Saturday, March 16, 2013

World In Motion

160 people. 3fps. IT'S A WORLD BOSS!

I was in an LFR this morning when, on the other screen I was using for DE-ing on my mage, I noticed the call go out: if you're iLevel 480 and a) know who Oondasta is and b) what to do to kill him, whisper the Tank who leads the #1 10 Man Raid Progression team on my Server. Needless to say I left my group in short order. I'm really rather glad I did. I didn't win any loot when this guy finally died, but that's not the point. There were 160 people on the Island, possibly more, and that's just something you don't see often enough in this game any more. This had the genuine feeling of something special and awesome, especially when our first attempt ended up with a 600k wipe. That's why you have to run from the graveyard, folks. I was as guilty as the next decomposing person too for that one, but it made me realise this guy isn't for the faint hearted. You want him dead, you need either to be utterly awesome or just arrive mob-handed.

That's why the second try on this guy was really rather depressing, because no-one died. Not a single person fell over, or was affected by any of the boss special abilities? The reason?


I have no idea exactly what happened but I was down to 3 fps at 90%, and by the time my lag issues vanished we were under 10%. Reports say that the boss was simply auto-attacking: whatever happened, it made the second kill (and my achievement) pretty much the biggest anti-climax I've ever had in game. 160 of us turn up, and the hardware gifts us a kill. That's just rubbish, that is. That said, it is encouraging to see that when this guy spawns there is a decent chance to down him on my server (which I know is not the case in many other places) which should hopefully allow this not to be my only swipe at him. Maybe I'll get a suitably epic kill at some point in the future, but for now I'll take my two lots of gold and go back to fishing my Nat Pagle rep (which should allow me a chance to start buying fishing books this evening.)

Needless to say, if you get a chance to see Oondasta in action, I'd make sure you take it. Remember, you don't need to be in a group to get loot either, just make sure you engage the boss. It's worth seeing at least once...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One Day At A Time

Via, to add to that growing 'To Do' List...

Yesterday was a decent start to my efforts to do something positive and consistent again in-game.

I pulled the Horde Hunter out for a bit and did an Instance, and faffed about. I killed a L91 Zandalari Warscout (I got two Stampedes in that, just to show how long it took) and managed a level, making me think that actually, Double Agent might be worth adding to the To Do list. As a result this morning, I scooted over to Townlong and started on the quests there, and did another instance. At this rate, I should be 90 by sometime next week.

Then P did her faff, and I'm currently at 3/6 LFR's. Queue times for the older instances seem to be down, and speed seems to be everyone's focus. I had a 10 minute queue as DPS in both cases which makes me think people may well be doing what I am and focussing on getting stuff out of the way asap. I also did the first three Throne of Thunder bosses and am particularly sad we will struggle to get a 10 man team out this patch: the bosses are well-done, the mechanics require thought and concentration, and none of the fights are a walkover. Horridon particularly is a lot of fun. Needless to say, even with 3 Mogu Runes I came away with absolutely no loots. On the flipside, my two MSV runs yielded FOUR pieces of loot from six bosses, all utterly useless. I have to think there's a better way, I just wish I knew what it is.

I have scheduled a ToT trash run for Friday. I may even have enough Valor by that point to make use of the new gears from the Island factions...

I've also won my first piece of non-PvP loot from the Sha (also managed to do Galleon) which means I will have garnered an upgrade a week since the patch dropped. I think that's probably a realistic goal for gearing for the the foreseeable future, maybe I will get lucky with the Terrace tonight (though I continue not to hold my breath) and even if I don't, I'm making a pretty decent living from all the stuff I appear to be picking up. LW recipes continue to be PvP focussed and absolutely none of the things I'm making are selling, which should be an indicator that side of the game needs more than simply changing the rules on gear.

Finally, I have caught fish, and worked out it is now an advantage to do so with my 'proper' hat and rod as opposed to just using the 'default' twig and twine. The higher skill means my fish take less than ten minutes to gather: if I don't use them I'll be fishing far more pools than I need to simply get the job done. I should get revered sometime next week, after which I can start buying books for the less travelled of the alts. I've also made a big list of the Battle Pets I need to upgrade and I'll see if I can't do some battling over the weekend for the chance of some stones and to add to the 33 L25's I'm currently rocking. Maybe if I aim for 40 over the weekend and then try and do five a week...

The upshot of this is I feel a lot more comfortable about my game 'place' than I did last week. I hope I can keep the momentum going for a while and then maybe, just *maybe* I can start thinking about levelling some of the other alts...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rip It Up

The giant mutant non-denominational lizard makes a beeline for the dump...

Tomorrow a new LFR opens. I think maybe it's time to try a New Plan (TM) What letter did we get to last time, I wonder... [FX: Consults list] I tell you what, let's rip up the whole thing and start again, shall we?

I'm still only working on one character, the Hunter, because everything is just Easier With Hunter. It is the same brain-free state I find myself in when playing Sim City, if truth be told, and after a 24 hours like I've just had I know for a fact that my little grey cells aren't up to much that would involve actual thought. However, I will be taking some time to look at the Boss Guides for the first LFR wing that's going to open up because a) I have iLevel 480 and don't want to look stupid and b) I need to start maxxing out my Valor again for the buff so it's actually worthwhile considering other alts once I get myself back into some kind of rhythm. For now, it seems sensible to start small and work my way up from there.

That means, some basic and realistic goals:

  • Complete all six LFR's (540 valor and hopefully something of value, but I'm not holding my breath on that one)
  • Try and do seven days worth of Thunder Dailies. I will probably ask my husband if he'll be willing to accompany me.
  • Try and fish up Nat's three Rep fish every day.
  • Do the LW Transmute for recipes.
That's all I'm trying for this week, I've decided: anything else is probably pushing my luck. If I try and aim for one LFR a day that should make everything fairly simple to boot. The problem, inevitably, is the amount of time even doing this in a week will take up. I may actually sit down with pencil and paper and do a time and motion study of exactly how long it does take with queues and stuff before I start moaning again about my soul being sucked out of my body.

I have deliberately NOT placed 'Grinding Dinosaur Bones' on my list, because I expect that to happen if there is free time available and if there are actually Dinosaurs to grind. As this is very much at the whim of my server population, I think it's best to consider it as a separate entity. The more I think about this, the more likely it is the next couple of weeks of my blogging life will start to resemble Bridgit Jones' Diary, without the annoying stick thin American actress pretending to be British. However if I can find a way of including Colin Firth in the equation, so much the better. Actually, I'll take any Mr Darcy from the last twenty years if pushed. I'm not a picky girl.

Darcy Number One or Darcy Number Two? Not fussed, frankly.

Needless to say, I'm going to try and be scientific about this so I can finally, once and for all, work out exactly how much time I 'play' and what gets accomplished during that time. It may take longer than a week to try and establish the optimum routine, especially as I'll be adding an LFR to the mix every week for the next month.

Hmm, I have a sudden urge to go and watch 'Ripper Street' on the BBC iPlayer. I'll be back with my pencil and paper later, don't you worry...

Monday, March 11, 2013


You want HOW many? ^^

I'm having a number of Real Life Problems currently, which are causing me considerable stress outside the game. One relates, rather appropriately, to the quandary this fella creates in 5.2.

This is Ku'ma. You'll find him hidden in a cave on the Isle of Giants, where he collects bones: Giant Dinosaur ones, to be precise. He will exchange said bones for items of significance, but only if he has enough of them. In my case, as I desire the rather lovely White Raptor Mount he possesses, that means I need 9999. Needless to say, when I can only kill dinosaurs in solo mode and they provide 7-9 bones each, I am presented with a number of decisions to make. How much time am I prepared to spend grinding the bones every day? Should I do this at the expense of other things in game? Just how important is it for me to own the the Mount quickly?

I'm currently trying to explain to a 12 year old the importance of time management, of how there are certain things that you NEED to do before the things you want to do every day: how to organise yourself is one of those lessons that often simply has to be learnt by doing and no number of explanations help make you realise the significance of the decisions you make. I went to the island last night and couldn't find a single thing I could kill alone, because the people with time as their primary resource were already there, making the most of their ability. Of course, I'd made a decision earlier in the day, with the free time I'd had to play a different game altogether: had I come to the dinosaurs instead I could have found a grind spot, but I chose a different path. Suddenly I find myself thinking about this not in gaming terms but as a series of choices and consequences, and suddenly a great deal of the enjoyment I would have gotten out of the experience quietly melts away. It stops being fun, and it starts being a task.

This is, of course, the ever-present spectre: pleasure as a subjective. There will be those (and I can name them all on my server) who consider owning the Mount before anyone else as their raison d'etre, that they gain pleasure simply from being there first. For the rest of us there are a dizzying amount of potential choices to be made: is it Dailies first for gear? Should I do LFR first? Maybe I could go get my pets sorted before the mount... and suddenly the spectre of Too MUCH Choice raises its head again. We are continually assaulted by this in the Real World: everything on demand, a myriad of options, so how do we decide what is the most important thing to be doing first? For me, I realise that however much I'd love this mount, the practicalities of owning it are simple: I can't afford the effort to grind non-stop because of how much time it takes. I resent the fact that I'd be doing nothing else but for some time just for an item that I really don't need, I'd just like to own because it appeals to my sensibilities. Therefore I make the conscious decision to relegate that grind to a lesser level of importance.

It may seem overly simplistic, but these are the options I find myself more and more being forced to make in-game, whereas before this Expansion there appears to have been far clearer and distinct paths. I'm not entirely sure if my viewpoint is correct or not, but it seems to me that the biggest problem with Blizzard giving us more choice is the onus is now on the individual to make far more decisions than were previously required, which could cause far more problems as time goes on and the number of potential options continue to increase. In fact, I suspect that people are already beginning to overload as they grasp that there simply isn't the time available to do everything, and being forced into decisions that they may not have previously had to make is taking out the fun that Blizzard have been trying to introduce. Like I said, I may be over-thinking this because I'm having to rationalise Real Life experiences that are remarkably similar. However, I do find myself wanting to return to a situation where there were less things to choose from, and not more.

Then I find myself thinking 'Oh no, I'm becoming one of THOSE people': you know, the ones that think that the old ways were better and it's easier to moan about the past and wish you were there rather than live in the present. However, what is clear (at least from this position) is that 'before', at least for me, meant less thought and reading and note-taking and rationalisation. I need to make armour, I grind Dragonscale. I want this Epic, I need to run UBRS. Yes, I am probably being over-simplistic, but fun is at a premium in my life and I'd like to take it wherever I can find it, and that will be why I'm waiting to earn enough money to build a University for my Sims first and not planing crops in a farm that has no relevance since my Main's already maxxed out all their reps. As I said I don't find myself wanting to leave the game or give up on anything, I'm just finding the choices I've been given a little hard to swallow when so many of them are based on things beyond my control (RNG, looking at you) and others that require more time than I am prepared to give them currently to complete.

I know people who have left the game because it's become too much of a time sink. I also know those who have left because the RNG has become too big a beast to beat. I can appreciate both of these, and I'd like to think that the choices Blizzard have given players will make for a better gaming experience in the long run. My problem is simple: I'm finding it hard to make decisions objectively in the real world right now. That means, when I come to want to play a game at the end of a hard day, the last thing I want to have to do is be forced with any kind of difficult decision.

Winds of Change

This looks interesting, Dog...

Finally, after eight years, someone's come along and found something to genuinely distract me from Warcraft.

It may be small now, but it's growing fast... :D

I admit it, this weekend was all about Sim City. This is a game I first remember in my early 20's, on an Amiga, which I played until I wore the game out, quite literally. When I heard it was coming back there was quite palpable excitement and this weekend I appear to have been one of the dozen or so people who didn't suffer any server issues and could play uninterrupted, so I did, and it was glorious. I like my cities well educated (always going straight for a University) and they're exclusively wind/solar powered (dirty old pollution can NICK OFF) and it must be said, I build Milton Keynes, EVERY TIME. There's a story behind that, but it's for another time.

I did log last night for Thunder King dailies, but I feel I ought to be honest with you guys and say that I'm going to need to find a way to fit two games into my daily life for a while, at least until I've played out my desire to fill an entire new map with my own creations and got them all to trade with each other. Then I might feel confident enough to open up my Worlds to other people (DM me on Twitter if you want my user name :D) but for now I'm quietly learning the new ways getting unreasonably excited when a Zombie Invasion wipes out half my city overnight.

For those of you wondering whether this will eventually mark the end of my time with Warcraft: sorry, not going to happen. I love my little people and my game far too much for that, I'm just doing as those lovely Pandas have instructed me to do from Day One: this is me, slowing down, enjoying the ride for what it is and adapting myself to a new way of doing things. Plus, there is universal approval in the house that the music for Sim City utterly rocks, and that alone is endorsement (if it were needed) that this game is here to stay. Now all I need is to work out what this bloke Maxis Man does when I deploy his Superhero Fortress into my city... :D