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

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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!

 

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.

Gaming: The WoW Hiatus Begins

WoW Hiatus BeginsAs I alluded to a few weeks ago, for the first time in 15 years I let my World of Warcraft account lapse. It was strange seeing the warning on the launcher that counted down the days until expiration. There was a small part of me secretly hoping Blizzard would release some kind of patch that would entice a stay of execution. Alas, that did not happen and there’s not a chance in hell I’m playing Classic. So as my WoW hiatus begins where did I leave things and what do I hope to get done when the Shadowlands pre-patch finally drops? I’m assuming there will be something to do during the pre-patch, however the contents of it is as elusive as the release date.

Farming and Grinding

I’m going to assume that whatever content is available in the patch, it won’t consume all my time. Therefore I plan to resume my mount farming and grinding out any rep that is left (if any). I’ll likely resume doing the invasions and emissary quests. Those paragon chests can have some really nice gold rewards. I’ve decided that I’m going to give up on the AH mount (Caravan Brutosaur). I’ll take my chances with the Black Market Auction House in Shadowlands. Besides my main is an Engineer and often has access to an Auction House in places where other players don’t.

I’ll wrap up any remaining profession tasks; by that I mean max any remaining professions and/or complete any Tricks of the Trade quests. The former being the higher priority. I’m not going to level any additional alts. I do have a couple that I’ve started, including a Mechagnome hunter but it’s rather pointless to grind out 120 levels when you only need to get to 60 after the expansion drops. I should also try to grind out some Island Expeditions; I regret not doing more of them (especially for the mounts).

It’s going to feel really strange when I can’t log into WoW, albeit brief. I am even expecting a bit of withdrawal. Have you ever stopped playing a game that you’ve played for 15 years? How did you handle the change?

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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