Thinking about alts again

After so many years of playing WoW I’ve amassed a number of characters, of course the goal was to have one high-level class per faction – but a few are missing.
So clearly I’m missing an Alliance Warlock (played a male Gnome one through Boralus in the BfA trial, ready to receive a 110 boost, but undecided), an Alliance Druid (got a 44 one on my other account), an Alliance Monk, an Alliance Death Knight (got a 70 one my other account), and a Horde Demon Hunter. Those 2 on the other account are quite low, so no use transferring them, as I don’t think that account will ever be reactivated. Thanks to the starter edition I just checked the 2 bank chars and they have like 600 cloth and 600 leather and a few random items. There’s also a 4x Alliance Paladin that I already had restarted and the new one is nearly 120 right now. 😛
The third Rogue, second Warrior, and second Shaman are on a German server where some friends used to play. The third Hunter is on Argent Dawn where the blogger guild <Single Abstract Noun> played, many years ago. The Death Knight and third Priest are on the server where I had transferred my main to raid. Finally the third Warrior is on another German server where some friends played – all the others here are on my main server, or on it’s merged partner. This is really good, so I can mostly keep Horde and Alliance separate, only the second (Alliance) Rogue is old enough to be on the main server, the rest is on the other server.
There’s also a distinct lack of Rogue favoritism, they’re only a few levels in the lead over the Warriors…
Also it doesn’t help that I stopped playing regularly…
 
 
 
 
I’ve also thought about the Allied races for a while.

  • Void Elves: Moderately interesting. Progress: Never been to Argus. Effort: High
  • Lightforged Draenei: Hardly interesting, still Draenei. Progress: Never been to Argus. Effort: High
  • Dark Iron Dwarves: Very interesting, although I’m just now playing a Dwarf. Progress: Not started the War Campaign: Effort: Medium to High?
  • Kul Tiran Humans: Quite interesting. Progress: Not started the War Campaign: Effort: High
  • Nightborne: Moderately interesting. Progress: 14900/21000 and mostly done Suramar on one char. Effort: Medium to Low
  • Highmountain Tauren: Moderately interesting, not different enough. Progress: Exalted and Started the quest in TB. Effort: Low I hope
  • Zandalari Trolls: Relatively interesting. Progress: Not started the War Campaign, halfway through Zuldazar. Effort: Medium to High?
  • Mag’har Orcs: Hardly interesting, I like normal Orcs. Progress: Not started the War Campaign. Effort: High

So in summary I’ll try to unlock the Tauren soonish, then I’ll have a look at the two War Campaigns anyway. Maybe I’ll revisit Suramar, I was not a big fan.
Oh, and I also still have that Level 100 boost. Useful targets could be: Alliance Druid, Alliance Death Knight, Alliance Shaman on my main server. Demon Hunter would start at 98/100 anyway and I’m not sure I want to try Monk again. My least favorite class, followed by DK.
So much to do, so little time 🙂

Finished with Drustvar

I’m really glad I started WoW. Maybe it’s because enough time has passed or because BfA evokes a lot of memories of the good old times, but I’m enjoying it immensely.
As I wrote I started in Drustvar. I finished it on my second night and got to 114 in the progress. It is hands down the best zone in an MMO I have seen in more than 5 years. Maybe more. The music, the setting, the quests, everything was awesome. I like that it’s a bit slower than I remember leveling in WoW, but I might be mistaken. I took some screenshots and didn’t fiddle around in the AH, so I can give a number of hours played when I am done.
Yesterday I started playing my old main (Orc Rogue) in Vol’dun and it wasn’t so awesome, but still immensely fun. The writing was still good, I liked the scenery (despite it being a desert) and the NPCs. I haven’t finished the zone, but I’m close.
The only downside I’ve noticed so far is hardware-related. My graphics cards used to kinda switch off every few weeks – sound continues but everything goes dark and I need to shutdown and restart, reset doesn’t help either, neither did any of the driver updates. For the first time this was reproducible, when going into the cave in Drustvar to kill Mother Whatever. After failing three times I just switched to potato mode and turned down all graphics settings. That worked. Still a bit annoying – but at least I now know how to temporarily fix it. Maybe it’s some sort of texture or graphics effect. So overall, not so bad and not WoW’s fault, it has happened in multiple games already.

Back in Azeroth – 2019 edition

Yes, I did it. Last night I came home from work and instead of logging in to SWTOR (or making dinner, like a reasonable person would) I went to the website and subscribed to WoW for a month. As I had already purchased the Battle for Azeroth expansion at the Black Friday sale and had patched up last week I could start 5 minutes later. Quite a nice experience.
Sadly my Horde guild of many years seems to be even more dead than in Legion (last login of anyone else: more than a week ago) I chose Alliance. Also because I wasn’t in the mood of sorting out bags. And I want to see both story lines anyway, so might as well start in the guild – because the Alliance guild is big enough that I was sure they’d still be around – just as they were back in late October.

So I dusted off my Dwarf Retribution Pally, abandoned nearly all Legion quests, put my stuff in my bank (not full already on this toon), disabled all addons and off we went. Halfway through the intro I remembered I had already done it in October. The Fall of Lordaeron scenario is pretty nice for the first time, ok for the second time 2 months later.. but I guess I’ll skip it from now on unless there’s a year between new toons. Anyway – a quick web search told me Drustvar is the place to start, so I did. And didn’t feel the need to stop or get up for 4 hours. This was pretty nice. It’s fun, I love the zone – some of the quests made me smile or laugh and in the end I was Level 111 and a half and can’t wait to continue playing.

I joined a guild

So the three day WoW trial is up, I logged in maybe 4 times but didn’t do anything worth mentioning besides what I already wrote. Let’s see if 8.1 pulls me back in.
On to more exciting news. I’ve made the conscious decision to stay in SWTOR for the moment (and why wouldn’t I? I’m having fun.) and I’m a lot more excited about 5.10 (without a release date more exact than “probably December”) than BfA which is out now. So I looked around on my server and have now joined an Empire guild, my first foray into socializing since 2014 I guess. We’ll see how that works out. Maybe I get to do some Operations again.
Anyway, right now I’m desperately trying to get my Sage to 300 to get the 25% Command XP bonus, but right now I’m stuck at 286 and already did most of the weeklies, only Iokath (planned for tomorrow) and Makeb (ugh, nope) left. I really want to get it done this week, not next week, so maybe some more planet daily sets…

I almost bought a WoW expansion

The weekend is upon us and after being out last night I thought.. today will be the day I grab Battle for Azeroth! Only had to grab 100 MB of patches, then I got an interesting popup. “Trial for BfA! 3 days of game time included”. This sounded good, I was on the way to buy it anyway.
So I logged in all my toons, cleaned up the bags for the mains, grabbed a quest, did a scenario (Fall of Lordaeron) and then… couldn’t continue. I would’ve expected a breadcrumb quest to lead me to a new zone, as with all the other expansions before, but nope. Went around a bit in Orgrimmar, nothing – so I went to search the web and apparently it only works with a freshly created Trial character. Not so cool. I was still interested so I checked what class/race combo I was missing among my high level characters and decided on a Gnome Warlock. Apparently I had created one to save a name, so I logged in, mailed the Heirlooms to another toon, deleted, and recreated. Then I had to do the scenario again (doh) – but at least from the other perspective now. After that I could indeed go to Kul Tiras and experience roughly half an hour of gameplay. At that point the game decided this was enough and I should now pay up. Including holding that character hostage with a big fat lock on the login screen and a “Trial Completed” message.
But what I saw from Kul Tiras and the new quests was really nice. Except for the jarring mouth animations when the NPCs were talking. I also feel drawn to the Alliance quite a bit, as the scenario wasn’t really more enticing than the preview cinematics. This also sucks, I’d prefer to play my old mains from before Legion.
So yeah, on the one hand it’s my own fault. On the other hand this “free” “trial” has pissed me off enough that I’ve not instantly gone and bought it. Actually I’m quite dissuaded at the moment. Good job, Blizzard, if it hadn’t been for the wording and execution of this trial I would’ve bought it already, incl. a subscription.

Kind of back on track

I’m back and didn’t have a lot of plans this weekend so some gaming was achieved!
Did a few weeklies, working on getting more toons towards Command Level 300. The Sage is now 173, the Scoundrel 111, and the Juggernaut 77. The Scoundrel still feels very weak. Even Black Hole takes a while and I usually get help for Section X. Maybe the class just doesn’t suit me very well, or I should try another spec, it’s probably not the gear (230 Item Rating). I also finished my Conquest for the week, Rakghoul Resurgence on Alderaan, done by the Juggernaut. All in all not bad for a few days with a lot of breaks.
I’m still pondering if I should get WoW’s BfA expansion. Before I went away I was 100% hyped on SWTOR and 75% hyped on WoW, and now I’m kinda.. I don’t know? SWTOR is fun, but I don’t feel the urge to play 12h per day right now – and I’m torn on WoW. My SWTOR sub expires on the 15th, so until I need a decision. I just know I won’t really play 2 MMOs at the same time, so unsubbing makes sense, and if WoW is not soo awesome I can just resub. Or I’ll focus on one character in SWTOR and keep the sub… Decisions, decisions!

To guild or not to guild

I’ve come back to SWTOR 3 months ago (insert 3 monther MMO joke here) and my sub is due to renew tomorrow. A week or two ago I pondered whether to keep it, because I was still really pumped for WoW, a feeling which had come up during the BfA pre-launch hype and Blaugust. But now after reading a lot of first month review posts (sorry if I forgot someone) I’m not so sure I’m still hyped. The reviews aren’t at fault, most people seem to be mostly happy with the expansion. I’m still kinda curious, but the hype has died down for now.
This brings me to my original thought though, I’m playing mostly solo right now and I’m wondering if I’d be happier in a guild again. It’s not that I was actively avoiding them, I’m now GM by of two dead SWTOR guilds, just by showing up in 2018…
Can I even say I have a mixed history with guilds? I’ve always been in a clan while I was playing FPS games 15 to 20 years ago, no problems there. In my first MMO, Ragnarok Online, I wasn’t lucky at first, but then found some cool people on IRC and joined their casual guild (as in non “non-organized group content”). I wasn’t in a WoW guild until I hit 60 in vanilla, since then I was in a few guilds. I think it was only ever in 2 clusters of guilds in 8 years, if you count reforming with half of the people.
So either I’ll buy BfA and play WoW in early October, then I will either play Alliance in the guild where I’m the “returns every 2 years” guy, or go back to my Horde mains and probably have to look for a guild. A quick search on the realm forums wasn’t helpful, no recruitment posts except for hardcore raiding, which I don’t plan to do and there’s no use applying before max level anyway. Maybe my friends list will be helpful once I login. Or maybe my guild isn’t as dead as it looks on the armory, but I guess it’s only 3-4 people and 2 of those hardly talk in chat.
Anyway, if I stick to SWTOR either by not buying BfA or by playing both (haha, fat chance)… the Tulak Hord (German server) realm forums also look dead, the Darth Malgus (English server) one has like three times the current posts, maybe even more. Also somehow my fellow Germans (and the minority of people speaking German) seem to piss me off much more than the people on EU servers, I don’t know why. I saw some recruitment posts, but never seen anyone of those guilds ingame. Apparently it’s a lot more common in SWTOR to have a sister guild on the other faction than in WoW. So at least that could help, as I’m pretty much 60/40 Empire/Republic right now.
So the only thing I know is that I guess I’d like to be part of a guild again after a few years of being the lonely ranger. I just don’t know yet in which game and in which faction – and how I’ll find one. Great.

Gear as character progression

Telwyn wrote about gearing, and gear as character progression in WoW in detail. I wanted to comment, but this was one of those “loo long for a comment” posts very soon..
I don’t want to say I have a strong opinion on the topic, but maybe I have several, mixed, not-so-light opinions 😉
Just relying on drop luck sucks, it’s what I’ve always hated in raids in Vanilla and TBC, thus I found DKP a lot better. Show up more, get more loot. I also didn’t like Loot Council (oh, the raid leader’s favorite people get their best in slot items, but the people who show up 90% don’t get anything, and the slackers get showered in loot so they catch up…), but let’s leave those organized multiplayer loot systems behind and just talk about “gearing” in general.
If my toon has no means of getting gear outside personal loot drops and tokens.. I prefer a mixed system. I don’t remember seeing a full-on “there are only tokens” system, you always get a modicum of gear to drop and then collect some kind of tokens or points and can buy stuff for your missing slots, hopefully one per week, or at least more than one every 2 months (hello WoW, looking at you). I don’t want to feel pushed to run a heroic dungeon every single day to not lag behind, but ok, 1h investment per day can still be considered fine for a raider – bonus points if there’s a weekly cap and not a daily one.
This had worked kinda fine in past expansions, I bought some items for Heroic tokens, sometimes even the odd PvP piece (Was that Bracers/Belt in TBC? :P). What I absolutely hate the most was this “oh I bought it yesterday and now something of the same quality or better drops after I had saved up 2 weeks for that piece. Just let me at least sell it back for half the value or get rid of random drops altogether. This makes me literally furious, much more than not getting the item (or its too-quick replacement) at all.
Legion changed all that – at least for the Weapon slot. For the first few toons (and specs) I kinda liked it. One less thing to care about upgrading, or let’s say – there’s no real alternative, it’s just a nice, quick progression. On the other hand.. there’s no catch-up mechanic (IIRC there came one, a lot later, but if you -like me- don’t spend the first 6 months on your main, but play some alts, the catch-up mechanic was kinda meh. I had already invested a ton of time into my alts’ artifact weapons). But in general I really liked it. No more “should I really upgrade this to X when tomorrow something with X+1 might drop for me?” I can get carried away real quickly in pondering about weapon upgrades. As an aside, I’ve always hated the PvP gear grind. My suggestion had been for years: Let everyone buy a set for 100g/1000g or something equally low (free is fine as well) and then it’s 100% a skill game, and has nothing to do with gear anymore. Not sure if they ever implemented that to the fullest, but by that time I had (and still have) burned out on WoW PvP for a long, long time. (I was Rank 11 in vanilla and didn’t too to bad in TBC arenas, then I stopped).
Now, I haven’t played BfA, but so far it sounds ok-ish. But I’m not sure I wouldn’t have preferred to keep the weapon approach (but transmoggable, and maybe not one per spec, but 1 per class). Sure it’s boring, but it’s nice and handy.
This Azerite artifact? amulet? seems to be some kind of proxy to your /played and meaningful earning of a certain currency, so the longer you play (regarding contributing activities ingame) the more your power grows, just like with the weapon, but it’s more customizable, as it’s a different tier that’s not tied to a certain slot. I don’t really see this as very different, but I guess I’d have to play to comment, really.
Oh, and all this talk was now just about the mode of character progression via gear, there are some totally different models, which all have something going for them:

  • I like SWTOR’s datacrons – you unlock them account wide and every single one gives you a little boost, but I haven’t run the numbers how many of them bump you like 1 Tier of gear, if at all
  • I like EVE’s training mechanic a lot. If I am “actively playing” that month (in the monthly active user metric *cough*) I get to level something – I don’t have to be playing 24/7. This had the downside of never being able to catch up, but as total noob I’d say that after N years (N might be 3 or 7 or more) you won’t get better for a certain amount of ships, you can only really go broader, not deeper. Also there were skill injectors, which fixed this problem to a degree but brought others. Wilhelm had a good post about it lately. And yes, this is pay-to-win on a very basic scale. On the other hand, I once forgot to cancel a 3-month sub for EVE and while in any other MMO I would’ve felt regret, in EVE it was “ah well, time to queue up some of the nasty long skills, while I’m not actively playing”.

PS: Blaugust has started and this is my twenty-eighth post; and even after all these years, “eighth” is one of the hardest words of the English language for me.
PPS: Something I’ve noticed this Blaugust: the more I post, the more likely I am to reference one of Wilhelm’s posts. This time it’s even two – because between me reading Telwyn’s post and posting this, he wrote something on the topic as well. Gladly I’m not that philosophic and don’t even get started on the reasoning if gearing and character progression makes sense, I’m absolutely happy to just voice an opinion 🙂

Notable quotes

Were there any quotes by guild mates or people on your server that became the stuff of legends or just quoted to no end? Some of them are probably in-jokes, but I have two I fondly remember even after many, many years.
The first one was about Illidari Council late in Black Temple.
WoWWiki says “[…] it sports a difficult pull and a rather chaotic battle for survival, which requires high situational awareness and fast reflexes from all raid members.” and thus someone called it
The Super Bowl of… not standing in things.” and it’s the most apt and yet funny description I’ve ever heard about a raid boss.
The second one was spoken by our WoW guild leader at the time.
I can only paraphrase it, but it went something like:
I love all of you. But I also love the safe feeling that you’re all living hundreds of kilometers away.
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my eigth post.

Random blast from the past

Yesterday Jeromai posted something I didn’t know, that you can get a random blog post out of your WordPress blog by appending “?random” to the URL – of course I had to try it and see if it’s something interesting.
My lucky draw was: Mirror, mirror on the wall from March 2010, and there’s a reason I want to write about that post.
Basically when I wrote Ranking WoW’s races two weeks ago I was pretty sure I had a post about this exact topic and wanted to link it, but either I didn’t find it or, more likely, forgot at the end of my rambling post.
So yeah, my taste has stayed closer to 2010 than 2005, but also not completely. That’s why I blog, to remember what I was thinking about 8 or 13 years ago 😉
 
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my third post.