Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Week in an MMO Life: Pets and Flight

Pet Menagerie finally built.

Yes, I should probably be titling these 'A Month in an MMO Life' given how often I've been posting them, but I can always dream that I'll start posting more.

With the Pet Battling triple experience weekend a couple weeks ago in World of Warcraft, I finally built the Pet Menagerie.  I had done almost no Pet Battling, so I was starting from two Ultimate Battle-Training Stones from my two level 3 garrisons and a bunch of pets I had gathered through years of playing WoW.  I used the first comment on the Pet Versus Pests Wowhead entry (with 201 up votes at the time) as my guide.  From there I targetting getting a frog, a Dancing Water Skimmer, a fox, and a moth to at least level 20.

I used my Ultimate Battle-Training Stones to level my Terrible Turnip and Sprite Darter Hatchling to level 25.  The Terrible Turnip has a 'Weakening Blow' that will never kill a pet you are battling, so you can make sure you don't kill it before capturing it.  I took my mage (who both wasn't max level and had a port) to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms to capture the Dancing Water Skimmer and Yellow-Bellied Bullfrog.  Battled there until I had two uncommon skimmers and a rare bullfrog and also leveled some of my moths at the same time.  From there is was a quick trip to Kun-Lai Summit to capture an Alpine Foxling Kit and was lucky enough to get a rare on one my first battle.

I was able to win the three pet battles needed to complete the Pet Versus Pests quest with just those pets, including two moths I had leveled, at level 20 or higher which allowed me to build my Menagerie.  Moving it to Level 2 was just a matter of some gold and garrison resources.  I completed one of the daily quests but at this point I have 15 pets at level 20 or higher and to try to build a full collection is daunting.  I'm not sure I want to spend the time doing it or finishing the 150 pet battles to get the Level 3 Menagerie.  At least I can say I've built all the Garrison buildings (except the PvP one).

I also was able to find the time to finish two of the last three achievements I need for the Draenor Pathfinder achievement that allows flying in Draenor.  Whenever I had some time, I would check to see if one of the Securing Draenor quests I hadn't finished was in my garrison and would run it.  Once I was down to four assaults, I just paid for them at my garrison with resources from my Garrison Quartermaster.

I also finished the Master Treasure Hunter achievement.  My missions had given me the Shadowmoon Valley and Gorgrond maps so I started with those.  Once I had done most of them I realized I'd need one more map to finish it, so I bought the one for Nagrand from Grakis in Stormshield.  I'm not sure this was the best one to pick because quite a few were difficult to get to.  Fortunately, I didn't need that many after having gathered most of the treasures from the previous two zones, so it was just a matter of looking for others if one was very difficult to get to.  I enjoyed the scavenger hunt aspect of this, but not as much as I thought I would.  It felt like they were generally reasonable in Shadowmoon Valley but in Nagrand you would often have to find an obscure path to the treasure.

So I only have one achievement left to earn Flying in Draenor, Tanaan Diplomat.  There are three reputations you need to level to Revered and while one of them is pretty straight forward, the other two are going to be quite a grind.  Once again, I'm not sure if it is worth it or not.  I didn't mind being grounded in Draenor.  I'll try to post more about that later.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

World of Warcraft Subscribers and Legion

New World of Warcraft expansion announced on 8/6
I wanted to share a few thoughts on the new expansion for World of Warcraft, Legion.  The new class, the Demon Hunter, doesn't appeal to me but I thought the initial class quests for the Death Knight were interesting and I'd like to see these as well.  I like the idea of having an artifact weapon that stays with you and advances.  The weapon has always been the item that most impacts the player's effectiveness and this should make it a little less subject to where your next best weapon is placed and the luck of the random number generator.  I have enjoyed the questing for Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor more than Cataclysm and I expect more of the same and that is a good thing.

There have been a lot of negative talk about how Warlords of Draenor has effected the subscriber count.  Looking at the curve published on MMO Champion the 1.5 million subscriber drop is bigger than what would be expected, but it is only one quarter.  Mists of Pandaria (MoP) had a 1.3 million subscriber drop from between 3 and 6 months after release, so it is only slightly higher.  The decline of subscribers after MoP was not as steep I am sure Blizzard hopes the announcement will help stabilize it similarly.  

I agree with those who say this is a 10 year old game and there isn't a lot Blizzard can do to change the overall curve.  As more people leave there will be a higher peak with sightseers, but it is unlikely many of those returning to see the new content will stay to raid or do other end game content.  I would also think there will be a point where the decline will slow because there are also a lot of people who are committed to the game as long as Blizzard keeps supporting it.  Even if that is around 2 million people, Blizzard can make a lot of money keeping it a subscription game at that level.  I don't see them going Free-to-play but rather ending the game if it doesn't make the profit that makes them want to invest in it.  A recent Game Revolution article put the Final Fantasy XIV subscribers between .8 and 1.2 million, World of Warcraft probably still has five times the number of subscribers as the second most popular subscription MMO.

I take Blizzard at their word that they are trying to release content faster.  I expect a release in the first quarter of 2016, which would be about 6 months faster than the Warlords of Draenor release. If they can do that, they should get another peak from returning subscribers who are just sightseeing.  From there the curve will level out some, but it will be very interesting to see where that seems to happen.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Comments for Blaugust

Blaugust Begins today!

Blaugust begins today!  What is Blaugust, you may ask?  Belghast has been posting everyday now for more than 2 years and last year he decided to have an event to encourage others to post more regularly and Blaugust was born.  Post every day in the month of August and you win!  I know I am not going to post 31 times this month but I wanted to support it so I joined the Nook.  Once there I realized a great way to support those participating was to comment on their blogs, so I am going to have my own challenge to comment on at least one blog post every day this month.

Now that I've caught up on the blogs I follow in Feedly, I've decided I can follow a few more.  I've added a Blaugust 2015 category and I have added two participating blogs there so I can keep up with them.  I know it takes a little catching up, so I'll just try to add two more every week through August.

Good luck to all of those participating and please support our fellow gaming bloggers!