A Quiet Start to the New Year

I’m doing my best to keep this place from being abandoned this year but lately I’ve had more to say in my book posts than anything else. There hasn’t been too much exciting going on in my gaming life to talk about. I’ve been mainly playing old staples like WoW and Diablo 3. Then there’s Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc which I have a lot to say about but need to wait so I can talk about it on the podcast instead. I’ll still give a quick status update here since the blog must go on!

First up, WoW. I’m definitely hitting a boredom stage with Legion now. I got enough artifact traits on my main class and spec to unlock the 5% boost and then promptly lost all interest in doing world quests. Or much of anything to be honest. I’ve been poking at alts but since there’s a much higher amount of effort, and specifically group content, needed to progress professions in Legion I haven’t been that motivated to care about my alts as much as I used to. Raiding has also reached an awkward plateau where we can fairly easily clear normal EN and ToV and heroic EN, but anything past that seems like too much effort for not much reward. I took a mini break from raiding over the holidays and was hoping to come back energized but instead I got the opposite. Now I’m looking forward to Nighthold being released next week(?!) so we’ll have a new challenge. If that doesn’t re-energize me then I suspect it will be time for a short break from the game.

In D3 news, oh hey it’s season 9! I’ve been enjoying this season far more than the past few, even though there’s not really much new to speak of. The anniversary event was small but a fun distraction at the start of the season. I think the big thing that has drawn me in this time around is that I’m not playing a demon hunter. The past few seasons I’ve stuck with demon hunter because it made life easy for completing the season journey. While I don’t actively dislike the playstyle like I do for melee classes, it still ranks below casters in terms of general enjoyment for me. So swapping to a witch doctor has been a breath of fresh, plague-and-spirit-filled air. While wizard is always going to be my favorite in terms of raw power and player fantasy, there’s something incredibly fun about the silly abilities of the witch doctor. My only regret is that I chose to play this class in a season where their free set bonus emphasizes dots instead of pets, so I don’t get to have swarms of zombies and such following me around while I throw piranhas at things. Anyway my initial plan for this season was just to get far enough to unlock the cosmetic stuff, but it looks like I might keep pushing the season journey a bit farther than that.

Last but not least, my reading list is still looming over me. I set my goodreads goal for this year at 12 books, which seems very reasonable. I don’t have a timetable for my reading challenge other than trying to get through at least one a month, and I have a lot of other books outside the challenge that I want to get through as well. That said, the review for the next item on the list may have some delay. The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson appears to be the first time in this challenge that I’ve encountered a series that I actually want to keep reading, so even though I have finished the first book I will be holding off on my review until I decide if I am going to read all three.

So that’s what I have been up to. Nothing exciting but nothing bad either so I can’t complain. I hope the new year is treating you well so far!

Book Challenge #96: Lucifer’s Hammer by Lary Niven & Jerry Pournelle

It’s time to knock another book off of my challenge list. This time we’re discussing #96, Lucifer’s Hammer by Lary Niven & Jerry Pournelle. First published in 1977, this novel looks at what happens when a comet collides with Earth. Spoilers Ahoy!


Let’s get  this book’s biggest strength laid out right up front. The authors do an incredible job of setting up the science. I don’t pretend to know if everything presented about the comet and its physical effects is completely accurate, but as someone with a career in the geosciences, it feels plausible. The initial strikes are devastating, but they also set off secondary disasters like earthquakes and tidal waves. These all combine to change the landscape and the weather substantially, and add challenges for the survivors to worry about. The only piece of the science that felt really unlikely to me was the fact that the space station survived and the astronauts were able to return safely, and I can allow that suspension of disbelief for the sake of the narrative. Overall the science felt good, if very depressing.

The story itself follows a whole host of characters for several months before and after “Hammerfall”. There are so many characters that in fact today, about a week after I finished reading, I can’t even recall all of them or their names. The book moves around to different perspectives for each chapter and it does help to give a much wider view of what is happening than a smaller cast possibly could. We get to see the stories of scientists, astronauts, politicians, religious leaders, and filmmakers side by side with those of a mailman, an accountant, and other more mundane folks. The comet starts as a vehicle for self-promotion for the amateur astronomer and the documentary filmmaker, then becomes an object of interest and a means to an end for scientists and politicians. Once it becomes clear that the comet has a chance of hitting Earth, it becomes an object of religious fervor and a scapegoat for moral transgressions. Having so many perspectives let us see all these different angles of the comet first-hand. Once the disaster happens it also lets us see the many different ways that the comet ruined lives.

A few times while reading this one I felt the hopelessness of the situation and considered giving up on the book. After all, the time of holiday stress is not the greatest for reading a depressing book about the end of the world. This hit me the most when reading the perspective of Maureen, the senator’s daughter. She’s very pragmatic about their chances for survival and has a hard time reconciling the fact that she has to be a leader and a voice of hope for the town when she has none for herself. The hopelessness is compounded by sexism that gives the unwritten understanding that she can’t take over leadership when her father dies, so she has to choose a husband that can. I’d like to hope that if this book were written today her situation would be more in her own hands and less dependent on the men around her.

The way women and people of color are portrayed definitely contribute to how dated the novel feels. It is very difficult to disentangle how much of the racism and sexism are the too-real human response in the face of societal breakdown, and how much are the authors’ biases bleeding through. I very much got the feeling while reading that the authors would probably consider themselves on the progressive end of the spectrum for the time, but the results still widely miss the mark by my standards today. For example, in the space station, there’s some interesting discussion and parallels between the woman cosmonaut and the black astronaut and the pressures they face to appear perfect. Unfortunately in the same chapter the woman’s actions get dismissed as part of her “monthly troubles”. I could also rail at length about the lack of agency of all of the women in this book, or about the black characters who start out as criminals and end up cannibals. Suffice it to say that race and gender issues are a problem this book acknowledges but doesn’t deal with very well.

In the end I can see why this one is rated as a classic, and can agree even if I don’t think it holds up quite so well 40 years later. It is a good example of its genre that gives a reasonable look at what might happen in the months surrounding a catastrophic event like a comet impact. Heck, it even manages not to end on an entirely depressing note which was a pleasant surprise. Large-scale disaster stories like this generally don’t work very well for my tastes. I much prefer the chance to get to know a smaller cast of characters, regardless of the scale of the problems they face. That, in combination with how dated it feels in terms of both society and technology, led me to give this one a middling score.

TL;DR:

Lucifer’s Hammer by Lary Niven & Jerry Pournelle

Rating: 3/5 stars

Verdict: Excellent example of apocalypse fiction from its time. Unfortunately apocalypse fiction isn’t my thing, and this one in particular feels pretty dated now.

Next up: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy.

 

January 2017 Gaming Goals

Let’s see how I did with my very modest December goals, shall we?

December Goals

WoW

Clear Trial of Valor: Yay we did this! I’m lucky to have a raid team that I still enjoy playing with and that seems to be making reasonable progress. Also bonus rainbows.

Level a hordie alt to 110: Technically I finished this on January 2, but I’ll call it a win anyway. My horde priest is now at 110 and can go back to being abandoned as soon as I finish her order hall campaign.

Complete the new raiding with leashes and get my starbunny pet: Nope. I’m still missing a couple pets from ICC and I didn’t run it once the whole month. Whoops.

Destiny

Get my connection issues resolved and play some strikes with my friends without getting disconnected: Well I got part A of this down, but never ran any strikes. Half of a goal is better than nothing I guess?

Get my light level up above 310: I did this and then some. Hooray for sparrow racing league!

WildStar

Play at least once a week: Nope. I can’t tell you how sad this makes me.

Diablo

Beat Diablo 2 in time for our Aggrochat game of the month podcast: Nope. I gave up partway into act 2. Some games are better left in the past.


January  Goals

WoW

Get that starbunny pet. I’m super unmotivated to work much on my main now that I got my 5% healing boost, so I should have plenty of time to finish this.

Diablo 3

Get all the cosmetic goodies from Season 9. Yay new pet!

Get all the goodies and achievements from the Diablo anniversary event. I’ve been looking forward to this since it was announced and I’m annoyed it didn’t start on the 31st! I want to play in glorious retrovision!

Destiny

Run some strikes with friends. Same goal as last month. I’m super casual about this game but it is definitely more fun with friends.

Justice Monsters V

Clear the normal quests on Master difficulty. I’m so sad they are pulling the plug on this game in March. Before it disappears I want to try to get through as much as I can.

WildStar

Play once a week. I’m gonna keep putting this on the list because I love WS and I really do want to play it. If I can just get over the “returning to a MMO inertia” I know I’ll enjoy myself.


That’s it for January goals. I’m trying to keep them modest again because I find if I have too many goals I get overwhelmed and end up accomplishing nothing. Here’s hoping this is the month I finally get back into WildStar!

Scattered

The holidays are approaching fast and my brain is scattered in a billion directions trying to plan presents and decorations and cooking and travel. It is no wonder that I’ve been a bit scattered when it comes to gaming lately too. I’ve still been playing WoW. In what must be approaching a record for recent years I’ve been playing solidly since just before the pre-expansion patch. My interest is definitely starting to taper down now. The past few weeks I haven’t run any mythic+ dungeons and have barely been able to motivate myself to show up for raids. Most days I log in for my emissary quests and then wander off. I’ve gotten some mileage out of alts, but once they hit the level cap and have to run dungeons for professions quests I lose interest fast. I was hoping to get alchemy sorted on my newly-110 hunter, but the thought of having to do a quest in Vault of the Wardens stopped me cold. My next project may just be leveling things to 110 to see the class hall stories but it is frustrating that one of my key motivations for alting is so gated behind content I don’t like to engage with on alts.

img_2362

What I have been playing a ton of is Justice Monsters V. This is a minigame within Final Fantasy XV, which has been given a full mobile game treatment. It’s part pinball, part Puzzle and Dragons, and entirely fun. Individual games are on a timer so at most they can take 2-3 minutes which makes it perfect for a quick distraction in between holiday chores. It has a frustratingly bad pricing scheme for in-game purchases, but I’ve been playing for almost 2 weeks straight and haven’t felt like I needed to spend any real money to progress anyway. The game starts out very easy but the tables get progressively more interesting and the enemies get much stronger so it does have enough challenge to keep me from getting bored. Like PAD there’s obviously a lot of grinding to do to be able to upgrade and evolve your monsters. Unlike PAD, the method of leveling up is way less opaque. Also, I enjoy the pinball enough that it doesn’t feel like a grind yet. I’m genuinely enjoying playing monster pinball for its own sake and I get the occasional bonus of being able to power up my monsters every once in a while. The monsters you collect are all straight from the Final Fantasy universe, and while you don’t need to know anything about Final Fantasy to enjoy this game, it is a treat to see those recognizable creatures if you are a fan. It’s not the most complex and engaging game ever, but it is quite fun in quick bursts and  worth checking out for free.

Book Challenge #97: The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

I’m doing a bit better on my book challenge this month. This time I’m reviewing The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, published in 1992. This is the first book on the list so far that had never heard of, and the first one that I’ve given a 5/5 rating. Read on to find out why I loved this book so much!


This book takes place in the near future 21st century, where historians not only study the past via archaeological digs and old tomes, but also by traveling back in time to experience things for themselves. The technology is in its growth phase in the book, established enough that there are protocols for it and trained technicians to oversee it but new enough that whole swaths of history are still off-limits due to safety concerns. Kivrin, our protagonist, is a bright and determined student at Oxford who wants to be the first to visit the 1300s.

The novel opens as Kivrin is being prepared to leave for her journey to 1320. There’s comedic but all-too-real rivalry between departments or schools at the university. Her mentor Dunworthy specializes in less remote time periods that are more routinely open to time travel, and is concerned about her safety and the way the drop is being rushed. Meanwhile the acting head of the medieval department appears more focused on the prestige and opportunity he might gain by pushing the project through before the actual department head returns from Christmas vacation. Kivrin herself is just excited to be on her way to see the middle ages at Christmastime and wants everyone to stop worrying over her. The whole book is full of genuine-feeling interactions between characters with real motivations and expressions and it’s part of why I enjoyed it so much.

The drop to 1320 appears to be a success, but shortly after it is completed the technician in charge comes down with a serious illness. Unbeknownst to the modern characters, Kivrin also becomes ill upon arrival in the past. The net that allows time travel is supposed to be impervious to things like diseases coming back through, but did something go wrong? The story splits, and follows both Kivrin’s experiences in the 1300s and the epidemic happening in 21st century Oxford. We get treated to the antics of overprotective mothers, precocious children, and status-seekers across the centuries. There are heroes and saints and villains but mostly there are average folks just trying to make the best of terrible situations and get on with their lives.

What started out as a story about time travel turned out to be part medical mystery, part survival story, and part family drama. It was so satisfying to watch these parts unfold in tandem across both timelines. Also, though I don’t usually like children in general, it was impossible not to become attached to the children in this story. Colin, in the future, watches the epidemic unfold with morbid fascination, ducking past quarantine lines, helping in the hospital, and endlessly sucking on his everlasting gobstopper. Agnes, in the past, could be any young girl in any age, playing with her puppy, teasing her older sister, jingling her new bell during mass when she’s supposed to be quiet. I absolutely cared about these characters and wanted them to have a happy end to their stories, even the ones who, from one perspective, had already been dead for hundreds of years. I stayed up way too late reading the last section of the book in one go because I was too invested to put it down before I knew what happened to all of these people I cared about. And that’s leaving out the biggest question: Would Kivrin  ever make it home?

The strength of the last book I read for this challenge (Perdido Street Station) was in the deft complexity of the story threads and the way the city itself felt alive. By contrast, I was almost always a few steps ahead of the plot of The Doomsday Book, but it didn’t matter in the slightest because I genuinely cared about the characters and wanted to see how things played out. It also helped immensely that the grim realities of life in the middle ages and in the midst of a modern epidemic are at least partially offset by moments of humor and human kindness. I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

The past is wonderful and terrible and nothing like you imagined, but you will be glad you made the journey.

TL;DR:

The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Rating: 5/5 stars

Verdict: Deeply human and relatable characters and an engaging story make this my first 5/5 book of the challenge. You should read it!

December Gaming Goals

First, how did I do on my November goals?

November Wrap-up

WoW

Level another alt to 110 – Yep! Got my druid up there high enough to run LFR.

Get a Legendary for my Monk – Yes, though sadly it was literally the worst possible one.

Get one of the falcosaur mounts – Check! I’ve been riding my snowfeather since I got her.

Clear the new Karazhan – Check! We’ve fully cleared it two weeks in a row.

Destiny

Run some strikes with my friends – Sort of? I ran one strike with my friends, but when I tried to run more I kept getting disconnected.

WildStar

Play at least once a week – Fail. I’ve ducked in just twice in November.

Finish seeing the Arcterra content – Nope. Not even close 😦


December Goals

WoW

Clear Trial of Valor. We got Helya to phase 3 last night so hopefully as long as everyone keeps showing up for raid as the holiday approach we should get this.

Level a hordie alt to 110. My priest is 105 so hopefully this should be easy as long as I avoid more pugs like this one.

Complete the new raiding with leashes and get my starbunny pet. I only need one pet from the Lich King to get my invitation to Algalon’s trial.

Destiny

Get my connection issues resolved and play some strikes with my friends without getting disconnected.

Get my light level up above 310. I’m still sub 300 right now but if Bel keeps dragging me around this should go quickly.

WildStar

Play at least once a week. I’m gonna keep trying because damn it I love this game.

Diablo

Beat Diablo 2 in time for our Aggrochat game of the month podcast. Right now I’m almost finished with chapter 1 so I need to spend some quality time.


I set relatively modest goals for December because honestly I want to spend all my time playing Final Fantasy XV. I’m not setting any goals for it though because I don’t need any motivation to get me to play, and because I’m not far enough into it to know what reasonable goals would look like!

 

 

Halls of Valor: Descent into the Void

Who doesn’t love stories about random groups gone horribly wrong? I sometimes joke that I like running with strangers just so I have stories to tell and new things to complain about. Last night I had a particularly awful pug that I want to share with you. It was painful, but I think it also says something interesting about the state of WoW in Legion.

To set the scene, I had decided to work on my long-neglected hordie priest last night. She used to be my main back in my raiding glory days, and I always get a little sad when she’s not caught up in a new expansion. She was level 104 and had gotten the story quest for Halls of Valor, so I decided to run it. I’d been leveling as shadow and didn’t want to try remembering how to priest heal so I queued as dps. In retrospect that was definitely a mistake.

We zone in, a few people say hi. I don’t know whether this is because I’m trying to make more of an effort to at least say hello or whether the climate of the game is slightly changed, but I have had far fewer silent groups this expansion. Anyhow we pull the first trash and wipe. The pally healer is there but barely healing, and the demon hunter is still sitting at the entrance. We limp our way through the early trash and to the first boss and the inactive demon hunter finally joins us. Wipe on the first boss. There’s very little healing happening so I’m trying what few shadow priest tricks I have to help things along and we finally clear the fight and move on. The trash up to and inside the great hall goes the same way, people occasionally die and run back. We head to Fenrir first and two things are clear: the tank does not speak english and really likes to run ahead, and the healer is either very new or very unaware and also likes to facepull all the trash. You can see how this might be a bad combination. We wipe to wolves, we pull huge groups of adds. One spectacular time the warlock and I managed to finish things off and prevent a complete wipe. On the boss the healer got focused and did not move but miraculously survived due to pally hax that were mysteriously forgotten by the next boss. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

I had a moment of clarity running back from one of the trash wipes that maybe we should kick the healer or maybe I should just cut my losses and try again another night, but a sick part of my brain wanted to see how things would turn out. We run to the valkyr boss with only one extra healer trash pull. I see on the two mini-boss pulls that the healer does not move to the shield or dodge the evil light orb spam, so I expect the worst for the boss fight. Note I probably could have said something about how the fight works but the 3 of us dps were so traumatized we were just keeping our heads down and praying for things to be over. The tank pulls the boss and keeps her in the middle of the room, ensuring that we get all of the mechanics to deal with. This shouldn’t be a problem on normal mode, but as predicted the healer does not get in the shield or dodge orbs and dies. Somehow between good tanking, my sad shadow heals, and decent dps we still killed the boss.

At this point I suddenly realize there’s still two bosses left and I don’t want to go on anymore. The warlock is complaining loudly, but only in a general way, not calling anyone out. I have to summon my repair mount before we head to Odyn’s room because all our gear is broken. The healer does not come out to repair even when asked to. The tank very earnestly tries to tell us some things that might be important or possibly offensive but I think they’re speaking portuguese and my will is too broken by now to bother pasting it into google translate. We fight the trash in Odyn’s room and the tank dies again. I am truly becoming one with my shadow priest now, praying for the sweet release of the void.

The god-king fight is interesting in a painful sort of way and my mind detaches and watches from elsewhere. The tank pops the shield on the pull, so it is gone by the time we need it. Somehow we live. Nobody wants to touch the aegis after that, so it falls to me and I try not to eff it up. The healer remains morally opposed to standing in shields and pays with their life. Through the power of wishful thinking and also soulstones we still managed to finish the fight but it was close. The warlock and I are brothers now, our bonds forged in stolen souls and void healing and despair.

The Odyn fight is predictably tame by comparison. I already know the details of our failures before they happen. They were etched into the creases of my brain by all that came before. My yogg-saron tentacle pet whispers to me of my shortcomings. Did I summon it? Did it manifest on its own in my weakest moment? I don’t remember. There is so much death. We beg borrow and steal whatever magiks we can and it will never be enough.

And yet, in the end, there is victory. I cannot tell you the details. My mind had entered a void state to protect myself from trying to comprehend the horrors I witnessed. Somehow Odyn deemed us worthy. Truly the mental workings of gods are unfathomable. I imagine my warlock brother and I sharing a silent, glazed-eyed nod before departing back from whence we came. It is finished.

The interesting coda here is that I realized this was the worst pug I’ve had in ages, but we all stuck it out. Nobody raged. Nobody left. Nobody vote kicked the terrible healer. Nobody helped them learn either, but it’s a start. I’m as much to blame for that as anyone else, but by the time I realized how necessary it was I no longer had the energy to bother explaining things. Maybe I could have made a difference. Maybe they would have just gotten mad at me for trying. In any case it made for a fascinating story and weirdly gave me hope for the future of the game. The players might occasionally be terrible but the toxicity has been low lately.

Maybe next time I’ll just queue as heals though.

An Alt Problem

It is no secret around this blog that I have a serious case of alt-itis. In a lot of ways I envy folks that have one fixed character in an MMO and can focus all their time and energy into making that character the best it can possibly be. I sometimes try to do that, but far too often I get curious about how other classes feel to play, or even just want to replay the leveling content from a slightly different perspective. This has led over the years to a truly massive stable of alts in many games. The closest I’ve come to a single focused character is in FFXIV, where at least you can try every class on the same character. Even there, I have a couple low level alts bouncing around because I wanted to see the main story over again.

In WoW, which I’ve been playing for almost 10 years now, I have a giant pile of alts spread across factions and servers. This problem was exacerbated by the pre-Legion invasion event, which let me level quite a few more all the way up to 100. Horde side I’ve got 2 priests, 3 hunters, 2 druids, pally, mage, lock, shaman, DK, rogue all in the mid-90s or higher. Alliance side is also looking crowded, with priest, pally, druid, demon hunter, 2 mages, 2 hunters, 2 monks all 100+, with a warrior, priest, and a DK in the mid 70s as well. I’m probably still forgetting someone. If that sounds like a lot to keep track of, it is. Believe me, I’m incredibly glad that garrisons are no longer the gold making machines they once were, because in Warlords I spent all my time swapping between alts and doing chores instead of enjoying the game.

In Legion I’ve been a bit slower dealing with all these alts, and my usual mode of operations feels much less satisfying than it used to. Part of the reason I like having so many alts is to be self-sufficient with professions. Legion’s profession system is so painful that there’s much less incentive for using alts this way now. Heck, even my “main” still hasn’t maxed out her jewelcrafting. Once I got to the point where the only skillups to be found were not 100% chance from rank 3 necklaces that cost at least 4-6 blue quality gems to craft and sell on the AH for less than 1 cut gem I threw up my hands in disgust. I’ll get to the skill cap in about 3 months worth of Darkmoon Faire rather than waste my time and gold right now.

My other alts are in similar positions. I’ve got 2 monks, a mage and a druid all at 110 and none of them have a maxed profession. It just doesn’t feel worth it for the effort involved. I’m slowly working my way through the profession quest lines at least, and I do like that there is a bit more flavor injected into professions this expansion. The forced dungeons and the usual trap of being able to craft things that are expensive to make and useless to you by the time your skill is high enough to craft them are a huge turn-off though. I’d like to be able to make my own enchants and flasks, but the highest rank recipes are still pretty far out of reach on characters that I don’t want to be playing more than my main. At least I can do some gathering, and so far sending mats to my guildies in exchange for goods and services seems to be the way to go.

Leveling alts is extremely fast this expansion, but there’s not much payoff once you get to the level cap. I applaud the huge amount of “stuff to do” in Legion, it is definitely the most engaging expansion for me since Wrath. That same wealth of stuff to do makes alts overwhelming. I’ve obviously reached the point here a couple months in where I want to be branching out a bit with different classes and professions but it doesn’t feel good right now to do so. I’m still in love with this expansion, but it is not conducive to my alt-loving playstyle.

Keeping it Together

wowscrnshot_111316_220748

Oh look, another Karazhan post! I was struggling mightily last week under the combined weight of the election results and some personal and familial medical issues. I missed our guild’s weekly raid night as a result, which made me feel even worse, more isolated from my friends and stressed out about things I couldn’t change. Luckily I got to dive into Kara twice this week to help take my mind off of my real world woes. On Saturday I went on my mage with a mix of alts and mains just to see how far we could get. The answer was that we cleared Opera and got some attempts in on Maiden. It was a bit rough, and makes me incredibly glad that Blizz will be releasing a less highly-tuned heroic version of the instance. I had a great time working through the fights with my friends, but with our gear mix it will probably be a long time before we can forge all the way through to the end.wowscrnshot_111316_224124

Sunday night however was our fixed Kara group night. We didn’t try to extend the lockout from last week, but instead started over from the beginning using what we had learned to aim for a smooth run. And it was far smoother than last time. For one thing, we didn’t get lost so much this time! We 1-shot a few of the fights that gave us trouble last week, including the dreaded Moroes. As the night went on and we started getting into the 2nd half of the instance I was feeling sick and exhausted and unfortunately it started to show. We wiped on Shade and had some unnecessary deaths, but we worked through them. We killed the Mana Devourer with just a couple attempts since we got our strategy sorted out between last week and this week. The whole 2nd half of the dungeon is incredibly well made and interesting, both to look at and mechanically. There’s even a nod to the old chess event.wowscrnshot_111316_225106

The last boss was a nightmare of RNG and insta-kill mechanics. Some of the fights in new Kara, like Moroes and Shade, feel like huge healing checks with a frantic healing pace and a drained mana bar at the end. This horrible beholder-like boss, on the other hand, had very little I could actually heal through and was much more dependent on everyone not screwing up. We did eventually manage to kill him, but only after many many wipes, most of which were caused by me being too tired to focus on the boss’ positioning of disintegrate and dispelling and healing horrible balls of doom and not standing in barrage nonsense. I’m hoping next week I can redeem myself with a smoother run.

I stand by my evaluation last week though, new Kara is an incredibly well made instance and a hugely fun time with a solid group of well-geared friends. I can’t wait to get good enough to make a run at Nightbane and his fancy mount someday. Thank you to my Kara groups this weekend for giving me a great distraction and making me laugh when I desperately needed it.