Legion Launches in 53 Hours

Sorry for the hibernation here for the past few days. I was a week behind finishing the last little touches on my entrepreneurial venture. I started working on this side project in May and just finished today. What a huge weight that is off my chest. I was putting 4-8 hours a day into that project on top of my usual 8 hours at work. Legion’s impending launch and running a week behind schedule meant I had to shut the door and ignore the world.

But I’m back! And it’s time to play some Legion! …. in 53’ish hours.

Now the real debate… do I take off work on Tuesday? Legion launches at midnight, but I haven’t been able to stay up that late in years. So that means the earliest I would play is Tuesday morning.

Worst case scenario, I’m playing Tuesday evening. Ugh. Real life.

A few housekeeping items that I want to go through for you guys:

What class is Keen playing in Legion?
My main character will be a Beastmaster Hunter. Yep, I decided to forgo my entire plan that I’ve had for this past year. I was all about the melee hunter, then I tried BM and fell in love. I can’t go against my inner-fun-meter.

Will Keen have an alt in Legion?
Yes, but not for a while. The way artifact power works makes playing anything but your main character a a little self-defeating. I’m going to wait until I¬†reach more of a wall with AP before working on an alt. When I do, it will be a Druid.

What server?
Fenris! No PvP, pretty low pop (yet feels packed).

What guild?
KGC on Fenris, for those who want to join. If you’re on another server, you can join our Discord (discord.gg/fMybGtJ) where we use voice chat and use the text channels for guild chat.

If you’re looking to join in on the fun, we’re open to all. ūüôā

Survival vs. Beastmaster Hunter in Legion

Survival Vs. Beastmaster in Legion

I was dead-set on Survival going into Legion. I had my mind all made up that I would be a gnome melee hunter. Then… I had some time to kill during this pre-launch invasion hype. I finished all my quests, got all of my invasion drops, raised my trade skills, and I thought, “I’ll try out BeastMaster just for the heck of it.”¬†After trying out BM, I’m seriously torn.

Survival vs. Beastmaster DPS

Beastmaster is out-dpsing my survival spec by about 20% right now. BM is also ranged vs melee, which to me makes it waaaay easier to play. I can spend more time consistently shooting the target while mobile (to avoid bad stuff) rather than being so close to something.

The pet skills for BM are also really neat. Stomp does incredible damage. I think I’m seeing 40k+ crits that are AoE, and that’s incredibly powerful for something that’s a passive on my pet when it “charges in” — which seems to happen way more often than the description implies.

My biggest struggle with Survival seems to be RNG + sustainability. Messing up that rotation even a little bit drops my DPS by 30% whereas I seem to be able to sustain DPS on the BM spec even after the initial burst.

BM burst is indeed powerful. Popping Stampede, Burst of Crows, Bestial Wrath, AND Aspect of the Wild is disgusting.

Follow up that initial cooldown dump with Kill Command on cooldown, Dire Beast on Cooldown, and cobra shots to dump Focus… it’s super easy AND really great DPS.

Survival vs. BM in PvP

I wasn’t enjoying Survival in PvP. Having to be in Melee means being soft to hits and getting focused pretty easy — or even burned by passive AoE damage. Sending in the pet to stomp and then using multishot (which procs more pet aoe) means tons of damage. I was keeping people off flags in AB all by myself AND killing them by blowing cooldowns. I couldn’t do that as Survival.

Thok Hunter PetBeastmaster vs. Survival Pets

I could never go Marksman because of the no pet thing. For the same reason, I feel like BM is really fun because it gets even cooler pets. Being able to tame Thok (from Siege of Orgrimmar) and other neat exotic pets pushes the needle toward BM.

Melee vs Ranged DPS for Hunters

Here’s where things get sticky. I’m hearing that Survival (melee) out DPS’s BM (Ranged) end-game in the parses. There’s also this idea that melee might be better DPS due to fight mechanics in 5-man mythics. I haven’t done enough research, but this is what I’m hearing.

Conclusion

From the sound of things, if you think I’m leaning BM then you are correct. I think it’s more fun right now. The rotation is easier. The ‘flavor’ is more hunter. But that doesn’t mean Survival isn’t fun, and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s any less powerful. I’m torn, and will likely need my friends to weigh in and push me one way or another. For now, I’ve flip flopped to BM.

Hands on with the HTC Vive

So, Graev got an HTC Vive.

He was kind enough to let me spend some time playing around with it and enjoying my first real dedicated time spent with VR tech. I’ve always had a less-than-accepting attitude toward new tech. Most are always gimmicks. That has been my opinion of VR as well, but did my time spent with the HTC Vive change how I feel?

HTC Vive Room Setup

I had no idea that VR required this kind of setup. I assumed it must require some sort of spacial configuration, but it’s no joke. You need to set up sensors around your “play area” that are spaced out to define your area.

HTC Vive Defining a Play Area

 

Your play area can be pretty small and even oddly shaped. Graev’s setup leaves him a playable area that resembles an amoeba rather than a square or rectangle.

These sensors must be mounted, clipped, or otherwise positioned in opposite corners. That was the obnoxious part. They must be plugged in, so finding defined corners with plugs wasn’t easy.

You also have to do all of this within reasonable reach of your PC. Speaking of PC, Graev has the Nvidia 1070 which has 1 HDMI port. The headset takes up that spot meaning you can’t use a monitor unless you have a second HDMI port or a display port. So we went and bought an HDMI to Display Port adapter which actually worked flawlessly.

Configuring the HTC Vive

We ran into a few snags with configuring and calibrating the HTC Vive to work properly. We don’t know if it was a problem with the wand or the headsets, but occasionally they somewhat desync and there’s problems. We think we ironed out most of those.

Configuring the HTC Vive

We had to run the setup a few times to get the headset to visualize the playable space properly as well. That process involves standing in the room jumping through the hoops of aiming the hand devices, looking around, etc.

The HTC Vive Hardware

Spending $800, these things should feel amazing. Good news: They do. The controllers look a little weird, but are nicely balanced and ergonomic.

The headset is a little more hit or miss for us. Both of us wear glasses, and although they claim the HTC Vive works with glasses… we beg to differ. I actually had to take mine off to get the headset to fit well. Graev is truly blind without his glasses and has to wear the headset with less comfort to accommodate them.

The HTC Vive headset is heavy. After only 30 minutes of wearing it, I felt like my head was floating when I took it off — that same feeling you get when picking up your phone after lifting weights where you almost throw the thing because you don’t realize your own strength.

Both of us also complain about how the HTC Vive headset picture is grainy. After looking this up, that seems to be just how it is — it’s apparently even better now than it used to be. Some people like Graev say the image looks blurry, but I didn’t see that.

After playing for 10 minutes, I was at least happy that the graininess became less noticeable because my eyes adjusted.

There are a lot of tweaks and adjustments that can be done with nobs and things on the headset to adjust FoV. Graev is still looking for a way to adjust pupil distance.

The VR Experience

Playing with the “games” (Tech Demos) that come with it provides a glimpse at the Vive’s (and all VR’s) potential. The drawing thing was cool, but what sold me was this Star Wars experience…

I watched as the Millennium Falcon landed on top of me! R2 gave me a lightsaber and I deflected blaster shots back at storm troopers. Holy crap that was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. But then it was over. The whole thing took less than 5 minutes and it was done.

I think that’s going to be the story of VR, at least for now. Very little of the full “walk around the room” VR experiences will be true fully-fleshed-out games. As I initially though when trying out and commenting on VR, it’s going to mostly be about “experiences” that are limited to small areas.

The biggest reason is room size. That’s the hardest part about Star Trek’s holodeck… creating infinite space out of a finite area. You walk 3 feet and you smack into a wall (or in the HTC Vive’s case your headset tether reaches its limit).

But dang… if that’s not the coolest thing to experience, even if it’s limited to “games” that feel more like tech demos.

Games where you can sit or use the “Standing Room Only” feature are much more realistic. VR in general is definitely not for sitting. Even the “looking around” loses so much value if you can’t TURN AROUND and have the full 360′ experience.

To VR or not to VR

Graev’s HTC Vive has me tempted to pull the trigger. That initial “Woah cool” factor is strong…

I’m going to research the games out there with multiplayer, and look more into true “GAMES” that offer an experience beyond bite-sized experiences designed to feature VR. They may not exist yet, and that may mean I wait a bit before jumping fully onto the VR wagon.

I Finally Killed Illidan and Saved the World Tree

What do you do when you the next WoW expansion comes out in 15 days?

I’ve purposely avoided playing too much WoW this past week. I don’t see a reason to play right before the expansion releases for a few reasons.

(1) My gear will be replaced within minutes so anything new/better that I get is pointless

(2) I’m not going to get any richer because I’m terribad at making money in the WoW economy

(3) Why burnout BEFORE the expansion?

I decided that I would toss an hour here and there to old raids. I can get transmogs, and I can see parts of the game where I’ve never been. I also want to get lots of pets and mounts (if possible).

First, I hit up Zul’aman and completed the Amani Battle Bear achievement. I tried really hard back in Cataclysm to get this bear, but our groups were never quite able to beat the timer.

Then I hit up Molten Core simply because I wanted to see it again. Nostalgia? For a place I spent hundreds of hours? A little. I obtained three pets: Ashstone Core, Harbinger of Flame, and Stinker (because I completed the achievement).  Not bad for an unexpected reward.

My next stop for the evening was Black Temple. Can you believe I’ve never even stepped foot in Black Temple? In fact, until tonight I’m pretty sure I hadn’t run a single BC raid. I made my way through this tediously long raid and finally stood toe to toe with Demon Hunter himself. He definitely would have been cool to fight back in the day.

Last stop for the night was The Battle for Mount Hyjal. Yep, never went here either unless you count Warcraft 3. This raid was so ridiculously boring and tedious because I had to wait for the waves of mobs and chase down gargoyles. The nostalgia was pretty cool, though. Watching Archimonde be smacked around my whisps was a blast from the past.

I walked away from the night with 3 pets and a dozen or so transmogs. Nothing I’ll wear, but fun to add into my collection.

Demon Hunter Quests and Introduction

Illidari Questline Cordana

I just finished the Demon Hunter questline. I want to talk a bit about it, so if you hate spoilers then come back tomorrow.

First impressions: I enjoyed the quests.

I think Blizzard utilized some of what we can expect in Legion quests during these initial DH questlines. That’s both a nice thing, and a little bit alarming. I ran into quite a few bugs with these scenario and “public quest” type events where I didn’t get credit.

Illidari Lore

In terms of the lore, I like the Illidari. I think their existence makes sense — way more than the Draenei or Panda. What shocked me most was the Cordana and Maiev confusion. I thought that Khadgar’s bodyguard was Maiev Shadowsong all this time. I thought it made sense that Illidan was imprisoned and she now had nothing to do. Nope.

Cordana Felsong

This is not actually Maiev. Oops.

Khadgar’s bodygard was actually Cordana. During the Legendary Ring questline, Cordana succumbed to temptation and turned to the dark side. We see her as a Fel-Warden in the cutscene where she opens the door to Illidan’s tomb inside The Vault. Whew, that confused me.

Maiev had actually been guarding Illidan (sorta?) all this time.

Keen's Demon Hunter

Demon Hunter Class Mechanics / Gameplay

Demon Hunters are a neat class. I think they feel pretty good in terms of mechanics. A rogue meets warrior type of deal. I think their forms are neat, and movement is a big part of how they play.

Visually… they’re freaking awesome. I love the wings that come out with you double/triple jump. The glowing eyes and demon blood tattoos put it over the top. I have class envy for sure.

I don’t know whether or not I’ll actually play one, but having one at level 100 is sure nice. This might be my tank alt.