Imaginary Band

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Wow-64 2016-08-25 06-23-15-46

Yesterday a good friend of mine from my Wrath raiding days, showed back up in my life suddenly.  Now this isn’t exactly a strange occurrence because folks know that I tend to be the ring leader of a network of gamers.  I am the one that tends to be good at maintaining connections with folks regardless of what game we happen to be playing.  So an attempt to get in touch with me, generally also means an attempt to get back in touch with a gaming core of friends.  The strange part of this whole experience however is when a few years pass between speaking.  In this case, it seems like every few years our paths cross, the challenge being that large swaths of time pass between and my memory is often times spotty at best.  Thankfully most people are super forgiving about me remembering the super granular details…  and I seem to be relatively good at the large picture as a whole.  The thing with the impending release of Legion next week is that this has been happening an awful lot in my life.  Running around and doing Events, means that I have casually bumped into a lot of folks from my past…  some of which I was interested in rekindling friendship… and others not so much.  We talked about the mixed bag that playing World of Warcraft since launch is on the podcast this weekend.  There are friends that I adored, and would still do damned near anything to help…  and then there were folks who were super toxic influences and lead to a lot of the anxiety ridden struggles I had as a raid leader.  Coming back to this game… and the server I have played on since the beginning of it all…  means I am ultimately going to confront a good deal of both.

I remember thinking yesterday how cool it would be to “get the band back together” because I miss raiding with some of these people.  The key word being “some”, because ultimately I don’t really want the band back together at all.  I want a revised image in my head of the band.  I want this amalgam of a bunch of different raid teams, from a bunch of different eras of the game.  I want to create the “All-Star Team” from my memory, but the thing is…  my All-Star team is not really the best players.  I found out my ideals for who I wanted to play with were vastly different than that of my friends during Cataclysm.  We built what we supposed to be the “best” team to raid with, for 10 man…  but my best was completely different than their best.  Ultimately when creating my team I would want to play with the folks I had the most fun with…  some of them were also the absolute worst at standing in fire.  They were fun to be around and invigorated my enjoyment of the game, and I didn’t give a damn if we had to take forever trying to learn this fight or another because their presence made me happy.  It is moments like these that I realize I play a vastly different game than most people do.  I play a game made up of the people sitting behind the screen at their keyboard, hanging out with me on a nightly basis… and not a game of abilities and number crunching.  At the end of the day for me at least, playing for victories is ultimately a hollow experience unless I did so with the people I enjoy playing with the most.

In a lot of ways this is what makes the Final Fantasy XIV raid group so special is that it is a bit of an amalgam of the two.  These are all people that I greatly enjoy playing with, but at the end of the day are also extremely good at the game.  Hell there are so many nights I feel like I am the “bad” that is being carried to victory.  While I largely said I would swear off raiding in Legion…  there is a big part of me that wishes he could form this same sort of group in World of Warcraft.  I want raiding to be a focus on having fun with friends and doing something together that we can’t necessarily do apart.  By the same token though, I don’t want to be concerned with damage meters, or reviewing the logs after the raid.  I don’t want to care if someone stood in the fire too long… or if we could do something more efficiently.  I want to just have a night hanging out with friends, talking on voice chat and killing bosses…  hopefully getting some sweet loot in the process.  The problem being that I don’t think World of Warcraft is that game, or at least its raid game… isn’t that game.  Final Fantasy XIV I can go into a fight not knowing anything about it… and learn everything I know from a series of attempts because it messages the mechanics extremely well.  World of Warcraft, I realistically need to read the dungeon guide and some third party sites to fully understand the mechanics of the fight and what I am supposed to be doing to counter them.  That is a huge difference, because one I can discover the fight with friends… and the other feels like homework.

Legion launches next week and I really don’t know what it has planned for me yet.  I am enjoying the game, and I am enjoying making my own way through it.  I am not sure if raiding will be part of that greater picture, but in the end I am going to try going with the flow.  So many times I have had a raid that I knew I was gearing for, when an expansion launched.  As a result I felt like I needed to push through the content to get raid ready within a weeks time.  This time around…  I am more focused on which character I am going to level first and which zone I am going to start in.  I have never gone into an expansion before with a complete set of characters, and ultimately liking something about each and every one of them.  If enough of these old familiar faces stick around… then I think I might want to try my hand at raiding again.  I am not super concerned with doing much more than 10 player/flex raiding if I do however.  Another thing that I would really like to do is set up a night to work on older raid achievements and get folks some awesome mounts.  I know there are several tiers where I am one or two achievements away from my own mounts.  The problem being that there just are not enough nights in the week to try and schedule things on, and continue to play other games.  Whatever the case I am trying my best to go into the Legion expansion with an open mind, and not really focused too tightly on what I am going to do… and when I am going to do it.  This is undiscovered territory for me, and it is going to be interesting to see what comes of it.

 

Can’t Quit It

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Finally Finished

DONEWITHEVENTS

For most of this week I have been coming up with events in time when I thought I would be finally finished with the Legion Event.  Last night by all purposes should have been the end for me.  I managed to get the final item I was missing on my Demon Hunter, and you can now see the pretty spreadsheet is now at least largely complete.  Early on I decided that trying to get an offset weapon for everyone was going to be absolute futility.  Instead I started focusing on the weapon that I thought I would actually level my character with, so for my Paladin that meant a Retribution Two-Hander and so on.  Lodin my hunter I managed to get both a spear and a bow just because on my very first invasion I got the spear and had the foresight to immediately swap loot specs.  On all of these characters, I am not squabbling over who has Warforged and who doesn’t because I realize about an hour into the new content everything I am wearing will have been replaced.  All I was really looking for out of these events was a way to ease the leveling transition from “just dinged 100” to “ready for legion”.

Most of my characters before this event were sitting in a pretty raw 630ish state because I leveled them up and then never really played them.  My goal is to change that with Legion since on every single character there is a spec that I really find enjoyable.  The weird part about this for me is how I am suddenly no longer mentally blocked against casters.  I had a lot of fun recently leveling my Priest and Mage through the Legion Event, and I had an absolutely blast leveling my Warlock legitimately.  For years I have had this thing against “Finger Wigglers” and anyone around me for more than a few minutes in a game is likely to hear about it.  I am not sure what changed, but I have a feeling it is related to Final Fantasy XIV.  Over there I actually and legitimately enjoyed leveling as an Arcanist, and have been enjoying doing the Palace of the Dead as a Scholar.  Similarly I really enjoyed the little bit of time I spent leveling Black Mage, all of which maybe whittled down my resistance to not wearing plate armor and wielding a huge weapon?  The only bad part about all of this is that I have next to no good cosmetic gear for cloth wearers, so at some point I will be wrecking old content as a Warlock in the hopes of fixing this transmog gap.

The Keep Pulling Me Back In

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So last night for a brief period of time I thought I was good and done with the Legion Event…  then I got home and noticed that they were active in all six zones at a time.  So I decided to dip my toes into the pool and see how the waters were…  and next thing I know it I am running around zones with only a ground mount chasing the wave of folks clearing the content.  Doing the events on a low enough level character that cannot fly is frustrating… but shockingly effective.  At the beginning of the night, this was my level 24 Orc Warlock named Belghula…  and at the end of the night I was sitting at level 54.  Remember a few days back when I posted about Lore’s comments?  It doesn’t matter if their intent was to allow players to catch up their alts or not, the end result and the subsequent tweaks have made that exactly what the Legion Event shines at.  I realize I could be doing something else… and I even should be doing something else…  but I am having a really hard time stopping the machine.  This elevator ride has such good music and interesting prospects that I keep getting right back on it.  I am honestly not sure if I have enough time to get this one all the way to 100 before the end of this event, especially given that I really need to be doing other things…  but if nothing else I have leap past the old world content that I find the most frustrating right now.

Cataclysm was not good for the old world, and right now the leveling experience feels extremely disjointed.  The clear flow of zone to zone feels broken, given that a few minutes into each zone you’ve leveled to the point where you really should be moving to the next one.  There are two sides of me that are in constant competition when I am leveling.  The side that wants to finish quests… and the side that realizes the most efficient way to level is to jump zones the moment the Adventure Guide highlights and shows you have a new quest to start a brand new area.  I realize I am leveling with full Heirlooms… and that is a side effect of that, but in truth I am largely doing that so that I don’t have to worry about gear until I reach the end of the tunnel.  Nothing would make me happier than them releasing heirloom items for the rest of the slots, because that helms me circumvent one of my instincts while leveling characters.  I love getting gear… but more than anything it is that I want to be as well geared as I can be at any point in the process.  So I keep looking for upgrades so that I don’t feel “weak” while leveling, and the presence of heirlooms means I am at least geared “well enough” at every step in the process.  At least on some level though, it would be nice if the experience boost was something you could toggle off if you wanted to “stay awhile and listen” as it were… and experience the content as it was originally designed.

A New Tank Enters

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Down to Goblin Town

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This morning I am having one hell of a hard time getting started, largely because it feels like I don’t really have a whole lot to talk about.  It was a Monday night, and that means raiding in Final Fantasy XIV.  However it was also a night that I was seeming to have a pretty frustrating migraine headache.  So in truth it was a good thing that we were breaking in a brand new tank… or at least one new to our group.  Pixel Executioner I am pretty sure is something that once upon a time I knew from the Blog Azeroth community, but thanks to the miracle of the fact that everyone seems to be connected on the internet I am getting to know him again thanks to Neph.  Pix had apparently never quite finished the original run of Alex so we started our evening there, with turn four otherwise known as “Burden of the Father”.  This went down in really short measure, and so long as you are tanking the boss…  you really don’t have a clue there are any mechanics that need to be dealt with.  The only thing as the boss tank that you have to worry about is Discoid which signals you are just about to take a ton of damage.   As a result this was the absolute perfect first tanking foray of the evening to break him into the rhythm.

After that we moved into the next part of Alexander and ran through the next four turns.  The awesome thing about this is that it gave me a nice little break between fights to kinda chill out and try really hard to forget my head was trying to kill me.  I am pleasantly surprised where we have come as a group, because I remember struggling a little bit when we first did Alex Midas, but last night it seemed really easy.  Well that is until we reached turn seven…  which has a significant amount of madness going on.  The awesome thing there is that we finally learned how to mechanic one of the phases.  Previously the answer to getting through the fire jail was just to have rez ready to go to bring back whoever happened to get locked in it.  Instead this time we learned that during the fire phase you just stand still and do nothing until your group brings you out of it.  If you move however… you die… and we were trying to do stuff and move…  which is apparently a bad idea?  The best part about the night is that we managed to actually finish the second Alex for Pix.  We were coming down the to the end of our normal run time, and I honestly thought we did not have anywhere near enough time to finish.  However we managed to pull a victory out on the final boss… having only gone about five minutes over our normal close time.

It was a really great night and apparently luck was on my side.  For awhile now I had been sitting on one of pretty much all of the items needed for the various armors that require two items.  Over the course of the evening apparently the game decided it liked me, because I won a significant number of rolls and suddenly shot up in item level.  I managed to complete the arms last week, but this week I managed to complete helm, boots and belt bringing my item level up to a respectable 113.  At some point I really need to spend some time getting back in game and finishing off my weapon in Palace of the Dead, because there were several moments last night when the fact that Pix my co-tank had one… made it harder to maintain threat.  In all honesty I have been struggling to remain interested in Final Fantasy XIV.  I am enjoying raid nights, but I am simply not wanting to put any of the other time in to make sure I am geared enough.  Which I know has to be frustrating to my raid mates.  I feel like I am fairly horribly geared as a whole, at least compared to what I could be.  The problem being when I sit down after a long day of work… I keep logging into World of Warcraft instead of Final Fantasy XIV.  Especially with the launch of Legion happening next week… my FFXIV time is likely to continue to be in Triage mode for awhile.

Listless

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Wow-64 2016-08-20 17-39-50-37

The past week was hyper focused on a single goal… getting Belgaoh my monk from 53 to 100.  The weird thing about this process is that once completed… I am finding myself drifting a bit without purpose.  The above screenshot is unrelated to anything, but I thought it looked cool so you are getting it with this mornings post.  Starting yesterday I begin finally running my stable of characters through the Broken Shore content.  I managed to snag all of the toys, and troll shoes transmog from my single leel 100 horde character, and on my second time through on an alliance character successfully got the bonnet cosmetic item.  I am assuming that tomorrow there will be a new step on the quest chain being patched in, and this time around we will actually do the moving of Dalaran to the Broken Isles bit.  Tonight is our Final Fantasy XIV raid, so that means I will go into this weeks patch not having run Broken Shores on the bulk of my characters.  At least in theory the content isn’t going anywhere so I shouldn’t feel that much of a rush to push through it.  I think this content will essentially be the “welcome to Legion” content for everyone from this point on wards.  I will say it was really strange buzzing right past the quest starter for Cataclysm, Pandaria and Draenor on the monk.  I think I have all of the quests sitting in my log, because they are given automatically when you zone into Stormwind, but I am not sure when if ever I am going to do them.  At this moment I am contemplating using the Timeless Isle port to get to Draenor, but then again that would mean I need to open up Pandaria to get to it.

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Even though I have completed one journey to 100… I am finding that I cannot seem to quit the Invasion Event.  A good chunk of yesterday was also spent running characters through the event trying to get the last few 700 items for each.  I managed to finish off Lodin and Tallow last night, which leaves Gloam, Exeter and Belglaive all needing a single item slot.  Belglaive is a little more complicated because I used that character to purchase the pet, and as a result he is still missing several of the purchased pieces of gear.  I just need to run ANY instances on him to get that finished off.  I do have his Glaives upgraded to 725, and I have started a second set mooching off of everyone else’s spare tokens to upgrade them for my eventual Horde demon hunter.  I wish the other weapons worked like this, in that they were bind on account and you could pass them around as needed.  Some characters I have gotten more than my fair share of weapons… and then others like Exeter have yet to see a single one.  I have this feeling that ultimately it is going to be Ex my Paladin that I will continue to run events on, as I try and get three weapons for him.  The other big thing that I need to accomplish before this event is over is to try and find the Demon that spawns in Orgrimmar and Stormwind and get a Fel Spreader toy.  I failed to get one the two times I tried it yesterday, with the one in Orgrimmar bugging out and running back to the Doomsayer and fading.

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The big thing I have learned over the years is that I have a lot of fun playing World of Warcraft, so long as I have a goal in mind.  For example this last week has been a blast as I leveled my way through to 100 doing events.  In theory I could pick a Horde character and start doing the same, but I don’t really have any that are nearly as close to finish as my Monk was.  Doing the event without flight was a pain in the butt, and I am not sure if I want to go back to that frustration right now.  If I was going to pick a character on that side of the fence I would probably pick my Warlock since I have really enjoyed playing my Alliance lock… and I have full cloth heirlooms.  Similarly I have full leather heirlooms, but of the leather classes the one I am most likely to play… is the Demon Hunter, which is easy as hell to get to 100.  I do however have the cash to just go ahead and outfit my plate heirlooms up to 100 and then push something else that I would likely play.  My Orc Deathknight is sitting at 60, so flight is possible, even if it is a slow version.  I might be fun to be able to use this event to play with one of the other specs like Frost or Unholy.  If the next goal is NOT the event however… I need to pick something be it Mount Farming or Dungeon Achievements because so long as I can keep a list of things I want to do… I will be able to stay engaged in this game.  I really am having a lot of fun being around all of these people again.  It is a bit like a reunion, because everywhere I turn on Argent Dawn I keep running into familiar faces from the past.  I know we have roughly a week until the official launch of Legion, and with that comes a whole new set of goals so I just need to keep busy in the meantime.

The Top Floor

97_chests

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Off and on throughout this event I have used the “elevator” metaphor to explain how the experience bonus of the invasions has felt.  It started off as a steady elevator, and then took a bunch of detours for maintenance.  However at the end the final version felt like it was picking up speed as I finished the climb towards the top.  The other day Devolore made a comment about this invasion that I think is worth sharing.

devolore_comment

While I realize the goal of the event was not to level everything to 100… that is precisely what I set out to do.  Before the initial change I managed to get my Priest from 92 to 100, and then turned around and got my Mage from 90 to 100.  That left only my little monk that starting last Wednesday was sitting at only level 53.  In the last four days I have finished the climb to 100, finally dinging off of an invasion last night after we wrapped up recording the podcast.  It was a wild ride filled with pure madness, but overall it was an enjoyable one.  This is the feeling I have been chasing for awhile, going into an expansion knowing that every single character on at least my primary server was ready to go and awaiting the next content release.  There are a bunch of things I learned on the trip, and I took care last night to log some of my findings.  The rest of this post is likely going to be a bunch of bullet points explaining what all I found out.

  • It took a total of 49 Invasions to go from level 53 to 100
  • I was wearing full heirlooms the entire way, so adjust accordingly
  • That makes it .95 levels per invasion completed
  • I saved 97 loot boxes while doing the even, 49 Blue, 48 Green.

The Loot

97_chests

This is what 97 loot boxes from the event looks like sitting in my bank.  I saved every single one from the moment I started climbing from 53 to 100, in a large part because I wanted a bunch of information to be able to draw conclusions from.  On a whim I ended up opening all of my Green chests first, and they my Blue chests… which caused me to notice a pattern.

Phase 2 – Small Legion Chest – Can Contain

  • Bracers
  • Gloves
  • Belt
  • Boots
  • Weapons

Phase 4 – Large Legion Chest – Can Contain

  • Helm
  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Pants
  • Weapons
  • Coalesced Fel

In the course of the events I ran I got 118 items to drop from the chests, and around 2000 nethershards… but I was not keeping as good of track on that number as I did the others.  As I opened the boxes I recorded the what dropped and divided up level 700, 710 and 720 drops in the hopes of being able to pull some percentages together on the chance of each.

Level 700 Item Drops

  • Helm – 9
  • Shoulders – 13
  • Chest – 10
  • Bracers – 11
  • Gloves – 11
  • Belt – 8
  • Pants – 9
  • Boot – 6
  • Weapon – 14
  • Coalesced Fel – 9

Level 710 Item Drops

  • Helm – 2
  • Shoulders – 1
  • Bracers – 2
  • Gloves – 1
  • Belt – 3
  • Pants – 1
  • Boots – 5

Level 720 Item Drops

  • Shoulders – 1
  • Belt – 1
  • Pants – 1

So in total I got 100 level 700 drops, 15 level 710 drops, and 3 level 720 drops.  Using some quick and dirty math that means that I got a Warforged 710 item 12% of the time, and a 720 item 2.5% of the time.  In any case… my Monk is likely going to be my best geared character once I complete the Broken Shores content and get my ring and trinket.  Leveling through Invasions was often times frustration… but overall it was an extremely enjoyable experience.  I would love to say I would do this same rough on my hordies… but with only nine days until the launch of Legion I just am not sure if I have that sort of grind in me.  More than likely I will be focusing on filling the gear holes in my various characters, and pushing them all through the broken shores and follow-up content.

Fixed Mostly

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The Wild Ride

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The last two weeks have been a bit of a roller-coaster of nerfs and buffs to the Legion Event.  When I first wrote Monday about the “elevator” it was really simple and fast to get a character through the levels, and it didn’t even require much attention to detail.  Simply being in the zone allowed you to reap the entire lions share of experience.  This unfortunately lead to a bit of a plague of afk leveling, because players would park in a relative safe spot and just wait for the phases to complete.  The irony here is that I didn’t actually do this myself until the first round of nerfs, taking the experience down so much that the event didn’t really feel worthwhile.  The positive takeaway of this experience is that Blizzard kept trying different combinations to see if they could find the sweet spot.  I know of at least four different hotfixes that were applied to tweak this variable or that until we wound up with the one that happened last night, and seems to FINALLY restore the event to a level that isn’t AFK leveling, but still feels like you aren’t wasting your time.  Also the new version of the event seems to reward group player, and dissuade players from some of the antisocial behavior that had sprung up.

For a period of time your best bet was to find a quiet corner of the zone to camp for demons and solo everything you could.  This however lead players to getting rather vocal when someone was encroaching upon their turf.  I mean I get the frustration because it could literally half your experience gained if another player touched whatever you had been soloing.  A drive by dot could wreck your experience, and as a result folks were somewhat understandably grumpy about the experience.  You can read my own twitter feed full of random comments about this over the week, so on several levels I have been grumpy as well.  Since I have been writing about it I thought this morning I would talk about the various methods I have personally experiences, and which have good results if you are going into these events hunting experience for leveling, rather than loot boxes.  You admittedly end up with more lootboxes than you could ever want as well, but that is just a fringe benefit.

Your Own Private Army

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Scattered throughout the Invasion zones are a number of NPCs that can be saved.  Several of them will fight along side you when you save them, and are really handy.  I am sure I don’t have a full list, but here are some of the ones I know about and have used.

I am certain there are more, but wowhead is freaking out this morning.  I know at some point I also had a dwarven hunter lady while out in Tanaris.  Essentially they are scattered throughout the battlefield, and in Westfall they are often times inside the farm houses.  Rescuing them essentially allows you to take things down more quickly because you have a battle minion following you around and attacking whatever you happen to be attacking.  For example if I have the Crusader I tend to go after the huge mini-boss type baddies because the stun effects them and allows me to shred them.  If I have one of the AOE minions… then I tend to focus on large packs because they will chew them up with AOE damage.  I am not sure how many of these you can have at once, but I have for certain had two up at once and been just fine.  Essentially when you have a couple of these battle minions up, you can run throughout the zone looking for packs of Legion mobs and shredding them for experience.

Vehicular Demonslaughter

The option one of my friends tends to favor is to grab one of the many vehicles scattered around the battlefield and start laying waste to baddies with it.  There is a shockingly wide variety of these available.  For the alliance I know we have Dwarven Steam Tanks, Gnomish Spiders, and Darnassian Glaive Throwers.  Similarly there are horde options as well including some weird undead thing that throws bombs.  Once again the idea is to grab a tank, and just go to town wrecking as many demons as you can before you run out of fuel.  Fuel being a buff that you get that shows how long you can be active in the vehicle.  Personally I have had the best luck with the Steam Tanks because they allow you to just brute force large packs of mobs at once.  Demolishers I think play a similar role for the horde, and allow you to just storm into a Legion camp and destroy everything in your path.

Chase the Skulls

Now personally after the patch I think this is the best option for maximum experience gain… and it seems like everyone else has caught on as well.  Boss fights reward a silly amount of experience now.  In my 70s last night I was getting 45k-60k experience per boss kill, and the various mobs scattered throughout the map and marked with Skulls in phase three… count as bosses.  So new best way to gain experience seems to be to chase these around the zone, and I say chase because there will be a massive amount of flying mounts heading in one direction or another.  The key here however is to stay alive.  This is my only real complaint about the changes… is that with placing so much emphasis on boss kills, you are completely screwed if you are dead while the boss is taken down.  If you are dead you get exactly zero experience for the boss kill, and makes the entire process a complete waste of your time.  As a result you have to play super cautiously, especially as you near the end of the bosses health bar.  I tend to disengage from melee range and use my extremely crappy channeled range attack just to make sure I am on the threat list of the boss but also giving myself maximum room to duck away in case of one of the many one shot boss abilities.  Overall the changes are much better than they have been…  and in truth you can end up with a lot more experience per invasion than you could even before the first round of nerfs.  The big difference is that you have to be extremely active and constantly moving around zone and fighting to make that happen.  Ultimately I think that was what they were going for, and I wanted to reward activity that helps the invasion out… and not activity that happens to get in through a loophole.

 

Slow News Day

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For lack of a better term, yesterday was a slow news day… at least in terms of me and gaming.  A handful of times a year I go out with some co-workers to RiffTrax and last night was the live show for Mothra.  I say live show… because in Nashville the Rifftrax crew genuinely is doing this live… and simulcast to the various theaters around the country.  We’ve talked about how great it would be to sit there in the theater and experience it in person…  but that would be like a nine hour drive.  Also the RiffTrax show is always on “a school night” which would make work the next day super awkward and staying over in Nashville even more bizarre.  The interesting aside from last night is that I apparently had either not seen Mothra… or did not remember it at all.  In truth when I think Mothra… I think Mothra vs Godzilla.  Growing up there was a local UHF channel that used to have “themed” weeks during the summer.  There would be one week where they played all of the Spiderman movies, or another week where they played nothing but Bruce Lee.  One of the weeks was always every single Godzilla movie, and I remember watching those as a kid and enjoying them greatly.  Mothra on the other hand…  was just way more bizarre than I ever realized.  Also as the RiffTrax folks kept pointing out… for a movie about Mothra she didn’t spend much time on screen.  The “Riffs” were of course plentiful and one of the more awesome things about going to several of these live shows… is that they keep making call backs to previous ones.  Both Merlin and the Ice Cream Bunny made appearances at least in joke form.

As far as gaming goes I did manage to get about an hour in before I finally collapsed, and during that time I mostly just worked on trying to get drops from the invasions.  Right now it seems like everyone is for the most part either finished gearing… or one slot away from it.  I’ve made a lot of progress in knocking stuff off in my spreadsheet, and at least feel like I am in a better place than I was earlier.  It does get frustrating when you need a single item… but keep getting nothing but bracers for example.  What I seem to be missing follows…

  • Exeter – Paladin – Gloves
  • Lodin – Hunter – Shoulders
  • Tallow – Shaman – Legs
  • Gloam – Rogue – Gloves
  • Belglaive – Demon Hunter – Grinding out Purchased Items
  • Belghast – Warrior – It’s Complicated

Right now I am mostly focused on that last one.  Belghast was my best geared character going into this event, so some of the items are simply not upgrades… unless I happen to warforge them.  Even then some of the slots are not worth it unless I get the 720 warforged versions.  The main thing for him however is gloves and a set of weapons because at least in my Fury set I only have a pair of 690 axes.  I am not sure at what point I call it “good” however, because really I feel like my 11 level 100 characters are all in a reasonable place for leveling in the Legion expansion, which ultimately was my entire point in doing any of the events.  At some point soon I am going to shift my focus over to the Monk and see how close I can get to pushing him over the level 100 line before the expansion actually hits.  I am not sure why but it just feels like it would be awesome to say I went into this expansion will a full stable of level 100 characters… at least on Argent Dawn my primary server.

The “Main” Problem

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Shakes Fist

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Over the last few days my friend Grace and often times partner in crime in online games…  has been talking about how she should finish up her legendary ring.  I stalled out on both caring about this item and caring about grinding for it at some point.  I didn’t remember how many Chaos Tomes I had collected, but I knew it “wasn’t enough”.  I guess at some point they greatly jacked up the drop rate of these things, and I simply had not run any Hellfire Citadel content after this happened.  The problem is that this little back and forth planted the seeds in my head, that I too should go ahead and finish mine up.  This was only furthered when I noticed that I was sitting at 24 of 33 tomes in my inventory.  With each boss now having a nearly 100% drop rate that means that in a single night I could get enough tomes to finish up this step.  I thought surely I had to be close to the end by now, and could potentially push across the finish line for no reason other than to say I did it.  So for the bulk of last night I threw myself at the LFR system, sometimes it went well… other times not so much.  Namely when I zoned into Archimonde I had an instant 6 stack of determination, and for whatever reason on Bastion of Shadows the tank kept pulling before even half the raid was at a given boss.  However all of these things aside… I managed to get my tomes rather quickly and turned in the quest… finally now understanding what the hell happened to Cordana.  Side note I always read this as Cortana…  but I guess it really isn’t spelled that way at all.

I turned everything in waiting for my ring… only to realize that I was just about to get kneecapped by this quest chain.  You have to understand something… I hate the shipyard.  I have begrudgingly done a handful of quests to get my chest every few weeks, but otherwise have not really done shit in there.  I somehow knew in the back of my mind that this was probably going to bite me in the ass at some point.  Apparently to complete the legendary ring you need to have completed a series of 2 day long shipyard “legendary” missions, and while I am fairly sure I have run some of these….  I cannot for the life of me remember how many.  The only thing to do as a result is to just start running them now and hoping I can get through them in all before the 30th.   Ultimately this is going to be the bit that kills my bid for the ring, because I have done little to no effort to properly gear any of my ships.  So basically I am going to need a lot of luck going into these missions and just hope that I don’t have to repeat them.  So now I am shaking my fist at Grace for planting this damned fool quest in my brain…  because I suddenly apparently care about completing the Legendary ring.  If I am reading the quest line correctly… I am guessing I MIGHT be on the fourth part of the quest… the one that has to be completed before you do the mission to actually collect your Draenic Sea Charts.  So maybe this won’t be as bad as I am fearing in the end.

Abandoning “Main”

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Yesterday I talked a little bit about my dilemma of trying to pick a main.  I think that maybe the core problem is that I feel like I need to have one.  Mains have traditionally been a construct designed for raiding, so that you can focus your efforts on gearing one character to be the best you possibly can be in a raiding context.  While I might do some raiding, that is going to be far from my focus in Legion.  I want to do some of the mythic five player content, but even then I am not sure how serious I am going to be about it.  Maybe the construct of having a main is working against my enjoyment of this game.  I think back to the times that I enjoyed the most, and I absolutely had a raiding main character, but I also had an army of alts that I cared equally about.  Some of the most enjoyable times for me personally were farming these alts to friends raids, and getting to see content as something other than Belghast/Lodin/Belgrave depending on whcih my main was.  Hell Belghast was an answer to me not really liking raiding as a hunter, and I leveled it with the purpose of having cool stuff to do when not strapped to huntering.  So as someone for whom the alts have always been of the utmost importance…  how did I think I would ever be happy trying to focus mostly on just one of them.

That said there needs to be a sort of pecking order when it comes to leveling them.  I did not want to run LFR as a tank last night, that is a package of stress and frustration that I was simply not willing to take upon myself.  So as a result I figured out the new fury spec and spent the evening testing it out.  The end result is… that I think I like it quite a bit.  I have come back and forth on fury over the years… and the previous incarnation with Draenor was not really my thing.  This Legion version however is awesome, and I was having a blast playing it.  So much so that I think I might choose the Fury artifact weapon first, and then later pick up the tanking set.  I think for a lot of reasons Belghast is going to be the first character I level in Legion.  I mean he is the actual and for real “Belghast” not my army of “Belg” named characters.  Additionally Fury is a really fun DPS spec once again, and then Protection is a very familiar feeling tanking spec that I am more than comfortable doing content with.  So for the first we will honor tradition and for lack of a better term the warrior will be my “main”.  That said I plan on following it up quickly with several of the other classes that I have enjoyed like Demon Hunter, Warlock, Rogue and Shaman.

 

Elevator Broken

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Fun While it Lasted

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On Monday I wrote about riding this new Legion Event to 100 on several of my characters, and how holding chests allowed me to instantly have viable level capped characters upon dinging.  At least the second part of that statement is true now, but sadly the first part…  not so much.  It seems yesterday they patched the servers to increase the spawn rate of events, but greatly decrease the experience gained from each.  While this is technically a net gain… it is also a whole lot of busy work to gain it.  Previously on my Monk in his 50s/60s I was gaining at least one full levels worth of experience from each event I participated in.  So that mean’t every four hours, I could run two events with him and then still have time to swap in some other alts for gearing purposes.  As of yesterday I was getting a little less than half of a level of experience per event participated in.  That means during the same four hour window, there are now a total of six events, instead of two…  and as a result if experience stays roughly half a level that means I gain 3 levels instead of 2 before.  The gotcha however is that you spend almost every second of that four hours either participating in an event or travelling to the next one, and in my experience I had no real time to swap in that many alts to also attempt to get gear.  Given how fast experience is gained through questing, it also feels like during that same four hour block I could probably do significantly better than three levels.

What made the “elevator” nice is that I could more casually swap in my lower level alts, and still have time to do the ones I was trying to get gear for.  Now instead I have to make a choice between getting the gear from the event, or leveling.  I mean I get why they did this, because they really want folks to focus on the gear and not the easy ticket leveling.  I am just glad that I managed to pull my Priest from 92 to 100, and my Mage from 90 to 100 before the elevator broke.  As a result I am tabling my Monk for the moment, at least until I finish getting all of the rest of my stable of 11 characters fully geared in 700 or better items from the event.  Technically Belghast my Draenor main has the least stuff from the event, but he also has 700 or better in most of his slots already.  Other than that my rogue really is the one missing the most gear, so I will be working on him next.  Exeter my Paladin is missing a weapon, Lodin my hunter Shoulders, and Tallow my Shaman a handful of items.  Instead of focusing entirely on the Monk I am going to work on getting these characters the last of the missing pieces so that they are in a better state to be prepared for leveling them in Legion.  I have this feeling that 700 is essentially the place they are expecting us to be at for the new content, and even though we will be swapping all of it out for better gear almost instantly it should at least ease that transition.

Unknown Main

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I am hoping over the next few days to be able to reach a point where I am completely okay hopping off the event train.  While it has been a fun ride chasing the skulls around the zones, I have to say I have neglected other important things during the process.  For example I have yet to complete the Broken Shore quest chain in live on any of my characters.  While I did it a bunch of times in Beta and have since seen the cinematics I missed… with the patching in of more quest content I feel like I need to get on the ball and start in with this.  More than anything this expansion feels really different, and in a good way.  I like the way that they seem to be easing us into the content with the invasion, and the head start into Broken Shore or the Demon Hunter experience.  It feels like we are having this rolling soft launch more than waiting for the 30th to flip the switch and have everyone rush into doing exactly the same stuff.  My hope is this is going to allow us to have a more staggered experience with different groups of people progressing through the content at different speeds.  I know personally I will likely be starting the new content in Stormheim, but that is largely because it feels like this great big love letter to Northrend.

The biggest challenge however still yet to be solved is… I have zero clue what my main is going to be.  There are a bunch of different classes that I really enjoy right now.  I love Vengeance Demon Hunter, I think in part because of its mobility and the ability to get places due to double jump and glide which comes in super handy in the new content.  I also am completely in love with Lodin my Hunter… because I am finally getting to play out that fantasy of being a melee hunter.  Belghast and Belgrave are both strong contenders because well… I tend to level tanks first, but in both cases they don’t necessarily feel that new or fresh but more the same.  I am also loving Tallow my Enhancement Shaman and Gloam my Outlaw Rogue… but they will more than likely be relegated to the back burner.  The character that I love that I am shocked to admit it though is my Demonology Warlock.  It is actually a really strong contender for getting leveled quickly, because I have enjoyed playing it so much.  Now however you can see the problem… I am loving this game at the moment because I am loving a lot of my characters at the same time.  There however has to be a first… and I am still completely up in the air as to who that is going to be.

Game Changer

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In Another Castle

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Last night was my raid night in Final Fantasy XIV, but before hand my key focus was trying to get my Mage to 100.  I am not exactly sure what has lit a fire under me, but I am on this mission to have at least one server full with level 100 characters.  As you can see in the above image, I am actually extremely close to getting there.  Now granted I have the OTHER side of my linked server to start working on…  but Belgaoh my Monk remains the only sub-100 character I have on Argent Dawn.  The only problem there is he is SIGNIFICANTLY behind the curve sitting at only level 53 right now.  I keep thinking that if I can get on at the right time, and have at least one easy to get to invasion event I will be able to push him through to 60 so that he can fly, which is going to be the key to getting more events on him.  As of yesterday I thought I was nearing the end of the gear grind and even created a spreadsheet as an attempt to track progress in outfitting my characters in level 700 gear.  The take away from that process seemed like I was going to spend the next several days working on my leather wearers to catch them up in progression.

gamechanger

Then this happened.  I opened I believe 34 chests that I had gathered up on the mage in leveling from 90 to 100, and out of those chests seven different items came up as warforged.  Apparently yesterday during the day at some point they patched in the ability for chests to spawn warforged gear, meaning that all of those characters I thought I had finished with really have only scratched the surface.  I still think however my core mission is to get all of my characters outfitted in at least 700 gear, and if some of them get more trips to the candy shop in the hopes of finding warforged… then that is fine too.  Ultimately I realize that all of this gear is going to be replaced within the first few minutes of questing in the Broken Isles.  However for the time being I think this is probably a brilliant idea.  The longer they can keep players actively participating in this event the better, because for the time being it is an amazing source of leveling and gear for everyone involved.  I somehow doubt I will be able to get my monk all of the way to 100 in the short time available without focusing ENTIRELY on the monk, but I am definitely going to ride the elevator for as long as I can.

End of Expansion

One of the things I am realizing is that I apparently love the end of expansions.  Cataclysm was the expansion that broke me and my desire to be playing World of Warcraft, causing me to fade away and go play other games.  However I remember clearly that towards the end of the expansion I came back and really enjoyed myself.  There was so much to be doing, and everyone had a great casual attitude about it all.  For me personally I knew that nothing I was doing really mattered in the grand scheme of things, because as soon as Pandaria was released every last piece of gear I gathered would be replaced with greens.  So in this low pressure environment I allowed myself to piddle around without purpose and had a complete blast.  Similarly I remember coming back at the end of Pandaria and having the same fun experience, running around aimlessly on the timeless isle and doing all the little things that were fun but served no major purpose.  Here I find myself once again in a similar pattern with Draenor, and I feel completely in my zone.  The problem is that I wish I knew how to bottle this feeling and keep it alive during the rest of the expansion.

I am not sure how to take the joy that I feel at the end of an expansion when I am unfettered by expectations and pressures…. and keep that alive during the rest of the game.  There is a switch that flips in my brain when an expansion launches that says “okay Bel, you need to be useful… go grind your face off”.  I wish I knew how to turn that switch off completely because I think that is the thing that keeps getting in my way when it comes to enjoying an MMO for the long haul.  I essentially burn myself out, over and over… game after game… by focusing on some lofty goal that I cannot accomplish without significant help from others.  I end up ignoring the goals that are entirely up to me to complete, and those are probably the things that I technically enjoy more.  I have had a blast alting my way to 100 over the last few weeks and bringing my own personal army up to snuff.  As I look towards Legion, and Starfall Prophecy and whatever the Final Fantasy XIV expansion ends up being… I need to figure out how to keep this magic from the end of an expansion alive every single day I play the game.