Time flies when you’re not gaming much

I haven’t been posting much at all for the past month. It’s not some sort of blog ennui, it’s just that I haven’t been gaming nearly as much as I usually do. It started with the decline in my WoW time. While I found the leveling far better than I anticipated, the rest of the expansion has been decidedly not for me.

The next drop in my game time came from Diablo 3. I was happily chipping away at the season journey, but the fuss over the announcement of Diablo: Immortal sort-of soured me on the franchise for the moment. I tried picking Torchilight 2 back up to get my action RPG fix, and I enjoyed it for a few nights, but it didn’t last. I am too excited about the upcoming Torchlight MMO to get invested in an older game.

As a distraction I booted up Subnautica, which always makes me happy in the way only a game full of weird sea creatures can. I started a new game which was probably a mistake, since I got bored of re-treading the same content and wandered off after only a few nights.

Since then my nights have been mostly filled with knitting and watching the Great British Baking Show, which makes me feel too much like an old person for comfort. The only game I am still playing regularly is Dragalia Lost. After years of playing various games on my phone, they still don’t feel like “real games” to me. Mobile games squeeze in around other things in my life, a few minutes here or there, on the couch or riding in the car. They don’t have the same weight of something that requires me to go up to my office and boot up my PC. I have this weird gamer guilt, that I should be playing something “real”, but mobile has fit my life perfectly recently. With the holidays coming my free time is getting even more fragmented, and 5 or 10 minutes of distraction is about all I can manage. This realization makes me even more excited for the new Diablo game. All the fun of Diablo without being chained to my PC. Count me in.

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Gracie update

I’ll be writing my monthly gaming goals post in a day or so, but I wanted to give a more general update since it has been a bit since my last post. Real life has been interfering with my gaming time quite a bit for the past few weeks. On top of that, my interest in games has dropped sharply, other than for mobile games. The combination means I don’t have a ton to talk about here.

I wish I could pin down why WoW went south so fast for me this expansion. I was skeptical going into BfA because I didn’t love the core theme, but the Horde-side leveling content really won me over. I had a blast through leveling, and was having fun doing dungeons with friends. I’m not sure what killed the fun fastest – the stress of healing M+, the boring re-hash of world quests, or the failure of islands and warfronts to remotely live up to the hype we were sold. I still have a week or two left on my subscription but nothing is motivating me to even log in. The most WoW I’ve played in weeks was to finally run Dragon Soul for the last time on my rogue to get her legendary daggers. Yes, old content from Cata is more appealing that the current expansion endgame right now.

Coupled with the disappointment of WoW is the wet blanket that Blizz has thrown over my hype for the Diablo franchise. With the coveted post-opening-ceremonies timeslot at Blizzcon, lots of people were hopeful for a Diablo 4 announcement this year. Sadly Blizz has already warned us to tone done our expectations. I’m still hopeful that we’re getting some kind of new content for Diablo, even if it is just another character pack for D3 like the necromancer. I’m perfectly happy to keep throwing money at the game to keep development chugging forward if they at least keep giving me something new to be interested in once in a while.

Meanwhile I’ve been mostly poking at Dragalia Lost, which I can do while chilling out on the sofa and watching TV. It’s a nice change from being isolated up in my office all the time. I’ve also been reading for fun instead of chewing through my reading challenge list. I re-read all of the October Daye books by Seanan McGuire to prepare for book 12’s release (spoiler: I liked it). Now I’m re-reading The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson since the sequel to that comes out today. The Traitor Baru Cormorant was the only book I’ve read in the last 10 years or so that I was so engrossed by that I immediately started re-reading it the minute I finished it for the first time. I’m hoping the sequel lives up to it.

Another D3 season

Blaugust took a bit more out of me than I had realized, and I’ve been pretty scarce around here this month. Whoops. I have been busy gaming, mostly focusing on stress reduction and occasionally doing random dumb things with my friends. That includes old raids for transmog and mounts/pets, running LFR and snarking about how terrible it is, and my main focus in the past week – killing demons in D3.

Season 15 is about a week old, and I’m much more engaged than I expected to be. It is hard for me to tell whether I’m going to bounce or not in any given season lately. Sometimes I just do the minimum to get the cosmetic rewards, other times I’m pushing all the way through the season journey ranks. I think this time around the combination of the luster fading from WoW’s new expansion and growing Diablo hype surrounding Blizzcon have made me much more excited to play than usual. I am really hoping for a big announcement this year, either a major new expansion or an entirely new D4 would make my Blizzcon.

As for this season, I think the fact that I arbitrarily chose to level a necromancer instead of a demon hunter is also helping keep me more entertained than usual. I don’t know the class as well so I have to focus a little more, and I don’t have all the builds and gear memorized so getting legendaries feels more exciting because I’m seeing new things. I’m also more motivated to farm good gear because I don’t have a completely ancient, augmented necromancer waiting for me in non-seasonal like I do with DH. The things I get this season might actually not get broken down for parts when the season ends.

I went with the Rathma + Jesseth build since Rathma’s was the free set this season, and it’s quite powerful. Once I finally got all the pieces for the build I rocketed through greater rifts and pushed up to 70 with no problems. Well, I died a lot, but I killed things so fast that I still had no trouble beating the timer. It did take me an unusually long time to get all the key legendaries I needed for my build this season. The two necromancer-only rings were the most elusive, which was frustrating because the circle of buy-one-get-one-free skeletal mages is really crucial. I finally had to resort to some degenerate behavior to force it to drop. Specifically, that ring has a minimum level requirement of only 11, which allows a nice trick to work. Instead of gambling at Kadala at level 70 and having a chance of every ring in the game, I leveled a new baby necromancer to 11 and gambled with her instead. That meant I was drawing from a pool of around 3 possible rings, instead of whole endgame loot table. This technique works best for items that can drop at very low levels, but if you find yourself in the situation where that one thing you need just won’t drop, it might be worth it to try.

Now that I’m all decked out (and have unlocked the possibility of primal ancients) I’m working my way through the season journey. I’ve cleared through Champion and just need one conquest to finish Destroyer. I definitely plan to get through Conqueror, and hopefully drag my buddy Belghast through with me since he still has a few stash tabs to unlock. The conquest choices this season are not some of my favorites. I plan on grabbing avarice first, since with the double bounty box event this season it will be very easy to cheese that one. The next easiest is probably the thrill, since I’ll have lots of paragon levels and high level gems to make GR45 less painful with or without a set. After that the realistic options are either masters of the universe, which requires leveling and farming gear with a second class, or boss mode, which will be very hard with only one or two people.

We’ll see if I keep my momentum this season or fizzle out before finishing. For now I’m still having lots of fun!

Friends and ponies

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What do you do when a dear friend has an extremely bad day? You help chase their troubles away with nostalgia. We went to ICC for fashion and fun, but lo and behold this beauty dropped. I’ve run ICC so many times I was starting to believe Invincible didn’t really exist, but there it was. Personal loot actually awarded it to me, and on any other day I would have squealed loudly and kept it without question. But since I was only there in the first place because of my buddy, I opted to roll for it. He won fair and square, and I handed it over gladly. It was such a ridiculously lucky find and I hope it really helped him feel better. I don’t get to keep those particular pixels, but I do get to keep the awesome memory of hanging out, having fun, and laughing about this stroke of luck.

Forget your fears

Over the last few days I’ve been basking in the joy of having a group of friends all actively playing WoW together. I started this expansion somewhat resigned to the idea that I’d be pugging if I was running group content at all. Now, I’m almost daring to hope to be able to put together a small casual raid group. It’s so exciting!

Part of what makes me so happy about this is that it lets me do some extra dumb things that simply would not fly in a pug. For example, the other night I ran my first mythic. Now, I’ve had a reasonable ilvl for a bit so I could have been pugging these, but I chose not to. For whatever reason, the random groupfinder is fine, but my brain gets extra stressed out by having to apply to groups in the LFG tool. Instead, I grabbed a group of friends and coerced them into running a mythic. I had to coerce, because two of them were not even geared enough to randomly queue for heroics yet. I figured we might get a boss down and then give up and swap to heroic. What actually happened is we used CC and careful pulls and finished the mythic, while only wiping a couple times. It reinforced my negative opinions about people requiring 340 ilvl to run a mythic-0, and also reinforced my love for my silly friends.

This ridiculous process was the most fun I’ve had in WoW in a very long time. What I really want to do is translate this into raiding too. We might not get a full clear anytime soon but we can use every trick we have to get as far as we can, and laugh a lot doing it. The communities feature lets us scrape together our friends from every server, so that’s what we’re going to do. Check out Bel’s post if you are on a NA server, Horde side, and want to get in on this stupid fun.

2018 Blaugust wrap-up

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Today is the last day of Blaugust, and everyone is starting to reflect on the month and what we’ve accomplished. Before I get to that, though, I want to thank Belghast for setting everything up this year. There’s a bunch of time and stress associated with getting a community project like this off the ground. I’m so very grateful that he made the effort to revive Blaugust, give us some guidance and our Discord, and be our biggest cheerleader during this month of nonsense.

I managed to get 29 posts written here this year (counting this one). I would have had a perfect 31 but I decided to take last weekend off to avoid burn-out. Luckily I also have my other blog, where I have faithfully posted every single day. So in fact I will have a total of 60 posts up for the month. That’s so much blogging!

One thing that really set this year apart for me was the amount of interaction I’ve had with my fellow bloggers. I had more than double the views and almost ten times the comments compared to this time last year! I definitely attribute that to being more active in the comments here and on the blogs I’m reading. There are always so many awesome things to read over Blaugust, but I really made an effort to try to comment more this year too, which led to some really fantastic conversations. Most years I feel so exhausted and burnt-out after posting every day for a month that I end up taking a big break in September. This year I’m really motivated to stay active because I don’t want to miss out on chatting with the new friends I’ve made.

Thank you, fellow bloggers, for making this the best Blaugust ever!

BfA pet battling

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I’m not sure why I suddenly got back into pet battling, but I’m enjoying it. I didn’t finish many of the pet battle achievements in Legion, and now I’m considering going back. At least I should probably go and capture all the wild pets I’m missing.

I did catch every wild pet in BfA for this achievement. I really like some of the new pet models, especially the bees and butterflies. The most annoying one was the glutted bleeder. Not only is it super gross looking, but it has the “burst” ability. That makes it hard to catch, since it would rather explode and kill itself than let you capture it. I ran around in Nazmir for a while until I found one that had a different ability in that slot so I could actually catch it.

I’m not worrying about making sure all of my wild pets are rare for now. I have such a huge stable of pets that I only worry about specific ones if they have a useful or unique skill set. I do want to be able to beat all of the pet battle world quests so I can get enough currency to buy all the vendor pets and toys. There are a lot of things to spend pet charms on this expansion!

Ding 120!

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.

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I want to live here.

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.