Catch Up Mechanics

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

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

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

Deathlord Rises

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

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

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

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

 

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.

Many Demons

Allergy to Advertising

Yesterday in my travels I listened to a piece on NPR talking about the habits of TV binge watchers and advertising.  Apparently a study has found that binge watchers are far less susceptible to advertisements than your average viewer.  They went into some reasons behind this…  but I think as a whole we have just learned how to ignore advertising.  William Gibson is the oracle of our age, because he consistently predicts a thing being a thing… before it actually happens.  I remember in the book Pattern Recognition he introduced us to a person who is so allergic to branding and advertising that they would get the branding ground off the buttons in their jeans.  I feel like I am nowhere near this, but instead I am in this realm where advertising just really doesn’t work that well for me.  When I see the same ad over and over… especially if it feels like they are targeting me for some reason…  I find myself less and less likely to use whatever product that is.  There was a time when I actually like several post cereals for example…  but after watching commercials for honey bunches of oats between shows on Hulu I have nothing but a negative reaction when I see anything with the Post brand on it.

As far as advertising in general, I’ve gotten adept at ignoring it.  If I am going to be serious about a website I tend to snap it into my RSS reader, which also tends to trim most of the advertisements.  From a side effect it also cuts down on the exposure to Malware, since a large number of attacks on end user machines come in through infected ad providers.  While I might trust the hell out of a website, I don’t trust the advertising services that are well known cesspools of Malvertisements.  With Television however…. there is very rarely a time where I will be watching a show without also doing something else at the same time.  So I might be playing an MMO or fiddling around with this or that project… which means when an ad comes on the screen it gives me liberty to look down at my device.  I am vaguely listening, but only well enough to be able to identify when the ad has finished and the television show has started again.  Mostly I really don’t enjoy being advertised to.  I am not bought into the fantasy that they are trying to create that is supposed to tell me that my life will be better with this product.  Instead I prefer to just do my own research when I find that I need something.  There is never a moment when I purchase something, that I have not already googled it, youtubed it, and tried to find multiple seemingly trustworthy sources of information on how said product works.  That said…  I realize I am probably a huge aberration, but I would have to think its an aberration that is growing more and more common.

OrcLock Instead

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Last night most of the evening was spent going to RiffTrax where I saw Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny….  which is every bit as horrific as you might have imagined.  Well the movie was horrific… the riffing over top of the movie was absolutely glorious.  I would say this batch of shorts and the final movie… was quite possibly the best RiffTrax I have seen.  They are doing a rebroadcast of Starship Troopers early into January so I think we are going to rally the troops and go see it as well, since it was one of the ones they did before we started making this a regular outing.  When I got home however I spent some time piddling around and on a whim decided to roll a Female Orc Warlock rather than flipping over and playing my Dwarflock like I had talked about.  Essentially I am enjoying my time Horde side quite a bit, and I am feeling the need to develop a stable of characters.  I also really really need access to an enchanter and a potion maker, and there is no better way to do that than to make my own.  So in theory Belghula… because I am running out of ideas for Belg names… is more than likely going to be a Tailor / Enchanter…  since having access to crafted gear is always a useful thing.

This is I guess going to be an experiment in just how long I manage to stick with a female character.  This is a thing I don’t do terribly well, and mostly its because… I tend to keep creating versions of myself when I make characters.  At some point I need to do a supercut of my characters, but you will see there is a very specific pattern to them.  They all have beards of some sort… and if there is a game that doesn’t allow beards…  then honestly I don’t tend to stick around terribly long in it.  After that I tend to have long hair drawn back into a ponytail… or if nothing else just long hair in  general, and said hair is generally black or as dark of a brown as I can get it.  Essentially that character ends up being the idealized version of how I guess I wish I looked… or at least my ultimate version of myself.  Maybe I just really like the whole Adrian Paul Highlander thing…  because my Secret World character looks quite a bit like he did in the Highlander Television series.  In any case… I never seem to be able to fully immerse myself in a female character, because it pulls me out of the whole “this is me in game form” aspect.  That said, when it comes to horde in particular… I think the female characters look badass and less sexualized than the alliance versions.  I also like the female Orcs, Trolls and Undead far more than I like the Male counter parts.  As a result I am going to give this a try, and hopefully it works…  because seriously this Orclock looks awesome already.

Devilian Finally

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While I played quite a bit of Devilian in the various phases of alpha/beta/whatever… I had yet to actually install the game proper since its launch.  So last night when I got home… while I was dinking around on the Orclock I had it installing in the background.  I crashed pretty hard around 10pm but I managed to get in this morning and get a character created.  As a result I created Belghast the Berserker on Ravan…  because if you give me a server name that even vaguely sounds like Revan… I am going to play on it.  I am looking forward to seeing what the game is like after the handful of polish passes the late betas gave it.  If nothing else it should at least partially scratch my Diabloesc itch for awhile.  I have significant issues still with the fact that the classes are gender locked, but this is not really a Trion Worlds thing.  That is one of the frustrating things about playing a game that has been localized like this… is that you end up knowing that most of the things that might frustrated you… the company you actually have access to, can’t do a damned thing about it.  So as a result I am going to enjoy what is there, and try really hard not to worry about the stuff that isn’t.

I joined a Discord server yesterday being run by Zoltariel and having a bunch of the Trion folks on it as well.  So I started chatting like I normally do, to which point I was treated to a length rant about how essentially anyone playing a Berserker is a “casual” and that how no one would ever invite them to a group.  I am paraphrasing because this was a rant that took place over the course of twenty or so lines, but the gist was that Berserkers and melee in general had problems dealing with late game mechanics.  The thing is…  I enjoy melee.  If you give me the option between a bunch of characters, I will always without a doubt play a melee… and problem even further play a tank.  Since Devilian is the sort of game that doesn’t have a tank… then I am likely to play as much of a high survival melee as I can because I like being able to live through stupid things.  Melee is what makes me happy, and even if it is absolutely empirically worse than every other class in a game…. I am still going to play it because it is the player fantasy that I enjoy.  So I killed the chat channel when I quoted Tommy Lee Jones from the Fugitive after Harrison Ford just gave an impassioned plea about how he did not in fact kill his wife…   “I Don’t Care”.  Not everyone plays a game to win…  some of us play them to have fun doing the playing.