Tuesday, September 27, 2016

July/August Gaming - Mostly World of Warcraft

Kanter at the death of a King
It has been two months since my last post and almost 4 weeks since World of Warcraft Legion was released.  I guess it is not too surprising since I said I wouldn't put myself on any schedule to post, but for better or worse, I've meant to post for more than a month.  As a bonus, you get three screenshots in this post instead of the typical one.

As I say in the subject, it has been mostly World of Warcraft.  I went through the introductory quests with Kanter, my hunter and even did some of the invasions for some extra gear.  After a while (and some prompting from other bloggers) I realized it would be a great way to get my two level 94 characters up to level 100.  As has typically been the case, I slacked on this as well, but I did get Kantro, my warrior, to level 97+ so it should be quick to get him to 98 and into Legion.  The good news is that he is my other gathering (mining), so it should be pretty quick to have both gatherers in World of Warcraft.


Nothing like a giant head to get your attention

Since Legion was released, I have only been playing Kanter except for a few minutes of mail or auction house activity on the other toons.  I liked the questing through all four of the original zones.  I went through all the required quests to get the achievement in each zone before I went onto the next and was about half way through my fourth zone (and about two weeks after  when I hit level 110 so I just continued before I went on to Suramar.

I probably would have hit level 110 soon except I didn't realize I had Class Hall quests to do.  I picked the Beast Master weapon (Titanstrike) as my artifact weapon before the expansion came out (I always thought guns were more appropriate for Dwarves).  I also decided that I wouldn't bother with the other two artifact weapons even though you can get them at level 102.

Sure enough, I hit level 102 and a slightly orangish yellow explanation point appears at my Class Hall and when I look I see that I can ignore it because it is just the quest to get one of the other two artifact weapons.  I keep questing but I noticed I only had two followers all the way to level 110 and only seemed to have one quest at a time.  Just this week I looked to see what might be wrong and I see that there should have been some more quests at level 103.  After quite a bit of searching, I finally go to Emmarel Shadewarden, the npc with the orangish explanation point and she has another non-orangish quest available!  Now I'm working through my class hall quests I could have done starting at level 103 and I have four missions available instead of the one I had before.  

I guess nothing significant was lost, but I hope others don't have same issue. I had one more minor issue with the game.  This first zone I completed was Highmountain since it was the zone of my class hall and I went and did all my quests there including one with Nesingwary and his gnome companion whom I take out to learn to hunt.  It was a fun set a quests and I didn't think any more of it but I just happened to be there for one of the world quests at level 110 and they each had a new quests which made them Followers!  I guess it was expected you would complete these quests at a higher level and get the follower quests immediately, but I had no clue and was glad I just happened to stop by.


Turning into a fish pays off for this Herbalism World Quest!
However, I as said, the quests have been fun and I had plenty to do without the Class Hall quests.  Right now my priority is the Class Hall missions and Quests, then finishing four World quests in a zone where you get the bonus if it seems easy (a new one appears every day and they last three days).  After than, if I have time, I'll continue with the Suramar quests.  Between those things, I should get my reputation up pretty steadily.  I'm not sure how much World Quests will hold my attention.  I just always had a motivation issue with Daily quests and this may be an issue with World Quests as well (since they are just a variation with more variety).

I also have been doing the Herbalism, Alchemy, Cooking and First Aide quests. However, I haven't done any of the Dungeon quests.  I'm at iLvl 799 now and the Heroic ones require iLvl 808.  I could do them as LFD, but I think I'll wait until I hit iLvl 808 and then try to do them with my guild.  Or maybe not.  I haven't done dungeons a lot since Burning Crusade and I still feel out of sorts when I go on them as a casual player.

Monday, July 18, 2016

June Gaming - Defender's Quest


Variation on the Tower Defender Theme

I'm still playing World of Warcraft but don't have any goals I'm really working towards (though I did finish the quests in Bloodmyst Isle thanks to my daughter's leveling a toon there with me).  I might level one or both of my level 95 toons to 100 or I might finish the Legendary quest on Kanter or, more likely, I won't bother with either.  Partially because of that, I thought it was reasonable to purchase some games on my wish list when they were on sale.  

The four I purchased from Steam for less than $20 all together were:

The last three were during the Steam Summer Sale, but Defender's Quest went on sale earlier in June.  Yes, they are all older games, but I feeling really good about the first two that I have played so far and the variety in the four.

In addition, I did a 'competition' to win a week's trial of Black Desert Online and that came through last month as well, so I'm looking forward to trying it with my daughters later this summer.  Even though I'm not posting much, I'll figure I'll cover each of these in their own post.  First up is Defender's Quest.

Defender's Quest is a pretty typically Tower Defense game with a few twists.  The 'towers' are actually your typically fantasy characters (Mage, Cleric, Warrior, Dragon) and they have an odd plot point to justify the fact that they can't move.  There is also a plot of moving along a path and as you advance down the path by winning levels you learn more of the plot.

If you don't like Tower Defense, the plot won't make the game worth while, but since I enjoy the gameplay, the plot is enough to keep me motivated to keep playing.  I have been playing Plants vs Zombies on my Kindle Fire for years now, just watering my garden and playing Survival Endless (coming up on 10,000,000 gold), so I don't need that much motivation as long as the gameplay is fun.

The game is forgiving in that when you lose, you don't lose anything but don't gain much either.  You can go back and play previous levels and by playing at higher difficulty you can get better rewards.  There are also towns you can visit where you can get weapons and/or armor for your 'towers' and buy new 'towers.'

I'm a little less than half way through the 32 levels and there is some replay value with higher difficulty and bonus levels available once you complete the game.  If you like tower defense games, I'd definitely recommend it.  I paid $7.50 for the game but it's generally available for $15 on Steam.  There is a sequel (with unrelated plot in the works) and they recently upgraded the graphics on the game so it's definitely still supported even though it came out almost 4 years ago.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Fourth Anniversary Edition

Legion  Beta... but will I ever log in

My four year anniversary was on May 5th.  I guess it is only appropriate that I am more than 2 weeks late given my infrequent postings.  If you are looking at my blog not through a reader, there is a sidebar on the right side with all the blogs that started from the first Newbie Blogger Initiative four years ago that still existed after two years.  Originally there were 110 blogs(!).  After one year, 30 of those blogs were still posting, after two years, it was 18, and now there are seven of us left.  And now, it might as well be six (or five, since there is one other infrequent poster).  In alphabetical order, the others that have posted in the last month (which are also the same as those that have posted in the last six months):
  1. Ald Shot First
  2. Beyond Tannhauser Gate
  3. MMO Juggler
  4. Ravalation 
  5. Vagabond Goes for a Walk
  6. Why I Game
I also include honorary member Jewel who started just after the NBI and is now posting at Healing the Masses.  Congratulations to you all!  If others have changed their address and I just missed it, please let me know and I'd like to add them to my blog roll and give them credit for their persistence!

Over the last four years, I've pretty consistently averaged one post every two weeks, which isn't too bad for a casual blog.  I've tried at times to figure out a way to post once or twice a week, but, although I like writing, I never have had the inclination to write that much.  At this point I don't think I'll pretend to try to post regularly.  If I have the inclination, I'll post, but more often I'll include comments in other's posts.  In order to do that I'll try to keep up with other's blogs more.  Over the last month, there have been several posts I would have liked to respond to, but more than a week after the post, it's a little late to join the conversation.

In my gaming life, I finally spent the few hours I needed to level my mage, Kantrina, to level 100 in World of Warcraft which has allowed me to upgrade Kanter's gun.  I'll need a few more visits to Lord Kazzak and it'll be max level which will be a nice accomplishment.  I got Kantrina an Inn, Barracks and Salvage Yard once I leveled her garrison.  The garrison tasks of leveling the new followers so I can complete more missions is a little annoying at this point, but I'll need that extra income to keep paying for my subscription with tokens and it should become much easier once they are all leveled.

The day they announced the Beta, I received an invite.  I went to look at it and it still said 'alpha' so they must have just started it.  I was on the fence, but then my daughters wanted to do something with me and they said they'd like to see the beta, so I went ahead and installed it.  I still havent' started it, but with the long weekend, I'll probably have an opportunity soon.

I'll still enjoy gaming and reading other gaming blogs, but don't expect to see many posts here.  Hopefully I'll see many of you on your blogs!  If you'd like to add me on Battle.net so I might also see you in games, I'm Kanter#1214.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Month in an MMO Life: April 2016

Baldur's gate box
Not an MMO, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3442785
I went from 'A Week in an MMO Life' to a 'Month' since I haven't been playing or posting much.  However, I did some gaming over the last month and I'll count this as my April post even though it is posted in early May.

I recently bought two copies of Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition on a Steam sale for my daughter and I to play together.  I remember buying it as soon as it came out in 1998 (I believe it was December).  I'm pretty sure it was the first computer video game I played with another person over the internet.  I don't even remember who it was, but at that time I believe I was still active on CompuServe and it was likely someone else who posted there.  We didn't get very far together and I also didn't get very far by myself.  

One of my daughters has recently showed an interest in Dungeons and Dragons, so I thought this could be fun to play together and maybe I could finally complete the game and play the sequel.  I died early on going off by myself, so we'll have to see if it gets any traction or not.

I still log into World of Warcraft most days, but haven't done much besides daily Garrison tasks, bi-weekly auction house sales and periodically making sure my in game mails don't expire.  I did level my Shaman who has been at level 19 for years to level 20 to get the achievement (and logged into Hearthstone just long enough to see the cross game bonus was there).  I also have started fishing for Felblight for upgrading my gun and joined my first Lord Kazzak kill for the Felblight from him as well.

I played some Minecraft with my daughters, but I would rather play on our Mojang server and they would rather play with mods they have discovered so it has come to something of a stand-still.

I would still like to try out Black Desert Online sometime.  What I have read about exploration and crafting makes me believe it would be something I enjoy, even if I don't play it long.  Stargrace has also made me want to try out Wurm Unlimited, though it is probably a game better suited to someone who has more playing time than I do.

The World of Warcraft Legion expansion now has a date:  August 30, 2016.  I plan to get it upon release (probably with Amazon Prime's 20% discount on new games).  That gives me four months from now to close out a few things with Warlords.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Solo Play and the Future of MMOs

Fishing is a solo activity even if Nat Pagle is with you... twice.
I haven't posted in a long time and really have made very little progress in World of Warcraft and haven't played any other MMOs in the last 6 weeks. I am continuing to do my daily Garrison activities for Kanter and bi-weekly ones for the other 4 toons with Garrisons, but I have cut down gathering because I have so many crafting resources and don't particularly want to sell them when they are so cheap now.

My gaming is moving away from MMOs, primarily due to my family.  I picked up a 3DS XL and Pokemon Y to play with my daughters.  I have been gradually catching Pokemon and advancing through the gym leaders and went ahead and got Pokemon bank so I would get the bonus Pokemon they are offering.  We also still play our Minecraft Realm periodically.

I would still like to advance my other three toons in World of Warcraft to level 100 before Legion, but I can't seem to ever focus the time.  I even have a toon sitting at level 19 that could (I believe) get the level 20 achievement in an hour or so of play but can't even be bothered to do that.  Maybe I'll go back to group play some day, particularly if I feel safe playing with my daughters and they want to.  Both of the younger ones like playing video games, but they mainly use their tablets or DSes, not the computer or video game machine.

Once that time comes I wonder what MMOs will be like.  The announcement that Daybreak games was stopping production of Everquest Next confirms what seemed to be in the cards - continuation of older games and more games with a smaller focus and ambition.  That is probably a good thing as far as I am concerned.  I will probably continue to play World of Warcraft as long as it is around and I can play for free.  I invested so much time in the game up to this point that I'll want to see what comes next.

But I also believe I will eventually find other MMOs I want to play.  I tried Lord of the Rings Online, Final Fantasy XIV and Guild Wars II (along with a few others), but none of them really worked for me.  Many people have started playing Black Desert Online and I really like the fact that you can focus on trade skills and learn new systems without the focus on combat.  I came close to buying it once, but since I'm looking at is as a solo game to play along with others, there is no rush to get involved and so I plan to wait.

Brad McQuaid just showed a demo of his new 'Everquest-like' game Pantheon.  I hope it is successful, but I don't think it's for me.  Based on my schedule, I need a game that can be played solo and in small time segments and I don't think those are his goals.  Likewise, Blade and Soul has a set of dedicated players, but action-MMORPG is also not what I'm looking for.

Hopefully smaller MMO games will continue come out with more focused goals and we can all find ones we enjoy.  I'm not sure what to do with this blog now that I am not doing much MMO playing and I don't see that changing anytime soon.  It'll be four years since my first post in May, so I'll probably think about it until then and try to come up with new goals that match what I'm playing now.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Week in an MMO Life: Slow Progress

I guess fishing isn't a bad analogy for how I have been playing MMOs
'Slow Progress' could be the title for pretty much all my 'A Week in an MMO Life' posts since I started this blog, except for the few times I haven't made any progress at all.

So I guess it's appropriate that I accomplished one of those achievements that rewards slow steady activity, Learning from the Best.  My hunter, Kanter, has been fishing since I was using it to feed my bear back when that was a requirement.  I had finished the Nat Pagle quest back in Vanilla when it was required for maximum level fishing.  I thought about getting the 'Salty' title, but collecting the coins in the Dalaran fountain were too much even for me.  When the Angler reputation appeared in Pandaria, it didn't take me long to get to Exalted, but at that point I was still a long way away from being Best Friends with Nat Pagle and I decided I would rather do other things.

However in Warlords of Draenor, I could gradually get Lunkers while catching fish that I used to sell when some of the level 100 food wasn't available on my server.  I knew I was starting to get close so it wasn't a huge surprise when it finally happened about a week ago.  Now there is decision about what to do with the coins.  I will probably get Nat's Drinking Hat which is a decent upgrade to the Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat I am currently using, though I like maximizing the number of Enormous fish I catch by using the +200 fishing lures while the hat gives you +150 fishing.

I also finished the quests in Spires of Arak with my mage so she'll eventually be able to get the Salvage yard when she gets her third small plot at level 100.  She's over half way through level 97 now, so with a few more quests she'll be able to finish her quest to level 100 in Nagrand.  The main purpose there is to upgrade Kanter's gun with her Engineering.  That would be three max level characters and I might be tempted to level my druid and warrior who already have garrisons at that point to get the Quintessential Quintet achievement and have access to max level profession characters for everything except for Inscription.

I still haven't done the raids required to finish the third chapter of the Legendary Ring Questline.  Doing LFR is really unappealing to me, but since I was able to get it done for Chapter 2, I will probably eventually do it for 3 as well.  Once my Mage, Kantrina, hits 100, it'll be time for me to evaluate how else I can avoid doing LFR, but still play WoW.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Remembering Computer Gaming World

Demo disks from CGW
One of the nice things about having a blog (or a diary), is the ability to go back and know exactly when something or someone entered or left you life.  One of the things we did over Christmas break was clean out our old CDs and floppy disks and I found the demo CDs that were included in my subscription to Computer Gaming World (CGW) from about 2002 to 2006.  In the days of very cheap old games from Good Old Games and other sites it didn't make sense to keep them, but it did make me nostalgic for the many years where I would look forward to getting a copy in the mail.

A TI 99/4a I bought in high school was my first computer and I probably got it when it first came out in 1981.  At the time, it was the first 16-bit home computer that was available and well ahead of the Commodore, Atari, and Apple computers that were it's main competitors.  Being more advanced didn't really help if people wouldn't pay for it and it was discontinued after two years.  However, for learning programming, word processing and some light gaming, it served me well until I bought my first IBM compatible computer (a 386) probably around 1989.  I was never good at picking the popular choice as I also had a Mattel Intellivision when Atari ruled the video game space.

While I was in college I had a friend from high school who had an Apple computer and I would visit his house and play computer games (mainly RPGs) with him.  I also remember visiting my brother a little later and playing Warlords and F19 Stealth Fighter with him (I'm guessing it was 1989).  Around that time I found CGW and was amazed to be able to read a magazine totally about Computer games.

I always liked statistics and I remember being fascinated by the listing of best games that they would calculate based on a mail in survey they received from their subscribers.  Later it changed to an online survey and then they dropped it all together.  I also remember the Scorpia articles where she would provide hints to questions asked by her readers, which is difficult to imagine is this again of instant internet answers.

I probably subscribe the the magazine for 16 years between 1990 and 2006 when it shut down and it existed about 9 years before I started subscribing to it.  I would sometimes look at PC Gamer (which started 12 years after CGW), but I loved CGW with its focus on technology and strategy besides the hype associated with whatever was the next big thing.  I kept all the issues for many years, reducing to one per year at some point and finally getting rid of them all a few years ago.  There used to be a CGW Museum that had many of the old issues, but it isn't currently online, so I can't look at those old issues there.

In this Internet age, with all the sources of games news online, I don't need a computer game magazine and I'm not sure how PC Gamer still exists, but, almost 10 years after it stopped existing, I still have fond memories of reading each issue cover to cover when it arrived.