Destiny Roegadame

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I had this post that I was contemplating making this morning, but I’ve decided that maybe today is not the right day.  I woke up with a headache that sort of feels like my brain case is trying to split in two…  so it maybe isn’t the best time to be getting into subjects that require a delicate touch.  So instead this morning you are going to get to see some of what I did this weekend over in Destiny 2.  Firstly you get a shot of my current Warlock outfit…  I am in the one in gold and black with the crazy horns.  Now it was announced last week that they nerfed the luminous engrams for multiple characters of the same class.  I am beginning to think that maybe they also nerfed said rewards for ANY characters.  I spent a good deal of time on the Warlock completing the few “easy” engrams…  namely the Weekly Flashpoint (Titan), Clan Experience Reward and Call to Arms Milestone.  The last two line up neatly because you get a predictable 500 xp per crucible match, which helps to chew away at that 5000 xp needed to get the Clan reward.  I held all of the engrams until I had completed all three and then equipped my strongest power gear and turned them in one at a time so I could in theory adjust as needed.  Now when I do this on my Titan I usually see a significant jump in power…  and when I turned in on the Warlock they all for the most part dropped at the same light level as me or maybe one higher.  Ultimately I am not sure if doing multiple luminous engrams per week is really worth it…  but if I can get my Hunter through the main story in time I might try at least one of hers to see if I get the same results.

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That brings me to the fact that I started my hunter this weekend, and wound up deleting my Destiny 1 character and re-rolling as a Female Awoken.  Some interesting things to note…  that even though I deleted my character I got specific story hits as though I was a legacy character.  I am guessing those flags are set at an account level and not a character by character level, so I still got referenced based on my past deeds even though I ultimately deleted my previous hunter.  My Titan being Exo is really the important part of the equation, and the fact that my other two characters were Exos…  was largely due to the fact that there are no beards in Destiny.  Since Hunter is such a nimble and graceful class, I always thought in the back of my head that I probably should have rolled a female character… and in part I am just correcting that original error.  As far as rolling Awoken…  this is the closest I can get in Destiny to having a Roegadame…  which is always the correct choice if you have it.

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This is ultimately a test run for how I am likely going to level when the PC release happens.  I quested my way through the European Dead Zone to unlock Titan, and did the first quest there which unlocks the planet as a whole.  From there I ran public events until I reached 20, which for the first 10 levels took a single event per ding… and afterwards took roughly 2 per.  So if I functionally get to titan around level 5 that means within 25 public events I should be sitting at the level cap.  The reasoning behind this is that you get an awful lot of random gear drops while doing the story content.  Now the specific rewards like Exotics have power limits and will not float up as your level increases…  but all of these random drops absolutely will.  There is a significant part of the leveling process that is going to involve grinding something until you hit 260 light… the cap that you can get to with blue items.  From there you will need a stockpile of faction rewards to get to 265…  and in this case I had a fat stack of Titan tokens to turn in when I got there artificially by equipping the chest I had purchase from Xur and all of my Titan’s weapons.  I started the Hunter around 11 am yesterday afternoon and wound up dinging 20 around 5 pm…  with time between to do laundry and cook and random tasks like that.  Now I just need to finish out the main story, which in theory I should be able to do tonight.

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When I logged my character in earlier to take a few screenshots I noticed that my Clan has defeated the Raid.  When this happens everyone in the clan gets a specific engram that is a level 10-15 version of one of the raid weapons.  I just so happened to have a base 290 pulse rifle sitting in my bank that I sacrificed for science…  and infused to bring the weapon up to usable levels.  All in all I like this pulse rifle quite a bit, and while it is going to take some getting used to the action and the sounds it seems to be really solid.  The important thing however is that I am super proud of my clan for defeating the angry penis head…  which if you have seen Emperor Calus…  it is a fairly apt description that I sadly cannot claim as my own.  I am not sure which team specifically got the kill, but awesome work because I know it took a lot of people over the course of two weeks to really nail this all down and get the fight across the finish line.  Now the rest of us casuals have some shiny baubles as a result.  I think tonight I will be working on the Hunter main story so that I can at least test the flashpoint engram to see what sort of levels I get it to decode at.

Begrudging Enjoyment

Even More Clarifications!

Starting to get really amped because two days in we have like two pages worth of signups on the forum thread.  Since I guess I am the grandmaster of ceremonies, I am getting random questions and have been doing my best to assuage fears.  When those questions seem general enough that someone else might have them… I have taken to dumping them in the intro to a morning blog post to help clarify for anyone else reading that might be interested.  One of the interesting questions that I had yesterday was if folks could mix things up a bit.  Since I am opening the door to vlogging, it was wondered if you could do a mix of the two.  The short answer is absolutely!  The long answer is just make sure you post your video embedded in a blog post, and advertise it on the Blaugust Nook with what day it was for, just to make my life less hell when it comes to tracking and tabulating this madness.

Next question is what happens if a given blogger is obligated to be posting every so often on another site?  Do they have to also post something new for that day on their personal blog?  The easy answer here is yes…  but with an asterisk.  If you are posting a bigger entry somewhere else, it is absolutely cool to post a stub on your own blog linking to the bigger post.  Just do a quick synopsis of the post and let folks click through if they want to read more about it.  This way you technically have your daily post, but also are linking to the article that you spent the bulk of your daily writing time working on.  This is maybe a strange case, but I know that several of our bloggers do the occasional long form article for another source.  The important thing is that we need it tracked through the Blaugust Nook so I can give you appropriate credit.

Night of Alex

ffxiv_dx11 2015-07-22 21-41-38-05 Pretty much since its inception I have been helping out with the Wednesday night static in our free company.  Initially I had intended it to simply be something that I filled in on, but as I dropped my World of Warcraft raiding… I found that I had time to commit to it more seriously.  So presently with the Monday night crew we are working through Final Coil of Bahamut, and on Wednesday nights we have been working on Normal mode Alexander.  Last night we had every intention of getting through all four wings, but we struggled a bit with turn two due to some changes in how we were dealing with the adds.  As soon as we went back to the way we had previously defeated it, things clicked back into place and we pushed through it fairly easily.  That took us to turn three, a fight that I had not actually seen yet.  Thanks to the expert tutelage of Wulf or as “Wul” as his friends call him…  I was caught up to speed and after the second attempt it started to feel pretty natural.

From here it was just learning this particular dance and getting our dps up high enough to burn through it before we hit the hard enrage.  Right now that seems to be a problem in general with what we are trying to do.  We struggled with the dps check on Bismarck, and struggled again on turn three.  As a  Warrior I am personally swapping to Deliverance stance every single time I am not in the main tank role so I can push a little more dps and also trying to keep up Storm’s Eye as often as possible… largely when I don’t actually need the damage reduction effect of Storm’s Path.  If we can somehow solve the problems we are having on the DPS end however I think we are ready to rock higher content.  The dance part seems to come pretty naturally, however there were still several points last night where folks stood in damage that could have been avoided.  Part of this is learning, but part of this is trying desperately to avoid tunnel vision.

Begrudging Enjoyment

Skyforge 2015-07-22 22-22-05-86 I’ve gone through a strange evolution with SkyForge of having some vague interest, but finding the game play largely unsatisfying for my first few play sessions.  Now that I have unlocked the core abilities of the Paladin, I am actually finding it rather enjoyable.  I think this game suffers from what so many games suffer from…  rationing of abilities.  I know Final Fantasy XIV has this problem where most classes don’t really feel like they should until you are around level 40.  SkyForge for the most part has this problem until you have unlocked your base abilities.  Had I taken the time to really spend much time in the virtual matrix thing that lets you test every class, I would have realized that the rabbit hole was so much deeper than I was giving it credit for.  Another interesting side note… if you finish the training on a given class you unlock the ability to permanently use its class costume.

Skyforge 2015-07-22 23-22-31-75 I booted up SkyForge after the raid last night, with every intention of just poking my head in and then logging right out.  Instead I wound up unlocking three costumes and completing a really cool dungeon like mission on an island full of undead Virds.  With all of my abilities unlocked the fights started feel more purposeful in design, and less about simply repeating the same attack over and over.  There was a boss that required me to intersect one type of beam while avoiding taking the other… and actually dragging the boss into the path of it so that it would take the damage.  This felt fresh and enjoyable, so maybe I simply had not seen the “real” game yet.  This is ultimately the frustration of designs that doll out abilities one at a time, is that you can’t really see what the final result is going to be like until you have invested a serious amount of effort into the game.  Granted this game DID give me an avenue to see how a Paladin or Knight would play…  but I simply did not spend much time doing it.  Tonight I plan on trying to unlock a few more of these class costumes, so I can get a feel for how some of the other options play.  Right now this is shaping up to be an MMO with MOBA character design… and I think I dig this.

Last Raid

Make Numbers Go Bigger

SteamSaleAFKGaming Yesterday morning before I left the house I tried an experiment.  I placed three large chicken breasts cut into strips, some diced carrots, some diced potatoes, some hot curry bullion and chicken broth in the crock pot.  I figured I was either going to end up with chicken curry or a colossal mess.  The truth ended up a little between, when the end result was significantly soupier than I expected.  In theory I could have cooked it on high for a few hours with the crock pot lid off and probably done just fine, but instead I had a bag of frozen noodles in the freezer and dumped those in to make what ultimately was curried chicken noodle soup.  It was “odd” but I have to say once I added some salt, pepper and sriracha it was rather tasty.  So for the next few days I will be eating on the leftovers that are so neatly packed away into some giant tubs from Ikea.  Sometimes these experiments work out, other times not so much, but this is pretty much my preferred method of cooking…  dump a bunch of ingredients together and see what happens.

Another experiment is going on right now on the Steam page as they have officially launched their summer sale.  For those who have not experienced the summer steam sale, it is pretty much Christmas for gamers.  During the sale you can see normally $40 games going for $4 and other ludicrous things.  With the Steam sale there is always some sort of mini-game that happens in the background, that involves collecting cards or voting on this or that item.  This time around it is quite literally a game that you play… essentially by afking.  I think this might be a commentary on a whole series of games that have showed up on steam recently that involve sitting at your keyboard and clicking on things to make the numbers go bigger.  This is essentially what happens with the new Steam Monsters game, either you afk and let your auto cannon do the work for you.. or you click until your heart is content and reduce the health of monsters ultimately clearing waves.  The game I have been in has been going on since yesterday and at the time of writing this we are on level 237 of a seemingly endless wave of monsters.  I have no clue what the point of the game is other than to make the numbers go bigger, but I am participating to find out.

Buffalo Farming

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One of the things I am enjoying the most about ArcheAge is how I feel this sense of accomplishment after only playing a short period of time.  Right now I am averaging one to two hours a night at most, but still feeling like I am making forward progress.  The big change last night is I opted to drop Shadowplay from my Darkrunner build and pick up Occultism turning me into Bloodreaver.  In truth I really was not using much of anything from the Shadowplay tree, and the Occultism tree will eventually support the AOE that I am dealing through Battlerage.  For the moment I am planning on doing an AOE damage and CC build that should be solid as I move forward.  I think one of the things I dig the most is just how easy it is to change things around.  I can go to a Skills trainer or any graveyard and swap my trees around as needed to support the kind of game play that I am needing for a given moment.  The only negative is that each time I do this I need to spend some time catching up that tree.

So last night I spent a good deal of time killing random stuff.  I wandered down into a mine filled with Kobolds which also provided me an ample supply of ore to mine.  For the moment I have not touched any of the crafting in the game, but I am instead stockpiling resources.  At some point I will probably work on weapon-smithing, or whatever the games equivalent is.  In any case I assume a stockpile of ore is going to go a long ways into whatever I need to do to make the crafting numbers go bigger.  At this point I am level 18 and I think significantly higher than the rest of my friends playing the game.   I kind the actual combat enjoyable, so I always end up killing way more stuff to complete a given quest… and this game seems to reward farming mobs over and over.  As the title says, I was hanging out in this field killing the water buffalos over and over because it was enjoyable to leap at my target and whirl around like mad with my two swords.  I have no clue what group content looks like in this game but as Kodra starts a character this weekend hopefully we can start working on groupy bits.

Last Raid

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Last night was the final raid night for me for the near future.  As I have said before I am going on a bit of a sabbatical from the game, so that I can fully enjoy the launch of Heavensward.  I don’t plan on doing anything drastic like cancelling my account, and I will probably poke my head back in around the launch of 6.2 but the future of me and raiding is a bit uncertain at the moment.  Quite frankly right now I need a break.  I have enjoyed a lot of my time raiding, but the slog through Blackrock Foundry has taken its toll on many of us.  As a result our raid group as a whole is taking at minimum a two week break starting today, and last night our raid lead cancelled all of the reoccurring raids off the in game calendar.  So there was a sense of finality in last nights events that probably the rest of the raid did not have.  I have called this subsection the way I did because really my future in WoW raiding is uncertain.  I would like to think once things have calmed down I will pick back up and work my way back into the raid group, but honestly that is at least a month away and I cannot determine how I will feel at this point.

The big positive is that we managed to take down three heroic bosses, which should get most of us the ability to start getting mythic loot boxes from our Garrison.  The negative is that we downed Gruul and once again he refused to drop the upgraded version of my sword.  More than any expansion I have felt like I have had to fight tooth and nail to get the meager upgrades I have gotten.  There has never been another time in another game where my fate was determined more by the cruel mistress of RNG than in Warlords.  I have sat and watched as I have won enough rings and cloaks to outfit an army…  but have struggled to get weapon and shield upgrades.  I guess on the positive I did manage to get my four piece bonus faster than a lot of people, but by the same token that four piece bonus is so good for Gladiator that it has been its own albatross around my neck.  I have functionally better items for every single slot that I have a set piece, but I need that bonus so badly.  It reminds me of how overpowered the tier 2 hunter eight piece bonus was, and how no one was willing to give it up once they got it.  So for the time being… I am bidding Warcraft farewell and packing it neatly in a box to be unpacked at a later date.

Enjoying Wildstar

AggroChat 55 – Calling All Bloggers

This week I start off the show, and even title it with a pretty massive plug for the Newbie Blogger Initiative. What is the NBI you ask? Well this is the time of the year when Veteran bloggers support new folks wanting to get started in this madness. This year we are making an extra special push to try and help new podcasters, youtubers, and streamers along with the bloggers. Additionally I myself am making a special push to try to rekindle the fire in some of our wayward bloggers who are no longer as regular as they used to be. The entire month of May is dedicated to helping folks get started and find their niche, and since most of the AggroChat crew have participated in the past, it is time to get the word out.

As far as the rest of the show we had myself, Tam, Ashgar, Kodra and Grace. As always we spent a good deal of time talking Final Fantasy XIV since we are all still heavily playing it. Right now Greysky Armada our Free Company is back holding the bronze medal again for being the third most active Free Company on our server Cactuar. This week also saw myself and Grace spending some more time playing some more Wildstar. The Black Dagger Society the guild I am connected to has been having a guild night on Fridays and as such I have started joining in the festivities. Additionally there was talk of Marvel Heroes, Diablo 3, Ashgar returning to his Gameboy Advance roots, Tam winning his first Infinity tournament since the move, and similarly Kodra beating VVVVVV for the first time in his new place. Since this month is devoted to Shadowrun for the Gameclub we are also starting to play some of this. It was a fun show in spite of being in that pre-E3 gaming doldrum.

Making Progress

Wow-64 2015-04-30 20-57-40-40 I’ve been down a bit on raiding lately in my posts so I wanted to take a moment to give a bit of an update of sorts.  The Tuesday before last was very seriously one of the worst nights of raiding I have had in a very long time.  It really made me question if I wanted to keep trying to raid in World of Warcraft, and I posted this long discussion about it.  It seems like I actually gave voice to some of the same feelings that many of our raid had been having, but for whatever reason had not actually talked about.  As a result a dialog has started among some of the members, and I have to say I think things are starting to improve.  Tuesday this week was still a pretty rough night, but it felt at least somewhat better.  Thursday however on the other hand felt really good.  We were a much trimmed down group due to some absences but I also felt like we were working better as a team.  We lowered the bar slightly and worked on normal content again, clearing everything we had ever cleared before in a single night and putting in some serious work on the forge encounter.

If we had another hour of attempts I feel like we probably could have downed the encounter.  Things were flowing so much better than they ever had before.  We were getting through to the second phase, and then approaching it with a sense of direction and purpose.  We were alternating between burning down the Elementalists and focusing down the waves of adds.  We managed to push through to the final phase, and if we were at our full numbers we might have been able to defeat it.  I think we learned a lot of good lessons that we can hopefully apply this Tuesday.  The thing is… I am feeling something that I have not felt in a very long time… the desire to get back in there and give it another shot.  I am actually looking forward to raiding in World of Warcraft this week, and that is a pretty awesome thing.  Maybe just maybe we can make the changes necessary in the raid to make it a better experience for all of us.  At this point I am glad I said something, and started the discussion.  I guess the truth is if you are not having a good time, chances are you aren’t the only one.

Enjoying Wildstar

WildStar64 2015-05-01 21-07-54-46 Similarly this week I have been enjoying quite a bit of Wildstar.  I am still taking it nice and slow, but at this point I am level 16 with just a short ways to go to 17.  I have officially finished the Algoroc zone and will be moving into the next area.  The Black Dagger Society has been awesome to me, and I am super thankful to Chestnut and Chaide for giving me a friendly home to hang my hat in.  It turns out that Friday nights are somewhat of a guild night for grouping, and they have been working on lower level content.  Currently I do not have any other commitments Friday nights, so I am going to try and make that my Wildstar day.  This week they ran me through the earliest Protostar dungeon, and it does a pretty great job of teaching you what you need to do to succeed in a Wildstar instance.  Honestly I wish that this would have been the first dungeon when we were playing at launch, because I feel like it would have cleared up a lot of the frustrations had by many players.

The group we went into Wildstar with was made up of some pretty disparate points of view and skill levels.  For some the extremely frenetic pace of the dungeons was a point of frustration especially as we were trying to learn “on the fly” all of the various things we were supposed to be doing.  This dungeon eases the player in teaching them the various mechanics and then building upon them as the phases go, finally culminating in a boss fight that is fairly representative of what I saw in the “real” dungeons.  While the dungeon is essentially a giant tutorial, it is still extremely fun and when a random stranger asked me if I wanted to join them… I happily ran it again.  The other big switch I have made is previously I was focusing entirely on tanking as the warrior and now  I am starting to build out my dps abilities as well.  In most games I level as tanky as much as anything else in an effort to be as survivable as I can be for fighting the named encounters.  In this game I feel almost more survivable playing DPS as I do as a tank.  Essentially the amount of damage I deal more than makes up for the extra damage I might be receiving.  I am still pleasantly surprised that I am enjoying Wildstar as much as I actually am.  Pretty happy I decided to give it another shot.

Bad Medicine

A Good Nights Sleep

Monday night I did not sleep well at all.  I was up late futzing and waiting on a print job for my wife, that ultimately ended up printing the wrong thing.  As a result neither of us got to bed until after midnight.  After that I don’t think either of us really got solid sleep, and next thing we knew it the alarm was going off at 5:30.  As a result I spent most of yesterday sleep walking through it.  There are just some hazes that not even caffeine can clear, and this is only compounded by the fact that my allergies are still killing me.  Even the smallest task seemed like a struggle, and last nights raid was pure hell to suffer through…  in part because of my present state of mind.  I realistically should have just bowed out and headed to bed, but that didn’t happen.

I did however managed to get to sleep around 10:30 and last night was probably the most luminously glorious night of sleep I have had in a long time.  Granted I woke up before the alarm by about twenty minutes…  but I did the correct thing and just got on up instead of trying to struggle for those last few minutes of sleep.  The end result is I feel more human than I have in a long time.  Who knew I needed this sleep thing after all?  Now if only I didn’t have to go to work I could actually enjoy my day.  Today in particular is going to be a strange one as I have to go to lunch with a vendor.  Working lunches make me grumpy, especially since during this one we will be grilling the vendor for information.  At least maybe I get a free meal out of the deal.

Rough Raiding

Wow-64 2015-04-21 20-48-48-06 Last night I was not in the right frame of mind for raiding.  That is the simple fact but the end results of the night didn’t really help either.  As a whole the night felt like we were beating our heads against a wall.  We had fourteen people, two healers and opted to run Blackrock Foundry Heroic.  I am not the raid leader so I am sure there was a reason, but it felt like we were just setting ourselves up for failure.  We managed to eek out a victory on Hans and Franz with that configuration.  Then we lost one healer and gained a different healer, and someone healing in their off set.  We pushed forward and managed to down Beastlord Darmac in this fashion, before heading on to do some attempts on Flambender Ka’graz.  There we made some swaps to the layout that seem like they might have worked, but it required a lot more work adjusting on the tanking side, so overall it was a wash and we wiped horribly.

This stagnation and continued throwing ourselves against heroic when it seems like on some level we are just not ready for it is completely destroying any desire I have to log in.  I am not sure what is going wrong honestly.  I am not sure if our tanks are undergeared, or if our healers are undergeared… or if the dps are just taking too much “could be avoided” damage making the healers heal someone other than the tanks.  All I know is that we are having to battle rez tanks constantly, and as a matter of course which makes all of our attempts sloppier than they should be.  Our Tuesday WoW raid is generally bad at adjusting to the conditions on the ground which is maddening to me, because this is precisely the strength of the Monday night Final Fantasy XIV raid.  If things don’t go according to plan we seem to lose our shit completely, and end up flailing wildly…  or standing in shit and dying.  So I am not sure if we just have a massive case of tunnel vision or if there is some gearing problem at hand.  I know for me personally I am still wearing 640 pants because nothing better will drop.

Bad Medicine

Wow-64 2015-04-10 06-18-41-75 The problem is right now I am right back in that old familiar place.  I dread logging into World of Warcraft Tuesday and Thursday to get a raid invite.  I’ve reached that point where I am just frustrated with the whole raiding in wow experience.  I have been here so many times before, and I am not quite sure how to fix it.  I feel committed to “take my medicine” and log in for the sake of my friends, but I question…  are any of us actually having any fun right now?  Monday was one of the funniest nights of raiding I have ever experienced, and we spent it wiping like nubs to turn 9 after having taken a month off of it.  So it obviously is not progression that ultimately dictates how I feel about a raid… it is the attitude of the raiders and the atmosphere of the raid.  We spent Monday laughing and joking, and at the same time we made some serious progress.  That is when I love to raid, when it feels like we are pulling together as a team even if we are wiping horribly.

The Tuesday/Thursday night raids just feel broken.  They have about as much mirth as the waiting room of a battered women’s shelter.  I log in and join the raid and I feel worse, because there is an unspoken tension going on.  No one talks anymore, because key players in the raid are easily distracted by chatter.  What is frustrating is, this is not the raid I joined.  This is not the raid I saw at the end of Siege of Orgrimmar, or even during High Maul.  That raid was excited about the prospects of this expansion, and enjoyed their evenings spent together.  This raid just feels stressed and burnt out… and I have no clue how to rehabilitate it.  I wish I did know honestly, because I miss that raid that existed before we set foot into Blackrock Foundry.  That is a raid I enjoyed spending two nights a week with.  This one…  I just end up zoning out and waiting for the night to be over.

An Evening With Alternative Chat

Bel Folks Stuff Episode 3

This morning sees the release of the third episode of my experimental side podcast, Bel Folks Stuff.  For those who have not followed this development, as the title graphic says I have conversations with interesting people about the stuff they are into.  So far I’ve had such conversations with Gypsy Syl and Rowan Blaze and his wife Scooters.  Both of those were really awesome conversations and I suggest you go back and listen to them at your convenience.  This morning however I am releasing an episode that I have been looking forward to with another good friend the Godmother of Faff behind Alternative Chat.  As a strict devotee of the Faff lifestyle, or at the very least an aspirant to the lifestyle… I always appreciate her bringing the term to public consciousness.  The funny thing is… we really didn’t even talk about this during the podcast.  I believe in letting the conversation go where the conversation goes and we filled up an hour of time chatting away about various bits, and probably could have filled up another hour doing the same.

Of note for this episode I also wanted to make sure that the podcast was available on both iTunes and Stitcher radio to help those folks out who prefer to listen to podcasts through those avenues.  I admit I was nervous with this episode because Alt herself has such an amazing production quality for her own podcasts. I felt like there was no way I could live up to that standard.  That said I feel like this episode is really solid, and that maybe just maybe I am starting to get a hang of what exactly this thing is going to be all about.  I don’t really sit down with a fixed number of questions or anything of the sort, but instead just try and keep the conversation flowing as best I can.  With Alt the conversation flowed naturally even though later in the cast she admitted to having notes of her own.  I still feel like we maybe got more than a few moments of genuine spontaneity there nonetheless.  Speaking of spontaneity, I am always trying to evolve as a person and as such would love to hear your comments on how this side project is working.

Rifftrax and Raiding

With the shit storm that happened Tuesday with the Argent Dawn server, we didn’t actually get to start raiding as a group until last night.  Unfortunately I had other plans, and had to miss the raid.  Some of my co-workers and I have started this tradition of sorts of going to the RiffTrax live shows whenever they happen.  Granted they are not truly “live” for us as in performed in theater.  Nonetheless each time I go I think to myself “I have never laughed this hard ever” and then the next one trumps it.  This go around they were riffing on a show they did during the 5th season of MST3K, a strange version of Santa Claus that involves Santa, Merlin, and some Christmas Devils…  you know the standard fare.  It turns out that apparently the film originally hailed from Mexico where maybe it made more sense?  The final product is this insane dubbed over feature with so many absolutely absurd moments that they had pretty much endless ammunition to make fun of it.  If you are really curious you can check out the MST3K version that someone has dumped on youtube, but apparently it was edited down heavily… and they had all new jokes to make at the movies expense.

As far as the raid goes they apparently had a pretty great night of their own right.  It seems as thought they managed to two shot Kargath, and then down The Butcher a well.  The sounds like they made some good progress on Tectus as well, so they are hoping to easily down that next Tuesday and progress to the next boss.  We apparently ran the raid on personal loot and the RNG gods were good to a lot of players.  I know Rylacus walked away with three pieces of gear, which means he can officially no longer complain about “never getting drops” for the remainder of this expansion.  Admittedly he has always had pretty shitty luck with getting drops he actually needs, but the moment a rare assed mount drops… his dice immediately improve.  I can’t really complain because I too have a collection of rare mount drops, but most of those were diligently farmed… and the only one I actually won when it was relevant was the Fiery Warhorse Reins.

Less Communicative

Last night after my post yesterday, I had a friend check in on me to make sure I was doing okay.  It made me realize that I am doing a pretty bad job of reaching out to say “hey” to people lately.  This friend has been logged into WoW at the same time as me for many nights, but I have been stuck in my own little world quite a bit.  Right now I have a batch of things that needs to be wrapped up at work before going on my holiday vacation after the 19th.  Then there is the daily blogging, and the two podcasts that I am keeping going… one of which records weekly.  After that it seems like I always have some OTHER side project to work on, like my upcoming post for Syl’s Bloggy Xmas.  Someone started a conversation the other day with “I know you are busy but” and I thought…  am I busy?  It seems like I very much am, and as a result when I get busy I tend to encapsulate myself in a little bubble or just shift into “speak if spoken to” mode.

Mostly this morning I wanted to take a moment to say that essentially “its me not you”.  I feel like I am failing miserably at keeping in contact with people during this holiday season.  I promise I still care, and I promise I am still interested in what’s going on in your worlds… but at this point I feel painfully behind in everything.  I’ve always taken the Stanley Spadowski “Drink from the Firehose” approach to information intake.  The problem is I seem to be falling further and further behind as my blog reader consistently has hundreds upon hundreds of posts to read.  Between that and trying to juggle playing World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV and entertain semi-focused raiding in both of them… my attention circuits are maxed out.  I promise I am still out here and still caring… I am just not taking it upon myself to engage directly nearly as much as I previously did.  All of that said… if you need help with something I will do my best to assist in any way I can.  Hopefully after the holiday break things will calm down a bit and I can reach a point of equilibrium.

Honeymoon Over

Old Familiar Beast

Wow-64 2014-11-30 17-23-06-55It feels very much like the honeymoon is now over as far as my return to World of Warcraft.  Each time I have come back there has been something that ultimately drove me back away.  When I came back before the launch of Pandaria, it was the “failed state” feel of the guild and how the once shared guild ethics seemed to have vanished.  When I left last April, it was in part due to the fact that two factions of the guild quite literally hated each other, and it caused this giant rift right down the middle.  Last night it felt like a brand new yet very familiar Maelstrom was opening, and I essentially supported it.  One of the ideological things I have fought for years was the creation of a “Raider” rank in the guild, that granted special access to the guild banks.  I hate the concept of a rank that can in any way be used to say that “this person” is better than “that person”.  The problem is as a former raid leader myself I can see that it is entirely logistically needed.

Last night I helped to set one of these ranks up, and immediately after doing it I started to question my sanity.  This only served to be reinforced later as a new acquisition to the guild started asking questions about how to get into the raid.  This is going to be something that comes up over and over, especially now that there is a very noticeable raid rank.  The problem is don’t have any good answers to give them.  There is no path to follow to get into raiding, because House Stalwart is not a raid guild.  Maybe it is moot at this point but I keep saying that over and over.  I never wanted it to become “just another raid guild” because it used to be more than just a group of folks who mutually benefited from one another.  It used to be this awesome extended family, and while pockets of that still exist…  it feels like that era is just gone.

Honeymoon Over

Wow-64 2014-11-29 00-11-32-89 All of this was compounded by the fact that at the very same time there was an incident that happened over voice chat, about someone potentially being muted that reminded me all too clearly of why I have left in the past.  I have always despised the concept of the haves and have nots.  I’ve always been someone who cared more about attitude and personality than skill, but by the same token this is what has held me back in my own raiding endeavors.  If you want to be successful you do have to erect some barriers saying you have to be  this tall to ride this ride.  I just can’t bring myself to be the person to do that.  I’ve never been able to decide that this group of friends is more important to our success than this group of friends.  I just want everyone to get along and treat each other with some basic human dignity, but that always seems to be impossible.  So last night underscored for me with a big bold line that if House Stalwart is going to be successful moving forward, I need to make sure I never permanently take back the crown.  If I do I will started trying to make the guild a much more egalitarian place again, and tie a boat anchor around what was successful last expansion.

That said things are not as dire as I might make them out to be.  The same raiders that need to be super serious to break the raid, are the ones that were grabbing anyone and their brother trying to make sure they got heirloom weapons for leveling.  So while the bar has to be set pretty high to make sure things are successful, I have a feeling that once the current tier of raid content gets on farm status… those same barriers will start to break down as we have folks that can carry the others to victory.  I just know that the guild was more successful than it has probably ever been during Pandaria as far as raid content clearing, and I need to stay out of the way of whatever mojo is required to return us to that status.  I know that is going to involve a lot of things that fundamentally make me uncomfortable as a human being.  I do however have faith that the raid core knows what it is doing, but I also feel like our fearless raid leader is stressed beyond boundaries.  We have some fundamental problems… like too many melee and tanks… and far too few ranged and healers…  but I feel like that will all be sorted as things move forward.

Sit Down, Shut Up, Enjoy the Ride

Wow-64 2014-11-30 11-57-22-15 If I am going to stay in World of Warcraft for this expansion I am going to have to make some fundamental changes in who I am as a player.  Right now I feel too much responsibility for the happiness of others in the House Stalwart World of Warcraft guild.  It has been my baby for years, and I have nurtured it as such during all of that time… constantly trying to keep an influx of new and awesome people flowing through its doors.  The thing is…  before the launch of Warlords of Draenor I freely gave up the crown, as I have done multiple times since Cataclysm.  I need to realize this means I am no longer in charge, and also by the same token no longer responsible for whatever happens in guild.  Last night Rylacus passed the crown to me, but also gave me a speech that he really thinks it is best if I give it right back.  Ry doesn’t care a bout the power, he just wants to keep me in game and happy as long as he can, because he knows each time I start taking responsibility for the happenings of all of these people… I burn out and run away screaming into the night.  I need to also allow myself to be absolved of the guilt that comes from giving up that crown.

There is a thing I do really well, and that thing is acting as the guild cheerleader and chief recruiter.  I am always going to be trying to find awesome and interesting people to draft into my family, because ultimately that is precisely what a guild is to me…  a big extended and sometimes contorted family.  It is joked that I have a white panel van full of candy, and drive around abducting people into our guilds… and more or less that is precisely what I do.  I have always done it for World of Warcraft, and I currently do it for Final Fantasy XIV…  for a guild there that I have NEVER been the leader of.  I feel like I never much cared about actually directing the people once I got them, my focus has always been on the acquisition of more of them… hoping that the rest would sort itself out in the meantime.  The problem is… just because I am friends with two people… doesn’t mean that they will be friends.  Basically at this point if I am going to be happy in World of Warcraft, I need to be the friendly voice in guild chat and let other people worry about the minutiae.  I hope that House Stalwart can remain mostly the same place it has been since launch, but I expect we are going to go through some rough times until folks realize fully… that this is not a raid guild, and raid membership is not guaranteed.

Sneaky McSneakybits

Persistent Stuff

Trove 2014-01-29 06-10-34-60 It has been quite a while since I last talked about Trove on my blog.  For a bit I had been recording regular segments of me exploring the world, then after roughly six of them I just stopped.  Namely this coincides with me getting super into World of Warcraft raiding for a bit.  I however have continued to explore the game each time they add a new build.  At this point it is hard to remember exactly what the state of the game was when I last talked about it.  Currently we have fully persistent cornerstones, and you can see mine on the right-hand side of the image above.  It is still very much a work in progress, but essentially I was trying to maximize the space available and still look like something I could pick out at a distance as “mine”.

Currently there are four levels above ground and two below ground, the first of which below has my workbench and block transmuter thingy.  One of the cool things that they added in within the last few patches is the ability for your crafting inventory to survive between server resets.  This means I finally have a real reason to mass harvest materials for use later, since I am not constantly losing everything each time a patch goes in.  My biggest wish however is that we could craft some weapons to replace the starter crap.  Each time the server resets I rush around trying to get decent enough weapons to leave the first tier zones.  In this present patch it feels like maybe they nerfed the drop rates a bit, as I slaughter a few dozen ladybugs and bees this morning and have gotten nothing at all but cubits… the crafting currency.

Another cool thing they are doing is replacing the in game weapon drops with ones created by players.  When you get an item, it now says who the weapon was created by.  It was pretty cool the other night when I got a nifty rapier drop and noticed it was created by a friend of mine CaptainCursor.  Since the community is relatively small at present, this adds a whole new level to the game since you are constantly running into things created by names you recognize.  You can check out the latest patch notes over on the Trove reddit.

Sneaky McSneakybits

rift 2014-01-29 06-31-43-93 Yeah I have no clue why I named this subsection and the blog post this…  brain does things sometimes.  Last night my most important mission was to finish leveling my rogue to 60, and consume all of the various loot boxes I had gathered up along the way.  At some point they made it so that you are guaranteed a lockbox of some sort from your weekly patron gift.  Since my warrior Belghast is already fairly well geared, or at least well enough to begin raiding…  I figured I would stockpile them to give my rogue a quick gear boost upon dinging.  Turns out it worked pretty well at doing just that.  Between the lockboxes and about 50 plat in select purchases I was able to get well past the 300 hit requirement for expert dungeons.  I did not however get to run one as we spent a good chunk of the evening out and about last night.

In theory the queue should go pretty fast since I am equally comfortable Barding it up as support or going dps as either my Marksman spec or my Nightblade primary dps one.  Going back and playing rift has made me realize just how much I love the Rift Rogue and truly dislike playing a WoW Rogue.  While I got Gloam to 90, and I am extremely happy I did so that I could do the living steel transmutes I needed to craft my Sky Golem…  I really don’t think he is going to get much play.  Quite simply put…  Belgarou my feral druid is a better rogue than my rogue is…  or is at least a more interesting one.   I have just come to realize I don’t really like the way rogues in wow play.  Not sure what it is about the play style but it just isn’t for me anymore, especially now that I feel other classes like Retribution Paladin do the rogue combo point thing better.

Ultimately my key frustration with WoW rogues is that combo points are built in the target instead of a buff that stacks on the rogue itself.  Warhammer Online got this right initially with the Witchhunter class, which was by all purposes a “better” rogue.  I realize at this point the combo points on target thing is tradition, but it simply does not work that well.  While saying the Rift rogue is better, is a bit disingenuous since it is essentially a wow rogue, hunter, druid, and a few other classes that don’t exist in wow rolled into one.  I think the main reason why it “works” better is that the combo point mechanism is on the rogue, not the mob.  This adds a bunch of interesting gameplay elements like building your combo points on the boss, and then using your combo dump to execute weaker encounters.  It is just at this point that the WoW rogue seems so much less interesting than the other “Rogue like” combo point classes.

Onyxia Mount Patrol

Wow-64 2014-01-29 06-49-55-23 After the time in Trove and Rift, I settled in for a little bit of Tuesday raid reset madness over in World of Warcraft.  For better or worse, there are several raids that I solo each week on multiple characters for an attempt at the various pets, tansmoggy bits, and every elusive mounts.  The start of each week tends to be me making the trek out to Dustwallow Marsh to beat up on Onyxia.  First off I have to bitch a little bit, because post Cataclysm they have made it a royal pain in the ass to get to Onyxia for Alliance players.  The fastest route I have figured out is fly straight south out of Stormwind, hop the boat at Booty Bay, and then fly to Dustwallow from there.  All of that involves flying across several zones and hoping that you happen to arrive at Booty Bay just in time to land on the boat.

Of course like normal she didn’t drop me a mount, or anything else of interest for that matter but at this point I can easily solo her as Retribution Paladin and Frost Deathknight, so I do this little interchange twice a week.  I need to cycle through some of my other characters and see if I can build a spec for them that can bring her out of the air in phase two.  I might be able to gather up enough timeless isle gear to make a passable Boomkin spec on my druid, and I think in theory I could probably do it on as Enhancement Shaman.  I do not think however that my Rogue or Warrior will be of much use in my quest for her mount.  I need to check with my friend Rylacus and see if he has any master tips for dropping her out of the air.  The one time I tried to do the fight as a Blood DK it literally took 30 minutes for my diseases/icy touch/deathcoil to do enough damage to get her back on the ground.

The highlight of the evening in WoW however was me flying over to Ahn’Qiraj on a whim.  Turns out that I now have enough physical damage to solo the Twin Emperors fight.  This had long been a stumbling block for me when it came to soloing AQ40.  The other big hurdle was viscidious, however since I dual wield frost… I simply switched my razorice enchanted one-hander to my main hand and that seemed to do the trick for shattering him.  Past that howling blast was more than enough frost damage to freeze the big blob.  I am still missing two pets from this place, so I can see adding it to the weekly faff farming rotation.  I did not really have time to do my BWL run on my paladin, I am still missing a few pieces of judgement… so I am sure over the next few days I will be getting that in.  Since the eggs are a pain in the ass on anyone other than my Deathknight, I generally grab a random person from the guild who needs transmoggy bits before venturing into the dungeon.  My hope is to find a time when Scarybooster can be online, and drag his butt through with them.

Veritech Pilots Unite!

Profundity is Gone

For those that followed me during the recent couple day bump of new readers…  I am rarely as cogent or pointed as those topics come off as.  Most of the time the Tales the Aggronaut spins are yarns of faffing about and doing scattered things in the games I play.  That is not to say that I won’t again be overcome with feels and post something dreadfully important, but most of the time I just ramble on about whatever is in my mind.  This is the side effect of my whole “blog every morning” crusade I embarked upon nearly a year ago.  So if you have a limited appetite for game ramblings, I apologize ahead of time.

My office right now is like a magma chamber, and I am not really sure how long I can keep up this mornings post before I wither and melt away.  The heating and air system in our house is pretty horrific, and for some reason there are two heat vents in my very small office.  As much as I have tried to block them off completely… the heat continues to radiate through the wall.  So the rushed feeling I am having is likely going to cause this to be one of my extra “special” mornings.  Right now all I can say is thank god it is the weekend… and even though I have to pull a wi-fi miracle out of my hat tomorrow…  I am ready to be done with work for the week.

Veritech Pilots Unite!

Wow-64 2014-01-23 16-27-11-42 One of the side projects that has been underway for roughly a month is the coordinating of my crafting cooldowns each day in order to eventually produce the amazing Sky Golem mount.  I realize I am way behind the times in getting it crafted, but hell it is news to me.  Last night I managed to make the last two components and then went on an absolutely giddy flight around the Vale.  I loves it so much in all of its mechanical glory.  I feel like a Veritech pilot from Macross/Robotech.  For the next few weeks every single character of mine will be zipping around on this goblin machination.  Then I am sure like always I will get bored and pick a new mount for a few weeks.

I have already set my sights on the next big crafting project.  I am a horrible engineer… or at least I have traditionally been a very poor one.  I never raised the bankroll to get my chopper back in Wrath, and during the expansions after I simply lost sight on it as a goal.  Now my intent is to farm up everything I can farm and then raise the required monetary commitment to craft one of these puppies.  Not that I think I will ever actually use it… I have so many cool ground mounts like the Fiery Warhorse’s Reins or Rein’s of the Swift Spectral Tiger that I am always anxious to break out when I am in a flight limited area.  I feel like getting a chopper is just one of those things I want to do moreso than really have a reason to do.

Blackwing Descent

Wow-64 2014-01-23 19-41-34-38Finally on the silly activities front, several of us were hanging out on mumble last night.  The question was posed… how many people would it take to clear the old raids, namely Blackwing Descent.  I surmised that we could probably limp by on three, 1 tank, 1 healer, 1 dps.  Next thing I know we are on our way to blackrock mountain and giving it a try.  Thing is… I remember nothing about this raid at all really.  Granted while we were doing it several things came back, but I had literally not see any content past the first two bosses.  I left WoW shortly after the launch of Cataclysm and at that point we had only managed to down Magmaw and Omnomitron (yes I know that isn’t the name).  So for the most part it was a completely new place for me.

We of course entered for the purest of faffing reasons…  the druid in our party wanted these shoulders for transmog.  I myself would not have minded getting an Ashkandi 2.0 to drop, simply because the fidelity of the weapon is so much higher than the one I keep in my bank for transmoggy goodness.  All in all the run went pretty smoothly.  We struggled a few times, including several attempts at Chimaeron just trying to figure out how to work the fight mechanics.  For whatever reason my purgatory talent seemed to be glitching out the key fight mechanic, so I popped outside real quick and summoned my vendor mount  and changed that talent. 

The trippy fight honestly was Nefarian because I was the only one to survive the initial flood everything in lava phase.  So for the most part I solo’d a good chunk of that fight, namely the swimming around the room in lava killing the guys on the platforms phase.  Then the monk healer and I duo’d the final kite him around the room phase.  Since it was a 10 man fight, we only had one battle rez, and as such it seemed like a better idea to rez the healer than the druid dps.  It was a fun night and I could see myself doing it again.  I am really hoping that we can mostly trio the rest of the content.  Funny enough we managed to get an achievement during the process without really intending to.  I really want to go off and do firelands so I can hopefully get my druid friend his fire kitty.

Without Burdens

Of Holiday Parties

This morning I am slowly eating my oatmeal and trying to make my head stop throbbing.  I feel like I have a “hangover” but I didn’t even drink last night.  I think this means I am now officially “old”.  Last night was the Christmas party for my group at work.  I think I said it yesterday, but we are the only group that actually likes each other enough to hold a party.  It has been years since I have felt the way about a group of people that I do about these people.  Quite honestly I probably never have felt exactly the same, but my very first work environment was a similar “family” feel.

The highlight of the evening was dirty santa, which for folks who do not know what that means.  Gift exchange with the ability to steal from others.  The best gift was…  a large thing of crown royal, a pair of captain america underoos, and a package of fake moustaches.  I cannot and nor do I really want to picture the scenario that was planned with that combination of items…  but it was needless to say hillarious.  Even better… someone had inadvertedly brought a Captain America mask and shield…  the underoos were donated to the winner for the full effect.  I brought some legos, and they were hotly contested… as were the call of duty mega blocks that were brought.

Probably the coolest item of the night was one I ended up winning initially but then was quickly stolen from me.  The “Boozequet” was a floral bouquet made up of individual shots.  The creator had hot glued the individually sealed shot drinks onto floral wire and then arranged all of them in a bouquet.  Extremely clever, I told the creator that she should market it and I am sure during this time of the year she would get a lot of business.  She even made a cute little “drunk santa” tub for the base of the arrangement.  The whole night was pretty amazing.  I go through this “I don’t want to go” phase right before any party, because my body rejects being around lots of people.  However when I actually do go I have a blast.’

Without Burdens

Wow-64 2013-12-15 10-33-29-58

I really do not have a lot of gaming news today.  When you have a big event going on in the evening the entirety of the day tends to be dominated by planning and preparing for it.  My day yesterday was either planning or waiting to play for the holiday party.  As a result I didn’t get into anything that I could not rapidly exit if needed.  That meant my only real options were LFR.  After some moving stuff around I managed to get my ilevel high enough to queue for Vale of the Eternal Spring, the first section of Siege of Orgrimmar. In fact currently I am sitting at 502 with a 450 ring still equipped that I have not been able to replace.  I am proud of myself because I got there on this alt without “actual raiding” and without leaning on Burden of Eternity gear at all.

Why does this matter?  Well a Burden of Eternity is one of those things from the timeless isle that is either a super rare drop, or super costly (50,000 timeless coins).  When you apply it to the gear tokens that drop from the island it transforms what would have been a 496 ilevel item to a 535 ilevel item.  The problem is, just like the normal tokens there is no control whatsoever on what stat package you will get.  This creates a lot of odd situations like tanking items with no avoidance stats on them.  I personally find the burden gear to be a bit of a crutch, and what I mean by that is… I cannot seem to make my brain ignore the fact that it is higher ilevel and instead evaluate the stats of an item.  Many 502 items will be better for your character than these 535 items just because of the particular stat distribution and the inclusion of gem slots.

Having these extremely high ilevel but not very optimized items just confuses the mix for me.  I have or have had quite a few of these on Belgrave my main, and in each case I find it really hard to make myself abandon them for a better itemized but lower ilevel item.  This is the double edged sword of ilevel after all… the number does not adequately represent how well a player is geared.  I could have a bunch of extremely high ilevel items equipped that are functionally useless for my class.  On my shaman I admit that I equipped a healing trinket that I got from a random loot bag… just to get my ilevel up high enough to be able to run Vale of the Eternal spring.  I am sure there are lots of other people out there doing the same.  I like the feeling of seeing my gear score going up incrementally, but I feel like as a gauge of quality it has never really been valid.

A Quiet Day

This has to be the slowest I have taken to eat my oatmeal in the morning.  I blame the multiple directions my head seems to be spinning right now.  As a result of my present state… I am hoping for an extremely quiet day.  Far as I know we don’t really have much of anything to do today, so my hope is that other than doing laundry I can pretty much sit on my comfy couch and relax.  Said relaxation is probably going to involve a lot of LFR for a shot at shiny shiny loot drops.  Now that my paladin can queue for Siege I want to get him all the way through to Downfall.  I also should run my shaman, dk and druid through as well.  Who knows how much I will actually get accomplished but needless to say I will be enjoying my day today.