Flawless Royal Warlock

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Last night I had every intent of attempting to get a Nightfall going.  As a result when I first got home from work I grabbed some food and popped upstairs to fiddle about on my warlock.  It is odd how my order of enjoyment has shifted when it comes to my alts.  Nothing is ever going to dislodge Titan as my primary class in Destiny, but the other two appear to be in a state of flux.  Originally speaking my secondary character was always my Hunter, and my Warlock generally sat in this realm of just one or two steps removed from “afterthought”.  However with Rise of Iron and even some of the late Taken King content…  that sort of shifted around and I tend to enjoy my time spent on the Warlock far more than the Hunter.  I think part of it is that the movement options for the Hunter seem awesome at face value…  but double jump just feels more limited than either the Titan or Warlock jumps.  Admittedly I have constant issues with the Warlock jump because it essentially works backwards of that of the Titan.  However in both cases it feels like I can get where I am needing to go more easily than trying to time a bunch of jumps in order to get up to anyplace high.  On the Hunter I feel like there is never a situation where I do not want to be using the Bones of Eao…  so much so that I question if it would not simply be better for the class if that Exotic were phased out and that function just defaulted.  I still wish there were artifacts that allowed you to switch which jump your class had… because in truth I would still give everyone the Titan jump if given the chance.

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Now I said I had every intent of running a Nightfall last night, but instead when my wife managed to make it home I popped back downstairs to fix her some dinner.  After doing so however instead of filtering back up to my office, I decided to chill downstairs on the sofa with her…  which mean’t no PS4.  I realize I am one of the only people on the planet for which “sofa gaming” does not mean a console, but I have all of my consoles hooked up next to my gaming PC in my office so I can capture from them easily… and also that is where the Television that I can dominate lives.  Before long I was on the laptop and playing some more Diablo, and eventually connected with some friends chain running Rifts for fun and profit.  All in all it was a really good night for me and progression, because firstly… managed to get all of my gems to “Flawless Royal” level.  Additionally I managed to knock out a few more items from my set build namely that I now have the right armor and “weapon” in my cube.  I am now down to a place where the only things I am missing are my jewelry…  but these are also some of the more expensive items to buy from Kadala.  There is a more powerful Legacy of Nightmares build that I am working towards, largely because I have never actually tried doing a build using that pair of rings.  The game apparently wants me to try it however since I wound up with an Ancient version of one of the rings last night.  However I am in the very awkward place of needing Justice Lantern, both pieces of the Endless Walk jewelry set, and the ever present Convention of Elements in the cube.  On a positive note last night I managed to pick up a pair of Nemesis Bracers which I can swap with my Heart of Iron in the cube to make farming runs go more smoothly.  Additionally I managed to get all three of my primary build gems over level 25 so they finally start doing interesting things.  All of these things combined seem to now allow me to pretty easily farm Torment X content, which means that 7/10 of the next Seasonal step is knocked out…  with the only truly heinous thing left being mastering the set dungeon.  For that I am largely going to need to tweak my build because I don’t actually use consecrate anymore, although it is definitely worth trying given how bed of nails works with it.

Tonight however… will most definitely be a night for Destiny because in theory it should be easier to get two characters through Nightmares on reset day 🙂

Warlock Banana

Last night did not go exactly as expected, but I am pretty pleased with the results anyways.  Last night was a good night, and it started from the moment I got home and got a bunch of things accomplished while waiting on the rice cooker.  After a furious round of chores, my wife and I sat down to eat and then I was off to play some PS4.  With my leg in its current mauled state it hurts to sit on the couch given that in order to use my laptop I need to use the recliner.  This ends up putting pressure on the four wounds and while I can take it for a few minutes… it doesn’t exactly make for comfortable gaming.  As a result I am largely upstairs right now, and other than being isolated from my wife it does give me access to my gaming consoles and my legit gaming desktop. The original goal for last night was going to involve running around and doing stuff  with some friends in Destiny, but while waiting for that to happen I decided to start doing Iron Banner on my Warlock.  I had not actually touched the Banner on either the Warlock or the Hunter during Year 3, and as a result I had the Lady Efrideet quests to complete which also reward some gear.  I managed to exit the week long even with my Titan main at 393, Warlock caught up to 391 and my Hunter lagging a bit out of disuse at 389.

I’ve tried a whole slew of weapons and honestly nothing makes me nearly as happy as my Year 2 Iron Banner Auto Rifle… the Haakon’s Hatchet.  So for the most part playing on my Warlock meant swapping this over via Destiny Item Manager.  For those who are not using this I highly suggest installing the chrome plugin, because it greatly improves the utility of being able to swap gear while playing the game.  Essentially I swapped my Auto Rifle and my Gjallarhorn over and was off to the races.  There is a part of me that is sad that this Auto Rifle just simply doesn’t exist any more.  I wish there was something you could do, like a weekly bounty for Lord Saladin that rewarded the year two weapons… just a random draw at the huge vat of available options.  Range Finder is one of those perks on a weapon that I feel like gets overlooked a lot, but given the normal crap range on this weapon… with that perk it allows me to melt targets an entire map away it seems.  Counter Balance and Perfect Balance on the same weapon always makes it feel great and I think a huge part of why I keep favoring this weapon… is that I have used it so much that I can predict exactly how it is going to behave in pretty much every situation.

Throughout the course of the evening I managed to go from Rank 0 to Rank 5 and complete all four of the bounties on my Warlock along with the three one time Lady Efrideet quests.  That meant I saw an awful lot of gear as a result.  Most of it was largely “more of the same” but I am picking out a few items to talk about.  Firstly I am not a huge fan of Sidearms, but I am trying to learn how to use them.  They play this interesting role of operating somewhere just outside of shotgun range but largely something you swap to when you empty your primary.  Normally speaking I would just infuse this into a weapon I am more familiar with but for the moment I am holding onto it largely because I think the perk package looks interesting.  With Hand Loaded and Range Finder… this means my side arm is going to have a massive operating range, and with Quickdraw I will be able to swap to it extremely quickly.  Combine this with the already insane Stability and Rate of Fire on the weapon… and it might be useful if I can learn to use it well.

One of the strange things about Iron Banner is that your drops seem to be extremely character dependent.  For example this time around the drops that were available were Class Items, Helms, Artifacts, Ghost Shells, Scout Rifles, and Fusion Rifles.  On my Titan I got Fusion Rifles almost exclusively, save for a single Distant Star Scout Rifle drop.  On my Warlock…  the Scout Rifles were raining down upon me.  I still think that more than likely I am going to be using the vendor roll which includes Full Auto… giving me a crazy high power auto rifle hybrid thing.  However I did manage to get a few other interesting rolls, including the one above that I thought were worth talking about.  Firstly to spec this out I would end up taking Braced Frame… which I really don’t like doing because it reduces the magazine size.  For the second pick I would ultimately take High Caliber Rounds to give some stagger and a bit more impact, and lastly would probably go for Firefly…  just because right now I don’t have a decent scout rifle with that on it.  For the un-initiated Firefly makes it so that when you kill a with a headshot… it causes it to explode dealing damage to all other mobs around it.  Firefly does a really great job at helping with wave clear and it is just fun to watch all of these things explode.  All in all it was a pretty great week in the Banana, and I am hoping the next time it comes around I can maybe push my army of characters up to 400ish.

Space Diablo

Last night was a good night.  It was a fairly crappy day at work because we were still dealing with the ramifications of events that happened over the break.  Nothing says excitement like an 8 am conference call.  That said I had an amazing bowl of chicken noodle soup waiting on me when I got home.  Sunday during the day we made a batch of soup in the crock pot, and for whatever reason soup is all the more amazing on day two.  This time around I added a little shredded cheese to it and it was insanely good and the perfect thing to at least in part make me forget the day that lead up to it.  As far as my evening the bulk of it was spent hanging out with Grace and Mor in Destiny.  While I consider myself still very much a fledgling player, they are more so… and as a result it was kinda fun just to ride along as Mor experienced all of the content for the very first time.  The big take away from the night however is that the year one strike bosses are still insane bullet sponges.  I kinda find it sad that they never went back and updates these strikes, when much better year two versions exist.  The walker in the Devil’s Lair normal difficulty strike… is quite possibly the hardest strike boss ever… or at the very least the one that takes the most time to bring down.  I solo walkers out in the patrol zones for fun…  and this one just would not die.

Mor calls the game “Space Diablo” and it is fitting because really in the end we are all after tasty loot.  Since I had already done most of this content before a bunch of times, I opted to play my Warlock which is generally my least progressed character.  On the Stormcaller spec for example I only had the base abilities unlocked that you exit the mission with.   By the end of the night however I had a significant amount unlocked, and gear wise my Warlock has suddenly pulled out ahead of my Hunter.  The thing with Warlock is that I like literally everything about it… except the jump.  Squirrel will probably fight me on this one, but it just feels wrong.  It doesn’t work the way I want it to work… and in truth if I could just give my Warlock the Titan jump… everything would be peachy.  Then again I would give literally every class the Titan jump, and part of me hopes that they introduce a second round of artifacts that do just this… allow you to customize each character by giving them a different class jump.  I don’t think that is likely ever going to happen, so in the meantime I will have to console myself with having permatracking thanks to Memory of Gheleon on every character.  If nothing else that artifact is amazing for finding chests… which considering just how many there are in the plaguelands greatly increase how much glimmer I am getting.

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Once things wound down in Destiny, I disappeared downstairs and worked on my Deathknight for awhile.  Sunday with the start and stop nature of work, I didn’t get terribly far in knocking out some of my dungeon quests.  In fact there was a point where I had queued for a dungeon, and shortly after the second boss had to drop group to hop on a work conference call.  Were it a guild group this probably would not have been a show stopper given that I could alt tab back and forth as needed, however I excused myself from the PUG and became resigned to not actually finishing up Stormheim.  So last night I started off by running Halls of Valor, which went extremely quickly and allowed me to move on in good conscience to Highmountain.  Right now I am largely just focusing on the main story of the zone and ignoring any offshoots for the moment, because it already seems like I am going to ding 110 well before wrapping everything up.  At the moment I am sitting at 60% into 108, and have just started the quests in High Mountain meaning I have most of an entire zone to level through.  I will absolutely ding before leaving this zone, and then I can begin the slow process of gearing through World Quests.  I have to say that I love Frost Deathknight for both a leveling and dungeon running spec, and it is going to dethrone my Paladin as my primary alt.

All of this said… I am not likely to work on my Deathknight tonight because I have a date with Final Fantasy.  I am too old to stay up and play at the official launch of a game but instead have it sitting waiting for me on my PS4 for when I get home.

Fetching Cats

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I am not entirely certain how well this video is going to come across on the blog, since I am just using the default twitter embed process.  I’ve talked about playing fetch with my youngest cat Kenzie before.  She loves rubber bands, and whenever she wants to play will bring one and drop it beside me.  Traditionally this has meant tossing it around the room and her chasing after it.  However over the weekend my wife went to a craft fair and picked me up a basic rubberband gun.  Now at first the results were mixed, but I quickly realized it was because it moved quicker than she could actually track.  So firing it across the room in the air meant she would just look at me confused a few times and then give up.  However if I fire it across the floor so that it makes impact and slides the rest of the way…  she is able to track that and bolts off after it.  I decided to attempt to record this in the process and overall it turned out pretty well… including the batting of the gun to try and make me fire it.  This was my evening… and when she would get tired she would bring it back… and then lay down on top of it.  Later she would discover it again when she got up and the circus would continue.

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As far as gaming went… it was another mixed bag of an evening.  Firstly early in the evening before my wife got home I spent that time working on my Warlock and namely doing the Shiro and Tyra weekly quest.  The idea being that if I keep doing those every week I am bound to get some interesting stuff from the load of legendary engrams that they ultimately provide.  At this very moment I swap them all to the bank and then hop on my highest light character to open them.  However before long that won’t matter quite so much given that the only sub 385 character I have right now is my Warlock.  Today is the weekly  reset, and from what it sounds like it is a really good week to farm packages.  If nothing else this is going to be the week that I farm up all of the heroic strikes I need for Future War Cult quest.  Small Arms and Solar Burn means you can farm heroics, and Mayhem Clash means you can finish games in 6 mins making it an insane Crucible farm week as well.  Needless to say I am probably going to be playing Destiny tonight.

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In World of Warcraft last night was our traditional Mythical Monday night…  which is just a cute name for “oh shit we never did a mythic this week”.  It seems like Monday is the night that I always end up doing a keystone just in time to get a free item today.  This time around there was a double benefit, in that my friend Mor needed Black Rook Hold for the Karazhan attunement, and he also had a keystone for it.  It is getting to the point where these runs are largely pretty smooth and we managed to complete in with enough time to spare that we got two chests at the end.  Unfortunately I don’t think anyone managed to get any usable gear.  Quite honestly it has been a really long time since I have gotten anything useful out of a Mythic, and largely they are just something I do… because of the fear of missing out on something from the chest.  I enjoy them, and I am always happy to tank them pending I can dedicate 30 minutes of my time in one sitting.  However I am not necessarily running them because I need them.

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Lastly I finished the evening in Rift and managed to finish up Scatherran Forest.  I got so into the game that I completely did not watch the time… and wound up finally heading to bed when my wife started to wake up from the sofa at 12:30.  From there I had a pretty fitful night sleep wise, so it is definitely going to be an interesting day.  That aside…  Scatherran Forest was a great experience and the wrap up event was full of epic moments.  At the end of the zone you wind up going into a mini solo dungeon of sorts, with I believe four boss encounters that you take on with two companions.  As far as the story line and ramifications… they also felt pretty awesome.  There were some definite feels caused by the ending… that were not entirely attributable to the late hour.  I’ve now moved on to the Gedlo Badlands, with my general idea being to ping pong back and forth between the two as I work my way through the comet towards the Tower of Ahnket.  I had my first real run in with Ahnket and it was interesting…  definitely get a malevolent evil vibe…  but also that of a cat playing with a toy which makes it all the more fitting to talk about this morning.  I  talked a bit during the day about Time to Kill issues… and apparently a good chunk of that was my own damned fault in that I forgot to slot any planar fragments.  Once I did that… I noticed a significant boost in damage output, so if you are similarly struggling try that.  So far my favorite thing about this expansion is largely just a side effect.  I love that I am gaining planar levels insanely fast anytime I do pretty much anything… which is helping me flesh out those neglected trees.

Belghula Rising

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This week marks the last week of the Legion Invasion event, and with it goes the insane leveling elevator that many of us have ridden over and over.  At this point I have every slot on Argent Dawn Alliance filled with level 100 characters, and over the last bit of this week I have been pushing Belghula my female Orc Warlock on The Scryers.  Scryers is a linked realm with Argent Dawn and when that occurred I made the choice to roll a complete set of Hordies over there, so that I could hang out and play with friends I had other the other side of the server.  The Argent Dawn community has always been an odd one, and for a period of time we had a thriving official… and later unofficial server forum.  I still somewhat wish I had not killed the domain behind that forum, but at that time I thought I didn’t really want to be playing World of Warcraft anymore.  In any case I have a large community of horde friends that I love dearly, but never got to play with.  When I purchased Legion I ended up using my boost to create a level 100 Tauren Paladin and I even got to raid over there for a period of time…  until Sundays didn’t really work that well for me.  Now I am pushing up a second 100 to have a more balanced set of characters to play.  Something happened and I decided that I don’t mind casters… and even really like the Warlock so that ultimately is the one I have decided to push.

Last night during the podcast I managed to get her to level 95, so it should be relatively trivial to finish off and ding 100 today.  Similarly I have an Orc Deathknight waiting in the wings as well in the 60s… but I am not completely sure if I am going to push it hard or not.  I would like to at a minimum get it to 80 because the Cataclysm/Panda/Warlords grind seems much faster than getting a single character through Wrath of the Lich King.  I’ve talked about this in the past, but content design has changed a lot since Wrath and quest stacking was a much harder proposal back then than it is now.  By quest stacking I mean gathering up a bunch of quests related to a specific area and then burning through them all at once.  As far as the Cataclysm/Panda/Warlords grind… I feel like I have that one down to an artform jumping zones each time my adventure guide lights up telling me there is a new zone to jump to.  The most interesting thing about the whole experience however has been seeing how folks have broken the event over their knee and abused the hell out of the system.  The other day I talked a bit about the idea of resetting the event, but ultimately decided that it just made it a boring grind.  Some folks however have apparently taken this process to the extreme.

Last night I was sitting in the Crossroads minding my own business and working on the event, when someone broadcast a message across general talking about an Exp Grinding party.  They had auto invite scripts set up so that if someone typed 1 in chat it would throw out a raid invite.  The level of organization was impressive, even to the level of asking those of us who happened to have two seated mounts to use those and give rides to the players who were on foot or on slow land mounts.  From there we took a very specific route, killing what I feel was probably the optimal path through the mobs.  There were several times were we paused for a second to wait for the next mob in the sequence to spawn in… or when she went off to pull one that was within range to burn them down at the same time.  I cannot state how impressive this level of organization and cooperation from players actually ended up being.  She shouted the next target to general so that anyone else NOT in our raid could also reap the benefit.  The real coordination however was that when we finished phase three she told everyone to log out, and disbanded the party.  The idea being that when everyone logged back in they would potentially be in the same Stage 1 event.  I went ahead and finished out this event and moved to the next zone instead, but I have to marvel at how well that worked.  In truth I don’t want to really abuse this event, because doing it legitimately provides more than enough experience and loot for my tastes.  That said I guess this method probably works much faster and provides and endless supply of experience in one of the easier zones that the event is taking place.

Can’t Quit It

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Finally Finished

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

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

The Keep Pulling Me Back In

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

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

We Are Prepared

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Unplanned Plans

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Last night did not go as I actually thought it would.  Yesterday was the patch that allowed folks like me who purchased the digital pre-order of Legion to roll Demon Hunters.  Firstly I want to take a step back and acknowledge just how damned brilliant this idea is.  Sure there were demon hunters everywhere yesterday, but the total number running through the intro quests felt reasonable.  I realize they have gotten much better at instancing since the days of the Death Knight and Wrath of the Lich King… but still it seems rather smart to forcibly split up the population into waves.  There are still lots of folks who prefer to do physical copies of games, especially one with a long tradition of having awesome physical copies.  I guess the hope is that by letting some folks into the content early, that will mean that there won’t be quite the launch day crush on this single zone.  Now stepping forward again, I had planned on playing a completely different Demon Hunter last night…  as I continued working on my seasonal character in Diablo 3.  This was largely due to the fact that I fully expected the servers to be burning down around me, and the game to be essentially in an unplayable state with Demon Hunters, Broken Shore and the Legion Zone Invasions all starting last night.  I got home relatively early, and while waiting on pizza to arrive I thought I would pop in and at least create a character. For whatever reason when I boosted the Mage I just picked a name from the stable of names I have used in other games.  Even though it made zero sense… I named said mage Belglaive… a name that would later be ideal for my Demon Hunter.  As a result I also did a little renaming yesterday to shift my Mage to be Belglacial since I highly favor frost spec…  which freed up the name for my demonic Night Elf.  The other name in the running of course was the one I used on the beta server “Belblight”.

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What happened in reality is that both myself and Grace spent the rest of the night playing World of Warcraft and participating in the zone invasions.  I casually quested my way through the Demon Hunter starter content while eating dinner and then after getting dumped into Stormwind I was given the quest to do a Legion event.  For those who have not done them yet, it seems like Blizzard has learned a lot from the past events.  The ones that stick out in my mind the most is the Undead Invasion event that happened just ahead of the launch of the original Naxxramas and the release of Wrath of the Lich King.  In those events items spawned in a handful of zones, and it was a mad dash for players to scramble over to the area to get enough completion on it to be able to qualify for loot.  I ground these hard enough to get a set of gear for pretty much all of the armor types…  sadly the leather set is stranded forever on another battle.net account but I still regularly wear the plate set that largely looks like a blue and brown judgement recolor.  The problem with the event however was the fact that you were in constant competition with other players for spawns, and that it also caused you to camp zones until you got everything you needed.  I spent so many hours out in Azshara…  the good version not the one the version the Goblins later wrecked.

Maybe Space Goats Weren’t Unreasonable

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What happens in the Legion Invasion event however is that at any given time there will be two “hot zones” in the world where invasions are happening.  When I started playing last night those were Tanaris around Gadgetzan and Northern Barrens around The Crossroads.  The part that I did not quite catch onto however is that each character can complete both of the active zones, and does not need to wait for the event to “start”.  What happens instead is the moment you cross the zone boundary, you are stuck in an instanced version that is currently in phase one of the event.  It seems as though all you really need to do is to be in zone as each of the phases shifts, and I am uncertain how much actual participation you need to do.  There have been many times I was still flying to my destination when the event transitioned into Phase 2 and I have still managed to get full credit every time.  Upon completing Phase Two you receive a Small Legion Chest and upon completing the Final Phase you receive a Large Legion Chest.  From each of these a handful of things can drop, but the bulk are item level 700 weapons and armor, as well as some of the currency of the event Nethershards.  It also seems like any time you take one of the “bosses” of the event that spawn and are marked with a Skull, you receive somewhere between 5 and 10 Nethershards per kill.  In theory if you are wanting to maximize your earning, you would probably want to roll around as a team and focus entirely on killing the skulls as soon as they spawn.  The only problem there is that they have mechanics… one of which was an version of old school Kazzak that essentially becomes invulnerable when he kills ten players.  All of these Shards can be turned in for goodies including a Pet, full appearance sets, and individual weapons at the Captive Wyrmtongue <Reluctant ‘Quartermaster’>  that can be found in Stormwind, Orgrimmar and occasionally out in the field as well.  I know for example he spawns in Tanaris near Gadgetzan during that invasion.

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Now quite possibly the coolest part of this event is that it appears to be level agnostic.  To test this theory Grace grabbed her level sixty mage and brought it over to Tanaris where she was able to complete the event, with every mob appearing to her as though it were around her level range.  When she opened the chests instead of rewarding item level 700 gear, it gave her gear appropriate for her level.  That means players who are not even at the current level cap are going to be able to participate in this invasion, unlike the pre-launch events in the past.  The best part is that it seemed to “just work” and if this is an example of how well their new tech works to auto level players to the content…  I am pretty impressed.  I know all of the zones in Legion function in this manner, and that you can start in pretty much any place while leveling through and complete the content in your own order.  It is my ultimate hope that maybe just maybe this tech eventually trickles down to the older zones.  Now the possible negative here is that I still love being able to solo raid content…  so the hope is that maybe they can come up with some version of the “unsynched” style of play that we can do in Final Fantasy XIV.  In any case it was a fun night of swapping alts and then flying across great stretches of the contents trying to reach where the legion invasions were happening.  The two “hot zones” swap out every four hours, and largely right now I am looking at them as a good way of playing catch up on the gear for my characters.  Only one of my characters is in the 700s item level wise, so pretty much everything I pick up from this event is an upgrade.  Right now I am largely focused on getting the Warlock and the Demon Hunter geared out… because I have this feeling that they are rapidly going to become my alts of choice.

Long Time Coming

Bug Squish

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At the launch of Heavensward we absolutely wrecked us a Sky Whale, but struggled a bit with Ravana.  It was a combination of insane amounts of incoming damage, mixed with the fact that we consistently failed at Final Liberation.  As we all faded away and off into other games, the one big regret many of us had was that we never actually managed to take down a bug.  Last night we finally set that record straight, and defeated Ravana.  In true fashion for our group however, the kill was a complete mess.  In fact I managed to get knocked off right before we finished the fight, because some random roofer was knocking on my door.  In Oklahoma our version of ambulance chasers are fly by night roofers looking to repair “hail damage”, and this guy had an equally questionable name to go with it.  So in my somewhat distracted state I was just a bit too close to one of the attacks that knocks you off the edge.  Ashgar somehow managed to survive alone until we finally pushed him over the edge at the last possible moment.  There is a final final liberation… and we probably killed him as the bar passed the O and was creeping up on the N…  aka seriously the last moment before we all died a horrible death for our hubris.  Of course like is usually the case no axe was dropped… but instead we did manage to pick up a pretty spiffy looking book that reminds me of a strange armored butterfly.

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After downing a bug, we set our sights on Final Coil since a few of our modern assemblage were not with us when we managed to take this down the first time.  We started off with Turn 10… and honestly had to relearn fights as we went.  So much of this happened so long ago… that we maybe partially remembered a mechanic here or there but had largely forgotten the bulk of them.  We outgeared a good deal of the mechanics, but in truth what this really meant is that we could simply chain resurrect players when they died instead of dealing with the proper mechanics.  Ashgar and I attempted to think on our feet and deal with this as best we remembered them…  the primary example of this being the giant metal clad hydra that serves as the boss of Turn 11 who happens to have an attack that will straight up oneshot the current tank if it is not taunted off.  Traditionally we have a firm cut off time of 10pm CST but we went over a little bit.  Tam called our final attempt on Bahamut for the evening, and that happened to be the attempt we pushed across the finish line and got the win.  I am so happy to have been able to come back and take on these fights for the folks who had never seen them.  While I want to keep progressing into content that I have not seen, it is always good to go back and do the stuff we have, just to remember how far we have come.

Legion Lock

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In other news I managed to push across the finish line in a completely different sort of fight.  For whatever reason I have had a fire lit under me to level a bunch of my stragglers up to level 100.  I pushed the Rogue from 92 to 100, Druid from 95 to 100… and then started on my Warlock that happened to be sitting at level 75.  As of last night I managed to nudge him across the line to 100 and even got in a quick LFR before the FFXIV raid.  I was honestly shocked to find out that you could queue for Highmaul LFR at item level 615, and I absolutely did just this.  I am not sure why I am enjoying my warlock so much.  It is just a style of game play that I have never really spent much time doing… and this represents the first “finger wiggler” I have ever legitimately leveled to the current cap.  I’ve had a Priest and Mage temporarily at “cap” but in both of those cases it was a boosted character so it really does not count.  I think part of it as well is that I really want a proper character to start farming transmog items for all of my cloth wearers.  I also want a tailor that I don’t mind grinding cloth on, because the Shadow Priest is absolutely not that character.  Now with the launch of Demon Hunters tonight, I fully expect to be attempting to do that madness…  however in the meantime I am really looking forward to exploring the world with my army of demon buddies.

Weekend Rusty

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Demon-Huntering

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I promise that I had every intention of getting up this morning and writing a blog post immediately following breakfast.  However the world had other plans… or more truthfully my friends Grace and Sol had other plans.  Last night was the beginning of the Diablo 3 Season 7, but unlike so many other season starts I had other plans.  Firstly yesterday was the birthday of my amazing wife, and I ended up taking off a half day to go out to lunch and then to a movie.  We saw Ghostbusters, and I have things to say about that movie but it is probably going to be a discussion for another day.  After that we came home briefly where my folks came over and brought a cake, and then it was off to a semi-monthly dinner with some of my wife’s siblings.  By the time we got home it was after nine and after sitting down to start working on a character I found that I was fading extremely fast.  So I only managed to make it to around level 25 before crashing, and during all of this… I forgot to take any screenshots for the blog.  As a result I popped in early this morning with the purpose of taking a few screenshots and logging right back out.  However this is the one where Grace and Sol invited me to a group…  and when I joined and explained that I was only online to take a screenshot or two…  they both “noped” and proceeded to drag me up in levels a bit.

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As a result I am getting a late start to this whole weekend posting thing, which is not terribly surprising given that I have always had trouble staying on focus during the weekends.  Something about getting up and milling around the house causes the morning to lack a clear sense of purpose.  I think the key to the week days functioning at all is the fact that I get up and take a shower the moment I crawl out of bed, which serves to wake me up completely.  This whole leisurely getting up, having breakfast, and nestling into the couch with my laptop business is a recipe for slacking off.  Regardless I am blogging now because Grace decided to go out for coffee giving me a nice break in the leveling process to knock out this post.  Firstly I am not nearly as pumped about D3 this season as I was in previous seasons.  Right now there is just too much stuff going on that I want to be participating in.  Namely at the moment my seeming fresh re-addiction to World of Warcraft.  Tuesday we can start rolling Demon Hunters, and I figure that will pretty much be the end of my Diablo 3 season experience.  Additionally I still have my Warlock that I am enjoying leveling, and I want to continue pushing it to 100 as soon as possible.  At the moment I am knee deep in Talador around level 94, but once again I am doing the method of leveling where I jump zones as soon as possible so as soon as I hit 96 I will be shifting to Spires of Arak.

This feels very much like a scattered post and I guess in a way it is.  I am so very not used to doing this weekend blogging thing.  This is the first weekend post I have made since breaking my streak of blogging every single day in May.  These couple of months have been more than enough to push me out of the habit.  In truth I think I enjoy not blogging on the weekend because there is nothing really hanging over me.  That isn’t strictly true I guess because I still end up having to edit and get posted the AggroChat episode each Sunday morning, but that at least gives me Saturday to be relatively carefree.  From a standpoint of our lifestyle it has been pretty huge as well because it means that my wife and I can get up and around and go out and do things, without having to wait for the inspiration to hit me… and a blog post to mysteriously appear on the page and get posted.  So while I am doing this for Blaugust I absolutely expect to return to posting week days once the month of August is over.  I am a prime example of trying to find a livable schedule to blog on, and this is a huge part of why I decided to do the more chill version of the initiative.  Sure we can push ourselves to come up with thirty one blog posts, and it is an interesting exercise…  but if the end result is resentment towards your blog or blaugust in general then I think the overall mission of promoting blogging on a schedule has failed.  For the time being however I am returning to my games and calling this post to a close.

Rubber Band Thief

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A Game of Fetch

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This is Kenzie and she is a mess.  I am not sure how else to describe her, because she is unlike any other cat we have shared a home with.  She can be the biggest butt ever, and a bit of a bully to the other cats…  but she can also be the sweetest and most adorable animal you have ever seen.  She sort of vacillates between being an angel and a devil sometimes within the same moment.  She likes to help with the laundry… and as you can see here sometimes crawl under the upturned laundry basket.  She also gets super obsessive about certain things… for example I really like Red Velvet Muffins from QuikTrip…  and apparently so does she.  I can wrap up one of the muffin wrappers in several layers and she will go spelunking through the trash can in search of it.  When she finally gets it… it is not like she eats it but more certainly rips it to shreds.  Another similar obsession is twist ties and rubber bands.  We go to the cleaners fairly often and for whatever reason they like to rubber band together sets of wire hangers.  I am not sure exactly when it happened but Kenzie started stealing these rubber bands from the closet and running off with them.  In fact our living room and bedroom are filled with little caches of rubber bands that she mysteriously “loses” and can then summon up at pretty much any moment when she wants one.  I have a feeling if we ever moved out the couch there would be a sea of rubber bands and twist ties laying back there waiting to be rediscovered.

Over time this obsession started to morph and I am not completely sure when it started.  Instead of just playing with the rubber band she started returning back to wherever we were at and dropping it next to us.  When she first did this I decided to go ahead and toss it away again and see what she would do, and from there…  a new game was born.  We have a cat that plays fetch, in the truest sense of the word.  She will bring us something… and want us to toss it… and then she brings it back and we do this over and over until she gets tired of it.  When that happens one of two things will happen… either she will “lose it” and by lose I mean know exactly where it is at all times but decide to stop returning it.  Either that or she will just lay down beside me ON the object and want attention.  This second cessation of fetch generally means that she just wants a break and will resume fetch in a little bit when she starts nudging the object again.  So as a result the highlight of my evening was more or less spending an hour and some change playing fetch with Kenzie, quite possibly the longest running game yet.  It was extremely important because my wife was in the bedroom with the doors shut off attempting to bond with Luna, someone I have not really introduced you to yet.  As a result I am trying to be elsewhere so that both Kenzie and Allie have a stable and friendly source of attention, and as a result while I tired of the fetch thing about thirty minutes into it… and while my reaction time slowed significantly as I tried to level my Warlock…  I kept at it because I knew Kenzie needed someone constantly paying attention to her.

Pandaria Is Maddening

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As far as the gaming I was doing while playing fetch …  I continued to push my Dwarf Warlock up through the levels.  At this point I am sitting at 88 and somewhere in the Townlong Steppes quest chain.  I said that Pandaria was maddening and that is mostly because we are in this awkward transitional period of time… where you cannot actually purchase the flight book off the black market auction house.  That means you can level an alt and have it fly happily from level 60 until 85… then have this awkward block of 85-90 where you cannot fly, and pick up once again in the 90-100 content.  This is a prime example of one of my complaints with World of Warcraft content, in that often times they seem not to take into account the ramifications of changes.  Removing the Black Market Auction House until legion… also probably unintentionally blocked players from being able to purchase the level 85 book for flying.  The easy fix would have been to simply change the level you can purchase Pandaria Flight from the trainer in the Shrine to 85, and do away with the book.  However instead I am stuck in this limbo as I try to level a new army of alts to the current level cap of 100.  I realize that I could always purchase boosts to 100 and be done with it… but even though I am taking every shortcut possible, I still enjoy the act of leveling and questing.  The mob density in Pandaria just makes that whole process a bit of a slog.

The one thing I am super thankful of however is that while each individual zone is a fairly linear process… they have added quests that unlock zones rather than having to quest your way through one to get to the next.  That way when you ding a level you can check the Adventure Guide to get the quest to move on to the next area.  This admittedly really speeds up the leveling process, and while I once had this ideal path through Pandaria that mostly still works…  it is sped up by no longer needing to clear to a specific quest to unlock the next area.  My next big decision however is what to do when I ding 90, and if I want to spend the gold to upgrade my caster heirlooms from 90 to 100.  I am highly considering it given that I have two more cloth wearers that have yet to hit 100, so it is not like they won’t see a lot of use in the coming months.  Essentially where I am standing on the whole leveling game is that I have my Priest, Mage and Monk that will be sub 100 now that I am zeroing in on getting that Warlock up there.  At some point once I get some gear at level 100 I will probably take a lengthy break to finish farming up the remaining cloth that I need to push my tailoring up to a reasonable place for Legion.  As to why I am suddenly motivated to play all of these alts…  I guess in theory it is because I am constantly seeing new appearance items and creating a stable of appearance farmers for the various armor types.  Prior to the Warlock I did not really have a cloth wearer that I enjoyed playing… and as a result don’t have much in the way of cloth appearance gear.  After all… the true end game is looking awesome.