Mythics Managed

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After our success the previous night with Freehold, we decided to set our sights on a new target.  We had heard one of the next easiest mythics was Waycrest Manor… aka the Haunted House.  As such we made our way over to Drustvar and zoned in hoping to have the same sort of luck we did the evening before.  So things I noticed… firstly that we had gotten a bit more gear since the last outing and the trash packs specifically felt much more manageable.  However several of the boss encounters caused us to attempt them multiple times to finally sort out everything that needed to happen.  It was a longer run than Freehold, and I am not a huge fan of the layout of the zone given everything feels super claustrophobic.  The other issue is both times I have been here there have been issues with the Z Axis… so it was feeling very reminiscent of old school Everquest runs of Castle Mistmoore or Kedge Keep.   There were several times when a mob literally warped up through the floor and came charging at us, and I feel like this isn’t necessarily something that is supposed to be happening.

The hardest encounter was the three witches, largely because of the sheer amount of damage we were taking.  I finally decided to use one of my Drums of the Maelstrom, which effectively gives me a one time shot use Bloodlust /Heroism.  We waited for the second boss in the sequence and used it to burn most of its life away.  However largely I think it was Grace carrying us all with her healing because it still seemed like we were taking copious amounts of damage.  I believe we all walked away with a shiny epic bauble to show for our effort.  I managed to pull two items, but the second was a pair of shoulders roughly the same as the ones I was currently wearing so I traded them over to Tam.  I guess that is the positive about running the mythic with the comp we were… because it was four leather classes so ample opportunity to swap gear around.  Unfortunately Grace was the odd player out as a cloth wearer, but the other night she was swapping stuff with the Mage so I guess it all shakes out in the end.

RoboSquid Armada

This is sorta a name we continue to flock back to because it is amazing…  but has shifted focus a number of times over its life span.  At first this was the guild we formed on Eonar to start running dungeons grossly undergeared and at the minimum item level available to zone in.  We managed to make it through Gnomeregan before we sorta petered out.  We intended to come back and start it up again, but a handful of us were not actively subbed to the game… and then the world scaling patch sorta killed this notion.  During late Legion we revamped things and started using the Discord attached to it as a home base for a group that was attempting to push Mythic+ encounters.  This went well for a period of time..  but I sorta had a bout of crippling self doubt and anxiety due to some external stresses that were happening in my life and flaked the hell out.  Since that point it has sorta been a neutral ground for making groups happen, and the discord we hand out any time we have folks who don’t all have access to the same locations.

Yesterday I tweeted the above message out… which was immediately mistaken for me starting a transmog farming group.  So maybe I should have worded things a little differently.  Essentially one of the things I miss is the early days of World of Warcraft before the looking for group tool.  In that era we had tons of social channels run by different raids or community organizations and they served as the basis for forming groups by hand.  Hell the entire reason why this blog got any readership at all I feel is because of my early “Groupcraft” guide series that got picked up by WoW Insider at the time.  When the dungeon finder was introduced during Wrath of the Lich King…  all of those social networks started to atrophy and decay away.  When I came back after leaving the game in Cataclysm…  almost all of my social channels were completely empty.  People just stopped joining them anymore since they had the group finder to lean on and since Cataclysm largely destroyed the concept of non-guild based raiding.

The primary reason why Mythics have felt awful is that it forces players to rely on either guilds… or complete strangers to make them happen.  The social network and infrastructure that Vanilla to Wrath players used to rely on to make things happen… is just flat out gone.  The other huge problem is that players are now spread out among countless smaller servers with a hefty $25 per character tax if you want to remedy that fact.  So to move my 14 Horde characters from The Scryers to some other location (not that I want to)… would cost me $350 which is not at all reasonable.  Cross server grouping is awesome… but also sort of unmanageable just through a friends list because again… not all of your resources may be battletag mutuals and you sorta have to get different people to invite different folks to the group/raid.

With this expansion however Blizzard introduced the ability to join Battle.net and WoW Social channels and have them piped to in game chat.  The “Social” tab was mostly a useless thing when it was first introduced but now that you can actually use it while playing the game… it suddenly becomes way more useful.  It is going to allow us to rebuild that sort of infrastructure that we once had and provide a bridge to help connect players scattered throughout multiple servers and guilds.  I was a huge fan of the concept of having a raid completely separate from your guild, because it allowed you to hang out and get green text with the people you felt comfortable with…  and have a similar but different group of people you got things done with.  There are a lot of players that are simply not comfortable being in a mega guild, and during the Duranub Raiding Company days we basically had House Stalwart as the large guild… and a bunch of smaller satellite guilds that all joined together to do stuff in the world.

So ultimately… yesterday Grace and I got to talking and that almost always lends its way to nonsense.  The idea is that we start trying to use RoboSquid Armada as a vehicle for binding together all these pockets of people who want to do stuff… but also are not willing to pug.  This of course is what spawned the tweet above.  Effectively what we are looking for in players…

  • Horde NA Server Players.
  • Willingness to Roll with the Punches and Attempt things with little to no prep time.
  • Being super good-natured and willing to accept that we are going to fail an awful lot in some of the things we try.
  • Willingness to help out players that need help.
  • The ability to ignore all of those ways that players prove themselves to be better than others, and just be part of the group all working towards the same goal.
  • Willingness to work hard and improve your own game play when the challenge arises, and come up with creative solutions to work around group composition weaknesses.
  • Being open to passing along gear to help out others that might not be as well geared as you are yet.
  • Folks that simply want a comfortable and safe place to hang out while playing World of Warcraft.
  • Being able to laugh at your own mistakes and pick yourself right back up and face the nonsense all over again.
  • Being able to mentor other players when they ask for help, but not being a know it all and forcing your opinion on them when they didn’t.

So that isn’t really a list of guidelines or rules, but more something to think about when approaching this group.  We do silly things and it is okay if we fail… but at least we tried really hard to make it work.  We will have fun and learn together and sort out what we need to do to make the bosses fall down.  For the time being… it is largely just a group for getting normals/heroics/mythics going or just having a fun time while leveling your hundredth alt.  In the future it may coalesce into a non-guild based raid if we have enough people interested and something resembling a workable group composition.  Essentially…  I am looking for a few people willing to fail hard and laugh about it.  Are you interested in nonsense?  If you have any questions ping me along the many many avenues of contact I am sure you have with me.

The details…

Some rules that should be obvious but I will state them anyways:

  • This is a positive community so please respect each other so we can go off and do awesome things together.
  • No religious or political chat please.
  • Racism, homophobia, sexism or any other abhorrent behavior will not be tolerated.
  • No Posting of DPS Meters or any sort of that behavior.

If all or any of this sounds like an awesome idea then I really hope to see you as part of the RoboSquid Armada.

[EDIT]  Updated the link to the social group, because for whatever reason the first one was not working.

Pirate Booty

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So in the past I have talked about how our middle cat, Kenzie…  loves to play fetch.  This originally started with her stealing the rubber bands that occasionally bind together bundles of hangers when we get dry cleaning.  This escalated to her swiping the elastic string that holds together shoes sometimes when you buy a pair at the store.  One day while roaming Dollar Tree we noticed these hair bands and thought…  this is a thing that Kenzie would love and would also be easier to tell when she has dropped one on our head.  So we picked up a package of them and at the same time my wife swiped one for herself to use as a binding strap for one of her notebooks.  Over the weekend Kenzie found this hairband…  and pulled the notebook off of my wife’s desk in her office…  somehow figured out how to get the band off the notebook… and by the time we got up that day was playing with it downstairs.

She has a special proclivity for this one that is sorta light pink/mauve-ish, and if you happen to be holding it…  she stops whatever she is doing and goes into seek and retrieve mode.  This is actually rather handy in the mornings when we want to shoo her out of the bedroom… all you have to do is toss it down the hall.  The other side effect of these bands is she does a much better job of carrying them back to us…  whereas with rubber bands they almost never made it back for tossing/flinging again.  She is a crazy cat, but also mostly awesome for her weird little quirks like this one.  The photo is a stash of them we have hidden on top of the entertainment center, because occasionally she misplaces them.  I think she can smell the rubber honestly, and for whatever reason likes it…  because that is the only common thread behind all of the things that she seems to want to fetch.  Our eldest cat though…  her thing is bread twist ties so maybe all cats have a “thing” that they are super passionate about.

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Today is maintenance day for World of Warcraft and I feel like the game definitely needs some tweaking.  A curious thing started happening over the weekend…  where a lot of the spawn rates for world quests went completely out of whack.  This for example is an Azerite Mining area in Vol’dun that went from near instant spawn Sethrak to single spawns every few minutes.  As a result it was a free for all match of trying to get a tag in on a mob when it spawned so that your faction could get the credit for killing it.  I apparently was fairly good at tagging things with my thrown glaives and then would sit back and ignore the mob hoping to let as many players get a tag in as well as possible before it inevitable evaporated.

Similarly there were other world quests that had near instant respawn rates…  or faster.  There was a quest in Stormsong Valley where I would often end up with five copies of the same mob as it would keep spawning over top of itself before I could kill the first one.  There was an Azerite Mining area in Nazmir where I just straight up got overwhelmed because I ended up with five of those golems on top of me from the same spawning node and simply could not keep up with the self healing.  My hope is today’s patch will sort all of this out and tweak the respawn rates back to normal ranges.  In truth the servers have mostly been doing excellent until yesterday… when all of this nonsense started showing up so I am wondering what tweak behind the scenes brought it all about.

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Lastly we ran our first Mythic last night, and chose to go after Freehold…  the super awesome pirate dungeon.  In truth it was far easier than we had expected it to be… especially given that a couple of our players were just barely heroic level… let alone mythic level.  At this point I am 324 on the Demon Hunter which is not that far off from the 330 I managed to get my warrior to before shifting focus.  I have for all purposes “caught up” and over the weekend chain ran several heroic with Grace healing at the helm.  Demon Hunter is an excellent tank with the one slight problem…  they lack the wide variety of “oh shit” buttons that many of the tanks have.  Essentially I have Demon Spikes as a frequent use little burst of survival…  which helps take the edge off things but isn’t going to really keep me alive for long.  Then I have Metamorphosis that acts as my major survival cool-down and turns me into a big damned demon.

That is pretty much it…  I can roam around some and pick up souls that I have not managed to suck back into myself yet…  but the class lacks the wide variety of survival tools that say a warrior has.  This means that if everything is going well I am super easy to heal because the sustain that the class has all by its lonesome is phenomenal.  However if the Demon Hunter tanks starts to really take a damage spike… there is going to be nothing they can do themselves to pull back out of it and save the day.  Basically after playing tanks that have a deep bench of abilities they can pull in to save themselves from things going south…  it feels sorta helpless to have nothing much in reserve.

As far as the Mythic itself… we took it slow and over cleared just to keep from things going south…  but things did in fact go south at a few points when we had chain aggro… or someone back into a pack of mobs… or a runner go grab something.  That said we managed to whittle our way down through the bosses and the only one we actually wiped on was Shark Puncher…  which gets WAY nastier on Mythic.  I am super amped to get in and try some more Mythics tonight if we can assemble the same strike team as we had last night.  I’ve been contemplating pulling together a horde community of folks who want to do Mythics to sorta make the process of building them a bit easier.  I am not sure however if I have it in me to do much group organization these days…  if it happens however you will likely hear about it here first.

Foil by Cats

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This morning I had the boldest of plans for what I was going to do with my day off…  but so far none of it has come to fruition as I keep being besieged by adorable cats wanting to snuggle.  Today begins my four day weekend, and while I will have to do some work at some point…  namely reconcile timesheets…  I have most of the day to myself.  I originally planned to tear apart my system upstairs and move it to its new case…  that is large enough to finally fit the 1080 ti that I picked up on the cheap during prime day.  So far this has not happened and I am not honestly certain it will.

This is the problem with making plans sometimes is that other plans sorta insert themselves in the middle of them.  Right now I am chilling on the sofa with cats as I type my morning post, and considering I don’t think I slept terribly well…  I am largely okay with this situation.  An alternate strategy is to play World of Warcraft and work on leveling the Demon Hunter while trying to finish Jessica Jones season 2 and start Luke Cage season 2.  Whatever the case…  I needed a break because the rigors of work have been nonsense.  I only wish that my wife could have also had a similar break.

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Right now I am a little over halfway to 116 and finally reaching the point I have already quested through in Nazmir.  I look forward to seeing how the rest of the zone goes since I largely stalled out on it as soon as I dinged 120 and became obsessed with gear acquisition on the Warrior.  I am enjoying Fury quite a bit, but I have never really had the soul of a dps player…  but I do like that it gives me an option to run when someone else is able to tank.  I still however feel the need to push up a viable tank since that is largely the role I always inhabit in group play.  My hope is by the end of this break I will be back at 120 and potentially have eclipsed where my Warrior is gear wise.

However… for the very moment I am going to get back to snuggling with cats.

Reluctantly Fury

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This morning is a hard morning, because I am struggling to wake up.  I apparently had a way more active night than I realized, because in my mind I slept all the way through.  However my wife told me a tale this morning that tells otherwise.  Apparently I fell asleep with the television on and at some point during the night she woke up and decided that it should be turned off.  The television remote was on the end table on my side of the bed so she proceeded to wake me up and tell me to turn it off.  Instead of doing this… I apparently proudly proclaimed that “I peed”.  At which point she tried to tell me no.. please turn off the television…  to which I again proudly replied “but I already peed”.

This apparently happened a couple more times before I finally reluctantly turned off the television.  I remember absolutely none of this happening at all.  In my mind I went to bed and slept all the night through without incident, but I am guessing my generally groggy state this morning is due to the fact that I didn’t in fact do that thing.  I have been taking a dose of nyquil before going to bed because I have been fighting this nameless crud, and I am wondering if the sleep inducing nature of that…  lead to my odd behavior.  Regardless it is blogfodder as I call it, and like so many things I probably shouldn’t tell you…  I am telling you anyways.

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Last night I managed to get the Demon Hunter to 114 and finish out the quests in Vol’dun.  At this point I have moved him on to Nazmir which is a zone I never quite finished on the Warrior before getting caught up in the madness of world questing.  As I was winding down on the Demon Hunter I decided to make one more pass on the Warrior to see if there were any quests up that I absolutely had to do.  It was around this point that I decided to try out Fury in proper and get my bars set up.  Now at this point I don’t have a great combo of weapons for Fury as I am have a spear from world questing that came in around 320 and an axe that came from a world boss I believe at 289ish.  It is good enough to get started, but generally speaking I have had hell getting weapons this entire expansion so far.  I was hoping that onehander fury was a thing again and I could just drop some fist weapons crafted by my leatherworker, but that is apparently not a thing.

The shocking truth is…  Fury is amazing.  It feels good and shockingly feels like I have more moment to moment survival than I do as a protection warrior.  Basically this is now my world questing form and will probably run dungeons as such also to help build out the rest of my gear.  This is the expansion where apparently I am maining Fury on the Warrior, however that is not enough of a consolation prize to give up my mission to level the Demon Hunter and tank on it.  It does at least make me feel like maybe I didn’t completely waste the first two weeks of this expansion leveling a character that would be permanently shelved during this expansion.  Maybe just maybe at some point they will apply some tweaks to the way protection feels and I can dust off the sword and shield.

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Another thing that I poked my head into last night was Destiny 2, and for starters the lighting model feels totally different as evidenced by the way this ship looks.  As far as the changes… I am still wrapping my head around what weapons do what.  What I thought was going to happen was that we could put any weapon in any slot.  What actually happened was that weapons are still divided by Kinetic, Energy and Power slots and then to confuse things further…  the weapons are split by what sort of ammunition they use being primary, special or heavy.  Fusion Rifle, Sniper Rifle and Shotgun all now are counted as special weapon types and are divided between the first and second slot.  What I had hoped was that I could run around with Uriel’s Gift in the first slot, Merciless in the second slot, and then a Sword in the third slot.  That is not a thing since Merciless and Uriel’s Gift both occupy the same slot.

None of this works exactly how I remembered them explaining it in the first live stream about Forsaken, however I have also not been following the changes terribly close.  So technically there probably are ways you could have a shotgun in the first two slots, but I am not sure how viable that is actually going to be.  The infusion however works much better to where it is slot based and not weapon type based.  That said we still can’t do what we were able to do in TTK era of feeding trash drops from one class to become infusion fuel to push up another class which is unfortunate.  Supposedly the changes feel really good, but I am on a mission to level the Demon Hunter so I did not give it that much time.  I hope to explore it more over the long weekend break.

Abandoning Warrior

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I’ve loved the Warrior class since the first time I saw one tank a raid.  Back then I was attempting to tank with my Paladin during the “seal of rage” era and to be able to see the way the warrior could just do everything better than I could was impressive.  I rapidly started leveling a Warrior up with my good friend Finni as she leveled her priest, and before long I was tanking all of the Late Night Raiders off night activities like Zul’Gurub.  When Burning Crusade was released I used it as an opportunity to shed Hunter as my raiding main and embrace the life of the tank.  It was a good choice and I was largely happy with it until the tail end of Wrath of the Lich King when I started straying from the path by playing a Death Knight.  I kept on that Deathlord path up until Warlords when they reached a point where they felt horrible, and with that I shifted back to my original love and have been a Warrior main again ever since.

As it stands right now…  Warriors are not in a great place.  I’ve always prided myself on being the tank that was the most healable, in that I tried my damnedest to level out the amount of damage that I am taking so that I can be healed in a predictable manner.  That is no longer a protection warrior, in fact as I have seen so far they seem to be the absolute worst at taking damage spikes due to a combination of all of our active mitigation abilities being on the GCD and not being able to maintain 100% up time due to cool downs.  Playing a warrior tank right now is a stressful mess in a manner that it shouldn’t be at the low gear levels and challenge levels of content that I am focused on.  I always feel like I am rage starved and essentially have to choose between active mitigation and dealing damage, and the more I sway towards damage reduction…. the more trouble I have holding aggro on large packs of things.

This is exacerbated by the fact that I cannot find a weapon to save my life and finally had to plunk down 11k on a weapon that I know will be replaced almost immediately just because it is something better than the 273 weapon that I had been using.  To make things worse…  even in the open world while doing World Quests…  Warrior tanks feel like a mess.  It is a constant juggling act trying to keep myself alive while slowly chewing down the health of mobs.  Sure I can solo bigger content, but it requires me to be constantly vigilant and never miss an active mitigation…  or simply pull a ton of trash mobs to make sure I can always be killing something and proccing another 20% heal from Victory Rush.  Basically warrioring right now is the opposite of fun for me and it is at this point that I think I am stepping away…  feeling like I wasted the last few weeks on a class that I just don’t want to play.

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Instead I am spending my play time right now leveling the Demon Hunter because their tank ability is just complete nonsense.  They are grossly overpowered and I think honestly I am okay with that…  because it feels like a fun class to play.  At this point I am 113 and have tanked Underrot…  one of the dungeons that has just straight up murdered me as a warrior.  It was only last night that I realized that the 8.0 patch reset my talents… I was apparently doing all this with absolutely no talent choices.  It is nonsense and I cannot underline that point enough, but it is fun and it allows me to have a relatively stress free play experience.  Sure I have to be a damned dirty elf…  but at least my Demon Hunter looks cool.

The truth is at some point Demon Hunters are going to get the ban hammer…  and that is frustrating because they feel like tanks in general used to feel.  Sure it took you forever to kill something, but you didn’t have to worry about incoming damage while you were slowly chewing away at mob health.  More importantly than anything…  Demon Hunters right now are the easiest to keep alive for the healers and knowing that as a Warrior I am stressing out my healer…  stresses me out.  I took Friday off and I plan on using it to do a very hard push of the Demon Hunter to 120 and start gearing it.  The tanking is enjoyable enough that I am likely going to just start pugging dungeon runs for gear immediately or grabbing anyone in guild that needs gear for an instant queue.

I am deeply saddened that I have reached this point, with warriors.  I am even more deeply saddened that if you go on the Warrior forums you see a lot of people claiming nothing is wrong.  If the healers tell me Warriors are in general harder to heal than any other Tank class and they consider them bottom of the rung…  then I believe them.  They are the ones keeping my ass alive and I don’t like the notion that my choice of class makes their lives worse.  I like Fury just fine so at least my Warrior won’t go to waste… I just need to acquire two weapons…  which is its own challenge.  I guess I could craft two fist weapons with my leatherworker Demon Hunter and use that as a starting place.  I can only hope that Warriors return to glory at some point in the near future.

Early Doldrums

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I didn’t blog this morning in part I think because I didn’t want to write the post that was sitting inside my brain.  First off I wanted to share this amazing image of my Elder Scrolls Online Imperial Dragon Knight that I commissioned Ammo to create for me.  Secondly I ended up creating a big damned thread over on Mastodon and I just realized… it was the blog post I should have made this morning.  So I ultimately lied to you and am going to largely post that thread over here since it is actually a post.

I am in a really weird place with WoW at the moment.  The last several nights I have logged in mostly to do the Emissary quest and then largely logged back out.  I rapidly reached a point where the World Quest gear isn’t really an upgrade unless its one of my dwindling number of 300ish items

The other main problem is…  the Protection Warrior just doesn’t feel as good as it has in past expansions, especially for open world content.  Sure after swapping around my build I can survive essentially indefinitely, but the time to kill just feels awful.  Not to mention the flow of combat just feels off for some reason that I can’t quite quantify.

I am starting to feel like maybe I chose the wrong main this time around…  but I am also not finding the oomph to level something else in its place because that is even more time being out of sync with my friends playing.  The stingy nature of weapons while leveling, means that I don’t really have a viable off spec weapon set up to go Fury (my choice of dps spec as warrior), and even Arms would be super anemic since my single two-hander is pretty crummy.

I think if I force myself into chain running some dungeons I might be able to kick start that joy again… but right now I am in a doldrum the earliest I have ever been in any previous expansion.  The last few nights have been a little odd and lead to me just not playing at all with friends so I think tonight I am going to see what a round of dungeoning feels like to see if it kicks me back into enjoyment phase.  Otherwise I have to tackle the thought of leveling something else…  or just moving on for now knowing that eventually I will come back.

Sometimes you just gotta be willing to let the post out that is inside of you even thought you maybe don’t want to be negative.  It will get out one way or the other…  either in a long thread on social media or in a series of private messages to friends.

Old Dog New Tricks

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Last night was a pretty chill night for me, in fact I honestly didn’t play that much Warcraft other than getting in and doing the Emissary quest for the day.  The sand fishing quest in Vol’dun can officially die in a fire… the only thing that managed to make it reasonable is that I happened to have a couple of other hordies doing it at the same time and we tagged each others spawns.  Effectively when you fish with the extra action button… you can either get a work or one of the angry trilobyte things… and it seemed like I pulled way more of those out of the ground rather than the worms I actually needed.  Not a fan at all… but it was a 310 azerite chest so figured I NEEDED to do it to see if I got anything interesting from it.  I am also trying to adjust to drastically changing up my play style with the warrior.

Ultimately I was operating with old data in the back of my head and also trying to play like I had played for most of legion…  when rage rained down from the sky like magic.  The entire time playing Battle for Azeroth I have felt rage starved, like I simply did not have enough of it to do all of the things I felt like I needed to do.  In Legion it seemed like I could spam revenge with impunity and still have plenty of rage left over to keep Ignore Pain and Shield Block active 100% of the time.  Additionally I seem to have missed the memo that Ignore Pain is now sorta garbage as compared to its original state that I was used to.  If I had to make a choice before I would almost always favor Ignore Pain over Shield Block because it seemed to buy me more leverage to work with.

That however is not the case anymore and additionally the Devastator talent that can be used to simplify the rotation…  seems to also be not that great.  So all through the leveling process I ran a build that looked a little something like this…

  • Impending Victory – having the heal was nice for regenerating my health
  • Crackling Thunder – because thunderclap radius meant I could hit more things
  • Unstoppable Force – because more thunderclap with Avatar
  • Indomitable – largely picked because I always used this before
  • Rumbling Earth – because I like shockwave a lot
  • Devastator – because it was one less button I needed to mash
  • Heavy Repercussions – because lazy and it is a simple pick

The build that I have shifted to looks a little bit like this.

  • Into the Fray – because apparently now haste is king?
  • Bounding Stride – more movement options is more better
  • Unstoppable Force – still because more thunderclap with Avatar
  • Bolster – because halves the cooldown of Last Stand and makes me block all melee attacks while up
  • Rumbling Earth – again because I like shockwave a lot
  • Booming Voice – because apparently Demoralizing Shout became my fastest way to get some rage
  • Anger Management – because thanks to bolster Last Stand is my best cooldown and it comes up more often

The problem with all of this is to make it work…  I had to shift around a ton of my keybinds and last night was largely me running around and killing things and trying to get used to the new places that things are in… and also learning to lean on Demoralizing Shout whenever I am rage starved to get back in the game.  I am old… and as a result I am starting to get a little set in my ways.  The keybinds I have been using for my warrior have been used in that configuration for probably three expansions now more or less apart from some minor tweaks.  It is going to take awhile to get to where I don’t feel like I am walking on marbles with these new keybinds.  Essentially I try and play my classes in a way so that I am not thinking about what I am hitting at any given moment… and I am largely just playing through muscle memory.  So I have to spend some time retraining said muscle memory so I can get back to just reacting to the situation on the ground as it is happening rather than hovering in my head trying to sort out what I should be hitting.

Tonight I will probably do more of the same, doing world quests to get used to the feel of things… and also because I am going to be at RiffTrax with work friends leading me to get home super late as compared to my usual schedule.  It is going to be Krull which has always been a bit of a guilty pleasure movie for me.  I grew up loving the weapon and tolerating the movie because the weapon looked badass.  It should be a good time and I am mostly hoping that I can keep my coughing down to a minimum in the theater as not to distract everyone else around me.

The Magic Number

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Last night was a good night.  First off I am finally starting to feel a little more like human, as it seems that whatever crud I have been fighting for the last week is starting to subside.  Second I think I found the source of my annoyance in Discord mysteriously turning itself from push to talk to voice activated all the time.  Finally I got to run some dungeons with Mor, Grace and a friend of theirs from the Star Wars the Old Republic days.  At this point I think there are a couple of dungeons I still have yet to see on normal, and it is my goal to remedy that before sitting foot into heroics.  There are still several items that I need…  namely a good shield, good main hand weapon, and another reasonable trinket.  Those are the slots that are dragging down my magic number down from what it could potentially be.

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Speaking of magic numbers however…  I have now hit 305 which makes me physical capable of queuing for heroics.  However this is not quite something I want to do yet.  I want to finish getting those missing slots and see if I can sort out why I feel so damned squishy.  It could be that Protection Warriors are just in a shitty place right now and one that will improve later as gear scales.  This has been the case in past expansions, but what I am going through at the moment is that I feel completely rage starved.  It is like I don’t have enough active rage to be using revenge and keeping up Ignore Pain/Shield Block.  This is completely new for me because always in the past I had all the rage in the world to play with.  So last night I shifted around my talents after the few dungeons we ran and I am hoping tonight…  I maybe see an improvement.

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The image may state that this is Lord Stormsong…  but in truth it is Squid Pope.  Originally we thought he was Fish Pope but he transformed over the course of the instance.  Squid Pope and his friends were very annoying, but we managed to make it through the effort and get some loot in the process.  So far I am thinking that the dungeons that the Alliance gets natively are maybe a little cooler than the dungeons the Horde gets.  The blood troll instance for example… is annoying as shit and I still have not figured out how the ticks work given that sometimes I die horribly to them exploding and other times I am just fine.  The end result is me running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to avoid standing near them as they die.

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My hope is that tonight in our adventures I manage to find a weapon and a trinket… and preferably a new shield so I can go forth into heroic land with great confidence.  It is taking me a little longer than normal to ease into my comfort zone with Battle for Azeroth content, but I am thankful I have a trusted healer to ferry me along in this journey.  She is showing great restraint in not just completely blowing past me and leaving me in the dust.  I am already feeling super behind the curve given how often people in guild chat are asking for Mythics…  and I have not even set foot in a Heroic.  They are on a vastly different trajectory to me so far, and that is okay.  I will get there eventually, and hopefully at some point I get enough gear to have offspec options.

Disposable Items

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I don’t have an awful lot to talk about this morning, apart from just how badass my Orc Warrior Lady looks in the Blackhand set combined with the revamped version of the crazy Black Temple shield and Mechanar sword.  As much as I generally did not like the story arc of Warlords of Draenor…  it produced a bunch of gear that I absolutely love.  The Iron Wrath set still is among my all-time favorite Warrior sets and I really need to put some time into farming the transmog bits that I am missing.  One of the things I realized last night is that my attachment to the Sun Eater’s appearance is at least in small part because I farmed Heroic Mechanar for ages to try and get it.  It also made me realize how different the economy of gear is now as to when it was back then.

There were items worth farming because when you got them… they would actually serve as a pretty good weapon for a good while into raiding rather than something you toss in the bin immediately.  I remember in Burning Crusade when they introduced the long and contorted weapon specializations for Blacksmithing…  those items were actually worth working towards because they would serve the player for more than a day or two.  Anything I could craft for myself right now gets tossed in the shredder the moment I step foot into a heroic or at the very least a mythic dungeon.  Those long tailed goals are largely gone from the game, the things that are worth striving towards.

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I think the problem for me is that my core gameplay loop has shifted from seeking specific objectives, to gaining the next disposable item that will increase the magical number that gates all of the tiers of content in the game.  I remember there used to be a time when I would create “Hit Lists” of the items that I wanted from specific dungeons, and then set forth to run those dungeons until I completed that set.  Back then however the items in each dungeon felt unique to the location… not just super similar draws from the same item pool.  The transitory nature of the items however makes each new acquisition feel completely unimportant…  the equivalent to the commons in a pack of Magic the Gathering cards that you just skip over hoping that maybe just maybe you got something really cool in the Rare/Mythic slot.

I miss caring about the drops.  I am not sure how you go back to that era especially when the modern era is actually way more open to varied styles of play.  Right now I am largely gearing through a mix of World Questing and running the occasional dungeon.  If I were super serious about things I would be abusing the fact that I have instant dungeon queues as a tank and pug my way to glory.  At this point I am sitting at 300 item level and I need 305 to start doing heroics.  That said in truth I probably need to have a full compliment of 310 items to make heroics really viable as the person who is soaking all of the damage.

The thing is… I used to feel confident running dungeons with strangers.  Somewhere along the way that changed and I no longer feel as bulletproof and steadfast as I once was.  I used to feel like I really had a handle on all there was to know about warrior tanking.  Now I just sorta feel like a pretender in plate armor, and I think that lack of confidence hinders me so much when it comes to random groups.  Last night Grace and I ran a dungeon, and I felt like I was screwing up all of the time…  and doing all the wrong things.  I am not entirely certain how to get over that, apart from just bashing my face against the random group finder until I become desensitized again.

The funny thing is though… I don’t have reason to feel this way.  So far all of the random people we have grouped with on Horde side have been awesome.  I generally start the group with a “Hey Folks!” and unlike Alliance side I almost always get a response back which starts an open dialog that often continues during the dungeon.  I do however miss the days when I used to have a ton of active social channels on the server, and had to build groups by hand…  because then I actually got to know more people.  It is all too easy for me to stay in my comfortable bubble of people I am already familiar with rather than branching out and making new connections.  I think in part that is why I am enjoying Mastodon so much… is because it is forcing me to meet and entirely new world of people.

On to Nazmir

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I feel like I need to be apologizing since you are not getting an awful lot out of me this week.  I am still recovering from whatever crud I seem to have caught, and my wife appears like she might be coming down with it too.  All this time I thought it was just super bad allergies but maybe it really did end up being some sort of a summer cold.  Regardless we ended up heading to bed around 9 last night because we were both sitting there fighting sleep.  That means I did not spend an awful lot of time playing last night, but I did managed to finish up the main story arc of Zuldazar which was very cool.  The only negative is there is a lot of stuff happening that doesn’t cleanly get resolved so I am expecting that once again the raids will act as finishing off bits of story.  It gives the players that would not normally run the raids a hook to go do them…  but at the same time it is a bit annoying that you are essentially forced to do them to see the end of story lines.

I got called out by Grace that she had not yet dinged 120, but I am going out on a limb and saying that she dinged last night.  I mean she said as much, but I also remember he saying as much the night before.  Basically at this point I cannot trust my brain because apparently whatever crud I have is effecting my memory as well.  I think I also said I was 117 going on 118…  which is not true as I dinged 117 last night.  It is little wonder that I had trouble following some of the story line throughout Zuldazar a bit.  It is my hope that this weekend I can push forward and ding 120 so I can start doing end game shenanigans.

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The real hope however is that I start to feel like a normal human being.  Yesterday was my first full day back at work since Monday, and it took an awful lot out of me.  This weekend also probably means we are going to run a lot of errands as my wife realizes things she needs for the classroom given this is her first day back with kids.  It is going to be busy… and I realistically need to be back a normal operating status in order to do all of the things that need to be done.  I’ve not done any of the Developer Appreciation Week posts but my hope is to do a few of them over the weekend.  This is really not a great time to be sick, so hopefully I get over this nonsense quickly.