First allied alt leveled!

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Working on this nightborne mage has been on my goal list for a couple months. I finally finished leveling her this week. Once you get to 90, the rest of the levels just fly. I wish the whole process had been like that. I got her to 100 mostly collecting treasures and doing the occasional WoD “world quest”. From 100 – 110 I relied on invasions and one zone worth of questing. I don’t know why they decided to make the leveling so uneven, but 20 –  80 and 80 – 110 feel like completely different games.

So now I have another 110 mage. The problem I have with her is that she’s too much fun! I want to try to get at least one more alt leveled before BfA gets here, but I’m not excited enough about any of them to push them through. Frost mage is a good fit for my play style and “class fantasy” enjoyment, plus she’s been surprisingly survivable, even on Argus. I even ran part of Antorus with her. My dps was terrible, but then again, my gear was the minimum to get in the door. At least I wasn’t bad enough to get booted after a wipe (several others were kicked that run).

If I want to make my goal I need to set her aside and choose between my highmountain monk, lightforged pally, or velf priest. I love the look of the velf the most, but priest always feels like a dead weight to level. I still sort-of consider my disc priest my main, but I don’t like the way the spec plays right now. On the other hand, I enjoy the monk playstyle quite a bit, but I already have 3 max-level monks sitting around. The pally is just a giant question mark. My belf pally was my first real main, waaay back in TBC. Since then I’ve always leveled her with each expansion, but I’ve never done enough to really understand the class and how it has evolved. Basically I have no idea what I’m doing on a pally these days, and no sense of whether I would enjoy it or not.

So those are my options for my next alt to level. I would flip a coin, but I can’t seem to find one with 3 sides. Which one would you choose?

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The New New Mouse

DSC_0401I’m a gaming mouse user. I’ve been a convert to the Razer Naga since back in my “hardcore” WoW raiding days (circa 2009). The side buttons take some getting used to, but once you do there is no going back.

Sadly, although the design and functionality of the Naga is fantastic, the actual craftsmanship doesn’t hold up to my use. I end up needing a new one every 1-2 years. At $70 – $100 a pop, that adds up. My current Naga had been doing a little bit better than the average. It was over 3 years old and just starting to get a little flaky on me. I thought I might get 4 years of use out of it, right up until my cat decided it would be a fun time to chew completely through the cable.

I decided to use this cat-astrophe to try something new. Since I can’t imagine gaming without my beloved thumb buttons there were only a few options. I know from trying them out in the store that the Logitech version is a bit big for my hands, further narrowing my choices.

DSC_0413My final pick was the UtechSmart Venus. It has a ton of bells and whistles that I probably don’t need, for less than half the price of my beloved Naga. One bonus that I do like is the adjustable weight. I’ll probably be playing with that over the next couple days until I find the right fit. It also has the requisite number of buttons, and the ability to tune the color to match my keyboard. Fashion is always important, people.

The default settings were overly sensitive, but configuration was pretty fast and painless. As a bonus, I don’t have to register for an online account like with the Naga software. So far I like it quite a bit. Even though it is wider than the Naga, it isn’t much longer, so it is still very comfortable in my small hand. Much of the extra size is simply giving me more comfortable places to rest my fingers. I especially like the thumb rest. It’s the sort of thing you don’t realize you need until you try it.

So far no regrets with this purchase. I look forward to putting it through its paces!

Reading Challenge Interlude: The First 25 Books

I started working my way through NPR’s list of the top 100 sci-fi and fantasy novels almost two years ago, in August 2016. Rendezvous with Rama represents the 25th book on the list, so I’m officially averaging a little bit faster than one book per month. I wanted to use this milestone to look back at what I’ve read so far and see how my personal rankings match up with the list.

I’ve been updating my spreadsheet every time I finish a book, and adjusting my rankings as I go. Goodreads also has a version of this list, with a different ranking order based on their users. I’ve included all three (NPR, Goodreads, my personal rank) because I think it is useful to see how they compare. I have some suspicions about how the demographic differences between Goodreads users and NPR survey respondents play out in the different rankings.

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Since I’ve been updating my order as I go, it’s been interesting to see how things have shifted. For example, The Space Trilogy and The Xanth Series started at the bottom of the list and haven’t budged. Nothing since has been quite as bad as those two. Likewise, the Doomsday Book was my first 5-star review, and it has stayed at the top of my list until getting dethroned by Rendezvous with Rama, 20 books later. The amazing books and the truly awful books are all pretty easy to place. What is really difficult is sorting all the 3- and 4-star books. It is getting even harder as I finish more books and the less-memorable ones start getting fuzzier in my mind.

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Cheesy Achievement

There’s this long-term goal I’ve been working on for a while now. It started a bit by accident, then when I fully realized it was possible I started actively pursuing it. It is one of the Legion meta-achievements, and even rewards a fancy new mount for completing it! I’m talking about “Free for All, More for Me” PvP achieve. It requires you to do each of the four free-for-all PvP world quests in Legion 20 times each.

WoWScrnShot_050918_093443If you know me at all, you might guess that doing FFA PvP is near the bottom of my list of “things I want to do, ever”. It’s somewhere above “have spinal surgery” but still well below “clean the litter box when my cat is sick”. I dislike PvP, and those quests seem to bring out the worst in people. However, I have a backup plan. Many of the class halls have an option that lets you auto-complete one world quest ever 18 hours. I have alts of many classes. You might see where this is going.

I started out haphazardly completing these quests on multiple alts whenever I remembered to do it. Then I discovered that the achievement is not account-wide. That meant that doing 20 darkbrul arenas on my mage didn’t count toward the progress on my pally, who had completed more of the quests overall. Oh well. It didn’t make the process any more difficult, it just slowed me down some.

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Anyway this week I finally completed it. Darkbrul was the one that took the longest, mostly because of the way the quest timing works out. That one is more likely to be up early in the morning in my time zone, rather than in the evenings when I usually play. It doesn’t help that the PvP quests get overwritten by the invasion events when they are up, which has also messed up the timing for me. Lately I’ve been checking the Legion app in the morning before work, and if it is up I’ll go complete it.

I have this weird sense of satisfaction about getting this achievement in this incredibly cheesy way. Take that, developers who tried to encourage world PvP! Now I can go back to using my free WQ completion for more useful things, like honor tokens and armor appearances I am still missing!

Blogaversary!

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I got congratulated by WordPress recently on my 6-year anniversary. That didn’t seem right. Long-time readers (you’re both awesome, by the way) might note that I started this blog just before the launch of WildStar. I did some digging and was embarrassed to discover that I’d forgotten an aborted attempt at blogging during my SWTOR days. I’m not sure I ever actually went live with it, but I was planning a blog called “The Disgraceful Jedi”. I suppose it was due to unspoken peer pressure from my time with the Snark Side folks. That guild was overflowing with bloggers. I still count a couple of those guildies among my dearest friends, so I must have been doing something right even without joining all of their nonsense.

In any case, I did start blogging eventually, as you can see. It took WildStar’s awesome housing system to get me excited enough to do it. My first post here was in May 2014. During that time when I was madly in love with WildStar I was was writing tons of commentary and guides.

By 2015 I was still playing heavily, but I was blogging less. I had months-long gaps between posts here. I did participate in Blaugust that year though, and wrote my serious of shiphand / expedition guides. Later that year WS went free-to-play and my branching out to other games became more common.

In 2016 WildStar was becoming “inexplicably unsatisfying” to me. I played a lot of Diablo 3 and various solo games like Subnautica and Stardew Valley instead. That year I did at least manage to write something here every month. The launch of WoW:Legion sucked me back into that game and provided plenty of blog fodder. August 2016 was also when I started my reading challenge. On the one hand, it’s depressing that I still have so far to go to finish that list of 100 books. On the other hand, I’ve really been enjoying the process so who cares how long it takes?

By 2017 I was consistently writing “monthly goals” posts. It has helped me prioritize my gaming, and has the added benefit of letting me remember more clearly what I was working on back then. That year was a bit overwhelming with tons of great game releases. Between Horizon Zero Dawn, FFXV, Diablo 3’s Rise of the Necromancer, Destiny 2, and FFXIV: Stormblood, my dance card was very full. I somehow also managed to make time for some random completionist projects too. I cleared all of D3’s set challenge dungeons, and got all of the class mounts from WoW: Legion.

That brings us to this year. So far I’ve felt a bit adrift. I have a couple small projects going in WoW, but my play time there is pretty small. I’ve dabbled in D2, FFXIV, Monster Hunter, and D3 but nothing has been very sticky. Sometimes I’ve had more book posts here than game ones. Also I’ve been spending a lot more of my time and energy on my Creative Thing activities. I’m hoping that the next WoW expansion will bring some focus, but I am finding it hard to get hyped since I actively dislike the faction conflict premise.

I’m glad I have been writing here the past four years. I’ve met some cool people, and had interesting dialogs with commenters and other bloggers. I also have this record of what I’ve been up to for the past few years. Ultimately I guess I keep doing this because it is fun!