Monday, August 23, 2021

Blizzard, Supporting Victims and World of Warcraft


Blizzard has a lot to answer for.

I haven't posted for about six weeks now.  Some of that has to do with a two week vacation I came back from last week but a lot of it has to do with this post.  First, let me say I believe Blizzard Entertainment has to change today, that I support the victims, many currently still working for the company and that nothing that has been done by Blizzard up to this point shows that they have made the changes required as a company.  As someone in management, I am always very aware of the need I have to support those who work for me and make sure I can do everything I can to prevent any perception of improper activities either by myself or by others.  As a white male in IT I understand that there is extra responsibility to encourage diversity and listen to those who may have a different view.

I believe Blizzard Watch did a good job of summarizing what we know and supporting employees who are trying to hold their employer accountable for the required changes.  Yes, this is an old post and more has come out and I believe Blizzard Watch has done a good job keeping up with the news in a way that says the company has to change but that doesn't support totally abandoning the games and the good people who develop them.

Finally, I am still playing World of Warcraft.  I know for many people they had to stop playing Blizzard games based on the news that came out and I understand and support the decision for them.  For me, as a casual player who has tried other MMOs without success, I am going to keep playing World of Warcraft until my next natural break.  It will take time for Blizzard to change and, I believe, if it doesn't change, it will fail.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Shadowlands 9.1: I Like It!

I can fly!

World of Warcraft Shadowlands 9.1 is a little over a week old and, I have to say, as a casual player, I really like it so far.  In pretty quick succession they allowed mounts in the Maw, removed the Eye of the Jailor (which prevented staying to long in the Maw), and granted flying for not just your main, but any alts (outside of the Maw).  This is in addition to quite a bit of story and content in a new section of the Maw.  I stated in my previous post that I would prefer to wait to work on alts until I got flying, and now that I know how quickly I got it, I'm glad I waited!

Some could argue that enjoyment by making things artificially difficult and then removing that difficulty is less than ideal and, logically, that makes sense.  However, grinds are a part of all MMOs by nature of having to provide content that lasts a long time.  I do think adding barriers that get removed makes sense both from giving the player the pleasure of seeing it removed and also of giving players who start later a way to catch up without getting frustrated.

Looking back I see it's almost been a month since my last post.  I did craft my first Legendary item not long after that post.  It didn't provide a huge boost but, on it's own, it let me complete another level of Torghast. Since then, after getting upgrades in 9.1, I reached iLvl 190 and so I upgraded it to iLvl 210.  Since I had been soloing Torghast most weeks, it wasn't too expensive to do, I just had to purchase the upgraded base item in the auction house.  I also went through the Maw introductory quest with my warrior, Kantro, and sent him to Maldraxxus to wait for flying.

Between upgrading the sanctum on Kanter and working through the Covenant levels and story and seeing the other Covenants on alts, I feel like I'm in a good place for a while.  Of course, I didn't experience the frustration of the wait for 9.1 that many others did because I started so late.  I wonder if Blizzard delayed 9.1 due to wanting to release Burning Crusade Classic first and misjudged how frustrating it would be for many players.  All I can say is it looks like I'll be busy for a while now.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Shadowlands 9.0 Night Fae Renown and Torghast Questlines Complete


No get-up is complete without matching mount (Runestag)

There was recently a new Blizzard post about how Flying in Shadowlands will mainly require Renown and Covenant Campaign completion.  As a very casual player, I've already done all I can in 9.0 since I have now reached maxed Renown (40) and already completed the existing questline as of my last post.

Oddly, this is sort of disincentivizing play since I've done most of what I'd really like to do on Kanter and, if I wait, I'll be able to get flight to make leveling my alts easier.  I have stuff I have been accumulating, but I don't really care about most of it since gear isn't a big deal.  I have Soul Ash for a legendary, I have Stigia for Ve'nari, I have Grateful Offerings for ... I'm not sure what it's for, I have Spirit's for the Queen's Conservatory, and I have Anima improving my Sanctum among other things.  I don't have any goals I particularly want to pursue at this point, though I am interested in what will come with 9.1.

I did complete the Torghast questline and recovered Baine, Jaina, and Thrall from the Maw and was motivated to see them back.  I learned there are a couple more quests but they are locked behind the Castle Natria raid and I'm not sure I want to do group content.  There is also a spirit for the Queen's Conservatory behind a dungeon.  Maybe I'll feel up to it at some point but I don't really like forced group content.  I was able to join some groups for some world quests and those were without drama.

I'll keep playing for a bit and certainly come back for 9.1 but I'm not sure if I'll stay with trying to build some Anima for my Sanctum but I don't have anything I really want there.  I am interested in seeing the other Covenant quest lines, but, as stated above, wonder if it would be better to wait until I've unlocked flying.

I've enjoyed my time but, if starting 4 months late, I already feel a lack of motivation, I can understand why people are saying there isn't enough compelling content in this expansion so far.  It'll be interesting to see how soon they release 9.1.  They may want to give some time for people to be less involved with Burning Crusade Classic, something I don't care about at all.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Shadowlands Night Fae Questline Complete

Kanter in a not very Dwarven Night Fae get-up

I meant to write this up on Sunday, 5/23, but it didn't happen.  I finished the Night Fae covenant quest line (9.0) last week and wanted to leave some impressions.

Overall, I enjoyed it.  There were a couple of gaps where I had to wait for more renown but it all flowed pretty easily even though them.  Ysera was a good character to bring back for the storyline.  She had a tragic story in Legions and it was good to see her again.  She is also tied to Elune, along with Tyrande Whisperwind, the other main focus of the questline.  It was a little odd how the Tyrande Whisperwind story seemed to get dropped but I'm sure it is waiting for the next set of quests that will come along with the major patches to come.  This was my experience without running any dungeons and I've read it is significantly faster with renown from dungeons.

The armor, as seen above, doesn't seem very appropriate for a dwarf, but I've become attached to it.  I also like the 8 piece bonus where one or two Fae Guardians will show up, increasing my primary stat and periodically healing me and my pet.  The pieces can be upgraded and since I don't plan on raiding I'll try to make do with it and their upgrades.  There are also three other Night Fae armor sets available through different lines, each with a different color.  I'll see how I advance in the those lines and if I can mix them, that might be interesting as well.

It's seems generally people are not happy with the lack of content and I guess I can see that but that is part of the reason why I started four months late.  Hopefullly I'll be starting the Maldraxas quests on my warrior and it'll be interesting to see how they compare.  However, first I want to finish the Torghast questline that will be subject of my next post.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Shadowlands Night Fae Questline


Kanter with Night Fae Campaign Armor

I've been progressing in my Night Fae Covenant questline over the last two weeks in World of Warcraft.  So far (Chapter 7 of 9 completed) I've felt the need to grind at all.  I did just have two spots where I needed more Renown to advance the questline but over two days I just had to do a few world quests to be able to advance it.  I like the look of the armor that the questline has offered significantly better than the drops though it doesn't look at all Dwarven.

The Quests in Ardenwaeld have been mixed in with quests in the Maw. The first set of quests in the Maw brought back Baine.  The current set is getting Tyrande Whisperwind back. Jaina was just hinted at and I haven't heard anything from Thrall or Anduin yet.  They also tied in Torghast, World of Warcraft's new randomized dungeon.  So far, I feel a little overpowered which is nice and there have been some interesting Anima powers.  The last time, however, several were based on Disengage which I guess would be primarily used by a Survival hunter.  In any case, the different bonus that are granted do add some interest and it didn't force me to take any that used Disengage.

I've also been gradually opening my Night Fae Sanctum upgrades.  My command table now has 5 companions and I just completed my first rare Adventure there.  I feel so short of Anima (which I guess is part of the plot, but isn't particularly fun) that I've just been doing the ones that reward Anima so I can use it for other things.  Enabling the command table took 500 Anima, the Transportation Network and Anima Conductor took 1000 and the Garden will be 1500 (it will be next).  Upgrade costs start at 5000 Anima go up from there.  There was also a Ardenwaeld Hearthstone available for Anima but, since it is a convenience, it'll probably wait until at least most of the Sanctum upgrades are done.  I just found Armor upgrades, too, but since I'm not doing dungeons or raids, they can wait.  The Anima Conductor just introduced a new currency, Grateful Offerings.  I'm pretty confused by them all except Anima for now.  There have been faction currencies since Vanilla but these seem more general and less optional and therefore are more confusing than many.

I've unlocked Soulbinds as well.  This is another way to adjust your I guess they work for any class but since I'm DPS it seems most of mine seem to be potency and the others seems under used.  Finally, I've done a little with professions.  Herbalism is at 114 out 150 so it'll get to max soon enough.  Cooking and Fishing are in their 20s and I guess I'll focus on them at some point but not yet.  Alchemy is only at 15 and will likely be the last thing I fully upgrade since the most useful potions are always the healing ones and since I'm not doing dungeons or raids, it seems a waste to use the others.

All together, I have been enjoying my time so far but I wonder how much I'll want to do on Kanter besides the Adventures once I complete my Covenant story (I'm on chapter 7 of 9).  I do have another three stories to go so I certainly won't have them all done when 9.1 comes out.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Shadowlands Four Months Late


Kanter in Ardenweald

I've discussed previously my dissatisfaction when I get World of Warcraft expansions when they release.  That said, since I've invested so much into World of Warcraft, I do find it worth while to see what Blizzard has to offer next.  I decided to wait for a sale since if I wasn't going to get it at launch and late in March Blizzard offered 20% off and I decided I had some time to play and it would be good time to see the expansion.  This will be a quick overview of my experience finishing the preliminary questline that gets you to max level, more for my reference than anything else.

I enjoyed the questline.  The covenants are very distinct and the characters interesting.  I certainly have a very distinct preference: 1. Night Fae, 2. Necrolords, 3. Kyrian, 4. Venthyr.  That said, even though I'm not into the gothic look of the Venthyr, plot-wise, I think it would be interesting to explore their covenant.  Ardenweald is so much much prettier than the other regions and I like the light-hearted nature of many of the characters even though there is a dark side to story.

I didn't have much rested experience for the Kyrian and I did have to do a few extra quests to get to level 53 that allowed me to advance the plot.  I took a break then and only needed less than 10% to get to level 56 in the Night Fae story so the leveling seemed well matched for my casual advance.  Also, it didn't take too long at all.

I was able to see the introduction to the Night Fae covenant during the beta test but I still really enjoyed it the second time.  I didn't enjoy most of the Night Elf area in Legion, but I did like Ysera and look forward to spending more time with her as well.

I am a little worried about the covenant grind.  My first experience was quite bad, dying repeatedly trying to get to one of the world quests and not being able to find my way.  I probably picked a bad option but it sounds like they are trying to encourage you to open up the transportation network and I could see it getting frustrating.

However, overall my first experience was quite fun.  I don't see any incentive to advance Horde like there was with Battle for Azeroth but I am quite interested in the different covenants and am currently planning to take my warrior through Necrolords, my priest though Kyrian, and my mage through Venthyr.  I really don't care about maxing my character through abilities though I did happen to see that Night Fae is recommended for Hunters, though it wouldn't have changed my choice.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Long Live the Queen! Civ 6 Succession Game turns 381-390


Yes, it returns!

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.

I just looked and my last turn was in September so this was quite a long break.  In the meantime I purchased the Civ VI expansions and played them during my World of Warcraft break.  It's kind of odd coming back and vaguely remembering where we were but having a lot more understanding of what is going on.  In any case, like Rambling Redshirt said, the state of the Empire is strong and with time we'll be settling Mars.  One milestone, landing a human on the moon, was reached during my turn.

State of the Empire at both beginning and end of my turn

Turn 380

We bought a tile in Sheffield for crabs to improve with worker (the citizens are almost out of food).  we also had the chance to build a new district in London, could be Encampment, Commercial, Entertainment or Industrial.  We decided to build an industrial district since other areas look fine.

Turn 381

Roosevelt denounces us.  Now there are three civilizations who don't like us and two who do.  Fortunately, Roosevelt is far away so it didn't really impact us.

Just in case, I looked at Domination to see if any threat but the queens troups are more than twice the military strength of next most powerful civilization and we will have airpower soon, can upgrade knight corp to modern armor or redcoat to mech infantry or AT to modern AT if needed against Gilgamesh, our only nearby threat so felt I could safely leave things as they are.

Turn 382

Made Missionary and Apostle to convert our cities to Buddhism and protect against other civilizations religions


Cleopatra accuses us of being lazy since we don't have much industry.  We are trying to change that.

Time for new production in Birmingham. We have 2 cities with Spaceports but we can use three for last phase, but since we are almost done with moon landing (1 turn), we decided to build industry (Powerplant) rather than take 47 turns for another Spaceport.  We also built a Shipyard in Bristol and purchased a tile with crabs for Bradford, whose citizens were also almost out of food.

Turn 384

England is the first civilization to land on the moon!
England accomplished two long term goals this turn, the moon landing and building Petra, a wonder. We also started researching Cold war and continued with the next phase of the space mission in Bristol.  We decide to build a Military Academy in Ur just in case Gilgamesh has ideas.  We also received an envoy (we have 3 total available) but already Suzerain of every city state!  We left it for a future leader in case we need to take one back.  I noticed 3 cities need housing but we can deal with it when production comes around to them.

Turn 385

England is denounced again by Pedro but there is nothing much he can do so I ignore him.  We convert Stokes-upon-Trent to the crown religion of Buddhism and started moving missionary to Ur to convert them next.

Turn 386

A Destroyer armada appeared (When did that happen?)  and directed it to our coast for defense just in case.

Turn 387

England refuses trade with Pedro since he has no luxuries we need.  We start research on Rapid Deployment and build a workshop next in London, Amphitheater in Norwich and a powerplant in Eridu.

Turn 388

England now has the ability to make Stealth bomber but no aluminum so we send our builders to Leads where there are two for mines.

Turn 389

Our Destroyers reach our coast and are put on alert.

Turn 390

Our trader to Rennes since France they are still our friend and offered the most gold.  We built a factory in London and builder in Adab for more food.

I had more screenshots to share but with the game winding down, I thought it best to keep it simple and get my post up.  Onward to our next leader, Naithin!  I'm looking forward to the colonization of Mars.