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!



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.


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.


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.



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:


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.


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.



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.



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.



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!



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.  



Friday, August 26, 2022

Initial Thoughts on FFXIV Patch 6.2 (no spoilers)

I have now played through a substantial portion of the more casual content released in Patch 6.2.  I have not yet done the new part of the Tataru questline, but that'll give me something fun to write about next week.  I had been taking quite a bit of time away from FFXIV in favor of World of Warcraft and ESO, but I seem to be back with a vengeance now.

As is usual with FFXIV these days, the storyline for the latest portion of the MSQ was outstanding.  Both the new dungeon and the new trial were challenging without being too over the top.  I ran them both on the first day, so some wiping was involved because there weren't yet any videos to watch to learn the fights.  One of the other things I love about FFXIV.

I also have finished all four circles of the new raid instance.  The mechanics on these are challenging and fun.  I don't think we actually had full wipes on any of these circles, but there were definitely a lot of rezzes going out.  The continuing storyline for this raid instance can be a bit of a tear-jerker and opens up many exciting possibilities, given what we already know about some of the characters involved and how we potentially interact with them later on.  

So yes, I'm just dancing around the feature released in this patch that all casual players like me have been waiting for - Island Sanctuary.  For my World of Warcraft friends, Island Sanctuary is what you might get if you combined the fun things about Garrisons with a little bit of Animal Crossing and the best parts of your farm at Halfhill, put it in a gorgeous location, and made it feel like an enjoyable, relaxing experience.  

I've been spending a lot of time on my island sanctuary so far, building up my production buildings and landmarks, working through my pasture and capturing animals for it, and getting my garden plots all up and running and planted.  It's been a ton of fun and a great way to stay engaged and productive if you're waiting in queue for your next roulette while you are leveling your alts jobs or farming tomestones.

So here are the downsides for those of you that are ready to pop in and give it a try.  It doesn't solve the issues with the availability of player housing.  Player housing in FFXIV is one of the most fabulously customizable things around, but they are extremely hard to get, even under the new lottery system.  While you get a Cozy Cabin on your island sanctuary, and you can upgrade that Cabin as you progress, there doesn't appear to be any ability to customize the interior at the moment.  And while it does have an Orchestrion player, it doesn't currently have a summoning bell or glamour dresser (which maybe they could add later on?!)  So if you're looking to scratch that itch, you'll still need to be putting in your regular lottery entries.

The other downside, for anyone new to FFXIV, is if you start from scratch, it will take you a long time to unlock this.  One of the requirements to unlock Island Sanctuary is that you have to have completed the MSQ up through the end of Endwalker.  And that could easily take you 2-3 months to do.

But as a reward for those who have done that, it's so enjoyable and fantastic it's hard to describe.  Two thumbs way up.  



Thursday, August 25, 2022

Blaugust 2022: My Crazy Summer

My summers are usually pretty busy, for reasons I will get into shortly, but this summer has been even crazier than usual.  I've discussed some of these things before in this format, particularly when discussing how I got into playing World of Warcraft in the first place and why I continue, but I'm going to provide a little more background on my personal situation here.  

The first significant change impacting my summer is that I recently changed roles at work, effective May 1st.  I'm in finance for a large U.S. multinational and had been in my previous role for 8 years.  This new position is pretty different from what I was doing before and very different from what I've done most of my career.  It has been a big adjustment.  It also potentially involves much more travel, which I'm not particularly thrilled about at this stage of my career.  So that has added to the insanity of what is almost always a challenging summer anyway.

My youngest two children are both competitive swimmers, and they're both pretty good.  I travel a great deal during the summer for swim meets.  It is not unusual during the summer that I may be out of town for a swim meet for 5 or 6 weekends in a row.  Often, these meets may run over four days, so I will often be leaving Wednesday evening and not returning until late Sunday night.  My middle son ended up qualifying for Junior Nationals this year, which was out in California, while my youngest son qualified for what is called Zones, which meant he was supposed to be in South Bend, Indiana, at the same time.  Because of a medical condition, my wife cannot drive long distances, so if we have the two kids in different cities simultaneously, either our middle son needs to drive himself, or someone needs to ride with a friend.  

Junior Nationals in California was a great experience but exhausting.  His previous swim meet, leading up to that, was a meet called Futures and was in northeast Ohio, about 45 minutes outside of Cleveland.  There was only a day between the two meets.  So we finished the meet in Ohio, drove 3 hours home, and hopped on a flight to California at 8 am the following day.  From around mid-June until August 8th, I was only at home generally two days per week, and for that ten-day period, even less than that.  Trying to take that on in addition to a new position at work really made the summer challenging.

That's my son in the green cap

But wait, that's not all!  The same son that had qualified for Junior Nationals this summer was also preparing to leave for University in the Fall.  We just dropped him off this past weekend.  So the summer was also jam-packed with finding a roommate, signing up for housing, making sure that his AP and transfer credit was taken care of, setting up his schedule, and shopping for everything he'd need to live away from home for the first time.  Our son is attending Carnegie Mellon University, about 3 1/2 hours from home.  He's going to be studying Chemical Engineering and also will be on the university's swim team.  

Finally, our youngest son has also started high school, but instead of going to the same local high school that his brother went to, he decided that he wanted to attend a private Catholic high school about 30 minutes away that many of his friends attend.  So he has spent a chunk of his summer attending a Latin preview class in addition to his usual early morning swim practice.  This new high school also has a water polo team, which he decided he wanted to try.  So, of course, his first water polo tournament of the season was the weekend after we returned from California and Indiana, with the move-in to University coming directly afterward.

I'm also working towards a Masters Degree in Accounting with a concentration in data analytics.  One of the things that I'm thinking about doing as I approach retirement is perhaps teaching college accounting.  And I need this credential to make that happen.  So I also had a summer class I took on top of everything else. 

So that has been my summer.  Despite that, I still managed to find time to play several different games and post about those games in this space.  But that should give you a general idea of why that pace has been slower than usual.  

Tomorrow, I'll post my regular weekly update, covering my initial thoughts on the latest FFXIV patch!



Friday, August 19, 2022

Back Into FFXIV

My ability to post has been curtailed lately due to some personal stuff going on.  So once again this year, my Blaugust output is much less than I would have hoped.  I don't usually write much about things going on in my personal life, but I may do a post on Monday with the current run-down.  

From a gaming standpoint, the big event for the past week is that I have hopped back into FFXIV and am probably spending more time there than I am in WoW.  I have mostly been working on leveling my Astrologian and my Red Mage.  Each day I'm running the alliance raid roulette and the frontline roulette on the Astrologian, and then on the Red Mage, I'll do the leveling roulette and the MSQ roulette.  I've also been going back on the Red Mage and knocking out some of the hard mode and max level dungeon quests from the level 50 dungeons that I have sitting in my quest journal.

In WoW, I'm down to basically just working on the Korthia and Zereth Mortis reps each day.  I had been leveling alts as well, but I sort of ran out of steam on that.  I may come back to it.  I left things off with my Enhancement Shaman.

Finally, on ESO, I did finish up the High Isle story quest line, which I really enjoyed.  I'm now back to working on the final alliance story quest line, which for me is the Ebonhart Pact.  I'm currently in a zone called Deshaun, or something like that. 

Early next week, I plan to do a quick update on what's been going on with me in real life, why the summer has been a bit crazy, and the pretty significant life events that we have coming soon.



Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Blaugust 2022: Weekly Update

 This week's update spans a couple of different games, so let's get to it!

Guild Wars 2

Somehow I missed the announcement that Episode 3 of Living World season 1 had been released.  For those of you that aren't familiar with Guild Wars 2, one of the odd downsides of the game in its current format is that there is a significant content gap between the original game and Living World Season 2, which is sort of the intro patch to the Hearth of Thorns expansion.  You get thrown in with an entirely new group of characters in Living World Season 2 and you have no idea who these folks are or where you encountered them.  That's because, Living World Season 1 was available to play when live, but then forever disappeared, other than a brief summary that was available in-game that still didn't make a ton of sense.  Until recently.

They've been releasing the original content a bit at a time since not long after the latest expansion.  Episode 3 apparently was released recently, and I went ahead and did the play-through of that, which did not disappoint!

Elder Scrolls Online

I've continued to work on the main story quest for High Isle.  It's an interesting new area and at least so far, the story holds together well.  There seems to be a fair amount to do an explore on the new island, so that will be enough to keep me busy in ESO for a while.

World of Warcraft

Finally, in World of Warcraft last week, I finally managed to get my four-piece set bonus last week, which means I'm not theoretically adequately geared for an LFR hero.  I'm continuing to work on reputations each day on Joar and leveling a few alts.  The enhancement shaman just recently hit level 53 and will be heading off to Maldraxxus shortly.  

That's the update for this week!



Monday, August 8, 2022

Blaugust 2022: Games I Currently Play

As I mentioned in my Blaugust kick-off post, this started as a blog dedicated to leveling alts in World of Warcraft, but over the years, I've taken a shot at various other games and have talked about them here.  Some are ones I enjoyed for a while, but I am no longer playing, like Rift, SWTOR, and Wildstar.  Others, I continue to play at varying intensity levels, including FFXIV, GW2, and ESO. 

Here are my current thoughts on each of the games that I'm currently playing.


Final Fantasy was a great distraction for me when I was getting seriously burnt out on World of Warcraft early in Shadowlands.  The things that I really enjoyed about FFXIV was the consistent ongoing storyline, characters that you really became very invested in, and the ability to do lots of different jobs on a single character.  You could essentially be an altoholic, without ever giving up your character identity.  The community in FFXIV is also fantastic.  They've designed the gaming systems in a way that rewards people for being patient and helpful and that really shows.

The main downside for me of FFXIV is that once you've worked through the MSQ a single time on whatever job you choose to do it on, the most efficient way to level other jobs is by just constantly queuing for dungeons and raids.  I wish more than anything that FFXIV had a questing experience that was feasible for leveling alt jobs on a single character.  


Part of the reason I started playing World of Warcraft in the first place is that I enjoyed playing games like Oblivion and Morrowind with my son.  I expected then, when they came out with an MMO version of those games, that it would be something I loved and naturally gravitated to.  That didn't initially turn out to be the case, but it's something I picked up again once I'd stepped away from World of Warcraft and is now a game that I really enjoy.

The open-world questing content for me really fits well with my play style, which can result in regular interruptions and makes constant raids and dungeons challenging.  The storyline and ambiance are very familiar from years ago playing those original games.  It's not something that I'm able to dedicate myself to entirely, but when I just need a break from some of the other games, ESO is always a great place to go.

My big wish for ESO is that they had a more typical auction house set up.


This is a game that I have picked up and put back down a lot since it was initially released many years ago.  It was something that I always struggled to push through.  However, in the content draught before Endwalker released for FFXIV, I picked it up again and finally managed to push a character all the way through the story.  Initially, it was a ranger that I leveled through the original old-world content, but once I got the boost from purchasing some of the expansions, I switched to necromancer.  

I like the story-driven content of GW2 and the ability to always be doing something interesting in the open world.  I don't like having the elite specializations locked behind significant grinds for points, or the fact that everything that performs really well in the game seems to be melee.  Even for my necromancer.  This is definitely a game that I enjoy playing now a lot more than I did when it was first released and something that I find myself picking up again from time to time, particularly when new content batches get released.

In terms of recommendations, if you are an absolute solo player that would prefer not to engage with anyone, I'd recommend ESO, if you love thriving communities and tear-jerking stories, FFXIV is the place to be.  If you're looking for something with challenging game play where you can do a little of both, GW2 might be worth checking out.

That's it for now.



Thursday, August 4, 2022

Blaugust 2022: Topic Selection

This blog has never really intended to be a way for me to develop some kind of massive audience - good thing, huh!  It has always really been about a place for me to store a record of what I've been getting done with the video game side of my life.  Sort of like a personal diary for my online gaming persona, Joar.

As a result, I tend to fairly strictly limit what I discuss on the blog to topics that center around gaming and the games I'm playing.  I have gone on tangents on things that are more closely related to my real life, like the various posts that I've written analyzing Blizzard's SEC filings and earnings releases.  I'm in finance and accounting in real life and in previous roles, have been responsible for the SEC filings and earnings releases for my own company.

I do, especially now, as I discussed in my first Blaugust entry, play several different MMO's, so the blog isn't strictly dedicated to World of Warcraft anymore.  I feel comfortable talking about different games that I'm playing and what I think about them.  I'll also talk about things that are tangentially related to those games, like how their community relations seem to work, how their finances look, and general thoughts on the developer team. 

I don't generally get at all political on the blog and tend to stay pretty far away from current events and real-life topics.  There have been minor isolated exceptions to that rule, but in general, it's a mantra that I follow pretty closely.  I've debated changing that stance, particularly over the last few years when I've felt like I have less to say about games, and more to say about other topics, but so far I've held to that rule.

Leveling has always been my real passion with these games, so I tend to spend a lot of time talking about tips and advice for dealing with solo open-world content.  Each week tends to just be an update on what I've been doing and the progress that I've made.  If there is a significant development, patch, or release for one of the games that I've been playing, I'll also generally provide my thoughts after I've had a chance to play it through.

That's it for today's update!



Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Blaugust 2022: A Regular Weekly Update

 I don't normally write as often as I'm hoping to during Blaugust - although I already missed day 2 - but I do at least attempt to get a weekly update down in these spaces, so I'm going to take the opportunity today to do the regular weekly update, and we'll return to more Blaugust themed posts tomorrow.

I managed to get my demon hunter to max level before the leveling bonus expired on Tuesday.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that I had apparently forgotten to write down the starting /played time, so I have no idea how long it took.  Going back and leveling him using the main storyline quests worked just fine, and I actually dinged 60 not long after entering Revendreth.  I suspect that it wasn't quite as fast as using straight threads of fate simply because of all the cut scene time.

I've now started to work on the shadow priest and have him at level 57 or 58 already, using the good old-fashioned Threads of Fate method.  The shaman will be up after that, and I honestly have no memory of whether I normally level this one as enhancement or elemental.  I'm hoping it's enhancement because I suspect that will be quite a bit easier.

I also managed to finish up Revendreth rep on my main, which leaves only Maldraxxus of the original group.  Then it's just a matter of finishing up Korthia and Zereth Mortis reps, and I'll have the complete set.  I did manage to get the 70 exalted reputations achievement too, which was kind of cool.  Although it doesn't seem to actually reward anything.

And that's the update for this week.



Monday, August 1, 2022

Blaugust 2022: The Evolution of Wow Alt Addiction / MMO Casual

I started this blog a little over 13 years ago, in June 2009.  My youngest son, who is heading off to high school this year, was just a little over a year old.  My oldest son, who is now married, owns his own house and works in IT, was 13 years old.  A lot has happened over that period of time.

These pages have evolved pretty significantly over that period of time.  It really started as a way to document, what I thought was a fairly ambitious plan - to level a character of each class to max level.  The idea behind the blog was to document that journey, share any tips or tricks learned along the way and share thoughts on the current state of the game from the perspective of a casual leveler / altoholic.

I started the blog during Cataclysm, although I had been playing, primarily on my warlock, since early in Burning Crusade.  The goal was achieved fairly quickly, with the mission accomplished in September of 2010.  

I didn't really start branching out and covering other games until things started to go stale towards the end of Cataclysm, and I picked up playing Rift in September of 2011 and spent some time discussing that game.  From there, I continued to bounced back and forth between Warcraft and some other games, playing and talking about SWTOR in January 2012, 

Mists of Pandaria brought a refreshed focus on WoW, along with a new goal of killing the final expansion end-boss, Garrosh, on all of my max-level characters.  Fortunately, that raid ended up being out for so long, that goal was easier to achieve than one would have liked.

In 2014, after that LFR goal was achieved, I added the goal of leveling a character of each class alliance-side as well, so started embarking on that once I had gotten all of my Horde characters to max level in Mists.  The summer of 2014 also involved the introduction of Wildstar, so I gave that a shot and spent some time talking about my impressions of that game.  

It was also late in this year that I started doing regular discussions of Activision-Blizzard's quarterly earnings releases.  This was something that I only did for a year or two, because it quickly reached the point where Blizzard had so many different properties, that there stopped being specific disclosures in those releases related to Warcraft.

I hit the goal of a character from each class and each faction at max level in May of 2016, almost 7 years to the day after the initial birth of the blog.  From there, things stayed pretty steady with Warcraft for a very long time.  I think I finally ended up with something like 42 max-level characters.  Basically 3 of each class, with a few extras besides.  

In September of 2020 I started to play FFXIV much more than I was playing WoW, while I was waiting for Shadowlands to release.  And I will I picked up and leveled three toons to max immediately upon Shadowlands release, it was then that I hit a while.  I ended up unsubscribing from WoW in March of 2021 and spent the next 15 months or so focused entirely on FFXIV, Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online.  

Then about 2 months ago, I got the urge to pick up WoW again and see what had changed.  So now we're back to having WoW content in the feed again, along with a little interspersed from other games.

Tomorrow, I'll talk a little bit more about how I decide what to write about each day and what kinds of topics I am, and am not usually interested in pursuing.

That's it for now.



Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Goals for the Rest of Shadowlands

I'm typically much better organized when it comes to having particular goals to achieve pushing towards the end of an expansion, or in many cases, already being planned for going into the next expansion.  Having just returned to the game after a pretty long break, I am not quite at my normal levels of preparation and planning.  

I was going back through some old blog posts and realized that my "Returning to Warcraft" blog post from last month was pretty close to being on the 13th anniversary of starting this blog.  That's a fairly long period of time to do anything like this.  With Blaugust coming up, I plan to write about my blogging history in the early weeks of that.

In World of Warcraft, I've pretty much been keeping to the same routine, working on Zereth Mortis and Korthia dailies and doing the calling and Maw invasion thing if they are factions where I still need reputation.  I've also been running wings 2 and 3 of LFR each week, trying to get more tier set gear.  

The leveling on the demon hunter is progressing well.  He's still working his way through Bastion and is around level 53.  I haven't had too much play time during the last week because of various real-life issues including work and out-of-town swim meets, so that has limited progress fairly significantly.

I did jump back into FFXIV briefly and finish up the Stormblood portion of the Hildibrand quest line.  If you enjoy funny stupid stuff, I still say that is one of the greatest things that has ever been done in a video game.  It always makes me laugh and smile.

There's a group line dance number at the end of the quest chain.  What more needs to be said?



Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Finished the Bastion Covenant Campaign, and Druid to 60

 I finished up the Bastion covenant campaign on my death knight yesterday, marking the last of the covenant campaigns that I had not yet completed.  I honestly thought there'd be something more compelling than just an achievement as a reward for that., given how Shadowlands seems to hand out mounts and pets like they're candy.

I also bought the remaining mounts that I didn't have for Night Fae on my warlock.  I need to go back to the other quartermasters and see if there are other mounts that I can buy as well.  I'm guessing there are.

The Bastion campaign was a good story.  I have a hunch that it was probably pretty similar to the Maldraxxus campaign, but since I did that one at least 15 months ago and have no memory of it, I found the whole thing pretty entertaining.  

On the druid, I once again finished all four covenant zone Threads of Fate without having hit level 60, so this time I picked the Torghast Thread of Fate and did a relatively quick Torghast run.  That did manage to get me the rest of the way to level 60.  Time-wise, I'm not sure it was any faster than a couple of random dungeons or running around knocking out a few world quests, but it was generally fine.

Contrary to my previous statements, I've now picked up the next alt on the list, my Demon Hunter, and have started leveling him as well, to take advantage of the xp buff that was just released.  I didn't apparently advance him at all after BofA, so I was able to elect the storyline option for him.  We'll see how that works out versus the Threads of Fate approach.  Based on the 10-hour leveling time with my druid, with a 50% xp buff in place, it should take 6 hours and 40 minutes with the next toon, so the evaluation will be whether the storyline is faster or slower than that.  

I've also continued to run the relevant two wings of Sepulcher each week on Joar in an attempt to get my four-piece set bonus, but I've been completely unsuccessful at that so far.  Beyond that, I'm just doing dailies and callings to get the last four reputations to exalted that aren't already complete - Maldraxxus, Revendreth, Korthia, and Zereth Mortis.  The first two are relatively close.  Death's Advance is about halfway into Revered and the Enlightened are about to ding Revered, so I'm pretty close in general.

That is about it for this week's update.



Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Updated Thoughts on Shadowlands Leveling

 Now that I have finished leveling my death knight, and am about 3/4 of the way to being done with my druid, I have some updated thoughts about the current state of the Shadowlands leveling process, especially concerning alts.  My initial feeling as I picked up the death knight after a 15-month break is that not much had improved from where I had left off.

Having now spent more time with it, both on the death knight and the druid, it does now feel a lot more smooth to me than I was initially thinking.  The time it takes to fill the bar for each area that you pick for Threads of Fate seems to move fairly quickly, particularly if you're also picking up the world quests in that zone and also running the dungeon quest from that zone once while you're there.  As has always been the case with WoW, sometimes the groups that you get are a complete dumpster fire, but probably sixty percent of them have been fine so far.

My only issue is that on both the death knight and the druid, I finished all four primary zone threads of fates and still had not hit max level.  In general, it was then just a matter of knocking out a world quest or two or running a random dungeon or two, and that seemed to do it, but it does feel like that is something that could be tweaked a little bit.  I have not tried doing either the Torghast or Battleground Threads of Fate, although I probably should.

I did use the Darkmoon Faire to max out the warlock's cooking skill, so now it's just fishing that he needs to finish up to have all of his professions maxed.  I haven't really done anything on any of my other main toons on professions and probably won't.  

I'm still making good progress on Joar on reputations.  I'm getting pretty close to Revered with the two new factions and am fairly close to Exalted on everyone else.  Once I get there, I'll need to decide how many fancy new mounts I want to buy.  

That's pretty much it for this week's update.



Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Death Knight to 60 and Working on Shadowland Reps

 I was able to get my death knight to level 60 last week and have started working on the druid.  I've always enjoyed playing a frost death knight but was disappointed that it seemed too squishy to level that way reasonably.  I tried a few times over the course from 50 to 60 but ended up switching back to Blood fairly quickly both times.  Death strike was just not keeping up with the amount of damage that I was taking.

I am now working the death knight through the Kyrian covenant campaign, which as I have gone back and checked, is the only one that I didn't finish before giving up the game.  The druid I am leveling as balance.  I was hoping to go back to just straight story campaign leveling with the druid, but apparently, I had already made that selection before I quit playing, and there is no way to change it back.

In addition to all of that, I've been doing all the dailies on my Warlock, working on getting the reputations for everyone up to exalted, finishing up the Korthia Chains of Domination campaign storyline, and have also run all of Sepulcher at least once in LFR.  I now have two pieces of tier gear, and will keep running the wings that drop tier until I'm able to get my four-piece bonus, and maybe a weapon upgrade.

Korthia zone

I am likely not going to do anything to advance the various Shadowlands professions.  My two professions on my warlock, Tailoring and Enchanting, are both maxed, but I don't really see the need to do that on the other four alts that I'll have sitting at max level.

It's enough to keep me fairly busy these days.  The only other game that I've still been dabbling in a bit is FFXIV, where I've continued to run ventures on my retainers and slowly working on leveling my Astrologian and Red Mage.



Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Flying in Shadowlands Fully Unlocked

This has probably always been the case late in an expansion, but it's hard to tell because I've never stopped playing early in an expansion before.  But getting fully caught up in Shadowlands really took very little time.  There is no question that the new zone in Zereth Mortis and the quests associated with it were designed to make that happen very quickly.  With fairly limited play time because of my IRL schedule, I was basically caught up within two weeks, have unlocked flying in both the Shadowlands and Zereth Mortis, and am geared enough that I've run about half of Sepulcher in LFR.  

I'm still playing as Destro, because I love the AOE abilities that it offers on the large trash pulls in Sepulcher, although I'm still not fully gear optimized for that.  I've finished the first two wings and also picked up my first tier piece.  I'm still working through the full Zereth Mortis storyline and knocking out the world quests there each day.  Having flying unlocked now will certainly help a lot with that.

Unlocking flying was surprisingly straightforward.  The only challenging part was getting through the 10 rares achievements.  With most folks having flying unlocked now, it required some degree of luck to have rares spawn nearby.  Otherwise, they were generally dead before I was able to get there.  It wasn't impossible, it just took some patience.

The only negative that I've seen so far is that with the newest patches, they seem to have taken an expansion that was already overloaded with too many currencies and game systems and added a few more.  Hopefully, they will learn to dial that back a bit in the next expansion.  

After I finish Sepulcher on Joar and the Zereth Mortis storyline, I may go back and finish leveling the two members of the original five that I never finished when Shadowlands was first released - my Death Knight and my Druid.  We'll see if either of those is any easier than it was then.

That's it for now.  



Monday, June 13, 2022

Returning to World of Warcraft

 After 15 months away, I've been logging in to World of Warcraft a bit lately.  There is actually a surprising amount of content that I have missed including the whole Korthia / Chains of Domination storyline and the new Zereth Mortis storyline.  The catch-up mechanics seem to be pretty good so far.  They've done a nice job of adding clips and little cut scenes to help you better understand how you got to where you are now.

From what I've seen so far, it feels like they're doing a decent job of trying to pull together and wrap up some plot strings that have been dangling out there for the last few expansions now, so hopefully things can start somewhat fresh with the next expansion (although I think we're still ignoring the giant sword sticking out of Silithius)

I've been trying to get into LFR for the raid that I missed, but there don't seem to be many people doing that, so I haven't had any luck so far.  I need to grab a bit more gear from Zereth Mortis world quests in order to be able to run the new LFR raid, but I'd like to see the old ones at some point.  

At this point, I'm only playing on my warlock, and have been sticking with Destruction so far.  It feels a bit squishier than I remember, but that may just be that I'm not quite geared enough yet.  I think I'm still outfitted mostly in the blues you needed to get access to Castle Nathria LFR, although I've been steadily upgrading those with rewards you get from the Zereth Mortis quests.  I am going back and running the Korthia campaign quests just to unlock flying, and then I'll look at how to unlock flying in Zereth Mortis.


As mentioned previously, I have gone back and started to work on leveling my Astrologian again.  That job is currently sitting at level 66.  And because I don't really like healing the level 50+ dungeons, I'm simultaneously working Red Mage through the daily leveling roulette.  I really just started that today.  

I still have been debating the housing situation, but I think I've decided that I'll be better off just grabbing an apartment somewhere instead.  Particularly given my tendency to spend time away from specific games.

That's the update for now.  I'll try to provide additional feedback on WoW Patch 9.2.5 in next week's update.



Tuesday, May 24, 2022

It Has Been A While

As the title of this blog post notes, it has been quite a while since my last blog post.  I recently changed to a new role at my IRL job, and have not had much time for playing or blog writing as I've been getting up to speed.  I have probably sacrificed more on the blog writing side since there are quite a few updates on the playing side since last I posted.

Guild Wars 2

This is probably where I made the most progress since my last blog post since I have now completely finished End of Dragons and so am completely current on content.  End of Dragons was, in my mind, the best Guild Wars 2 expansion yet.  I really enjoyed all of the zones and the storyline was really satisfying.  It brought everything together quite nicely.

It is interesting to me that both Guild Wars 2 and FFXIV seem to deliver increasingly better expansions while World of Warcraft tends to head in the opposite direction, probably since Pandaria.  

I've now been going back and working on completing the original Tyria maps since my current main, my necromancer, was actually a boosted character since I did the full play through the first time around on a ranger, who just didn't seem up to the task once I got to Heart of Thorns.  I also started fleshing out a Scourge build, but I haven't really started gearing up for that particular build yet.

Elder Scrolls Online

I also had fairly major accomplishments on this one as I managed to finish the Aldmeri Dominion storyline to get Caldwell Silver.  I've now started the third storyline, Ebonheart Pact, to work toward Caldwell Gold.  I also did the handful of intro quests for the new High Isles expansion, which should be a lot of fun when it arrives.   Expansions in ESO are less of a big deal than they are in some of the other games that I play as they tend to be less overall story content.  But that works fine given the amount of time that I'm spending on other games.


Last but not least, I recently dove back into FFXIV again, back to working on leveling my Astrologian.  I had taken so much time away from FFXIV recently that I was quite surprised to queue for the MSQ daily roulette and discover that it was now a four-man dungeon.  I still made it through just fine even though I hadn't healed on the AST in quite a while.

That is it for now.  I will try to post more often now that I'm getting a little bit more settled into the new job.



Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Approaching the End of Icebrood Saga

I've gotten pretty bad at writing and publishing regularly again.  It's not for lack of consistent play time as I have been making a fair amount of progress on both of the games that I've been playing regularly lately, which continue to be Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online.  I've still been trying to figure out why I've dropped Final Fantasy XIV.  Perhaps Endwalker felt like more of an end to the story that I was expecting.  Hopefully once the new patch content starts coming out, I'll feel a little bit more interest in getting re-engaged in whatever new stories they're looking to tell. 

I think I've also finally moved on from the intense commitment to lots of alts that really inspired this blog in the first place.  I feel like now I'm more interested in having a single character that I'm connected to and immersed with, focused on playing through the content and experiences on that particular character, but doing that across a variety of games instead of a variety of races and classes.  It also makes me debate picking up OG Joar and trying to get current on World of Warcraft, just with Joar.  But that also raises issues about a certain company filled with...checks Twitter for the perfect phrase..."cromulent shitcrustibles."

So here are the updates on the various games that I'm currently playing:

Guild Wars 2

I finished Living World Season 4, which was a story that I really enjoyed.  The zones were generally pretty great, although there were a few that were pretty challenging to navigate.  It did unlock the possibility of grabbing a Skyscale, although the time commitment and cost of doing that seems to be outside the scope of what I'm interested in doing at this point.  Maybe once I'm caught up on the content though.

I've now moved on to the Icebrood Saga, which is effectively Living World Season 5, even though it doesn't appear that way anywhere.  The early part very much gives me a "Scar from Lion King" kind of feel, but that might just be me.  I'm about halfway through that at this point, at which point I will be moving on to actual current content.


I'm still working through the Aldmeri Dominion storyline on this one on my Magicka Templar for Caldwell's Silver.  I'm in an area called Greenshade now, which has a pretty interesting storyline so far.  Tree spirits, undead armies, old enemies raised from the dead as shades.  All that kind of great stuff.  And talking cats, but not like FFXIV cats.

I've also been steadily leveling up my professions as I go, mostly through gathering, researching and deconstructing stuff that I get.  I'm not terribly far off from actually being able to make some useful stuff for my character at this point, which should be fun.  I think there are some craftable sets that are pretty decent for Magicka Templars that I will need to look at.

That's about all the updates for now.



Wednesday, March 16, 2022

On To Living World Season 4

Guild Wars 2

For this week's update, let's start with Guild Wars 2 first.  I'm continuing to progress through the story line with my Necromancer.  I managed to finish up the Path of Fire story line and have moved on to the Living World Season 4 stuff.  As part of the process, I managed to grab most of the hero points in the Path of Fire areas, and that got me enough to fully unlock a good Reaper build, that I'm now using.

It's definitely quite different than a normal Necromancer Minion build, but so far I'm liking it a lot.  It clearly hits a LOT harder, which helps when working through some of the new story content, particularly some of the harder boss fights.  I'm not normally a big fan of melee, but it feels like that's pretty much always the better option in GW2.


I really should play this game more than I do, as it fits much better with my playstyle and availability.  I've picked up my Magicka Templar again and am working my way through the Aldmeri Dominion story line in order to get Caldwell's Silver.  A new dungeon also released this week, which I haven't tried yet, but it seems like there are some pretty decent armor pieces in there that my character would be able to use, so I might try queueing for it if I get the chance.

I do need to update my gear a bit.  I haven't paid much attention to it once I got past CP 160 because I basically shred everything I come across anyway.  So I may try farming some dungeons to see if I can improve that at all. 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Spending More Time in Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2

I've gotten a little tired of running the MSQ roulettes every day, so I've jumped back in and am spending more time in Guild Wars 2.  I've still been running with my Necromancer, with a fairly straight minion build.  I haven't unlocked enough hero points to run a good Reaper build yet, although I should probably work on that.  I'm mostly focused on getting caught up on the story content at this point (although having a good Reaper build running would probably be helpful with that).

I managed to finish up Living World Season 3 yesterday, which I really enjoyed.  It definitely jumped around a bit, and some of the fights were pretty tough, but overall I thought it was well put together.  I'm now going to be starting on Path of Fire.

I had originally thought that since I had done the first episode of Path of Fire in order to get the raptor mount, that I'd be able to skip that now, but it doesn't look like that's the case.  It's possible that I did that piece on my Ranger instead of on the Necromancer though, which might explain that.  My plan for right now is to get caught up on the story and then work my way back through map completion, but I can't decide if it makes more sense to work on a little bit of map completion in order to get the hero points for a Reaper build.  My Necromancer was boosted after doing the original leveling slog on my Ranger, so really only has the hero points from Heart of Thorns.


In FFXIV, all the jobs are at 50 now, other than DRK, which is at 47, so not far off at all.  I've also started working on leveling my Astrologian, who is somewhere around 54 at this point.  While I've stepped away from FFXIV a little bit, I'm planning to at least finish getting the DRK to 50 for now, which shouldn't take more than one or two more runs.

That's about it for now. 



Thursday, February 17, 2022

Lots of Jobs Hitting 50

 I'm down to only having 5 jobs left to move up to level 50 - Paladin, Monk, Dragoon, Dark Knight and Blue Mage.  Then it will just be the slow one at a time grind that I talked about last week.

Things have been a bit busy in real life, so I've had pretty limited time for gaming, so it may be a while still before I get very far on this.  I just need to grind out those last 14 levels on Blue Mage, which really doesn't take all that long, but just need to dedicate a couple of hours to it.

As you can see from the above, I'm also pretty far along on White Mage at this point.  And after that, I'll just be following the leveling order that I set out last week.

On the Guild Wars 2 front, I've still been working my way through the Living World Season 3 story.  I'm about half way through at this point, and will be starting Path of Fire after that.  I already did the first part of Path of Fire to get the mount, so I've got a tiny bit of a head start on that one at least.



Wednesday, February 9, 2022

My Remaining Leveling Order

I managed to get my Bard to level 90 this week, and I'm now working on the White Mage, who is the last of my pre-Endwalker level 80's to be leveled to 90.  I've also been making good progress on all of the other classes, which are all rapidly approach level 50 - most of them are around either level 47 or 48, except for my Dark Knight, which is 41, and my Blue Mage, which is level 35.  

I also managed to completely finish getting all of the Asphodelos gear on my Summoner, including the Radiant weapon, having accumulated 7 weapon tokens.  So I think I'm now done with this raid tier for now.

The caster set, which is on the far right in the picture below, looks a little odd on a male Hyur.  In addition to the shoulders, it's also backless.  The Eden healer stuff was the same way, but I always end up coming away feeling like I'm auditioning for the next season of Drag Race.

Once the White Mage is done and everyone else is sitting at 50, I'm going to go back to leveling my alt jobs one at a time, so I've been debating the leveling order for the remaining classes.  Here is what I initially came up with:


Except for the last four spots, I think that gives me a good balance of types.  I may tweak this a little bit as we go, but for now that's the plan.  

I also finally broke down and bought an apartment room in my Free Company house and spent a little bit of gil furnishing it nicely.  With that in place, I'm not entirely sure I need a house once the new area comes open, but I guess we'll see when that happens.

In Guild Wars 2, I've been working my way through Living World Season 3, which I've been enjoying so far.  There's no way I'm catching up on content before the next expansion comes out, but I'm not in a huge hurry for that anyway.  I'm still not sure that Necromancer is long-term the class that I want to be playing, but at least for now, I'm sticking with that, and haven't picked up my Ranger again.  

That's it for now.



Thursday, January 27, 2022

The New Perils of Leveling Through Alliance Raid Roulettes

One of the main strategies that I used while leveling new jobs in Final Fantasy XIV is to do a handful of daily roulettes that usually give a lot of xp and other rewards.  The ones that I do every day for jobs over 50 are the MSQ, Frontline and Alliance Raid roulettes.  With Endwalker, leveling jobs from 80-90 using the Alliance Raid roulette contains a bit more risk now because of the likelihood that you could pop up a one of the Nier Automata crossover raids from Shadowbringers

Maybe it's because I've done the older alliance raids a lot more, but the Shadowbringers Alliance raids all just seem to have a much higher level of difficulty than the alliance raids from previous expansions, as well as taking probably about 15 minutes longer on average.  

Paradigm's Breach seems to pop a lot, so I'd encourage folks to watch the video for that one a few times before doing alliance raid roulettes between 80-90.

One advantage to getting this raid, is if you're working on gearing alt jobs, the gear that drops in Paradigm's Breach is relatively just as good as the Cryptlurker gear that you can buy with Poetics, so it's also a decent way to stock up level 80 gear for alt jobs.

I finished all of my DOH jobs last week as expected.  I now just having Fishing to complete in order to be completely done - just waiting for the time to do a few raids out of Limsa, which should finish that up pretty quickly.  I'm also sitting at level 89 on my Dancer, so expect to start on Bard by tomorrow, and then will finish up on White Mage.  I may take some time off from leveling these guys from 80-90 in order to grind up some Astronomy tomes on my Summoner so I can grab the 590 weapon after I finish my 7th run of Pandaemonium.  Although that will probably only actually take a day or two.

Most of the other jobs that I'm working towards 50 are sitting around level 44 / 45, other than DRK which hasn't moved since the last update.  

That's about it for now.



Thursday, January 20, 2022

Big Progress on Crafting and Gathering and More Jobs to 90

 The big news since my last blog post update is that I've gotten quite a few of the DOH/DOL jobs to 90 at this point, most within the last day or two.  Mining is done on the DOL side, and Leatherworking, Blacksmithing, Armorer and Goldsmithing are all done on the DOH side.  Most of the rest are somewhere around 89, so the rest should be done fairly soon.

I did end up making a full set of level 87 crafting gear, just to make finish all that up a little bit easier.  Thought it looked pretty good:

Once all of the DOH/DOL jobs are done, I'm going to start working through all of the ilvl 560 crafting and gathering gear, so I'm not in the same spot for the next expansion that I was for this one.  All of that is obviously absolutely no rush at all, so I will likely just work on single pieces here and there as I have time.  

I've also continued to make progress on leveling my other jobs.  I finished getting both Gunbreaker and Samurai to 90 and am now working on leveling Dancer, which is sitting at level 82.  After that, it will likely be Bard and then White Mage, and that will finish up the jobs I had previously gotten to 80.  My Astrologian is sitting at level 50, so that will be the one to go after White Mage.  I also finished the Tank role quest, leaving only the melee dps role quest to complete, which I've already started on.

I've also made good progress on working the other various jobs towards 50.  Most are sitting around level 44.  I did realize that I had never started a Dark Knight, so I went back and rectified that, and have gotten that job to level 35.  I am just working Dark Knight through dungeons trying to catch that job up with the rest of the sub-50 jobs.

Finally, I've been trying to do Pandaemonium every week and am only still missing two pieces of gear from that raid - gloves and boots.  

Till next time.  Cheers,


Thursday, January 6, 2022

Thoughts on Endwalker so far

 On of my New Year's resolutions is to try to do better about posting to this blog on a regular basis.  I realized now that I look at it that it has been over a month since my last post.  Much of that is because I have been very much head down working my way through the new Final Fantasy XIV expansion, Endwalker, and I've also been trying to honor the generally accepted one month ban on spoilers.

But we're far enough along, I feel like it's time to go ahead and start posting again.

So first, lets' do some quick status updates on where I stand.  I ended up playing my Summoner for the MSQ despite my initial intentions, and was glad I did.  I really like the changes that they made to the job for the expansion and am finding the rotation to fit my playstyle a lot better than it did before.  Since finishing the MSQ, I have also managed to get my Machinist to 90 and am almost there on my Gunbreaker (currently at 89).

I've also finished the role quests for both caster dps and for healers and am about half way through the ranged dps one.  If you haven't had the chance, I would highly recommend going through the role quests.  For this expansion, they involve going back to some old places and tying up a few loose ends on older storylines, all while working through issues that are in keeping with the themes of this expansion.  They're very well done.

I've also started to work on getting my DOH/DOL jobs up to 90.  I quickly figured out why I should have updated all my gear for those jobs to the level 80 gear as it became apparent that it was going to be difficult to do much of anything in level 77 gear.  

I also regretted not finishing the job quest lines for each of the DOH/DOL jobs as it also became apparent that with the changes in abilities for each crafting job that I would probably need the ability Manipulation for each job, which is unlocked separately for each crafting job through those quest lines.

That was the bad news.  The good news was that working through those quest lines got me enough xp to get up to level 82 on each job, which enabled me to use the level 81 gear from the new expansion.  I wasn't able to craft it, so I had to drop about 1.5M gil on the market board to buy all of it, but I've already pretty much earned that back through my regular activities.

The level 81 DOL/DOH gear is actually pretty decent looking.  It's a nice improvement over the dwarven-themed level 77 stuff that I was using.

I've been working through Studium delivery quests in Old Sharlayan, which are very similar to the Crystarium delivery quests, but have mostly been using Grand Company turn-ins to level those jobs.  They're all sitting between 83 and 85 at this point.

After I finish Gunbreaker, I'll work on my Samurai next and then finish up the rest of my level 80's, before I embark on getting the rest of the lower level jobs to 90.  I've been using the daily leveling roulette to work on my lower level jobs a bit at a time and all of them are above 40 at this point.  Once they get above 50, I will go back to doing them one at a time, rather than all at once.

I'm not going to get into much here on spoilers for the expansion story line, other than to say that I really enjoyed it.  You can tell that the developers poured their hearts and souls into this one and the story did a great job of tugging at the emotional heart strings throughout.  I was pretty pleased that it was essentially a fairly clean happy ending, because I definitely wasn't expecting that, particularly since they kept consistently foreshadowing that it was going to be anything but.

I've also done a couple of weeks worth of the new raid, Pandaemonium, which I'm also enjoying.  It's only the 2nd FFXIV normal raid that I've ever done as current content, and so far I like both the fights and the story line.  The fights are challenging and take some time to figure out, without being frustrating.  Your mileage may vary.

That's it for now.  Until next week.



Dawntrail Progress

Since last week's update, I finished the MSQ for Dawntrail and have unlocked all of the expert dungeons so I can start running expert ro...