Hellfire and Horde

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Adulting Sucks

This morning I am sitting here trying to eat my oatmeal and drink my coffee… and this Monday guy keeps pestering me and trying to make me adult.  Really freaking annoying.  This weekend was a tale of my wife and I avoiding adulting..  so much so that finally yesterday we had to get out and do things in the world.  Essentially yesterday was the day of doing all of the things we put off the rest of the break.  In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t too bad, but the world was cold and rainy… and when I first set foot outside yesterday morning my first instinct was to rush back inside and swear off breakfast.  Then my tummy kicked in and told me that it was hungry, and it was also sick of the options we had available in the house.  So I ventured out and got breakfast, and realized that I could in fact survive outside of my house shaped bubble with its blanket cocoon.  You can tell the hibernation instinct is strong… because we bought the fixings for a bunch of various crock pot meals…  so we don’t have to leave the house at all once we make it in from work.

Unexpected Activity

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A good chunk of my weekend was spent doing things to get gear for Belgrace my newly 100 Tauren Paladin.  When you boost a character they end up giving you a full set of green 640 gear, which is a significant increase over the sort of gear you end up with by natively leveling.  Also apart from having to get silver in the proving grounds… you are level appropriate for heroics and the first two LFR raids.  I however had pretty crappy luck in Blackrock Foundry with getting upgrades, but I did have a fair amount of luck picking up Baleful drops in the Tanaan Jungle campaign area.  So last night I was sitting at 656 with a decent purple weapon… that was sadly as good if not better than Belghast’s alliance side.  I had settled down into my blanket cocoon on the sofa prepping to watch my Sunday evening television binge of Once Upon a Time > Walking Dead > Into the Badlands > Talking Dead when I got a random invite from my friend Nubzy.

I knew that they raided on Sunday nights, but I had no clue they planned on dragging me into Hellfire Citadel.  I had told her that I was working on gearing and that I had managed to get to 656, but that did not necessarily mean I was expecting to raid.  They were resetting the instance apparently and were grabbing a ton of other people into what was their largest raid group to date of around sixteen people.  Brerhoof has always been awesome, and he set to making me some upgrades for my remaining 640 green slots.  So before I had even really set foot into the dungeon Brer handed me Gauntlets, Pants and Boots that were significant upgrades.  Then off the very first drop I managed to pick up Shell-Resistant Stompers and luckily I had not bound the boots yet so I equipped the drop and holding onto the BOEs for the time being.  Either I will get an upgrade for them, or pass them on to the next guildie that needs them.  The night as a whole saw me getting a bunch of really nice upgrades…  in addition to the boots I picked up a Helm of Precognition, an Warlord’s Unseeing Eye for offspec… and most importantly a 690 weapon upgrade Fel-Burning Blade.

Old School Feels

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While the gear upgrades were awesome… the real take away from the night was just how much fun I had.  The horde guild is named Facepull, and that should tell you something about the attitude and demeanor.  More than anything running with them… reminded me of the nights raiding with Duranub before Cataclysm.  It was an old school kind of fun, and even when we did something stupid… no one really got pissy about it.  We just kept pushing forward and making progress.  For having a bit of a strange balance we did really well making it up to Gorefiend before hitting a bit of a wall.  At that point we had a few members of the raid have to leave… one of which was a healer leaving us with a fairly unbalanced party.  The big surprise of the evening is I guess I did not realize that Nubzy was now one of the tanks.  I guess I knew her most as a Shadow Priest, so I guess in the back of my head I just assumed she was booming it up on her Druid.  Right now the plan is to gear out my offspec for tanking, but if we continue to need healing… I might change those plans at some point.

Paladin is the only class I have really successfully healed on… but that was back during  Burning Crusade/Wrath of the Lich King.  I know Paladin healing is far less whack-a-mole than it was… and for some people that is probably a good thing.  For me that really has no healing instincts left anymore from my Everquest days…  that is definitely a bad thing.  The only sort of healer I am is really the “mash button faster for more heals” kind.  Granted I did level as a healer in SWTOR on my Scoundrel, but good at healing companions is one thing…  good at healing people is a completely different one.  In Final Fantasy XIV I kinda fail at my Scholar and I am not exactly the sort of healer you really want on my White Mage either.  In any case I had a lot of fun, and the Sunday evening thing is something I could potentially get used to.  They don’t start until almost 8pm EST, which by that time I am always downstairs watching television anyways.  I managed to dps just fine while watching my shows last night, so in theory this is a decent fit.  I have to say I could get used to this raiding as a cow thing…  and the group of people seemed pretty damned cool as well.

 

We’ve Got Cows

Another Realm

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I have briefly talked about this in the past, but I’ve lived in this strange place when it comes to World of Warcraft.  Sure I played lots of Alliance because that was where most of my characters that I cared about existed…  but I’ve always been one to bridge the gap.  It was thanks to my involvement in the Argent Dawn server forums, and the later unofficial server forums that I created and hosted that I got to know tons of people on that side of the fence.  For years I said I would level something on Horde to play with my “other” set of friends, but that never really panned out.  During Wrath I ended up pushing a Deathknight to 80, but unfortunately the account it is on… is not the account I play most of the time.  When it was announced that Scryers would be merging into Argent Dawn… I went somewhat crazy and created a full account worth of Horde characters because quite honestly… I had no clue how the merger would work.  I did not know if all of the sudden there would just be this one amalgam server… and we would have 22 characters on it.  The end result however is that both Argent Dawn and Scryers exist as distinct worlds…  but everything from guilds to the zones themselves spans across the two realms allowing me to officially guild up with my old school Horde friends.

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This has allowed me to do some utter madness… and ultimately have both a Horde and Alliance version of every single character.  The big problem came with the fact that I had one of each on the Alliance that I did not want to lose access to.  So now after some juggling Argent Dawn has become the server I play Alliance on and Scryers the server I play exclusively Horde.  The only challenge is the fact that I had nothing leveled on Scryers, whereas on Argent Dawn as you can see above all but two of my characters are over level 90, and even then the lowest is 53 which is still a significant amount of levels.  Prior to this week on Scryers I had managed to get an Orc Deathknight to 60, and a Tauren Paladin and Blood Elf Warrior to around 20.  With the announcement of Legion came the pre-order process, which I went ahead and did giving me a boost to level 100.  I was extremely torn on this one… do I take the boost and potentially get to do some stuff with my friends now… or do I level it the old fashioned way.  Having not seen much of the Horde content, I actually do want to level there eventually.

Moo-Cow-Adin

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Essentially I arrived at a thought process that is level the Blood Elf Warrior and Orc Deathknight legitimately…  but boost the Tauren Paladin giving me access to do “big kid things” right away.  I largely went with the Paladin because I really do enjoy both Protection and Retribution, but more importantly it gives me a character that I can in theory fill three different roles on.  While I don’t really like healing as a Paladin, I have done it in the past and in a pinch I could do it again.  I am however completely comfortable doing LFR and the likes as a Retribution Paladin allowing me to hopefully gear up both my Retribution set and eventually get a Protection set.  The problem is… I knew if I was ever going to play the character for real I had to look cool doing it.  This means I had to find something that I could enjoy to transmog into for the time being.  My go to set for Paladins is the Tier 6 Lightbringer set, because it is relatively easy to farm.  So last night I set off to go do Black Temple, Mount Hyjal, and finally Sunwell.

I am convinced that the game goes out of its way to screw with players trying to farm a full set of gear in a single attempt.  It seems like there is always a single piece of gear that refuses to drop… and generally speaking it has been the helm token for me off Archimonde.  This is extra insulting because as far as a raid goes… I HATE running Mount Hyjal.  This is namely because you are a slave to the timers… and it seems to take significantly longer than most any other raid due to this aspect.  Namely it is the Horde section of that raid that drives me insane… because I tend to play Melee focused characters, which makes knocking Gargoyles and Frost Wyrms out of the air a major pain in the ass.  All told I was pretty happy with the results, and the only piece I did not manage to get were the legs from the Illidari Council fight… because for some reason it glitched and only gave me two pieces of loot including a single leg token.  I have zero problem farming Black Temple to get the legs, and in the meantime I got a drop from Sunwell that will fill in well enough for the time being.  At some point I need to get a better weapon, but for the moment I am rocking the big damned glowy orange axe from Black Temple, which makes me happy enough.

Onwards to Tanaan

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My guild suggested that I spend some time digging into Tanaan Jungle to get some upgrades from the 640 set they start you out in after being boosted.  I also really want to start the Legendary Ring quest, which I just picked up last night.  From there I plan on throwing myself at the LFR and seeing if I can get some decent upgrades, and hoping to complete the ring quest along the way.  It is really my hope that they upped the drop chances of those items out of Highmaul that are needed for the ring, because otherwise… this is going to be a thoroughly frustrating experience.  I remember how long it took to get those on Belghast when we were actively raiding every week.  In any case I seem to have sorted out how to actually play a Paladin again, and gearing my Moocow is pretty much my side gig from this point onwards.  It is my hope to be able to get geared enough to actually join in some of the reindeer games happening on this side of the server.  The only footnote there is that I really need not to raid actively, and I am hoping that won’t be a problem.

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For a period of time I was really damned happy playing both Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft.  I enjoyed the mix of the two games because they both scratched a distinct itch.  World of Warcraft is this really enjoyable experience when played casually.  I enjoy doing older content for transmog bits, or casually leveling alts…  but when I was raiding both Warcraft and FFXIV…  the differences just started frustrating me.  Ultimately I prefer the FFXIV raid game better, because it feels like the boss encounters are simply messaged better.  Granted if they just added telegraphs with clearly identified edges of effects like they have in both Wildstar and FFXIV it would go a long way to my enjoyment.  Ultimately I think I simply got burnt out by trying to raid two different games at the same time… and ultimately ended up choosing the one that was causing me less frustration.  So now… I am hoping to go back to playing both games casually… and in theory maybe starting to raid once again in FFXIV.  We have started doing this Saturday thing again, where we do older content and it was a lot of fun this week.  My hope this will ease me into doing more content in that game as well, and in the mean time I am planning on diving into LFR on the Paladin in WoW.  Granted I won’t be doing any of it tonight… because this is the first of our Thanksgivings, and I also need to stage a proper Thanksgiving post for tomorrow.

 

Night of Primals

Juggling Games

Wow-64 2015-05-05 19-30-34-21 One of the challenges for me during the Newbie Blogger Initiative is determining which days I should make NBI related posts and which days I should do my traditional thing.  It is a bit of a juggling act because I want to keep pumping out articles in support of the initiative but I also don’t want my blog to stop being… well “my blog”.  As always I am juggling a silly amount of games.  Right now as it stands I raid Tuesday and Thursday in World of Warcraft, Monday and Saturday in Final Fantasy XIV and for the time being I am also filling in on Wednesday nights with another free company static group.  I would not mind staying with them indefinitely but I would love to get to a point where I am more optional than the current tank role that I am playing.  Finally on Friday nights I have been trying to join in the festivities with the Black Dagger Society as I play some Wildstar.  Other than this I am also trying to juggle playing Marvel Heroes and some Rift… and needless to say I feel like there is always something I want to be playing.

Last night was a WoW night and we once again stepped into Blackrock Foundry.  I did not place the sign above but I was wondering if it was going to foretell my evening.  At the beginning it did seem like maybe it was prophecy, because we had a rough start.  We wiped several times on heroic and tempers were flaring a bit.  Our raid leader made the right call and took us back outside flipping the difficulty to normal.  From there the night got significantly better.  I was once again being frustrated by Flamebender Kagraz not dropping pants or a sword for me, but that has now been par for the course so I really wasn’t that upset.  Last week we made serious progress on Furnace encounter so I was extremely happy when our raid lead said we were heading that direction.  Apparently we had not forgotten the progress we made because in a single attempt we downed our first new boss since March 19th.  While heroic difficulty is where we will find upgrades, there is a huge part of me that wants to be able to say we cleared at least normal difficulty before the 6.2 patch.  We are now two bosses away from being able to say that.

Night of Primals

ffxiv 2015-05-04 21-02-18-84 One of the things our Monday night group has decided to do is to spend no more than two nights in a row on any one encounter.  It has felt like we have ground our faces against turn nine for awhile now, so it is refreshing to get to see something else.  Monday night was our first “off night” in this rotation and we opted to get the folks that missed Leviathan Extreme their kill.  This fight went smoothly and by the numbers and other than some of the folks who were new to the fight struggling to stay on deck, we were able to make some serious progress.  I want to say it was on attempt four that we managed to push through and defeat Levi Ex unlocking Ramuh for a large number of the folks, and getting a nifty summoner book.  From there we moved on  to Odin as our group had not actually downed it before.  We made one night of attempts but then got enthralled by the push for Turn 9 never to return.  We shifted things around a bit this time and had me tanking it and Ashgar dpsing, hoping that my insane health pool would help soak the horrible Sangital attack.

ffxiv 2015-05-04 21-03-32-20 The assumption seemed to be correct as it would take me down to around half health instead of almost killing me.  The thing is… we have gained a lot of gear since when we last tried this fight so I am pretty sure Ashgar as a Paladin would have been fine as well.  We managed to take out Odin and get a piece of the armor set.  I believe it was the gloves, but I really want to take this guy down more because I need to be a Lala-Odin.  From here we opted to take on Titan Extreme in part because it was standing in the way of us working in Ifrit Extreme and finishing the first set.  When we downed Titan before we were missing a significant number of the folks that we had on last night.  This fight has been the bane of our existence for awhile because it is precisely the kind of fight we are generally bad at.  If a fight requires us to adjust to conditions on the ground, then bam we are on top of that.  If it is a fight that requires us to do the exact same thing over and over with laser precision…  went tend to fail.  Fortunately we managed to catch up to speed quickly and on I believe our fourth attempt we downed Titan once more keying a whole new batch of players for Ifrit.  It was one of the most enjoyable nights of raiding I have had in any game, because each of the primal encounters were so drastically different.

The Old Blood

WolfOldBlood_x64 2015-05-05 22-23-01-08 This game I honestly forgot was releasing yesterday, that is until in the middle of the raid I had someone message me over the steam client asking me if I was having trouble with the game.  After the raid I opted to boot it up and give it a look see.  I have agreed to play this game in part to let Kodra know if I think he would be interested in it.  He and I both loved Wolfenstein: New Order… but completely different reasons.  I loved the game because it felt like a throw back to the 90s shooter era, and he loved it for the complex character interaction and development.  It was awesome that the game supported both things so completely, and by the looks of “The Old Blood” it seemed like the 90s shooter part.  Essentially this game is a loving reworking of the classic Escape from Castle Wolfenstein game that I spent so many hours playing during High School.  If it is nothing more than Machine Games redoing that game… I would be completely fine with this.

WolfOldBlood_x64 2015-05-05 22-13-18-63 While I have only played a few minutes of the game right now, I have to say I am amped about it.  The game is just as gorgeous as New Order, and seems to have the exact same kind of dialog between characters.  The problem being that I have a feeling there is a much smaller cast given that the entire game takes place inside of Castle Wolfenstein.  This next bit is going to include spoilers because the introduction is pretty short, but still extremely fun.  Essentially the start of the game centers around this plan between you and a British agent to sneak inside Castle Wolfenstein and steal the blueprints to Deathshead’s compound… aka that thing you are storming at the beginning of New Order.  The problem being that when you get into the offices of occultist Helga Von Schabbs, the plans are missing.  There is nothing in the safe in the wall, and you and Wesley quickly draw unwanted attention and a firefight ensues.  While trying to make your escape you are captured by Rudi Jager and thrown in the cell that you in theory begin the original Wolfenstein in.  From there you have to escape the castle… and quite honestly I did not make it much further.  The game is rather short, supposedly only two chapters, but for the price that seems more than reasonable.  I think I am going to love this game, but I still question if there is enough story in it to appease Kodra.

Enjoying Wildstar

AggroChat 55 – Calling All Bloggers

This week I start off the show, and even title it with a pretty massive plug for the Newbie Blogger Initiative. What is the NBI you ask? Well this is the time of the year when Veteran bloggers support new folks wanting to get started in this madness. This year we are making an extra special push to try and help new podcasters, youtubers, and streamers along with the bloggers. Additionally I myself am making a special push to try to rekindle the fire in some of our wayward bloggers who are no longer as regular as they used to be. The entire month of May is dedicated to helping folks get started and find their niche, and since most of the AggroChat crew have participated in the past, it is time to get the word out.

As far as the rest of the show we had myself, Tam, Ashgar, Kodra and Grace. As always we spent a good deal of time talking Final Fantasy XIV since we are all still heavily playing it. Right now Greysky Armada our Free Company is back holding the bronze medal again for being the third most active Free Company on our server Cactuar. This week also saw myself and Grace spending some more time playing some more Wildstar. The Black Dagger Society the guild I am connected to has been having a guild night on Fridays and as such I have started joining in the festivities. Additionally there was talk of Marvel Heroes, Diablo 3, Ashgar returning to his Gameboy Advance roots, Tam winning his first Infinity tournament since the move, and similarly Kodra beating VVVVVV for the first time in his new place. Since this month is devoted to Shadowrun for the Gameclub we are also starting to play some of this. It was a fun show in spite of being in that pre-E3 gaming doldrum.

Making Progress

Wow-64 2015-04-30 20-57-40-40 I’ve been down a bit on raiding lately in my posts so I wanted to take a moment to give a bit of an update of sorts.  The Tuesday before last was very seriously one of the worst nights of raiding I have had in a very long time.  It really made me question if I wanted to keep trying to raid in World of Warcraft, and I posted this long discussion about it.  It seems like I actually gave voice to some of the same feelings that many of our raid had been having, but for whatever reason had not actually talked about.  As a result a dialog has started among some of the members, and I have to say I think things are starting to improve.  Tuesday this week was still a pretty rough night, but it felt at least somewhat better.  Thursday however on the other hand felt really good.  We were a much trimmed down group due to some absences but I also felt like we were working better as a team.  We lowered the bar slightly and worked on normal content again, clearing everything we had ever cleared before in a single night and putting in some serious work on the forge encounter.

If we had another hour of attempts I feel like we probably could have downed the encounter.  Things were flowing so much better than they ever had before.  We were getting through to the second phase, and then approaching it with a sense of direction and purpose.  We were alternating between burning down the Elementalists and focusing down the waves of adds.  We managed to push through to the final phase, and if we were at our full numbers we might have been able to defeat it.  I think we learned a lot of good lessons that we can hopefully apply this Tuesday.  The thing is… I am feeling something that I have not felt in a very long time… the desire to get back in there and give it another shot.  I am actually looking forward to raiding in World of Warcraft this week, and that is a pretty awesome thing.  Maybe just maybe we can make the changes necessary in the raid to make it a better experience for all of us.  At this point I am glad I said something, and started the discussion.  I guess the truth is if you are not having a good time, chances are you aren’t the only one.

Enjoying Wildstar

WildStar64 2015-05-01 21-07-54-46 Similarly this week I have been enjoying quite a bit of Wildstar.  I am still taking it nice and slow, but at this point I am level 16 with just a short ways to go to 17.  I have officially finished the Algoroc zone and will be moving into the next area.  The Black Dagger Society has been awesome to me, and I am super thankful to Chestnut and Chaide for giving me a friendly home to hang my hat in.  It turns out that Friday nights are somewhat of a guild night for grouping, and they have been working on lower level content.  Currently I do not have any other commitments Friday nights, so I am going to try and make that my Wildstar day.  This week they ran me through the earliest Protostar dungeon, and it does a pretty great job of teaching you what you need to do to succeed in a Wildstar instance.  Honestly I wish that this would have been the first dungeon when we were playing at launch, because I feel like it would have cleared up a lot of the frustrations had by many players.

The group we went into Wildstar with was made up of some pretty disparate points of view and skill levels.  For some the extremely frenetic pace of the dungeons was a point of frustration especially as we were trying to learn “on the fly” all of the various things we were supposed to be doing.  This dungeon eases the player in teaching them the various mechanics and then building upon them as the phases go, finally culminating in a boss fight that is fairly representative of what I saw in the “real” dungeons.  While the dungeon is essentially a giant tutorial, it is still extremely fun and when a random stranger asked me if I wanted to join them… I happily ran it again.  The other big switch I have made is previously I was focusing entirely on tanking as the warrior and now  I am starting to build out my dps abilities as well.  In most games I level as tanky as much as anything else in an effort to be as survivable as I can be for fighting the named encounters.  In this game I feel almost more survivable playing DPS as I do as a tank.  Essentially the amount of damage I deal more than makes up for the extra damage I might be receiving.  I am still pleasantly surprised that I am enjoying Wildstar as much as I actually am.  Pretty happy I decided to give it another shot.

Timewalking Frustrations

6.2 Disappointment

This week we have had a pretty massive information dump about the 6.2 PTR patch information.  I have to say overall I am fairly disappointed, not necessarily in what is contained within the patch, but that everything about it feels like an “end of expansion” content patch.  The patch information is super spoilerific, but it seems as though the Burning Crusade is now invading Tanaan Jungle.  Soon the gates will open revealing a zone besieged by fel magics, that culminate in the Hellfire Citadel raid zone.  All of that sounds pretty badass, but the problem is it also sounds like the end of an expansion scenario.  If 6.2 is on the PTR that means more than likely we are a little over a month from seeing this content in game.  Which would probably place it landing at the beginning of June.  We have no new expansion announcement, which means that more than likely they will be announcing it in November at Blizzcon.

The problem there is that unless they launch immediately following Blizzcon, we will be looking at another Siege of Orgrimmar style content lag.  I feel like if they announce at Blizzcon the earliest an expansion would be launched is Spring 2016.  The best case scenario I can think of in my mind places a new expansion in our hands in March 2016 which would be a nine month content lag.  While that is nothing near as bad as the sixteen month lag at the end of Pandaria, it is still not amazing.  Sure they would I guess shoehorn another minor content tier like Ruby Sanctum, but I don’t think that will really make anyone happy.  Maybe I will be wrong, and maybe they have an even more epic conclusion of this expansion planned.  This Siege on Hellfire Citadel however just feels like the last grand hurray for the Warlords of Draenor expansion.  Which leaves the question in my mind of…  what next?

Timewalking Frustrations

The absolute largest disappointment coming from this however relates to the Timewalking system.  This was hinted at quite some time ago in an interview that something was in the worlks called Timewalking mode, and my mind was set ablaze.  My grand crusade has been for years that World of Warcraft needs a mentoring system, that allows higher level players to scale down to the level of lower level players… and do content with them “for real”.  When this new game system was hinted at, I was absolutely giddy because this meant finally after all these years WoW was getting mentoring.  This has probably been the biggest reveal as part of the 6.2 informational dump, and I have to say I am really frustrated with the result.  I am going to full quote a section of the announcement below.

In Patch 6.2, we’re introducing seven different weekend events that will run from noon Friday through noon Monday every week. Two of those events will be Timewalking weekends, in which you’ll be able to queue up for a randomly selected old-school dungeon with a new sort of “heroic” difficulty: When you Timewalk these dungeons, you’ll find that your character’s power and gear has been scaled down to a fraction of what they normally are. For the first time in years, some dungeons you outgrew long ago will once more put your skills to the test.

So instead of a robust mentoring system, we are apparently going to get a weekend gimmick.  If I am reading this statement correctly it sounds like these are going to be limited time events that will happen twice.  Maybe this is going to be like the pvp weekend construct, and simply rotate through seven different events, or maybe there are literally only going to be seven events ever.  Right now we don’t really know, but regardless of the situation it feels like a complete waste of resources to put these in as limited time events.  I was hoping for and expecting a robust mentoring system, but instead I am getting a carnival ride.  I really don’t know why I set myself up for these disappointments, because traditionally my hopes are dashed on a regular basis when it comes to this game.  I still have so much hope and can imagine a game that is so much better than what we actually have to play, but we never seem to get there.

Cycling Down

Wow-64 2015-03-27 06-34-47-22 I am more than willing to admit that some of my frustrations might just be me.  I have reached that point with World of Warcraft that I often do… where I am simply not enjoying the game.  In previous trips back to the game I would have left it months ago.  I pushed three characters to level 100 and everyone to within Garrison levels… and simply lacked the drive to push any further.  The moment to moment gameplay was extremely fun while leveling, but the non-raid end game content has felt like I had no real purpose.  So instead I log in an hour before raid on Tuesday, so that I can get my extra roll tokens, and make sure I have potions and flasks.  Occasionally I half heartedly log in to run Garrison missions on my main, just for the hopes of those raid loot boxes every other week.  I feel like I am spending the absolute bare minimum of time in this game, and so long as we were progressing smoothly in the raid it felt like it was time well spent.

Unfortunately we are not progressing smoothly.  We will have a good night, and then it feels like we regress five steps the next one.  I am tied to this game because I am actively raiding in it, but I have to say I am starting to question why I am even doing that.  When raid voice chat is full of frustrated and stressed out voices…  it pretty much destroys the enjoyment for me.  I am all about joking and having a good time…  and kicking ass while doing it.  When we stop being able to have that relaxed raid dynamic, and still be high functioning my will to care drains from me.  Ultimately I came back to the game riding a wave of nostalgia.  I stayed because I was raiding and getting to hang out with a handful of friends that I missed.  When even Rylacus, the life of the party, is starting to sound stressed and worn down…  I question why we are doing any of this?  I am sure I will chill out in the coming days, but seeing the 6.2 content, and our current raid struggles…  it is making me question why I am still playing.

A Better Night

Perplexed

image Roughly a month ago I wrote a piece about the WoW Token, when it was officially announced and seemed to be something coming into the game “Soon ™”.  There are a number of websites that index the price of wow gold, but I don’t plan on linking to any of those for reasons.  At the time of writing those sites seemed to indicate the going rate for gold was something along the lines of $15 for 30,000g.  Now the strange thing was that there were some absolutely insane outliers, like sites offering nearly 100,000g for $20.  Now this week the WoW Token has launched, and I have been watching it thanks to an extremely excellent market website showing the current token price.  Firstly I expected the token currency to drop in gold value, but not this fast and not for this long.  I expected there to be a significant rebound once players started snapping them up in lieu of making subscription payments… and we may still see that towards the end of the month.  The token started at 30,000g, raising to 35,000g and then tanking quickly down to as low at one point as 18,000g before coming back up and hovering around 25,000g.

All of this while more volatile than I had expected, doesn’t really shock me.  What does shock me is the reaction from the third party gold sellers.  Those same gold index sites seem to be painting a bizarre story.  Gone completely are those 100,000g outliers, and they have been replaced by values that are almost lock step in line with the legitimate wow token pricing.  I expected that as the wow token gained traction that the third party sellers would start offering more outrageous deals trying to tempt players into taking that risk.  Instead if anything it seems like the WoW Token is now setting the standard operating price for gold regardless of how you obtain it.  This is just puzzling to me, and I cannot fathom why this would be the result.  Now as far as the WoW Token goes, I still think we will see a significant climb in price as folks subscriptions start coming due.  For me personally the WoW Token still is not “worth” the price.  Now if I could buy one or two of them and immediately purchase some big ticket items… I might be enthralled.  For the time I already have access to the sorts of gold that it is currently worth so it is not a huge draw.

A Better Night

Wow-64 2015-04-10 06-18-41-75 Tuesday night was unequivocally horrible.  I am still not sure what was wrong, but for whatever reason we were completely off our game.  We started as we often do with Heroic Blackrock Foundry, and downed Hans and Franz without much issue.  Then we moved on to Gruul and wiped until we had lost our will to live.  Finally towards the end of the night we moved on to Darmac… and squeaked by with a victory by the slimmest of margins.  Last night once again we started with some attempts on Heroic Gruul, only to end up wiping over and over once again.  I am not sure what has happened to us, or happened to the encounter… but it went from something we can do fairly easy to being damned near impossible for us.  Thankfully we chose to shift gears and take on Normal instead after a handful of wipes last night, and in a large part that made for a more enjoyable evening.  We went on to clear all of the content we have cleared before in the past, and since we were used to bashing our skulls against heroic… it seemed pretty simple.

The problem is we still have yet to touch the Iron Maidens fight, make any real progress on the Heart of the Mountain encounter…  and then there is still Blackrock.  I really want to make some traction on those fights and get to a point where we can at least say we are clearing normal.  This piecemeal heroic work is nice, but it feels like right now we are doing it in lieu of forward momentum on actually beating the instance.  This is one of those places where I am torn, because by god I really really want my heroic sword from Gruul.  Once again I am pantsless, and I am trying to keep from going through the bullshit required to craft a comparable pair.  I know the second I do… I will get a heroic drop, or mythic pair from my bi-weekly garrison crate.  I simply don’t want to deplete all the money I have to make it work.  Maybe the effect of the WoW Token will drive the price of Savage Blood down…  with people trying to sell them in order to make the gold to “make rent”.

Elder Scrolls Online Console Pre-order

ESOConsole

One of the cool emails that I received yesterday was to notify me that for the next thirty days I had the option of purchasing a digital copy of Elder Scrolls Online for my console of choice for only $20.  This was one of the big selling points that they made several months back when they announced the official launch date of the console version.  If you purchased the game prior to April 9th 2015 on the PC you could then get a cheap copy on the console, as well as the ability to transfer your PC characters to the console version as well.  Since I was a long time alpha player, and ultimately a launch day player this was no major incentive but I am absolutely taking advantage of it.  I honestly wish more games would give you a significant discount on other platforms when they re-release the game.  For example I have purchased State of Decay on Xbox Live, Steam, and will more than likely purchase another copy when the Year One Survivor Edition comes out.  It just feels nice to have at least some sort of a break here.  As such I have already pre-purchased and am hoping that it offers a preload of the game as well.

From the day the game came out it always felt like it would potentially work better with a controller.  I will tell you the real reason why I am picking it up with the ps4 is that I hope to play it through my vita.  I spent a fairly significant amount of time faffing about in Destiny while playing on my Vita, and I cannot imagine a better experience than hanging out in bed and playing some Elder Scrolls Online.  Similarly it gives me something to do while waiting on other things to happen in other games.  Upstairs I have my ps4 set up beside my computer, and in the living room I have a PSTV so I have four places I can comfortably play some Elder Scrolls Online.  I am amped for this release and I am hoping  the game finds its true potential with the console audience.  Right now the console players really do not have that many “meaty” mmorpg options, with Final Fantasy XIV pretty much being the absolute best choice.  Elder Scrolls Online should cover a very different niche of players, and I think it will ultimately be extremely successful.

The Bunny Incident

I have a pretty bad habit of wanting to spawn a feature on my blog and then having it die after a few posts.  Anyone remember Steampowered Sundays for example?  That one I still want to get back to eventually, but with the whole editing and posting of aggrochat often times spilling over into Sunday morning I simply ran out of available time there.  All of this said the other day I was working on providing some information for Sypster on a feature he is working on.  It got me thinking how many tall tales from the mmoverse I have in me.  There are many stories that at the time were frustrating but become more humorous through the lens of nostalgia.  I think we as gamers all have thousands of such tales in us, and with this new feature my goal is to try and devote some time to committing these to paper.  Nostalgia is a powerful force, but one that is fun to wallow in every now and then.

The Bunny Incident

Wrath of the Lich King was both an amazing and an extremely frustrating expansion for my raid.  We had some of our greatest moments, but also some of our most frustrating experiences.  All of which lead me to be a very grumpy person a good deal of the time.  Most of you know me as the generally positive person that I portray on my blog and through social media.  This is all an act, or at least it was when I first embarked upon the journey.  By nature I can be pretty cynical and pessimistic, and it is a sheer act of will that I fight this every day striving to find the silver lining in every cloud.  I spent a good deal of time “faking it until I made it” as it were, and for the most part it worked.  It helped to pull me out of one of the greatest funks in my life.  Today I am going to uncork the events of what lives in infamy within the guild has come to call “the bunny incident”.

When Wrath launched we hit it by storm and our twenty five man completely wrecked Naxxramas 2.0.  We thought we were awesome… but the problem was that the content was way easier than we were used to.  As such our raid got soft and too used to being able to walk into the zone and destroy everything around us.  So when Ulduar launched… it was like a harsh reality check.  Everything about the raid was infinitely harder, and required every single player to pay attention and perform to the best of their ability.  This was not helped by the fact that during this time we had a lot of politics in the decisions behind our raid composition.  We had a number of situations where we had one extremely highly performing raid member, tied to a piece of dead weight… that we were forced to drag along with us in order to get the high performing member.

The Bad Times

Additionally during Ulduar we went through a revolving door of tanks, making it a constant struggle to try and teach a third tank that was drastically undergeared how to survive the completely silly amount of damage that the encounters in Ulduar were heaping upon us.  None of this made for particularly happy times for me.  When the going got tough…  people started flaking out and simply not attending.  There were many nights that people would be available for the farmed content, but when it came to a progression night full of wipes we were barely able to scrape together twenty five people.  It seemed like every step forward, caused us to take a giant leap backwards.  We spent a lot of time during this period wiping to content we had already had on farm because we lacked the resources to really keep going.

We did what any raid would do… and went into overdrive trying to recruit solid people to bolster our waning numbers.  With this came a clash of cultures, because quite honestly we were a much more forgiving raid than most.  This caused some of our new recruits to not really take things as seriously as they should.  At times it felt like trying to teach a kindergarten classroom how to file their yearly tax returns…  but we mostly struggled through at the cost of my own sanity.  We had stabilized and were pushing forward, and one night we were making some very serious progress on Kologarn.  In fact I would say the mood in the raid was pretty jolly as folks were finally starting to get how they needed to move, and when we needed to break people out of the hands.  I felt pretty confident that we would be able to beat the boss that night.

The Event

I believe it was Thalen that had just finished delivering some advise to tweak things up a bit… and I in my normal antsy fashion was pacing back and forth asking if I could pull yet.  I tend to get super impatient before a pull, because I pump myself up for the fight and get the adrenaline coursing… and then have to do something with the nervous energy until go time.  I had just started running in when it happened.  On of our players decided it would be funny to use the the Blossoming Branch on me as I ran in, turning me into a bunny.  The problem is while in bunny form you can take no actions, and I could not click it off in time before Kologarn destroyed me, and subsequently wiped the raid.  Looking back upon it now…  it is kind of funny, but at the time I was not amused at all.

I don’t really know what I said exactly, in some way I almost blacked out during the event.  All I do know is that I apparently proceeded to curse and rant on voice chat for a good ten minutes about what just happened unleashing all of the pent up frustrations I had about the raid group, the lack of effort some individuals were putting into it, and wrapping it all up in a neat rage fueled bow.  I do remember saying that I would be going through the logs line by line after the raid to find out who it was that did it, and they would no longer be welcome in our raid from that point on.  I think I went on to say that I would go so far as to tell the other raid leaders about the incident, because at that time in our servers history… pretty much all of the raid leaders knew each other and talked regularly.  When you got blacklisted by one, you often times got blacklisted by all of them.

The Coming Down

While the guy who did it did not fess up during the heat of the moment…  he did come to me later and apologize.  He went so far as to mail every person in the raid some gold for the repair bill he caused.  He truly felt sorry for doing it, and we didn’t end up kicking him from the raid, or anything severe.  Basically this was the moment I realized that I needed to change something, because I was feeling entirely too much stress and frustration over a game.  I apparently scarred some of the raid members for life, and for the rest of that expansion it was like they were gunshy that “Angry Bel” would come out again.  It is still talked about in our guild, as a sort of cautionary tale…  like “Don’t make Bel mad, you won’t like him when he’s angry” sort of thing.  Its all in good fun now, but I know at the time I quite literally scared some of our members.

I tried really hard to take less of a direct role with some of the raid decisions.  This was the era when I realized that I could not be both the friendly happy guild master everyone knew.. and be the raid leader that everyone needed at the same time.  I think this was really the beginning of the end with me and World of Warcraft, but I ultimately did not leave until Cataclysm.  I kept changing things up trying to keep the game viable.  During Crusaders Coliseum for example I switched from Warrior main to Death Knight main, but regardless of what I did there was still a pool of bitterness there.  This has been the event I think of every time I consider leading a raid again.  Ultimately we have to know the limits, and know what will happen to us deep down inside when we push those limits too far.  Now I am happy to be the cruise director of the guilds I am part of, and the man with the recruitment van.  I strive on a daily basis to remain the “Happy Bel” folks have come to appreciate and keep the “angry wrathful god of vengeance” locked up deep inside.

MooCowadin

Bel Folks Stuff 5 – Evening with Qelric

We are going to put on our timey wimey stuff hats and pretend that this show is being released during the month of February, as it was originally intended.  When I record a Bel Folks Stuff I tend to give the victim as much time as possible.  So I approached Qelric back in January to talk about this show… and she every so graciously accepted.  The problem is that life happened in the time between, with her getting an absolutely horrible case of chicken pox towards the beginning of the month, and me dealing this this insane bronchitis mess towards the end.  The result is we recorded the “February” episode in March…  and that I supposed is just fine so long as it came out in any form.

Qelric is quite literally one of the only youtubers I watch with any regularity because she brings to her craft a style that you don’t generally see on youtube any more.  She presents extremely content dense videos in a news like format, making them far easier for me to digest without the rambling exposition.  If you are not familiar with your videos, I highly suggest you check them out.  On top of this however Q is just a downright interesting person, and we have interacted for what feels like years.  I had a delightful afternoon/evening sitting down to record this episode.  Before we knew it a couple of hours had passed and we had a mammoth hour and a half long show.  The awesome thing is… even after the mic stopped recording we wound up talking for another thirty or forty minutes.  I love it when the conversation is natural and flowing.  Hopefully you will all enjoy this as much as I did recording it.

[download the podcast]

Moocowadin

Wow-64 2015-03-02 06-25-36-19 Yesterday was a surprisingly busy day, with dealing with the publishing of two different podcasts and a normal blog post.  As a result especially while waiting for Qelric to get online, I wanted to play something but did not want to get too terribly engaging.  With the introduction of the Heirloom system and the 6.1 patch, it has greatly increased my desire to alt.  My number one frustration while trying to level a character is trying to make sure I have level equivalent gear.  I realize that gear is never as important as I seem to make it, but I like to have at least as good of a weapon as possible while  pushing through the levels.  Now previously I had some heirlooms, but I had to choose which character would get to use them.  Even with the ability to send them cross realm, it became a mess trying to track who had what and I was constantly afraid I would end up losing heirlooms in the mail…  because I have done this before.  The new system however is pretty much ideal for me, since I can generate copies of heirlooms on any and all characters.

When The Scryers server merged with Argent Dawn I set about creating eleven place holder horde characters, since I did not know how the actual merger would work.  It makes me extremely happy that I can have 11 Alliance characters on Argent Dawn and 11 Horde characters on The Scryers…  and use them to play with my AD Horde friends.  I have always been one of those players that tried to span the faction divide whenever I could and through various community efforts I developed just as many bonds on the red side as the blue.  I always feel like a louse however for never really spending much time leveling a character on the “other” side.  As a result I started working on Belgrace my Moocowadin yesterday while waiting for Qelric and while recording the podcast.  As of this morning I am now level 18 and starting the Ratchet area.  It is insane just how fast the levels come when you are completely kitted out in heirlooms.  The only slot that I do not have is the ring, and I am simply not a good enough fisherman to get that.

A Confidence Boost

Wow-64 2015-03-01 11-55-03-53 Over the last few weeks since the launch of the Final Fantasy XIV 2.5 patch I have greatly tapered off the amount of time I am spending in World of Warcraft.  It has become a Tuesday/Thursday experience for me largely which means simply showing up in time to raid.  Now granted I am logging in periodically throughout the week to run garrison missions but in the grand scheme of things that takes ten minutes or so at a time, and I am really not online that long.  I’ve felt kinda horrible because one of my long time friends has been slowing improving her ilevel gear wise on her priest.  Every so often she would give me an update and yesterday she told me she had hit ilvl 626.  I knew the answer before I asked it, but I asked her if she had managed to do any LFR yet?  As I suspected she said no, that she was wary of raiding… and didn’t think she was ready for it.  I hopped on Lodin my hunter, that could still use gear from Highmaul LFR and offered to queue with her for moral support.

Finni had raided before during the early days of World of Warcraft, and as such the bulk of her experience dated from the 40 man era.  So when she thinks “raid” she equates it to super serious business.  Fortunately and unfortunately at times…  Looking for Raid is anything but serious business.  Within what felt like fifteen minutes of queuing we were through the first section, and she got a much needed confidence boost… and thankfully a little bit of gear.  I remember the first time I queued for Looking for Raid upon coming back during Pandaria.  I was scared as hell because the concept of a raid for me too was “serious business” time.  Thankfully we have this wonderful system that allows players without the time to dedicate to at least be able to get in and see the fights in one form or another.  She ended up walking with a few upgrades, and I did as well…  and can now queue Blackrock Foundry on my hunter.  I think we both benefited from yesterday equally, because it seems like she won’t be quite so frightened of the LFR queue.

#WoW #Paladin #BelFolkStuff

Fun With Trains

Bel’s Blog Bonanza – February 27, 2015

For those not familiar with it, I write a bi-weekly column on MMOGames.com and they made the huge mistake of letting me name it myself.  As such I gave it the completely bombastic title of “Bel’s Blog Bonanza” and every other week I give a run down to the best of my ability of the current hot topics circulating through the gaming blogosphere.  This week I talk about the echo effects of the rather brutal interview of Peter Molyneux by Rock, Paper, Shotgun.  This had many responses out in the community, and I picked a few of the ones I felt represented the various feelings the best.  Additionally the Crowfall Kickstarter has been huge on the blogging front with an absolutely overwhelming number of posts contemplating what everything means thusfar.

This week has also been huge as far as game patches went with the two remaining subscription juggernauts of Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft both releasing a significant patch on Tuesday.  From the Final Fantasy XIV side from we had a large number of posts talking about their experiences with the Manderville Golden Saucer and related items that came into the game this week.  On the World of Warcraft front we had quite a few reactions to the various features that were put in with the first patch of the expansion.  While the viewpoints of FFXIV 2.51 seemed overwhelmingly positive, the reactions from the World of Warcraft players were a little bit more mixed… which I assume is what you would expect from having a much more mature community.  The honeymoon was over long ago and now folks are viewing the game through less than rose colored lenses.  In any case check out the post and let me know what you think of the column.

Fun With Trains

Last night I finally started to feel like I was getting back into the swing of things.  Yesterday as a whole I felt considerably better than I had since last Thursday.  With it being a raid night, and we had cleared all of the encounters we had worked on during my medicated stupor on Tuesday… this meant that last night was entirely a learning night.  Some people get depressed at the concept of constant wiping, but for me it feels cool because we are getting to try new things.  Last night we set our sights on Operator Thogar, which for those who are unfamiliar with Blackrock is the “Train Boss”.  His room is essentially a train depot with four different tracks.  At various points during the fight a train will come barreling through the room and if you are on the wrong track at the wrong time… it will flat out one shot you.  For me as a bit of an abomination as Gladiator DPS… it will take me down very close to death but not actually kill me.

As you move through the encounter some trains will simply buzz through, and others will stop and drop off adds.  Among the types that drop adds there are ones filled with simply mindless trash mobs, and others filled with what we have termed “specialists”.  It is these specialist trains that cause the problems and quite simply last night we were not getting them down fast enough… while at the same time dodging trains.  It seemed like melee had the dance down pretty well, which is generally the case since melee is used to constantly moving.  We just need our ranged and healers to get used to the rhythm of the fight to be able to time when they can cast and when they have to be moving.  Basically we died constantly at this same point… where we have a pack of specialists and we did not get them down with enough time to move to the far edges of the room and split up.  I feel like this is a critical juncture and once we nail that we will have the encounter.

Killing the Flamebender

Wow-64 2015-02-26 21-41-21-83 Generally speaking if we do not make serious progress on our first few attempts, it is almost better to switch targets and let folks digest the mechanics for a week.  When we come back the following week there is absolutely a marked improvement.  Since this is the case with our raid, our leader called the halt on the Orc Trainmaster and we went back to working on Flamebender Ka’graz.  If you remember we actually made some solid progress on her awhile back getting her down into the 30% range if I am remembering correct, so I knew going into the night that more than likely this was going to be a fight we could fine tune and get through.  Once again this is a fight with a lot of moving parts.  Players have to avoid lines of fire that get drawn on the floor as she targets a ranged dps and attacks them.  This means the melee spend most of their time shifting around trying to keep from standing in these.

The crucial part of the fight seems to be dealing with the two lava wolf spawns.  This was the point at which we spent the most effort improving last night.  We shifted around trying several different combinations and finally landing on actively calling which target which group of players should be attacking.  Like I said last time these work like Corehounds and if they are not brought down at the same time… they both re-ignite.  The other big thing we tweaked was where the group collapsed, attempting to do so in the center of the room rather up within melee range of where the boss is tanked by default.  I think the combination of both of these was what actually allowed us to get through that second flame puppy phase with essentially a full compliment of players.  From there it was just repetition of the things we were already good at doing… and when the third dog phase happened we were able to ignore them and finish off the last 3% of the boss.  As is rare for us we actually managed to get everyone to stand still long enough to take a kill shot.

Things Did For Loot

AggroChat #32 – Azeroth, Mordor and Beyond

Normally Sunday mornings I talk about the happenings from the night before when we record our weekly episode of AggroChat.  However yesterday it just didn’t really fit the theme of the post, so I opted to push off advertising it on my blog until this morning.  We recorded for roughly two hours, but thankfully after I edited it was condensed to only an hour and twenty minutes… which is far more reasonable.  It is always strange when we go into a show with what we feel like is not a lot to talk about… and then a show happens and it ends up being a length one.  I feel like some of those are the most natural because the conversation just went where it needed to go without our direction.

We talked about a dizzying range of games from Shadows of Mordor and Tam and Kodras views on the game.  They both still say it is very much a “bel game” and at this point I am planning on picking it up hopefully when it goes on sale during the Steam Christmas Sale.  It does look really interesting, and I like the seeming focus on mechanics rather than story.  We once again delve into a discussion about 4X games namely Beyond Civilization, Civilization 5 and Endless Legend.  Similarly there is a length discussion about our feelings surrounding Dragon Age Inquisition and Kodra has finally made some progress in Dragon Age Origins.  Finally I talk at length about my experiences returning to World of Warcraft as I gush about finally having a strong female in World of Warcraft that is not also moments away from being turned into a raid boss.  Seriously if you have not followed the Yrel character you should check her out.

Things Did For Loot

WoWScrnShot_112214_172004 My focus this weekend entirely was getting geared up enough to be able to do Molten Core on Tuesday night with the guild.  Since this is a 40 man looking for group experience… and various members of them  guild have said it took upwards of three hours to complete…  we are wanting to try and pull in as many people as possible Tuesday night so we can hopefully carry the random players to a rapid victory.  The only problem is that in order to join in the fun, you have to have 615 ilevel.  Unless you had some extreme luck with item upgrades in Nagrand, it is not exactly easy to hit that kind of level without a lot of dungeoning.  Arria and several others kept telling me that I needed to PVP in order to get my ilevel up high enough to run Molten Core, but at first I rejected this notion entirely.  However after a period of time without a guild group online that I thought we could make dungeoning work… I resorted to queuing for battlegrounds.

Over the course of the weekend I ran enough battlegrounds to be able to purchase a neckpiece and bracers at roughly 1250 honor each.  I have to say… I actually enjoyed myself, and it shocks me just as much to be able to say those words.  Remember I have gone on length diatribes about how faction based combat destroys a sense of community.  The thing is…  battlegrounds are not open world pvp and I did not enjoy Ashran the open world pvp zone at all.  The strange thing is that I have quite literally not PVP’d in World of Warcraft since Burning Crusade other than once or twice here needed for some holiday achievement.  Once upon a time I was part of an Arena team if you can believe that, with the sole purpose of gearing my paladin in some healing gear.  It is strange how cyclical things are… in Burning Crusade PVP gear was extremely useful for PVE purposes… and now in Warlords the exact same thing has happened.  I guess I don’t mind PVP so much when I know there is a loot piñata at the end of my efforts.

Heroic-palooza

Wow-64 2014-11-23 13-11-44-29 Between the two pieces of PVP gear I was able to bump my ilevel up high enough to be able to  do Molten Core.  However yesterday I spent most of the day running Heroics with the guild.  The strange thing is that I tagged along as dps.  It feels so strange that sword and board gladiator is actually viable dps, and for most of the runs I was competitive with the person sitting in first place on the meters.  The awesome thing about this is that the gear needed to tank and needed to Gladiator dps are essentially the game.  Bonus Armor it turns out is just as much of a DPS boost for Gladiator as it is survival for Defensive.  All of this makes me wonder if we will see a resurgence of viable specs to allow tanks to tank as Arms or Fury like they used to back in Vanilla WoW.  In any case I ran Bloodmaul Slag Mines, Grimrail Depot, Auchindoun, The Everbloom and Skyreach and between them I managed to get several upgrades.

I feel like I need to take a moment to praise Blizzard for the changes to the way that personal loot works.  I made a comment the other day on twitter when they removed personal loot as the default for pugs, that going back to need before green only really helped the trolls.  It turns out that they just felt they needed to tweak personal loot a bit before returning it to the dungeons, which ultimately they hotfixed back in within a days time.  The new version is extremely awesome, because no matter how bad your luck is early in the dungeon… the final boss will always drop an item for your spec.  Mostly what makes the system great is there are no more instances of unusable loot.  Granted what you get may not actually be an upgrade, but we did several runs with nothing but plate wearers… and no leather rotted in the dungeon.

Finally a Worthy Helm

Wow-64 2014-11-24 06-17-17-22 Over the course of the weekend I went from 609 ilevel to a respectable 623 and I feel that I am fully ready for Molten Core tomorrow.  I am not sure if I will be called on to tank or to dps, but in either scenario I feel comfortable thanks to the fact that Gladiator dps is esentially just tanking without the taunts.  One of the things that I have tried to be religious about is doing my crafting and resource workorders in my Garrison.  The primary one is the Gearspring Parts needed for engineering, or in truth every single tradeskill that makes things seems to have a limited resource that can be sped up significantly through the use of your Garrison.  This expansion has returned to having an exceptionally useful helm gained through engineering, and this time it is upgradeable three steps to make it competitive with raid gear.

This morning I managed to collect the last of the 100 Gearspring Parts needed to craft it, and finally I have a helmet that is worth of displaying helm.  Traditionally I run around sans helmet, because in truth World of Warcraft has pretty much nothing but ugly helms.  These goggles however are fantastic, and I am proud to let my engineer flag fly high.  Unfortunately I am going to have to figure out a way to get savage blood, which I am afraid that I do not have a source of it in that I did not build the barn.  Since it is a tradeable resource my hope is that I will be able to obtain it through an alt.  Honestly my biggest hope is that eventually they add it to the primal spirit vendor at a significant loss, so that I can use my stockpile of those.  In any case I feel like I am fully ready for the rigors of raiding, but still have plenty of upgrades that I can get from heroics.

My Routine

There are mornings I have an idea immediately and others that I struggle to find purpose in my writing.  There is something about being under pressure to write a post each morning that makes it work for me.  I’ve long found that on the weekends I dawdle considerably more and struggle to get a post out.  Whereas in the morning as I am drinking my morning coffee if I just start writing a post materializes before I really know fully what I am going to write about.  As such for this mornings thankfulness post, I am thankful for my routine.  I am thankful that I embarked upon this journey over a year ago, and thankful that I realized that the morning would actually be a viable time for me to write.  Writing a post feels like I am starting the day having already accomplished something, which in turn I feel makes the day as a whole a better one.  May each of you also find the routine that works for you.