Class Previews

Media Consumption Hiatus

I always wondered which of my features I would break down and not do first.  I have a pretty bad habit of launching a series but only quitting doing it…  a month or so later.  I like the concept of a day like Media Consumption… but the truth is there are some weeks I don’t really consume much media.  This week for example I consumed a lot of Fallout 4 related stuff… because that is pretty much all I have been playing.  The problem is…  any videos I watched on how to get the most out of electricity or general base building theory…  aren’t really all that interesting to talk about.  Nor do I feel really compelled to talk about iZombie that we finally caught up with… or last weeks Walking Dead.  Literally two episodes of iZombie and a single episode of Walking Dead is pretty much all of the television I consumed this week.  So for this week I am cancelling this column, with the option to revive it as soon as I have movies, television or other media worth talking about.

Farwell to Gladiator

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This week the previews for the class changes in Legion came out… and for the most part there are two classes that I was really interested in… the Warrior and the Death Knight.  Two big things changed in Warlords that caused me to switch priorities a bit… firstly they made Death Knights feel like shit by making pestilence be part of the ability rotation… giving them a caster feel.  Secondly they gave me Gladiator stance… which pretty much was the thing I always wanted to do as a warrior…  be able to DPS with a sword and shield.  As a result I took Belghast my protection warrior off mothballs… and has quite a bit of fun raiding as Gladiator dps for at least part of the expansion.  Warlords however just didn’t have enough oomph to keep me going… even though I was playing the best possible player fantasy for me.  I guess part of me knew that it simply could not last past this expansion.  I watched as Blizzard developers struggled to figure out how to itemize tanking gear… but not making it insanely overpowering for Gladiators.  Part of this came from the fact that armor was simply a better dps itemization stat than strength.  I gained 1.5 attack power for each point of armor… whereas I gained 1 from strength.  So that mean’t for dpsing… I stacked Armor potions rather than Strength potions and did other fiddly things… like looking for +armor gear with crit on it.

It seems as thought my fears have come true and as they talked about the Warrior class changes I saw zero mention of Gladiator spec.  Even though I knew deep down in my heart that this was coming… it still feels a bit like a sucker punch to the gut.  I liked being able to play Belghast again and enjoy doing so… the problem being… that I still didn’t really feel like DPS.  My heart has never been in the DPS rotation… and as a player when it comes to DPS…  I don’t want to be last place on the meters, but I have zero burning desire to be first place either.  I feel like I am lacking the competitive nature needed to really excel at damage dealing.  Tanking however…  my deep protective streak over my friends always kicks in and I fight my ass off to hold aggro, or stay alive during this attack or that.  Basically tanking feeds off of my instincts in a way that damage dealing never has.  So while I hate the thought of not being able to deal silly amounts of damage as gladiator… and have relatively high survival…  I am totally see why they are getting rid of it for exactly that reason.  Regardless of the fight, I was almost always the last one standing because I had cool-downs a plenty to keep me alive during big problems.  There were numerous times where I could temporarily tank while we resurrected a tank, which tells me… Gladiator was just too strong.

Welcome Back Blood

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During the Crusaders Coliseum patch cycle in Wrath of the Lich King… I ended up switching mains from the Warrior to the Death Knight in theory… to give up tanking and do damage instead.  This didn’t actually work like I planned, and instead of DPSing I quickly found myself pressed into the role of Blood tanking.  This was fine by me because from the start of playing a Death Knight I had always been drawn to the high survival nature of blood.  As that turned into the official “tanking” stance I adapted quickly and came to love the class and the spec.  Through Cataclysm and Pandaria I was all about the Death Knight and it was always the first character I would level.  In fact until Pandaria my Warrior sat at level 80… and relatively untouched since I crated him up towards the end of Wrath.  When we were able to become Worgen, I race changed from human… and I felt like I was completely happy and set to be playing that class for the rest of my time in World of Warcraft.

Then Warlords came and made the class just “feel” wrong.  I have talked about this before… but it is more important how something feels to me rather than how numerically it works out.  Death Knights no longer “felt” tanky or even melee in general… but the constant pestilence and death coil usage made it “feel” like a caster… the absolute last thing I would want to play.  With the class changes it at least seems like they understand this problem… and with it is a return to mostly melee abilities for at least the Blood Death Knight.  So while I am losing Gladiator… it seems like I might be gaining back the Death Knight class as a whole?  Admittedly a lot of what harmed my enjoyment of Warlords beta… was how bad the Death Knight felt to play.  My hope is that at some point early in the beta cycle I can get my hands on some play time… and get clarification if this fixes the class.  I am getting more interested in Legion as a whole… but this is going to be absolutely crucial to my enjoyment.  I need my Death Knight back to have fun again.



MMOs Worth Playing – Everquest II

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Perforated Week

mmosworthplayingThis week was a strange one, because it essentially consisted of two Mondays and two Fridays since I was off Wednesday due to Veterans day.  This week also pretty much was completely lost to Fallout 4.  So I contemplated just doing another post about that and skipping the MWP feature for a week.  That said I decided to fall back on an “oldie but goodie” that I could write about without much prep work.  Once again the MMOs Worth Playing section by intent is to highlight some of the awesome games out there, that maybe don’t get as much love as I feel they should.  This has been the pattern other than last week when I did a special BlizzCon edition, and this week we are continuing that pattern with some talk about Everquest 2.

Launching Against a Juggernaut

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When it comes to underdog games… it would be near impossible to find one that more fits that title than Everquest II.  Back in 2004 there were two games vying for everyone’s attention… the sequel of sorts to the wildly popular Everquest and the newcomer with a strong pedigree World of Warcraft.  By the time we got to November of that year… there was quite literally one game on everyone’s minds…  and it wasn’t the return to a calamity stricken Norrath.  EQ2 had the misfortunate of launching sixteen days before the game that would for the most part change the landscape of MMOs.  I was pretty torn as to which game I would end up playing, and I even pre-ordered Everquest II and spent a good deal of time in the alpha and beta processes.  However when it came time to launch…  there were a few people from my EQ1 days that were going to be playing… but the vast majority of my friends were simply waiting for World of Warcraft.  So since money was very much a thing back then… I simply didn’t pick up my EQ2 pre-order and waited for the coming of Azeroth.

Roughly six months into that experience however I got a patch of wanderlust like I always do and drug a group of friends over into Norrath and found that I really liked the game.  Just as I know eventually I will be playing World of Warcraft again, I will also be doing the same for Everquest II.  The sort of experience it provides is just different than you would find in most games.  For me at least the magic is the setting.  Norrath is world I am deeply nostalgic of, and with it comes little references to the good times I had in Everquest.  I realize for many at launch this was a huge problem… because instead of continuing where Everquest left off they chose to reboot the world of sorts and bringing the players in after the moon Luclin had exploded raining down shards around the world.  This event sundered the world causing it to break apart into small islands, and much of the theme of Everquest 2 has been one of exploration and rediscovery.

Unearthing Greatness


The players are helping to recover the lost grandeur of the past, and with that we are uncovering locations that I remember extremely well in the original Everquest.  The big thing that spoke to me about the game however was the epic scale.  These zones are huge… so huge that often times they are made up of several distinct sub zones that all exist together in one seamless area.  What makes them work so well is the fact that they are really content dense, with all sorts of hidden treasures and events stowed in between what would normally be something you simply rode past.  One of the things that made EQ interesting was their construct called a “Ring Event”, which involved fighting certain mobs… which would spawn other mobs… which would ultimately culminate in a boss.  So as you wander the world, you never quite know what thing you are killing might lead to something far more interesting spawning.  I remember one of these particular in Nektulos Forest, that ultimately lead to a rare named boss that was used for a quest.

Another aspect of the game that I have always loved that follows this exploration and recovery feeling, is the Heritage quest.  These are truly epic quest chains that tend to require twenty or so discreet steps to complete and often involve you spending a considerably about of time crawling through dungeons and catacombs to find bits.  Each of them represents the attempt to uncover an item of fabled power from the old world, and as a former Everquest player…  I know almost every single item referenced by heart.  What makes them even cooler is that they function dual fold when you complete one.  For starters you get a really nice piece of gear that at the level you can get it serves to be some of quite literally the best gear you can get.  However when you out level it, you can turn it into a trophy item that you can then put in your player housing to remember your journey.  So it feels really cool to walk into your house and see all of these past accomplishments displayed in physical form.  Each item you hang on your wall or stash on a shelf is a memory of an event that you did in game, which makes the whole thing feel more important than simply earning points or titles.

Rich Systems

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Everquest II is this impossible game, because quite literally I don’t think it could have ever been created in today’s climate.  So much time was spent on systems that feel casual and exploratory gameplay, that enrich the player…  but don’t really make up much of an “endgame” in the traditional sense.  I just mentioned housing and that is absolutely a crucial one.  Dark Age of Camelot was the first time I had experienced player housing, and I knew that I was absolutely hooked.  The problem there is it took up large tracts of physical real estate in the world.  That meant a limited number of players could ever have housing, because there were a limited number of deeds available.  EQ2 went in a completely different direction, and at first I was not terribly certain of it…  and later I have come to realize it was a stroke of genius.  Instead of making housing exclusive… they simply made it part of the base gameplay experience by giving you an Inn Room that serves as your first house while going through the early levels.  From there the player gets used to the notion of checking into their room periodically and quests giving them items that they might want to display there.


As you progress you can keep getting cooler homes with significantly more expensive weekly upkeep costs.  While player housing is awesome… where the game really shines is the introduction of Guild Housing.  In each guild I have been in, the house became a hub of activity for its members.  Due to the ability to place crafting machines, bankers and brokers all in the hall… it means that there will be a constant flow of players coming in and out as they do their business around the game world.  While it might seem silly… because we already have an always on guild chat… but seeing players in their physical avatar form just feels different and almost magical.  There are tons of people in the game world that I might talk to on a nightly basis… but it could be weeks before I actually cross paths with their characters in game.  Having this nexus meant that the guilds were actually more communicative that they might have been were it just left to text only conversation.  There was also always the added benefit of having some shared goal that the guild as a whole could work towards.  I remember doing all sorts of things that could grant “status” in the guild, which then could be spent as a currency to help pay the expenses of owning the guild hall.  Contributing status made it feel like I was helping… even though what I was actually earning was just a drip in the bucket comparatively.

Overwhelming Content


I could literally write one of these posts a week, for the next few months and not have scratched the surface of talking about everything in this game.  The game is nearing the launch of expansion number Twelve Terrors of Thalumbra.   In the same time World of Warcraft has had six expansions, and this is not counting the mini adventure packs, which I believe there have been four or five of at this point.  The amount of content of all types that is available is just completely mind boggling, and at any given level you usually have multiple paths that you can take to get to your goal.  My favorite part about the game is that they still have public dungeons.  This is the aspect that made the original Everquest feel so vibrant to me, was that you could go into these super dangerous areas with your friends… that were huge NPC warrens that felt like working areas.  If you went into the kitchen, then you found a chef… if you went into the dungeon… then you found a jailer or a warden.  It felt like we were actually raiding bases, rather than taking a theme park ride where at the end we got loot for our trouble.

These big public dungeons were places you could just go and hang out with your friends… where the difficulty level was enough to make bringing friends along for the fun worth while.  All of which made it all the more enjoyable when you finally reached a level of gear where you could actually go into these places and survive by yourself.  I remember the amazement the first time I saw a friend soloing Sebilis for example in Everquest… and then was shocked when I reached the point where I could solo tough mobs like the Sand Giants in the Oasis of Marr.  Everquest even in its more modern version is really good at setting up these goals that you want to go back and achieve later.  If you can’t take on this monster now… then you will likely go back later and get revenge on it when you can.  I’ve talked before about how fear is missing from games… and wandering these public dungeons brought it back.  That if you were able to keep up with the spawn rate, you could stay in there in a tentative state of safety… however if one thing went wrong…  you were running back in after a death.  That era in games seems to be all but extinct at this point.

Dated But Good

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At this point Everquest 2 is feeling its age, and with recent Daybreak mess… it is unlikely that this is going to change at any point in the near future.  The engine is old, and has not had the benefit of having frequent face lifts in the same fashion that World of Warcraft has.  As a result the model detail is a little off, and the world building itself can feel a little cludgy in the early zones.  There however is an amazing artistry as each time they release an expansion they push this old engine beyond its limits and find new ways to keep this game interesting.  This is absolutely a game that I would suggest everyone play at least once, but in doing so you have to go into it knowing that you are essentially playing an artifact of a bygone era.  They simply do not make games like this one any more, and to some extent I am regretful of this fact.  The amount of detail that can be found between its cracks is enough to drive you completely mad if you try and assimilate it all.  If you do start an new character I highly suggest you either roll in the Neriak/Darklight Woods starting zone or Kelethin/Greater Faydark… because as the game went on they got significantly better at doing the starter experience.  If you do end up trying the game, I would love to hear your own impressions.


Joys of Exploration

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Hole in the Bedroom

Yesterday was a strange day, largely because it felt like I was having to be part of something that I had no control over.  Wednesday was of course Veterans Day, and as is usually the case I get it off work.  Which I immediately thought would be amazing… since I had Fallout 4 to keep me company.  The problem being that they did not in fact install the door in the bedroom Saturday like we thought they would.  As a result they needed a new target date, and since I was going to be home anyways… we ended up with Wednesday.  So I spent most of the day trying to play Fallout 4, without allowing myself to get too engaged in the game play as to miss the extremely subtle knocks that they needed my help with something.  The problem is… when there is constant hammering… it is impossible to get a knock from just more hammering.  We gave them my text for this reason… or at least for the reason of contacting me directly, but alas that didn’t actually do much.

The scariest moment of the day was when I went down to check on progress and there was a huge gaping hole in the side of our house.  It looked like they had to take a lot more than they originally planned and I am sitting there trying to sort out how it is all going to go back together.  However by evening they had a door installed and we had moved all of our stuff back in place around it.  The awesome thing is it works beautifully and we had this cabinet next to the door that we were concerned might impede it.  However it seems to swing open just fine with the cabinet in place, which means…  we are going to now have to do something major to our back yard to also make it more inhabitable.  I have a feeling that my wife at least is going to want to build some sort of a proper patio just outside the bedroom for sipping coffee in her rocking chair or similar activities.  We are hoping there will be enough of a gap between them finishing their project and the waste company picking up the dumpster that we can maybe throw a bunch of crap away from the back yard.  At the very least I can almost see the end in this project in sight… and maybe just maybe there will be a point on the near horizon where I can park in my own damned driveway.


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According to Steam I am now 18 hours into the game… and at this point I have done next to nothing.  My quest driven friends are talking about this thing they did or that thing they did…  but me…  I am building a town.  I’ve always played Fallout with a base builder mentality even though it was never really terribly supported.  Being the horrific pack rat that I am, I largely played in a pretty predictable manner.  I would roam around the wastes until something caught my eye, and then go explore it.  During the course of exploring it… I would end up filling up my own inventory and that of my companion…  in this case Dogmeat.  Then I would fast travel back to base… dump the items I found into a series of containers that I used for sorting such things, rest up if I was low on hit points… and then venture out again.  For the Walking Dead fans…  I play the game much like Morgan was living his life…  making sure to clear everything before moving on.  There is a sense of accomplishment at knowing that you took down every raider in a camp, or got every drop of good out of a complex you just explored.

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What makes this all so much better this time around is that for the very first time…  it feels like I am making the wasteland a better place.  In the past becoming the “Savior of the Wasteland” largely involved killing everyone that did not believe like you did.  Which I am sure helped the fledgling towns, but it didn’t feel like I was doing more than being a gun for hire.  This time around I can build up settlements, and recruit new settlers giving them a nice place to live and the safety of decent protections.  I feel like town by town I am actually fixing the problems that were there, and setting up a better way of life as I blaze through the map.  “Blaze” might be the wrong word… because realistically at this point I have seen next to nothing.  I am largely just fiddling in the same corner of the map that I started in.  There are still a bunch of things that I have quite yet to figure out…  like how magazines and bobbleheads work this time.  So far I have found a single bobblehead, and a handful of magazines.  I am also not 100% sure how much I like the talent system which seems a bit more arcane than simply slotting points in skills.  Regardless… I am hooked beyond reason and look forward to little else than coming back home tonight after work and exploring some more.  This game so far… is exactly what I hoped it would be and more.


Fallout First Impressions

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Non-Spoiler First Thoughts

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War Never Changes…. and neither does Fallout, and that is a statement I mean in the best possible way.  When a sequel to a beloved franchise is released, you never quite know if you are going to get absolute greatness like Skyrim… or if you are going to be stuck with a Master of Orion 3.  For those who loved MOO3 I apologize… but that game was horrible and broke from far too many of the tenets of the original franchise.  Fallout 4 however… keeps all of the best features from Fallout 3 and New Vegas… and applies a next generation coat of paint and features to it.  If you have been an aficionado of Bethesda games for very long you will notice that several of the really nice features of Skyrim have been implemented into this engine.  Everything from the loading screen item previews…  to the ability to favorite weapons and swap between them quickly in combat… are direct lineage to Skyrim.  What you also get is some genuine evolution of the engine, in the form of just how content dense the world is and how much of it can be fiddled with.

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At this point according to Steam I am roughly four hours into the game, and I have to say… that was the fastest four hours of my life.  I mentioned yesterday that I did not stay up Tuesday night to play the game, but instead had to wait until after work yesterday.  Additionally we have contractors coming to the house to put a door in our bedroom today…  so we had to do a lightning round of cleaning before I finally got to sit down and play with my precious.  From the moment I set down… every time I was aware that time had passed…  it was an hour and not fifteen minutes like I had thought.  Most of that time was spent not actively doing any quests or following the story line really.  The first handful of events happen to play out in a pretty organic fashion, and I apparently followed the story line to a point… without really meaning to.  I remember watching the demo footage from E3, and I have for the most part made it through the sequence that they showed… which happens pretty early in the game.  It gives you a neatly framed vignette that allows you to understand some of the forces in the world that you are contending with.

Packrat Friendly

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For me at least the best part of this game is that they have taken things to essentially their logical conclusions.  If you are living in a world with limited resources, then essentially everything you come across could be useful.  In the past I was a horrible packrat and constantly on the brink over being overburdened.  Why was I carrying fifty coffee mugs…. who knew… but I might need them someday.  Those tendencies are absolutely paid off in full in this game because quite literally every piece of crap you find in the world is useful either to modify your weapons and armor… or to construct things for the new base building side game.  Pretty early on, you end up in the neighborhood you once lived in.  This then becomes your base of operations allowing you to scrap materials there, and build new structures.  As you venture out into the world you find survivors that you can invite back to your little sanctuary, and in a fashion very reminiscent to State of Decay you have to watch after their well being and their defenses.  I am assuming as your settlement gets bigger you will become the target of raiders and the like trying to take your hard earned resources.

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The other big noticeable change in this game is that everything seems more dangerous.  Radiation is a real problem this time, because instead of causing you to lose health over time… it reduces your maximum health pool.  All of the old baddies are also more deadly…  Bloat Flies move more erratically, Mole Rats can burrow under ground and pop up when you least expect them…. and move insanely fast…  and there are new dangerous like giant mutated mosquitoes.  All of this and more I have encountered within a short radius of where you actually start the game.  Everything I am talking about is within visual distance of the Vault 111 entrance.  Essentially this is a game that is going to eat every waking moment for a long while…  because right now I feel like I have not even begun to unwrap the wrapping of the game… let alone actually dip below the surface.  The big takeaway is that it is the Fallout game play that you either love or hate… with more advanced systems and more fluidity of character movement and actions.  Everything “feels better” and I know this largely because I played quite a bit of New Vegas Tuesday night as a sort of placebo for Fallout 4 while waiting on it to unlock.  The changes are extremely noticeable, even from the level the engine was at during Skyrim.  I’m now going to shut up about my impressions… and launch the game and lose myself in it again.




Waiting for Apocalypse

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Seasonal Hunter

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Last night was the tale of me doing a bunch of things to avoid thinking about the fact that I was not yet playing Fallout 4.  Throughout the day people were unlocking it through either legitimate means of happening to be in the right time zone… or through some chicanery.  If you have access to a VPN tool, you can in theory make your system look like it is from a time zone where a game has already unlocked.  This means however that you have to stay connected to said VPN the entirety of your time playing the game… either that or go completely offline.  Thusfar Steam seems to have turned a blind eye to this practice but my fear is that someday… they won’t.  I ultimately value my Steam account far too much to risk losing it just to play a game a few hours early.  So as a result I was like the rest of the nation waiting on midnight eastern time for the game to unlock here.  The problem is when you want to be playing one thing… and can’t…  nothing else really seems that much fun.

I instead decided to work on some things that I had been meaning to do.  Since the BlizzCon madness of the weekend I had been poking my head into Diablo 3 periodically, and before the season 4 crunch had played out for us… I managed to get a Demon Hunter within a stones throw of 70.  In fact I was sitting at 68… which ironically is exactly the point at which I got my non-seasonal Monk.  I oped to work on grinding out that last little bit so that I could at least say that I finished both the Warrior and Demon Hunter during the season.  While I had some fun with the Hunter, I doubt I will play one again because in truth… it really just is not my style.  My final play style centered around using whatever ability generated a ton of hatred… and then using that to fuel the fan of knives attack and rapid fire, and through a combination of those two I could pretty much burn down anything.  I dinged 70, crafted a ton of gear…. and now my hunter is probably going to sit in this state for eternity.  At some point I would really like to finish up the Monk just so I can check that one off the list.  That leaves only the Wizard that I have never gotten close to capping.

Pre-loading is a Lie

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The tale around Fallout 4 is a little bittersweet for me.  Months ago I was happy as hell to have managed to get one of the rare elusive Pip-boy edition pre-orders.  The problem being… it was silly expensive, but was going to be a one time only type thing.  I have long wished I had gotten the bobble head version of the Fallout 3 collectors edition with the metal lunchbox.  Fallout is one of those franchises that really gets me as a player… and since saving my pennies in college to buy the first one at Wal-mart…  it has been one of those games that will just consume all of my time for a period of months.  The problem being… in the meantime we have had a whole slew of unexpected expenses, not the least of which is the home renovation that we are going through.  As such I ended up doing the adult thing… cancelling my Pip-boy pre-order and going with the significantly cheaper Steam version of the game.  The positive is however that I was able to pre-load the game… and in theory play it last night.

I say “in theory” because while I struggled to stay awake until 11 pm central…  when I finally was able to hit play a whole other process started of “unpacking” the game.  At times this said it was only 13 minutes away…  at other times 4 hours…  because in truth the system had no clue how long this would actually take.  After about ten minutes the progress bar was less than an eighth of the way through so I finally gave up and went on to bed.  This morning however I got in and played through the first little bit of the game allowing me to create a character and at least get my family into the vault.  This game is so damned pretty… but more than that the motion and movement just feels better.  One of the many things I did last night to pass the time was to start a new game of Fallout New Vegas… and I had forgotten how much NOT a shooter that game was.  I still love it immensely but the movement and motion felt pretty damned stilted.  This however controls beautifully, and I was shocked to see my fairly old machine being able to run it on what it suggested as Ultra High.  We will see just how well that actually works once we leave the vault and venture out into the world.  But alas that will have to wait until after work tonight.



Fighting Nostalgia

The Afterglow

During the midst of the BlizzCon festivities I tweeted the above statement… and at the time I thought this would be a brilliant idea.  BlizzCon brings up feelings in me at least that I didn’t even realize were still there about a game I have not been actively playing for six months.  So yeah… it seemed like if they would just automagically make it so everyone can log in and play during BlizzCon and the two weeks after… they would probably re-hook a lot of players on the game or at least get them to stick around for a few months.  The problem being…  two weeks is probably long enough to make someone come to their senses.  I phrase it like that because I am going through a bout of momentary insanity myself.  Every instinct in my body tells me that I really want to play some World of Warcraft, which is odd because nothing really seemed that amazing while the presentations were going on.  There is just something about the BlizzCon buzz that is real and tangible and makes you want to sift through your past characters and revisit old haunts that you had long forgotten.

I am having these desires to log in and run Icecrown Citadel or Naxxramas… or even Ulduar.  Basically this is 100% nostalgia attacking me and making me want to go experience what I considered to be the best era of the game.  I am fighting the urge with every fiber of my being because I know as soon as Tuesday happens… I will be devoting my life to Fallout… and thinking “Warcraft who?”.  I know I could log in and play sub level 20 characters, and I have considered that… but have not been certain if that would make the desire better or just worse.  The problem is… I don’t REALLY want to play World of Warcraft… I want to play the game circa 2009 when we were still in love with the Wrath of the Lich King patch cycle.  Some of the Legion content seems like it could be really cool, and I do hope with every fiber of my being I somehow find my way into Beta, but I know all that waits for me on the live game is the same stuff that lead me to finally cancel my account again.  Yes I am rationalizing the hell out of this because I am just trying to hold out until I am safely in a Vault Wednesday.

 Closer to Sleeper


The above image was me yesterday morning while I wrapped up the AggroChat podcast and made my own blog post, waiting and hoping and praying to see a Warsat drop.  Part of the time I spent trying to make Destiny Event Tracker work… which it does… but it feels like there is a paragraph of explanation text that needs to go with it that simply does not exist.  It seems like this is a timer that shows when an event MAY spawn, and some of the spawn zones are not exactly active.  For example I really do think that the Warsat simply no longer drops in Skywatch because of all of the other events that are happening there now.  I waited that timer out for a significant amount of time and never saw one.  However once I switched over to checking the Mothyard on earth, aka the location in the above image… I quickly got a Warsat and was able to move on.  Similarly quickly I was able to get both the Mars and Moon Warsat drops which were pretty much accurate according to the timers listed above.  That only left the archives mission on Venus, which I know I MUST have done at some point….  but damned if I can remember doing it at any point in the past.  Maybe there is a special version if you are on the sleeper stimulant quest chain, but I do not remember something quite like that.

I have now finished powering up the Ikelos core, and have turned it in to the Gunsmith.  In theory tomorrow with the reset he should offer me a new quest to go do a 280 light version of the Saber-2 strike.  If I can cobble together a group for that, I should be able to loot the sleeper stimulant frame, which at least based on what I am reading will turn in at the Gunsmith for my finished 290 Sleeper Stimulant heavy pulse rifle.  This will be the first of the exotic weapon quests that I have really completed… not counting the one you get from the gunsmith at rank 4.  It definitely feels less arbitrary than the exotic bounties used to in year one.  In all of the bounties I completed I only ever got the bounty for the last word.  This at least gives me a ladder that I can climb, with more importantly a starting rung of that ladder that is clear….  well clear based on using external sources.  I am not sure how the hell people figured these things out the first time… it seems like pure madness since the game doesn’t really give you much information to go on.  I guess Bungie is accounting for the fact that the internet and YouTube is pretty much ubiquitous and someone somewhere would upload a video on how to do pretty much everything you can think of.  I still at some point need to get the Cult Ghost from Paradox so I can eventually get No Time to Explain.  Since my hunter is my Future War Cult devotee, I am thinking maybe I should try for it on them because at this point they should have all of the faction needed to complete the quest.

Week In Gaming 11/8/2015

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Reapers Attack

Yesterday was N7 day and what I can only imagine as reapers… continued to dismantle my house.  What I mean by that is that this week contractors have been working on siding our house and other little home improvement things.  Friday during the day and all day Saturday I have had to listen to them tearing parts of the exterior of my house off, and sawing bits to put back in their place.  I have a headache that is completely insane and I think its simply from all the noise over the last few days.  Another thing that happened yesterday was the ExtraLife Marathon, and at one point we had these grand plans to try and do it as AggroChat.  I am extremely glad those plans fell through because with the contractors traipsing in and out of my house there would have simply been no way I could have done that yesterday.  I did however get to hang out a bit with Liore on her stream, and my hope was that anyone who would have supported me would end up supporting her.  Last I heard she raised something like $2200 which is pretty damned awesome!

Seeking Stimulant

This week once again has been largely devoted to me playing Destiny.  As I had hoped it does in fact seem like the Sleeper Stimulant quest is going to be reappearing about once a month.  I managed to complete the First Firewall and the follow up Shadow Call missions that are the ones that were time sensitive.  Shadow Call in itself was pretty damned insane because it is a mission where you have to reach the top of a tower in three minutes.  This tower is full of tons of Taken Fallen mobs, and essentially you don’t have time to fight ANY of it.  You need to run past as best you can, and the only thing I ultimately took out were the blight orbs that robbed me of my ability to jump.  When you get to the top you have to take down three Wizards all within the original time limit.  It took me about eight tries to get to the top of the tower… but when I finally did I was able to take down the mobs without much issue.  Now I am just left with the task of gathering up all of the elements required to recharge the Ikelos fusion core.  The problem I am having is of course the Warsats… I spent most of last night waiting on Earth in the supposed area where the Warsat spawns.  I waited through three different blights and did not see any Warsats at all during that process, so I am wondering if for some reason they have moved where the Warsat drops.  I am getting conflicting reports of it happening in the Mothyards and Skywatch… which while next to each other are only connected by a series of tunnels that makes them hard to move between.

The other big thing I worked on this week was my Warlock, and I have managed to get him up to level 30.  Doing the level 20 strikes I thought initially would be a great way to level, but for some reason I seem to only get the Omniguul one which is freaking annoying.  I have a few more of those Red Bull experience stimulant things… and I plan on chain running some strikes with them up in the hopes of maximizing the experience gain.  I still need to finish up the Black Garden quest, because ultimately when I am on I spend more time faffing about in patrol missions than I actually do in directed combat.   I have a slew of quests that the various folks on the tower have given me as well that I should probably finish up.  I am not sure what I have this drive to get the Warlock to 40 and geared, but in theory I guess I just want one of each.  In an MMO it always bugs me when I get exclusive gear for a specific class but cant use it… and that has always been my strongest drive to level said class… because I knew I had it waiting on me when I got to level.  I have most of a level 40 gear set waiting in my bank, and I am amped to be able to get the Warlock up to use it.

Halo: Combat Evolved

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Another side project this week has been to go through and play the original Halo: Combat Evolved, or at least start it.  The original Xbox and honestly the GameCube as well are like the biggest voids in my gaming history.  They happened at a time when I was largely in an Everquest and Dark Age of Camelot shaped hole.  As a result I never got to play Halo other than the pretty lousy PC port, and I never really caught back up when I finally got an Xbox 360.  In my travels I have picked up copies of the Anniversary edition of Halo for 360, as well as 2, 3, and 4 and plan on playing through them at some point.  What ended up peaking my interests is the fact that apparently on of the elder races in Halo were the Ecumene, which during the Book of Sorrows in Destiny you find out was a race destroyed by the Hive.  So in theory at least it seems like the Destiny universe is the “future” of the Halo universe, or at least Halo is a universe that exists before the coming of the Traveler and the dawning of the golden age.  I am not exactly sure why I am so fascinated with the lore of Destiny, but I guess in a way it reminds me a lot of the universe of Dune.  Super complex… but you also have to dig hard to find that connective tissue that brings everything together.

I have to say that so far Combat Evolved holds up pretty solidly.  My only real complaint is that I cannot actually remap my controls.  You can choose from one of many presets, but you can’t actually swap around the buttons.  If I had my druthers I would map things to match Destiny more closely… but I did manage to find a set that is “close enough” for me not to instinctively do anything stupid.  I am mostly wanting to know the story of the Halo universe, so that I can maybe glean more information about the Destiny universe.  Also I seem to be on an FPS kick so playing another one just seems to be in the cards.  I am honestly considering playing Fallout 4 on the PC with an Xbox 360 controller just to continue this pattern.  I do at some point need to get back into the swing of playing FPS on PC with the mouse and keyboard because I absolutely intend to play Overwatch that way.

Heroes of the Storm

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As I mentioned briefly above… I ended up playing a bunch of matches with Liore and Elly yesterday during their Extra Life stream.  It had been a really really long time since I had played any Heroes, more than likely not much since the game officially launched awhile back and reset.  They have really added a bunch of nifty stuff, and I noticed that one of my previously “cool” but largely just a recolor skins.. has turned into this elaborate Diablo Tyrael thing which I absolutely approve of.  Unfortunately while playing I just saw a bunch of skins that I really want to get… like Marshall Raynor… and Judgement Uther.  Later last night I poked my head in again, this time alone and noticed that I had more than enough gold to purchase Uther, which is one of those characters that I have enjoyed on free weeks, but never actually picked up.  I have also heard that Rehgar is equally enjoyable in the melee support role, but not really played him either.  I ended up winning a game as Uther which completed a quest.  I guess at some point they backed away from the concept that you could not complete quests in bots only games, which makes me happy because I can actually pop in and get stuff done on days that I don’t feel like dealing with other players.  This is still a really fun game, and probably the only MOBA that I would actually play by myself and solo queue.  Funny how making chat option improves my experience, the only negative is that you always seem to have one player that is off by themselves and not really paying attention to what the team is doing.


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I also popped my head into Rift for a bit while we podcast last night, and continued to work on my primalist.  At this point I am level 14 and I feel like I am starting to wind down the content in Silverwood.  I guess I am just a die hard Defiant… because I just don’t have near as much fun when I am playing Guardian side.  I liked the idea of a Dwarven Primalist, but man do I wish I had the option of choosing to play the Defiant content instead.  I mean I know you can race change, but it simply was not worth it for me to roll a Defiant and then race change to Dwarf.  I just kinda wish that races were independent of the path you choose to take faction wise… since the faction as fiction patch made all of that really a personal preference not a hard line.  I mean Freemarch has all sorts of awesome Undead that you get to fight… and what does Silverwood have?  Goblins…  Fae… and more Elves…  just not nearly as cool on the “fun to slaughter” meter.  Complaints aside I am continuing to progress but not really playing that often.  This is one of those games that I keep returning to when I want some low key activity, and I don’t feel like I have time to get into something more serious.  I guess I play Rift much the same way as a lot of people play Guild Wars 2.  Get in, do a few things… and get right back out.


Media Consumption – Blizzcon 2015 Edition


Interesting Day

MediaConsumptionLast week I had this grand plan of hanging out at home and watching BlizzCon 2015, so I took the day off work.  Then as we got closer to the day, it suddenly filled up with other things I needed to do.  Our house looked like madness yesterday with three vehicles of the contractors working on the siding and minor renovations, and another truck for the heating and air company.  All of this while my wife and I were being forced to park in the next door neighbors driveway.  Thankfully they were not here the last few days, otherwise I have no clue what we would be doing for parking.  I am sure the neighbors are wondering what manner of insanity we are up to… as at one point yesterday we had a guy stop and gawk for a few minutes without asking anything.  I guess that is the benefit of not actually knowing half of your neighbors is that you don’t have to make the same small talk over and over when something like this happens.  This morning in honor of BlizzCon however I am going to talk about the things that interested me.

Diablo 3


I am leading off what was I originally thought going to be the big disappointment of the day.  Blizzard did what they always do and rolled out everything that was new and shiny in their opening ceremony.  The problem being… they said absolutely nothing about Diablo 3 which has turned out to be probably the game in their lineup that I care the most about.  I had hoped they would announce another expansion this year, but alas that didn’t happen.  However I am completely fine with this because the Diablo 3 panel later in the evening pretty much showed me that the team is quietly doing awesome stuff, in spite of apparently being ignored by Blizzard as a whole.  The presentation was essentially a rapid fire series of announcements of new features.  The one nearest and dearest to my heart surrounds the season play functionality.  They have essentially sorted out that they are going to make seasons three months long, meaning at the end of that three months there will be new content leading into the next season.  They said this gives players enough time to really deeply experience it… and also fits players like myself that swoop in… play enough to get the easy rewards and stop playing for a bit.

The biggest announcement as far as I am concerned is the “Rebirth” feature, which will allow you to essentially reboot a previous character and turn it into a new seasonal character.  All of the gear that was on the character gets mailed to the account, and that character gets dialed back to level 1… but keeps achievements, hours played etc.  It sounded like maybe there would be a special set of achievements for reboots, but essentially it solves the problem I always have of feeling like I have to create something brand new to be able to play along in the season again.  They are also adding additional stash space… and the ability to earn slots by completing the seasonal journey on a character, up to 10 slots total.  This all honestly would have been enough for me, but they are revising the buff system, changing the way damage is shown…  adding a whole item set dungeon functionality where specific dungeons will require you have an item set equipped and then have challenges based on the strength of that set.  On top of all of this… new zone and some expanded areas which makes 2.4 pretty damned awesome and it apparently goes up on the PTR next week.

Heroes of the Storm


The highlight of the Heroes discussion is the fact that we are getting Genn Greymane as a playable champion.  This is absolutely hands down my favorite Alliance leader… that isn’t given the respect of having his own damned town to govern.  I am still a little sore that Gilneas never became someplace we could actually use as a capitol city.  I would seriously bank in that town all of the damned time if they allowed me to.  All the same however it is awesome to have him as a champion and it looks like the gameplay is going to be based around changing in and out of Worgen form.  The other interesting tidbit is that it seems like they are introducing ARAM for Heroes of the Storm.  The details were pretty scant and I have not watched any of the panels for Heroes yet… but from the sounds of it, the mode seemed to put a random group of champions against another random group of champions just like “All Random All Middle” mode in League of Legends.

I am honestly all about that because ARAM is probably my favorite mode to play in League.  Mostly because it takes all of the pressure off in that if you are getting randomly assigned a champion… no one can complain too much about you not being able to play it terribly well.  I’ve found it a great way to get my feet wet and get used to how a champion performs under actual combat situations.  The other interesting thing from the show was the introduction of Cho’Gall the two headed ogre.  This is a champion that is literally played by two different players.  I am assuming that one controls the movement and the other controls the combat at least to some extent.  Everyone with a BlizzCon virtual ticket will be getting it added to their account… and then they can play matches with other players to pass the character on.  After two matches a player will earn their own copy of Cho’gall and after I think they said four matches the original player gets a sack of gold for spreading the madness.  It sounds cool and it is awesome to see this game thriving.



The highlight of this announcement was awesome new Brann Bronzebeard artwork.  Hearthstone is one of those games that I like, but rarely actually boot up to play.  I am not sure what it is about the game, but essentially I keep playing the same deck over and over without changing it up much.  It is like this game requires too much of me to actually get in and sort out the decks I might want to build.  I am happy that it seems to be doing well, and I am happy that it has a meta that is very much alive.  That said I felt generally meh when listening to them talk about the gameplay.  I feel like maybe if it ran for shit on my iPad I would play it more, but I struggle with this game in the same way that I struggle with so many mobile games.  It requires too much of me to pop into it while waiting on something…  but it just isn’t sticky enough to make me choose to play it over literally any other game I have installed on my computer or consoles.  There just is rarely ever a situation where I am going to pick this over an MMO or a single player game experience.  I have so many other games to play… and honestly most of the time too damned many.  The hearthstone fans seemed to be really happy, so I am never going to rain on their parade with my own “meh”.



I won’t lie the highlight of the Overwatch presentation for me was seeing just how awesome the Mercy Wings are in Diablo 3.  Other than that I loved the Mei reveal, because she was freaking adorable… and also looked like a really fun zone control champion to play.  Similarly I thought D.Va was a pretty cool concept, but I doubt I could ever see myself playing her.  The boot up sequence of her HUD was awesome, in that it showed a cute bunny icon while it was loading.  I really don’t care for the design of her Mech, which is my main problem with her as a champion.  There is just something wrong looking about it… I get they were going for a jet with legs after the reboot that allows her to fly…  but a Guardian Mode Veritech is a better version of what they were trying to accomplish.  Though I think the design they came up with was largely a compromise to save space on the screen.


I have to admit I was largely tempted when they announced this would be coming to PS4.  The problem there is that the Xbox and PS4 Blizard games are disconnected from  That is my biggest problem with playing Diablo 3 on the PS4 is that I am stuck with only having access to my PSN friends… which are in no way as long of a list of Blizzard fans as the account.  So even though I am going through a bit of a renaissance of console gaming… I am ultimately going to go with the mouse and keyboard of the PC and essentially have to reacquaint myself with that sort of game play.  I agree with Kodra in his belief that playing with a controller on a PC is a trap when it comes to a competitive FPS.  There are times I have even considered picking up a XIM4 for my PS4 so I have the option of playing with a keyboard and mouse there as well.  The PS4 natively supports USB and Bluetooth keyboards and mice… but very few games actually support that.  Mostly right now I just want to get into the Overwatch beta… and I am hoping that will be a thing that happens soon.

Warcraft Movie

I have to admit on this one that before this trailer I had not really given much of a shit about the Warcraft movie.  But man…  those feels while I watched this.  I have just been burned in the past when a franchise that I love was turned into a movie… at least from the gaming side of things.  Does anyone remember how horrible the Dungeons and Dragons movie was?  or Doom?  This however…. looks like it is going to be a really good movie and revitalize the Warcraft franchise for a whole new generation.  Maybe it is just the hype I am feeling about Star Wars spilling over into Warcraft… but I am feeling like now is the time to set aside old grudges and just embrace any fandom wholeheartedly.  Both Durotar and Lothar were awesome in the trailer, and I think they were probably right to make this a Warcraft movie… and not a World of Warcraft movie.  My hope is that along with this we maybe see a rebooted version of the original Warcraft RTS franchise.  In any case regardless I know what I will be doing next June… sitting in the theater and watching this movie.

Legion Expansion

Now we finally get to the low point of Blizzcon… which I guess tells you how far my tastes have changed.  I was completely amped about most of the above announcements other than maybe Hearthstone.  I wholeheartedly love Blizzard games… but I have just reached the point where World of Warcraft is my least favorite of them.  The cinematic trailer was nice… but I honestly had hoped that maybe we would have seen Varian die during it…  or at least I thought that was what we were going to see for a bit.  For years Varian was supposed to be “our thrall” but he has always been this paper thin super one dimensional character.  His son on the other hand… Anduin has gone through some actually interesting changes especially during Pandaria.  So my hope was that we would see Varian dying during this siege and passing the banner to his son who is more than likely far more capable a leader.  The trailer also gave me hope that maybe just maybe they would finally be retiring the tired old shtick of Alliance versus Horde and giving us the ability to play with friends from both factions.  Look… it is a dream that I am not going to let go of ever… I hate faction bullshit.


For the most part there is a lot of interesting things at work here… but I lack the faith that they are going to be carried out in a fashion I am going to like.  It is my honest hope that I get into the beta testing process so I can see if I like it or not.  I big nail in the coffin for Warlords was how badly they made the Deathknights feel…  so I guess there are a lot of things that sound good on paper but never quite work right when you put them into practice.  I am absolutely willing to give this game a shot, but I want to know that I will actually like it before I plunk down that pre-order.  The new zones do look absoultely amazing however.  They are pushing this aging engine for every ounce of oomph that it can muster, and I love that.  The way WoW looks right now, reminds me of the way late in a generation console games look… when they have really figured out how to make the most of the resources they have to work with.  This expansion is a bunch of really good ideas, that just don’t seem to be connected by enough tissue to hold them together.  My disappointment largely was that the game didn’t really give me that moment of “fuck yeah!” that I have had in previous expansions.  It did however give me a lot of moments of “that sounds cool”, especially when it comes to the non-linear leveling process for the new content.  Unfortunately that same level scaling won’t apply to the rest of the world… so we are again creating this walled garden of “good” content and everything older will feel like crap as a result.





MMOs Worth Playing – World of Warcraft

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Changing Course

mmosworthplayingWhen I started this segment of my blog the original intent was to highlight games that are not getting a lot of press and talk about all of the things I like about them.  That said since the column is called “MMOs Worth Playing” I knew eventually I would have to get around to talking about some of the bigger names.  So as a result I am going to have a momentary lapse of purpose here… and go with serendipity.  Today’s is coming on the morning that BlizzCon 2015 starts, and as a result it just felt natural to talk about World of Warcraft.  There was never a point where I would not ultimately end up covering the game, given that in many of the discussions I end up talking about it.  So here we go… my attempt to create an overly positive discussion about the benefits of World of Warcraft.

The Standard

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In every industry there is a leader that for the most part everyone gets compared to.  In the MMO world this leader is World of Warcraft.  Even though this has become the stuff of internet memes… it is by no means the first MMO, or in truth did it invent many of the things that folks attribute to it.  That said it did manage to take the model that was burgeoning at the time of its release…  knock off the rough spots and sand it to a mirror shine.  Blizzard is really good at making games that appeal to the masses, and World of Warcraft is no exception.  The problem is… the “appealing to the masses” has been a moving target causing the game to shift and dodge numerous times along the path.  Each time it has changed course it has created a set of fans nostalgic for their imagined version of “the way things used to be”.  So here we are today, with a legion of fan…  some joyous, some in denial, and some begrudgingly along for the ride.  Everyone has a World of Warcraft story, and if they don’t…  they should.  Every so often a questionnaire circulates through the community asking what game you would suggest a person with zero experience in MMOs should play… and the only actual answer you can give is in fact World of Warcraft.

This is the game that takes the complex concepts of an MMO and feeds it to players in bite sized chunks at just the right times to convert them from a MMO gaming neophyte to a seasoned veteran.  The problem is that we have seen is that Warcraft is really good at creating Warcraft players, because many of these gamers never really venture out into other games.  This is in many ways a failing of the other companies to embrace the same sort of low level educational campaign that Warcraft has.  Sure to us long time players we see the Cataclysm revamp of the newbie zones as a travesty, but in each case they just work better… when you view them through the eyes of someone who has zero ancestral knowledge into the way that these games work.  Each blatant breadcrumb, or cheese quest designed only to deliver you to the next quest hub…  is honestly not for us, but instead for the players that NEED those clear indicators of what they should be doing next.  We recently saw the subscription numbers for Warcraft and in part that number is due to the fact that a decade later they can still manage to induct brand new players into the tribe of WoW.

The Paradox

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I am naming this section the Paradox because it highlights something odd in the game.  When people leave Warcraft it is generally stated that they are leaving because they have “run out of things to do”.  The problem that a game like WoW creates is that in order to keep the front edge of players happy, they have to keep cranking out content…  something that Blizzard has proven to find difficult in the massive lags between end of expansion patches and the new expansion.  The paradox comes in that one of the big reasons why I would suggest this game is that there is so damned much content to experience.  Sure it might not be anything a veteran player wants to do… but for a brand new player this is a smorgasbord of brand new experiences and over a decade worth of sights and vistas to experience.  World of Warcraft is by no means a gorgeous game at this point, because it feels a decade old at times… but there are still moments that are breath taking, like the first time you roll into Booty Bay and see the giant Goblin statue, or the first time you look down from the top of Thunderbluff onto the valleys below.  These are important experiences that I feel like no one should rob themselves of.

So many of my good memories of this game however come from the interaction with the people.  Part of my nostalgic chagrin however is realizing that so many of those players are no longer playing the game.  Many of my best memories are tied to specific moments in the games history that will never come back.  That however is not to say that each and every night new memories are not being made.  People are still loving this game with all of their heart, and I have stated this before that I am more than a little jealous of them.  I miss the types of experiences I used to have in World of Warcraft, but since many of those were tied to my “first time” doing this or that… I realize those are experiences I will never be able to have again.  This is a game I was utterly devoted to for over half of that decade, and still have pangs of remorse when I think about those things I have lost.  This game is powerful, and the experiences you have through it are equally powerful.  Which is why I feel like everyone should step foot in the game and find their own version of those “first times”.

The Model

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As I said many of those moments were because of the other players, but one of the benefits about starting World of Warcraft at this point… is that essentially everything is available to you as a solo player.  That is not to say that I do not suggest that you find your way into a really good guild, because guilds make the entire experience better regardless of the game.  However there really should be nothing locked from you because you did not bring a legion of friends into it.  The game itself is subscription based, but you can get a free trial account to start and dip your toes into the water.  If you end up liking it, the base game is $19.99 and will carry you through level 90, with the latest expansion Warlords of Draenor costing $49.99 on top of that.  The later comes with a free boost to 90… which I highly suggest you don’t use at least not for your first character.  There is a bunch of really awesome content to experience, and part of my frustration in the past is that it feels like these boosts cheapen the older content.  Some of the best content in the game, is well below the level cap… so to skip over a Deadmines, Wailing Caverns, or Dire Maul would be a travesty.  Then to maintain your account it is an older monthly subscription model of $14.99.

Over the years I have said a lot of hurtful things on this blog about Blizzard and World of Warcraft, and in many case those were about specific problems I had…  that most players would never even care about.  If I were creating a Facebook profile about my relationship with Warcraft…  the only thing I could possibly pick is “complicated”.  Similar to my feelings about Star Wars, with all of the hype and disappointment… I also hold in my heart a lot of frustration and disappointment with all of the possibility that was squandered.  I’ve also come to realize that I wholeheartedly love Blizzard as a company, it is just one of there franchises that I have some issue with.  Diablo 3 and Heroes of the Storm are both amazing… and what I have played of Starcraft 2 was really fun… even though I am not really an RTS player.  I anxiously look forward to Overwatch and seeing how it does… and occasionally I break out a Hearthstone game even though that is not a regular occurrence.  With World of Warcraft… I know that eventually I will go back and resubscribe because I always do.  This game has a hold on my heart that even though I have tried to purge it so many times… it stays there clinging tightly.  No matter what my current feelings are for the game, that power cannot be denied.  So regardless of what the current hype cycle thinks…  this is a great game and has so many excellent experiences that you would be robbing yourself of it you did not experience them.  That is not to say that I don’t also think there are so many other amazing games out there…  but when creating a column called “MMOs Worth Playing”…  Warcraft had to be included among that number.

Stress and Con Hype

Out of Sorts

Lately if I seem “out of sorts” it is essentially because life is stressful.  There are just a bunch of things going on right now that make me want to run screaming into the night.  So instead I tend to resort to “bullet therapy” and spend my evenings blowing things up in Destiny.  The problem is… once I log out the problems are still there looming.  Work is extremely stressful right now, and we have several projects that my group is working on in various states of completion.  The stress there comes from the fact that I know we are quickly running out of time to get anything accomplished before the end of the year.  From Thanksgiving through New Years nothing really happens… because not all of the right people are ever in the office to make decisions.  So there is this looming dead zone, sprinkled with some actual change freezes around each of the holidays where we literally couldn’t do anything if we wanted to.  So we are in that mode of trying to get as much shit done as possible before we run out of time.

On the home front, things just ratcheted up to twelve on the ten point scale.  Back in I believe July we talked to a contractor about doing some work on our house, because really we are at that critical junction where the wooden siding is in such bad shape that it might potentially start doing structural damage.  Instead we are going with a manufactured wood product, and we chose the contractor because they threw in a few nice to haves on our list, like taking a window out of the bedroom and replacing it with a door that opens out into our back yard.  The problem is after inking the deal…  the backlog of work kept extending.  Originally the guesstimate is that they would get to doing out project in September, but due to weather and other things happening here… that got pushed to NOW.  I came home from work Tuesday night to find a dumpster in our drive way where I park my vehicle.  We expected to have maybe a week or so lead time before them just showing up.  NOPE!  They are apparently starting Friday… which I had originally planned on taking off anyways to chill at home, have a break from work, and watch some of the BlizzCon festivities unfold.

Now I will be juggling a contractor and picking out a door…  and will be expected to have traditional conversations like a give a fuck about any of it.  I mean I do care…  but I am not that kind of guy.  The problem with sporting a beard like I do.. is people for some reason start expecting me to know anything about home improvement, auto mechanics and sports.  I am guessing when I was created I came with a malfunctioning penis because I have zero ancestral knowledge about such things…  nor do I really care about them.  I can fix your computer, and I can build you something if I have the shop and materials to construct it, but that is about as “handy” as I get.  So essentially I am going to try and be avoiding as many conversations as I can with these contractors as they tear shit off of the house and make a horrible noise.  To make matters even more enjoyable, since I was off anyways… we are going to deal with the heating and air folks…  that LOVE to make constant small chat.  Seriously I am the type of person that the happiest moment of my day is when I walk into an empty elevator because I know for the next few minutes I won’t have to fake a conversation with someone.  Anyways…  my anxiety is through the roof right now…  so if I seem a little on edge or out of sorts…  or at least not my normally happy person this would be why.  My buffer is full and I am failing at adulting all over the place.

Convention Hype


The one saving grace right now… is my Twitter timeline is really amazing.  At the moment everyone seems to be buzzing and happy about BlizzCon and meeting all of these people that they have only ever chatted with online.  There is just something that is infectious about seeing all of these people who really love something…  getting to spend an entire weekend doing nothing but that.  This is how I felt about Pax South when I was there… it was just this bubble of happiness and acceptance where everyone seemed to think everything that anyone else was doing… was awesome.  In part this is why I really tried to make Pax Prime work this year because it is like riding a high when you are in convention mode.  I’ve watched my own wife go through this with the math conference that she helped to start, and there is a little pang of regret deep inside you when you see all these people having fun… and you can’t join in.  I have some deep nostalgia about World of Warcraft, but right now I am in a phase where I am far more interested about the other Blizzard games than that.  I am amped to see more about Overwatch, and secretly hoping for some sort of a Diablo reveal.

That said I am interested in seeing more about Legion and especially if they release a date.  I won’t lie that I am finally starting to feel some hype around a Warcraft movie, and in a strange way I completely blame Force Awakens for all of these.  Star Wars was a fandom that was nearly dead to me.  I will always be a Star Wars kid, but surrounding it was always a giant twinge of disappointment and regret for what might have been.  Now that I am nearly to the point of exploding with excitement about Force Awakens, it is changing the way I feel about other fandoms as well.  It is like I am giving myself to be disappointed in one aspect of a thing… but still love the thing as a whole in spite of the bad bits.  So while there are things that frustrate me with Warcraft, I can see the good in it as well that still exists.  I posted earlier this week that I was jealous of anyone who can play the same game every night and be happy with it, and that is the truth.  It doesn’t matter what that game is…  they seem to be momentary love affairs for me while looking for the next awesome thing on the horizon.  I’ve always been that way with fandoms in general… there is always something else that is awesome and shiny just over the next hill.  The amount of focus and devotion to one thing is always impressive, but it just isn’t me.  In the meantime I am going to enjoy this contact high from the folks who are super excited about BlizzCon because I need some happy to get through the stress.