World of Warcraft – Garrison Love

It might be fashionable to hate on WoW, but I’m going to buck the trend and give it some love, because so far this expansion is the shiz. I came late to both Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, so I only experienced Cataclysm and Pandaria when they first launched, and of those three this is definitely my favourite. For one thing it’s a 10-level expansion, which feels a bit more filling than the previous 5-level ones — but mostly it’s because of garrisons.

I hereby predict a LOT of alt levelling, as though there wasn’t enough of it in WoW already. As a card-carrying altoholic, this makes me very happy indeed.

It’s been all of 2 days, granted (since the FixItAll™ patch on Saturday morning), but I have been Wowcracking the whole time. And ok, that sounds even worse than I thought it would, but I’ll own it.

I’m levelling my warlock because hunter-levelling-with-friends, and speaking of which, here’s a funny that did the rounds this weekend:

level together

– so yeah, I’ve been levelling the warlock (tangent #2, can you say ‘OP’?), and since garrison development is tied to a character’s progress through the expansion content, her garrison is the farthest along at the moment.

It may not be housing, but I give you:

My very own mine - with nodey goodness!

My very own mine – with nodey goodness!

And…

My very own lumber mill, which I'm not sure what it's good for yet

My very own lumber mill, which I’m not sure what it’s good for yet

And…

My bank

My very own bank, which means that soon I’ll never need to leave my garrison and see those pesky OTHER PEOPLE ever again!! Ain’t life grand?!

I also have an enchanting building but right now it’s a tad underwhelming. I’m sure it’ll be more entertaining at max level — as always, most things in the expansion are designed for max level chars, but the getting-to-max journey is as entertaining as it ever was. If there’s one thing WoW does well it’s the levelling content, which I’ve always found weird considering it’s supposedly secondary to everything else.

Anyway, it’s been fun. And that’s all you get because I need to log on and send my mini-onions followers on some missions. Work work!

 

Choices? Choices!

There’s a lot going on in my game and MMO world right now, and in the next couple of weeks.

There’s The Secret World’s Halloween event, which I’ve mentioned with a few screenshots; I did a few related bits and pieces but they’re intended for more powerful characters (or characters with help), and I’ll get to them next time. I don’t want to get into the ‘must do everything right this second’ craze, because for me that inevitably leads to burnout. The events will be available next year.

There’s my Sims 4 legacy challenge family, which I’m playing a little less these days and which therefore has only just reached the point of conceiving generation 4. I suspect the double whammy of twins in gen 2 and triplets in gen 3 burned me out on that a bit too – it was just a LOT of Sims to keep track of, especially for a control-freak like me.

Then there’s the EverQuest 2 expansion, Altar of Malice, that launches tomorrow for super-special (i.e. subscription) people like me. I haven’t logged in to EQ2 in a couple of weeks, what with TSW and WoW and everything else. I should log in and claim my monthly Station Cash, however. And I will log in for the expansion, if not necessarily tomorrow, because the Isle of Refuge is back and anyone who played EQ2 in the early days knows what that means. I think I’m a few months off getting it as housing from the veteran reward, though buying expansions usually adds some time to one’s account, but it’s going to be awesome! (Meaning I’ll get it, plonk my research assistants down and never do any decorating, even though I’ll plan to decorate every time I log on. I predict this with absolute certainty.)

Speaking of World of Warcrack, Warlords of Draenor launches on Thursday (the 13th) — and while I’m not much of one for WoW’s endgame content, their levelling content is usually a lot of fun. It’ll give me a chance to hook up with guildies I’ve hung out with for 10 years now (and more if you count the original Asheron’s Call lot who went to WoW), and I’m also looking forward to the new garrisons. If it walks like a house and talks like a house, it’s a really laboured metaphor – but still, it’s housing.

And THEN there’s Dragon Age: Inquisition, which launches on the 18th. We’d originally splurged for 2 collector’s editions of Dragon Age: Origins, 5 years ago (man, that long already?!) but those got lost in one of the 3 moves we’ve done since then, so when the game was offered for free on Origin I went ahead and downloaded it. I’ve been playing it here and there for the last few days, just to see if I want to get DA:I when it comes out, and I think I do. I had forgotten how good some of the cut-scenes are, and how funny a lot of the dialog between Alistair and Morrigan is; Steve Valentine was truly inspired casting. I recreated Antimony, the mage I played through the Origin story back when the game launched, and although it’s not my favourite class to be playing (rogues and rangers 4 eva!), I’m enjoying the replay. Plus I think her Sinnead look is boss.

DAO Banter

It’s a good thing work is relatively light at the moment, so that I may fully appreciate the quandary of having too many fun and interesting games to play. Now if only I could stay awake enough to play in the evenings, I could get some truly epic sessions in (long story, boring, suffice to say I tend to wilt pretty much right after dinner and am good only for Netflix binge-watching). Sadly it is not to be, and I’ll have to content myself with what I can cram in during the day. Yes, it truly sucks to have so many choices and so many good games to look forward to. Life is tough.

WoW – (Not) Hatin’ On The Patch

It’s a longstanding MMO tradition to wail, gnash one’s teeth and tear one’s hair at major game patches (I remember doing it in Asheron’s Call), but for the most part — brace yourselves, this might be a challenging concept — game designers actually know what they’re doing and game changes are almost always very sensible. More to the point, they’re based on a lot more data than single players (or even all players) can see.

So patch 6.0.2 came out this week, in preparation for Warlords of Draenor which launches in a little under a month. It includes — aside from probably the longest patch notes I have ever read — a great many changes, most of which I approve of heartily. One of them is the stat-squish, which was long overdue. Others include all sorts of class changes, which is probably what will occasion the worst of the above-mentioned wailing and gnashing. Me, I like them. I’ve played my hunter, my drood and my warlock so far and while they all feel a little different, it’s not BAD-different and it’s not all that different either. For the first time in two years it feels like my hunter might want to switch to marksmanship spec now and then. (For those who don’t know, I don’t dungeon much, if ever. I solo and I duo, I bimble around, I play alts. I’m not requesting comments on the playstyle, just letting newcomers know what it is.)

The new Reagents tab in the bank is the shiz, as expected, and crafting straight from the bank is even shizzier. Losing 95% of the market for large-ass crafting bags (which two of my characters can make) is less awesome, but not something I’m going to weep too hard over.

MementoThe new character models… On the whole, I like what I’ve seen. My hooms do look a little confused (as has been mentioned by others), the Nelf baby-fat faces are kinda fugly, and I haven’t really looked at any others yet (though the undead females other have posted look frankly adorable). My major gripe with the new models I’ve tried out is that there are only about 3 non-ridiculous models for each race, so we’re all going to end up looking the same anyway.

I’m starting to look forward to the expansion, which I quietly preordered a while ago. The only downside is that it drops 2 days after the EQ2 expansion goes live for us special folks (by which I mean the paying players), but having too many games to play is always a good thing.

I unintentionally ended up levelling the warlock in the last couple of days, and she raced from 77 to 86 in less time than it takes to say “greased lightning” — almost too fast. Hell, I’m two-thirds of the way to 87 already even though Pandaria is supposed to be a bit slower. (And it is, but it’s marginal.) Rest-XP is the greatest shiz of all, of course. Which means that when WoD hits, I’ll have several characters to choose from when it comes to levelling through the content the first time. Eh, who am I kidding? It’ll probably be the Hunter… or the Druid. Feral still rocks my socks.

WoW – drood powa

I used to get annoyed at druids in PvP in WoW, because the little buggers are unkillable, sort of like paladins only more moonkinny. Then again, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with droods. I made one early on and never really played her. Made another and never really played her either – and so on. Each time I’ve come back to WoW I’ve made another druid (to start fresh or some such smart reason) and never played her.

Last year, however, I finally made one as a hermit char and played her up to 60, which took about 17.4 seconds with the new levelling and a couple of heirloom xp items. (For those who don’t know: a hermit character is one nobody else knows about so you can play them when you’re not feeling sociable. Of course, the whole e-mailfriends WoW thing, whatever it’s called, puts the kibosh on that because they can see you’re online no matter who you’re playing, but that’s okay; I’ve only got 2 of those and we don’t bug each other a whole lot.) And then she sat there for a few months, gathering rest xp and dust, until I brushed her off again during the Xmas break.

into the wild blue yonder

Now, while I don’t particularly want to gush… OMGWTFBBQOPSMASHRIPRIP! Druids are fun, especially feral druids when it comes to my own playstyle. Sneak around when you need to, claw-shred-rip the crap out of stuff when you want, heal when required, claw-shred-rip some more, rinse repeat. I’ll grant you it doesn’t require a whole lot of keys and it’s not all that varied, but none of that matters in the face of shredding the opposition before they even know what’s hit them.

So my little druid is now 70 and claw-shred-ripping her way through the aptly-named Northrend. I don’t want to like her more than my hunter, who is my day 1 character (hell, Eloise is a remake of my beta character so she’s like a million years old in MMO years), but… well… who needs a pet when you can be your own pet? And flight form rocks, especially the faster purple flight form.

I’ve also been indulging in pet battles. I’m still shocked at how addictive those are if you let them be, especially when you get complacent about how good your main team is (mechanical gnome, nexus wyrm, flayer hatchling) and then one of the battle masters hands you your ass; not once, but three times. After the third time I realised it was time to a) level my guys a little and b) find some team members who weren’t going to be insta-roasted by the Shadowmoon guy’s horrible little flame elemental.

There’s something for me about WoW that other people report finding in GW2, which is uncomplicated fun. I’ve logged in to TSW a few times and though I still love the game, it just demands too much thought from me at the moment. So I’m dabbling in TSW for brief, cogitation-laden sessions and then going back to WoW to relax. I’m just glad I have several games I can hop around in and only one I need to be paying for.

Dailies and dragons and pandas, oh my

Prescriptum: I was going to write this at the end of the post, but as usual I’m rambling far too much and I’m adding pictures and this post is going to be a mile long before I’m done. So: I’d like to thank the folks who have been mailing me in support of this blog. I’m eternally surprised that people read this not just out of bloggerly solidarity but out of – apparently – interest and for entertainment. Personally, I think my post quality has gone down the drain in the last couple of years, but I’m hoping the doldrums will pass and at some point I won’t mind revisiting some of the more interesting discussions & themes out there. In the meantime, thanks for reading and most of all thanks for writing to let me know you’re reading – it’s not essential, but it’s very nice to receive.

TL;DR - No time to play, waah. Pandaclysm kinda cool. Where’s my hatchling? Dailies dailies everywhere and not a drop to drink. Move along now.

My gaming time has been somewhat limited these last few months – okay, for most of this year actually – with the occasional glutton-day interspersed with weeks of not logging into anything much. Which is a shame, because there are several games out there I could, would, should and want to enjoy. Two of them are even “free”, more or less – TSW and GW2 – but when there’s no time, there’s just no time. Continue reading