Catch Up Mechanics

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Last week I talked about it feeling like it was the end of the expansion in World of Warcraft, and in part that was due to the way that I am playing the game and focusing on alts.  However there is apparently another key way things are starting to feel like the end of the expansion, and that is catch up mechanics.  Now yesterday I posted about pushing through and dinging 110 the Legion expansion level cap on my Orc Deathknight.  I managed to find a couple of lucky grabs on the auction house including 3 cheap pieces of demonsteel at 835 item level and a cloak at 870 item level.  Other than those items however I managed to scrape together what is a reasonable item level to start going and doing stuff…  in a single nights time between a combination of world quests, legion invasions, and opening the broken shore.  When I first saw the Dauntless items I found them a little underwelming…  but that was on my already 890 main character.  The fact that you can start picking up 850+ items for 400 nethershards…  when I walked into the Broken Shore with roughly 4000 of them…  allowed me to really flesh out those missing gear slots.  The only negative there is that the rings and trinkets are both “Unique Equipped” which were sadly the two slots I needed the most.  Thankfully during the invasion event last night I managed to pick up a second ring at 840, taking my item level to the point where I could apparently start queuing for Looking for Raid.

Now I am not sure what the item level breaks are for the various LFR segments… but I was honestly shocked to find out that I could queue for Nighthold without having done anything in Emerald Nightmare or Trials of Valor.  Before heading to bed I did the first part of Nighthold and picked up an 860 necklace and an 860 artifact.  So other than a few strategic grabs from the auction house…  I managed to pick up everything else I needed to gear a character in a single night.  I am now sitting at 846 item level… and will probably finish doing the rest of LFR tonight hoping to pick up a few more pieces.  I also need to start running dungeons so that I can complete the Death Knight Order Hall sequence…  and during the day today the final missions that I need to run should be finished.  I guess while sitting on a higher level character I didn’t notice just how quick the item level ramps up, but while out roaming the world on a brand new character it is extremely noticeable.  It definitely seems the end of expansion catch up mechanics are in full effect, as the game attempts to usher you closer and closer to that 900ish item level.  I still have yet to get a Legendary, but in truth I have only been trying to two nights now.  I also need to research how exactly to get the alternate artifact appearances, because while I am not expecting to go crazy and start farming for them like I did on my Warrior and Paladin…  I do however don’t want to miss easy opportunities when they come up.

The other interesting thing I am noticing… is that playing Horde on a server cluster where the Alliance greatly out numbers you…  leads to some interesting interactions with other players of the same faction.  The two items I got from LFR I was functionally handed by other players who were offering them to me.  Also while out in the world on Broken Shore especially…  the horde seems to do the same sort of thing that I do in open world zones on my warrior.  That is help random players.  There are a lot of cases where I was straight getting wrecked and another player ran up and started attacking the same mobs to help me push through them faster.  Up to this point I really haven’t had much in the way of communication, so maybe I am just reading intent into their actions where it really isn’t there.  Just saying so far it has not been a horrible experience, and at least the public channels are not clogged with madness the way they are Alliance side.  I still have a significant problem with the Horde in general…  not from a factional standpoint but from the standpoint that “bestial humanoid” is not really the sort of thing that I flock to in games.  However Orc seems to be a happy medium for me, and I’ve come to this realization pretty much any time I play one.  Every other Horde race and I have significant issues.  The Tauren are just too big and feel lumbering and slow.  The undead and trolls… I cannot get past the hunched posture… or the tusks…  or the missing bits of armor.  Bloodelves have the problem of being the most elvish elves ever…  and if you have been around my blog for long you know my distaste for all things elf.  The goblins in theory are an option….  but they sorta end up being played for comic relief much in the same way that gnomes do that that annoys me.  The Horde really missed their opportunity to make a lifetime member of me when they failed to somehow recruit the Dark Iron Dwarves.  For the moment however I am largely okay with being a blue green guy with a Mowhawk and Mutton Chops.

Deathlord Rises

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For those not in the United States… apologies for taking yesterday off from the blog.  I had an insanely busy weekend, and it was about half way through yesterday that I finally realized that it was in fact a Monday…  and not a Sunday.  Extended holiday weekends always feel a little odd, because it just seemed like I had two different Saturdays.  One of the Saturdays we went to Oklahoma City in a whirlwind trip to hit the three Half Priced Books they have…  in an attempt to get there and back before the tornadic storms hit that evening.  Thankfully for the most part all we got was some rain…  and not the grapefruit sized hail that they had been warning us about.  Then Saturday number two…  aka Sunday…  we spent the day deep cleaning the house and working in the backyard.  I once again have flower babies, that are going to need to be watered in a few minutes whenever I finish this post.  I am going to give them some time to acclimatize to the back yard before taking any photos.  Additionally right now our pool is a lovely shade of green because we are fighting an algae bloom…  so hoping that clears up as well before I snap some photos.  Then of course yesterday was me hanging out and doing nearly two weeks worth of laundry…  because we were lazy as hell last weekend.  I wound up going to sleep around 9:30 last night instead of the usual midnight…  because maybe the crazy weekend was catching up with me.

In gaming news… I played a silly amount of World of Warcraft.  Like I am not really certain what is going on but much like Grace I find myself in a mini renaissance with the game.  It is funny how when I didn’t have flight I didn’t think I really missed it.  I have always been one of those people who espouse the philosophy that not having flying during the early days of an expansion is a better thing.  It forces us to get down in the weeds and not to skip quite as much content.  That said… it is funny just how much more enjoyable the game has been since I could zip around wherever I wanted to go.  I had zero desire to play alts prior to getting the Legion Pathfinder achievement and flight…  and suddenly afterwards its like the skies have opened to a whole new day.  I had mentioned before that I am now working on my first 100+ hordie and choosing to do it on this low population server that Grace has the majority of her horde characters on.  That in itself has been an interesting experience.  The challenges have been that there simply are not that many people out in the world so when you encounter something you cannot solo… it might be a bit before another player happens to wander along.  The benefit however is that there are always plenty of ore nodes to mine and I figure when I start Broken Shore I will have zero issue finding treasure chests.  I figure if I am going to stick around for long… I will have to at least level my tanking weapon so I can solo things a bit easier.

For the moment however I am loving being an Unholy Death Knight.  Last night I managed to get about halfway to 109, which I hope means that I can push across the finish line to 110 tonight and begin properly gearing my character.  I am completely caught up in the Order Hall quest line, and to the point where I have to be 110 to get the next step.  I am sorta fast tracking my way through Stormheim at the moment, and if need be I will do the same in High Mountain.  Years ago I compiled a list of the order in which you should do SWTOR planets and bonus series in order to get the most bang for your buck…  and if I am going to do more alts I feel like I need to come up with the same sort of thing for classes and the order hall campaign.  Grace has a good idea in that she waits to do the order hall dungeon steps until she has opened up that zones quest as well.  Had I done this… that would have meant starting Highmountain First and not Azsuna like I usually do.  As I have a mountain of alts still to level it would be nice to have some sort of a guide to go off of… and most of this information is available through a series of other sites…  but not really written out as plainly as I would have liked.  So that might be a little bit of homework going forward.  I know that when Stormblood hits I am going to lose a lot of my gusto in World of Warcraft, so I guess in a way I am trying to get the most out of this moment.

Side Note:  You should totally check out our AggroChat where we talk about the May game of the month Wolfenstein New Order

 

Treadblades and Grenades

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A good chunk of this weekend was about me riding the high that was the Destiny 2 gameplay reveal panel.  I wrote about my feelings Friday, but I am still extremely hyped.  What I find interesting is that there are some hardcore Destiny players that walked away disillusioned by the announcement.  For me I largely wanted them to take the same Destiny mechanics that I love and apply them to a much more open world.  From the sounds of it that is precisely what we are getting.  However it seems like the competitive PVP scene walked away frustrated, because they were expecting ladder brackets and things like that to support their specific play style.  While I love the Crucible, I am anything but serious when I play it…  and as a result I largely am okay with a more casual PVP focus.  What is funny about this is that it is the same community that got super frustrated when they were only being matched against similarly skilled players, and have been the biggest proponents of moving away from skill based matchmaking.  I can at least see one of their complaints, which is largely that they were expecting the game to move to a server/client structure rather than the peer to peer setup that we have today.  I feel like the currently crucible matchmaking algorithm does a decent job of weeding out the “redbars”, and it has been a really long time since I have been in a match with more than one of them.  That could however be based on the fact that I am living in the center of the United States and have solid pings to either coast though.

What all the Destiny love created however is a strong desire to play the game I currently have my hands on.  Over the weekend I spent a good deal of time upstairs playing around, and picked back up my Xbox One character since it allowed me to experience the full circuit of Destiny emotions.  All of my PSN characters are comfortably at 400 light, and all I am really doing there is upgrading additional gear to that level.  So there is a missing chunk of the experience… the brief joy of seeing a higher light level item that you can then use to infuse into your gear.  So as a result I opted to spend most of the weekend playing my now 378 Titan.  On PSN however I did spend a bit of time working on achievements, and that meant a lot of chain running of SIVA Crisis Strikes for the purpose of trying to get super kills.  This also meant rocking my Bad Juju, because for me at least it seems to be a much better super energy magnet than the Zhalo Supercell.  I think right now I am 5 super streaks away from finishing up one book, and then I can start in earnest on the modern Age of Triumph book.  I am still a little bummed that they came out and dashed my hopes of “cross save” functionality between the various client versions.  I would have happily purchased Destiny 2 for all available platforms if this actually happened.

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On the World of Warcraft front, I indulged in something I had been wanting to for awhile.  With the recent spike in token prices I opted to purchase one and it sold for roughly 130,000 gold.  I then took that gold and purchased the Champion’s Treadblade… which I always thought was a way cooler design than the Warlord’s Deathwheel.  This also jarred me off center in being less of a lazy engineer.  I never actually got around to crafting the original Mekgineer’s Chopper.  It was one of those things I always intended to do… but never wanted to spend the money on.  functionally no matter how much faction discount you have the end result is always going to be 12,000 gold worth of parts.  I used this influx of cash from the token however to serve as a reason to go ahead and finish this off.  I happened to have pretty much everything else needed to craft it laying around on various alts, so it was simply a matter of flying out to Storm Peaks and buying the few vendor items.

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The last major event of the weekend is that I finally decided what to use my character boost on.  I have not really touched much of anything this expansion on the Horde side.  My friend Grace has reverted back to her Horde ways, and as a result I figured I should probably have at least one character that I like to be able to play with her.  As a result I took the Deathknight that I rolled on her server and boosted it to 100, and started leveling it last night.  The thing that I didn’t realize about the 100 boost… is just how lousy the gear is that they give you.  I remember I started Legion sitting in mostly 710 gear on my characters from the pre-launch invasion events.  My newly boosted Unholy Deathknight was equipped in a full set of 640 gear…  which if I remember correctly was the required level to queue for heroics in Warlords of Draenor.  As a result this is the first character I have taken to the Broken Shores invasion scenario that I actually had trouble surviving.  I died about four times during this invasion…  but that also could simply be because this late in the expansion there was only one other player actually doing it.  Whatever the case I clawed my way up from the frustrating gear level and am making progress in Azsuna.

Darth Scrapheap

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

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

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

Space Diablo

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

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

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

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

Working Weekend

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

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

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

 

Unintended Stealth

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

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

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

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

Karazhan Clear

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This weekend was a bit of an odd one, namely because of the extended holiday granted by veterans day.  It is also odd because it felt strange to go so long without a post after the recent outage in my blog.  Most everything is working as intended, but for whatever reason on the new hardware there is an artificially low upload limit which is causing me to have to shrink my images for a bit until I have that sorted out.  In truth I doubt most people will really notice that much given that my theme tended to scale them down a bit anyways.  The only real annoyance is I actually have to play which images I am going to use and shrink them down beforehand.  As far as gaming went I was all over the place… playing copious amounts of Destiny, World of Warcraft and even a little Guild Wars 2.  I also started Diablo II the December game of the month, in honor of the 20th anniversary.  The strangest thing about going back and playing that game is… just how amazingly well it still holds up.  Maybe I am viewing it through the haze of nostalgia… but other than some dodgy animations it mostly just “works”.  Sure I miss some of the more interesting abilities that Diablo 3 added in, but it is also making me appreciate the game we have more.  So instead of going on about a whole slew of topics, I am largely going to focus in on World of Warcraft.  Firstly on a crazy whim I decided to de-Worganize Belgrave my Deathknight.  He started out as a human and the more I played him in Worgen form the more I was annoyed at how small in general two-handers look on that model.  Both my Artifacts for Blood and Unholy felt like I was swinging a one-hander which just felt “wrong”.  Along with this shift however I managed to get into the groove of the Deathknight and in theory that is probably going to be my next 110.  While I need the rogue and the alchemy it provides…  I just struggle to get into a would be stealthy class.

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The core of this mornings post however is about Karazhan.  We managed to miss the first week because we were juggling trying to get attuned, with raiding and all sorts of other things… that by the time Sunday rolled around we didn’t have a permanent 5th player.  After we snagged Kylana we went in on week two and managed to make a significant amount of progress getting six of the eight bosses.  We made an attempt to pull together last Monday but scheduling conflicted with us as it was Ashgar’s On Call week.  From there we largely plotted our revenge throughout the week and in truth I was more amped about popping into Kara than I was about our super smooth clear of Emerald Nightmare.  I’ve talked before about that this is essentially what World of Warcraft was missing for me…  a tight group experience for a fixed limited number of players.  After Zul’Aman there really didn’t seem to exist a similar experience, and while 10 player raiding was essentially that… it just felt different.  Raiding feels like raiding no matter how many people you bring, and while I probably had more fun during wrath in the 10 player group…  it didn’t feel significantly different than the 25 player version I was already running regularly.  Doing both 10 and 25 watered down the experience, so that by the time we killed the Lich King on 25… it felt like old hat already since we had done it months earlier in the as a 10.  It also served to make me that much more frustrated when players seemed to struggle to grasp the mechanics… since they were exactly like the version I already knew like the back of my hand.

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What Karazhan provides more than anything else… is a unique experience that fits within certain confines.  This week we managed to clear significantly faster, but still a little bit behind the time we would need for a Nightbane run.  By the time we hit Opera we still had around two minutes and thirty seconds on the timer…  but the RP dialog before the event actually starts ate up roughly a minute of that time.  Essentially if we are going to do this we need to be chain pulling the place, and at some point I hope to get there.  For the time being however we have been working on getting stable kills.  Moroes was still a pain in the ass that we BARELY pushed across the finish line…  but a oneshot is a oneshot so we were happy with that.  We struggled a bit on a few other fights but at the 1 hour mark we were sitting halfway through the raid.  We made it up to the Mana Devourer and took a handful of tries before we managed to defeat it and start moving onto the final boss.  I am not going to lie here… it took us a solid hour of attempts on Viz’aduum the Watcher because that fight is less about damage output… and more about trying to time all of these stupid things from happening at the worst possible time…. while avoiding as much damage as is humanly possible.  This is absolutely the sort of fight where you can just end up getting screwed by RNG, and it reminds me of the stark difference between FFXIV raid design and WoW raid design.  The encounter as a whole has as many moving parts as Coil Turn 9 for example… but it is far more RNG dependent and far less successfully messaged.  However all of that said… we managed to finally get a good attempt where the stars shined upon us and managed to get our guilds very first clear of Karazhan.  Now just to speed up the process and get us a Nightbane as well.

Setting Priorities

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Return of the Deathknight

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I’ve already talked at length about how we know without a doubt that Gladiator will be dying with the launch of Legion.  As a result this will greatly hamper my enjoyment as a Warrior since in truth I have never really liked Fury or Arms that much.  Sure I could go back to tanking full time… and that would be pretty awesome…  but my prospects for returning to a main tanking role are not entirely that great.  I mostly shifted to DPS so that if I missed a night… it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  Missing a night as one of the primary tanks however…  that is a big deal and causes great hardship on whatever raid you are part of.  That said…  everything I am hearing about Blood Deathknights is telling me that they are returning to the awesome feel they had before Warlords turned them into finger wigglers.  I mean there are lots of people that don’t get my complaints about the class… but having a lot of caster animation abilities in your standard rotation ended up making them feel less of a big sturdy melee class.  I mean I play Blood when I need to survive, especially while questing on Tanaan but I pretty much hate every moment of it.  The class has always been tied to that spec for me.. and even before it became the main tanking tree…  I was a blood Death Knight.

Granted there were times I flirted with Unholy for DPS, and Dual Wield Frost for Tanking…. but in each of those times…  Blood was still my other spec, the one I never got rid of because it just felt awesome.  With it returning to glory, I have to say I am kinda excited about dusting off Belgrave again.  The problem being as you can see above… he is wearing this horrible mishmash of whatever gear I happened to find along the way.  So one of my goals over the coming weeks is to get him as geared out as I can given the meager scraps he has access to through Hellfire LFR, Kazzak, and Tanaan jungle drops.  I figure whatever effort I put into gearing him now… will only serve to make him easier to level in Legion.  I am still not giving up hope completely on getting in Alpha, because there is honestly just a bunch of stuff that I want to test out.  However in the meantime there is a bunch I can do to improve his status in life, and some of that might even mean pugging a normal Hellfire raid at some point.  The thought of that scares the shit out of me, but if nothing else… I want to get to a point where I could survive tanking a Mythic Dungeon.

The Hunter

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The second goal is to find some time and get Lodin my hunter through the Shipyard quest and unlock that part of the garrison.  There is an absolute certainty that when Legion comes out… I will be switching him to Survival hunter and never looking back.  My main character in Everquest was a cleric, but my primary alt… was a Ranger…  a dual wielding melee ranger.  So when World of Warcraft was released, I absolutely tried to make Hunter into a melee ranger class.  I’ve posted plenty of screen shots of me “tanking” early dungeons as a Hunter, and to be honest… when I found out that the class was never going to be viable as melee…  I lost interest in it as my main.  Other circumstances however lead me to raid as it in Vanilla… which by default turned it into my raid main.  However from the moment I had to abandon survival and hitting things with big two handed weapons…  the class just wasn’t for me.  Now I have played it off and on since then, and I really enjoy Beast Mastery and the aspect of taming interesting creatures to fight for me.  But the player fantasy of being a badass ranged character… has never been one that I shared.  In preparation for my eventual spear wielding days as Survival, I want to spend some time gearing up Lodin and getting him ready for the expansion.  Right now he has a pitiful smattering of gear out of gear from Highmaul, augmented with a handful of Baleful shipyard drops.  It is my hope to get him into fighting shape soon, or enough of a shape to be able to survive farming Tanaan.  Right now however…  he is sub 640…  which greatly limits my options.

The Dwarflock

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The other character that has been calling my name lately is my Dwarf Warlock Belganon.  He is currently somewhere in Northrend in the mid 70s, and represents one of only two characters Alliance side that are sub level 90 and that do not already have a Garrison.  It is my hope to push him up, because of all of the finger wigglers… the one I am most likely to play is the Warlock.  I feel like the lessons that I learned playing an Arcanist/Summoner in Final Fantasy XIV will absolutely make me a better warlock player.  I’ve always leaned heavily towards Demonology… because just like Beast Mastery…. they have the really awesome pets.  Especially now that all of the Warlock pets have been updated with higher quality Warlords/Legion era models, I think its time to revisit the class and see if it works for me.  I will never likely main a caster of any sort, but from time to time I have fun playing them.  If I can manage to get this guy up… that just leaves the Monk…  which I have admittedly struggled with.  In both cases I am kinda hoping to be able to dungeon most of my way to maximum level.

Mecha Belgrave

Mecha Belgrave

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One of my big goals over the last few days was to get both Tallow and Belgrave through all four parts of Siege of Orgrimmar LFR.  Both of them could use gear out of there, and instead of piece-meal like before, I wanted to clear all of the bosses during this reset.  The other day I talked about how much success I had with Tallow in that he got both a mainhand and offhand weapon and two pieces of tier 16.  Yesterday I may have just blown that completely out of the water.  Previously on Belgrave I had gotten a shoulder drop, but was not using them as I had slightly better shoulders from flex.  Christmas day when I got home that evening, I popped into LFR and it inspired yesterdays topic on a social justice system.

However even though it had some frustration I managed to get Garrosh to drop two of the tokens that could be turned into any set piece.  I used those to give myself the tier 16 chest and legs, and then yesterday Nazgrim graced me with dropping the gloves token.  Just like that over the course of two days my Deathknight is wearing nearly a full set of tier 16.  I already had a helmet with the same graphic so for all intents and purposes I have a complete visual set.  I am really not sure what I think about the set, because honestly it feels a little out of place for being a Deathknight set.  Where are all the skulls?

Instead of being straight out of a deathmetal video…  I guess I am fresh from some manga?  I need to find a similarly mecha inspired two hander to go with it.  Thinking about maybe one of the ones from Ulduar… like Abaddon from Yogg Saron.  I am sure if I try hard enough I can find something suiting the look and feel of it.  Maybe it is just that it looks goofy on a worgen.  I remember seeing this in most of Qelric’s videos, and on her character it does not look half bad at all.  I feel that is the problem with most bestial races… the armor either looks really amazing or really awful.

Graduating the Cataclysm

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After finishing my tour of Siege of Orgrimmar for the week, I hopped over on Gloam and started working on him again.  I guess in a way for the good of the various raids I have been participating in… I felt like I needed to try and gear both Belgrave and Tallow.  In both cases I did very much so, and I figured I could take a break from LFR to work on my little rogue.  I managed to push him last night from 83 to 85 and finish off his Cataclysm era Alchemy.  I figure at some point soon I will farm up mass amounts of Pandaria materials and push him up in level to 600, but for now I am working on the leveling portion.  I would really like to find a pair of Fists of Fate to level him to 90 with, however there have been absolutely none of the auction house of late.  These carried my enhancement shaman all the way to 90, and I was still using them when I got my first epic weapon drop.

Instead in the mean time I guess I will make a pair of Ghost-Forged blades, which are not nearly as nice but should give me a decent boost through the Pandaria content.  The only problem is each takes 2 Spirits of Harmony, which are bind on pickup.  This means I will be out farming something that gives Black Prince reputation trying to collect four of them on my Paladin.  For whatever reason the characters that need them, cannot get them to drop… whereas the characters that have literally NO use for them like my Inscriptionist has 200.  This gives me a good excuse to get him to honored with the Black Prince, which is a normally tedious task.  I did however make a complete set of leather gear on my leatherworker so as soon as the blades are acquired I can begin my push to 90.

Onwards to Joplin

Needing to wrap up quickly this morning as we have a bunch of running around to do.  We are going to be running up to Joplin for a bit to check things out there.  I didn’t figure I would get time to do a blog post, but after showering and getting ready I decided to try and rush one through.  I had no clue what time we would be getting home, and after a day of running around the last thing I want to be is creative.  Hopefully you all had a great Christmas, and hopefully the loot gods have been smiling on you as well.