Super Grape Stomper

Silent Observers

So far the issue of Wildstar Attunements has been a fairly polarizing one in the community as a whole.  So when I posted my write-up yesterday about why I didn’t think they were a horrible thing… I expected it also to be polarizing.  If you look at my statistics for the day, that single post got more unique viewers than anything else by a large margin.  However surprisingly even though it got forwarded quite a bit, I really didn’t end up with much commentary.  I expected someone out there to tell me how wrong I am, but that surprisingly didn’t happen.  I had a friend send me a private message about it however, thanking me for keeping my post “fair” and not adding to the vitriol.

So is it because I approached the post from a calm place talking about my own experiences with bad attunement systems that folks didn’t have the knee jerk reaction to tell me how horrible I was?  I am not so deluded to think that the majority of folks actually agreed with me.  One of the things I see sometimes in the blogosphere is when one blogger posts about another, telling them just how wrong they are.  I’ve done a few of these during my early days of blogging, but it really is not the type of thing I am interested in any more.  There is more than enough negativity out there, that I really don’t need to add my own.  I really hope that I can be a positive voice and talk about the good in things more than dwell upon the bad.  Ultimately I appreciate every voice, even the ones I don’t agree with.

Super Grape Stomper

WildStar64 2014-06-11 06-13-44-239 One of my favorite things in Wildstar is one that has surprised me.  I normally have this odd relationship with mini-games in MMOs, and generally try to avoid them.  However when I put the Moonshiners Cabin in my skyplot, I found the “This Aint No Bathtub Hooch” challenge to be insanely fun.  Most of the housing challenges can be completed every 30 minutes, and often times I will stomp grapes to make moonshine four for five times a night.  In part it is the rewards, or at least my attempt to collect all of them.  The high end reward is the purple quality bed I wrote about the other day, which is cool but I already have one.  The common rewards are either a neon beer sign or 150 reknown, and the rewards I am currently going after is the dye chest.  It contains within it one of five random dyes, and I believe I only have three of the five currently.  As a result I complete this quest over and over trying to get the last ones.

WildStar64 2014-06-11 06-15-09-102 As a side effect I have a truly silly number of beer signs, and I am basically covering the side of my ship in them.  I am not sure if they are tradeable, but if you need beer signs… I am your man.  The funny thing about it is there is zero market for them, because the Moonshiners Cabin is pretty much constructable by anyone who chooses to plunk down the gold it takes to build it.  The question is… will I still care about it once I have collected all of the dyes available.  It is a fairly easy and fun way to farm reknown, but I am just not sure if it is worth paying the weekly upkeep.  That is the dirty secret that no one really talks about in the housing system.  These cool things we can place, have to be repaired weekly to keep functioning.  So far all of the ones I have placed have had a 1 gold repair cost, which at this point is still a fairly significant amount of money.  So I have a feeling many of my things… including the crystal jumping puzzle will go away at the end of this week.  My mission however is to find the upgrade to my mining plot, because that is one of those things I have found massively useful.

Return to Cyrodil

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As much as I have loved my time spent in Wildstar, I do feel bad that I have been horribly neglecting Elder Scrolls Online.  Wildstar is the new shiny, and as a result is getting my attention as I have a strong desire to level and get all the shiny baubles that come with it.  However this really doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of Elder Scrolls Online, because the games literally could not be any more different.  Things is I enjoy both immensely and hope to continue playing them both for some time.  As a result I am really looking forward to tonight.  For some time we have had these semi-regular “Faff about in Cyrodil” nights, and after taking last week off I am ready to get back into the swing of things.  The event should give me the focus to sit down and really enjoy Elder Scrolls for an evening.  I am not sure exactly what we will do yet, but I had a ton of fun at that Nord town we stumbled across with the Dark Anchor, so if nothing else I would love to head back out there.

Playing Wildstar and Elder Scrolls at the same time is an odd contrast.  The one failing of ESO, is that it is extremely hard to group with other players.  I really hope this is something they address in future updates because the game is in desperate need of better social systems to allow players to do content other than Cyrodil together.  Ultimately we do it…  only because that is what we CAN do as a large group.  Without a mentoring system, we are pretty much limited to PVP content because it allows multiple levels to blend together and get bolstered up to level 50.  I am mostly a soloist when it comes to questing, but the various folks who have tried to quest as a pair have found it extremely difficult to stay in sync while leveling.  It has mostly worked for the folks that are always on at the same time, but for those who are not…  if the partner gets even the slightest bit ahead it becomes extremely difficult for the other player to catch up.

After seeing how cleanly a game can manage disparate levels grouping together, my hope is that Elder Scrolls adds in some functionality for this.  The game is awesome, but other than PVP it is a largely single player experience.  That said the game does have some of the most enjoyable dungeons I have experienced, but I wish they had taken a queue from Final Fantasy XIV and simply scaled players down to the dungeons level.  After seeing this work in Wildstar I am shifting to the opinion that this is the way all dungeons should work.  A dungeon should have a fixed level and it scales the player to that level for the purpose of the content.  Sure give the players rewards for their own level…  but scaling down blows away some of the problem with “out leveling” content, and makes it easier to help guildies out when the content has “grayed out” for you.

Elder Scrolls Online

As stated above I will be playing Elder Scrolls Online and if you are Daggerfall Covenant I invite you to join in the fun regardless if you are in the guild or not.  The plan is we will meet up at Northern High Rock Gate in Cyrodil around 8:30 CST.  The guild is aligned to Wabbajack, and if we can manage to get people through the queue, it would be awesome to actually do this event on that campaign.  The fallback to this point has been Volendrung, and I hope to be online early to try and assess the feasibility of Wabbajack for the evening.  From there we will pick an objective for the night and wander off into the Cyrodil countryside in search of mayhem.  If you are not a member of the guild, just add @Belghast and we can get you into the fray.

#Wildstar #ElderScrollsOnline

Date with Dragons

Feeding Tradeskills

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Last night was a prime night for faffing.  I started the evening by doing my semi-regular ghost iron farming run to feed my daily cooldowns on my blacksmith, engineer and transmuter.  I have figured out that it is just simply easier to farm up a bunch of ghost iron and then turn around the transmute it to trillium than trying to play the mining lottery to get equal amounts of black and white trillium.  In about 15-20 minutes I can farm up a big stack of ore and then funnel that off to each of the professions so I can do my daily crafts.  Right now I am funneling all these resources towards two things.  Firstly I am stockpiling materials so that I can make myself a Sky Golem, which when I saw it I knew I had to have one.

Secondly I am stockpiling the rare smithing material in order to make the tanky belt… the only problem is I have yet to unlock the tanky belt through the daily crafts.  As a result I have more than enough Balanced Trillium Ingot’s to make one, but I figure I can use items for all of my melee characters.  So this becomes a daily disappointment as I log in and craft an ingot only to see that I did not yet learn the Protector’s Trillium Waistguard.  I could craft the legs, but that would currently break up my four piece set bonus…  so that is not a thing I am willing to do just yet.

Date with Dragons

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Once I finished with my tradeskills I worked my way through the daily Netherwing quests.  Curently I am a good way into revered so here is hoping by the end of the week I will be zipping around on a new flight of Netherwing drakes.  Honestly I am mostly doing this for the fact that it adds 6 mounts to my grand total, and less that I actually think I will use one of the drakes.  Back in the day I never did the quest chain because I thought they looked goofy.  For whatever reason I cannot look at a Netherwing drake without thinking of a shark because of the way their nose is shaped.  Right now my absolute favorite dragon seems to be the one I picked up from Stonecore.  To be honest farming up the Vitreous Stone Drake was far easier than I could have imagined, since it drops on normal mode.

I finished off the night running Onyxia a few times, with no luck on getting that mount, and then popped into Blackwing Lair with a friend.  While I really like the blue judgment set that came from the opening of Wrath of the Lich King event… I would still like to own a full set of the original Judgment.  As a result I have been clearing Blackwing Lair weekly trying for the various visual pieces.  So far I only have the chest and shoulders, but that doesn’t leave that many visual pieces left, one of which I will hopefully get from Onyxia.  Mostly since my paladin is now a Dranei, and boots no longer show up…  I am mostly trying for the gloves.  While I got no judgment, I did manage to get my mage friend robes and shoulders for his set.

Zoning Out

I am guessing that I did not get a very good nights sleep last night, because as I sit here writing this mornings post I find myself constantly zoning out.  I can seem to only manage a paragraph before my mind starts wandering again.  As a result I think I am going to cut this off here a bit abruptly.  I am still feeling a bit under the weather and yesterday it felt like maybe I pushed myself a little too far.   I went through a flurry of activity when I got home, and crashed in my recliner shortly after and was pretty much useless the rest of the night.  I was offered spots on two different raids last night, and I ended up turning both down because I just didn’t feel like I could give vaguely close to my normal effort.  I feel like I made the right choice, but hopefully I did not put off the people who offered me a spot from future offerings.

Bad Luck Tokens

Feel Bad Inc


This morning I am feeling like absolute crap.  Last night was one of those nights where I just could not get into playing anything.  I cycled through a bunch of different games, none of them holding my attention enough to keep up with it for long.  I am not sure if I am actually “sick” or just that my lungs are not in the best shape.  On the lung front it seems to be several things adding up at once.  Firstly it is breathing all of this cold dry air coming with the recent cold snap.  Secondly everyone seems to be smoking in the parking garage… which if I smoked I likely would as well…  but this creates a hanging cloud of death that I have to walk through every morning.  Smoke is a nuisance to most people but to a severe asthmatic it keeps me from breathing.  Each time I get a whiff of it, I can literally feel my lungs tightening.

Lastly the other night we were trying to clean up a mess and I had to help my wife empty the vacuum bin.  The dust managed to get clogged up and she had to work really hard with it to free the jam.  As a result this plume of dust came up from the container and while I tried my best not to breathe… I ended up breathing some in anyways.  As a result this triple whammy has lead to my lungs trying to close shop on me.  Severe Asthma sucks, it really does.  While it is better than it has been in years, there is always a chain of events that brings me to my knees and simply unable to function.  What sucks about it the most is that Friday I have a huge presentation to give, so I have to somehow manage to get better enough to be clear and understandable without gasping for air.

Bad Luck Tokens


One of the things that happens for everyone at least one time during raiding is that the loot gods frown upon you… for an extended period of time.  For me lately this has been in the form of zero weapon drops for my various alts.  Yesterday at one point I was talking to a good friend of mine and he said he had been waiting on a trinket to drop for three months.  Similarly I can remember running Karazhan for almost a year and never once seeing the necklace of Maiden of Virtue.  During the middle of our discussion a “wouldn’t it be cool” thing happened.  I do not believe that it is the intent of any game designer for RNG to wreck gear progression.  No one in their right mind would ever intend players to simply not ever get the items they need.

The idea arose… that what would happen if you got bad luck tokens.  This of course is just a name we came up for them, but you could call them any spiffy thing you want.  The idea is that if you entered a dungeon and got no loot drops that you would end up with a special token, potentially mailed to you after the dungeon run.  If you save up enough of these… and it would be a large quantity like 50 or so you could turn in your tokens to a special vendor for any one piece of gear “within reason”.  Of course this would be standard drops, and nothing akin to a legendary or anything of the sort… though my old world raid would have disagreed with you considering we ran Molten Core for damned near three years never seeing a single binding.

The basic idea is to create a route to the item even if your luck is absolutely horrible.  That through sheer diligence and determination you could still get it.  Granted the details are a bit fuzzy, but back in the day we used to have a thing called the “bitterness pool”, I am not really remembering the full details to be honest because this was something we did back in vanilla.  Essentially each player hunting for something rare would chip in some gold every week.  At the end of the raid week anyone who did not get their declared item to drop would get a share of the pot.  If you did get your drop your money went to soothe the pains of those who didn’t.  It was funny and some people made quite a bit of money from the pool… especially those seeking the Drake Fang Talisman.  But at the end of the day the pool got them no closer to getting what they actually wanted… that elusive item.

Late to the Party


When it comes to killing things… I seem to be able to do that for hours upon end without ever really getting bored of it.  However when it comes to daily quests or similar reputation farming activities…  I usually can’t seem to make myself do it.  During Burning Crusade I successfully farmed up a bunch of factions, but one of the ones that had always eluded me was the Netherwing.  There was just so much competition for the eggs, and at the time I simply could not be bothered to give up large blocks of my time working on it.  Last night however… I really didn’t feel like doing much of anything, so as a result this seemed like a useful thing I could be working towards.  The problem with Belghast, the character I was originally working on this with is that he was not a harvester, and being able to harvest the herbs and mine the ore was a quick and easy way to get a faction boost.

Last night I managed to go from neutral to friendly and put a decent dent in that.  I need to do some more research to see if there is an easy faction guide to pushing through this.  I mostly just want the netherdrake mounts for the total count, since there are a lot of them that you can get.  I have never really been a fan of the look of them, and as a result that is partially what kept me from farming up the faction.  Oddly enough I did Skyguard, which has the even weirder manta ray thing mount…  but I proudly rode that all through BC.  Additionally I need to see if there is an addon of mapnotes for the various egg spawn locations.  That seems like it will be the fastest route to the faction, to keep doing the egg turn ins.  Hopefully I will have the patience to keep doing this even when I am not feeling like crap.

Faffing Pays Off



As part of my return to the leadership of House Stalwart, there is a ton of base level clean-up that I need to do.  One of the first pieces I decided to tackle was shifting any character that has not been online in the last year to “retired” status.  So many guilds kick the inactive, but I have never really liked that concept.  It feels harsh since in my experience so many people renew their subscription on a whim.  Logging back in to a friendly guild that has missed them, is a much more enjoyable experience than finding out they have been booted out into the cold.

This is compounded now by the concept of guild faction, that was added in with Cataclysm.  Booting a character from a guild has serious repercussions for the player.  It takes awhile to get to exalted with a guild, especially at maximum level…  so punting folks out and making them potentially redo all that faction work just seems cruel.  Setting them to retired rank seems like a good solution, since I have stripped that rank of all bank privileges to protect the guild from someone getting hacked, but if someone does return for a length of time I can bump them back up to an active rank. 

I had originally planned on doing this for anyone that had been gone for over 6 months… but ended up calling it quits after finishing with the “1 year” folks.  It took me what felt like an hour to get that far through the list.  I can only imagine what it is going to be line when I redo every single one of the almost 900 characters guild notes.  One of my goals is to do a guild census of sorts… get to know every single person that is in the guild that joined during my 2 year absence.  Part of this is to set accurate guild notes that follow a pattern so that you can use addons like Prat to merge the two in chat.

WoW Bucket List

One of the concepts that I have latched on over the last few weeks is the idea of a WoW Bucket List.  The first time I had actually seen this in a formalized form was over on Cuppyville, where she proudly lists her WoW Bucket List in the top menu of her site.  I don’t quite have my formalized enough for that, but I have started a Google Docs Spreadsheet and as I think of things have begun adding them to it.  Always in the past when I have left WoW, it has been because I “ran out of things to do”.  I say that in quotes, because really that was never the case in actuality.  There are far too many things to do to have ever been “done” with the game.

What happened instead is I got frustrated and lost sight of the things I wanted to do once upon a time… but have long forgotten about.  My theory is that in keeping this bucket list, I will be able to pick things off of it on those rainy days when I can’t think of anything worth doing.  Now several of them do require lots of people to complete, like finishing off my Glory of the Icecrown Raider achievements that I am missing only a couple of sub achievements on.  But I had a conversation with a guild member last night and we talked about having some sort of a rotating raid achievement night for old school content.  I love ticking off these things, and its even better when you can help a whole group full of people check those goals off as well.

Some examples from mine are…

Bucket List Saves Day


One of the most amazing bloggers/podcasters@AlternativeChat constantly extolls the virtues of “Faffing about”, that is doing the piddly little things that only really matter to you.  After my hour of wrestling with the guild roster, I was not really in the mood to focus on anything much.  I had originally planned on working on questing my way through Hyjal on Gloam, but as I logged in to do just that everything felt “hazy”.  Normally this might have been one of those times that I logged out frustrated with not feeling like making “real progress”.  However It was at this point my WoW Bucket List paid off.   I looked at my long list of objectives and decided that last night would be a mount farming night, as I could chat freely while doing it.

Soloing old content is one of my biggest enjoyments in any game.  There is so much nostalgia wrapped up in making your way through content that used to require a large group.  You feel epic as you trounce monsters that used to trounce you regularly.  Had I not raided every last bit of this content, I doubt I would have the massive shot of nostalgia that this gives me…  but it almost always guarantees a smile on my face.  As a result I started the evening in Tempest Keep, as a friend of mine and I made a contest of it over on our Mumble server.  We started at roughly the same time and tried to see who could clear the dungeon first.  Neither of us managed to get the fabled Ashes of Al’ar to drop… but last week another guild member did so it has renewed our interests.

From there I took a trip over to Utgarde Pinnacle to battle my old nemesis Skadi the Rutheless.  Across the board the protodrake model is one of my favorite mount designs, and to the best of my knowledge the only two that are still available that I am missing… are the blue and yellow.  While the concept of the Time-Lost Proto Drake intrigues me… and every time I have occasion to be in the area I fly the circuit of spawn points “just in case”… I do not have the fortitude to farm it.  Instead I battle my old nemesis in an attempt to steal his mount whenever I have downtime.  I both love and hate the fact that it is heroic, because it limits the amount of grinding I can realistically do in one sitting.

Faffing Pays Off


Upon failing once again to walk away with that ever elusive proto drake, I moved on to the next target which was The Stonecore.  The second boss of the instance, Slabhide has an equal chance of dropping Reins of the Vitreous Stone Drake on both Heroic and Normal.  As a result I tend to farm this mount resetting the instance over and over until I reach the instance lockout timer.  Honestly this is one of the least frustrating farms I have done in a game, as there is a warp gate immediately after the boss that can take you right back to the instance.  So you clear your way down, fight Slabhide and warp back up to the start, zoning out and resetting it.  It was on my fourth clear of the night that luck smiled upon me and I got to tick something off of my Bucket List.


  Here is a gratuitous shot of me riding my new prize immediately after exiting The Stonecore.  This is my very first of the “stone drake” mounts, as I never managed to complete the heroic achievement for Cataclysm.  I ended up leaving only a few months into the expansion, and at that point achievements were just not a priority.  I have quite a few of the things ticked off however, so it is on my bucket list of things to finish up.  I have to say… the Stone Drake model may give the Proto Drake a run for its money.  My absolute least favorite however is the Cloud Serpent model, which has seriously harmed my progress on all of the Pandaria achievements. 

The moment I got my drake I had to tweet @AlternativeChat to share my moment of faffing paying off.  My hope is that tonight I can return to progressing on Gloam, but if not I am sure I will just grab another thing from the list.  Tuesday I had every intent to work on gloam as well but instead wound up running around the world with a pack of guildies farming the Zandalari Warbringers for an attempt at their mount.  So to be honest… my primary plan is to work on Gloam, but I will as always be open to suggestions of alternative paths.  Whatever option we end up choosing is completely fine by me, so long as we have fun doing it.