Blapril

EVE: April 2020 in review

I didn’t write as many posts about EVE as I had imagined, but it’s a lot harder to write about an MMO that I have actively played for only a few months, compared to one that I played actively for over 10 years, hardly surprising.

As I wrote at the start of the month I joined Brave Newbies in NullSec again and so far it was a very good decision. People are nice and helpful, I’m learning a lot and having a ton of fun. They’re not annoyed by my noob questions that don’t sound like a 50m SP player, but I did play the offline skilling game for quite a few months of my ~2 paid years. And the rest of the time I was a poster child casual in highsec…

Anywyay, it’s been a great month and I went on a ton of fleets, often a few days in a row and sometimes with 2 things on the same day. I dove into PI (again) and tried to sell of all my remaining stuff in HighSec.

Now here’s a list of ships I have lost. As I’ve been flying a lot of Logi I don’t think my killmail ratio is painting such a realistic picture, but then again with BRAVE mostly flying cheap ships with a little bigger numbers, what kind of picture *does* it actually paint?

  • 3 Osprey
  • 1 Caracal
  • 1 Crucifier
  • 1 Catalyst
  • 1 Scythe
  • 2 Velator
  • 2 Thrasher
  • 2 Dragoon
  • 1 Atron
  • 1 Epithal
  • 4 Pods

Also while it could’ve been more posts, there at least were some:

Also some “milestones” I reached:

  • can basically fly all our ships in our “Novice” doctrine, which means mostly T1
  • can fly a Basilisk now (with Logi V) which used up all of the extracted skills I got
  • I can fly Bombers now (well, one racial, but it counts)
  • finished the “Estaplished Player Skillplan” with the exception of Biology V for Drugs
  • close to flying a Dictor

Unfortunately I couldn’t play the last days, I would have loved to go on a stratop with a Basilisk, but I’m in high hopes that it will work out soon.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 19.

My Raiding History, Part 3: Wrath of the Lich King

The last post ended on a more positive note than it had started. Raiding was going fine and in November 2008 Wrath of the Lich King, WoW’s second expansion launched after 22 months and we were really eager for the new stuff. It’s a bit of a shame that I didn’t blog already back then (this doesn’t count). As with the launch of The Burning Crusade, I was still studying and working at the same time.

I faintly remember that it was supposed to launch at midnight and I’m also pretty sure I started to level my Warrior in Borean Tundra and was quite ahead of the curve, but not really rushing it, so I went to bed after a few hours and not pulling an all-nighter. This would be the first expansion where I was leveling 2 characters at the same time, the warrior and my Rogue Main. Anyway, back to raiding. We cleared Naxxramas, The Obsidian Sanctum, The Eye, Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader, at least as far as I remember. Heroic raids weren’t a thing yet, but there were hard modes. While I’d say WotLK was raiding at a high level for me there are not a lot of distinct memories of the early raids. I know we struggled a bit with 10man vs 25man because we were more than 10 but not exactly 25, I think we ran 2 10man groups at times, sometimes with well-geared alts standing in. It was also the time where I nearly managed to get one of each class to max level (2 missing at 73+78). It was also a time where I managed to raid on all 3 roles, DPS, Tank, and Healer. Naxxramas was ok, Ulduar was really fun (except Yogg-Saron) and Trial of the Crusader wasn’t so great.

So far I left out the grand finale of WotLK raiding, Ice Crown Citadel, which came into the game roughly a year after the expansion had launched, in December 2009. This coincides with another guild change, but I’m also a little hazy on the details. Again it was a re-form of most of the old folks of the guild we had raided with since TBC. It might be that was some disagreement, it might be that we wanted to focus on a mostly static 10 man group in the upcoming instance. The only thing I can tell for certain is that all my characters went to the new guild in January 2010.

I loved Ice Crown Citadel, I think it might be my favorite raid instance ever. I DPSed, I tanked, I healed. All the fights were kinda fun and doable. Well, ok, Sindragosa was hard, but we did it. Also there was the final fight, The Lich King himself. We had chased him all over Northrend, seen him in cutscenes in quests, 5mans, and raids, taunting us. And boy did we take long to take him down on 10man. It was the classic “no single mistake allowed” fight. When one person died we could as well wipe if we didn’t need to practice this exact phase anyway. I don’t know how long we wiped, or how often. I just know that up until that day that was the biggest achievement we got.

In early 2014 I would come back to level a Dwarf Shaman on a German server to do a locked-xp-at-80 Algalon run, I wrote about it: one, two, three.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 17.

Favorite Game Series

It’s rare that a topic that’s making the rounds in our Blaugust-centric gaming blog circle applies to this blog, most often I’m an interested bystander who can’t really take part. The “Five Favorite Game Series” (started by Krikket) might be just another one of those.

My first thought was “Favorite Game Series? That’s hard.” Then it was “Five of them? Even harder.” So let’s have a look at some of the commonly nominated ones, the default picks for many people maybe.

  • The Elder Scrolls – TESO was cool, but the other one I played I didn’t like. Can never remember if it was Morrowind or Oblivion.
  • Civilization – nope, not my cup of tea
  • StarCraft – only loved #1, didn’t play #2
  • WarCraft – Oh yeah, this might fly. I loved 2, I liked 1+3, I play WoW
  • The Witcher – started with 2, it was ok.
  • Age of Empires – 1 was fun, didn’t play 2
  • Torchlight – 1 was fun, 2 was meh
  • Final Fantasy – I only played XIV. It’s good!
  • Zelda – the SNES one was ok, not great. That’s when I lost interest
  • Pokémon – the one I tried (Red? Ruby? on GBA) was ok, but a little boring
  • Guild Wars – I didn’t like 1 at all, 2 was fun
  • The Settlers – 2 was awesome, then.. mhm

See how hard this is? Even when I liked or loved it, maybe part 2 took so long to come out that I had lost interest already, but thinking very hard there’s really a few series I actually liked.

  • Anno – I played 1602 a lot, 1503 a bit, I recently bought 1404 – yeah.
  • Assassin’s Creed – I think I overdid it at some point, but I’m generally a fan
  • Quake – I played 1 and 2 for many years and 3 for years, so I guess: yes.
  • Super Mario Land (GB) + Bros (NES) + World (SNES) – I actually played 5 of these, yay

So in the loosest of definitions where I could say “I liked at least half of the titles, up to, or from a certain point”, then I can name these 4. Plus WarCraft.

Intermission, one day later:

Awesome, that’s what happens when your brain doesn’t work for a day. I originally wanted to write this post because of the Mass Effect trilogy, because it absolutely needs to be in the top five, although I didn’t play the fourth game, Andromeda. Also I totally forgot Diablo, where I actually played 1, 2, and 3. Also maybe Super Mario should be discounted because I ignored the last 25 years. And finally another series I forgot, was “The Dark Eye Trilogy”, Blade of Destiny, Star Trail, and Shadows over Riva, (Realms of Arkania in English) which came out in 1992, 1994, and 1997 (originally in German). The Dark Eye is the German D&D, there’s no way around it. No idea how the pen & paper landscape looks today, but from the late 80s to at least the 00s, German roleplayers were more likely to play this system over D&D. The games were good and if you liked the world, that’s how you could dive in. So yeah, I blame it on my headache that I kinda forget not one but three of my favorite series. Sometimes you should sleep instead of blog.

Old post resumes here:

And still this kind of misses the point. There are only 5 series I played as a series. And if I didn’t like a game as much, why would I continue to play the series? And is Mario even a series? I know, I’m overcomplicating it, but if you don’t go out to buy games left and right this is really hard.

Finally, the interesting question that came up on Discord is whether 2 games can be a series of there need to be 3 of them 🙂

It’s Blapril and this is post number 16.

The great speedup

Yeah, the +100% Rep buff (for certain stuff) is live and the +100% XP buff is also live.

I managed to get the Zandalari Retri Pally from 60 to 85 in record time, Outland this time – first Zangarmarsh, then a little bit of Garadar, Terrokar, and Shadowmoon. Now Hyjal from 80 to 85, maybe till 90.

Because of the rep buff I also started doing emissary quests again, ~25 from Sunday till Tuesday, and 4 Legion ones. My Alliance Pally and Horde Rogue have nearly everything from BfA up until Nazjatar/Mechagon at Exalted, but there’s a few things I really want to get done, just for completeness.

  • BfA prio 1: 12k Rustbolt on the Orc Rogue (to Exalted)
  • BfA prio 2: 7k Tortollan on Night Elf Warrior (to Exalted) (last one)
  • BfA prio 3: 4k Order of Embers on Night Elf Demon Hunter (to Exalted)
  • BfA prio 3: 7k Tortollan on Night Elf Demon Hunter (to Exalted) (last one)
  • Legion prio 3: 11k Court of Farondis on Orc Shammy (to Exalted) (last one)
  • Legion maybe: an emissary or two per Legion faction on the Night Elf Demon Hunter (to Exalted)
  • BfA maybe: doing an emissary here or there on Troll Warrior and Orc Shammy (to Exalted)
  • BfA maybe: the 2-3 missing ones on Alliance Rogue
  • BfA maybe: some Uldum Accord + the other new faction on Orc Rogue
  • unlikely: 50k rep on Worgen Druid
  • likely: 2x from Honored to Revered on Dwarf Shammy
  • likely: 6k Zandalari + 3k Voldunai on Blood Elf Warlock
  • likely: 1k Honorbound on the Undead Mage
  • likely: 3k Voldunai on the Blood Elf Paladin
  • unlikely: playing the Pandaren Monk
  • unlikely: playing the Blood Elf Priest
  • unlikely: playing the Undead Death Knight
  • unlikely: playing the Orc Hunter
  • unlikely: playing the Tauren Druid
  • unlikely: playing the Blood Elf Demon Hunter
  • unlikely: playing the Mag’har Orc Rogue
  • unlikely: playing the Dwarf Hunter
  • unlikely: playing or equipping the Kul Tiran Mage

Also leveling priorities have shifted a bit:

  • Draenei DK to 120 because I want her to reach max level
  • Zandalari Pally to 90 because it’s fun
  • Dark Iron Dwarf Monk to 110 for Heritage firt and foremost
  • burn some rested XP on Nightborne Priest + Highmountain Warrior to not waste it
  • Void Elf Rogue is a bit lower prio for now
  • still not playing the Worgen Priest, ugh Priests…
  • still waiting for Mechagnomes to unlock for a Warlock
  • at the very end is starting a Vulpera or Lightforged Draenei

Does that sound a bit much? Maybe, between all the EVE, but it’s not like I have anything better to do…

It’s Blapril and this is post number 15.

What’s up for 2020?

Posts about the future are rare on this blog, but there are actually a few things I am looking forward to this year, not necessarily releases:

  • WoW Shadowlands
    • I’ve been playing a lot of WoW recently and while I’m happy to take advantage of the XP (and rep) buff to reach my goals, I’m looking forward to a new expansion.
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn on PC
    • When I bought my new PC last year I stuck with my 2016 RX470 and told myself I’d upgrade it when HZD came out. I was really looking forward to it. Now I’m already a bit meh again, I really hate stuff being announced more than half a year in advance, I can never keep momentum. But we’ll see, maybe I am lucky and not totally busy with other things. I WANT to play it.
  • more of EVE Online
    • Not looking forward to a specific release, but I’m in full swing right now and having a blast.
  • Final Fantasy XIV – Shadowlands
    • The grind of the MSQ got to me and I never reached it. Good job, SE, someone gets converted from a “ah let’s try” to buying all 3 expansions, but then burning out 4 levels shy of the last expansion…
  • Cyberpunk 2077
    • Not sure I’ll play it, but I love the fact that it exists and maybe reading and seeing more will tempt me.

Of course there’s also a list of unrealistic expectations:

  • Guild Wars 2 – finish Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire
  • have a look at TESO again, maybe properly this time

And finally a single player TODO list:

  • Finish Forgotten Anne, it’s awesome and should only be a few hours
  • Get to Level 50 in Borderlands 3

It’s Blapril and this is post number 14.

That was… fast

Until today I had thought that the +100% XP buff in WoW Retail would last until Sunday/Monday, but this morning I read it will stay until Shadowlands launches. Interesting development.

I tried to speedrun a bit today and I’m really amazed. 3h for 80-90 in Pandaria and then a little over 3h for 90-100 in Draenor.

Also I dinged 120 on the Kul Tiran Mage on Friday or Thursday. And I got Stormsong Valley done on the DK, making her 113. The goal is coming closer, but this buff is a little too much. Yes, I wanted to get some toons to max level before the next expansion comes out, but this is a bit of a joke now. Apparently I had gimped myself by running mostly dungeons and not doing quests, this is *so* fast with War Mode on.

  • Draenei Death Knight – 113
  • Dark Iron Dwarf Monk – 100
  • Void Elf Rogue – 49
  • Worgen Priest – still 73

Didn’t touch the 3 Horde this time.

On Monday we’re supposed to be getting a huge buff to reputation gains, maybe that will motivate me to finish the Mechagon grind and unlock the Mechagnomes so I can finally start an Alliance Warlock. 5 toons left, 119 + 7 + 10 + 47 levels. And when I get bored I have the Rogue and the 3 Horde chars.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 13.

Noblegarden, 2020 Edition

One of the WoW achievements I’d been proudest of was the completion of all the World Events, “What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been”. Yeah, that’s an old one, here’s a screenshot

Protodrake!

It’s been nearly 11 years since I finished this, with the Noblegarden event, and since then I mostly ignored the world events, sometimes adding achievements I’d missed or which were added later. Also Halloween for the Horseman drops, of course (I have the mount, got it in 2010). I’m not completely sure when they put it in but I guess it I got it “relatively” soon after the achievements came, but not sure if it was in the first rotation it was possible to be done.

This year I noticed there were indeed a few things missing, 2 pets and 1 toy. So I went to Razor Hill and got on the egg hunt, one round after the other, until I had my 550 eggs and now this is done. Quite a throwback to more than 10 years ago.

The fancy pants animation of this is not suitable for my Rogue.

Also I’m missing a few achievement in the “World events” category, but if I leave out Brawler’s Guild and the “new” Darkmoon Faire ones, there’s only like 3 of them.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 12.

The Battle at I6-SYN

Yesterday I finally managed to have a stratop fleet available in my timezone, while not at work, and with a doctrine where I could join!

Slowboating

Of course I had no idea what was going on, but we jumped through a lot of gates and ansiblexes, finally arriving where a handful of Titans were waiting for jump bridges. One purple and 2 blue ones, plus a few extras.

That’s a lot of drones…

The battle lasted quite a while and apart from the massive TiDi (yay 1600 people on grid) it was actually fun to logi in an Osprey. I somehow managed to be the last man standing (from the 2 cap chains) after we lost all Basilisks and then all other Ospreys, not sure if we had Scythes and/or Scimitars left.

And I nearly made it out alive!

As I heard later it was about a TEST Astrahus. We didn’t manage to defend it but I was told we won the ISK war. Even got a battle report this time. 12ob is quite number. Also I managed to take some screenshots this time, I’m absolutely happy with this day.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 11.

Leveling spree

The long Easter Weekend (Fri-Mon) here gave me the first break longer than a weekend since… not sure, New Year’s week I guess? and some well-needed rest.

The +100% XP buff in WoW retail is still rolling (until the 20th or so I heard) and on the one hand I feel a little pressured to make the most of it while it’s running, but on the other hand I actually have a goal and want to achieve it. So I did make some good progress. And had some fun on the way.

  • Kul Tiran Human Mage – 115
  • Draenei Death Knight – 110
  • Dark Iron Dwarf Monk – 75
  • Nightborne Priest – 70
  • Zandalari Troll Paladin – 60
  • Highmountain Tauren Warrior – 61
  • Void Elf Rogue – 46 (yes, it’s the fifth Rogue, don’t judge me)

So back to my goal, one of each class and faction at 120, that means these are missing:

  • Alliance Mage – nearly there
  • Alliance Death Knight – just BfA left
  • Alliance Monk – 45 levels
  • Alliance Priest – stuck at 73
  • Alliance Warlock – completely missing, stalled until Mechagnomes unlocked

Shadowlands is in the Alpha, so maybe I should focus on that Monk while the XP buff lasts, then when it ends try to unlock Mechagnomes and get that started. Not sure about the Priest, as I’m leveling one on Horde side right now… And I still didn’t start a Lightforged Draenei and Vulpera… Also for this goal, the “useless 120s” category meanwhile consists of a Gnome Rogue, a Mag’har Rogue, and a Goblin Warrior. Precious time that could have been spent on leveling the aforementioned toons, but there were Heritage armor sets to be unlocked…

Celebrating some milestones made me reevaluate some transmogs I had, and while I didn’t hate them, I thought after 40 levels it was time for something new:

I love the Priest transmog on my Nightborne, so I’m keeping that. Also the Monk one is still fun to look at and the only problem with the Rogue’s is that I keep replacing the boots I want because they’re not Heirlooms.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 10.

My Raiding History, Part 2: The Burning Crusade

The last post ended with our first full clear and the tail end of Vanilla WoW. The Burning Crusade, WoW’s first expansion launched on January 9th 2007, if Wowpedia is to be trusted. We had our guild, the band of ex-battleground players and the raiding game was to be changed in a major way. Before it was 40mans (that we didn’t do) and 20mans (that we did), and now suddenly there should be 10 man Karazhan and then 25 man mini raid instances, Gruul’s Lair and Magtheridon’s Lair. As we had raided together with another guild the logistics of 10 man dungeons shouldn’t be as much of a problem as it would be for larger guilds, who suddenly needed like 8 good tanks and 8-10 good healers out of 40.

But first things first. The attunement quests in Vanilla were mostly tedious, but even with bad players(us) the MC attunement could be done easily if you coordinated a group. In TBC, getting the key to Karazhan was quite a bit more challenging, as the Heroic versions of the dungeons proved to be a lot harder than all the Vanilla 60 dungeons. We didn’t have major problems, but there were some occasions (Heroic Black Morass for example) where we simply had to retry a run after getting a few pieces of gear more or switch the composition of the group. Nothing drastic, but it still took a while to get 15 or so people the key to Karazhan. Then we started raiding and for some reason everything went horrible. We killed Hakkar, we still had all the same people, and while we hadn’t carried them, the people from the other guilds weren’t our star players, they were average, so it’s not like we had lost our best players. Still, progress was damn slow, people were fed up that we had 15 for a 10 man dungeon, and so on.

Now the details get a bit murky in my head, so I don’t know if we ever managed to kill Gruul and Magtheridon in this group, but I’m reasonably sure we killed Karazhan’s last boss, Prince Malchezaar, after too many wipes and too much time. Along the way we had already lost a few people who were fed up with the group, which was a shame after over a year. At some point we got an influx of 2-3 players that came together, this had improved our raiding a little but the tone and morale was at an all time low and that’s when we had guild drama for the very first time. It ended with our guild leader and the new people and 3-4 others (so 7-8, half of the active raiders) simply leaving, that must have been in the summer/autumn of 2007. With the exception of one of the latter ones I haven’t spoken to any of them since because most of them publicly laid blame on about half of the rest of us who remained, mostly on raid performance. I still don’t know what I have to think about this, because they also took two of our worst players with them (which we sometimes asked to be benched for a particularly hard fight, instead of just telling them they can’t raid at all or kick them – I know this is also not very nice, but we wanted to progress AND let them be part of raiding, especially some of the leavers had in the past argued for demoting them to purely social…) – anyway, with just a few of us left at some point I disbanded the guild as I, as one of the remaining 2-3 officers had taken over guild leadership for this sorry pile of rubble. That kinda sucked.

Most of us took a break from the game over the summer (at least a few weeks) and in autumn I applied to one of the non-hardcore guilds on my server and even raided with them twice before there also was some internal conflict, but they solved it like adults. The current guild was a very old one and the guild leader didn’t want things to change or give up leadership, but also didn’t want to raid, not even casually – so most of the raiders left (on friendly terms), to form a raid guild with a defined purpose (but put most of the active remaining players on their friends list).

Of course I joined them because I was here to raid, after all. Everything worked out nicely, and after a while I brought most of the remaining people from my old guild (that had failed in Karazhan) on board and unsurprisingly it worked out just fine with them raiding and they weren’t bad at all. We still weren’t hardcore, we still weren’t fast – but with the slowly improving gear we actually managed to clear Tempest Keep, Serpentshrine Cavern, The Battle for Mount Hyjal, and even The Black Temple (just not Sunwell Plateau, but that’s ok).

The Burning Crusade is also the expansion where I stocked up on alts, even up to leading alt raids to Gruul and Magtheridon on my Prot Warrior, and clearing Karazhan in alt groups also didn’t seem to be a challenge anymore – I think I even healed on my Druid on our first kill (or just while learning) of Archimonde. Nerf HoTs.

And while raiding in Vanilla was fun, Hakkar was the only memory I actively still hold, whereas for TBC there are a lot of memories. The moment Malchezaar still went down, when we cleared SSC, when we cleared TK, the Archimonde fight, and most of Black Temple (which was my favorite instance in that expansion), being on main interrupt duty on Reliquary of Souls, and when our raid leader called the Illidary Council “the superbowl of not standing in things”. And being a main tank in alt raids, of course. Also I don’t remember if I was an officer in this guild. Certainly not at the start, maybe in the end. Not that it matters a lot.

To this day I am confused how Karazhan could go so badly for this original group where 20 man had been fine and the others raided successfully without us, and we did without them…

It’s Blapril and this is post number 9.