Thursday, July 23, 2020

Finished with Battle for Azeroth

View of the Necropolis

This week I decided I was done with Battle for Azeroth (BfA) in World of Warcraft (WoW).  I completed an emissary quest and an invasion for the Honorbound and that gave me the reputation I needed for the rest of the Vol'jin quest and the Mag'har Orc allied.  I look to see how much time was left on my monthly subscription and there was a week left so it seemed like the right time to unsubscribe.

The question was what did I want to do during that week.  I knew I wanted to the Vol'jin quest so that was first on the list.  I enjoyed all parts of this quest line and as Alliance only, I never would have seen it.  It'll be interesting to see how this gets investigated more, I am assuming it'll be within the Shadowlands expansion.

Vol'jin looking into what is pulling the levers.

After the Vol'jin quest, I decided to confirm I had all the Horde allied race quests.  I decided to do the Zandalari introductory quest since I was interested to see how it was handled.  You help her with some activities to become queen and see her address the people as queen.  It was good to see Queen Talanji hold her own with Sylvanas but certainly not as interesting as the Dark Iron Dwarf quest line.  I decided the Mag'har Orc and High Mountain Tauren weren't different enough to do now.

I confirmed I had the Kul Tiran Humans, Void Elves, and Lightforged Draenai available.  Since I already did the Dark Iron Dwarf questline, that only left the Mechagnomes that I already decided weren't worth the reputation grind.  Instead of the other Allied races whose reputation quests are available as World quests in either Legion or the main BfA continent, Mechagnomes require travelling to a separate island to complete the quests and don't have any champion missions.  I don't see it as worth the grind.

Since I have quite a few Alliance characters, I didn't have much incentive to complete these quests.  I can do them any time.  However, I only have one Horde character and I had missed the Demon Hunter questline along with most of Legion so I decided to create a Horde Demon Hunter as my last task in BfA.  Odd it's a Legion task, but I have spent a lot of this end time in BfA discovering what I missed in Legion.  With the experience buff I was level 105 by the time I finished the introductory quests and got the first Legendary weapon.  The quest line was fine and a good length but would have been much more interesting while I was doing the 

As of yesterday, my access to Wow is gone.  It's a relief in one way in that there isn't much that I want to do.  In another way it's always difficult when I don't have an MMO that I'm playing.  I may join back for the pre-Shadowlands patch.  That would be nice to see an would be a good opportunity to level another Horde character (probably a Vulpera warrior) to have available for when I do play Shadowlands.  I'm going to try to wait to actually buy and play Shadowlands after the first or second major patch happens but when I read about peoples it might be difficult.  I'm not sure what this means for this blog.  I'll still be posting my Civilization turns and I have ideas for other posts but my experience has been previously that when I'm not playing an MMO I don't post.  In any case, thanks for reading and the blog will still be available for me when the urge to write returns!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Allied Vulpera and Nightborne Races

Why the Nightborne joined the Horde

I am still hoping to get to exalted with the Zandalari Kingdom.  I finished one set of emissary quests and one invasion set of quests in Zandalar.  This has put me at 18000 out of the 21000 reputation needed.  Two sets of emissary quests will definitely get me there.  I was able to get to exalted with the Honorbound which openned up the Mag'har Orc allied race.  Since I wasn't doing too much I completed the introductory quest lines for the Vulpera and Nightborne races.

I did enjoy the Nightborne quests in Suramar though the reputation grind and stealth mechanism got old at times.  I was a little disappointed how short the allied race quest was, but I guess when you spent as much time on quests to free an allied race in Legion, you don't need a long introduction.  It was one simple short scenario primarily explaining why the Nightborne are Horde and not Alliance.  I questioned that myself but I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the arrogance of elves.

Volpera welcomed into the Horde

The Vulpera quest line was longer but still pretty straight-forward.  The short version is Kiro asks to join, Blaine refuses because the Horde has too many responsibilities, the Vulpera take care of three issues with your help, Blaine realizes the Vulpera will help rather than be a burden and invites them to join.  The three questlines are pretty fun and include some more time with Dolly and Dot but nothing too exciting.  I much preferred the Dark Iron Dwarf questline but we had spent a lot of time helping both the Vulpera and the Nightborne and I guess a bigger introduction to the Dark Iron Dwarves may have been required.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Long Live the Queen! Civ 6 Succession Game turns 231-240

The World as we know it at the end of my turn

This is a post in the Civilization 6 succession game started as part of the Blapril event.  You can see the participants and all the previous posts here.

You won't be getting as many screenshots this time.  I was hitting F12 but for some reason it only took the first and last screenshot.

Pedro once again asking for something for nothing

The first thing that greeted me at the start of my turn was Pedro asking for gold.  I guess he is just one of those people who thinks it doesn't hurt to ask.  I usually don't like those people.  I also saw a notice that the City of Toronto was defeated.  I didn't see who conquered them. Our kingdom has had very good relationships with all the city-states so I disappointed one is now gone.

The Barbarian encampment to the southeast that Rambling Redshirt mentioned was an irritant throughout my turns.  I chipped away at the Musketman near Sheffield on my first turn and it was defeated after two more turns.  I started heading troups, including a crossbowman that was exploring the coast, to the encampment once the immediate threat was gone.  I also started looking at upgrades and upgraded a Spearman to Pikeman.  I made one more upgrade on my last turn but kept most of the gold we had for future needs.
On turn 232 the Exploration Civic completed. I did not change government but there wasn't anything in Economics policy, decide on Trade Confederation to help both science and culture.  We also started working towards the Mercantilism civic.

Spread Buddhism to Carthage with an Apostle.  It said it would happen in 200 turns but that seemed a long time to wait.  Bristol completed lighthouse, was going to build aqueduct to allow more growth but didn't want to destroy pasture to do it so made monument for quick culture boost.

On turn 234 Catherine De Medici asked for embassy, decided to allow since France isn't close and a war isn't likely. A settler was built in Birmingham but I didn't know where does it should go.  I started building a temple there, and sent the settler started towards Leeds and will let next leader decide where the city will be founded.  There is a favorable spot between Leeds and Sheffield so I sent it there but Naithin may have a better idea.

There were 4 Barbarian Quadriremes surrounding our Caravel. It was strong enough to pick them off one at a time, but eventually it was injured enough I sent it back to friendly territory to heal, a long way away from where it started.  I also took our Admiral to see if there is an island in the unknown area but he or she didn't find anything.  Hopefully some of the players know better how to use it.

On turn 235 a Musketman was created in Bradford and we started building monument for culture.  Leeds bombed barbarian scout.  It seems the Barbarians sent a few scouts our way but fortunately none that I saw got away. Bristol completed monument, we built a holy site.  We also sent 2 envoys to Yerevan since no Suzeain and no envoys yet.

On turn 236 Leeds completed the monument, needs to grow so decided to see if builder will help. Accepted friendship from Cleopatra (though rather arrogant way to ask).  I thought I took a screenshot but it was something about how some people would do anything for her friendship.  Research completed for Industrialization, researched sanitation since many cities limited in growth options (Bristol, Bradford, Leeds).  The water mill was completed at Plymouth, made walls in case war starts.

On turn 239 Mercantilism completed, started Diplomatic service and on turn 240 Birmingham completed a temple and started a Wat.  It wasn't a very eventful set of turns.  We still have a good lead in the Conquest and Science scores.  No one seems likely to get a Religious or Cultural victory but we might need to be cautious of Cleopatra, our ally, since she is showing very slightly ahead of us on the total score.

Now back to Naithin!

Friday, June 26, 2020

World of Warcraft Quest Cleanup

Horde pays tribute to Saufang
Horde pays tribute to Saurfang

This week I did a lot of cleanup in World of Warcraft.  First I finished the Night Warrior quest chain I mentioned in my last post.  Part of the chain was participating in the Battle for Darkshore Warfront.  I almost never participate in PvP but this related directly to the lore of wanting to take back Darkshore from the Horde.  I also saw very little of the other side.  There were goals that were either related to building things, helping NPC allies or defeating NPC opponents. It was fine, but nothing I really enjoyed so I doubt I'll participate in it again.  I saw afterwards that was a quest at the end but it didn't contribute to the achievement and seemed to just be a video that I saw outside of the game so I doubt I'll complete it.
I also finished the Vol'jin questlines.  I knew based on the previous Alliance quest that he was briefly the warchief and I know there was a book published about him but I don't know much of his story.  Since I like Mists of Pandaria, maybe I'll try to advance one of my allied race characters through it.  If I wait for Shadowlands, I could potentially see the full expansion story while leveling.  When looking up he achievement above I see that there are another set of quests continuing this story that ties with the Battle for Daza'lor raid and exalted reputation with the Zandalari Empire.  Now this reputation has gone to the top of my list.  It will also provide access to the Zandalari Troll allied race.

Interestingly, I hadn't been particularly interested in the new leveling coming with Shadowlands until now.  The issue is that if I try to level Horde characters today, I'll finish the leveling well before I see most of the story.  With the new method, it doesn't help with Alliance, but with Horde I can use a character to see the story from beginning to end without having to play a lot of content that doesn't provide experience or gear.  I was considering leveling at least one of the Allied Race Horde character to take advantage of the current experience boost.  After writing this, if I do it, I'll only do one because I would like to see the contrast with how it will be changing soon.

I finished the Horde War Campaign and the Black Prince questline up until the point where I have received the Legendary Cape.  While the Horde War Campaign was very different from the Alliance up until this final stage, this last part where the rebellious Horde and Alliance work together to assault Orgrimmar is close to the same.  It did make me somewhat interested to see the loyalist questline.  Likewise the Black Prince questline is identical for Horde and Alliance.

Items in my bank that start quests (!)

On the alliance side, as I'm getting missions for two Legion factions that are not exalted, I decided to try to clean up some of the things that have been sitting in Kanter's bags.  The image above is of seven quests items I received at one time or another and never finished, but I hate to get rid of things that I might want to do later.  I looked them up on and found that one was from Cataclysm, which was quickly done, one was obsolete and three were from Legion's the Emerald Nightmare raid.  Since I had been soloing the other Legion raids, I went ahead and did this one as well.  It was very easy on my hunter and there is definitely satisfaction in finishing the three quests and opening up three slots in my bank.

Speaking of cleaning up bank items, I have had five level three alchemy recipes in my bank from Nazjatar.  I decided I should go ahead and take care of these as well.  I was able to level alchemy from 120 to 175, through farming some of the herbs and buying the rest.  Once the Abyssal Healing potion recipe opened up, it became much easier to do the leveling. I also spent some time with Nomi working on Legion cooking but he doesn't want to give me any level 3 recipes so I probably won't continue.  It is the only expansion where I don't have max cooking but I almost certainly won't use it.

I have definitely lost some motivation this week.  Maybe I'm just tired but we'll see how long I continue.  I still expect to do the Allied Race Intro quests and I'd like to get Zandalari Empire exalted reputation but not much is motivating me beyond that.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Two Sides to Every Battle for Azeroth Tale

Anduin welcomes the Kul Tiran back into the Alliance while I watch

I just set the goal to accomplish 'Two Sides to Every Tale' a week or so ago in World of Warcraft (WoW) and I accomplished it this week.  The hardest part ended up being the Alliance dungeons for 'A Nation United.'  As I mentioned, I could solo the first two but I couldn't solo the others.  I tried to solo Waycrest manor but there was a boss that would mind control a player and would be healed once I returned. I queued for either Heroic or Normal since either would complete the ques and the Normal group I joined went pretty quickly.  

The Seige of Boralus went less well.  After trying to figure out why it kept changing to Heroic when I entered it solo, I discovered it is heroic only and so I queued for it.  The first time I joined people entered the water to make it quicker but I didn't realize there were sharks.  The second time I died someone told me it was easier with a water walking mount something that makes sense but I hadn't considered.  Someone came back to resurrect me but then I ended up disconnecting during the first boss (I have had intermittent internet issues that an electrician hopefully fixed today).  I came back after a pretty long disconnect having been removed from the instance and locked out for the day.  This is why I don't like doing pickup dungeons.

However, this prepared me for the next day and, when I was able to join a LFG instance again, everyone dutifully went back through the water and I used my water walking mount like I knew what I was doing.  It was rushed, as typical, but all went well and I was left alone at the end to watch Jana save the day.  There was one nice quest where Anduin welcomes the Kul Tiran nobles into the alliance and we learn more about one of the protagonists of the Alliance quest chains.

Three Alliance Allied Races
Three Horde Allied Races

I was also able to complete both Highmountain Tauren and Voldunai exalted status so I now have three allied races from each side ready to welcome into the Horde or Alliance.  As mentioned before, I have already completed the Dark Iron Dwarves so that leaves three remaining.  I don't imagine I'll bother to get to exalted with the Mechagnomes to add them to the Alliance.  The outstanding Horde races are the Mag'har Orcs and the Zaldarari Trolls, are locked behind exalted reputations.  Maybe I'll get there with missions and emissary quests but neither is very motivating.

I also started the Dark Elf "In Darkest Night" quest-line that I thought I might do on my Dark Elf priest.  I am realizing I might as well do the stories on my easiest characters, my hunters, since it fortunately doesn't matter who does it, you still get access to the achievement and most of the rewards.  In this case it will allow different dark elf appearances, not something I plan to do, but it is nice having more options and I am finding the story interesting.

Once that is done there will be the completion of the Horde War campaign, the Vol'jin Horde questline, The Fallen Chieftain, the next part of the Visions of N'zoth quest-line, and six allied race introductory quests and I think I'll be done with Battle for Azeroth.  At this point I am much more pleased with the expansion than I expected to be.  As I mentioned before, I think the separate areas and stories for the two sides added a lot more solo content than most of the expansions.  I am a little frustrated that the put the Alliance Nation United achievement behind four dungeons but everything else I did could be soloed (and I even soloed two of the dungeons).  I doubt I'll do any of the raids though I might go back and try to solo the Legion raids just to see them.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Finishing Horde War Campaign

Death of a Zaldaran King
Zaldalar gathered to mourn the death of their king

This week I actually accomplished a lot of goals in World of Warcraft (WoW) and am very close on some others.  I completed the Zaldalar and Nazmir quest lines which allowed me to finish  the Zaldalar Forever! achievement and opened up the rest of the War Campaign.  I also finished the War Campaign through the rescue of Baine.  That left me with only the Conclusion of the War Campaign and I decided I'd rather finish up the Jaina questline (The Pride of Kul Tiras) before finishing it.  Also the Highmountain Taurens and the Voldunai are less that 500 reputation points from exalted and opening up the quests for those two allied races.  I could do World Quests but I'd rather wait for either missions or an emissary quest for Voldun to finish them off.

In my previous posts I was justifying the questlines with the Allied Race unlocks, but at this point (except for The Pride of Kul Tiras that unlocks the Kul Tiran Humans), I've done the needed quests.  This is more about seeing both sides of the story.  I found it interesting that while the Horde Zaldalar Forever! achievement doesn't require any dungeons, the equivalent Alliance questline, The Pride of Kul Tiras, requires four dungeons.  I also finished the second dungeon for the achievement, Shrine of the Storm, solo this week.  I had to skip the third boss, Lord Stormsong, there because it will pick a player to mind control and once the mind control was done he was fully healed.  Fortunately they seemed to anticipate this and you can swim in the pool behind him to go on to the final boss that is required for the achievement.

On the Horde-side, I found there is another full questline related to Vol'jin that I will probably finish once I have done with the Pride of Kul Tiras Alliance questline and the Horde War Campaign and before I finish the Legendary Cloak questline on Kantoor.

Horde disguised in Redridge
My Tauren as a little girl with a giant bear looking for clues in Lakeshire.  Perfect!

In one very amusing questline while you are tracking Saurang through Redridge in the War Campaign  you are turned into a little girl as a disguise to help get information about him.  This was particularly amusing as an alliance player and as I saw alliance players walking by I wondered if I had seen this girl when I was in Redridge in Alliance and didn't realize it was part of the Horde story.

Even though many have complained about Battle for Azeroth, I am very glad I am able to explore different areas and very different stories from the Horde perspective.  I think the Alliance story is more consistent but the Horde one is more interesting.  Choice is a good thing and doesn't happen often in MMOs.  I wondered how may players actually see both sides and it looks like it is more than I thought.  23% of Wowhead profiles have finished Two Sides to Every Tale (38% achieved Zandalar Forever! and 27% A Nation United) so the majority of the players who finished one side, actually finished both (a huge 85% of alliance players who finished the Alliance questline and a lower 60% of the Horde players).

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Advancing Horde and Alliance Battle for Azeroth Stories

Gallywix Summarizes Battle for Azeroth

This last week I went from having an alliance character well ahead of the Horde to having them much close to the same point.  Kanter is above iLvl 410, Kantoor is above iLvl 400 and Kantoor just finished leveling his Heart of Azeroth.  Kantoor doesn't have his legendary cape yet, but he's close.

I've decided to focus finishing the War Campaign on Kanter.  At the same time I'll continue to do missions in Legion on Kanter to try to get some more exalted statuses.  I reached exalted with Argussian Reach last week and that provides access to the Void Elf allied race (which I didn't even realize until I just looked it up).  The Highmountain Taurens, which opens up another allied race, are around 17000 out of the needed 21000 so it should be doable over the next three weeks or so.  I'm now around 17000 reputation of the Voldunai on Kantoor that provides access to the Vulpera race as well.

I said I wasn't particularly interested in the Allied races besides the Dark Iron Dwarves and Vulpera but now that I'm so close with so many of them, I'll probably go ahead and get most of them done.  There are ten allied races.  One is complete (Dark Iron Dwarf).  Three are complete except for the introductory quest lines (Lightforged Draenei, Void Elf and Nightborne).  Two are close on reputation (Vulpera and Highmountain Tauren).  On the Alliance side, the Kul Tiran was stuck behind the 'A Nation United' achievement, but now that I have soloed one of the dungeons (see below), and I want to get it for the Two Sides to Every Tale achievement.

Similarly, on the Horde side, Zandalari Trolls are the furthest away, but once I have completed what I need to for Two Sides to Every Tale, it'll pretty much be done.  Mag'har Orc only needs Honorbound reputation.  I just reached revered with them but it comes pretty fast through the War campaign and Honorbound emissary quests.  Mechagnome (Alliance side) is similarly at revered but it is the one I'm least likely to get because they don't have missions and I don't particularly want to fly out there for the world quests.  Except for Mechagnome, pretty much all 10 can be done without a lot of additional work outside of the pursuit of Two Sides to Every Tale.  Once that is done, I'll probably get my cape for Kantoor but I'm not sure if I'll do much beyond that on the N'goth quest and reputation lines for either Kanter or Kantoor.  I'm more likely to try to level one of the allied race characters or I might even go back to WoW classic.

Somewhat interestingly (at least for me), both characters went to Tol Bador this week.  Kanter went to get the key to find out where Jana was in prison.  This is way out of order in my timeline because I didn't want to do the dungeon and I had higher priorities but was the next step towards the 'A Nation Divided' achievement required alliance side for Two Sides to Every Tale.  Kantoor was sent there on the Horde mission to free Lady Ashvale as part of the War Campaign leading to Horde side 'Tides of Vengeance' achievement.  Certainly based on my Alliance experience, I don't want anything to do with Lady Ashvale and it is all leading towards dissatisfaction with Sylvannas as leader of the Horde.  Of course it the odd MMO timeline, she has already been removed as chief, removed the Liche King and set free Shadowlands at the same time.

So, now I've gone from being uncertain what I want to do to being pretty motivated to finish up the Horde and Alliance quests.  I agree with others that Battle for Azeroth wasn't the best expansion, but it did provide more motivation to see the other side of the story.  It may be interesting with one of the allied race characters to see Horde side for Mists of Pandaria and/or Warlords of Draenor.  These don't have separate Horde and Alliance zones like Battle for Azeroth does, but they seem the two most likely to tell a different tale from the Horde side.

I wanted to leave this post with a comment about the quote in the picture above from Trade Prince Gallywix.  It is sort of our state in MMOs.  Huge wars and a lot of death is triggered from a small source but we just want to feel powerful with our toys.  At least this is in a fantasy world not real life (I hope).