Free to Play Quest Index with Favor Listing

Quest Favor Quest Favor
Level 1 Level 5
The Store House’s Secret 6 The Lair of Summoning 9
Stopping the Sahuagin 9 The Depths of Doom 9
Sacrifices 9 The Depths of Discord 9
Redemption 9 Archer Point Defense 9
Necromancer’s Doom 6 Taming the Flame 15
Heyton’s Rest 6 Level 6
The Collaborator 12 Ruined Halls 12
The Cannith Crystal 6 Redwillow’s Ruins 15
Level 2 Purge the Heretics 12
Walk the Butcher’s Path 12 Mirra’s Sleepless Nights 12
The Sunken Sewer 9 Gladewatch Outpost Defense 12
Stop Hazadill’s Shipment 6 The Forgotten Caverns 12
Stealthy Repossession 9 Dead Predators 12
The Smuggler’s Warehouse 9 Caged Trolls 12
Retrieve the Stolen Goods 9 The Bounty Hunter 15
Recover the Lost Tomb 9 Level 7
Protect Baudry’s Interests 6 The Tear of Dhakaan 21
Missing in Action 9 The Pit 27
Misery’s Peak 12 Gwylan’s Stand 18
The Miller’s Debt 2 The Graverobbers 15
The Kobold’s New Ringleader 12 Level 8
Information is Key 12 The Xorian Cipher 21
Garrison’s Missing Pack 12 Stromvauld’s Mine 15
Durk’s Got a Secret 12 Stormcleave Outpost 18
Defend Haverdasher 2 The Paths to Madness 9
Bring the Light 6 Haunted Library 15
Arachnophobia 2 Faithful Departed 12
Level 3 Caverns of Korromar 15
Where there is Smoke 9 Level 9
The Swiped Signet 12 The Church of the Cult 15
Redfang The Unruled 9 Level 10
The Kobold’s Den: Clan Gnashtooth 12 Tempest Spine 18
The Kobold’s Den: Rescuing Arlos 12 Sykro’s Jewel 15
Kobold Assault 9 Reclamation 15
Home Sweet Sewer 2 Level 11
The Captives 9 The Spawn of Whisperdoom 18
An Explosive Situation 2 Made to Order 18
Ven’s Trail: Ven’s Fate 9 The Enemy Within 24
Ven’s Trail: Clan Tunnelworm 12 Dreams of Insanity 18
Rest for the Restless 9 Level 12
Level 4 Invaders! 21
Proof is in the Poison 15 A Relic of the Sovereign Past 21
Irestone Inlet 12
Freshen the Air 9
The Depths of Despair 9
The Depths of Darkness 9
The Camber of Insanity 9
Number of Quests 79 Total Favor Possible 916
Quest Favor Quest Favor
Level 1 Level 5
The Store House’s Secret 6 The Lair of Summoning 9
Stopping the Sahuagin 9 The Depths of Doom 9
Sacrifices 9 The Depths of Discord 9
Redemption 9 Archer Point Defense 9
Necromancer’s Doom 6 Taming the Flame 15
Heyton’s Rest 6 Level 6
The Collaborator 12 Ruined Halls 12
The Cannith Crystal 6 Redwillow’s Ruins 15
Level 2 Purge the Heretics 12
Walk the Butcher’s Path 12 Mirra’s Sleepless Nights 12
The Sunken Sewer 9 Gladewatch Outpost Defense 12
Stop Hazadill’s Shipment 6 The Forgotten Caverns 12
Stealthy Repossession 9 Dead Predators 12
The Smuggler’s Warehouse 9 Caged Trolls 12
Retrieve the Stolen Goods 9 The Bounty Hunter 15
Recover the Lost Tomb 9 Level 7
Protect Baudry’s Interests 6 The Tear of Dhakaan 21
Missing in Action 9 The Pit 27
Misery’s Peak 12 Gwylan’s Stand 18
The Miller’s Debt 2 The Graverobbers 15
The Kobold’s New Ringleader 12 Level 8
Information is Key 12 The Xorian Cipher 21
Garrison’s Missing Pack 12 Stromvauld’s Mine 15
Durk’s Got a Secret 12 Stormcleave Outpost 18
Defend Haverdasher 2 The Paths to Madness 9
Bring the Light 6 Haunted Library 15
Arachnophobia 2 Faithful Departed 12
Level 3 Caverns of Korromar 15
Where there is Smoke 9 Level 9
The Swiped Signet 12 The Church of the Cult 15
Redfang The Unruled 9 Level 10
The Kobold’s Den: Clan Gnashtooth 12 Tempest Spine 18
The Kobold’s Den: Rescuing Arlos 12 Sykro’s Jewel 15
Kobold Assault 9 Reclamation 15
Home Sweet Sewer 2 Level 11
The Captives 9 The Spawn of Whisperdoom 18
An Explosive Situation 2 Made to Order 18
Ven’s Trail: Ven’s Fate 9 The Enemy Within 24
Ven’s Trail: Clan Tunnelworm 12 Dreams of Insanity 18
Rest for the Restless 9 Level 12
Level 4 Invaders! 21
Proof is in the Poison 15 A Relic of the Sovereign Past 21
Irestone Inlet 12
Freshen the Air 9
The Depths of Despair 9
The Depths of Darkness 9
The Camber of Insanity 9
Number of Quests 79 Total Favor Possible 916

In general these quests are those that ae “Standalone”, meaning they’re usually not part of a large series or they aren’t tied to a large area outside Stormreach. (EX: Sorrowdusk Isle, Threnal Ruins, etc.) To those new to DDO you might not be familiar with what favor is, and why this is important to you. Favor is a lot like faction standing in other games. Each quest in the game is being presented by one of the factions within Stormreach. Completing a quest for them gives you a certain amount of favor with that faction and when you reach certain milestones of favor with each faction you get certain benefits, and when you reach certain milestones of total favor you receive some benefits as well, like Drow Access, 32 Point builds for new characters, and Favored Soul access. But favor now provides more than just those benefits. Now in module 9 favor is also the mechanic that awards player free Turbine Points in the DDO store. This is important because, as a free to play player, unless you intended to buy adventure packs with your own money you are going to need favor to get free Tubine Points to take any quests over level 12, not to mention you may need to buy leveling sigils if they haven’t dropped as quest rewards for you in time.

There are two kinds of awards that are given out for favor. The first award is for reaching a total favor milestone with one character on a server. Once you’ve reached the milestone with one character on that server you cannot earn that reward again with another character on that server. The second award is a per-character award that is granted for every 100 total favor reached with every character you create.

Favor Milestone Turbine Point Rewards

Once Per Server
Total Favor Turbine Points
5 50
25 25
50 25
500 50
1000 100
2000 100
3000 100
Once Per Character
Total Favor Turbine Points
Every 100 25

As you can see from this chart, if you plan to earn as many favor points as possible what you’ll need to plan to do is to make characters on all of the available servers in the game. As you can see from the first chart you can only earn a total of 915 points of favor from free quests. Doing that with one character on one server is going to earn you 150 Turbine Points in Once Per Server awards and 225 Turbine Points in once per character awards for a total of 375 points, though you would be earning points faster if you stopped at 500 favor and moved on to the next sever, at least until you ran out of new servers to make characters on. How much is 375 points? Well The Vale of Twilight, a good area to goto when you are level 12, costs 700 turbine points, and VIP subscriptions get 500 a Turbine Point stipend a month. There are a total of 6 servers available. Let’s say you have a free player account instead of a premium one. That means you have 2 slots per server. If you completely maximize your favor on all six servers  on each of your two slots you’ll gain a total of 3,600 Turbine Points. That’s enough to purchase The Vale of Twilight, The Devils of Shavarath, The Ruins of Gianthold, The Reaver’s Reach, and The Restless Isles to give you all the quests you need to reach 20. If you at one point spent money on the game, giving you a premium account, you would gain four slots total meaning using only free quests you could gain a maximum of 6,300 favor, just 4,345 points shy of being able to buy all the adventure packs. Also remember, any adventure packs you purchase are going to give you more quests which mean more possible favor for you to access.

What is all comes down to is how much time you have to spend to actually gain this favor to get the turbine points. To reach that maximum of 6,300 favor you’d have to level up 24 characters to level 12 across all six servers, or by finding high level players willing to run you through all 79 quests, on elite, for each of those 24 characters. If on the other hand you’re happy sticking to the selection of free quests above only intend to buy items to allow you to gain more quests past twelve then you may find a happy medium. Picking up The Vale of Twilight and The Devils of Shavarath will give you quests to get you to 20, and picking up The Reaver’s Reach and The Ruins of Gianthold will expand that quest selection. Just don’t forget to plan to buy some leveling sigils along the way.

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The True Price of DDO Unlimited Free to Play

D&D and cost/benefit analysis: a match made in geek heaven

D&D and cost/benefit analysis: a match made in geek heaven

With Dungeons and Dragons Online Eberron Unlimited now in the world of free to play there has been a lot of talk about how the benefit of each price structure stands up to the other. For those of you unfamiliar with the Free to Play model for DDO Unlimited the way it works is that there are three types of accounts, VIP, Premium, and Free. In this article when we talk about free to play we’ll be referring to Premium accounts, which are those accounts that were at one point subscribers or any account which has purchased Turbine points. Here’s the quick rundown on how those accounts types compare to each other.

DDO VIP Premium Player Free Player
Turbine Points 500/month free Buy Buy
Classes All included free* Basic, can purchase more Basic, can purchase more
Races All included free* Basic, can purchase more Basic, can purchase more
Adventure Packs All included free Some free, can purchase others Some free, can purchase others
Character Slots 10 free, can purchase more 4 free, can purchase more 2 free, can purchase more
Shared Bank Slot Included free Can purchase Can purchase
Login Queue Priority High Standard
Chat Unlimited Unlimited Limited
Auctions Unlimited Unlimited Limited
Mail Unlimited Unlimited Limited
Gold Storage Unlimited Unlimited Limited
Customer Service Full Full for 45 days Self-service online
Compendium Read/Post Read/Post Read-only
Official Forums Read/Post Read/Post Read/Limited posting
Beta Priority High Normal Normal

* Select races and classes may still require the use of game mechanics to unlock for free

Got all that? Good. Now in this article we’re going to assume that to a player with a free to play, or premium, account the main cost to them is going to be purchasing adventure packs, leveling sigils, classes, races, and extras like the shared bank tab. Character Slots aren’t going to be considered a primary concern for price because the number of character slots a player would want to have is highly subjective. We are going to assume that being able to reach level 20, and being able to join any party’s quest, regardless of were it is, being able to try all the races and classes, and having the bank tab are something that most players are going to find worthwhile to have. We’re also going to assume that US Dollars is the unit currency that you will be using to make any purchases. Before we begin, let’s review the VIP subscription prices as a basis for comparison.

VIP Subscription Prices

Months Price Price / Month
1 $14.99 $14.99
3 $41.85 $13.95
6 $77.70 $12.95
12 $143.40 $11.95

Now free to play players aren’t going to be making their purchases directly in USD, but instead in Turbine Points, or just points for short. Now while it is possible to acquire points by earning favor, we’re going to assume that points spent throughout this article are points that have been purchased in the DDO store. That makes our first task to determine the exchange rates of points to $1 USD. Below is a chart detailing the point packages available and how many points per dollar spent  is actually received in the purchase. Included in the chart are two 5000 point packages that are not noted as being standard, and at the time of this writing cannot be purchased in the DDO store. To explain their presence on 9/12/09 Turbine sent out an email with the statement, “Limited Time Only! Get 5,000 points for $49.99. This would normally be priced at $54.99. Best. Deal. Ever.” In their DDO Store Guide the 5000 point package replaced the 3300 point package and was listed as being on sale for $49.99 and that package was listed as having a regular price of $54.99. This package was avilable only on 9/12/09 and 9/13/09. On 9/14/09 the 5000 point package was removed from the DDO Store and the 3300 point package returned, and the DDO Store Guide was later edited that day to have the 3300 point package replace the 5000 point package once again. As you’ll see in this chart, the 5000 point package has a better exchange rate, even at $54.99, than the 3300 point package at $38.99. It’s currently unknown if the 5000 point package is intended to return frequently, though sales in the DDO store are fairly common, something we’ll get to later. Either way, these packages are included in this chart and later charts for players who may have stocked up on points during this weekend sale, and as a point of reference in case the 5000 point packages make a return.

Turbine Point to USD Exchange Rate Analysis

Turbine Points USD Price Points / $1 Notes
400 $6.25 64 Standard Package
900 $11.99 75.06255 Standard Package
1500 $18.99 78.98894 Standard Package
3300 $38.99 84.63709 Standard Package
5000 $54.99 90.92562 Price reported as “regular price” for 9/12/09 Weekend Sale, disappeared on 9/14/09
5000 $49.99 100.02 Sale price of pack for 9/12/09 Weekend Sale, disappeared on 9/14/09

So now that we know what $1 is worth in points for each pack we can begin to convert the Turbine point prices you see in game into what their actual cost in USD is. Now first we will analyze what I consider to be the biggest sink of points, adventure packs. Adventure packs are a big sink of points because typically parties don’t make a party based upon if the pack is free to play or not. Now the “Grouping” listing under the social panel is supposed to tell free to play players if a quest is in a pack they havent’ purchased by replacing the listing of classes needed with a large “BUY NOW” sign, but this hasn’t been working consistently. It also requires the party leader posting the looking for members listing to enter the right quest in the looking for members listing, just putting the quest series in the comments won’t work. Needless to say spending time getting ready for a quest only to realize you can’t go is embarrassing and frustrating. Below we have two tables showing the cost of all the adventure packs currently available  and their price in USD depending on which package of points you decided to get your Turbine points from. The first table shows the adventure packs at their regular price. The second table shows those same adventure packs at their sale price. Sales in DDO are generally %25 off the regular point price of any item, and with any decimals dropped. The current sales at any given time can be found in the “Today’s Deals” section of the DDO Store. Obviously Turbine can, and has, offered sales at different values, such as 20% for XP Boost Potions for the 9/12/09 weekend sale, but for this article we’ll assume any sale is the common 25% discount. The adventure packs are listed from low-level to high-level in the order they appear in the DDO Store with lower brackets given preference if the adventure pack is listed in more than one bracket. Once an adventure pack is bought it is applied to every character on that subscription and never needs to be purchased again. Owning an adventure pack allows a free to play player to purchase guest passes for that adventure pack also.

Adventure Pack Costs – Regular Price

Adventure Pack Points 400 Std 900 Std 1500 Std 3300 Std 5000 Std 5000 Sale
Shan-to-Kor 250 $3.91 $3.33 $3.17 $2.95 $2.75 $2.50
The Sharn Syndicate 350 $5.47 $4.66 $4.43 $4.14 $3.85 $3.50
The Catacombs 250 $3.91 $3.33 $3.17 $2.95 $2.75 $2.50
Tangleroot Gorge 550 $8.59 $7.33 $6.96 $6.50 $6.05 $5.50
The Necropolis Part 1 250 $3.91 $3.33 $3.17 $2.95 $2.75 $2.50
Three-Barrel Cove 650 $10.16 $8.66 $8.23 $7.68 $7.15 $6.50
Delara’s Tomb 750 $11.72 $9.99 $9.50 $8.86 $8.25 $7.50
Sorrowdusk Isle 400 $6.25 $5.33 $5.06 $4.73 $4.40 $4.00
Dungeon: Devil Assault 150 $2.34 $2.00 $1.90 $1.77 $1.65 $1.50
The Ruins of Gianthold 995 $15.55 $13.26 $12.60 $11.76 $10.94 $9.95
The Demon Sands 850 $13.28 $11.32 $10.76 $10.04 $9.35 $8.50
The Necropolis Part 2 350 $5.47 $4.66 $4.43 $4.14 $3.85 $3.50
The Ruins of Threnal 550 $8.59 $7.33 $6.96 $6.50 $6.05 $5.50
The Vault of Night 800 $12.50 $10.66 $10.13 $9.45 $8.80 $8.00
The Restless Isles 600 $9.38 $7.99 $7.60 $7.09 $6.60 $6.00
The Necropolis Part 3 350 $5.47 $4.66 $4.43 $4.14 $3.85 $3.50
The Vale of Twilight 700 $10.94 $9.33 $8.86 $8.27 $7.70 $7.00
The Devils of Shavarath 650 $10.16 $8.66 $8.23 $7.68 $7.15 $6.50
The Reaver’s Reach 350 $5.47 $4.66 $4.43 $4.14 $3.85 $3.50
The Necropolis Part 4 850 $13.28 $11.32 $10.76 $10.04 $9.35 $8.50
Total Cost 10645 $166.33 $141.82 $134.77 $125.77 $117.07 $106.43

Adventure Pack Costs – 25% Discount

Adventure Pack Points 400 Std 900 Std 1500 Std 3300 Std 5000 Std 5000 Sale
Shan-to-Kor 187 $2.92 $2.49 $2.37 $2.21 $2.06 $1.87
The Sharn Syndicate 262 $4.09 $3.49 $3.32 $3.10 $2.88 $2.62
The Catacombs 187 $2.92 $2.49 $2.37 $2.21 $2.06 $1.87
Tangleroot Gorge 412 $6.44 $5.49 $5.22 $4.87 $4.53 $4.12
The Necropolis Part 1 187 $2.92 $2.49 $2.37 $2.21 $2.06 $1.87
Three-Barrel Cove 487 $7.61 $6.49 $6.17 $5.75 $5.36 $4.87
Delara’s Tomb 562 $8.78 $7.49 $7.11 $6.64 $6.18 $5.62
Sorrowdusk Isle 300 $4.69 $4.00 $3.80 $3.54 $3.30 $3.00
Dungeon: Devil Assault 112 $1.75 $1.49 $1.42 $1.32 $1.23 $1.12
The Ruins of Gianthold 746 $11.66 $9.94 $9.44 $8.81 $8.20 $7.46
The Demon Sands 637 $9.95 $8.49 $8.06 $7.53 $7.01 $6.37
The Necropolis Part 2 262 $4.09 $3.49 $3.32 $3.10 $2.88 $2.62
The Ruins of Threnal 412 $6.44 $5.49 $5.22 $4.87 $4.53 $4.12
The Vault of Night 600 $9.38 $7.99 $7.60 $7.09 $6.60 $6.00
The Restless Isles 450 $7.03 $6.00 $5.70 $5.32 $4.95 $4.50
The Necropolis Part 3 262 $4.09 $3.49 $3.32 $3.10 $2.88 $2.62
The Vale of Twilight 525 $8.20 $6.99 $6.65 $6.20 $5.77 $5.25
The Devils of Shavarath 487 $7.61 $6.49 $6.17 $5.75 $5.36 $4.87
The Reaver’s Reach 262 $4.09 $3.49 $3.32 $3.10 $2.88 $2.62
The Necropolis Part 4 637 $9.95 $8.49 $8.06 $7.53 $7.01 $6.37
Total Cost 7976 $124.63 $106.26 $100.98 $94.24 $87.72 $79.74

As you can see the price of all the modules isn’t too out there. Assuming you bought all your points from the 3300 point package you could buy every single adventure pack in the game at $125.77, a little less than a 1 year VIP subscription, and only $94.24 if you were willing to wait for those module to come on sale. And if you had stocked up on points during the weekend sale and bought the adventure packs on sale you could get them all for $79.74, slightly more than a 6 month VIP subscription.

Now adventure packs aren’t the only cost the free to play player is going to incur. Each character a free to play player has starts out only being able to access levels 1 to 4 instead of 1 to 20. To be able to reach levels 5 to 8 they need a copper leveling sigil, 9 to 12 a silver one, 13 to 16 a gold one, and 17 to 20 a platinum one. Unlike adventure packs which the free to play player will only need to purchase once ever each character the free to play player has is going to need leveling sigils to advance so these can often be considered a fee for having a character above and beyond actually having the character slot.  Leveling sigils may be received for free in the course of playing as quest rewards. The lesser value the sigil the easier it will be to find with copper sigils easy to acquire and platinum sigils very difficult to acquire. Below are the tables for the leveling sigil costs.

Leveling Sigil Costs – Regular Price

Leveling Sigil Points 400 Std 900 Std 1500 Std 3300 Std 5000 Std 5000 Sale
Copper Leveling Sigil 120 $1.88 $1.60 $1.52 $1.42 $1.32 $1.20
Silver Leveling Sigil 180 $2.81 $2.40 $2.28 $2.13 $1.98 $1.80
Gold Leveling Sigil 240 $3.75 $3.20 $3.04 $2.84 $2.64 $2.40
Platinum Leveling Sigil 300 $4.69 $4.00 $3.80 $3.54 $3.30 $3.00
Total Cost 840 $13.13 $11.19 $10.63 $9.92 $9.24 $8.40

Leveling Sigil Costs – 25% Discount

Leveling Sigil Points 400 Std 900 Std 1500 Std 3300 Std 5000 Std 5000 Sale
Copper Leveling Sigil 90 $1.41 $1.20 $1.14 $1.06 $0.99 $0.90
Silver Leveling Sigil 135 $2.11 $1.80 $1.71 $1.60 $1.48 $1.35
Gold Leveling Sigil 180 $2.81 $2.40 $2.28 $2.13 $1.98 $1.80
Platinum Leveling Sigil 225 $3.52 $3.00 $2.85 $2.66 $2.47 $2.25
Total Cost 630 $9.84 $8.39 $7.98 $7.44 $6.93 $6.30

So in conclusion the free to play player can basically be expected to be charged a fee of $9.92 for each character they create, or $16.95 if that player needed to purchase a character slot for that character. (See below for character slot pricing.) That’s over a month of VIP subscription! Also remember, if you delete a character and re-create them you’ll need to pay the $9.92 for new sigils for the new character all over again. For some people this isn’t going to be much of a big deal, but for anyone who plans to create a lot of characters this is going to be a big problem. One more thing to note, if you have a VIP subscription and level your character to say, level 8 on it, and then let your account go back to a premium account that character wouldn’t need to purchase a Copper Leveling Sigil. Leveling sigils only stop you from going to a trainer and training up your level. Once you have that level the game is at least nice enough not to take it away from you.

Finally there’s one section of fees that I consider to be a big part of the cost of getting your free to play account “up to snuff” as it were, and that’s those little extras like the Drow and Warforged races. Now in the interests of being fair remember that you can still get the Drow race as a free to play player by getting 400 total favor, and the favored soul class by getting 2500 total favor.  Also important to note is that additional character slots increase the number of slots you have across all six severs, not just one. As with the previous entires these are going to be posted with a regular price and 25% discount price. A small disclaimer though, none of the items on this table have yet to be discounted at all so there is no way of knowing if they ever will, or at what discount they will be offered at.

Account Options – Regular Price

Account Option Points 400 Std 900 Std 1500 Std 3300 Std 5000 Std 5000 Sale
Character Slot 595 $9.30 $7.93 $7.53 $7.03 $6.54 $5.95
Shared Bank Tab 1495 $23.36 $19.92 $18.93 $17.66 $16.44 $14.95
Warforged Rage 595 $9.30 $7.93 $7.53 $7.03 $6.54 $5.95
Drow Race 795 $12.42 $10.59 $10.06 $9.39 $8.74 $7.95
Favored Soul Class 795 $12.42 $10.59 $10.06 $9.39 $8.74 $7.95
Monk Class 795 $12.42 $10.59 $10.06 $9.39 $8.74 $7.95
Total Cost 5070 $79.22 $67.54 $64.19 $59.90 $55.76 $50.69

Account Options – 25% Discount

Account Option Points 400 Std 900 Std 1500 Std 3300 Std 5000 Std 5000 Sale
Character Slot 446 $6.97 $5.94 $5.65 $5.27 $4.91 $4.46
Shared Bank Tab 1121 $17.52 $14.93 $14.19 $13.24 $12.33 $11.21
Warforged Rage 446 $6.97 $5.94 $5.65 $5.27 $4.91 $4.46
Drow Race 596 $9.31 $7.94 $7.55 $7.04 $6.55 $5.96
Favored Soul Class 596 $9.31 $7.94 $7.55 $7.04 $6.55 $5.96
Monk Class 596 $9.31 $7.94 $7.55 $7.04 $6.55 $5.96
Total Cost 3801 $59.39 $50.64 $48.12 $44.91 $41.80 $38.00

As you can see, some of these are pretty expensive, with the shared bank tab running a whopping $17.66 all by itself with the second biggest purchases being the Drow, Favored Soul, and Monk classes at $9.39 each.

Now then what does all this mean? Well if you’ve been paying attention there’s been a number totals on each chart. So now we come to the time to add everything to reach the true cost of what it costs to get the entire DDO package through Turbine points. Note that in the tables below Account Options does not include Character Slots, which is accounted for in it’s own entry.

Grand Total using only the 1-4 Character Slots granted for a Premium Account

Item Name Points 400 Std 900 Std 1500 Std 3300 Std 5000 Std 5000 Sale
Adventure Packs and Account Options 15120 $236.25 $201.44 $191.42 $178.64 $166.29 $151.17
Sigils for Character Slots 1-4 3360 $52.52 $44.76 $42.52 $39.68 $36.96 $33.60
Grand Total 18480 $288.77 $246.20 $233.94 $218.32 $203.25 $184.77

Grand Total with slots 5-10 purchased to be equal to the VIP Account

Item Name Points 400 Std 900 Std 1500 Std 3300 Std 5000 Std 5000 Sale
Adventure Packs, Account Options, and Sigils for Characters 1-4 18480 $288.77 $246.20 $233.94 $218.32 $203.25 $184.77
Character Slots 5-10 3570 $55.80 $47.58 $45.18 $42.18 $39.24 $35.70
Sigils for Character Slots 5-10 5040 $78.78 $67.14 $63.78 $59.52 $55.44 $50.40
Grand Total 27090 $423.35 $360.92 $342.90 $320.02 $297.93 $270.87

As you can see from the Grand Total charts if you’re happy with slots 1-4 you’ll be looking at a total of $218.32, which is about equivalent to 1.5 years of VIP subscription. And if you want slots 5-10 you are looking at a total of $320.02, or 2.2 years of VIP subscription. Remember that this is only taking into account one server. You’d still have to buy more sigils for characters on new servers, though luckily the character slots apply to all servers. Also remember that the VIP subscription is going to give you 500 points every month just for subscribing, which can be used for the purchase of adventure packs, items, etc. that the free to play player is going to generally have to pay for out of their own pocket. Note however that to actually buy something the VIP subscription gives you access to you need let the subscription run out since the store won’t let you buy anything you already have access to from the VIP subscription.

So there you have the actual cost of what the free to play, or Premium Account, option in DDO is really going to cost you. Needless to say after I did this analysis I decided to stop buying adventure packs and instead switch to the subscription model as there is no guarantee the game will even be open long enough to justify the cost of purchasing everything a la carte, and I’ve become used to having a diverse quest selectiion and all the account options. For those of you who want to stick with the free to play options, check out the article following this one where I tell you how to get the most out of your Free Player or Premium account in DDO.

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Paragonian Knights Signature Designs

As some of you may not know, I have a bit of an artistic side. Hours whiled away drawing in my free time have more recently transitioned over to doing a little bit of graphic design here and there. Not too long ago I did a new signature for my guild the Paragonian Knights in the game City of Heroes. I call the signature design “Hologram” and here are a few examples of that design for your viewing pleasure.

pksigholo2-apolly

pksigholo2-fencernaiad2

pksigholo2-empyreal

pksigholo2-crimsonsiren

pksigholo2-graeknight

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