Derpest Dungeon

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Last night did not exactly go as intended, but it was a pretty great night nonetheless.  Originally I had hopes of getting a Mythic+ group together so that I could use my +5 Maw of Souls keystone.  That said I didn’t really exert a whole lot of effort in finding it either, and when I finally got settled in for the night after a bunch of idling there were only a handful of us on.  Instead I opted to work on my time walking dungeons in the hopes that I might get more of that tasty tasty Essence of Aman’Thul from the weekly quest.  When we got a group together it consisted of Rylacus and his son Tinoke who both still needed 2 dungeons… myself who needed 4 and then Bled and Phy just because they are awesome and love me enough to do a bunch of time walking dungeons.  In truth I had completely pug tanked one of the dungeons so I could have suffered through it if I had to, but I enjoy tanking for my friends way more than I enjoy tanking for strangers.  In any case we got to chit chat back and forth on Discord while doing the dungeons and that made the four go much faster.  I had hoped by the time we finished there might be more people around, so we could pull together that Mythic+ but alas that was not the case.  In truth I am guessing it was a good thing since a crisis arose while we were doing the Time Walking heroics.

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I hate printers, probably more than any piece of equipment ever.  They never seem to work as intended and always require an inordinate amount of fiddling.  One of the things you have to know is that many nights my wife can print as much as an entire ream of paper for her class.  When I am upstairs I am also at least in part the warden of the printer, and get yelled up at to fix issues when they arrise.  Now earlier in the evening she was printing perfectly fine… and then all of the sudden things stopped spooling entirely.  I tried my best to correctly diagnose the problem, but none of the rampant googling actually provided anything that was useful.  Of note… we have a massive workgroup printer that weighs about 200 lbs and is precariously connected to a machine that acts as a print server via parallel to usb cable.  It works 99% of the time but is just brittle enough to make me constantly uncertain of what might be causing the problem.  We tried a sequence of rebooting the laptop and rebooting the “server” to no luck.  She was able to hit file shares on the “server” without issue, but any time she tried to access the printer it said that it did not exist.  However I could print to that printer from any other computer on the network so the connection was still there and active.  Finally in my destination I started fiddling with home group settings, and changed her share settings because I was literally trying everything I could reasonably think of.  Instantly it was like something refreshed her machines permissions and she could suddenly see the printer and life was once again good.  Once again… let me express my undying hatred for printers.

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Apparently Tam had been trying to get a hold of me while deep in printer diagnosis hell.  Over the weekend I made a vague attempt to catch up on the Final Fantasy XIV content, but hit a both literal and figurative wall…  in the form of the Baelsar’s Wall instance.  I was not about to pug tank it… and it turns out apparently I couldn’t anyways because my item level is too low.  I am currently sitting at 220 but apparently need 230 to get there.  When I finally got patched up and logged in, Ash was needing to go to bed which left us with Tam and Kodra and seeing as I had not actually run any of the second half of the derpest dungeon, we opted to form a group for that.  I have to say… while I have struggled in the past to get in and have fun…  the deepest dungeon really hit the spot.  The deepest dungeon serves the purpose of being quite possibly the easiest way to get weapon upgrades, with a mini game system that I have talked about in the past that involves collecting “gear” and leveling both your weapon and armor to 30.  When you have collected 30 you can turn that in for a very solid 235 weapon which would be a sizable upgrade for me.  Now when I entered last night I was sitting at the point where I stopped playing last time… which was somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 weapon and 14 armor.  By the end of the night if I remember correctly I was sitting at 30 weapon and 28 armor… so pretty close to being able to collect my first weapon.  It seems like the 51-100 floors move your item levels considerably faster… either that or we simply got lucky.  To be honest, I had more fun in FFXIV last night than I have in a long time…  and the above screenshot is there to simply serve as a reminder to just how insane Cactuar is as a server.

[Edit] – I can’t re-title the post without breaking every link that I syndicated this morning.  That said I am finding out that “Derp” has some problematic roots and is a word that makes a lot of folks uncomfortable.  It’s not really a word that is of any importance to me so going to attempt to jettison it from my vocabulary.

A Whole New Shield

A New Shield

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It is officially Christmas time , as last night I ordered Pepperollies for the first time of the season.  One of the local pizza chains has this thing that only exists during the holiday season, that consists of pepperoni, cheese, pizza sauce, rolled up in a crust and cut into little disks…  then brushed with garlic butter and baked.  They are so amazingly good that we have even tried to make our own version when we get the craving… and it isn’t the holiday block.  I ordered dinner originally thinking that it would feed both my wife and I, but I completely forgot she had a Chanukah dinner at a friends house.  So that means we have plenty of leftovers for tonight I guess.  The primary reason why I was ordering something in rather than trying to fix something at the house… is that Wednesday nights I have started participating in an alliance side raid with some twitter folk which starts at 7 pm my time.  I figure there will be a time where I cannot make this raid, but for the time being I am riding along for the fun.  Unlike the Sunday horde side raid, they run on personal loot… so everything is left up to pure dumb luck as to whether or not I walk away with anything other than gold.

The exciting part of the night is that I managed to get a shield to drop off the very first boss.  Swords and shields are hands down the most important gear slot for me personally… and I have stuck away in my bank/void bank every single mainhand/shield combination I have ever tanked with for any significant length of time.  Since I managed to upgrade my weapon to 695 over the week…  I still had a 670 shield, so getting the Smoldercore Bulwark to drop was a really exciting moment for me.  I spent a few strategic tokens here and there, and picked up another few items… like the Stamped Felsteel Chestplate but I really cannot afford to break the four piece set.   So the only other piece of gear that I will actually use was a new cloak…  which is funny considering I have gotten pretty much nothing but cloaks from my garrison loot boxes.  The Drape of Gluttony itself is pretty much ideally itemized with both Bonus Armor and Crit on it.  Part of me wants to continue raiding Alliance side if for no reason other than it is quite literally the swan song of me as a Gladiator dps.  The spec is so amazingly fun…  but is absolutely not going to be around any longer after the expansion.  It was my one time to be a special snowflake… and I kinda want to soak up as much of it as I can while it is still a thing.

On Timewalking

After finishing the raid last night I popped over Horde side to piddle around and try my hand at a random Timewalking dungeon.  This week/weekend is the Cataclysm Timewalking event, and with it comes a bunch of level boosted cataclysm dungeon gear that has been brought up to 675.  At least in theory that is what it is supposed to be… the problem is I’ve had some add on bugging out on me that keeps me from seeing the actual item level of an item.  It appears that TipTac the addon I have used for years to relocate the tooltip pop up window to some standard location in my layout, has some old calculations going on… making it so items show up as their base level not the boosted level.  This has also made it so that my weapons for example, will always show up as the pre upgraded version.  While I will miss having that addon… I won’t miss seeing all the timewalking gear as level 115.  So if you are also having this issue…  kill TipTac.  Unfortunately I’ve reached a point on both of my main characters where the timewalking gear isn’t really an upgrade, so instead I am mostly running it for the Timewarped Badges.  And with those… I am mostly only interested in the pets and mounts… and the random chance of getting the Infinite Timereaver dropped mount.

If nothing else it is still fun to run these older dungeons and see them still function as relevant content.  The only problem with this is that in truth… these dungeons are a lot tougher than the equivalent dungeons would be in Warlords.  There are several rooms in Shattered Halls that will still gleefully murder you if you pull too much.  With the Burning Crusade zones specifically… this was the era of mob crowd control… and they love to fear and incapacitate players left and right.  So last night I ran one of these dungeons completely random, and then another two with my guildies.  I would have loved to have done more…  but it was almost midnight… and I had to function  today.  There is this strange nostalgia about the whole places…  and unlike revamped versions of places…  it feels the same.  I guess it is my hope that they will stop redoing old dungeons… in favor of just adding them to a Timewalking event… either that or making Timewalking a permanent feature for certain dungeons.  In truth I would love for EVERY dungeon out there to be able to scale to the highest level cap.  I love the idea of evergreen content… even though very few games do it well.  It is my hope to get in tonight and run several more of these, potentially on both sides of the fence… since I have plenty of Alliance alts that could benefit from the gear.

 

 

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.

Timewalking Frustrations

6.2 Disappointment

This week we have had a pretty massive information dump about the 6.2 PTR patch information.  I have to say overall I am fairly disappointed, not necessarily in what is contained within the patch, but that everything about it feels like an “end of expansion” content patch.  The patch information is super spoilerific, but it seems as though the Burning Crusade is now invading Tanaan Jungle.  Soon the gates will open revealing a zone besieged by fel magics, that culminate in the Hellfire Citadel raid zone.  All of that sounds pretty badass, but the problem is it also sounds like the end of an expansion scenario.  If 6.2 is on the PTR that means more than likely we are a little over a month from seeing this content in game.  Which would probably place it landing at the beginning of June.  We have no new expansion announcement, which means that more than likely they will be announcing it in November at Blizzcon.

The problem there is that unless they launch immediately following Blizzcon, we will be looking at another Siege of Orgrimmar style content lag.  I feel like if they announce at Blizzcon the earliest an expansion would be launched is Spring 2016.  The best case scenario I can think of in my mind places a new expansion in our hands in March 2016 which would be a nine month content lag.  While that is nothing near as bad as the sixteen month lag at the end of Pandaria, it is still not amazing.  Sure they would I guess shoehorn another minor content tier like Ruby Sanctum, but I don’t think that will really make anyone happy.  Maybe I will be wrong, and maybe they have an even more epic conclusion of this expansion planned.  This Siege on Hellfire Citadel however just feels like the last grand hurray for the Warlords of Draenor expansion.  Which leaves the question in my mind of…  what next?

Timewalking Frustrations

The absolute largest disappointment coming from this however relates to the Timewalking system.  This was hinted at quite some time ago in an interview that something was in the worlks called Timewalking mode, and my mind was set ablaze.  My grand crusade has been for years that World of Warcraft needs a mentoring system, that allows higher level players to scale down to the level of lower level players… and do content with them “for real”.  When this new game system was hinted at, I was absolutely giddy because this meant finally after all these years WoW was getting mentoring.  This has probably been the biggest reveal as part of the 6.2 informational dump, and I have to say I am really frustrated with the result.  I am going to full quote a section of the announcement below.

In Patch 6.2, we’re introducing seven different weekend events that will run from noon Friday through noon Monday every week. Two of those events will be Timewalking weekends, in which you’ll be able to queue up for a randomly selected old-school dungeon with a new sort of “heroic” difficulty: When you Timewalk these dungeons, you’ll find that your character’s power and gear has been scaled down to a fraction of what they normally are. For the first time in years, some dungeons you outgrew long ago will once more put your skills to the test.

So instead of a robust mentoring system, we are apparently going to get a weekend gimmick.  If I am reading this statement correctly it sounds like these are going to be limited time events that will happen twice.  Maybe this is going to be like the pvp weekend construct, and simply rotate through seven different events, or maybe there are literally only going to be seven events ever.  Right now we don’t really know, but regardless of the situation it feels like a complete waste of resources to put these in as limited time events.  I was hoping for and expecting a robust mentoring system, but instead I am getting a carnival ride.  I really don’t know why I set myself up for these disappointments, because traditionally my hopes are dashed on a regular basis when it comes to this game.  I still have so much hope and can imagine a game that is so much better than what we actually have to play, but we never seem to get there.

Cycling Down

Wow-64 2015-03-27 06-34-47-22 I am more than willing to admit that some of my frustrations might just be me.  I have reached that point with World of Warcraft that I often do… where I am simply not enjoying the game.  In previous trips back to the game I would have left it months ago.  I pushed three characters to level 100 and everyone to within Garrison levels… and simply lacked the drive to push any further.  The moment to moment gameplay was extremely fun while leveling, but the non-raid end game content has felt like I had no real purpose.  So instead I log in an hour before raid on Tuesday, so that I can get my extra roll tokens, and make sure I have potions and flasks.  Occasionally I half heartedly log in to run Garrison missions on my main, just for the hopes of those raid loot boxes every other week.  I feel like I am spending the absolute bare minimum of time in this game, and so long as we were progressing smoothly in the raid it felt like it was time well spent.

Unfortunately we are not progressing smoothly.  We will have a good night, and then it feels like we regress five steps the next one.  I am tied to this game because I am actively raiding in it, but I have to say I am starting to question why I am even doing that.  When raid voice chat is full of frustrated and stressed out voices…  it pretty much destroys the enjoyment for me.  I am all about joking and having a good time…  and kicking ass while doing it.  When we stop being able to have that relaxed raid dynamic, and still be high functioning my will to care drains from me.  Ultimately I came back to the game riding a wave of nostalgia.  I stayed because I was raiding and getting to hang out with a handful of friends that I missed.  When even Rylacus, the life of the party, is starting to sound stressed and worn down…  I question why we are doing any of this?  I am sure I will chill out in the coming days, but seeing the 6.2 content, and our current raid struggles…  it is making me question why I am still playing.