Battle for Azeroth mid expansion

So what happens when you start an expansion that is nine months in?

You have no clue what so ever. That’s it. I have no idea what this expansion is all about. It’s Alliance versus Horde, there is a central theme. There are new zones, loads of different factions. Stuff reminds me of Game Of Thrones …

But in a nutshell, no clue …

And that is weird. And overwhelming. And some sort of fear of missing out. There is stuff to read about the next patch (8.2) that is going to hit soon(ish). And there is a ton of content to be added, more catch-up mechanisms …

I have mixed feelings about all this. On one hand, really great that Blizzard adds so much to the game, you can do stuff all day long and not be bored. But on the other hand, where do you begin. How do you grasp this mountain of content staring you in the face?

I’ve been with World of Warcraft a long time, over and over. So I can find my bearings somewhat. But a new player, jesus … poor him/her.

Now, the obvious answer to the grasping question. How do you grasp all this? Well, I’m taking the easy route. I choose not to grasp it at all. I can’t even remember why I stopped playing Legion after it launched. I played for about a month, and then called it quits. Same problem. The story did not captivate me. The class hall / legendary grindy progression was boring. To many characters I wanted to play, to many classes I liked. And in the end, it was just to freakin’ much.

And now there is Battle For Azeroth.

See the big list on the right side of the screen? That’s the quest list … it goes on and on and on.

I’m playing together with some friends. They’ve been with me in WOW for a long time, and we recently hooked up again. It’s great fun. But the expansion itself, lackluster so far.

  • The story (so far at level 116) is all over the place.
  • The different zones (Alliance) are very hit and miss
  • The different zones (Alliance) are not very memorable (so far …)
  • The questing-pace is gruesome

Now, my buddy who’s been playing BFA from day one tells me the story gets better, it makes more sense after you get to level 120, finish all the world quests etc etc. I hope so. Because right now, I’m taking my time, reading the important quests and all, but it just does not click with me. Nothing so far tells me it’s about the Horde VS the Alliance.

I’ve only recently unlocked Expeditions, and I see the fight over Azerite domination being inserted in the plot. Is that what ignites the war? We’ll see …

Expeditions. Fun little moments.
The scenery is very mixed. Some zones are amazing. Others lack serious appeal and memory power.

I really wanted a Highmountain Tauren. But for some reason Blizzard decided to lock the new races behind a reputation gated system. And the fact that all my other characters are Alliance, all my gold is on Alliance characters …

So in order to unlock a Highmountain Tauren, you have to play the BFA expansion first, and reach exhalted repution with their faction. Once you do that, it unlocks and voila, you can choose this race when creating a new character. That you then have to level, again, from scratch … I shit you not …

Where have you been old friend

Dear lord.

2015. That is the last entry on this very blog. Funny enough, it’s titled ‘Time‘. It happens every so often, I stumble back to this blog, and post an update. Usually sparkles of wisdom about age, life, kids and their inevitable struggle with the life of a have-been-gamer.

What sparkled my return this time? EVE Online did …

Hanz Riemannder. EVE Online at its best … LOL

For some freakin’ unknown mysterie, I started playing EVE Online again. I even started blogging about it again. God I love the premise of this game. But now, after a little over a month of subscribing (Omega it is called in EVE) , I remember again why I always stop playing after a while.

It is simply put, way to demanding on my time, to demanding for me to combine with all my other stuff in life.

The thing that triggered it was getting bubbled and ganked by a 15 man squad on a gate in our home-system. If you know nothing about EVE Online, than this probably means jack-sh*t to you. And if you do know what I’m talking about, do know that I am not angry, or raging, or whatever. I lost a Rupture, poorly fitted one to. Didn’t mean anything.

I was about to join a corporation roam in Providence, my first real fleet roam. A little PvP fun stuff, nothing serious. And just the mere thought of having to resupply, then refit, then restock on different stations, and then to avoid the ganksquad and gate bubbles again … just made me sit there listening to people talk and laugh on teamspeak. And I just could not be bothered.

I was not mad, I was not anything. That pretty much says it right there. It was just a tedious, unpleasant, chore. Everything in EVE is. The game I have in my head, and the game I play every evening, it’s two different things. That realization just hit me in the face, right now at this very moment.

In its core, EVE Online is kinda like the Dark Souls series. In that it punishes you, and challenges you, to get better, to learn, blablabla. And while this is fine by itself, I just came to the conclusion that me personally, I don’t need that from a videogame.

And it sucks, because I love the Eve lore. The factions, the ships, the fittings, the designs, the huge blackness of space … Damn it really sucks. But it seems that I’m looking for things I’m not going to find in EVE Online. To bad I always have to learn the hard (long) way …

Time

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.”

“Time, the devourer of all things.”

As I browse through the blog archive here, I can’t help but wonder what the hell happened to my life. How did I ever get to spend so much time playing video games?

The answer is obvious … family and life. Two children, a full time job, yada yada … the usual suspects.

Nowadays, I spend maybe 2 to 3 hours a week playing World of Tanks Blitz, the mobile version of the well known PC version. And it’s not even quality time, because the game is at times very very frustrating. Wait, I’ll rephrase that. Having to engage with other people in this multiplayer game is at times very frustrating. But that is usually the case in a multiplayer environment these days.

Massive multiplayer games are definately off the list. Way to time consuming and I’m going to be honest to myself here, after more than two decades of playing mmo’s I can honestly say I’ve seen it all, heared it all and definately played it all. No matter how next generation style it is, you can bet your *** it’s the same old thing.

So what now?
Honestly, no freakin’ clue. Twitch is a drag to watch these days. Seems like every other gamer out there is trying to ‘make it big‘. What ever happened to playing because you like to?

Maybe finish my huge backlog of games on GOG.com? Write about that?

Lets play: Skyrim part 1 – Introduction

I’ve been watching a lot of Twitch TV and one game in particular actually. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.

Now the one thing more fun than watching people play Skyrim is to actually play Skyrim yourself. So I’ve been thinking about creating a character, what background, how to play it, etc etc. When it comes to TES games, I really like to roleplay the crap out of it.

So I’ve been thinking about playing through the game in a different way, a path I normally do not take. I always (for some reason) end up as a sneaky ninja bastard who kills things with a bow. Lets face it, the bow combined with sneak attacks are pretty damn powerfull in Skyrim. Magic & heavy armor based characters I’ve always avoided.

This time around, I’m going out of my comfort zone. And I’m starting by choosing a race I’ve never picked before: The Argonian.

Alien enough for you?

From the uesp:

” Argonians are the little-understood reptilian denizens of Black Marsh. Years of defending their borders have made the Argonians experts in guerrilla warfare, and their natural abilities make them equally at home in water and on land. They have developed natural immunities to the diseases and poisons that have doomed many would-be explorers and conquerors of the region. Their seemingly expressionless faces belie a calm intelligence, and many Argonians are well-versed in the magical arts. Others rely on stealth or steel to survive, and their natural agility makes them adept at either. They are, in general, a reserved people … ”

” … Like all the odder-looking races, the Argonians experience quite a bit of prejudice and hostility, even from people not trying to enslave them. ”

” … Argonians worship (or at least, deeply respect) the Hist. The Argonians apparently believe that the Hist have given them their souls and that when they die, their souls are returned to the Hist to be reincarnated as a new Argonian. They feel a connection to the Hist when in Black Marsh, but this diminishes with distance.”

Great stuff to base a RP character on.

So, onwards then.

A useful tool is skyrimcalculator.com . There are some things I like to try. Create / roleplay a hybrid character a la Darth Bane. Outcast from his homelands, drifting about, slowly growing in hate and the craving for power. I imagine this character as either a Heavy Armor wearing unstoppable brute that uses one-handed weapons and Destruction magic in his off-hand. Runes and Fire stuff to enhance his strong melee capabilities.

Or it could go the other way, a robe wearing Illusion magic using devious bastard, who thrills in the pain and suffering of his opponents. Using Alchemy and poisons to grind his foes down.

2014-07-18_00009

Here I used a Frenzy spell on this ignorant criminal. In his Frenzy, he pulled the lever, and by doing so he signed his own death warrant. The trap pierced him down with a thousand arrows.
Here I used a Frenzy spell on this ignorant criminal. In his Frenzy, he pulled the lever, and by doing so he signed his own death warrant. The trap pierced him down with a thousand arrows.

Same here, Illusion magic on one of these was enough to start a brutal and fast slaughter.
Same here, Illusion magic on one of these was enough to start a brutal and fast slaughter.

Anyway, there’s still plenty of time to decide about the path of this character. I haven’t spent and skillpoints yet etc. Just wanted to get my feet wet.

FFXIV dungeon and other complete nonsense

Victory!

Dungeon two has been completed as well. Pretty much the same linear stuff as the previous dungeon. Start, run towards final boss, kill. I do liked the design more. Felt more like a real dungeon.

Laz0rs and magic, it wouldn't be Final Fantasy otherwise.
Laz0rs and magic, it wouldn’t be Final Fantasy otherwise.

Up close and personal.
Up close and personal.

– I think I got some loot, not sure to be honest. The loot / gear drops so far have not been impressive. Intentional? FFXIV not centered about gear gear gear?

– Ten more levels to hit level 30. Then I need to get Arcanist to level 15 in order to unlock the White Mage.

– Playing a MMO without any connection to the lore and everything else is annoying. I get the Warriors of the Light stuff, the historical battle and sacrifice, the different ‘states’, the Adventurers, but it just doesn’t connect to me (like in an Elf / Orc kinda way).

– Maybe it’s just me and my life at the moment. So busy… work work work, daughter going to kindergarten soon, pregnant wife, still lots of house improvements to do … and I’m probably forgetting a dozen of other things I have oppressed in the back of my mind. I feel old …

– Ha! Interesting. I just read this:

World of Warcraft killed the MMO genre.

It’s and old(er) article, from a former Blizzard developer. I kinda agree with him, and then again I disagree with him as well.

It used to be a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.
Now it is called a Massive Multiplayer Online Game.

It is nothing more than that. The genre has evolved. It has become something different. The classic veteran mmo players they talk about in the article are now a bunch of old(er) farts like myself. We are OLD(er) now.

The current generation of people that are getting into MMO’s are a new breed of players, gamers. And it’s a breed the marketing and psychology / social guys have studied well.

Gamers, players today (warning: Generalization here!) don’t want to immerse themselves anymore, they don’t want to dream up their own game, they don’t want to roleplay anymore. Why not? Because they never learned how to. Everything is provided / implanted into their brains already. Through careful psychology & social marketing. Or whatever you want to call it.

When we old farts first went into the mysterious world of MMO’s like Everquest or Ultima Online, we were pretty much blank sleeves. Sure we had our fantasy fix from novels and comics, and the occasional fantasy game (Atari, PS, Sega, PC). But for the most part, in this new world of online fantasy games, where we met others like us, we chose our own identity for the most part.

Nowadays, young people / gamers / players have a very very hard time looking for, and finding or creating their own identity. Who can blame them. From the moment they wake up to the moment they get to sleep they are innerconnected with their mobile device, their favorite gaming platform. And constantly bombarded with marketing, about the ‘perfect’ identities.

So what do you get? Massive Multiplayers developed in close relationship with gaming psychologists, social engineers, all building the next perfect game. On rails, handheld, fast, checklist heavy, constant little gratifications to keep your brain saturated.

” The applications in game design become clear when you look at what Skinner and other psychologists found.

While experimenting with pigeons, researchers found that the pigeons were more likely to push the lever more often when there was a only a chance that they would receive a reward, even more often than when they always received one.

Specifically, they were most active when the chance of receiving a reward was 50%. This is an intermittent reward schedule: it gives a chance at payoff for any given action.

Specifically, they found that the most effective reward schedule was a variable ratio reward schedule – inserting randomness into the equation such that there could be many pulls of the lever with no payoff, but the average payoff is set. “

” Zynga is notorious for using variable ratio reward schedules in their social games like Farmville. Even World of Warcraft uses them by having killed mobs only drop the loot you need for quests some of the time and not all of the time.”

Anway, this turned out way longer than I intended it to be, and to be honest, it’s a bit of a beaten horse isn’t it?

FFXIV first dungeon completed

I’ve completed the very first dungeon of FFXIV yesterday evening. And it was hell.

Nono, not the dungeon itself, that went like a breeze. I mean unlocking the dungeon through storyquests. Jesus Christ, what a pain in the b*tthole …

I like cutscenes, most of the time, but the quest sequence I had to go through yesterday evening in order to progress and unlock the dungeon was just over the damn top.

And I dare say, it made no f*cking sence either.

*Spoiler alert*

Suddenly I went from being a newby adventurer to becoming an Emissary, an then an Envoy to the ruler of the whatever. And after that some barkeeper needed my help and I got access to the dungeon. Color me unimpressed, because that made no lasting impression on me. Cutscene, loading screen, repeat repeat. The very first time FFXIV got me annoyed …

Anyway, the dungeon I eventually got to do is called Sastasha Seagrot, and it’s this thing about Pirates in a cave. Bad people who deserve to die a thousand deaths by swords and magic rockets.

Like I mentioned earlier, the run went without any problems. Good tank and good DPS makes for easy healing. I got some nice loot pieces (greens) and a unique Puglist weapon I can stuff away if I ever need it.

What else?

– The dungeon was a nice entry level dungeon. Lots of trash, some harder hitting mobs in the packs to keep you awake as a healer. Pretty nice layout, and clicky mechanics at the final boss (bubbles of water you need to click on to prevent adds or something). In all, a nice learning dungeon I believe. Can’t wait for the next one.

– The party UI (healthbars etc) kinda sucks. To small, to much information around it (castbars). Weird colors, makes my eyes hurt after staring at it for more than five minutes. I need a bigger screen of better glasses. Or find out if I can change the appearance …

– A party of 4 people is actually quite nice.

– I’m leveling pretty fast without even trying. Just focussing on the main story quest nets you a lot of XP.

– Aha, I just found out FFXIV had a character armory system like WOW. View my character on the Lodestone. It really does look like a Jedi Padawan … with cat ears … and a tail.

ffxiv_16072014_224949 ffxiv_16072014_230013

FFXIV making my way into the world

My little Conjurer healing machine is slowly picking up pace. Made level 17 yesterday, and I’m well on my way to unlock the very first dungeon. Healing time!

And to be honest, it’s not going to be that diffcicult. I’ve only got 2 healing spells right now (single and group heal), and a party in FFXIV only is four people. I’ve done several guildheists and other things in the dutyfinder, actually I have no idea what they are or why they excist, but meh, I like to press ‘JOIN’ buttons :-).

In FFXIV there is a player commendation system where you basically commend a player at the end of a duty finder thing. You get a pop-up and you can select one player to give a commendation to. I have no idea if they have any real value besides a ‘feel-good’ moment. I have receved several already, and I feel good about it, ha!

The storyline in FFXIV is weird. The last time I played a Final Fantasy game was when I was a young teenager on the Playstation, so like a million years ago. And in all honesty, I cannot remember a damn thing about it. The only thing that sounds familiar is the music in FFXIV. It makes me think about Sephiroth.

What else is there to say about FFXIV?

– People bombard you with Free Company (guild) invites all the time when they see you are without one. I never accept it. Why would I? I don’t know you, your guild, your guildmembers, or anything else for that matter. Maybe it is because I’m playing a healer? Is there a lack of healers in FFXIV?

– Gear upgrades in FFXIV are weird as well. I’ve never once had a drop from a mob kill. Do mobs even drop loot? All I get is stuff from quests, and that is often just a little mini-upgrade. Do dungeons have loot? I hope so …

– I tried the Botanist job. It’s basically just a gathering profession, but in FFXIV they turned it into a seperate class. So you have seperate abilities, non of them combat (so far I know of). So you have to go into the wilds, in between mobs and angry critters and scorpions and birds and tigers and evil do’ers, and do your thing. Sounds weird if you ask me. I think they just wanted to add some extra time-sinks to the game.

– In FFXIV PC players and console players are playing together on the same server. So the guy tanking your dungeon could be playing the sh*t out of a MMO with a gamepad. I think that is totally awesome. It also means you won’t have long deep conversations with random people, because have you ever tried to type words with a gamepad controller? Dear god. Respect for the console gamer in FFXIV.