Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in Wildstar

So I've got a month to decide if I want to go ahead and renew my Wildstar subscription for another month, and frankly I'm struggling for a lot of different reasons.  There are some things that I really love about the game, and some things that drive me absolutely nuts.

So let me start off by laying out where I'm coming from.  I'm an extremely casual player.  I don't generally raid consistently with a raid team in any game, not in small part because my work and family schedules are very unpredictable, and I wouldn't be able to commit to a consistent date or time.  I do, however, run LFR and world bosses pretty frequently, and at least two of my WoW characters have ilvls that are on par with someone that does raid (i.e., over 553).  I'm mostly playing the game for entertainment and stress relief.  There's really not much on TV that interests me other than as background noise, and frankly I can't bring myself to read the 94th version of the same story by John Grisham.  So I play video games.  For fun.  And to relax.

Yep.  I'm a carebear.

So here are the things that I love about Wildstar so far.  It's different.  The whole idea of a alien space fantasy game is really cool, and different than the stuff that's come out recently.  It's pretty cartoony, so it runs well on laptops in airports when I'm traveling for work.  I like the whole path concept and having two things that you can be working on leveling for your character.  It adds another dimension to the game play that is really interesting.  I also absolutely love what they've done with housing.  Without a raid finder, I need something to do at end game, and tinkering with housing plots across an army of alts seems like it would be a really entertaining way to spend my time.  They seem to have done a lot of things with the game really well.  The approach to crafting has really been intriguing for me so far, and I like the fact that they also seem to be releasing content at a pretty decent pace.

So now for the negatives.  The game is hard.  Really hard.  From the perspective of a casual rather than a hard core raider, it is almost unreasonably so.  Now don't get me wrong, I fully recognize that there are people that play these games because of the skill required.  And they don't even necessarily have to be hard-core progression raiders.  People that just really enjoy the challenge.  And this game may be truly excellent for those folks.  But for me, as someone who is looking at it as an alternative to watching Grey's Anatomy (ok, not really), I'm looking for an interesting story and something that is challenging, but not to the point of being frustrating.  And Wildstar so far has been well over that frustrating line.

The second issue for me is there is still a lot about the game that is extremely buggy.  Quests that are bugged, abilities that don't work.  Whole areas that are just glitchy.  Checking the forums, it's obvious that these bugs have been out there since release, and they don't appear to be getting addressed.  I started playing Wildstar on an Engineer and have finally concluded that I just can't continue.  In concept, it should be a great class to level with, but I've found the bots to just be too buggy.  From times where they just stop following you altogether, to other times that they either decide to pull things for themselves, or won't taunt when you ask.  For a class where they've seemingly sacrificed both dps and mobility because you have these bot defenders, not having the bots work properly ruins it for me.

So I've switched to trying my Spellslinger, and so far that seems to be working a little bit better in terms of the buginess, so I may take a shot at running this character to 50.  I feel like I owe the game that much at least.

But I have found myself going to back to WoW and leveling more members of the Joar alliance army.  The 7 non-90 classes I have alliance side are all in the early 50's, so getting close to Outland, which might be fun.  And the game feels a lot like an old cherished blanket when you slide back into after a break.  Warm, comfortable, and just seems to fit perfectly.  So we'll see.  As always, I'll write about it here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Wildstar, Rift and WoW updates

So I missed canceling my Wildstar subscription by just barely a day, so I've basically got another month to continue trying it out to see what I think.  If nothing else, it's new content to see and new stuff to do in the downtime while I wait for new Warcraft content.  I've managed to get my Engineer to level 22.  It's getting to be a pretty challenging slog at this point.  I've just started into Whitevale.  I was hoping to be level 23 before hoping over to Whitevale, but a few different bugged quests stood in my way.

I've also been working on a Dominion Spellslinger and have gotten him to level 12.  I've been enjoying that class, because, while it doesn't have the tanking bot, it has a lot more range and hits a lot harder than the engineer.  So stuff is getting dead before it even gets nearby.  I'm doing Scientist on the Spellslinger and that has also been a lot of fun so far.  I'm also giving Architect a try, because if I do decide to run someone all the way to end game, focusing on doing stuff with my housing plot seems like a good way to spend my end game time given my erratic play schedule.

On Rift, I started working through my mage a bit more.  I was a little disappointed to see that one of the recent patches did away with the Warlock / Necromancer preset soul combination that I'd been using, although the Necromancer / Elemental combo that seems to have replaced it seems to be working pretty well also.  I'm sure I could have looked up a custom build, but I'm going for casual easy mode here.  This toon is almost to 58 and I think I'll finish getting them to 60 and maybe do a few Expert dungeons for gear before moving onto my Rogue / Hunter on the Defiant side.

In Warcraft, I'm still not finding much to do outside of gold-making, although that continues to go extremely well.  I tend to be primarily a solo player (although I love my guild, I'm not available with enough consistency to be on a raid team or anything like that), so I remain concerned that diving too deep into the beta will only result in my getting burned out on WoD content even faster than I did this time around, particularly if Blizzard's content process continues to work the same as it has for the last 3 expansions.  So I'm holding off on that and just letting the Joar army sit for now, other than regular auction house stuff.  I may level another alliance toon or two before it's done, but that remains to be seen.

Staying out of the beta continues to be a personal challenge, and one that I may give in to before too long.  Garrisons looks like a really interesting new feature, particularly for a casual player like me, so I'm really anxious to try it out.  Carbine has done a fantastic job with the player housing concept in Wildstar, so I'm hoping Blizzard is taking notes at some of the cool things that have been done there.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

5 Year Blogoversary (slightly late)

So my five year blogoversary past this past Monday without any fanfare because of real life obligations.  And because, not being in the Warlords of Draenor Alpha at this point, I don't have a ton to write about.  My various Warcraft toons are basically on hold, making gold each week, but generally hanging out waiting for the next expansion.  I've been playing a little bit of Wildstar, and, while it's an excellent game, I'm not sure even that is going to be enough to hold my attention until WoD drops.

But I did want to reflect a bit on what I've accomplished here over those 5 years since I first laid down the first post in this space.  At that time, I had exactly 2 level 80 max level toons (having only gotten one character to max level over the course of Vanilla and Burning Crusade.

So since then, I've managed to level a total of 15 characters to max level - one of each class on the Horde side on one server, and 4 alliance characters on another server.  I've also leveled one character to max level in Rift (with a second not far behind), one character to max level in SWTOR, and I'm about a third of the way there on Wildstar.

I may give up on Wildstar and go back to playing Rift a bit more.  My guardian mage is pretty close to max level but my defiant rogue / hunter has a way to go.  I have managed to get my Engineer / Settler to level 19, but I'm finding it's not a game that's as conducive as I'd like to an extremely casual play style.  I tend to play mostly while traveling (which is fine) or in the evenings while watching TV with my wife.  If I set things down to watch something or talk with my wife about something, it's not a great situation if that has a huge impact on me in game.  In WoW or Rift, I can park my toon in a safe place, and worse case scenario, I have to run back to my corpse.  That's not an option in Wildstar, and I've found that a bit frustrating.  But that's me as an extremely casual player.  Fantastic game and if I was playing a lot more than I am now, I'd probably be much more focused on it.

So cheers!  Thanks for those of you that have been reading!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Adventures in Wildstar

So I've started to dip my toes into Wildstar, including playing a little bit during the early launch period.  My play time has been pretty limited because of other real life commitments, but wanted to report out here on some initial thoughts.

I may need to change the name of this blog by the time it's all said and done, as I find myself still reporting out here as I try out and play other games.  I've talked in this space about Rift, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, and now Wildstar.  My alt addiction hasn't changed, it's really just spreading as a disease to other platforms.

So here's what I've done so far on Wildstar.  My "main" character so far has been my Mordesh Engineer / Settler.  I'm enjoying the engineer so far as a ranged class with a decent amount of survivability.  It has a little bit of a pet class feel with the two bots that you get to run around with and that's firmly within my comfort zone.  The bots are a little buggy at times though and have a tendency to sometimes run off and do their own thing - particularly if you're in an area with heavy mob concentrations.

So far, I've been playing as a pure assault focused build, but I may switch that up a bit and try a "tankier" spec to see how that feels.  While the class overall works well, I"m not killing things overly fast.

The Settler path has been pretty interesting so far.  I like building the little buff stations that help out the other folks in the zone.  There are a lot of thing that show up with the settler icon - planting flowers, repairing banners and other things that I feel compelled to do because they have the little icon, but they don't really appear to be accomplishing much or adding value.  And it just reverses anyway after a period of time.  So while I'm still enjoying it, start to feel a little bit of regret on the Settler choice.

My other character that I've mostly been messing with has been a Human Spellslinger / Soldier.  So far I really like this one a lot.  Seems to still have good survivability and fun abilities.  The Soldier path, while not wildly popular, works pretty well for me.  As long as I'm out killing a bunch of stuff anyway, I may as well get "extra credit" for some of it.

I'm thinking about also trying an Esper / Explorer and and a Medic / Scientist - maybe on the Dominion side, just to try everything out a bit.  For right now though, I want to focus on working to get one of my first two to max level.  My engineer is only level 11, so I've got quite a way to go.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Update on the Joar Army

So there really hasn't been much going on lately for me in WoW.  I've been raiding on various toons when I can, and doing Ordos on a toon or two each week.  I just recently changed jobs, and that's taken a bit of a bite out of my normal play time as well.

Looking back over the blog, I realized that I haven't posted an update on ilvl for the whole Joar LFR team, so I thought I'd update that here.  I've actually make some decent progress on a small group of toons, having 4 toons over 520 ilvl versus only two the last time I posted about this topic here (which was way back on January 7th).

So here is the update

Warlock - 543 -> 548
Shaman - 508 -> 529
DK - still 526
Hunter - 511 -> 523
Priest - 505 -> 517
Druid - 511 -> 513
Warrior still 511
Mage - 503 -> 510
Paladin - 506 -> 508
Monk - still 506
Rogue - 501 -> 503

My shaman has obviously been the biggest mover, but honestly, that's just been an effort to pick up those last few glyph recipes more than anything.

Might be time to give the monk, rogue and paladin some love over the next week or so.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Act V Done on My Crusader - So Now I Do What?

So I finished up Act V on my Crusader this weekend, which ended up being really quite easy.  Not sure overall I enjoy the class as much as my Wizard, but it's still quite a lot of fun for me.  So my Crusader is sitting at level 45 or so, and I'm looking at the "what now" stuff - which seems to involved doing Adventure Mode bounties and Rifts at increasing levels of difficulty.

We'll have to see, but I'm not sure that's going to be enough to keep my attention.  I'm more of a quester and story line guy myself, so having to do the same stuff over again a few more times to get to max level...well, just not sure I'm going to be up for that.

And I really have no idea why I feel differently about that than I do about, say, running Siege of Orgrimmar over and over and over and over again.  I just do.  It's not even the possible drops and rewards from running Siege, because you get similar rewards from Adventure Mode.  I'm still going to give it a try to see if I can push the Crusader through to level 70, but I'm not feeling as enthusiastic about it as I was while finishing up the actual story line.

I've been working on the rest of the alliance army a bit as well.  I've got 7 toons left to go on the alliance side, and here's where they all stand.

Priest - level 48
Mage - level 46
Rogue - level 46
Druid - level 49
Paladin - level 49
Warrior - level 49
Monk - level 17

Having concluded I wasn't using my boost on my monk, I now need to go ahead and level that bad boy.  Which is a ton of fun anyway, so no issues there.

Should be getting the whole family off to Outland here in the foreseeable future, so that'll be fun.  And with that, they just started playing "Love Shack" by the B-52's.  Good music to kill gnolls by.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Reaper of Souls - Initial Crusader Thoughts

So I decided to assuage a little of my basic boredom around WoW by springing for Reaper of Souls.  I played D3 a little bit when it first came out but never really got into it.  Didn't have a single character past level 10, although I'd started a few.

So I thought I'd give the new Crusader class a try since I wasn't really invested in anything else.  So far, I've been enjoying it a fair amount.  He seems to have pretty good survivability - at least better than what I was seeing at low levels from my demon hunter or wizard - but puts out enough dps to get through most of the boss fights and large mob packs easily enough.

I'd tell you what build I've been using, but frankly, I've been messing around with it a fair amount, switching back and forth between Smite and Judge for my primary and trying a little bit of Fists of Heaven, Blessed Shield and Sweep Attack for my secondary.  It all seems to work fairly well.  Not sure it's as strong as other classes, but the AoE seems good enough to easily take down most large mob packs.

I've really been debating on the Utility spell.  Most of the builds that I see seem to rely on the Steed Charge, but I've actually really been enjoying using Provoke to get everyone's attention and rounded up so I can mow them down with my AoE.  Plus it is another Wrath generator which always helps as well.

So far, gear doesn't seem to be an issue.  Lots of interesting drops and plenty of legendaries to keep my character afloat as well as a few to set aside for alts.

Right now my Crusader is sitting at level 28 and just got started on Act III, so we'll see how it goes from here.