Glutton Axe

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Yesterday I had the day off and spent a good deal of it playing Monster Hunter World.  I allowed myself to get distracted by seeking out a weapon that was shockingly easy to craft.  Essentially I had been trying to determine which of the switch axes I would go after first.  The clear obvious choice is the Diablos one… the problem there is I really don’t want to go right back to grinding Diablos nonstop to get the parts I would need for it…  which are again are Majestic and Black Spiral Horns.  Instead I decided to set my sights considerably lower, on something I could probably farm up in my sleep.

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The Jagras line doesn’t exactly have a ton of amazing weapons, but in the switch axe department it is a pretty reasonable option.  Its low point is it is only a Rank 6 weapon, but based on its stats it should probably be Rank 7?  It has hidden elemental sleep, and when transformed into sword mode has exhaust damage.  If I remember correct that means that when hitting the head the exhaust damage can KO the monster.  All that it really required me to do was kill a nonsensical number of Great Jagras… since that isn’t exactly a monster I hunt on the regular.  However with minimal farming I managed to get the switch axe crafted and play around a bit with it.  It will at least hold me over until something awesome drops from Kulve Taroth at some point.

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The other mission is still very much active however, and I did kill several Rathian yesterday, enough to I believe get all of the Spikes that I needed.  Now I just have to wait for a Rathian Ruby to drop before crafting that final Gunlance.  As Ashgar posted yesterday, I do probably intend to make the Zorah Magdaros one as well, since I have already crafted the first version of it.  I believe I just need another Zorah Gem before being able to craft the Rank 8 version.  That would give me Long 4 and Normal 4 to play with and get used to both.  Then again I hope I get a decent Wide 4 weapon to drop during Kulve Taroth.  I fully expect to be farming the hell out of that event when it finally goes live.  I think hammer is going to be a much better option to breaking things than Longsword was on the console.

Spectacular Failures

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One of the things I greatly enjoy about Monster Hunter World is that failure sometimes looks amazing.  Success or fail, when you end a hunt you get a screenshot.  This is one of the many failure shots from Xeno’Jiiva that I have from the weekend.  However this one is actually well after I had beat the fight the first time, but was forced to keep farming for parts.  Often times the best looking shots come from colossally failing at an encounter.  This one is from when multiple people fighting Xeno and not noticing it was about to explode… so three people got carted at exactly the same time ending the hunt.

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Immediately upon downing Xeno’Jiiva for the first time I shot ahead to 29, the next level cap.  This is something that happened last time as well given that I did a lot of grinding and hunting while capped at the previous level.  I immediately turned around and got into the hunt for Double Bazelguese at which point I lept ahead to 41…  once again something that happened before since I did a lot of hunting while avoiding trying to fight Xeno.  Now I am slowly working my way up to the next cap of 49…  which is Tempered Kirin…  something I am not looking forward to at all.

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That said I am slowly watching back up to where I was when I stopped playing the PS4 release.  All of the grinding of Nergigante and Xeno’jiiva was to be able to craft Extermination’s Edge the long sword I had been using prior to the restart.  I talked the other day about crafting the Diablos hammer, and the recent event let me craft Wyvern Ignition another “end game” weapon.  Similarly over the weekend I managed to craft the Fiendish Tower the final form of the Deviljho lance, giving me a forth end game weapon.

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Right now my mission is to craft another item that in theory will be an end game weapon.  I’ve been farming the hell out of High Rank Rathian because I need an excessive number of Spikes and a Gem to be able to craft Royal Burst.  I’ve seen so many people using this Gunlance, so in theory I figured I would craft it and try it out.  Wide Range weapons seem to be en vogue, however what I am reading is that you cannot get wide shelling 4 without getting a lucky drop from Kulve Taroth.  Instead I am going to give a shot no pun intended at normal shelling.  From there…  the next missing is probably going to be to farm a bunch more Deviljho so I can turn the stage one Sword and Shield that I crafted into the final form by gathering up yet another Gem.  From there… I need to sort out what Charge Blade and Switch Axe that I want to work towards.  Basically… this is Monster Hunter for me…  hunting monsters, making weapons…  hunting more monsters.  Regardless I feel like I am in a pretty great state for when the Kulve Taroth event comes in November.

The Grind Loop

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The other day Mailvaltar asked question in a comment on another post about whether I think Monster Hunter World can be enjoyed by someone who generally dislikes grinding.  Ultimately the core loop of monster hunter seems to be… take down big monsters in an epic boss fight, carve off items with varying degrees of rarity, take those items to craft new gear…  to enable you to take down bigger monsters.  The degree to which this becomes a gear collection game is entirely up to you, because I believe almost every single monster is beatable in the gear you start the game with…  it just becomes significantly more challenging as time moves on.  However even with better gear… there are going to be times you fail completely like the glorious screenshot above of my death.  Ultimately I got swiped by Black Diablos, which dizzied me…  which then lead to a full force charge for the rest of my health.  Given that other people had fainted at various points during the hunt…  my failure was the one that kicked us out of the fight.

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Each monster fight tends to go somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes depending on a bunch of factors, so one of the aspects of the game that no one really talks about… is that you need to be able to shake off the fact that you just spent 30 minutes of time and have relatively little to show for it.  Every so often the stars align however and you get exactly what you need.  When that happens it feels phenomenal…  during this single Black Diablos hunt I managed to pull 2 Black Spiral Horn+ aka the thing I was hunting for one more of…  a Wyvern Gem as well as the Non-Elemental Boost Decoration that I ultimately needed for the hammer I had been working towards.  Basically this final Diablos hunt gave me everything I had been questing for to try and assemble the final form of the Diablos hammer.

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So what did I do once I got my hammer all kitted out?  I immediately shifted focus to working on parts from Deviljho.  For me personally it is the grind…. the hunt for parts… that keeps me engaged in the game.  The boss fights all feel great (or at least most of them do) and are definitely a reward in themselves.  However it is the acquisition of gear that is always my guiding force in any MMORPG.  It is why I grind in Diablo 3 or World of Warcraft…  and ultimately why Monster Hunter World clicked with me initially.  It is a gear driven game where your personal skill advancement means often times more than the gear you are hunting…  but the ability to build complex mixed sets with just the right bonus traits keeps me moving forward.  Building a set of gear sorta feels like building a really good deck in Magic the Gathering.

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So last night I spent my evening either hunting Black Diablos or Deviljho… and it was a pretty glorious evening.  Is this mechanical loop right for most people?  Probably not…  however I enjoy it greatly.  Were it not for the release of Battle for Azeroth at almost the exact same time as the PC version of Monster Hunter…  I would have likely been doing this since August.  As far as Deviljho stuff… I am largely down to just needing to get lucky enough to loot one of its Gems, which admittedly is a common place you end up with crafting gear.  The Gem seems by far the most rare of the item drops, and seems to only drop when you no longer need it.  I have a stack of Odogoron and Wyvern gems…  but am not actively working on any gear from either…  though at some point I guess I will make the Odog Scythes and Blunderbuss.  That said there are still a ton of Deviljho weapons I eventually want to craft.  For example I think it is one of the better Sword and Shields out there, and that is a weapon I want to shift into playing more of.

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The funny thing is… I have the patience to constantly be grinding for loot drops…  but somehow lack the patience to move the quest line forward.  I am still stalled out on Xeno’jiiva because it is generally one of the awful feeling fights in the game.  I might snag my friend Exale and con him into running it with me at some point over the weekend if for no reason other than to just speed the process up.  You have to do a lot more dodging when you are the only player in the arena with Xeno.  I think Monster Hunter World is an amazing game, and especially since it is on steam…  if it goes on Sale I highly suggest you check it out.

Slashing Pickles

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Last night I finally took a bit of a break from my vision quest to get the final form of the Diablos hammer.  You can see me in the above photo with the next to last form here, but unfortunately the final revision requires three Black Spiral Horn+ which is proving to be more of a challenge than I realized.  At the time of writing this… I now finally know why it has been so rough and why I keep getting Twisted Horns instead of the component I am actually seeking.  One of the weird things about Monster Hunter World or the Monster Hunter franchise in general… is there are certain components that you can only get by killing a monster and carving it… and others you can only get if you capture the monster.  As it turns out apparently unlike Majestic Horns from the normal Diablos…  you can only get Black Spiral Horn+ by killing the monster and carving it up.  This is unfortunate since the PC culture seems to be capture everything, even when there are similar hammer bros with me trying to get the upgrades.

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Last night however I went down a different path, that is unlocking Deviljho and starting to farm for some of those weapons.  Namely I really want the Lance, as it seems to be pretty freaking brutal.  Similarly I have been working on assembling a guard set…  that is going to turn around and help me farm the pieces I need from Black Diablos a little more efficiently.  Now that I have broken the trend of “Longsword Everything” I am starting to see that the game is more enjoyable if you sorta treat it like MegaMan.  What I mean by that is certain weapons tend to be easier on certain bosses than other weapons, and as I am starting to shift things up and learn new things…  I am finding it way more enjoyable to just switch to the appropriate weapon rather than to force myself down the path of slow and tedious Longswording.  That said…  I do tend to fight Deviljho with a Longsword.

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By the end of the night I had crafted this monstrosity, or Grief Lance the first form of the Deviljho lance weapon.  Essentially now I need Five more Tailfangs, a Gem, and two Scalps…  which again only drop if you kill the monster and carve it.  Functionally I am going to have to get good at soloing Deviljho or else be that guy that breaks traps.  I don’t want to be that guy because the PC community is relatively small in the grand scheme of things and I don’t want to get that reputation.  Alternatively I could just start asking people since text based chat is a thing that works easily on the PC…  even though very few people actually say things in it.  I might simply start asking nicely if we can kill not trap on both Deviljho and Black Diablos so I can get the bits I actually need.  I’ve fallen back into my old ways of really enjoying the SOS Roulette lifestyle, which is in part why I have put off downing Xeno’jiiva if only because it is such a prodding long fight.

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When I say it has a relatively small community, you have to take that with some perspective…  because it still manages to regularly rank in the top five games on steam for concurrent players.  There is no real way of knowing how many players there were on the PS4 but the community definitely feels smaller.  My personal theory is, that we ended up grouping an awful lot with Japanese players… and while they do exist on the PC there are far fewer of them.  It does however feel way more populated than what I have seen of the Xbox One community, so there is at least that.  Over 45,000 players is nothing to sneeze at, but that has fallen off significantly from the all time peak of over 320,000 players.  I have a feeling however that as soon as the Kulve Taroth event opens up… we will see a lot more activity.  There was a big loss of players surrounding the release of Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate on the Switch, so I have a feeling a lot of people are still chewing through that game.  Personally… I just like the feel of Monster Hunter World much better.

Stop Hammer Time

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I am deeply susceptible to getting distracted by a side mission.  This is in part why I never found the Thief, Warrior and Mage stones in Skyrim and had to eventually wind back around when I found out I missed something.  I have a bad tendency to wander off the path, and in theory given that I have played through all of this content before…  I should be able to maintain more focus.  However that has not been the case and I keep going off on tangents, like my most recent one of farming Diablos over and over trying to get the pieces for it’s rank 7 hammer.  At this point I need Majestic Horns…  which you only get if you manage to break both of the horns.  I need a lot of these…  some for the Hammer and some for the shoulders as well that grant two ranks of slugger.  The biggest problem I am running into is that Majestic Horns don’t appear to be 100% drop if you break both horns, and instead there is a consolation item that I keep getting.

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Additionally I am going to need a ton of parts from Black Diablos so I have been trying to focus on the quest where you hunt both at the same time.  I need 3 Black Spiral Horn+ which I assume also comes from breaking Black Diablos horns…  and I need one more of the Black Diablos Carapace which seems to drop more frequently.  Thankfully I already have the Wyvern Gem needed to craft the weapon so I won’t be stalled out waiting for that to happen.  So last night I spent pretty much the entire night jumping into SOS Roulette with various groups, fighting a bunch of Diablos…  focusing on trying to break the horns…  while watching Ozark season 2 on Netflix on my second monitor.  All in all it was a good night… even though Ozark in general gives me some massive anxiety since there is a bunch of stuff that just aint right going on with that show.

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In theory tonight will be more of the same.  I crafted the highest pre-Nergigante metal hammer available because it had a cheap enough material cost, and I figured at some point I could upgrade it into the Nergi hammer if I so choose.  It serves as a decent replacement for the Zorah hammer I had been using until this point.  At some point I need to sort out what I actually want my armor set to look like, given that I am gearing for completely different stats as hammer than I would normally as Longsword.  I also really need to farm a bunch of Nergi to get parts so I can craft the final step of that Longsword after I down Xeno’Jiiva.  Right now I just don’t have the patience to take on Xeno since I really don’t like doing that fight solo…  because it seems to take so freaking long.  At some point I will force myself through it so I can at least start moving up my Hunter Rank again.

Three Dragons Down

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This weekend was largely about collecting the final bits needed to unlock the layered cosmetic armor from the Harvest Festival in Monster Hunter World and seeing just how much further I could progress.  As of Saturday night I had managed to catch back up enough to be sitting on the “kill the three elder dragons” quest that you can see in my quest tracker.  On the podcast we talked a bit about how Monster Hunter World supports the acquisition of skills and how that is generally more important than the acquisition of gear.  This is a weird concept for me personally since I tend to be a dyed-in-the-wool RPG grinder, that can seemingly perform repetitive tasks so long as there is a shiny gear payout at the end.  My baseline is always to gather more gear to get over any obstacles that I might be dealing with.

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However the importance of understanding how not to die…  is extremely noticeable in Monster Hunter World.  When I managed to get through Pink Rathian without breaking the tale, in one shot with no faints…  and then similarly get through Nergigante on my first shot…  with no faints…  I started to question if I had simply gotten better at the game.  For awhile I thought it was just me having a hammer this go around, but Nergi was sorta the turning point in my opinion.  However the Elder Dragons still served as a bit of a roadblock.  I managed to down Kushala Daora on the first attempt, which doesn’t shock me given I remember taking it down relatively easily before as well.  However I spent the majority of Sunday afternoon working on Teostra and Vaal Hazak.

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When I fought the Elder Dragons on the PS4 version…  I did a lot more prep work than I did here.  I rolled into Teostra with a significant amount of fire resist gear…  something I did not have this time.  The challenge with Toaster as I call him more frequently…  is that he just does an awful lot of damage and likes to get in real close to you before ulting.  I believe in the grand scheme of things it took me three attempts to get through Toasty this time around, and I am mostly okay with that…  it was more about not getting hit than it was about dishing out massive amounts of damage.  I think that is part of where I am at mentally now is I know not allowing yourself to get carted is seemingly more important than getting in and unleashing hell upon the monster…  then opening yourself to a single hit attack that decimates your health reserves.

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Similarly with Vaal Hazak the challenge was fighting…  while having your health bar constantly shredded by effluvial building.  Eventually I will have the parts to make a few pieces of gear that grants me complete immunity from the effects of the Effluvium, but for now I had to employ a strategy of stick and run…  trying to avoid build up for as long as I could while dealing as much damage as I could.  I think in the grand scheme of things it took me four tries to get through Vaal Hazak this go around.  I’ve now entered the realm where I fairly comfortable feel like I can SOS Roulette my way into content, and that is probably something I am going to take advantage of more as I move forward.

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Unfortunately however I cannot SOS Roulette my way through Xeno’Jiiva, because it does not show up in your list of available monsters until you have defeated it at least once on your own.  I mostly got in long enough to unlock him and then bailed last night because I did not have the patience for this sort of fight.  The problem with Xeno is that it is just soul crushingly long…  no matter how well you do there is always going to be a lot of avoiding its movements while banging on its feet…  for a good thirty minutes it seems.  So instead last night I piddled around in World of Warcraft on the Paladin while watching the season premiere of Walking Dead, instead of trying to make progress on the giant blue dragon.  All in all though it feels good to be getting back to around the place where I left off…  I am not looking forward to getting through Tempered Kirin again…  but I will have awhile to deal with that.  I have not been grinding anywhere near as much as I did before, so I expect to defeat Xeno and still have a lot of ways to go until I hit the first bottleneck of Tempered Bagel.

Autumn Harvest Festival

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The Harvest Festival event is now live in Monster Hunter World on PC and last night I spent for the most part the entire evening doing event quests.  The PC community appears to be significantly smaller than the Playstation 4 one, I am assuming in part because there are likely fewer Japanese players available to group with.  I know a lot of my SOS Roulette nonsense was done with Japanese players…  which seem to have a culture of opening up their events to other players as a matter of course.  There have been many times when I tried to find an SOS for a specific monster and came up completely empty, so instead I have started filtering my session by specific types of quests.  So for example I am filtering for groups specifically doing Event quests during the Harvest Festival, and that seems to give me a session with a bunch of players participating in the sort of events I have been trying to.

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I am still not nearly as progressed as I am on the console, but I did manage to get far enough to do the “Every Hunter’s Dream” quest which rewards the crafting bits needed to make Wyvern Ignition…  aka the Greatsword you can see in the above image.  I decided to spend all of my harvest tickets on making the Palico Armor, because not only is it awesome looking…  but it was actually a pretty reasonable upgrade to the Zorah set mine had been wearing.  My goal in coming back and playing a lot is to also get me ready for the inevitable release of the Kulve Taroth siege event.  For whatever reason I was expecting the Greatsword quest to be High Rank… which is why I was pushing lately to get there…  however it is only a 5 star so that last tier before you actually transition into High Rank.

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This event also allowed me to catch up on a bunch of the other quests that I had apparently missed…  namely the Wiggler Head, Kulu Head, Eye Patch and Shades.  I need to run through everything available and make sure I have crafted everything, but for now I think my focus is going to be doing the daily bounties so I can gather up enough tickets to craft some of the harvest gear… or at the very least get the layered armor set.  I probably fall in the Fashion Hunter territory in that I tend to be way more interested in Layered Armor sets than pretty much anything else because I can equip them over top of whatever gear I happen to be wearing.

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I am still very much digging the Zorah hammer, but also now branching out into Switch Axe and Great Sword.  I need to do a bit of farming because I want to craft a Gunlance and a Lance to play with those as well.  On the PS4 I was pretty much laser focused on only caring about Longsword.  This time around however I am trying to branch out and try new weapons, because it is very clear that certain encounters just work better with certain weapons.  Lance/Gunlance seem rediculously powerful so I want to try my best to figure out how to play each of those.  For whatever reason swapping weapons seems to be easier for me when I am already playing using the much more comfortable keyboard and mouse sort of interface.  So much of my time on the PS4 was me eating up brain cycles trying to remember how to use a controller, since that is not a mode I play in regularly.  Whereas with the Keyboard and Mouse I am in my comfort zone and can sort of dedicate those brain cycles to other things.

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If you are around and doing stuff ping me and say hey.  I will warn you though that I don’t regularly play with the chat overlay on through Steam because it has caused graphical issues in the past, and as a result it might take awhile for me to actually respond.

Charm Maintenance

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Last night I had to do some World of Warcraft maintenance, in that I had allowed my Emissary quest to stack up for three days and was about to start losing them.  I fairly joylessly burned through those, then decided to take a chance at a 370 piece of loot from the Warfront that is now open to Horde players.  I still find those pretty fun but ultimately wound up with disappointment in that I got a 370 item in a slot I already had one.  You would think they could factor in the gear that the player has when they give those extremely limited time rewards like that…  because since it is ultimately a shot at loot every three weeks…  please give us something we can use.

From there I popped into Monster Hunter World where I largely did some maintenance there as well.  I spent most of the night farming up zenny so that I could buy the Power Charm, which is an item that takes up a bag slot but gives you a pretty potent damage boost.  I had already purchased the Armor Charm which does the same thing, but for your defense stat.  These apparently open up once you have fought the Zorah Magdaros final form and cost 24,000 zenny for the Armor Charm and 36,000 zenny for the Power Charm.  Later through the magic of crafting you will be able to turn these into Talons…  and then re-buy the Charms again…  but for now I should be set for the early High Rank content.  I’m up to the Tickled Pink quest which is to hunt a High Rank Anjanath, which I simply was not ready to deal with mentally last night and wound up wandering off to do other things.

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Instead I popped over to burn through some quests in MTG Arena, where I seemed to have a ton that wanted me to cast White spells.  I had picked up the Eternal Thirst deck as one of my freebies, and I decided to start playing around with it.  I have to say… for a weird Cats and Vampires concept I am really digging it.  Unless you are also playing against a deck with stupid life gain powers…  you can do some come from behind nonsense with this one.  I feel like I need to tune it a bit and swap some cards, and could ultimately make a super powerful deck out of it.  For the purpose of questing though… it had plenty of white cards so it allowed me to whittle that down in a few turns.  This morning I noticed I had another freebie deck available and unlocked the Blue/Green Merfolk deck…  which included a single copy of one of my favorite cards…  Jadelight Ranger.  I am hoping that one of the decks they end up throwing my way is the Explore matters deck that we originally had in Alpha.  Mostly I don’t want to spend the proxies on rebuilding it if they are going to give me like 90% of the cards in a few weeks as we keep rotating through unlocking free decks.

Days Til Bounce

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This mornings post is going to be a bit unusual as I did a thing last night that may or may not be nonsense.  Lately I have been saying that it feels like I have disengaged faster with Battle for Azeroth than any of the expansions to date.  However I do have a certain pattern of engaging and then eventually hitting a point where I bounce for awhile, and then eventually return to re-engage.  It got me to wondering if I had any means of actually tracking this sequence.  Since 2013 I had the record of my blog, because I tend to track how I am feeling about something pretty closely in the posts I am making.  Another thing I have noticed is that Screenshots serve as forensic evidence for how I am feeling for a game.  If I am checked out…  I stop taking them… and with my copious archive of screenshots I was able to draw from that to determine my general take on a game at a given time.  Additionally there are specific mental sign posts of events that happened that caused me to bounce like the release of specific games.  All of these combined allowed me to create  a shockingly accurate map of how engaged I was at a specific time.

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Here is the table of data I managed to pull together.  This morning I am going to step us through my history with World of Warcraft expansions, and go into some of my reasoning for pulling specific dates out of the air in regards to them.  There is a simplified version of this data at the bottom of the post.

World of Warcraft: Vanilla

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While I did not have a blog back then I have very clear marker posts for when my hype cycle with this game began, and when I checked out for the first time.  I am bad about not deleting messages from gmail, and as such I have the original World of Warcraft Stress Test beta key invite email, providing me with the time stamp of when exactly the hype cycle began.  The weekend of 8/20/2004 was significant for a couple of reasons…  firstly the stress test but secondly it was my ten year high school reunion.  I attended the cookout on that Friday night, was generally annoyed that people were still fighting about shit that happened at football games ten years earlier…  and then opted to blow off the Saturday night festivities to stay at home and play World of Warcraft with my friends.  From that weekend forward the hype was all too painfully real as we wound up feeming for another taste of that good good World of Warcrack.  When I checked out the first time is honestly before I managed to hit level 60 in the game…  and we wandered away to play with another group of our friends that had decided to go down the Everquest II route.  The sign post in my memory there is that I got back in right around the launch of the Desert of Flames expansion, providing me with the date of disengagement around 9/13/2005.  I came back towards the end of October and eventually found my way into the Late Night Raiders raid and the rest is history… but this first segment of time is an era before I hit the level cap and before I had a reason to stay engaged.  Prior to World of Warcraft I was fairly notorious for not actually hitting the level cap in games before wandering away.

The Burning Crusade

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The Burning Crusade is the era in which I became Belghast the Raid Tank and transitioned from being Lodin the Reluctant Hunter.  I remember my hype cycle began around the opening of the TBC Beta circa 10/30/2006 and getting leaked bits of information coming out about the expansion and all of the interesting changes that were going to be made.  As far as the disengagement happening…  that occurred roughly 9/15/2007 when I got into the beta for Hellgate London and wound up all but stopping playing World of Warcraft to deeply engage with that game.  I came back a few months later, but ultimately what I am trying to track is that moment when I first wandered away during an expansion cycle.  I also weirdly do not have much in the way of screenshots for stuff that happened later in The Burning Crusade, so that leads me to believe that I was maybe just going through the motions a bit.

Wrath of the Lich King

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Once again my hype began as the beta opened and information started trickling out about the expansion, so that places it starting somewhere around 7/15/2008.  As far as disengaging… this expansion I stayed connected to it with an almost laser focus and didn’t really disconnect until around the launch of Ruby Sanctum which was extremely late in the content release schedule.  I was in the raid leadership of the very active Duranub Raiding Company that formed towards the end of The Burning Crusade and continued on all of the way through downing The Lich King… and I am pretty sure we made more than a few Ruby Sanctum runs.  Ultimately towards the end of Lich King I was going through a lot of bad times personally and fighting off a pretty nasty spiral of depression, which probably more than anything lead to me pulling back from the game.  While Wrath happened there were a few times I was also playing another game… but never to the point of stopping playing World of Warcraft.

Cataclysm

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I really was not feeling this expansion from the start, as evidenced by the fact that I had pure hell finding any screenshots from this era. The hype of Cataclysm would have started sometime around Blizzcon, so I set the date for 10/23/2010 as that was the second day of Blizzcon that year.  The expansion itself released in December of that year, and I found a blog post from 2/22/2011 stating that I was done with World of Warcraft, at the time I thought permanently.  I was disillusioned with the game, my raiding circumstances, and used the release of Rift and its beta that I was in at the time as a life raft to get me the hell out of a situation where I was not happy at all.  Now I came back to the game later, but as far as the moment of detachment… it was February and became more so in March and April as the release cycle for Rift ramped up.  This was a serious enough split that I literally thought I was gone for good… handed over the keys to House Stalwart my guild and gave away my gold to friends thinking I wouldn’t need it.

Pandaria

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For Mists of Pandaria we had to rely on the forensic evidence of screenshots to determine a time table because the expansion launched during a drought in content on my blog.  Namely 9/11/2012 was one of the darkest days in my life, because some work related events happened that lead to about six months worth of hell for me personally.  So based on my screenshots I can see that I re-engaged with World of Warcraft in general about a month before the release of Pandaria on 8/22/2012, and then the screenshots stop around 10/30/2012 which syncs up with my memory of not being in for long.  Ultimately Pandaria was a tale of false starts, with the raid I was attempting to help get started…  failed miserably and I simply did not have the mental fortitude to stick it out.  It was a group largely based around familiar connections, and with it a lot of non-responsive players…  including an off tank at the time that was seemingly incapable of pulling off a boss swap mechanic.  We never made it past the first boss of the expansion, and I found myself checking out hard with the last screenshots being taken on Halloween from a costume contest event that my friend Rae was hosting.  I remember logging back in for that, but having not played much prior to it…  or not at all after it.  Of course I eventually came back as the above screenshot is from a Throne of Thunder raid, but again we are tracking the moment of initial disengagement.

Warlords of Draenor

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With Warlords of Draenor… it brought forth the first expansion I publicly stated that I would not be playing.  I got into the beta process for it early on and I was not feeling it… mostly because my then main the Death Knight felt awful to play.  However Blizzcon is a constant in my hype cycle and watching it around 11/08/2014 managed to stir enough excitement to get me to log back in…  at which point I was drug through Siege of Orgrimmar and luckily had a tanking friendly heirloom weapon drop.  This expansion saw my return to raiding as the weird Protection Warrior DPS spec, and I loved it…  it was basically everything I had ever wanted warrior dps to be…  smashing things with a giant shield.  I miss the hell out of Gladiator stance.  Once again I can rely on blog posts to tell me at which point I started to check out and write posts about being disappointed in Warlords of Draenor, and the first of these that I was able to find was 3/27/2015 which is probably about when in my memory I was trying to get out of the game.  I remember we downed Blackhand once…  took a break…  and then that was when I ran for the hills.

Legion

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I remember originally referring to Legion as the expansion of things left on the cutting room floor from other expansions.  I was not super hyped about it, that is until the pre-legion events started and I managed to use them to power level an army of alts.  Based on my blog posts I started talking about World of Warcraft again around 7/21/2016 and then similarly started talking about my frustrations with it around 11/23/2016.  Once again I was raiding, this time as a tank and remember checking out part of the way through Nighthold.  I remember Legion very fondly, as when I checked out it was just that my life really couldn’t support attending a raid, and not so much a desire to not be raiding.  I played this off and on but my first break was in November, and when I came back I largely played Horde side.

Battle for Azeroth

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I was super not excited about Battle for Azeroth because I did not like the concept of a forced Red vs Blue narrative.  However based on blog posts I returned to World of Warcraft around 7/30/2018 and was dinking around on alts like my High Mountain Tauren Monk just prior to the launch.  I did very little in the way of prep, but was pleasantly surprised at how engaging the story was.  The first strike against the expansion was how generally awful Protection Warrior felt, which lead me to refocus around my Demon Hunter as a viable tanking option…  but also made it feel like I lost the first week and same change of progress…  and was effectively permanently behind the curve.  Finally upon cresting the 340 gear mark… it just felt like I didn’t have much opportunity for improvement other than raiding, and with the switch to Horde as main…  my raiding options were limited to the Sunday night outing which was bad for me timing wise.  The systems in Battle for Azeroth just feel unrewarding… which has lead me to the point of the last several weeks where I have been making posts dissecting them… the first of them on 9/17/2018.

Charting the Data

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Ultimately I ignored the hype cycle since it didn’t seem to make much of a different upon the longevity of my play time, and instead focused on the time from launch of an expansion to the time I first bounced.  The above is this data in bar chart form.   I am not terribly shocked that the period in which I was the most engaged was Wrath of the Lich King because for me at least this was the golden era of raiding and guild leadership.  Weirdly enough I remembered in my mind bouncing faster from Vanilla than I actually did…  but staying engaged longer in Burning Crusade.  Regardless those first three expansions were prime wow time, and had some fairly meaty engagement periods for me personally.  Cataclysm I stuck it out longer than I remembered it…  Pandaria I bounced way faster than I remembered…  and then I was completely shocked at how much time I seem to have been engaged during Warlords of Draenor.  So much so that I would have sworn I had been engaged longer with Legion, because in my memory I remember that time much more fondly.  Last we have Battle for Azeroth which as the data shows is in fact my fastest time to disengage from a World of Warcraft expansion.

So what does this data mean?  Not a whole lot given that this is my personal trend with World of Warcraft expansions.  The truth is…  it might be the lack of an active raid that caused the quick detach from Pandaria and Battle for Azeroth.  In Panda I was technically making attempts but seeing no success, and in BfA the timing has kept us from pulling anything together.  I’ve said a few times that I thought I needed a raid to anchor me in the expansion, and I will admit a lot of my engagement time in TBC and Wrath was due to the fact that I felt like I HAD to be there as Guild Leader.  Once I stopped leading guilds in World of Warcraft, I also lost a big chunk of my reason for sticking it out.  All of that said… I think the expansions themselves bear some responsibility as well.  Wrath of the Lich King as far as I am concerned is the true golden era of World of Warcraft…  not Vanilla.  The numbers seem to agree with this stance, and most of the times I remember most fondly are from this period of gaming.  I think World of Warcraft for me personally has been a series of me attempting to recapture the magic from that era and failing.  In any case I thought this might make for an interesting post.

 

Hammering Diablos

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This morning is one of those mornings where I am struggling extremely hard.  I’ve been staring blankly at the screen for about thirty minutes now and having one of those “there is not enough coffee in the world” sort of moments.  I got to bed plenty early but for whatever reason it was a very fitful experience.  I woke up so many times because I decided I needed to adjust to get comfortable, kicked off the covers because I was hot, or then woke up shivering because it was too cold.  I also woke up with a sore thought, which I am hoping is going to disappear as the morning goes on.

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Last night I did not do the thing where I did a Mythic for the hope of getting something from a chest… only to be disappointed.  Instead I focused on Monster Hunter World and managed to catch up rather quickly as I downed Diablos, Rathalos and the second outing with Zorah Magdaros before taking a break.  It is shocking how much easier certain monsters are with certain weapons.  For example I almost exclusively played Longsword during my PS4 play though, and this time around I have been endulging myself in a little weapon swapping.  Diablos is so much easier with a Hammer than with a Longsword.  Similarly since I am playing almost exclusively solo…  I am noticing patterns that I never really picked up on the first time around.  I managed to take out Diablos for example without getting carted even once, which is something I am pretty damned proud of.

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I wish that were true with Rathalos…  but alas it was very much not the case.  I managed to capture it while sitting on my last attempt, and while dodging Anjanath and Tobi-kadachi who were in a three way brawl with the target I needed.  Hammer was fine… pending I could knock Rathalos out of the sky, and in those times I could pour on the head damage.  The rest of the time… I was mostly trying to avoid getting hit by nasty business like fire or poison.  I stacked up double poison resistance to help me out a little, which I am sure was a good plan.  I fully expected to have to make a couple of attempts at the fights, so I am fairly proud that I cleared them in one shot each.  I mean Zorah Magdaros is largely on rails so I am not super proud of that one…  but I did manage to get a gem to drop so that is at least something.

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Now I will be moving on to High Rank Pukei-Pukei which I think is the point at which the game decides that I am really and truly able to craft High Rank gear finally.  I am hoping to at least be able to craft a few pieces of Zorah gear, and maybe some HR Bone gear as well to get upgraded quickly.  I expect there to be a certain measure of faffing about as soon as I cross that threshold to get geared enough to be able to take down HR Anjanath and HR Pink Anjanath which if I am remembering correctly are waiting on me on the other side.  Effectively my goal is to be able to farm the Wyvern Ignition event when it starts at the end of the week, along with any of the other interesting cosmetic events that are available.  Expect me to be capturing a bunch of wigglers to get that nonsense helm, as well as the nifty Tzitzi glasses.

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Towards the very end of the night I took a break from the Monster Hunting and ran around in Diablo 3 with my good friend Grace… who admittedly is still mostly carrying me.  I can function on my own just fine… but maybe not quite effectively at T13 levels yet.  We knocked out a few achievement pieces and then focused on running a bunch of Greater Rifts.  All in all it was a pretty great night, and one in which I never bothered to log into World of Warcraft and even check to see what the daily emissary was.  Admittedly I checked this morning and it looks like fox persons for not-order-hall-resources, which would be skippable other than the giant boost to faction.  Largely all of the emissary quests feel skippable… other than the faction hit.  Regardless it was a good night, and I will probably be having more of these good nights in the future as I continue to plink away at catching my PC Monster Hunter account up to my PS4 one.