Site reorg and cleanup

For some reason I felt the need to change a few things around this morning while I am afking in Ardenweald because I actually wanted to do one of my Stitchmasters weekly quests there…

Oh well, I split off most of the MMO content from the About page into its own page: MMOs & Me and rewrote parts of both.

Also added links to Twitter and the Blaugust Discord because that’s where I usually talk to real humans about gaming stuff instead of shouting into the void here.

I also reintroduced the Blogroll on the right side again, in a slimmed down version with only the blogs I check daily in my feed reader, for now. I guess I’ll expand it again but I’ve not been diligently reading blog posts the last few weeks and the unread count is huge – sorry to the others who didn’t make the cut, I’m still reading your blogs and I’m not one to easily click “mark all read”, but I will usually catch up at some point, just not very timely. (Also why does the WordPress Custom HTML widget tell me to “please indent with tabs and not spaces”?).

MMOs old and new

Bit late to the party but I saw the twitter thread and after reading Belghast’s epic story in 5 parts (part 1) I thought I’d least double-check the list I am keeping on my About page.

So here’s the list of MMOs I played a ton, from months to years:

  • World of Warcraft (many years)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (maybe a year)
  • EVE Online (2-3 years of subs spread over 7 years)
  • WildStar (2 years?)
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic (3 years?)
  • Guild Wars 2 (a lot)
  • Ragnarok Online (years)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (not sure)
  • Marvel Heroes (probably 2-3 years)
  • The Elder Scrolls Online (a month?)
  • Warhammer Online (several months?)
  • Pokémon Go (several months)
  • Ingress (2-3 months)

Then there are ones where I at least made an account and/or checked it out:

  • Runes of Magic (can’t remember how long, also been pressured)
  • Anarchy Online (surely many weeks but not months I think)
  • EverQuest 2 (Demo, Trial, pretty sure it was pre-launch)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (1 day with coworkers…)
  • Project Gorgon (very briefly)
  • The Division (1 or 2, a week?)
  • Lineage II (honestly not sure if I tried it out myself or just watched in person…)
  • Tantra Online Beta (some sort of Asian Fighting MMO, not Leisure Suit Larry Online)

Stuff that can be seen as an MMO, but many people don’t:

  • Destiny (for me it’s a solo shouter with emergent group game play)
  • Diablo 3 (played a ton, but only with the same <10 people…)

So on that first list I only forgot Pokémon Go, because it’s such a different beast and I played it intensely in some short bursts, and after I was finished I remembered Ingress… On the second list I was missing DDO, Project Gorgon, EQ2, and The Division.

Not as interesting of a trip down memory lane as for other people, but I think it’s still quite a list.

Although the verdict is really clear – if I like a game, I will stick to it for many months and even years, or at least come back to it.

Still progressing in Castle Nathria

We’re still raiding and we actually got Sludgefist on Heroic down last reset and we’ve been pretty consistently quickly clearing Heroic (with some hiccups at Darkvein this week) kinda fast and only doing normal with the skip now (aka Shriekwing, Sludgefist, Generals, Sire). Friday was a bit of a clusterfuck and so we only killed Sludgefist for a second time yesterday, still using Vantus runes and many wipes.

But let’s start at the beginning, our offtank wasn’t available and our #1 dps didn’t quickly shout so I stepped up and properly tanked for the first time. I had done Shriekwing normal the week before because our second tank was late, so I’ll not count that. But last night I actually did Shriekwing, Sludgefist, Generals, and Sire on normal, then Sludgefist Heroic and then we tried to get Generals down. Didn’t kill it but it wasn’t my fault, I actually only messed up a bit on one try, so pretty happy with my performance. My mainspec gear is 213 and in tanking gear I’m 210, which isn’t too shabby. It was pretty fun, except Sludgefist as a Warrior offtank because our main tank is like 13 iLvl higher (DH in PvP Vers gear…). Your only job is to stand on the main tank and not die. This is harder than it sounds because Rage isn’t exactly easy to come by. Shield Slam and Thunderclap to gain Rage, Shield Block and Ignore Pain to mitigate. Rinse and repeat. Anyway, at some point he fell and Generals is a lot more fun to tank. Manageable and not complete chaos, unlike it is for DPS and healers it seems 😛

Sludgefist Heroic (first kill)

Twisting Corridors

I didn’t write about it at the time but last Sunday was the first time since I played WoW when I was close to smashing something out of frustration.

We set out to do the Twisting Corridors of Torghast as a duo, Protection Paladin and Arcane Mage and everything went kind of fine until we got to the last boss. To cut a long story short, we wiped a few times and did not finish. Just underlines my hate of Torghast.

So Saturday night we were meeting friends for a chat on Discord and when we got to WoW as a topic we heard they also failed on the 18th floor. Because all of us didn’t have anything planned we switched to WoW and made a group. Protection Warrior, Resto Druid, Arcane Mage, Destro Warlock. So we went to the Twisting Corridors and surprisingly breezed through and nuked the last boss (I’ve heard stories of people saying 5man Torghast can be pretty hard, so we were a bit wary). Then we made plans to come back for Layer 2 next Saturday, maybe there’s a chance to get the mount after all. On the other hand playing with friends makes everything better, especially if it replaces a stupid “I need to get this done although I hate it” chore, which Torghast 100% is for me.

Seventy million

Another milestone, 70 million skill points on my main. Last milestone in August.

Skill category             Points     No. of skills
===================================================
Spaceship Command         19,046,390  59 *
Drones                     8,859,375  18 *
Gunnery                    8,668,110  33 *
Engineering                6,764,540  15 *
Missiles                   6,097,024  21 *
Navigation                 5,431,133  13 *
Armor                      2,547,805  11 *
Shields                    2,260,080  10
Electronic Systems         2,162,395  12 *
Targeting                  2,154,040   8
Scanning                   1,191,530   7 *
Resource Processing        1,015,545  13
Neural Enhancement           745,347   5 *
Rigging                      679,060  10 *
Science                      498,525  10 *
Social                       434,510   6
Planet Management            394,040   4
Trade                        359,530   8
Production                   276,743   4
Subsystems                   171,510  16 *
Fleet Support                530,030   7 *
Structure Management             750   1
Corporation Management           250   1

* = changes since last time

Skills at Level 5:    80 (+8)
Skills at Level 4:   114 (+22)
Skills at Level 3:    61 (-5)
Skills at Level 2:     2 (-4)
Skills at Level 1:    34 (+10)
Skills at Level 0:     8 (-1)

Free SP: ~710k

And because this is how math works, my alt hit 30 million.

Skill category             Points     No. of skills
===================================================
Spaceship Command          9,660,740  44 *
Gunnery                    4,905,650  30 *
Engineering                3,972,785  13 *
Drones                     2,485,080  16 *
Missiles                   2,334,123  18 *
Electronic Systems         1,481,570   8
Navigation                 1,239,003   9 *
Armor                        933,255  10
Shields                      833,805  10 *
Rigging                      508,024  10 *
Science                      483,690   3 *
Targeting                    429,423   7 *
Planet Management            394,040   4
Neural Enhancement           279,530   4 *
Scanning                      98,386   6
Resource Processing           24,250   2
Social                        23,072   4
Trade                         11,079   3
Fleet Support                  8,000   1 *

Skills at Level 5:    40 (+10)
Skills at Level 4:    56 (+16)
Skills at Level 3:    76 (+6)
Skills at Level 2:    13 (-9)
Skills at Level 1:    15 (-4)
Skills at Level 0:    28 (+14)

Free SP: ~350k

January in review and raiding

So it has come, the last day of January and the end of my prolonged vacation between two jobs, starting a new one in ~9h (maybe I should really go to bed).

We killed the Council of Blood Heroic on Friday, today we did a full normal clear and got a few tries in on Sludgefist, 50% only though. But that’s 7 bosses on Heroic, so 2 213 choices in the vault on Wednesday, I just need to get my one +10 Mythic key done. I have a Sanguine Depths one and it’s a horrible week, maybe lower than +10 will do, we’ll see.

Council of Blood Heroic down

As it’s back to a normal work schedule my gaming time will greatly suffer, but I’m happy with the final tally, 10 weeks after the expansion launched: 8 characters at Level 60, 5x Renown 28, 2x Renown 24+. Sure, I could’ve done some other things as well but WoW was fun and I needed to play a few classes to decide on a main alt. I think it’s Protection Paladin, but Resto Shaman isn’t out of the picture yet. DPS Demon Hunter feels odd this time, had the least fun playing that one. Assassination Rogue is fine and mostly fun, Shadow Priest is surprisingly fun. BM Hunter is ok, as usual. Marksman feels really weird, basically like a caster with that Aimed Shot. Still unsure about Warlock. Demo is ok but not great and I haven’t really tried Affliction yet.

There are no immediate plans to level any others, but I did start on my Orc Rogue and put my Draenei DK through the Maw for professions. Druid is the FOTM class and some people love it, but I don’t feel a big draw. Windwalker Monk seems a little OP but I don’t really like playing Monk. And Mages… I’ll never get how people can like and play Mages proficiently.

Also I’m still on the fence how alt-friendly Shadowlands really is. It’s quite easy to get to ~190-195 iLevel with the Covenant gear, even though Raid Finder is only 187. But then it gets hard really fast as you’re basically forced to PvP to do high Mythic+ keys. Heroics are a joke this time. You probably ding 60 at item level 130-140, so either you spend a little time doing the covenant campaign until you can queue for Heroics at 155 or do a few normals from 144 on and hope for drops (or buy a few BoE blues) . But the moment you are at chapter 3-5 with the campaign and have a little anima spare you can upgrade stuff to 177 or more and then you’ll only need 2 trinkets, 2 rings, and a necklace from Heroics or Raid Finder (unlocks at 170 iLevel), because you also get a weapon token (187) for finishing your campaign. I mean, that’s fine per se, but Heroics are completely useless now – they weren’t at the start because the campaign was time-gated, now you only get your renown up fast enough, so maybe if you are gated on the campaign on a certain day/week it might make sense to run a few. There is some rep gear at decent item levels (I think one 200 piece per faction) but when not grinding it out, my main was decked out in 200s from raids and the Great Vault (and M+) long before I hit Exalted.

That are the alt-friendly aspects. The unfriendly ones are The Maw, where you need to grind your rep again and Torghast, where you needed to unlock the layers separately on every character, but that’s supposed to be changed this Wednesday. Getting the 1250 Soul Ash per Legendary shouldn’t be the problem for the alts, depending on their spec. Also it seems to be so much easier with two people than solo. Or maybe Warrior was just a really bad pick at the start before the nerfs.

Raid update, week 7

The seventh week of Shadowlands raiding concluded and we’ve actually managed to get to 6/10 Heroic, with a quick first night of a full clear and Huntsman on Heroic, a second night with two first kills, Xy’mox and Sun King, and a third night with another first kill, Lady Inerva Darkvein.

Wanted to post that on Tuesday night and forgot. So today I dinged 60 on my 8th character, a Worgen Shadow Priest. As much as I hated leveling him back then from level 90ish to 112 and speced Disc in early BfA, as much fun it was now. We’ll see if and how much of the covenant campaign I’ll get done until Sunday because then it’s back to work and my playtime will decrease sharply again.

Castle Nathria Normal cleared

Ha, did forget to post that on Jan 8th we actually killed Sire Denathrius on Normal.

Sire Denathrius down, bad angle

Since then we’ve not officially progressed, we killed 3/10 Hc that week and this week we also did 10/10 + 3/10 with quite a few wipes on Lady Darkvein Heroic (25 or so) without getting her down.

I’m at iLvl 205 but my weapons are still 200 + 184, but my damage is slowly improving, I seem to be getting better at Fury.

My roster of toons now has 7 at Level 60, with 5 having completed the Covenant campaign already (Night Fae Warrior, Necrolord Shaman, Venthyr Paladin and Demon Hunter, and Kyrian Hunter) and the Night Fae Rogue at 21, so one week away as I didn’t feel like grinding dungeons for another renown drop. The Night Fae Warlock has just started the campaign and I’ve not yet started to level any other characters, just the Death Knight (and my Horde main) has finished the Maw intro quest (for professions in Oribos) and everything else on Horde is untouched.

I’ve been running quite a few old dungeons for transmog these last 2-3 weeks, mostly Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, Blackwing Depths, Bastion of Twilight, Firelands, and Trial of the Crusader, but also a little Serpentshrine Cavern, The Eye, Icecrown Citadel, and Nighthold. I already managed to finish 2-3 sets where only 1-2 pieces were missing so this should be able to be ramped down soonish. I also parked a few 50 alts just in front of the instance for the next resets.

Fourth raid week finished

This was an atypical week because of New Year’s Eve (and the lack of celebrations) and because of Timewalking and Ulduar. So we only planned to raid on the 1st and 3rd (Fri/Sun) but added an excursion to Ulduar on Saturday. To cut a long story short, XT seemed really weirdly scaled, people were dying left and right on the trash on the way and nobody remembered it being that hard. The rest was a mix of overtuned and undertuned. We took a little longer than our normal raid hours but managed to clear it without real problems. Cat Lady’s adds can still oneshot tanks on pull though.

Castle Nathria went pretty good, 9 bosses down on the first night (just 2 wipes on Sludgefist) and 3 bosses down on Heroic on the second night (3 wipes on Huntsman, 4 on Destroyer), and a good third try (26%) on Xy’mox. No Denathrius tries this week though.

Interestingly we hardly got any weapon drops (one of the main reasons we went there) but I got 3 iLvl 200 items, not too bad. Nearly as many as in 4 weeks of Castle Nathria. I’m at iLvl 197 now, but with 184/180 weapons (finally managed to get Sorrowbane tonight). Ninja edit: 2h later I also got Sorrowbane on the Paladin, it’s a huge upgrade from my 158 weapon – apparently the server was dead enough on a Tuesday night. Glad we have a public holiday tomorrow 😛

Demon Hunter is 60 now, Warlock is 59 and mid-Revendreth, and the Paladin hit 60 yesterday and can do Heroics today, just as Demon Hunter and Hunter can, but I only queued on the Paladin. Retri feels so much better than Fury, I regret not going with the Paladin, but we already have 3 raiding Retri Paladins and I’m often the only Warrior. At least they all like my Battle Shout.

2020 in review

It’s the last day of the year and so it’s review time again!

What a year. I don’t think I need to go into specifics but let’s say my gaming time was exorbitant in comparison to other years, but so were my expenses.

What I played a lot:

  • EVE Online
  • World of Warcraft – Retail
  • SW: TOR

Other things I played:

  • Diablo 3
  • Forgotten Anne
  • Anno 1404
  • Stellaris
  • Borderlands 3
  • The Cycle

Gaming expenses in 2020:

  • SW:TOR: 5x 13 EUR = 65 EUR for subscriptions
  • WoW: 214 EUR, of which 79 go in the 2021 bucket
    • 4x 36 EUR = 144 EUR for 4x a 3 month subscription
    • 1x 40 EUR for the Shadowlands expansion
    • 1x 66 EUR for the 6 month subscription that comes with the transmog set
  • EVE Online: 897 EUR, of which ~179 go to the 2021 bucket
    • 1x 20 EUR for a character transfer
    • 120 EUR for several packs
    • 36 EUR for Skill Extractors
    • 212 EUR for PLEX
    • 8x 49 EUR for 8x a 3 month subscription incl 3 MCT
    • 3x 39 EUR for 3x a 3 month subscription
  • Humble: 8 EUR for Forgotten Anne
  • GOG: 0 EUR
  • Steam: 4 EUR for Renowned Explorers + 10 EUR for Stellaris
  • Epic: 0 EUR

And the usual stats:

  • Amount of MMOs played: 3
  • Amount of MMO subscriptions months paid: 5 (SWTOR)+12 (WOW) + 33 (EVE, but really only 20 for this year) = 37 / 50
  • Amount of games purchased: 3
  • Amount of MMO expansions purchased: 1
  • Amount of money for ingame/services stuff: 120 + 36 + 212 = 368 EUR
  • Amount of games I got for free and played a lot: 0
  • Amount of games I got for free and didn’t play: too many
  • Amount of games I bought and then didn’t play: 1 (Renowned Explorers)

So for both EVE and WoW I have paid subscriptions far into the next year, so I’ll separate those out. Sure, I spent it this year but it’s a subscription for 2021 and it’s such a huge chunk that I want to jot down both numbers.

Also: why so many? So I was subscribed to WoW for the whole year, that’s 12. I was subscribed to SWTOR from June through October, that’s 5. And in March/April I came back to EVE in full swing and first transferred my old NullSec alt to a second account, and basically ran three accounts for 3/4 of the year. That’s also why I burnt out a little and didn’t really play EVE since Shadowlands launched, but I plan to return in January.

So yes, it looks even worse than when I did a preliminary tally a while ago, 1234 EUR, at 102.83 EUR per month. Separating out the 2021 pre-payments, I get to 976 EUR, at 81.34 EUR per month. Still the highest amount ever and unlikely to be topped. Then again, 100 EUR for basically ALL your spare time entertainment per month is still a really good deal.

The only thing I can say in my defense is that all these budgets for the year 2020 were not exhausted at all or kept at the bare minimum:

  • vacation – not zero, but a single very short trip by train + bike with a few nights in a hotel
  • public transport and bike repairs – close to zero
  • going out for drinks – zero
  • going out for lunch/dinner – a few times in the summer when we could sit outside, with a table for ourselves
  • ordering stuff online – surprisingly, despite spending all the time at home I did order a lot less stuff at Amazon or elsewhere

Also I really planned to buy Horizon: Zero Dawn when it came out for PC in August, and buy that new graphics card I had postponed buying last November when I replaced my PC. And I’d been trying to get my hands on a 3060 Ti or 3070 for 2 weeks (for a reasonable price), but to no avail. I didn’t buy a new because I spent all my time playing EVE in August, and then transitioned to WoW and Shadowlands. And now I’m changing the wording of this paragraph as I had indeed managed to order a 3070 on Dec 28th and was eagerly awaiting it being shipped today on the 31st, but it didn’t happen.

So in the end I have a guilty conscience but realistically I guess I shouldn’t – a few nights out a month would easily cost more than these gaming expenses I’m making such a fuzz about.

There’s such a huge list of games I got for free in 2020 and didn’t play, but I’m actually interested in these, it’s just (as always) the thing about freeing some gaming time from the thing I am giving 100% at the moment, usually an MMO.

  • Prison Architect
  • My Time at Portia (I actually played someone else’s copy for an hour or two when it launched)
  • Darkest Dungeon
  • Cities: Skylines (hey, I bought this one a while ago)
  • Tyranny
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • ARK
  • GTA V
  • Assassins Creed Syndicate
Happy New Year!