On to Nazmir

worldofwarcraf03t0001

worldofwarcraf03t0001

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.

worldofwarcraf03t0003

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.

Zuldazar Continues

wowscrnshot_081518_214520

wowscrnshot_081518_214520

This morning I am doing considerably better than I was yesterday, but I am still not quite in fighting form.  Whatever crud I have has kicked my butt and I only managed to make it about three hours yesterday before tagging out and heading home.  What is annoying the most is that I feel just generally drained and awful and unable to enjoy pretty much anything I am doing.  I spent a good chunk of yesterday trying to catch up on Jessica Jones Season 2 and I think I made it to episode eight before giving up for the day.  The only negative about this is that I was probably not paying anywhere near as close attention to World of Warcraft as I should have.

I reached this point where suddenly there were Mogu everywhere and I am not sure how we got there exactly.  I’ve since pieces together some of the details but I have a feeling there is a quest somewhere in the chain where I simply wasn’t paying anywhere near enough attention.  It is around this point that I realized just how damned spoiled Elder Scrolls Online has made me.  It is very easy for me to glaze over a wall of text presented with a quest, but significantly less easy for me to ignore a character that is actively talking to me.  Voice acted content makes me forget that I am effectively just doing a fetch or a kill ten quest, and instead the character I am interacting with becomes intimately more “real”.

worldofwarcraf02t0002

I still largely look like a toddler that dress themselves for the first time… all I am missing is the inexplicable scuba mask and tutu.  I am trying to do this whole no transmogging thing…  but every night is a struggle.  It is funny that I am realizing how much of my enjoyment of my character is the way that it looks.  Right now I look like hot garbage and it is by reference making everything I pick up feel like it is utterly useless and disposable since it will make me look a brand new kind of awful.  It seems that there is way less loot as a whole from quests, and I think in part this is because of the upgrade-able items, however I have yet to find a weapon with Heart of Azeroth talents on it.

Ultimately this is meaning that I don’t have any gear for an offspec because each time a new weapon rolls around it is a significant upgrade to what I was wielding before and not something I can pass up for sake of balancing out my characters options.  I like the upgradeable gear, but right now I seem to keep getting the exact same three slots so I am presented with a series of lateral choices rather than building out a full set of gear.  That has always been one of my big complaints about World of Warcraft and leveling, is how piecemeal the gear ends up being and how you always have a few slots that are languishing with no direct upgrades.

worldofwarcraf02t0001

I legitimately thought I was nearing the end of Zuldazar, but some events transpired that have effectively thrown me into a “world two” sort of scenario.  Quest destinations that I thought I had finished now suddenly are springing up with brand new options.  I have a feeling that before the end of this I will have arrived at every destination twice…  which makes me realize just how damned bad I am at following main story quests.  The events that shifted everything into motion…  came from quite literally the last quest I had showing on the board.  I thought I was heading towards the end conflict of the zone…  not opening up a whole new one.

Tonight in theory I should be able to push through the end of Zuldazar.  I am artifact level 10 and about 1/5th of a level away from 117, so I am sure I will wrap that up before shifting to swampland.  Grace has of course already dinged 120 because she is better at not getting distracted by shiny objects… and by shiny objects I mean mobs that look at me funny and I have to charge into.  We did run a dungeon last night and that was pretty fun.  I have a feeling though it is not going to be super popular given that there is a functional repeat of the Blackrock Depths Torch Room in it.  I feel like every set of dungeons has an Oculus, and unless there is something more heinous hidden in the dungeons I have yet to run… I am guessing that this expansion it will be Temple of Sethraliss.

Conquering the Dunes

wowscrnshot_081418_194318

wowscrnshot_081418_194318

Today is the official start of developer appreciation week in Blaugust Reborn, but I am not sure if I can muster any measure of a post that requires that much forethought.  I am not entirely certain if I am just dealing with allergies or if I have picked up some sort of a summer cold… but whatever the case I am miserable.  I wound up going home around one yesterday when the meeting that I had to be there for…  got rescheduled.  I am in that state where my throat is so raw that it is gagging me, which is not super fun to randomly find yourself in that state.  I’ve largely been avoiding doing anything serious and instead just casually leveling on the warrior.

It is unfortunate because I know I have friends who are chomping at the bit to chain some dungeons…  but I am just not confident in my ability to function in a group setting right now.  At this point I have finished Vol’dun and managed to get 113.5 roughly in levels and 5 in artifact power.  I have not done the faction campaign stuff at all, and in truth have largely been avoiding it.  I went into this expansion expecting for it to be pvp all the time… and have been pleasantly surprised by the lack of faction nonsense that I have had to deal with at this point.  I am afraid doing the faction specific campaign will ruin that little bit of joy I am having.

I am absolutely loving seeing what the Troll Empires were like during their strength rather than the broken down outposts that we usually encounter in game. I say outpost…  because seriously Zul’Gurub feels like a backwater as compared to Zuldazar.  The temple city is amazing…  even though I keep finding myself getting lost trying to traverse it and remember where the various things are that I need to interact with.  I spent ten minutes last night trying to remember how to get back to the throne room for example.  We largely picked Vol’dun as a way to get the desert content out of the way, since those zones tend to have a lot of oppressive sameness.  However as you can see from the above screenshot… there is a lot of stuff going on in that zone that makes it feel less like the traditional MMO desert.

The outfit I am wearing is supposed to be plate armor…  so I am not exactly sure why there is a prominent target telling the monsters fighting me where exactly to strike.  I am sure on male characters this looks like awesome troll armor, but instead I sorta get a cool looking dress….  with midriff exposed.  I started playing my Orc Female characters largely because I got tired of the Horde Hunch, where pretty much most of the traditional male horde races have a hunched over thing going on.  It has been a great experience other than dealing with the fact that so much of the plate armor has weird pieces missing for no apparent reason.  Maybe I am secretly protected by the mystical power of the male gaze?

I am trying really hard not to transmog as I level, but that may or may not last much longer.  I wonder if you poke her in the belly if she will go “Tee Hee” like a really gruff orcish Pillsbury Doughboy.  Video linked for the sake of anyone who has no clue what the Pillsbury Doughboy is… and why you would be poking one.

Dolly and Dot Are My Best Friends

wow-2018-08-14-06-15-40-085

worldofwarcraft0002

Last night was the launch of Battle for Azeroth the new expansion for World of Warcraft, and as I said yesterday it sort of snuck up on me.  Blizzard was doing a global release for the first time in my memory meaning that while a lot of the world did in fact get the game on August 14th…  the United States got it in the evening of the 13th.  So it was in fact midnight CEST on the 14th for Europe but for me personally it launched at 5pm my time.  I was not however sitting at the keyboard waiting for the gates to open as it were…  because it was 5 before I managed to get to town from work.  That then triggered the whole list of things I need to do when I first get home as well as nomming some tasty noms…  finally ending up at the keyboard around 6ish.

worldofwarcraft0001

At that point I was pleasantly surprised that I got right in with zero queue or waiting.  There were reports of folks having some issues with the login server, but thankfully I had none of those issues and effectively sailed right in.  I even tempted fate about 8:30 last night and decided to swap from my desktop upstairs to my laptop downstairs…  and even at that point I was able to log straight in without much issue.  I am not sure if this is a smaller than normal launch day, or if they were just really that prepared for the launch.  Whatever the case it went smoothly and collectively myself, Grace and Mor decided to get the desert zone out of the way first and spent the rest of the evening roaming around Vol’dun.

wow-2018-08-14-06-15-40-085

For my troubles I managed to get my amulet-of-not-artifact-power to level 2 just barely shy of level 3, collected 2 pieces of the upgradeable gear that has talent point unlocks on it, and dinged 111 with about halfway to 112.  I consider it a very productive night given that I did not take any time off from work and really didn’t “grind” that hard at anything.  I believe both Grace and Mor are further ahead than me, but at some point I will catch up and hopefully reach the first dungeon unlock, though in truth I didn’t notice if there was one we could queue for already or not.  I am surprised at just how much story there is in this expansion… like not just text story but I seem to be drowning in really awesome cut scenes.  If the rest of this expansion carries on the same way as the beginning has… it is going to maybe be one of the better expansions in World of Warcraft history even with the questionable PVP narrative.

The above video is going to be a bit of a spoiler, but if you care to watch… it features my favorite moment so far in Battle for Azeroth.  Meerah the awesome Vulpera responsible for driving the caravan around Vol’dun serenades her pair of Alpacas.  Dolly and Dot are the best and are probably going to be the break out hit from this expansion.  It reminds me a lot of the singing Quaggan from Guild Wars 2, and is similarly memeable.  Meerah herself was apparently voiced by the very amazing Deva Marie, so extra awesome bit about the quest.  ~Dolly and Dot are my best friends~  ~they pull my wagon through dunes of sands~  ~they have small teeth and they love to eat…~  then sadly the song is cut off by a mean ole troll who doesn’t appreciate awesomeness.

I am hoping we get a lot more Meerah, Dolly and Dot as I go further into this zone.

Follow Up to Yesterdays Post

monsterhunterworld-2018-08-13-21-27-55-14

As a follow up to yesterdays post about Monster Hunter World PC… when I took a break to move downstairs to the laptop I decided to fire up the game there to see what sort of settings I would have to play on to get the game functional.  What you are seeing is MHW on Low settings and 720p resolution and even then… I was only managing to see about 25 fps.  For reference the gaming laptop I have is in the top bar of the site but also linking it here.  As far as the stats go… it has:

  • Intel Core i7 4th Gen 4720HQ (2.60 GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2 GB GDDR5
  • 16 GB Memory
  • 1 TB HDD
  • 128 GB SSD

The game is effectively unplayable given that I am only seeing 25 fps in town and even then it wildly fluctuates down into the teens and up into the thirties.  Essentially hopefully you can make your own determinations as to how well the game is going to run on your system between the two baselines I have given you.  Now the positive is…  steam does allow you to return games if you end up trying it out and it simply not working at all.  Personally right now I am streaming Monster Hunter World through Parsec on my gaming desktop upstairs when I am playing downstairs on the laptop.  This is honestly the way I am gaming most of the time these days and is probably going to keep me from upgrading that laptop anytime soon.

 

Shovel Cow

wow-2018-08-06-06-23-28-831

wow-2018-08-06-06-23-28-831

I am in this really weird place because I am both disconnected and connected to World of Warcraft at the same time right now.  I am disconnected from the storyline because of the events of arsonist Sylvanas, but I am also finding myself enjoying the simple act of leveling.  On the alliance side I have one of every class up in the 100-110 range, but on the horde side I am severely lacking in a bunch of columns.  As of right now I have a stable of 110s on The Scryers in the form of my Warrior, Paladin, Demon Hunter and Warlock and then a 110 Deathknight over on Eonar.  That said there are a bunch of spots left in my roster to level something and with the introduction of the prestige races I thought it would be really funny to make a High Mountain Tauren Monk.

wow-2018-08-04-19-56-48-854sm

So lately I have been spending most of my time in game rolling around…  figuratively and literally…  on the Monk.  The highlight of the weekend was when I found out that I had a one handed shovel graphic in my transmog collection and that if I turned both of my weapons into them…  they would sling across my back.  This only really works because monks don’t actually use weapons at all and they just sit there strapped across my back as I punch and kick things.  Now I am also just realizing that I can probably do a shovel knight transmog of some sort on a heavy armor character.

I’ve always found the leveling game to be one of the stronger points for World of Warcraft and as screwed up as the 60-80 leveling bracket seems to be right now…  I do feel like them slowing things down a bit and blunting the effect of heirlooms was probably a good idea.  Sure it means I can no longer solo world bosses, but it also means that I can have an experience that feels a little closer to what it actually felt like to level something originally.  I am still flying through the levels however, but the ability to sit down and finish an entire zone without the need to move on in order to satisfy the part of me that wants to be “optimal” is a good thing.

It had been years since I had finished the entire Hillsbrad>Arathi>Hinterlands crawl always dropping out of each zone at some point as soon as the next zone lit up as having a quest available.  Now I am doing the Plaguelands which honestly I feel like is one of the zones that benefits the most from Cataclysm.  However on the podcast this weekend we largely talked about the big problems with World of Warcraft storytelling… and eventually drew a conclusion that Cataclysm was the expansion that derailed what seemed to be an arc of really solid story.  If you are curious the above embedded video is that show… but be warned we bash Warcraft pretty hard.

wow-2018-08-06-06-21-53-704sm

In other news… I appear to no longer be allergic to casters in video games.  I recently started playing my Warlock a lot and have even been considering maining it in Battle for Azeroth.  This weekend I started a brand new Nightborne Shadow Priest and spent a few hours really enjoying myself leveling it through the Ashenvale content.  I am not sure what snapped inside my head but I actually sorta find casters relaxing.  I’ve always said that “me and finger wigglers don’t get along”, and that was sort of my shtick.  The truth however is that I never really enjoyed that style of game-play and recently something changed.  I find myself enjoying this game of “can I kill it before it touches me” that I have never really gotten into before.

I think we can blame Final Fantasy XIV for this because that is really the game I first seemed to get into the caster thing, or at least the gameplay style of “dot all the things”.  I had a shockingly enjoyable time leveling Arcanist and then Summoner, and put quite a few levels into my Thaumaturge/Black Mage as well.  I went through this thing where I leveled every single class to 50 just to help get rid of a bunch of gear, and in doing that…  I arrived at a sort of truce with playing a caster.  Recently however that truce has turned into a comfort level that I have never really experienced before.  I don’t necessarily get it myself and my friend Grace thinks I must be ill… but whatever the case I had a lot of fun running around on the new babby Shadow Priest this weekend.

Lastly…  my friend Chestnut had this idea as part of Blaugust to do a bunch of mini podcasts asking some questions about how we got started.  It took me awhile but I sat down yesterday after editing AggroChat and before I editing the weekly sermon podcast from the church my wife attends.  I tried very hard to keep it under 10 minutes and managed to do so…  which is a miracle in itself since AggroChat is sort of known for long shows.  I thought I would share it here and I believe Chestnut has a master plan for some other use for these as well.  Hopefully you have an awesome week and I am sure I will get back on doing some Blaugust related topics tomorrow.

 

Because Rocks

wow-2018-07-30-06-24-30-50

While we are still very much in Blaugust prep week, I am going to take the morning off and talk about some non-Blaugust stuff.  First off the above embedded video is the YouTube version of this weeks Podcast where we talk at length about our feelings regarding Battle for Azeroth.  Of the crew Grace and I are the only two that are really still connected to World of Warcraft in any major way, and the show itself became a bit of an extended version of the feelings we are both having.  This weekend I spent a good deal of time prepping characters for the expansion since I had not really done that yet, and can abuse the event that is happening as a way to get some reasonable gear easily.

Unfortunately I made the decision to main Horde this expansion before I experienced the nonsense War of the Thorns quests…  but as part of that decision I have been prepping my Warrior, Deathknight, Demon Hunter, Warlock and have been pushing up my Paladin.  Now it had been awhile since I had done one of the class order hall missions, and I was immediately struck by now good tone wise it felt to be gathering up the paladins on either side of the fence to work together towards the goal of saving Azeroth.  I am not sure how we got to this point where all of the past gains of the Legion expansion are out the window and we are back to a forced Red vs Blue narrative.

One of the things we talk at length about in the podcast is just how bad the Advertising campaign feels.  Firstly we are divided as a nation and as a world by so many serious issues right now that it just feels irresponsible to be pushing more of that for the sake of selling your product.  Secondly…  in our experience World of Warcraft isn’t a dividing line but instead something that brings people together with the stupid artificial boundary between Horde and Alliance just being an inconvenience that maybe keeps you from playing with some of your friends.  I tell this tale in the podcast but I figured I would talk a little bit about it in person.

When I went to take my ITIL training and eventually take the test, there was a significant amount of waiting around because of a scheduling mistake.  This meant me and the trainer of the class had to sit around and hang out for a bit while waiting on my online time slot.  During this we realized that we both had played World of Warcraft and were both raiders back in the day…  but on opposite sides of the fence.  Instead of it becoming a discussion about Horde vs Alliance… it became a discussion about our shared experiences leading guilds and raids and all of the weird things we had encountered in the process of doing that.  We both immediately realized we had more in common in our experiences than different and focused in on those things…  rather than some nonsensical artificial rivalry.

wow-2018-07-30-06-24-30-50

So as I find myself prepping for the launch of this expansion I end up thinking about the expansion that could have been.  Had we continued the class fantasy and kept moving forward towards a unified Azeroth it could have been so amazing.  Legion was probably the strongest World of Warcraft content to date and in part it was so strong…  because the Horde and Alliance factored so little into it.  There is a sequence in Stormheim that feels awful as you are forced back into the shoes of Red and Blue but everything else feels so good as you are working side by side with the other faction to face bigger evils.  That is the World of Warcraft I want, where we take on things bigger than ourselves as we face what will be the obvious resurgence of the Old Gods.

I feel like Battle for Azeroth is the expansion that no one wanted, and I have arrived at this point by listening to my social media feed made up of a bunch of long time WoW players.  Sure there are a few people I know who were excited for the War Mode…  but only because they rolled on a PVP server to be with friends and don’t want any part of that nonsense and will be turning it off completely.  It just seems like a weird gamble to triple down on the faction versus faction thing, when it felt so amazing to get away from it completely.  I keep hoping that maybe they will throw us for a loop and that the factional nonsense is short lived, but I somehow doubt that.

wow-2018-07-30-06-08-10-87

I will be there with my hordelings hanging out with that side of my gaming family, but I am not going to be super pumped about it especially with the way that the early questing has gone so far.  We are fighting a war “because rocks” and that we don’t want the other side to get any of these macguffins of ultimate power.  Here is hoping that things get better from here.

Launches and Lurching

eso64-2018-07-17-20-32-20-91

wowscrnshot_071718_184812

Initially I had planned last night on poking my head in on various characters within Azeroth but like many I was greeted with a lot of this screen when I first got home.  It seemed like a combination of a couple of things… first being that there were apparently some rather nasty DDoS attacks going on with the hosting providers… and secondly this was a major patch in WoW.  I mean I’ve been going through this cycle since 2004 and this is far from the first time a major patch rendered the game unplayable for one reason or another.  Just the simple onslaught of a bunch of players coming back to do like I was planning is enough to take down servers.  I have no idea when it was fixed and when the servers came back up…  because I did what I have learned I need to do to keep from getting ragey…  I moved on to playing something else.

Though that said I heard that the community was particularly toxic to the BlizzardCS account last night.  There were apparently people calling for the firing of employees and all of that nonsense…  while those of us who have been through far worse launches sit back and eat our popcorn.  I think the reality is that Blizzard has spoiled us of late with a string of relatively smooth major patch cycles.  So as a result when folks see what I would consider a normal MMO patch rollout…  they lose their shit.  There have been times when I too was losing my shit… particularly during the relaunch of A Realm Reborn when you had to effectively stay logged in if you hoped to play the game at all.  In this scenario however I happily wandered off to play Elder Scrolls Online after a few rounds of attempts.

eso64-2018-07-17-20-32-20-91

So I have been working my way through the ESO content as it was originally released and after finishing Orsinium… that lead me down the path of the Thieve’s Guild.  Now I had accidentally already done the intro quest to this content because I quite legitimately thought it was just another quest in Windhelm.  That is one of the challenges you have coming back this far behind the curve is there are quests everywhere… and a good deal of them are trying to lead you off to start expansions and DLC without ever fully announcing that is their intent.  Sure I probably could have looked it up in the quest journal, but for the most part I find myself not using that at all while playing Elder Scrolls Online.

One of the challenges with Thieves Guild is the fact that it is more or less a stealthy expansion, and I Belghast…  am not a stealthy person.  I am one of those charge into the fight and taunt all the things type person…  and the thought of sneaking around in full plate seems hilarious to me.  That said I have tried my best to embrace this game play style because the content essentially forces you to do so.  Getting detected in a good deal of the missions means that you are going to get swarmed by city guards that you have no way of actually soloing.  Now thankfully it employs the Assassins Creed “instant hiding container” sort of thing, which allows you to evade attention at just the right moment.  Now unfortunately if you already have guard aggro you are going to have to wait a bit until the “heat meter” dies down before popping out and continuing the mission.

eso64-2018-07-17-20-10-20-78

Now it is not like I have never done a thieves guild in the past Elder Scrolls Online games…  in fact to my knowledge I have done them all since Oblivion.  The problem is in those older games there was always a path of “kill all the things” that got you through the quest as opposed to constantly sneaking your butt around.  For the most part however I have managed to do the quests as intended part from a few times when I killed someone instead of just not doing that.  While the gameplay is not my favorite thing in the world, I have to give the game credit for completely hooking me with the storyline.  This is in fact an Elder Scrolls Thieves Guild story…  which quite honestly tend to be some of the better written and more interesting guilds out there.

I am completely hooked on the characters and the story as it is deciphering due to my interactions.  It is part pirates, part heist, part Indiana Jones and a whole of fighting back against an oppressive evil empire…  all of which make for a really interesting sequence.  The way it plays out is interesting as well as there is no one constant thread that you follow but instead a sequence of what seems to be disconnected actions that ultimately weave their way into a main story quest.  I get the impression that I am reaching about the halfway point in the story as there was a major revelation last night, that seems like it will begin the end phase where I start narrowing down and working to righting the great wrong done to the guild.  I am completely hooked…  in spite of needing to creep about unbenefiting a warrior of my stature.

Elves I Don’t Hate

wowscrnshot_051618_061210

wowscrnshot_051618_061210

Yesterday I pulled an example from World of Warcraft and after doing so I realized that I never actually talked about the character that was hiding underneath the fold of the Destiny 2 image.  I am extremely late to the party when it comes to Allied races, the Horde races were super easy to unlock but the Alliance ones required a level of commitment that I was simply not willing to offer them.  They were one of those things that I worked on off and on as I had time or wanted something mindless to do while watching television or a movie.  It was a few weeks back when I realized that I was actually getting pretty close to exalted with both of the factions required to unlock them.  Even then I largely failed at doing the quests on a daily basis because I really am not a huge fan of Argus.

Nevertheless I managed to push across the finish line and unlock them both a few weekends back and as a result I have been poking around on a brand new Void Elf hunter during the AggroChat podcasts.  I’ve found it super relaxing to just roam around and take things down at low levels and for whatever reason Void Elves don’t trigger that “I hate elves” instinct that I have built up over all of these years.  In part I think they mostly register as Drow to me, which is something I occasionally played in D&D or the games like Everquest that had decent implementations of them.  Honestly it weirdly makes me want to go back and farm the single piece of Dragonstalker that I am missing, because in all of my years of running Blackwing Lair…  I never got the boots to drop off Broodlord Lashlayer.  The only thing keeping me from soloing it each week is the fact that I really hate doing the Razorgore event.

wowscrnshot_051618_061441

I realize that I recently started a Tauren Hunter, but the whole being assigned a pet at the start of the game thing still seems a little weird.  On the Tauren your start with a Plainstrider which isn’t really my sort of pet, but even then I kept using it for a significant amount of time before taming anything else to replace it.  As Void Elf though you start with Voidstalker… that is both my kind of pet and also extremely cool looking.  I’ve found myself with zero drive to go out and tame something else, but that might change as I am now interesting Stranglethorn Vale.  I might grab something rare if I happen across it but for now I am more than happy to run around with my void pal…  even though I have yet to give her a proper name.

It is weird to me that I have lost any forward momentum in World of Warcraft thanks to Battle For Azeroth and the direction they are taking the game.  However I still enjoy dinking around on low level characters because to me that is the purest version of the “WoW Experience”.  BfA really has been a let down as far as the information coming out about it.  Additionally my time playing beta…  hasn’t really done anything to hook me on the direction the game is going.  For years I thought that maybe Metzen was what was holding the game back…  but now I wonder if he was a force of stability keeping the game from dropping off a cliff.  Note I loved Legion “for the most part” but the one bit that I could push right into the sea was the factional nonsense that happens in Stormheim.  Battle For Azeroth feels like an entire game made out of those factional nonsense moments and I am not really looking forward to it.

Unintended Night

mtga-2018-04-18-21-02-59-90

wowscrnshot_040418_212125

What I was supposed to be playing last night is World of Warcraft as Wednesday is our normal mythical nonsense night.  Unfortunately we were down two people already and I myself wasn’t really in the mood to do it either.  I’ve been dealing with some stuff and yesterday was a bit of a bad mental health day.  When those situations happen I tend to turtle up somewhere quiet and hang out by myself until whatever it is has passed.  World of Warcraft is such an inherently social game that even the act of logging in ends up prompting a bunch of people to poke me and say hello…  and it feels bad to ignore them when I need to ignore them.

Sure there is now “Appear Offline” mode but even then that is not a perfect scenario.  For me at least there are a handful of people that I am generally okay with interacting with, because they know the drill.  They understand deeply because they go through their own periods of turtle time, and as a result there is no need to attempt to keep up appearances as it were.  However if you are in Offline mode and you reach out to one of those people who are on the closest rings of your monkeysphere…  they cannot respond.  You will be able to send them messages all day long but they will always get the offline message when attempting to respond back to you.  As a result when I am feeling like this I just avoid WoW like the plague because it isn’t worth the hassle.

eqgame-2018-04-15-22-34-42-26

What I wanted to be doing was to sit on the couch and play some Everquest while watching some more Mighty Boosh streamed through the television.  Unfortunately they seem to have had a rather traumatic maintenance yesterday.  The servers went down at 5:00 am EDT on the 18th and did not come back apparently until 2:30 am EDT on the 19th.  I have no clue at all what was going on…  but I kept trying to fire up the launcher and getting the maintenance message.  I have been enjoying myself a shocking amount in Everquest, but I realize that I am riding the drug that is nostalgia.  I am not sure how long that drug will last but for the moment I am riding its high.

mtga-2018-04-18-21-02-59-90

What I did instead was play a lot of MTG Arena as I got it set up on my laptop.  Yesterday Scopique wrote an interesting response to my post about Arena…  or at least one that mentioned it because it wasn’t exactly a direct response.  The funny thing is I wouldn’t necessarily call myself much of a competitive gamer.  I traditionally shy away from player versus player situations, but games like MTG Arena or the Crucible in Destiny don’t seem to bother me that much and I am not entirely certain why.  I stumbled across a post from Tobold who very much did not enjoy his time with Arena, but for the moment I don’t mind at all that it is largely just a stripped down 1v1 client.  I think ultimately if you are going into Arena expecting Duels of the Planeswalkers or MTG Duels either one… you are going to be sorely disappointed.

Arena is simply a Magic the Gathering Online that isn’t horrible.  Sure MTGO is serviceable but nothing about it is really intuitive and it feels like you are jumping through a lot of hoops to make anything work.  MTGO was absolutely less cludgy than the days of trying to arrange a game on IRC and then getting both parties to fire up and connect to each other through the Apprentice application.  However card gaming on a PC has changed drastically since then and Hearthstone more or less has led that charge.  Arena is that Hearthstone-esc interface for the far more seasons and complicated game of Magic the Gathering, and the thing is… it works amazingly well.

There have been a few times I have been bit by the game trying to move forward without me…  but in the grand scheme of things it seems to do 99.9% of the right things at the right time.  The other moments don’t bother me too much because I am not placing a lot of my personal ego into whether or not I am winning.  I am simply enjoying playing cards and occasionally I do really well.  I do feel like Tobold’s comment of not feeling like he could be competitive with the decks presented was a bit nonsense given that I have been entirely playing the stock Golgari Exploration deck.  I felt like I was able to pick it up and start winning matches almost immediately…  and sure as my rank has risen I am winning less matches but even that doesn’t bother me much.  I am still winning more than enough to complete daily quests getting me packs and gold…  to buy more packs.  All in all I feel like Arena is going to shape up to be a very solid version of Magic the Gathering Online…  but we need to stop the comparisons there for our own sanity.

Nonsense Managed

wowscrnshot_040418_212125

heyblizzard

Last night was the first occurrence of our mythical nonsense group and it almost didn’t happen.  We had planned on running from 7 pm to 9 pm Central time…  so that it wasn’t too ungodly late for our East Coast contingency.  However the entire thing almost failed to happen.  At go time we had two of our players that were unable to get in due to some bug that seemed to be only effecting certain servers.  Grace and I were both logging in characters from Eonar and Byx on Chromaggus also managed to get in just fine.  However Maryalee on Wyrmrest Accord and Nayukhuut on Moonguard both were encountering the issue shown in the above screenshot with their server showing us as “Incompatible”.

The funny thing is that when this first started happening I was able to log into my characters on those servers just fine.  However after closing WoW and relaunching…  the Battle.net patcher updated the game and then suddenly I also got the issue.  Since Blizzard CS said they were working on it… we decided to push ahead and attempt a Mythic 0 with three players.  We originally were planning on doing Maw of the Souls…  which I keep wanting to call Maw of the Damned because Death Knight weapon.  I swapped over to Blood Tanking spec and we gave it an attempt that honestly went pretty smoothly especially considering I have not actually tanked a dungeon this expansion as Death Knight.

About halfway through our Maw run the other two players managed to get into the game and after we finished up the run we had some options on how to proceed with our madness.  We sat down and assessed the keys we had available to us…

  • Mythic 2 – Seat of the Triumvirate
  • Mythic 2 – Cathedral of Eternal Night
  • Mythic 2 – Blackrook Hold

Quite honestly I am not that familiar with Cathedral having only run it a few times…  and I am not sure if I have ever run Seat of the Triumvirate at all.  While Blackrook Hold is not exactly my favorite dungeon it seemed like the more realistic choice and quite honestly the easier one.  However that also set us down the path of only getting one of the keys upgraded each time.  We pushed forward and knocked out the Dungeon in completely reasonable time.

wowscrnshot_040418_203109

My key upgraded to Mythic 5 Upper Karazhan…  which made me immediately think…  “why the fuck is this a mythic dungeon?”.  However we managed to largely steamroll the entire dungeon other than the final boss who is just an asshole.  Thankfully in spite of my death we moved forward and the remaining folks managed to get the kill moving us forward again.  I remember Karazhan being a boar to get through when we were trying to run it to get to the bonus boss…  but now it seems like it is probably a completely reasonable thing to do in a timely manner.  I think the fact that everyone has Concordance now…  pushes up the gear levels to the point where you can just take a lot of abuse making all of the mechanics easier.

wowscrnshot_040418_212125

The next key target was Mythic 7 Neltharion’s Lair… which generally speaking is a fairly easy dungeon to run.  The problem we encountered however is the pair of affixes we were dealing with… and the fact that we are all used to trying to skip content in the dungeon…  meant we struggled quite a bit.  Firstly we had the Teeming Affix meaning that several of the packs are larger…  which in this dungeon means a pack of three mobs normally sometimes becomes a pack of six mobs.  This also screws with the aggro radius of packs and things we used to be able to sneak around we had to on directly.  Secondly we had the Quake Affix meaning that every so often every member of the party was dealt a radius of quake damage…  which if stacked means you take damage from everyone.

Considering we had a party with three melee characters and a fourth in the form of our healer that occasionally would go hit things…  Quake damage became a problem.  We almost made the timer…  like had everything gone perfectly on the final fight we would have.  However we wound up being about a minute short after the run back from a death on the final boss.  I am not sure if this means we will all start with Mythic 6 keys next week or if the fact that we completed a Mythic 7 dungeon means we start there.  Whatever the case we should have five new options for next Wednesday night to keep moving forward.  We are entering the territory where we can no longer faceroll the mythics so we will have to start getting some strategy on…  and maybe flasking.

Whatever the case I had a heck of a lot of fun running around with this team and look forward to next week.  Having been out of the mythic game for so long… we made way more progress than I originally thought we would in a single night so I am super happy about that.