Magical Unicorns

So something magical happened to me last night and I need to get it down on virtual paper before I forget. I’ve been gushing to my friends about it since it happened because it was so unexpected and amazing. Did I win a prize or something? In a way, yes. I had the most perfect unicorn of a pug last night in WoW and I almost didn’t believe it. Truly it was the best pug experience I’ve had in that game in a very very long time.

It didn’t start on a great note. I solo queued for Darkheart heroic on my healer (monk) because I needed it for the world quest and my friends had just run it already. When I zoned in I saw that the group was me, 2 warriors, a rogue and a demon hunter. All melee. I groaned and resigned myself for a painful time, and then the warrior tank charged in and there was no more time for regrets.

It slowly started dawning on me that maybe this group wasn’t going to be the nightmare I had envisioned. I said hi in chat, and everybody actually replied! Living humans actually speaking to each other, a miracle! The tank pulled quickly but precisely, grabbing what we could handle and not completely rushing around out of control. The dps were somehow not taking much damage. How is this possible? Turns out they were avoiding bad things on the ground, and using occasional stuns and things to make each pull go smoother. What a novel concept! By the time we got to the first boss I thought maybe I might actually live through this experience without permanent psychological harm. Then the first boss melted like butter. Not only were the dps good, but everybody did their jobs so well that I had time to punch the boss instead of worrying about topping everyone up every second. Suddenly not only was this not terrible, but I was actively having fun!

The whole run went like this. Everybody did their jobs, nobody took unnecessary damage, everybody profits. It was amazing. To top it off one of the dps got an item they didn’t need and gave it to me because they saw it was an upgrade for me. Without me even saying anything. WHAT UNIVERSE IS THIS? HOW IS THIS EVEN WOW? I double checked, and no, the other people in my group were not on a guild run or something, everyone had different guilds or no guild at all. It was just a magical lucky happenstance that I got the best possible pug. That all melee group could have been a disaster and instead it has renewed my love of throwing myself into pugs and seeing what happens. Because often they’re mediocre, sometimes they’re terrible, but sometimes the stars align and you get to see a magical unicorn and it makes everything worth it.

Three Weeks In

Like the title says, we’re 3 weeks into Legion, and about to have access to raiding and mythic+ dungeons. Are you prepared? I am not prepared. Or rather, I’m actually in a pretty good place personally but I have no solid group to do these activities with. My gear level is pushing ever closer to the pre-raid cap of 850 on my mage, and my monk is now heroic-capable or possibly even mythic-capable too. What I need is a squad, a team, some pals to do all the new stuff that comes out tomorrow with. My self-imposed casualness has deteriorated in the face of a really fun expansion that I can’t get enough of. Unfortunately most of my friends are still exactly as casual as we all said we’d be. So I’ve done only one mythic dungeon so far.

This may come off as me complaining about my friends, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact I’m frustrated at myself, for not being able to go slowly like I said I would. Or alternately, for not recognizing that I get into¬† “do all the things” mode every time I am enjoying a new game/expansion and planning accordingly. I shrugged off some invitations to join more hardcore groups because I wanted to go slow and not have pressure. Now I’ve gotten raid-ready anyway in spite of myself.

So in the interest of keeping momentum without running off to do things without my friends (which has already gotten me in trouble a few times, stupid lockouts!) I’ve been working on alts. Mage is still my main but is holding on to that title by a thin thread. DPS queues are a thing, and everybody needs a healer. Monk is leveled, class campaign finished, and heroic geared, ready to run mythics and drag me back into healing forever. My horde priest, my main for many many years is 102 and has all her weapons, even the disgusting evil holy one. She’ll be leveling as shadow and gearing up enough to do LFR as disc. I don’t love disc for dungeons this expansion and I hate holy so I don’t plan on doing much other than healing LFR with her. Horde pally, and both alliance and horde druids have unlocked their class halls and first weapons, so I have tons of options in front of me. I just have to figure out what I want to accomplish first.

Are you raiding tomorrow? Getting ready for mythic+?  Or are you still slow and steady, enjoying all the new content of Legion?

A little bit of everything

wowscrnshot_083116_215940Holy cow I can’t believe we’re only 2 weeks into Legion. The first week was a week of leveling and exploring. This past week has been about trying to clear out my quest log more than anything else. The first time leveling in an expansion I like to get the Loremaster achievement, which means by the time I reach the level cap I’m usually pretty close to done with all the quests available. Not so with Legion. I keep half-joking with my friends that there’s some folks at Blizzard laughing their butts off at us because we complained there wasn’t enough to do and now there’s SO MUCH TO DO I don’t even know where to start. I head to an area with the intention of clearing out a quest from my log and suddenly there’s a world quest there too. Or I’m flying somewhere for a world quest and I see a quest hub I missed while I’m flying over. Suramar in particular has two subzones that are gigantic, with pretty extensive quest lines. And I’ve barely scratched the surface of crafting and all its associated quests.wowscrnshot_091016_210946

One thing I have done is dungeons. I’ve done all of the normal mode dungeons now, and a few heroics. There’s surprisingly little difference in tuning between the two modes. I wonder if part of that is the way level scaling works on the normal ones, since you never get the benefit of a couple slightly higher characters in there making the whole thing go easier? All I know is I’m more than happy to queue for heroics now, because the dps queue times are much shorter than for normals. I was all proud of myself for doing all the dungeons, and then I found out there’s 2 more that are reputation gated by Nightfallen rep, plus I haven’t set foot in mythics yet. So there’s plenty more on my list.

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I have still found the time to do a little bit of work on my army of alts, usually once I’ve finished the emissary quest for the day on the mage and don’t feel up to running dungeons. I’ve unlocked one weapon for my pally and my priest, and have unlocked all 3 weapons and gotten to 108 on my monk. The monk is very fun and flexible, and leveling goes ridiculously fast when you have rested xp. I’ve gotten to heal a few dungeons, and while monk healing is nothing like it used to be back when I picked it up in Pandaria, it is a solid healer with a pretty nice toolkit. I’m still happy that I chose mage as my main, but it is nice to be able to heal again if my friends need a healer to fill in a group.

My goals for the week are to get revered with the Nightfallen, get my 2nd gold artifact trait, and level the monk to 110. I wish I could will myself to slow down a little bit more and savor this time, but this is part of the cycle I enjoy most and part of that enjoyment is the speed with which new upgrades and unlocks are coming in. I’ll just keep doing a little bit of everything and trying my best not to burn myself out.

Book Challenge #99: Piers Anthony’s Xanth Series

The next item on my reading list is Piers Anthony’s Xanth series. It starts with A Spell for Chameleon, published in 1977. I knew this was a long series, but I had no idea that there are 39 of them, and several more still forthcoming. These books were always staples at my local used book store, but I never picked them up. Something about getting into a long series like that is incredibly daunting.

Luckily after the last book I read for this challenge, this one doesn’t take itself seriously at all and is a light, vaguely pleasant read. Well, most of the time. Spoilers ahead!


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Chill Excitement

Legion excitement is still going strong. Last week was busy for me with classes starting and work being stressful, so I was a bit behind my friends on the leveling curve. Then I got to spend all day Saturday playing, and I managed to get myself to 110. The only thing that seems to have changed for me so far is that I’m trying to run dungeons a bit more. Otherwise I’m still doing a ton of quests. In fact, when I hit 110 I had not even started questing in Highmountain yet, so I had that whole zone to do to unlock world quests and get the loremaster and exploration achieves.

This expansion comes with a pretty solid crop of new dungeons. The five that are available while leveling are fairly nice, but the 3 that unlock at 110 really shine. Maw of Souls, Vault of the Wardens, and Black Rook Hold are all incredibly atmospheric places and do some slightly different things with their boss fights.

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Helya is the best.

My favorite by far is Maw of Souls. Most of the dungeon takes place on what is essentially a ghost ship full of the damned, and when you get out on the deck you can even see the sea rolling around you. The last boss is essentially a sea witch goddess and I love her more than words can say, although I suspect I’ll love her less when I have to fight her on heroic!

Because my friends have all been leveling at different paces I’ll still have to run through those 110 dungeons a few more times as people hit the cap. Instead of dreading it I’m actually looking forward to it. Part of it is that the dungeons are really fun, and part of it is because I’m a DPS and it is way less stressful than healing. The difference in levels hasn’t mattered much at all along the way. We’ve been able to run dungeons with groups ranging from 100 to 110 with no noticeable difficulty, so that’s a huge quality of life change to the game.

The very best thing is that I’m in no hurry. I’m not planning to raid more than completely casually, so there’s no rush for me to get geared or anything. I’ve had some requests to do heroic dungeons, but I’ve been putting them off for a bit because I want to see and enjoy things on normal mode for a bit longer and give the rest of my friends time to get to 110. Overall am feeling a bit weird about this expansion because I am really enjoying myself, but I’m also super relaxed about everything. I’m used to being very manic at launches, trying to do all the things as fast as possible. It feels very strange to be happy and excited about all the new things to do and yet not rushing through everything. Now I just hope that I keep enjoying the game this much as the expansion continues!

Farewell Blaugust, Again

Blaugust is finally over. That means I don’t even need to be posting today. Why am I here? Partially due to habit. I managed to post almost every day, only missing a few due to health issues. The relaxed version of Blaugust this year meant I didn’t have to stress out about skipping a few mornings, and that weirdly made it less of a chore for me to post every day. Without that pressure hanging over me I was happier to keep writing!

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In Legion news, my play time has also remained pretty chill. I think the same principle applies. I don’t have any pressure to keep up or race to be raid ready, and it is making me much happier to log in every day and keep playing. Last night I ran a dungeon with my friends, unlocked the other 2 artifact weapons for my class, and even unlocked my monk’s healer weapon. It turns out that running a dungeon as a fire mage made me miss healing intensely, even though I’m sure my friends’ bad behavior in dungeons would have me pulling my hair out in no time. Anyway at least now the option is available if we need a healer.

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The mistweaver weapon quest drove home just how much of a healer I really am at heart. At the last part of the quest you get to choose how the NPC allies in your group behave. You can ask them to be mindful and watch themselves, or you can ask them to go all out on damage with the understanding that they will totally stand in all the fire to do this. Given this choice I told each and every one of them to stand in the fire and laughed about it in voice chat with my friends. It turns out I would rather heal idiot DPS and complain about it than have a slow steady fight and have to help DPS as a healer. This worked out spectacularly, the boss died quickly and the game taught me something about myself. Bravo Blizzard.

Legion Launch Love

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Unlike many unhappy people, my Amazon order of Legion arrived on time and I was able to play when I got home from work. It sounds like most of the issues were with the collector’s edition, and I only got the normal version, so that probably saved me. I booted up the game and spent about 20 minutes waffling about which character I wanted to level first. I logged in to every level 100 alt so they could start gaining rested XP at least. Then I finally decided on my mage. It is just too fun to pass up!

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I decided to go with fire mage even though I usually level as frost. This time around getting the artifact power as I leveled seemed like it would be worth it. I snagged my fancy artifact weapon and then spent a long time wandering around the mage class hall. It is so perfectly magey and I love it!

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I chose Azsuna as my first leveling zone and I was not disappointed. It has been a mix of enemies so far, legion and naga and others. I don’t want to spoil the story yet but it was interesting enough to keep me entertained. I was surprised that I completed the “main” story fairly quickly, since I still have a lot of the zone left to do, but I got the quest to do the Eye of Azshara dungeon. I dinged level 101 and popped back to Dalaran to check on crafting quests and my class hall. That’s when the DDoS attack struck. Since it was getting late anyway I decided to call it a night instead of getting increasingly annoyed at not being able to do anything. I can’t tell you how happy I am to not be in a hurry this expansion. Questing has been fun and pretty relaxed, and I don’t have to get enraged when normal launch day issues happen. I’m really looking forward to finishing Azsuna and seeing what the rest of the zone has to offer before I move on!

Holding Pattern

Legion is launched! Unfortunately I purchased a physical copy and have to wait until this afternoon to play. But!! When preorders went live I bought a copy for my 2nd account, so I could get the level 100 boost right away. I can play Legion this morning, but only on my 2nd account where nothing really matters.DHflex

So I hopped on to my demon hunter, a class that is far down my leveling list on my main account. Hopefully I got enough out of my system to tide me over until I get home from work and school today and log in on my “real” account. I’ve been having fun, but I don’t want to dig too far into things and end up being annoyed at repetition on my main later. It feels a bit awkward, but it is still better than having to wait while everyone else can play this morning!

 

My Legion Launch Preparations

I haven’t made any. Jazz Hands.

Over the past couple weeks I’ve done what I felt like doing instead of making sure every character is prepared for Legion. That means I collected the invasion transmog and used invasions to level alts I’ll probably never play, instead of gearing up the characters who will be first out of the gate in the expansion. Heck, I still haven’t truly chosen a main for Legion yet. Mage is in the lead but I may still cave at the last second and play something that can heal. Who knows?! My alts are in disarray, I haven’t kept up with any gold making activities and I have remained relatively spoiler-free about the leveling content for the expansion. It may look like peak laziness but is in fact a carefully calculated gamble. I’m hoping that by going into the expansion completely unprepared and with no concrete plans, I might just be able to slow down, enjoy the leveling process, and avoid burnout. I don’t have any plans for raiding outside of LFR, but I do have at least 2 groups of folks making noises about mythic+ dungeons and that’s good enough for me. It is so much easier to wrangle 5 people on a regular basis than 10 or 20. Plus, the new Karazhan is set up for 5 people, and that’s the only must-see content I’ve seen announced so far!

I also haven’t done any IRL preparations for the launch of the expansion. No days taken off work, no meals prepped ahead of time, and no plans to stay up late. The last time I did a full-out MMO all night launch party was for WildStar. There’s no way I can muster that kind of enthusiasm for a new WoW expansion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to see everything new, but I’m not in such a hurry to get leveled that I need to stay up all hours and waste precious leave time. It doesn’t help that this is the first week of classes, so there’s not much chance of me getting away for a few weeks anyway. But this weekend is a holiday in the States, and I am sure I’ll be getting a ton of WoW playing done then!

The sense I’ve been getting from my social circles is that people are becoming less likely to go through the full launch night nonsense as time goes on. Lots of folks are already making backup plans for the next few days in case of the ubiquitous server issues or DDoS attacks. Are any of you planning an all-nighter for Legion? or are you planning to face those demons only after a good night’s rest?

What I’m Playing: August 28, 2016

This week has been very strange due to my recent medical “stuff”. I had a bunch of down time, but wasn’t able to actually sit at a computer to play games. As a result my gaming activity for the week ended up being very different from what I had planned.

World of Warcraft: I had grand plans for WoW this week. With the Legion invasion event still going I was hoping to get at least one more character to 100. Since Tuesday I have barely touched the game sadly, so I think the event is effectively over for me. It was fun overall, and I got a lot of leveling done. Still, I’ll be glad for Legion’s launch this week and the copious amounts of new things to do. If this event is a good indication of how the expansion will feel, count me as excited.

Diablo 3: This is where I spent most of my computer time, which was still pretty small. I’ve been working toward upgrading my legendary gems to 65 for the conquest, and also slowly augmenting some of my ancient legendaries so I can tackle higher greater rifts. Rifting has been perfect since each one won’t last any longer than 15 minutes and I can get up from my desk afterward to take a break. It’s been just enough that it makes me want to grab the stash tab this season, but with Legion coming on Tuesday I doubt I’ll stay dedicated enough to finish the job.

Mobile Games: I don’t usually play a huge amount of mobile games but they got a lot more appealing to me this week. I still play Pokemon Go every day, but lately it consists of logging in, catching any pokemon nearby, and logging back out. Instead I’ve been relying on 3 old favorites to pass the time: Tiny Tower, Puzzle and Dragons, and Alphabear. They seem to have the right combination of mindless tapping and cute puzzles to keep me distracted, and I can rotate between the three as resources or my attention span become limiting. It’s not exactly a high caliber of gaming but it has been great to keep me occupied this week.

That’s pretty much it for me this week. Next week is going to be all about the Legion, assuming I can actually sit at a computer long enough to enjoy it. I hope your week was more productive than mine!