Saturday, December 30, 2023

2023 Year In Review

My wife and I managed to get a few days away on a cruise this week, so I initially thought this post would probably wait until 2024, but I find myself with a bit of time in the evening, so I figured I'd at least get started on it.

The early part of 2023 started with me splitting time between playing World of Warcraft Dragonflight and still working through Final Fantasy XIV, with time reasonably evenly split in the first few months of the year.  

By March, after getting 6 characters to max level in Dragonflight and working through more renown, I got tired of that again, so I returned to FFXIV and even started picking up some Elder Scrolls Online.  In ESO, the main goal was finishing up Caldwell's gold, which I did by the end of the month.  

In April, I decided it would be fun to knock out a Skyscale in Guild Wars 2, so I also jumped back into that game.  All during this time in ESO and GW2, I was still working on leveling more jobs to max level in FFXIV.  

In May, I started working on World Completion on my main in GW2 and also started working on leveling a character of every class.  I got the World Completion done in June.  I also began working on the new ESO content, Necrom, when it came out and continued with the FFXIV leveling.

In July, I finished leveling every class in Guild Wars 2 to max and unlocking at least one Elite spec on all of them.  Meanwhile, I was down to just 3 jobs to go in FFXIV to have them all maxed out.  

August brought the launch of the new Guild Wars 2 expansion, which took quite a bit of my time as I ran through that content on two of my classes.   By mid-September, though, I ran out of steam again on Guild Wars 2, so I switched back to Final Fantasy XIV for the final push on those last few jobs.  I finally managed to get the Omni-90 done in FFXVI and so switched back to playing World of Warcraft.  

November and December saw me returning to my Island Sanctuary in FFXIV to get caught up on leveling that, continuing to work on leveling alts in World of Warcraft, and trying to knock out those last few Renowns.  

Next week, I'll try to pull together a preview of what's planned for 2024.  

Cheers, 

Joar


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Thoughts on Amirdrassil LFR and WoW Leveling Update

I managed to run through the last two wings of LFR earlier this week, including the final wing with Tindal and Fyrakk.  As a casual LFR hero, I must say that I'm much happier with this LFR installment than I have been in a long time.  These fights are challenging without being overwhelming.  Fyrakk is the first end-of-expansion boss in a long time where I've come out of the fight NOT saying "I will never do this fight ever again."  For me, LFR should be about getting to see the content and potentially getting some rewards that are basically on par with what you can get from World Quests and other events.  I think they've hit that balance nicely with this last raid.  The fights are challenging and interesting.  You have to understand the mechanics and adapt, so it's not just a face roll, but it's not so difficult that you'll be pounding your head against a wall for hours waiting for 10 stacks of determination.

I did have one odd thing happen this week.  I had a tier piece drop for me, and I had another warlock in the group absolutely beg me for it, saying it was the last one he needed for this 4-piece set bonus.  

I happily gave it to him because I already had 445 gloves in that spot (just a purchase from the Dream Wardens), and I hadn't been to the Catalyst yet to switch the last two pieces to tier pieces.  Is it possible that there are folks out there doing raids and such who aren't aware that you can use the Catalyst to convert any gear to a tier piece?  /shrug

Anyway, this person was thrilled to death that I gave them the tier piece, even though it was way less of a big deal than they probably thought.  So glad I could make someone's day.

Also, the final series of campaign and post-Fyrakk kill quests are beyond sappy (tree pun fully intended).  So ensure you're prepared for overdone attempts to tug at your heartstrings. 

Beyond that, I'm still doing Niffem and Dream Warden world quests on Joar for rep until I get those maxed out.

In leveling news, I did get my Demon Hunter to level 70 using the Timewalking event and anniversary bonuses, and I'm now working on Shadow Priest, who is currently at 69.  After that, I'll be working on the Rogue.  I've always hated leveling rogues since they got rid of the Combat spec, so this will probably be another one where I just try to chain-run dungeons to get it over with.

In Final Fantasy XIV, I've primarily been working on my Island Sanctuary, which is now at level 17.  I unlocked the final area of the cave, got a new set of tools to use in said cave, and also upgraded my Cozy Cabin to something large and ridiculous-looking, which I think is the final upgrade.

I had no activity at all in Guild Wars 2 or ESO this week.

Cheers,

Joar

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Using the Anniversary Event and Timewalking Dungeons to Level Alts

 As was true with my last update, I'm spending most of my time right now on World of Warcraft, using both the anniversary event XP bonus and the current week of timewalking dungeons to go back and level a few alts that I had sitting at level 50 that never got touched after the end of Battle for Azeroth.  I've used this to get my rogue, monk, and mage to level 60.  I also plan to use the last few days of the event to finish getting my demon hunter and priest to 70.  For those, I'll obviously be using regular dungeons, not the timewalking variety.  After that, I will return to doing normal stuff on my main with off-time focused on leveling the alts again.  

At the end of Battle for Azeroth, I had 43 max-level characters, including one that was a boost with the pre-purchase of Shadowlands.  I only leveled three characters to max in Shadowlands initially before my 18-month-long departure from WoW.  I did three more when I came back near the very end of the expansion.  Currently, I have six max-level characters: 2 that are sitting between 60 and 70 and three that have now been leveled to 60.  That leaves me with 34 level 50s and a level 60 and level 70 boost.

I won't level at anywhere near that pace again, but I may see what progress I can make.  Mainly, if things come around again, offering decent bonuses.

Yikes.

On the FFXIV front, I'm primarily working on my Island Sanctuary.  I've gotten it to level 16 now.  I don't know what level 16 triggered, but by the time I looked up from doing the latest installment of the Tataru questline and opening the new cave section, I was already halfway to level 17.  So that won't be long.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Further Progress in World of Warcraft

Last week, I had very little play time because of some work stuff, and then some travel with the Joarlings for swim meets.  I'm back to it this week and have been mainly focused on World of Warcraft.

First, in FFXIV, I've been logging on daily to work on my Island Sanctuary.  I've now gotten it to level 14 and have upgraded all 3 of my Workshops to level 4.  The Island is back running reasonably well on its own, so it's not taking a massive investment of time each day to keep it humming.

Most of my time has been spent in World of Warcraft.  I did end up finishing the Iskaara Tuskarr rep, so I'm now just focused on the Niffem and the new Dream Warden faction.  My Niffem guys are sitting at level 11 and the Dream Warden's are still relatively early.

I also ran both wings of the new raid.  I had a ton of gear drop for me, mostly because there were hardly any casters in my groups.  Lots of hunters, but very few casters.  I found the first two wings to be pretty fun.  The bosses were challenging; you had to pay attention to the mechanics, but they weren't too ridiculous.  I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of it.  

Gear is pretty plentiful, which is excellent for late in an expansion.  I'm not sure I want to spend much time gearing up any alts, but I may take a look at it eventually.

I'm still playing as Destruction, but after looking at the Tier Set bonuses, I may switch back to Demonology, as those seem more fun.

I've also started leveling some alts again.  When I stopped playing Dragonflight, I had stopped on my Demon Hunter, so I'm picking him back up.  He's sitting at level 65 now, so halfway there, although still in Waking Shores.

I've played a bit of Guild Wars 2, doing a chapter or so of LWS4 now and then.

That's it for now.

Cheers,

Joar

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

A Busy Week for MMO's

 This is a busy week for MMOs, at least the ones I play.  We have new content dropping today in both Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft.  There was also an expansion announcement at Blizzcon last weekend and some faint signs that WoW might be getting some of its mojo back.  

I'll start with the not-new and shiny stuff.  In FFXIV, I've mostly been working on my Island Sanctuary, which is now level 13.  I recently finished upgrading my Cozy Cabin and both of my Granaries.  Beyond that, I'm doing Expert roulettes every day for tomestones and for gear to upgrade some of my alt jobs.  

In Guild Wars 2, I returned to working my Engineer / Machinist through the Living World Season 4 content.  I'll do the latest story content drops on both my Engineer and my Necromancer and then go back to working on him.  Once I get the Engineer caught up, I'll probably go back and do the Ranger, then pick another class to work on.  Maybe either Mesmer or Revenant.  

In World of Warcraft, I've been primarily working on finishing up the Iskaara Tuskarr rep, which I'm very close to completing, and then continuing to work on the Niffem folks.  I'll probably finish up the Guild Wars 2 stuff before starting on the new story stuff for Warcraft, although I want to make sure I'm geared enough to try the new wing of LFR when it releases a week from now.  


Of course, the new expansion was the other big announcement in the past week.  I have to say, I've always felt a strong personal attachment to both Thrall and Anduin, so that trailer really got me in the feels.  In a way they probably haven't since Legion.  

As an altoholic, I really like the idea of shared renown.  Hopefully, that's something they'll push back to old expansions eventually.  The hero point thing looks fine.  You know there had to be a thing like that.  It sounds like you'll also get dragonriding capabilities on pretty much all of your old flying mounts, so that could be fun too, although I'm not sure the Pandaria sky dragon things won't make me a bit ill.  As with most new World of Warcraft content, I'll definitely give it a try, and if it's not for me, I'll unsub for a bit as I've been doing lately.  But it seems I'll pretty much always give them a chance.

That is the update for this week.

Cheers,

Joar

Thursday, October 19, 2023

All FFXIV Jobs at 90

This happened over a week ago, on October 9th, but I finally hit my goal in FFXIV and now have all of the regular jobs to 90.  Basically everything except blue mage.  With that done, I've mostly gone back to working on my Island Sanctuary, and am also running a few roulettes every day for tomestones.  I'm using the dungeon drops from the Expert Roulette to try to gear up my non-primary jobs, which is working out just fine so far.  Once I cap out on tomestones, I can also start using those for gear upgrades.  I've also been knocking out some of the hard-mode dungeons from ARR and Heavensward that I had unlocked but not completed.  Wanderer's Palace, Fractal Continuum - stuff like that.

As a result, I've been playing more World of Warcraft than I normally would.  I still don't have those last few faction renowns maxed, although I'm very close with the Centaur people.  Only about halfway there with the cave people.  I finished the Blue Dragonflight quest, which tugged at the old heartstrings.  I almost feel bad for killing all those blue dragons back in Wrath.  

Beyond that, I've also dived back into Guild Wars 2.  I still want to run my necromancer through the current expansion content, so I've also started on that.  I like the machinist, but the necromancer has basically 100% map completion everywhere, so there's something satisfying about that.

That's about all of the update for now.

Cheers,

Joar

Friday, October 6, 2023

Initial Thoughts on Patch 6.5 and Other Weird News (**some spoilers**)

On the release day, I managed to run through all of the MSQ content for Patch 6.5 and the new Alliance Raid.  I loved the story and thought it was an excellent wrap-up to the Endwalker expansion. The new dungeon was challenging but generally doable.  I'll benefit from watching a few videos before grinding it out regularly.  

The new Alliance Raid was an exciting story.  I'm still not sure what I think about the ending, but I'm not sure the gods were really getting all that much accomplished anyway.  So I suppose we'll be just fine without them.  As long as they're leaving some swirly gold AI-type thing to solve all our problems, I feel like we're probably in good hands.

The raid itself was extremely challenging.  I could catch on to the first two bosses pretty quickly, but I spent a lot of time tanking the floor on the last two.  I got one piece of healer gear from the whole routine, which was nice.


Beyond that, I'm back to leveling the Dragoon, who is sitting at level 85, so there is only a little longer to go on him.

In weirder news, I've started playing World of Warcraft again.  I was getting tired of ESO and Guild Wars while waiting for the new FFXIV patch, so I went ahead and started playing and getting caught up a bit.  It's odd how comfortable it feels getting back to my warlock.  

I did manage to get caught up on all the latest campaign quests and went through most of the Aberrus raid.  Got a couple of nice drops from there, and we'll see what shows up in my vault.  I have not tried the Sarkareth fight yet, but I might give that a try right after reset next week.  

I still need to finish up Renown on the Iskarr and the Centaur folks plus the new folks down in the cave, so that'll give me some other stuff to work through.  And I haven't quite figured out what this Dreamsurge crap is yet, so that's another thing.

That's about it for now.  

Cheers,

Joar


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Back to Working on the Dragoon

I returned from my trip to the Netherlands last week and am working diligently on leveling my Dragoon.  Since my previous update, I managed to finish the Dark Knight, so the Dragoon is the only one left of the regular classes I still need to get to 90.  Note that I'm saying normal because I technically still have a Blue Mage that I need to get from 50 to 80, but I'm not looking forward to that.

The Dragoon is currently sitting at level 76.  I finished up the job story quests, which were really quite excellent.  I'm not traveling again anytime soon other than the typical weekend at water polo tournaments with the youngest, so I should be able to knock this one out quickly.

I should get the Dragoon to max level just in time for the launch of the next patch, which will bring a bunch of new content and a new alliance raid.  I can use that as a chance to gear up all of my various jobs, along with running daily experts.

Besides, I've been wondering a bit about how to keep myself busy.  I've been thinking about resubscribing to World of Warcraft just to get caught up on the content there.  I also need to finish the new expansion content in Guild Wars 2 on my Necromancer.  Beyond that, I've just been doing daily crafting scrips in ESO to slowly level up the various crafting professions I haven't already done - primarily alchemy, provisioning, and jewel crafting. 

That's it for now.

Cheers,

Joar



Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Finished Secrets of the Obscure

It's been a while since I've posted, particularly after the flurry of Blaugust.  At least a flurry relative to my normal pace of posting.  Things have been busy with real life for the last week or so - my youngest son's high school hosted a big water polo tournament this past weekend, and as the finance guy, a lot of behind-the-scenes work running the tournament ended up falling on me.

Things have also been pretty busy at my regular day job.  

Today was the first time since last week that I've had any play time.  I have finished up Secrets of the Obscure since the last I posted.  I may run through it on my Necromancer and then go back to getting my Mechanist caught up on current content.  Then I'll need to decide if I want to try running my Ranger through stuff.

On the FFXIV front, I've continued to work on leveling both the Dark Knight and Dragoon.  The Dark Knight is at level 82 and the Dragoon is around 65, so they're both in very good shape.  I've gotten two new mounts out of the Mogstone event, and I hope to get quite a few more once my play time frees up a bit.  

Next week, I should be able to invest a bit more time, but then the following week, I'm going to be out of the country all week, so there won't be anything happening then.

That's all the update for now.

Cheers,

Joar





Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Blaugust 2023: Randomocracy

I rarely post anything even remotely political on my blog.  And my political beliefs can probably best be described as something like, "What the Hell is Wrong With All of You?"  I've often found myself sitting in the car listening to some news story and thinking that the homeless guy asking for change at the intersection could probably do a better job than 80% of the people in higher elected office these days.  

In fact, almost everyone you run into on the street, at the grocery store, or at your kids' soccer game would do a better job.  Okay, maybe not that one dad at the soccer game.  But most everyone else.

I've been spending a decent amount of time on the long drives to my son's school to think about what a framework for a better, more effective government might look like, and that's where the idea of randomocracy was born.

This would obviously be highly controversial.  It would require a complete rewrite of the U.S. Constitution, which makes it essentially wholly impossible but still interesting to think about.  It also effectively does away with democracy, but I'll argue in a way that makes things more representative, not less.  It also basically eliminates political parties because they would no longer be needed.

So here is how it works.  The new structure would maintain the three branches of government that we have now - Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.  

Executive

There would no longer be a President or a Vice President for the Executive.  Instead, we would randomly draw seven names randomly from the general population every five years, and those seven people would run the executive branch for the next 5 years.  They would move to the White House with their families, each earning tax-free $1,000,000 per year for their 5-year term.  One alternative approach that I thought about with this structure is instead of selecting all seven people at once for a 5-year term, you could choose a new person each year for 7-year terms to replace one person on the team each year.

The only requirement to be selected is to be at least 30 years old and a citizen, although not necessarily natural-born.

Besides this executive committee, the rest of the Executive Branch would stay in place.  Cabinet Secretaries and other senior executive department officials would remain in their roles until the executive committee either decided they were no longer performing and asked them to step down or until those secretaries voluntarily resigned.  In any case, the executive committee would recruit and interview replacements once that happened, based on the candidates' actual expertise in the field for the relevant department.

Legislative

This would work similarly to the Executive Branch.  Instead of having two houses of the legislature, you would only have one.  It probably doesn't matter whether the term for representatives is 4, 5, or 6 years, and you could either do it all at once or in tranches, for example, 100 new people selected each year for 5-year terms, but you'd have 500 people in the legislature.  But those 500 people would be chosen at random from among the population.

The requirements to be selected would be the same as for the President, with the one change that the minimum age would be 21, not 30.  

Most of the legislative work would continue to be done in committees based on the type of job you had before selection or your areas of interest.  So, for example, anyone who was a lawyer or judge in real life would most likely end up on the judiciary committee.  

Instead of elections, every three months, Congress could add questions to a nationwide poll that could be both internet and mail-based and would solicit feedback on areas the committees would like public input on.  They could also hold regular town halls around the country as another venue for gathering public input on issues they are considering.  

Judicial

This would flip from how it works now.  Judicial positions would be subject to 10-year term limits.  When vacancies arose on particular federal courts, candidates could apply, or nominations could be taken, and the judicial committee of the legislature would interview candidates and make recommendations on appointments.  Those recommendations would then need to be approved by the Executive Committee.  Candidates for Appeals Courts would need to have served at least one term at the District Court level, and Candidates for the Supreme Court would need to have served at least one term at the Appeals Court level.  Candidates for District Court positions could be anyone with a legal background, including former Supreme or Appeals Court members.

So that's generally it - my idea for a new form of government called randomocracy.  Think of how much money could be saved on elections and how much more efficient these folks could be without worrying about their next election.  They could be 100% focused on just running the country for their terms of office.  

Friday, August 25, 2023

Blaugust 2023: Initial Thoughts on Secrets of the Obscure

This week has been a bit crazy with real-life demands, particularly with getting one of my children moved back into University.  So, my playtime has been a bit limited.

I did manage to get some initial time in the new Guild Wars 2 expansion, Secrets of the Obscure, so here are a few initial thoughts.

I've only been in the first new zone, having played part way through Chapter 4.  Everything seems pretty typical for new Guild Wars 2 content at this point.  The zones are beautiful and take advantage of Skyscale usage, which I'm sure everyone finds really fun.  

The story is interesting, but not enough to get me to take a complete time out from FFXIV, which I've still been running some regular roulettes on.  I'm enjoying the rift mechanics so far, but I wonder how those will feel when there aren't as many people doing them as there are now.  It's probably too busy right now as you can often arrive at a rift too late, but they may be hard to get through later without larger groups.  We'll have to see how that evolves over time.  The mechanic reminds me of the game Rift, which I always loved.




I wish I had finished my Mechanist because I feel that would work better with the Rift mechanics than my Reaper.  I'm considering switching to either Scourge or Harbinger for tagging things in rifts.  I have Harbinger fully unlocked, but I have never tried it.

In general, I'd give it positive reviews so far.  I should have more play time next week, so I will provide a broader update after another week.

On the FFXIV front, I've made more progress on both characters and have the Dark Knight sitting at level 75 and the Dragoon at level 61.  

I'm off to an out-of-town water polo tournament with the youngest again this weekend, so we'll return with more updates next week.

Cheers,

Joar

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Blaugust 2023: Back to School

We take the middle Joarling back to college at Carnegie Mellon tomorrow, where he will be starting his sophomore year as an Electrical and Computer Engineering Major.  He's planning to focus mainly on software engineering and is pairing it with a Computer Science minor.  He spent the summer getting various certifications like Microsoft Azure and Microsoft AI certifications, which will hopefully help him get an actual paid internship next summer.  Beyond that, he was primarily working on his plan to have every relic weapon for every job in FFXIV, which is a bit nuts.  

The youngest Joarling will start his sophomore year of high school on Thursday.  He started learning to drive over the summer but doesn't get his license until February of next year, so it will be a while until he can drive himself to school and swim practice.  So we're stuck providing car service at least for the next few months.  He seems to be mostly fully recovered from his knee-cap dislocation earlier in the summer.  He hasn't started to compete in water polo yet, but he is back at practice.  Swimming seems to be pretty much back to normal.

I've mostly been playing FFXIV and Elder Scrolls Online while waiting for the new Guild Wars 2 expansion to launch later today.  I'm continuing to make progress on the Dark Knight and Dragoon.  The Dark Knight feels squishier than the other tank jobs I've leveled, but it still seems to work out just fine.  

In Elder Scrolls online, I've decided to work on leveling some of the other crafting skills, working specifically on Jewelcrafting, Provisioning, and Alchemy.  I mostly do daily writs to work on those, which seems fine so far.

That's the update for now.  Later in the week, I'll provide an update with my initial, spoiler-free thoughts on the new Guild Wars 2 expansion.

Cheers,

Joar

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Blaugust 2023: A Regular Gaming Update

I have yet to hit my goal of two posts a week this week because things have been nuts on the work front.  I'm also doing some work travel for no good reason, restricting my playtime.  I flew down to Atlanta, Georgia, this afternoon to join a colleague down here in attending a Zoom call.  The other participants in the Zoom call will be in our corporate office in Ohio, where I flew from to get here.  But this particular person thought having me in the room with him would be great.  /Le sigh  

Not only has my blog posting time been limited, but my playtime has also been limited as a result.  But here goes:

FFXIV

I continue working on my Dark Knight and Dragoon jobs, which are sitting at level 70 and level 60, respectively.  There's probably not going to be a ton more progress on either of them since the new Guild Wars 2 expansion is dropping next week, and I'll be working through that content on my Reaper.  I am probably going to run through the current seasonal stuff to grab the Red Power Ranger outfit, as I definitely want to tank all of my MSQ roulettes as the Red Power Ranger for the rest of the time that I'm leveling Dark Knight.  

Guild Wars 2

So that brings me to Guild Wars 2.  I didn't get anywhere close to my goal of getting my Machinist current on content before the new expansion.  I did manage to get him through the end of Path of Fire, which felt like pretty decent progress.  The problem was I couldn't step away from FFXIV completely and was getting a little bit sucked into ESO.  There are elements of ESO that are more conducive to my schedule when things get a little busy, and I can't necessarily commit to the uninterrupted time needed to run a roulette or commit to a particular story instance in GW2.  

ESO

I managed to finish the Murkmire content, which brings me completely current on all non-thieving / murdering type content.  It was a reasonably typical ESO storyline, but despite that, I always enjoy them.  I also grabbed crafting writ certifications for everything so I can start leveling some of the crafts that I don't already have at max - mostly Jewelcrafting, Alchemy, and Provisioning.  If things free up a bit after finishing the new GW2 stuff and my last two FFXIV jobs, I may come back and work on those, but that may be a few months.

Those are really the updates for now.

Cheers,

Joar

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Blaugust 2023: Why I Keep Getting Burned Out on World of Warcraft

In my introductory post last week, I mentioned that this blog was started and, for the first couple of years, was exclusively about my quest to achieve specific goals in World of Warcraft.  And was focused primarily on my journey to level a lot of alts.  

To the surprise of no one except me, leveling a crap ton of alts ended up burning me out on the game.  Someone alert the Academy of Sciences, right?  I'm actually amazed that it took as long as it did.  

I started playing in the middle of Burning Crusade and only really started my quest to have many different alts, probably partway through Wrath.  I completed my goal of having a max level of each class by the end of Cataclysm.  These were all Horde characters. 

This, by the way, is the original Joar.  Warlock from Burning Crusade.  Named Joar because that's what popped up when I hit randomize.  



Late in the Cataclysm expansion, I started the same process with an Alliance character of each class but only managed to finish two before Mists of Pandaria started.  

With Mists of Pandaria, I set an exciting side goal of finishing the Siege or Orgrimmar on a character of each class.  Since that particular raid was out for what felt like 6 1/2 years, that was not as challenging as it might seem.  So I didn't make much progress on my Alliance goal during that expansion and only had 3 more done by the time we rolled around to Warlords.

I finally got the two characters of each class from each faction completed during Warlords and then started a third set, so I had 27 max-level characters by the end of Warlords.  

Those all got moved to max level by the end of the first year of Legion, and I did 6 more during the last year of that expansion to get me to 33 max-level characters.  

Battle for Azeroth was mainly a slog of working through leveling those 33 characters to max level, and I had 25 of them done when an important event hit.  During the anniversary event in November of 2019, Blizzard had set it up so that a vast amount of experience could be earned, for characters of any level, in a special anniversary event involving Korrak and old-school Alterac Valley.  Over the few weeks of that event, I went from having 25 max-level toons to 36.  By early the following year, I finished at 42 max-level characters.  And that's as high as I ever got.  

While waiting for the next expansion, Shadowlands, to come out, I started playing Final Fantasy XIV in August 2020.  It was a game that I really enjoyed, but I was just initially viewing it as something to do while waiting for the next WoW expansion.  

When Shadowlands launched, I jumped back in with both feet and leveled my Warlock, followed by my Hunter and Paladin.  I finished hitting max level on my Warlock about a week after launch, and within 2 weeks after that (mid-December), I was posting about how I was getting tired of the game and thinking about returning to FFXIV.  Those were the only three characters I got to max level in Shadowlands phase 1.  I had stopped playing by mid-January and unsubscribed in late February. 

So why?  As an altoholic, I think there were things about the game before that that I just enjoyed more.  The leveling experience in Shadowlands for me was just much more painful.  While trying to give you more variety through the whole Threads of Fate thing, it felt like every character after your first was utterly detached from the story.  I also preferred the old emissary system over the grinding process for Faction Renown.  And dropping the flight whistle made running daily world quests on alts much more painful.  

I was unsubscribed for almost 18 months before I picked it back up again towards the end of the expansion.  I ran my warlock through all of the content I had missed, including all of the raids and Korthia and other new area, and managed to get 5 more toons to max level, for a total of 8.  

I continued playing in the early part of Dragonflight and got a bit further earlier this year than I did with Shadowlands.  I ended up with 6 characters at max level, then started to pull back again in February of this year, and unsubscribed for a 2nd time in April of this year.  

It's a hard discussion for me because World of Warcraft was my first love in MMO gaming, and I would like to reignite that spark.  I may try again at some point because it often makes me sad to be gone, but it feels like it's no longer my game.   


Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Blaugust 2023: The Summer of Overwhelmed.

It has been a while since my last blog post, which always makes me feel doubly bad during Blaugust.  Real life has been kicking my butt lately.  I took a new role at work about 15 months ago.  I'm in finance/accounting generally, and I've mostly done the same type of thing for most of my career, and this new role involves more travel and is not the type of thing that I'm used to doing.  For someone as late in their career as me, it's kind of an odd move to have made, but it was one of those things where I was "asked" if I wanted to take the position in a way that it was clear the form only had one answer button on it.

On top of that, I'm one of those people that has a hard time saying no, so as a result, I take on a lot more than I can legitimately handle.  My younger two kids are competitive swimmers, so I've gotten involved in many swimming-related things just because I'm spending lots of time at competition pools with them anyway.  So right now, I'm the Treasurer of a club swim team, a high school swim team, a high school water polo team, a club booster organization, and my state's overall umbrella swim organization.  I also work as an official for both club and high school swimming.

But wait.  That's not all.  I also serve on the boards and finance committees for two local not-for-profits.  Did I mention I'm also getting a master's degree?  I'm a complete and utter dumbass. 

I managed to generally juggle all of that, but then our youngest child dislocated his knee-cap earlier in the summer, adding an additional fun cycle of doctor visits, scans, physical therapy, etc., to the schedule.  He is recovering well, and it did get me out of a few travel swim meets since he couldn't compete, but it has definitely added to a stressful summer.  

My wife and I tried to have some fun this past weekend to try to destress.  Our town here in Central Ohio has a big Irish Festival each year.  We don't often get to go because we're generally out of town at a swim meet, but with the youngest's injury, we suddenly had the time, so we got to go watch a few Irish rock bands and enjoy ourselves.



The next day, we took the kids and some of their friends to Cedar Point, an amusement park about 2 hours north of us known for its fantastic collection of roller coasters.  While the kids made themselves sick riding everything in the park, my wife and I enjoyed the "staring at Lake Erie enjoying a beverage" ride.


Cool clouds that day too.  It was all really fun, but we were also up late both nights, so I'm still pretty exhausted.  

But as a result, I've yet to make much progress on my gaming stuff.  In FFXIV, I did manage to get my Fisher to 90 and have added a couple of levels to both the Dark Knight and the Dragoon.  In Guild Wars 2, I'm halfway through Path of Fire on my Mechanist.

In the next post, tomorrow or Friday, I will talk about why I think I have twice burned out on World of Warcraft.  That was the blog post I intended to write today, but all the above came pouring out.

Cheers,

Joar



Thursday, August 3, 2023

Blaugust 2023: Regular Updates and Thoughts on FanFest

 Guild Wars 2

I'll start this week's update with Guild Wars 2.  I've been working on getting my Mechanist caught up on current story content.  I'm almost done with Living World Season 3, so I will be ready to head off to the Path of Fire expansion soon.  I thought about catching up on this character before the next expansion drops, but I don't think there's even remotely the time to do that.  Plus, I'm still enjoying leveling my other jobs in FFXIV, so I'm not quite willing to walk entirely away from that yet.  

I've also been working on additional zone completion on my Necromancer, who is coincidentally also working through the Living World Season 3 zones.  

Elder Scrolls Online

I've been working through Murkmire on my Magicka Templar.  It's a piece of additional content that I never did, and I enjoy spending a little bit of time back in the Elder Scrolls world.  

FFXIV

In Final Fantasy, I've been working on leveling three jobs - Dark Knight, Dragoon, and Fisher.  I noticed that I'd never bothered finishing up Fisher, so I'm using the Omicron quests to knock that the rest of the way out.  I'm probably only 2 days from being done.  

I'm enjoying both Dark Knight and Dragoon so far.  The Dark Knight is about to hit level 60, and the Dragoon is at 54.  The Dark Knight quests interest me, but the quest guy for the Heavensward thread isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.  



"Well, this is terrible.  The temple knights will never stop trying to kill her now!  OK, let's go back to Ishgard."

"Wait, what?  Um...hey...Captain Dark Genius?  If the temple knights are never going to stop trying to kill her, maybe we could pick a hang-out spot....I don't know...maybe anywhere in the world other than Ishgard?  Just a thought."

I also watched the keynote address from FanFest last week.  Everything is obviously very short on details at this point, and I'm not sure we've seen enough to tell if this is the beginning of a new overarching storyline or if this is intended to just be an interlude. However, it feels like more of the latter.  

For me, FFXIV is more about the stories, the characters, and an interesting setting.  I don't really need it to be some massive heart-pounding endeavor.  I'd probably be fine watching Zero and G'raha freak out about tacos between various dungeon runs.  So I'm generally optimistic about what I've seen from Dawntrail so far.  

I'm curious what the two new jobs will be, and the general roles described are ones that I enjoy playing, so that would be great for me.  I'm looking forward to the next FanFest and hearing more.  It seems like I have plenty of time to accomplish my in-game goals before it will be released, which is also a relief.

That's it for now. 

Cheers,

Joar

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Blaugust 2023: It's Not You, It's Me



This is my fourth or fifth time participating in Blaugust.  In previous iterations, I didn't always include the note in my post titles, so it's a little hard to tell.  I've been writing this blog for over fourteen years now.  The first several years were definitely my most prolific, with the first full calendar year of the blog having a total of 77 posts, almost 30 more than the next highest output total, 2 years later with 49.  All that being said, I've always managed to keep up a pace of at least once a month, with 21 posts being my lowest total ever in 2021.  

When this blog started, it was exclusively about World of Warcraft.  I was a relatively new player at the time, but I had a plan to try to level a character of each class to the maximum level. I started playing during the original Burning Crusade expansion but developed this plan during Wrath.  It took me around a year and a half to complete the goal.  That goal then expanded to a character from each class from each faction and then got completely out of hand during Legion when I ended up with over 40 max-level characters.  

As I worked through these goals, I would diligently track my leveling time for each character and sometimes write about which leveling paths I found to be the fastest.  At some point, because I'm a financial guy in real life, I also started writing analyses of Activision-Blizzard's earnings releases and conference calls, back when you could actually glean meaningful information about World of Warcraft from those.

About two years in, I start also playing and writing about other games, starting with RIFT but eventually expanding to include Wildstar, SWTOR, FFXIV, Elder Scrolls Online, and Guild Wars 2.  I tend to keep this blog very gaming focused and rarely post anything personal here, although that has changed a little bit in recent years.  Generally, it tends to be a weekly or bi-weekly update on what I've been doing in the games I play.

The blog is intended to be more of a personal journal for me than something I expect to be widely read or utilized.  It's a way to document my gaming journey and a nice distraction to sit down and regularly write stuff that has nothing to do with finance or accounting.  If the only writing I ever did was accounting memos and financial statement footnotes, I don't think that would be great for my personal development or mental health.  

On Thursday of this week, I'll publish my regular update on how things have been going with the various games I play and my initial thoughts on the FFXIV Fan Fest.

Cheers,

Joar

Monday, July 17, 2023

Elite Specs and Paladin Done

 Guild Wars 2

I will start with Guild Wars 2 this week.  I finished getting to max level on all the professions and also was lucky to find a couple of regular morning Heart of Thorns Hero Point trains, so also got the elite specs unlocked on all of those professions.  Everyone is basically geared up and ready to go at this point.

In terms of playtime, now that is all done, I've been mostly working on playing back through story content on my shiny new Mechanist and his big green robot friend.  So far, Mechanist has been a lot of fun.  We'll see how far through the story we can get him before the next big content drop in August.  I tried the Daredevil Thief a bit and wasn't really feeling it, but will probably try a few of the other professions in just general open world meta event type content and see how they all end up feeling.  

I may work on leveling up some crafting professions after this, at least trying to get them all to 400, but we'll have to see on that one.  

FFXIV

I finished getting Paladin to max level and am now focused entirely on Monk.  That job is sitting around level 74, so I do not have far to go with that one either.  I'm usually hesitant to level tanking or healing specs using either the leveling or alliance raid roulettes because I just don't have the confidence to do either of those well in situations where the group is clearly depending on me to not screw things up.  However, I may give it a try for Dark Knight once Monk is complete.

I don't know how Monky this is, but I think it looks good!





Wednesday, July 5, 2023

A Belated 14th Blogoversary

I have a huge amount of respect for those that can crank out decent blog updates almost every day.  I try to post updates every week and usually don't come close to achieving that relatively modest goal.  After a while, the slow, steady progress across 2-3 different games just doesn't seem much worth discussing.  

The 14th anniversary of this blog passed last month, as usual, without me even noticing.  If this blog was a child, it would know everything and be an absolute pain in the ass.  My child that is closest in age to this blog, has been struggling a bit for the last few weeks after having dislocated his knee-cap about two weeks ago.  Like the middle Joarling, he is also a competitive swimmer, so the injury has ended his competitive summer swim season.  His recovery so far has been going extremely well, and he's already doing well with physical therapy and is back in the pool on a limited basis.  He's also finally out of the massive full leg brace he started in and into something more manageable.  We hope he will be in good shape for this High School swim season, which starts in November and is fairly important to his college recruiting prospects for swimming.




On the gaming front, the past week has seen me splitting my time between FFXIV and Guild Wars 2.  I'm continuing to work through the Paladin and Monk in FFXIV and running the raid instance for gear on my Summoner.  I hope to finish that in the next week or two.  After I get the Paladin and Monk to level 90, Dark Knight will be up next and finish the Omni-90 parade off with the Dragoon.

Most of my time has probably been spent in Guild Wars 2, where I am working on leveling the last two professions that I don't already have at max - the Guardian and the Mesmer.  My Guardian is at level 74 so that one is almost done.  I've also been working on gathering hero points for elite specs for the other various characters that I've gotten to 80 recently.  I finished up Spellbreaker on the Warrior as well as Herald on the Revenant.  Next up will be Thief, who I will unlock Daredevil on, and then Engineer, although, at the moment, I'm undecided between Scrapper and Mechanist.  After those two, it will probably be Mesmer, Elementalist, and Guardian.  I have a pretty good path through the End of Dragons zones, so it's easy to farm up the 250 hero points needed.  After that is all done, I'll start working characters back through the various expansion and living world storylines unless the next patch for FFXIV comes through before then.

That's the update for now.

Cheers!

Joar


Thursday, June 29, 2023

Still splitting time between ESO, GW2 and FFXIV

I've been splitting time pretty evenly this past week between ESO, Guild Wars 2, and FFXIV.  So we'll go in reverse order from last week's update.

FFXIV

My in-game activity has consisted of running the new raid for those last few leg tokens.  I just need one more to drop for me next week.  I've also continued to work on leveling the paladin and the monk.  The paladin is at level 78, and the monk is at level 62.  

ESO

I finished the Necrom chapter last week and then looked at what is still to be done on my character.  Going back through story collections, I realized I never did the Murkmire chapter, so I've started on that.  After that, I may do either Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood for something different.  I'm not sure about a glowy Magicka Templar as an assassin, though, so that might be odd.

I've also been working on leveling my sorcerer through the Dungeon Finder, which is working fine.

GW2

The big news for the week is that a new expansion is coming for Guild Wars 2.  Secrets of the Obscure will drop on August 22nd, representing the first post-dragon content.  Based on what I have seen so far, I'm excited about it and looking forward to playing through it on a few different characters.  The combat and weapon specialization changes look fun too, and I'm interested in running some kind of  Greatsword / Pistol combo on my Reaper.

I decided to use all the boosts, tomes, and xp writs that I've accumulated to see how far I can get with having other classes at max level.  By purchasing the expansion, it gave me one free level 80 boost as well.

The argument that I always see is that you shouldn't do that and should learn to play the class by leveling it up the old-fashioned way.  However, I feel like Guild Wars 2 is a little different because you can still go out there and do plenty of open-world stuff at level 80 to help you learn the class.  Plus, if you're planning to play as an elite spec anyway, which generally makes the most sense regardless given the incremental power of those specs, the ability set that you'd use while leveling is likely not the one that you'll end up using once you're done getting to 80.  

I'm not a long-term Guild Wars 2 player, but I still amassed a decent-sized collection of tomes, boosts, and other xp writs.  Using those, I got my Engineer and Thief to 80 and used the boost with the new expansion to get a new Elementalist to 80 (because who really wants to level one of those anyway).  That leaves me with my Guardian and my Mesmer right around 40.  In retrospect, it was probably a bit nuts to leave the Mesmer at 40 rather than the Thief or Engineer.  I may try crafting to level the Mesmer some chunk of the remainder.  

Once done, I plan to unlock a good Open World elite spec on all of those, gather hero points in POF and EOD zones, and then be ready to run them all through the new expansion when it drops.

That's it for now.  Cheers!

Joar


Thursday, June 22, 2023

Diving Back Into ESO for Necrom

ESO

Since my last blog post, and in the previous week or two, I decided to dive back into Elder Scrolls Online to take a spin through the new chapter - Necrom.  So no spoilers at all on the story, but I found it engaging.  The new zones are well put together, and there's a lot of good content there.  The story itself was pretty typical ESO fare but still very engaging.  For reasons I don't entirely understand, I'm not an altoholic when it comes to ESO, so everything gets played through on my normal Magicka Templar, which handled all of the content without much trouble.  



There is also a new class to try - the Arcanist - which is closely linked to the new content.  I've also gone back and cleaned up my quest log in ESO, finishing up many quests that I started but never finished, so I now have my main in a pretty clean place and ready for the next batch of content when it releases.  It makes me wonder if I shouldn't try some of the other classes.

FFXIV

In FFXIV, I continue to run through the new raid on my Summoner and am down to only needing 3 more leg tokens to complete the gear set from the new raid.  And, of course, the 7 weapon tokens, which aren't possible at this point.

I'm also continuing to work on leveling my last few jobs.  My paladin sits at level 72, and my Monk is at level 59.  I'm enjoying them both.  Dark Knight and Dragoon are the last two before I am an Omni-90, so those are obviously up next.  Ideally, this would all stretch out until not long before the next expansion releases, but we'll see.

Guild Wars 2

I managed to get the Warrior to max level and have now started working on leveling a Mesmer, who is already at level 35.  With the Warrior done, that gives me 4 characters at max - Necro, Revenant, Ranger, and Warrior.  I haven't unlocked any elite specs on the Warrior or Revenant, so that's also on the to-do list if I hit a dry spell in other games.  After the Mesmer is done, I think either Thief or Engineer is next, but we'll have to see on that one.  

That is the update for the last few weeks.  It's a bit light because we went on a family vacation to Virginia Beach the week of June 12th.  It's the first vacation we've been on with both Joarlings that are still at home since before the pandemic, so it was nice to get away with everyone.  My wife and I got engaged in Virginia Beach, but I don't think we've been there since, so it was nice to return.


Monday, June 5, 2023

Guild Wars 2 Map Completion....Complete

Since my last blog update, I managed to get 100% map completion in Guild Wars 2 on my Necromancer.  I also knocked out the first two zones of Heart of Thorns along with Dry Top and Silverwastes and at that point decided to go back to leveling alts.  I found using BlishHUD and it's pathing module to be pretty critical to completing this efficiently.  

On alts, my Warrior is now level 62, so in the home stretch for him.  Not sure which one I'll do next - possibly Mesmer.  Although I had quite a few that I had started that I enjoyed.

Through doing all this World Completion stuff, I also managed to get enough hero points to fully unlock the new Harbinger elite spec, but I have yet to try playing it.  I considered setting it up and maybe knocking out some zone events.  I still need to farm up some trade contracts for the jackal mount, so that might be a good thing to try out while doing that. 



In FFXIV, I've done a couple of runs through the new raid to gather tokens for all the latest gear.  So far, I've enjoyed all the fights quite a bit.  I struggled with the 12th circle a bit the first week, then didn't have any issues at all on week 2.  I managed to grab enough tokens for a chest piece pretty quickly, so I've started to piece together the gear look, at least.

Beyond that, I'm continuing to work on the Paladin and Monk, sitting at levels 64 and 54, respectively.  


Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Switching to World Completion in GW2

First, my interest in the new patch for World of Warcraft lasted only briefly.  I did knock out the first wing of LFR.  The bosses were good, but no loot drops for me (although I will get something out of my vault at least).  I may keep at it a little bit more, but with the new FFXIV patch dropping next week and me still having a pretty high level of interest in GW2, I don't see myself spending much time on it.

GuildWars 2

So I decided to switch from leveling alts to working on World Completion on my Necromancer.  I've also started working on crafting a bit on them as well and have gotten Tailoring up to 150 or so.  I didn't really spend anything other than on thread from the vendor at this point because everything else was sitting in my material storage.  One of the advantages of never having done any crafting I guess.

The World Completion bit is going a little bit better.  I'm starting with the original zones first, and I just have the Charr areas and the whole Orrian area to knock out before I have that done.  After that, I'll just work through the expansions in order.  Because of the way I leveled this particular character, I have more of the zones done from more recent expansions, so these older zones are where most of the work is for me anyway.  In most of them, I only have a waypoint or two.

I'm at 72% right now, so I'm in pretty decent shape. The next few weeks will mean a reduced amount of play time because of some real-life things.  Combine that with the FFXIV patch next week, and it may be a while before I make significant progress on this again.  I've gone from around 31% to 72% in about 2 weeks, so that seems pretty decent.  I'll need to find a HoT Hero Point train at some point too.

There are so many things that I'm still trying to figure out about this game - it may be another blog post to list the questions I have in the hopes that someone is reading!  And one of these days, I'll figure out how to clean up my bank and other bag space.  There's a ton of stuff that I'm saving, and I've got no clue if I need any of it.

FFXIV 

So despite probably being my "main game" at this point, I haven't touched it much in quite a few weeks other than logging on periodically to make sure I don't lose my house.

I'm looking forward to the patch next week though and will definitely be setting everything else aside for that and for the new raid each week.  I may go back to leveling the last four jobs if I get caught in that FFXIV mood.

 

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Leveling Alts in GW2 and Warcraft Patch 10.1

GW2

I finally managed to complete my Skyscale last week.  After completing the saddle, which I discussed in my previous post, the rest was pretty simple.  It involved a lot of running around the world but was not overly complicated aside from that.  With that task done, I've started leveling alts again.  I currently have a Necromancer, Ranger, and Revenant at max level.

For the next profession to level, I tried all of them, but it came down to a choice between Warrior, Thief, and Mesmer for what I wanted to do next.  I picked Warrior and now have him up to around level 51 or so.  I'm playing a Charr, which I haven't done before, so that aspect has also been interesting. 

It's been a while since I did the basic leveling process.  I don't know if the Adventure Log in the Achievement pane is new, but there is undoubtedly a ton of experience available from getting those things done, plus it's all things you should sort of be doing as part of leveling anyway, so I've found that to be a helpful way to go.  The extra experience it grants also removes the need to constantly hunt for hearts to complete.  At Adventure Log Level 2, each one also requires the completion of a world boss from the zones of those levels, which also grants a ton of xp, so both of those things have really helped move things along without feeling like I missed out on learning the character like I would if I just used Tomes.

After the Warrior, I will likely do either Thief or Mesmer next.

World of Warcraft

So despite some brief considerations of unsubscribing again, I downloaded the latest patch and started playing around with it a bit.  The story so far is at least interesting enough to probably keep me engaged for another month or more, so I will likely stick with it a while longer.  I still need to finish up renowns on the original factions, and there seems to be quite a bit to do in the new zone.  And, of course, I'll also give the new raid a look.  This will likely continue to be on my warlock as I remain uninterested in returning to my altoholic days with WoW.

FFXIV

With everything else going on, FFXIV is the game that has been suffering an altogether lack of attention at this point.  I only have four jobs left to have absolutely everything at 90 - Paladin, Monk, Dark Knight, and Dragoon.  I think part of the problem is that none of those four really excite me.  I could see myself knocking out the dps jobs, but I'm just not that interested in tanking to feel motivated for the other two.

However, when the new patch comes out later this month, I will dive back in with both feet.  At least enough to gear up my Summoner and maybe to work on some of those dps alts a bit.

That's it for now.

Cheers,

Joar


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Continued Adventures In Skyscales

 For the last couple of weeks, I've been playing Guild Wars 2 almost exclusively, working on finishing up the requirements to get a Skyscale mount.  It's a long grind, but I've really enjoyed the process.  

I will comment on the various collection pieces I've done since the last blog update, but really in reverse order.  

Skyscale Saddle

I just finished purchasing the Skyscale Saddle, which required getting components from various vendors.  In addition to about 35 gold and some volatile magic, it also required 250 of the currencies from each of the Living World 4 / Path of Fire zones and 500 Trade Contracts.  

250 Kralkatite Ore - Domain of Istan
250 Kifluorite Crystals - Sandswept Isles
250 Inscribed Shards - Domain of Kourna
250 Lump of Mistonium  - Jahai Bluffs
250 Branded Mass - Thunderhead Peaks
250 Mistborn Motes - Dragonfall

When I started the process, I had almost none of the zone currencies but had about 280 or so Trade Contracts, so almost halfway there.

You would think that grinding out all of those currencies a bit of a time would take forever, but after a considerable amount of research, I discovered that there is an Achievement in each of these zones that awards - wait for it - 250 of each currency.  The achievement is called "Return to [Zone Name]" for each zone and generally requires you to do, or have done somewhere between 6-9 things in each zone.  The easy part is that in each zone, three of those things are harvesting, gathering lumber, and mining - generally 15, 30, and 30.  When you mine something and get 3 ore from a particular node, that counts as 3 for purposes of this achievement, so it doesn't take too long in each zone. 

For about half the zones, having done the story quests and then these three gathering pieces was enough to get the achievement.  In a couple of zones, I also had to do a race of some sort - just complete it - not win.  In Thunderhead Peaks, I also had to open 3 Dwarven Chests, which are pretty much all over the place, and there were a couple of zones where I had to kill the end boss for one of the metas - which was easy enough with a group.

I also found a shortcut for getting the Trade Contracts.  Getting 100% map completion in any of the Crystal Desert zones awards 50 Trade Contracts.  So you'd think I'd need to finish at least four of them, but as it turns out, I managed to pick up enough by opening chests or as rewards for other things that I was doing as part of the map completion, that I only ended up having to do the map completion for two zones to go from 280 to 500.

Skyscale Lost

This collection happens right before the saddle and involves finding your Skyscale at the end of 21 different jumping puzzles around the world.  There is a shortcut available where you can purchase Extra-Pungent Skyscale Treats that will bring the Skyscale that you're hunting to you as long as you're in the general area of the jumping puzzle.  I could easily complete about half of the jumping puzzles, so I only purchased 9 of the Treats to circumvent the rest (you get one for free at the beginning of the series).  There are two that involve a Jackal mount, which I don't have, two that include defeating World Bosses, and one that consists of a meta event that doesn't seem to get a lot of attention, so there were only 5 puzzles that I couldn't get through.

Saving Skyscales

This is the one that comes right after the searching for eggs phase that I mentioned the last time.  It basically involves running all over the world and doing various things with your Skyscale egg.  There are a lot of guides out there with decent descriptions of the most efficient order to do this in (I used the one on Metabattle, which seemed okay).  The only piece that was complicated was that you had to have unlocked a bunch of doors in Derelict Delves to get a few of the pieces for this one.  I highly recommend watching a video to get through that if you haven't already unlocked all the Runestone Doors in Derelict Delve.  The other two pieces that are a bit complicated on this one are that getting into Joko's palace in the Desolation can be a bit challenging (use the spiral stairs way off on the right), and you have to complete the Path of Ascension event in Elon Riverlands for another portion.  A bunch of people were doing this one, so it wasn't bad once it started.

After all that (and all the stuff in Dragonfall that I described in my last blog post), I only have one set of collections left - sealing 21 different rift tears with a loaner skyscale - again, probably scattered all over the place.

FFXIV

While I haven't been playing much, there is an update on FFXIV.  I finished getting my Black Mage to max level and have started working on the Paladin, which is currently at level 56.


Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Dipping Back Into Guild Wars 2 A Bit

It has been three weeks since my last blog post, so I apologize for the delay.  There's no reason other than laziness, and maybe not too much to write about, although the list below would call that into question.  So here is the update:

Guild Wars 2

With the release of some new content in Guild Wars 2 recently, I decided to dip my toe back in a little bit.  I finished up the storyline to date in the new zone, and after doing that, I decided it might be an excellent time to work on getting a Skyscale mount.  Getting around some of these newer zones is easier with one, and participating in some of the groups for large meta-events almost requires it now.

For those unfamiliar with Guild Wars 2, the skyscale is the closest thing in the game to an actual flying mount.  It's more like one of the dragonriding mounts in World of Warcraft in terms of actual mechanics, without anywhere close to the speed or the range.  There's a Griffin mount also, but it's more of a glider than anything.





Acquiring a skyscale mount is a reasonably grindy endeavor, requiring you to complete 30 zone events, grind up a bunch of currencies, and complete many different collections that involve flying around various maps collecting stuff. However, you can't fly yet, so getting around to all of this stuff can be a challenge.  

I'm still in the early stages.  For those of you familiar with the grind, I just finished up the Injured Skyscale part, which I think means I'm about to start collecting eggs next.

World of Warcraft

I also spent some time in the new Forbidden Reach zone in World of Warcraft.  It's an interesting zone, and the campaign storyline through there was pretty decent, but at least for me, there's not much in the zone to keep me coming back.

I am getting even closer to having all the various factions at maximum renown.  I'm only one level away on both Dragonscale Expedition and Valdrakken and at least in the single digits on the other two.  That puts me behind most people, but I figure it's not bad, given how little I've been playing.

FFXIV

I don't know why I'm putting this piece of the update last since FFXIV continues to be the game I play the most.  I did manage to get my Sage to max level, which now means I have all of the healer specs maxed.  I think Scholar and White Mage are still my favorites.

I'm in the home stretch on the Black Mage, sitting at level 86.  I should finish that job up this week, at which point it will be on to the Paladin.  The Black Mage has been fun to play, but I still prefer Summoner of the casting classes.  Black Mage will give me all the casting classes done (except Blue Mage, but /shrug)

I've continued to also beat my head against the wall each week in Euphrosyne.  I've now had so much bad luck on caster gear that I think all of my other play specs have an equivalent amount of Euphrosyne gear as my main (I'm greeding on whatever drops on the last boss if there is no caster gear that I need that drops on that boss)



Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Caldwell's Gold and More FFXIV Leveling

ESO

The first update for the week is related to Elder Scrolls Online, where I managed to finish up Caldwell's gold.  Ebonheart Pact was the last faction that I had to get done.  When I finished the main story quest, I discovered that I didn't actually have everything fully checked off in the almanac for all zones except one, so I had to go back, do some quick research, and knock out one more "non-main-story" quest in each zone to get the final achievement.

The reward for this achievement is a helm appearance that looks just like Caldwell's, which comes in handy if you ever feel the need to wander a major city looking like a crazy person.


I also opened up the Wrothgar / Orsinius zone because that's where the crafting station for the Julianos set is.  I was able to craft two pieces to start and will work on the rest.  I either didn't have the trait that I wanted to be unlocked on other pieces yet or, for gloves, didn't have enough traits in total unlocked to make the piece at all, so more work to be done there.

FFXIV

I'm continuing to work on my Sage and Black Mage.  The Sage is sitting at level 83, so I've gotten quite a bit done there.  The Black Mage just hit level 60.  After these two are done, Paladin will be up next.  I may initially try doing this one without simultaneously leveling a dps spec.  I'm also running the 50/60/70/80 roulette on my summoner each day to accumulate the tomestones that I'm assuming I'll need for the next relic weapon stage, and also doing Euphrosyne each week.  

This past week, I completely screwed it up, though.  Three pieces of caster gear dropped, but two were pieces that I already had.  Gloves dropped on the last boss, but I clicked on Greed by mistake on a piece of tanking gear and ended up getting that instead of the Caster gloves that I'd rolled Need on.  So that sucked.

Beyond that, it has been a while since I set foot in Warcraft.  I'll probably give it another shot when the next patch with the new zone drops because I haven't entirely given up on it.  Just other stuff that I'm more interested in playing right now.

That's it for now.

Cheers,

Joar



Tuesday, March 14, 2023

On To Black Mage and Sage and Maybe Some ESO?

As you probably could have forecast from my last post, I managed to finish my Ninja and Warrior on their respective paths to level 90.  I have picked up both Sage and Black Mage and am working on both.  I've made decent progress; the Sage is around level 75, and the Black Mage is around level 56.  I'm enjoying both jobs so far.  The Sage initially felt a little underpowered to me, but as I've gotten the hang of it more, I'm getting a lot more comfortable handling damage spikes.  I've even run some of the Stormblood Alliance Raids on the Sage and have done just fine.

Once these two jobs are done, the next ones up are Paladin, Monk, Dark Knight, and Dragoon, probably in that order.  There is no particular reason Dragoon is going to be last.  It just seemed to roll out that way.

I also managed to get the next level of my relic weapon on my Summoner.  I've added the daily 50/60/70/80 Dungeon roulette to my routine just to ensure that I'm adequately stocked on the appropriate Tomestones for the next round.  I'll cut that off as soon as I've maxed those out.  I continue to have absolutely no luck in Euphrosyne, having now gone something like 4 weeks in a row without a single piece of caster gear dropping at all in the entire run, now even counting my chances of winning the roll.

In Warcraft, I've continued to do basically nothing.  I may try the new zone out when the next patch drops, but I'm still not feeling it right now.

There are two other games that I've dipped my toes back into over the last few weeks.  With new content out in Guild Wars 2, I did start that process.  I've also gone back into ESO with a new Chapter coming soon.  I only have one zone to finish now to wrap up Caldwell's Gold, so I'm working on getting that knocked out.  I hadn't been focused on crafting as much, but I somehow got my clothier skill up to level 50, so the next stop after Caldwell Gold will be the zone with the good crafting recipes for Magicka Templar - it's the Mother Julianos set, or something like that.  I don't remember what zone it is, but I know it's one I haven't played yet that's not part of the main storyline.

That's the update for now.

Cheers,

Joar




Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Home Stretch for both NIN and WAR

 I have played almost no World of Warcraft in the last 14 days.  Not even just logging in twice a week to knock out world quests on my main to keep his renown levels progressing.  My attention has swung back to FFXIV, and I may even pick up my Reaper in GW2 with new content available there.

In FFXIV, I'm in the home stretch on leveling my NIN and WAR to max level.  My Ninja is at level 87, and the Warrior just hit level 81.  The Arkasodara dailies are giving the Ninja a nice boost, which is why he is pulling ahead.  I managed to hit Sworn reputation level for them, so I grabbed my styling new hippo cart mount.


I've also started going back and making orchestrion rolls out of all the faded copies I had in my bags.  It took me a while to figure all that out and how to get the needed books, but now I seem to be on a roll.  Taking the time to gather ingredients and do the crafting has been a nice distraction.

Finally, I'm continuing to run Euphrosyne each week on my Summoner.  I think I've now hit three weeks of the 6 or 7 that I've done it that not a single piece of caster gear has dropped in the entire raid.  A bit frustrating, but I'll keep at it.  I assume they'll lift the one-piece-a-week gear limit at some point, making it slightly easier.

That's the update for now.  I should have more play time again starting next week, so hopefully more to report.

Cheers,

Joar



Thursday, February 16, 2023

Shaman Hits Level 70

 As is normal lately, this update will be broken into two pieces, World of Warcraft updates and FFXIV.

World of Warcraft

As the title mentioned, I hit level 70 on the Shaman yesterday.  This is the first character that I leveled almost entirely through dungeon runs.  At 8 hours and 17 minutes played, it was about an hour and 20 minutes faster than my previous record holder and significantly faster than the average has been so far.  So that appears to definitely be the preferred approach.  And that's with dps queues.

The demon hunter is up next, and it goes without saying that I'll be following the same approach.

FFXIV

I'm continuing to work on both the ninja and warrior in FFXIV.  The rogue is now at level 78, and the warrior is at level 77, so I've made solid progress on both.  I'll be able to use the new Endwalker beast tribe quests on them starting soon, so that will speed things along a bit more.  After these two are done, the next up will be a combination of Sage and Black Mage, and those two will be followed by Paladin.  I may try including the leveling roulettes on the Paladin and doing that one straight instead of mixing it with a dps class.  Everyone tells me the leveling dungeons are okay with a tank, but I've always been so bad at it in WoW that I'm hesitant to try it.

That's it for now!

Cheers,

Joar


Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Thoughts on Some New Things in Both Warcraft and FFXIV

 I've been able to get through a few of the new things that have come out in both World of Warcraft and FFXIV recently.  On the Warcraft side, I had the chance to visit the Trading Post and also complete this month's challenge to get the mount on offer for the month.


It's a cool-looking mount.  As it turns out, you can get about 75% of the monthly points needed to obtain it just from completing various Love Is In The Air activities, none of which take terribly long.  Of course, you get quite a few points just from doing your regular stuff each month, so not sure using the holiday is all that necessary, but it ended up getting it done for me quite a bit faster than I likely would have done otherwise.

The other mount on offer from the Trading Post this month, for purchase with the coins you get, was the Celestial Steed, which I already have, so I can save those coins up for next month.

In other World of Warcraft news, I've mostly been doing World Quests and weekly quests on Joar to continue to work on faction renown.  I did dip back into leveling my Shaman, although I've been mostly running dungeons to avoid the higher-level squishiness issue.  I'm currently sitting at level 67, so getting pretty close.

FFXIV

On the Final Fantasy front, I finished the latest installment of the Tataru questline.  I also got a 2nd piece of gear from the alliance raid, so hopefully, that's a sign of better luck in the coming weeks.  Beyond that, I continue to focus on leveling the Ninja and Warrior, who are sitting at levels 71 and 70, respectively.  

With Square's most recent earnings release making it clear that the next FFXIV expansion won't be coming in 2023, I'm confident that I should be able to level all of the remaining combat jobs to max level before the next expansion hits.  Besides the Ninja and Warrior that I'm currently working on, the others that I still have to go include Sage, Black Mage, Paladin, Monk, Dark Knight, and Dragoon.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

More Balanced Play Time Between FFXIV and WoW

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers,

Joar


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Thoughts on FFXIV Patch 6.3 and Warcraft Renown Strategies

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

FFXIV

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

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

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

Note, this is not my actual renown

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

That's it for now. 

Cheers,

Joar

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

A Lot of Warcraft Leveling

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuing the Alt Leveling Run in Elder Scrolls Online

 For the past week, when I've had some play time, I've mostly continued my run at leveling alts in Elder Scrolls Online.  I got my S...