Diablo 3 Season 12

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.

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Destiny 2 Settling In

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.

November 2017 Gaming Goals

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!


November Goals:

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!

Smooth Destiny 2 Launch

Destiny 2 launched on Tuesday afternoon and by most accounts it was a success. The only problem I’ve encountered is that the Clan interface seems to be broken. Other than that I’ve seen no bugs, lag, queues, or any of the other headaches that usually accompany an online game launch. Impressive!

I’m recently back from a vacation so I can’t take extra time off to play, but I still managed to get to level 20 already. The main story of the game feels exceedingly short, but this is expected. The meat of the game happens at the level cap of course. I spent so much time running around doing public events and “adventures” that I hit 20 well before I was finished with the story. That meant I got to motor through the story in one go late last night. It didn’t have much in the way of surprises but it was fine. I don’t exactly play Destiny for the compelling story anyway. It did have a couple great cutscenes and some epic battle sequences and that made me plenty happy.

Speaking of happy, the game runs great on my machine and I’m fully converted to PC controls. When I tried the beta, I used a controller since I was so accustomed to playing on the PS4. For the actual launch, I decided to give the mouse and keyboard a try and I’m extremely glad I did. I think if I didn’t have a gaming mouse with extra buttons I probably would like the controller better, since my tiny hands have trouble hitting all the keybinds quickly. However, with my Naga I had no trouble swapping weapons and using my abilities. Since the control scheme is so different I don’t have any outdated muscle memory interfering with my progress. Now I just need to get better at aiming.

Overall my opinion of D2 is that it’s a very solid successor to Destiny. My two complaints so far are that shaders are now single-use, and that you can only infuse gear of the same item type. Otherwise the game is so similar to the original that it feels almost like a PC relaunch instead of a new game. For some people that might be a bad thing but I enjoyed the heck out of Destiny and I foresee a lot of enjoyment of D2 in my future!

October 2017 Gaming Goals

Another month, another round of gaming goals. I was surprisingly productive in WoW last month, and also knocked out one very large long-term D3 goal. What’s in store this month?

September Goals in Review:

WoW: Get my shaman class mount. Done! DK mount too!

Do more Robosquids stuff. Nope. With the GW2 expansion and Destiny 2 releases, we just couldn’t get everyone together to play.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Finish a second playthrough to see all the updates. Nope. I made a bunch of progress on it though. I’m enjoying this replay and don’t want to rush.

D3: Finish the Barbarian set mastery. Done! This is one of the most satisfying gaming goals I’ve ever achieved. Those set mastery wings were worth it!

Legendary: Get a maxed-star card of every color. Done!


October Goals:

WoW: Level either my warrior or my horde monk to 60. I’ve been bouncing between these two characters and I want to pick one and get some solid leveling done.

Get at least one more of the concordance rewards I’m missing. I’ve gotten most of the mounts, pets, and toys for the characters I have at 110. My rogue is still missing 2 mounts, and I don’t have any of the hunter rewards yet, so those are what I need to focus on this month.

D3: Master the last Necromancer set dungeon. I went digging through my achieves and realized I’m only missing one mastery for the Necro. There’s no fancy rewards for mastering all the Necromancer dungeons, but it just doesn’t feel right to leave this unfinished.

Legendary: Get a maxed-star card of every color. Wait wasn’t this a goal I completed last month? Yes but… it turns out I’ll be getting a new phone soon, and plan to switch from iOS to Android. That means starting over. Ugh. I’ve been messing around with the game on my (android) tablet some already, so hopefully in a month I can get mostly caught back up.

Destiny 2: Hit the level cap. The game launches late in the month, and I don’t want to rush myself.  I do expect to be spending a lot of quality time with it though, so I think this goal is reasonable in a week of play time.

Barbarian Mastered

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Barbarian. The last of the RoS-era Diablo 3 classes that I still needed to master for my wings. There was some misery to be had here, partly because I really have no clue how to play a barbarian and partly because of the dungeons being awful.

I had most of the Might of the Earth set laying around, so I focused on that dungeon first. This one was very hard for me. The objectives were to use leap, ground stomp, and earthquake in under 6 seconds on every elite, and to freeze and kill at least 1 enemy every 10 seconds for one minute. These felt pretty daunting, especially since I don’t know much about playing a barbarian. On my first attempt I got the freeze objective but didn’t even hit a single elite with the required 3 attacks. As I kept attempting it, I lost count of my failures. Either the elites would die too quickly, or more often the cooldown on earthquake would not quite be finished when I engaged the next elite. The map is quite large but I got used to it over the course of many attempts, and when I finally mastered it I had almost a minute leftover. Success came when I slowed down and made sure all my abilities were ready before I engaged each elite.

Second on the list was the Immortal King’s Call. This one goes up there with the Invoker’s set dungeon on the list of the easiest ones to master. Your objectives are to kill all of the elites while the 400% damage bonus from the set is active, and to kill 150 enemies while Wrath of the Berserker is active. I one-shot this one, without looking at the map and without even really taking the time to familiarize myself with the requirements or my abilities. I had an entire minute left on the timer too. If you’re looking for an easy one to complete your season’s journey, this is a good bet.

Raekor’s was up next. The objectives are to hit 15 different enemies with a single furious charge (x6), and to hit 15 enemies with a 3750% damage bonus spender. Both objectives were pretty easy independently, but it took 2 tries to get both done and still have enough kills for the mastery. The map is one big loop so it is deceptively simple, but there are a lot of corners and side passages for mobs to hide in. Luckily all those corners also make it pretty easy to group up enough to hit with your furious charge. Overall this one wasn’t bad.

The very last dungeon I needed to complete Barbarian mastery and to complete the achievement for all the pre-necromancer masteries was the Wrath of the Wastes dungeon. Little did I know that it is hands down the worst set dungeon in the game. The first objective isn’t too bad, Rend 10 enemies at once (x5). There’s plenty of enemies and once you get the hang of the layout you’ll know exactly where you’re likely to find big enough groups. And you will be learning the layout. Intimately. Because the second objective is awful and you will fail a lot, or at least I did. “Do not take any physical damage for the duration of the dungeon. A tiny goblin hits you? Fail. A swinging scythe hits you? Fail. Something sneezes in your general direction? Fail. After about 3 attempts I got my fancy Wings of the Dedicated (for completing every set dungeon). They’re very pretty but sadly I’ll probably never wear them since the mastery ones are way cooler. It took me three hours and I don’t know how many attempts to actually master this dungeon. All I can say is pray to RNGsus and be super careful.

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They’re not the mastery wings, but they are still very pretty…

And with that I have completed all of the set masteries except the Necromancer. Some of the Barbarian ones were rough for me, even more so than the monk. They certainly did nothing to make me want to play this class in the future. At this point I wish I had saved something I like better for last, but for now I’m glad it’s over. I’ll be sharing some of my overall thoughts in a follow-up post soon.

Death Knight Mount Get

WoWScrnShot_091317_092402I finished the DK mount quest (that’s class mount number 11 for me, for those keeping score at home). Once again I really enjoyed it. As much as I don’t like melee characters, the story quests have made leveling DK a ton of fun for me. I especially liked how the mount quest seemed like a logical progression from the Broken Shore follower quest for this class.

WoWScrnShot_091317_090226One thing I am sad / mad about is that they took out the “Unholy Determination” feat of strength before I got the chance to earn it. Yes, I know they retroactively took it away from everybody, but still. I decided to murder every single living thing in the ruby dragonshrine anyway. It felt perfectly in character for my DK. From a mechanics standpoint I can see why they took it out, since it is a non-repeatable quest. Otherwise I’m not really sure why people were complaining about the morality of it. Death Knights aren’t exactly full of rainbows and love, and if you’ve made it this far in the DK campaign you’ve already done a ton of other questionable things.

Anyway I raised the giant red dragon from the dead and now I have a fancy mount and a matching pet. I thought I was finished with DK stuff but I didn’t realize I have to do the broken shore quests for the other specs to unlock the other two pets. I have concordance with all the weapons, but it won’t let me buy them yet so I’m assuming that’s the holdup. I’ll wrap that up this week and then only warrior will be left.

Not all of the class mount quests have been winners, but this one was definitely one of my favorites. The class flavor was spot on, the quests were fun and not annoying, and the mount looks cool!

Death Knight Leveled

As the Darkmoon Faire was winding down I managed to get my DK leveled up to 110. Leveling is so fast now, it’s easy to fall far behind on class hall quests. This is especially true when you have multiple rounds of follower missions to complete, and multiple dungeons to run. I have a special hatred for the class hall quests that require Maw of Souls and Vault of the Wardens. Almost nobody runs those dungeons on normal mode, since you have to be 110 to unlock them anyway. That means a 40+ minute DPS queue, or waiting until you hit ilvl 825 to queue for heroic. I’m stalled out on unlocking the mount quest until I finish the standard class hall quest line, and I’m stalled on that until I can finish these dungeons. Luckily gearing up is fairly quick, and I should hit 825 soon.

Like a lot of things about Legion, getting up to speed when you hit 110 feels very uneven. Some systems are working really well. For example, I’ve already hit concordance after just 2 days or so of play at the level cap. The changes to artifact knowledge feel great, putting everyone on a level playing field. Most of the gearing process seems good too. Between nethershards and world quests I’ve upgraded most of my gear to at least 850 in no time. On the other hand, my highest level relic is 750-ish, and I still have an empty relic slot on my main spec weapon. Weapon level is hugely important to feeling powerful and being able to kill things and complete quests quickly, and there’s no reliable way to get relics in a hurry. I know there’s at least one from the Argus quests, but the thought of attempting those with a weapon that’s less than 800 ilvl does not appeal. There’s no good reason why we shouldn’t be able to buy 850 relics of our choice from the nethershard vendor at this point. Failing that, Kadghar should just hand you some ilvl 800 relics as soon as you ding 110. Praying for a world quest with a useful relic reward feels miserable, and getting carried through dungeons hoping for a drop when you can’t contribute much feels rude.

On the plus side, concordance goes a long way towards making up for my crappy item level. Unholy DK has some really silly survivability and I’ve been tearing through world quests even without a follower to help. I’m hoping to finish up the original class hall story tonight or tomorrow (depending on dungeon queues). The DK story is by far one of the best ones, or at least most interesting. So far it is second only to rogue for me in terms of class flavor and engaging story. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the morality of some of the things I’ve been doing, but it absolutely feels right for the class and is contributing to the overall game lore. I’ve already seen spoilers for this story, but I’m still excited to see how everything plays out firsthand.

Shaman Mount Get

The shaman mount questline sends you back to Skywall to help Thunderaan again. This guy sure has trouble keeping his subjects in line. But I don’t care since it’s an excuse to go back to one of the most beautiful zones in the entire game. Unlike the main class hall questline, this time we’re in the Throne of the Four Winds.

WoWScrnShot_090217_115620Once we’re there we have to defeat 3 wind guys: sandy guy, chill guy, and eff you guy (aka healing guy). The fights felt long, most likely due to my sad item level. They weren’t difficult though, and they ended early because you don’t have to kill the guys, just beat them up enough so they know who’s boss. I was expecting to have to fight some other guy in the middle but it turned out that after I beat up the 3 minions Thunderaan gave a small speech filled with vague wind puns and that was it.

And you know what? It doesn’t even matter. This mount is so awesome I don’t even care that the quest to get it was a letdown. The payoff is totally worth it.

September 2017 Gaming Goals

Oh crap it’s September already! Aside from the semester starting and my stress levels kicking into overdrive, it also means it’s time for my monthly gaming goals update.

August Goals recap:

FFXIV: Level my AST. I did it! Hooray! I still can’t decide whether I like AST or SCH better though.

Clear at least 1 boss of Omega Savage. Nope. We got the first boss down to something ridiculous like 0.1%, but that group ended up disbanding. Sadness.

Diablo 3: Finish Barbarian set mastery. Nope. I’ve been super unmotivated in D3 and combined with terrible luck with drops I still don’t have the last set I need to try the 4th dungeon.

WoW: Get back to the Robo-squids project. Yes! We got through Blackfathom Deeps and Gnomergan this month. News flash: I still hate Gnomer just as much as I ever have (which is a lot).

I got half of my goals for the month done. That’s not too terrible!


September Goals:

WoW: Get my shaman class mount. I leveled her up to 110 in August. Now it’s a matter of gearing up and getting through the Broken Shore quests to unlock the mount questline.

Do more Robosquids stuff. I’ve been loving this project but it’s hard to find times when all 4 of us can play. I resolve to pester my friends until we get it back on the schedule. (You’ve been warned, guys!)

Horizon Zero Dawn: Finish a second playthrough to see all the updates. It’s this month’s Aggrochat game of the month so I’m doubly motivated!

D3: Finish the Barbarian set mastery. I know I can do this. I just need a push. And I really need to get it done before Destiny 2 releases on PC and starts filling the “murder monsters, get loot explosion” slot in my gaming time.

Legendary: Get a maxed-star card of every color. Legendary: Game of Heroes is a mobile game with a super boring name and very sticky gameplay for me. It’s like a much slicker-looking, slightly less confusing Puzzle and Dragons. The weekly-ish events give pretty good chances at strong cards and materials to upgrade them, so hopefully I can get a maxed-out team by the end of the month.


You’ll note that FFXIV has fallen off the list. I’m just not into it lately, and forcing myself right now is likely to end in a full stop instead of a brief pause. I do still want to try to show up for raid nights more to hang out with my friends than anything else.

I think this month’s goals are pretty reasonable. I just need to remember to play HZD for the main story and not all the side content or there’s no way I’ll finish in time…