Whoops. I accidentally got the Mountacular achievement, for getting 250 mounts. How was it an accident? Well, over the weekend I crafted a few of the jewelcrafting panther mounts that I was still missing. Today I happened to swap over to my paladin alt, and was greeted with the achievement when I logged in. I guess those panthers, on top of the original paladin mount and the one from the argent tournament were enough to push me over 250 once I logged on. What a happy surprise!
The felfire hawk reward is quite pretty, I love the color. I figured Wrath-era players might get a chuckle out of me posing here. Back before flying was enabled over old Dalaran, you could stay mounted if you could land in just the right spot on the well. That combined with the prime real estate in front of the bank made it a hot spot for showing off. Anyway, getting this mount was a fun distraction that really brightened my day!
I finally finished up the last class mount quest. The warrior class hall and story is very much not for me, much like the warrior class in general. I like the aesthetic of the halls of valor just fine, but I hate Odyn, he’s a jerk. That made all the class quests running around doing his errands for him so painful. The mount quest was more of the same, proving myself for the 10,000th time to Odyn by beating 4 other champions in combat. Then for some reason when he gave me my mount, I punched it in the face? Must be a warrior thing…
Anyway now I’ve got all of the possible class mounts, so that’s one huge goal checked off of my gaming goal list. It’s been fun seeing all the different class stories and the various mount questlines. I think the rogue mounts are my favorites, I just love the look of those ravens. The paladin quest was probably the best quest though, just for the sheer nostalgia factor. Now that I’m done with these I need to figure out some other silly goal to keep me busy for a while!
Between the upcoming holidays and various real life happenings, I haven’t been immersing myself in gaming like usual. A lot more of my free time has been dedicated to various creative/crafty things instead and I feel really good about that. It’s relaxing in a different way than gaming is for me, and at the end of the day I have something more tangible to show for it. I will never consider time spent gaming as time “wasted”, but I do sometimes have to think about what I really have to show for all the hours spent.
Playing through the story of a single-player game, or questing through the main story of a MMO are easy to justify. To me that’s the equivalent of watching TV or reading a book, consuming content. Group activities like raiding are more like sports. You’re developing a skill, but also socializing with your teammates. Then there’s the repetitive, grindy stuff I often do in games. I find it hard to find an analog for that in other leisure activities. Leveling that 15th alt is a bit like binging reruns of your favorite TV show I suppose. But grinding? Whether it is gearing for raiding, chasing primal ancients in Diablo, or gaining reputation for a cosmetic reward, grinding is a lot of work and time spent for very small gains. Yet those grindy tasks are the things I gravitate toward toward when I am using gaming as an escape from daily stress.
Leisure activities, by definition, don’t actually have to be productive. Leveling through Outland for the 1,000th time is as valid as writing a novel. But societal pressures put very different values on those two tasks, and personally I get a bit more gratification from creating rather than consuming. I think I’ve got a good balance now that I’ve been doing daily creative things for a few months. Sometimes I don’t have a ton of time for both creating and consuming on a given day, and I’ll devote my time based on how much energy I have.
I’m not entirely sure what the point of all this is, except that creating things is hard work and it’s ok to consume things like games. You don’t have to be productive all the time, but it is nice to feel creative when you can.
Last Thursday was the start of Diablo 3’s Season 12. Once again I abandoned my paragon levels and stash full of ancient legendaries so I could start fresh. This time around I am playing a necromancer. My thought was this was the only class I haven’t finished all the set dungeons for, so if I can get all the pieces I need I can knock that out as part of the season journey and check off one of my long-term goals.
I haven’t been very engaged with D3 lately, and even though I’m participating in the season it is not my gaming focus. Still, I managed to knock out the first four chapters of the season journey over the weekend. That earned me my cosmetic rewards, which include a nice portrait and a sweet set of druid-themed wings.
I don’t have any plans to push much farther into the journey, but I’ve been enjoying myself enough to keep playing for now. I got a carry from a friend which helped beef up my paragon levels a bit, and can solo T8 without breaking a sweat. I don’t love the blood magic theme of the free set necromancers get this season, but I don’t have a full set of anything else yet. I need to get a few more key pieces of gear so I can handle T13 and push greater rifts. We’ll see if I stick with this season long enough to do that, or if I wander back to Destiny 2 where all my friends are right now.
Destiny 2 has been out for a few weeks now, and I’ve been happily playing at least a little bit every day. When I was preparing for the launch, I suspected that either I would be super hooked and play obsessively like my friend Belghast, or I would play hard for a short while and then bounce. What actually happened is much more interesting.
Destiny 2 is pretty great at encouraging moderate daily play. Every day there are goals that move your character forward in small doses. there are also weekly tasks with more substantial rewards, and you can usually find some overlap with the daily goals for efficiency’s sake. Sure, you can keep grinding reputation tokens and grind for the rare exotic engram from any activity at any time, but if you complete your main tasks for the week you’ve gotten most of what you are going to get without extreme luck.
What all this means for me is that I play every day, but usually stop working on my main after I’ve accomplished my daily goals or gotten one of my weekly “powerful engrams”. After that I feel free to play alts, play other games, or just do something else in general. It feels strangely healthy.
That said, I have still been playing a bunch. I even got to see part of the raid last week. I was pretty nervous because I’m not great at shooters and I worried about being able to hold my own, but it seems like I did okay. I never raided at all in the original Destiny, and I had trouble wrapping my head around what a raid in a FPS game would even look like. The encounters were more interesting than I expected, and I had a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to getting back in there this weekend.
So that’s my status with D2 at the moment. I’m enjoying it but I’m not obsessively spending every free moment with it. Hopefully that will continue for a long time.
Blizzcon has come and gone and now it is time to settle in and think about all the new things that got revealed. Time to look at the things I listed last week and see how they match up with what was announced.
The things I wanted to see:
- More Naga. It looks like there might be more naga? Kul Tiras seems like a likely place to run into some. But there’s not the Azshara emphasis I was hoping for with the expansion story.
- Better handling of professions. I haven’t heard much one way or the other about professions, so I’ll have to reserve judgement on this one.
- Housing/ Guild Halls. This looks like it is still a no.
- More Puzzles. Seems likely.
The things I really didn’t want to see:
- Sylvanas or Jaina as a raid boss. Based on the expansion theme I am really nervous about this one.
- Amped up faction BS. They completely doubled down on this. I was so disappointed it made the rest of Blizzcon way less enjoyable for me.
- More endless grinds. Looks like the Heart of Azeroth is the new artifact weapon, but we’ll see how endless of a grind it becomes.
- Removed leveling game. This is the only point in this section that I feel good about. Level scaling in brackets for the whole world seems great.
Overall I’d say that the announcement of Battle for Azeroth was a disappointment for me. Of course I’ll end up playing it, I’ve been playing WoW for way too long to think that I’d miss an expansion launch even if I think I won’t like it. The launch cinematic looked amazing, I especially loved seeing the Banshee Queen go all actual banshee. But the amped up faction tension thing is a huge turn off. I want more ways to be able to play with my friends, not more barriers. If they let you play cross faction, join cross faction guilds, etc., then I’d be so much happier. I think the Horde and Alliance going to war at this point in the WoW story is incredibly stupid, but I’d put up with it if the devs said “sure the story is one of war, but mechanically you can still play with whoever you want”. Instead they doubled down. I hate it.
The PvP on every server thing doesn’t help. Some leveling zones are notorious for people trying to draw out world PvP by shutting down quest hubs. Sure, now you can level in a broader range of zones, but you also encourage people to do dumb things to fish for world PvP. I understand why they think they need to do this, but I still don’t like it.
About the only announcement I did get excited over was the Classic server announcement. I hope that they have the resources to move that project forward quickly. At this point I’m much more interested in a trip down memory lane than moving forward with the story they’re telling now.
With BlizzCon hype in full effect and only hours left before the big show, I can’t help but get swept up in all the excitement. We’re almost certain to get an announcement of a new WoW expansion, but what will it be? I don’t have any insider knowledge, and have mixed thoughts about what might be coming. What I do have are some ideas about what I do and don’t want to see in the next expansion.
4 Things I Really Want to See in the Next Expansion:
- More Naga. Playable naga even. I enjoyed the naga bits in Azsuna and always love getting more Azshara lore. It seems likely that Azshara is going to keep turning up, and I’ll be happy to see more naga around when she does.
- Better handling of professions. The devs had their hearts in the right place with Legion. I like the idea of having some quests along the way with professions. Where Legion professions fell down was in the huge amount of RNG for getting quest drops and recipes, and with the need to run dungeons and even mythics to progress. I’d like each profession to have a mini story told in a quest chain again, but no groups required. My 10,000 alts shouldn’t need to rely on darkmoon faire to skill up to max.
- Meaningfully customizable player and/or guild spaces. Housing. Guild Halls. Whatever you want to call it. Garrisons were okay but not customizable at all and very isolating. Class halls are a bit nicer, they’re much more flavorful but again not customizable in any meaningful cosmetic way. Give me a space where I can show off my achievements or those of my guild!
- Continuation of puzzles/riddles with cosmetic rewards. I still haven’t gotten the newest “riddle” mount yet, but I like the idea of these. Even though I’d never be able to figure out the answers on my own, I enjoy looking them up, learning about how they figured everything out, and going through the in-game scavenger hunt. I hope there’s more of these to come.
4 Things That Could Sour a New Expansion for Me:
- Sylvanas or Jaina as a raid boss. Both of these lore figures have been showing signs that things are changing for them. Both have had treatment at the hands of the story that has been “inconsistent” to put it mildly. I personally love Sylvanas and hate Jaina as characters, but neither of them deserve the Garrosh treatment. If either of these ladies ends up as a boss fight that might be the thing that makes me check out of WoW for good. The creative team can and should do better by these characters.
- Amped up faction tensions. I’m proudly “FOR THE HORDE” but I’d also just as soon ditch faction boundaries so I can play with my friends. The faction conflict in Legion in Stormheim felt stale and useless to me. The world is ending, it’s time to stop the petty faction bickering and band together. An expansion that puts renewed emphasis on faction divides will be a major disappointment to me.
- More emphasis on endless grinds. I loved the artifact weapons in Legion, right up until concordance became a thing. Keep the idea of class- or spec-specific story quests and gear. Ditch the endless slog of endgame grinding for one more 0.01% upgrade. I get satisfaction from feeling “finished” with a character for a patch. In Legion once I saw that there was no end in sight I checked out instead of signing up for the grind.
- No leveling game. Every expansion it seems like people predict “this will be the one that gets rid of leveling”. No. I enjoy the leveling experience. Heck Warlords, one of the worst expansions ever in my estimation, still had a pretty decent leveling story. Leveling forces a little bit of slowdown before the rush into engame group content. It also gives the devs breathing room to tell a big story plus plenty of smaller ones. Having lots of zones and stories also gives my alts something different to do when I’m leveling 12-15 characters at the end of an expansion. A WoW without levels is a WoW I’m not very interested in at all.
I was trying to make a list of 5 and 5 but just couldn’t come up with anything else that would really make or break a new expansion for me. And I think that’s a good thing. I’m long past the point of getting super excited or super angry about anything WoW throws at me, but I do still love the game and enjoy my time there. So no matter what the news looks like from BlizzCon, I expect I’ll be gearing up to play the next installment.
What is it about getting older that makes the months seem to go by in a blur? Probably the lack of sleep from playing too many games. Anyway it’s time to review my October goals and make some new ones for November.
October Goals in Review:
WoW: Level either my warrior or my horde monk to 60. Done! I did even better and got my warrior to 100 and got her artifact.
Get at least one more of the concordance pet/mount/toy rewards I’m missing. Done! I think I actually have all of the concordance rewards now, unless there’s one for warriors that I’m not aware of.
D3: Master the last Necromancer set dungeon. Nope. I didn’t get much D3 time in this month at all.
Legendary: Get a maxed-star card of every color. Done!
Destiny 2: Hit the level cap. Done!
WoW: Get the warrior to 110. This should be reasonable to do in a weekend, especially if I can catch some invasions and/or the darkmoon faire. Once I get her class mount I can call Legion “finished” as far as I’m concerned.
Destiny 2: Try the raid. I’m having a blast in D2 so far and I want to capitalize on the fact that so many of my friends are playing right now too. I still have no illusions about being hardcore or good at this game, but I’d like to at least see what a raid in Destiny looks like.
Diablo 3: Finish the last Necromancer set mastery I’m missing. I really do want to knock this out and put set dungeons behind me forever (until new classes or sets come along anyway).
Complete the baseline chapters of the Season 12 journey. I’m not really feeling D3 much right now but a new season starts soon and I want to try to get the cosmetic goodies during the initial rush like I usually do. There’s new wings this season and I don’t want to miss out on them!
That’s a very modest list for November, hopefully that will set me up for success!