Snipers and Hellboars

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One of the core problems with Destiny 2 is that progression is all about luck.  What I mean by that is especially as you wind down towards the end of the power curve, everything lives or dies upon what you happen to pull from your powerful engrams each week.  Once upon a time SquirrelPope told me that he started getting random world 300 blues when he hit 299.5 on his base light level.  I’m at 299.8 at this point and have yet to see one and nor have I actually seen any of the supposed vendor engrams that go as high as 300.  At this point on my Titan I need a chest and a class item to hit 305, which admittedly is way sooner than it happened during the console release.  That said everything is luck of the draw for me and this week my luck was just about as bad as I could possibly get.  In total I got six sniper rifles among the nine powerful gear packages that I have opened on my characters.  Sniper rifle being the only weapon that I consider utterly useless because I have yet to find one that is even close to being worthy of that power slot.  Grenade Launcher is traditionally a stinker as far as slots go, but even there I have Berenger’s  Memory and Play of the Game that I like using.  If I absolutely had to use a sniper… so far the only one that seems even viable is Gentleman Vagabond from crucible packages but even then…  there are so many other good weapons that I could be using in that slot.

I tweeted this comment out last night and I thought I would post it on my blog as well this morning.  I promise I meant this to be helpful and not ragey, but it does frustrate me when I see players effectively wasting the scorch cannon rounds spamming the crap out of them.  I admit that I did not know this was even possible until I got to run the Wrath of the Machine raid in Destiny year three, so I went that long effectively using them wrong myself.  The scorch cannon at face value looks like a rocket launcher with a lot of ammo, but it is way more than that even though the bosses that use it never actually use them to their full power either.  With Titan being the weekly flashpoint planet, you are going to encounter a lot of scorch cannons considering 2 of the 3 available events on that planet involve Fallen Walkers.  The weapon has a somewhat hidden alternate fire that involves holding down the trigger after you have fired the round and letting the munition grow in size before releasing and letting it explode.  You are going to have an auditory and visual queue to this and while you can continue to let this go and keep gaining strength as Squirrel pointed out last night, my personal experience is that the 4 second rule seems to be the most efficient for killing those walker tanks.  What I do is fire a round and then duck behind cover while holding the trigger allowing the munition to grow in size and about 4 seconds into holding it visually doubles in size.  At this point I let it go and let the damage get dealt while lining up a shot for another round.  Basically doing this will burn your target faster and easier I might add than spamming rounds and also give you more than enough ammo to take out both tanks with a single Scorch Cannon.  The AOE explosion is also fun for dealing with waves of yellow bar captains and such, but unfortunately this is a tidbit of ancestral knowledge that has not yet circulated through most of the population given that I see most players wasting these weapons.  As a result I just wanted to toss this thought out there and hopefully it sticks.

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As far as last night goes however…  after my crushing disappointment of being in sniper rifle hell…  I decided to chill out on the sofa with my new favorite orc.  At this point I am just shy of level 64 and am still in the Hellfire area cleaning up the quests.  In theory I should be able to completely skip Zangarmarsh and go to Terrokar, doing the every other zone leapfrog across Outland much like I have done with Legion content.  There is something extremely relaxing about Warrioring it up and all the while chatting occasionally with the Facepull crew horde side.  Mostly World of Warcraft is serving as this super relaxing comfort gaming time for me, and with work being as stressful as it has been lately I guess I am finding I need it.  Right now it is looking like I won’t really get to take much time off for the holidays other than the default days they give us off.  I have too many deadlines crashing in together at the same time, and this is also throwing a massive monkey wrench in my traditional Pax South plans.  Right now unless something massively changes I will not be attending this year which is a bit of a bummer considering I’ve gone every year since its inception so far.  It also means I will miss out on meeting up with friends and hanging out… and the biggest bummer of all is that I just found out my friend Cuppy is on a panel this year.  I would have loved to have seen that, but then again I am absolutely horrible at actually attending panels at Pax.  I tend to miss them while wandering around doing other things.  Even if not for Pax I am hoping to make it back to Austin as some point in the future.

Finding the Forge

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bel-colorsFirst off I have to start this mornings post by talking about the surprise I got last night.  For awhile now I have had my friend AmmosArt working on a series of avatars to use for anything AggroChat related.  When I do the title cards it always somewhat bugs me that we don’t have a set of Avatars drawn by the same person, because I think that would end up looking a lot nicer.  As a result I commissioned her to create a set for the main cast, and we kicked it off with mine…  however I think she has a few of them waiting in the pipes as well.  Since I have “Fantasy Bel” thanks to the project that Tam started, and now “Realistic Bel” thanks to the prize commission from Faebelina I thought it would be kinda cool to have a “Sci-Fi Bel”.  So when she asked me what I wanted drawn for my AggroChat avatar I sent her this overly complex idea for me wearing a bunch of named armor pieces from Destiny.  Here she has expertly rendered that idea with me, a giant flaming Iron Lord axe, my Sunbreaker hammer and Nolandroid.  I could not be happier, and while she was concerned about how the fire effects would feel… I think they work amazingly well.  Thanks once again Ammo for taking mad ramblings and converting them into a picture format.  You should also check out some of her other works on her website or on her daily art tumblr.

I have to say… it is truly bizarre getting back to the task of blogging in the morning.  It is 6:23 and I have consumed my first cup of coffee and am trying to get on about the business of blogging like I know what the hell I am doing.  Today is a day I have been dreading because it means that I have to give up the comfort of my sofa blanket cocoon and venture forth into the cruel and now very chilly world.  Of note… I have been off work since Friday December 23rd.  So I have had two blissful weeks that have allowed me to get completely out of the habit of functioning on any sort of a schedule.  Those weeks have been shockingly busy with only a couple days where I could truly hang out dawn til dusk in my flannel pajama pants and pretend the world didn’t exist.  During that time we dealt with a handful of crisis that involved changing out a leaking faucet in our bathroom… and then ironically rushing some big air mover fans to my mother in law who had a major leak in her front bathroom.  In between that there were numerous Christmas celebrations, and an attempt to properly recognize my father’s birthday…  which also coincides with New Years day.  I have not even really gotten around to making some proper resolutions, and while I don’t really buy into them much, the New Year is a decent time to start new things.  At the moment however my mind has turned towards preparing for Pax South which is coming up in a few weeks.

The Forge Trick

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Yesterday I posted a mammoth Destiny guide of sorts that I had been meaning to create.  I have a number of friends in various stages of getting sucked into the game… and when I try and give them advice it often comes off as mad ramblings filled with a bunch of topics that they don’t quite understand yet.  The guide was my attempt at writing something for someone just getting started but also still focused on pushing through the light levels as quickly as possible.  As I said yesterday…  I failed to do 99% of the things mentioned in the guide but I am following a similar thought process on my Xbox One account since it is largely starting from zero.  One of the things I mentioned doing was Archon’s Forge… and you might of thought to yourself “But Bel, that is a Group Activity… how did you solo it?”.  Some time ago my friend Shadoes gave me some tips on how to reliably make Archon’s Forge spawn with a group in progress.  Firstly you have to understand how patrol zones in Destiny work in order to make this happen.  Each named area is essentially a match made zone that the game tries to pair you with other players also in that area.  However you usually zone in and out too fast for the game to effectively do this, so there are things you can do to force the game to match you up with other players.  Inside of the Archon’s Forge there is a path behind the forge that leads down to an area that a number of missions and patrols send you to, but is effectively open at all times.  You can see this path as the opening with the ride SIVA cables coming out of it in the above image.

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What I find works is to run down this tunnel to the next area, you will be able to tell you have transitioned by a title card coming up identifying that you have entered “The Warrens”.  From here I tend to kill the various splicer mobs that spawn in… which may include a handful of 2-4 Vandals, 2-4 Stealth Vandals, 2-4 Dregs… and potentially a Captain.  The mix varies slightly, but essentially I spend enough time in this area to clear out whatever happens to have spawned.  From there I slowly walk back up towards the Archon’s Forge, and for me personally it helps for me to crouch while walking just to force myself to slow down.  In Destiny I am so used to constantly sprinting that I find myself doing it without realizing it.  Essentially you are trying to give the game plenty of time for it to notice that you are entering an area with an event… and that it should match you up with additional people.

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If it works, you should hear the familiar Fallen Klaxon as you near the tunnel leading out of the area and into Archon’s Forge.  If you make it to the Forge without getting matched into an open world group…  then simply head back down to the Warrens and start the process over.  I would say 99% of the time by the moment I reach the top I hear the Klaxon and am up and running with a viable open world team doing Archon’s Forge.  The longest so far it has ever taken to get matched is three trips up and down the tunnel but your mileage may vary depending on the time of day you are trying and your platform.  I’ve not tried this on Xbox Live, but considering the person who tipped me off to this method plays there I am going to assume it works fine as well.  Basically doing this method is going to allow you to hop into the Plaguelands and farm the forge until your heart is content, just remember to keep going to orbit every so often to make sure you are not losing loot.  Your mailbox can only hold 20 items… and while it takes longer for your inventory to fill up now that greens turn immediately into materials…  it still happens frighteningly fast while doing the Forge.

Back to Tanking

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It always feels strange sitting back down at the keyboard to blog after an absence.  This weekend was of course the Labor Day holiday weekend here in the United States, and our plans caused me to miss Saturday.  Since I was taking a single day off, I decided to go ahead and take the entire weekend off to just chill out and enjoy the goodness that is Legion.  When we last spoke I was sitting at level 105 and knee deep in Azsuna.  Since then I have dinged 110, which for some reason took me starting the final leveling zone High Mountain to accomplish.  Most of my friends hit the new level cap without touching that fourth leveling zone, but I am thinking some of it might be coming from harvest experience.  Additionally I seemed to get all log jammed up in my Class Hall quests, because it seems the order in which they would love you to level for Warriors is Stormheim and then High Mountain.  However I did Stormheim, Azsuna, Val’sharah, and finally High Mountain…  and even then the Warrior quest was buried deep inside of the content so much so that I finally said screw it and went out trying to find the location only to wind up terrain hacking my way onto the appropriate path with Heroic Leap.  Have I mentioned how bad I am at following the path?  This is my downfall in many games… that I see that a path exists, but the first thing I want to do is go running off into the wilderness on either side of said path.  As a result I miss so many quests because quest givers tend to be…  on paths.  Also as a result my first time through a zone takes me easily twice as long as literally any other player because I keep ending up backtracking trying to find that quest I missed.  On the positive however this expansion seems to FINALLY reward folks getting way the hell off the path.

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This screenshot… is the result of getting way the hell off of the path.  This is quite possibly the most enjoyable quest I have done in a really long time… and I didn’t understand a damn word of it.  That is right, you end up doing a quest for a Murloc… who only speaks Nerglish which I had to google to find out what the hell their language is called.  The result is a bunch of quest objectives that are “0/1 ?????” that you have to sort of figure out on your own what the little guy is wanting you to do.  This quest is something that none of my friends seemed to know about, and I only managed to find because I was completely off the path and wandering aimlessly along the coastline of Suramar.  This expansion more than any to date seems to be the expansion that Blizzard finally learned a lot of lessons, or at least reflected those lessons in their design process.  In the past there was always a problem of folks ONLY doing the boss that was required for a quest in a dungeon run, and then pugs often times dropped immediately after that kill.  So there was a high likelihood that you would get randomed into an instance with the boss you needed already dead.  Now anytime there is a collect X item or kill X boss from an instance quest, it also requires you to kill the final boss in order to get credit.  Similarly they seem to have learned the lessons of what made Garrisons feel horrible, because the Class Order Hall while deeply related in design…  feels nothing like the Garrison did in the daily requirement of logging in and doing wizard chores.  To make this even better it was announced over the weekend at Pax West that there was a mobile companion app on the way that lets you handle the Class Hall bits without ever needing to play the character swap game.

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Another thing that I spent a significant amount of time doing this week is exploring the various dungeons.  Yup you guessed it that also means that I have once again shifted focus to tanking, and have for the most part put my two-handers away for the moment.  Both protection and fury artifact weapons are at rank 13… which means any further progress is going to be completely silly as far as the artifact power cost goes.  I am however largely focusing now on the sword and shield, and am even considering doing some pvp to unlock that specific appearance.  The above screenshot is extremely special because Belghast and Finni were started at exactly the same time back in Vanilla.  Both my friend and I really wanted to level a Warrior and a Priest, but had minimal luck getting traction in leveling them solo.  So we made a leveling pact and we quested our way through the old world content as a Holy Priest and a Protection Warrior… and it was a blast.  All of my bad tanking habits probably started here, because she enabled my horrible instincts.  I would roll up into a Gnoll camp and pull the entire thing… knowing that she would keep me alive while I whittled them down slowly.  Once I hit the level cap I started tanking the alt raid nights for the Late Night Raiders, and with the release of Burning Crusade I shifted focus to tanking as my primary gig.  However due to motherly responsibilities, Finni just doesn’t get the amount of playtime that she used to so it is always awesome when we can run relevant content together.  The way this expansion levels content so that it is perfectly viable for a 100, 105, and a 110 to be in the same instance is really nice.  While other games have done this well for quite some time, I am happy to see Warcraft catching up here.

Playing Dress-Up

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Quest for Bank Space

Be warned, I am really not sure how much this mornings post is actually going to be a proper topic… and how much it is just going to be show and tell.  Essentially last night was spent sifting through so many characters on so many different servers to unlock all of the appearances I seem to have available to me.  From there I started cleaning out the banks one at a time starting with Belghast my Warrior and for the time being my main.  This was shockingly hard work, and I ended up installing an addon to help give me some confidence to actually go through with getting rid of an item.  What I really wanted was a clear thumbs up or thumbs down on every single item much like Rift has stating that “you have this appearance”.  Caerdon Wardrobe works at least in a way that is most critical, but still I really wanted to see that message for every soul bound item “just to make sure”.  What the addon does do that is useful is for non-soulbound items it tells you that either you don’t have the appearance, or you have collected the appearance from another item.  As far as the soulbounds… I just took the plunge and accepted that over a decades worth of accumulated stuff really was in fact added to my account appearance collection.  This admittedly was a hard step, and one made no simpler by the fact that apparently Ark Inventory changed greatly…  and with every character I logged in I had to do a bit of remapping of some of the styles to get things to load correctly.  So I spent the night with Grace as moral support trudging through my bank…  while the rest of the AggroChat crew listened in while playing Final Fantasy XIV thinking we were absolutely insane.

Honestly Tam thought this was some sort of limited time event… but I somehow doubt that the rest of the crew takes appearance items nearly as serious as Grace and I do.  I mean Tam always has a spiffy glamour in FFXIV but he only has the one glamour and is not constantly rat-holing appearance items just in case someday he MIGHT want to use one for an outfit.  I have joked and said that wardrobes are the true end game… but I am being serious.  I have been more motivated in games when there is a cool piece of armor or a weapon on the line, than literally anything else you can dangle in front of me like a carrot.  As a result one of my favorite activities has been doing old raid content and collecting nifty appearance items to line my vaults for another day.  The problem being that quite literally on my Warrior I had seven inventory slots, zero bank slots, and zero void storage slots.  Every last corner of that storage was filled with weapons and armor that I under no circumstances would be willing to part with.  So a whole lot of my simply not playing the game… is because I had no room to keep accumulating items.  Last night had been a long time coming, and was a bit of a purge of my digital hording of stuff.  So in many ways selling all of those items was a liberating experience… but also one that terrified me at the thought that maybe just maybe the system would fuck up and I would end up losing everything.  Of note… I got every single fashionista achievement other than the shirt one from logging in my first character.  As the night went on the shirt achievement happened slowly while logging in a long list of alts that have otherwise been abandoned to the sands of time.

Show and Tell

Essentially the order of operations went a little something like this.  I first logged in every single character on my account…  which includes numerous characters on other servers that I have only ever played once or twice.  From there I focused in on chewing through my mains…  where I decided to sell off any gear that was not the current “best in bag” for my current spec.  I figure with the expansion only a few weeks away, I was going to be just fine being confined to a single spec per character for that moment.  I burned through my salvage crates and learned the appearances I did not already have… and mailed the extras off to Grace for her to sift through as well.  Of note she is doing the same thing, but I just realized that it might not work as well as I thought it would… given that I think you can only learn an appearance on a character of that armor type.  We will sort out the details of that later though.  Then I started tearing into the bank, offloading anything that did not have a nifty and unique use effect and selling it.  The only real speedbump here is the fact that a lot of the Naxxramas and Ulduar era class gear can’t be sold… so I will have to manually delete that at a later date.  The final thing I did before logging out of any character… was to set my talents and give my character an outfit for the occasion.  The rest of this post is ultimately going to be me posting pictures and talking about the outfits.

Belghast – Warrior

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This is my “Ready for the Legion” outfit, rocking the Illidari tabard and shield, and using the red/fel green version of the Icecrown Deathknight look-a-like armor.  As to whether or not this will remain my main for the coming expansion has yet to be seen, but for the time being I think I look awesome.

Belgrave – Death Knight

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Character number two on the list was my Deathknight, and also the point at which I learned that I can apparently now transmog legendary weapons?  I wanted to go with something fiery looking to match the Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros legendary weapon.  So I ended up landing on the black hand armor set from the garrison appearance vendor.  To go with it is one of the trading card game tabards, the Flame one to be specific.

Lodin – Hunter

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When this game launched I tried to make Melee Hunter a thing, and wound up tanking a bunch of the instances with a combination of myself and my gorilla pet.  Now that Survival is the honest and true melee spec… of course I am going to freaking use it.  As a result I wanted to come up with an outfit that worked with the new PVP gear I picked up.  This is one of those situations where it “sorta matches” or at least well enough to make me happy in combat, however as I look at it now I am starting to pick it apart a bit.  I am going to be “happy enough” for the time being.

Exeter – Paladin

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I tried a bunch of different things before finally settling on this outfit.  I wanted something purple for my paladin, but didn’t want to use the purple judgement set that I have often used in the past.  So I started with the purple tone deathknight icecrown set, and started shifting around bits until I was happy.  Once again I am using one of the card game tabards, this time the purple Tabard of the Arcane.  The end result is almost my favorite of the night… which is ultimately the next one.

Tallow – Shaman

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When Cataclysm introduced the ability for Dwarves to be shaman… I immediately race changed my then Draenei Shaman to be a proper Wildhammer Dwarf.  Ironically I also then turned my Dwarf Paladin into a Draenei one… but that is a different story.  I have always been enthralled with the whole idea of the Wildhammer Clan, and for this transmog I wanted something that felt almost wildhammery but still looked nice and armored.  So I ended up shifting to using one of the Warlords leveling sets… that I just happened to have the perfect set of hammers to go with.  I then decided to go with the Fel Goggles to bring out the Fel coloring of the hammers.  This was the last one I did last night before crashing but is hands down my favorite so far.  So that was ultimately my night, and tonight I will hopefully do the rest of this server.

 

A Whole New Shield

A New Shield

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It is officially Christmas time , as last night I ordered Pepperollies for the first time of the season.  One of the local pizza chains has this thing that only exists during the holiday season, that consists of pepperoni, cheese, pizza sauce, rolled up in a crust and cut into little disks…  then brushed with garlic butter and baked.  They are so amazingly good that we have even tried to make our own version when we get the craving… and it isn’t the holiday block.  I ordered dinner originally thinking that it would feed both my wife and I, but I completely forgot she had a Chanukah dinner at a friends house.  So that means we have plenty of leftovers for tonight I guess.  The primary reason why I was ordering something in rather than trying to fix something at the house… is that Wednesday nights I have started participating in an alliance side raid with some twitter folk which starts at 7 pm my time.  I figure there will be a time where I cannot make this raid, but for the time being I am riding along for the fun.  Unlike the Sunday horde side raid, they run on personal loot… so everything is left up to pure dumb luck as to whether or not I walk away with anything other than gold.

The exciting part of the night is that I managed to get a shield to drop off the very first boss.  Swords and shields are hands down the most important gear slot for me personally… and I have stuck away in my bank/void bank every single mainhand/shield combination I have ever tanked with for any significant length of time.  Since I managed to upgrade my weapon to 695 over the week…  I still had a 670 shield, so getting the Smoldercore Bulwark to drop was a really exciting moment for me.  I spent a few strategic tokens here and there, and picked up another few items… like the Stamped Felsteel Chestplate but I really cannot afford to break the four piece set.   So the only other piece of gear that I will actually use was a new cloak…  which is funny considering I have gotten pretty much nothing but cloaks from my garrison loot boxes.  The Drape of Gluttony itself is pretty much ideally itemized with both Bonus Armor and Crit on it.  Part of me wants to continue raiding Alliance side if for no reason other than it is quite literally the swan song of me as a Gladiator dps.  The spec is so amazingly fun…  but is absolutely not going to be around any longer after the expansion.  It was my one time to be a special snowflake… and I kinda want to soak up as much of it as I can while it is still a thing.

On Timewalking

After finishing the raid last night I popped over Horde side to piddle around and try my hand at a random Timewalking dungeon.  This week/weekend is the Cataclysm Timewalking event, and with it comes a bunch of level boosted cataclysm dungeon gear that has been brought up to 675.  At least in theory that is what it is supposed to be… the problem is I’ve had some add on bugging out on me that keeps me from seeing the actual item level of an item.  It appears that TipTac the addon I have used for years to relocate the tooltip pop up window to some standard location in my layout, has some old calculations going on… making it so items show up as their base level not the boosted level.  This has also made it so that my weapons for example, will always show up as the pre upgraded version.  While I will miss having that addon… I won’t miss seeing all the timewalking gear as level 115.  So if you are also having this issue…  kill TipTac.  Unfortunately I’ve reached a point on both of my main characters where the timewalking gear isn’t really an upgrade, so instead I am mostly running it for the Timewarped Badges.  And with those… I am mostly only interested in the pets and mounts… and the random chance of getting the Infinite Timereaver dropped mount.

If nothing else it is still fun to run these older dungeons and see them still function as relevant content.  The only problem with this is that in truth… these dungeons are a lot tougher than the equivalent dungeons would be in Warlords.  There are several rooms in Shattered Halls that will still gleefully murder you if you pull too much.  With the Burning Crusade zones specifically… this was the era of mob crowd control… and they love to fear and incapacitate players left and right.  So last night I ran one of these dungeons completely random, and then another two with my guildies.  I would have loved to have done more…  but it was almost midnight… and I had to function  today.  There is this strange nostalgia about the whole places…  and unlike revamped versions of places…  it feels the same.  I guess it is my hope that they will stop redoing old dungeons… in favor of just adding them to a Timewalking event… either that or making Timewalking a permanent feature for certain dungeons.  In truth I would love for EVERY dungeon out there to be able to scale to the highest level cap.  I love the idea of evergreen content… even though very few games do it well.  It is my hope to get in tonight and run several more of these, potentially on both sides of the fence… since I have plenty of Alliance alts that could benefit from the gear.

 

 

Sleepy Raiding

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Bleary Eyed

For whatever reason this week has been significantly more difficult than most.  I’ve been struggling with maintaining consciousness, and by that I mean it feels like I have just been dragging my way along through slowly drying concrete.  I am not sure if this is still a side effect of letting me get completely out of my sleep schedule  over the Thanksgiving break… or instead just that I slept horribly on Sunday night.  It might also be that I seem to be fighting some cold like crap that just doesn’t seem to want to let go of me.  Whatever the case, I’ve been tired enough to sleep at 8pm most nights, and generally finally give into its sirens call around 10pm.  Since getting the new Kindle I end up reading for a bit until my eyes are too tired to keep propped open, and then finally I sleep.  From everything I can tell I am sleeping extremely soundly because I when I finally wake up it feels like I’ve slept the entire night through.  The only problem is I have been waking up 20-30 minutes ahead of the alarm clock.  I know I should just get on up… but its cold out in the real world and the bed is so comfy.

I keep thinking at some point I will have repaid whatever sleep debt I have built up, but then again…  I’ve never slept the supposedly needed 8 hours a night.  Maybe I have decades worth of lost sleep waiting to be repaid and it is finally catching up with me.  Whatever the case, I am struggling…  which means that when I am actually online I tend to be wandering around aimlessly.  Over the last several nights I have missed message after message in game by friends, and I always feel horrible when it happens.  Sometimes it is simply the scroll of combat, other times I am alt tabbed out looking at something else.  In any case right now in this current daze I am struggling to keep moving forward, let alone be functional when it comes to interacting with others.  I seriously feel like I could take the day off… and sleep literally all day right now.  Unfortunately I am not sure if that would do me a world of good… or simply make this whole situation worse.

Heading for Burnout

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Last night one of my friends commented that I was probably heading for a burnout by trying to raid on both Horde and Alliance…  and there is at least part of me that absolutely believes her.  While I intend on making the Wednesday night raid tonight, I know at some point there is going to be a place where I simply cannot make both raids each week.  In truth I have been feeling the desire and need to go off and level something new, instead of doing nothing but level capped content.  Right now however it seems like all I have time for is to attempt running LFR on Belghast and Belgrace… and that simply doesn’t leave much time left for the rest of the activities.  At least on Belghast I managed to pick up a 695 warforged baleful weapon, which gives me something decent to move forward with.  On the cow I have a 690 two hander that has been valor upgraded twice, so once again a completely viable weapon.  There are technically slots where LFR gear would potentially be an upgrade, but I am starting to question the logic of running it just for those handful of potential upgrades.  I need to run Highmaul on the Cow for abbrogator stones, and Hellfire on Belghast for tomes…  but past that I think I am going to cut out the rest of the LFR unless I am literally gearing a new character.

Looking for Raid is cool in the aspect of being on demand raiding with zero commitment.  The problem being… it always feels like slamming your face against a wall even when it goes smoothly.  Highmaul was really fun to LFR because it went so quickly, and you could pretty much ignore all of the mechanics.  Hellfire however… the bosses just feel like drudgery when doing it with a group of randoms.  Don’t get me wrong I love the feel of that place when I am running with players that are going to do the things they need to do to make it through the fights.  But both Hellfire and Blackrock are both “real enough” to make them frustrating when folks are attempting to faceroll them.  I seriously have yet to get a group that has a shot in hell of doing Archimonde.  Generally speaking I get grouped into a raid that has already failed a few times… as a replacement, and we then wipe five or six times… and ultimately end up leaving because over half the raid abandons ship.  I really think that the perfect LFR fight takes no longer than five minutes to kill, because that seems to be the absolute upperbound of PUG attention.

Timewalking

I noticed this morning that the Burning Crusade era Timewalking event has started, and I have to say… I am kinda amped.  Granted I would have rather they simply made Timewalking a permanent part of the game, but I left the game before it actually went in.  So I am hoping to be able to do several of the dungeons to get the feel of how they work.  I have a whole bunch of nostalgia about the Burning Crusade dungeon running experience, and the thought of getting modern versions of the items I used to love… seems pretty awesome.  Then again at the 675 ilevel cap… the items will pretty much just go in the transmog bin.  I am not sure which side of the fence I will focus on, but whatever the case I just want to see some of the dungeons.  Similarly I really want to experience the Mythic dungeon content, but in order to do that I really want to find a group to go in with.  That does not seem like something that would be fun in any fashion to pug.  Mostly…  I am hoping I get over whatever thing I am going through, and can remain awake enough to function at a high level in content.  Today already seems like a pretty sleepy day… so I am not holding out much hope.  I guess my general answer is to feed myself enough caffeine until I begin to function appropriately.

Quintessential Quintet

Farewell to Arts

 

I did another really quick video yesterday since we are supposed to have an impending server reset.  In the holiday weekend since the last restart folks have filled the server with all sorts of nifty stuff.  So I thought I would do a really quick video showcasing some of the cooler things.  The highlight for me is the alligator.  I am wondering who built it, because seriously it was perfect.  The server has essentially exploded with pixel art everywhere, some of it seeming to be freehand which is pretty amazing.  While this is all interesting I am hoping soon we get a bit more substance.

It was rumored that we would be seeing a new patch today or tomorrow and in it I am really hoping they introduce two things.  Firstly I want to see the crafting system and all the nifty things it can produce.  This is likely going to be a massive thing because this also means they will likely change they way the blocks work so that we actually harvest them instead of just destroying them.  Currently the game works a lot like Minecraft creative mode, where you have pretty much unlimited resources to place at your disposal.  While this is cool for free range building, the game however right now is lacking a “game”.  Wandering around and exploring, engaging in combat is fun but I feel like we need something to give us a sense of purpose.

The second thing I want badly is the cornerstone concept, aka your plot of lands that persists to each server you play on, and that no one else can disrupt.  Part of why I have not built much of anything yet is the fact that we still have way too many mad bombers on the server all to willing to destroy your hard work.  In fact I railed on Shawn Shuster of Massively a bit in the video as in his walkthrough that was posted yesterday… he was all too happy to blow up other peoples creations. 

There have already been some pretty epic works of art destroyed by some idiot who would not suppress their inner poo flinging monkey long enough to appreciate what had been created.  While I realize this is a side effect of having a game with no rules yet, it still depresses me to see the world as Swiss cheese.  I am sure once the new patch has gone life I will do another quick video showing off what it added.  So stay tuned to my channel and I will post something up there as soon as it is available.

Quintessential Quintet

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Also last night I managed to push my paladin Exeter to 90 and with it came an achievement that I was not expecting.  Apparently Quintessential Quintet is a thing?  I cut an odd path on this one, by the time I left Jade Forest I was already 87 thanks to all the mining nodes.  From there I made a beeline for Kun Lai, and critpathed my way through the zone until I reached the quest chain that lead to Townlong.  Similarly in Townlong I quested my way through the Shadopan chain until I reached the jumping point for Dread Wastes.  All of which was to set myself up perfectly to be able to start working on Klaxxi quests as quickly as possible.

Why you might ask?  This is my blacksmith, and all the nifty things you can create seem to be on the Klaxxi vendor.  Namely I wanted to be able to start creating masterwork weapons for all my other characters as I get them to 90.  That seems to be the big weakness as it comes to the Timeless Isle content.  You can gear your alts up with 496 extremely rapidly, but you have a few glaring holes…  namely your weapons.  Also I seem to have a much harder time getting Curios for trinkets, and the neck/ring slots to drop on the Timeless Isle.  So as a result I have ended up spending a fair amount of time trying to remediate their gear just so I can be able to queue for something.

Timeless Isle is nifty, but I really miss the equivalent of the Icecrown 5 mans.  I wish there were heroics that I could run that actually provided something viable for filling out a set of gear.  I feel as though they should really have put in a new 5 man that dropped 496 weapons to go with all the gear they are handing out like candy.  Even with epics…  a crappy weapon is still a crappy weapon.  Right now my paladin for example is using the treasures of pandaria BOA one handed sword that you find on the ground.  Which is better than anything he has gotten yet, but at least being able to create the masterwork hammer will be something slightly better.  I think those are 463 ilvl which is essentially what the heroic gear is.

What Next?

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I have to say getting Exeter to 90 was a pretty cool thing.  He technically was the very first character I created, and my intended main.  For years my internet handle was “Exeter” and quite honestly “Belghast” was my main over in DAoC, and it was not until late in Vanilla that I started to play that character as a main.  All the while through vanilla my main was Lodin the hunter, and it was an almost accidental occurrence.  I had a death in the family that pulled me away from Warcraft a few weeks after the release of the game.  As a result I got rapidly outpaced by the rest of the guild, and back then soloing a Paladin was a truly painful experience.

Hunters were the gods of soloing, so I started leveling Lodin just to be able to keep up with my friends.  Within a very short amount of time I had caught up, and when we hit 60… I got drafted into the raid group of a guild member as they wanted to replace a troublesome hunter.  I had no intent to actually play a hunter as my main, and in truth I am not terribly suited for the class… but I did for almost all of Vanilla because it was my “Raid main”.  Once you start playing a character in a raid group you are pretty much committed to always play that character until they no longer need it.  The positive effect however is that I met so many life long friends through raiding, and that the Late Night Raiders hunters were all such amazing people.

As soon as Burning Crusade was released, I saw this as my opportunity to leapfrog Lodin in gear and start playing Belghast as my main.  That is the awesome thing about expansions, the gear reset lets you change your focus.  From that point until the tail end of Wrath of the Lich King, I was a warrior main tank.  It was not until I needed a break from the hot seat that I switched focus to the Deathknight and fell in love with it.  All of this time I felt horrible for leaving Lodin abandoned in the dustbin.  It was not until Cataclysm that I actually managed to level him out of the outlands.  During one of my last sessions playing I pushed him up to Pandaria levels, so I feel as though it is probably his time to shine again.  I pretty much permanently run around in Giantstalker transmog in honor of the fun times I had with him raiding during those early days of Vanilla WoW.

Nostalgia Won

Crackception

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That’s right… you are seeing the above image correctly.  That is two in game npcs in World of Warcraft playing Hearthstone.  The game that has caused such an upwelling of nostalgia… is being played in the game I am nostalgic about.  I feel as though they are missing an amazing opportunity here however.  If you could ACTUALLY play hearthstone inside of World of Warcraft, the same way you can play Legends of Norrath inside of Everquest 2… it would quickly become the ultimate piddling around waiting on someone experience.  I can remember how amazingly popular the bejeweled and peggle became as pre-raid activities and those were just addons.

It would be amazing if they wove hearthstone into every aspect of the game.  Peggle loot was a thing that existed, and while it took forever it was an extremely fun way to settle loot disputes.  Would be equally cool if you could do something like that with hearthstone.  However that would also be a sure fire way to derail the gameplay, but still an enjoyable one.  I guess the hearthstone game board feels all the more enjoyable… when you see it in a three dimensional table top version in the above screenshot.

Nostalgia Won

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The fact that you are now seeing fresh World of Warcraft shots on my blog means that I lost the battle with nostalgia.  I caved last night and renewed my account for a month so I could get in and satiate the urge to play that has been brought on by hearthstone.  I go into this knowing full well that this decision almost always ends up in tears of frustration, but I felt like it was something I needed to “get out of my system” nonetheless.  I have to say… once I got past the extreme awkwardness of seeing people I had not seen in years, that the overall gameplay was rather enjoyable.

I spent some time piddling around Timeless Isle and managed to find a chest with some purple shoulders in it.  Of course my friends immediately told me those were “not good”, but hell when I left the game I was still in blues.  I did not manage to stick around for much raiding at all in Panda-land so anything I could get was a massive upgrade for me.  I liked the concept of the timeless isle overall, the fact that you could get decent purple gear just by killing random stuff out in the world.  Additionally apparently there are lots and lots of chest out there that have the random chance of dropping something that can turn into a piece of gear like I found.

Similarly I had quite a bit of fun leveling Belghast.  For whatever reason post Wrath, Belghast has not really seen any action.  Right before the release of Panda-land I managed to push him up to 85 only to stable him again.  For whatever reason it feels somehow wrong to have Belghast NOT be at the level cap for an expansion.  Even though I pretty much transitioned to playing my Deathknight in Wrath, I would like to see him at least hit the cap here.  The game is always enjoyable when I still have quests to do, but once that slows down I am sure I will get bored with it yet again and wander off in another direction.  I know for certain that I am not back fully, because even if I end up landing for awhile… I will be gone once again when Elder Scrolls Online comes out.  Right now every game that is not ESO is just a placeholder.