World of Warcraft | Out of the Garrison

When Warlords first came out, I thought garrisons were the coolest thing since sliced bread. I couldn’t stop logging in. I was there through remote desktop every chance I could to send my followers out and gathering up resources.

Jump ahead a few months – most of my followers and buildings maxed out, I’m turning my surplus garrison resources into crafting materials which I’m starting to become overloaded with, and I’m not sure what to do next. My people still bring me back things, but there doesn’t seem to be much to look forward to in the garrison any longer. I’m realizing I’ve spent most of the expansion running around inside there, and wishing there was as much outside it to capture my attention.

I think I’m going to finish leveling some alts and go back to running old raids solo for fun. I also want to engage in some raid finder to see the content without the pressure of being on a raid team.

It’s still a great expansion, but I’m feeling like there’s something missing in garrisons to keep me wanting to continue to develop things. I’ve gotta get back out into the world and find some adventure!

World of Warcraft Solo Runs – Ulduar

I ran Ulduar on my warlock yesterday, and had success for the most part. I’ve never been there before, so the mechanics were all new to me. I started out on 25-man.

Flame Leviathan took some research to figure out. Outside of a vehicle, I wasn’t able to do much to him before he took me down, but after looking at some YouTube clips, I set a few Demolishers up and he went down very fast.

The rest of the fights were fairly easy until I got to Mimiron. All the individual pieces went down easy enough, but the combined unit was too hard for me to get all three segments down fast enough. I switched to 10-man and it was pretty easy.

Hodir also gave me a little trouble, so he was done in 10-man as well.  I though Freya was going to be impossible, but after a long while her health started dropping quickly and she went down.

Yogg Saron was something I haven’t figured out yet. The insanity mechanic takes me out in the brain room, so I’m not doing something quite right, and it will take me a few more attempts to get it.

Earlier in the week I beat Lich King on 10-man pretty easily.

 

World of Warcraft | Waiting for Warlords

I went back to World of Warcraft a few weeks ago, and I’ve been having a blast. I had un-subbed for a few months, and wandered into other games for a bit. I still play Hearthstone every week, as I really like being able to drop in for a quick game here and there (they really need to get the Android release out). I finally finished Diablo 3, although I don’t have the expansion. I tried Wildstar for two months, but got frustrated with how often I died, and just didn’t love my character the way I felt about my warlocks in WoW.

Warlords of Draenor comes out in a few weeks, and I’m looking forward to garrisons and another 10 levels in a new world.

The latest improvements are pretty cool.

My current transmog set

The Toy Box – all my cool little doodads in one tab, and it’s shared between all my characters? Thank you! I can also see all the ones I don’t have, and where to get them. This is a feature that should be in all the profession tabs, so we can see the holes in our collections.

Reagent Bank – deposit all your crafting materials into a large bank tab, but be able to craft from there anywhere you are. Craft mats also stack to 200 now, so this freed up a huge amount of bank space for me.

Organize bank and bags – one button sorts all the junk in your bags into orderly piles, and you can even mark a bag to hold specific things, such as equipment, consumables, and trade goods.

The Squish – all the numbers behind the scenes have been reworked, and we seem to have a jump in power, especially for old world raids. A lot of our spells and abilities have been combined, removed, or altered, so we have a lot fewer buttons to press. My spellbar actually has some blank spots now.

New Models – Most of the new characters look pretty amazing. My Undead warlock looks very cool now. I have a human female warlock, and I just can’t quite get the face I liked, though. Hoping they’ll upgrade the Blood Elves soon.

Cross-Faction Auction House – A lot more activity with more players having access. I like it.

I’ve been running a lot of old world raids solo, and having great fun. I was able to get through Black Wing Lair and Icecrown Citadel all by myself, which I couldn’t do before.

Waiting for Wildstar

The next game on the horizon I’ve got my eye on is Wildstar Online.

It’s probably got game-play very similar to WoW, but it looks like it has a really fun style to it with a lot of humor, which I find very appealing. It’s almost cartoon-like in appearance, which to me is better than trying to go for a very realistic look. Sort of like a Shrek movie with a bit more adult humor.

I’ve applied for a beta invite, but nothing in my inbox yet. I have a few days left on my WoW subscription, but I haven’t really done anything there in a few weeks. I just want something really new and different, and while I’m not sure Wildstar will fulfill that, I’m willing to give it a shot.

In the past, there have been some betas that really turned me off to the games, like Rift and Warhammer. I came to see very quickly that they were just World of Warcaft re-treads with some slight differences. Wildstar could be more of the same, but I see a real hint of fun that the others were lacking.

Hearthstone | Beta Impressions

I finally secured an invitation to the beta for Blizzard’s new game, Hearthstone. I’ve played Magic: the Gathering for many years, so I’m very familiar with how collectible card games work, and they’ve done a great job at bringing the format to the screen. Probably a much better job than Wizards has done with Magic Online. It plays fast and is very easy to learn, with all of the concepts taken directly from World of Warcraft.
There is no trading or selling of cards in this game, so you won’t see the gold farmers migrating in to make cash from this one. It also reduces the chance of people only buying the best cards in the game to use against you. You’ll still be at a disadvantage to people who have spent cash, but players won’t be buying packs only to flip them for cash. One aspect I do like is the ability to disenchant cards you don’t want, turning them into dust, which you can then use to create cards you specifically do. 
You can play for free, but you also have the option to buy packs and arena tickets with real money. You don’t need to buy them, but collecting them from currency won in the game itself will be painfully slow, and you will be facing opponents who have much better decks than you do.
It seems fairly fun, and to drop in and just play a few hands at any time will be nice. I just don’t know how much long term enjoyment there will be, as some of the more complex mechanics from Magic are not there, so it may get somewhat repetitive after a while. It’s free, so there’s no reason not to jump in, at least for a while and try it out. The Battlenet friends list is fully integrated, so you can play against your friends easily enough.
I’m also playing Magic 2014 on my tablet, which is mainly a single-player experience, but it really offers some great game-play.

Out of the Game – 1 Month

I’ve been away from Wow for an entire month now, and am not really missing it all that much. There are some stray thoughts now and then, and I’m sure I’ll drift back in at some point, but I’m thinking I might start fresh if I do, with a new character on a new server. If I had people who were doing the same thing and wanted to play together, I’d jump back in at any time, but I don’t care about poking around in Azeroth by myself at this point in time.

It would have been nice if Blizzard could have done smaller, yearly expansions to give us something fresh on a regular basis, as two years is a long time to drag each release out. The patches are okay, but they aren’t enough to keep me going. The end raids are fun, but aren’t the biggest draw for me, and more dailies just doesn’t cut it. I like exploring and leveling, so when I come back, I’ll probably do some of that.

Wrapping Things Up

Skulfrak prepares to go back on the shelf for a while

I only have a few days left on my World of Warcraft subscription, and while I can still play, I haven’t logged in for about two weeks now. I popped in this morning to clean out the mailbox, as I’ve canceled my account for the time being. I’m sure I’ll come back at some point, but there just isn’t all that much in the game that interests me at the moment.

I’m pretty busy with class lately, so I’ve not had time for a lot of gaming. My budget is pretty tight, so I have a few free-to-play options, like Old Republic, Diablo 3 or Star Trek Online. I really want something different, though. 

Game Over, Man!

I’ve gone and cancelled my World of Warcraft account again. I’m sure at some point I’ll come back, but this expansion has been a bit frustrating for me. There was a lot to do, no doubt. Pandaria is a beautiful continent with a lot of explore, and full of lore. The route they chose for the end game this time around, with so many reputation grinds before you can buy anything, and all of it through dailies is really tedious, though. I like playing alts, and running all of that again on another toon is just not going to happen. In Cataclysm, I had my army of alts all set up for crafting. I leveled them all up, and then worked on professions, and had a blast using them all together. All of the end game patterns are locked behind the dailies and the reputation grinds now, which is just not as fun for me. I love how they’ve broken down the walls between servers and let more people play together, but it’s just become a big grind, and I don’t feel like doing it anymore.

So, Skulfrak is parked for now. Some day he’ll come back, and maybe put Garrosh in his place.

I still have Diablo 3, and Old Republic is free-to-play, so I may dabble with that here and there. I don’t see that much on the horizon that looks all that exciting, though.

WoW – Transmogrification

Patch 4.3 has gone live, and the first thing I did was visit the Transmogrification guys to get my gear redone.  It turns out I have a lot less things in my bank than I thought I did.  All my major toons had some things to improve upon.  My main, Skulfrak, had a full set and looks pretty badass.

I spent about an hour doing that.  For the rest of 4.3, I’m not going to be killing Deathwing, so no interest there.  I have a few new 5-man dungeons to kicked out of for having shitty DPS and not knowing the fights.  Other than that, 4.3 doesn’t really give me a whole lot to do, and there are no more patches on the horizon until Mists of Pandaria comes out.  I’m sure that won’t be any sooner than six months – probably closer to a year away.

Good thing Star Wars: The Old Replublic head start goes live in 15 days!

Hunter Time!

I’m pretty sure my time in WoW for the next few months is limited. I’ve pre-ordered Old Republic, it’s paid for, and I’m just waiting for a beta invite.  I’m fairly certain I’ll spend quite a bit of time establishing myself over there.

A week from today is Blizzcon, and they’ll almost certainly announce the next expansion.  But it won’t be out in December.  I’d guess at least 6 months – more likely a year – is the time we’ll have to wait for the next major content patch for WoW.  Until then, we have only one patch to hold us over until then, and the big thing in that is the Deathwing raid.  I’m not a raider.  Leveling alts is about all I have left to do in the game until the next expansion.  Blizzard knows TOR is coming out, and they’re entering the between expansion lull, so will they just let things slide, or will they announce something big and surprising?  I still love the game, but two years between expansions is just too long.  I’m sure I’ll be back in WoW when they add some new content, but they need to step up development cycles, in my humble opinion, so I’m betting TOR will be my new gaming home.

So, until I get that beta invite, I’ve started leveling a hunter alt on Steamwheedle Cartel.  Tholian (with her pet named Webb) used to be my bank alt, but I dusted her off, gave her some heirlooms, and got her from level 28 to 32 last night and this morning. Totally re-learning how to play this class!