December 2017 Gaming Goals

Another month has come and gone, so it’s time to reflect on what I’ve been up to and what my new plans are.

November Goals in Review:

WoW: Get the warrior to 110. Done! I got my class mount too!

Destiny 2: Try the raid. Done! I haven’t completed it yet but I have at least seen it a few times.

Diablo 3: Finish the last Necromancer set mastery I’m missing. Nope. I did get the set farmed up on my seasonal necro, so I’m closer than I was before.

Complete the baseline chapters of the Season 12 journey. Done!


December Goals:

WoW: Decide on a new long-term goal. A goal to set a goal? WTF? Well after finishing up the last class story and mount, I realized I was flailing around with no direction. I need a really long-term project to chip away at every month, and I have no idea what the next one should be. It doesn’t help that what I really want to do is level a new alt to try out the new low-level zone scaling tech, but we’re not sure exactly when that patch is coming.

Destiny 2: Explore the new expansion content. I somewhat object to them calling these “expansions” but whatever. There are going to be new things to do and new gear to get. My excitement over D2 has died down but I at least want to see the new stuff.

Diablo 3: Complete the last Necromancer set dungeon. No excuses left at this point, I just need to sit down for an evening and knock this out.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete the new DLC. I had this preordered and I just haven’t had time to sit down and dig into it. I want to do that ASAP because I absolutely love this game and can’t wait to explore new parts of the world.


November was surprisingly productive, considering my play time has been dramatically lower than normal. Here’s hoping my December goals go well too.

 

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Accidental Achievement

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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!

Warrior Mount Quest

WoWScrnShot_112617_113623I 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!

WoW Announcement Analysis

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Housing/ Guild Halls. This looks like it is still a no.
  4. More Puzzles. Seems likely.

The things I really didn’t want to see:

  1. Sylvanas or Jaina as a raid boss. Based on the expansion theme I am really nervous about this one.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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!

Where Would You Visit?

I got my inspiration this afternoon from the WoW blogosphere. Alunaria’s post asks “which place would you visit, if you could somehow transfer it from WoW to real life – and why? Or, if the world of Azeroth suddenly would change forever, … where is the one place you would go to, to see it one last time?”

WoWScrnShot_100217_160334These two questions definitely have different answers for me. The first one took a little thought. I suppose if I could get a potion of water breathing I would love to visit Vashjir. How cool would it be to meet a giant sentient sea creature? Or see all the strange glowing deep sea fish? I always quest there instead of Hyjal when I get my alts to Cata, partly because it is so different and partly because it is so quiet. Everyone loves to hate that zone so it’s always empty and peaceful. I suppose some of my fondness for it stems from the fact that I spent a ton of time there on my druid, zooming around in aquatic form and picking herbs for hours on end. So relaxing.

WoWScrnShot_100217_155308.jpgAs for where I’d go to visit one last time if WoW were closing or getting another Cataclysm? That one’s easy. Ulduar. The couple times I’ve thought I was quitting the game for good, I’ve always logged my priest out in front of Ulduar, riding her iron-bound protodrake. Even after all these years, some of my best memories of the game were made in that raid. I was learning how to be a hardcore raider, and I was accomplishing things I never knew I could do. At a time when my real life was in a very bad place, Ulduar was a perfect distraction. It also helped that the raid was gorgeous and the fights were fun as hell. Except XT. Eff that guy and his tantrums. As for a specific spot, I love Vezax’s room and the path leading down to it. I can still remember the first time I saw those amazing stained-glass windows.

Thanks for the blog inspiration Alunaria, and gratz on the real life level up!

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.

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.