Wednesday, December 2, 2020

My Shadowlands Break


My first Horde Garrison

I am now officially in my early expansion break for World of Warcraft Shadowlands.  I have been enjoying my time and I do feel some disappointment, but I have been there for the initial expansion rush and I know it isn't for me.   It'll be interesting to see how I handle my break this time.  I certainly don't want it to last three years like the one I took after I stopped playing Legion.  I'm not sure if I'll wait for a sale or just wait for one or two major patches that will add more content.

I feel like I'm in a good spot when I come back.  I have four level 50 Alliance characters and one level 50 Horde character.  I've had another Horde character in the 40s (a Demon Hunter that I created before the squish) and an Alliance character also in the 40s (a Druid).  This will give me plenty of options to see the four Covenants when I decide to buy Shadowlands.  I was also just able to level my Vulpera Rogue to 40 in Warlords of Draenor.

Sneaking around Iron Siege Works with Gallywix

I spent most of the last few days leveling from 31 to 40 in Warlords of Draenor.  The introduction took me from level 31 to 33.  At that point you get to build the garrison and I started the different tasks there.  I generally enjoy the fact that things get done while you aren't actively having to do them.  I have also done the fishing dailies every day.  I just have the Barracks (given by default), crafting huts (barn and tannery for my leatherworking), and a bank since I didn't want to have to travel back for it.  I also created a Zandalari Troll Warrior so I could send the output from the mine to him.

I don't remember the early alliance quests well and there were a couple that I remember but most of them are new and I think they are generally better on the Horde side.  I like the Frostwolf questline and I'm glad I finally got to see it.  It was also fun sneaking around the Iron Siege Works as a rogue.  I didn't get any of the extra tasks done but I also got to avoid a lot of combat and Gallywix is a pretty entertaining companion.

I have some thoughts about the different experiences I've had from Horde and Alliance that I wait to share with another post.  I should have more time to write since I won't be playing World of Warcraft.  It'll be interesting to see how much I miss it and if I decide to fill the time with anything similar.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Ignoring Shadowlands


Temple of the White Tiger

While most people are starting Shadowlands, I've been finishing up a few things before I take another break from World of Warcraft.  Before Shadowlands released, I finished up the prepatch quests on Kanter, my hunter, and got the pre-patch weapon on Kantra, my priest.

I had come to a standstill on the Tiller quests for Kintri, my Vulpera rogue.  A quest required flying and I was still in my low 20s.  Finally, over Thanksgiving break I was able to focus on finishing up some of the quests in Jade Forest and made it to level 30.

First, I had to either avoid or wait on the queues.  Area 59, where my Horde characters are, had a two hour queue on Monday and Tuesday when Shadowlands started so I decided to do something else and play in the morning when there weren't queues.  I thought I'd want to play my alliance druid, Kantree, to get him to level 40 (he's at 45 now), but I don't seem to be motivated to do that.  I had to wait for a couple of 20 to 30 minute queues earlier in the week but I haven't had any queues during the day the last two days.

Once I hit 30 I was able to advance the tiller quest line and get the last two votes so I could join the Tillers Union and get my reputation to exalted.  I've turned in the quest for the final 4 plots on the farm (not that I've used more than 8 at any time).  I'm at level 31 and the agility food (Sautéed Carrots) work at level 32 so I'll make some to have them available.

At this point, I'm ready to see the Horde introduction to Warlords of Draenor so I will switch Chromie time to that expansion.  I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as Mists of Pandaria, but I think it is the best opportunity to see something new since I think most of the Pandaria quests remaining are similar for Horde and Alliance.

Overall, I'm very happy with the leveling experience so far.  I'm looking forward to trying out Warlords of Draenor.  I don't think I'll make it all the way to level 50 before my subscription runs out but I'm enjoying it and maybe I'll come back to level Kintri and Kantree another time.  The ability to see more of individual expansions rather than jumping between them is a great change to the game.

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.

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).

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

More Battle for Azeroth Horde Goal Progress

Chamber of Heart

I spent most of my time this week in World of Warcraft (WoW) either working through the War Campaign quests or completing Heart of Azeroth quests for Kantoor.  I have gone from one to five champions doing the war campaign quests and have gotten to the second achievement but I still have four more sets of quests to go.  I have also been doing most o    f the emissary quests as they come up and also quests that have specific upgrades.  Kantoor is now over 380 iLvl and his lowest item is  65.

Kantoor has received the lead in to the Black Prince quest line which leads to the Legendary cape.  Once he finishes the War Campaign and earlier Heart of Azeroth quests, that will probably be next.  He needed to make another trip into Nazjatar in order to continue the War Campaign but I'm not very interested in doing more there or with the Mechagnomes that is required.  The Heart of Azeroth is leveling quicker than I expected but that has left him with two empty essence slots.  I believe one will be filled from the Black Prince quest line and I may feel compelled to fill he other one.  He is also at about 14000 out of the 21000 needed for exalted with the Voldun faction so he continues to make slow progress there and I'm still hoping it'll be done in the next four weeks before this month's subscription runs out.

Kanter has continued to advance his Legion followers to 950.  Four are completed and with two more he will have completed the quest.  I will probably try to Tomb of Sargeras raid once I finish this quest.  I am supposed to be working on leveling the legendary cape but I'm not interested.

I'll probably try to finish the Horde quest lines and once I've completed the Black Prince and War Campaign lines.  Voldun reputation is still the priority but I'd rather get it as it comes up with emissary or mission quests.  I might even try to 'Two Sides to Every Tale' since by that point most of it should be done.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Long Live the Queen! Civ 6 Succession Game turns 151-160

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.

After reading Rambling Red's post, I knew he had set me up for both founding a religion and to learn gunpowder.  I spent turn 151 just looking around and understanding where things stood.  However, turn 152 was a major one since England founded the fourth and last religion with the arrival of the great prophet Madhva Acharya.  I chose Buddhism because the other religions were all western.  At that point I needed to choose two beliefs.  I chose a first that would help with culture and a second that would help with science since we were leading in science and wanted to us faith structures to help there as well.

There were also several warriors that I wanted to upgrade to swordsman so I found a Iron tile just outside of Birmingham.  There was a builder there so I was able to immediately upgrade the location with a mine.  I also killed a nearby Barbarian scout and sent the troups back to Stoke-upon-Trent, the nearby city.

At turn 153 London produced a temple and I set it to producing the Mahabodhi Temple hoping it will help spread our religion to our other cities and resist influence from the other religions.  I was also able to start a new trade route from London.  I also had Stoke-upon-Trent produce an Aqueduct to help them continue to grow.

For turn 154 I was able to add a new Wildcard policy and I chose one that would provide and extra two points per turn towards getting a Great Scientist.  Also, Stirrups completed and I chose Education as our next technology since Gunpowder was going to take significantly longer.

Turn 155 Pedro came back to declare war against me as he had on my previous turn.  I don't know why he doesn't like me.  He still isn't very close and isn't that strong militarily so I wasn't too worried.  Bristol, our remote city far to the northwest, spotted a Brazilian scout right outside and was able to eliminate them with the bombardment because our previous leaders had wisely built a city wall.  We will need to do this in other cities as well. We learned Civil Service but I decided against a policy change.

There were a crossbowman and archer in the SE corner that were attacking some barbarians.  I attacked the ones I could see but one killed my archer before my crossbowman killed him.  Then I sent my  crossbowman back to our towns, several turns away.  I also had enough funds to upgrade one of our warriors to a swordsman to better defend the empire.

The last few turns were less eventful.  We completed our research into Education and start on Gunpowder.  I decided to send our next Envoy to Stockholm in hopes of eventually having their scientists help with our research.  Leeds started building a temple to our newly founded religion and I had the funds to turn their warrior into another swordsman.  Finally our southern icebound city of Bradford started a Granary since they need all the help they can with growth.

I also wanted to mention that there is a spearman that seemed to be heading to our northern city.  I tried to take it southeast of Toronto but there was no way to go through there so I tried to take it to the west of Toronto hoping that will work.

I turn the Empire over to the very capable hands of Naithan and will look forward to the continued prosperity of the English Empire.