GW2: A Guide to Blood and Madness

GW2’s new Halloween themed content is delivered today! If you’re looking for the entire set of patch notes, go here. If you’re looking for more of a summary of the activities available and a guide from ArenaNet for how to engage in this new content, read on!


Halloween has returned to Tyria, along with the Mad King—but a new menace has emerged to threaten both the Mad Realm and our world! Magister Tassi needs your help to keep everyone alive long enough to enjoy Tyria’s annual spooky celebration!

Upon logging into Guild Wars 2, you’ll receive an email from Magister Tassi of the Durmand Priory. She’s in urgent need of assistance in containing a mysterious, sinister artifact she found in the ruins of the Nolani Academy. The Show Me button in your mail will point to the new Haunted Nolani Waypoint in the Black Citadel.

Once you arrive outside the ruins, head north to talk with Venna Castblade, who’ll update you on the current situation. If you ask her to let you in, you can pass through to the other side of the gate where you can enter the story instance “The Reliquary.”

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The Reliquary

  • Once inside the Nolani Academy Ruins, read the note on the ground from Tassi and proceed down into the crypt where Tassi has set up her research station. Wind your way through the crumbling passageways to find Tassi with the reliquary.
  • Speak with Tassi to learn about her discovery and prepare yourself for the opening of the reliquary. Tassi’s expecting to find the Mad King Thorn closed up in that box, but she’s in for a surprise—someone else is breaking through the barrier between realms! You’ll have to be quick on your toes to help Tassi frustrate this new attacker and send them to the Mad Realm.
  • After you leave the instance, Tassi will send you mail with her relay golem and some consumable Halloween finishers. You’ll need to complete the meta achievement, A Sweet Friend, to progress the story. Using the relay golem occasionally will update you on Tassi’s progress.
  • Halloween-themed daily achievements also count toward the completion of A Sweet Friend.

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Open World

  • In Queensdale, Kessex Hills, and Gendarran Fields, Haunted Doors will appear in two varieties: green Mad King doors and red Bloody Prince doors. Each can treat players with a Trick-or-Treat Bag or trick you with the Mad King’s army of Candy Corn Elementals, Plastic Spiders, and Gargoyles or the Bloody Prince’s army of undead.
  • Completing door events will progress the Shut the Doors achievement.
  • Lion’s Arch is decorated for Halloween once again! There are pumpkins to carve, trick-or-treating kids, and the Mystic Forge cauldron to jump into. Vendors sell Halloween-related recipes and Sonders the Merchant in Fort Marriner will sell you special goods for your Halloween candies and trophies.
  • The Mad King himself will visit Lion’s Arch on Halloween (9AM October 30 to 9AM November 1 PDT). Successfully playing his Mad King Says game will give you the A Royal Tradition achievement, which counts toward A Sweet Friend as well. You’ll find him either in the Grand Piazza or the Mystic Plaza.
  • Just outside the home cities, players will find a Halloween tent with a Mad King actor, more costumed kids, and Rasmus the ghost, who can transport you to the Lunatic Inquisition.
  • The Heart of the Mists and Borderlands citadels in World vs. World have been decorated for Halloween.

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Mad Realm

  • Entering the Mad Realm through the Haunted Doors will bring you floating isle above the Mad King’s Labyrinth. Talk to the nearby Lunatic Boatmaster to go to the Lunatic Inquisition or the Mad King’s Clock Tower. You can use the portal on the ground to enter the labyrinth below or exit back to Tyria through the Haunted Doors.
  • The Lunatic Inquisition is a PvP activity in which your goal is to survive the night. Lunatic Courtiers chase Villagers and convert them, while Villagers run, hide, and fend off starvation.
  • Those who seek a challenging jumping puzzle can attempt to ascend The Mad King’s Clock Tower. This is a timed jumping puzzle that challenges you to race your way to the top of the clock tower. There are progress reward chests along your way and a final reward chest inside the clock tower belfry.
  • The Mad King faces off with the Bloody Prince in the labyrinth where their forces clash. Players can fight their armies, mine Candy Corn, and carve pumpkins. The real challenges are the three legendary bosses that live in the maze: The Skeletal Lich, the Grand High Viscount of Candy Corn, and the Labyrinthine Horror.

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Second Story Instance

  • Once you have completed the A Sweet Friend meta achievement, you’ll be rewarded with a Mini Candy-Corn Elemental. This living candy corn is exactly what Tassi needs to complete her plan! Return to the Nolani Academy Ruins in the Black Citadel to finish out the story arc. This is a repeatable multiplayer instance which requires at least one player to have finished the meta achievement. Get ready to glaze!

New Items and Rewards

  • Finishing A Sweet Friend will earn you a Mini Candy-Corn Elemental.
  • Playing a game of Mad King Says doesn’t just give you a chance to laugh at the lunatic monarch’s jokes—if you successfully complete a match, you’ll win yourself a Mask of the Night!
  • The rewards for the Mad King’s Clock Tower jumping puzzle have changed. Upon finishing the jumping puzzle for the first time this year, you’ll receive a single-use, account-bound Mad King Chest which will allow you to choose between light, medium, or heavy hand armor. The Armwraps, Gloves, or Gauntlets of Madness that you receive on picking will be soulbound on use. When you first double-click on your new hand armor, you’ll be able to pick which stat combination to use. After that point, the hand armor will be soulbound to the character that used it and you will not be able to re-assign a stat combination. Subsequent completions of the jumping puzzle will award Trick-or-Treat Bags.
  • Sonder the Seller in Fort Marriner will exchange your stacks of Pieces of Candy Corn, Chattering Skulls, Nougat Centers and Plastic Fangs for refined versions of each. Candy Corn Cobs can be used to purchase the Mini Bloody Prince Thorn and 20-slot Halloween Pail bag. Gibbering Skulls, Tyria’s Best Nougat and High-Quality Plastic Fangs are used in Mystic Forge combinations to create recipes for exquisite Halloween weapons.

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New Achievements

  • A Sweet Friend is the meta achievement for the Blood and Madness release, and will be available through November 11 to complete. Many of contributing achievements can be earned by playing various Blood and Madness content including the story instance, activities, Haunted Door events, and using Halloween finishers.
  • Halloween-themed daily achievements will also be available until November 11 and contribute to the meta achievement.
  • Three additional achievements, which deal with the resolution of the Halloween storyline, are available after completing A Sweet Friend.
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Final Fantasy XIV: Preliminary Free Server Transfers (October 15-21)

It’s hard to believe that even this long after the US/EU/JP servers went live for FFXIV’s “Reborn” launch, there are still servers preventing character creation. Hopefully this will be a way for friends and guild members to finally get together for the first time since open beta.


Due to login and character creation restrictions set in place after the start of official service, many players were unable to create characters on their desired Worlds. In order to address this issue, players will be allowed to use the World Transfer Service free of charge from Tuesday, October 15, 2013, to Monday, October 21, 2013, 01:00 a.m.

After reading the guidelines below, please proceed to the FINAL FANTASY XIV: Mog Station (http://sqex.to/Msp) to use the World Transfer Service during the aforementioned time period.

What is the World Transfer Service?

Using the World Transfer Service, players can move characters on their service accounts to be from one World to another.

Although multiple characters can be transferred from one World to another with a single use of this service, multiple characters from different Worlds cannot be transferred to the same World, nor can multiple characters from a single World be transferred to separate Worlds.

World Population Status (October 10, 2013)

Crowded Worlds

Japan Data Center NA/EU Data Center
Alexander Behemoth
Anima Cactuar
Atomos Excalibur(LEGACY)
Carbuncle Hyperion(LEGACY)
Fenrir Moogle(EU)
Garuda Ultros
Ifrit
Ramuh
Tiamat
Titan

Uncrowded Worlds

Japan Data Center NA/EU Data Center
Asura Coeurl
Belias Brynhildr
Pandaemonium Faerie
Unicorn Famfrit
Yojimbo Goblin
Zeromus Lamia
Lich(EU)
Malboro
Mateus
Siren
Zalera

* Characters cannot be transferred to a World which has already reached the limit for character creation.
* Characters can also be transferred between data centers.

Transfers Involving Legacy Worlds

In order to allow the economy of newly established Worlds to stabilize, the following restrictions have been set in place for Legacy Worlds.

Transferrable Current World Destination World
Non-Legacy World -> Legacy World
Legacy World -> Legacy World
× Legacy World -> Non-Legacy World

How to use the World Transfer Service

Step 1: Confirm Your Eligibility

The following conditions must be met before using the World Transfer Service:

1. You must possess an active service account for FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn.
2. You must be logged out of the game.
3. Your character cannot be enlisted in a free company, holding a free company petition, or signed to a free company petition.
4. Your character cannot have items for sale on the market.
5. Your character cannot have items entrusted to the Calamity Salvager NPC.
6. Your character must rehire any retainers carried over from Version 1.0.
7. Your character must be logged out outside of any instanced areas.
8. The character you wish to transfer must be at least three days old.
9. Your service account cannot be suspended due to a violation of Terms of Service or a hold on the account.
10. Furthermore, characters can only transfer 3 million gil, while retainers can only transfer 1 million gil. Please be aware that excess gil will be lost.

* Regarding Login Restrictions During the Transfer Process

Once you begin the World transfer process, you cannot create new characters or log into the game until the transfer is complete.

Characters will be transferred in the order applications were submitted. Furthermore, additional time may be required for all transfers to complete. A notification will be sent to the e-mail address registered to your Square Enix account when the transfer is complete. Do not attempt to log in before receiving this notification, as doing so may cause an error in the transfer, prolonging the process.

* Please check your e-mail filters to ensure e-mail from the domain name @account.square-enix.com is not sent to your junk mail folder.

A large number of players are expected to make use of the World Transfer Service during this free period. As a result, transfers may require several days before processing is complete.

Step 2: Log into the FINAL FANTASY XIV: Mog Station

Log into the FINAL FANTASY XIV: Mog Station with the Square Enix account containing characters you wish to be transferred. The status of your service account and available characters can be confirmed on the Account Services page.

To begin the application process, select World Transfer Service on the Optional Services page.

* In the event you possess multiple service accounts for FINAL FANTASY XIV, please select the tab of the service account containing characters you wish to be transferred.

Step 3: Apply for a World Transfer

Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the World transfer process. Please also bear in mind the following before submitting your application:

Subscription Type Restrictions

Accounts with entry subscriptions are only allowed one character per World; therefore, for these accounts, characters cannot be transferred to a World on which a character is already present. With a standard subscription, players are allowed up to eight characters on a single World.

Characters with the Same Name

In the event the name of your character has already been chosen by another character on the destination World, you will be required to change your character’s name when logging in for the first time.

Although it is possible to confirm the availability of your character’s name when submitting your application, multiple applications bearing characters with the same name may necessitate the renaming of your character, depending on the order in which the applications are processed.

* Once service fees are instated for this service, characters transferring from another World will take priority in the event a character on the destination World has the same name but is associated with an inactive service account at the time of transfer.

Retainers with the Same Name

In the event the name of your retainer is already being used by another retainer on the destination World, you will be required to change your retainer’s name upon first summoning them. Please be advised that it cannot be determined beforehand if your retainers will require name changes.

Data Retained After Transfer

– The following will be transferred along with your character:

All items, including gear and minions
Retainers and all items in their possession.
Moogle letters
Gil (3 million gil per character, 1 million gil per retainer)
* Please note that any gil exceeding the above limit will be lost.

– The following will not be transferred along with your character:

Friend lists
Blacklists
Linkshells
Free companies

* The World Transfer Service cannot be used for characters enlisted in a free company. Please make sure your character is not a member of a free company before using this service.

* Characters will be withdrawn from linkshells automatically.

– The following data will be updated automatically.

Character data on the Lodestone
Blogs and comments posted on the Lodestone

* World transfers will not affect your list of followers and those whom you are following.

Character avatars on the official forum

Disclaimers

The World Transfer Service cannot be used when the Square Enix Account Management System, FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn, or the FINAL FANTASY XIV: Mog Station is undergoing maintenance.

With the introduction of the World Transfer Service, there may be cases where players are requested to transfer to other Worlds due to fluctuations in population. We may also consider the splitting or merger of Worlds. Because of this, there may be instances where players who have used the World Transfer Service are requested to move to a different World. Please note that in such cases, applications for World transfers cannot be canceled or refunded.

If you should encounter problems when using the World Transfer Service, please contact the Square Enix Support Center. Please note that the Square Enix Support Center cannot assist with certain problems if more than one week has passed since using this service.

Service Fees

Please note that the paid service is estimated to start at the end of October. Details on the paid service will become available once they are finalized.

GW2: Frostgorge Sound Champion Farming Guide (GuildWars2Hub.com)

Thanks to GuidWars2Hub.com, we have a great guide for farming gold and items in-game killing champion mobs in Frostgorge Sound.

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Frostgorge Sound Champion Farming Guide

Overview

In this guide we present to you the most efficient method that the Guild Wars 2 community uses to farm Frostgorge Sound. Please note that some farming leaders might do a slightly different route, but the vast majority will follow the exact pattern below. I would recommend that you set your graphics to “low” so that you load quickly after Waypointing, so you can keep up with the pack otherwise the Champion you are moving to next will be dead before you get there.

While Champion Farming isn’t exciting (and does get boring quickly) it yields a good return of money especially if you sell all the Fine and Masterwork materials you obtain as well as the crafting drops. The “bags” from Champion enemies also contain anywhere from 5 to 7 silver, with a single rotation of the map tending to yield 40 silver from those loot bags alone.

As a last couple of tips, be sure to have a swiftness skill equipped and be sure to guest on a very highly populated server. Getting left behind the farming group will ensure you don’t get to “tag” the Champions and staying on your realm (if it isn’t particularly popular) will decrease your chances of finding a zerg to farm with.

Frostgorge Sound Champion Farming Guide

1. Enter the zone at Drakkar Waypoint. Immediately besides this (in the water) is a Champion Icebrood FishLoot – Gilded Strongbox

2. Exit the water and follow the bank on your right hand side and head towards the Champion Icebrood Kodan. Please note he sometimes spawns at the Skill point besides Drakkar Waypoint. Loot – Gilded Strongbox

3. Depending on if the Champion Icebrood Kodan spawned besides the skill point or over the water, just nearby is the Champion Icebrood Norn.Loot – Gilded Strongbox

4. Head towards the waters edge and submerge, heading straight to the bottom in a south-east direction. Underneath a stone archway, amongst lots of reeds is a Champion Undersea Ice WurmLoot – Fallen Adventurer’s Backpack

5. Teleport immediately to Skyheight Steading Waypoint and follow the path south, before turning west. On the ridge is a Champion Ice Drake BroodmotherLoot – Fallen Adventurer’s Backpack

6. A Champion Quaggan sometimes spawns besides the Broodmother as an event, and is a bonus Champion to kill on your farm. Please note that he is on a reasonably lengthy timer, so he tends to appear once every 5 rotations. Loot – Shell Pouch.

7. Once the Quaggan/Broodmother are dead, teleport to Earthshake Waypoint to the far east of the map. You should then run west, as if you were to jump into the troll ravine but instead of falling down jump over the edge and onto the opposite side, avoiding all the enemies below. Cross over the platform and on the other side, when you’ve dropped down, is aChampion Snow TrollLoot – Oversized Rucksack

Once the Champion Snow Troll is dead, teleport back to Drakkar Waypoint to repeat the process. 

Final Fantasy XIV: Progression After Level 50 (Guide)

Update: A brand new polished version is now available for Patch 2.3, thanks to the CrabCommander! I have updated this post with CC’s thread.


So you just hit 50, and now you’re wondering where to go from here. Well, I don’t think anyone can tell you explicitly what should be done in exactly what order, and you certainly can skips steps, but here’s the most gentle slope for introduction to end-game.

Tier 0 – Preparation & Requirements

  • Finish Your Job/Story Quests – Your Job quests will net you your last skills and your Artifact gear. Do them. Main quest completion at least through Praetorium is required for literally every piece of content outside of this tier, and many later on will require completion beyond that.
  • Replace Your Trash Items – If you have any items below iLevel 45, they should probably be replaced with crafted/purchased items. You should pay particular attention to your weaponry. You can jump up as high as item level 90, depending on how much gil you have/are willing to spend, but bare minimum in all slots should be i45+.
  • Castrum Meridianum and The Praetorium – You’ll need to run them once for story. If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of 8 man content you can run them once or twice extra, but you should otherwise avoid them outside of Duty Roulette: Story Mode, which unlocks after completing them both, as the base Mythology reward is rather low for their time investment.
  • Wanderer’s Palace and Amdapor Keep – You’ll have to do at least AK for your Relic quest eventually, but they also drop iLevel 55 gear to get you started, and are an easy completion even in fresh 50 gear. They should help ease you into the idea of 4 man dungeons at level 50, and how various classes perform with their full skill set.
  • Cross Class Skills – Every Job is a little different on how much they depend on cross-class skills, but at absolute minimum, by the time you reach Tier 2 you should have access to all of the Cross-Class skills considered even moderately useful for your Job.

Tier 1 – The First Steps

  • Expectations – Beyond this point you should have Praetorium completed, and a basic set of gear in the iLevel range of 45-55 or higher. Gear from content in this range is iLevel 60-80.
  • Relic Quest Line – One of the first stops for a fresh 50 should be picking up your Relic Quest line. Even if you don’t want to take it all the way to Novus, it’s a good way to jump up into the i80-90 weaponry tier relatively quickly.
  • Big 3 HM Primals – Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan HM will all be required of you for a number of unlocks, and completion of your Relic quest. Go bang them out in an afternoon. With big Echo bonuses, and propensity for higher iLevel/experience players to join you via Duty Roulette: Trials, none of these save perhaps Titan should present you with any terrible difficulty. The Big 3 HM Primals must be completed to gain access to The Binding Coil of Bahamut later on.
  • Main Story Continuation/Secondary HM Primals – Continue working on your post-Praetorium Story and you’ll eventually run into Moogle Mog, Leviathan, and Ramuh HM. You’ll need them all dead and the story wrapped up all the way to its current 2.3 completion eventually for unlocks, and Moggle can drop silly i75 weapons for the Moogle addicted.
  • Gilgamesh – A for-fun/no-rewards fight in the Hildebrand Storyline; required if you want to unlock Duty Roulette: Trials. Should be no difficulty at any iLevel.
  • Pharos Sirius and Haukke/Copperbell HM – These four man dungeons should present you no particular difficulties even at an average iLevel of 55-60, assuming some of your other party members are above that level. You should be going through each four man dungeon at least once so that you can unlock Duty Roulette: Hard Mode.
  • Lost City of Amdapor and Brayflox/Halatali HM – Same as above, only with a slightly higher difficulty curve, aim for iLevel 60-70 before jumping in them. Brayflox HM will likely be many people’s first experience with the dungeon speed running mentality, so be prepared for much bigger pulls than you’re used to. Once you have completed all the dungeons listed to this point at least once you will gain access to Duty Roulette: Hard Mode.
  • Labyrinth of the Ancients – The first Crystal Tower/24 man, you’ll need it completed for unlock status later for the second zone, and it drops i80 gear with no loot restriction.
  • Hunts – You should now be able to unlock the Hunts system, which allows you to reap great rewards from overworld Notorious Monsters. Unlock this as soon as possible and get into a Hunts Linkshell or a larger FC if this is something that interests you.
  • Mythic Armor – You should be able to purchase at least a few pieces of Mythic armor either with Mythology tomes, or Hunt Marks. This should help boost your iLevel rapidly. If you have enough Soldiery Tomes you can also begin purchasing iLevel 100 Weathered gear with them.
  • PvP & Frontlines – You should now be able to unlock Frontlines PvP and level 50 Arena mode PvP. Frontlines can be a great way to acquire Tomestones and PvP exp while having fun, as long as you can deal with the Frontlines queue insanity.
  • Side-Stories – You should now also have access to start the Hildebrand, Courrier, and Winebauds series of Sidequests. These provide various small item rewards, and can be a lot of silly fun.
  • Other Unlocks – There are many small system related unlocks at level 50, from Glamours and Personal Rooms to Chocobo Raising, Parley, and more. Keep an eye out for any odd Level 50 quests in zones you walk through, or people chatting about systems you don’t recognize.

Tier 2 – Beyond Your First Relic – The Beginnings of the Difficulty Curve.

  • Expectations – By this point you should be in the ilevel ~70+ range, with a weapon at least at iLevel 80. Content in this tier provides gear in the range of i80-i100. Content from this point onward will begin sharply spiking up in difficulty, both in terms of numerical requirements and mechanical prowess.
  • Hullbreaker Isle and Tam Tara/Stone Vigil HM – These three dungeons constitute the Duty Roulette: Expert block currently. Clear them each at least once, or farm them if that’s your preferred method of i80 acquisition and Soldiery farming.
  • Ballad: Ultima – At this point, Ultima most likely will provide little that will be of use to you, but if you want to clear him once for fun, or really need an i80 neck piece, Minstrel’s Ballad: Ultima’s Bane is there. A clear on this is eventually required for Savage Mode Second Coil, far down the line, should you get to that point.
  • Big 3 EX Primals – Garuda, Titan, and Ifrit EX are one of many paths to an i90 weapon and i90 accessories. They have been dropped as requirements for other content, so if you don’t feel like you need more i90 gear, or are struggling to complete some of these, it is now possible to skip over them.
  • The Binding Coil of Bahamut – The biggest method to farm up i90-95 gear at this point, the original Binding Coil will provide you with your first taste of Premier 8 man content, albeit with a very generous Echo buff and a few nerfs to the numbers and mechanics of the fights. Completion of Turn 5 is required for access to the Second Coil of Bahamut.
  • Leviathan and Moggle Mog EX – These two are required for Ramuh EX down the line, and can provide you with i95/i100 gear, including weaponry. Both have had progressive Echo added in 2.3, which should make clearing and farming them easy enough to let them drop down a tier.
  • Syrcus Tower – The second Crystal Tower/24 man instance. This will get you access to a single i100 drop per week, or an Oil of Time/Unidentified Allagan Tomestone for access to an i110 accessory upgrade or i100 weapon purchase.
  • Relic Zenith/Animus/Novus – The long path of upgrading your relic. None of the steps require clearing any of the harder content, and are more focused on simple grinding. If that sounds like something that would appeal to you, this can be a path to a long term best-in-slot weapon for many classes.
  • Weathered Gear – Keep capping your Soldiery weekly, and use those tomes to Acquire Weathered Gear. Upgrading these pieces requires Sands/Oils of time, which can be acquired via Syrcus Tower, Hunts, and Second Coil.

Tier 3 – Turn 5 and Beyond – The True End-Game

  • Expectations – By this point you should have completed Turn 5 or be actively working on it. Content from here on out will drop all pretenses of the Echo buff and require you to actively work on your skills and gear to make the cut. A minimum iLevel of 90 in all slots should be considered for the following content. The below content provides rewards in the i100-115 range.
  • Ramuh EX – Another source of i100 weapons, and i100 rings. A challenging but readily beatable fight. Can save you some Soldiery or help smooth out bad drop luck from Second Coil.
  • The Second Coil of Bahamut – The real heart of End Game content currently. Four turns, four bosses, and a whole lot of suffering. Expect to need a static group, and/or a whole mountain of dedication to clear the turns. Drops i110 gear, i110 upgrade items, and the coveted i115 weapons from the final turn. Turn 4 completion is required for access to Savage mode.

Tier 4 – For the Brave

  • Expectations – In order to tackle the content in this tier, you must have completed both Second Coil Turn 4 and Ballad: Ultima. Your gear should all be i110+ or close to it. Content in this tier is purely for bragging rights/titles, and not for the feint of heart or easily enraged.
  • The Second Coil of Bahamut (Savage) – The insane man’s version of the Second Coil. Provides no added benefits other than a title for each turn cleared, at an insane difficulty spike. Maybe you’ll be the first to clear some of these turns?

 

Final Fantasy XIV: Leveling 1-30 Guide (TenTonHammer.com)

For players who are new to the FFXIV franchise, some of the game mechanics in FFXIV are definitely different than for other MMORPGs. Usually I’m a player who does *every* quest I see, but that’s a big no-no for FFXIV since that means leveling additional classes on your same character will be much harder as you left no quests for them to complete.

Here are a few other tips provided by TTH.

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Leveling in FFXIV: A Realm Reborn can be daunting at times, especially starting around level fifteen when the game starts letting go of the training wheels and begins opening up more options but starts providing less direction. The goal of this guide to help walk you through until level 30, at which point you should be able to finish the last twenty levels without much of a hitch.

Hunting Log

The Value of a Quest

One thing to make clear – quests are valuable for one specific reason – they are one time ordeals. If you do a quest that is a non-class specific quest then it is done for good. With this in mind, never ever clear the quests in the starting zone outside of your own until you start leveling up other classes. Don’t start leveling up another class in earnest either until you hit level 30.

There is some strong reasoning behind this. First, you get a bonus for leveling up other classes based on your highest level class. The higher your level, the more XP your battle classes will get as you level up. So you’re wasting XP if you do it any sooner than 30, outside of maybe getting a Conjurer to level 8 for Protect.

Next, quests are valuable because you can use them to advance really quickly and do not have limits like guildleves have. So if you do a quest that you’re 5 levels over right now, when you are on another class on the same character that is five levels below where you’re at, you won’t have that quest available to you which isn’t fun.

Leveling Tips

Food is a must while leveling. Consume it whenever the buff dissipates. It can be obtained cheaply off of the market and you should swim in different level appropriate foods as you quest through the game. The XP bonus is worth it.

Most of the leveling experience, especially in the first twenty levels, is a tutorial designed to teach the basics of the game. Many features will not unlock until you go through the various quests. Including the dye quest, which is around level 15 in Vepser Bay (I think) in Western Thanalan.

FATEs are repeatable and are as much XP as one quest. They are an efficient way to level no matter what. Go to where level appropriate FATEs are, complete them, and move to the next one. Do this over and over and you will level rather quickly.

Some classes are not as efficient as others. Conjurers will not level as fast as a Lancer. However, Conjurers will have a slightly easier time getting into the duty finder. It’s not that big of a deal, especially since you can change classes on the fly.

You get a 50% bonus XP if your class is below the level of your highest class for FATEs, Guildleves, and monster kills.

Hunting Log

Hunting Log

Your hunting log gives a considerable XP bonus for killing NPCs that you’ll kill anyway while questing. In the 10-20 area we’re talking 5k XP for killing a few enemies.

While leveling I totally neglected my hunting log which caused me to miss a ton of XP and backtrack a bunch. Don’t be like me in that regard, be sure to check it often.

Super crazy bonus – your hunting log can tell you locations to “hunt.” Look for enemies at or around your level, that is where the quests will be.

Starting Out (Levels 1 – 5)

The first five levels are mostly done within the city and surrounding areas of the city. The quests differ a little bit between the major city states and there isn’t really a lot to say other than your class quest and your story quest will give you most of your progression and you won’t even be able to leave the city until some of the quests are completed. The low level FATEs are mostly available right outside of the city gates and there are no other options for leveling at this point.

If you are leveling an additional class, then do your class quests and grind outside of the city on mobs at or a few levels above your level.

A Newbie No More (Levels 5 – 10)

The next five levels feature more of the same and will be in the same maps (Lower/Middle La Noscea, Central Thanalan, Central Shroud, etc.). You’re going to primarily want to follow your story quests (the one with the cool quest border) for these levels, as it’s going to take you pretty much to the best spots to level / quest at.

Here is where people make a strong argument to NOT side quest and just follow the story quests and do the FATEs. I find that the first 10 levels on another class are easy enough to not worry with it and make your life a bit easier.

Getting Ready for the Big Time (Levels 10 – 15)

At level 10 Guildhests open up which will give you a HUGE XP bonus on the first completion. Do those as soon as the quest becomes available. You’re still going to be stuck mostly in the same city-state and you can’t leave until you finish your story quest (which wraps up around level 15). So once more, follow your story quest, do the side quests, etc.

Guildleves open up, but you only get 3 allowances every 12 hours, so you’ll want to think really hard about consuming them now when leveling is rather easy or just saving them (you can have up to 99) for later levels or other classes. So far the theme is “save everything and just grind enemies FATEs” but realistically that’s all you can do up until this point.

FFXVI Lvl10

Exploring the World (Levels 15 – 20)

At this point you can finally leave your city-state and you’re going to want to once again follow your story quests because they open up three new dungeons for you to complete. I did a lot of side quests and didn’t unlock the airship until 17 and was woefully overleveled for a lot of the content, so you may or may not want to rush through your story quest as your level permits.

As a note, at this point you can farm dungeons over and over to level if you so desire.  You don’t get a huge chunk of XP, but it’s a noticeable amount.

The Grind Sets In (Levels 20 – 30)

At this point, around level 20, you’re going to get more dungeons, Guildhests, and your story is going to let you fight a boss who, after completing it, gives you a ton of XP and allows you to join a Free Company which decides your quest progression path from this point onward.

You have a few options for grinding; the best FATEs are in Eastern Thanalan (in my opinion), Upper La Noscea (the western side of the map), and East Shroud in the mid-twenties. Once you get your mount then grinding FATEs becomes trivial since you can easily move between them without worrying so much about them being completed by the time you arrive.

Your hunting log can be a really impressive source of XP at these levels too. You get 8k or so for killing enemies that you would kill normally, or 10% of a level at level 25. So it’s sort of kind of a big deal as far as XP goes.

Past Level 30

After level 30 you’re going to pretty much be set on the process of questing if you want to, doing dungeons and Guildhests when they become available, and grouping up to do FATEs. You can also just grind the levels away if you so choose, that’s a viable option as well.

Go forth and explore the world! Just remember to eat food, keep your buffs up, and have fun!

DIY Bioluminescent Zen Fountain (Gizmodo.com)

Bioluminescence has always intrigued me. Having this in my home? That’s amazing.

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Making a Stunning, Glow-in-the-Dark Fountain Is Surprisingly Simple

Bioluminescence is awesome. Essentially the production of light by a living organism, e.g. fireflies, certain types of jellyfish, etc—but it doesn’t just occur in animals. There’s even some plant life that has the potential to give off that lovely, ethereal glow. And as Mark Rober shows us in the video above, you can even harness that power to become your very own natural, eerie, and totally beautiful light source.

Because fortunately for us, bioluminescent sea algae is perfect for our purposes and just happens to be for sale as a water mixture on our good ol’ friend, the internet.

Making a Stunning, Glow-in-the-Dark Fountain Is Surprisingly Simple

The only problem is that, to get that nice blue sheen, the water has to be constantly in motion. Which is where Rober got the genius idea to make use of a flowing zen fountain. The algae in the water will, unfortunately, eventually run out of energy and thus light, but until that happens, you’ve got yourself a fantastically clever and stunning lamp to light up the night.

GW2: Completing Cutthroat Politics’ Meta Achievements (GuildWars2Hub.com)

Lee B. over at GuildWars2Hub.com has written up a quick guide on how to complete the meta achievements in GW2’s current event: Cutthroat Politics. Fortunately, the event’s achievements can be completed in PVP and PVE dailies.

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Meta-Achievement Guide

This guide is meant to help you knock out the “Kiel Supporter” and “Gnashblade Supporter” meta-achievements as quickly as possible to get your miniatures and get you well on your way to focusing all your time on supporting your true candidate and getting you those Aetherblade weapons!

It’s important to note that the “Kiel Every Day” and “Gnash All the Blades” achievements can be done with both PvE and PvP daily achievements so it shouldn’t take you too much time.

Kiel: Homeland Support

Ellen Guide

I recommend you always start out this zone by going to the Champion Troll by the Vale Waypoint. Usually, especially if you tell the map, you will get a nice group going to cut the Troll down quickly. After head west to see if the Bandits are attacking the farm and, if not, head south to Clayent Falls to talk to Ine Duran ad likewise to look at the bee hives across the lake to see if bears are attacking.

Ine Duran will offer you two meta events with the first being a grub collection quest at the Troll cave. After she will head back to her dock where she will spawn a Veteran Barracuda you need to cut down for the second event.

Finally keep an eye on mapchat for the Corrupted Oakheart event, or occasionally check it yourself. Likewise look to the Crossing and Heartwood Pass Camp Waypoints to see if they ever get contested, which means events.

Doing this circuit, as well as keeping an eye on map chat to see if anyone calls out another event, should get you the achievement done in an hour or two.

Gnashblade: Homeland Support

Evon Guide

Here I recommend starting at the Greysteel Armory Waypoint, running across the bridge over Devourer’s Mouth, to Tela Range. Here there may be three events one after another in this small area that are very easy to complete and need not more than you turning in one or two things in order to get full reward.

After head south towards the Village of Smokestead, passing by the Cow Ranch and past the bar. Here two events may start where oen involves you fighting Harpies or disbanding a fight between the three Legions.

Head Northeast toward Lake Feritas, along the wall, and pass through the scrapyard on the way to the lake all the way up to Facula Castrum. The scrapyard has a two pronged event chain and the Lake occasionally has a tar elemental problem while everyone knows of the extremely fun (and difficult) Shaman event chain that occurs in Facula Castrum.

Go south after sweeping the Lake to Old Duke’s Estate and Barradin’s Vaults. You might run into the cub escort event, lodestone gathering event or the event to kill Barradin’s Ghost… AGAIN!

Finally swing on up to Calhaan’s Haunt all the way up to the Marty’rs Waypoint. In this stretch you may run into Calhaan for a quick an easy kill the Veteran, or bump into “Badazaar’s” champion.

Doing this circuit, and likewise paying attention to the map chat, will net you this achievement in an hour or two.

Recommended Six for Meta-Achievements

Kiel:

Ellen Cheevs

  • I Like Kiel
  • Dungeon Runner (Just knock out Cof P1)
  • Homeland Support
  • Direct Support
  • Every Day
  • Maw Mulcher

Gnashblade:

Evon Cheevs

  • I Like Evon
  • Dungeon Runner (Just tackle CoF P1)
  • Homeland Support
  • Direct Support
  • Gnash All the Blades
  • Maw Mulcher

Waypoint

Click the Waypoint to jump back to our Cutthroat Politics Content Coverage page for more information!

Free & Legal (Older) Copy of Photoshop (DigitalTrends.com)

While it’s not a copy of the latest and greatest, this is a pretty great way to set yourself up with possibly THE photo editing title. You can go here to read the original article.

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A FREE (AND LEGAL) VERSION OF PHOTOSHOP? HERE’S HOW TO GET IT

Disclaimer: Adobe may have canceled its license management servers due to a technical glitch, but the CS2 download is intended for those who have purchased the software previously and already posses the existing CS2 licenses. Adobe no longer updates or supports the 10-year-old software either, so it’s prone to instability issues when running on the latest operating systems. If you’re looking for a free, legal (albeit old) version of Photoshop, read on … but use it at your own risk. 

Photoshop has long been heralded as one of the champions of the image-editing software world. It’s been feature-packed and relatively user-friendly from the beginning, allowing users to carry out simple functions such as cropping and resizing while offering a hearty selection of more advanced features for those tech aficionados looking to take their image-editing skills to the next level. The latest version of the software, bundled in Creative Suite 6, continues to push boundaries with its lightning speeds and content-aware components for pixel blending and other impressive features, but it’s far from cheap.

Fortunately, Adobe decided to axe its CS2 activation servers in January, essentially offering a free – and legitimate – download of CS2 for anyone with an Adobe account. It may be ancient by today’s tech standards, and nowhere near as capable as the most recent versions of the software, but it’s still one of the most powerful image-manipulation and content-creation tools available for download. Plus, it’s the only way to legally get your hands on Photoshop without paying for it.

Here’s our guide on how to get Photoshop CS2 for free so you can crop, cut, and lasso to your heart’s content. Also, check out our picks for the five best free image-editing tools or download the free trial of Photoshop CS6 if you want something a little more… err recent. See our hands on with PS CS6 for all the details.

Step 1: Sign up for a My Adobe account. Head over to My Adobe to sign up for an Adobe ID if you don’t have one already. Enter your email address, name, password, and country of residence before accepting the Terms of Use and clicking the yellow Create button at the bottom of the page. Afterward, enter your job information or skip the page to continue to your newly created profile.

My Adobe Account

Step 2: Download Photoshop CS2. Once signed up, download the appropriate Photoshop CS2 resources from the CS2 downloads pageWindows users shouldn’t have much trouble meeting the requirements, but CS2 is a PowerPC application, and Mac users must therefor be using an older PowerPC Mac or an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.4 through 10.6 with the necessary translator installed.

If running Windows, click the download link for “PhSp_CS2_English.exe” near the bottom of the page and to the right of Photoshop CS2 in the Downloads column. If running Mac OS X, click “PhSp_CS2_English.dmg.bin” instead. Choose a save destination for the resulting file and click Save in the bottom right-hand corner of the window.

Adobe Photoshop 2 Download

Step 3: Install Photoshop CS2. Open the installation file when the download completes (this may take several minutes). Next, designate an appropriate save location for the new folders, accept the license agreement, and enter your user name and serial number. The latter can be found be found to the right of the Photoshop CS2 download link on the CS2 downloads page. Then, simply clickNext through the next couple windows (Designation Folder and Setup) and click Install when you reach the end of the setup assistant. Click Finish to complete the installation.

Setup Adobe Photoshop

Step 4: Launch Photoshop CS2 and enjoy. Open Photoshop CS2 when the installation is finished and complete or skip the requested registration information. Then, enjoy the decade-old goodness of Adobe’s powerhouse image-editing software.

Photoshop CS2 Registration

Costco & Their Secret Price Codes (LifeHacker.com)

I learn something new every day.

I don’t generally frequent Costco simply because I have nowhere to store a 60-roll package of toilet paper and my refrigerator isn’t big enough for condiments by the gallon. That said, I have always wondered how they came up with such an odd set of decimal pricing. Doing a little hunting around the interwebs, I see this has been tossed around for a while now. Enjoy!

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Save Even More Money at Costco by Knowing Their Secret Price Codes

The price signs at Costco will clue you in to the best deals and help you save even more money at the warehouse store.

In an incredibly detailed post, Len Rapoport breaks down how the price signs indicate which items are marked down, specially priced, rebate items, discontinued, or will be not be restocked. (The last two categories aren’t necessarily money-saving ones, but they’ll help you know whether you should stock up on these limited items.)

In particular, look for:

  • Prices that end in 97¢: These have been marked down from the regular priced items, which end in 99¢
  • Odd pricing, such as 79¢, 49¢, or 89¢: These indicate specially priced items that Costco got a deal from the manufacturer. Rapoport says these can be better deals than at other stores, but not usually better than the 97¢ markdown.
  • An asterisk* on the upper right side of the sign: The item won’t be reordered.
  • 88¢ or .00 endings: Manager markdowns. Sometimes the company uses these to move a product very fast.

Rapoport’s article has a ton of other insider pricing tips and tricks to help you become a smarter Costco shopper, so be sure to check them out at the link below.

Thanks dgstan!

Original LifeHacker Article

Convention Etiquette 101: How to Avoid Crossing the Line at Comic-Com (Wired.com)

The fact that this article needed to be written is part funny, part sad. It’s a shame conventions that attract attendees who often have first-hand experience of being shunned or feeling ostracized from the mainstream can’t treat each other with basic respect. Alyssa Rosenberg has assembled six very basic, much-needed rules of conduct for “Cons” and other similar events where cosplay is featured. She also includes six suggestions to help combat sexual harassment.

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It’s time for everyone to stop convention harassment in its tracks. Photo: Flickr/Mikemoi

Last week, Wired explored the phenomenon of convention harassment, and how–particularly in the absence of clearly articulated and enforced guidelines–harassment can become pervasive. Sometimes, these unfortunate incidents are the result of misunderstandings about convention etiquette. The social phenomena of large groups can make it more difficult know what the right ways to behave are in situations like conventions that are dramatically different from our homes and workplaces, or to step in when something happens that doesn’t seem right.

But social science isn’t destiny. So what are the boundaries, and how can attendees make sure that they don’t cross important lines of respect with friends, strangers, and even professionals? Here are six tips to help you avoid crossing the line, and six ways to support your friends if they’re being harassed.

1. Ask permission, not forgiveness–and keep your eyes up: Want to take a picture of a cosplayer? Ask, and ask politely, rather than snapping the picture covertly (these are some great suggestions on good and bad times and ways to approach cosplayers, and what you can and can’t ask for). If they say no, then accept that the answer is no–don’t try to sneak the shot in anyway. Under no circumstances should you take a picture that focuses on a single part of a cosplayer’s–or anyone else’s–body, rather than the whole person. And if you’re posing for a picture, getting something signed, or asking a question at a panel, keep your eyes on the camera, or the face of the person you’re talking to.

2. And think before you ask: There’s nothing wrong with asking challenging questions at a convention, if they’re about content. Asking a cosplayer or artist for a hug, kiss or date, or asking about their bodies as an excuse to leer at them–as happened to artist Mandy Caruso when she was dressed as the Black Cat during an interview–is something different. Those questions are all about you, not about the work that an artist put into their comics or a cosplayer put into their costume. If you want to compliment someone, stick to their creativity and skills, not their looks, no matter how attractive you might find them. After all, it’s insulting for someone who’s put an enormous amount of effort into a costume or a book to have that hard work ignored. And if you find someone less than attractive? Keep it to yourself.

3. Respect everyone else’s space: Harris O’Malley, who runs the geek dating site Paging Dr. Nerdlove, notes that conventions are prone to a couple of levels of space invasion. First, there’s the convention floor, where he advises against lingering around booths. “I’ve seen lots of dudes think that if they hung around long enough chatting awkwardly, the cute comic artist [or] writer of their dreams will accept their love [or] proposition,” he says. Pro tip? That’s a way to make yourself look like a pest, rather than a romantic prospect. If you’re taking a picture with a cosplayer, O’Malley says letting them set the pose, rather than moving in close and using a photo opportunity as a chance to touch the person. This can both produce a better picture, since the cosplay probably knows the best and more dynamic poses for the character, and help you avoid coming across as creepy.

Similarly, there’s the issue of approaching people in spaces where they can’t easily move away if they’re uncomfortable, which was at the heart of the the problem infamous incident where Skepchick founder Rebecca Watson was propositioned in an elevator at the World Atheist Convention. It may be tempting to make a move when you’ve got the opportunity, but consider whether you’re in a situation where the person would feel uncomfortable saying no. If that’s the case, be a gentleman, and pass. This is also part of basic party etiquette, which includes not backing people up against a wall, or into corners. “An easy way to avoid this is to stand next to someone and facing the same direction as them, instead of across from them,” O’Malley suggests. “It’s less intimidating and feels far less predatory.”

4. Be considerate about other people’s time: Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise novelist Max Gladstone says that, as someone who grew up not knowing many other nerds, “I have a perpetual sense of astonishment whenever I run into women who have opinions about Roger Zelazny or the end of Evangelion.” But he points out that when you’re talking to someone who shares your interests, or to an artist you admire, an easy way to come across poorly is to monopolize their time, especially if they seem like they aren’t interested in the conversation. As much as it’s exciting to meet fellow geeks and your nerd idols, remember that you don’t have a right to anyone else’s time and attention, much less a set amount of it. Knowing when your moment is up and exiting gracefully won’t just make you come across better to the people around you. It’ll help you preserve good memories, untainted by awkward endings.

5. Pay attention to the signals other people are sending you: To be fair, it can be hard to know when to bow out of a conversation, especially with someone you don’t know. O’Malley says to follow their eyes and look for sentence length. “If the person you’re talking to is responding enthusiastically, then everything’s great,” he says. “But if you’re getting shorter and more terse answers, doing more talking than listening and they’re either looking around the room or checking their phone or watch, they’re looking for a socially acceptable excuse to leave.”

6. Watch your drinking: It’s easy to feel like a convention that takes you far from home and lets you to hang out with friends or colleagues you only see once in a while is a great place to kick back and have few drinks. But while having one drink to loosen up around people you don’t know may be a pleasant social lubricant, zipping past your limits is a great way to alienate new friends who are just getting to know you (or know you in person) and destroy the positive impression you wanted to create of yourself as a fun person (or promising professional). Especially when you don’t know everyone you’re hanging out with well, alcohol makes it easy to crash through people’s boundaries, O’Malley warns: “A few drinks in and suddenly that line you think is hilarious and harmless is actually really offensive or creepy to everyone else.”

Of course, sexual harassment at conventions doesn’t just affect women (and men) who experience it. If you’re a guy, seeing a woman you care about as a friend, partner, or colleague get harassed, or hearing about it later, can be incredibly upsetting. But here are six great ways to be an ally to the women who you’ll be hanging out with in San Diego, stopping harassment before it happens, disrupting it when it’s underway, and reporting it afterwards, so Comic-Con can be a fun and safe experience for everyone involved.

1. Arm yourself with knowledge: San Diego Comic-Con–which takes the time to make clear how it will screen cosplayers’ weapons–doesn’t currently publicize its sexual harassment policy on its website. But there is a policy, which Wired received from convention representatives:

“Attendees must respect commonsense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and pass of any attendee not in compliance with this policy. Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security or a staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner.”

Also, regardless of the con-specific rules, California state law criminalizes both felony sexual assault and misdemeanor sexual battery. And if someone is at Comic-Con in a professional capacity, the fact that they’re at a convention doesn’t mean you can’t report them to their employer if they sexually harass another Comic-Con attendee, as the writer Elise Matheson decided to do recently after she was harassed at a convention. Knowing the law and your options means you’ll be prepared if you or a friend or colleague is harassed, and want to respond.

2. Let people know you’re on their side before you pick up your badge: Novelist John Scalzi, who recently said he’d no longer accept invitations to appear at conventions that don’t have clear, rigorous, well-promoted and well-enforced harassment policies, says one of the best ways to help other people have good convention experiences is to step up before something goes on. “If you’re going into a situation where your female friend might catch some crap, let her know ahead of time that if she needs you, you have her back,” he suggests. “She can determine what she needs and when, and can be in control of any intervention. This doesn’t mean you have to stand around like a bodyguard, just that you’re ready to help out if she needs you.”

3. If you see something, document something: Once you’re on the convention floor, O’Malley says the one exception to the rule about asking before you take pictures or video is when clear and obvious harassment is going down, and you need to collect evidence that could be useful for convention organizers, law enforcement, or someone’s employer later. Having documentation you can go back to is “easier than relying on a quick impression,” he says. “Plus, in a crowded venue like San Diego Comic-Con, it’s easy to get a case of mistaken identity… People can just fade into the teeming masses. A ‘caught in the act’ photo helps with that.” That doesn’t mean you should take it on yourself to dispense vigilante justice and distribute said photos or videos yourself. A great illustration of how those efforts can go wrong fast was the negative response to Adria Richards’ decision to tweet a photo of two men making jokes she found offensive at the open-source conference PyCon. Also, you also don’t want to humiliate someone who has been just been harassed by broadcasting their harassment for the world to see. So if you catch video or photos of something bad going down, offer it up to the person who was harassed as documentation for a potential report.

4. Don’t be afraid to deflect the situation: Scalzi recommends that if you see a friend or coworker in an uncomfortable situation that you “use your friend privileges for good. There have been times where I’ve seen female friends looking trapped by a dude, where I have gone over and said, ‘excuse me, I need to borrow my friend here for just a moment,’ and then gently extricated her to find out if everything was fine. If it is, no harm done and she can go back to her conversation. If it wasn’t then she can use that moment as an escape route, with me backing her up. Likewise there have been times when I have been talking with a female friend and some dude who has been making her uncomfortable comes up; I’ll tell that guy we’re having a private conversation, and that he should move along. This does mean you have to be willing to be seen as a jerk by this guy, but if this guy is making your friend uncomfortable, then that’s probably not going to be a problem.”

5. Offer yourself up as a sidekick, don’t try to be the superhero: It’s easy to get rage-y, thinking about the prospect of someone you care about being creeped on at a place where they’re supposed to be having a great time. But resist your fantasies of going all Kick-Ass on a harasser. Often, the best, most productive thing you can do is offer to be a sidekick, not a superhero. Listen to your friend while she’s processing her experiences. If she decides to file a report, offer to accompany her while she talks to convention organizers, the cops, or places a call to their harasser’s employer to file a report. Matheson specifically talks about how important it was to have had a friend with her when she reported her harassment. And if your friend has a bad experience talking to convention staff or to anyone else, you can be a valuable witness to that secondary experience. Sure, it means you might miss a screening or a signing. But taking time out to support a friend who’s been harassed is a way to make the convention experience better and safer for everyone in attendance. That’s heroism, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

6. Treat friends you’re meeting at Comic-Con for the first time like they’re your real friends:Gladstone acknowledges that conventions can present special challenges, because they can be meeting places for people who have mostly forged their relationships online. But he says that only increases the obligation to act if someone you care about is being made uncomfortable–or making other people uncomfortable. “Will we stop our ‘friends’ from doing something that they’d regret (as, I assume, we’d do with our real friends)?” he asks. “Will we help our ‘friends’ avoid unwanted attention; will we be there for them as we would for people we’ve known for years?” The answer to both of those questions, obviously, should be yes.

Original Wired Article

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