On The Mend

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I am mostly among the living.  Yesterday was a federal holiday here in the United States and with me being off work… it also mean’t that I largely treated it as part of the weekend for blogging purposes.  I am still fighting the same crud that I had last week, but it feels like at some point on Monday I turned the corner.  While I still have the vestiges of whatever bronchial mess has inflicted me, I am starting to feel better and less like an appendage of the couch and or bed depending upon the time table.  it truly was a miserable weekend and while I attempted to game I was not terribly successful at anything until yesterday.  I spent most of the break working on the Tauren Hunter who has now finished the Outland and is knee deep in Northrend just starting the Grizzly Hills area.  My hope is that when I ding 74 the bear spirit beast will be up and I can collect it for my pet.  Up until this point I am mostly running a Fel Corehound that I got from the Blasted Lands.  I took the Beast Mastery talent that allows your pets to shadow step… so it is entertaining watching him leap up on targets rapidly.  At this point however I can kill most mobs well before my beast even has time to interact with it…  which is the life of running full heirlooms.

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Sunday I indulged a really weird whim and decided to reinstall the Arc client and give Neverwinter a spin.  I’m on the PR feed still from Perfect Worlds and they are constantly putting out press releases about content releases to this game.  It got me wondering what the current state of matters is when I have literally not heard anyone talk about it in almost two years.  It turns out the game is in pretty great shape as far as actually logging in and playing it.  As far as doing its best to feel insidious from a loot box standpoint…  it is also working on winning some awards.  I don’t remember much about the game if I am being very serious, but you know that thing that we chastised Call of Duty WW2 for doing at the beginning of the year?  Where if you get a drop the game announces to the rest of the world what you just got?  That apparently happens in Neverwinter as most of my time spent in the central hub area was a constant stream of people getting loot drop rewards.  In the very short time I played yesterday I got somewhere around 25 loot crate drops from random stuff while doing quests.  Each one of these crates would require a key which runs roughly $1.25 each without any of the “buying in bulk” discounts applied.  Through the quests I wound up getting three free keys to open three sample crates and if the ones that drop in the wild are at all similar to what they gave us as “examples” for why we should buy into this system…  they were full of utter garbage.  If you can however do what I started doing and just vendoring the damn crates for a few copper each time you saw one drop…  and loot past the money grubbing nature of the game…  the core feedback loop is actually rather enjoyable.  I think when I logged in last night I was around 16 left over from my initial push around launch and I believe I logged out for the evening around 25/26ish.  During all of that time I enjoyed the core game quite a bit so long as I completely ignored the multiple currency cash shop nonsense.  If you can do the same then you too will probably enjoy yourself.

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Last completely random thing I did last night…  is patch up and log into Elder Scrolls Online.  This game is in fact the same as I remember it and still rather enjoyable.  The biggest problem I will have is trying to sort out exactly what I was doing when I was last playing.  I am still being insanely stubborn and wanting to finish all of the original three story arcs before doing any of the newer content.  As a result I believe I am somewhere in the middle of Malabal Tor during my Aldmerri Dominion play through.  From there I will at some point venture forth into Ebonheart where maybe just maybe I can play long enough to see the character that was inspired by me and some of the folks we play with.  I think the fact that I jumped around so much last night… but still managed to get a bunch of play in with each jump…  is probably proof that I am on the mend.  In truth a good chunk of this weekend was spend with me just staring blankly at things without really doing a lot of interaction.  There were several times that I would start up a YouTube video that would then cycle through a whole bunch of things before I even realized I was still watching something.  Now however I need to go warm up the car and prep myself to venture forth into the frozen tundra (for Oklahoma at least).  Tonight will likely either be more Neverwinter or ESO because I had a lot of fun playing both.

 

Bad Concierge

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Yesterday I failed miserably at making any sort of a post.  In truth by the time I had realized I had not logged in and created a blog post it was mid afternoon…  and figured I might as well just call it a day off.  First off this morning I feel like I probably need to update considering my Monday post.  I saw a Doctor Monday afternoon but good or bad the pain had subsided by that point.  The pain in whole lasted roughly 3 1/2 to 4 hours and without it being “acute” the only way they really had to diagnose things was some scans.  Their advice to me is that if the pain comes back at all…  go to the Emergency Room immediately.  Based on my description they thought it might have been either a kidney stone or my appendix…  since I still have one of those so in both cases something dangerous if I allow it to go unchecked.  While I was there however they also told me I had a pretty significant sinus infection and prescribed a round of antibiotics to help clear that up.  I had been coughing up a storm the last few weeks and apparently I actually had an infection to back that up.  The doctor suggested that I not return to work until Wednesday, to keep down the odds of me infecting someone else…  which I guess makes sense given this is a sort of work based free clinic thing that I went to.  So for the bulk of yesterday I chilled out while something cooked in the crockpot and piddled around in World of Warcraft while consuming Netflix/Amazon shows.

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One of my favorite things about ElvUi is the AFK screen thing.  Not sure why it makes me happy to see it pop up and I have a directory littered with screenshots of my character sitting down while dancing on the side.  At this point I am level 52 on my newish Tauren Hunter and spending time in the greater Gadgetzan area.  In truth last night before logging for the evening I got the precursor quest to take me to Ungoro crater, so I will likely be heading there shortly.  Being fully decked out in Heirlooms makes the leveling experience really odd given that things rarely last long enough for my pet to even reach the target, let alone need any form of “tanking”.  This means that I am largely running a pet for the flavor of it rather than for the functionality.  Traditionally when I need a pet to be a barrier between me and the target I tend to favor bears…  however for the moment I am running around with a golden brown Owl I picked up somewhere in Feralas that I named Bubo.  The hunter is ridiculously relaxing which has been exactly the sort of thing I have been looking for lately.  One of the things I enjoy about hanging out in Facepull on the Horde side is that I can be a fly on the wall mostly, that interacts every so often but also has the room to simply not interact at all if the spirit doesn’t move me to communication.

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I ended up going off on a twitter tear yesterday talking about guild leadership and being the person in the background that makes sure things are happening.  When I first started leading guilds…  I was very young and lacked any sort of responsibility apart from just showing up at work and making sure I was getting my tasks accomplished.  In fact when House Stalwart hit its stride about a year into the release of the game…  I was in quite possibly the worst job I have ever been in.  I had a horrible boss and felt like I had no control over my work environment, and as a result having a smooth running community to come home to and spend my evenings with was almost refreshing.  During this time my home life was in a bit of a disarray due to the large number of deaths that were occurring in the family, and Stalwart wound up being my stability that I so desperately needed.  As we entered Wrath of the Lich King I changed jobs and wound up in a much better place where I had a support structure and actually started taking on more responsibilities.  As such I found myself starting to back away from the same sort of things that I did during Vanilla and Burning Crusade and begin placing myself in more of a distant advisory role.  By the time Cataclysm launched I had moved up to being a Team Lead, and was responsible with juggling planning and task assignment, and similarly I found myself completely checking out of the guild leadership role and even going so far as to quit World of Warcraft when Rift released.  During that time I have shifted from Team Lead, to assumed supervisor, to actual supervisor… to now interim manager of three groups.  While I have kept trying to be the social glue for guilds…  by the time I get home I just have no social capital left to make things happen.

The truth is that every guild you have ever been in that felt active…  had one or more people behind the scenes making sure that things were going smoothly.  I used to have a motto among our officers that I wanted our actions felt but not necessarily seen, and so long as I had the focus it worked smoothly.  From Cataclysm on Stalwart has changed hands numerous times and as a result has kept going forward without me.  While now it takes a more raiding focus, it is still functional and still doing things.  However if you take away the people who are actively moving the ball forward… you end up with 30 people sitting in guild chat and nothing happening.  That has been the problem with so many of these guilds that I have formed as new games come out..  I don’t have the drive to be the cruise director anymore…  and while I gather up the people I don’t have the strength to actually do things with other people.  This was extremely noticed in the recent foray into Destiny 2 where I spent 99.9% of my time soloing, all the while people around me were trying to make things happen.  Guilds work when they have a concierge making sure needs are being met and I just cannot fill that position anymore.  I have transitioned to being one of the players that just wants to log in and have a good evening escaping whatever stresses piled up during the day.  The key difference for me at least is that I do most of this through solo play and am completely happy to piddle along with alts.  There are times that I miss big group activities…  like I wish we had beat Calus in Destiny 2, or I wish we had made a bigger push into Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood.  Then I sit back and think about the frustrations of having to remember to log in on time with all of the materials needed for raiding on a specific night of the week… and I question if I could ever go back to that.  So yes…  I play tons of MMOs as single player games and am mostly okay with that, and yes I realize I am doing it wrong.  I do like knowing people are out there in spite of me not being capable of actually interacting some evenings, so I will always seek out potential communities because someday…  maybe…  I might shift back out of whatever turtle mode I have been in for the last year.

Poorly Dressed Hunter

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Last night on a whim after running my Emmisary quests on Horde side I decided to start playing something else.  For a long time I have had a level 20 Forsaken Hunter, but I have this major problem playing anything with the “horde hunch”.  While I realize that is eventually going to be optionally not a thing…  there is also the major problem I have with the Forsaken in that they cannot wear anything but trashed out armor.  If I could be an upright walking normal armor wearing Forsaken…  that would probably cause me to re-evaluate a lot of my choices in life.  However I can’t and I doubt they will ever taken away the iconic exposed bone thing from them so…  until that date that is likely never going to happen I am probably going to bounce the fuck off playing one.  I wound up deleting my old hunter and re-rolling as a Tauren, which coincidentally was my very first World of Warcraft character back in beta.  I got into closed beta shortly after the Tauren starting zone opened and primarily played a Warrior and a Hunter for most of my testing time.  That combined with the fact that Mulgore looks not dissimilar from the corner of Oklahoma I live in…  has always sorta made that experience feel homey.

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The only problem is…  first I forgot that my mail armor was a mishmash of nonsense that I got through the Wintergrasp PVP heirloom vendor…  combined with the shaman shoulders because apparently at some point I bought those?  As a result I am the most disturbing ahn’qiraj era fury warrior looking character to exist.  The problem there is that I forgot that I could not ride a mount until 20…  which means I won’t have access to my Yak and a transmog vendor to remedy this until then.  For now…  I just look like a mess roaming around with an awesome purple birb.  There is something extremely relaxing about the leveling process and if I actually want to do that in earnest I am left with two options:  Roll Horde or Roll Alliance on server other than Argent Dawn.  If you notice in the above image… every single Alliance character I have is over level 100, which means I would ultimately have to grind nothing but Legion content and quite frankly that doesn’t sound that fun or relaxing in the least.

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Horde side however I have lots and lots of room for expansion and as a result I am experiencing a bit of a renaissance of “monstrous humanoids”.  I am however catching shit now from my Alliance guild as every so often tells show up in my timeline saying things like “we miss you”.  While I seem to have switched relgion for the moment I am sure at some point in the near future I will play alliance again.  I am neither red nor blue but have always been purple, because purple is a great color and also blends the fact that since day one…  I have played a little bit on both sides of the fence.  The fact that there still is a fence at all infuriates me, which is why I am not nearly as amped as I probably should be about this upcoming expansion.  I have different pools of friends that prefer to play one side or the other and as a result I will always be split between the two.  It is my hope that I can get a few more characters up before the expansion hits so I have a pretty even stable of characters on either side of the fence.  Similarly I will probably start pushing up some of  my Alliance characters as well…  but there is only so much Legion grinding that one can take.  Side note…  I have the best Tauren Hunter Bel-Themed name ever…  Belgrazer.

Double Agent

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I’ve reached this sorta happy place with World of Warcraft where I find myself alternating back and forth between it and Destiny 2 for how I spend most of my evenings.  Over the last month or so I had spent most of my pushing up my Orc Warrioress, and have now reached the point where I can no longer easily push her power level up by just doing World Quests.  As a result this caused a bit of an identity crisis over the Christmas break and lead me to pick another of my various horde characters to start working on.  Having not actually pushed up a Demon Hunter… and Legion being the expansion all about Illidari…  I figured it was high time to actually do this thing.  I started out leveling as Havoc like I had before on the Alliance side but promptly swapped over to Vengeance when I started missing tank survival.  It turns out that I really like Vengeance as a spec and you get to do a bunch of fun things…  sadly at the cost of your charge around the map ability.  The way shorter cooldown version of Heroic Leap in the form of Infernal Strike however makes up for the lack of the less predictable movement ability.  If nothing else the build allows me to do most of the World Questing with impunity and at some point I will actually try some dungeon tanking.

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For the moment however when it comes to LFR, Heroics or Timewalking…  I have been swapping back to Havoc and just noobing it up.  This is the point where I have to step back from some of the commentary I made while leveling the warrior.  I was shocked and amazed at how chill the horde side of the house had been during my experiences…  but once I donned the mantle of the demon hunter…  and potentially as a side effect of the long holiday break…  all of the asshats seemed to come out of the woodwork.  Monday night I chain ran my five timewalking dungeons in a row… and all of the cool demeanor that I had originally attributed to the horde side melted away.  It became a night of gripes and wipes as I limped through my five instances and then walked away praising some dark god that my sanity was still intact.  I am still not entirely certain why my recent change in religion of sorts and swap to the horde, but I would have to think a lot of it has to do with simply wanting to hang out with my friends in Facepull.  As a result it has been this super chill place to hang out and have occasional comments about the game and life in general.  On a day by day basis I am feeling way less of a double agent and more leaning towards the Horde.  For years I never could seem to get into characters on that side of the fence and the only reason why I had a max level character during Warlords was because I boosted, this time around however I have the same number of Alliance characters as I do Horde and I am already plotting the next thing to level.  Side note…  Blood Elf demon hunters look way cooler than the damned floppy eared Night Elf equivalent.

Conflicted Feels

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This weekend we ended up recording a full on spoilers Last Jedi show because it seemed to be a reasonable thing to do.  Functionally all of the AggroChat crew had already seen the movie and were ready to start talking about it.  In this discussion however I seemed to be the odd man out in the way I feel about the movie.  In truth I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it on Thursday night when I saw it, and as I saw it Saturday with my wife I started to get more critical of it.  When we walked out of the theater my wife was similarly not sure how she felt about the movie, and then as we were walking to the car said she was a little disappointed.  The problem is that seed grows over time and there are certain things in the movie that really bother me.  It has a film with a lot of really awesome moments, knitted together by a bunch of other stuff that I am not really sure how to think about it.  Essentially I am at a place where I feel like this is the weakest of the modern Star Wars movies and I place it firmly behind Empire Strikes Back, Force Awakens, Rogue One and A New Hope.  There are individual moments however that could easily elevate the movie above all of those…  were the rest of the film that strong as well.  I remember thinking Thursday night…  that the movie seemed really long but I mostly chocked that up to being after midnight when we got out of the theater.  When we watched it as a matinee on Saturday morning however…  it felt somehow longer.  My biggest frustration is that the movie really answers none of the questions I had in a satisfying manner, but I won’t go further than that.  If you want to hear the whole spoilery conversation check out the podcast episode because I elaborate on a lot of things there…  and end up being the single person who seems to feel this way out of the crew.  I want so bad to love this movie…  but I am just struggling with it much the same way as I did the prequels.  I was born and bred with Star Wars in my veins…  seeing the first movie as a toddler in the theater…  but I am struggling hard to maintain that hype and love.

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While sitting around questioning how I felt about the direction of the Star Wars franchise…  I spent a significant amount of time playing World of Warcraft.  The irony here is that Warcraft is another franchise I often have deep problems with but keep returning because there is a nostalgic core there that I still love.  Belghast the Female Orc Warrior on Scryers dinged 110 last weekend and since then I have been focusing on gearing up.  This largely has meant a lot of running world quests and more specifically unlocking a good deal of the content on Argus.  In the last week and some change I have managed to raise my item level to 896 which means that I can run the LFR version of Antorus.  In addition to this I have mostly just been focusing on slowly raising my level by knocking out the world quests that give me things that are useful.  Additionally I am trying to burn through all of the Argus quests that I come across in the hopes of gathering enough of <insert newest currency name here> to be able to purchase 910 items.  Luckily the world quest drops seem to be scaling quite a bit as I ratchet my level up there and as a result I am creeping closer and closer to 900.  The biggest challenge right now is the fact that I have yet to see any Legendary items in spite of doing a bunch of stuff that could in theory get me one.  Either they have greatly nerfed the drop rate…  or I am just super unlucky.  In truth what I need to focus on is finishing my Order Hall campaign, because the fact that I have not done so is starting to hold me back in a bunch of ways.  I think tonight pending I feel like doing group content… I will sit down and force my way through it because I know there are still a bunch of missions that I need to run.  Essentially I need to finish Valsharah and do some dungeons before I can get to the next set of order hall quests.

 

Clipped Wings

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Last night I had every intent of coming home and playing some Destiny 2…  but instead I logged into World of Warcraft to “check what gear was up on world quests” and never really logged back out.  I’m still very much stuck in “must complete the emissary caches” mode and as a result I had one in Argus for the Argussian Reach faction that I lacked enough quests to complete.  As a result I started unlocking more of the planet until I finally got enough to finish it out.  This however was super time consuming because doing anything on Argus feels needlessly tedious due to the packed base pop and terrain that goes out of its way to keep you from going from point a to b.  For my troubles I got a big fat nothing… or in truth a little bit of gold that feels insanely lackluster given the amount of effort I went through to be able to complete it.  So the real question I ask to you more seasoned players that did not take a massive break after Nighthold…  did they just fucking nerf emissary caches into the ground?  In the past these used to be a significant source of gear upgrades, and also used to drop legendaries like candy.  At this point I have no legendaries and have not seen a single piece of gear from the six caches I have turned in since starting up playing again.  Is this just a bad streak or did they simply remove any reasonable rewards from these things?

I’ve managed to move the needle a little further forward and am sitting at 884 and I think 15 concordance on my two primary weapons.  I still have Tomb of Sargeras LFR to do this week but in truth it seems like grinding Argus is going to be my best bet for gear level movement.  The only problem there is that I hate Argus and want to nuke the planet from orbit.  I mean in all reality it isn’t that bad but it just feels shitty to return to land mounts again after being able to fly literally everywhere else.  The base pop reminds me of a lot of what it feels like to roam around in a Rift zone where everything is super aggro and ready to reach out and thump you if you get too close.  The main difference is that at least in World of Warcraft it is completely reasonable for me to round up 30 mobs and grind them down….  because I did this thing today out of laziness and not wanting to stop.  The only really works if you can keep healing yourself like the protection warrior can, but nonetheless it is a viable option.  In Rift if I had more than a couple of mobs I would have fallen over, which makes the game feel super tedious to play.  If I apply myself and gobble up every quest I can do on Argus each day… I may be able to purchase a single piece of 910 gear which is a slow way to upgrade but potentially preferable to hoping for lucky double platnium bonus warforged gear from LFR.

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Towards the end of the evening while rewatching Force Awakens I did wind up grinding a bit in Destiny 2 and managed to complete the Mercury Flashpoint.  When I turned in with Cayde-6 I managed to get my very first Masterwork item…  and I maybe just almost accidentally called it Warforged.  The positive it is at least an Auto Rifle which is something I will use.  Grace said last night that when she got her first… it was a sidearm…  which is something that no sane and rational person would ever want to use.  I was absolutely certain that the game would give me a sniper rifle or something else that I generally loathe.  Then again if that were the case the decision to shard it and get crafting materials would have been simple…  in this case I have the strong desire to start using it even though Solemn Hymn isn’t exactly one of my favorite weapons.  As far as the perk on mine, it gives a small range boost which is reasonable enough for the moment.  Were it a warforged Better Devils I might work on trying to get the best possible roll, but for now I am okay with a ranged boost.  I have a late night tonight because Star Wars…  but I might be able to hop on when I get home and give it a proper testing.

Deceiver’s Fall

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What a difference a night makes.  I’ve been continuing to work on my Orc Warrior was for the foreseeable future it is likely going to be my World of Warcraft main.  Sure I will continue to visit Belghast and unpack him from mothballs but I’ve never really given Horde a proper chance.  I am also playing way more casually as a Hordie than I traditionally do as Alliance, which seems to help my general enjoyment of the game.  I know were I to start playing on Alliance again as a regular thing… I would be back in the raid before I knew it and being way more serious about the game than I really want to.  Sure on Horde side there are raid options but they tend to be super casual about that sort of thing, and also tend to cram it all into a single night win or lose.  I’ve been focusing more on Fury given that I doubt I will actually be tanking much other than the occasional run with friends.  I got pinged by my good friend Cuppy last night as I was starting to wind down for the evening and it turns out she is a healer, and roughly the same gear level so I foresee some dungeon running in our future.  As of this morning I am sitting at 866 with the only thing holding me back still a 800 heirloom trinket.  I looked at the auction house options for that last night and there is no way I can justify darkmoon trinket prices just to get a very temporary boost in level.

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My focus for the night was getting through as much Looking for Raid content as I possibly could given my item level.  I started the night cherry picking world quests focusing on only the quests that had the potential for gear level increases.  This managed to push me up to the 660 item level breaking point and as a result could start doing the Tomb of Sargeras LFR, thinking in theory that I might get reasonable gear from it.  Unfortunately the luck was not on my side and I wound up walking away empty on most fights.  I did however pick up a warforged breastplate and a set of gauntlets at least making the night somewhat profitable.  I need to ultimately sort out re-roll tokens because I walked in without any.  In the past there was some sort of a catch up mechanic allowing you to get more of the older tier of token, and I will have to figure out if that exists here or not.  I had never done any of the Tomb of Sargeras so it was at the very least cool to see it.  I am certain that the LFR fights don’t actually represent the real fights that well but still interesting and enjoyable.  The main thing I have noticed about being horde side is that LFR seems way less toxic than it is over on Alliance.  People seem to just keep their heads down and do the content without need for much bullshit, and I can respect that greatly.  Maybe I just had a lucky night, but whatever the case I approve.

Against the Legion Again

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This weekend was a majority comfort gaming weekend, and as a result I spent a good deal of my time working on the Orc Warrior.  Sure I played some Destiny 2 and probably have some things to say about the Curse of Osiris DLC but I will save additional commentary for another day.  I did manage to unlock prophecy weapons and grind out two of them in the periods of time when I was not actually playing World of Warcraft.  Most of the weekend was spent leveling and I managed to ding 110 Sunday afternoon.  From there I spent the rest of my time unlocking all of the stuff required to start doing world quests in Broken Isles and Argus all for the purpose of attempting to gear.  After essentially an evening of cherry picking quests and doing the three emmisary caches available to me… I managed to push my level up to 846.  I still have a ton of dungeons to run for the purpose of unlocking my class hall, but I do have through Nighthold LFR open to me and I am considering running that tonight for the purpose of trying to fill out some of the slots that are not amazing.  Right now I still have one heirloom trinket left and that is severely dragging my average down.  The other big problem I am having is that I have horrible relics and that is mostly a case of being unlock in the randomized item quests available in the world.  Lastly my Helm is pretty horrible, but I could spend a little gold to bring it up a bit because its from the class hall.

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It feels so odd to be doing the legion questing thing all over again on a brand new character, and I am not necessarily looking forward to doing all of Suramar or the Broken Isles storylines.  That said if I keep poking around on this character I likely will just for the sake of things to do between the gear based world questing.  It is going to be weird having both an Alliance and Horde main that are warriors, but then again there isn’t another class that I like anywhere near as well as them.  I need to start doing a daily drive by at the deathwing alternate appearance as well.  I am hoping the unlocks I did on my other Warrior will count towards that weapon appearance, but I am somehow doubting if they actually will or not.  It would have been awesome if I just got them handed to me when I dinged on a second warrior, because some of these alternate appearances are worse than others.  Like there is no way in hell I want to do the Corrupted Ashbringer appearance ever again…  and sadly my next highest horde character is my 100 Tauren Paladin.  I am thinking I probably won’t play that character until the expansion lands and just try and brush off all of the artifact madness from this expansion.  In theory I should be focusing all of the classes I never leveled and working on trying to get them a class mount.  Instead I am running up a duplicate class that I already have reasonable geared on the other side of the fence and cursing the fact that the faction wall exists in the first place.  All of that said though… I do find the design of Legion and the micro-goals spread across my map a really relaxing way of spending an afternoon.

Grind to a Halt

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When we last visited my Orc Warrior on this blog I was just about to start the Warlords content, and this week when I have not been poking my head into Destiny I have spent it pushing forward in World of Warcraft.  It’s honestly been a shock just how fast leveling went until I hit Legion content.  The old world was a confusion slog where I jumped zones each time I saw an exclamation point show up on the adventure guide.  This meant I was constantly jumping zones every few levels and most of that journey was a complete blur.  When I started Outland I did the majority of Hellfire Plateau then jumped over to Terrokar Forest for a little bit before finishing up the grind in Nagrand.  From there I jumped to Northrend and did a good chunk of Borean Tundra before jumping to Grizzly Hills and doing most of it and finally leaping over to Scholazar Basin to finish the run out.  From there we entered the Cataclysm zones and did all of the 80-85 grind in Vashj’ir without actually completely finishing that zone.  Then came Pandaria and I managed to do the entirety of the 85-90 grind without leaving Jade Forest.  From there I went to Draenor where I managed to hit 98 by doing the entirety of Frostfire Ridge and finishing up with just a tiny tiny bit in Spires of Arak.

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This is the point where the express elevator has come to a grinding halt and I’ve been confronted with normal speed leveling because all of my heirlooms petered out at 100.  I chose to do Stormheim first largely because it is both my favorite and least favorite zone at the same time.  All of the Norse themed Vrykul bits are awesome, but all of that faction nonsense is not.  It did give me access to another Order Hall champion quickly however so I am down with that.  At this point I have finished both the main story arc of the zone and the faction bullshit arc and am likely to move on to the next area.  There are a lot of things I have noticed… not the least of which is how ridiculously huge this shield is on my female orc warrior.  It is as thought they scaled the shield for the insanely bulky male models and then just called it good enough for the female ones.  The second of which is how much more intricate and slower paced the Legion content is compared to Pandaria or Warlords.  When I leveled through the content it seemed really quick, but what makes things slog a bit in comparison to what came before is how fragmented the quest hubs quickly become.  This might also be an aspect of the map itself feeling so busy with so many world bosses and objectives hidden out there to slow your journey down.  I cannot resist wasting a few minutes to find a chest that is nearby or going after a mini boss, and as a result my leveling pace has gone to hell.

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At this point I am contemplating investing in a set of Heirlooms which will set me back quite a bit of gold.  It isn’t as much about leveling quickly, it is more about not outpacing the gear I am wearing…. and also not looking like I am picking up scraps from the battlefield while I level.  I’ve liked making outfits for my character up until this point and then progressing my way through the content without having to care too much about swapping out items.  In a perfect world Warcraft would have heirlooms for every slot and I could simply level my alts without ever having to worry about swapping gear out.  With the new races coming in I fully expect to be leveling a lot more alts, and in truth investing in plate 110 heirlooms now will probably helm in the long run given that I tend to play plate wearing classes more than any others.  I am still really bummed about the direction they are taking with artifact weapons.  I would have loved to see them turn them into leveling heirlooms much the way that the items that dropped off Garrosh in Pandaria served this purpose.  It would have been a fitting end to a really awesome chapter of the game to be able to then use those weapons to level your alts.  Still having a lot of fun but I am also ready for the ride to be over and for my character to get geared up.

Shovels and Shoveltusks

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I declared Thursday and Friday to be part of the weekend last week and decided to take myself four days off from the blog and one week off from the podcast.  I feel super chill going into what is likely going to be an exceedingly stressful week so I think it was probably a good call.  Apart of having to help my folks move some furniture yesterday, I mostly had a pretty chill thanksgiving.  Both Friday and Saturday my wife and I attempted to avoid the world, and the only shopping we really did was online apart from a mad dash out to Target around 9 pm on Friday.  At that point the store was largely sane and wasn’t that much different than a normal trip on any other night.  Throughout all of this I have found myself forsaking my normal checking of Pokemon Go in favor of the relatively newly released Animal Crossing Pocket Camp.  First off I have to admit I have never played an animal crossing game before so I didn’t have much of a cultural frame of reference going into this.  The experience instead reminds me a lot of a mix between the former web based casual MMO Glitch and some flavors of Stardew Valley.  Whatever you end up calling it the game is extremely charming and at this point I am level 16 and have a bunch of the animals at my campsite…  enough that the last three or four gave me a messaging saying there was no room.  Unfortunately I have no clue how you actually determine which ones are at your camp and which ones are not…  but for the moment I am rolling with it.

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I’ve also seemingly hit whatever the friend cap is because when I try and add anyone it says that combined between my friends list and the few outstanding requests I have run out of room.  I have no clue what this cap actually is…  I estimated 200 the other day but I am guessing in truth it is closer to 100.  The game is maybe bad at messaging some things but I am largely limping along without doing much in the way of research.  There is a quarry mini-game that requires you to get help from five of your friends, and I wish they messaged when my friends were needing help a little better.  For example if you look at the middle section of the above screenshot you will see a shovel icon out to the side of Kelsey’s name.  I wish there was a way to sort these to the top of the list because they are really the ones I am most interested in given I like helping other players, because you appear to get some sort of cut of their profits.  After that you attempt to guess which rocks have the most profitable stones…  gold nuggets seem to be the best.  I still very much feel like I don’t fully grasp a lot of things…  like how the hell to make large quantities of Bells that Animal Crossing currency.  Right now I have a 30,000 bells loan with the auto place and have never really gotten close to paying it off.  Thankfully they don’t seem to be sending anyone to break my kneecaps because of it though, and they still allowed me to customize my RV regardless of having the loan out.  I feel like maybe they don’t have the best business model.  Regardless if you have not been playing this you should probably check it out because it definitely seems to be addictive as hell given the wide variety of friends that seem to be playing it on a regular basis.

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I made a bunch of progress in Destiny 2 but I am likely going to wait until tomorrow to talk about that.  Instead I wanted to talk a bit about the other game I played over the break…  World of Warcraft.  I am still working on my tiny Orc Warrior that is getting less and less tiny as each week goes by.  At this point I have completed the Cataclysm content and am on the airship just about to start the invasion of Pandaria.  This is something I have never actually done on the horde side given my last several characters I leveled were abusing the shit out of the pre-legion launch invasions.  I’ve also not spent much time playing through Warlords of Draenor as a Horde character, so that should be interesting as well.  Similarly I have never seen Legion as the Horde…  all things I am interested in experiencing first hand.  The biggest shock for me is just how fast Cataclysm managed to go given that I started in on Vashj’ir Saturday night and dinged level 85 well before finishing the final section of it Sunday evening.  I realize that zone is in theory about the same size as two other zones combined…  but I did not expect to be getting quite that much experience from it.  Granted I am fully geared out in level 100 heirlooms (minus the rings because I don’t have the patience for that nonsense), but did not partake of any of the experience boosting options.  The mission of the day however is to try and figure out how to get a Pandaria flying book…  because I do not want to return to land based leveling if I can help it.