Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Initial Preparations for WoD

The one year birthday of Siege of Orgrimmar passed since my last blog post.  No meaningful new content in over a year now.  Just sort of boggles the mind, doesn't it?  I've now managed to defeat Garrosh Hellscream on something like 13 different toons to the point that I can't stand the sight of the place.  I've taken to using the auction house in Undercity, just to avoid Orgrimmar.

I've continued to work on my alliance paladin, and he is very close to being ready to head to Northrend.  Getting to the home stretch on that one.  I think I may manage to get one more alliance character in addition to the paladin to max before WoD drops, but we'll see.  

I've also started to think about the various things I need to do to prepare for WoD.

So here's a quick version of my to-do list over the next few weeks.

  1. Make sure to spend all the accumulated valor and justice points on all 15 current max level toons.  I keep saying on Twitter that I'm currently working on #15, but now that I look closely at it, it's #16 I'm working on.  Sheesh.  In any case, there are still a handful of heirlooms that I don't have.  Nothing really better to do with those JP.  VP will likely go toward gear or upgrades.
  2. It really can't hurt to do some farming of lesser charms, since it will be possible to use them for upgrades once patch 6.0 drops.  Those little gear bonuses will help make the initial leveling zones just a little bit easier.
  3. Make sure to use those last few Burdens of Eternity.  See point above.
  4. Clean out those banks.  Some gear should be headed for void storage, and the stuff that isn't can just be sold or sharded.  This time around, all the crafting reagents can just stay, since that'll all going on a separate tab come 6.0.
  5. Timeless Isle gear fire sale.  I've managed to accumulate a few hundred pieces of Timeless Isle gear.  It's time for that all to be sharded or sold.  The good news is I've got enchanters in two separate armor types, so I'll be able to shard about half of it.
My to do list tends to get longer as we get closer to the expansion release date, so I'll be sure to post updates from time to time.

Cheers.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Updated Nothingness

So I haven't posted an update to this here blog for quite some time.  Totally screwed up the whole Blaugust thing.  Whose idea was it anyway to start something that encouraged daily posting at a time of intense inter-content doldrums.  The world is not all about Warcraft you say?  Nonsense.

Poor Wildstar really missed a bet here.  If the leveling and grinding process hadn't been so incredibly painful and buggy, I would have been happily plunking away in Nexus working on a bunch of different toons while waiting for WoD.  If you have managed to drive subscribers away while there was literally nothing else to go do, you've really accomplished something there Carbine.  Well done.

So here is what I've been up to.  I've been working through the last stages of the legenday quest line on my priest.  I've got just Runestones to go at this point, but honestly, I really don't care if I finish or not.  I've found my play time significantly reduced of late because of some real life changes going on, so I don't anticipate having the time to be the massive altoholic I've been in the past come WoD.  I may actually choose to focus on two or three characters max come WoD, and honestly, my priest is probably not going to be one of them.

I haven't 100% finalized the decisions yet, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be some combination of my warlock, my death knight, my shaman and my hunter.

I've been going back and picking up some achievements on Joar.  Because yes, it's something to do, and because dammit, those Malayan Quillrat's just cry out to be /loved.  I often find myself looking at those on the mini-map wondering why there would be anything Malaysian in Pandaria and scolding myself for not visiting my KL operations in real life recently.  But that might just be me.

I finally managed to log onto my mage while it was raining in Stranglethorn, so I also picked up the elusive Baby Ape, completing my Zookeeper achievement and title.  Zookeeper Joar.  Like anyone would trust a warlock with their baby animals.  Is someone grilling burgers?  Cool green fire grill dude.

Lastly, because I can never quite cure myself of my altoholic bent, I've also been working on my paladin alliance side.  He's currently working his way through Outland.  I must say, my dwarf paladin is a darn good looking dude.

So that's the update.  I'll try to get back to posting more regularly, especially as we get closer to the release of WoD and 6.0.  I will of course start with my preparatory plans, of course assuming my normal rampant case of altoholism.

Cheers!




Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Critical Evaluation of the Warlord Cinematic

So here are a few initial thoughts on the Warlords of Draenor Cinematic.


  • Really excited to see gnomes featured so prominently.  Granted, it was just an advertisement off to the side, but still.  I'll take it.
  • While initially concerned, I thought Kim Kardashian really shined in the role of Pit Lord.
  • What happened in the past 35 years that caused Orcs to lose the ability to construct something more than two stories tall?
  • Is Thrall still green or will we be getting a new red Thrall.  Does this have any impact on the suggested side effects of green M&M's?
  • Can we just all agree to call this the AngryOrc expansion?  I mean, there was even a two handed axe firmly planted in a skull.  Doesn't get more AngryOrc than that.
  • I'm confused.  What are we fighting about?
  • Looking forward to the new improved St. Patricks day event featuring that weird green beer stuff that Grom was contemplating drinking.  Weirdest leprechaun ever though.
  • After all that work on character models and everything else, why do all the Orcs in the cinematic look exactly the same.  Could we get name tags please?
  • On November 13, 1914, Berber tribesman defeated the French in Morocco in the battle of El Herri.  Coincidence?  You be the judge.  Without that, the berber carpet in Mike Morhaime's rec room probably wouldn't be there.
  • None of the Orcs making their way to the giant building appeared to be flying, effectively confirming that there will be no flying in the new expansion.  Or that most netherdrake members of the Screen Actors' Guild continued to be on strike during the filming of the cinematic.
  • If all those torches are planning to stop by my garrison at some point, I'm going to need a level 4 dining room.
  • Orc orc orc orc orc orc orc orc....if you say that fast enough, it starts to sound like you're saying Kor over and over again.  The people that used to play Beatles albums backwards looking for secret messages are very concerned by this.

Friday, August 8, 2014

10 Years, 10 Questions

Thank you to Alternative Godmother for a fantastic idea.  For those of you not following her blog, you should be.  It sits at www.alternative-blog.net, and it's fantastic.  You can also find her on twitter @AlternativeChat, which is also the name of her podcast which you can find on iTunes as well as on the blog.  Of course, the chances that you're reading me, and not reading her are pretty slim, but just in case, I figured I'd add that plug.

In any case, she had the absolutely brilliant idea to get the community to a bit of a retrospective on the last 10 years, so she's asked folks to answer 10 questions about their experience with World of Warcraft.  So with no further ado, here are my answers to the 10 questions:

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

So, for those of you that have watched my Twitter feed recently, I have been divorced and remarried.  I had one child with my previous wife, and we divorced when he was two years old.  When he was three, my ex-wife decided to move about 450 miles away from me.  I've spent the last 15 years traveling to see him every other weekend.  That's all about to end, because next weekend, he's going to be starting college full time.  He'll be studying Chemical Engineering at the University of South Carolina.  

But I digress.

Video games became a connection point for us.  It start with Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo, and eventually XBox.  We'd spend a significant amount of our time together on the weekends just playing games together.  At one point, there was a lull in between releases of various console games and we went looking for something else to keep us occupied.  Trolling the video game aisle at Target, we came upon World of Warcraft.  "You ever heard of this?"  "Yeah, I think some of my friends play it and think it's pretty cool.  It's online, so we could play together even when you're not down here."

DING DING DING DING!  We have a winner!  So we picked it up and started playing.  It gave us a way to stay connected during the week and on the weekends when I wasn't here.  And 8 or so years later, it's something that we still do very regularly.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?


Meet Abbert.  Gnome mage.  The first character I ever rolled, and never got past level 13.  He still sits calmly there in Stormwind, waiting.  Hoping I'll decide to finish him up one day.  I believe I started him on Drenden, but then took a free server transfer to Nesingwary at one point when I started the mission of getting a toon of every class of one faction to max level.  Of course, that started on Drenden, but then moved to Garrosh when my son (see above) moved most of his toons to Garrosh.



3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?


I initially tried an alliance character and got a little frustrated with it.  Squishy mages.  The next thing I tried was my warlock, Joar.  Interestingly enough, that's what came up when I hit randomize on the name button and now it's a key part of my online identify.  Funny how that works.

There wasn't really anything specific about either faction.  My first forays on an alliance toon weren't successful.  I tried an undead warlock and that went much better for me.  I found a friendly guild right away, and the rest is history.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?


Hitting max level for the first time is still a very memorable thing for me.  Also, my first time stepping into a raid.  I love some of the fun things that my guild has done and some of the special in-game things.  Getting together in game to honor a friend's passing, for example.  The Lich King was my first end expansion boss kill, and that is still very memorable for me, as is Deathwing.

I'm really not sure I could identify just one.  My son and I co-tanked Throne of Thunder one weekend beginning to end, and that was an amazing thing for me, because I am truly the worlds worst tank, and I was really amazed how he was able to sit there and walk me through it so we ended up having a very successful run.

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?


I really enjoy leveling.  And yes, I think that's always been the case.  There are a ton of things that I enjoy though.  I like raiding on a casual basis.  I enjoy PvP every now and then.  I love exploring.  I love working on professions.  

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?


I tend to hang out in a combination of Orgrimmar and whatever the faction base of the xpac is (Shattrath, Dalaran, Shrine, etc.).

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?


318 days, 16 hours.  It's sort of interesting to me how that breaks down.  I'm currently sitting at a total of 15 level 90's.  I've got 11 of those Horde - one of each class, and 4 alliance, with another 7 alliance in the process of leveling.  The played time is very heavily Horde slanted with a total of 297 days, 22 hours on that faction.  Of that, my main, Joar, undead warlock, has the most at 109 days, 7 hours.  Surprising to me, my priest was second at 26 days, 23 hours.  I probably raided most on my priest in Cataclysm and did a fair amount of PvP on him early in MoP.  My druid was my lead alt through most of Wrath however, so I really expected him to be higher.

On the alliance side, my total is less than my average Horde toon at 19 days, 21 hours.  The highest is my hunter at 4 days and 12 hours.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?


I do.  Not for quests that I've done 20 times.  But the first time leveling in any given expansion, I'm definitely reading them.  Usually the second time as well.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?


Well, now that I see his sorry ass sitting there in Stormwind all sad and at level 13, I sort of regret never finishing Abbert.  I sometimes regret leaving Drenden because as it turns out, it wouldn't have impact my ability to continue to play with my son given cross realm and all that.  While I have a guild that I love on Garrosh, I had some really good friends on Drenden and was sad to leave them behind.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?


It has mostly been a way for me to stay connected with my son.  Something for us to always talk about during those awkward teenage years, and will hopefully remain that way while he's away at college.  In the meantime, I'm working on getting his two younger brothers hooked (so they can stay connected with him as well...yeah...that's it!)

So that's it, 10 questions, 10 years.  Hope I did you proud, Godmother!

It's a Rogue Lovin' Weekend (Maybe)

So I think the plan for this weekend is going to be to give some LFR love to my rogue, who currently has the lowest ilvl of the Joar Horde empire.  I did manage to pick up a Timeless Isle weapon for him and also a Shado-Pan Assault trinket, so it did move his ilvl from 503 to 508, but that still puts him 4 points behind the next closest member of the Joar army.  So I may see if I can make some progress on him this weekend.

My last update was way back in early May.  Despite taking a break from doing much on the Horde side, there has been some movement on the Horde side since then.  So here's the latest and greatest:

Warlock - 548 -> 554
Shaman - 529 -> 535
DK - 526 -> 529
Hunter - still 523
Priest - 517 -> 519
Druid - still 513
Warrior 511 -> 512
Mage - 510 -> 519
Paladin - 508 -> 513
Monk - 506 -> 516
Rogue - 503 -> 508



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Diving Back Into Wow

So I finally hit the button and unsubbed Wildstar.  So many things that I loved about the game, but at the end of the day, those were all unfortunately offset by the number of things that I found extremely frustrating.

So I've dived back into WoW.  And when I say dived, it's more like dipped my toe gradually into the zero entry section of the pool.  Between vacations and craziness at work, my play time has been wildly limited, so "diving" is probably overstating things a bit.

I may just focus on leveling the rest of the Joar alliance army.  I did do a quick solo run through Ulduar on my warlock to pick up some transmog gear and see if I could knock out a few achievements.  I got hung up on Thorim, but I may enlist some help to knock that one out rather than try to gimmick it.

I've been debating leveling the alliance side of my toon collection a bit at a time, or just pick a toons and level them all the way through, one at a time.

My last update on the alliance group was on April 6th, and I've made some pretty good progress since then, so here's where things stand now:

Priest - level 48 -> 56
Mage - level 46 -> 52
Rogue - level 46 ->52
Druid - level 49 -> 56
Paladin - level 49 -> 54
Warrior - level 49 -> 54
Monk - level 17 -> 25


So this is with being pretty distracted by Wildstar over the time since then and having my overall play time significantly reduced.  I'm still thinking sometime November / December'ish looks pretty on track for a WoD release date, so it'll be interesting to see how far I can get these between now and then.



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.