Wednesday, November 18, 2020

More World of Warcraft Pre-patch Activities

Starting spot of pre-expansion event

After focusing on getting my Vulpera rogue to level 20 last week in World of Warcraft, I just around between a few things this week.  My first focus was to see the pre-expansion event with Kanter, my main hunter.  I pretty much spent Tuesday afternoon looking at what was there and then decided I was done with it until the second week events open up.

As others have described, the event is divided in three pieces.  The first describes how the leaders were abducted.  The second takes you to Eastern Plaguelands to kill Nathanos Blightcaller.  The last part takes you to Icecrown where you complete some quests and can kill a set of bosses that spawn every 20 minutes (newly changed to 10 minutes). I completed the first two parts on Kanter and also did the initial quests in Icecrown and killed one of the bosses but decided I wouldn't bother with more.  I'll see what the second week offers and possible kill Nathanos Blightcaller for the ilvl 115 weapon he drops on some of my other max level characters.

Another Halfhill farm

After spending last week leveling Kintri I decided I wanted to do something different, but first I thought I would take her to Halfhill to start on the farm there.  I spent quite a bit of time maxing out all the reputations on Kanter and had farms for several other characters when Mists of Pandaria was live.  This time, I just want to use it to level some of my cooking skills while getting some experience from using the farm.  I've done it for a week now and have completed three of the five required votes to become a member of the Tillers.  The story is locked behind Tiller reputation and I am getting double reputation (I'm not sure if that is from the anniversary event or something else") so it seems like the story is advancing every other day.  Certainly much faster than it used to during the expansion.  I also took a side trip to Kun-Lai summit to complete a quest and get her trained for Pandarian Leatherworking.

I expected to spend this week leveling Kantree, my druid, to 50.  I thought it would be good to mix it in with the Mists quests of Kintri.  I started ok, going through the initial quests and advancing to the first town so he'd have rested experience but I haven't been back since then.

The Shadowlands expansion is now less the a week away (November 22nd) and I am still pretty confident I won't be buying it for a while.  I went ahead and stopped my subscription which will end on December 1st.  Maybe I'll wait to finish advancing Kintri and Kantree to 50 during that week when almost everyone will be in the Shadowlands.  I'd like to take Kintri to the Warlords of Draenor expansion after I hit 30, have flying, and open to the primary Mists hub in the Valley of the Four Winds.  I also have a Horde demon hunter I'd like to level to 50 in Legion.  I don't think I've ever been subscribed during a new expansion launch without owning it so that'll be interesting.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Vulpera Kintri Joins the Horde


New Vulpera Rogue Kintri Outside Grommash Hold at Level 20

After leveling my mage to level 50 in World of Warcraft last week, I wanted to do something different before leveling my Alliance druid or my Horde demon hunter, who are both in their fourties. I decided to create a new Vulpera character since I love their appearance and I wanted to try out how the new leveling works.  My first decision was what class to choose.  I wanted something appropriate for a Vulpera and preferred something I hadn't already leveled.  I never was much of one for stealth and so I never leveled a rogue but decided it seemed appropriate for a fox and this was a good time to try it out.  It was fun playing with the different appearance options and ended up with the cute female Vulpera, Kintri, you see above.

The next decision was where to level her.  I remembered reading an article in Massively Op about the different leveling experiences.  Initially I was thinking about Warlords of Draenor since I never saw the Horde side and it seemed like it would be quite different. It was also supposed to be the quickest expansion to level. However then I saw that Mists of Pandaria was ranked as the top leveling experience and it was probably my favorite.  Again, the Horde side should be quite different.

I know Bhagpuss had some issues being able to choose where to start but I didn't seem to have the same issues he had.  When I arrived in Orgrimmar I was given two quests, one of which started the Battle for Azeroth chain with Sylvannas and the other was to go to the Warchief's Command Board.  I knew about talking to Chromie but I thought I'd go ahead and complete the Warchief's Command Board quest to see what it offered.  Interestingly, as you can see above, there seemed to be a prompt to go to Chromie and then quests for Legion (Broken Shore) and Warlords of Draenor (Tanaan Jungle).  I was curious how it would work if I took one of these quests beside Chromie but I did want to get stuck so instead I went to Chromie without taking the flier to see what she would offer.

No issues with Chromie either.  She offered the six level experiences I expected. (Cataclysm is combined with the vanilla leveling experience and I already had the quest for Battle for Azeroth).  However, once I chose Wilds of Pandaria I ran into an issue.  I got the quest to go to Grommash's Hold and could see the quest but when I entered it, I would phase and Sylvanas would be there.  I tried logging on and off to see if that would help but it didn't.  Eventually I dropped the Battle for Azeroth starting quest, logged off and logged back in and I could then see Garrosh in Grommash's Hold.

Once I started the Mists of Pandaria everything went well.  It seemed like I was a little overpowered but there was one boss that I died to because I didn't avoid his special attack.  I enjoyed using my combo points and it was nice to be able to stealth to avoid fights.  My goal was to reach level 20 (allied races start at level 10) and I did that over one weekend without playing that much.  The story was just a Horde variation of the Alliance story but at least there were some parts with the Hozen that were quite funny.  I was able to get skinning and leatherworking first in Orgrimmar and then the Pandaria variant of skinning though it looks like leatherworking will need to wait until a later zone.  I'll probably also try out cooking since I enjoyed the farm and cooking quests as Alliance. 

So far, I really like the new leveling options.  It's great to be able to actually see a full expansion on a character.  Previously you'd only get through a small part before it would send you to the next expansion.  It also seems about right to finish one expansion to see the new content.  You can always create another character if you want to see a different one.  Before Battle for Azeroth, I had decided I would never see the Horde side of the story because there was too much catching up to do.  However, now, between the level boost and the ability to level an allied race character through only one zone, I'm interesting in visiting at least the revised vanilla zones and Warlords of Draenor.  Maybe I'll try out the Isle of Exile as well just to see what it's like.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Joining back for World of Warcraft Pre-patch


I haven't posted in a while.  I mentioned that I don't typically post unless I'm playing an MMO (almost always World of Warcraft).  I wasn't sure whether I'd join back for the pre-patch but a few things made me decide to do it today.  First, I received an invitation from Blizzard for the Shadowlands Beta.  Next, I saw that the expansion, pre-patch event and anniversary event would all be happening now.  Finally, I saw that the Mechagnomes, the only allied race I didn't have, no longer required exalted status so I could get access to them with only a run of Operation: Mechagnome.  I also figure this will be good chance to use the leveling advantages of the anniversary for a few characters that used to be between levels 110 and 120 (and are now in their 40s) and possibly one or more allied race characters.

Before I subscribed, I'd tried out the Shadowlands Beta.  I'm not really interested in playing much of the beta but since I wasn't subscribed it gave me a chance to play without paying.  I made a level 60 Hunter (the only option was to make level 60 characters), did quest to choose a covenant.  After talking to the four covenant representatives, I decided to go with Night Fae.  The introductory quests were fun (not at all serious) and I felt confident I would enjoy this covenant.  I'm not interested in min/maxing and I'm pretty sure I'll take four characters through Shadowlands to see each covenant eventually.  After that, I'm pretty done with the beta.  I might try it out again, but most likely I'll wait to play it when I purchase Shadowlands.

Once a bought the month of time (I had been unsubscribed for about two month), I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.  I opened the anniversary gift.  There were fireworks (I set them off a few times, they don't get used up during the anniversary, only can't be used after).  There was a Celebration Package that gives a experience and reputation buff doesn't doesn't help much if you are max level.  Finally, there was a quest that sends you to the Caverns of Time where you can get 200 Timewarped badges.  You can get two mounts for earning Timewarped badges in Alterac Valley (one each for Horde and Alliance).  I don't think I'll bother.

After looking at my options I decided to focus on three things:

1. Earning the ability to create Mechagnomes, the only allied race I didn't already have,
2. Doing the introductory quests for some of the allied races (I had only done the introductory quests for Vulpera, Zandalari Trolls, Nightborne and Dark Iron Dwarfs),
3. Leveling some of my level 40 characters and possibly one or more new or allied race characters with the Anniversary boost.

I have 3 Alliance level 50 characters and 2 that are in their 40s, while only one level 50 and one Demon Hunter in the 40s on the Horde side.  Getting the three level 40 characters to 50 shouldn't take too long though I may either get bored with Battle for Azeroth or if I try to go to a different expansion, I won't be able see much in so few levels.  It will be good to get back to 5 level 50 Alliance characters since there are 11 professions and that will let me level all but one (Inscription).  The Allied race characters start at level 10 and get a special set of armor if you level them to 50.  If I created a new character, I'd be able to see the new Exile's reach introductory area.  I could see some Legion class halls that I missed and how the Horde side of the story is different in the games (I've only seen Battle for Azeroth as Horde).  However, I'm sure the 30 days will go quick and I'm sure I'll have time to do more than one, particularly if I advance those in their 40s.

In any case, I decided to put this decision off and get access to the Mechanomes and do another allied race introductory quest.   I only needed to finish one quest in Operation: Mechagon to gain access to the race so I flew out to Mechagon Island, got the quest and queued for it on my hunter, Kanter, who has all the Alliance allied race achievements.  As DPS there was a 25 minute queue, so I started on one of the allied race introductory quests while waiting.

Since I already did three Horde races and only one Alliance race I decided to try the Void Elves.  I don't care for elves but the stories for both the Void Elves and the Nightborne were interesting, so I thought I'd at least do both introductory quests.  The Void Elf quest was a little odd because it centered on a group of Blood Elves (a Horde race) that were banished from the Horde because they were investigating the Void.  It was sort of the reverse of the Nightborne tale where Alleria Windrunner was the seen as 'bad' for causing a void to appear in Silvermoon. It was ok but certainly not as good as the story for the Dark Iron Dwarfs.  I did get yet another allied race mount I will probably never use but I still enjoy getting them.

The queue for Operation: Mechagon was faster than estimated and I joined soon after I had flown to Ghostlands for the beginning of the Void Elf questline.  I had put off this quest because I wasn't that interested in running dungeons and therefore not very efficient at it.  However, my gear is ok so I'm hoping people will forgive it as long as I do ok.  For the most part the run went fine but I did have issues with a part where I was supposed to sneak by some bots and I kept getting pushed back.  Eventually they fought a battle without me and told me I could bypass the bots.  It took a little searching to find the port that took me to the next part of the map but I was able to join them, help the group for the last two boss battles and complete the quest.

I'm looking forward to playing for a month but I don't plan to resubscribe or buy Shadowlands yet.  Between the level squish, the allied races, the leveling boost and the pre-expansion event, I have plenty to keep me busy.  I doubt I will play any of the remaining allied races, but I would like to see their stories.  I'll need to do some research to determine which to do next.

It will be a little odd to have a week where everyone will be busy exploring the new expansion and to not have bought it but, as I've mentioned in previous posts, because I play World of Warcraft primarily solo, I don't get much benefit from being there at the beginning. I'd rather wait and buy the expansion on sale when there is more content available.  That's my plan now but we'll see if the expansion hype gets me to change my mind.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Long Live the Queen! Civ 6 Succession Game turns 311-320

Our world at beginning and end of 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.

Turn 311

Queen Elizabeth started off with offers from Gilgamesh, Katherine and Cleopatra. Well Gilgamesh just wanted something for nothing but I considered the Katherine trade to help with the relationship but decided against it all of them.  Norwich started on Sewers to help them grow.

I only used a couple builders on turn 312 but did get notification that America entered the information age.  Odd since they have so many fewer science discoveries but I'm not so concerned since we are still well ahead in science.

Turn 313

Two of our English cities do not have enough housing to grow.  This became much of the focus for this reign. 

The English Civics researchers discovered Conservation started researching Urbanization.  Hopefully both of these will help with growth and Urbanization will open up Mass Media which will be boosted.  Eridu started a builder to help that city grow.  We received additional envoys.  There were no bonuses to be gained from our existing city state relationships so we sent three envoys to Hong Kong to start our relationship with this city-state and gain the bonuses from it.  Speaking of city-states, Preslav was asking for a trade route and Stoke-Upon-Trent had one available so the route was established.

There were only builder movements in turn 314 and only the construction of a shipyard in Bradford on turn 315.  Looking at the options this would at least allow for more production when we started the space race.

Turn 316

There were two trade offers this turn.  Roosevelt offers gold for Niter, turned down.  I forgot to take a screenshot of the offer we accepted from Cleopatra for Nitre for Gold and Coffee.  I am hoping to keep relationship with her good since she is right on our border and no one else likes us. 

Bristol created the wonder of the Colossus!  The citizens started on a temple there but I wonder if we need to convert them to Buddhism.  Bristol was busy this turn with a trade route available that we sent to Paris to help with our next best relationship.  Another city started a trade route to Calais also in France.

The English science researchers discovered Combined Arms researched Rocketry for next step in Space race.

Turn 317 was actually idle and turn 318 had us gain two more envoys.  I will let the next ruler decide where to send them since there were no bonuses available.

On  turn 319 London acquired what I believe is our first  archeologist that I sent to site south of Norwich built Royal Navy Dockyard and Ur started on an Aqueduct to continue our focus on growth.

Turn 320

Pedro offered only 6 gold for a pigs which seemed almost as bad as Gilgamesh asking for gold for nothing.    Also Plymouth completed University, made Builder to continue my pattern of growth focused decisions.

Our reign ends and it returns to Naithin.  There are still 36 turns for Spaceport from Leeds but it will be built and we may have started on the second step before my next turn as consultant to the queen.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Blaugust Promptapalooza: Community Influence


Welcome to the second to the last day of Promptapalooza!  Thanks to Belghast for setting a different way for us to celebrate Blaugust.  Yesterday's post was UltrViolet at Endgame Viable.  If you haven't ready it yet, you can work your way backwards! Tomorrow return to Belghast's Tales of the Aggronaut blog for the last day of the event.

I almost didn't join.  I am on something of a hiatus, given that I've finished what I want to do in World of Warcraft and have unsubscribed at least until the Shadowlands prepatch arrives.  However, after seeing another request for people to join I thought it would be nice to participate in the community again have joined in Blapril for my first Blaugust community event.  Belghast was kind enought to put me close to the end, but here I am, writing my post, the night before it's due.  When I write, that's typically how it happens, so I guess it's only to be expected.

Speaking of communities, today's prompt is "Tell us about some community that you are part of and why it interests you or how it impacts you?"

I struggled for a while with this prompt but then I remembered a quote for an author I saw somewhere years ago (I tried to figure out who without luck) when asked about influences he said that even nothing compares to the influence his family has on his writing.

The whole reason for this blog relates to my family.  I was intrigued by MMOs but, though I read about Ultima Online and Everquest, they never looked that interesting to me.  Something changed with World of Warcraft.  I followed it before it was released, I searched for a guild and joined it during beta, I was there on day one and signed the guild charter, and I was one of the slower levelers in the guild.

But that really didn't matter.  People weren't leveling in Classic over a few days or a week like they were in future expansions.  I enjoyed being able to do silly events with my guild-mates.  I read the forum (now dead) regularly.  I occasionally went on dungeon runs with them.  And eventually I was max level and did raids with them, not in the first raid group but in a second group.  That was fine with me and I enjoyed it.

But this isn't about my guild (with whom I'm very grateful to still be a member), it is about my family. I kept with my guild but sometime towards the end of Burning Crusade I knew I needed to change how I was playing.  I was getting frustrated about being taken away from my computer by the people I love the most in this world.  So I decided not to buy Wrath of the Lich King when it came out and went on hiatus from the game.

I did eventually buy Wrath and Cataclysm well after they were released and enjoyed playing solo while still being able to chat with people in the guild.  Then, in 2012, I was trying to see if maybe it would make sense to play some other MMO and try to play it occasionally and this blog was born.   I kept reading about MMOs (on Google Reader) and Syp on Bio Break created the Newbie Blogger Initiative and I joined so I could write about how to play MMOs not in a typical way, but in a way that worked with my life and kept me engaged with my family.

So now I protect our old cat and pay attention to our dog so he does get too jealous of our new kitten who demands our attention.  I try to be a good parent to our three daughters, particularly, the oldest who has very limited speech and is about to turn 18.  I try to make sure my wife knows I love her and do what I can to support her.  And, occasionally, I still play games when the more important things in life allow it.

I'm not a very social person.  I don't need a 'community,' but I do need my family.

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.