Author Archives: Wilhelm Arcturus

About Wilhelm Arcturus

I started playing online, multiplayer games in 1986. I expect to get the hang of it any time now.

Resumed Pet Battle Campaign

On coming back to World of Warcraft I was a bit bemused to find that one of my key pet battle addons, Pet Battle Teams, appeared to have broken again.  I had run into problems with it before, when Blizz changed the name of the pets window in the game, so I checked on that.  But that did not appear to be the problem.  So I setup my base catching team, the Terrible Turnip, Grunty, and Deathy, and continued to catch pets in the Broken Isles while I tried to get the addon straightened out.

Grunty in Action, Turnip Face Down

Grunty and Deathy are BlizzCon rewards and are two of my favorite pets.  They are unique and a bit OP and work very well for a lot of my general needs.  Grunty was the first battle pet of mine that hit level 25.

I tinkered with Pet Battle Teams some more, tried uninstalling and re-installing the addon, and eventually removed all data and started from scratch.

That last bit appeared to do the trick.  Somewhere along the line my team data went out of date and when I came back to the latest version of the addon.  That was a shame, as I had already set up teams to handle many of the trainers and challenges in the game.  The problem I have with managing my pets is that with over 600 of them in my collection, including duplicates, finding the right pet for the right battle can be a challenge on its own.  I like to have some set up for specific battles and other set up for opposing different pet types, like aquatic or flying.  That at least puts a few of what I am often looking for quickly to hand.

My Pet Window with the Teams Addon

Of course, I should be working on flying in WoW Legion.  But if I spend all my time doing that it will start to feel like a grind, so I do a bit of that every day, the look into other things.

And with pet battles I actually have a lot of options.  I have a bunch of nice pets I want to level up.  I have the collections for various areas to finish.  And then there is Pandaria.

Pet battles came in with the Mists of Pandaria expansion, but that was the expansion I did not play at launch.  Because of that, when I did finally join in on the expansion… and it turned out to be one of my favorites… I was way behind the curve when it came to pets.  I had a bunch of pets, but they were all level 1.  So I wasn’t going to be challenging the master trainers in Pandaria.

So, for me, pet battles really started in earnest with Warlords of Draenor.  I had to work to build up a team to unlock the menagerie in my garrison.  While I have a number of negative comments about garrisons in Draenor, the menagerie was not something I would knock.

The menagerie became the cornerstone of my pet battle experience.  Between that and Trainer Ashlei I was able to level up and improve my collection dramatically.  As I wrote back in early 2015, my pet battle enthusiasm had been unleashed.

Now, running around the Broken Isles doing world quests, I was finding that pet battles were on the list of options.  In building up teams for that I started to realize that I had a something of a collection going.  Checking my stats over at Warcraft Pets, I saw I had well over 100 max level pets.  So I decided I might be ready to go back to Pandaria to face some of the trainer challenges there.

I may have binged on it a bit.  After a rough start I managed to get in the two beginning challenges for trainers there, racking up a number of achievements along the way.

Pandaria Pet Battle Achievements

Getting those required some research.  WoW Head has posts with basic information about each fight, which is a start.  It is the comments where the real meat comes in about the sorts of teams that might be successful.  However, it isn’t just copy the team and go at it… mostly because I almost never have the battle pets suggested.

Literally I think all of my pet battle problems would be solved if only I had the Anubisath Idol pet, as it seems to feature heavily in successful teams.  However, I don’t have him or a number of other favorites.  So I looked at what had been successful to see if I can use those ideas with pets I actually have.

A team that didn’t quite work…

I got a few on the first try, but most took a couple of runs to come to victory.  Eventually I ended up at my last fight.

This time I have you

Success there led me back to the quest giver.  That both yielded a reward, a new pet, of course.

I went for the Earthen spirit

That also opened up daily versions of the quests in order to get the pets I didn’t choose.  So I have more battles ahead of me.

In addition, I still have a lot more pets to catch.  In some places just one pet awaits me, like the one I am missing in Northrend.

It only spawns when it is snowing in the zone…

In other areas I have to get there at the right time.  And then there are the raiding with leashes pets.  I have a couple of those, but there is a list still waiting for me, including the aforementioned Anubisath Idol.  So much left to do… enough to keep me busy for a while I imagine.

What Other Pains will WoW Classic Bring?

Over at Massively OP Syp published a Perfect Ten column about the perils of getting what you ask for in the form of WoW Classic.

WoW Client from Days Gone By

The list he came up with is almost charming in its scope, featuring things some people have been literally clamoring for in a vanilla server, like no Dungeon Finder and old school talent trees and new skills that don’t magically appear in you skill book.  And believe me, inventory space is still at a premium in WoW Legion today.  We have three damn hearthstones to start with.

So I started trying to come up with other aspects of vanilla WoW that people might have forgotten or actively suppressed from their memory.  So, to steal Syp’s idea and add to the list, here are a few that stick out for me:

Just Being Poor

Gold was scarce and you would collect every bit of gray trash to vendor just for the few silver coins it might bring.  One of my earliest memories of World of Warcraft is going to my class trainer and realizing that I did not have enough coins to train all of my skills.  This got a little better as time went on but, like so many things, it seemed to be especially burdensome for new players.

Expensive Epic Mounts

Even when you think you’re no longer poor you end up running into this.  I don’t even remember the price of the level 60 fast mount, but you had to buy the skill, which was expensive, and then you had to buy a mount, which wasn’t cheap either.  And then there were the paladin and warlock mounts, both of which had long quests, needed the skill, and cost even more to finally acquire.  Our little group did both of those.

The instance group all mounted up

Mounts in Inventory

And if you are worried about inventory slots, then you might have blotted the fact that your mount took up a spot in your bag.  You kept your favorite mount with you and, if you had others, you left them stashed in your bank… which was probably also full.

You Are Mounted

It seemed like any mob that tagged you would dismount you.  But if you went to a flight point and tried to get on the bird while still mounted, you would just get an error message flash on your screen informing you that you were still mounted.  At one point Blizz tried to go through and automatically make you dismount when a task required it, but there are still a few corner cases in the game where you can get that message.  But back in the day you had to manually dismount for damn near everything.

Point to Point Flight Paths

While we’re on the topic of travel, flight points were different back then.  While being able to fly past flight points you hadn’t visited is a more recent change, back in the day you couldn’t even automatically fly through multiple flight points.  Sitting up in Darnassus and want to fly to Tanaris?  It didn’t matter if you have the whole route on your map, you could only fly to a flight point directly connected to your current location, at which point your trip would stop until you talked to that flight master and picked the next connecting flight point.  Non-stop flights eventually came, but for a long stretch you had to get off the bird to catch your connecting flight.

Still, it probably wasn’t as bad as taking the tram from Stormwind to Ironforge, getting distracted, and then finding yourself heading back to where you started again.

Hunters with Ammo and Quivers

I still have a few old hunters I rolled up back in the day on various servers that still have quivers or ammo pouches with ammo in them.  Hunters were really this strangely different class back in the day, which I think explains some of the love/hate relationship people have with the class even today.

So yes, you had to have ammo for your ranged weapon.  And you had access to better ammo as you leveled up, and getting that was pretty much critical to remaining effective.  And then there was player made ammo, which was a bit better… and also came in various levels.

And all this ammo had to go into your inventory, taking up precious space.  And if you wanted to draw ammo from inventory you had to keep it in a quiver or an ammo pouch, something that took up a whole bag slot.  Basically, hunters had four bags of general inventory while every other class had five.  Whoever thought that was a good idea had never done The Green Hills of Stranglethorn.

Hunter Pet Skills

This was one of those neat ideas that became awkward as you progressed.  Like every other class, Hunters had to go back to their trainer to get and upgrade their skills.  But not all of them were available to the trainer.  Some pet skills you had to learn in the wild.  What that meant was putting your pet in the stable (three slots only, no epic collections of pets back then), running out into the wild without your essential combat buddy, finding a mob with the skill you wanted to learn, taming that mob, then fighting along side it for a while before you would finally learn the skill, at which point you would abandon that pet and head home to teach your pet the skill and then carry on with your adventures.

Hunter Pet Levels

Hunter pets had their own independent level back in the day.  If you liked the model of a level 10 lion… like The Rake in the Barrens, with its special fast attack speed… but were level 30 already, you would have to go level up your pet to catch it up to your level.  And the only way to do that was to grind mobs.  You had to be really dedicated to a particular model to level up a pet more than a few levels.

Hunter/Pet Relationship

Again with the hunters… I know, but they were special and popular and helped make Azeroth what it is today.  But first they had to suffer.

So hunters also had a relationship with their pet based on being fed and letting them die and just fighting together.  A happy pet did more damage, so you wanted to keep them happy, which primarily meant keeping them well fed.  So in addition to having a while bag slot roped off and dedicated for ammo, you also had to keep a stack or two of pet food in your bags.  And not just any food, but the RIGHT food.  Some only ate meat, some only dairy, others a variety.  There was nothing like being out in the field and finding you were short of food and the only vendor around only sold something your pet wouldn’t eat.

And it was possible that, if neglected, you pet might run away.  I never had that happen, but the thought of it was enough for me to pack an extra stack or two of food… because stacks were only 20 units back in the day.

The Elf Run to Ironforge

If you made a Night Elf back in the day, you were probably found yourself pretty much alone over in Darnassus while your friends we all over having fun in Stormwind and Ironforge.  The reason you were alone was that Westfall was one of the best early zones and led to the Deadmines instance, so nearly every night elf before you had already gone there.  Getting there meant taking the ship to Menethil Harbor and then making the perilous run across the Wetlands to Dun Algaz and the tunnel that would bring you to the zone with Ironforge.

The Elf Run

Of course, the Wetlands was a level 20+ zone and you were likely level 10 tops… so everything could kill you and your aggro radius was huge.  And then, if you did make it and were a druid… well… you class trainer was back in Darnassus, which could be awkward.  But at least you had a travel form.  You did train the travel form, right?

Strange Dungeons

The current design philosophy for dungeons in Azeroth is like the old slogan for Dominos, “30 minutes or less.”  New ones are designed in that scope while older ones have been mostly trimmed back to that goal.

But back in vanilla WoW the design philosophy seemed to be… hrmm… more like, “We’re just doing something that seems cool!”

So instead of being configured for one run, some instances seemed to be designed for multiple visits.  Everybody’s favorite early instance, The Deadmines, had a level split from the start to the end that was wide enough that if you were set for Van Cleef the start of the run was all gray to you.  The Wailing Caverns were a long and confusing crawl.  Uldaman was another with a wide level gap designed for multiple runs… and the worst death respawn location ever.  There were three wings to Scarlet Monastery, but just getting there as alliance was a chore.  Then there was the epic puzzling majesty that was the original Sunken Temple.

And many of these had quest lines that tied them to the zone they were located, so you would have to do at least some of the zone in order to get the quests. (Otherwise, for example, Gryan Stoutmantle wouldn’t shout your name to the whole zone after you defeat Van Cleef.)  I look back at our instance runs through vanilla back in the 2006 to 2008 range and times were a lot different.  (Also, if you want to wallow in nostalgia I have a video from our first year and another one devoted just to Sunken Temple.)

It was, when it came to five person dungeons, a very different time.

The Great Stranglethorn Quest Gap

One of the things Syp mentioned was quests not filling in the experience gap to keep you advancing.  But that one is a lot deeper.  The thing is, quests were fine, you just had to make sure you did them all across a couple of zones.  For example, I would move back and forth between Stormwind and Ironforge, each of which had their own early zones, and do all the quests in both areas.  Doing that would keep you moving into appropriate level content and was easy enough to find.

Eventually though you were funneled into Stranglethorn Vale, with quests both odd and annoying, crowded with the flow of players, and unable to provide the experience boost needed to get you past it via questing alone.  There was a reason I had a number of characters sitting levels between 35 and 40 unplayed for ages.

If you went and did some research you could find Desolace as a possible alternative, though getting there from Menethil Harbor would take you an hour or so, if you didn’t get lost.  And there, in the pre-Maraudon days the quest chains were… odd?  You could end up running around trying to quest there, Arathi, or in the Swamp of Sorrows and still find yourself coming up short.  Or that was how it felt.  But once you got past that hurdle to about level 45 or so, more options started to open up, and from 50 to 60 there was almost an embarrassment of choices.  This was one of the reasons that Blizzard went back and filled in the Dustwallow Swamp with a bunch of additional quests.

Others

There are many others.  Useless trade skills, no quest locations on the map, dancing for tips, restricted class roles in raids, five minute pally buffs, Addons yet to be imagined, and more swim in and out of view in my brain.  But these are the ones I wanted to put on the growing list of what to possibly expect from WoW Classic.

A Timely Anniversary in WoW

We are in the anniversary zone in World of Warcraft, the official launch date being November 23rd.  But Blizzard spreads out the celebration for a while, so anniversary events and such are live in the game.

The traditional WoW Anniversary Tabard

But the re-usable boost token is really on my side this year.

13% for 13th Anniversary

I am not so concerned about experience gains, but since I am in the reputation grind to unlock flying in WoW Legion, I will take every little boost I can get.  I still have a ways to go on reputation, so I’m using the bonus while I have it.

Pokemon UltraSun and UltraMoon Launch Today

The latest entries in the long-running core Pokemon RPG series, Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon, go live today!

UltraSun & UltraMoon

Nintendo and GameFreak are returning players to Alola, the Hawaii-esque islands that previously served as the location for Pokemon Sun & Moon.

But, unlike some past generations, this won’t be a simple rework of the original story in Alola.  While the location and the basic range of Pokemon will be the same, there are new things afoot in the region for you to explore as GameFreak throws in a mix of names from past titles.  You will have a shot at catching some special Pokemon as all past legendaries be making an appearance (some on UltraSun, some in UltraMoon, because you know how it goes), so you can scoop up any you’re missing, if you are skilled and patient enough.

Legendaries from Titles Past

In addition to that they are even pulling past villains into the mix.  You will be faces with Team Rainbow Rocket, made up of the bosses from old foes such as Team Magma, Team Aqua, and Team Galactic.

The desultory Team Skull looks to be left out

Pokemon games are pretty much the only reason I own a Nintendo handheld.

However, I have not ordered either title yet.  I played a lot of Pokemon Sun earlier this year, completing the main story and running down the post-game activities as well as completing the Alola Pokedex.  But I am not feeling the Pokemon urge at the moment.

I am also a little worried about how well it will run on my original model Nintedo 3DS XL.  Pokemon Sun bogged down quite a bit on the older, slower hardware and I doubt that the new titles are going to be better, so I am waiting to see if that comes up as an issue with the new titles.

Still, I cannot wait too long.  As usual, Nintendo has some “buy now!” incentives, including giving players a master ball if they register themselves on Pokemon Global Link between today and January 29, 2018.  A master ball is guaranteed to catch even the most reluctant Pokemon in the wild.  You usually get one per game to catch an elusive legendary, but now you may have two.

Anyway, you can read more about it at the official Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon site.

Dropping in on the North

For me things have been pretty quiet down in Delve for the last month or so.

Which isn’t to say a lot hasn’t been going on.  Just look at last week’s post about the Monthly Economic Report.  And then there has been the changes to moon mining that came at the end of October.  Lots of people have been very busy.

Just not me.

I haven’t mined in ages and rat so sporadically that all of my own bounty payouts from Delve, lumped into one figure, wouldn’t influence any region’s monthly total for any recent month, high, low, or null sec.

I live for strat ops and deployments.  “Join The Imperium and See New Eden!” was the recruiting poster aimed at me.  And not much of that has been going on.  We have a structure and sovereignty treaty with TEST, our neighbors to the east. North, in Fountain, the collapse of The-Culture created more of a buffer between us and people we would shoot regularly, with The Initiative moving in next to Pandemic Horde.  And while there is some sort of war going on involving Triumvirate and Solar Fleet, that is a distant place where we don’t have much in the way of friends.

And, of course, I’ve been playing a bunch of World of Warcraft over the last few weeks, which I do full screen so I can’t even see pings if I remember to launch Jabber, which I haven’t done for a bit.  So there might have been a few strat ops, but I could have missed them.

What I did miss, but quickly caught up on this week, were some deployments.  A few groups have been heading into the north end of null sec to make mischief and shoot the locals.  I went from shipping some stuff to Jita in case I got kicked for not doing anything during November… I needed to clean out my hangar anyway… to racing north in a stealth bomber to join in on the fun.

I went from not knowing about any deployments to being deployed in under an hour, though I was in such a hurry to get going that I ran off without any torpedoes or bombs in my Purifier’s cargo bay.  I had to check the market as I flew, picking up a few torps here and there as I went.

Up in the north with just a bomber, I was in it for the hot drops until I could fly/ship something else. (Flying seems more likely as today’s jump fuel related news made isotope market prices exploding, which mean shipping prices will be up as well.)  But hot dropping has it own charm, along with the element of surprise.

First you get in the fleet, get on the black ops battleship.

Bombers clustered on a Redeemer

Of course, it doesn’t look like that most of the time.  Usually the battleship is cloaked to start with and you cloak up your bomber and warp to it, so you have essentially what looks to any casual observer like just more empty space.  (Ignore local, there is really nobody here!)  The black ops battleship only uncloaks when it is time to bridge us to a target.

So everybody groups up, all cloaked, and waits.  Out in the field scouts with covert cynos are searching for a target worth dropping, but the hammer sits in its tool box until it is time.  Which means you can sit on coms and listen while doing something else… like running world quests in WoW for the flying achievement.

But when Asher calls out, “Everybody wake up!” it is time to go.  Sometimes you’ll end up on a small mining op to bomb and finish off, other times you end up on a bigger prize.

Bombers hitting a ratting Nidhoggur

That is the fun time, getting to rip into a capital ship with a fleet of glass-cannon-esque bombers.  It is torpedoes on the way and hoping to be able to hold the target down until it is too late.  Then seeing the hull begin to erupt.

The Nidhoggur about to go down

And then boom!

Flying out of the explosion in a Haven

It all goes by so fast at times that I forget to take a screen shot or three along the way.

Then it is time to loot what we can, destroy whatever is left, and get back on station to wait for the next target of opportunity.

Probably one of the more historically ironic things I have seen so far been Goons dropping on and killing a Mordus Angels ratting carriers.  How times have changed.

Anyway, I am suddenly active again, so maybe I won’t get kicked this month.

Quote of the Day – Sisyphean Task

Devs promise to change Battlefront II until players are happy

-Ars Technica article title

It is the rare headline that gets me to laugh out loud, but this one managed it.

EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II woes around lockboxes and pay to win and the game in general continue unabated.  I’m not keen on EA when they’re having a good day… since a “good day” at EA usually means buying a studio they’ll close down sooner or later or screwing up a long treasured franchise… so this has been amusing to watch from the sidelines.

Fun created here… on an Orca graveyard!

Starting with what seemed to be like a “land war in Asia” grade mistake where players could unlock things either by playing or paying using the same currency, allowing players to immediately calculate an hours/money comparison, made more grievous by having it in a PvP shooter.  So the rage online was epic and the EA response on Reddit became the most down-voted item ever.  Call Guinness, we have another video game record for the books!

EA stuck to their guns… for a bit, then suddenly dropped the price of unlocks by a whopping 75% while trying to put all of this in back in the bottle by promising… well… you can see the quote above.  My immediate reaction on Twitter was:

I guess the devs ought to be familiar with Hell already, working for EA as they do.

At this point EA can only hope to fix enough so that the review scores from the big sites… which are all on hold right now, so the current Meta Critic score of 79 is based on four sites, three of which I would call “minor” and a fourth I haven’t heard of… won’t tank.  But good luck making any of the vocal members of their audience happy at this point.  On that front the pooch has already been well and truly screwed.  Anything short of removing lockboxes completely… and EA won’t ever do that… will fail to meet their stated goal.

Anyway, we shall see if anything is learned here.

Fall Movie League – Who’s Your Daddy?

Our Fall Fantasy Movie League run is now eleven weeks in, leaving only two more to go.

The week eleven box office was clearly going to go to Thor: Ragnarok again, and the goat-driving god of Asgard was priced appropriately for that.  The week’s picks were.

 Thor: Ragnarok               $659
 Murder on the Orient Express $284
 Daddy's Home 2               $266
 Bad Moms Christmas           $105
 Jigsaw                       $34
 Boo! 2                       $25
 Geostorm                     $19
 Thank You for Your Service   $18
 Happy Death Day              $16
 Blade Runner 2049            $14
 Only the Brave               $13
 Victoria & Abdul             $10
 The Foreigner                $9
 It                           $6
 Subrubicon                   $6

Competing with Thor for anchor position in people’s lineups were two new entries, Murder on the Orient Express and Daddy’s Home 2.

Estimates on both of the new films were somewhat soft, with those willing to commit to a number sticking below $25 million on each while those giving a range allowed that either might go past that and close to $30 million.  But nobody strayed much beyond that.

Meanwhile Thor was a pretty solid bet for $55-65 million.  Having wrested the lead of the TAGN league from SynCaine last week, I felt that the conservative track might be best.  So I anchored on Thor, put on a pair of Bad Moms Christmas, and then filled in with Geostorm.

My Fall Week Eleven Picks

Going with Geostorm was mostly based on it exceeding estimates every week despite being critically panned as a disaster of a disaster movie.

Thor came in a little low, but still in the range I expected.  But Daddy’s Home 2 seemed to be doing better than expected and was pulling up close to $30 million in the Saturday estimates.  That was giving SynCaine, who went in with three screens of Daddy’s Home 2 a lead for the week.  The only redeeming factor was that Bad Moms was the best price/performer and the $4 million extra that was giving me helped mitigate the strong Daddy’s Home 2 showing.

But I always call those first estimates “the Saturday of False Hopes” because the usually change by Monday.  Sure enough, on Sunday the roles had flipped, Dads passing Moms, putting Daddy’s Home 2 as the best price/performer, sinking my own picks to the bottom of the list.

Corr, who pays closer attention to these things, and who was in for six screens of Bad Moms so was keenly interested in the outcome, said early Monday that the margin between the two was thin enough that it could go either way with even a small shift in the final numbers.

However, it was not to be.  When the numbers were finalized, Daddy’s Home 2 was the best price/performer and the anchor for the perfect pick.

Fall Week Eleven Perfect Pick

123 people got the perfect pick for week eleven.  Fortunately, SynCaine was not one of them.  However, his anchoring on three screens of Daddy’s Home the only person in our overall group to do so, gave him his fifth win in the TAGN league and a win in the overall Meta League, with the numbers shaking out as:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $115,590,767
  2. Kraut Screens (T) – $104,712,521
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $100,919,575
  4. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $96,030,514
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $95,384,287
  6. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $94,984,586
  7. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $94,252,816
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $91,751,712
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $90,021,774
  10. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $89,618,203
  11. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $89,093,184
  12. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $88,224,634
  13. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $88,224,634
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

I was feeling pretty good when I saw that Aure and I had the same picks for week eleven, she having done much better than I overall.  Pity we were of like minds on the week when she chose poorly.

That left the overall Meta League looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $910,230,456
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $889,775,200
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $858,929,007
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $857,063,666
  5. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $854,027,980
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $834,616,933
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $819,444,618
  8. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T)$805,922,146
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $794,791,471
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $728,356,671
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $701,979,852
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $698,096,697
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $555,611,337

Corr’s third place finish this week put him solidly out in front of Aure again.  Aure, likewise, has a pretty solid hold on second place.  The close fight is for third place where this week’s results put Elly and SynCaine past Ben, who went all-in with eight screens of Bad Moms this week.

Then I sit down in sixth place, not completely out of the running, but I need a big week or one of those three to stumble in order to move up a notch or two.

Which leads us to the options for week twelve, the penultimate week of the Fall season.

Justice League - FRI         $636
Justice League - SAT         $434
Justice League - SUN         $334
Thor: Ragnarok               $269
Daddy's Home 2               $175
Murder on the Orient Express $152
Wonder                       $140
The Star                     $120
Bad Moms Christmas           $77
Lady Bird                    $30
Jigsaw                       $16
Boo! 2                       $9
Geostorm                     $8
Blade Runner 2049            $8
Three Billboards             $8

We have another big super hero movie opening for week twelve.  Justice League, like Thor two weeks back, is supposed to open so big relative to the rest of the pack that it has been divided into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday screenings.

The Justice League three-way, along with new films Wonder, The Star, Lady Bird, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri managed to push Thank You for Your Service, Happy Death Day, Only the Brave, Victoria & Abdul, The Foreigner, It, and Subrubicon off the list this week.

So Justice League seems to be the safe bet, being predicted to open even bigger than Thor did.  Putting Batman and Wonder Woman on the same screen will do that I guess.

On the other hand, Justice League is pretty pricey.  There is no “three Sundays” option as with Thor.  Friday seems like a sucker bet again, with maybe a Saturday and Sunday plus some very cheap filler being my main guess.  That might be my last chance to put Blade Runner 2049 in my lineup.

But without Justice League, where do you go?  With Thor good for $25 million or so, what do you team him up with? There is The Star, a rework of the Christmas nativity billed as a “computer animated Christian comedy film” starring animals.  I guess in a world with Veggie Tales that is possible.  And then there is Wonder, where photogenic parents struggle with the problems of a child with facial deformities.  Or there are last week’s properties, Daddy’s Home 2 and Murder on the Orient Express.

There are a lot of ways to jump this week.