In Porg We Trust

chewbacca-porg-friend-1036492-1280x0

chewbacca-porg-friend-1036492-1280x0

This morning I do not have a whole lot to say because yesterday I got home at midnight.  I had a work dinner thing and then afterwards several of us went to see Star Wars The Last Jedi.  It is still way in the “too soon” territory for really talking about this movie at length.  I was weirdly not super hyped about this movie before its release.  Like I always knew it was on the horizon and that I would eventually go to see it over the Christmas break, but I wasn’t clamoring to see it the way I had been the previous movies.  More than anything I think I just lucked into seeing it on opening night…  which is confusing because technically tonight is the opening night but Thursday is now the universal pre-opening night?  I am more into world building than I am into individual stories, and unfortunately after the movie I feel just as clueless about a lot of things as I did going into it.  That said it was a fun experience and I look forward to watching it again.  In theory I will be taking my wife to a matinee tomorrow morning, since she could not attend last night.  We also did not have the most ideal seats given that we were on the front row staring up at the movie, so there is some aspect of scaling and grandeur that I likely lost.  The big takeaway from the movie is that the porgs are in fact every bit as adorable as they seem in the pre-launch hype.  I feel like there isn’t enough love for the crystalline fox things, because they were pretty great as well.  As far as characters go…  all of our favorites from Force Awakens improved over the course of the movie…  and I am completely in love with Rose.  I thought for certain we were going in for a Empire Strikes back sort of movie…  but in truth it ended in a very different manner making me extremely interested in where we are going for episode nine.  All in all I had a great time and will likely see it multiple times while it is still in the theaters.

Clipped Wings

wowscrnshot_121417_065318

Last night I had every intent of coming home and playing some Destiny 2…  but instead I logged into World of Warcraft to “check what gear was up on world quests” and never really logged back out.  I’m still very much stuck in “must complete the emissary caches” mode and as a result I had one in Argus for the Argussian Reach faction that I lacked enough quests to complete.  As a result I started unlocking more of the planet until I finally got enough to finish it out.  This however was super time consuming because doing anything on Argus feels needlessly tedious due to the packed base pop and terrain that goes out of its way to keep you from going from point a to b.  For my troubles I got a big fat nothing… or in truth a little bit of gold that feels insanely lackluster given the amount of effort I went through to be able to complete it.  So the real question I ask to you more seasoned players that did not take a massive break after Nighthold…  did they just fucking nerf emissary caches into the ground?  In the past these used to be a significant source of gear upgrades, and also used to drop legendaries like candy.  At this point I have no legendaries and have not seen a single piece of gear from the six caches I have turned in since starting up playing again.  Is this just a bad streak or did they simply remove any reasonable rewards from these things?

I’ve managed to move the needle a little further forward and am sitting at 884 and I think 15 concordance on my two primary weapons.  I still have Tomb of Sargeras LFR to do this week but in truth it seems like grinding Argus is going to be my best bet for gear level movement.  The only problem there is that I hate Argus and want to nuke the planet from orbit.  I mean in all reality it isn’t that bad but it just feels shitty to return to land mounts again after being able to fly literally everywhere else.  The base pop reminds me of a lot of what it feels like to roam around in a Rift zone where everything is super aggro and ready to reach out and thump you if you get too close.  The main difference is that at least in World of Warcraft it is completely reasonable for me to round up 30 mobs and grind them down….  because I did this thing today out of laziness and not wanting to stop.  The only really works if you can keep healing yourself like the protection warrior can, but nonetheless it is a viable option.  In Rift if I had more than a couple of mobs I would have fallen over, which makes the game feel super tedious to play.  If I apply myself and gobble up every quest I can do on Argus each day… I may be able to purchase a single piece of 910 gear which is a slow way to upgrade but potentially preferable to hoping for lucky double platnium bonus warforged gear from LFR.

destiny-2-screenshot-2017-12-13-22-15-48-52

Towards the end of the evening while rewatching Force Awakens I did wind up grinding a bit in Destiny 2 and managed to complete the Mercury Flashpoint.  When I turned in with Cayde-6 I managed to get my very first Masterwork item…  and I maybe just almost accidentally called it Warforged.  The positive it is at least an Auto Rifle which is something I will use.  Grace said last night that when she got her first… it was a sidearm…  which is something that no sane and rational person would ever want to use.  I was absolutely certain that the game would give me a sniper rifle or something else that I generally loathe.  Then again if that were the case the decision to shard it and get crafting materials would have been simple…  in this case I have the strong desire to start using it even though Solemn Hymn isn’t exactly one of my favorite weapons.  As far as the perk on mine, it gives a small range boost which is reasonable enough for the moment.  Were it a warforged Better Devils I might work on trying to get the best possible roll, but for now I am okay with a ranged boost.  I have a late night tonight because Star Wars…  but I might be able to hop on when I get home and give it a proper testing.

Rogue Tanks

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-13-06-48-47-46

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-13-06-48-47-46

Yesterday another big update happened to Destiny 2 that added Masterwork level weapons.  These are special versions of the existing legendaries that include a single stat boost and the ability for the weapon to generate orbs of light.  In theory these can come from anything that rewards legendaries already, but after spending down my stock of tokens I did not actually see any.  Granted I have not actually started doing my weekly powerful engram grind activities, so I might wind up with one through that system.  That said I think the more important update is the fact that every vendor sells a full set of their unique set of armor that unlocks as you turn in packages.  Additionally they have one weapon for sale that is available for a combination of legendary shards and faction tokens.  This means that eventually there will be a week where Lord Shaxx sells the Better Devils or Zavala here sells the Curtain Call.  Basically this is another way of mitigating bad luck in the RNG systems, and I for one am super happy to see it.  I love package loot but it can be frustrating when you keep turning them in and never get the item you are actually after.  Additionally this can generate buzz for players to go back into the game when there is a week with a really great item up for sale.

world-of-warcraft-screenshot-2017-12-12-21-14-55-60

Unfortunately I did not spend much time in Destiny 2 last night because I started the evening in World of Warcraft.  By the time I finished doing the few World Quests that had interesting rewards my friend Cuppy popped online and we decided to run a bunch of heroics together.  Heroics always felt easier than they probably should be, but at the way the power levels are now…  they are insanely easy.  For the first Heroic we opted to run Eye of Azshara where a rogue ran off from the group and solo’d more content than the rest of us managed to kill.  He killed the first boss before we could even get to it.  In the second dungeon I am pretty sure it look less than five minutes to do a full clear, and by the time we finally landed on Blackrook and Darkheart Thicket…  we got something resembling a reasonable group and still had zero issue pulling multiple packs and burning things down.  It was one insanely fun night and once again…  zero drama.  All of the groups were chill and once I figured out I had to use /I instead of /P we actually had a lot of people responding and being rather friendly. I guess I need to run some content Alliance side to see if this really is a difference between the factions or if everyone has just reached a point where they are no longer asshats?  Additionally as is usually the case with my blog… as soon as I complain about something karma steps in to invalidate my comments.  Last night I not only picked up a Trinket, but also got the rest of the relic slots that I had been missing.  As a result that takes my overall gear level to 874 which isn’t too shabby for dinging halfway through Sunday.

Deceiver’s Fall

wowscrnshot_121117_203358

wowscrnshot_121117_203358

What a difference a night makes.  I’ve been continuing to work on my Orc Warrior was for the foreseeable future it is likely going to be my World of Warcraft main.  Sure I will continue to visit Belghast and unpack him from mothballs but I’ve never really given Horde a proper chance.  I am also playing way more casually as a Hordie than I traditionally do as Alliance, which seems to help my general enjoyment of the game.  I know were I to start playing on Alliance again as a regular thing… I would be back in the raid before I knew it and being way more serious about the game than I really want to.  Sure on Horde side there are raid options but they tend to be super casual about that sort of thing, and also tend to cram it all into a single night win or lose.  I’ve been focusing more on Fury given that I doubt I will actually be tanking much other than the occasional run with friends.  I got pinged by my good friend Cuppy last night as I was starting to wind down for the evening and it turns out she is a healer, and roughly the same gear level so I foresee some dungeon running in our future.  As of this morning I am sitting at 866 with the only thing holding me back still a 800 heirloom trinket.  I looked at the auction house options for that last night and there is no way I can justify darkmoon trinket prices just to get a very temporary boost in level.

wowscrnshot_121117_212635

My focus for the night was getting through as much Looking for Raid content as I possibly could given my item level.  I started the night cherry picking world quests focusing on only the quests that had the potential for gear level increases.  This managed to push me up to the 660 item level breaking point and as a result could start doing the Tomb of Sargeras LFR, thinking in theory that I might get reasonable gear from it.  Unfortunately the luck was not on my side and I wound up walking away empty on most fights.  I did however pick up a warforged breastplate and a set of gauntlets at least making the night somewhat profitable.  I need to ultimately sort out re-roll tokens because I walked in without any.  In the past there was some sort of a catch up mechanic allowing you to get more of the older tier of token, and I will have to figure out if that exists here or not.  I had never done any of the Tomb of Sargeras so it was at the very least cool to see it.  I am certain that the LFR fights don’t actually represent the real fights that well but still interesting and enjoyable.  The main thing I have noticed about being horde side is that LFR seems way less toxic than it is over on Alliance.  People seem to just keep their heads down and do the content without need for much bullshit, and I can respect that greatly.  Maybe I just had a lucky night, but whatever the case I approve.

Against the Legion Again

wowscrnshot_121117_064941

wowscrnshot_121117_064941

This weekend was a majority comfort gaming weekend, and as a result I spent a good deal of my time working on the Orc Warrior.  Sure I played some Destiny 2 and probably have some things to say about the Curse of Osiris DLC but I will save additional commentary for another day.  I did manage to unlock prophecy weapons and grind out two of them in the periods of time when I was not actually playing World of Warcraft.  Most of the weekend was spent leveling and I managed to ding 110 Sunday afternoon.  From there I spent the rest of my time unlocking all of the stuff required to start doing world quests in Broken Isles and Argus all for the purpose of attempting to gear.  After essentially an evening of cherry picking quests and doing the three emmisary caches available to me… I managed to push my level up to 846.  I still have a ton of dungeons to run for the purpose of unlocking my class hall, but I do have through Nighthold LFR open to me and I am considering running that tonight for the purpose of trying to fill out some of the slots that are not amazing.  Right now I still have one heirloom trinket left and that is severely dragging my average down.  The other big problem I am having is that I have horrible relics and that is mostly a case of being unlock in the randomized item quests available in the world.  Lastly my Helm is pretty horrible, but I could spend a little gold to bring it up a bit because its from the class hall.

wowscrnshot_121117_063150

It feels so odd to be doing the legion questing thing all over again on a brand new character, and I am not necessarily looking forward to doing all of Suramar or the Broken Isles storylines.  That said if I keep poking around on this character I likely will just for the sake of things to do between the gear based world questing.  It is going to be weird having both an Alliance and Horde main that are warriors, but then again there isn’t another class that I like anywhere near as well as them.  I need to start doing a daily drive by at the deathwing alternate appearance as well.  I am hoping the unlocks I did on my other Warrior will count towards that weapon appearance, but I am somehow doubting if they actually will or not.  It would have been awesome if I just got them handed to me when I dinged on a second warrior, because some of these alternate appearances are worse than others.  Like there is no way in hell I want to do the Corrupted Ashbringer appearance ever again…  and sadly my next highest horde character is my 100 Tauren Paladin.  I am thinking I probably won’t play that character until the expansion lands and just try and brush off all of the artifact madness from this expansion.  In theory I should be focusing all of the classes I never leveled and working on trying to get them a class mount.  Instead I am running up a duplicate class that I already have reasonable geared on the other side of the fence and cursing the fact that the faction wall exists in the first place.  All of that said though… I do find the design of Legion and the micro-goals spread across my map a really relaxing way of spending an afternoon.

Patreon and Awards

Just a fair warning…  this morning I am going to jump around between topics like mad because god knows why.

Game Awards

Since Xur no longer comes at a time when it is reasonable for me to post a blurb about him on Fridays, I am left without a clearly defined purpose for what I should be posting.  Last night was as I mentioned yesterday a bit odd because I wound up going with people to see The Disaster Artist.  I swear if that movie is not decorated with at least a few awards during the upcoming awards show season, it will be a complete travesty.  By the time I got home and settled in The Game Awards were already in full swing but I tuned in for the tail end… only to watch Horizon Zero Dawn get completely robbed by everything else and walk away I believe with zero awards.  We’ve talked about this problem a lot on AggroChat that 2017 was a year that just had too many amazing games.  This hurts from an awards prospect but also from a financial prospect given that each player has a finite amount of money to spend on gaming and probably couldn’t do ALL of them in the same year.  I know personally there are a bunch of games that I picked up but have not actually started, in part because I wanted to assist the financial success of the title…  but have lacked the time to devote to them.  Ultimately that is the real tragedy of this year as far as gaming goes…  we had too many awesome things to play and not nearly enough time to play them.

As far as games that were shown off…  Death Stranding still seems completely incomprehensible.  At this point we have seen three trailers and none of them really help to flesh out what the hell is going on…  something to do with naked Norman Reedus, creepy Babies, and the alien black oil from X-Files.  New game that is now on my Radar that I didn’t know about before…  is Witchfire which unfortunately is getting labelled soulsian because everything apparently has to be soulsian now?  It name checks Painkiller in the trailer and that is precisely what it reminded me of.  I can only hope that it also has the same sort of gameplay as Painkiller did, because that game did something unique that shooters just don’t do.  You would have a flurry of activity and mindless mayhem…  and then a moment of calm until you moved up to the next area through a tangible series of gates.  Another thing that people seem to be super excited about is Bayonetta 1, 2 and ultimately 3 coming to the Switch.  I’ve never played a Bayonetta game nor really know anything about them other than the main character being nonsense and not exactly the sort of character that draws me in personally.  Perhaps in the near future I should change this and try out the series especially now that it is available on the PC.

Patreon

Another thing I sort of wanted to talk about is the Patreon change.  Ultimately I get the why of how they ended up going down this avenue, and I am sure someone thought this was a hugely positive change.  From the aspect of supporting a creator it absolutely is because they will wind up getting more of the face value of your donation.  However messaging wise and the feeling right now that everyone is attempting to nickel and dime us with micro-transactions…  there is a lot of push back happening.  Functionally there are two truths about online payments…  firstly that the processing company is going to take a transactional chunk of every fee.  This has nothing to with Patreon and everything to do with them needing to offset the liability of handling financial transactions to a third party company that does literally nothing but this.  Its nothing new to Patreon and just the way online payments work, so that is part one that is becoming transparent now and the cost is being passed on to the supporter instead of being taken out of the creators cut.  The second piece is that every online service needs to charge something for their time in order to support the growth of the platform and the employees that the company needs in order to keep things up and running so to speak.  Once again this was a feel that used to be obfuscated to the donors and just taken out on the back end from the money paid to the creator.  So ultimately more of your money goes to the creators…  but it also means that you are having to pay more money out of your pocket.  I think of this along the same lines as that ever present $2-3 ATM fee that you just sorta grit your teeth and deal with because if you could actually get to a bank during the painfully limited operating window you would instead of harassing a machine in the back corner of a convenience store.

The problem is that we are wired to think of things in certain patterns and it was very clean to say that you wanted to give a dollar a month to support someone.  It felt like you were helping but at the same time felt like such a minuscule amount  of money that you would never end up missing it.  When you start tacking additional cents onto the end of that for some reason it feels like more…  even though once again it is still a tiny amount of money in the grand scheme of things.  However it gives you just enough pause to think about the transaction instead of handing off your dollar happily in the process.  Now the positive is as far as I understand it… these fees are for the transaction itself…  not for the individual donation.  So if you give a dollar a month to a dozen people…  then you get a single transactional charge on your $12 instead of a bunch of individual fees because Patreon is extracting all of that funding from your account at the same time.  You still end up having to pay a cut to Patreon but giving more than one donation at once tends to blunt the blow…  which is ultimately what their advisement was trying to say.  However it was worded so poorly to make it sound like they were ultimately going to phase out the $1 donations.  I got what they were saying… but I also got that the way they were saying it felt shitty.  As a result I seeing a report of a mass exodus of those $1 supporters that end up slowly adding up to a lot of money for several folks.

I have a mixed relationship with Patreon because I waffle back and forth regarding what I think about it.  There are times where I think it is this great business model and ultimately helps fill the gap between the other monetization vehicles that are available for independent creators out there.  There are times I feel like it is the equivalent of internet panhandling and lump it in with all of the insane gofundme campaigns you end up seeing.  All of the time it really depends on whether or not I value what is being created…  and as a result I try really hard to keep that second reaction in check as a result because I realize my personal preference should not be dictated to everyone.  I’ve even kicked around the notion of starting a Patreon myself, but always stop short of doing so because is it really worth the effort?  I do not realistically believe that I could ever do “this” for a living, because I am too used to the stable salary of a developer and manager.  However there are times I think that it would be amazing for all of this to fund itself…  that the blog and podcast and all of the expenses that go with it could somehow make enough money to be “fiscally neutral”.  The problem is the second you enter into any sort of additional money coming in separate from your traditional W-2 employer process…  you are setting yourself up for a world of Tax time hassle.  Right now I figure I would maybe get three to five dollars a month pledged because folks did so out of some weird sense of obligation and then for that extra $50-60 a year it would cause me more headache than it would be worth.  I used to do a significant amount of 1099 contract development work and at that point I had a whole system of extra bank accounts to handle filtering off what I thought would be my tax liability and keeping it out of the main stream of money so I simply forgot about it being there until Tax time.  That is not a world I am willing to enter back into lightly.  So as a result there is still no “Aggronaut” themed Patreon, nor is there any monetization turned on with YouTube…  because in both cases it crosses a line that is hard to uncross.

Schmoradric Cube

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-06-22-31-35-90

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-06-22-31-35-90

This mornings post flavored non-post is brought to you by my favorite item in Destiny 2…  the Schmoradric Cube.  This is one of the items that you get in place of actual loot occasionally in one of Cayde-6’s treasure map chests.  These appear to be more interesting than they were…  but I am still not entirely certain if they are worth the price tag.  Last night I looted the majority of them in a single sitting without doing my previously back to orbit thing to make sure I didn’t hit the empty chest bug.  Each one rewarded three to four EDZ tokens and a couple of blues and at least one of the “fake” cash items that you can take back to Cayde and sell.  One of the chests rewarded me with a legendary engram and another with an emblem that I did not have.  This is nothing like that one week when I got four legendary engrams, an exotic and a faction exclusive weapon…  but it does feel like you are at least getting something rather than the big fat nothing I occasionally got before.  So if you were one of those folks that decided they simply were no longer worth your time…  they at least feel interesting now.  The real highlight of the night though was getting back the Wolf emblem above, which was a favorite of mine from Destiny 1.

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-06-07-24-06-15

The other positive from last night is that for the most part I am certain that the power mode setting is what was causing my insane freezing.  I talked a bit about this yesterday but for whatever reason during the Fall Creators update to Windows 10, it reset my power settings to power saving mode.  The behavior I kept seeing is that every 10 to 15 minutes Destiny 2 would lock along with anything else going on on my system while the audio continued to play.  After scouring the forums I finally found a post on Tom’s Hardware when I started looking for issues related to the Fall Creators update but not necessarily Destiny 2.  Throughout the night I played some crucible and a lot of planetary stuff and never once encountered a lockout except for occasionally some respawn lag which was something that occasionally happened even during the best of times.  So in theory I cam considering this “fixed” as I was  able to watch videos on YouTube (or in truth listen to them) while grinding out the Crucible Call to Arms last night.  Past that though…  I had one of those nights where nothing went right and it was not until 9 pm that I finally got settled into a computer and playing something.  Tonight is more or less also going to be a non-gaming night because I am going with some friends to go see the Disaster Artist…  the same crew that I watched the RiffTrax version of The Room with.  It should be amazing, but it also means I won’t get home until significantly later than normal.

 

Many Osiris Handle It

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-05-18-32-44-33

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-05-18-32-44-33

Yesterday was of course the release of the first expansion content to Destiny 2 in the form of the Curse of Osiris DLC.  I was sick yesterday so completely out of it and did not realize until that evening that I could have been playing around in the expansion during the day.  I did however have time to finish the main story line and am now in the after game that involves going around and doing a bunch of adventures on Mercury.  I am not entirely certain what I was expecting but I enjoyed myself and found a lot of the new areas really cool to roam around.  The level cap is bumping up from 20 to 25 and the light cap is bumping from 305 to 335.  This means we all need to spend time pushing up that number once again, and have a whole slew of new weapons to help us with that process.  Based on what I am seeing blues seem to still be bound to the 5 below your base light level as I am seeing 303 drops with a base light of 308.8.  Legendary engrams which seem to be dropping like candy for me are dropping at my base light level and as a result seem to be providing a decent way of bumping up my overall power level.  Unlike before I am not quite as rabidly focused on trying to squeeze the last bit of light out of each week as I have in the past.  I am sure this will change but for the moment I am trying to take things easy as I may or may not have burnt myself out a bit.

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-05-16-04-32-98

In Destiny 1 we spent a good deal of time exploring the Fallen and the Hive and with Destiny 2 we have spent the bulk of our time dealing with the Cabal.  This expansion sees us taking on the Vex in ways that we have not seen before.  You get a decent idea over the course of the content we have seen to this point that the Vex that essentially hacks time to create the most favorable outcomes for themselves.  However we have not actually really seen this in progress other than the tiny unexplained bits of the Black Garden.  With Curse of Osiris we get to roam around in the massive simulation worlds that the Vex are constantly using to collect data to update their models.  What is really cool about this is that we see simulated versions of all of the other races, that are very similar…  but not quite exactly the same.  Pay close attention to the way that the “Axis” versions of various troop types look because they appear to be almost Vex hybrid versions.  As far as the length of the expansion… I would say it is probably about the same number of missions as the base game.  You spend a lot of time roaming around and trying to sort out how to stop this one Vex simulated future from coming true.

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-05-14-09-24-60

As far as characters…  Sagira is great and I like the fact that even after completing the main game we occasionally get to hang out with her again.  Osiris was honestly not much of a character, and still remains this madman prophet that we are really no closer to fully understanding than we were going into the expansion.  Brother Vance still has a fanatical devotion to Osiris even though he could not be bothered to pop out to the Lighthouse long enough to even see his acolytes.  There is a nice passing of the Torch of sorts to Ikora, because really she is the Warlock we care about.  Its not so much that the student has surpassed the master… its just that the student is done being a student.  If nothing else this expansion brought with it one of the most badass final boss fights I have seen in awhile, and while it isn’t exactly technically complex it is fun as hell and makes the player feel awesome…  even though it is really Osiris hacking reality to make it happen.  It reminds me a lot of the way the Oryx fight in the Kings Fall raid felt… with this massive imposing figure that you are able to bring down by doing some stuff with some things.  Unlike the main campaign I am actually looking forward to finishing it on each of my alts, as I attempt to get them ready to start pushing up power level once again.

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-06-06-27-46-58

As part of the main story we get another choice of a vanguard legendary, and I not shockingly went with the auto rifle that looks and feels a lot like the Jiangshi AR4 that I cannot seem to get the Gunsmith to give me.  The bulk of the really interesting system changes go into effect next week with the December 12th patch, but we did get a fresh assortment of weapons to find and an armor ornament system.  I’m looking forward to the next Iron Banner so that I can unlock the requirements to use those with my Iron Banner set.  Additionally there was a refresh of the eververse store and with it a new set of fluff engrams, this time including a set of armor that I think actually looks cool.  I was not a big fan of the weird formal armor set that came from the last batch, and even though I have collected a set of it on my Titan I doubt I will ever wear it.  This time around however it is Vex inspired and looks pretty badass…  but it has some hefty competition with both my New Monarchy and Iron Banner armor sets.  All in all I think I am going to like the influx of content, but I am also not extremely focused on grinding to get everything instantly either.

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-05-18-42-44-79

Honestly the thing that has most soured me on Destiny 2…  may or may not have anything to do with Destiny 2.  A few weeks ago on patch day I started having issues running the game.  Ultimately this thing would occur where the game would freeze for anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes in the worst cases…  all the while the audio would continue playing in the background.  If I happened to be watching a YouTube video on the second monitor its video would freeze as well, as would my ability to alt tab or interact with anything.  Everything would recover itself and return me back to whatever I happened to be doing…  and if I was in a group activity the game would rapidly catch me up to the same time frame as the other players…  often resulting in my death.  As a result I had been avoiding doing anything serious and anything that forced players to require on me not fucking up.  I’ve searched the forums and crawled through the bowels of Reddit attempting various fixes, until this morning when I found something that is a possible culprit.  Around about this same time I got forced upon me the heaping pile that is yet another windows 10 update.  As a result it force reset a bunch of my settings, one of which flipped my system into power save mode for some ungodly reason.  Before sitting down to write this post I played a bit of crucible because that seemed to always make it happen…  and seemed to be doing just fine.  I need to run around on Mercury a bit to do some further testing but I am hopeful that maybe this was the mystery sauce that was causing all of my problems.  I would love to be able to return to doing group content without fearing that I would be a liability.

MMO Blogging Dead?

ffxiv_dx11-2017-06-26-19-34-35-76

ffxiv_dx11-2017-06-26-19-34-35-76

One of the things I have failed miserably at lately is keeping up with my blog feed.  During the heyday of Google Reader I was a voracious consumer of gaming blogs of all stripe, and regularly read through everything in my backlog of posts.  Stuff happened and my attempt to expand my horizons when I was writing a column on the blogosphere saw my feed ballooning to some 700 sites…  a good number of them posting about things that never really interested me on a personal level.  As a result I find myself spending less time reading blog posts and tend to catch up in a flurry of reading on the weekends.  That said I did end up doing a strafing run on Feedly yesterday afternoon and stumbled across a post from Tobold posing the question of whether or not the MMO Blogosphere is still alive.  The short answer is yes, the community is still very much alive.  The long answer however is a lot more complicated.  While there are still a ton of active people that I see when I catch up on my feed, there are also a lot of names and faces that I have not really seen much from in years.  There has been a changing of the guards and I feel like maybe I have done a poor job of catching up with who is leaving the community and who is brand new.  Additionally the “community” aspect is a little on the ropes.  We didn’t have a Newbie Blogger Initiative this year nor did I do anything with Blaugust…  two previously big events that pulled people in.  We barely had a Developer Appreciate Week… and only then because Ravalation was determined to make sure it happened.  I’ve personally failed miserably this year at attempting any sort of outreach into the community because 2017 has been a time when literally all I can seem to manage to do is attempt to keep one foot moving in front of the other.

The other big change I have noticed is we no longer have the big MMORPG game looming on the horizon that we are all interested in playing.  The community as a whole is way more fragmented in their tastes.  In the run up to World of Warcraft expansions, Star Wars the Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, Wildstar or even as far back as Warhammer Online there was a community upsurge of blog sites that sprung up as players attempted to mitigate their hype levels by pouring that excess energy into post form.  That is just a thing that doesn’t really happen these days as the traditional MMORPG outside of South Korean doesn’t appear to be a viable business model that big studios are really releasing these days.  Instead we have the MMO-lite games that have some online interaction capabilities like The Division or Destiny but lack some of the rich imaginative landscape that us bloggers used to feast upon.  Essentially when we started playing MMORPGs it was a novel concept and gave us a sort of interaction that we could not get in any other game.  Now that same concept of being online and playing with a bunch of your friends while working on some long term achievement is no longer really something special… and instead describes almost all of the games on the market right now.  Almost every game has RP elements that allow you to customize or build your character, and almost every game now has an online presence often with some sort of persistent progression system.  MMORPGs no longer really offer something unique that you cannot get in dozens of other places…  that also don’t require the level of community to support them.  The games have changed and with that the amount of effort and time they ask of us… or at the very least the sort of skills that they require.  While I can wax philosophically about the differences between two guns and the way they fire in Destiny 2…  that isn’t exactly something more players even care about.

Lastly I think the players and their habits have changed.  When I started playing Destiny at launch back in 2014, one of my big frustrations was how there were no blogs really dedicated to the game.  Instead that community exists as a combination of Reddit posts and YouTube videos that you then need to somehow knit together to get an overarching picture of what is actually happening.  I wish I could say that this phenomena is unique to Destiny, but it seems more often than not the newer games don’t really have much in the way of a blogosphere presence.  In some ways I think we are aging out of blogs being a relevant experience.  While I have never actually had the “thousands of vistors per day” that Tobold talks about in his post unless some major news site picks up one of my posts…  I’ve had a steady trickle that has stayed pretty stable through the almost nine years I have been blogging.  In honesty my daily readership comes and goes based on what I happen to be posting about.  Each time on get on a Destiny bender, the folks who just do not care about that tend to disappear.  When I pick back up a game they are interested in…  they tend to come back.  Most of our blogs were started during the most fertile period of MMORPG releases to exist… and with that ground turning fallow we are left to turn to other interests.  My blog started as a World of Warcraft Warrior Tanking blog…  with a super narrow focus and over the years has shifted over and over again until finally I don’t really have a “format”.  This blog is me and my ramblings and if you aren’t interested in that you aren’t likely going to be here very long.  I’ve seen many other bloggers shifting to the same sort of thing, and while I personally care about their lives and their opinions…  it makes our blogs harder to digest for those who have not been along for the full journey.

Grind to a Halt

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-04-06-18-29-16

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-02-19-20-47-05

When we last visited my Orc Warrior on this blog I was just about to start the Warlords content, and this week when I have not been poking my head into Destiny I have spent it pushing forward in World of Warcraft.  It’s honestly been a shock just how fast leveling went until I hit Legion content.  The old world was a confusion slog where I jumped zones each time I saw an exclamation point show up on the adventure guide.  This meant I was constantly jumping zones every few levels and most of that journey was a complete blur.  When I started Outland I did the majority of Hellfire Plateau then jumped over to Terrokar Forest for a little bit before finishing up the grind in Nagrand.  From there I jumped to Northrend and did a good chunk of Borean Tundra before jumping to Grizzly Hills and doing most of it and finally leaping over to Scholazar Basin to finish the run out.  From there we entered the Cataclysm zones and did all of the 80-85 grind in Vashj’ir without actually completely finishing that zone.  Then came Pandaria and I managed to do the entirety of the 85-90 grind without leaving Jade Forest.  From there I went to Draenor where I managed to hit 98 by doing the entirety of Frostfire Ridge and finishing up with just a tiny tiny bit in Spires of Arak.

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-04-06-17-10-20

This is the point where the express elevator has come to a grinding halt and I’ve been confronted with normal speed leveling because all of my heirlooms petered out at 100.  I chose to do Stormheim first largely because it is both my favorite and least favorite zone at the same time.  All of the Norse themed Vrykul bits are awesome, but all of that faction nonsense is not.  It did give me access to another Order Hall champion quickly however so I am down with that.  At this point I have finished both the main story arc of the zone and the faction bullshit arc and am likely to move on to the next area.  There are a lot of things I have noticed… not the least of which is how ridiculously huge this shield is on my female orc warrior.  It is as thought they scaled the shield for the insanely bulky male models and then just called it good enough for the female ones.  The second of which is how much more intricate and slower paced the Legion content is compared to Pandaria or Warlords.  When I leveled through the content it seemed really quick, but what makes things slog a bit in comparison to what came before is how fragmented the quest hubs quickly become.  This might also be an aspect of the map itself feeling so busy with so many world bosses and objectives hidden out there to slow your journey down.  I cannot resist wasting a few minutes to find a chest that is nearby or going after a mini boss, and as a result my leveling pace has gone to hell.

desktop-screenshot-2017-12-04-06-18-29-16

At this point I am contemplating investing in a set of Heirlooms which will set me back quite a bit of gold.  It isn’t as much about leveling quickly, it is more about not outpacing the gear I am wearing…. and also not looking like I am picking up scraps from the battlefield while I level.  I’ve liked making outfits for my character up until this point and then progressing my way through the content without having to care too much about swapping out items.  In a perfect world Warcraft would have heirlooms for every slot and I could simply level my alts without ever having to worry about swapping gear out.  With the new races coming in I fully expect to be leveling a lot more alts, and in truth investing in plate 110 heirlooms now will probably helm in the long run given that I tend to play plate wearing classes more than any others.  I am still really bummed about the direction they are taking with artifact weapons.  I would have loved to see them turn them into leveling heirlooms much the way that the items that dropped off Garrosh in Pandaria served this purpose.  It would have been a fitting end to a really awesome chapter of the game to be able to then use those weapons to level your alts.  Still having a lot of fun but I am also ready for the ride to be over and for my character to get geared up.