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.

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.