Progression Soft Cap



I’ve reached the point in World of Warcraft where my progression options on the Demon Hunter are greatly limited.  At this point I am 349 item level and unfortunately there really aren’t that many reliable ways to bump that number up.  When Warfronts opened I was able to get a single 370 level item for completing that quest.  Similarly a lot of our weekend revolved around trying to complete the “do 4 mythics” quest because timing is a pain in the ass…  which also rewarded a 370 item.  Lastly there was the opportunity to get a 370 item from the Arathi Basis “fake pvp” boss encounter…  but instead I got double artifact power.  I cannot believe that I am even suggesting this…  but World of Warcraft needs something like the Powerful Engram system to give you weekly opportunities to see some forward movement if they want players to stay interested in the content without resorting to alting.

I am not actively raiding right now and that would probably help this feeling of bumping up against a cap.  Similarly if we could do Mythic +10 we probably wouldn’t be having this issue either.  But effectively myself, Grace and Tam have reached a soft cap that we cannot push past without raiding.  In Destiny 2 there were a handful of events that could be completed each week that gave the player “powerful rewards” which effectively meant an item that was guaranteed to be greater than their effective item level.  This meant that even though I had checked out of Destiny 2 effectively… I was still coming back each week to burn through these three or four systems to get something that felt like progression.  World of Warcraft is largely a “raid or die” system at this point with so much gated behind raiding that there isn’t much of an opportunity for forward momentum.  This however is always the problem…  because they effectively only have the one progression path instead of having multiple paths that all arise at the same goal of a geared player able to do lots of different activities.


All of that said I am still loving Mythics when we can manage to get five players together at the same time, and I am loving the fact that it does not matter at all what item level the player is when we grab them and drag them into the content.  We grabbed Morgrull last night who was a fairly freshly dinged 120 and got him at least one piece of gear from Freehold.  It also feels good that we are slowly building out this team of players that are capable of doing stuff, giving us a lot more options for the future.  Last night I did not raid with Facepull because Sunday is still a bad day for me to do anything super serious on.  It is very hard for me to commit to being at the keyboard from 6:30pm to 10pm my time with a handful of 5 minute breaks.  Last night I was swapping laundry and alt tabbing back and forth between working on some stuff for today.  I got up and walked away from the screen at several points during the night, and raiding would have procluded that.

As such my hope is that our little gathering of cross server nonsense can eventually turn into a fledgling ten player raid group, that we can get something going on a night that isn’t personally horrible for me.  Something like Wednesday nights would be excellent, and it is making me wish that WoW raiding were 8 player based and not 10 player based because we probably could muster that size of group already.  However we keep adding new players into our gravity well and eventually that will be enough to make something like that happen.  I miss the era of non-guild based raiding and I sorta want to make it viable again.  Sure the whole not being able to trade items across servers is a giant pain in the ass…  but it should still be doable and would allow us to pull in a far greater array of people once we got something rolling.  Not all of my friends live on the same server and transfers are cost prohibitive when you are like me and have an army of alts…  so I want to figure out a way to make this work cross server.

Lastly I thought I would link the podcast from this weekend because it is relevant.  We talk about the life cycle of an MMO and what games do well and do horribly.  We talk about the onboarding of new players, and the revitalization of returning players…  and how many games don’t take them into account at all.  We also talk at length about the end game power creep and how awkward it feels to see item levels matter so freaking much.  The episode has nothing to do with Gorb other than the fact that we didn’t record the 15 minutes of us trying to explain what Gorb was before starting the show.  Gorb is that raisins and peanuts mixture…  no Gorb was a movie with Robin Williams from the 80s…  etc etc.  This is one of those shows that sort of happened accidentally…  since it was a combination of topics that had rolled over from other weeks.  However they aligned themselves with a certain synergy that made for an interesting discussion from a bunch of long time MMO burnouts.

Lastly as you can tell from the first photo I have begun working on my third character…  this time I decided to level my Warlock.  This is one of those marriage of convenience sort of things because sure I enjoy Warlocking…  but mostly this is my tailor/enchanter and I desperately need enchants because they are prodigiously expensive this expansion.  As such I am power leveling the character by crafting a lot of mail pieces and grinding them down for dust.  However I have reached that point where I can technically make weapon enchants…  but I don’t have access to the purple materials yet.  So time to buckle down and grind grind grind to 120 and start gearing her.  I wonder if I can name my void walker Gorb.

Mechanics are Hard



Last night was a lot of fun… and once again expanded our sphere of influence for shenanigans.  We have not been doing mythics the last few nights because many of our regulars have not been available.  Tam for example is travelling this week, and Mor is being a fake nerd and actually socializing with other human beings in real life.  He somehow doubts his fake nerd status…  but Grace and I both assured him that the only acceptable interaction is over the internet.  So instead Grace and I both decided to step down our nerd status one peg… and communicate with other people online trying to fill the last few DPS slots we needed for a Mythic plus.

I have this aversion to pugging…  and what I mean by pugging is actually posting a group and filling with complete strangers.  Like someone might be a stranger to me, but if they are a friend of a friend of a friend… it somehow feels better.  Last night for example one of our regulars had a friend who was down to run stuff on his shadow priest.  However as yet another French Canadian friend…  I got the impression he was concerned about his English skills and didn’t want to hang on discord as a result.  I mean…  my English skills are not exactly legend but unfortunately I don’t have another language to fall back on.  I totally get it but it did make some of the interactions a little sluggish especially when we started having problems.

I pinged Guild and either no one was watching chat at that moment or they were uninterested.  Whatever the case I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and decided to ping twitter with the above message.  Thankfully twitter answered and my good friend Tart decided to join us in nonsense.  It was around or about this point that I realized…  Tart and I have never actually been on voice or run anything in game together.  It was a lot of fun and we had a set line up of Demon Hunter Tank (me), Disc Priest (grace), Shadow Priest (tart), Mage (widjack), Shadow Priest (friend of widjack).  We analyzed the Mythic+ keys we had available to us… and it was basically Underrot or Temple of Sethralis.  We thought we were choosing the easier of the two and went with the Temple…  we maybe should have gone the other way around.

We have a bad habit of doing things without actually reading the instruction.  Like I have absolutely winged trying to put together IKEA furniture…  and ultimately put something together almost right but not quite…  to the point where it would require me to disassemble everything to fix the problem.  This is why our buffet in the kitchen has no drawer pull.  Our Mythic experiences largely align with this methodology of “Just Do It”, which is fine for learning through failure but not exactly fine when you are being timed in doing so.  The core problem was…  neither myself or grace or wid had actually done Temple of Sethralis on Mythic anything… let alone the timed version.

Basically on every single boss we struggled with some thing that we now were supposed to do on Mythic that was not in place on Heroic…  the worst of these being the “Galvanize” boss.  However with time we figured it all out…  we were just painfully behind the curve of getting a key to upgrade.  However those lessons we learned won’t be forgotten any time soon because we paid for that education with a piece of our soul.  I mean…  if I am being honest…  reading up on an encounter or watching a fatboss video doesn’t really do much for me.  I am one of those people that needs to experience the fight before anything that I learn about said fight actually sticks and becomes permanent memory.

In truth it seems like most of our crew from last night was this way…  like Tart had run the mythic earlier in the week but didn’t really grok what we were supposed to be doing either.  However after last night I am certain that none of us will be forgetting anytime soon and for me at least that is progress.  I was super disappointed however that we did not get extra loot due to the Sign of the Warrior buff going on.  Normally speaking when you run a Mythic you get about 2 pieces of loot in the chest at the end, and with the Sign of the Warrior you are supposed to get an extra piece of loot, which should have been three.  I managed to upgrade my boots though by five item levels, and we got a pair of either cloth gloves or cloth bracers that no one seemed to be interested in.

Regardless of the loot though it was one hell of a fun night and super awesome to actually run something with Tart.  We now have her inducted into the RoboSquid Armada and hopefully she will answer the call for more peoples in the near future.

Weapons Dropped



Last night did not exactly work as intended.  I had originally planned on getting home and running some Mythics with my friend Grace but that didn’t actually happen.  Then by the time a guild group asked for me to do Mythics with them… I was mostly in the wrong mindset to be successful.  I did however hook them up with a healer friend of mine that was able to make the group work.  Tonight however I need to get started on running my four Mythics required for a chest of raid loot.  In theory we can probably make a group happen even thought Tam is travelling and not available this week.  I am sure I can probably dip into the guild to pick up a dps if we wind up short, since that seems to be what we are always short on.

Instead of Mythical Nonsense…  I ground the Warfront.  Essentially as of yesterday I was short three pieces of gear from having everything 340 or better.  I needed a pair of gloves, a second weapon and a second trinket…  the last I am not entirely certain is an option for coming from Warfronts.  I have not found a great source of everything that can possibly drop from a warfront cache, but what I did find seemed to only indicate pieces of armor and weapons.  At first I was starting to think this was going to be a repeat of my past outings…  as I got two more belts and two more cloaks…  but before the evening was up I managed to also pick up a pair of gloves and a one-handed axe giving me that second weapon.  Now I am effectively down to just the trinket, which means I could run LFR and hope that I get lucky or pick up one of the inscription trinkets.


This also means that I am largely without purpose when it comes to secondary activities on the Demon Hunter apart from farming faction to eventually push everything to Revered.  I am not contemplating starting to run Warfronts on the Warrior in hopes of maybe getting a reasonable sword and shield option.  I keep thinking at some point in the near future they will make Warrior tanking not feel horrible, and the couple of Warfronts I have run as DPS have been way less enjoyable than running them as a tank.  Its an option… but I am not entirely certain I am ready to dive right back into a gear grind.  I’ve abandoned any illusion of trying to maintain some sort of split mains scenario, and am largely just going to focus on the Demon Hunter for gearing purposes.

That means if I can make one of the Sunday raids… and I am not already locked for the week…  I will just be dpsing as Havoc Demon Hunter instead of trying to do Fury Warrior.  That doesn’t stop the fact that Sunday is a really bad time for me to be raiding so the likelihood that I am going to make many of them… is pretty limited.  It is our hope to get a RoboSquid Armada based raid going on Wednesday nights, which is a far better time for me to be committed to raiding.  Also if I am going to raid… I really want to be tanking since I am lacking whatever stuff makes people care about how they are doing on the meters.

If you are a NA Server Horde Player and are curious what the hell RoboSquid Armada is… check out this post for more details.  It is sort of a dream of mine to kick start non-guild based raiding as a “thing” that actually happens again.  If nothing else we have an in game Battle.NET social channel and a discord that are places we draw upon for building Mythic groups.


Whomping Witches



Last night was a really good night.  My original intent was to grind Warfronts until my face fell off…  and that did not exactly happen.  I did however run two of them…  which sadly dropped exactly the same item… a pair of bracers that were five item levels lower than the ones I already wore.  Instead I allowed myself to get talked into mythical nonsense, at which point we ran an Atal’Dazar +2 because none of us had actually run it on mythic.  At first I thought we were not doing super well but in the end we managed to pick up time thanks to the fact that we now know a few shortcuts around the zone…  and finished the timer with time to spare upgrading our very first key and getting Tam and I the Keystone Initiate achievement.  My Demon Hunter was a third string character in Legion, and as such never set foot in a mythic, let alone a mythic+.

I managed to get a belt that was a minor upgrade…  which marks the first piece of loot that I have pulled from mythic+ so far.  Tam caused me to curse the fact that he has apparently stolen my luck and pulled a 340 weapon…  something I also so desperately need but in truth I would rather have that contribute to his dps as opposed to my aggro generation.  I did however manage to pick up a 330 weapon from a world quest before the end of the night so I at least saw movement.  The keystone from Atal’Dazar upgraded into a Waycrest Manor +3 at which point we decided to go ahead and give it an attempt.

The thinking being that if we could just struggle through the zone and get to the end… we would at least get slightly better gear from the weekly chest today.  Side note… I need to figure out where in the hell the weekly chest spawns.  I am guessing in the great seal area, but knowing the weird forced “I’m On A Boat” narrative, it is probably somewhere under deck near Gallywix.  So we set forth into Waycrest, which thankfully Grace had run on heroic earlier in the day so she more or less knew the appropriate path to take that day.  We had a few false starts but managed to nail the boss fights like we knew what we were doing, and came up a tragically five seconds short of getting the timer and upgrading the key further.  I think more than anything it proved to us that the keys were completely something reasonable that we should be shooting for.


Tonight at this very moment…  the plan is to run whatever Emissary there happens to be for the day and dip my toes into LFR.  I think Grace and I have more or less made a pact to go in together as to minimize the frustration.  After that I figure we will evaluate what keys we all got and start the mythical madness over again from there.  I am shocked and surprised at how engaged Tam still seems to be with Mythics, because a part of me was certain he would bounce the moment he finished leveling his character.  He was asking us how high the mythics go… and in theory I believe they effectively keep scaling indefinitely.  Maybe this will be the expansion I finally see a Mythic +15.  Regardless in the mean time I am having a lot of fun and learning the zones better so I can pull more efficiently.  We are also slowly starting to re-learn when we should start using CC…  and given that I am a tank with a really damned solid CC… this is an interesting experience.

Directly into Fire



This weekend was a lot of fun, and was a blend of Warfronts, Mythics, Heroics and at the very end dipping my toes into the raid with Facepull.  By the end of the weekend the Demon Hunter is 337 item level, and the Warrior still 332 since I have yet to do the Warfronts and get the 370 item.  Tonight is going to be me grinding away slavishly on Warfronts because thing I did not realize…  you get a 340 or better every single time you do them.  I thought I was just lucky in getting a 340 and a 370 for turning in the quest, but apparently that 340 is a reoccuring thing.  Based on what I am hearing there can be weapons and armor both that drop…  which given my track record with weapon drops in this expansion probably just means armor slots I already have better items in.


Since Facepull is a very well established raid, it meant that I would be filling the very uncomfortable spot of DPS which is not really a thing I do well as evidenced by how bad my parses will ultimately be.  I’m a tank… I think like a tank and act like a tank and when you tell me to burn something I get a very confused look on my face.  However I was apparently not a bad enough impediment to keep us from downing Taloc after a handful of tries.  Of course I got nothing but crafting materials, because that is the way of the world.  It supposedly drops a really sweet two handed mace that would have been a nice dps upgrade for my warrior…  but that wasn’t going to happen because weapon drops don’t exist for me in this expansion.


This is a lovely shot of me dead on the floor in the room of MOTHER which apparently is actually supposedly to be in all caps.  You know what Titan servitors like the most… burning and purging corruption.  MOTHER appears to really enjoy it, and the fight is all about trying to stop her from doing this thing while also not being purged yourself.  On this particular attempt Ary and I zigged when we should have zagged and got a wildly unexpected mace to the face.  Ary got a battle rez because he is a useful member of the team, I stayed on the floor because I was just barely keeping up above the tanks.  We made progress but also sorta went too long and lost progress as well, with our last handful of attempts being significantly worse than some of the ones in the middle.


I feel like MOTHER is either a gear check issue, or we are just doing something not quite right during the process.  Since most of us were hovering around the 325 range I figure we probably hit a gear wall, which became a subject of much lamentation over discord.  All in all it was a quirky and enjoyable night, and I managed to die most spectacularly when I accidentally clicked on a Warlock portal and went zooming into a firey death pulling MOTHER in the process.  I had no clue what was going on and apparently I instinctively screamed “OH SHIT!” to which my wife freaked out trying to figure out what was wrong.


The only negative of the experience is the fact that the Sunday time slot is really horrible for me.  Pretty much ANY weekend time slot is horrible, but especially Sunday night because that is generally when we finish up anything that needs to happen for the week.  I felt like an ass sitting there and raiding while my wife had to struggle with things I would have normally helped out with.  So there in lies the problem… I enjoyed myself as I generally have any time I have raided with Facepull…  but the timing is horrible and I am not likely going to make it every week… which means I stay in an under geared pupa state and am likely more trouble than it is worth?  I would like to get a raid going on a week night that is much easier for me to manage attending on a regular basis.  We will have to see how things shake out, but ultimately my hope is something workable can happen via RoboSquid Armada.  Being on the computer from 6:30 pm to 10 pm on a Sunday when I should be swapping loads of laundry and what not isn’t going to work for me as a regular thing sadly.

Apparently an Elf



This morning I had a startling revelation.  I am not only maining Horde this expansion…  but I am also maining an Elf.  What in the living hell has happened to me as a human being to find myself in this state.  The Horde thing is a logical progression since I played mostly Alliance for well over a decade that it was high time to see how the other half lives.  The Elf thing…  I am completely clueless other than the fact that with Demon Hunters you literally have no other choices.  Blood Elf demon hunters look so much cooler than the Night Elf ones with their damned floppy hairy eared nonsense, so it was really a no-brainer than last expansion I gravitated more towards the Horde version of Belblight.

For anyone who has read this blog of any length of time will realize that in general I am pretty Anti-Elf as a whole.  There are however some exceptions…  I have always enjoyed a good Dark Elf in most of the games that have them.  Similarly I really dig the Bosmer because they are awesome and cannibals.  Orcs in the Elder Scrolls setting are technically fallen elves…  so I like them as well.  However High Elves in pretty much any form can fuck the hell off.  In Skyrim I used to take glee at going completely out of my way to kill Thalmor and the parts of the Aldmeri Dominion quest lines that really focused on High Elf matters made me get a little bloodlusty.

So for me to play a Blood Elf which is effectively a fallen High Elf…  is really sorta shocking.  I am going to basically lean on the fact that I have horns… and that it somehow makes it palatable.  After all I would probably be more than happy to play a Satyr, which has a similar relationship to a Night Elf.


The other thing that I did last night was take on an Island Adventure thing…  which shockingly I had not actually done until last night.  They are kinda fun but also fairly grindy given it is just killing a lot of mobs for no real reward.  Grace claims that she got a mount out of there, and I got a brief flash of excitement when I saw something purple colored pop up in the auto loot window…  however they were unfortunately just doubloons the currency used to buy things associated with the island aventures.  In theory I need to try and get all three of the islands available this week since I need to do five different islands in order to move forward in the war effort thing that is effectively the same as what we were doing with our order halls.


Lastly the spawn rates of certain things are still completely borked.  I did what I have been doing the last several weeks and logged in this morning to see if there was any loot on world quests that would be an upgrade.  Sure enough there was a quest out in Vol’dun for the Bloodwing Bonepicker offering a 330+ cloak which would be an upgrade over my 325 cloak.  While writing this blog post I have been watching my WoW window in the background and a larger and larger crowd has been gathering during this time… all the while the mob in question has not spawned in.  Unfortunately this seems to be one of many quests that are in slightly bugged states right now.  I wrote about the Azerite Mining quest a few days ago where the mobs simply don’t spawn in during reliable rates.  This seems to be maybe one of those cases, but I am largely going to give up now and head in to work.  My hope is maybe this will be “unbugged” by the time I get home tonight.

Zandalar Forever



I want to start off this mornings post with a business note.  Yesterday I wrote about the RoboSquid Armada initiative that we have started, and there was a problem with the social link.  For whatever reason the first one I generated didn’t seem to work for anyone, so I have since replaced it with one that is actually working.  We didn’t do a lot last night other than run the Sethrak Temple dungeon on heroic real quick to complete the world quest that awarded a weapon for us Demon Hunters.  That has been a weird point of contention this expansion, is that the look feels really off for whatever reason.  Weapons are far harder to get to drop than they probably should be which means that I have been running around using some jank for most of my mythic dungeon running.

In truth the whole loot drop experience feels weirdly limiting, and it is starting to cause some pretty negative behavior in the dungeon finder.  There are a number of times where we have been doing a heroic and see a player drop immediately after getting a piece of loot, since it is highly unlikely that you will walk away from any dungeon with more than one item.  This ends up feeling horrible, but in a way I absolutely get why they are doing it.  Especially as a dps your queue is insanely long, and the sooner you drop out and get in another queue… the sooner you get another piece of gear.  However for the players running the instance it feels like you are constantly adjusting to the revolving door of players.

At the beginning of the expansion we were able to bolster a little bit of in dungeon chatter with a simple “Hey folks!” as soon as I zone into the instance.  However lately that banter has turned to complete silence as we all sort of go through the motions required to get to the end of the dungeon.  Now for me personally most of the time when I am running a heroic I am running it with at least a handful of people I know, and as such we are often talking back and forth on some sort of voice.  However I keep trying to prod text chat and make comments when something odd happens, trying to draw players into actually having a conversation.  The loot grind however is in full force and everyone seems to be falling back into the gulf of silence most expansions turn into apart from the occasional person asking for something that just dropped.

I realized while running the heroic last night that I was way too out of it to run a mythic.  I was weirdly tired and additionally we were down a person from our normal group mix, which could have of course been remedied…  but was even more stacked against me running something.  Instead I focued on cleaning up some of the quests that I had not completed… and finally getting the Zandalar Forever achievement required to unlock King’s Rest.  When I dinged 120 on the Warrior I largely stopped questing in the zones entirely and started focusing almost entirely on dungeons and World Quests.  You have to realize… I am not really a quest motivated player and while I really enjoy a good story… it isn’t something that has to be there to make me enjoy myself.  I can spend countless hours in a game like Minecraft with no story and be perfectly happy.

As such I always seem to be behind on quests because if there is an option that is not running quests I will almost always choose it.  Each time a new expansion comes out in World of Warcraft, you see me deleting a long sequence of abandoned quests from the previous expansion.  I’ve already found myself with a stack of quests gathering here as well, and I really should get in the habit of taking an evening here or there to burn through them.  For example… I only ever completed the Nightbourne quests on one character, because why would I even bother with that mess a second time?  For other players that is the highlight of their experience… for me quests are an easy way to level so that I can start gearing up to do the more interesting things like dungeons and raids.

While I seem to be having decent luck on getting things to upgrade…  I am still seeking a couple good weapons and am annoyed that the best fist weapon I can craft is 300.  I am stockpiling my Hydrocores from Mythic runs in an attempt to maybe craft some upgrades, but I will need 15 per item crafted and that means a significant number more mythic runs that I have currently done.  We all have some keys for Mythic +2 and I am wondering if we are at a gear level where we can give that a shot soon.


Mythics Managed



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 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



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.


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.


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



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.


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.