Double Agent



I’ve reached this sorta happy place with World of Warcraft where I find myself alternating back and forth between it and Destiny 2 for how I spend most of my evenings.  Over the last month or so I had spent most of my pushing up my Orc Warrioress, and have now reached the point where I can no longer easily push her power level up by just doing World Quests.  As a result this caused a bit of an identity crisis over the Christmas break and lead me to pick another of my various horde characters to start working on.  Having not actually pushed up a Demon Hunter… and Legion being the expansion all about Illidari…  I figured it was high time to actually do this thing.  I started out leveling as Havoc like I had before on the Alliance side but promptly swapped over to Vengeance when I started missing tank survival.  It turns out that I really like Vengeance as a spec and you get to do a bunch of fun things…  sadly at the cost of your charge around the map ability.  The way shorter cooldown version of Heroic Leap in the form of Infernal Strike however makes up for the lack of the less predictable movement ability.  If nothing else the build allows me to do most of the World Questing with impunity and at some point I will actually try some dungeon tanking.


For the moment however when it comes to LFR, Heroics or Timewalking…  I have been swapping back to Havoc and just noobing it up.  This is the point where I have to step back from some of the commentary I made while leveling the warrior.  I was shocked and amazed at how chill the horde side of the house had been during my experiences…  but once I donned the mantle of the demon hunter…  and potentially as a side effect of the long holiday break…  all of the asshats seemed to come out of the woodwork.  Monday night I chain ran my five timewalking dungeons in a row… and all of the cool demeanor that I had originally attributed to the horde side melted away.  It became a night of gripes and wipes as I limped through my five instances and then walked away praising some dark god that my sanity was still intact.  I am still not entirely certain why my recent change in religion of sorts and swap to the horde, but I would have to think a lot of it has to do with simply wanting to hang out with my friends in Facepull.  As a result it has been this super chill place to hang out and have occasional comments about the game and life in general.  On a day by day basis I am feeling way less of a double agent and more leaning towards the Horde.  For years I never could seem to get into characters on that side of the fence and the only reason why I had a max level character during Warlords was because I boosted, this time around however I have the same number of Alliance characters as I do Horde and I am already plotting the next thing to level.  Side note…  Blood Elf demon hunters look way cooler than the damned floppy eared Night Elf equivalent.

Belghula Rising

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This week marks the last week of the Legion Invasion event, and with it goes the insane leveling elevator that many of us have ridden over and over.  At this point I have every slot on Argent Dawn Alliance filled with level 100 characters, and over the last bit of this week I have been pushing Belghula my female Orc Warlock on The Scryers.  Scryers is a linked realm with Argent Dawn and when that occurred I made the choice to roll a complete set of Hordies over there, so that I could hang out and play with friends I had other the other side of the server.  The Argent Dawn community has always been an odd one, and for a period of time we had a thriving official… and later unofficial server forum.  I still somewhat wish I had not killed the domain behind that forum, but at that time I thought I didn’t really want to be playing World of Warcraft anymore.  In any case I have a large community of horde friends that I love dearly, but never got to play with.  When I purchased Legion I ended up using my boost to create a level 100 Tauren Paladin and I even got to raid over there for a period of time…  until Sundays didn’t really work that well for me.  Now I am pushing up a second 100 to have a more balanced set of characters to play.  Something happened and I decided that I don’t mind casters… and even really like the Warlock so that ultimately is the one I have decided to push.

Last night during the podcast I managed to get her to level 95, so it should be relatively trivial to finish off and ding 100 today.  Similarly I have an Orc Deathknight waiting in the wings as well in the 60s… but I am not completely sure if I am going to push it hard or not.  I would like to at a minimum get it to 80 because the Cataclysm/Panda/Warlords grind seems much faster than getting a single character through Wrath of the Lich King.  I’ve talked about this in the past, but content design has changed a lot since Wrath and quest stacking was a much harder proposal back then than it is now.  By quest stacking I mean gathering up a bunch of quests related to a specific area and then burning through them all at once.  As far as the Cataclysm/Panda/Warlords grind… I feel like I have that one down to an artform jumping zones each time my adventure guide lights up telling me there is a new zone to jump to.  The most interesting thing about the whole experience however has been seeing how folks have broken the event over their knee and abused the hell out of the system.  The other day I talked a bit about the idea of resetting the event, but ultimately decided that it just made it a boring grind.  Some folks however have apparently taken this process to the extreme.

Last night I was sitting in the Crossroads minding my own business and working on the event, when someone broadcast a message across general talking about an Exp Grinding party.  They had auto invite scripts set up so that if someone typed 1 in chat it would throw out a raid invite.  The level of organization was impressive, even to the level of asking those of us who happened to have two seated mounts to use those and give rides to the players who were on foot or on slow land mounts.  From there we took a very specific route, killing what I feel was probably the optimal path through the mobs.  There were several times were we paused for a second to wait for the next mob in the sequence to spawn in… or when she went off to pull one that was within range to burn them down at the same time.  I cannot state how impressive this level of organization and cooperation from players actually ended up being.  She shouted the next target to general so that anyone else NOT in our raid could also reap the benefit.  The real coordination however was that when we finished phase three she told everyone to log out, and disbanded the party.  The idea being that when everyone logged back in they would potentially be in the same Stage 1 event.  I went ahead and finished out this event and moved to the next zone instead, but I have to marvel at how well that worked.  In truth I don’t want to really abuse this event, because doing it legitimately provides more than enough experience and loot for my tastes.  That said I guess this method probably works much faster and provides and endless supply of experience in one of the easier zones that the event is taking place.

Housing and Horde

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Worth It


One of the major stresses this year has been our house, and it has been several phases.  First there was the stress when we realized that the leak in the bedroom and the kitchen were due to the garbaged out wood siding.  Then there was the stress of trying to pick the right company and the right product.  Then of course the stress of waiting for them to finally get started…  we signed a contract in July and they didn’t actually start on anything until October.  Which lead to here was the stress of having strangers at our house over the course of three weeks, and quite literally just showing up to do the work with little notice.  Finally there is the stress looming over our heads of just how much it cost us, and trying to sort out how we are going to go about paying it all off.  However this weekend… I can finally say that it was probably worth it.  Once again we had a torrent of rain and even though we are still gun shy and kept checking the former leaks…  everything continued to perform like a champ.

Where the real “worth it” bit comes in though is the fact that we had a cold front blow in yesterday and as the day went on the house continued to hold its temperature to the point that even at 11pm it had not dropped enough to actually trigger the heater coming on.  The house is so much more insulated now and it is funny just how much of a difference that makes.  Previously our upstairs was painfully oppressive to be in during the winter months because the heater would be nearly constantly going, just to make it so that the downstairs was somewhere close to livable.  Now there are still variations between the two floors, but they are pretty minor.  The place it is most noticeable is in the Bedroom where it has always been the coldest room in the house.  While it is still not the warmest, it is largely comfortable in the mornings when I wake up… instead of having to make a mad dash to the shower to get some heat in me again.  So I have to say all in all… while it was stressful and involved a bit of financial pain… in the long run it is going to be well worth it.

Maybe I Should Heal

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One of the things I am thankful for is the fact that my Sunday night raid… is pretty chill.  Sure Drewie loses his shit when he doesn’t get a token drop, which is absolutely hilarious…  but overall people are more than happy to just show up… do the things that need to be done and walk away with loot.  My opinion right now is pretty high of the population horde side in general.  People seem really nice… like almost scary nice for being World of Warcraft.  I mean I would expect Nubzy and Facepull to be nice… or she would beat them into submission, but what I am talking about is horde players on our battle group in general.  The amount of random help that I have gotten out in the world, be it a buff or a heal… or simply a friendly wave has been pretty great.  Contrast this with my experience lately on Alliance which consists mostly of entitled ranting in dungeons, or the battleground that is tradechat.  I guess I can just see why folks can favor this side of the fence.

My problem in general with horde however is that other than the Tauren… I just don’t really like the racial options.  I’ve never been a “monstrous humanoid” type player to borrow the Dungeons and Dragons term.  I will say had the Horde gotten the Dark Iron Dwarves as a racial option… I would have converted years ago.  I think in order to play Horde for long I am going to have to get used to playing female characters… because while I really like Female Trolls and Undead…  I hate the male counter parts because of the hunch.  Similarly I think Female Orcs look way cooler than their male equivalents….  though I have to admit in the above photo Khariss looks badass in his Tier 5 set.  Mostly I am happy that Sunday nights is more than willing to let me pew pew pew or eventually move into a tanking role, because those are the things I care about.  However apparently I should have been a healer.  Since moving to the horde side I have been invited to no less than four different Heroic Hellfire Citadel groups…  pending I had a healing spec.  Everquest scarred me for life when it comes to healing… and from that point on… I have never really considered it a viable option for me to enjoy playing a game.  I wasn’t horrible at it… I just get insanely bored not hitting things in the face with a weapon.

More Stuff Than Time

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We’ve talked about this on the podcast some, but I think a large chunk of the magic of Final Fantasy XIV was simply the fact that we had so much content left to do.  As we whittled our way through it over the past year and a half, we eventually caught up to the point where we are now current with each additional patch.  That means once again we are waiting for content to get delivered, rather than having a huge backlog that we could be working through.  I think the reason why World of Warcraft is so compelling to me once again is that… right now I have this huge backlog of content to work through.  I am absolutely the “master of my domain” when it comes to the Alliance side of the house.  I have one of every crafter, and I can push up any character I choose… it is just the matter of dedicating the time to it.  Instead on the Horde side I have nothing…  well apart from a super supportive guild.  I am once again behind the curve and this has put the game in entirely new perspective for me.  I want to build my legacy on this side of the fence, and eventually reach a point of self sufficiency just like I have with my army of Alliance alts.

The problem is however that there are simply more things that I need/want to be doing than there are hours in the day.  Part of me keeps thinking… I will dedicated this day to working on alts, or this day to farming old content…. and instead I just end up working on content in Tanaan or trying to farm Valor to push up gear a little bit more.  All of it gives me this feeling that there is more to do than I could ever possibly do… and it is the same contented feeling that I had in Final Fantasy XIV.  When I have left World of Warcraft in the past, it is always because of the same thing.  I start poking holes in the game because I have quite literally run out of things I want to be doing.  Now I feel like I have this mission, and plenty of things that I want to be doing… and all it really took to reinvigorate me… was abandoning a decade worth of work.  I guess in a way this is like all of those times when I have stopped one Minecraft game, just to start a new one… because the old one had gotten stale.  The awesome thing about this is… that I still have every bit of work that I did over that decade…  just waiting on me anytime I want to visit it.  Which in truth I am regularly on my Alliance characters, I am just focused on catching up on the Horde side.


Hellfire and Horde

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Adulting Sucks

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

Unexpected Activity

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

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

Old School Feels

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

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