I haven’t had much time today to put together a post, but I don’t want to break my Blaugust streak. Therefore, please accept this screenshot of my character. I have found what is perhaps the most “me” hat in the history of hats. It may even be better than my scholar’s top-hat from FFXIV. Now I need to run a bunch of dungeons to farm the rest of this set.
A few days ago Alunaria asked me in the comments what my ideal player housing in WoW would look like. I figured it would be more fun to answer with its own blog post, because I’m also curious how you folks would answer this question.
There’s a lot of things I love about WildStar’s housing, and would definitely steal those for my perfect player housing.
- Full control over item placement. Great player housing must allow for player creativity. For me that means lots of cool housing decor, and the ability to move it, rotate it, and scale it in any way I want. “Hook” systems are frustrating. Let me place all my decor freely.
- Multiple ways to acquire decor. WildStar’s decor can be crafted, earned through repeatable activities, dropped from mobs, and gained through quests. Decor should drop in pretty much every type of player content so there are always new items to discover or chase.
- Some pre-built set pieces can be nice. WildStar gives you choices for when you didn’t feel like building your own buildings from scratch. Having some modular pieces like pre-built houses is great for people who want housing but don’t want to micro manage every inch of their space.
- A reason to go back there. Like WoW’s garrisons, WildStar lets you earn some resources through your house. Unlike garrisons, the amount of resources never completely removed the need for gathering in the world. Also WildStar lets you choose other useful things for your plot, like portals to zones you like, or mini-dungeons you can run for fashion or more housing decor. No matter what, there should be some benefit to having a house.
- Social controls and social events. I love that WildStar lets you choose who can enter your house, and what they can do there. For example, you can let your friends harvest your resources, and you can set it so you split then so you both get a benefit when they visit. I would also steal WildStar’s use of housing during seasonal events. Visiting different housing plots to trick-or-treat at Halloween is something every game should do!
- Housing should be accessible. You don’t have to be anywhere near the end game to unlock housing in WildStar, and it doesn’t cost very much to get started. I know WoW loves to add features specifically for new expansions at the level cap, but housing should be something like pet battles, that everyone can hop into right away. Save some fancy decor until higher levels if you have to, but at least let folks get their foot in the door early.
There’s also some housing ideas I like that aren’t stolen directly from WildStar 😛
- The ability to have both guild housing and player housing. This one is basically taken from FFXIV. Have a guild space that also lets players have a small personal section in it. This way folks who don’t want to mess with housing can still have a cool place to hang out for RP and guild events.
- Dynamic neighborhoods. This is my dream feature. I’ve got no idea how to make the tech work, but what I would like is something like FFXIV’s housing districts, but without the crazy prices and housing scarcity that is so annoying in that game. I’d like an instanced zone with 20 – 50 houses set up in a reasonable neighborhood that you can wander around. Unlike FFXIV, all the plots would be the same size, and you’d just pay to upgrade your house or the number of items you can place on your plot. Your neighbors would be semi-permanent, but to keep it feeling lively if someone hasn’t logged in for 60 days someone active or new would get moved into their spot. Maybe you could bypass this for people on your friends list, or in your guild. And if your neighborhood is feeling lonely you could request a new spot near a friend. You would never lose your house from inactivity, and people wouldn’t have to wait for someone to move out to find a plot. You’d just end up with a new neighborhood if you’ve been gone for a while.
- Housing districts in lots of different zones. Don’t just give us one size fits all housing. I want to spent hours agonizing over whether I want a fancy apartment in Suramar, a peaceful treehouse in Moonglade, or an underwater grotto in Vashj’ir. There should be lots of different housing districts to fit lots of different player tastes.
- A choice to link alt housing. I have lots of characters, but not a lot of time and energy to make an awesome house for each of them. Let me choose if I want to let them share a house. Maybe my main wants to have her own big fancy place with all her raid decor, but everybody else could share one cool house instead of each having a mostly empty space.
Most importantly, I would want assurance from Blizzard that if they add proper player housing they aren’t going to abandon it at the start of the next expansion. Garrisons and Order Halls are neat, but it was sad to leave them behind as soon as the next new thing arrived. If they want players to get invested in housing and be creative, the players have to trust that all their hard work isn’t going to get swept away.
I actually hit 120 on Thursday evening. I didn’t use war mode for the xp buff, and I did take my time, read all the quest text, and watched all the cutscenes. There’s so much to do now I’m not even sure where I should start. I was so tired when I dinged that I didn’t do too much with it. Unlocking world quests was simple because even though I still haven’t finished the story quests in all three zones I am at least friendly reputation with their factions. I did a round of WQs so I didn’t miss out on the emissary for the day but then called it a night shortly after.
On Friday I worked a bit on the faction war campaign quests. I had already set up my bases in each of the Alliance zones, but now they were sending me back to start making excursions farther inland. I had the awesome surprise of getting to quest with one of my favorite characters, Lillian Voss. I’m not especially enthusiastic about faction nonsense, but it was nice to have the change of scenery and run around together as murdery bffs. The quest line ended without giving me any more breadcrumbs, so I’m not sure what I should be doing next to progress it. I wandered around to a couple places where there were flight points and found a few random bounty quests but not much else. There are plenty more horde flight paths to discover on my map so I know I’m not done. I suspect something else will open up when I increase my rep with the Horde war faction.
I’ve also run a few (normal) island scenarios. Supposedly they are a good source of azerite. I’m not really sure how I feel about them yet. I like the small (3-person) group size like scenarios in MoP. The islands do seem to be strangely freeform. I’ve seen groups stick together and roll through lots of enemies, and I’ve seen groups where everyone seems to wander off in a different direction. No group I’ve been in has ever done any of the quests that pop up, sadly. I’m sure soon an optimal strategy will evolve and everyone will start doing that. Overall they seemed reasonable to do, but I’m left wondering exactly what was the point. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I can do the more difficult versions with higher rewards. Side note: if you care about getting all your war campaign upgrades quickly, make sure to run a few islands sometime before reset. You have to finish five different ones to unlock one of the tiers of upgrades, and there are only 3 available each week.
I am sitting at the level cap but I still have most of the quests in Nazmir left to do. I plan on working on them slowly in between world quests and dungeons. I’m not in a huge hurry to gear up since I don’t have a raid group and will probably just be doing LFR, but I do want to get at least enough of an ilvl where questing isn’t too painful. As a fresh 120 disc priest the world quests aren’t horribly difficult, but it does take a long time for me to kill things.
I also want to start working on my crafting skills a bit now. I’ll need to find a good place for farming cloth, and send my druid through the intro quests so she can start picking herbs. I wish I had leveled with someone who had double gathering so I could have been selling raw materials all along, but my priest has alchemy and tailoring. They will be expensive to level right now, but should pay off nicely once I have a steady stream of bags and potions to put on the auction house.
Right now most of my friends are still leveling, so I’ll be focusing on getting my emissaries done every day and then branching out into whatever I feel like at the moment. It’s a good time to start working on alts for crafting and for seeing the alliance side of the story. I’m also looking forward to running some dungeons and/or islands with my friends this weekend, and hearing everyone’s reactions to the different zone stories.
So I haven’t actually messed with my baby priest (who was level 48 at the start of this set of dungeons) since BfA launched. But the backlog of pug stories will continue to pad my Blaugust post count while I’m busy enjoying all the new stuff!
As a side note to the dungeon running, I really enjoyed the world level scaling. Since I’ve been getting most of my XP in dungeons, I’ve been able to cherry pick my questing zones and focus on the ones I enjoy. So far that’s been Ghostlands, Silverpine, and Hillsbrad. I really like being able to completely finish a zone without the quests turning gray on me.
Maraudon: The Wicked Grotto: This dungeon was relatively fun, even though things went to hell. You know you’re off to an ominous start when the pally tank zones in and immediately says something along the lines of “you’d better try to keep up.” Things were mostly fine until we got to the first boss. We had tried to skip a bunch of trash but someone who was lagging behind the group pulled. We ended up with the boss and about 3 packs worth of trash. The warlock died but everybody else made it through. Amazingly the tank even complimented my healing. Which of course wouldn’t have been necessary if he’d have kept an eye on the group. In however many years I’ve been healing, trying to skip trash has led to dungeons taking longer way more often than not. Anyway this tank ended up bailing after the satyr boss, but the rest of us kept going to kill Celebras. It was honestly easier without the tank, since we took our time and everyone looked out for each other.
Razorfen Kraul: It feels weird that this one is stuck in the middle of the three Maraudon dungeons. I obviously haven’t run this one in a long time, because there are changes that I do not remember at all. Where did the pig boss go? Anyway I had a pally tank and a solid group. They were mostly quiet but the tank pulled at what was probably the perfect pace for me. We kept moving, but they didn’t pull tons of packs at once. This was a breeze to heal.
Maraudon: Foulspore Cavern: I had another reasonable pally tank for this one. Healing is always more fun when the tank’s pace matches what I’m comfortable with. This dungeon is so short that there isn’t much to say about it. The only rough patch was the area where there’s some ambient damage on the group. It was a little tricky to deal with since I didn’t have all the tools I would like for aoe healing.
I finished off at level 52. At this point almost all of the vanilla dungeons are open to me, and there is no way I’m going to get through them all before I hit 60. I’m not even halfway through them yet! Sadly this is all I finished before BfA, and it will probably be a while before I get back to this alt.
The good news is that this mini-project definitely helped me get comfortable enough with disc healing to try maining it for BfA. It has ridiculous survivability in questing and has been pretty fun in dungeons so far too.
Some BfA spoilers here. Continue reading
I played a ton of WoW yesterday, exploring the new zones and slowly working my way toward the new level cap. When I got my first “go run this dungeon now” quest I was excited to see it. Sadly the character I’m leveling is in a solo guild, and the few friends I have that are actively playing wanted to wait until they finished their zone story before running the dungeon. I’d rather see this stuff with friends, so I waited.
When I eventually leveled up a bit more a new dungeon unlocked. THE MOTHERLODE!! There’s not really any story leading up to this one other than a quick conversation with Gallywix. I was a bit too eager so I decided to take my chances and pug it.
Other than on my “pug story” leveling priest, this is the first time I’ve healed a dungeon as disc in forever. Luckily the practice I got from pugging vanilla dungeons seemed to be enough for me to figure things out. In fact, healing this dungeon was a breeze. It was probably because the tank was 120 and had obviously already been chain running dungeons for a while by the time I healed them.
I don’t have any screen shots of this dungeon to post here because of course the tank chain pulled so fast I could barely keep up. The healing was easy because of their level and gear, but it was frustrating anyway. I had no clue where I was going. I didn’t have any time to look around at the instance or at the map. Nobody explained anything about the boss fights (at least they were pretty straightforward). I expect this kind of thing to happen eventually, but on literally day 1 of a new expansion I guess I was hoping for a different experience.
We all survived, and nobody was rude or anything, so I guess I should just count it as a win. Still, I want to be able to take some time, take some screen shots, and enjoy the newness of the expansion while it lasts.
Last night might have been the most chill expansion launch I’ve ever experienced. I hung out in Discord with just a couple friends and we explored on our own while chatting with each other. Nobody was racing to get to 120. I stayed up until around midnight, and got to 112. Both friends had left long before that. It was nice to take my time to read quests and watch cutscenes without feeling like I was getting left behind.
And oh, there are a lot of cutscenes this time around! When it launched, Legion felt like the most cinematic expansion ever, and BfA is already blowing it out of the water on that front. In the few hours we played last night, several comparisons were drawn to FFXIV and its frequent cutscenes. I hope they continue to find a good balance with them throughout the expansion. Cutscenes give more story and flavor, and they help you feel connections to the characters you are meeting. Too many cutscenes, however, can lead to boredom and frustration when you are on a roll and trying to level.
I’m not going to talk about the story too much since I haven’t even finished one zone yet. I am relieved and not too surprised that, at least at the start, we’ve left the faction war behind and are focusing on local concerns for the Zandalari. If I could just wander the continent with Meerah and Dolly and Dot, solving problems and fighting monsters with no horde vs. alliance conflict in sight forever I’d be pretty happy.
So that sums up my first evening with BfA. What do you folks think so far?
These are a little bit delayed since I had a few other things I wanted to post about. I have been running these vanilla dungeons pretty steadily so far. With the expansion upon us, I’ll have to set this project aside for a bit.
Gnomeregan: This group had a monk tank and a pally that pretended to be a tank. Even though the pally kept pulling everything went fine. Well, except for the fact that I forgot to turn in one step of the quest chain in there, so I didn’t get the quest to kill the last boss. This is possibly my most hated classic dungeon, but I felt like I hadn’t completed it without doing the quest so I went back a second time. I’m glad I did because the second group was super fun. People were chatty, emoting and dancing and having a good time. We even killed one of the extra bosses and people were happy to do it instead of complaining about wasting time. It was definitely the best group I’ve had so far, and I was actually sad when we were finished.
Scarlet Halls: Fast, quiet, no-nonsense group with a warrior tank. There were a few spots where the whole group was taking damage and I didn’t feel like I had enough tools to handle it well, but I did at least handle it. It is very strange to me how different the lengths of some of these vanilla dungeons are now. Blackfathom Deeps seems to go on for days, but the two Scarlet dungeons are over in just a few minutes.
Scarlet Monastery: Paladin tank this time. The group was very “gogogo” but given how short the dungeon is I didn’t really mind. The only time it caused trouble was when I stopped to turn in a quest and everyone ran on without me. Line of sight is still a thing, so one person died. If people pull without looking to see if they have a healer then I can’t be bothered to muster sympathy for them 😛
Wailing Caverns: A relatively uneventful run. The dungeon is a bit long for as low level as it is, but at least it is less of a maze than the original version. I had a warrior tank who was just slightly squishy and liked to keep moving but it was never a problem. I’m starting to have fun looking at the meters and seeing that I’ve done more damage than the DPS.
Blackfathom Deeps: I forgot I had been queuing as both heals and dps. Somehow for this one it put me in as dps. I hadn’t set up my bars or talents yet. Whoops. I got that sorted, and it was a fun run with a decent group. The healer died at one point and I got to save the day. Other than that one slip up there weren’t any issues and we even cleared the extra boss. I wonder how many times I’ll actually get to go shadow…
Stormwind Stockade: Warrior tank who was a little timid on pulls but otherwise fine. They went to Hogger first and I was afraid they would leave without doing the fire elemental boss, but they did actually stay. The fire boss got pulled with a bunch of his trash but it was manageable. Between that quest and a couple more from when I was in queue I dinged 30.
So far in 6 dungeons I’ve only really had one bad experience, and even that wasn’t awful so much as weird. Did I get super lucky? Are WoW players getting soft? Or do I just need to get past the easy introductory dungeons before people start losing their sense of civility?
It’s been a while since my previous reading challenge post. There’s two reasons for that. First, there were a bunch of great books that came out in the past couple months that I couldn’t wait to read. Seriously, if you might be interested in the Cthulhu mythos told from the perspective of a Deep One, check out Ruthanna Emrys’ Innsmouth Legacy series. Or if ghost stories from the perspective of a ghost are more your speed, try the Ghost Roads books by Seanan McGuire.
Anyway the second reason it’s been a while between these reading challenge reviews is that this next book is another by Neal Stephenson. You may remember that my reading ground to a halt during the previous book of his that was on the list. I was so dreading going through that again that I kept putting it off. The book is The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, first published in 1995.
So, was my fear validated? Read on to find out!