A little privacy

You’ve all seen me ramble about some of my social anxiety issues before, but Blizzard has brought it all back to the surface again. In patch 7.1 there’s a new Quick Join feature that allows your friends to see that you’ve joined a queue or a group finder group and easily join you. In theory this can be great. In practice I’m not sure this is something I ever want to use. I’m too timid to randomly join anybody who was starting a queue, I would rather pug than impose on my friends. Conversely, sometimes I want to pug, for the goodie bag or because I’m feeling antisocial. If a friend asks to join either I have to tell them no and feel bad, or let them join and then I’m not doing the pug I wanted to do. At least if you queue for a Call to Arms (goodie bag) it will not show you as available for Quick Join. Maybe I will start only queuing for things that are Call to Arms, honestly that’s not super different from how I play normally. Still, I will continue to shout this from the rooftops: Give us a damn invisible mode already Blizzard.

This also complicates getting mythic or M+ groups for people without a lot of friends on their list. Now any group that forms has a higher chance of filling up with friends-of-friends before strangers get a chance to sign up. This means if you have a huge friends list your chances of doing more mythics just increased, and if you have few friends it will be even harder to get a group. Just add regular mythics to LFD already Blizzard. This Quick Join tool is solving a much less pressing problem, and causing new ones.

I’ve been slowly working my way back up to a friends list with nearly 20 or so people on it, which is about 20 more people than my anxiety could handle before. If this new tool becomes a problem for me, I’m back to either purging my friends list or just running away from the game again. I get that this is not a problem that most people have, but I also know I’m not alone. It would be nice if Blizz ever once gave any indication that they acknowledged people like me exist and have valid concerns.

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The Shortest Season?

Diablo 3 Season 8 is here! I did my usual routine of grouping with friends on Friday night to level. This is the first season in a long time that I just could not get leveled before I crashed for the night. I think I made it to about 54 on Friday, and you could tell the group was getting tired as conversation in voice chat dwindled. On Saturday I got up early and finished leveling, then started working my way through the season journey. I decided to go with a Demon Hunter again this season because it had been so easy the past 2 times. Unfortunately this season’s set, with its buffs to rain of vengeance, just doesn’t feel that great to me. I know it is hard to judge without the full set bonus and all the extra pieces that really make things shine, but I definitely felt like I was having a harder, or at least slower time compared with previous seasons.

It might all be moot at this point, since I finished everything I needed for the first 4 chapters of the season 8 journey by yesterday morning. I’m now the proud owner of a  nice looking portrait frame, and the most disturbing pair of “wings” the game has introduced so far. I think if I want to keep going with this season I will have to farm a different class set, because even with my 6 piece bonus I’m not in love with rain of vengeance. I doubt I will bother, at least for a while, since Karazhan releases in WoW this week and I am sure I’ll be busy with that for a long time.

This season might be the shortest one for me. I’m still glad I participated, I had fun with Diablo this weekend, but there’s not much new and exciting to keep me around when other games have shiny new content. I’ll still hold on to hope that the Diablo franchise gets some serious love this year at Blizzcon.

Last Second Success

Surprise! I played something in the last week that wasn’t Legion! I realized that the Diablo 3 season was ending on Friday evening so I decided to hop in quickly on Friday afternoon to sort through my stash and prepare for merging my seasonal characters back into my non-seasonal stable. Usually I end up doing this after the season ends and I have a ton of items in my mail, and let me tell you, doing it ahead of time is way easier. While I was throwing away everything that wasn’t an ancient legendary, I realized that I was one conquest away from finishing the Destroyer tier of the season journey for season 7. I was pretty close to having 3 gems at level 65, so I decided to run a few rifts and try to go for it. In the process of farming rifts for keystones, I saw the season progress pop up for getting a speed run on a TXIII rift, which is one of the requirements for the stash tab. With just about 2 hours left in the season, I got my gems leveled and completed the Destroyer tier. Since I had gotten that speed run, the only thing I needed to finish Conqueror was a second conquest. About 45 minutes worth of running the Ruins of Corvus over and over again and I finally managed to get a 50 million gold streak and unlock my extra stash tab. It was pretty close to the wire but I did it.

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I think the most satisfying part of the whole thing is that this is the first season I can remember where I didn’t really get carried by anyone else. The friends who usually carry me didn’t play in season 7 or just barely played in the first week or 2 until the pre-Legion hype took hold. I managed to unlock the stash tab all on my own, and even got a personal best of greater rift level 71. Now I just can’t wait to see if there is finally some good news for Diablo fans from Blizzcon this year!

A month of Legion

Are you sick of me talking about Legion all the time? I’ll be honest I’m a little tired of writing about it, but I’m nowhere near sick of playing it. Now that we’re a full month in I wanted to do a little analysis of what’s working and what’s not in this expansion.

Great:
Scaling tech: I was super nervous about how this would work but the reality of it is that it’s seamless. It worked great for leveling and it meant I could run dungeons with friends and not care about everyone’s level at all.

World Quests: I love pretty much everything about this system. They’re varied and usually quick, you can do as few as 4 a day and still get your emissary quest done for rep and loot, and the rewards for individual quests feel more meaningful than the tiny gold and rep you’d normally get from dailies. The fact that you can have up to 3 stored emissary quests also helps you get things accomplished on your own schedule without feeling like you’re missing anything important.

Titanforged Gear: Related to world quests, the fact that any piece of gear can potentially upgrade makes lots of tasks feel more worthwhile. Sure, that quest reward gear might not be that great, but I’ll do almost any quest that rewards gear because there’s that chance it could titanforge and be amazing. I got a sweet pair of i865 boots this way the other day and I’m still excited about it.

Suramar: Suramar as a zone is huge, full of nooks and crannies that I still feel like I haven’t completely explored. Doing all the quests there, I kept finding subzones with long quest lines and tons more content than I expected. On top of that you have Suramar City and the nightfallen. Multiple times questing in the city I got the feeling that I was not even playing WoW anymore, and I mean that in the best possible way. It felt like a completely different, story driven RPG and I loved it.

Mixed feelings:
Legendaries: Random legendaries that change the way you play your class like in Diablo 3 seem pretty neat. The fact that they are a random drop is less neat. For something this powerful, I prefer a way to work towards it. At least they put in a bit of RNG protection behind the scenes. Only a couple of my friends have gotten one yet. I’m sure I’ll get one eventually, but I’m mentally preparing myself for inevitably getting one that is the least helpful for my spec and being sad about it.

Artifact Weapons: Getting artifact traits has been pretty neat, and does a decent job of replacing the fun of getting talents as you level up. The way the gains speed up with artifact knowledge seems to scale pretty well. It still feels a bit bad when you either make a new character and have a long road to catch up, or if you’re trying to split points between multiple specs.

Dungeon Difficulty: I’m mixed on this because while I enjoy the more difficult settings, the system feels a bit cumbersome. Normal, heroic, mythic, and mythic+ feels like a lot of options, but then you realize that the game really wants you to play on mythic or m+. Mythic difficulty has been the most fun by far, and some of the dungeons (I’m looking at you, Darkheart Thicket) feel incomplete or boring at lower settings. Many quests and dungeon meta achievements require mythic difficulty, yet there’s no random group finder for that setting. I really wish they had either allowed quest completion in heroic, or added mythic to LFD. That said, mythic and M+ have been really fun, and I’m hoping I can keep a coherent 5-person group together long enough to progress.

Not so Great:
Professions: Blizz did their usual swing here. Profs went from almost completely meaningless in WoD to complicated quest-locked monstrosities in Legion. For example I need to run around to 6 different old world zones and run a bunch of different dungeons to unlock some things on my jewelcrafter, and the gear I’ll be able to craft after this will still be ilvl 815 and fairly useless.

Meaningless Faction Bullshit: There’s really two items in this category. First is the stupidity of the faction story in Stormheim. It is bad and it should feel bad. I love my chosen faction and will wear my Horde t-shirt with pride like any other nerd but the faction conflict in the story feels incredibly weak and forced. I am so over it. The other item is tagging. Making normal mobs be multi-tag is amazing, but faction locking them is annoying. This doesn’t enhance my faction pride or desire to pvp, it just makes me angry at the designer who thought this was a good idea.

Odd Content Gating: This includes mythic-only dungeons, locking story behind mythics and out of the reach of LFR, and the fact that there’s no LFD for mythics. I am lucky I have a group of friends playing right now but lots of people don’t. Why is so much of the story gated behind more difficult content with no easy grouping option? Related- this contributes to my feeling that LFR is almost entirely useless. You can get better gear from world quests, and it doesn’t work to progress story. Why on earth would anyone go in more than once just to see the fights?


Overall I’m still in love with this expansion a month in. I would currently rank it as my 2nd favorite, after WotLK, and if it keeps going well it might even move up to first place. How do you feel about Legion after the first month?