Favorite Addons

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This morning I decided to sit down and write up a post I had been meaning to for awhile.  Lately I have been having a significant number of friends returning to World of Warcraft, and among the first questions is always…  what Addons do I need?  This is as always a personal preference question, but I thought I would take a moment to talk about some of the addons I use and why.  I will be snagging screenshots from curse for the purpose of representing the addon given that it is always a pain in the butt to find circumstances that show them off properly.

One real quick note… I use the Curse client to update my addons and generally I find it  the best possible option.  I highly suggest you check it out.

ArkInventory

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This is probably the number one addon that I simply cannot function without.  At face value it takes all of your bags and presents them in a single window pane, and does the same for pretty much any bag like structure like your bank.  What sets this one apart from everything else that essentially does the same thing, is that you can configure virtual bags.  This allows you to sort all of your trade goods, or filter your gear in a way so that the highest item level items appear at the bottom of the bag.  I also use this as a way of finding what I have gotten that has dropped that is BoE because it appears in a different virtual bag.  Configuration has gotten a bit more cumbersome since it first was released but it is well worth the time.

Download Here

Can I Mog It?

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We all know the real end game is looking cool on your characters, and with the release of the Legion pre-expansion patch we got a brand new overhauled Transmog system.  I rejoiced at the thought of being able to finally reclaim all of that bank and void storage space that I simply used to keep cosmetic gear around for the purpose of transmogging.  However I was a little gunshy about simply just selling it… and the default Blizzard interface made it a little cumbersome to see if you did in fact have an item appearance.  This is when “Can I Mog It?” comes to the rescue showing you at a glance on the item tooltip if you have already collected the appearance or if you should send the item to an alt of a specific class or armor type.  For me this little peace of mind was super important before I actually started liquidating all of those hard fought appearance items.

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TransmogTokens

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If you are anything like me…  you are farming old world content to try and get new transmog options.  Look I may or may not care more about this system than pretty much anything else in World of Warcraft.  As a result you end up with a ton of the various tier tokens that you may or may not remember if you actually have the appearance for.  This addon does two important things… firstly it shows you how many appearances you have yet to collect that are unlocked with the token.  Secondly it shows you who you actually turn the token in to… which is often times even more important because I don’t always remember which tier turned in at which location because…  there have been a lot of raids I have done in World of Warcraft.

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NomiCakes

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Nomi is horrible.  NomiCakes makes dealing with him significantly less horrible.  What this addon does is simply tell you how many more recipes you can learn with a given consumable.  That way you don’t waste resources on something you don’t actually care about.  Granted at this point I have not learned everything that is available from any given food item… but at some point I hope to and NomiCakes is going to be there to remind me when that glorious day finally arrives.

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GTFO

This addon doesn’t really need a screenshot because…  it isn’t really a screenshot sort of thing.  If you raid… get GTFO simple as that.  The addon does one thing and does it amazingly well.. and that is play a god awful klaxon noise that you want to stop at all costs…  any time you are standing in something bad that deals environmental damage.  It is super simple, requires zero configuration and will immediately improve your awareness of bad… because you really don’t want to ever hear that noise again.  I especially love this as a tank because sometimes the boss is partially obscuring things that I shouldn’t be standing in… and this addon tells me that I need to move or make my healers hate me.

Download Here

Loot Toasts

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I love this addon and I am not entirely certain if I can explain why.  Largely I go on murderous rampages rather often, and I have definitely been the sort of person that ends up with a world BOE epic in their bag…. and didn’t even realize it.  I also sometimes go on farming trips, where I need a specific amount of this or that material…  and don’t want to keep having to check my bags to see if I can stop yet.  In both cases Loot Toasts helps me to keep an eye on what I just looted.  Essentially it allows you to have an area of the screen where things pop up briefly for items you have looted.  If it is something that stacks, it shows you both how many you just looted and how many you happen to have in your bags with you.  The tooltip is colored based on the rarity of the item so it is pretty easy to see out of the corner of your eye that you might have just gotten something interesting.

Download Here

World Quest Tracker

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World Quests are amazing, and pretty much in my experience the best possible way to gear your alts without tons of effort.  On the mobile app you are treated with this great view that summarizes what World Quests are available and what the rewards are… so if you are like me and mostly interested in the ones that drop gear, you can find them quickly.  The only negative is that logging into the mobile client, logs you out of the game.  What World Quest Tracker does is give you an in game interface to see the same sort of information, as well as adding in hooks for things like TomTom to give you waypoints to find where the quests start.  You have all sorts of filtering options that allow you to show say only Order Resources quests, or only quests that will help you complete a certain Emissary quest.  To make things even better… when you are on the flight map you can see all of the available World Quests so it makes picking the nearest flight path an ease.  I could not seriously imagine existing in Legion without this addon… much in the same way as Master Plan seemed to be a requirement for functioning in Warlords.

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Saved Instances

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One of the big challenges this expansion is the fact that Mythic Dungeons are essentially the new Heroic Dungeons, and that they come with a bizarre weekly lockout timer.  I always struggle with remembering who is locked to which zones, and while I can simply hit /raidinfo to see this information…  I found that I didn’t quite have the all in one interface that I really wanted.  Saved Instances is a widget that is added to your map border that gives you a quick chart of who has a lockout to which content.  I find this especially handy for farming old world content and raids, when I am trying for mounts or pets.  It will also keep track of the reroll tokens and who has used them…  and who has yet to redeem them for the week.

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Enemy Grid

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One of my favorite things about tanking in Final Fantasy XIV was the way that they chose to display threat.  It not only gave me an awareness of all of the targets in play, but gave me a quick at a glance view of which ones I had aggro on.  In the past I used a custom them for Tidy Plates to do this same sort of thing, but in coming back to World of Warcraft I happened across Enemy Grid.  It gives you a quick list of all of the available targets and if grays out the ones that you do not currently have aggro on.  Simple and easy and something I have gotten used to having in my arsenal of information.

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The Boring Stuff

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This is by now means a complete list of my addons, but more a list of the ones that I find particularly interesting.  My base UI is cobbled together from a bunch of addons that I have used for as long as I can remember, and it creates an interface that I am comfortable and familiar with.  I don’t generally go for the whole minimalist thing… and my UI is way more busy than most people would like…  however it works for me and is what I am comfortable with.  Here is a run down of some of the things that I didn’t talk about that I am simply too used to now to give up.

 

 

 

Weekend Hibernation

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It was a truly bizarre weekend for a whole lot of reasons.  Primarily because whatever illness my wife had seemed to strike with a vengeance during the tail end of last week.  As I said before I was originally planning on going to RiffTrax with work friends on Thursday night but by the time I left work I realized there was no way I could make it through an entire evening.  Instead I begged off and went home and crashed on the sofa in my fuzzy blanket cocoon.  By the time Friday came around I was really doing considerably worse and took a sick day…  which in turn screwed up  our evening plans.  We were originally slotted to do this monthly family dinner thing, but we rescheduled it for next weekend because I was not sure how well I would be to drive.  Instead I returned to the blanket cocoon once more and was as a result available for our normal Friday night Emerald Nightmare clear run.  I wound up tanking it, with the stipulation being that I was not going to talk at all.  In fact to  prevent myself from doing this I muted my microphone…. which lead to a weird run since I am fairly vocal as we make it through the content.  To make it even more odd, we were without the OTHER vocal leader Kylana which meant a whole slew of people had to step up to the plate and help make sure the run went smoothly.  So seriously huge thanks to Mort, Phy, Beist, Bledd, and I am sure a whole slew of other people who also were chatty and helpful but I am not remembering at this very moment.  It was once again a super clean run, and in the end I wound up swapping off for Erry for the final encounter since it generally requires a bit more vocal tank coordination.

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Past that night I spent a lot of time piddling around in stuff by myself.  Namely this meant an awful lot of Final Fantasy XV, and I think maybe just maybe I am finally to the point where I am willing to move on past “world 1”.  As I said before there is a point where the game warns you that if you continue on you might not be able to return for awhile.  I took this warning to heart given that I just came from playing Final Fantasy XIV where this sometimes means that a two and a half hour long cut scene is about to happen.  Instead over the weekend I found out from some of the other folks playing it that at least in this case… the game is talking about a ten minute process and not a thirty hour long one.  In past games these warnings often times meant that you would not be able to return until you found the airship, and I am pleased to find out that this is not the case.  At this point though I am running out of things I can actually do in the starter world, and all of the hunts are of a significant level difference from my current level so I think the game is not so subtly telling me to move the hell on.

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Another thing that took up some time this weekend is that I tore down a chunk of my office and set up my new Xbox One.  For awhile now I have been interested in owning an Xbox One to be able to play the titles that don’t exist on the PS4.  Similarly there is an entire group of friends that I have that are on the Xbox path, and I have not been able to play with them.  Unfortunately there were really no titles that supported Xbox 360 crossplay with Xbox One, so as each of them has upgraded…  my options similarly narrowed.  While I have had this latent desire… I also just could not justify the street price for the console given that I am primarily a PC gamer first… and a Console gamer second.  However on Black Friday I actually partook of a deal on Dell.com for an Xbox One, Extra Controller, Headset, and Five Games:  Halo 5 Limited Edition, Farcry 4, Ryze Legendary Edition, Sunset Overdrive, and Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes all for right at $200.  For this I was willing to jump on it and the box arrived at my house Saturday during the day… and I wound up setting it up after editing the podcast on Sunday morning.  There was another deal on Cyber Monday to pick up a copy of the Destiny Collection for the Xbox One for I believe $25 and I jumped on that too, so while I was installing other things…  I ported over my Xbox 360 copy of Destiny.  Firstly since I am largely a digital only gamer on PS4… I did not realize the whole download after installation was as much of a tedious chore as it actually was.  Halo 5 took a good three hours worth of download time, which I found insane and shocking.  Is this what disc copy gamers on the PS4 have to deal with as well? or is this largely just an Xbox One thing?  In any case… I was kinda happy to see that my PS4 clan tag ported over to the Xbox One, and while I will still primarily be playing Destiny on PS4, I want to level something to hang with my friends playing on the Xbone.

I’ve decided to start linking the podcast on Monday mornings in what generally ends up being a weekend rundown post.  Not that I think there is anyone who doesn’t have access to it… but just in case the youtube version embeds nicely.  The other big take away from the weekend was all of the food that we cooked.  We wound up having a weekend full of comfort food, cooked in the crock pot.  So Friday night before going to bed I threw our breakfast casserole on to cook so that when we woke up Saturday morning it was ready.  This dish consists of egg, cheese, potato, ham and sausage and it amazing.  We wound up eating on it for breakfast and lunch on Sunday as well…  and still have a bunch left over.  My wife had the bright idea to turn it into a breakfast burrito with a little salsa.  We also cooked our Chicken and Cheese Tortilla soup, which we only got two meals out of…  well and an extra helping or two.  Finally on Sunday we tried out this Orange Chicken thing…  that is close but not quite there.  It was good enough but it needs something to make it work properly…  and I think I screwed it up by putting the rice directly in the sauce and letting it cook.  I should have simply made a couple cups of rice and then ladled the sauce over it instead.  In any case…  my wife and I are both largely on the mend but we pretty much spent the entire weekend hibernating.  We started taking some OTC meds when it initially hit and I think it helped out quite a bit.

Awards Show and Timewalking

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This morning I am having a minor case of the deads.  I seem to have gotten whatever respiratory crud happens to be going around.  Yesterday morning I was largely doing okay… but then as the day went on I felt worse and worse to the point of begging out of Rifftrax last night.  Thankfully they were able to use my ticket for someone else, but it bums me out that I missed it.  However from the sound of it the double feature… would have completely wrecked me.  They apparently showed two complete movies rather than a short and a movie, and they didn’t actually leave the theater until 10:15 last night from a 7 pm show.  Instead I stayed snuggled up on the couch and had some left over crockpot Tikka Masala for dinner.  The bulk of the evening was spend winding my way through some horrible timewalking pugs.  The piece of this that I realized is simply that folks do not seem to remember the Cataclysm content nearly as well as the other content… or at least Cata still requires you to do actual mechanics to keep from wiping.  As a result I spend another large part of the night running back from wipes and trying to explain to people what went wrong.  I should be tanking…  but I wanted to shun all responsibility and just dps.  The part I didn’t realize is that in my sub 810 form… I would also end up being the carry that did twice as much damage as the others in a lot of the groups.  By the end of the night however I managed to pull my overall item level up to around 817, which now unlocked as of this morning some of the 830 world quest rewards.  In theory that is going to be how I gear my Deathknight, but logging in… doing the Emissary chest and then knocking out any items that look useful.

The other activity last night was a vague attempt at watching The Game Awards.  At some point this seems to have turned into a real awards show, when the first few years sorta felt like trying to make “fetch happen”.  Somewhere along the line it actually became “a thing” and now has significant support from companies.  It was largely something I was doing because I was bummed at missing RiffTrax and happened to see it scroll across my twitter.  The part I was not expecting was the fact that apparently… folks are using this as another opportunity to announce and or show off upcoming games.  There is a post in me somewhere about the never ending chain of promotional opportunities that game developers have right now.  For years it was the CES and that was literally the only place we got information.  Then E3 and Gamescom became significant players… and that was the moment when we found out literally everything that was to know about the upcoming games.  Now we technically have five different PAX shows, and a plethora of other events like the Playstation Experience that is happening this weekend… and individual company based shows like FFXIV Fan Festival and Blizzcon.  It seems like at any given point we are a week away from a potential cache of big announcements… and we as fans expect something important at each and every one of these.  It is almost as though we are expecting executives at EA or Ubisoft to be prepparing their “Thanksgiving game”, or their “Presidents Day” game to announce at any moment.  I don’t want to go on about this much longer… but I blame the constant deluge of things just on the horizon for constantly distracting us from the games we actually have installed and should be playing.  Saying that… here are some things that distracted me from games I should be playing.

We finally got some really good footage of Andromeda that goes into more detail about how the actual game is going to function and play in its final version.  Firstly I have to say I am super excited to see this because I like Mass Effect best when it is allowing me to play Star Trek Away Team.  Of the previous games… my favorite is Mass Effect 2 because it was one the one that allowed me the most freedom to pop around the galaxy doing tiny interesting vignettes.  The part I am hoping is that the moment to moment gameplay is going to be able to keep my attention.  There was just something about the way that Inquisition performed that was a turn off… and then you take the fact that I am now forced to play a faction that I would rather be cheerfully slaughtering…  and it was a recipe for a game that never quite clicked with me.  Andromeda however feels like it is going to be something I can sink my teeth into… especially if it allows me to constantly be recruiting new and interesting people to join my core team.  Also jump packs… are awesome.

Watching this trailer made me realize that no one has really done a good Monster Hunter style game for the PC platform.  I am sure in the comments someone is going to point out one that I missed, but Monster Hunter fills this weird niche between traditional RPG and Diablo.  Since this is being billed as an Action RPG I am hoping that maybe it falls along those lines.  What I don’t want this to be is another asymmetric team versus monster game like Evolve.  I have zero interest in that.  Like if it is possible for interest to go into the negatives…  then asymmetrical multiplayer falls into that category.  It is being billed however as a Free to Play take on Monster Hunter by ex Riot and Bioware devs.  On that billing alone… I am super interested.

If naked stranded on a beach crying Norman Reedus was not strange enough…  we get another trailer for Death Stranding.  Last I heard they had not actually even picked an engine yet, so I am finding it really hard to take anything I see on this game seriously at this point.  That said I am really liking the direction of this trailer.  I love the weird washed out post apocalyptic marsh thing going on… and I like the skele-zombie troopers thing and the Cthuloid tanks.  This feels like it is going to be creepy in all the right ways and we need more Cthulhu in our lives… or at least ones that play on modern platforms after the frustration that was Dark Corners of the Earth recently.  I am entranced and willing to throw money at the screen for this one, even if I don’t know specifically why I am.  Guillermo del Toro makes the best monsters, and I was just commenting the other day about how badly I would love to see another Hellboy movie.  Maybe this creations in this game can satiate the desire, because if nothing else it has me now following his twitter that is full of awesome monstrous stuff.

Darth Scrapheap

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If appearance systems are the “true” endgame… them I am woefully losing right now.  Last night I managed to push my Deathknight across the line and ding 110, to which I immediately abandoned all attempts at questing and instead focused on World Quests.  For those who do not know when you hit 110 all you need do is walk over to Khadgar and you can start up the madness on your alts without needing to do the faction grind.  Now I look like a random assemblage of crap…  or very much like a raiding dps warrior did in vanilla.  I know that helm is supposed to be menacing and Deathknighty… but it just keeps reminding me of a lizard or turtle… or something similar.  After a round of “complete the gear quests” I am sitting at 795 and I absolutely plan on exploiting the hell out of the Timewalking dungeons this weekend to help push that higher.  As much as I wanted to like the Paladin… it was mostly just a choice to push up so that I could have a miner to feed my engineering.  Similarly I started the Rogue with the thought of pushing up a Herbalist/Alchemist but stalled out because Rogues are squishy and annoying.  Instead I started working on my Deathknight because deep down inside I still have a lot of love for the character… the fringe benefit however is that now I have a reasonable Herbalist as well to at the very least feed my Seed-Battered Fish Plate habit.

In other news we had a pretty good night of raiding with us coming in and killing Odyn once again after a weird off week thanks in large part to Thanksgiving.  It still took a few tries and there are a lot of fiddly bits we can improve on to make it less horrible at the end.  From there we had a crazy pull that never ended because we did not learn our lesson properly and or they said they patched something they didn’t actually patch.  From there we set up and changed a few things on Guarm and had an amazingly smooth one shot…  which is pretty damned awesome considering this was only our second night of attempts.  We then continued on to Helya and by the end of the we were pushing her into phase three and phase two was seeming less suicidal.  All in all I will count that as significant progress, the only negative being there just aren’t that many gearing options yet from this raid.  I am super bummed that I am going to have to miss our now “a thing” Friday night Emerald Nightmare clear this week.  I have a family thing that happens once a month, and this just happens to be that Friday.  Thankfully I think we have more than enough reasonable tanking options to make something work in my absence.  I am just bummed at losing a shot at maybe just maybe getting those last three corrupted essences.

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I also played a significant amount of Final Fantasy XV, and I have decided it is far less a boy band simulator and more Final Fantasy Entourage.  All of that said… I still like it quite a bit and it is absolutely priceless when Prompto sometimes hums the class FF battle victory theme after you finish a combat engagement.  Right now I am heavily engaged in a life of murder-hobo-ry as I am roaming the country side looking for baddies to vanquish and looting interesting cooking materials.  The key take away from yesterday however is that I gave the official Sony PS4 Remote Play a shot and man…  have they seemingly improved it greatly.  Sure there are still moments when it wigs the hell out and you are best to simply hold still until it stops struggling.  Those however are few and far between and for the most part the end result is an extremely smooth play experience.  For reference my PS4 is hard wired into my router, and I was connecting into it from my laptop over the wireless network.  I did some tests in Destiny to see if this was simply a “good enough for an RPG” thing or if it really was reasonable for playing other games.  I could notice a little bit of controller lag while running and doing some patrols… but it was more than reasonable enough for me to play.  I am not sure if I would be willing to go into the Crucible or something extremely difficult, but I had a good enough time killing random splicers in the Plaguelands remotely.  In truth it is “good enough” for 90% of the stuff I do in Destiny and I would absolutely be willing to try something like farming Archon’s Forge while remoted in through the laptop.  It is definitely good enough for Final Fantasy XV which greatly increase the range of play options I have…  and I am going to want to test this theory out on the Vita pretty soon.  I still think the performance of the unofficial “Twisted” Remote Play was better… but he has just been unable to keep it updated to function on the latest version of the PS4 firmware… and the bonus features of playing with a keyboard, mouse and xbox 360 controller simply are not worth being behind in the firmware version especially given that it will bar you from accessing the PSN store.  I am super happy though to see that Sony seems to continue to improve performance.

Space Diablo

Last night was a good night.  It was a fairly crappy day at work because we were still dealing with the ramifications of events that happened over the break.  Nothing says excitement like an 8 am conference call.  That said I had an amazing bowl of chicken noodle soup waiting on me when I got home.  Sunday during the day we made a batch of soup in the crock pot, and for whatever reason soup is all the more amazing on day two.  This time around I added a little shredded cheese to it and it was insanely good and the perfect thing to at least in part make me forget the day that lead up to it.  As far as my evening the bulk of it was spent hanging out with Grace and Mor in Destiny.  While I consider myself still very much a fledgling player, they are more so… and as a result it was kinda fun just to ride along as Mor experienced all of the content for the very first time.  The big take away from the night however is that the year one strike bosses are still insane bullet sponges.  I kinda find it sad that they never went back and updates these strikes, when much better year two versions exist.  The walker in the Devil’s Lair normal difficulty strike… is quite possibly the hardest strike boss ever… or at the very least the one that takes the most time to bring down.  I solo walkers out in the patrol zones for fun…  and this one just would not die.

Mor calls the game “Space Diablo” and it is fitting because really in the end we are all after tasty loot.  Since I had already done most of this content before a bunch of times, I opted to play my Warlock which is generally my least progressed character.  On the Stormcaller spec for example I only had the base abilities unlocked that you exit the mission with.   By the end of the night however I had a significant amount unlocked, and gear wise my Warlock has suddenly pulled out ahead of my Hunter.  The thing with Warlock is that I like literally everything about it… except the jump.  Squirrel will probably fight me on this one, but it just feels wrong.  It doesn’t work the way I want it to work… and in truth if I could just give my Warlock the Titan jump… everything would be peachy.  Then again I would give literally every class the Titan jump, and part of me hopes that they introduce a second round of artifacts that do just this… allow you to customize each character by giving them a different class jump.  I don’t think that is likely ever going to happen, so in the meantime I will have to console myself with having permatracking thanks to Memory of Gheleon on every character.  If nothing else that artifact is amazing for finding chests… which considering just how many there are in the plaguelands greatly increase how much glimmer I am getting.

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Once things wound down in Destiny, I disappeared downstairs and worked on my Deathknight for awhile.  Sunday with the start and stop nature of work, I didn’t get terribly far in knocking out some of my dungeon quests.  In fact there was a point where I had queued for a dungeon, and shortly after the second boss had to drop group to hop on a work conference call.  Were it a guild group this probably would not have been a show stopper given that I could alt tab back and forth as needed, however I excused myself from the PUG and became resigned to not actually finishing up Stormheim.  So last night I started off by running Halls of Valor, which went extremely quickly and allowed me to move on in good conscience to Highmountain.  Right now I am largely just focusing on the main story of the zone and ignoring any offshoots for the moment, because it already seems like I am going to ding 110 well before wrapping everything up.  At the moment I am sitting at 60% into 108, and have just started the quests in High Mountain meaning I have most of an entire zone to level through.  I will absolutely ding before leaving this zone, and then I can begin the slow process of gearing through World Quests.  I have to say that I love Frost Deathknight for both a leveling and dungeon running spec, and it is going to dethrone my Paladin as my primary alt.

All of this said… I am not likely to work on my Deathknight tonight because I have a date with Final Fantasy.  I am too old to stay up and play at the official launch of a game but instead have it sitting waiting for me on my PS4 for when I get home.

Working Weekend

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Well this morning is not getting off to a glorious start.  File this under the category of more issues with web hosting.  I seem to be unable to upload any new files to any of my blogs.  Some sort of permission issue, and unfortunately not one that I can remedy myself with the level of access that I have.  We had an issue over the weekend where my sites got peppered with a bunch of bad files that were being used to send spam mail.  As a result I think the web host maybe locked things down a little too tight.  I spent the bulk of my Saturday morning going directory by directory and deleting this fishy files that had gotten uploaded through some exploit somewhere along the line.  However in the meantime I can’t upload any new images… which kinda derails the whole process of blogging for me.  Instead of writing a proper post I have spent the last forty five minutes trying to resolve the issue on my own with zero luck.

As far as gaming this weekend I was all over the place.  I played some Rift and made it to level 67 in the Gedlo Badlands, and also partook of the weekend mount sale to pick up a couple of the previously lockbox only mounts including the back warmech thing.  Early in the week I had set my goals on leveling the Deathknight in World of Warcraft to 110.  Then I found out that the frost hidden appearance that drops from this weeks world boss… also requires Artifact Knowledge 4, which was not something I could hope to finish during the timeframe.  That said I still have been having an awful lot of fun on the Deathknight and even casually playing without a serious push… I managed to get him to just shy of 108.  In Destiny I worked on getting all three of my characters through the various weekly quests available from Shiro in the Iron Temple.  I now have all three classes at 385 or above with my Titan being the highest at 387.  Other than that I started Dishonored 2 and am struggling to get into it.  I am not sure what it is about the setting but it is far less interesting to me than Dunwall.  I am not terribly far in so I am going to continue giving it a shot until hopefully it clicks.

Other than all of this… my weekend was perforated by a lot of things happening at work that I ultimately had to log in and deal with.  A prime example is that I had been trying to finish a dungeon needed by my Deathknight when I had to drop the dungeon finder group… and hop on a conference call for an hour to try and sort out what was happening.  The problem with being salary…  and not having an official on-call rotation is that it means you are always on call.  We sorted it out but it was a something looming over my head because you are never quite certain when you are really “out” for the day.  I thought I put things to bed at 11 am… and I kept getting pulled back in until around 7 pm my time.  Something similar happened on Saturday as well, and I had to stop what I was doing and drive back to the house just to get in for thirty minutes to fix something.  As a result it felt like this really strange pseudo working weekend, and with us skipping the recording of AggroChat something felt off the entire time.  It is funny now our rituals ground us… and now badly I needed mine to make the weekend feel normal.  Raiding Karazhan I guess however helped to serve as a great cap to the weekend, seeing as we once again had a pretty smooth clear.

 

Unintended Stealth

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I had every intent last night of going home and working on my Deathknight.  This week the world boss is The Soultakers, which finally allows folks to unlock the hidden frost appearance.  I had been enjoying my newly humanized Deathknight after years being a Worgen, but had largely been taking my time in pushing through the levels.  However with the promise of an artifact appearance waiting on me, the goal was to get home and push as hard as I could to get to 110 before the week was finished.  Recently they patched the game to make all artifact appearance drops from world bosses a 100% drop chance.  Apparently however there is a giant asterisk looming behind that statement.  What I am hearing now is that in order to get the appearance you have to be artifact knowledge rank four, which is completely impossible for me to actually obtain during this week, at least without the impending catch up mechanics.  So instead I went upstairs to try and solve another issue.  According to my friend Squirrel, apparently I have not been online on PSN in over thirty days…  so after some back and forth we determined that I had apparently inadvertently set myself to appear offline.  For awhile now I had seen a red X beside my portrait in the PS4 menu, but I always just assumed that meant I had a flaky connection.  However apparently on my profile page I hit the wrong thing and flipped myself into some sort of stealth mode.  After fixing that… I also started getting updates as to what my friends were doing, so when Squirrel joined a party I decided to hook my headset up and join as well.

The plan for the evening was supposedly a Hard Mode Wrath of the Machine, but due to the holiday messing with everyone’s raiding plans… it was just Squirrel, myself, Jex and Havel that were available.  The original thought was that if we could somehow muster the folks that we would end up running a normal to show me the ropes.  Instead we just ended up completing various crap that I had sitting undone.  I am the worst at actually grinding through quests, and the Gjallarhorn was something I tried when I was sitting at 340ish and found maddening.  There are wave and waves of exploding shanks that have this nasty way of sneaking up on you when you are least expecting.  I would ultimately end up getting blown up and failing out… and unfortunately this is one of those quests where you have to complete a bunch of stuff if you die at any point.  The goal originally was to pester someone to come help me, but I never got around to doing it.  Last night they were willing to help and I was more than happy to knock a quest out of my inventory.

Similarly I had been sitting on the Thorn quest for at least a week now, having completed the last of the crucible kills during the recent Iron Banner.  In order to do this one I needed a key, and had never actually finished the Sepiks Perfected strike quest…  which rewarded a key.  So next up my friends set about to helping me complete this quest.  Unfortunately I have not actually spent any time with the gun, but seeing as I never got the year one variety I have always been curious just how it feels.  There was a time where I used hand cannons above pretty much any gun, but the short range and ammo capacity nerfs have ended up with me favoring other things.  If nothing else I might throw this up on my hunter and be the stereotype, even though this version of thorn is significantly defanged from the original.

Lastly when I opened the chest to pick up the Thorn, I managed to pull a pretty sweet new sniper with significantly higher light than the one I was using.  I like the super high damage archetype of snipers, so this has already seen some use given that it is solar burn week.  We attempted a random heroic after completing the Thorn quest but for whatever reason I failed to get credit from my Future War Cult quest.  I am super thankful to all of the help that Squirrel and Jex were willing to dish out last night, and I really want to figure out a time when I can hang out properly and do more Destiny stuff.  I knew I missed them, but I didn’t realize how much until the middle of last night hanging out killing baddies.

Fetching Cats

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I am not entirely certain how well this video is going to come across on the blog, since I am just using the default twitter embed process.  I’ve talked about playing fetch with my youngest cat Kenzie before.  She loves rubber bands, and whenever she wants to play will bring one and drop it beside me.  Traditionally this has meant tossing it around the room and her chasing after it.  However over the weekend my wife went to a craft fair and picked me up a basic rubberband gun.  Now at first the results were mixed, but I quickly realized it was because it moved quicker than she could actually track.  So firing it across the room in the air meant she would just look at me confused a few times and then give up.  However if I fire it across the floor so that it makes impact and slides the rest of the way…  she is able to track that and bolts off after it.  I decided to attempt to record this in the process and overall it turned out pretty well… including the batting of the gun to try and make me fire it.  This was my evening… and when she would get tired she would bring it back… and then lay down on top of it.  Later she would discover it again when she got up and the circus would continue.

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As far as gaming went… it was another mixed bag of an evening.  Firstly early in the evening before my wife got home I spent that time working on my Warlock and namely doing the Shiro and Tyra weekly quest.  The idea being that if I keep doing those every week I am bound to get some interesting stuff from the load of legendary engrams that they ultimately provide.  At this very moment I swap them all to the bank and then hop on my highest light character to open them.  However before long that won’t matter quite so much given that the only sub 385 character I have right now is my Warlock.  Today is the weekly  reset, and from what it sounds like it is a really good week to farm packages.  If nothing else this is going to be the week that I farm up all of the heroic strikes I need for Future War Cult quest.  Small Arms and Solar Burn means you can farm heroics, and Mayhem Clash means you can finish games in 6 mins making it an insane Crucible farm week as well.  Needless to say I am probably going to be playing Destiny tonight.

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In World of Warcraft last night was our traditional Mythical Monday night…  which is just a cute name for “oh shit we never did a mythic this week”.  It seems like Monday is the night that I always end up doing a keystone just in time to get a free item today.  This time around there was a double benefit, in that my friend Mor needed Black Rook Hold for the Karazhan attunement, and he also had a keystone for it.  It is getting to the point where these runs are largely pretty smooth and we managed to complete in with enough time to spare that we got two chests at the end.  Unfortunately I don’t think anyone managed to get any usable gear.  Quite honestly it has been a really long time since I have gotten anything useful out of a Mythic, and largely they are just something I do… because of the fear of missing out on something from the chest.  I enjoy them, and I am always happy to tank them pending I can dedicate 30 minutes of my time in one sitting.  However I am not necessarily running them because I need them.

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Lastly I finished the evening in Rift and managed to finish up Scatherran Forest.  I got so into the game that I completely did not watch the time… and wound up finally heading to bed when my wife started to wake up from the sofa at 12:30.  From there I had a pretty fitful night sleep wise, so it is definitely going to be an interesting day.  That aside…  Scatherran Forest was a great experience and the wrap up event was full of epic moments.  At the end of the zone you wind up going into a mini solo dungeon of sorts, with I believe four boss encounters that you take on with two companions.  As far as the story line and ramifications… they also felt pretty awesome.  There were some definite feels caused by the ending… that were not entirely attributable to the late hour.  I’ve now moved on to the Gedlo Badlands, with my general idea being to ping pong back and forth between the two as I work my way through the comet towards the Tower of Ahnket.  I had my first real run in with Ahnket and it was interesting…  definitely get a malevolent evil vibe…  but also that of a cat playing with a toy which makes it all the more fitting to talk about this morning.  I  talked a bit during the day about Time to Kill issues… and apparently a good chunk of that was my own damned fault in that I forgot to slot any planar fragments.  Once I did that… I noticed a significant boost in damage output, so if you are similarly struggling try that.  So far my favorite thing about this expansion is largely just a side effect.  I love that I am gaining planar levels insanely fast anytime I do pretty much anything… which is helping me flesh out those neglected trees.

A Good Weekend

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This past week was the week of seemlingly smooth and fast clears.  Wednesday night we worked on progression content, which mean’t that we spent the majority of the evening wiping to new and exciting things.  However the end result of that evening was that we downed Odyn and made a decent amount of progress on Guarm.  The only negative aspect of that is that it also means that none of us actually saw progress on the quest chain that haunts us.  We kicked around the notion of having an Emerald Nightmare clear night, that I ultimately decided would be Friday.  I set up a calendar invite and hoped, and then was pleasantly surprised at the number of folks that signed up.  In fact we technically had more than our normal raid nights, and other than some starts and stops while waiting on folks or dealing with disconnections…  it was a very smooth evening.  So smooth in fact that I seriously wonder if we could have cleared the entire place in an hour.  I mean because of the various time spent waiting… that was not a thing that happened however it seemed like we might have been on pace for it.  That general smoothness continued on last night with Karazhan, but so did the whole waiting business.  Thalen got sidelined with family stuff, and we had the option of either filling his slot or waiting.  It turned out we ended up getting started roughly an hour and a half late, but once again things went amazingly smoothly.  So much so that I think next week we are going to make a proper attempt at a Nightbane run.  We would have one shot every boss… were it not for the fact that we tried some madness for an achievement on Medivh.

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Another big part of my weekend was roaming around and exploring the Comet of Ahnket in the Rift Starfall Prophecy expansion.  At this point I am sitting around 66 1/3 and feel like I have barely scratched the surface of the Scatherran Forest zone.  Firstly I have to say this expansion is charming as hell so far, namely because of the two companions that follow you around at times… but also because it is a great example of environmental storytelling.  Every area is packed full of little things to be scene and experienced much in the same way the zones are built in Guild Wars 2.  Lots of things are happening in the background and all it takes is you sitting still long enough to experience them.  The best of these vignettes has to be the hedgehogs who are stuck in a ball rolling…  until one of them realizes that they can just let go of their feet to stop.  Similarly there is this adorable sequence where you are playing hide and seek with baby unicorns, and you have to go out and find them so that you can lead them back home.  The only negative so far is that I feel woefully undergeared for some of the content, and there is a bit of an uneven difficulty level happening.  There was an area full of spiders… and they seemed literally twice as tough as any of the other equivalent level 66 mobs.  I could take down entire packs of humanoids… but a single spider was a race to see if I could finish them off before they finished me off.  Getting a second spider meant absolute certain death.  All in all though I am really liking the expansion and it feels much more like Storm Legion did as far as content goes.

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Finally I spent a good deal of time playing Destiny this weekend and was able to push my Titan to the 385 barrier.  This is the point where you stop getting upgrades from legendary engrams, and are stuck relying on faction rewards that stop at 390… and exotic engrams that will take you all the way to 400.  This means I am hoping tomorrow starts a small arms week for the heroic strike list because I absolutely need to spend some time farming.  In theory I believe the Archon’s Forge will go up to 400 when it comes to end of event rewards, but not anything coming from an engram.  I spent some time working on my Hunter and Warlock and getting both of them through the Rise of Iron story so I can have three sets of world bounties to work on each week.  I realize they just reward engrams at this point… but if nothing else it can be infusion fodder to help work up additional weapons and armor.  I need to find the free time to try and sign up for one of the machine raids so I can see the content and get some more tasty gear.  However 385 is a completely respectable place to be, and in theory during the next iron banner I should be able to make a decent dent into pushing that number up into the 390s.  It was a great weekend and especially considering we have a short week ahead of me.

Trials of Valor

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Last night was a raid night… and I failed to take any screenshots so you are stuck with an image of me in the order hall.  After having cleared Emerald Nightmare a few weeks it was decided that we would instead poke our heads into the Trial of Valor.  The goal set out by the raid leader for our group was to attempt to stay current with normal mode progression, so instead of spending several weeks farming Emerald Nightmare it seemed reasonable to just jump straight into the Trial content which has a much higher item level.  That was a big part of the decision factor in that the baseline for gear is 850… and literally everyone in the raid last night has 850 or better.  All of that said though… there are several of us who still want to keep clearing the Nightmare in the hopes of getting specific items or for no reason other than the try and complete that Balance of Power meta achievement step.  So I think in the coming days/weeks we are going to try and sort out a secondary night with a clear purpose of farming the raid.  I mean back in the day we used to have a Molten Core night even though we were actively progressing in Blackwing Lair…. and for that matter also had a Zul’Gurub Night.  Karazhan is somewhat taking the place of ZG however as far as gear progression goes, but still I want to finish out some quests.

As far as the raid itself, it went fairly well but it is a big of a punch in the gut going from killing eight bosses in a single night to struggling to kill one.  All in all it took us around six attempts to work out the mechanics for Odyn and largely sort out how not to have the tanks die during the final phase.  The fight reminded me so much of Binding Coil Turn 9 in FFXIV, in that the really rough part was at the very end…  but you had to wade through a bunch of mechanics that were more tedious than difficult to get there.  This is very much a learn the mechanics fight and less a gear check in the traditional sense of damage output.  For some however it is likely a bit of a survival check in that even if you are doing mostly everything as intended you are still going to take the occasional damage that becomes hard to control.  We however pushed through and got a kill… and by kill I mean we pushed Odyn to 10% where he once again congratulated us on our performance.  What is it about this guy wanting us to beat him up…  is this a fetish?  In any case a lot of gear dropped, but I got double gold both off him… and off the world boss that I attempted right before the raid.  That leaves me with a single roll token for the week that I am going to need to use judiciously and determine what exactly I want to spend it on.  Largely nothing from mythic+ is really worth it apart from the occasional trinket.

We put in several attempts on Guarm and that fight feels like a pretty hard gear wall the way that Patchwerk used to be.  It has a very short enrage timer, and a oneshot kill mechanic that you need to avoid… while juggling even distribution of the colored debuffs.  So there is a lot more going on than there was with Patchwerk, but it is no less of a hard dps race trying to kill him before he enrages and kills us.  Last night was largely Art and I figuring out the tanking, and placement… and learning how to avoid the charge attack and get through it without taking much in the way of damage.  It also very much felt like the healers were desperately trying to sort out all of the details because there were so many times where I was painfully low and straight up out of cooldowns to mitigate that fact.  A little gear, damage output optimization, and some practice and I am absolutely certain that we will get that fight to farm status before long.  We also have an alternate path open to us of trying to push through Heroic Emerald Nightmare, but with a brand new raid open that hasn’t seemed that compelling.  In truth I hope we get to a point where we can easily clear Trial of Valor and then go back and worth on Heroics all in the same night.  Of note however… “ToV” will always be Temple of Veeshan to me and never Trials of Valor.