Wednesday, February 1, 2023

More Balanced Play Time Between FFXIV and WoW

I had very little play time last week because of some work-related travel, so this update is delayed by a week.  Despite those limitations, I have had some exciting developments in both games.  

In World of Warcraft, I managed to get my four-piece set bonus on Joar.  Three of the four set pieces came from my Vault rather than as raid drops, but I'm okay with that.  I'm mostly doing regular world quests and other activities for more renown, and I may go back to leveling the shaman and other alts now that the Joar gearing process is pretty much done.  The only downside to those plans is that I really don't enjoy leveling in this expansion as much as I have in the past.  The warlock, hunter, and tank classes have generally been acceptable, but most of the other classes end up feeling a little too squishy to me to be all that enjoyable.

While I still enjoy Warcraft, the leveling process was always the thing I enjoyed most about it, and they seem to have killed that.  It definitely hasn't been the case since Battle for Azeroth, and that makes me pretty sad.

In FFXIV news, I also managed to get a house finally.  With the extra wards, it seems that everyone wanting one was finally able to close the deal.  Mine is in Shirogane.  I probably should have tried for Mists if I had known it would be that easy since I spend most of my time in Gridania, but I enjoy it just the same.

I've also spent more time leveling some of my alt jobs.  I've gotten the Warrior to level 66 and the Ninja to level 65.  Still a ways to go on both of those, but I'm trying to do a split of roulettes each day between the two now, so hopefully, it starts going a little more quickly.  The plan is to start leveling Sage after I have both of those done, and I will probably do BLM through the leveling roulettes simultaneously.

I also finally got my first piece of gear out of the new Alliance Raid.  It doesn't fit with the last Pandemonium set, so I had to glam over the whole thing.  Hopefully, that will mean better luck with the new raid going forward.

Cheers,

Joar


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Thoughts on FFXIV Patch 6.3 and Warcraft Renown Strategies

 That's a wide range of topics to be covered, right?  But those are the two games I've been playing, and with the new patch in FFXIV, the playtime has been pretty evenly balanced between the two for the past week.  

FFXIV

As I have come to expect from the team at FFXIV, the MSQ storyline with the new patch continued to be excellent.  The latest dungeon for the patch was exquisite, and the boss fights in it were great.  I also loved seeing the character of Zero fleshed out a little bit more in this patch.  

I also took a crack at the new Alliance Raid.  I went in before any strategy videos were available, so I ended up dead quite a bit.  But we made it through.  I screwed up my gear rolls, so ended up with absolutely nothing to show for it, but I'll do better this week, at least in terms of roll strategy.  The fights are very challenging, with some pretty interesting mechanics.  

I know there's some new Island Sanctuary stuff, but I have yet to mess with any of that.  I did put a bid in on a housing plot in one of the new wards, so we'll find out how that goes on Friday.

World of Warcraft

For the past week, for the limited period that I haven't played FFXIV, I've mostly just been doing World Quests on Joar.  I have unlocked the cataloging and climbing world quests, which have been a pleasant addition to the routine.

I also decided to go back and knock out all of the quests in each zone on Joar to get my faction renown up and unlock a few more faction campaign sections.  If you haven't already taken that approach, I highly recommend it to increase your Renown.  For Joar, pretty much all the factions were slightly lower than 10.  I'm not entirely done yet, but I managed to get to Renown level 15 with everyone just by finishing up all the various side quests in each zone.

Note, this is not my actual renown

This week, I'm also looking forward to the final wing of LFR opening up and seeing if the final LFR boss is as challenging as it has been for the last several raid tiers.  There has been no leveling on the Shaman at this point, and it likely won't be again until Joar has finished gearing up and has his entire four piece set bonus.

That's it for now. 

Cheers,

Joar

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

A Lot of Warcraft Leveling

Since my year-in-review post two weeks ago, I've mainly been focused on leveling in World of Warcraft.  Not only did I finish up the hunter mentioned in that post, but I also finished up the paladin, death knight, and druid.  For the last few, I focused on doing all the quests in a particular zone and the main story quest, so that let me knock out Dragonflight Loremaster for my account as a whole.  At some point, I should probably go back and do everything on Joar just for the additional reputation, but there's probably no time for that right now.

Right now, out of all of those alts, the leveling time for the death knight came in fastest at 9 hours and 38 minutes, while the paladin ended up slowest at 11 hours and 30 minutes.  Oddly enough, the hunter and the druid had the exact same leveling time, to the minute, at 10 hours and 11 minutes.  These are definitely much faster leveling times than previous expansions.  Granted, I only leveled two alts in Shadowlands before quitting, but the average for those was around 13 hours.  And for Battle for Azeroth, the average was 13 hours and 50 minutes.  Of course, all of those pale compared to Cataclysm, the earliest expansion for which I have data, which came in at an average of 23 hours and 20 minutes.  

For many classes, the leveling process gets to be highly challenging, particularly later on in the process.  I ended up leveling the death knight exclusively as blood for survivability.  I did level the paladin primarily as retribution, although a lot of the reason that the leveling time was so long was that he died frequently.  I switched to feral from balance for the druid because I saw feedback that was easier.  As someone that generally enjoys leveling alts, I'm not particularly thrilled about this particular aspect of this expansion.  I like being able to level my alts in whatever spec I choose, so having some that appear significantly less viable than others is a bit frustrating.

In other developments, I knocked out the newest raid finder wing and have done it twice on Joar.  I also got my first piece of tier gear yesterday morning, not out of LFR, but out of my vault.

Next up in Warcraft will be the shaman and demon hunter, the last two I need to round out a complete set of professions.  My priest is the only other character that I leveled to max in Shadowlands, and I haven't decided yet if I'll level them up in Dragonflight or any of the other of my 42 or so max level alts.

Of course, the other big news this week is that there was a new FFXIV patch yesterday morning.  I'll provide my thoughts in my blog post next week.  I did finish the latest MSQ release but have not done the new 24-man raid yet.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

2022 Year In Review

A year-in-review post is something that I used to do pretty regularly on this blog, but it seems to be a habit that I've gotten out of over the last few years, so this is an excellent time to bring it back.  Looking back, my previous year-in-review post was in 2019 and was entirely about World of Warcraft.  It is notable how much things have changed since then, as I have a lot more games to write about for 2022, although, after a break, Warcraft will still play largely in the story.

I started 2022 primarily working on FFXIV's new expansion, Endwalker.  Over the year, I managed to get all the DOH/DOL jobs to 90, except Fishing, and managed to get 11 combat jobs to level 90, with all the others to at least 50.  I've stayed current on the raiding content and look forward to the next major patch coming out in mid-January.  I've still been playing Summoner as my main class, so I am fully geared on that particular job but not others.

Once I got most of my jobs leveled in Endwalker, I switched to focusing more heavily on Guild Wars 2.  While I had played that quite a bit before Endwalker launched in 2021, I still hadn't gotten fully caught up on all the expansions and living story content.  Plus, a new expansion launched in the Spring of 2022 called End of Dragons.  I spent a lot of time getting current on the content and working through the new expansion.

In June of 2022, I returned to World of Warcraft after a break of almost 18 months.  I got caught up on the current content on Joar, working through Korthia and Zereth Mortis and working through all the raid content I'd missed.  I also leveled a few more characters to max, but not nearly as many as I'd entered Shadowlands with, totaling 42.  Before my break, I only had 3 characters at max level, and I managed to get 5 more done before Dragonflight launched.  

Most of the summer and fall basically involved splitting time between World of Warcraft and FFXIV with a little bit of time in ESO thrown in for good measure (enough to finish up another faction for Caldwell's Silver and make sure that I was also staying current on content there).

Since the launch of Dragonflight, I've been almost exclusively focused there.  So far, only Joar is at max level, although I'll probably hit max on my hunter very soon, as they're currently sitting at level 69.  After the hunter, I think the paladin will be up next.  

Joar has done the first wing of LFR once and is working through building renown with the various factions, although not at any particular fast pace.  I'm doing the main things at a somewhat leisurely pace each week.  

Looking forward to 2023, I expect the first few weeks to be focused mainly on Warcraft, with a detour in January to run through the new patch for FFXIV.  The main plan in Warcraft, assuming I hit 70 on the hunter before year-end, is to level at least the death knight, paladin, druid, shaman, and demon hunter to 70, and we'll see where we go from there.

In FFXIV, I'll continue to work on other combat jobs.  I'm currently leveling both Warrior and Ninja simultaneously, and both are sitting in the early 60s.  

So that's the year-end update!   See you in 2023!

Cheers,

Joar

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Initial Impressions of Dragonflight

My playtime has been limited because of some real-world travel and other obligations.  I hit max level on my main undead warlock Joar, but I haven't attempted to level any other alts.

I've done most of the available things once you hit max level as well.  

I stuck to the main story quest for leveling and did a few dungeons.  This left me a little more than one level short of max when I finished, but that was quickly completed by doing some world quests and queueing for a couple more dungeons.  A lot more dungeons unlock when you complete the main story quest, regardless of whether you are at max level, so that also helped.

Overall, Dragonflight's leveling experience was much more cohesive and well-put-together than it has been for the last few expansions.  The zones all fit together well and don't seem like they're entirely separate stories in land areas that just happen to be near each other.  There seem to be fewer bonus objective areas in each zone than usual, and I missed those.

I also did manage to run every single one of my alts with a profession through the early part of Waking Shores to get the Dragonflight professions, which then let me go through and do the Darkmoon Faire profession quests on all of them for the skill-ups, knowledge and artisan's mettle.  I figure that'll be helpful later on once I start leveling those guys.

My initial impression at end game is there is a ton to do!  I started working on my professions and have gotten tailoring and enchanting up to around 35.  I haven't done much with either cooking or fishing at this point.

There are fewer world quests available this time, and there's also no main faction objective each day like there was from the Covenants in Shadowlands.  I've been knocking out the world quests for reputation and running some regular dungeons.  The excellent news is that the way they've structured things at end-game, the to-do list really ends up on more of a weekly cycle rather than a daily cycle, which gives you a lot more flexibility so you don't feel like you're falling behind just because you couldn't log on for a particular day.  At least for me, that is an excellent quality of life improvement.

This is my current list of the weekly cycle for max-level characters.  Please note that this list is intended for a casual player, not someone pushing high mythic+ keystones or high-end raiding.

  • Grab the various weekly quests in Valdrakken each Tuesday upon reset - Aiding the Accord, Profession Quests, Dungeon or World Quest weeklies, etc.
  • Run the Great Hunt at least once
  • Run Siege of Dragonbane Keep at least once
  • Participate in the Community Feast once
  • World Boss
  • Wrathion or Sabellian and Obsidian rep
  • Cobalt Assembly (there seems to regularly be a world quest up related to some aspect of this)
  • Trial of Elements and Trial of Flood
  • Super Rare Circuit


I'll talk more about each of these in a later post.  The timers on a few of these can be a little challenging to figure out, and I haven't found a great solution for that yet.  Also, a few of these are more about gearing up initially and can probably be stopped once you're fully outfitted in current gear.

I have yet to do the Great Hunt or the Community Feast stuff, but they're both on my list for this week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Pre-Dragonflight Update

I know it's not technically pre-Dragonflight since the game launched last evening, but I don't plan to start playing it until tomorrow, so we're still in a pre-Dragonflight realm.  Before getting into what I've done to prepare in World of Warcraft, I thought I'd provide a quick update on where things stand on the other games that I play.

ESO

After noticing that there was new Firesong / High Isle content, I managed to run through that and complete the entire Firesong storyline.  Like most things with ESO, the story was pretty well done, and I enjoyed the experience.  



With that complete, I returned to working on my third faction for Caldwell's Gold.  For me, this is the Ebonhart Pact.  I'm working on finishing up the next-to-last zone for that particular alliance.  With Dragonflight essentially out and a new Final Fantasy patch expected in early January, I probably won't finish that until late in the first quarter of next year.

FFXIV

I've started to work on the Omicron tribe quests.  I had not finished leveling Fishing to 90, so that's the job I'm using to work through those.  Which so far has been progressing well.  I've also continued to work through both my Warrior and my Ninja.  I'm leveling the Ninja along with Warrior because I don't have enough confidence as a tank to queue for the regular leveling roulette.  I'm okay with most dungeons before level 50, but I'm not comfortable with some of the higher-level ones to queue as either a tank or healer. Hence, while I'm leveling one of those jobs, I always keep a DPS spec running through the daily leveling roulette. 

The Warrior and the Ninja just hit level 60, so I have a long way to go on both.  I will probably try to keep both of these moving along even while starting to level my various toons in Dragonflight for World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft

I'll provide an update with my initial thoughts on Dragonflight sometime next week after I've had the chance to play for a bit.  I'm going to be taking it relatively easy as I'm not really in a rush to get to anywhere in particular, as I no longer raid or do anything like that.

I went through my usual routine of preparing each of the characters I planned to level to get ready for the expansion.  I plan to only level a relatively limited number of characters to max level compared to previous expansions, with probably only 8 that I'll really work on, which are the only ones I bothered to get to max in Shadowlands.  That compares to 43 or 44 that I had at max level going into Shadowlands.

So here is the basic routine:

  • Clear out bags and vendor, sell or discard most things.  Clean out bank while in the process of depositing anything you just can't live without.  
  • Clear out quest log
  • Spend any remaining currencies from the previous expansion for either gear for alts or items to sell or disenchant.
  • Update all addons and find other options for ones that don't appear to be supported for the new expansion.  Scan sources for new add-ons or extensions that might be helpful.
  • Note current /played time for all characters.  So this one is unique to me.  Being a giant dork and a previously huge altoholic, I track my leveling time for each character, and I have for every expansion since Cataclysm.  I'm always curious about the speed for the first character out of the gate and later characters.  It might be a decent blog post to share some of that data.
Then, around the time of launch/play start:

  • Log in to each character in a rested XP zone.
  • For all the main server profession characters (basically the 8 that I reference previously), get them all far enough in the new content to unlock professions for the new xpac so you can start earning points immediately with the next Darkmoon Faire.
So that's the plan.  I'll plan to post an update next week with my thoughts on Dragonflight so far.

Cheers,

Joar


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Reaper and Enhancement Shaman to Max Level

Real life continues to limit my playing time, so there hasn't been much of an update here in a while.  I continue to play a bit in both games but am not motivated to make much progress in either one.  In any case, here are the updates:

FFXIV

I managed to get my Reaper to max level yesterday.  I'm now going to start working on both the warrior and my ninja jobs.  I don't like to tank dungeons above level 50, so I will limit myself to alliance roulettes, frontline, and MSQ roulettes for the warrior.  So I can use the leveling roulette for the ninja.

I also did the latest installment in the Hildibrand quest line and got my relic weapon on my summoner.  I could theoretically do relic weapons for my other characters. Still, I haven't really been focused on gearing anyone other than the summoner this time around, so there's not really any point.

WoW

I have been picking this up a little bit more lately.  Given the exciting changes coming to professions, I decided it wouldn't be a terrible idea to ensure I had a max-level character with each profession set and ready to go for Dragonflight.  So, as a result, I finished leveling my Enhancement Shaman to max level since that character is my Inscriptionist. 

Once that was done, I started leveling my Rogue.  It made me very quickly realize that I completely despise leveling rogues and really have ever since the Combat spec went away.  So I'm thinking about adding engineering as a profession to my priest or demon hunter instead.  I probably enjoy leveling the demon hunter a little more, but the priest already has mining leveled.  Although I guess since points start over with each expansion, that piece doesn't matter much anymore.

That's about it for now.

Cheers,

Joar




Thursday, October 6, 2022

An Overdue Update

It has been a rather long time since I've posted here.  Things have gotten extremely busy in real life, and keeping the blog updated has taken a bit of a back seat.  I'll cover World of Warcraft first, because that piece is fairly short.  

I managed to finish getting to Exalted with the Korthia faction, and have pretty much put my World of Warcraft playtime on hold while I wait for Dragonflight at this point.  The plan between now and when the pre-patch hits is to focus on leveling additional jobs in FFXIV.  

In FFXIV, there is quite a bit that I've accomplished.  I managed to get both the Astrologian and Red Mage to level 90.  While I don't enjoy Red Mage as much as I like my Summoner, it was still a fun class to play.  I'm not sure I'll be doing much else with it, but I have enjoyed the leveling process.  It does make me wonder what the point is of leveling each job to max level, but I'm still working through that.  

My futility at the housing lottery continues as well.  And probably will for the foreseeable future.

I also managed to get the full set of raid gear finished up from Abyssos, so now my Summoner is pretty much maxed out on gear for the stuff that I enjoy doing.  I also finished up the latest installment of the Tataru questline, which has you going back to work with some old friends (assuming you did a particular piece of alliance raid content).

I'm now working on Reaper and have mine sitting at level 75.  It's a class that I've been enjoying almost as much as Samurai so far, so it's possible it will replace Samurai as my melee class of choice.  We'll see.  

It also appears that there is some new prologue content in Elder Scrolls Online, so I may need to check that out as well.

That's the update for now.

Cheers,

Joar



Monday, September 19, 2022

Exalted with Enlightened

 I've still been mostly focused on FFXIV these days.  My Astrologian is currently sitting at level 88, so I'm very close to having them completely done.  My Red Mage is sitting at level 72.  I did manage to unlock the Arkasodara dailies and have been using them for xp for the Astrologian.  They don't seem to be quite as much xp as the fairies gave in Shadowbringers, but it's still pretty decent.

I just have the chest piece and legs still to get on the new raid, but I'm sitting at 3 tokens for each of those, so hopefully I can get those finished up this week.  I'll also get the 5th weapon token, so should be able to grab the new weapon as well.

I should be able to slam the Red Mage the rest of the way through to 90 pretty quickly after that, at which point I think Reaper is up next.  After Reaper come Warrior and Sage, although I honestly might start Black Mage while I'm working on Warrior.  

On Astrologian, so far it is definitely my least favorite healing class of the ones I've leveled so far (I have not even started a Sage yet).  I'm also not a huge fan of Red Mage relative to Summoner, so I'm pretty sure once those two are done, they'll just be sitting and waiting for the next xpac.  

On the World of Warcraft front, I finally managed to get to exalted with the Zereth Mortis folks, so I picked up their shiny mounts and bid them adieu.  Now I just have the Korthia guys to finish getting to exalted.  I'm sitting at about 80% right now, so I'm running those dailies each day and hopefully will that have knocked out this week.  Once that is done, I might work on gearing up my hunter by running through the Zereth Mortis stuff.

That's about it for this week.

Cheers,

Joar


Tuesday, September 6, 2022

They Pull Me Back In

I was chugging along pretty well there in World of Warcraft for a while.  I had leveled a few more alts and was knocking out raids and reputations.  I finished my tier set for the latest raid.  It seemed like I was back in a big way.

But then the latest content patch came out for FFXIV, and all of a sudden, FFXIV has pulled me back in again.  Note, the meme below doesn't really apply because I never thought I was ever out of FFXIV.  But I love that scene, so everyone will have to live with it.  Steven Van Zandt was just great in that whole show.   



I know this isn't the Godfather original, but I loved this scene from Soprano's

I am back to spending the majority of my time in FFXIV.  I continue to spend a lot of time in my Island Sanctuary.  All of my workshops and granaries are now upgraded to level 3, and I recently hit level 9 for the Sanctuary as a whole.  I need to construct the tools for further expansion and also construct the tools to automate the pasture and garden.  I had debated for a while whether that was worthwhile but have since concluded that I'll give it a go.

Finally, I haven't started to trap all of the various large animals that can fit in my pasture, so I need to get through all of those as well, and then I can start filling it the rest of the way up with various rares.  Assuming I can actually catch them.

I've also been working on leveling both my Astrologian and my Red Mage.  The Astrologian is in the high 70's, and the Red Mage is in the early 60's.  I need to unlock the Arkosodara tribe quests for my AST once I get to level 80, so that's also on the to-do list for this week.  Other than those regular roulette's, my only other activity has been running the new raid each week and the expert roulette every day on my Summoner to ensure I'm fully geared up and have enough tokens for the weapon and a ring upgrade once I get enough weapon tokens.  I still have a way to go on the actual gear upgrades.  I don't think I've gotten a single chest piece token yet.

In World of Warcraft, I'm running the Zereth Mortis and Korthia dailies every day until I get to exalted with both of those factions.  I have only one week to go on Zereth Mortis and maybe one or two more weeks on Korthia.

That is the update for this week!

Cheers!

Joar


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Blaugust 2022: FFXIV Island Sanctuary

It is hard to describe how much I enjoy Island Sanctuary these days.  I tip my hat to the developers at FFXIV. They seem to have combined the things I enjoyed about garrisons with the thing that made the farm in Halfhill so relaxing and fun, mixed it all together into a beautiful and relaxing zone, and then added a fair degree of silliness and fun.  I'm spending a reasonable amount of time in my Island Sanctuary, not just because it provides a great place to hang out and be productive while you're waiting in queue for your daily roulettes.

I keep forgetting that I should be farming materials for the top-level crafting and gathering gear I never bothered making for myself and my retainers.  But at the moment, the Island Sanctuary is too much fun to be bothering with that.



I'm currently sitting at level 7 with my Island Sanctuary.  I've upgraded my Cozy Cabin, Workshops, Granaries, Pasture, and Cropland.  I've got one of every type of animal up to medium hanging out in my pasture.  I'm coming off two rest days for the workshops, so I'm waiting until I accumulate enough cowries to unlock the next plots of land in the upper area.

A handful of exciting things that I've discovered along the way:

  • Always make sure that you've crafted all the equipment that shows up in your log.  Almost all of it is used to unlock something new, and that something new will almost always provide you with a decent chunk of experience.
  • For farming materials, Google is your friend.  The spot that shows up on your map to gather certain materials is often not the best spot for those materials.  If you're short on a particular material, do a little research before heading out.
  • It appears, the way it is laid out now, that the pasture is not large enough to hold one of each animal available, including all of the rares.  So be selective about what you're snagging.
  • If you haven't discovered this already, your mount is insanely fast on the Island, and there is no fall damage.  So go crazy getting from place to place.
Tomorrow will be a regular weekly update to finish out Blaugust.  

Cheers,

Joar



More Balanced Play Time Between FFXIV and WoW

I had very little play time last week because of some work-related travel, so this update is delayed by a week.  Despite those limitations, ...