Tuesday, May 26, 2020

It Wasn't A Very Long Break

As often as I may try to take a break from Warcraft, I find it generally draws me back in.  Whether there is any compelling reason for it to do so or not.

So I'm back to playing a little bit.  Mostly I wanted to try to get a few more characters in a position to run horrific visions just to see how I find those on classes other than warlock.  Hunter was the first attempt, which felt really good, and I'm likely going to try demon hunter next.

I'm continuing to resist the urge to level another character wanting to save those last few slots on my account for the streamlined leveling process that Shadowlands promises.

The ability to purchase corruptions is also intriguing while I'm working through horrific visions, so I'm starting to watch the cycles for those as well.

Finally, I may pick up the pet battle achievements where I had left them off.



Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Taking a Little Break

I've been taking a bit of a break for a couple of weeks.  Running emissaries and the various Vale and Uldum stuff every was starting to lose it's charm, so I've switched over to playing SWTOR a bit.  My kids decided to pick it up, so that was no small part of the motivation there (although SWTOR still isn't the greatest for just general questing in groups).

However, this week is a double rep bonus, with the overall rep bonus still in effect and the weekly world quest rep bonus up this week, so I may go back to doing emissaries this week on my various key toons just to get the extra rep and probably a few extra paragon chests, and all the gold that goes with all of that.

With still no news about the timing of Shadowlands release, and a double xp bonus in effect for SWTOR, finishing all the various class stories there and getting my main character up to the new max level is suddenly a bit more interesting than grinding things out in Warcraft for no reason.  There is at least a ton of new (to me) content there to experience.

I've been saying this for a long time now, but the devs at Warcraft still need to figure out a way to keep some form of new content coming during the now very typical and very long drought between the release of the final raid of an xpac and the go-live of the new xpac. 



Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Ding. Level 120 Number 42 is Done

I finally managed to hit 120 on my very first World of Warcraft character!  The first character that I rolled was a gnome mage named Abbert.  I played him for a while, got him to level 13 and then decided that I didn't really like mages and I didn't really like Alliance much either.  So I switch to Joar, and the rest is history.

In the meantime, Abbert stayed parked in Ironforge, for 13 years.  Until recently.

As it turns out, I still don't like leveling mages (I've made that point before).  It's really just the Battle of Azeroth portion that I don't like - everything up to that seems to work just fine, but once you get to Kul Tiras or Zandalar, everything seems to fall apart and it becomes this massive struggle.  I think it's just because heirlooms are tuned really badly for certain classes.  In full Azerite gear, I don't expect it would be quite as much of a struggle.

But now my very first character is proudly sitting at max level.  His total leveling time wasn't very good, particularly compared to the characters that I was blowing through during the anniversary event.  He finished in 2 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes played.  I did a Black Iron Dwarf warlock prior to the anniversary event, and that was about 7 hours slower, but I expect that a character that was easier to level would go much faster.  That, and I have no idea how long it took me to get to level 13 back during Burning Crusade.  It could have been quite a while back then.

Now that's done, I'm likely going to work on getting caught up on a few pet battle achievements from Draenor, Legion and BfA.  Not that family stuff, which seems like too much work, but the other general collecting and battling ones.  Then I might go back to leveling a bit.  Next up would be my Vulpera Warlock, Joari.



Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Pet Battles, PvP and Other Ways to Keep Things Fresh

So I've been starting to go back and look at pet battles again.  I'm at the stage of the current expansion where I start looking around at other things to keep me interested and engaged while waiting for the pre-patch on the next expansion (which is likely at least 4 months away at this point).

What has me interested in pet battles again is that I've been doing daily world quests and emissaries on 5 or 6 different toons, and there are always a few pet battle world quests out there that are relatively fast way to knock out a world quest for that zone.

When pet battles first came out in Pandaria, I originally didn't do anything with it, but then during the year-long bore-fest of Siege of Orgrimmar, I decided to dive in and get as many achievements as possible.  So I gathered all the wild pets, beat all the trainers, defeated all the Beasts of Fable and got through the Celestial Tournament. 

Then when Draenor came out, I sort of forgot about it again and haven't done much with it since.  I didn't even get far enough along to unlock the level 3 pet menagerie in my garrison.

So I'm thinking about going back and trying to get caught up on Draenor, Legion and Battle for Azeroth pet battle achievements.  I've collected almost nothing in terms of wild pets from any of those expansions, so getting that alone may take a fair amount of time.  In any case, it's a way for me to stay engaged in that content lull between expansions.  Particularly if I'm just not in the mood to level a 43rd toon to 120.

The other thing that I've done periodically when these lulls occur is PvP.  I'm less likely to go that route this time because I did a ton of old school AV during the anniversary event and really got my fill during that process.  

I am almost done with the mage - he's just started on the Battle for Azeroth zones, venturing in Drustvar at level 111.



Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Blapril 2020 - New Bonuses

I was a bit surprised yesterday as I was running through the various emissary world quests on my Big Five toons when I was awarded with 3,000 rep for one of my hand-ins.  Had no idea this was coming, but it's another really nice buff on top of the experience buff.  I seem to remember calling for it a few weeks ago, so it's nice that someone is listening somewhere.

The rep buff does quite a few different things for people.  First, for folks that don't yet have either Legion or BfA pathfinder / flying or some of the allied races unlocked, it's a nice way to make both of those processes a lot easier.  So cheers for that.

For folks like me that just enjoy doing things on alts, if I want to add a sixth or seventh character to the Big Five, it makes it easier to get those folks to exalted.  Why get those folks to exalted?  For me, doing the emissaries each day is a great way to make gold.  A few of the emissaries award 2,000 gold right off the bat, the mats that I collect while doing them usually sell for a nice amount and the paragon chests that you get every 10,000 rep once exalted generally seem to award around 3,000 - 6,000 gold each.  And now, with the new rep bonuses, you can count on getting paragon chests every 3 emissaries or so.

I'm continuing to work on leveling Abbert in between doing Uldum and Pandaria assaults and the emissaries each day.  He just hit level 91, so is heading to Draenor.  He'll accumulate some garrison resources and then head off to Gorgond until about level 102.

Later in the week, I'll talk about some of my favorite story lines, quest lines and other content creaters from WoW and other games.



Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Leveling and Gearing - A Regular Joar Update

Having covered the suggested Blapril topic for the week, I thought it would be good time for a regular update on the activity of the Joar empire.

I'm back to running the Big Five through world quests and emissaries every day - Warlock, Hunter, DK, Paladin and Druid.  I've been thinking about adding the demon hunter to that mix, but that feels like a bit much. 

I also continue to do the regular weekly cadence of Uldum and Vale of Eternal Blossom assaults and the related delays.  Because I'm not doing the dailies in each zone every day, I'm still a ways off from hitting exalted with both of those factions.  I'm revered with both at this point and about 30% of the way to exalted.

Out of the Big Five, the druid is the last toon that I need to still do the new Wrathion 8.3 quest line on to get the legendary cloak, so I will spend an hour or so knocking that out when I get the time.

I've also been continuing to level Abbert when I have the chance.  He got as far as he wanted to in Mt. Hyjal before moving on to Jade Forest and is now sitting at level 88.  Consistent with my strategy recently, I'll wait until 92 to moving to Draenor, take the short-cut through Timeless Isle and then sit him while Garrison resources build up so I can buy 3 or so xp potions and head directly for Gorgrond.

As there's been plenty else to keep me occupied, I'm likely not going to get anyone besides Abbert to 120 while the xp bonus is live, but that's completely fine.  It's not like having 44 versus 42 max level toons is going to make or break things at this point anyway.  Plus, if it's just Abbert, that'll give me 8 more to try the new leveling experience in Shadowlands with.

That's about it for now. 



Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Blapril 2020 - Where My Journey Began

I've been leveling yet another character, and this time picked to go the Hellfire Peninsula / Zangarmash route instead of the Borean Tundra / Dragonblight route.  It was interesting, just in the sense that I hadn't done it for a while, but it's definitely not the best route to go at that point.  The quests still suffer from running around a bit too much.  And definitely more issues with mob scarcity and drop rates.

Beautiful place though.  Although I always find it weird that as soon as your cross over into Zangarmash, both the moons and the beautiful sky disappear and everything becomes gray.  Sort of like driving into Ohio.

It just dawned on me as I was looking around that I don't really save old screenshots.  That makes me kind of sad now, because I've been playing for a long time, and it would be kind of nice to have a visual record of some of those old adventures.  I just realized that you used to be able to tell when you started playing by going back through your account transaction history on Battle.net, but it looks like they're only saving 10 years worth of data there now, so no way to tell exactly now.  I'm pretty sure I've got it called out in an old blog post somewhere, but I'm not ready to go back and search for that.

I actually had been playing for almost two years before I even started blogging.  My oldest son and I started playing sometime in the early part of the Burning Crusade expansion.  Over the course of Burning Crusade, I only managed to get one character to max level, undead warlock Joar, who is still my main.  I did manage to raid Karazhan, and set foot in Black Temple once, but that was about it.  I spent a lot of time farming stuff in Burning Crusade to try to get decent enough gear to let me raid and go into heroics with my guild. 

Even then, it was a bit of a catch 22, because the gear that you needed to get into heroics was crafted with recipes than only dropped in heroics.  And you had to do this whole giant attunement questline just to get into Karazhan.  I honestly don't even remember what was involved with that, just that it took forever.

By the time I started writing this blog, during the Wrath of the Lich King, I had managed to get a second character to max level - a death knight.  He's still one of the "Big Five" characters that I play the most.  If you go back and read that second post ever that lays out the goal of getting a character of each class to level 80, I was estimating the average /played time to get to 80 for each character at right around 8 days.  Now it takes less than 2 days to get to 120.  That should give everyone a pretty good idea for how much they've streamlined things.

Later in the week, I'll actually provide a current update on what the various members of the Joar empire are up to at the moment.



Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Blapril 2020 - Topic Brainstorming - Joar Style

I've covered this a little bit before in earlier posts discussing how I got started and what I primarily talk about and topics that I've selected just to keep things going.

For me, that's leveling.  That is the activity that tend to do most in game.  I do stay up with current content on my main, Joar the Undead Warlock, and usually a few other toons.  But for me that mostly consists of doing the regular current grindy content (dailies, world quests, whatever it is at the time) and staying up with LFR since that's been an option.

For you, if you're getting started with blogging, that can be talking about the aspects of the game that you are currently enjoying.  Whether that's raiding, PvP, gold making, role playing, fishing, mount collecting, pet battles, whatever.  The best advice I can give on having a blog that you will find personally fulfilling, is to talk about the things that are important to you.

Even with that focus on what's important to you, it does leave a lot of room for ancillary topics and I've covered a lot of them.  I've talked about professions, about raiding and dungeon strategies.  I've reviewed beta stage content and new patches.  I've even spent time providing some analysis of Blizzard's financial reports and earnings releases back when it was possible to glean a reasonable amount of data on World of Warcraft from those.  I've provided ideas and suggestions for future changes.  I've even talked a decent amount about PvP and about gold making.

Having a primary focus doesn't eliminate the ability to talk about other ancillary areas of interest.  Those just help to add some richness and diversity to your overall theme.

This is actually an exciting time to be starting to blog about World of Warcraft.  We have alpha / closed beta invitations for the next expansion going out soon and as we're winding down on Battle for Azeroth, it's a good chance to do some reflection, critique and make constructive suggestions on what can be improved next time.

In the next post this week, I plan to lay out a few of the topics that I plan to cover during Blapril 2020 and also provide an update on what I'm doing now with the Joar army (hint, I'm leveling again).



Thursday, April 2, 2020

Blapril 2020 - Blogging - Keeping it Going

I mentioned in my last blog post that I've been writing a World of Warcraft blog for almost 11 years now.  It hasn't all been completely consistent.  There have been years where I've been fairly productive (although I've never come anywhere close to once a day) and years where it's been pretty slim.  I think in general, I've tried to generally get pretty close to every two weeks, but even there, I haven't always quite made it.

My absolute high was 2010, my first full year of blogging, where I had 77 posts.  The last 3 years have been lows for me and I was at 22-23 post per year for 2017-19.

One of things that I noticed in my blogging history in the past is that at times, when I was getting a little bored with a content lull on World of Warcraft, I'd explore other games and write about those.  So there are definitely some posts in those earlier years about things like RIFT, SWTOR, Wildstar and Diablo 3.  The first post about another game was in September 2011 where I spent some time on RIFT.  And January 2012 I started messing with SWTOR.  The year 2014 was heavy on both Diablo and Wildstar. 

Recently I've backed off on trying other MMO's (honestly there hasn't been a new release for PC that has really intrigued me since Wildstar), so when the content gets slow, now so does the posting.

A lot of my blog has been about leveling progress and strategies, but there have been a lot of other topics that I've covered, including leveling professions, easy gearing of alts and there was a brief period of time during MOP when I got into pet battling.  It's mostly a way for me to talk about what I'm doing and why.  It also became a way of documenting my frustration with drops on things like the Headless Horseman mount. 

So this will be post 428 on my Warcraft blog, which is something I'm fairly proud of.  Part of the reason I like participating in Blaugust / Blapril is because, personally, I've gotten a lot out of blogging and really hope to encourage others to do the same.



Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Blapril 2020 - How I started Blogging

I've been blogging about World of Warcraft for almost 11 years now.  That boggles my mind.

Honestly, I started the blog primarily to talk about an idea I had about trying to level a whole bunch of alts.  In my early days of playing Warcraft, I had a few guildies that had 3 or 4 different toons that they played current end game content on.  Not necessarily raiding, but at least running dungeons on those characters on a regular basis (this was before group finder).

It was amazing to me that was even possible, so I thought it might be interesting to start blogging about my plans.  The original dream was to have a character of each class at max level, which back then was 80.  The blog really was about tracking those plans, talking about different leveling paths and strategies and providing updates on where I stood with making this happen.

I looked at a couple of different blogging platforms, primarily WordPress and Blogger, and just generally found Blogger earlier to use for someone that had no clue what they were doing (and frankly still doesn't, 11 years later).  I eventually started to use Twitter as well, for it's normal use and also for promoting my blog posts.  I don't get much traffic.  My second ever blog post, laying out the dream of a level 80 of each class, is still my my most read post ever.  My second most read is a fairly random post about how I'm enjoying leveling my Death Knight during Cataclysm.  Weird.

But I enjoy it.  It gives me a way to maintain some history and see what I've been working on from time to time.  It's also a good collection of data on the progress that I've made over the years.  And it's sometimes fun to look back to see where things used to be and how they used to work (farming for Justice Points gets some discussion for example). 



Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Escape to Azeroth

A 100% xp bonus.  For Joar.  For me.  Seems like a bad idea, right?  I mean, how many more characters could I potentially level to 120?  I'm sitting at 41 now, and practically, I can only do 9 more before I run out of room on my account and am forced to start a second (which seems like a tremendously bad idea, honestly). 

So I've been working on leveling Abbert.  Abbert was the first first toon that I ever created.  A gnome mage.  He's been sitting abandoned in Ironforge, patiently waiting his turn, for something like 14 years.  So now it's Abbert's time.  I've been leveling him as Arcane, because why not?

He just dinged level 59 yesterday, and to mix things up even further, I'm probably going to take him to Outland instead of my usual leveling route through Northrend and Borean Tundra.  So much wild and crazy going on in the Joar household these days.

I'm continuing to do the Uldum and Pandaria stuff dutifully every week because....it's there.  I took a shot or two at the last wing of LFR and decided I'm going to wait a few weeks before taking another.  Seemed to not being going very well upon initial release.  Too many folks just not getting it at all.

Making good progress on gearing up the various alts.  Only two of the 41 are still looking for gear from world quests.  The rest of the team is just waiting for me to run them through the Nazjatar intro quest line to get the ilvl pop on the Heart.  I'm currently sitting at an average ilvl of 388.8, so well above the goal, with a total of 23 currently above 385.  So decent progress there.

Once Abbert is done leveling, I've got the two new 8.3 allied race toons that I can work on, and then there will be six additional characters on my fourth server before I run out of space.  Not sure how long this bonus is going to last, but I'm guessing it won't be long enough to get much past finishing the allied race toons.  And that's fine.  Totally fine.



Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Just Gearing Up Alts

So in answering the "what next" question that I raised last time, I elected to go down the rabbit hole of gearing up my various alts, mostly using just world quests and emissary quests.

The goals was to get everyone to an average ilvl of at least 385.  Now, I was able to cheat that quite a bit right off the bat as I had more than enough Nazjatar tokens to get everyone full 385's except for rings, trinkets and weapons.  So it's mostly been a matter of watching world quests for those.

When I started a few weeks ago, the average ilvl of all 41 toons was 349.75.  Now it's 370, so I've made pretty decent progress.  There are twelve that are above the 385 mark.  I feel like I may need to run a bunch through the Nazjatar intro questline in order to get their Heart of Azeroth leveled up to a reasonable level though, and that may obviously take quite a bit of time, since I've only done that on 6 characters so far.

Beyond that, I've mostly been keeping up with Assaults and new LFR wings on my main.  So far, I've been enjoying things.  I've done wing 2 twice now and not sure I'll be doing it again.  Just way too long.

Looking forward to seeing wing 3 this week.

Lastly, I finally finished the goblin heritage armor questline.  This one was a major pain in the neck on a warrior, but after gearing him up a bit, and a few lucky pulls, I was able to get it knocked out.

Isn't he cute?  That's Joarmama, the Goblin Warrior.  And yes, I know I need a better transmog for the weapon.

Once I hit everyone's gearing targets, I may go ahead and work on professions, but not sure I see the point in that.  Something to do I guess.



Thursday, February 6, 2020

So What Next?

I'm running out of things to do. 

That's the realization that I've come to.  I've run three characters through the 8.3 intro quest line, and I was doing the assaults on all three of them, but there doesn't really seem to be that much point to it.

I'll keep doing all of that on Joar and working on reputation for the two factions, but it's not interesting enough to keep me doing it across multiple characters.

I changed in a bunch of my Nazjatar manapearls and now all 41 max levels toons are sitting in full 385 gear.  It kind of stinks that there is no catch up mechanism for rings, trinkets and weapons.  They're easy enough to get via world quests, but I'm not sure I want to bother across all of those toons.

So I've hit a decision point  - what next?

Option 1 is going back to Classic, which I frankly haven't been enjoying that much.  My warlock there is sitting around level 35, so it theoretically shouldn't take a ton of time to finish him up the rest of the way.

Option 2 would be to start a second account, and start leveling a bunch more toons on retail.  Maybe see how quickly I could level and accumulate a decent amount of gold on a completely fresh account.

Option 3 is just to find stuff to stay engaged with on retail.  Focus more on gold making, finish up the professions on my primary server, gear up all of those other toons. 

I'm not sure what the answer to the "what next?" question is at this point, but I'm pretty disappointed with where 8.3 has me sitting at this point.  Perhaps the massive leveling push during the anniversary event was a mistake.



Friday, January 10, 2020

Looking forward to 8.3

Having accomplished all of my goals for 2019 and for the anniversary event, I've sort of run out of things to do.  With the leveling streamlining that will be coming with the new expansion, I really don't want to start leveling a new character.  

So for that reason, I'm really looking forward to the patch coming next week.  Seems like there is going to be lots of new content to get through once that drops including some pretty long introductory quest lines, which I'll likely be running on 6-8 different characters.  Between that and new Warfronts and new Incursions and everything else, hopefully that'll be a lot of progress in filling my time gaps.

In the meantime, I've been working mostly on making some extra gold.  Was debating whether I wanted to buy the brutosaur mount thing, but I'm not entirely sure it's worth 5 million gold just to avoid having to mail things to an AH alt. 

I may do some PvP as I enjoyed that a bit during the anniversary event.

So for now, I'm back to running emissary quests on 5 different toons each day, and doing some crafting and farming for gold.  I've never actually done a heroic warfront, so I might give that a try as well.




It Wasn't A Very Long Break

As often as I may try to take a break from Warcraft, I find it generally draws me back in.  Whether there is any compelling reason for it to...