Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Finally Finished a Wing of Torghast

 I still haven't done anything of note in the Maw on my warlock, but I did finally finish a wing of Torghast and turned in the first part of the Bolvar quest line.  Which also means I got my very first soul ash.  Yeah.  I know.  I'm incredibly far behind.  I also don't care.  Yay.

This came after the recent nerfs, so I found this particular run to be a lot more enjoyable than previous attempts.  It was also a wing that didn't seem to have quite the same number of traps and other non-sense and seemed a lot more linear.

I did get a decent legendary memory off of the world boss this week, so I may need to figure out how to go ahead and work on all of this stuff to craft a legendary for myself.  My tailoring is maxed, so I should be able to craft one of the base pieces for myself.

I've also resumed leveling my hunter through the Threads of Fate.  He's sitting at level 58 and getting pretty close to done with his third zone.  I saved the ever exciting Bastion for last, so that should be a joy.

Mostly I've been just doing side quests on him, along with bonus objectives and the occasional world quest.  The bonus objectives have been pretty good because they all seem to award a nice piece of gear while leveling.  I've done some dungeons where I've been able to find the quests, but not always.

Next up after the hunter will be the death knight.  Still trying to decide if I want to go Frost or Blood on him.  It's never good when I go into the leveling process uncertain on these things.  I'm not necessarily looking forward to running callings on multiple toons each day, but it's really just until I can get through the renowned story line on four toons.

So that's it for now.  On the FFXIV front, I've continued to work on crafting there, and have all the DOH/DOL jobs up around level 40.  I've started to make new crafting and gathering gear for each of the jobs before moving on with leveling up through GC turn ins.  Beyond that, I'm working on my MCH, LNC and WHM and thinking about adding a PLD to the mix.



Thursday, December 17, 2020

Losing Interest in Shadowlands - Spending Time Back in FFXIV

My first alt that I've leveled is about halfway to level 60 and my warlock is finally geared enough for heroics, and I'm really starting to seriously lose interest.  Normally, I feel like I'd have 4 or 5 characters already at max level by now given how quickly it actually is to level, but I just can't seem to get motivated.   I'm still doing the callings every day, but for some reason, I'm just not feeling the attachment to the game that I used to.  

In other news, FFXIV released their latest content patch last week, which included new MSQ quests (I know that's redundant), a new dungeon and a new raid.  The MSQ stuff (which included the new dungeon) took about a day to get through, and I really enjoyed the whole thing.  I really love these characters, and it's always comforting to go back and see what the next chapter in the story is.  

I've also been working on some of the Shadowbringer raid stuff - I finished Eden's Gate as a SMN, and may run the pieces of it a few more times to try to gear up to do the next set of raids as a SCH.  I've also gone back to working on professions, and have pretty much everything other than ALC and ARM to the point where I can at least desynth stuff.

The thing that I really find myself loving about FFXIV is that there is so much to do, but none of it feels urgent.  If I want to work on professions one day, that's great, if I want to level a new class one day, that's great too, or I can work my way through the various raids and the quest lines associated with them - which are also all phenomenal stories as well. 

I'm not ready to give up on World of Warcraft just yet, but it will definitely be sharing my attention with FFXIV for now.



Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Shadowlands Endgame for the Casual Player

 I managed to hit level 60 on my warlock on November 30th, about a week after lunch.  My playing time was a bit limited after that because of some real life commitments, including the wedding of my oldest son!  

Let me start this by saying that I'm a casual player, in case that wasn't clear for someone that has 42 max level alts.  I've never done any high level raiding, and in fact, the last time I participated in a normal or better raid with an organized raid group was probably early Warlords of Draenor.  I do however run LFR a few times when it comes out just to see the fights and the instance.

So now I'm onto endgame with my warlock, and I'm finding it a bit confusing.  As usual, running normals seems to be the easiest way to gear for heroics, which will in turn be the easiest way to gear for LFR.  The last two expansions, gear-related world quests were also a meaningful way to get this done, but that doesn't appear to be the case any longer.

Emissaries are apparently now callings, and that all seems to work fairly well.  The part that is now a bit confusing for me is the Maw and Torghast and how those fit into things for me as a casual player.  Torghast seems to mostly be directed at helping you accumulate the materials that you will need to craft legendaries, which would be nice to haves, but I'm not sure are wildly necessary for someone just looking to run LFR.  Which is good, because so far, Torghast seems like a giant pain in the butt.  I know the various dailies and things in the Maw for good old Venari are designed to reward you with things that will make running Torghast easier, but if I'm not that in to Torghast, I'm also not sure how important that is.  I'll continue to work through both of those though and see how that works out.

For me, it may be something that waits until all my crafter characters are to the point that they can create the base legendary items.  That may be a while.

So far I'm enjoying the endgame play.  I'm definitely missing the flight whistle, but the dungeons are interesting so far and I'm enjoying the process of improving my covenant.  There also appear to be lots of mounts that can be collected to go and chase down eventually (I did get the frog one, and I see to have something working on hatching in my bags, but not sure if it's a mount or a pet).

So there is definitely plenty to do to keep you occupied.  Raid finder week one releases a week from now, and I'm still not geared enough for heroics, so there's definitely some work to do.



Friday, November 27, 2020

Initial Thoughts on Shadowlands

 I'm leveling pretty slowly at this point.  There are probably two dozen folks in my guild that have already hit 60, but I'm still plugging along at level 55 working my way through Maldraxxus.

Part of it is I haven't really invested an excess play time at all into leveling at this point.  This is a busy time of year for me IRL, so I'm just squeezing in time when I can.  It took me over a week to hit 60 in BfA and it doesn't look like this time is going to be much different.

Couple of learnings so far.  I started out by doing most of the side quests in Bastion and now that I'm farther along, it seems pretty clear that was completely unnecessary.  Particularly if you're queueing for dungeons as they unlock and getting the xp from them, I'm not sure the side quests are going to be needed at all.  The big unknown at this point is whether the achievements related to those side quests will be needed for unlocking flying.  With the achievement not currently in the game, there doesn't seem to be any way to tell.

The campaign part of the leveling process feels much more linear than almost anything that Blizzard has ever done before.  I personally don't mind that, particularly since you'll have the Threads of Fate leveling option available for later alts.  But if you were planning to level 40+ characters to 60 like I might, not being able to mix things up would very likely drive me nuts after a while.  The Threads of Fate option should almost completely mitigate that though.

My affliction warlock is feeling pretty strong.  No issues at all with completing anything at this point.  Also ran the Necrotic Wake dungeon, and that felt pretty decent as well, although none of the gear that dropped ended up being an upgrade, which is a little disappointing.

Professions also feel pretty good at this point.  I'm keeping them going while I quest and it's been nice that I actually have useable gear that's available as I'm leveling the professions as well.  It's been a LONG LONG time since that has been the case.

So far, I'm feeling pretty positive about Shadowlands, at least in terms of the initial leveling process.



Thursday, November 19, 2020

Ready for Launch

 It's been a long time since my last blog post.  I'm gearing up for the launch of Shadowlands next week.  Joar is all prepped and ready to go, along with my other 5 or 6 primary toons that I will level first.  Bags are empty, quest logs are cleared and we'll be all ready to hit it.  Like most recent expansions, I'm not in a big hurry this time, so won't necessarily be jumping in on launch day and rushing to get to 60.  

The order this time will be Joar (of course), then hunter, paladin, death knight, druid and demon hunter.  After that, we'll see.  But it will definitely be back to regular commentary in this space on World of Warcraft.

I'll provide some initial thoughts on Shadowlands next week once things get kicked off.  I've intentionally not spent any time in the beta this time hoping to delay my burnout a bit.  When I look back on my favorite expansions, I think they were Wrath, MoP and Legion

On the Final Fantasy XIV front, I'm finally caught up on the main scenario quest storyline content and my main jobs (Summoner and Scholar) are level 80.  I've started working on leveling my gathering and crafting jobs, working on each of them a little at a time in order to be able to leverage cross-job synergies.  I really like the way gathering and crafting works in FFXIV, particularly relative to Warcraft.  There's a story to it with the regular quests along the way and you really end up feeling like someone that is operating in the appropriate market.  It's really nicely done.

I've mostly been doing the daily Grand Company turn ins combined with the regular job quests and that seems to be more than enough to get me a couple of levels each day on each job, as well as helping me rank up with my Grand Company by generating plenty of seals each day.

I've also started to work on two more combat jobs - Lancer / Dragoon and Machinist.  I've been less interested in that, but working on it a little bit every day.  My Machinist is sitting around 37 and my Lancer is around 25.  

There will be a new series of MSQ quests that are due to release sometime in December, so I may take a brief pause from WoW to knock those out when they release.  I'm really looking forward to the continuation of the recent story line.

Monday, October 5, 2020

FFXIV - On To Stormblood!

 I have now moved on one more expansion in Final Fantasy XIV, having gotten through all of the Heavensward and Dragonsong main scenario quests.  I'm still leveling exclusively as a healer / scholar, which I continue to really enjoy.

One of the interesting aspects of FFXIV is that completing the main storyline basically requires you to queue for a variety of dungeons and trials (sort of like smaller raids with a single boss).  So having either a tank class or healer class helps a lot because DPS queues seem to be pretty long.

The Scholar job seems to be a fairly strong healer and I tend to do fairly well in most of these instances.  Once I got pass the original ARR content, it's definitely more important to watch some videos on the dungeons before going in as they are a lot less forgiving on mechanics in later expansions.

With Shadowlands now being delayed, it appears extremely likely that I will be able to finish getting my character through all of the current main scenario quests and to max level before Shadowlands launches.  Of course, at this point, I haven't really decided if I'm going to play anyone other than undead warlock Joar through Shadowlands, so there may be plenty of time for continuing with FFXIV even once Shadowlands is live.

The other sort of odd thing that I have noticed is that most of the Scholar gear that drops seems designed for female characters in mind.  So while I've maintained the name Joar, I've switched over to a female character just so I wasn't looking completely ridiculous.  I ran around for a substantial chunk of Dragonsong wearing what appeared to be a man bra.  I figure Joar is like Chris or Sam - could go either way.

My current plan is once I finish getting Scholar to 80 and through the MSQ, I'll focus on leveling the various crafting and gathering jobs before starting on an alt job.  Just doing some initial research, I'm thinking I may try Machinist first for the alt jobs as I generally prefer ranged dps.



Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Leveling as a Healer in FFXIV

I am continuing to work my way through the main scenario quest on Final Fantasy XIV.  I'm almost done with the leveling content from Heavensward.  After initially starting the game as as summoner, during the post max level story for A Realm Reborn, I decided to switch to running through the MSQ as a healer because of the long queue times for DPS for some of the required larger trials and dungeons.

So far this has worked out pretty well.  There have really only been one or two dungeons where I've had problems getting through it and I'm still finding the groups in FFXIV to be very helpful and supportive, unless someone is obviously griefing the group.

I have debated switching back, because I really do prefer leveling as a DPS, but with the number of dungeons and trials required to complete the MSQ, I'm just not sure it's worth 30-60 minute waits in some cases before being able to progress.

The gear in the early stages of Heavensward has been pretty interesting.  Here is a set from early on.  Definitely has the vibe of healer and part-time court jester.

Now later on, the look has transitioned to this:

This particular look seems like I couldn't decide between priest and witch and just decided to do both.  

In terms of base questing, the Scholar job does some pretty decent dps, so working through go kill X mobs quests (which aren't all that common anyway) seems to go pretty smoothly.  Maybe slightly slower than it would be as a geared summoner, but not bad enough to notice.  And with my little healer always by my side, I'm virtually indestructible, which was definitely not the case for the DPS version.

Right now I seem to be running about 6 levels ahead of the MSQ courtesy of the XP boost currently in place for characters under level 70.  I'm planning to stick with the healer spec for a while as gearing both seems like too much of a pain.

In other games, I'm not doing much in SWTOR at this point other than finishing up professions.  I'm pretty close to having every single character with all maxed professions at this point.  I'm using a bank alt to sell off materials, so I should be in a good spot if I decide to start playing again.

On the World of Warcraft side, I'm still waiting for the pre-patch and starting to think through preparing my characters for the launch of the new expansion.  I'll talk through how I handle that in a future blog post.



Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Continued Adventures in FFXIV

 I actually logged on to World of Warcraft this morning to do the Darkmoon Faire profession quests.  First time in 3 months.  I actually have no idea why I did, particularly since those professions are now completely irrelevant with Shadowlands dropping in a month and a half.

I suppose I'll find myself gradually transitioning back into World of Warcraft as the launch date gets closer.


I'm continuing to work on leveling my crew skills in SWTOR.  All my gathering skills are at 700 now and all but two of the crafting skills - Armstech and Synthweaving.  Both of those are in the 600's, so not far to go.

Only one mission skill is there, with the other three in various stages of progress.  Underworld Trading is the next closest I believe.

Mostly these days I'm continuing to play through the story content in FFXIV.  I managed to finish the original A Realm Reborn (ARR) pre level 50 content.  The last dungeon of that story chain was truly epic.  I'm now working on the first of the level 50 content patches (of which there are 5).

The only minor glitch that I experienced is that because rings, necks and other jewelry pieces don't drop in the main scenario quest line, my gear level was not high enough for the next to last dungeon.  One ring purchase on the market board took care of that, but it seems like something they should fix.  I was sitting at level 55 by the time I finished everything, so still running slightly ahead, but not nearly as far ahead as I was at one point.

For now, I'm working through the 2.1 quests and still really enjoying the story line.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Thoughts on Final Fantasy XIV So Far

My game time these days has become significantly more focused on Final Fantasy XIV.  There doesn't seem to be that much more content to explore on SWTOR at this point.  I'm working on finishing maxing all the professions, but I'm almost fully complete with that at this point.

Sort of strange that I will end up maxing all the professions in SWTOR but won't end up doing so in World of Warcraft.

I continue to really enjoy FFXIV.  My Arcanist / Summoner is now level 40 and working through the main story quest line.  The XP boost that is currently in place has me far outpacing the levels of the main story quest line.  The quests that I'm currently on are for level 27.   It creates this interesting situation where I'm the appropriate level to do the next few parts of the summoner quest line, but I'm nowhere close to far enough along in the main story quest line to unlock things that I need to do those quests.  

I'm finding the story really engaging and I'm looking forward to continuing my Arcanist's journey, at least until Shadowlands drops in late October.  I'll be very interested to see how far I get on the Final Fantasy story line before that happens.  I'd love to get current with it, but we'll see.

For those of you that aren't familiar with Final Fantasy XIV, here are some key differences from other MMO's that I've found interesting so far.

  • You start off with a ton of inventory space right away, and also pretty quickly add retainers, which are sort of like portable banks, auction house toons, and mission table followers all wrapped into one.  
  • There is a separate inventory section for gear, which is extremely necessary as I'll discuss in a bit.
  • You get quests from your class and job trainers that unlock certain things, but you learn new spells automatically as you level.
  • You can choose to be all the various classes on a single toon.  You have to join the guild for that class, do some quests and build a set of inventory, but there's no limit other than that.
  • Each class and each profession (called jobs in FFXIV) requires a different gear set.  The game has a pretty decent gear set saving interface which helps, but if you want to switch from cooking to fishing, to botany, to alchemy, you need to change gear each time you switch.
  • Dungeons are required frequently at various points of the main story quests - so if you don't tend to like running dungeons through group finder type things, you might have a problem with this.  I've had nothing but great groups so far though.  Everyone has been really helpful and friendly.
  • The scaling can be a bit weird to get used to.  There are certain points where the game will scale you down to the appropriate level for a quest (especially if you're running ahead like I am).  The thing that can be odd with that scaling is it will remove any abilities that you get that are higher than that scaled level, so if you've gotten used to a rotation with those higher level abilites, it can be a bit of a shock for a moment.
I've been enjoying the game a lot and would highly recommend it, either to folks that have tried it before, or to folks looking for something new and different right now while there may be content draughts on other games that you're playing.

The enjoyment that I've been finding in both FFXIV and SWTOR has me thinking about cutting down the number of alts that I level in Shadowlands.  Maybe down to my original core Horde characters and possibly one Alliance character, just so I continue to see things from both sides.

For now, I'll continue to find enjoyment in the games that I'm working on.



Thursday, August 27, 2020

Continued Adventures in Other Games

I have mostly been poking about in other games while waiting for more meaningful World of Warcraft content to come along, which seems like it is on about the same schedule as a vaccine and normal life.

On the SWTOR front, having finally finished gearing up my Jedi Guardian, I've been able to use gear drops since then to quite rapidly gear up my Smuggler Scoundrel as well.  At this point, I've run out of things to do.  I could level another 6 characters up to the full level 75 max from where I left them after completion of the story lines, and I may still do that with a character or two, but I haven't decided on that piece yet.  I'm also still working on hitting the max level on all of the crew skills, and having the remaining toons at max level would certainly help with that, but I'm making good progress even without that.

I also took another shot at GuildWars 2, but similar to previous efforts, also pretty quickly lost interest.  I'm not real sure why I've just never connected with that game.

I have been spending a lot more time on Final Fantasy XIV, which I've really been enjoying.  The story has been pretty engaging so far, and the prospect of being able to level all of the various classes and jobs on a single character is pretty interesting.  

I've gone ahead and upgraded from the trial account and subscribed, as I was getting to the point where some of the content that I was coming to was inaccessible while still on a trial account.  My main character, Evistra, an Arcanist, is now sitting at level 31.  There is some kind of experience boost available for characters under level 70 as a catch up mechanism, so I've pretty far outleveled the main story quest sequence at this point.  I'm really enjoying it, and I'm thinking it will keep me pretty well occupied until a worthwhile Shadowlands patch comes up. 

I'm also thinking that for the next Warcraft expansion I may just focus on my core base of characters - my original Horde server, and not worry about having quite so many alts at max level.  We will see how that goes, but that is at least the current plan that I'm considering.  



Monday, August 24, 2020

How I Started In Content Creation

I quietly passed my 11 year anniversary of blogging about my adventures in World of Warcraft back in June.  Interestingly enough, I had one single blog post in June and it was actually on my exact 11 year anniversary, but I didn't even notice.  The post at the time was how I was finished with the new 8.3 reputations and would be taking a break for a while.  I've been on that break ever since.

Back to eleven years ago, I started this blog 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 guild mates that had 3 or 4 different toons that they played current endgame 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.  Keep in mind this was back in the days when it could take from 4-6 days played time to get to max level versus the fast and streamlined version that we have today.  I decided I wanted to build a stable of alts and I thought it might be interesting to start blogging about my plans.  The original plan was even more ambitious than what my friends had done.  My plan was to have a character of each class at max level, which back then was level 80, and had only been so for a few months.  The blog really was about tracking those plans, talking about different leveling paths and strategies and providing updates on where I stood with making the goal happen.

For me, creating this content is more about telling my story, and maintaining a history of what I'm doing in game.  I'm glad when I can provide some content or some views that others might find helpful. I felt like had a chance to add more value back in the day when differences in approach could make a difference in leveling speed and there weren't huge boost methods available.  

I've also explored a few other games over the years in the pages of this blog - RIFT, Wildstar, SWTOR, GW2 and more recently Final Fantasy XIV.  I like to talk about what I find interesting in those games, particularly when long content droughts in Warcraft seem to force a lot of us to find other distractions.  I even started a second blog to cover a similar process in SWTOR, one that I actually just recently finished in the current Warcraft downtime.

There was also a period of time when I was publishing some analysis on Activision-Blizzard's quarterly earnings announcements, back when those used to contain useful data about World of Warcraft.  Now Blizzard has so many successful properties, that they no longer break out any data about World of Warcraft specifically, so it stopped feeling necessary.  

I don't get much traffic on my blog, and that's fine.  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.

I enjoy blogging though.  I'm never going to be a video or streamer guy.  I'm frankly probably too old for that, and don't have a whole lot of personal interest in that medium anyway.  My kids do though, so huge props to those of you that are good at it!  The blog for me is really more of a gaming diary that I let other people read.  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). 

For those of you that enjoy the written word, I strongly encourage you to give it a try.  You'll be pleasantly surprised the avenues that it opens for you and some of the discussions that it can prompt, as well as the vibrant community that you'll be joining.  



Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Trying a Few Other Things

 I have been trying a few other things lately given the continuing content drought in Warcraft land.  There's been basically no progress in Warcraft land for the last several months.  I haven't even logged on to do the Darkmoon Faire profession quests each month, because I still fail to understand the point of having professions maxed.

I've been playing quite a bit of SWTOR and have another blog devoted entirely to what I've been doing in that space.  You can find that here:  https://swtoraltaddiction.blogspot.com/

I also briefly downloaded and tried playing Final Fantasy, but had a hard time getting into it right off the bat, so I put that one back on the shelf, at least for now.

I also went back and played a bit more of Guild Wars 2.  I tried that a few years ago, and had a really hard time getting into it back then.  I managed to get a little bit farther this time, but still struggling with it.  It is definitely improved, and so far I'm not finding myself in a spot where I feel like I've got no options other than grinding to level, but it still feels very confusing sometimes finding the correct path, particularly if you're switching zones.  I've been playing a Sylvari Ranger, which seems to have a nice easy play style.  I'll keep at it a bit, at least until the Warcraft pre-patch drops, and I may go back and give Final Fantasy a second try as well.

But I'm finally approaching the point where I may just go back to playing WoW again.  I do have a few pet achievements that I can finish up before pre-patch, and there is always the ability to make just a little more gold before the next expansion kicks off.



Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Actually, It Has Been A Longer Break

This has been the longest Warcraft break that I've taken in quite a while.  I haven't logged on in several weeks at this point.  Having leveled so many characters over the course of this expansion so far, I was having a hard time pulling together the energy to do many more particularly given that:

  1. The leveling experience is supposed to be significantly streamlined in Shadowlands, and I'd really like to see that.
  2. I'm almost out of characters slots on my account.  With 42 max level toons, I only have 8 more available.  With the current downtime, I likely could have knocked out 3-4 more before Shadowlands if I hadn't taken a break.
So instead, I've been playing a decent amount of SWTOR lately.  There was an experience boost in place starting in April that finished in mid June.  I'm working on finishing up the main class story lines on all of the possible classes.  I'm about to finish 7 out of 8.  I only had two done when I started on this.

While my "main" in SWTOR has already hit max level for the latest expansion, I also have not finished all of the new expansion's content, so I have to work through that as well.

I also just realized that I missed the Darkmoon Faire and it's profession quests for probably the first time in 5-6 years.  There didn't seem to be any real benefit to finishing all the professions this time, so it doesn't bother me that I missed the free points on the couple that I have left.

I will definitely be back once the pre-patch releases.  I'm still subscribed and at least at the moment, I don't intend to leave the game completely.  And if I had gotten an invite to the alpha/beta, I likely would have played, just because I enjoy looking for bugs in quests (even if they very rarely end up getting addressed or fixed).  

So I'll see everyone here in a month or two when it looks like we're closer to pre-patch.  And in the meantime, if you want to follow my adventures in SWTOR, you can do so here:  https://swtoraltaddiction.blogspot.com/



Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Finishing the 8.3 Reputations

I got this bad boy yesterday:

(Which is also another reminder that I need to find a new add-on to screenshot capture achievements!)

I'm at about 95% towards Uldum Accord so I should be able to finish knocking that after reset today.

After that, I'm not sure what's going to be left for me in WoW until the pre-patch hits.  I may finish working on the pet battle achievements that I still need to finish and I could theoretically start leveling one of my two remaining allied race toons, but given that I only have a few character slots left on my account, I would prefer to save those to try out the streamlined leveling process in Shadowlands.  If that ends up being something that starts when the pre-patch hits, it might be off to the leveling races with those two allied races toons (Vulpera and Mechagnome).

I do also have a handful of professions to finish, with Inscription and Engineering being the farthest to go.  So that might make sense as something to work on as well.  Not sure what value working on those adds, but it's something to do.

Not much to add beyond that.  Looking forward to pre-patch and expansion release at this point so we can get going with new content.



Regular Gaming Update

Right now, I've been playing many different games, but I'm not really focused enough on any of them to have much to report. In terms...