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

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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!

 

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.

WoW: BfA State of the Raid

I feel like I use to write “State of the Game” or “State of the Raid” posts in the past, however I cannot seem to find one. I prefer “State of the Raid” as a subject because it’s more applicable to me (and my raid friends). It’s also the primary reason I log in every day. However, this post is about more than just our progress in Ny’alotha; it’s also about my progress with all end game activities.

Ny’alotha Raid Progress

Ny’alotha is the final raid of the Battle for Azeroth expansion. We are fighting to save Azeroth from N’Zoth, who has nightmarish plans for the world. In Normal we are consistently 11/12 within a lockout. N’Zoth, even on Normal, is a very challenging boss so we have made the logical choice to start working through Heroic content. The gear, hopefully, will help us to be successful against N’Zoth. We are currently 3/12 in Heroic.

We are also working on completing through Carapace of N’Zoth within a single night so we have more time to focus on Heroic. After the current lock out, however, we will have completed the quest to unlock the skip mechanic. Therefore we will likely focus exclusively on Heroic very soon. Ahead of the Curve is our goal, as always, which awards the Uncorrupted Voidwing, a freaking sweet mount! I’m a little worried though; N’Zoth seems perhaps a little over tuned and/or overly complex. I’m honestly kind of hoping for a nerf, however I have confidence in our raid team (Humpday!!)

Assaults, Visions and Alts

This expansion is one of the weaker ones. Probably not as weak as Warlords of Draenor. Perhaps more on par with Cataclysm. I was interested in the story through the previous patch, in which we faced off with Azshara, a baddie that dates back to Vanilla. Now we are facing off against another old god, who seem to be the antagonists behind all that plagues Azeroth. I don’t find the battle against N’Zoth as epic as it was fighting Azshara. The advantage this expansion has over previous weaker expansion is the non-raid end game activities that are available.

I really like the corruption visual effect

When I’m not raiding, my wife and I are completing Assaults and running Horrific Visions to upgrade our cloaks. We are current as of this post (i.e. Rank 12). The higher the rank we have on our cloaks the more corrupted gear we can have (which improves our survivability and contributes to our raid progress). After cloaks then it’s usually the alts I spend time on. Most things you can solo if you don’t want to group. I find that appealing as I’m not always interested in group activities (unless its with my wife). Granted I’ve only completed up to Rank 5 on an alt; soloing Corrupted Zones or *shudder* Lost Zones is frightening.

The Azerite system is OK. There are times when I feel its tedious to have to go to the Chamber of Heart to active a new trait. Also, getting a new piece of Azerite gear can be a little annoying, especially during raid when you are trying to bust through content to get to your progression point. Having to stop and plug in Azerite traits slows things down, especially if you have to look them up on icy-veins (or similar web sites).

Aside from getting the Ahead of the Curve achievement, I will have to start making my end-of-expansion goal list. Shadowlands is just around the corner.

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!

 

Mount Farming Guide: Pandaria World Bosses

This is my World of Warcraft Mount Farming Guide for the Pandaria World bosses. There are four world bosses, each have a rare chance of dropping a mount. At the time of this writing we are in patch 8.2 of the Battle for Azeroth expansion. I play Alliance, therefore these instructions are told with Boralus as the starting point. Also at the time of this writing, I don’t have any of the mounts that drop from these bosses, I’m still actively farming each of them.

AddOns and Macros

There is only one AddOn I use, WorldBossTimers. This addon shows a countdown timer on your screen to the next time the mob spawns. It does have its draw backs. If you weren’t there when the boss spawned, it doesn’t have a timer. However, if someone else standing nearby has this addon, and they do have the current timer, they can share it with you. This isn’t a required addon, I typically use it because I often do other things while I wait for the mob to spawn and the timer, and sound effects, help me pay attention. It sucks when you miss it, the respawn timers are typically 15-20 minutes.

The only macro I use is purely informational. It tells me how many times I have killed each boss. It took several years to get the Rivendare Deathcharger mount and the Raven Lord mount and I’ve often wondered how many times I killed each boss. If you want to use this macro, here is the command text:

/run local y=0 local function z(n,i) if GetStatistic(i)~='--' then y=y+GetStatistic(i) end print(n.. GetStatistic(i))end z('Galleon=',6990);z('Sha=',6989); z('Ondasta=',8147);z('Nalak=',8146);print('Total='..y);

Pandaria World Bosses Farming Route

Starting in Boralus, take the portal to Stormwind.

Galleon – Valley of the Four Winds

Mount: Son of Galleon.
Coordinates: 71, 64.

Take the portal to the Jade Forrest located in the Mage Tower in Stormwind. The flight point is immediately to the left of the portal. Take a taxi to Half Hill in the Valley of the Four Winds. After arriving, fly south, just past the Silken Fields to a large brown area on the hillside. There will probably be other people waiting there, assuming he hasn’t spawned by the time you arrive. There is about a 3 second delay before his health starts dropping quickly.

Sha of Anger – Kunlai Summit

Mount: Heavenly Onyx Cloud Serpent.
Coordinates: 54, 63).

Take a taxi to One Keg in Kunlai Summit. After arriving, fly just a little southwest, you should see his crumpled corpse as it usually sticks around for a while after he’s been killed. Several steam geysers will suddenly appear about 15-20 seconds before he spawns, which is your cue to get ready. He also has about a 3 second delay before he begins rapidly losing health.

Oondasta – Isle of Giants

Mount: Cobalt Primordial Direhorn.
Coordinates: 50, 54.

YOU CANNOT FLY TO THIS ISLAND! Well, you can try, but you will fall into the water before you reach the shore. I still suggest taking a taxi to the Isle of Giants. You also cannot fly on this island so you will have to get on a ground mount and follow the foot of the hill to the northeast until you see a path going up. Follow the path up the hill and you will see a large muddy area with dinosaur bones. Dohaman the Best Lord will be cowering in the middle, Oondasta will spawn right behind him. PLEASE NOTE: Oondasta can now be tamed by hunters and a hunter can tame him faster than he can be killed.

Nalak – Isle of Thunder

Mount: Thundering Cobalt Cloud Serpent.
Coordinates: 49, 68.

Take a taxi to Shado-pan Garrison in Townlong Steppes. After you arrive, there is a portal just a little north of the flight point that will take you to the Isle of Thunder. You cannot fly on the Isle of Thunder so you’ll be running to Nalak. You’re basically running north to The Foot of Lei Shen. Keep your eyes peeled on the sky. There is NO DELAY for this mob. Engage Nalak as soon as you see him spawn, he will die very fast!

That’s it for the Pandaria World Bosses. After Nalak you can hearth or continue further into the ruins and enter the Throne of Thunder raid. There are 2 mounts available: Spawn of Horridon and Clutch of Ji’Kun.

You will also make about 110g unless you get some gear drops, which will add to your transmog appearances and also sell for a couple gold.

Happy Hunting!

(Go to Farming Raid Mounts Part 1)

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!

 

Rare Mounts: Crimson Tidestallion

Crimson TidestallionI know there are several other guides and posts out there that explain how you can get the Crimson Tidestallion. However, none of those web sites explain it with my flair. Before you can do anything, you will need to free Mrrl and escort him back to your faction’s respective base. After doing so you will meet his friends Flrgrrl, Mrrglrlr, Hurlgrl and Grrmrlg. They all sell some very unique and unusual items.

Dress for the Occasion

Mrrl’s secret items can only be available if you’re wearing the right cloak. You need to get the Azsh’ari Stormsurger Cape which you can get from Benthic Cloak. Benthic Cloak’s can come from missions, a random drop or you can purchase it for 5 Prismatic Manapearls. You are not guaranteed to get the Azsh’ari Stormsurger Cape from a Benthic Cloak, it’s one of four, so that’s fun. Once you have the cape then you have to wait until Mrrl is selling the Crimson Tidestallion. WoWHead is pretty good about letting you know what secret items are available to buy. NOTE: You must be wearing the cape to see the items! So don’t sell/disenchant it until you are done with it.

The Trading Game

When the mount is available, the trading game begins. This is one of those classic scenarios where you need to buy something for someone from someone else but they want something first. The best website to help you figure out what you need to buy is to use the Mrrl.io website (because math is hard). In order to buy the mount from Mrrl you need 4 Cultist Pinky Finger, 2 Pulsating Blood Stone and 1 Hungry Herald’s Tentacle Taco. You will spend about 1,796 gold, but that is incredibly cheap compared to the price of other mounts in the game.

Murloco Cave Location

Murloco Cave Location

The item that will prove to be the most tricky is Hungry Herald’s Tentacle Taco. Mrrl and none of his friends sell this item. You can only get this item by rescuing Murloco, which is a rare event in Nazjatar. You can click on the map on the right to enlarge to see the location of Murloco’s cave. Once he’s been rescued, you have 5 minutes to buy from him. If the event is not up on your server you can search in Custom Groups using the LFG tool, simply search for “murloco“. NOTE: Make sure you are in the cave when you join the group, he’s only active for 5 minutes.

That’s it. Once you have those 7 items, and you are wearing the cloak, you can buy the Crimson Tidestallion from Mrrl. Of all the rare mounts available in the game, this one is pretty easy to get.

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!

 

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