Zereth Mortis – the end?

So, I just reached Revered with the Enlightened faction in Zereth Mortis, which is an important milestone for Legendary stuff, and I have finished upgrading my Cypher to Level 6/6 which means I can now get 252 items from World Quests and bosses there.

I got quite some gear upgrades the last 3 weeks, but most of my items are still below 252, so with some lucky stats there could be some interesting things. I can now also buy the item to upgrade my conduits to 239, but the grind to get the faction to Exalted isn’t really important. My “mandatory daily” phase is done because I’m not counting on drop luck for these maybe-an-upgrade items, but the daily round in ZM didn’t feel as much as a chore as Korthia did, so I might continue, just not every day.

Now I just need to find out how Dual Legendaries actually work because I’m still wearing my useless 262 Covenant cloak with 239 Epic pants, whereas I could switch to 252 Cloak + 235 Legendary Pants, which should be an upgrade, but maybe not…

OK, that was easier than expected, I could refund my Soul Ash and Soul Cinders of the 262 Cape by handing it in, buying a new 292 Cape for 70k gold and crafting a 292 Deathmaker Legendary. Now I have a spare 235 Leg Deathmaker that I could destroy as well, but it would only give me Soul Ash, as it’s Level 4. Not that hard once you grasped it, but still a little convoluted. At least there are refunds! Equipped Item Level is now 250, nice.

On Being Casual

For some reason I had the idea that getting back into Guild Wars 2 would be fun on the weekend, not in a “let’s start and play a bit” but more “would I be willing to invest some time again” – because I think I was in a FFXIV duty roulette queue at the time and of course I can’t just stare at the screen for those 15 minutes…

I asked on Discord if my gear was still ok (or even good) and several people reassured me that nothing had changed in GW2 and my Level 80 Ascended and Exotic pieces were still completely fine.

Tessa remarked “Yeah, one of the reasons why Gw2 is casual friendly. Take 6 years off and your gear still holds up.” and that got me thinking a bit. What does playing something casual mean anyway? Our FFXIV static was formed to raid savage at our own pace, and originally once per week (we did add an hour for reclears on a second day meanwhile) but we’ve not yet skipped a week I think, and it’s savage – so ist that even casual? My WoW guild is strictly limiting raids to 2x2h per week, very rarely do we spend 5 minutes extra on a pull. We managed AOTC in 9.1 and before I joined they managed AOTC in 9.0 as well, and I think they’ve been doing that for many expansions. Despite taking everyone in the guild above a certain token item level and even getting them through heroic (unless someone actually sabotages a single fight) I wouldn’t call that casual. Non-hardcore raiding, yes – but casual?

On the other hand I guess my adventures in SWTOR are actually casual, it’s just that I spend a lot of my time there when I am playing. But apart from the launch raids in 2011/12 I’ve not raided progression and I only joined farm raids 1-2 times. I don’t do dungeons, I basically just level toons and get some gear and achievements. So that’s casual I guess. TESO is complicated, I think if you’re just starting a game and never coming close to max level or any real goal that might be casual by a proper definition, but I’d just call it being a beginner. So, GW2 then. I heard there are raids, but I don’t know anyone who does them. Most people also weren’t keen on fractals, maybe this game’s goals are actually more aligned to casuals overall.

Oh, and Diablo 3 – is it casual if you start a fresh season, grind yourself to max level and then through the rifts and Paragon levels until you lose interest? Do you actually have to be good (compared to others) to not be casual? Or is being invested (time) and progression-focused enough to temporarily not be a casual?

I don’t know. I guess my definition of being casual stops with having an organized scheduled group to focus on a goal that’s non-trivial (or pugging that stuff that’s usually done this way), so that would be raiding Heroic in WoW (but I guess Normal also counts) but in FFXIV I’d draw the line at Savage and EX because Normal Asphodelos is no comparison to a Normal WoW raid. You can have 2-3 of 8 people never being there, needing 2-3 rezzes each, and still winning in a reasonable time. Good luck with 5 of your 20 people dying early in WoW.

But back to the original question. I made a spreadsheet for my three main GW2 toons with their gear and plan to investigate if I can craft or otherwise get some upgrades before I actually plan to play, so maybe I really suck at casual gaming.

Trying out Lost Ark

This is a draft I found, I originally wrote this a few weeks ago and really wanted to have a second session with Lost Ark but it hasn’t happened yet and I’m not hopeful, so here it goes:

After postponing it for a while while a good chunk of people were raving about it, another part was lamenting the queues and a small minority was like “Why the fuzz, it’s not a new game”, I was standing at the side lines and waiting. A while ago one night I started the download while doing something else and then gave it a quick spin.

The character creation is kinda nice and yes, the randomizer gives you more hilarious options than any other game. I’m not a fan of gender-locked classes but it’s not a big deal for me personally. I love how they made this “try out the class in a short battle” before deciding, that is a really great idea.

I went with an Assassin (not-the-sword-spec) first but I didn’t really like the combat. Oh, and I kinda hate the controls in a “why different buttons to move and attack, this should be like Diablo” way. Need to check if I can change that but I only see “left to move, right to attack” and “right to move, left to attack”. Hmm… Also one of the attacks has a horrible sound effect.

The voiceovers are kinda terrible but the graphics are really pretty. When it comes to cutscenes it’s a little meh but that might be because they’re overdoing the effects. Yes, female characters walk ridiculously. Later I also tried a Warrior (Berserker) and I think I might enjoy this one more, that’s why I didn’t claim all the stuff on the Assassin yet.

I wrote that it’s inferior to Diablo 3 in every aspect except the graphics, it’s a whole lot of meh – but this was my first 100 minute impression, I definitely want to give it a second chance on another day and actually progress more than the prologue + first city, BUT if the combat feels bad at the start already, or the controls, is this salvageable? I also found myself skipping the cutscenes very quickly because I’m not anticipating a great story anyway.

Games I played for 500 hours – part 2

Back in January I wrote about games I sunk 500+ hours in but didn’t have numbers for a lot of them. Today I checked GW2 because someone asked, I am subscribed to WoW now anyway, and SWTOR is patched up at least

Ok, so:

  • Guild Wars 2 – 589 hours
    • Warrior 226h
    • Guardian 103h
    • Thief 89h
    • Ranger 70h
    • Necromancer 56h
    • Mesmer 32h
  • WoW – addon says 717 days = 17000 hours
  • WoW TBC Classic – 3d + 8d 18h + 4d 20h + some lowbies = ~17d = ~400h, so no
  • SWTOR – at least 50d = 1200h
    • Sage – 16d 18h
    • Commando – 4d
    • Scoundrel – 5d 10h
    • Operative – 4d 6h
    • Juggernaut – 7d
    • Powertech – 14d 5h
    • 5 more at 75 that were mostly just leveled up

Unfortunately EVE Online killed the possibility to look at your /played in 2020.

More WoW, less FFXIV?

It’s not a real trend but with the 9 classes I actually enjoy playing all at 90, no meaningful gear upgrades to be acquired, and only 4 levels of crafter jobs missing, I’m feeling less inclined to spend my whole day in FFXIV – and this is great! I’m still doing my raiding, grinding out some reputations, slowly getting some jobs up via duty roulette, but it’s not “play the whole evening”.

On the other hand I’ve been doing a little alting in WoW again, brought my original Orc Shaman from 52 to 60 this week and my Blood Elf Warlock from 51 to 54 since yesterday. It’s mostly Threads of Fate with a few random dungeons sprinkled in. I haven’t played an alt since like week 3 of when Korthia launched and I was fed up, that must’ve been July (where I also speed-leveled a Paladin to 50).

It’s kinda braindead, it makes me relearn the class to a degree and unlike a gear grind the time is not lost, as the next expansion will come sooner or later. A point could be made about upgrading the Heirloom gear then, but if I level slow enough to be fully rested all the time there shouldn’t be a huge difference. Also enough time has passed so I am able to stomach the Shadowlands leveling again, after my ~13-14 times around Christmas 2020.

The only downside is that SWTOR is the sole loser in this match at the moment and for some reason I had the slight urge to get back to Guild Wars 2 as well lately…

Raiding Sepulcher – week 2

Despite invites starting at 1945 lately we hardly manage to start before 1958, but at least that. Sunday saw us doing Guardian, Dausegne, Pantheon, and Lihuvim, then Skolex on Tuesday and a first kill of Xy’mox, then a few tries on Halondrus but no kill. Still feels a little harder than last tier with at least one wipe per boss on the reclear. Doesn’t help that we’ve been having different tanks on all the nights, maybe it will improve this week. As usual I don’t really care about loot, but I guess with my 239 main hand it’s simply impossible to put out decent damage, so getting a 252+ MH is my top (or only) prio right now.

Raiding Sepulcher – week 1

Sunday, March 7, the first “progression” raid since our Sylvanas Heroic kill in early December, quite a few in the guild had stopped playing, according to all the hello and welcome back on Discord. Starting out was a bit slow, discipline and routine lacking a bit. First boss (Vigilant Guardian) on the second try, fourth boss? (Dausegne) on the third try, fifth boss (Prototype Pantheon) on the second try, and then three wipes on the sixth boss (Lihuvim), no kill. So it seems we skilled the second (Skolex) and third one (Xy’mox again), which is a bit weird, but I remember doing something like this last tier, so people only coming on Tuesday also getting some loot. Lihuvim seems a little harder but doable I think, so I’m kinda curious about Tuesday. My damage was bad, but that’s not surprising – everyone except two people have 4-11 iLvl more and they didn’t take a 3 month break. Still means I need to step up a bit, I don’t want to be in the lowest spots – but I guess for normal it’s not the end of the world.

Some random things I noticed: the login screen shows if your char has mail, that is really nice and I have no ide when they added that. Addons were still good to go after a quick update after 3 months.

Also, the longer I am there, the more I like Zereth Mortis. There’s a lot to discover and some neat things. There could be more portals though.

So, Tuesday we went back and killed Lihuvim on the first try of that night. It was actually kinda easy with the proper tactic and not just chaos. Interestingly we had huge problems with Skolex, the nominal second boss. Five wipes with tanks dying or everyone dying. The secret was stacking every second Retch and paying attention to the taunt rotation.

Then in the end we tried Xy’mox and wiped for six times, only once getting to the second add phase – so that one seems to be a bit harder for us, it wasn’t some “come on, this should be easy” as with Skolex.

Anyway, it was pretty fun to raid again with my WoW guild, and at the moment I’m inclined to add another month, but I’m also not completely sure if I want to do Heroic again. We’ll see.

Oh, and of course I forgot all the kill shots, so here’s my Pirate Pocopoc:

Pirate Pocopoc

The Daily Routine

I brought this on myself but currently there’s GW2 to log in for the daily login reward, then there’s EVE with all the accounts which grant a daily login award after 13:00, SWTOR (which doesn’t remember the password and needs the 2FA code) after 13:00, then I can do a few dailies and World Quests and progress the story a bit in WoW, and then I haven’t started with FFXIV.

On logging in my 3-4 retainers are waiting with their finished 18h Venture, there’s Expert Roulette for a few days to cap my highest-tier tomestones, the MSQ is too good on EXP to not queue up with a non-max level job (but at least I can browse or chat during the cutscenes), then sometimes I feel like doing the other roulettes, Trial or Level or even 50/60/70/80 (but not PvP). Then I still have some Beast Tribes to do. Pixies are really quick for good EXP on a 7x char, I started Qitari recently and want to finish Namazu – and don’t forget to check Grand Company turnins for some quick wins.

And that’s without the weeklies. Wondrous Tails, the 4 wings of Aspho on normal (especially the 4th one, but they are kinda quick), then Custom Deliveries as long as my DoH jobs are not at max level (missing Goldsmith and Leatherworker atm, both at 83ish) and maybe I even forgot something. Oh right, the Fashion thing and Cactpot. I totally gave up on Mini Cactpot, by the way.

On the other hand I feel like I’m progressing at a nice pace – all of the jobs I wanted at 90 are at 90, gear is shared inside a role (which is awesome) and I feel like I could skip most daily things if I lacked the time, which isn’t the case at the moment.

I guess it makes sense to not play too many MMOs when just one can absolutely fill your daily gaming time even if there’s plenty of it.

Speaking of WoW, I must have missed the reason why we went to Zereth Mortis, or it’s not such a cool thing that I forgot already. The zone is… ok I guess? I am completely happy to focus on just one character (which I already did in 9.1) and ignore the gear threadmill for now. I’m still at 240-241 iLvl and Sepulcher will drop 252 on normal. I am not running M+ but I’ll see that I get the World Boss done every week. Also maybe the Cypher will provide an upgrade or two, when I spent enough research.

Hello Zereth Mortis

Last night I saw that my WoW guild has a raid planned for Sunday so I claimed my WoW token and am now a subscriber for the rest of March. I just spent around 2h progressing the 9.2 content and while it’s not great, it’s not bad either. The only “argh, really?” moment was at the end where I had two quests left: “Go to Hub A” and “Go to Hub B”. I accepted 2 dailies and went to Hub B, then did my 2 dailies. Then I went to Hub A and the followup quest was “fill this bar by doing World Quests and Dailies.” Well thank you, I just did 2 dailies, and of course the progress didn’t count. /slowclap

P2S down!

Last night we finally did it and killed P2S, the second Savage fight of Endwalker’s first raid tier – after around 70 wipes (and quite a few close calls at 2-5% and enrage). Guess we’re not great but looking at the damage numbers we’re nearly as off-meta as it gets. (see below)

Really nice, except I wasn’t feeling well and made soo many mistakes. Also only a grey parse again at 4.15k DPS 🙁 Anyway, got no loot but let’s hope we can continue this.

Meanwhile I managed to get my Gunbreaker to 90, which makes it the 8th job at max level, now I just need to try to redo my bars and actually play a little at that level and not just downranked all the time. Next up: Astrologian (81.x) and Reaper (77.3), I guess. Been playing Summoner a little but I simply don’t like it, guess it’s back to Scholar (once I got Astrologian maxed) to boost the shared DPS via Healing and not the other way round. Come to think of it, it’s such an odd pair of jobs…

Killshot after P2S – RPR, WHM, DNC, NIN (back), PLD, WAR, SMN, SCH (front)

So, here’s a screenshot of the current “Top 50 for speed” on P2S, via fflogs.com:

Top 50 Compositions for P2S

So, we have the 2%+1%of tanks, the 8% of magic dps, 17%+11% of melee DPS, the 2% WHM, basically only our Scholar is in the meta and our Dancer is not a Machinist who wouldn’t even register. Still kinda weird comp, but it’s everyone playing what they like (except the WHM who was recruited as “we a not-shield-healer”, and the Reaper originally played as a Dragoon for P1S.