WoW – 87 of 90 – Jade Forest Continued

Since I’m now pretty sure I’m going to hit 90 well before Draenor comes out (I’m guessing it will be late Fall at the earliest, but I hear mutterings that it may not even make it out by December), I no longer feel the need to rush to maximize my leveling. So I’ve stuck around in the Jade Forest doing “low” level (85) quests so I can complete the whole zone, rather than rushing ahead to the higher level zones. Still, I hit level 87 before I completed the entire Jade Forest. Has anyone noticed that leveling is really fast in WoW?

They turned the baby pandaren into jade statues! This cannot stand!

They turned pandaren children into jade statues! This cannot stand!

It feels like there is a lot more “story” going on in Pandaria than anywhere else. I’m actually interested in listening to what these high-functioning alcoholic bears have to say, and not just clicking through the quest text. And the NPCs seem like they talk to each other a lot more than any other zone I remember.

I’m happy to say that I’m more-or-less back to killing mobs in less than 2 seconds, now that I’ve gotten a full batch of Pandaria quest gear. I’m still grounded though. I finally bought Artisan flying, but I haven’t found a vendor yet that will allow me to fly in Pandaria, so I have no idea how much that will cost. By the way, is there no other way to get flying mounts besides reputation vendors? My gnome really needs one of those helicopter thingys but I have no idea where to get one. (Late breaking news: It turns out I won’t be able to fly in Pandaria until I get to level 90?)

I’m not super happy about getting a lot of useless “fun” items filling up my inventory space. Like trinkets that throw carrots and watermelons and raccoons around. I don’t really want to get rid of them because their kind of funny, but my bag space is back to being very precious. And of course in the WoW tradition, getting to a bank and back is an ordeal.

So I was queuing for a dungeon on another character, and I noticed that the “Scenarios” and “Looking for Raid” tabs opened up at level 85. “Oh,” I thought. “I have a character that is level 87! I should check those out!” But when I went to look at them with my Hunter, it said there wasn’t anything available for me until level 90. What’s up with that? False advertising, that’s what!

GW2 – Gates of Magoo Can Bite Me

Note: The following ragey invective was written after dying a number of times during the GW2 Living Story 2 instance Fallen Hopes which I had hoped would be a fun way to kill some time while waiting to go to a doctor’s appointment. It was not. However, I have since completed it and moved on with my life.

Guys, there is not much room to maneuver in here.

There is not much room to maneuver in here, and Marjory and Kasmeer are NO HELP AT ALL.

This is a super-short note about Guild Wars 2: Gates of Magoo, or whatever it’s called, regarding the INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING story instance Fallen Hopes. I feel little or no desire to continue seeing a story unfold when I have to dodge super-strong area attacks all the time in a claustrophic environment that is so cluttered with rocks and logs that I can’t move around enough to dodge said attacks, thereby requiring me to die constantly, then leave said instance, find a repair guy in a totally different zone, then return to Dry Top, puzzle my way through a stupid, time-wasting jumping puzzle using stupid aspects that I hated the first time I saw them a year ago but are now inexplicably back to needlessly wipe out our ability bars and complicate our gaming, back to the entrance to the Fallen Hopes instance, where I then have to re-play endless scripted events and dialog that were only barely amusing the first time, and downright hair-ripping-outingly bad the second time when you can’t skip past them, only to get to the same super-strong area attacks that kill you again, so you can repeat the unpleasant experience again and again and again, just so you can see a stupid new Living Story. WHY DO I HAVE TO BE A LEET GAMER JUST TO SEE A STORY. STORIES ARE NOT GAMES. GAMES ARE GAMES. STORIES ARE STORIES. STORIES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ACCESSIBLE.

*PUNCHES GUILD WARS 2 IN THE FACE*

WoW – 86 of 90 – Jade Forest

I’ve been experiencing a lot of drama at work lately, so vegging out with WoW has been pretty awesome. By the time I get home I’m not in any mood for challenging gameplay. I tried the Death Knight for the first time and couldn’t be bothered to figure out how to use all those weird rune resources or whatever. So on we go toward level 90 with the Hunter!

I was going to spend a little more time in the Twilight Highlands to see what happened with the dwarves, but then I noticed that my experience bar barely moved after I turned in a few quests post-85. That was when I realized how many XP were required to get from 85 to 86 and I dropped everything to start the Mists of Pandaria quest line in Stormwind.

That's pretty far-fetched even for gnomes.

That’s a big flying helicopter boat thingy, all right.

So I got on the big, physics-defying flying ship thingy and went off to chase somebody’s lost son in Pandaria, and ended up in yet another big ol’ war zone. Is it really necessary to fight the Horde every time? I mean, I remember seeing quite a few Horde races as quest givers in the past few expansion zones, so when are we going to have a lasting peace with these guys? It’s still rather annoying that I can’t mail things from my Alliance players to my Horde players, you know. Rift gave up those silly faction restrictions years ago. Get with the times, Blizzard!

One thing I’ve noticed right away: Pandaria is actually somewhat difficult. It actually takes time to kill the mobs. I run out of Focus all of the time now. I actually got killed a couple of times trying to harvest one stupid plant that was surrounded by packs of mobs.

Probably this is because I only had level 84 quest gear when I went in there, instead of the years of collected dungeon and raid gear that most people would have started with. (Though I don’t remember this problem in the previous expansion zones.)

I’m not pleased that I need another flying license. I’m grounded for the first time since around level 65, riding a plain old swift sabre cat. I still haven’t quite saved up the 5,000 gold for the stupid Artisan trait, and now I’m sure I’m going to need another 5,000 gold for another license on top of that. It’s madness!

One other thing I’ve noticed is an increased focus on story-telling. There are more cut scenes, and we have an over-arching mission to find somebody’s son. (Maybe there were over-arching missions before, but I don’t remember anything but localized stories for the area you happened to be in.) I’m hearing a lot more voiceovers, and seeing quests that put you in the place of NPCs while they act out a story. (“No! Gizmo!”) I’m not sure what I think about that. It’s a change of pace, but it’s also weird for an MMO.

I'll name him Gizmo!

Gizmo!

Also, seriously, why aren’t those fish people a playable race? Come on. That would be awesome.

P.S. I discovered a neat trick for increasing the amount of damage that a Frost Mage does in dungeons: It’s called reading your abilities and using the new ones. I have no idea when I got “Blizzard,” but it’s basically doubled my damage output while simultaneously reducing the number of abilities I need to use to one. It makes dungeon runs very relaxing. Step 1: Follow tank. Step 2: Cast Blizzard. Step 3: Collect experience points and gear.

WoW – 85 of 90 – Death March Continues

Status of my WoW death march to 90: My Hunter is at level 85. I finished the Deepholm zone which was quite enjoyable; it was colorful and weird and gigantic (although strangely devoid of pets to tame). I had just started the Twilight Highlands, which the “Altoholic” addon told me was where I should go next, when I hit 85. It’s not as colorful but I love the way the dwarves go on those little raids to retake their little villages. Major props to Blizzard for improving the “look and feel” of their zones with every expansion.

One of my favorite spots in Deepholm.

One of my favorite spots in Deepholm.

I’m starting to get bored with leveling my Hunter, though, so of course I’ve broken out some alts. I got out my Mage again and leveled him from 60 to 65 in Burning Crusade dungeons. I was slightly worried that BC dungeons would be more difficult and require some work, but I worried needlessly. So far they are pure tank-and-spank just like the classic dungeons. (Compare and contrast with the normal dungeons in WildStar.)

So about these WoW classes. I remain baffled by them, especially in dungeons. At level 65, the tank is still far out-DPSing every other person in the dungeon, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether the tank is a Warrior, Paladin, or Monk. I guess it makes sense that “doing a lot of damage” is the best way to maintain threat, but still, it’s weird. With my Mage, supposedly a glass cannon class, I consider it a great dungeon run if I out-DPS the healer. I’m still holding out hope that down the line the Mage will turn out to be useful in some other way than opening portals. (I’m kidding. I can also interrupt spell casters.) At least nobody yells at me. Basically as long as you don’t hinder progress, nobody cares what you do in the normal dungeons.

You might be wondering why I don’t do dungeons with my Hunter. Mainly it’s because I don’t like to manage pets in group instances, but it’s also because I am so used to killing quest mobs in less than 2 seconds that I honestly have no idea how to use my class in a prolonged boss fight. That’s one reason I like the Mage: You don’t have to worry about some fleeting resource like Focus or Rage.

Oh, one of the neat things about having a level 84 Hunter is getting to solo old endgame content. I needed a bunch of Runecloth for my mage’s tailoring, so I tore through Blackrock Spire and picked up about 10 stacks of it. (Also Worgen and Spider companion pets.) It’s really amusing to watch big groups of mobs falling down dead within seconds. I also saw a Blizzard post about the Molten Core raid, so I jumped into that and ran through it until I died from not paying enough attention. Didn’t seem that tough to me. Don’t see why you Vanilla raiders had to make such a big deal about it. :)

Molten Core. What's the big deal?

Molten Core. What’s the big deal?

Ditching WildStar for WoW

I cancelled my WildStar subscription*. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that I don’t feel like playing it any more. My Esper has remained largely static between levels 20 and 30, with no noticeable improvements in abilities, so I fully anticipate it will just be a repetitive chore to get from 30 to 50, at which time I would enter the cesspool of toxic behavior that I keep hearing about. Don’t fret, though, I’m sure I’ll be back someday.

Meanwhile, I added a month of WoW subscription time, because it’s the perfect MMO for my current gaming mood. WoW is fantastic when you don’t want to do any thinking or work. You just log in, grab quests, kill stuff with ridiculously overpowered abilities, and watch your experience bar go up. All while catching up on your Netflix shows. Or after your brain is mushed up from Camp NaNoWriMo.

The heights of the Storm Peaks on my noob-tastic White Gryphon.

The heights of the Storm Peaks on my noob-tastic White Gryphon.

My Hunter has reached level 82 now, which means I finished up with the WotLK zones. Half of them, at least. And by “finished” of course I mean I only completed enough quests to get from level 70 to level 80. I have to say that I was very impressed by the Storm Peaks zone. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a snowy, mountainous zone that is extremely “vertical” in nature, so you spend just as much time flying up and down as you do laterally, and the scenary is very interesting with all the ancient ruins and clouds and lightning and whatnot.

But I alas I had to leave it. After an amusing boat ride (“oooh, shiny!”), I started out Cataclysm underwater in Vashj’ir, which was surprisingly not-awful. (I have a strong suspicion that I got a taste of what the Rift 3.0 underwater expansion will look like there.) But it wasn’t quite not-awful enough to keep me from taking a tip I got on Twitter and heading over to Mount Hyjal. If I remember correctly Cataclysm was only 5 levels of content, so unless writing slows me down more than I think, I should be hitting Pandaria zones next week.

* Barring something amazing in the WildStar Strain “please don’t leave!” patch.**

** Nothing amazing has yet been observed.

Summer!

Since I’m the boss of my own blog, I’m going to declare myself on summer vacation and blog less for a little while. For one thing, I’m playing a bit less than before, and what I’m playing is mostly thoughtless grinding, so I don’t have a whole lot to report.

Secondly, I decided I’m going to do Camp NaNoWriMo for July, so very soon I’m going to need to concentrate more on writing fiction than writing blog posts. I’ve fallen way behind on my dreams of becoming a best-selling author and I need a spark to get going again. (If you haven’t done NaNoWriMo before, I highly recommend it.)

So I’ll probably drop back to one or two posts a week, or whenever I feel like it. Happy summer everyone!

WoW – Yeah, You Read That Right

There’s WildStar to play, right? So of course I spent a big chunk of time over the weekend playing … wait for it … World of Warcraft. I have about ten days left on a subscription so I figured why not use it. I leveled my Hunter from level 72 to 75 with plain old PvE questing. It now seems quite plausible to level up to 90 before WoD comes out. Especially when it seems like everything you touch fills up 5% of your experience bar. In other words, leveling in the WotLK zones feels a lot faster than it was in the BC zones. (But then I’m making no attempt to finish all the quests I find now.)

This is how it usually is for me and WoW. One day I decide, “Hey I want to play some WoW,” so I subscribe for a month (or three months in the last case). I play for a week or so before realizing that WoW is a great game and all, but it’s also kind of a boring grind, and my attention goes elsewhere. Then I forget to unsubscribe from WoW for one or more billing cycles, until I finally remember to cancel the sub. Then as the sub is winding down and I’m about to lose access, I start playing it again because “why not use it.” Then I think, “I should subscribe again while I’m interested in playing.” And here we are.

So yeah, not only am I think about subscribing again (for a month this time!), but I’m also thinking about pre-ordering Warlords of Draenor. Because, you know, a free level 90 character is nothing to sneeze at. I would most likely use it on my Mage, who is 60.

In other news, I quested my Esper up to level 29 in WildStar. I’ve out-leveled my current place in Whitevale and right now I’m just doing Zone or World Story quests, or Scientist mission thingys. I stopped trying to PUG the Ruins of Kel Voreth, so I guess I’ll just never finish that one.

Mid-June MMO Status Report

Not much to talk about, so here’s a non-WildStar MMO status report!

ArcheAge. I’ve only logged in to pay the taxes on my measely 8×8 farm, and occasionally grow aspen trees. I don’t expect to play this any more until after it launches.

The Secret World. I have logged in every few days to grind through a mission or two in the City of the Sun God zone. I’m attempting to collect AP and SP so I can fill out my skills better, which will better prepare me to go back to the Besieged Farmlands and continue the main story quest, which will then eventually allow me to get to Tokyo perhaps sometime in 2018.

ESO. Subscription expired. I could see myself subscribing for another month sometime down the road, though, after they implement more changes.

FFXIV. Subscription expired. I’m almost positive I will re-subscribe sometime later, because they keep adding cool stuff to the game.

Rift. I saw that they were doing the Temporal Flux thingy or whatever again so I logged in to do the daily for that. Then I promptly forgot to log in any other days. I’m about 500 days behind on earning that currency anyway.

Guild Wars 2. Waiting along with everyone else for the Living Story Season 2. I don’t expect to do much but log in and watch the cut scenes, though. It’s kind of interesting to have an MMO where you "tune in" to see a new Living Story episode every couple of weeks like it’s a television show. I like that concept even if I don’t particularly want to play the game.

Age of Conan. I haven’t gone back since my brief foray a couple weeks ago. Now I play TSW to get my Funcom fix. (The menus in those two games are eerily similar.)

Bonus Report: World of Warcraft. I’m not planning to buy Warlords of Draenor, but for some weird reason I keep seeing people talk about it in my Twitter feed like it’s going to be the greatest thing ever, so I feel a lot of peer pressure to buy it anyway. :) It would be the very first WoW expansion I’ve bought and played when it launches, so it might be worth it just to have that cultural experience. I’m sure I’d have to buy my way to level 90 though. I’m sure it’s possible to grind my 60 Mage or 72 Hunter up to 90 by the time it comes out but that doesn’t sound terribly fun.