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.

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.

Can’t Quit It

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Finally Finished

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For most of this week I have been coming up with events in time when I thought I would be finally finished with the Legion Event.  Last night by all purposes should have been the end for me.  I managed to get the final item I was missing on my Demon Hunter, and you can now see the pretty spreadsheet is now at least largely complete.  Early on I decided that trying to get an offset weapon for everyone was going to be absolute futility.  Instead I started focusing on the weapon that I thought I would actually level my character with, so for my Paladin that meant a Retribution Two-Hander and so on.  Lodin my hunter I managed to get both a spear and a bow just because on my very first invasion I got the spear and had the foresight to immediately swap loot specs.  On all of these characters, I am not squabbling over who has Warforged and who doesn’t because I realize about an hour into the new content everything I am wearing will have been replaced.  All I was really looking for out of these events was a way to ease the leveling transition from “just dinged 100” to “ready for legion”.

Most of my characters before this event were sitting in a pretty raw 630ish state because I leveled them up and then never really played them.  My goal is to change that with Legion since on every single character there is a spec that I really find enjoyable.  The weird part about this for me is how I am suddenly no longer mentally blocked against casters.  I had a lot of fun recently leveling my Priest and Mage through the Legion Event, and I had an absolutely blast leveling my Warlock legitimately.  For years I have had this thing against “Finger Wigglers” and anyone around me for more than a few minutes in a game is likely to hear about it.  I am not sure what changed, but I have a feeling it is related to Final Fantasy XIV.  Over there I actually and legitimately enjoyed leveling as an Arcanist, and have been enjoying doing the Palace of the Dead as a Scholar.  Similarly I really enjoyed the little bit of time I spent leveling Black Mage, all of which maybe whittled down my resistance to not wearing plate armor and wielding a huge weapon?  The only bad part about all of this is that I have next to no good cosmetic gear for cloth wearers, so at some point I will be wrecking old content as a Warlock in the hopes of fixing this transmog gap.

The Keep Pulling Me Back In

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So last night for a brief period of time I thought I was good and done with the Legion Event…  then I got home and noticed that they were active in all six zones at a time.  So I decided to dip my toes into the pool and see how the waters were…  and next thing I know it I am running around zones with only a ground mount chasing the wave of folks clearing the content.  Doing the events on a low enough level character that cannot fly is frustrating… but shockingly effective.  At the beginning of the night, this was my level 24 Orc Warlock named Belghula…  and at the end of the night I was sitting at level 54.  Remember a few days back when I posted about Lore’s comments?  It doesn’t matter if their intent was to allow players to catch up their alts or not, the end result and the subsequent tweaks have made that exactly what the Legion Event shines at.  I realize I could be doing something else… and I even should be doing something else…  but I am having a really hard time stopping the machine.  This elevator ride has such good music and interesting prospects that I keep getting right back on it.  I am honestly not sure if I have enough time to get this one all the way to 100 before the end of this event, especially given that I really need to be doing other things…  but if nothing else I have leap past the old world content that I find the most frustrating right now.

Cataclysm was not good for the old world, and right now the leveling experience feels extremely disjointed.  The clear flow of zone to zone feels broken, given that a few minutes into each zone you’ve leveled to the point where you really should be moving to the next one.  There are two sides of me that are in constant competition when I am leveling.  The side that wants to finish quests… and the side that realizes the most efficient way to level is to jump zones the moment the Adventure Guide highlights and shows you have a new quest to start a brand new area.  I realize I am leveling with full Heirlooms… and that is a side effect of that, but in truth I am largely doing that so that I don’t have to worry about gear until I reach the end of the tunnel.  Nothing would make me happier than them releasing heirloom items for the rest of the slots, because that helms me circumvent one of my instincts while leveling characters.  I love getting gear… but more than anything it is that I want to be as well geared as I can be at any point in the process.  So I keep looking for upgrades so that I don’t feel “weak” while leveling, and the presence of heirlooms means I am at least geared “well enough” at every step in the process.  At least on some level though, it would be nice if the experience boost was something you could toggle off if you wanted to “stay awhile and listen” as it were… and experience the content as it was originally designed.

Week in Gaming 12/27/2015

Ace of Spades Acquired

Holiday Lagged

There are some mornings when trying to think is a struggle…  this is one of those mornings.  Last night I suffered from a pretty bad bout of insomnia, and instead of just sitting in bed and hoping for sleep to find me… I got up and played PS4.  At which point I realized it was 2:30 in the morning and I really needed to try and sort out how to sleep.  The day as a whole today is rainy and nasty and the antithesis of just how delightful the holiday was here in Oklahoma.  On Christmas day I was running around in a short sleeved shirt, and were it not for the wind I wouldn’t have needed my hoodie.  We were warned however that just after the holiday the temperature would drop, and from the sounds of it the panhandle of the state is now getting lots of ice.  Thusfar it has been only rain…. but so much of it that sitting upstairs in my office it actually drowned out the sound of all of the various machines whirring away.  I finally got up around 8:30 and attempted to start the day, but the problem being…  that I have largely just been staring at the screen unable to get a post started.  Then suddenly I remembered….  it’s Sunday… the day I have a crutch to fall back on in the form of the week in review posts.  So I am hobbling along on this crutch for all that is sacred in the world… otherwise I have no clue what I would write about.

Return of Destiny

MIDA In Action

I guess Bungie got the message that it sucks when Xur does not have a weapon option during the Friday festivities.  The last four or five weeks he has brought some new weapon each time…. and this week was no different with the newly Year-2-ized version of the MIDA Multitool.  During this month he has also brought the Monte Carlo, Hardlight, and Telesto.  The only problem here is Friday I have to make a decision… do I care enough about getting this weapon to grind out the 23 strange coins needed to purchase it.  The Monte Carlo was a no brainer, because I have heard so many good things about this gun… that I just had to play with one myself.  Telesto was similarly a no brainer, because I have gotten two of these to drop… so had no need for it.  MIDA and Hardlight however I was left with the decision if it was really worth the needed grinding to pick it up.  With the Hardlight I decided… that I already have a lot of Auto Rifles that I really like… between my love of the Zarinaea-D, Zhalo Supercell, Monte Carlo and the newly improved Fabian Strategy…  I had no real use for a new Auto Rifle to add to the mix.  For the MIDA however I crowd sourced my opinion and got messages back from Sig and Squirrel both saying to pick it up… that it was both amazing in PVE and PVP.  So far I am liking it, but I am having to get used to using a Scout Rifle again.  I have largely just been using Auto and Pulse Rifles for awhile now, so it is taking some adjusting.  The truth is… for the most part there are very few weapons that I don’t like in Destiny.

Warlock Movement Again

Last night while dealing with Insomnia I decided to cast aside the Hunter and Titan briefly and instead focus on the Warlock who still need to hit the level cap of 40.  I realize I could be leveling through doing the Taken King content, but instead I just ended up clearing out my bounty log.  I am finally reaching the point where my Stranger’s Rifle is beginning to show its age, as I finally got some weapon drops that are technically higher than it is.  The problem is… I am so damned used to using the Stranger’s Rifle… and the whole fully automatic pulse rifle thing is so overpowered… that I am probably going to keep at it until I hit 40, or at least until I get a purple weapon to replace it with.  In the meantime I am left with the decision… do I grind my way to 40 like I am doing in a super chill and enjoyable way… or do I actually start with the quests.  On my Hunter I largely waited to do quests until I was at the level cap, so I could revel in the sweet sweet engram drops that seem to happen like candy during missions.  I still have all of the House of Wolves and Dark Beyond quests as well… and those in theory won’t be nearly as beneficial gear wise.  So I might just start on doing those and see how close to 40 I can get.

Ace of Spades Acquired
Ace of Spades Acquired

Another thing I did this week was get my Ace of Spades exotic on the hunter.  I am currently on the First Curse of the step of the Gunsmith quest on my Titan… and I have to say I am simply not looking forward to doing all of the bullshit you have to do to get it.  The only problem with Ace of Spades is just how crap hand cannons seem to be right now.  I am not sure which I dislike more… the absolute potato range of them… or just how small the magazine and ammunition pool is in general with them.  I run out of ammunition while using a hand cannon faster than almost anything else…  and I never seem to get enough normal ammo drops to be able to use these in strikes.  So instead every now and then I break them out while doing bounties when things don’t matter quite so much.  The positive of Ace of Spades however is that it just look bad ass.  So in theory it might get some use, but not really likely given all of the other exotics that I have and legendaries that are also equally well stated.

World of Warcraft

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Catte Druid in the Forest

The other day I posted about my mission that level a Cat Druid to 40 all so that I could leave the 360NoMount club… and add the Christmas Yeti mount to my collection.  It has been two days and I am now getting close to the goal.  As of last night when I finally reached the point where I thought it was probably time to attempt going to sleep… I was roughly 2/3rds of a level from 40 and was just now starting Feralas.  It has been a fun ride pushing up a new Cow Druid, and went a lot faster than I might had expected.  I took a slightly different route than I did with my Warlock and the end result feels like I got a lot more straight forward Kill Ten type quests which I can burn  through insanely quickly.  The other thing that helped is the fact that my druid is a skinner… and I was constantly jumping random leather bearing animals along the way to level that.  Back the in the day all of the leveling guides used to tell you to always be engaged in killing something… like if there was a mob on your way to your objective to always kill it no matter what.  Having done that on the Druid and not so much on the Warlock… I have to say that yes in fact that is the superior way to level especially with all of the experience boosted heirlooms that I am wearing.  The question is… now that I have almost achieved my goal… do I hit 40 and quit… or do I keep pushing up the druid.  I am not a big fan of the server cluster I am on, and the people seem to be insanely rude compared to Argent Dawn so at some point I may transfer the druid over once I finish it.  I realize I can cross realm group…  but man…  some of the stuff I have encountered here I have never run into on AD.  That is saying a lot given that I used to always think of Argent Dawn as a pretty horrific place.

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Me and my Blueberry

The other activity that I spent time this week doing was leveling my Warlock.  Basically playing her was my reward for completing my holiday dailies…  and in part the only reason why I made so much progress on the druid so quickly, is that I completely started ignoring that holiday dailies existed.  At some point I need to go through all of my characters and loot the presents in Orgrimmar and Ironforge before they poof, but I think once I get to 40 on the druid I am going to switch back to playing the Warlock.  It is funny how isolating it can be playing on a different server even though you have access to BNet and your friends list.  Facepull is just friendly and somewhat active green spam and I love having it around.  It is my hope that at some point soon we will get the rumored battlenet channels, which will hopefully let us have guild like chat spanning across multiple games.  If there was an addon that existed that gave me access to slack while playing World of Warcraft… I would be in a perfect place.

 

 

Week in Gaming 12/13/2015

Blogging is Hard

KnightsOfTheOldRepublicComicjpgI’ve been in a bit of a relative funk this week, and found it extremely hard to get started writing most mornings.  It is like for whatever reason my will to put fingers to keyboard and make important sounding things happen… has been drained out of me.  At this point we are a few months away from going three whole years worth of blog posts, and I guess in a way it is having its toll on me.  At this point I have far more regular readers than I have ever had at any other point in the blogs history, and that is freaking awesome.  The fact that I have so many supportive people with my back…  is ultimately the thing that keeps me moving forward on days like today.  We recorded this insanely huge podcast last night where we took the normal crew of myself, Grace, Kodra, Tam and Thalen…  and included some other friends InkyBrushes, Nephsys and Pizzmaid.  Sadly we were missing Ash but he had his own version of a really rough week.  Combined we focused a single topic… and recorded for over two hours…  which compressed down to just under it.  The problem being… by the time I did even the most basic editing pass…  it was around one in the morning.

I’ve been fighting what I think is largely sleep deprivation most of the week, and it has ended up with me falling asleep as early as 8 pm on a couple of the nights.  Well granted I went to bed at 8pm… and read comics on my new kindle but still I ended up drifting off to sleep about 30 minutes to an hour later.  I have been getting a lot of use out of my Marvel Unlimited account, and largely using it to read the backlog of awesome Star Wars comics.  At first I went through what was available of the modern series, namely Star Wars and the Vader series.  I started on the Princess Leia series but struggled with it, mostly because I simply was not a huge fan of the art style.  Recently though I have been running back through and reading the Knights of the Old Republic series from the start.  I am maybe a dozen episodes in at this point and I am loving it…  this totally feels like I am consuming comics in the same way I binge Netflix shows.  I just wish the lag between print and them showing up on Marvel Unlimited was not quite so great.  The latest issues of the modern Star Wars comic to show up are from August of this year, but what I am really hoping is that they release the issues on a semi-monthly basis just with that lag.  I can totally deal with reading comics late…  I just want to be able to read them with a certain regularity.

World of Shipyards

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This week has largely been about reconciling my differences with the Shipyard system.  I commented last week that they were essentially a worst possible version of the Garrison system…. and in many ways I don’t have a significant change in that opinion.  What did change however is that I realized that after so many of you told me about it…  the Garrison addon I was already using had built in functionality to automate a good deal of the shipyard bullshittery as well.  The end result is that I have somehow managed to learn to live with the Shipyards and they have rewarded me well for my blind submission.  At this point between the three characters that have them…  I have earned a hippo mount, a bunch of hellfire citadel gear caches,  and more left sharks than I could ever have a use for… I seriously have three sitting in the inventory of my MooCowAdin.  The problem with all of this of course is the fact that I now need to feed the beast that is the shipyard, and the only reliable way of doing this… is schlepping out to Tanaan jungle and completing the daily mission.  Now some of my characters have been stockpiling oil from Garrison missions for along time now and won’t really have this problem… but Belghast is constantly struggling to pay his daily upkeep.

Other than this I have been slowly inching up my gear levels on Belghast and Belgrace, and attempting to run the Timewalking event on my alts… that can actually benefit from the 660-675 gear that they can drop.  The funniest part of the week however has been learning that I don’t simply remember the BC era content as being significantly rougher… that it actually really is.  PUG groups are simply not prepared for mobs that crowd control and fear the hell out of players… and are in no way ready for just how hard everything hits.  There have been more wipes from the party finder than I have had in ages… and I am really enjoying every minute of it.  The alliance side…  has been a colossal mess of chain group joins and splits until finally we push through the dungeon.  Horde side on the other hand.. people just buckle down and pick themselves up after a wipe and keep pushing forward.  I guess when you have to wait through a thirty minute dps queue… you are significantly less likely to abandon ship at the first sign of trouble.  Alliance will always be my first home because that is where my army of alts lives…  but I have to say Horde is growing on me really quickly.

Fabian Strategy Lives

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I know I spent a good deal of my post yesterday gushing about the new and revised Fabian Strategy… but seriously I am in love with this gun.  It had been roughly a month since I had seriously spent much time in Destiny, and yesterday I poked my head back in.  Apart from being woefully out of practice, I am still amazed at just how fun the moment to moment play is in this game.  I spent a bit of time yesterday trying to play Battlefront, and the gameplay just doesn’t hold a candle to just how good Destiny feels.  Now that I have this weapon that allows me to abuse all of my instincts, I can see myself really settling on it as my main gun.  Now I have said that numerous times… and I know I said it recently with the Xhalo Supercell…  but seriously….  this gun is amazing.  I will always be a Titan at heart, because I want to play like a tank in most games.  This gun makes me FEEL like a tank, because the chance of regeneration upon kill ends up firing a lot more frequently than I think most people realize.  There have been several strikes that I survived entirely because of this weapon constantly triggering my shield regeneration.  It is my goal this week to pop in periodically, and not go quite so long between play sessions.

 

 

Tauren Flight Form

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Rose-colored Lenses

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Last night was the night when I finally realized that playing Horde was not some magical and happy place free from assholes.  Over the last several days it has been pretty great, and I have casually bumped into people that I have slantwise known on the server.  I was beginning to think that the Horde were simply more mature players than the Alliance folks that I had been so used to dealing with.  That apparently is not the case… I simply had a really lucky streak.  I have to say the Facepull guild has been amazing, and it is actually drawing me out of my own little world that I seem to get stuck in so many times.  Last night Laughingly that everyone calls “Gigs” convinced me to join her and Martoxis in a Supreme Lord Kazzak raid.  Now me and Kazzak have a long history, namely from the days when people would pull him to Stormwind and he would ultimately need to be despawned by a GM because it got too powerful.  So I guess in a way I knew what I was getting myself in for, but Gigs promised this version was no big deal.  She even went so far as to give us a Mammoth ride to the location, and everything seemed pretty awesome for a bit.

Then we started summoning people…  and I was simply doing my part and clicking the portals to get people here faster.  At some point during this rush a mage perfectly summoned a portal to Hillsbrad Foothills…  aka where Dalaran USED to be.  A handful of us mistakenly clicked it… including myself and Gigs… and we quickly fell to our deaths.  At which point someone pulls the boss, locking us out of the loot.  So while I was raging inside… I attempted calmly rez and get my way back to Tanaan Jungle.  I honestly didn’t even think of that being a thing that someone would do…  but I guess now I know to be cautious.  It feels like however fate rewarded me for my frustrations, because on the next attempt I managed to get a drop both from the boss and from the token…  which gave me not one but two different 705 trinkets:  Chipped Soul Prism and Mark of Supreme Doom.  Well worth a fall to my death…  that honestly I should have survived with a bubble, but I was simply too shocked to react in time.

Last Call LFR

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On the Alliance side of the house, there has been a long standing rule… that you do not under any circumstances do Looking For Raid content any night other than Tuesday and MAYBE Wednesday at the latest.  The closer you get to Monday the worse the groups get, and you only ever set foot in an LFR dungeon on a Monday night if you have a significant death wish.  Once again I thought maybe the rules of the universe simply didn’t function the same on the Horde side, because I did several LFR runs on Saturday and Sunday and had a pretty good time of it.  The groups were calm and reasoned, and we simply wrecked stuff and got loot as a result.  So even thought I had the shitty experience with the asshole mage in Kazzak, I decided to brave the unwashed masses and venture forth into Monday LFR.  My first sign that something was wrong, should have been that the DPS queue was roughly an hour.  I however had stuff I wanted to do out in Tanaan Jungle so I queued up and before I knew it… it was popping.  At first things seemed to go more or less pretty well.  We downed the first boss with ease…  then when we got to the second boss… it took two attempts.  Finally the third boss took three attempts… so things seemed to be going downhill.   However with the miracle of determination we were able to get through it.

Then I queued for Archimonde… aka the Black Gate.  Firstly I have to say how awesome I think it is that you are essentially fighting the demons that besieged Mount Hyjal.  I’ve been running quite a bit of Mount Hyjal attempting to get that really awesome two handed sword for my paladin.  The end game of World of Warcraft or any game… is really collecting outfits for transmogging.  Needless to say… Archimonde did not go well.  I was assured by my guildies that this fight was a little overtuned even for LFR, and that most groups struggle with it.  However after our fourth wipe, we lost literally half of the raid and I found myself exiting as well.  So in my first week of really being “back” I managed to raid Normal Hellfire Citadel through Gorefiend, all of Blackrock Foundry LFR, and all but Archimonde in the Hellfire Citadel LFR.  The only thing that I wish I had managed to squeeze in there was Highmaul LFR, simply because I am in desperate need of Abrogator Stones.  Playing catch up on the legendary ring quest is going to be a massive pain in the butt, because I remember just how many weeks it took me actively raiding Highmaul and Blackrock Foundry to get all the necessary bits to complete that thing.

A Reason for Facebook

Another interesting side note is that it seems Facepull hangs out pretty much exclusively on Facebook.  This is the one social media network I have actively shunned over the years, namely because of some bad first experiences with it.  I technically have a Facebook account because it is connected to this blog, and I namely use it to syndicate my posts to the Tales of the Aggronaut page.  What is going to be interesting is this may give me a reason to actually use it on a regular basis, seeing as they seem to use it in place of the traditional guild forum.  The other funny side note is that apparently yesterday they found my blog posts thanks to Nubzy linking it to said facebook group.  So hey folks if you are reading this!  Apparently Obi was a bit grumpy that I didn’t mention him in my blog post, so I am going out of my way to remedy that today.  I’ve known Nubzy and Obi since I believe Vanilla, or at the very least since early Burning Crusade.  They have followed me into many games and I have always considered them both to be part of my extended family.  I am just happy to finally make good on my threat of playing something on their side of the fence.  I still say however that World of Warcraft would be a better game if they just tore the fence down, letting battle.net friends play together regardless of what faction they happened to enjoy the most.  That said I really am starting to enjoy being a bull.

 

Hellfire and Horde

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Adulting Sucks

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

Unexpected Activity

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

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

Old School Feels

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

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

 

We’ve Got Cows

Another Realm

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

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

Moo-Cow-Adin

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

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

Onwards to Tanaan

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

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

 

The Pause Button

It’s Not You, It’s Me

WildStar64 2014-06-25 20-39-45-594 Right now I find myself struggling to get excited about anything in the MMO genre.  I think I part I am feeling this overwhelming feeling that there are so many games that are not MMOs that I want to be playing.  For years I have just defaulted to playing an MMO for so many different reasons.  For starters it was more or less my social lifeline and the primary way that I kept in touch with all of my friends.  The guild House Stalwart that I lead and still do lead more often than not in absentia of late…  was a vessel in which I collected all of my friends in one place.  During the heyday of World of Warcraft this was a glorious thing, and kept me tied to the game because it was the place I could hang out with everyone at once.

When I entered the twitter and blog community this shifted considerably, and I started wanting to hang out with new and different people and had pure hell trying to incorporate all these new friends with my old friends as well.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t and the end result has been a series of games played with a small subset of friends each time something new came out.  I guess over the last few weeks I have realized that I no longer need the crutch that is MMOs as a way of capturing my friends and hanging out with them.  At this point I pretty much have contact with everyone I have ever gamed with seriously outside of said MMO.  Just because I am not playing the same game doesn’t mean I no longer have access to those people.

The Pause Button

eso 2014-06-25 06-08-35-784 At this point I really want to indulge my absolutely insane steam backlog, and start playing my way through it.  In part this is because a single player game has something that an MMO will never have…  a pause button.  Over the last few months my wife and I have gotten more serious about exercise, especially since getting our fitbits back in March.  Neither of us necessarily like doing it, but we know we need to and the payoff in the long run will be a much improved life.  So much of my gaming life has been about getting home and getting everything done that needs to be done before gaming “primetime”.  The problem is our exercise routine doesn’t fit into this plan, since in general we need to wait for things to cool off before going out and about.  Sunday I made a walk in a heat index of 110 degrees, and that is not something I want to do again anytime soon.

What this means in reality is that I really cannot get involved in anything at all until I get back from my walk.  This also means that for sake of sanity sake…  this only gives me an hour or two to do anything structured and still be able to get up and around in the morning in a non-zombie state.  So right now my exercise routine has pretty much destroyed my ability to do group MMO content, which is the primary reason why I plan MMOs in the first place.  I don’t mean grouping to quest or grouping to PVP… but grouping to run Dungeons.  Without the drive to do the next dungeon, the MMO experience I am finding is rather bland.  At the very least that thing that used to drive me higher and higher in level just isn’t there right now.

The Treasure Trove

EoCApp 2014-07-06 22-20-27-002 I am not saying anything dramatic like I am done with Wildstar or Elder Scrolls Online or World of Warcraft or MMOs in general.  Instead I am giving myself the leverage to not care about them if I so choose.  I am sitting on what feels like a gold mine of narrative games that because of the feeling of having to log in nightly to whatever my current MMO was… I did not play.  So you are likely going to see a lot more single player game coverage… and significantly less multiplayer coverage.  I guess this is the good thing about having a blog format that revolves around my whims and not necessarily a specific game in it.  I might end up losing some readers in the process, and I guess I am okay with that.  I have become known for being an “MMO Gamer” and while I won’t stop being that, I will probably focus on more of the content that I would normally talk about during Steampowered Sunday.

Right now I want to actually finish some games.  I have this horrible habit of getting near the end of a game, generally within an hour or two of beating it and losing the drive to push across the finish line.  It is like I had so much fun playing the game that I don’t want the experience to end, and if I never go back and finish it up… it never has to.  Right now I am within two hours of being the new Wolfenstein game for example, but I have been reluctant to do so…  because I really enjoyed the experience on the way to the end.  I am honestly the same way with novels and my bedside table is strewn with a ton of half finished books.  In games the journey has always been so much more important than the destination…  so I guess I avoid finishing the journey.  All of that said it is something I would very much like to change.  Back in the era of Nintendo, I had challenges with friends to see who could beat a specific game the fastest…  so I know that me is somewhere deep inside waiting to get out.

Autopilot Gaming

Wow-64 2014-07-09 06-37-39-536 All of that said… what did I end up doing last night?  Playing World of Warcraft while watching movies.  I was in the mood to hang out downstairs and watch stuff off Netflix, and after making a couple of attempts to play various games I settled to playing WoW.  I have lost the ability to ONLY watch Television, after having done it as an activity while I was doing something else for so long now.  That said games like Divinity: Original Sin require too much of me to be able to play them and keep track of a movie at the same time.  WoW on the other hand is almost pure muscle memory at this point… I don’t have to think about the game to play it.  So I decided to fire up one of my army of new hordies over on Scyers and at least get one of them into my guild of horde friends Bloodmoon Chosen.  For years I have made an attempt to play Horde, because I have a large number of friends over there as well as Alliance.  However because of my desire to have all of my slots available for Alliance, I kept relegating the horde to an alternate account.  With the merger of Argent Dawn and The Scryers server, this gives me the ability to have 11 Alliance characters and 11 Horde characters.

The first movie of the night was Odd Thomas… which was familiar sounding but I did not have a clue why.  It was staring Anton Yelchin… aka Chekov from the new Star Trek series, and more or less I have liked him in everything I have seen him in so far.  Turns out that maybe somewhere deep in the bowels of my mind I realized this was a book series by Dean Koontz, but when folks on twitter informed me of such last night I was surprised.  I really enjoyed the movie in a more action hero Donnie Darko kind of way, which likely makes zero sense anywhere other than my own head.  It was good enough that it makes me want to track down a copy of the novels and read through them.  I’ve never been a huge Koontz fan, and generally I tend to consider his novels a bit on the cheesy side…  but I dig this protagonist.  I like the whole unlikely crusader for good aspect of the story, and it tends to be a trope I enjoy in most movies.

the-raven-dvd-2d The second movie of the night however was not nearly as enjoyable.  One of my guilty pleasures is that I like John Cusack.  I am a huge fan of movies like Grosse Pointe Blank and High Fidelity, but the unfortunate truth is that Cusack tends to play exactly the same character in every movie he is in.  Edgar Allen Poe likely was a neurotic mess… but Cusack’ particular brand of neurosis doesn’t quite work here.  Additionally while I can get behind the transformation of the cerebral Sherlock Holmes into the Robert Downey Jr. badass action hero…  this doesn’t work at all for Cusack and Poe.  I am honestly not sure what I was expecting, but after the high that was Odd Thomas I was just looking for something else and this movie showed up in one of my Netflix streams and I figured what the hell.  Unless you are supremely bored and have literally watched everything else of substance in your movie feed…  I would highly suggest skipping it.