Tuesday, October 18, 2016

No Raids Yet

This expansion is going strong.  But where are we?

     First of all, the state of World of Warcraft is better than it has been in a long time.  If you believe that Ian Hozzikostas told a reporter, allegedly, that Wow is back up to 10.1 million active subscriptions, then there is evidence this may be true.  Despite Blizzard later denying that Ian said such a thing, as they had officially stopped announcing subscription numbers, I think it was clever marketing to get the numbers our unofficially.  If you hop in game right you can feel the resurgence.  Dalaran is well populated again.  The world seems full of players, and there is plenty to do.

     World quests have been a nice way to spend some time every day.  There is dungeons, LFR, I hear that PVP is not bad right now (I don't PVP so I have to take folks word for it.) and we already have a lot of 7.1 announced to look forward to.

      We are already a couple months in and things feel like they are going strong.

      But Fear Itself, is not raiding.  We are not in a position to raid, and I don't know when we will be.

      I find this fascinating because gearing is not hard at the moment.  Just doing my world quests every other day I have managed to get to a ilevel of 844 now.  I have tanked a mythic, and found that those are about as hard as heroic last expansion.  I have done my class hall quests, and spending an hour or so a day on average managed to be at a level where I could be raiding.  I know some others in the guild are in the same boat.  Several are not.

      So this leads to the question, what do we do from here?  I could try and rebuild a raid team, but I am full of social anxiety over inviting a bunch of new people in and figuring out where they fit.  I have done it several times, and happily built what we have, but as I've stated before, I don't know if I have it in me.

     I could find another raid team to pair with, so that people in Fear Itself have a place to go where we can still work together.  I just am not sure where to start as my in game relations have dwindled the last couple of years. I also am unsure about a raid environment that I can't control.  I am also relieved by the idea.  I am just not sure I have it in me to be a raid leader anymore.  I want to enjoy the game, but I have grown weary of pushing people and doing all the work.  This is even an option I can employ across realms since I do have a couple of characters in the Convert to raid team on Aerie Peak.  I might be able to build something there and have my guildies invited in.  Because the simple truth is, I still love my long standing guild members and don't want to let them down.

     I will keep posting stuff on Saturday and Sunday night for now.  Even if we just run LFR I want to keep people working together.  If I see an opportunity to work us in, I will do it.  If someone else wants to step up, raid lead and recruit, I will fully support them.  However, I don't think this will happen as when I have tried to step down in the past, it hasn't been possible.

     I am open to suggestions from guild members as well.  If you have a friends raid team who would love folks to step in, that is awesome.  If you want to create a PVP team to make the guild  have more to do.  Groovy.  Let's keep moving forward.

And let's do it together.


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Thursday, October 6, 2016

My Frame of Mind.

And the raiding has started!

     And I am sitting here just playing around.  Half of my normal raid team isn’t geared yet, and I have just started scheduling things as of last weekend.  Last weekend we had one team run heroics, and one do regulars.  It informed me that we have a bit of a ways to go.  If we go.

      I’m still not convinced that everyone is coming back for this raid tier.  Other people I don’t believe are going to hang around long enough once the right opportunities open up.  In my head I am debating the energy to rebuild the raid team if it is going in the direction I think, and I just don’t think I have it in me this time around.

     Between school and real life I feel stretched thin.  A couple expansion ago I had every class leveled and had a good idea of how the specs worked etc.  I just can’t do that anymore.  I have debated throwing in the towel but I have folks that have run with me since Wrath that I don’t want to abandon.  I hear that phrase that it’s my fifteen a month, but I feel obligated to those who have played with me for years.

     My question is, if I think things aren’t going to work out, do I let them know now so they can look at greener pastures? Or do I try and hold on to see what happens?  There is a chance I’m just writing this in a pessimistic mood and that this weekend I will hop on, folks will be there and we can jump in.  I still think in the best of luck, we are a couple weeks out from starting raids.  That is if folks show up.

      My beef is that the gearing isn’t hard right now.  You open up world quests, and spending a few hours a week I have been able to get to a very decent ilevel to hop into things.  Class hall quests help, so does finishing each zone including the slog of crack addicted elves in Suramar.  I finally got to revered with them and can now run dungeons that won’t reward me with anything I need because they were gated.  But that’s a gripe for another time.

       Maybe I’m old man grumpy, or maybe I am just tired.  If my situation just change the question is, does this blog become the orneryraidplayer? Runner? Who knows?

       Other than that, I did manage to do an LFR and the new raid in Emerald dream looks fantastic.  There are a lot of NSFW jokes I could make here, but that is not my mission in life.  I would rather tell them in person.

       As a guild we have swapped to Discord as a voice service.  I am enjoying that so far, but I am also in the Beta for Blizzard Voice chat and if that works it would be an even simpler solution.  I just couldn’t justify having Fantaa keep paying for Ventrillo when we don’t use it often enough lately.  Not when there are some great free options out.  I glanced at the Curse.com option as well, that one starts free but looks like it starts to charge after a while.

      Well, I think that’s about it for now.  The big news in Wow is that folks are raiding, the game is as fun as it has ever been, and there is plenty of content.  I am slowly starting to poke at a couple of alts now and will hopefully have a second or third one-ten character in a few weeks.

We will see,


Friday, September 23, 2016

Legion: They haven't fixed professions.

So, I have enjoyed professions in World of Warcraft in the past…

     Let me take a step back first and say despite the tone of this post, I am still loving the crap out of Legion.  While it's early to be very judgey it has some of the best starting content we have experienced in game in my humble opinion.  If the rest of the expansion lives up to it's launch it is going to be a great time in Azeroth.

    Warlords put a bullet in the head of professions.  Last expansion with all the garrison options almost no one needed to work on creating potions, armor, and the rest because other than in a very few choices you could have a shop in your garrison for what you needed.  This meant that my paladin didn’t need to have my DK fashion plate armor for him, he could just make it himself.  And ore? Shoot, if he didn’t feel like going out there was a steady supply coming through his garrison.

    The only point I will give Warlords in regards to professions, is that they were still useful when you leveled.

     Legion has killed that for me.  In almost every past expansion my engineers have worked hard to grind up mats so I can have engineering googles to start raiding with.  I love the techno look mixed with the usefulness of being able to make myself a decent bit of gear to hop in with.  In this expansion, not so much.

     By the time I got my first recipe for goggles, I had already out geared them.   I made a pair and threw it on for transmog, but otherwise I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to use them well for leveling.  Now, at 110 I have a quest to be able to make my ilevel 815 goggles, but I can’t access the dungeon they are in until I’m further in Suramar.  To top that, I already have an 840 helm from world quests, so I am in no hurry to make them.  Now I know I can with the fel forge (I can’t remember the exact name) make items to level the goggles up.  But stating at 815, (825 if I get lucky and it wins an upgrade roll) that means I have to make, and destroy a few dozen items after doing a quest that cost me about 30k gold after completing to level them to the point of this drop.  That means my profession goggles, the thing that marks me as an engineer is useless for anything but transmog.

     And I have heard other professions having similar issues.  I heard a complaint about it with Blacksmithing on a podcast I listen to.  Now I haven’t played deep enough to know if this is all professions, but if it is then yes then what use are they?  Why do I want to make gear I will never be able to use, unless I put a lot of effort into making it equal to what I can get with a five-minute world quest?

     Of course, Alchemy, Jewelcrafting, and Inscription may not be effected by this.  I’m thinking mainly crafting professions like Leatherworking, Tailoring, Blacksmithing, and Engineering.  Unless we get some pizazz and sizzle in each patch to make these worthwhile, it is going to be another expansion where people don’t care.

     Or am I wrong?  If I am let me know.

      All I know is that I have every profession at least once with all my alts.  If there is no bonus or point in doing my professions why should I bother leveling them this time around.  IF there isn’t reason, it may be the final nail in the coffin for me.  And I have always enjoyed professions before this point.

     Heck, I had three engineers at the end of Cataclysm….

     How are you feeling about your professions?


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I'm Legion it

So we are a couple weeks in, and it’s still a bit overwhelming.

     I make 110 about a week ago, and sadly have not been able to dedicate as much time as I would like to doing everything.  Of course, as soon as I take my Network+ exam next week, should I pass I will have a bit more time.  Until then it is mostly crunch and study time.  This is supposed to be a very hard exam, and so far from what I am seeing I believe it.

     In the game though, is what we are worried about.  Let me tell you, the experience is great at the moment.

      Once you open up world quests, which you will do if you have finished the main storylines in the zones and get friendly with Suramar there is plenty to do.  I still have to finish the Nightfallen quests, I haven’t had time to do more than a handful of world quests, but those are fun, and the dungeons have been great so far.

     The note on that, is I have only run a few dungeons on normal, so I can’t speak to heroic or mythic modes.  I still have only scratched the surface of the Suramar quests and I still feel like I have at ton to do.  It honestly borders on discouraging that I am so overwhelmed with stuff in game, with not much time to play at the moment.  I look forward to finding the time.

     The Legion app they released helps a little.  If you don’t have it yet, what are you doing?   The problem I am finding with it, is by constantly doing Class Hall missions and sending my followers out, I am bleeding through resources much quicker than I am collecting them.  Unlike the Garrisons in Warlords, you don’t have a cache that grows said resources, and you don’t have follower quests to gain them either.  So if you don’t have much time to go out into the world, you are facing the choice of just stopping the missions for now, or burning your resources to the ground and not being able to do your research for Class hall abilities etc.  In short, you have to play to keep up and while that is not necessarily bad, it feels punishing when you can’t get on a for a couple of days.

      Suramar itself is not clicking with me.  I liked the other quest zones, but something about the crack (magic) addicted night elves (Nightfallen) just isn’t doing it for me.  I find it strange because I normally like anything elven, and the story seems great.  I might just need to push further in before it matters to me.  I do find it frustrating that if I don’t quest there for a day or two, I have to feed mana to the NPCs before I can pick up and continue quests.  I know the mana is easy to grind up, it is everywhere, but it seems an unnecessary hurdle to have to jump.

      Despite everything above, I am loving this expansion.  Visually it is amazing.  The storylines are great, and important things happen.  Long known characters are killed and others are saved and you aren’t sure which ones will survive with Blizzard’s willingness to end their characters right now.  And hey, with Metzen retiring (I’m saddened by this) Maybe Thrall in next.  Mwha ha ha.  Just kidding, I like Thrall.  Still, like everyone else, he may die.

      How is everyone else’s experience with legion going?  Are you loving it? Are there things you don’t like or that you feel people are overlooking?  What is your favorite experience so far?


Friday, September 2, 2016

The First Week of Legion's Excitement

So three days in, and I’m loving it.

   Yes, I realize that Legion still has its new shine to it, which can be heavily influential on opinions.  So far, I have been leveling my Paladin Lag as Retribution, and enjoying the experience.  The balance with this scaling seems nice as everything I fight doesn’t go down quickly, but at the same time the damage they deal is manageable.  I normally don’t die unless I have several mobs on me, or if I take something on that is bigger than I can chew.
   The only area I have finished so far is Azsuna, and I thought the zone was great.  The locations are beautiful, the stories are interesting, and I’ve flat out enjoyed exploring the area.  My favorite thing, and I know it’s silly, was the fact we have Murlocs again.  After two expansions, (I don’t remember Murlocs in Pandaria, but I could be wrong) I was questing and heard the familiar Mrggglggglggl.  My heart jumped in excitement I was down sword swinging with a smile on my face.  Sometimes the older traditional mobs are the best.
    The side quests have been fun too.  Stopping to fight a demon invasion in Exodar (I can’t say much more without spoilers) Khadgar pulling me here and there randomly to explore things.  And the artifact quests.  So far I’ve done Ret Pally, Prot Pally, and Frost DK.
    And let me tell you, (just not in this post) the DK artifact weapons quest brought up a lot more questions for me than it answered.  It also might point to some things coming up.  But after some time passes I will comment more.  Enough people are hopping in still I don’t want to destroy the surprise for anyone.  I really don’t.  All the quests and fun have been worth discovering and doing first hand.
    The one theme of this expansion I am hoping is Redemption.  I think that we will see a redemption of Illidan in this expansion.  I think he will remain demon formed and sarcastic, but there is a path set forward in which we could see him become one of the champions of Azeroth.  Hopefully this time he won’t get shafted (thank you Malfurion) and we won’t put him back into the position of being the enemy.   
    If you have read the book Illidan, you probably feel this way as well.  There are some heavy implications towards the end of that book as to Illidan’s destiny.  The other half of that book did prove that Illidan was a bit villainous, however I don’t feel he didn’t do anything for the sake of evil, more for the sake of him feeling the ends justified the means.
    I am hoping, against odds, that we see a Sylvanas redemption story as well.  This one may be a bit unlikely.  There was an interesting discussion on it between Matt Rossi and Anne Stickney on Blizzardwatch where they laid out the reasons she really can’t be redeemed.  Part of it being that she is undead and that has a severe effect on her mindset.  Meaning, some things for her are rational when they shouldn’t be. (for example, killing her sister so they can be together forever, which was one of her ideas in “War Crimes.”) And the fact she really isn’t corrupted by an outside influence. The Lich King holds no sway over her, she recovered her body so that’s her own, and other than being undead which effects how she experiences the world, her thoughts are her own.
    That being said, we have magic in Azeroth.  What if she was brought back to life somehow? Why do we consider her being brought back to life the same as redemption?  Is there an in between we could find?  There is a chance they that her redemption could be sacrificing herself for the greater good. I honestly ask these questions because if anyone deserves some happiness in her story it’s Sylvanas.  I would not be unhappy if they did find a way to bring her back to life, and or if she found redemption.  It is strongly hinted her sister Alleria will be showing up, might she have found something in her off world adventures that could bring Sylvanas back?
    I will say it now, if she stops leading the forsaken, I vote for Lillian Voss to fill that role.  I have always found her interesting, and she is probably the next most recognizable forsaken that I can think of.  While her fate wasn’t certain after Scholomance, I’m a firm believer that if we didn’t see a body, they aren’t dead.
     The trolls have a similar problem.  Other than Vol’jin, who amongst them is going to lead now?  I can’t think of a single one that is nearly as recognizable.

     What is everyone else’s thoughts on this new expansion so far? Are you loving it? Is it more of the same to you?  Or is there an opinion you would like to share that is in between?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Few Days to Legion

We are almost to Legion.  All we have to do is survive the weekend.

     There is always that time before the next expansion drops where we sit in frenzied excitement planning on this being the best expansion ever.  Normally, a couple months in a few flaws will appear and we will start to talk about how Wrath was the best expansion etc... but that beginning where everything is shiny and new is amazing to us.  And who knows, this could be the best expansion ever.  Until we sink our dirty little claws in who knows.

     I have been blows away a bit by the excitement of the pre-patch event.  For the most part it has been tons of fun.  People are still swarming over the Legion attacks, and you can level a alt quickly.  I can tell you going from 90-100 isn't hard.  Wearing full heirlooms and a 20% potion from your garrison you can get almost a level per invasion.  Even without you can get half a level or more. Now is the time to speed level alts.  The time is perfect for it.

    The story we have gotten each week with a new quest has been two hits and one miss for me.  The first week of course was the most amazing when we saw some major lore characters fall, and both the Horde and Alliance get shaken up a bit.  Some people went out like a bad A, (King Varian) and some died before we could see their potential fulfilled (Vol'jin) either way that week was amazing.  You had to play both sides of the scenerios, or watch them on youtube, to get the full story.  If you only had one half, specifically the Alliance half, you were ready to go murder the other faction.

    The second week and the return of Magni Bronzebeard was fantastic.  We got to trudge around Ulduar and Karazhan again.  There was a great bit of lore introduced, some that may have surprised some people.  Though, it came close to what Matt Rossi and Anne Stickney from Blizzardwatch have predicted. Titan Azeroth.....

     The third week I found disappointing.  It felt shoehorned in because Blizzard needed to add something.  Of course seeing Alodi is no small thing, but it felt more like five minutes in Dalaran than anything substantial. There was no real story to it, just a cool guest appearance to make you feel like it mattered.

    I am spending my last few days, getting a few alts to 100, and just getting a feel for a few classes.  I am still not locked onto one class for my main in Legion, but I have this weekend to decide what I want to do.  I love the feel of Demon Hunter, and have been asking for that class since Wrath, but I don't want to jump on the hot new thing because it's the hot new thing.  My paladin has been my main for so long I almost feel indebted to the idea of leveling him first.  But we will see.

    What are you doing in these last few days?  Leveling alts, trying out new classes, or just taking it easy?  Are you enjoying the pre-patch content?  How do you feel about the pre-patch quests?


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Meanwhile, in the pre-patch....

I don't think I'm holding back spoilers on this one... so really
SPOILERS are here
Don't read this post if you don't like SPOILERS.

    So we are two days into the pre-patch event.  I have already rolled my first Demon Hunter, and played through the Alliance and Horde side quests.  It is a lot of fun, and a lot to take in right now.  So let us start with the Demon Hunter experience.

    Rhumor is my new demon hunter, and while I had played through the starting quests a couple of times in the Alpha and Beta, it still feels good to visit that starting zone.  The last time I played through he cut scenes we have been given with, Illidan, Maeve and Gul'dan did not exist.  It was pretty much play through and enjoy.  With the cut scenes it adds a great bit more importance and atmosphere to the game play.  I loved it the first time I played through, and I love it even more now.  If you don't plan on playing a Demon Hunter, I still suggest just playing on through the starting zone.  It is pretty awesome.

     The Class itself is fun to play.  It is very movement based, and you can't help but jump around, charge, and vault away from your enemies as needed.  They do have a bit of glass canon syndrome going on where if you start to take hits you drop quickly.  Well, at least in Havoc, I haven't tried the tanking spec yet, that is on my list for this week.

    Now we get to the quests.  Here is where we get spoilery.  So, once again, if you don't like spoilers don't read on.  I won't stop you, I'm not your mother.  But don't get mad at me later because you kept going despite my warnings.

    Both the Horde and Alliance Quests start out pretty much the same.  You get sent on a mission to stop the invasion.  You storm a beach, meet up with the forces (led by Vol'jin and Varian Wrynn) that had gone on before.  You then start to push the demons backs.

    The Horde and Alliance are on separate sides of the island but meet up when they go to rescue Tirion Fordring.  You know, the dude who stood in a block of ice while you killed the Lich King and then broke out in time to make sure he got some loot as well.  Anyway, we get there, but it's too late.  We get to witness the death of a major lore character.

     Of course there is then a bit of banter from Gul'dan, and the Alliance decides to take him and the Legion head on while the Horde climbs a cliff to watch the flank.  Seems like a good plan, right?

     Well, the story splits off here again.  I will just say, the Alliance is fighting and sees the Horde leave them to the Legion.  Without the support, the Alliance is overrun and has to retreat.  King Varian Wrynn, sacrifices himself to allow the Alliance to escape, and then charges into the demon's and goes out like the Bad A he is.  No we don't recover a body, but play the quest.  He's gone.

     What the Alliance doesn't see is the Horde is being over run and is forced to retreat.  Vol'jin is severely wounded and Thrall is knocked out of the fight.  Despite the cries of hold this position no matter what, the Horde is forced to retreat.  They too get to see Varian Wrynn die as they make their escape.

     So on Alliance side, King Wrynn is dead and Anduin is now the king of Stormwind.  I am curious where this will go, because Wrynn has always been the war leader for the Alliance, and his son is not a warrior.  We of course get a bit of angry Jaina and Angry Genn Graymane, and half the alliance leadership is calling out for vengeance against the Horde for abandoning them.  They blame the Horde for Varian's death

    The Horde calls you in time to see Vol'jin's last moments.  Yes, the troll whom I love the most is no more.  In his last moments he tells Sylvanas what he thinks of her, and then makes her Warchief.  He then is taken to troll heaven, or to be one with the loa, or whatever their afterlife is.

    So now, we get to see two factions who have lost their main leaders have to interact.  Sylvanas has always been what one might consider evil and very aggressive.  I am curious how leading the Horde is going to effect this part of her now that she has to watch out for all the Horde races, and not just the undead.  This may be the redemption story we have been waiting for.  I mean, we have seen so many leaders killed and corrupted, it would be a nice change of pace.

   The one bone of contention I have with this pre-patch is a small one. When the Demon Hunters emerge, they meet up with Khadgar, who introduces himself as the leader of the Kirin Tor.  This is all well and good, but this takes place before some throne room shenanigans in which Jaina is labeled and calls herself the leader of the Kirin Tor.  Either Blizzard dropped the ball here somewhere, or Khadgar and Jaina may be causing a rift in the biggest mage society on Azeroth.  Because we need more leaders arguing and causing civil war.

    Either way, I am enjoying the crap out of this content.  Play it for yourselves, it's great.  The armor you can get for transmog and upgrades from the invasions looks good.  Well, except for the cloth helm.  And Azeroth feels populated again.  Hop in and see what I mean.