Arbitrary Gates

thundergodsvigor

thundergodsvigor

Yesterday I talked about my feelings regarding Destiny and the Rise of Iron Expansion.  However I could have just as easily have talked about my insane good luck.  What I mean by that is to the best of my knowledge I am the only person to get one of the new legendaries in my guild, or at the very least only one in as far as the guild activity log on the armory scrolls back.  I managed to pick this up Monday night during a Mythic Maw of Souls… and I am still insanely pumped about it.  The Thundergod’s Vigor works nicely for me… considering how damned much I love to thunderclap.  Similarly I really need to get better about using Demoralizing Shout at opportune times… so Thunderclapping my way to more casts of it also seems awesome.  Then again there is the simple fact that all legendaries seem to drop at 895 item level, which serves as a nice boost for me in that department as well.  Then there is also the added benefit of it being an item from Diablo 3 which only adds to the coolness factor as far as I am concerned.  What I was not however expecting is that it apparently sends out an alert to the entire guild when a legendary drops…  which is in part what makes me think that I might legitimately be the only person in guild with one so far.  I feel extremely lucky, but at the same time sort of sad that these are not dropping for everyone.

A huge chunk of what makes Legion interesting to me is the interaction of these legendary items with the rotations of the characters.  That is the part that I love about Diablo 3, the way a certain item you pick up can completely change how your character functions.  It was my hope that the new legendary system would add some of this element to World of Warcraft, and at least it seems it might.  However if they remain super rare items that you may or may not see ever during your play of the game…  it takes one of the cooler items and locks it away behind at gate that few players are ever going to breach.  For as awesome as Legion has been, there are a lot of items that just feel odd.  For example last night I participated in the first of the LFR content associated with Emerald Nightmare.  I went into it expecting that nothing that dropped would actually be an upgrade for me, but I was however hoping to maybe complete a quest or two.  Now my friend Grace said she was able to complete her skinning quest without issue, however for me… I was not able to loot the item needed for In Nightmares.  Which seems a bit crappy, and has caused Blizzard CS to come out and state that this is “working as intended”.  However it feels like a massive let down to those hoping to complete the Balance of Power quest line and get that item appearance… but that cannot realistically do anything other than LFR.

Granted I am not necessarily in that category, because we have a raid group that is planning on working on this stuff tonight in fact.  It just feels like an arbitrary bar given that for many of us at least we have been working towards that item appearance since the moment we knew it was a thing.  Hell I am even considering pushing my way through some of the PVP objectives just to unlock those appearances and that feels significantly more casual friendly than this one does.  I mean I guess in some way it makes sense, there are large groups of players that seem to want some visual representation that they are “better” than other players.  At the very least this seems to be a vocal group on the forums and twitter, and represented the large chunk of the opposition to the Friendship Moose community and the practice of dragging friends through getting their special mounts.  It is my only hope that we can do some of this for my own guild once we have the bosses needed for the Balance of Power quest line on farm and can realistically pull random people in to get quest steps unlocked.  Arbitrary gating of content and sitting it up on a shelf just too high for players to ever reach… is one of the things that frustrates me about the MMO design.  LFR used to be this happy medium that let people see the storyline, and complete quests associated with taking out these bosses but I guess with Legion that is changing.  While so much of Legion has been this great step forward, this feels like a stumble backwards.

The “Main” Problem

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Shakes Fist

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Over the last few days my friend Grace and often times partner in crime in online games…  has been talking about how she should finish up her legendary ring.  I stalled out on both caring about this item and caring about grinding for it at some point.  I didn’t remember how many Chaos Tomes I had collected, but I knew it “wasn’t enough”.  I guess at some point they greatly jacked up the drop rate of these things, and I simply had not run any Hellfire Citadel content after this happened.  The problem is that this little back and forth planted the seeds in my head, that I too should go ahead and finish mine up.  This was only furthered when I noticed that I was sitting at 24 of 33 tomes in my inventory.  With each boss now having a nearly 100% drop rate that means that in a single night I could get enough tomes to finish up this step.  I thought surely I had to be close to the end by now, and could potentially push across the finish line for no reason other than to say I did it.  So for the bulk of last night I threw myself at the LFR system, sometimes it went well… other times not so much.  Namely when I zoned into Archimonde I had an instant 6 stack of determination, and for whatever reason on Bastion of Shadows the tank kept pulling before even half the raid was at a given boss.  However all of these things aside… I managed to get my tomes rather quickly and turned in the quest… finally now understanding what the hell happened to Cordana.  Side note I always read this as Cortana…  but I guess it really isn’t spelled that way at all.

I turned everything in waiting for my ring… only to realize that I was just about to get kneecapped by this quest chain.  You have to understand something… I hate the shipyard.  I have begrudgingly done a handful of quests to get my chest every few weeks, but otherwise have not really done shit in there.  I somehow knew in the back of my mind that this was probably going to bite me in the ass at some point.  Apparently to complete the legendary ring you need to have completed a series of 2 day long shipyard “legendary” missions, and while I am fairly sure I have run some of these….  I cannot for the life of me remember how many.  The only thing to do as a result is to just start running them now and hoping I can get through them in all before the 30th.   Ultimately this is going to be the bit that kills my bid for the ring, because I have done little to no effort to properly gear any of my ships.  So basically I am going to need a lot of luck going into these missions and just hope that I don’t have to repeat them.  So now I am shaking my fist at Grace for planting this damned fool quest in my brain…  because I suddenly apparently care about completing the Legendary ring.  If I am reading the quest line correctly… I am guessing I MIGHT be on the fourth part of the quest… the one that has to be completed before you do the mission to actually collect your Draenic Sea Charts.  So maybe this won’t be as bad as I am fearing in the end.

Abandoning “Main”

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Yesterday I talked a little bit about my dilemma of trying to pick a main.  I think that maybe the core problem is that I feel like I need to have one.  Mains have traditionally been a construct designed for raiding, so that you can focus your efforts on gearing one character to be the best you possibly can be in a raiding context.  While I might do some raiding, that is going to be far from my focus in Legion.  I want to do some of the mythic five player content, but even then I am not sure how serious I am going to be about it.  Maybe the construct of having a main is working against my enjoyment of this game.  I think back to the times that I enjoyed the most, and I absolutely had a raiding main character, but I also had an army of alts that I cared equally about.  Some of the most enjoyable times for me personally were farming these alts to friends raids, and getting to see content as something other than Belghast/Lodin/Belgrave depending on whcih my main was.  Hell Belghast was an answer to me not really liking raiding as a hunter, and I leveled it with the purpose of having cool stuff to do when not strapped to huntering.  So as someone for whom the alts have always been of the utmost importance…  how did I think I would ever be happy trying to focus mostly on just one of them.

That said there needs to be a sort of pecking order when it comes to leveling them.  I did not want to run LFR as a tank last night, that is a package of stress and frustration that I was simply not willing to take upon myself.  So as a result I figured out the new fury spec and spent the evening testing it out.  The end result is… that I think I like it quite a bit.  I have come back and forth on fury over the years… and the previous incarnation with Draenor was not really my thing.  This Legion version however is awesome, and I was having a blast playing it.  So much so that I think I might choose the Fury artifact weapon first, and then later pick up the tanking set.  I think for a lot of reasons Belghast is going to be the first character I level in Legion.  I mean he is the actual and for real “Belghast” not my army of “Belg” named characters.  Additionally Fury is a really fun DPS spec once again, and then Protection is a very familiar feeling tanking spec that I am more than comfortable doing content with.  So for the first we will honor tradition and for lack of a better term the warrior will be my “main”.  That said I plan on following it up quickly with several of the other classes that I have enjoyed like Demon Hunter, Warlock, Rogue and Shaman.

 

Sleepy Raiding

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Bleary Eyed

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

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

Heading for Burnout

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

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

Timewalking

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

Monday LFR

A Good Show

I have not been in the habit of linking AggroChat in my blog lately, but I am going to do it this morning.  It took for freaking ever for the YouTube version of the podcast to finally upload yesterday, but I feel like this weeks show ended up really good.  There were a bunch of topics that branched out but the big one and the one I chose the name the episode was over a discussion about Otome.  A friend of mine Pizza Maid and her equally awesome named friend Sushi Geisha have this podcast called Heroines of the Cherry Blossom, where they talk about Otome games.  This was not a term that even exists in my vocabulary before this week, when they referenced our Hatoful Boyfriend episode on the podcast.  Essentially the side discussion that spawned was about how Tam was impressed with the quality of the writing of these various relatively low budget dating sims that he played in preparation for our Hatoful Boyfriend show.  The general consensus was that we would all like to see this deeply nuanced writing make its way into more mainstream titles as well.

Another interesting side discussion centered around the point in which we all tune out when it comes to an open world or sandbox game experience.  For each of us there seems to be a point where we are just “done” with the game even if we are not truly finished with all of the content.  For me personally I am never really “done” but I reach this point where I have to take a break and play something else for awhile.  But then by the time I return to the game I rarely remember what I was doing at that point and end up having to restart the game…   usually going in a slightly different direction than the original play through.  I know this past week with my focus on trying to chew through the quest content…  I am enjoying Fallout 4 significantly less than when I was just wandering aimlessly.  For others on the podcast they found themselves HAVING to focus on the story, to keep from losing interest.  In any case… we recorded a really content dense episode… which then surprised when editing that it ended up being a fairly short episode at only an hour and fifteen minutes.

Monday Night LFR

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I find myself once again in the unfortunate position of needing to run LFR on a Monday night.  The last chance crew in any MMO seems to always be the worst crew… and unfortunately due to the push in Fallout 4 I didn’t get any of this done earlier in the week.  There are a bunch of reasons why I am pushing last minute raids, but not the least of which is…  I am still trying to build out a tank set on the Cow.  There was a point in last nights raid where they absolutely would have used me in a tanking capacity had I a set of gear.  The problem is largely that I have plenty of armor… but since the Cow was a boosted character… I only went into level 100 with a single set of gear.  Normally as I level up, I pick up both a mix of two-handers for dps… and sword and board options for tanking, but I have had zero luck in getting anything I could use for tanking.  So I quite literally have a full set of gear that would be viable…  minus the sword and shield.  So tonight part of the plan is to run through Blackrock Foundry since it mostly features gear lower than what I need… and set the loot preference to protection, hoping that maybe just maybe I end up with a one handed weapon of some sort and a shield.  I technically have a 650 shield banked that would work well enough for the time being.

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On the other side of the fence I am still using the 670 Blackrock Foundry normal mode weapon that I have for ages… because I never could get any of the heroic bosses we were downing to drop me a weapon.  Similarly I have opened dozens of Garrison boxes… all with zero luck in finding a damned weapon to use.  So in addition to running Blackrock, I also really need to run  through Hellfire Citadel LFR on Belghast.  While I feel like BRF is probably going to go smoothly simply because most people have the gear for it…  I have a feeling that Monday night Hellfire is going to be pure hell.  The only thing that I maybe have gone on my side… is that there are generally more active alliance players on my battlegroup than there are horde, and I can definitely see that still is the case in the difference in my queue times between the two.  At very least I am going to struggle through the first few rounds of the raid because that seems to have the best chance of dropping me a weapon.  I have a pretty decent shield now, so really all I need is that main hand.  I even went so far as to purchase a Baleful Armament with some of my excess stones…  and only managed to get a 650.  In theory if I save up for a bit I could maybe manage to push that to a 695.  The other option is to have my blacksmith start trying to craft me one, but given the silly amount of materials it would take to make that happen…  I am hoping I simply have some decent luck this Wednesday during the raid.

Week In Gaming 12/5/2015

Sunday Madness

Today my posts and the AggroChat podcast are coming out a little late, because reasons.  My wife has this thing at church this morning, and stuff was not going very much as planned.  So instead of wrapping up the podcast when I got up, I went into the mode of attempting to support my wife as she flailed around the house trying to get everything ready.  I don’t really do the religion thing, but it is important to my wife so I’ve always attempted to support her in whatever way she needs.  Normally speaking I would have been further along in the podcast creation process by the time I slept last night, but instead I decided to have a knock down drag out fight with Amazon.  There is an item that starting last Tuesday, has been updating daily to tell me it would be there by 8pm the next day.  This has drug on for several days… and the FedEx tracking that I finally received shows that there is no way it is going to be here until sometime at the end of next week.  Needless to say I was more than a little perturbed, and ended up trying to get to the bottom of it.

Where I feel bad however is that I know I took out some of my frustrations on the agents that were working the case.  I realize why companies hide their chat functionality, but overall it is a horrible practice, that only leads customers to be pissed as hell by the time they FINALLY get a hold of a person to talk to about their issues.  I know I probably came off as a mad man, but seriously…  I’ve been an Amazon customer since around 2000, and been a prime member for I think as long as the program has existed.  I keep that active so that I can have items here in two days… and there have been a lot of times in the past where they actually have it here next day.  Since the swap to using the US Postal Service however, I have had several delayed orders… and this one just seems to be another in that line of problems.  The worst part about it is.. that after spending over an hour last night trying to get someone to tell me where the ball was dropped…  no one seemed to have any answers.  I did however get two months of prime added to my account apparently to appease me, so I guess that makes up for some of the frustration.  I have no doubt that the item will arrive and be just fine… but man this situation has been annoying.  It is nothing nearly as bad as Tam and Amazon quite literally losing his shipment.

The Week of Warcraft

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For the most part this was in fact the Week of Warcraft as I am attempting to play both characters on Argent Dawn Alliance side… and the joined The Scryers server Horde side.  This means  there are two different communities that I am trying to be an active part of, and as a result pretty much everything else I am doing has fallen by the wayside.  Part of my Sunday ritual is to go downstairs and watch a sequence of television shows until ultimately it is time for bed.  However during this sequence I got pulled into the Horde side guild raid with my friends in the awesomely named Facepull.  Between some gear upgrades from drops and some crafted gear by the amazing Brerhoof it took me to around the 670 range.  Now after some LFR this week I am sitting at 679 so a stones throw away from 680.  I have two parts left to do of LFR and my hope is at some point before this evening I can actually get them knocked out and will hopefully see some more upgrades.  My lowest piece on the Paladin is his necklace which is still the level 640 boosted green gear.  In theory if I get lucky I could get a baleful item to drop while I am doing dailies… which I also need to do at some point.  I have everything enchanted and gemmed… at least with cheap enchants and gems so my performance as a whole should be better tonight… that is if they still want me to come and pewpewpew things.

Then Wednesday night I was invited to raid with some twitter folk that I have known for ages.  There I brought my Alliance Warrior Belghast, and similarly have made some jumps in gearing as the week went out.  I started the week at 680 and have bumped it a little bit up to 684.  This is still a long ways off from the 705-710 range that I need to be in order to really function in Heroic for the Friendship Moose fun, but whatever I am enjoying the process.  In both cases I was mostly a fly on the wall as the raid went about their business, but I could see myself enjoying both situations greatly.  It is my hope that in both scenarios are am invited back for future weeks, and in spite of my crummy gear I still managed to end up I think 3rd in total damage done for the raid.  My burst dps is still on the weak range, but I am throwing out a lot of total damage which still is nice.  Gladiator is such a fun spec that I am really going to hate losing once the expansion ships.  I guess there is hope at a later date that they might revive the spec, but I seriously imagine it was just too hard to balance when it essentially took all of the same gear that tanks did… which means that my overall survival is among the highest of the dps classes.  In any case I am having fun… and that is what really matters right?

Reaching Diamond City

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The original plan for this week was to record our final Fallout 4 show last night, and because of that I felt this overwhelming need to have completed the storyline.  This means that a good chunk of this week I was pushing hard to get through the main story, and I have to say… it was some of the most miserable I have been playing Fallout ever.  My play style is very much a “forget the story exists” method, where I wander aimlessly and go explore whatever happens to suit my fancy.  This means there is a lot of ADD induced gaming as I see what that building over there in the distance is, or go explore that wrecked vehicle there because it looks interesting.  The result is that I spend a lot of time playing, but not a lot of time getting anywhere specific.  With the severe content density that is the Commonwealth, it means I had at 70 hours not gotten anywhere vaguely close to Diamond City.  I knew where it was, but I was busy wandering around the Cambridge area and exploring lots of little nooks and crannies.

Instead this week I forced myself to follow the storyline, and while it is really awesome… and there are lots of interesting characters… the entire process feels forced.  I mean it IS forced, because I am trying hard to play in a style that is not natural to me.  I talked about this for quite a bit on the podcast last night, but essentially most of the time I don’t like it when games end.  In Mass Effect 2, I enjoyed every moment of the side missions… but it felt like all of my fun was being sucked down a drain the moment I started that sequence of events that lead to the end of the game.  I want these worlds and settings.. and characters that I have created to essentially live on forever… and the sooner I “beat” a game… the sooner that fun for me is over.  I think in part this is why I like the MMO so much, because my characters never have to go away… they just keep going on and changing and adapting as new content is released.  So as it looks like we are pushing off the Fallout 4 show a bit…  I am going to try and find a happy medium where I alternate between following story… and also spending some time following my heart.

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.

 

Even When Bad, Its Good

Misplaced Weather

It is currently in the teens here in the Tulsa area, and the wind-chill is pushing it into the single digits and in some places negative numbers.  Waking up this morning the entire world is covered in a blanket of white, albeit not a terribly thick blanket… but it is still coming down and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.  Dear Canada, I believe you misplaced your weather.  Can you please pick it up at the front office at your nearest convenience?  A friend from twitter suggested that maybe Canada was not home and the weather was left with their nearest neighbor…  which in that case seems to be the entire United States. 

Here in Tulsa the weather is a nuisance more than anything else, primarily since my wife and I both head back tomorrow after a two week vacation.  For us at least, knowing this was on the way we ran all of the errands we could think of yesterday so we could just hang out inside today in a blanket cocoon. I could go to the front door and take a picture of what is going on outside, but frankly I am just too damned lazy.  I am wrapped up in two blankets and have a loudly purring cat on my chest…  so yeah not moving.  Hopefully the snow itself will not last terribly long, and so long as it sticks to just snow I figure we will be fine.  It is always the ice storms that I am concerned about not the dustings of snow.

Had a Bad Day

20140105_083251[1] Yesterday was a bit of a frustrating mess.  Over the last several days I have been trying my best to make it through the Gates section of the Siege of Orgrimmar LFR on my Paladin.  Since you cannot progress to the next step until you have beaten all of the bosses in the previous one, I found myself hung up there trying to get the last two bosses.  Each and every group seemed to fall apart either during or directly before the Dark Shaman encounter.  Over the course of the last few days since Tuesday I have been in no less than 8 Gates groups, and this yesterday morning it seemed for a moment like I would get through the raid finally.

We had made it up to Nazgrim but after one wipe the group completely disintegrated leaving me stranded with only needing the final boss.  There are weeks that I cannot get the first bosses of a dungeon to save my life, however each and every one of the 8 attempts at Gates involved me starting over with the first encounter.  I am not sure if I set them down hard, but after the extremely frustrating close call in LFR I got up from my cocoon and while pulling off my headset it completely snapped, leaving the right earcuff danging.  The break was so close to the earcuff that I don’t think I could even attempt to bandage it along for a bit with duct tape.

It seems like I am extremely rough on headsets, as in the years of playing World of Warcraft I have gone through no less than eight that I can recall.  No single headset has lasted more than two years before either falling apart on me or starting to malfunction somehow.  Right now I am back to using a Logitech behind the head headset, but it itself has an issue with the left earcuff cutting out constantly and is only serving to infuriate me more.  Granted these are all first world problems… and I should simply be thankful that I can replace the headset at my leisure rather than having to wait to do so.  In fact as of writing this article I have already ordered a replacement.  I am going back to an older plantronics design that previously I had gotten 2 years out of, which is pretty much the most I can hope for.

Even When Bad, Its Good

People are constantly down on LFR because it represents the absolute worst of humanity.  The thing is… even at its worst I greatly appreciate its existence.  I tend to be an altaholic, at present count I have 6 characters at 90 and a large number of characters within range of getting there.  I have already begun raising my Discipline Priest Belglorian and within in the next few weeks it will likely join the ranks.  I get frustrated in these games when I can no longer progress my characters, and because of the structure of traditional raiding, this generally meant that I got to progress whatever my main was…. but no one else.  I have enough time to deal with carving out a block of time in my schedule for one stable raid group, but not multiple raid groups.

What LFR gives me is the ability to keep moving forward on all of my characters at my own leisure.  I don’t expect a lot from the process, and I don’t expect the players in LFR to be marginally functional.  I find it that I can compartmentalize LFR so that I only focus on my own role and ignore the fact that Rome is burning down around my shoulders.  In doing so this means each and every one of my alts can at least achieve a certain level of gear.  Granted I am not expecting them to be amazing, but I can keep moving slowly forward on all fronts… keeping me engaged in each character.  Now even with this on demand raiding, I still personally don’t have time to run every character through.  However I can get enough piecemeal progression to make me happy.

It is almost as though LFR was invented for someone like me, that likes to dabble in a lot of different things, but doesn’t so much care anymore about reaching the ultimate progression in any of them.  So while I might complain about LFR, and get supremely frustrated at times…  I am still very much thankful it exists.  Despite all of the frustrations and set backs, it eventually goes just fine.  Last night about 11 pm I finally managed to get a Gates group that was sitting on Nazgrim… the only boss I was missing.  After a wipe we got the determination buff and came back and beat him on the second attempt.  After all of the wait and all of the gold bags… I managed to pull the best possible drop I could hope for in the instances.  My paladin is now the proud owner of Gar’tok, Strength of the Faithful and one step closer to being as well geared as I can get him.

Mecha Belgrave

Mecha Belgrave

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

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

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

Graduating the Cataclysm

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

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

Onwards to Joplin

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

Santa RNG

The Sidewalks Roll Up

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This holiday is considerably different than most.  Always there is a natural flow to the events, but due to my Aunt needing dialysis it has completely changed the order of things.  Traditionally last night I would have been up with my family, as they have always celebrated on Christmas Eve.  Traditionally we would go to “midnight mass” that actually happened about 7 pm, and then retire to my grandmothers house afterwards for awkward conversation and eventually even more awkward gift exchange.  During this my uncles would get into the cherished conversation of “why this random thing I own, is better than this other random thing you own” or “who hates ethnic groups more” or even the more recent “random insane government conspiracy theory”.  One of my uncles spins these grand tales of conspiracy that are delivered in way that they almost sound cogent… until you realize that the keystone of his argument is completely batshit crazy.

Now however the game has changed, as we did not spend last night with them… but are instead supposed to go up today.  Which pushes aside my wife’s family gathering… but that is a tale for another day.  This left us at home, by ourselves for the first time in years on a Christmas Eve.  We did not exactly plan well for this occurrence and as about 7:30 rolled around we decided we were hungry, and that nothing at all in the house sounded good.   Which is slightly insane, since we keep silly amounts of food on hand that could be prepared with minimal effort.  I got bundled up and went out into the cold night in search of sustenance. 

We have a saying here that the “sidewalks roll up” as a way of saying that the town is completely quiet and no business is being transacted.  Last night it quite literally felt as though the sidewalks had rolled up.  The only businesses open were Walgreens and Taco Bueno… and the line there extended quite a long ways across the now empty Reasors grocery store parking lot.  Seems like there were other people trying to find food on Christmas Eve.  Slightly forlorn I returned home and cobbled together something to eat out of the banquet of things we have laying around the house.  This morning when I went out to forage I was feeling no more positive that it would not occur again, however I successfully scrounged two sausage rolls and a jump start of caffeine to get us both going.

Santa RNG

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I would have thought that maybe last night players would have felt a wee bit more charitable since it was in fact Christmas Eve.  However if anything it seemed to make the assholes more assholish, and the clueless even more lacking.  I got to listen to more than one variation of the “you all suck” speech, but I dealt with it, because like I have said before playing DPS lets me compartmentalize my world.  I only care about the objective and achieving that objective, and since I am not tanking or healing and by default only responsible for myself… I can just zone in on that job and perform it.  I have lamented over the last few weeks how I have been unable to get weapons for my Enhancement Shaman.  So yesterday I soldiered on in the effort of trying to fill those gaps.

It might have been in the spirit of the season,  or maybe I just finally hit a lucky spot in the random number generator… but for whatever reason Santa RNG paid out big-time.  First I managed to pull the extremely cool looking Softfoot’s Last Resort from the protectors event.  Not very long after that I managed to pull the Seismic Bore mace from the Iron Juggernaut encounter.  So in one night I managed to bump both of my weapons up to decent levels and can now actually chart on the damage meters.  Thing is… Santa RNG was not finished quite yet.  Over the course of the evening I managed to pick up two pieces of the Tier 16 Shaman set the Shoulders and then finally the Chestpiece.  I still have a few slots that have 496 gear in them, but at this point there are not that many.  I have reached the point where Throne of Thunder really has no benefit at all for me, so I can simply focus on doing Siege each week.  I might have to do one last run however to pick up my final sigil of power.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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So while I might sound sullen at the moment, I am sure as the day moves on I will enjoy myself.  Right now we are trying to get up and about and out the door so we can be long gone from my grandmothers house by the time my uncles show up.  As a result I need to finish this post up, get showered and ready and gather up the gifts.  I hope you all have a really awesome holiday, and that if you didn’t get what you wanted… you at least got what you needed.  I personally got exactly what I needed…  some time off work and the freedom to mill about the house peacefully.  Other than that anything else I gain from the holiday is gravy.  Hopefully you have a wonderful day surrounded by loved ones and blanketed in goodies.  I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and if you don’t read my blog again before then…  have a very Happy New Year.

I Hate People

Plans are a Crutch

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I had these plans yesterday of running the last part of Siege of Orgrimmar, but didn’t actually do that at all.  I queued for it at one point, but after seeing it would take an hour I bailed and gave up.  After being iced in for several days, we were out of a few things… not the least of which was toilet paper and paper towels.  The above picture is to show the extent of the icing… for years I have gotten in the habit of raising my wiper blades so they don’t get frozen to the window.  As you can see it is like everything had been sealed in plastic to preserve it for eternity.  If nothing else I knew I had to clear the vehicles so we could leave if we absolutely needed to. 

It actually did not take as long as I expected.  I went outside in my pajamas and started my jeep, then went back inside to take a shower and get ready for the morning.  When I got back out the heater inside and engine had managed to warm the ice up enough to where I could start breaking it off rather easily.  Roughly 20 minutes later I had cleared my Jeep and was headed back inside to let my wife’s vehicle warm up.  I could barely feel my fingers…  but it was at least clear.  When I cleared my wife’s vehicle I had the foresight to actually wear gloves.

We made it out of the house pretty easily, and I have to say this is the weirdest ice storm I have ever experienced.  Everything is absolutely coated in a layer of ice… the trees, the vehicles, the grass, anything elevated even slightly off the ground.  However the roads are almost completely dry.  It is like the perfect ice storm… all of the pretty with none of the consequences.  Granted some parts of the city are out of power as the ice snapped powerlines… so they would definitely question my assessment of no consequences.  All in all however it could be been and likely should have been much worse.

I Hate People

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I mean this in the nicest possible way… but I hate people.  When you put me in a room with more than a half a dozen people a severe fight or flight instinct triggers.  Now imagine how that instinct multiplies when you put me in a busy store during the holidays filled with hundreds of people.  I am generally pretty good at swallowing down that feeling, but the more stores you expose me to… the more of an asshole I become.  I am thankful that my wife realizes this because by the time we reached the last two stores of the day I am sure I was an absolute bear to be around.  We had several things still to pick up on our list, so while we were out and about… and since we were both going a little stir crazy we decided to try and knock as many things off the list as possible.

Target was both the worst and the best place we went all afternoon.  It was the worst because it was inanely busy and as I rounded the corner near the seasonal area… the instinct kicked in harder than it has in years.  There was this huge zombie-like shambling mass of people migrating back and forth between toys and electronics.  I gave up on any notion that I was going to go check the Lego isle and got out of there as soon as possible. It became a logistical exercise to even navigate my shopping cart through the narrow passages left by gawking customers.  I suddenly realized why a lost child just sits down and cries… because at that point I seriously did feel like surrendering to the hopelessness that was all of those people pressing in on me.

That was the worst part… the best part however is just how efficiently they were managing the checkouts.  They had roped off the area in front of the cash registers and while this caused the line to snake all the way down to the pharmacy area, it did make it move faster.  They had a worker acting like a traffic cop to funnel people down the little shoots and to the next waiting cashier.  Additionally they gave us a 10% discount as an apology for the whole credit card fiasco.  Since we were actually hit during that event…  I felt like we had more than earned it.  Last weekend my discover card was off in Oklahoma City and Norman making purchases without me… and we are assuming since we still have our credit cards… it is tied to the whole Target event.

I probably would have gone postal at some point during yesterday, but we went to eat at Monterry, a Mexican chain restaurant we go to regularly.  When I say regularly… I mean it, because the waitresses know our order by heart and often times fight over who is going to wait on us.  Yesterday we had Daisy, who is extremely awesome and has the same pen fetish that my wife does.  Over the time we have been going there, we have become rather social with them… and eating there act like a reset of my buffer.  It was a happy place that helped me cope with the madness that was stores like Old Navy.  Still by the time we ended our tour at Big Lots, I was so far past going that I am sure I was acting like an ass.

Relaxing with Friends

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Yesterday before the madness began, I noticed that my good friend Vernie had managed to hit 90 on his mage.  I did my normal song and dance about how awesome the Timeless Isle was for catching up, but as a very squishy class it seemed that soloing out there was just not something viable.  We made tentative plans for me to grab one of my characters and help him get some gear after I got back from the holiday craziness.  It was shortly after I got home that he logged back in and we did just that.  At first I tried to use Exeter my paladin, but I quickly realized that I already had gotten the weekly chests when I swam him out to get the chest in the pirate cave.  I grabbed Belgarou my druid, because I knew I had not really played him in a few weeks. 

It turns out that this was a great call as I ran out of leather some time ago and could greatly use a run to replenish it.  We faffed about the island for several hours and in the process we managed to get him Helm, Chest, Bracers, Belt, Gloves, Back, Legs, Ring and Trinket.  Which in itself was a pretty amazing haul for our first outing.  He had not really played since Cataclysm, so there are a ton of systems that simply did not exist back then.  The big one is the LFR system, so as we hunted for gear on the island we queued for Mogushan Vaults.  The queue was surprisingly short and we managed to make it through the three boss raid in extremely quick time.

I guess the game did not want him to have an unrealistic view of how the LFR system worked, because when we queued up for the second part of the raid… it went horribly.  Someone pulled the boss too quickly, the tanks had no clue what they were doing… and we wiped.  Moments after the wipe the raid just disintegrated in a matter of seconds.  I told him that sadly that was also extremely common.  While we waited for that raid to officially die we went out to Dinosaur Island… or more properly Isle of Giants.  We had zero luck in both pets and eggs, but we killed quite a few and I got some more leather.  I am not sure if it was in the first raid or the second… but at some point Vernie managed to pick up shoulders.

During the course of our faffing about he managed to go from 450 something to 474 and if we can get him a few more upgrades he should be able to start doing Throne of Thunder…. which I think is one of the more enjoyable instances of the expansion.  After we finished the second raid, that went surprisingly successfully.  Elegon managed to eat a half dozen people to the “floor boss”, but all in all we pulled out a win.  Will of the Emperor was a wipe at first, namely because the tanks didn’t really know what they were doing.  However someone luckily explained to them and we managed to pull that victory out as well.  All in all it was a really fun night, and I was happy that we got Vernie a ton of upgrades in the process.  Once again Faffing about pays off.