Category Archives: World of Warcraft

SuperData has Fall Guys on Top for August

SuperData Research got their digital revenue chart for August out and, no surprise, revenues were up over last year for another month.

  • August digital games revenue totaled $10.8B, up 16% year-over-year. Digital console earnings grew the most and were up 88% compared to the same month in 2019. Revenue also rose by 15% on PC and 3% on mobile.

The pandemic continues to boost the video games industry as 2020 stays ahead of 2019.

  • Digital games have earned $82.8B through the first eight months of 2020, a growth of 13% from the same time span last year. Gaming revenue took off in March as COVID-19 lockdowns spread worldwide. Since then, each game device type (mobile, PC or console) has generated higher year-over-year revenue. 

But it is the chart that we like to look at, and the August chart has a shakeup of the usual order on the PC end of things.

SuperData Research Top 10 – August 2020

And, as I wrote above, the usual order on the PC side of things got a shake up in August, with Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout topping the chart.

  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout had the highest-earning launch of any PC title ($185M) since Overwatch in May 2016. The innovative take on battle royale, published by Developer Digital and developed by Mediatonic, was free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, but 8.2M players still paid for the PC version. The breakout success of Fall Guys was especially impressive since it came from a relatively small development team. The game’s chaotic, wacky gameplay was a big draw on gaming video content platforms like Twitch, where it topped the viewership charts in the lead-up to launch.

I had not even heard of the game… or I had ignored it… until the SuperData chart came out, but there it is on top for August.

That pushed the usual top four, which I think of as the LCDF lineup due to their frequent ordering, down a notch as their usual order changed up, with Crossfire in second, League of Legends in third, Fantasy Westward Journey Online in fourth, and Dungeon Fighter Online in fifth.

The bottom half of the list saw Fortnite back up in its spot relative to the LCDF titles after having fallen in July, seeing a revenue boost in August.

  • Fortnite revenue grew 76% month-over-month on PC and console, more than offsetting its falling mobile revenue. Player spending jumped in late August thanks to a new season of content featuring cosmetic items based on Marvel Comics characters. This is in sharp contrast to its mobile revenue, which fell by 62% after Apple and Google removed the game from the iOS App Store and Google Play as part of the ongoing legal dispute between Epic and the two technology companies. (Our published mobile revenue totals do not encompass the Android version of Fortnite available outside of Google Play.)

Fortnite was followed by Roblox in seventh, CS:GO in eighth.  New shooter Valorant was down from fifth in July to ninth in August, and World of Warcraft managed to stay on the chart in tenth position.  World of Tanks fell of the list for August.

On the console chart Call of Duty: Modern Warfare took the top spot back as last months number one, Ghosts of Tsushima fell back to sixth position.  FIFA 20 and Fortnite followed in second and third, with the venerable GTA V in fourth position.

And at the mobile end of the chart, Pokemon Go continues its summer reign in the top spot.

  • Pokémon GO continued its upward momentum in August and broke its all-time earnings record. The game generated 25% more that its previous revenue peak achieved during August 2016. It benefited from warm weather and frequent limited-time events that appealed to its passionate player base. Pokémon GO has historically performed best in the summer and revenue will likely begin a seasonal decline in either September or October.

Then there is Free Fire, the title from Singapore that popped onto the charts in third place last month.  It has worked its way past Honour of Kings and into second place.  Behind them in fourth position is Peacekeeper Elite, the mobile version of PUBG available in China.  PUBG Mobile, the version for the rest of us only rings in at eighth position, just ahead of Candy Crush Saga.  However, PUBG Mobile may be in for a fall, as it has since been banned in India.

  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile was the 8th highest earning mobile title in its last month before being banned in India. The game was frequently the country’s highest-grossing game before India’s government furthered a widespread crackdown on Chinese apps (Tencent has operated the mobile version of PUBG). Also in August, the game’s overall revenue and player numbers did not change significantly, which indicates that bans of the mobile version of Fortnite did not lead to a mass player exodus to PUBG Mobile.

NPD also has their top ten chart forAugust available as well.  As always, NPD numbers are US only, combine PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales (where noted).

  1. Madden NFL 21
  2. UFC 4
  3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  4. Ghost of Tsushima
  5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  6. Ring Fit Adventure
  7. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  8. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  9. Paper Mario: The Origami King*
  10. Mortal Kombat 11

*Digital sales on Nintendo eShop not included

As usual, this list continues to indicate how much consoles still depend on physical retail distribution.

So it goes.  Another month of pandemic remains good business for some.

Checking Up on Alts in WoW Classic

I have been mostly on about the instance group in WoW Classic for the last few months.  That is both because that is where I have spent most of my play time as well as the fact that the tales of the group tend to be nice, discreet stories that have a beginning and and end.  The paths of my alts, out in the world leveling up, tend to be messy, with starts and ends that are more a function of my play time available than having reached the end of a particular zone or quest line.

But I have carried on with alts, at least a couple of them.  As tends to happen, I rolled up a bunch of alts and some have fallen by the wayside.  I have a few still lingering in their 20s and another in his mid 30s.  I have kept up with two of them though.

One of them is Wilhelm, my paladin.  I thought he might have been a lost cause, as he hit something of a wall at about level 40 where at-level mobs were starting to get the better of him and grinding them out was starting to feel like a real grind, where he had to stop and recover after every fight.

However, at the end of Zul’Farruk a polearm, Khoo’s Point, dropped as a bind on equip item after a fight.  Nobody needed it so I asked if I could have it for Wilhelm and, as it turned out, it was just the thing he needed.  The boost in damage over what he had been swinging suddenly made him viable again and I got a few levels on him before I found another polearm at the auction house.

Wilhelm running down another quest

He has made it up to 45 and is about set to start poking about in Searing Gorge.

Then there is Tistann the hunter.  He is my main alt, so to speak, and also the guild leader.  I like to keep him up with or a bit ahead of the dungeon group.  He was my first character to get to 50 back in June.

Once he wrapped up Searing Gorge he had a quest to go out to Chillwind Camp in the Western Plaguelands, which actually has a couple of quests that were manageable at his level.  He grabbed those and the Argent Dawn commission, and killed some undead, but the quest chain there ramps up pretty quickly, so he got on the bird and headed elsewhere.

While the post-40 leveling process is known for sending you all over creation, you do get to settle down for a bit now and then.  In Un’goro Crater you can chase down some quests without too much running about… or at least running to other zones.  There is plenty of running about in the zone.

And some things running at you

After that it was off to Felwood, which is kind of a pain to get to in the first place.  And once you get there you get a work out again.

Felwood map

The quests start down in Emerald Sanctuary, but the objectives range further and further up the map.  The first quest is close by, but you end up hunting stuff all the way up around Felpaw Village, which can make for a long ride back and forth.  But at least you can grab the flight point, which is south of there.

While I think of Un’goro as an ideal place for my hunter, since he could skin, Felwood worked pretty well for me.  There are a lot of quests where some patience for grinding mobs will serve you well.  When I am in the mood, that can be quite relaxing.  You just carefully slay mobs and work your way to your target.

Made my way to Xavathras

There are some underground adventures as well, with the and escort quest in the mix, because of course there is.

Nobody can leave captivity without their stuff

And a couple of the quests send you off to other zones, which wouldn’t be so bad, but that flight point is a long way off still.  I actually ran to the Azshara flight point once, just to see if it was closer, but it is about the same distance.

Out to watch a ceremony before I ride, then fly, then ride for the turn-in

Eventually you get the quest that sends you on to Winterspring, which takes you through the Timbermaw tunnel, a location of some renown.  Fortunately, this was not my first Felwood rodeo, and being in no hurry, I went and ground out a bit of reputation with the Timbermaw Hold so that I did not have to fight my way through them.

Unfriendly means they don’t attack

I was able to run through the tunnel unmolested to start in on the Winterspring.

First stop, Denova Snowden

I was 54 at that point, and Winterspring is just a bit above that if you want to play it safe.  I persisted for a bit.  A hunter with a decent pet can get away with some things I won’t try with my pally later.

I made sure to get the flight point at Everlook and picked up a bunch of quests there.  I did the ones I could, but some of them either send you directly, and others eventually, back to the Plaguelands.

So it was back there, where I started off at level 50, to hunt more undead.

A Plaguelands panorama

And it was there that I hit 55, which is sort of the last milestone before level cap.  That was also where I started feeling like I was really going to make it there.  From 55 to 60 is not a trivial grind but, going back to the leveling guide, I still have most of Winterspring and Western Plaguelands to work through.  I’ve barely seen any of the the latter.

Where I’ve been from Chillwind

And I have not even started in on Blasted Lands, Azshara, Burning Steppes, or Eastern Plaguelands.

I have enough content between me and level 60 to just follow that along to 60.

And then I have to get my paladin through all of that as well, which is a very different experience.   But I’ll leave that for another time.

Facing the Avatar of Hakkar

It was time for another trip to Sunken Temple.  It was time to try the Avatar of Hakkar, the one part of the instance we had yet to attempt.  We got on together and flew down to Nethergarde Keep once more to join up.  Our group was:

  • Viniki – level 53 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 53 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 53 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 53 gnome mage

And we started running into problems pretty quickly.  As we were riding towards the Swamp of Sorrows and the instance, I noticed that Moronae had stopped following.  We circled back and found him riding in place, as one does in Classic, though apparently still online.  He was on Discord as well, and told us later that he could still hear us talking.  We could not hear him however.

Moronae was moving yet standing still

He texted to say that it was a Comcast Xfinity outage and that there was not yet an estimate as to when service should return.  What to do?

We decided to take some alts out for a spin while we waited, so for a bit our group was:

  • Denogh – Level 42 Dwarf Hunter
  • Scscla – Level 42 Gnome Warrior
  • Wilhelm – Level 44 Human Paladin

We decided to hit Booty Bay as that seemed a likely spot for us to find some quests to do together.

Flying in to Booty Bay, there seemed to be something going on.  There were a lot of level 60s Alliance players hanging out around the flight point.

Crowd when I arrived

Down below there was a crowd of high level Horde players as well.  We stood to the side and shared quests and came up with a plan.  As we were headed out, we got a zone buff.

When the spirit hits you

We guessed that somebody must have finished up Zul’Gurub and was turning in the quest, which was why everybody was hanging around.  They knew the buff was coming.

We decided to head out to the beach where there were the quests for Captain Smott’s chest and the three pirate ship captains.  Gorlash, the holder of Smott’s chest was on the way, so we went after him first.  We were, perhaps, not an ideal group to take on a level 47 elite, but we managed it, though the ride was not exactly smooth.  I did not have to use Lay Hands though, so it wasn’t that bad either.

Gorlash down

From there we went after the first of the pirate captains, where we got in over our heads pretty quickly by rushing in too far too fast, with Wilhelm and Scscla going down.  Denogh was saved by feign death.  By the time we got back and were setting up for another run, Moronae was logging back in, his internet restored.  We camped on a nearby island to resume the main group.

Camping Out

Back together, we rode out from Nethergarde Keep once more for the instance.  We did not have the luck of last week, where somebody had cleared the path to the instance for us.

Trash to clear on the way in

But, by this point, we knew the way in and were more than capable of clearing a bit of trash.  Once into the instance, we took the stairs to the left and headed up to the fourth floor, or the main floor, of the instance.  There we only had to clear our way out and to the right to slip into the room where the Avatar of Hakkar would be found.

In the room where it happens

The Avatar of Hakkar is an event.  You have to click on the egg from the quest to kick it off, after which you are locked into the room by gates dropping at either end of the room and have to clear mobs, waiting for a Hakkari Bloodkeeper spawn.  You need four of those.  Each one drops Hakkari Blood, which may be used to extinguish one of the braziers in the corners.  Once all four have been put out, Hakkar shows up and the big fight begins.

We had a bit of trouble with the event, largely because it involves a bunch of non-elite mobs roaming the room, so keeping aggro off the casters is a chore.  This is one of the pains of having just a four person group.  One more person would take a lot of pressure off.  But with four we dance around a lot.  I hold aggro on elites and sometimes we try to freeze and burn the non-elites, but they don’t die quickly enough and end up chasing Ula around as we try to save her.

Still, we muddled through.  We got the fourth Hakkari Bloodkeeper down and Ula, the designated collector, looted it and extinguished the final brazier.  The Avatar of Hakkar spawned.

And then the power went out at my house.

This was perhaps not unexpected.  It was a hot day all along the west coast and power draw was very high, straining the power grid.

Local temp while we were playing

Fortunately it was just a blip.  I had hooked up a UPS to my computer, so it stayed up, and the power came back on in about 20 seconds, so everything else was coming back up in the house pretty quickly.  I thought I could get back in for the fight.  However, I had not plugged the cable modem into the UPS, and it took several minutes for it to come back up and establish a connection to Comcast Xfinity internet.  (Like a lot of places in the US, there is only one high speed internet service provider in our area, so we are at their mercy.)

Eventually though the connection was re-established and I got connected back to Discord and WoW, where I found myself still in the group and in the instance, but at the instance zone line.  I ran back to where the Avatar of Hakkar was as the group told me how they had just managed to squeak out a win without me, with a combat ress and some luck.

When I got back to them… no respawns thankfully… I found that the corpse was not sparkling for me.

The Avatar of Hakkar down

I had missed the fight.  I did not get credit so could not loot.  My quest was incomplete still and, to add some sting, the Avatar of Hakkar dropped the one plate item he can carry.

The plate chest was not for me

That would have been a nice upgrade for me, but I couldn’t have it.  Such is life in Azeroth.

However, since the whole thing hadn’t taken that long, everybody agreed to go back and do it again so I could at least get my quest update.  We ran back to the instance line, stepped out, and reset the instance.

Restart the whole thing

We made our way back in short order.  Some of the groups change up with every run, others are fixtures with the same mix every time.  We got into the room and I kicked off the event once more, being the only one in possession of an egg still.

Round Two begins

This time around we tried to single target, if only to keep mobs from chasing the casters as much, but to keep up with the pace we ended up having to do some freeze and burn all the same.  We managed, extinguished the braziers, and summoned the Avatar of Hakkar again, then slew him in rather short order.

Naturally, the plate chest piece did not drop again.  So it goes.  We took our victory shot.

The winning team

From there we wanted to turn in the last quest for the instance.  That mean going back to Steamwheedle in Tanaris.  We asked Ula to open a portal to Ironforge, but it turns out she forgot to buy that spell, so we took a portal to Stormwind and flew up to Menethil Harbor from there.

Next stop Stormwind

Then there was a boat ride, another flight, and some more riding before Steamwheedle was in sight.

Quest turn-in ahead

There we turned in the quest.  Done with that.

Now the question is what to do next.  We did not defeat the Shade or Eranikus, but a quick glance at the guide and it seems that we have to do the whole mini-boss routine on the fifth floor again and kill Jamal’an the Prophet before we can take another run at the fight.  We could do that, but I am not sure there is a lot of enthusiasm for that.

Or we can move on to Blackrock Depths, which will open up a new multi-week effort.  We shall see how the group feels, but I’ll probably go look into what we ought to get lined up before we go into BRD.

So this might be it for Sunken Temple in 2020.  Our history with the instance:

Upstairs at the Sunken Temple

It was time for our second run into Sunken Temple.  We did the downstairs bit last time, so it was time to move upward I suppose.

The Temple of Atal’Hakkar

We got ourselves online and on our way to the temple.  Our group for the week was:

  • Viniki – level 53 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 53 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 52 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 52 gnome mage

From Nethergarde Keep we rode on out and started our second descent into the actual instance… so I guess we had to go down stairs first.

Back at the start

This time around we did not get lost on the way to the instance line, remembering the whole “follow the masks” thing and having a bit of luck.  We also barely had to fight anything.  It seemed that another group must have passed through just ahead of us.

We also managed to pick up some of the tablets you need to collect for one of the quests.

I call them pizza boxes because that is what they look like to me

Sunken Temple is very much a multiple visit dungeon, so I was looking at the map and suggested that Jammal’an the Prophet ought to be our target for the week.  To get him you have to go up to the fifth floor, do the ring of mini-bosses to open up the forcefield protecting him, then go down to the fourth floor and fight your way to him.

Fortunately, I had the map because it helped keep things clear.

The Old Sunken Temple map

Once I orientated myself and figured out which path to take, we were pretty quickly up on the fifth floor, another ring like the second floor, with balconies to clear.  And the ring to clear as well.  There is always something between you and your destination.

The ring itself did not go too badly.  There were groups of 1-3 elites, often with a mix of non-elite adds which we tried to take as groups.  There are also a couple of elites that wander around the ring, which led to a surprise and our first death of the run, when Moronae went down.

It was actually the non-elites that were most of the problem.  With 3-5 of them adding in, keeping their aggro focused on me was a chore, and they tended to end up chasing Skronk or Ula now and then.  But we carried on and managed to get to each balcony, one after another.

Resting on a balcony

Some of them are connected directly to the ring, others you have to go downstairs, under the ring, and then back up to find.  But there are only six, so it wasn’t too long before we were fighting the last mini-boss.

Huku was last on the list

From there it was down and around to the fourth floor, which I tend to think of as the main floor, as it has the big open area where you find a lot of mobs.

Into the fourth floor… lots of welps and dragonkin

You can also see the balconies that we had just visited, including the one with the great big gong that doesn’t do anything.  It is the same one from Zul’Farrak.

The map indicated where we needed to go, so we cleared out just enough of the main floor to get into the side gallery that led to Jammal’an.

Jammal’an ahead

He and his co-boss are up at an altar at the end of the room.  However, draw distances in WoW Classic are a bit wonky.  I knew he was there, we all heard him shout when the forcefield went down.  But he does not draw until you get well into his chamber… though you can see the altar, tablets, candles, and everything else around and behind him.

Still, we trusted in him being there and started to clear the room, which reminded us of a couple of things.  First, some of the mobs there cast fear, so you can end up running into another group, which happened to Moronae on the first fight, so he died again.  Oddly, he died so quickly that the mobs reset and didn’t come after the rest of us, so we were able to ress him and carry on.

Second, some of the mobs become ghosts when they are slain, and in this form they are invulnerable but can hit for a lot of damage.  Fortunately, they are also very slow and have a timer, after which they expire, so you just have to dance out of the way and let them drop.

Dodging the ghosts

We were able to clear the room and soon it was just Jammal’an and his buddy Ogom waiting for us.  Not remembering anything specific about the fight, we decided to slay Jammal’an first with a “there he is, get him” level of planning.

There he is, get him!

We had forgotten that he takes control of a party member now and then and turns them against the rest of the group.  So I ended up so charmed and ran back and killed Ula before the spell broke.  Fortunately the druid combat ress was available and Ula was back up again.  But things were still kind of crazy.  More of us were mind controlled and Moronae ended up dying for the third time that run.

Chaos on the altar by Moronae’s corpse

However, we managed to get Jammal’an down, then it was a very near run thing to get Ogom. Though he doesn’t hit very hard I was running under 10% health and had used a health potion already, so I was pulling out all the defense skills I could to stay up.  I outlasted him and he went down.

We got everybody back together and went to loot.  Jammal’an had the Vestments of the Atal’ai Prohpet.

The vestments

Those went to Skronk to replace the robes he had been wearing for a few instances at that point.  Mission accomplished, we went to take our usual screen shot on the altar.

Victory over Jammal’an

However, we still had some time left, so we went back out into the main area again, to find Dreamscythe and The Weaver, two dragons who spawn only after Jammal’an has been slain, circling the area.

Those two are not connected, so we were able to pull them one at a time and take them down.

From there we worked our way around, clearing a bit, to the side path that led to Morphaz and Hazzas, who we needed to kill to complete the class quests for Skonk and Ula.  They come as a pair, for a bit more of a challenge.

Morphand and Hazzas flying around

Fortunately we were up to the task.  We focused on one, then the other, and had them down without any further deaths.

Both dragons down

At that point everybody had their class quest items in hand, Viniki having gotten his from the mini-bosses on the fifth floor.  We still had a bit of time and just around the corner lay the Shade or Eranikus, so why not one more boss?

I seemed to recall that he would summon the local dragonkin to help him, so we went back out in the central area and cleared that out, then returned to take our shot.

Eranikus had his own plan however.  His think is to sleep his main target, which was me three out of five times.

Slept by the shade

Things started to fall apart pretty quickly.  Moronae went down first… it just wasn’t his day…. followed by Ula.  Skronk and I danced around for a bit, but once I was asleep again Eranikus killed him and then turned back to me.  Soon we had a full wipe.

Down as Eranikus returns to his slumber

With nobody left to ress, we all released.  There was some thought about running back to the instance, but we figured we were about done for the day, so just had the angel revive us, taking the equipment damage hit.

Reviving at the graveyard

We all recalled back to Ironforge and called it a day.

Later I came back and flew back down to the Swamp of Sorrows to turn in my class quest.

The Fallen Hero has something for me

When you turn in the quest you have some choices.  Fortunately, the class quest guide is very clear on what a warrior should choose.  It says:

You will be able to choose 3 items, as a Warrior it is very important that you choose Diamond Flask.

So I took the Diamond Flask.

Some health on demand

I now have two trinkets that I likely won’t replace.

So all we have left is the Avatar of Hakkar event to run and we’ll have done the full tour of the instance.

August in Review

The Site

It was Blaugust and Promptapalooza this month.  I participated a bit in the prompt thing, though not very much.  I kept myself busy elsewhere.  There was plenty to post about without additional prompts.

August means some sort of Blaugust

Belghast, who set the whole thing up, has a summary post about the event up with links out to everybody’s prompt post.

I did, however, stick closer to the old school meaning of Blaugust by posting every single day over the course of the month.  In fact, I managed to do that from the start of April, which was Blapril, all the way through August of Blaugust.

A post a day keeps… something away…

153 days in a row of blog posts, so “go me” I guess.

One Year Ago

I wrote way too many posts.  49 in one month, and not a bunch of short ones either.  But it was Blaugust, so I was in the mood.  As usual I went on about all sorts of things like what to write, and burning things down, and how to crank out posts.  Oh, and that gamer motivation profile thing again.

Daybreak was setting up Twitter accounts for its new sub-studios.  They also brought DCUO to the Nintendo Switch.  And they were sketching out some plans for the EverQuest II 15th  anniversary.

PlanetSide Arena also resurfaces with a new plan.

I explained the difference between Team Fight Tactics and DOTA Overlords.

There was more talk about lock boxes and bad analogies.

I hit three years with Pokemon Go.

The August update brought community fittings to EVE Online.  A big cyno nerf was also announced.  EVE Fanfest Home also happened.

Out in null sec the blackout continued, though not without issues.  Local came on for a bit, even in WH space.  The MER showed a big hit to NPC bounties in null sec.  I was starting to wonder about chaos fatigue from the stuff CCP was doing.

Meanwhile, I was in low sec with Liberty Squad, flying Abaddons.  Some days we didn’t get a fight.  Other days lots of stuff blew up.  But we tired of the locals refusing to fight unless they had the numbers to overwhelm us us, so we flew home.  The “hell dunks or blue balls” routine gets tiresome and there was nothing really at stake.

I was also on about the absolute nature of some things in New Eden, warp core stabilizers, interdiction nullification, and the things that they counter.

There was also announcement of the the alpha for EVE Echoes, the mobile version of EVE Online.  Could you play EVE on your phone?  Should you play EVE on your phone?

There was another round of EVE Aether Wars to try, this time with prizes.  It seemed to go pretty well.

I also celebrated 13 years of playing EVE Online by going down the list of all the places I had called home in the game.

But mostly I was wetting myself about WoW ClassicThe count down to launch was on.  They announced the server names, a list which ended up expanding greatly.  The crowd trying to reserve names on various servers proved Blizzard was not thinking big enough.  PVP realms seemed popular.  Like, very popularSuper popular.

Blizzard was trying to get the word out on what you should know.  They even did a Reddit AMA and explained things like layering in detail as well as some videos with the game’s creators.

I tried to define the different factions of players these servers attract.  I also had some predictions about what would happen on the eve of the launch.

The instance group eagerly played the last load test just to get a taste of it, because all I really wanted to do was play WoW Classic.  I was wondering about addons, which have come a long way since back in the day.  What would enhance the experience and what would ruin it?

And then it was LAUNCH DAY and we queued up to get in the game, then queued up again once we got in.  My hunter tamed his first pet just a couple days in as I wrote about the strange ways of the class.  Good times.

Five Years Ago

It was Blaugust and a lot of people played along.

I told the strange tale of my first automotive test drive.

Project: Gorgon had Kickstarter success at last, then there were stretch goals, the grand total, and mapping out a plan going forward.

Blizzard, on the other hand, was facing bad news as WoW subscriptions dropped to 5.6 million, the lowest since December 2005.  In order to drown that out, Blizz had a big WoW announcement planned later in the week.  There was much anticipation.  I speculated on what it might be, but it turned out to be the WoW Legion expansion announcement, sans cinematic.  Of course, once they announced it, everybody wanted to know when we would get it.

In EVE Online, it was all about Fozzie Sov.  People were complaining.  We had to take sov from allies in order to transfer it, at which point MOA temporarily scooped up a couple systems. Crazy days!  The Galatea expansion addressed some of our issues.

Then the Imperium went to Providence to test out the new sovereignty mechanics… and to purge the Jamylites with the blessings of Maximilian Singularity VI.  The resulting conflict is all under the Provi War tag here.

Meanwhile, CCP was doubling down on VR, adding EVE Gunjack to their lineup.

Turbine was warming up for the great LOTRO server upgrade and merge effort.

Daybreak was also planning server consolidations, these for EverQuest II.  They were also working on a server for misfit players, which seemed like a dubious idea.  And on the Stormhold server, the first expansion unlock vote came up.  The players said “no” to the unlock.  And in EverQuest, on the Ragefire and Lockjaw servers, the inevitable enforced raid rotation schedule was implemented, with an eye to keeping out casuals it seemed.

In Minecraft, I was discovering fire and putting our world up on a hosting service to share it with friends.  Xydd joined up and began working a lot on the nether, while Skronk began his own building project, as I tinkered with dungeons.  We had a setback with our hosting service.  It was a good thing I was keeping backups.

ArenaNet made the base version of Guild Wars 2 available for free, no doubt hoping to sell expansions.

And I wrote a little something about the passing of Robert Conquest.

Ten Years Ago

Let’s see… people were hating on GameStop for selling used games, which was equated with stealing.  That was before GameStop started officially stealing.

Massive Blips went away.  I miss it.

I made my position on raspberries perfectly clear.

Yahoo had a couple game related lists.  I love lists.

Cryptic and Atari announced they were doing the game Neverwinter.

Runic started talking about Torchlight II.

Stunt Rock.  I need say no more.

EverQuest Next was announced at Fan Faire, and I was wondering about the lessons SOE has learned after a few turns of the EverQuest wheel.  Pity nothing came of it.

In the real world, boars were starting to become more like their MMO counterparts.

WoW account hacking was still a big deal, though getting to be common enough as to not be news on an individual level any more.  People have their views on whose fault it is.  But was any game facing as much account hacking as WoW?

My daughter got into the WoW Cataclysm beta.  She got me some screen shots of Stormwind,  Southshore and the Barrens.  This, by the way, probably killed her interest in Cata when it finally did ship. Indulging early can take the edge off of things.

Blizzard got a serious judgement against somebody running a for-profit WoW pirate server.

The instance group, done in WoW and on the now usual summer hiatus, was spending some time in Middle-earth, which required a bit of selling.  We made it through Othrongroth, and to the North Downs and the Lone Lands.  I finally found my way to Evendim, which I had never  managed to visit before.  It was in a state of change, pre-quest revamp but after they added in the boat routes.

And, finally, in EVE Online, there was the PLEX story we had all been waiting for.

Twenty Years Ago

The Age of Empires II expansion, The Conquerors, launched.  Good times.

Twenty-Five Years Ago

Command and Conquer launches, an RTS game that spawned a franchise and gave us the hell march (with Red Alert at least).

Most Viewed Posts in August

  1. The Fall of Niarja and the Shape of High Sec
  2. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  3. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  4. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  5. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  6. The Ahn’Qiraj War Effort set to Begin in WoW Classic
  7. Remembering Brian Green
  8. Reflections on the Eve of the 20 Year EverQuest Anniversary
  9. Campaign Medals
  10. Burn Jita 2020 Seems Unlikely
  11. The Coming Metaliminal Storms May Decloak You in Null Sec
  12. WoW Tokens Five Years Later

Search Terms of the Month

project discovery 40 million isk per hour
[Tell me more]

eve online notoras
[They have icecream]

can a drake null sec rat
[A Drake can do anything… except light a cyno]

felwood or un’goro first
[Un’goro]

Spam Comment of the Month

Hey mate are you selling your blog by chance?
[Everything has a price!]

Gaming Time from ManicTime

I was away for a week… pretty much all of last week… so my overall hours played were at their lowest since February, when I was also away for a week.  I was in Portland, Oregon both times, as that is where my daughter goes to college now.

As an aside, I was downtown a couple of times last week and it is not the dystopian landscape of destruction that the President or Fox News would have you believe.  In February we stayed at a hotel that is at the mid-point between the park where the nightly protest forms up and the two federal buildings where the protests take place.  Unless you’re in about a four block area, you might never notice a thing, and during the day nothing looks out of place.

Anyway, game times:

  • EVE Online – 50.33%
  • WoW Classic – 33.31%
  • Diablo II – 13.93%
  • World of Warcraft – 1.01%

Both Minecraft and EverQuest dropped off the list in August, with no time recorded for either.

Diablo II

I kept on going through Diablo II, if a bit more slowly than back in the day.  I am through Act II, so a post about that is coming this week, and into Act III.  I think the challenge will be Act V, the expansion act, as I have zero memory of it.

EVE Online

World War Bee continues.  The invaders have taken all of Fountain and have moved their supers and titans into the region.  Querious remains a skirmish zone around the gate to Catch and the hostiles come through into Period Basis as well, but our core home region of Delve remains mostly unscathed.  Oh, and Niarja fell to the Triglavians and people wonder what that will mean in the long term.  We shall see.

Pokemon Go

A good month for Pokemon Go.  A friend of my wife’s is part of a raiding group and she got us on the friend’s list, so we get remote invites to raid now.  Have to save up coins for remote raid passes though.  (Good thing they are selling some cheap ones soon.)  On the down side, I haven’t hatched anything new or useful from an egg in months now.

Level: 39 (70% of the way to level 40)
Pokedex status: 572 (+16) caught, 601 (+12) seen
Pokemon I want: Need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Fraxure

World of Warcraft

As has been the pattern for a while now, I went and did the Darkmoon Faire stuff on my main and then mostly did not log into retail WoW.  We did get some big WoW news though; Shadowlands will launch on October 26th, which means the big 9.0.1 patch will hit some time before then, introducing the level squish.

WoW Classic

The instance group did the ground work for quests and then dove into Sunken Temple for the first time.  I had to miss a couple of weeks due to travel, but we have another run or two there to finish up the instance.

Coming Up

More World War Bee in EVE Online is a given.

More instance group in WoW Classic for sure.  Also, we’ll probably get the retail WoW pre-expansion patch with the big level squish.

More Diablo II certainly.

And some sort of anniversary post.  I’d better start working on that.

What else is coming up in September?  I am sure I missed something.

SuperData Say Pokemon Go was All Go Go Go in July

SuperData Research got their monthly chart out for July last week and I am going to squeeze in a post about it here on the last day of August.

SuperData Research Top 10 – July 2020

On the PC side of the chart, the usual top four remain in place, though League of Legends regained the top spot on the chart after being down in second for June.

Valorant, the shooter from Riot, moved up a spot.  It showed up on the scene in sixth place, but moved to fifth this month, swapping positions with RobloxWorld of Tanks, which fell off the list last month, returned in seventh spot, just ahead of World of Warcraft.  And bringing up the rear are CS:GO and FortniteThe Sims 4, which was in tenth spot for June fell off the list.

For consoles, the much talked about Ghost of Tsushima topped the chart.  Per the report:

Ghost of Tsushima sold 1.9M digital units in July to become the fastest-selling new PlayStation IP. The game far outpaced the early sales of other new franchises launched on PlayStation 4: Horizon: Zero Dawn sold 1.9M units in its first two months on the market in early 2017, and Days Gone sold 1.3M units in its first two months after launching in late April 2019. Ghost of Tsushima also set the record for the biggest console game ever launched during the month of July. The Last of Us Part II, also a PlayStation exclusive, set the June record only one month prior. A lack of alternative entertainment options due to COVID-19 has contributed to the success of recent PlayStation titles during what is historically a quiet season for new game releases.

GTA V pulled in fifth place, just ahead of Fortnite, and Pokemon Sword and Shield made it on to the list thanks to the expansion for the game launched on the Switch.  Paper Mario: The Oragami King also got a mention from SuperData:

Paper Mario: The Origami King sold 555K digital units in July. While its performance was nowhere near those of the last big Switch exclusives, Animal Crossing: New Horizons (5.0M) and Pokémon Sword and Shield (2.7M), the game did better than Fire Emblem: Three Houses when it launched in July 2019.

And on the mobile end of the chart Pokemon Go rose to first place based on a dedicated, if smaller, following.

Pokémon GO had its second-biggest revenue month ever. Earnings were just 0.4% lower than in August 2016, when the game was a global phenomenon. Now, however, it relies on a dedicated core of high-spending players, and July 2020 user numbers were just 15% of what they were in August 2016. July revenue was up thanks to the ‘Pokémon GO Fest’ in-game event on July 25 and 26. The event required a $15 fee to access a range of challenges and activities.

Meanwhile, the venerable Candy Crush Saga remained on the list, holding on in tenth position.

SuperData also pointed out the game Free Fire, which grabbed third place in July.

Free Fire has become the number two [three?] mobile game by carving out a niche in emerging markets. The mobile battle royale title from Singaporean publisher Garena has the distinction of being the world’s top Southeast Asian-published game. The game runs well on affordable, low-spec mobile phones and regularly tops the charts in markets like India, Southeast Asia and Latin America.

I’ll have to keep an eye on Free Fire going forward, representing the markets it does.

NPD also has their top ten chart for July available as well.  As always, NPD numbers are US only, combine PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales (where noted).

  1. Ghost of Tsushima
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  3. Paper Mario: The Origami King*
  4. The Last of Us: Part II
  5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  6. Ring Fit Adventure
  7. Mortal Kombat 11
  8. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  9. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  10. Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris

*Digital sales on Nintendo eShop not included

Being focused on retail, the NPD list is heavy on console titles, as they depend on physical sales much more than PC games.  And, while Ghost of Tsushima tops the list as expected, half the list is also Nintendo products, showing again how much they depend on retail over digital sales.

 

The Shadowlands Expansion is coming to WoW on October 26th

I knew if I was away for a few days some big news item would drop.  Actually, a few things came up while I was gone, but for me the big one was Blizzard announcing the launch date for the Shadowlands expansion.

The worldwide launch, similar to how the company launched WoW Classic last year, will happen across time zones landing on October 26th or 27th depending on where you live.

The world-wide launch plan

There is also a release date trailer… which looks pretty good.

I wish my in-game experienced looked so good.  I probably need the latest generation video card to get there.

By a complete luck, when I wrote about potential launch dates, my sample date for estimating the time between releases was October 27th.  If only I had been that on the nose with my new year’s predictions, where my call was August 18th.  No points for that prediction I guess.

So, if Shadowlands launches on time, the time between expansions list will end up looking like this:

  • WoW Launch to The Burning Crusade – 784 days
  • The Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King – 667 days
  • Wrath of the Lich King to Cataclysm – 754 days
  • Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria – 658 days
  • Mists of Pandaria to Warlords of Draenor – 778 days
  • Warlords of Draenor to Legion – 670 days
  • Legion to Battle for Azeroth – 728 days
  • Battle for Azeroth to Shadowlands – 804 days

That still makes Battle for Azeroth the longest running era for WoW, running out to 804 days, passing even the run from the launch of vanilla in 2004 to the release of The Burning Crusade 784 days later.

I have not been paying much attention to the Shadowlands beta.  That probably makes it more likely I will enjoy the expansion, if my rule of surprise… not knowing the content ahead of time keeps me more engaged… holds true.  We shall see.

We still have one major milestone to hit before launch though, and that is the pre-launch patch.

While the pre-launch patch is generally a big deal, as it opens up the lead-in stories and quests that set the stage for a new expansion, this one is doing extra duty as it will also usher in the level squish.  The level squish will make 50 the new pre-expansion level cap.  All old content will scale for levels 10 to 50, and a new level 1 to 10 starter experience will be introduced.

What the new level ranges will be

For at least some period of time my highest level character in WoW Classic (my hunter is level 54) will be higher level than any of my retail WoW characters, which will cap out at level 50 pre-expansion.

Strange but true.

So the big question is when the 9.0.1 update will hit, bringing with it all of these changes?

Another chance to guess a date!  I am going to guess it will hit the week of September 21st.  This is a big change, so my thought is that Blizzard will want some extra time to work out the wrinkles.  That will give them five weeks to get things settled down.

Of course, with the 10-50 scaling of all of the old content, it also means that if you were solo farming some old raid for a specific drop… maybe something for one of the Raiding with Leashed achievements… you had best get it done before the patch hits, as all the content will be level 50 afterwards.  How things will play out when you get to level 60 is an open question for me still.  We shall see.

A Year of WoW Classic

It is hard to believe it has been a year.  It feels like it has been both much longer and no time at all since WoW Classic launched.

Classic is as Classic does

Last year we were standing around in queues in the very crowded starter areas politely waiting for our turn with a quest mob.

Waiting in line in the snow

Of course, it isn’t like I have been in any hurry to get to the end of the game.  I have a couple characters in the mid-50s and a couple more in their 40s and we’re just now tackling Sunken Temple.  Some short breaks have happened.  But we have kept plugging along.

And it has been good.

I know, back in the build up to the launch, I was pretty starry eyed about the game and its potential.  I literally have a post from last August, after the final load test, with the title “All I want to do is Play WoW Classic.”

But I was also a bit worried.  When I get heavily invested in something coming down the pike it often leads to disappointment when reality fails to live up to expectations.   And I was so very invested in WoW Classic.

But here’s the thing; I was not disappointed.  Things were and remain good.

Sure, they were not perfect.  The recreation is not exact.  There have been issues.  Issues are part of the MMORPG experience.   But the popularity of WoW Classic keeps getting proven.  Blizz removed layering again last week and and queues returned.

That is a sign that things are still rolling pretty strong.

Overall, I think the game has lived up to my desire of last year.  I have done things other than play WoW Classic, but it has also been part of the bedrock of my rotation.  The instance group being back together is great and we all seem to be having a good time reliving our early days in the dungeons that were there for us back then.

I just hope Blizzard has a long term roadmap for the classic idea.  Maybe we’ll hear something at virtual BlizzCon this year.  But they really need a plan.  Even if Shadowlands does very well Blizzard has shown in the past that they really need something to boost subscriptions after about a year.

 

Down Stairs in the Sunken Temple

After a week of getting class quests together and another wrapping up the lead-in quests for the instance, we were finally ready to step foot into the Temple of Atal’Hakkar, the Sunken Temple.

The Temple Awaits

We actually ended up heading in on Saturday, on very short notice, when it became clear we were all around and had the time.  It turned out to be a good thing too, as during our usual time frame on Sunday the power went out five times at our house due to the heatwave hitting the west coast.  At least after the third time it blipped out and back on I took the time to plug my computer into the UPS that I had sitting, charged up, under my desk.

We got on and all flew down to Nethergarde Keep, the closest flight point to the instance.

In the Blasted Lands again

Our group for the run was:

  • Viniki – level 53 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 52 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 52 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 52 gnome mage

We had managed to gain some xp as part of the preliminaries at least.  It had been suggested that we ought to be level 54 as a group to finish the whole thing off, but we figured we could get started and level up as we went.

We rode out through the Swamp of Sorrows, then swam out to the temple itself, heading up the stairs on the east side that lead into the depths.

Looking down into the temple

That isn’t where the instance begins however.  Sunken Temple is like some of the other dungeons from vanilla where there is a series of paths between the meeting stone and the instance line, only one of which will get you where you want to be.

Sunken Temple is also multi-level, so the mini-map is often less than helpful.  So we wandered a bit and took a few wrong turns before Skronk recalled that there was some legend about following the masks to get to the instance.

There is a mask, so this way maybe?

I am still not sure this is true, since it only came up after we had about exhausted the false paths, but we did end up at the instance line shortly thereafter.

Into the instance at last

Once in, there was the question of where to go.

I had an old map that I had put in a post about Sunken Temple back in 2012, after Blizzard had shrunk the instance down to a “30 minutes or your pizza is free” level of effort.

The Old Sunken Temple

I included the map as something of a historical artifact showing what the place used to be like, back when the idea of Blizzard doing anything like WoW Classic was just a pipe dream of an old school underground.

But here we are in 2020 and the dream is real… and that map is useful again.

Looking at it, uncertain where to even begin, I suggested we head to down as that looked to be less… complicated for a first run.  Also, the boss down there has the drop for Moronae’s class quest, which would be good to finish.

We headed down, clearing the way as we went.  There was the central pool at the bottom of everything, but no boss there.  Instead, there was an altar with a quest update and some instructions.

When selected, the altar highlights the balconies on the floor above, each of which has a statue.  You have to activate the statues in the order indicated.

On the altar for the order

I jotted down the clock positions as they were lit up in turn; 12, 6, 2, 10, 5, 7.

Then I realized I was facing south, not north, so that my orientation did not match the mini-map.  So I tried to transpose them in my head… failed… then simply faced the other way and ran the sequence again and jotted the correct list.

From there it was back up to where we started, then down to the second floor… the map names the floors bottom, second, entrance, fourth, and fifth… to clear out the balconies in the order given.

There are, of course, a bunch of mobs in the circle that connects the balconies, plus mobs on the balconies themselves, so it took some time to get around.  Also, part way into this I recieved a text from my wife asking me to call in an order for dinner for her to pick up since it was over 100 degrees out so nobody was in the mood to cook anything in the house.

Some statues already lit up

Part way through this I realized that the map had the order printed on it, meaning that it doesn’t change, and that I need not have spent my time trying to make an ordered list of my own… though at least I got it right on my last try, so we didn’t get out of order.

When we activated the last statue Atal’Alarion, the boss we wanted, appeared down in the pool.

There he is below us

In hindsight, we could have just jumped down into the pool and grabbed him right then.  We had, on our initial run down there, cleared all the trash from the room.  Instead, we ran back the way we came and ended up having to clear again.

One of the things in the back of my head about Sunken Temple was a recollection that it had a brutally fast respawn rate.  None of this two or three hours on the timer.  So we ended up having to fight our way back down to the pool, where we found that the trash around the pool had just started to respawn.  In order to be safe, we started clearing that, with it respawning about two spawns from where we were clearing as we went around the circle.

The kicker was that the three mobs that we cleared down in the pool also respawned, so the boss would have some help.

Looking down at the coming fight

We decided to crowd control two of the mobs and kill the boss first, then work on the trash.  Ula could polymorph one, Moronae could hibernate another, and then we would all focus on Atal’Alarion until he was down.  Sounded easy enough, so in I went.

Onto Atal’Alarion

Things mostly went to plan.  It turns out he likes to punt players into the air, which inflicts quite a bit of damage when you land.  At least once I was below half health and flying up in the air expecting that I might die on impact.  But we managed to muddle through and brought him down.

Atal’Alarion defeated

That was about when my wife got home with the dinner she had picked up while she was out, so it seemed like a good time to close out our first venture into Sunken Temple.  We took one last screen shot on the altar.

Everybody recalling home

Sunken Temple was always going to require multiple visits.  I am just glad we managed to find a route that had a conclusion we could manage in the time we had… we started a bit later than usual and there were interruptions at my end… and even wrap up a class quest.

That is one boss down… many more to go.

The bosses of classic Sunken Temple

There will be at least a couple more trips in before we’re done.

Addendum:  Ula has made a trailer for our return to Sunken Temple featuring video from our first visit.

 

Ula has posted this with some notes and an old video over at her blog.

The Long Road to Sunken Temple

I had a notion in my head that perhaps we could run down the lead-in quests for Sunken Temple and then maybe set foot in the instance for a bit, just to get started.  Some wildly optimistic part of my brain thought maybe we could even slip in and finish Moronae’s class quest.  WoW Classic, however, had other ideas.

But first we had to pick up where we left off with Moronae’s class quest in Un’goro Crater.  He had one last thing to wrap up there.  I had move myself out to the flight point in the zone and Moronae had camped there the week before so was still there.  Skonk was in Tanaris and running down one of the Sunken Temple lead-in quests when we were all getting logged in.

Moronae and I headed out from the flight point at Marshal’s Refuge to try and track down a Devilsaur, the mob he needed, while Skronk flew out to meet up with us.  Ula was still back in Ironforge, so she started heading for Tanaris.

Moronae and I found a Devilsaur in short order, and started following him as we waited for Skronk to catch up to us.

Devilsaur in the crater

Following is easier said than done.  The Devilsaur stomps around at a brisk pace and pays no mind to all the other aggro mobs in the vicinity, so we were weaving around trying to keep on eye on him and the other on potential dangers.  Also, he isn’t restricted to a small area.  According to the wiki he can wander in a large U-shaped area that spans most of the zone.  So we kept on him.

I had read that a druid could possibly use soothe on him, then hibernate, to put him to sleep long enough to plunge in the stinger that was the quest objective.  Then you run away.  That was supposed to be the solo method.  With three of us, I figured we could take a level 55 elite if we had to, but first we had to get him.

At one point I ran ahead a bit and grabbed him, only to find that Skronk and Moronae had gotten tangled up with another mob.  And then another.  And then when we finally were all on him we managed to pull in three more of the local beasts just to make things exciting.  It became a bit of a scramble, and Moronae forgot about the whole stinger thing for a bit, which would have been quite a blow, but remembered in time to stick the Devilsaur and update the quest.

Devilsaur Down

That done, we rode on back to the entrance to the zone for the quest update, only dragging along a few additional mobs along the way.  From there we needed to get to Tanaris to meet up with Ula who was now in Gadgetzan.  How to get there was a toss up.  We could ride back across Un’goro to the flight point, or just ride up the ramp and through Tanaris.  We chose the latter.

Riding out of Un’goro

Along the way we started doing a quest checkup.  Skronk had picked up the quest from Feralas and a couple of us had grabbed the one in Stormwind, though both could be shared.  But then we noticed that Moronae did not have the quest The God Hakkar.  It turns out that he never went back to Steamwheedle after Zul’Farrak, so had not gotten the update, so we took a little detour.  Then it was back to Gadgetzan to share the shareable and get started on the next step.

We had to find Marvon Rivetseeker out in Tanaris somewhere.  Given the general description, I figured I knew where he was, having done one of his other quests with my hunter.  We found him out in the ruins south of Gadgetzan.

Finding Marvon

He wanted us to go retrieve his toolbox from Ratchet, which meant riding back to the flight point, flying to Ratchet, finding the tool box (it is just sitting on the ground outside of one of the shops, no marker, just a cog wheel when you mouse over it), then fly back to Tanaris, and ride back Marvon.  He then gave us the task to go into Sunken Temple.

That done, we started on the quest out of Stormwind, a chain that first sends you to find the instance.  So we rode back to the flight point, flew back to Ratchet, and waited for the boat to Booty Bay, which we had just missed.

Waiting for the next boat

In Booty Bay we ran to the flight point… there is no riding in Booty Bay… and flew out to Nethergarde Keep in the Blasted Lands, then rode to the Swamp of Sorrows next door and headed towards the instance.  It is not hard to find.

There it is

To get the quest update you just have to swim a short distance towards the temple and then you get the complete message.  At that point you have to head back to Stormwind.  But we were in luck as Ula had the Portal to Stormwind spell, so we were spared some of the running around and flying.

Stormwind is just a click away

From there it was off to the Dwarven District to find Brohann Caskbelly to get the next stage of the quest.  He sent us off to The Hinterlands, so another flight for us.  Up there the quest plays mistaken identities for a bit before sending you to find Rhapsody Shindigger, who is at the end of a little path in the hills by Aerie Peak.

Just overlooking Qeul’Danil Lodge

He is an alcoholic dwarf… which I realize is like saying a “short dwarf” in Azeroth, but he takes it to the next level… who needs some ingredients for his special concoction before he’ll share his tale of the Sunken Temple.  He wants some roc gizzards and some livers from Groddoc apes and Ironfur bears.  The latter are found in Feralas while the former are from Tanaris, where we had all met up previously.

So it was back to the flight point and off to Menethil Harbor to take the boat to Theramore… because Portal to Theramore is a WotLK era mage spell… then on the bird again to Tanaris to find some rocs.

There were several suggestions as to where to find rocs, but the most insightful was the mention that rocs and hyenas shared spawns.  So after some fruitless chasing potential spawn points, we just went to the big old pile of bones in the middle of the zone that was overrun by hyenas and started slaughtering them.

Hyena corpse pile forming

And it worked.  Rocs began to spawn.

This is the problem of the shared spawn point where more than one type of mob can spawn, but where only one of those mobs is desirable.  The desirable mob is hunter until all the respawns are the other mobs and then nobody can find what they need.

So we basically came along and fixed the spawn.

Rocs spawn!

From there we just slaughtered… though the drop rate was pretty low.  And then, as the three hour mark came and went on our venture, dinner was ready at our house, so I had to log out.  But the rest of the group carried on and noted on Discord that they had collected their drops while I was away.

I got back on later in the evening and got my quota of roc gizzards, then flew over to Feralas and headed to the Feral Scar to hunt Ironfur bears and Graddoc apes for their livers.

The apes were a little rare on the ground, though I think they share spawns with the bears, as once I had killed a bunch of bears the apes started showing up.

Once I had all the entrails requested, I recalled back to Ironforge and flew back up to The Hinterlands again to speak with Rhapsody Shindigger who, after some theatrics, was ready to tell his tale.

Being drunk means never getting to the point…

Once I had the update from him it was back to Brohann Caskbelly, who I will mention is hanging out in an Inn in the Dwarven District of Stormwind, to get the quest that actually sends you into the dungeon to collect some stuff for him.

So I believe we are now all ready to enter the Sunken Temple for real.  But that will have to wait until next time.