Legion’s Pre-Patch: Jumping into the Madness

The pre-Legion patch dropped on Tuesday, and I jumped head first into the madness. You all know that I’ve been waiting to play a Gnome Hunter. So as soon as the patch was live and I managed to get home, I boosted my Gnome Hunter up to 100.

Thankfully I started with some decent gear. Blizzard provides iLvl 640 gear and mailed everyone a new set of weapons with iLvl based on their HFC progression. Given that my gnome was brand new, I received a fairly weak weapon.

What to do first?

This was my biggest question. I realized I was woefully unprepared. I need gear. I need to level crafting. I need to learn what my abilities do, and figure out how to actually play my class again!

Transmog All the Things!

I decided to tackle Transmogs first. The new system is really great because it’s one window with filters and all the items you have. I logged into various characters to unlock the transmogs that I’ve held onto for over a decade. I found my Rhok’delar bow, my full set of Giantstalker, my Dragonstalker set, etc. Awesome.

Then I logged into my dozen other characters with all of their gear and got those unlocked. The process took longer than I had anticipated due to the transmogs taking a while to propogate (server lag). I built myself a nice little set of gear that looks fantastic on a Gnome Hunter. Look = Done.

Tradeskills

My Gnome Hunter is going Engineering/Mining. I fumbled my way through Ashran looking for all of the recipes and trainers. I learned what I needed then used all of the ore I had saved up. In less than 10 minutes I had my Engineering up to 645. I’m told I only needed like 300? I still don’t understand that. Anyway, I’m now still trying to figure out what I have to do to get some Engineering goodies. Are there teleporters I need to get? If so, where? Anyone know?

Now the mining problem… The Garrison Blizzard gave my boosted Hunter only has a level one mine. I don’t have Draenor flying because I couldn’t stomach the dailies in Tanaan. So now I have to roam around and look for nodes and somehow manage to get that up over the next few weeks.

Stats and Balance are Messed Up

With every expansion comes a retuning of stats and abilities. Legion’s artifacts exacerbate this problem because our classes are tuned around having abilities and stats we do not yet have. I jumped into a Mythic Dungeon (already a mistake with iLvl 640 gear) with some friends. They said they’d carry me. I facerolled my hotbars having no idea what I was doing.

We wiped a bunch and realized that Mythic Dungeons were ridiculous. Blizzard confirmed this yesterday by saying they were nerfed, but we tried them again shortly after that statement and came to the conclusion that the nerf must not have been implemented yet.

PvP Scaling

So we jumped into PvP thinking maybe I could get some gear there. We thought it was tuned, but sure enough it isn’t I had 243k HP, and people in gear had 300-400k. Definitely not working. That ended with my slapping people with a wet noodle and being obliterated.

Learning the Ropes

I’m becoming more confident in my Survival Hunter spec. I feel like I finally understand the gist of gameplay. I wasn’t prepared for the rotation to be so intense. I have to worry about executing a lot of abilities at their most opportune time. I also have to worry about keeping certain abilities up.

My experience will most certainly improve as I actually get into Legion content, have an artifact, have more abilities in my rotation that make more sense, and build muscle memory around my skills. I also need to tweak my UI to better show my Mongoose bites, etc.

Preparing for the Burning Legion’s Invasion

The invasion comes in probably two weeks or less. I’m slowly improving my gear already. I’m almost to iLvl 670, which really only takes a bit of Tanaan to accomplish. I want to be about 680’ish before the invasion in order to give me a chance at surviving the fights and feel like I can burn though them. The higher the better.

The invasion will give gear 700+, so that will be more than enough to prepare me for Legion — at which point the first quest drops will replace everything anyway.

More to come on my adventures.

WoW & FF11

Little bit of an update on what I’m up to for you guys. Right now I’m playing two MMOs: World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy 11. It’s the oddest feeling swapping between these two radically different games.

Where I’m at in WoW

I’m still on the Fenris server. You’ll recall I returned to WoW and followed my friends here to the Alliance side after spending most of my previous years as Horde. Thankfully, this server is PvE so I don’t have to worry about the ganking I experienced on Emerald Dream. I’m playing a Monk right now, and while it’s decently fun, I just don’t see myself playing one for too long. I was glad to see that Legion is announced for the end of August, and that I’ll be able to hopefully start my Gnome Hunter in the prelaunch patch in July (hoping it comes in July).

Right now I’m level 88’ish questing in Pandaria. My friends and I were leveling pretty tight together for 1-70, but due to play time conflicts and ::cough:: patience issues ::cough:: one person shot up quickly to 90, and has since jumped to 97 in like a day. Our spread looks like this: 85, 88, 98 (probably 100 now). My friend who is 85 hates questing — I do too, can’t blame him there — so he’s leveling slowly through BGs and the occasional dungeon.

With 4 months to go until Legion, I think I’ll keep my sub active. I have 3k gold to my name and I would like to see that number grow substantially before Legion launch. I’ll likely fiddle with my Garrison a bit and experience the Alliance side of WoD. I can already tell you that I think I like Alliance better. Something about the way everything looks appeals to me more than Horde.

Noobing it up in FF11

I’m playing on the Nasomi FF11 server with some of my other friends. I still have no idea what I’m doing. I orginally rolled my Taru RDM in Bastok, but decided that I would go San d’oria instead, so I deleted Keen and rerolled. Getting to level 5 really took no time at all, and I’m already level 7.5 again after just an hour or so of grinding. I’ve changed my mind and decided that instead of SMN/RDM I’ll go RDM/WHM. I think that’ll be a really good support character and welcomed into groups.

FF11 is way more complex than EQ. In EQ you simply pick a class, level up, and get abilities/gear. FF11 requires a lot more from the player in terms of decisions and what to do. I find myself at a complete loss, but that’s part of my adventure I suppose. Right now my goal is to slay rabbits until I can’t stand it anymore, then hopefully reach level 10 or so and head the this renowned “Dunes” place where supposedly grouping is easier.

The interface is FF11’s biggest problem. Everything from targeting to executing abilities takes an extra step. I feel like I’m slow and clunky to respond as I try and figure out something as simple as targeting a member of my group. I’m using a controller to make the experience feel less wonky, and with macros I think I might be getting the hang of it somewhat. I created a macro where if I press left trigger then A, I can cast cure on myself immediately — that’s pretty useful. I just have to figure out how a group will even work, and what’s expected from me. Should be interesting.  Again, if you have any FF11 tips — quests I should do, items I should look for, places I should go, etc. — please let me know. I’m a sponge ready to soak up the useful knowledge.

Stardew Valley Update: Slow Spring But A Very Profitable Summer

I have been completely enthralled by Stardew Valley this past week. It has definitely become the game I come home wanting to play.  I have always loved the Harvest Moon formula. I like planting crops, tending to animals, expanding my farm infrastructure, forming relationships, and exploring. Stardew Valley perfectly executes on each of these.

I like making decisions and I’m realizing more and more how decision making is absent from gaming. Even big AAA titles are launching as RPGs but lack true decision making. I like how I can choose what crops to plant, what animals to raise, how to build up my farm. I like that I literally wake up each morning, crawl out of bed, and decide what I do that day — the entire game depends on what I do each day.

My farm is coming along nicely. I started the game off slow. I think Spring was about 3/4 over before I really found my rhythm with daily chores. Summer came and I was ready! I planted 40 grape plants and got myself to the point where every 3 days I was making 20,000 gold from grapes alone. This allowed me to rocket ahead and purchase a coop, 4 chickens, tons of fencing, an expansion to my house, and upgrade just about all my tools to Steel. Oh, and I also built a horse stall. Summer was REALLY good to me.

Throughout the summer there were multiple thunder storms which allowed me to explore my way down into the mine because I didn’t have to worry about watering crops. I wasn’t met with any challenge whatsoever until level 80. Now there are caster monsters who also curse, and I’m being hit for 20% of my health each time. Definitely a difficulty spike that I will have to prepare for before I go back.

I’m now on the 10th day of Fall in Year 1. I decided to once again go with a renewable crop option: Cranberries. These give quite a lot of money and once you get past the 7 day initial growth they’ll pop out a few cranberries every few days. I think the profit/month numbers ended up being the highest @ 1101 gold per plant. I planted about 45 of them, so I’m hoping to see about 50,000 this Fall in crops. Sadly that’s a little lower than I was hoping, but I think I’ll make up the rest in animal products.

Sprinklers have introduced an interesting change in my daily routine. With all of my crops being watered automatically each morning, I quickly thought I had made the game a less interesting by having so much left over energy and time each day. I then felt silly when I realized I was only using 10% of my farm space and that I could easily let my sprinklers water some and I could double my production by manually watering another set. Doubled my output!

By the end of Fall I hope to have my barn complete with cows and pigs. I hope to be ready for a long winter. That’s all for now. I’ll let you know how the rest of Fall goes!

Adventure Log Update on Games I’m Playing

I’m slacking hard on blogging. Honest truth here is that I have a lot of games I’m enjoying right now. So let’s dive into an adventure log update!

Keen’s Adventure Log, stardate 2/10/2016.

Final Fantasy Explorers

I’m really drawn into FFE. Graev and I are having a good time taking out Eidolons and building up our characters. This is one of those weird situations where I know there’s no story, I know there’s not true ‘end’ to the game. Things just end when I feel like I’ve gotten the most out of making a character and I want to quit. I’m playing a Dark Knight right now, but I think I want to switch over to Red Mage. Something about chain casting and doing more magic with a balanced sword-wielding class seems fun. I’d feel more useful and less one-trick pony, though a DK’s one trick is to do a ton of damage.

A few of you asked about multiplayer. The multiplayer work where you turn on multiplayer mode in your singleplayer game. You then can choose local co-op or multiplayer co-op. You can make a room and have others join it, or join someone else’s room. These are like lobbies. You can password your room and let your friends join — that’s what we do.

Albion Online Closed Beta InviteAlbion Online

Really, really falling hard for Albion Online. Despite so much about the game being centered around GvG combat and taking territories, I find myself harvesting and crafting. What I’m worried about is the benefit of zerging. Zergs will win everything. Zergs will control the map, and despite it being huge it’ll still be that way. Zergs will feed crafters and outperform a solo crafter, or even a crafter backed by a group of friends or group of 10-15. It’s all about numbers.

The more I play, the more I realize there’s still a ton left to do to fix the balance. I think the devs know this. For example, crafting really is borked. To truly master one line of crafting would take like 2 years, but to get that far in combat takes 2 months. While needing to make crafting easier, they can’t make it something anything can just do on the side, otherwise they’ve ruined crafting. The entire game hinges upon how they balance this out. Please, PLEASE, get this right.

I’m about to upgrade my house and add more laborers. I’ll write up on those sometime here soon.

EverQuest

Every day I come home from work, go to the gym, and then log into EverQuest. It’s my routine. I think to myself, “I’m going to get a group and play!” Then I can’t find a group for 20-30 minutes. I get frustrated. I log off. None of this changes my desire to group. I -WANT- to group. I’m playing a Cleric FFS… It must be my schedule. I’m trying to play around 5:30pm Pacific time. Am I too late? Too early? It’s becoming frustrating enough that soon I’ll come home and go straight to Albion Online or FFE.

Double XP Weekend on Phinigel

We had a really fun weekend on the Phinigel EverQuest “True Box” Progression Server this weekend. Daybreak turned on double experience, even on progression servers, allowing us to propel ourselves forward at a little more reasonable rate. If you recall, experience on Phinigel is 66% slower than Ragefire and Lockjaw servers. Doubling the exp brought things a little closer to what they were on the other servers which is crazy since this weekend it felt like exp was absolutely flying. Discussions of experience gain always throw me into a catch-22.

EverQuest, for me, is entirely about the journey. I could not care any less about the end-game or raiding or my end-game gear, etc. I enjoy grouping, gaining experience, the challenges, and the world. All of that resonates with me in ways no other game can. Then double XP comes along and I’m loving how it accelerates the leveling process.  Wait, aren’t those two things on opposing ends of my enjoyment? I know, hence my catch-22. I think I like how it allows me to push characters has a rut or into new areas. People in general seem to be a little more focused on working together to take advantage of the XP gains, so groups are aplenty.

I ended up getting my Necromancer to level 19, and my Cleric was able to reach level 6 (almost 7) thanks to a few crushbone belts from my friend. So despite the fact that some people have already killed the dragons on this server (yes, it has been up for just over a week) and are decked out in amazing gear, I’m enjoying myself in the Estate of Unrest killing the undead while leveling up at a now snails pace thanks for having to work on the last day of the XP bonus.

There are about 10 weeks until Kunark comes out. I think that should be enough time to get 50, or close to it.