Monday, November 14, 2016

October Gaming: Return to Civilization

Carthage spreads up the coast
Something other than World of Warcraft this month (though we'll get to that, too).  About a week ago my daughter decided she wanted to play Civilization V and asked if I'd join her.  A while ago she saw me playing it and thought she'd like to as well so (for her birthday in March?) I bought her a copy with all the expansions on a Steam sale.  She played it some but not much but I was glad when she wanted to play it last week.  I played a lot of Civilization 1 and 2 but never played as much of the more recent versions (I guess Civ 3 at 15 years old isn't very recent).  

The picture above was from our first game where she chose a Huge map.  At this point I just found her civilization (you can see my boat path to her on the minimap) but she wanted to start again.  This time we chose a Standard map and we are on the same team so we can see each other's cities from the beginning.  I hope we get to play more because I would like to take the time to learn the game better.  It's odd finally posting about Civilization V when VI came out last week, but I think seeing the Civ VI posts has added some additional motivation to finally learn Civ V.

Since my last post I did get to level 102 on my priest, went through the quest to get her second (Holy) artifact weapon, brought my warrior to Legion so her could mine some for her Jewelcrafting quest and promptly stopped playing her.

My focus has been on using the World quests to build my reputations for the Pathfinder achievement that will allow flying in 7.2.  I just recently reached Revered on all the required groups except the Wardens so at this point I'm focusing only on the Warden and Suramar World quests which may give me time to work on my priest again.

I am still enjoying the Suramar quest chains (another Pathfinder requirement) though the reputation requirements are slowing it down.  I did complete all the quests that don't require you to be revered and with the next set of Suramar World Quests I'll be ready for the next quest chain which will just leave one remained (that requires you to be of Exalted reputation).

I did get up the nerve to do two more Heroic (LF) Dungeon groups on Kanter, my main hunter.  I am somewhat ashamed to say that after the second group where I ended up dismissing my pet, I finally determined that they removed the 'Growl' (Taunt) ability from the pet bar so you can't easily turn it on and off like you could before Legion.  I now looked it up and added it back so at least I won't have that embarrassment next time.  These dungeons runs both completed quests I had and allowed me to learn recipes for my Alchemy profession.  I don't like how they are requiring group play for Professions that have always been something that you could work on solo, but I'll probably get them done eventually.  At least the Pathfinder achievements are all ones you can do alone.

Gaming has been a welcome reprieve from the US Presidential election results.  My daughter (the one playing Civilization with me) was very upset and possibly she is using it the same way.  Sometimes it is helpful to have something where you can control the outcome.  Working on my priest and my hunter and, hopefully, playing some Civilization with my daughter will give me plenty of goals to work on in the months ahead and we'll have to wait and see what a Trump presidency will bring us.

Monday, October 17, 2016

September Gaming: Class Hall done and back to Alts

Raising my upgraded gun in triumph (or relief)
Since I just got to a pretty good transition place in World of Warcraft, I'd like to record where I am and how I got there.

A couple of weeks ago (when I started this post) I reached ILvl 810 with Kanter which let me start participating in Heroic dungeons with the LFD tool. 

My primary desire to get to Heroic was to do the Heroic dungeon I needed to finish the Class Hall quest line and upgrade my gun (see above).   I tried to ask in my guild for some groups without luck so I just went with LFD for them. The completion of the quest line adds another socket to the gun so it is a significant increase (went from 817 to 842 if I remember correctly and increased my iLvl almost immediately to 820).  I'd estimate there were 6-8 quests just for the last set of quests and then you go fight Hakkar in a scenario.  The quests involved completing 30 world quests, some various quests and one Dungeon (Darkheart Thicket).  For the the scenario, In Defense of Dalaran, once I died and learned I had to use the interrupt on the pets, I didn't have any issues.  It was odd that Hakkar was easier than his pets, but I'm sure I'd be an easy kill without mine, too. 

Now that that is done, I've started working on my other toons starting with my priest, Kantra.  I like the different class quests, something that was never consistent in the original game or any of the expansions.  However, I still have quite a few things I'd like to accomplish with Kanter, eventually earning the Broken Isles Pathfinder achievement.  That achievement (like the Draenor one before) has 5 pieces:  Questing (I did these in order for each zone with just Suramar left (see below), Exploration (which I'm almost done with since it pretty much happens as you quest), the Class Hall Campaign (completed, see above), 6 Revered factions which I plan on doing with World quests, and 100 different World quests (which will hopefully happen when I reach Revered because I don't want to have to figure out which I haven't done).

World Quests will be a big part of this and I'm still enjoying them.  Everyday one of the factions has a quest to complete four World Quests and you have three days to complete it (so up to 3 are active at a time).  Completing 2-4 World Quests a day gives me most of these which gives me both a faction bonus and a chest that contains a piece of armor.  I'm not doing them everyday on Kanter, but there pretty easy now that my iLvl is higher and so are pretty painless.

I still have to complete Suramar line of quests which is much longer than the others and requires you to reach Exalted to complete it.  I'm down to two quest lines that don't require extra reputation and three that do, so it should be pretty painless to mix it in with the World quests for Suramar if I get stuck on reputation.

There is also the Illidan line of quests that I'll eventually get back to.  I'm not sure how much it is needed, but I like hearing the lore.  They give a history of Illidan which hopefully justifies his migration from prime villain in Burning Crusade to savior in Legion.

Finally I want to keep getting better at my Professions.  I did one dungeon for Alchemy so far but another on tap for getting the next recipe.  I don't like this method of putting recipes behind dungeons, but I'm hoping it won't be too many.  I periodically bring extra cooking ingredients to Nomi but I already have a pretty good variety of recipes (just not a lot of extra ingredients).  Fishing will come next and Archaeology after that, but I will probably wait to get some of my other characters advanced before I do that.

Right now getting my priest to level 102 or 103 so I can advance the class hall and get the second artifact weapon.  After that I'll probably advance my Warrior to see his class hall and have a miner.  People have said that this isn't a very alt friendly expansion, but I'm glad I have so much to do and I am looking forwarding to seeing at least four of the class halls and hopefully more over before the next expansion comes out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

July/August Gaming - Mostly World of Warcraft

Kanter at the death of a King
It has been two months since my last post and almost 4 weeks since World of Warcraft Legion was released.  I guess it is not too surprising since I said I wouldn't put myself on any schedule to post, but for better or worse, I've meant to post for more than a month.  As a bonus, you get three screenshots in this post instead of the typical one.

As I say in the subject, it has been mostly World of Warcraft.  I went through the introductory quests with Kanter, my hunter and even did some of the invasions for some extra gear.  After a while (and some prompting from other bloggers) I realized it would be a great way to get my two level 94 characters up to level 100.  As has typically been the case, I slacked on this as well, but I did get Kantro, my warrior, to level 97+ so it should be quick to get him to 98 and into Legion.  The good news is that he is my other gathering (mining), so it should be pretty quick to have both gatherers in World of Warcraft.


Nothing like a giant head to get your attention

Since Legion was released, I have only been playing Kanter except for a few minutes of mail or auction house activity on the other toons.  I liked the questing through all four of the original zones.  I went through all the required quests to get the achievement in each zone before I went onto the next and was about half way through my fourth zone (and about two weeks after  when I hit level 110 so I just continued before I went on to Suramar.

I probably would have hit level 110 soon except I didn't realize I had Class Hall quests to do.  I picked the Beast Master weapon (Titanstrike) as my artifact weapon before the expansion came out (I always thought guns were more appropriate for Dwarves).  I also decided that I wouldn't bother with the other two artifact weapons even though you can get them at level 102.

Sure enough, I hit level 102 and a slightly orangish yellow explanation point appears at my Class Hall and when I look I see that I can ignore it because it is just the quest to get one of the other two artifact weapons.  I keep questing but I noticed I only had two followers all the way to level 110 and only seemed to have one quest at a time.  Just this week I looked to see what might be wrong and I see that there should have been some more quests at level 103.  After quite a bit of searching, I finally go to Emmarel Shadewarden, the npc with the orangish explanation point and she has another non-orangish quest available!  Now I'm working through my class hall quests I could have done starting at level 103 and I have four missions available instead of the one I had before.  

I guess nothing significant was lost, but I hope others don't have same issue. I had one more minor issue with the game.  This first zone I completed was Highmountain since it was the zone of my class hall and I went and did all my quests there including one with Nesingwary and his gnome companion whom I take out to learn to hunt.  It was a fun set a quests and I didn't think any more of it but I just happened to be there for one of the world quests at level 110 and they each had a new quests which made them Followers!  I guess it was expected you would complete these quests at a higher level and get the follower quests immediately, but I had no clue and was glad I just happened to stop by.


Turning into a fish pays off for this Herbalism World Quest!
However, I as said, the quests have been fun and I had plenty to do without the Class Hall quests.  Right now my priority is the Class Hall missions and Quests, then finishing four World quests in a zone where you get the bonus if it seems easy (a new one appears every day and they last three days).  After than, if I have time, I'll continue with the Suramar quests.  Between those things, I should get my reputation up pretty steadily.  I'm not sure how much World Quests will hold my attention.  I just always had a motivation issue with Daily quests and this may be an issue with World Quests as well (since they are just a variation with more variety).

I also have been doing the Herbalism, Alchemy, Cooking and First Aide quests. However, I haven't done any of the Dungeon quests.  I'm at iLvl 799 now and the Heroic ones require iLvl 808.  I could do them as LFD, but I think I'll wait until I hit iLvl 810 and then try to do them with my guild.  Or maybe not.  I haven't done dungeons a lot since Burning Crusade and I still feel out of sorts when I go on them as a casual player.

Monday, July 18, 2016

June Gaming - Defender's Quest


Variation on the Tower Defender Theme

I'm still playing World of Warcraft but don't have any goals I'm really working towards (though I did finish the quests in Bloodmyst Isle thanks to my daughter's leveling a toon there with me).  I might level one or both of my level 95 toons to 100 or I might finish the Legendary quest on Kanter or, more likely, I won't bother with either.  Partially because of that, I thought it was reasonable to purchase some games on my wish list when they were on sale.  

The four I purchased from Steam for less than $20 all together were:

The last three were during the Steam Summer Sale, but Defender's Quest went on sale earlier in June.  Yes, they are all older games, but I feeling really good about the first two that I have played so far and the variety in the four.

In addition, I did a 'competition' to win a week's trial of Black Desert Online and that came through last month as well, so I'm looking forward to trying it with my daughters later this summer.  Even though I'm not posting much, I'll figure I'll cover each of these in their own post.  First up is Defender's Quest.

Defender's Quest is a pretty typically Tower Defense game with a few twists.  The 'towers' are actually your typically fantasy characters (Mage, Cleric, Warrior, Dragon) and they have an odd plot point to justify the fact that they can't move.  There is also a plot of moving along a path and as you advance down the path by winning levels you learn more of the plot.

If you don't like Tower Defense, the plot won't make the game worth while, but since I enjoy the gameplay, the plot is enough to keep me motivated to keep playing.  I have been playing Plants vs Zombies on my Kindle Fire for years now, just watering my garden and playing Survival Endless (coming up on 10,000,000 gold), so I don't need that much motivation as long as the gameplay is fun.

The game is forgiving in that when you lose, you don't lose anything but don't gain much either.  You can go back and play previous levels and by playing at higher difficulty you can get better rewards.  There are also towns you can visit where you can get weapons and/or armor for your 'towers' and buy new 'towers.'

I'm a little less than half way through the 32 levels and there is some replay value with higher difficulty and bonus levels available once you complete the game.  If you like tower defense games, I'd definitely recommend it.  I paid $7.50 for the game but it's generally available for $15 on Steam.  There is a sequel (with unrelated plot in the works) and they recently upgraded the graphics on the game so it's definitely still supported even though it came out almost 4 years ago.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Fourth Anniversary Edition

Legion  Beta... but will I ever log in

My four year anniversary was on May 5th.  I guess it is only appropriate that I am more than 2 weeks late given my infrequent postings.  If you are looking at my blog not through a reader, there is a sidebar on the right side with all the blogs that started from the first Newbie Blogger Initiative four years ago that still existed after two years.  Originally there were 110 blogs(!).  After one year, 30 of those blogs were still posting, after two years, it was 18, and now there are seven of us left.  And now, it might as well be six (or five, since there is one other infrequent poster).  In alphabetical order, the others that have posted in the last month (which are also the same as those that have posted in the last six months):
  1. Ald Shot First
  2. Beyond Tannhauser Gate
  3. MMO Juggler
  4. Ravalation 
  5. Vagabond Goes for a Walk
  6. Why I Game
I also include honorary member Jewel who started just after the NBI and is now posting at Healing the Masses.  Congratulations to you all!  If others have changed their address and I just missed it, please let me know and I'd like to add them to my blog roll and give them credit for their persistence!

Over the last four years, I've pretty consistently averaged one post every two weeks, which isn't too bad for a casual blog.  I've tried at times to figure out a way to post once or twice a week, but, although I like writing, I never have had the inclination to write that much.  At this point I don't think I'll pretend to try to post regularly.  If I have the inclination, I'll post, but more often I'll include comments in other's posts.  In order to do that I'll try to keep up with other's blogs more.  Over the last month, there have been several posts I would have liked to respond to, but more than a week after the post, it's a little late to join the conversation.

In my gaming life, I finally spent the few hours I needed to level my mage, Kantrina, to level 100 in World of Warcraft which has allowed me to upgrade Kanter's gun.  I'll need a few more visits to Lord Kazzak and it'll be max level which will be a nice accomplishment.  I got Kantrina an Inn, Barracks and Salvage Yard once I leveled her garrison.  The garrison tasks of leveling the new followers so I can complete more missions is a little annoying at this point, but I'll need that extra income to keep paying for my subscription with tokens and it should become much easier once they are all leveled.

The day they announced the Beta, I received an invite.  I went to look at it and it still said 'alpha' so they must have just started it.  I was on the fence, but then my daughters wanted to do something with me and they said they'd like to see the beta, so I went ahead and installed it.  I still havent' started it, but with the long weekend, I'll probably have an opportunity soon.

I'll still enjoy gaming and reading other gaming blogs, but don't expect to see many posts here.  Hopefully I'll see many of you on your blogs!  If you'd like to add me on Battle.net so I might also see you in games, I'm Kanter#1214.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Month in an MMO Life: April 2016

Baldur's gate box
Not an MMO, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3442785
I went from 'A Week in an MMO Life' to a 'Month' since I haven't been playing or posting much.  However, I did some gaming over the last month and I'll count this as my April post even though it is posted in early May.

I recently bought two copies of Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition on a Steam sale for my daughter and I to play together.  I remember buying it as soon as it came out in 1998 (I believe it was December).  I'm pretty sure it was the first computer video game I played with another person over the internet.  I don't even remember who it was, but at that time I believe I was still active on CompuServe and it was likely someone else who posted there.  We didn't get very far together and I also didn't get very far by myself.  

One of my daughters has recently showed an interest in Dungeons and Dragons, so I thought this could be fun to play together and maybe I could finally complete the game and play the sequel.  I died early on going off by myself, so we'll have to see if it gets any traction or not.

I still log into World of Warcraft most days, but haven't done much besides daily Garrison tasks, bi-weekly auction house sales and periodically making sure my in game mails don't expire.  I did level my Shaman who has been at level 19 for years to level 20 to get the achievement (and logged into Hearthstone just long enough to see the cross game bonus was there).  I also have started fishing for Felblight for upgrading my gun and joined my first Lord Kazzak kill for the Felblight from him as well.

I played some Minecraft with my daughters, but I would rather play on our Mojang server and they would rather play with mods they have discovered so it has come to something of a stand-still.

I would still like to try out Black Desert Online sometime.  What I have read about exploration and crafting makes me believe it would be something I enjoy, even if I don't play it long.  Stargrace has also made me want to try out Wurm Unlimited, though it is probably a game better suited to someone who has more playing time than I do.

The World of Warcraft Legion expansion now has a date:  August 30, 2016.  I plan to get it upon release (probably with Amazon Prime's 20% discount on new games).  That gives me four months from now to close out a few things with Warlords.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Solo Play and the Future of MMOs

Fishing is a solo activity even if Nat Pagle is with you... twice.
I haven't posted in a long time and really have made very little progress in World of Warcraft and haven't played any other MMOs in the last 6 weeks. I am continuing to do my daily Garrison activities for Kanter and bi-weekly ones for the other 4 toons with Garrisons, but I have cut down gathering because I have so many crafting resources and don't particularly want to sell them when they are so cheap now.

My gaming is moving away from MMOs, primarily due to my family.  I picked up a 3DS XL and Pokemon Y to play with my daughters.  I have been gradually catching Pokemon and advancing through the gym leaders and went ahead and got Pokemon bank so I would get the bonus Pokemon they are offering.  We also still play our Minecraft Realm periodically.

I would still like to advance my other three toons in World of Warcraft to level 100 before Legion, but I can't seem to ever focus the time.  I even have a toon sitting at level 19 that could (I believe) get the level 20 achievement in an hour or so of play but can't even be bothered to do that.  Maybe I'll go back to group play some day, particularly if I feel safe playing with my daughters and they want to.  Both of the younger ones like playing video games, but they mainly use their tablets or DSes, not the computer or video game machine.

Once that time comes I wonder what MMOs will be like.  The announcement that Daybreak games was stopping production of Everquest Next confirms what seemed to be in the cards - continuation of older games and more games with a smaller focus and ambition.  That is probably a good thing as far as I am concerned.  I will probably continue to play World of Warcraft as long as it is around and I can play for free.  I invested so much time in the game up to this point that I'll want to see what comes next.

But I also believe I will eventually find other MMOs I want to play.  I tried Lord of the Rings Online, Final Fantasy XIV and Guild Wars II (along with a few others), but none of them really worked for me.  Many people have started playing Black Desert Online and I really like the fact that you can focus on trade skills and learn new systems without the focus on combat.  I came close to buying it once, but since I'm looking at is as a solo game to play along with others, there is no rush to get involved and so I plan to wait.

Brad McQuaid just showed a demo of his new 'Everquest-like' game Pantheon.  I hope it is successful, but I don't think it's for me.  Based on my schedule, I need a game that can be played solo and in small time segments and I don't think those are his goals.  Likewise, Blade and Soul has a set of dedicated players, but action-MMORPG is also not what I'm looking for.

Hopefully smaller MMO games will continue come out with more focused goals and we can all find ones we enjoy.  I'm not sure what to do with this blog now that I am not doing much MMO playing and I don't see that changing anytime soon.  It'll be four years since my first post in May, so I'll probably think about it until then and try to come up with new goals that match what I'm playing now.