Monday, January 15, 2018

Ding! 92

Note: I'm not sure when 91 dinged. I'll try to find that somewhere.

Okay, it's been over a year since I've played with Jal, but it's ding time again. After some hoodlums convinced me that we needed to play a bit over Christmas break, I paid for a month of access so that our noob accounts (level 20 and under) could have at least one character in them able to create a party. It was an enjoyable weekend or two or three... We finished up Blackfathom Deeps, which was fun.

So, as long as I have a month of over 20 access, it was time to get Jal moving again. Somehow, I started out in Ashran, but eventually made my way to Elodor Fields.

flying in Elodor Fields

I'll admit that I went back and forth a bit on whether I wanted to stay in Warlords. The questlines just weren't grabbing me. I spent a little time back in Pandaria, but only just enough to learn that the XP was crummy at level 91, and to really continue following the plot, I was going to have to run dungeons. I don't mind dungeons, but I really prefer PvE when I don't have hours to invest at a single sit-down. And I don't enjoy incredibly easy PvE, so back to WoD I went.

The off-spec is dead. Long live the off-spec.

I may have also been put off on how much easier balance druiding seems to have gotten. We have one heal spell, and, as far as I can tell, only one attack in cat form that awards combo points, and no finishing moves that'll use them up. (As I write this and read why, I'm guessing I picked the wrong affinity talent. I must have picked Guardian for some strange reason. That was a mistake...)

I'll agree with the OP here; no matter what Marodriss says in the reply, it's not easier to off-spec now. Before, I'd often drop into heal mode when a group or raid went crap, and, without changing spec, be able to off-heal reasonably well even if the main healer went down. Once, I even went into bear mode when a PUG lost its tank and we'd waited too long for a new one to show up. Surprisingly, with some amazing healing, we made it through about half of Lost City of the Tol'vir with a four-person group with an off-spec bear tank before a "real" tank showed up.

And no more Eclipse Bar is better?

Balance Druids suffered from having their gameplay focus around watching a UI bar. Eclipse has been replaced by an Astral Power resource, and the Legion gameplay is to keep up powerful DoTs, generate Astral Power, and spend it on either Starsurge or Starfall.

I don't know. How is Astral Power any less UI bar centric? I'm just staring at the icon for Starsurge. And hasn't healing always been a UI-watching game? I know it was when I secondary spec'd resto.

This new setup is not more fun. But more on that in another post.

What's important is this... DING!

Ding 92!

I've got a few more Dings! to log from my month of wagon falling, which I'll fill in ASAPish. Finishing up level 91 wasn't great. I did eventually warm up to Warlords, but at this point, the PvE remained too easy, the NPCs weren't really growing on me yet, and the garrison mini-game seemed a timesink rather than a well-integrated portion of the game proper.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Ding! 90

Looks like I missed another Ding! somewhere. Maybe I'm only catching even numbered Dings now. (EDIT: Found the pic & posted it.)

So I sort of fell off the wagon again. Blizzard sent me another free seven day, won't you please come home, Bill Bailey emails, so I bit last week. I popped out in the wall tower with Shado-Master Chong, and he told me to go the the Townlong Steppes. I checked the map, noticed that the quickest way was to take a cat-fall down the wall, did that, mounted up, discovered the Upper Sumprushes, and...


Bam, I'm 90. That was exciting.

The worst part? There's not much else to do. Jal's 90, so the starting quest rewards from Warlords are probably going to be stronger than anything I'd quest my way to in Mists. So I guess Jal's done.

I'll post later about changes to the druid (I did play through a few more quests just to see what was up) and the game in general, but I was surprised how much stuff having an active "Mists"/warchest level account lets you do now in free-to-play. Two biggies:
  1. You can play up to 20th level characters for free on any account now, so I could've been playing my low level alts on my main account all this time
  2. You can play as a monk on free to play accounts
I think the only thing the free seven days really buys me is the ability to play as a death knight (or any other character over 20, obviously, but that's the only class that's blocked in free-to-play now). So, um, all right then.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ding! 89

I'm blogging to you from the future... I found the 89 ding picture from July 2014 and posted it August 5th, 2015. So if you wondered why you didn't see this before, well, you didn't. ;^) Looks like I was whacking Blackmane Mercenaries.


I do remember having some fun doing this, but was really bothered by how fake the boundaries between the village and the raiders was, but the story wasn't horrible, relative to normal quest arcs.





But then it just devolved into another extended, "Kill the trolls" questline, and we all know how that makes Jal feel.



Sorry, Jal.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Ding! 88 [sic]

Hrm. Strange. I don't have a ding for 87. I'll have to see if I can't turn that up.

I was going to wait until I dinged again to post and had something more useful to say about my return to Azeroth, but after bbr's timely comment on my last post, I figured a quick Ding! is better than no post at all. Note that I'm backdating to the time of the ding, as I normally do.


bbr asks, "How active are you of late?" Ha.  Not at all. In fact, I think it's time to admit that WoW has reached the same stage that my Ultima Online play reached, well, well over six years ago. I'm a tourist. That's it.

I'd read a bit about the new expansion that's coming soon, fondly remembered Lorewalker Cho, and figured I'd shell out for another month to ding 90. Not sure if I'll make it, though I'm spitting distance away from 89 now.

About all I've noticed is that there are lots more "store" buttons. Other than that, uninspired play. I mean, the sights are nice, and it's enjoyable, but still no real engagement. I still want the same stuff I always ask for -- weave back in older areas. Recognize things Jal did when he was younger. I mean, my achievements for the Old World are essentially at 0%. You'd think I played WotLK more than any other, and that's hardly the case. Give me credit for obsolete quests. He's an old timer, and should be recognized for it.

Give me quests for items that seem important. I want achievable, soloable epics. They can be as low-powered as you want, but I want to have something fun to work for, some story that doesn't require raiding.

I don't know. The game feels the same. The same buffalo-like creatures roam the wild. Vultures of a new color are flapping around. Highborne ghost equivalents are haunting some new temple, still screaming at me. Second verse, same as the first, just with better textures.

And good heavens the game is too easy to solo. I'm just putting in the time, doing the quests, dying when I pull too large a group out of extreme boredom.

So, again, still fun, but I'm a tourist. That's all at this point.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ding! 86


Long time, no ding.  Nearly two years and five months since Jalindrine's gone up a level!  Wow.  I've been playing this game too long.  Heck, this blog is over six years old, and it started when Jal was already level 62 and over two years old himself.  I've been playing over eight years?  Sheesh.

Moving along...  ;^D

I fell into some after-work time this week and finally feel off of the wagon.  I received the collector's edition of Mists as a gift months ago, so I figured I'd finally put in my unlock code, slap down my $15, and play for a few hours rather than grift more under 20 free time.

It's been fun.  I'm starting to re-realize why I liked this game so much.  Even though it's still been pretty grindy, I've enjoyed soloing and running a few old Cat instances.  Justice points have appreciated quite a bit since last I played, so it's a no-brainer to run a Cat regular dungeon once a day, where my rust isn't a big hindrance.  When you're with some 84s who haven't gotten to Mists, even poorly managed DPS is insanely good.

There's still lots of folks dropping from LFG groups as soon as you hit the instance, however, much like there was shortly before I signed Jal off last time.  I don't get it.  If you want a specific instance, queue just for that instance.  If you want the daily bonus, what about the Lost City (the zone I hit today) isn't to like? It's fast, and you're quickly in the points.  Even so, we had our tank drop the second we got in.

I mean, I guess I do get it, but it's sad there are so many virtual-life flakes.  Maybe there are just a few instances you don't want, and you think you want to get in asap figuring one of those won't come up (though with the number of drops I see almost before your free round of buffs, that's probably not it).  Or you'd kinda like to instance, but you decide you've got something more important to do (watch TV, finish your quest, whatever) when your number's called.  But goodness, bad manners.  ;^)

So we sat around for a while.  I was tempted to get back to leveling and rejoin LFG.  It's great to have healz, as that's half the limiting reagents, and we all obviously didn't want to get in the back of the LFG line, but we sat around for probably a good five minutes before we figured we'd give Jal a shot off-tanking a four-person group.


Enjoyably, it worked!  If you bring up that image, above, original size, you can see another dps say, "if we can get past the general, you're hired."  And though I ended up going panzerkin mid-way through the General (wait, what?  The first panzerkin appearance since BC?!!), we did make it through that first sub-boss.  Luckily, a tank joined us at the end of or immediately after we took the General down, and we quickly finished the instance.  And yes, I did roar the loose mob in the picture back shortly after hitting PrtScn.  Ooops.

Now look, being able to tank a regular Cat instance is not impressive.  I'm a 85+ level, partially Mists-geared druid running a Cat regular, but with good healz, it was no problem.  Shoot, you could probably throw a well-equipped squishy in and do what I did.  But it was fun.  I even remembered how to swipe and roar mobs who lose threat back to me.

At some point, I need to learn another spec and become competent at it.  I keep thinking that should be resto, but it seemed like tanks were becoming pretty scarce too at the end of my last run.

Anyhow, there you go.  Pandaria's okay.  It helped to have taken a six-month break, I'm sure, as when I took my free ten days of Mist back in December, I really didn't play too much at all.  The typical expansion inflation has happened, and it's hard to think they aren't going to re-calibrate experience points at some point.  Really, 8.7 million for level 86?  Getting a little ludicrous.

I have noticed that the level took a while.  I played two good sessions before leveling, even though patch 5.3 apparently made each level 33% quicker to achieve (how do they do that?  Is 8.7 XPs only 2/3rds of what folks used to get, or are mobs, etc, worth 33% more?  Guessing the former -- wow, 13 million?!!  It's time to take off a few zeroes).  The expansion has given me a pretty good bit of soloing so far, and the level design is less stodgy and slapped together than, say, Vashj'ir felt.  Though, admittedly, Lorewalker Cho is probably the only really memorable character yet.  Well, him, Sully, Gizmo and Socks.


Poor Socks.  Oh, that might be a small spoiler.

I may try a monk later, and do want to get back to my Death Knight in Outland a little, but we'll see how long my latest Azeroth visit lasts.  I'll probably cancel now and ride out the month rather than "accidentally" let it renew, which has been known to happen.

Fun to be back, even if I'm ultimately just visiting.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

First panda!

Haven't upgraded yet, though I would like to try out a monk. But last night, my first time back in since Mists, I caught sight of my first panda at the Brewfest.




In other news, as I slooooowly work my way to FLAMING TREANTS, this improved moonkin form is begging me to get the astral form glyph.


Moonkin want to be free, not armored.  Remember when we could panzerkin and tank IN THE BUFF?!!!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Must... get... Flaming... Treants

Okay. I nearly gave up. I paid my cash, and played twice in a month. Twice. I don't have time for WoW any more. I'd like to play, but I've just plain got too much going on.

Until tonight. I could play tonight. I took the MacBook to work to take advantage of the super-fast internets, as the last two times I tried to play I lost tons of time waiting for updates to download. Good thing I did -- about two gigs before I could start up (see above). And I've only got a week or so to finish... I doubt as many folks will be leveling alts in Cat instances once MoP is out.

So it's tonight. I've got a preferred bitter drink, my Razer Naga hooked up, and I'm all ready for a 2-3 hour push to get my FLAMING TREANTS!!1! And then, wham, it hits me as I try to log in to battle.net -- long story short, I gave my phone to someone else (after resetting it, of course), so I no longer have my authenticator.

ARGH.

To remove the old authenticator, Blizzard asks for your driver's license. No, RLY. Seriously, my Amazon account isn't protected this well.


You may have caught wind of the teapot tempest over Matt Honan's getting hacked by some clever social engineering. You really don't think about how much stuff you've got sitting in your cloud-based email account until, well, you do. It's insane the amount of info you've got there if you don't erase it after downloading.

Why we don't have authenticators for all the cloud-based services, I don't know. Funny that, until Honan's deal convinced me to sign up for more secure services, my Battle.net account was likely my most secure bit of clouded information.

Compulsory note: If you find authenticators, action, guns, more action, and MMORPGs interesting, you should read REAMDE, now.

NO, NOW. KINDLE-I-FY AND READ REAMDE NOW.


If I can't play, nobody can. Seriously, the book's pretty good. Not Stephenson's best (yes, that's my review at the top right now), but very, very good, and germaine to today's blog post.

Sheesh. I sent you my driver's license already. I hope your SSL worked. Let's go! ;^D

EDIT: Ha, to view the status of my ticket to remove my authenticator, I -- yes, you got it -- have to have my authenticator.