A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

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Thoughts and ponderings about PC and consoling gaming.

WoW: Blizzard’s Timing Sucks!

How long have we been waiting for the 9.1 patch? Shadowlands released on October 13th and the patch comes out tomorrow. So that’s approximately 260 days! I’ll admit, if I didn’t have alts I like to level, I would have suspended my account again and played something else. Yea, yea, “but the pandemic!”. I work as a developer too in an enterprise environment and we work just fine remotely. In fact we haven’t pushed a deadline or missed a deadline during the whole pandemic. Using the pandemic as an excuse isn’t valid to me.

A Month Ago Or A Week Later

Then Blizzard finally announces the release date of 9.1; which is tomorrow. However the new mythic dungeon and the raid won’t be available until the week of the 4th of July holiday in the U.S. In general I don’t think Blizzard should be releasing patches in the summer because that is the most popular time people take vacations. I know, that’s selfish. I’m frustrated because I swear Blizzard knows my vacation schedule. It never fails they always release a raid at the worst possible time for me.

When would I have liked to have seen the patch? A month ago! At least! Granted I was trying to level as many alts as I could before 9.1; but I would have rather gotten a decent start on the content before a vacation. I would have been content if they released the patch next week (with the raid starting the following week). Since even Tazavesh isn’t available until the same week, the only content to work on is flying and furthering Covenant Renown.

And no, I refuse to play Classic. I’ve already done that and I never wanted to go back and do that shit again. Maybe if you hadn’t wasted all those developers are this Classic crap, 9.1 could have been finished sooner. It’s called “prioritizing!”

This is really frustrating, Blizzard. I’m mildly unhappy.

“git gud!”

duke-nukem-sm If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!

 

Shadowlands: Torghast First Impressions

Torghast First ImpressionsThis is my first Shadowlands post since it’s launch. While it seems logical that I would first talk about leveling, instead I decided to skip to Torghast. This is a brand new game mechanic Blizzard introduces in this expansion. We saw something similar in the Battle for Azeroth 8.3 patch with the Horrific Visions. In fact, I almost suspect that the Horrific Visions were the “beta test” for the Torghast mechanic. I haven’t spent a lot of time in there yet but I thought I would share my Torghast first impressions.

An Ever-Changing Dungeon

There was a lot of build up about this place. Blizzard was pretty clear that it will be essential to our raiding progression. Initially I was skeptical. While the horrific visions weren’t terrible, eventually I became bored doing them every week (and, ultimately, I stopped doing them altogether). The engineers at Blizzard have definitely raised the bar with Torghast.

Basically Torghast is a type of dungeon divided into six wings, each with eight layers consisting of six floors per layer. You can complete Torghast solo or you can go as a group. Every trip into Torghast is different. Statistically you should never experience the same trip twice. As you progress each floor becomes more and more difficult until it becomes too difficult, for your current gear score, to complete. This has not yet happened to me so I don’t know if its actually true. If you complete the third layer on one wing, you can go immediately to the third layer in another wing. I’m not sure how this works when the remaining layer’s become available. Completing the layers awards you Soul Ash which you need to construct legendary gear. As far as I can tell, Torghast does not drop gear.

No Gear?? What’s the Point??

I, honestly, struggle with this concept. It’s probably the one negative to Torghast, especially for alts. Obviously, for my raid toon, this provides the ability to craft gear that will give me a significant advantage in the raids. The amount of Soul Ash you get is capped each week so going in weekly will help craft your legendary gear (and upgrades) sooner rather than later. I rarely, if ever, raid on my alts so getting a legendary for them is simply cosmetic. Does this mean I will still do Torghast on my alts? Probably, because the challenge could be fun, however its not going to be something I do every week on every alt.

So far I like Torghast; more than I thought I would. I’m glad there is a cap each week so I don’t feel obligated to do it every single day, each week. It would get pretty old, really fast if I had to do it that frequently. Granted we are just beginning week 3 so the question is will I continue to enjoy Torghast? Or will the interest wane over the next couple of months? It’s difficult to say. Perhaps I should consider a follow up post in the spring to discuss how its going. I’m also going to predict that something will change about Torghast in future content patches to keep it interesting. We’ll see.

What are your Torghast first impressions?

duke-nukem-sm If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!

 

WoW: The Battle for Azeroth is Over

The Battle for Azeroth is OverLast week the pre-patch event for Shadowlands began. As we embark on our journey into the afterlife, let’s reflect on Blizzards 7th expansion. Battle for Azeroth had a tough act to follow. Legion, in my opinion, is the second best expansion since Wrath of the Lich King. Unfortunately BfA didn’t quite live up to the same level as Legion and Wrath. Personally, I would rank this expansion around the middle of the pack. Now that the Battle for Azeroth is over, what ruminations do I have from the past 2 years?

Honestly, the first half of the expansion was pretty good. I enjoyed meeting Jaina’s family and restoring her people’s faith in her and meeting Taelia Fordragon and learning her story. I hope Blizzard will pursue a possible love interest between her and Anduin. It has been a long time since there has been a Queen in Stormwind. The real story is told by the raids and I’m pretty split on that.

Mount Farming Guide: Raid Mounts (Part 1)

farming raid mountsThere are so many raids that drop mounts and any raid that isn’t current content typically has a 1% chance, or less, of dropping a mount. So you should settle in for many attempts and become accustomed to disappointment. This is my current, weekly farming route for raid mounts. The route is subject to change as I acquire said mounts; thus the potential for multiple parts.

There are a few addons and weakauras you can use for mount farming. Rarity seems to be the most popular mount/pet/toy farming addon. It’s highly recommended by my guild mates. I’ve just started using it myself so I cannot provide too much feedback, or support (at the time of this post).

You will also need your Hearthstone (which you should always have) and I would also keep your Dalaran Hearthstone handy. Also, make sure you have lots of space in your bags and a vendor mount is super handy (such as the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth). Since some mounts only drop from specific difficulties I suggest to always have your Raid Difficulty set to 25-Man Heroic.

60 Days of The Old Republic

My initial subscribed time in Star Wars The Old Republic is over. First off I want to say that I still really like this game and it was so much fun to play it again. My 60 days of The Old Republic went by so fast however I managed to reach level 75 on my two main characters (one Republic and one Imperial). I probably could have gotten more done but I literally had to learn to play the game again. Plus I have ALT-ADD. I managed to also create a couple more characters because I basically want to try to play all the classes. (In fact there is an achievement for completing all eight class stories). The title isn’t completely accurate, however. I started writing this post before the 60 days had ended but since Blizzard is dragging their feet releasing the Shadowlands pre-patch, I picked up another 30 days. Be that as it may, let’s talk about what I think of the state of the game after my return.

The Art and the Writing

Water falls on Ossus

I feel like the folks that don’t receive enough credit, in any game, are the artists and the writers. This is especially true in The Old Republic. The only other game I can compare to SWTOR is WoW and, in my personal opinion, the artwork and writing is better in SWTOR. I’m not dissing the incredible artwork of World of Warcraft, they also do amazing work. Also, it’s probably a little unfair because the two games obviously use different graphics engines. Be that as it may, the landscape on some of the planets is incredible. See the screenshot on the right of some water falls on Ossus (click on the image to enlarge).

I understand why there are many players that wish Bioware would do more with the companions. The dialog for the companions is where the writers talent shines. For example, I especially love the writing for the Jedi Knight companions; specifically between Doc and Kira Carsen. I do hope Bioware finds a way to add more companion interactions and dialog in future updates.

Expansion and Quality of Life Updates

I don’t really remember the last time I spent a lot of time in the game prior to the start of my WoW break. I do remember logging in to check out Strongholds, when they were introduced. Some of the quality of life changes I’ve noticed may have been around a while, but they may be new to me since its been so long since I’ve played. For example you can now pull up your Galaxy Map and travel to a planet without having to return to your ship. If you are tracking quests you can also do this by clicking on the little planet icon next to the quest name. This is really nice. I also really like that you can now flag a mount as a favorite and, via Legacy, there is an Activate Random Mount button. Similar functionality exists in WoW and I love it.

I’ve also noticed a few subtle updates, which I kind of alluded to in a previous post. They’ve added music, creatures and sound effects from the prequels. It’s fantastic to engage in combat and a portion of Duel of the Fates begins playing! Actually, speaking of combat, I love the fast pace of lightsaber combat. I think WoW combat is going to feel slow now, in comparison.

My final thought is on the expansions. Specifically Knights of the Fallen Empire and Knights of the Eternal Throne. I began these expansions blindly so I had no idea what had changed or how it changed. I knew there were some big changes with the companions.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

If you haven’t played past Rise of the Hutt Cartel then stop reading now!

60 Days of The Old RepublicThe expansions (with the exception of Onslaught) progress like a movie. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked it but as I went along it started to grow on me. After playing it through a second time, on another character, I decided that I didn’t mind it at all. In these expansions your decisions actually change the story. If you make “Light Side” choices, all your companions are ready to fight by your side. However, your “Dark Side” choices can lead to some characters betraying you and leaving the Alliance. You’re treated differently, even from the companions you are romancing. It definitely adds more depth and consequence to the story.

Onslaught seems to play more like the old way, except things are vastly different with your companions. In fact, as much as I want to discuss the twist with the companions, I’m going to leave it alone. Play the game to find out (unless you decide to Google it instead, which is cheating, but to each their own).

I still have a little time left on my subscription in SWTOR; which is good since Blizzard still hasn’t given us a pre-patch date. However, I think this time I’m not going to abandon the game when it switches to “preferred status”. Perhaps, if I split some of my time between the two games, I won’t burn out as quickly on WoW.

If you’re an MMO gamer and a Star Wars fan and you haven’t checked out this game, or you want to renew your subscription, click here to begin [or return to] your journey.

/MTFBWY

I’ll do it, on one condition – if I die, you have to build a statue in my honor. An Expensive one.

SWTOR: Return of the Sith Juggernaut

Return of the Sith JuggernautI’m a little over a month into my World of Warcraft hiatus. While I do miss logging into my Paladin and hanging with my raid team, I’ve been busy tanking it up with my Sith Juggernaut in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I was fortunate to get into the beta of this game way back in 2011 and I loved it. As I mentioned before, two subscriptions is not economical to maintain a mmo/real-life balance, so I kept the one that more of my friends were playing. The game has changed a lot the past nine years so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on these changes in this post I’m calling “Return of the Sith Juggernaut”.

F2P, Game Time and the Cartel Market

It’s probably been about 6 years since I’ve played SWTOR and wrote a gameplay post. When my WoW hiatus started I didn’t buy any game time right away. I played the Free-2-Play version for a few weeks first and, only recently, bought some game time. I, honestly, didn’t feel as stymied about the F2P restrictions as I felt in the past. Granted I do have a “preferred” status which means I do receive additional liberties (such as a 1 million credit cap as opposed to the 350k credit cap). It may have helped that I was away from the game long enough that I accrued over 9,000 Cartel Coins.

I love the Cartel Market system. I’ve only spent about 4k of my Cartel Coins so far, mostly on species and gameplay unlocks. I think one of the mechanics I really like is the daily “Flash sales”. Every day an item from the Cartel Market is on sale for 50% off (or more) and only for about 14 hours. If you are patient enough you can wait for some really cool mounts or costumes to come down in price. The minor drawback is that it only unlocks for the character you bought it on, however you can unlock it account-wide for a few more Cartel Coins.

Speaking of costumes, the outfit designer feature is really cool. It’s similar to the Warcraft transmog system except the costume remains even after you replace a piece of gear. In some ways I like that better than transmog except you can’t overwrite your weapons.

Flashpoints and Expansions

I didn’t activate a recurring subscription, instead I purchased their non-recurring 60 days of game time. I really like this idea of only one time purchases of game time without having to buy a game time card. In fact, not only does it grant you a one time purchase of game time, it also fully upgrades to the current expansion. Prior to my initial exit from the game, Rise of the Hutt Cartel was the current expansion. Therefore I didn’t have any of the content after that expansion unlocked. Now I can reach max level of Onslaught without a recurring subscription or expansion purchase.

Flashpoints (which is the SWTOR version of 5-man dungeons) have a new mechanic that I really like. Story Mode. This means you can complete a flashpoint solo, or with a smaller group. The mobs health and damage is reduced and you also receive an additional companion droid to help with the fights. I love this. It always kind of bothered me, in World of Warcraft, that the main story arcs always ended with a dungeon quest. There are even some professions that require a dungeon visit. I usually end up waiting for months to finally finish these quests because I feel blocked by the dungeon.

I get that Blizzard is trying to foster a community environment and these quests are designed to be completed with a group. However, I don’t always feel like hunting for a group of folks or waiting on the Looking-for-Group tool. I just want to complete my quest (and thus the story). SWTOR Story Mode let’s me do that. Blizzard needs to do this.

varactyl

On a final note, playing the game again reminds me how amazing the voice acting and writing is, especially of class companions. I also love the fact that they incorporated music and creatures (ex: the varactyls) from the prequels. I really do love this game.

If you’re interested in playing this game visit the website: www.swtor.com.

/MTFBWY

I’ll do it, on one condition – if I die, you have to build a statue in my honor. An Expensive one.

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