Gaming Restless

Maybe it’s because it’s summertime. Maybe it’s the slow fade of the glow of new content. Heck, maybe the stress of work is bleeding into the rest of my life and causing problems, who knows? What I do know is that my gaming motivation is pretty well bottomed out at the moment. I have several easily achievable gaming goals dangling in front of me but by the time I’m home and sitting in front of the computer I don’t feel like tackling any of them. I’ve been logging in to do things when my friends have planned something specific, but outside of that I’ve been working on my creative projects or simply watching tv.

On the plus side, I can poke at mobile games easily while sitting on the couch. I’ve been playing mostly Legendary: Game of Heroes. That game has the most boring possible title but it’s been fun enough to keep me distracted while watching old episodes of Game of Thrones. It’s basically a Puzzle and Dragons clone, a match-3 puzzle game that fuels simple monster combat. While I enjoyed PAD plenty, once I got deeper into it I realized that the higher level mechanics and strategies for team building seemed to require a mountainous tome of eldritch lore to decipher. Legendary is much cleaner and more streamlined, has better graphics, and a surprisingly smooth power and leveling curve. I finished the entire base campaign and felt like the difficulty was appropriate to my level the whole way through. Now I have a break where I need to gain about 10 more levels before the extreme mode of the campaign unlocks, and in the meantime I can level up my heroes, farm resources, and participate in the weekly events to get cool stuff. It also helps that I can usually play for upwards of an hour without bouncing into pay walls or the dreaded free-to-play energy cap. It’s there, but it doesn’t feel punitive. It’s still a far cry from my beloved Justice Monsters V (RIP) but it has been a fun, free diversion for a while.

That’s about all the excitement there is to speak of around here. What do you do when you’re in a gaming lull?

Hunter Mount Quest

I finished this quest before my break from WoW, but only remembered to post it once I resubscribed. Whoops. My hunter was the last alt that is already 110 that hadn’t gotten her mount. My DK and shaman are 100 and 101, and my warrior is not even close, so they will all have to wait.

Hunter is in a strange place for me. I’ve always liked the class, and the archer archetype is second only to spellcaster in terms of my “player fantasy” preferences. In Legion, however, the class has seen some major changes that detracted from my enjoyment of the class. Beastmastery has always been my favorite spec, and even at 110 with all my gold traits on my weapon it still feels like something is missing. I like having pets but I don’t like feeling like I’m useless in comparison to them, and I also don’t like how much the pet survivability has been nerfed this expansion. Marksman is a nonstarter because the optimal way to play involves getting rid of your pet altogether, and while the new Survival spec is more fun than I thought it would be, I will always prefer ranged to melee.

All that grumbling about the state of the class aside, their mount quest was amazing. Unlike so many of the other class’ quests, there’s no gating, gathering, or extraneous running around. Instead you receive an invitation to Odyn’s great hunt and go straight there. The scenario takes place in the wilderness area of the trial of valor, and it’s just perfect. You get to eat and drink at a valajar feast (doing so gives you some nice buffs), and then you set out into the night to hunt the spirits of some great beasts and put them to rest. You have a few rounds of stalking around in the dark and fighting your prey, and then you get to fight the wolfhawk. The fights weren’t bad at all, even in my barely 110-for-a-week gear. If anything they were slightly too easy, but for this kind of content I’m perfectly okay with that.

The mount looks cool, and fits well with the hunter class theme. About the only thing I didn’t like about this quest is Odyn, because he’s a jerk and on principle I don’t want to do anything to help him. If you have a hunter alt laying around I’d highly suggest going for this class mount. It was a lot of fun!

August 2017 Gaming Goals

I’m a few days late with this one since I’ve been AFK for most of this week. I had set a few somewhat ambitious goals for July and did a decent job on them. Let’s see what August brings!

July Goals recap:

FFXIV: Clear both EX primals.  Check! I still haven’t done this with a FC group, but I did at least get my kills.

Advance at least one of my Anima weapons at least one step. Nope. I dialed my play time back and mostly focused on current content.

Level my AST.  Not really. I did get a couple levels, but AST is still not 70. The problem here is that they fixed some of the problems with scholar, so I felt way less motivated to have the 2nd healer job.

Figure out how to buy a house. I do know how to buy a house now so I’ll count this as a win. I haven’t actually bought one because I’m still waiting for people to move out to the new zone so I can find open property in Mists.

Diablo 3: Complete the basic season 11 journey with a necromancer. Done! I haven’t gone much past the first 4 chapters but this is still a win.

Complete the challenge rift every week. Nope. I did attempt it every week, but last week’s build was really difficult and I didn’t manage to clear it under the timer.

Master all the crusader set dungeons. Done! I was an overachiever and got monk and witch doctor too!


August Goals:

FFXIV: Level my AST. I’m so close it really is silly that I still haven’t finished this.

Clear at least 1 boss of Omega Savage. This might be a matter of flinging myself at pugs until I smash through, but I’d love to get this done.

Diablo 3: Finish Barbarian set mastery. I’ve only got one barbarian dungeon left to master in order to get my fancy wings. It might mean giving up on much seasonal progress this time around, but I can do this!

WoW: Get back to the Robo-squids project. There’s an awful lot of dungeons left for our little undergeared, underleveled, undersized group to get through, and now that the new game shine is starting to fade from Stormblood I’m ready to jump back in.


I think these are pretty modest goals for the month, and they’re all things that I really do want to get around to. I can’t wait to post about my pretty new wings!

Season 11 and Necro Wings

Season 11 started with a very relaxed pace since opening night was a Thursday instead of the usual Friday. By the end of the weekend, though, I had completed through chapter iv and a bit more besides. First things first: the Necromancer is a joy to play. I’m still not sure whether it is because it is genuinely fun or simply because it is the first truly new thing we’ve had in D3 in a long time, but either way I’m loving it. I’ve been using the Rathma set that came as the season journey reward, so I get to have swarms of minions and that’s definitely a play style I enjoy.

I got quite lucky and picked up some important cube items while leveling, and the scythe+shield set combo very early once I hit 70. That meant that over the course of the weekend I went from being carried by a friend to running T10 and carrying others in return. If Tasker & Theo would drop already then I’d have everything complete for the build suggested on Icy Veins. Even without it I’m getting close to GR60. One thing I don’t like about that build is there’s no room for a movement ability. So far I’ve been modifying it a bit so I can put a move ability on my bars because I find myself dying way too much without it. I’m pretty sure that my ability to push into higher GRs is going to be limited with this set because of that, so I’ve been collecting the other ones too. I managed to get the Trag’oul and Inarius sets already, so I can try those out and see if I like them better.

Screenshot037I am extremely happy to report that in addition to my season progress, I also picked up the Necromancer wings on Sunday night. They’re a pretty sweet black/red recolor of the ones that come with the Necromancer pack, and you get them by completing all of the Necromancer class achievements. Luckily I had leveled my non-seasonal necro through the story to test it out when I bought it, so I already had the 2 story-related achieves out of the way going into the season. Most of the achievements were fairly easy to get through normal play, although things like letting your skeletons kill 500 elites took a bit of time. There were a few boss-specific ones that required some more forethought, but they weren’t too difficult. The trickiest one was having to kill your shadow clone using simulacrum during the Diablo encounter. I found some good advice that suggested lowering the difficulty way down, removing any gear that has thorns or any legendary gems that have damaging effects, and using simulacrum + blood nova. It took a couple tries to get the simulacrum to have the killing blow but compared to the silly things I’ve done for set dungeon masteries it was a cake walk.

Speaking of set mastery, I did master the Rathma’s set dungeon. I’ll probably do a write-up of all the Necro dungeons so I won’t go into tons of specifics here, but I will say that it wasn’t too bad. Getting one objective for completion for the season journey should be no problem for most folks. Now that I have my necro wings I’m eager to get back to my barbarian and finish mastering the last couple dungeons I need for the REALLY fancy wings. I got randomly grouped with someone who had them while running rifts the other night, and now I’m even more motivated to get them.

Daily Creative Thing

As usual I had a silly idea one day and decided to put it into action and see what happened. I wanted to do something in the spirit of Blaugust this year, but without the stress of having to come up with a complete, coherent post every day. I also wanted to get back into some of my creative hobbies that I’ve dabbled in over the years. Thus Daily Creative Thing was born.

The idea is very simple. Do something creative every day, and stay positive. The part that makes it work is that the bar for “do something creative” is set intentionally low. Did you doodle something cute on a post-it at work today? That counts. Did you sing in the shower for 15 minutes straight and annoy your roommate? That counts. Did you add a row or two of stitches to a bigger project? That counts. This endeavor is about recognizing all the little creative things we do, in addition to encouraging spending a bit more dedicated time on whole projects. The creative thing doesn’t have to be completed, finishing a whole project every day would be exhausting, and wouldn’t leave room for things like writing a story or knitting a blanket. It also doesn’t matter what kind of creative thing you do, as long as you consider it creative. Drawing some fan art, writing a blog post, baking a cake… you get the idea. It all counts!

The other key here is the “and stay positive” bit. It’s okay to be critical of your own work sometimes. That’s how we improve. But when sharing things for this project, I’m taking the stance of “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Especially when posting half-finished things, the temptation is to apologize for it. Instead I want to celebrate that I made an effort and made something new in the world, and look for the things I like about it so I can keep doing those next time around. The internet is full of places where people tear themselves and each other down. I want this project to be focused on building things up. Stay positive.

That’s all there is to it. Keeping it simple means there’s at least a chance that I’ll follow through on it but making it daily means it is still a challenge and a change for the better in my habits.

If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’ll join me on this journey. I would love to have a network of people sharing their progress and cheering each other on. I also selfishly just want to see all the amazing things that you all will create when you get in the habit. Try it for the month of Blaugust and see if it sticks. Let’s create some things!

dct

 

D3 Season 11 Starts Thursday!

Is anybody out there still excited about Diablo 3’s seasons? I mean I’m excited to really dig into a playthrough with a necromancer, and the new pet looks pretty great, but the season itself? Definitely lost a lot of its charm. It doesn’t help that I fully completed the season’s journey last time around, so there’s nothing much to aspire to. Many of my usual D3 buddies have stopped coming around for the season launch at all, although there’s still a few of us that still plan to team up on opening night.

Unlike previous seasons, S11 is starting on a Thursday. That’s bad news for trying to get to 70 or onto the leaderboards right away, but I’m not sure how much of a hurry I’ll be in this season anyway. I’ll be happy to get as far as I can in the few free hours I have, and then make the real push on Friday as usual. I don’t have any expectations for this season other than getting the cosmetic items. I also still have 3 barbarian set dungeons to master. I haven’t decided yet whether I want to go for the Masters of the Universe conquest again this season, and use it as an excuse to finish up the barbarian and necromancer dungeons. There are several conquests that are much easier this time, so it certainly isn’t necessary. I also already have most of the sets collected now on my non-seasonal barbarian, and I’m not sure I want to have to level and farm everything up again on a new one.

It actually feels pretty nice to go into the season with very low expectations. There’s no pressure, I can take things at my own pace, and once I get my cosmetic goodies I don’t have to feel bad if I get distracted by something shiny and wander away for a while. I’m especially glad that I can put the new necromancer through its paces without worrying about having to play it at a high enough level for the Conqueror or Guardian tiers. A nice chill D3 season is just what I need to distract me from the fact that we’re starting on Omega Savage this week in FFXIV.

Monk Set Mastery

Monk is probably the class I have played the least in D3. I mean I don’t love the barbarian, but I had at least leveled one to 70. Not so with Monk. That made a bit of extra challenge, since I had to spend a lot of time leveling and farming to get reasonable gear for this project. After having done these dungeons, I still don’t really enjoy monk, but I’m not as intimidated and annoyed at playing melee.

MonkBanner

The first monk dungeon I tried was the Inna’s Mantra one, entirely because that’s the first full set I found via my farming. That might have been a mistake. Inna’s is one of the dungeons where too much power is a terrible thing. The objectives are to avoid getting frozen, which is incredibly easy, and to unleash mystic allies on 10 enemies within 10 yards (x5). Unfortunately my allies were a bit too helpful and kept killing the enemies well before I could round up a group of 10. I had to play a game of stripping off my legendary gems and swapping out gear until I got to a point where I could meet this objective even once in the dungeon, much less 5 times. I finally got it thanks to a combination of moving gear around and getting extremely lucky with spawns of enemies. In the end I had to remove one of my rings entirely, which seems questionable. Definitely a frustrating start to this group of dungeons.

Next up was the Dungeon of the Raiment of a Thousand Storms. The two objectives are very straightforward, reach the golden chest in under 2 minutes and do not get hit by a single succubus projectile. This took a couple tries, since you have to find a good balance between clearing the early parts of the dungeon and getting to the middle of the maze to hit the chest in time. The first few times through I could either hit the chest or clear enough enemies but not both. Eventually I found that clearing most of the straight outside path, rushing to the chest, then backtracking through the maze seemed to work pretty well. Even though it took a few attempts, this one felt more like a fun challenge than an annoyance. I liked it!

Third on the list was Uliana’s Stratagem. The first time through I didn’t complete either of the objectives, I’m not sure whether that is the fault of the dungeon or my unfamiliarity with monk. The requirements are to simultaneously explode 15 enemies marked with exploding palm (x4), and to take no fire damage at all. Only the elites have fire attacks, but unfortunately the dungeon itself has various fire traps in the floor you have to watch out for. This dungeon is also quite large and sprawling, so it pays to either look up a map or run it a couple times to get used to the layout. On my second attempt I got both objectives but was still missing around 50 enemies, simply because I hadn’t cleared fast enough. I ended up “cheating” the fire damage with the Star of Azkaranth, and got it on my 4th try.

Last but not least was the Sunwuko (Monkey King) set dungeon. The objectives are to maintain sweeping wind for the duration of the dungeon, and use decoys to hit 20 different enemies in 6 seconds (x5). On my first try of the dungeon, I both failed to keep up sweeping wind and also died because I was dumb. I got the mastery on the second attempt. I’d say this was definitely one of the easier dungeons to master. The map is big but manageable with dashing strike, and there were plenty of enemy groups to hit for the decoy objective. I think there’s a legendary belt that might have helped me keep up sweeping wind more easily, but I didn’t have it and I managed fine without it.

This group of set dungeons was a very mixed bag. They ranged from incredibly annoying (Inna’s), to very easy (Sunwuko’s). They also included one with a gimmick that I suspect some people probably hate but I thought was actually pretty fun (the golden chest in Thousand Storms). I was afraid at the outset that I was going to struggle more than usual with these since I had never played monk before, but it turned out not to be much worse than any of my other set dungeon struggles. Now only the barbarian stands between me and two pairs of awesome wings!

Witch Doctor Set Mastery

I’m still slowly moving forward with the goal of mastering all of the set dungeons in Diablo 3. So far I’ve finished the Demon Hunter, Wizard, and Crusader ones. Next I decided to work on the Witch Doctor mastery, since I play that class fairly often and had all of the sets laying around. Sadly even with all of the time I spent with the class, I had only mastered one dungeon so I still had plenty of work to do. At least the pennant reward for this mastery looks neat!

WDPen

The set dungeon I had already completed was the Jade Harvester’s. I decided to try it again for this project just to remind myself what it was like so I could record it here. The objectives are to harvest 15 enemies (x10) and kill a total of 100 enemies while they’re affected by both haunt and locust swarm. I got it on my first attempt. It definitely helped that this is the set I’m most comfortable with and I had plenty of choices for legendaries to make it work. I suspect the biggest issue with this one would normally be clearing everything within the timer since the map is fairly large and convoluted.  I used Shukrani’s Triumph in the cube which let me spirit walk until I attacked or found an enemy, which made for a speedy, easy run.

Next up was the Helltooth Harness set dungeon. The first objective here is easy. “Do not take any poison damage” can be utterly trivialized by cubing Mara’s Kaleidoscope. I’m sure it is possible to do without this item but why bother if you have one available? The second objective is to kill 20 enemies with a single wall of death (x4). This was the sort of objective that gives me trouble. First, you have to be able to 1-shot the small enemies with your wall, which hopefully shouldn’t be too hard. I used a Jeram’s Bracers to increase damage to make sure of this. More importantly though, you actually have to find or make groups of 20 enemies. It was tricky to do since the dungeon has a lot of little pockets and pillars that make it hard to find and group up the mobs. I had no trouble running through and killing everything in time, but it took me 5 or 6 tries to meet this objective. If RNG is kind and you get good pack placement this one should be easy.

After that I worked on the Arachyr’s Mantle dungeon. The easier objective here was to let your hex toad lick 30 enemies. On my first attempt I was so eager to get this done that I botched the other objective. Killing all of the elites while they are both webbed and piranha’d was tricky simply because they got accidentally killed by other things first. On the plus side there aren’t that many enemies and the layout is fairly straightforward so eventually I just ran through to find the elites first and then let the toad mop up for my 30 licks. The other good thing about this one is it didn’t require much in the way of specialized legendaries other than the set itself. It took a few tries to get the hang of what I needed to do but was definitely easier than the Helltooth dungeon.

The last of the Witch Doctor dungeons was Zunimassa’s. This one asks  you to grip 150 enemies in grasp of the dead, and to avoid getting into melee range with anything. That second requirement really slows you down, because you can never risk running ahead and getting too close to an enemy. With reasonable gear things should die quickly to your swarm of pets before they get to you though. I managed to 1-shot this one without even looking at the map ahead of time, so I’d call this one very easy.

Overall these were way easier than I expected them to be. Since I already had all the gear I needed I managed to knock all of them out in a single evening. I’m getting close to my goal but the next two classes are ones I’ve never played so there will be some down time while I level and farm gear for them. Still, I’m getting close enough that those awesome wings look like an achievable goal now!