Category Archives: World of Warcraft

WoW Se7en dot Oh My!

Oh, patch day, patch day, patch day, it was time for patch day.

The big primary digit patch day always contains its share of chaos, and all the more so for me because I adamantly refuse to read about upcoming changes and features in advance.  I hate to spoil the surprise.  So when Blizzard sent me an email notification about the WoW 7.0 patch asking if I was prepared, my answer was an unequivocal, “Um… no?”

Wait, I was supposed to be prepared? What am I, a boy scout?

Wait, I was supposed to be prepared? What am I, a boy scout?

On the first day of the reign of 7.0, I logged in for just a couple of minutes simply to verify that the patch was there… and to make some more hexweave cloth.

My big end of garrison plan was to invest everything into supplies to make hexweave bags.  My tailor will be sitting in his garrison for the next few week cranking out 30 slot bags because bag space is still a good thing.

The next night I logged in for a bit to check on my main and to see how things looked.  I still wasn’t able to face the addon apocalypse that accompanies all such major updates.  I try to keep addons to a minimum simply because their authors come and go and you can never be sure as to what addon will still be around after a year of no patches.

And even still, the Curse client only reported a few of my addons were 7.0 ready, which meant I was not ready to face the game.  Plus I had stuff to move in EVE Online.

Last night however, Curse told me I had a quorum when it came to updated addons, so I ventured into the game.

Unfortunately, some addons were less prepared than I was and I had to log back out and uncheck the box that makes WoW load out of date addons.  Here I ran into one of a few bugs.  I spent some time swapping between characters and, every time I logged out to character select, the game warned me about loading out of date addons.

Warning... over and over...

Warning… over and over…

The checkbox kept getting rechecked every time I logged out.  A minor but persistent annoyance, as you get two alerts for it and then have to open up the addons interface and uncheck the option yet again.

Then there was the class resets for 7.0.  Every single character that logged in was reminded about talents and such.

And this just keeps coming up...

And this just keeps coming up…

Basically, I have to figure out all the new class stuff for every single character.  I will probably push on this for a while, except for a couple of key characters.  For Vikund, my paladin, main, and oldest character, I did go to Icy Veins to read up on the talents so as not to make the “wrong” choice… because there is ALWAYS a wrong choice.  The “wrong” choices did surprise me at times.

There is a certain irony in facing this.  I came back to WoW about a month ago in order to get back into the swing of things, so as not to be completely lost when the expansion hit.  And then, blammo, I need to relearn all the classes from scratch anyway.  At least they dropped the 7.0 patch well in advance of the pre-Legion events.  We all have some time to get up to speed.

I pottered about the Garrison a bit as well, and the 7.0 transition seemed to have left a few bugs in its wake there.  I was, for example, offered the Mastering the Menagerie quest again immediately after completing it.  But you cannot complete it again.  Ah well.

But I probably spent most of my time tinkering with the new wardrobe/transmog system.  You have to focus on the most important things first, right?

My father used to say to me
“Nando, don’t be a schnook,
It’s not how you feel,
It’s how you look!”

-Billy Crystal, You Look Marvelous

As with most everything else in the patch, I knew a change was coming but wasn’t up on the details.

The first thing I noticed was that I got a series of achievement related to transmog upon logging in.  The joy of having many alts over many years and storing away a lot of useless but cool looking items meant that I hit the achievement goal for almost every gear slot.

I wanted to see the new stuff, so I opened up collections and went to the new appearance tab to see all that I had.

A captain's hat!

A captain’s hat!

I sorted through that for a bit, eventually figuring out that, while I could see lots of cool gear, I couldn’t actually DO anything with it from the collections interface.  We can see all our options from where ever we are, but if we want to actually change them we still have to go find that Transmog NPC and pay them some gold to update our look.

Yes, we don’t have to pay the void storage fee as well any more, but I am still not clear why Blizz feels they need to be as restrictive as this when it comes to appearance.  I look at how EverQuest II and LOTRO and Rift (and even EVE Online) and how they handle this sort of thing, and it just feels like Blizz has something against the whole idea.

Particularly irksome to me was the 20 gold charge to change my tabard appearance.

I never wear this tabard

I never wear this tabard

One of the things I was looking forward to was clearing all those tabards I have out of my bank to clear up storage space.  The appearance system certainly seemed to have scooped them all up and saved them all.  If I want to change my tabard appearance, the cost is 20g.  But I can avoid that by just going over to the bank and pull the actual tabard out and change it for free… and, being an engineer, I can bring up bank access anywhere, which makes it more convenient than transmog.  I just don’t get those 35 or so bank slots back.

Yeah, yeah, I don’t actually change my tabard all that often, but I got the impression at some point that tabards were going to be more like toys than transmog.  And the cheapskate in my will likely keep the tabards in my bank.  Better make more hexweave bags.

On checking, I found that the one main transmog achievement I missed out on had to do with shirts.  I haven’t been collecting shirts.

Missing some shirts...

Missing some shirts…

Nine shirts didn’t seem like much.  I figured I could head on over to the auction house and fill out that order and get the last achievement along with the meta achievement and title.  Of course, with shirts being a thing in the transmog system, some people were attempting to make some money off of the situation.

That is an expensive shirt

That is an expensive shirt

Fortunately, once I sorted by price, I found some more reasonably priced shirts in a much more reasonable price range.  I probably could have made a few of them with my tailor.  But, with only nine on the list, I was able to scoop those up, put them on (so their appearance got captured), and hey presto, I had the final achievement.

W7FabAchi

So I have the title “the Fabulous” going for me now.

And that was about all I had the time and patience for on a week night.  I logged on a bunch of characters, found many of them had stuff in their inventory that hadn’t been picked up the new system, so there was lots of putting thing on to get them captured.  I did tinker with a few looks for lower level characters.

My mid-60s warrior in red

My mid-60s warrior in red

With the weekend I will probably get out and figure out how to play at least one character again.  There is still time before the big intro event.  Onward to the Broken Isles.

Last Minute Garrison Gold Grubbing

The WoW 7.0 pre-Legion patch goes live tomorrow.

WoWLegion_500

The WoW 7.0 patch notes have the following two items about your Draenor garrisons:

  • Many sources of gold from the Garrison has been reduced or removed.
  • Newly obtained salvage from the Salvage Yard no longer contains equippable items. Salvage obtained from before the patch remains unaffected.

Both were expected, but you might not be aware of just how much your gold revenue will be taking a hit.  I knew that follower missions that paid off in gold were done for, but I did not know that follower equipment, which is worth a decent amount of gold today, will be worth just 1 copper after the patch tomorrow.

I’ll be cashing all those in when I get home.

Blizzard Watch has a guide up to help you extract as much last minute gold out of your garrison as possible.  Get it tonight, because tomorrow will be to late.

 

Taking Wing in Draenor

As I mentioned in late June, my daughter and I are back to playing World of Warcraft in anticipation of the upcoming Legion expansion.  While she has faltered a bit, not having a task in mind, I went straight for unlocking flying in Draenor as a goal.

Unlocking flying requires earning five achievements, which are:

  1. Loremaster of Draenor Achievement
  2. Explore Draenor Achievement
  3. Tanaan Diplomat Achievement
  4. Master Treasure Hunter Achievement
  5. Securing Draenor Achievement

As it turned out, I had none of those achievements when I set off.

(If you want to see your own status, WoW Head has a page that takes your character name and server and tells you how far along you are.  thanks to Kimeni who shared that in the comments on previous WoW post.)

I had none of them, but I was close on a couple.  As noted in the last post, I only had a couple of steps to go before getting the Loremaster of Draenor achievement.

Likewise, the Explore Draenor achievement was fairly close to being done.  I had explored two zones fully already and was one location away on a couple more.  The only place I had to do some work on the achievement was Frostfire Ridge, which is the horde starting zone.

Frostfire Ridge Explored

Frostfire Ridge Explored

Fortunately I already had the two alliance flight points there, so getting out to the zone was easy.  It was just a matter of riding around the map to fill in the blank spots.  Of course, the last blank spot ended up being the point furthest away from my current location on the map when it came down to it.  It always seems to work out that way.

So that was two down.

The third item on the list Tanaan Diplomat, which meant getting revered status with the three factions introduced with the Tanaan Jungle zone, Hand of the Prophet, Order of the Awakened, and The Saberstalkers.  That all showed up with the 6.2 patch about a year back if I recall right, which is about when I stopped playing.  So I was starting from scratch.

I have done rep grinds before, and I am sure I will do them again.  So I figured I would be in for a couple weeks of daily quests to conquer that part of the effort.  However Mazer, also in the comments on the previous WoW post, mentioned the Medallion of the Legion item, which can be used to gain 1,000 rep with all Draenor factions per medallion.

Why do work when you can spend gold?  And Gold I had.  Not enough gold that I could spend recklessly, but enough to invest in that particular aspect of the effort.  Since I had chosen a human character for this, I was already set to get a 10% bonus to reputation gains via his innate “Diplomacy” skill.  But just enhance that some more, I tore down the enchanting building in my garrison and put up a trading post, upgrading it to level 3, to give me an additional 20% gain to reputation.  If I did my math right, that saved me a couple of medallions, which made it well worth the cost.

I went to the auction house and bought some medallions.  My reputation started at friendly with the three key factions:

Reputation - Before Medallions

Reputation – Before Medallions

And was revered afterwards:

Reputation - After Medallions

Reputation – After Medallions

That also got me Exalted status with the Arakkoa Outcasts and the Council of Exarchs, two achievements there, which meant being able to buy their special mounts, pets, and tabards, which happened to also roll me into an achievement for mounts and tabards.  Now I just need the 7.0 patch to hit and move tabards to their own special storage, as those are taking up 40 bank slots currently.

Anyway, three down.

The fourth on the list, the Master Treasure Hunter achievement, is probably where I spent most of my time.  There just isn’t any short cut, you have to go out in the world and find 100 treasures in Draenor, excluding Tanaan Jungle.

I did go download the HandyNotes addon for Draenor treasures.  That put all of their locations on the in-game map and mini-map for you.  However, as helpful as that was, it didn’t turn the hunt into a 100% gimme event.

First, knowing where a treasure is on a 2D map and then actually finding it in a 3D world are two different things.  Sometimes the treasure is in a cave below the spot shown on the map, and the entrance is a ways off.  Sometimes the treasure is up in a tree or on top of something.  Once a treasure was in a hole in the roof of a cave, and you could see it from the cave, but had to go a long way around a mountain to find my way up to drop into the hole and land on a ledge to grab the item.  And I missed the ledge on the first try.

And then there is the fact that some of those treasures are difficult to see, even when you know they are there.  Some are just hidden from view.  But I had one, a ring at the bottom of a small pond, that simply wasn’t visible until you were right on top of it.  And even then you had to mouse over it to get the cogwheel icon to be sure.

That last item was made worse by the fact that HandyNotes will take the treasure off your map once you have found it, but it doesn’t know about any treasures you might have found before you installed the addon.  Having already found 25 treasures before I started on this mission, I had a few cases of, “Did I already find this one, or am I simply not seeing it?”

I had the most luck with treasures in Spires of Arak.  It seemed to have the most treasures I had yet to find, and I was able to get the next 25 treasures mostly in that zone, which got me to the mid-point achievement.

Half way through the treasure hunt

Half way through the treasure hunt

Of course, while the zone seemed to have the most treasures, it also seemed the most intent on making you work for them.  That pond I mentioned was there.  There are treasures at shrines, as in the picture above, that required you to find an elixir first (which at least counted as a treasure as well) in order to be able to see the treasure.  And, being a zone with lots of vertical terrain, it had more than its share of jumping and climbing puzzles in order to get to treasures.

With a bird on a wire

With a bird on a wire

There were any number of times I caught myself thinking something along the lines of, “This would be much easier if I had flying.”  At a couple of points I left Spires of Arak for other zones, hoping for greener pastures.  But for actual treasure density, it was tough to beat spires and, for whatever reason, I find it easier to deal with a treasure I can see, but have to work to get to, than one out in the open half way across the map.  And so it was that I ended up returning there and getting the final treasure achievement.

FDTHachi

Four out of five down, which left only the Securing Draenor achievement.

I had been avoiding that achievement somewhat after my experiences running The Pit.  The LFG groups I founded tended to be all over the map of AFK in hopes of letting somebody else do the heavy lifting.  Eventually I got some help with it and was able to wrap it up, but I put those missions on the back burner, having figured out that you can run them on demand by spending 200 garrison resources for a quest starter “missive” from the garrison quartermaster.

I did a couple of the solo ones as they popped up on the garrison daily table, but otherwise spent my time treasure hunting, until I was done with that.  Once that was done, it was time to dig in and wrap those up.  I had four left to do and bought the missives, one by one as I ran the missions.

As luck would have it, the four remaining missions I had were all easily done solo.  My putting them off as the final difficult task turned out to be needless worry.  The final mission wrapped up was Shattrath Harbor, though I was in the middle of a fight when I got the last kill I needed and nearly missed the screen shot.

Finishing in Shattrath Harbor

Finishing in Shattrath Harbor

That was it.  The meta achievement, Draenor Pathfinder was mine, the mount that came with it was added to my collection, and I was able to fly.

Over my harbor on the Soaring Skyterror mount

Over my harbor on the Soaring Skyterror mount

That gave me a new perspective on Draenor.  It is always interesting simply being able to see the landscape from a high vantage point.

Of course, it also turned on “easy mode” in Draenor.  The landscape, carefully designed to channel you towards specific areas was now unable to enforce its will upon me.  I was now “that guy” who can drop in on something while avoiding any of the interim effort.

Along the way I had managed to upgrade my garrison shipyard to level 3, which led to an oil shortage, the resource required for naval activity.  While garrison missions will supply some, it is available in larger lots by doing dailies in Tanaan Jungle.  The previous need to get to a nearby flight point and then cross some of the level 100 infested landscape was removed.  I could just saunter over on my flying mount and drop into whatever area I needed.

And so it goes with flying in WoW.  It has ever been the double edged blade, simultaneously the best thing ever once you have it and trivializing a lot of the challenge of the open world.  It even makes death easier in Draenor, as now your spirit gets a flying mount in order to return to your corpse.

Anyway, mission accomplished.

Yet here we stand, less than a week into July, and probably at least two weeks from the pre-Legion WoW 7.0 patch, and I have completed my objective.  Not only that, I have built up my shipyard and have less than 100 gold left to loot for the Got My Mind On My Draenor Money achievement, which will unlock the level 3 storehouse blueprint, which will about wrap up garrison buildings.  So I will likely soon need a new task to keep me busy until that 7.0 patch hits and the pre-Legion events kick off.

There is always pet battles.  I have a lot of pets left to catch.  There are always alts.  At some point I want to level a horde alt up to level cap.  But I don’t want to rush that either.  I would prefer to see the horde storylines through the expansions rather than bypass them.  Or I could just go achievement hunting.  We shall see.  But whatever I do, it looks like I will be able to fly all the way… for now.

June in Review

The Site

In the land of WordPress.com, another new feature/annoyance was introduced this month.  There is a little alerts icon at the top right of the browser window when you are logged into WordPress.  It announces when somebody leaves a comment or follows the blog or when your page view stats see a spike.  Generally I see the latter only with my other blog, where more than 30 page views in a single hour is cause for mention.

But WordPress.com added a new notification in June.  This one pops up to tell me that a scheduled post has, in fact, been posted as scheduled.

O'rly...

O’rly?

The problem for me is that every single post that goes up here is scheduled in advance.  While that is only one or two notifications a day, they aren’t something I really need.  I already have a notification scheme in place that doesn’t require me to be sitting in front of a browser and logged into the blog.  Additionally, the notification uses the “somebody left a comment” icon, so inevitably I go to the blog, see that icon, wonder who left a comment, and am rewarded with a reminder I didn’t need.  Not the worst affliction in history, but I am still looking for a way to turn that off. (Actually, they finally changed the icon to something unique, but I’m still annoyed.)

Meanwhile I am getting a little tired of seeing this in my side bar.

FeedDown

My MMO blog feed seems to be down quite often of late.  At first I thought it must be related directly to my Rube Goldberg implementation.  But I have a second feed, for Gaming Company news, down at the bottom of the side bar, that uses the same process, and it is never down.

But that feed gets relatively few new items in it on a daily basis.  The main feed potentially  draws from more than 200 feeds a day.  And given the times it appears to be down most frequently… which tends to correspond with times when most bloggers in my feed seem to post… makes me wonder if it is struggling to keep itself up to date, or just won’t display when an update is pending.  Anyway, I may pare down the list of blogs it draws from to just a few to see if that changes the reliability.  I’d like to have lots of blogs able to appear, but I would also like the list to appear a bit more regularly as well.

One Year Ago

There was a cheer for the NBI class of 2015.

I was wondering what Turbine would do after they cancelled Infinite Crisis.  I was also looking for a summer game to play.

After waffling before a live audience, Blizzard finally caved and said there would be flying in Draenor.

Remember that time we killed a Mordus Angels Revenant?  It seems like everybody has killed one by now.

Also in EVE Online we got the Carnyx expansion, which had some of the initial Fozzie Sov features.  So we were out sov-wanding station services, though Dominion sov quirks still ruled the day in our fight at ED-9LT.  We then headed back north thinking maybe our friends in Querious would come visit us some day… *cough*

The coming of Fozzie Sov also meant further consolidation of holdings to make sure we could defend our space.  TNT got pushed out to Tribute to share space with the Circle of Two.  We saw how well that worked out.

And then there was Burn Amarr.  I took some screen shots.  And I splurged on ship skins.

Over at Daybreak they were talking about special servers for EverQuest II at last.  It looked like we might get some sort of progression server, for which there was a poll.  And then another poll, looking for a name.

Meanwhile, over in EverQuest, they were still working on how to deal with raiding on the Ragefire server, and the Ruins of Kunark unlock vote was upon us.

I was playing Neko Atsume on the iPad… back when it was only in Japanese!  I was also going on about 64-bit OS requirements finally coming to video games and an old grievance of mine.

My daughter suddenly wanted to play The Sims.  That lasted for about three days.  This is why I make her wait a week on any sudden new fad she want to follow.

The Steam Summer sale came and went and I bought nothing.  That turned out to be the last sale with the traditional daily specials format.

I brought up the F2P business model yet again based on a quote over at Massively OP which, if nothing else, got a long comment from Brad McQuaid on the subject.

And, finally, I played Minecraft with my daughter for Father’s Day, which led to a whole new adventure in gaming.

Five Years Ago

I had to get out my Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD.

Team Fortress 2 went free to play.  Begin the hat-based economy!

I was wondering if people were picking on Lord British.  This was before he started talking about his “ultimate RPG” and made it a very entertaining sport.

We were not playing WoW, but guild accounts were being hacked.  And we were not even among those 600K WoW players that supposedly went to Rift.

LOTRO announced the Rise of Isengard expansion and offered up a exp boosting item for pre-orders.

I was wondering what launch conditions would be like for SWTOR.  Of course, I sort of figured it might launch before mid-December.

LEGO Universe announced it was going free to play.  At our house, my daughter enjoyed it for a bit, but eventually dropped it for Animal Jam.

CCP began a slow and deliberate campaign of alternating between shooting itself in the foot and sticking said foot in its mouth, all in the name of the Incarna expansion.  And my sentry drones were still boring.  And then LulzSec brought them down.  At least they had finally made it much easier to find an agent in the game.

SOE announced a new version of Station Access, its “all games for one low monthly price.”  Called SOE All Access, which had a price of $19.95 a month.  This was a welcome drop from the previous $29.99 a month price.

However, by this point, SOE had dropped The Matrix Online and had just announced they were killing Star Wars Galaxies, so there were certainly less games to play.  Of course, that was also back when they had some games that were not free to play.

At least SOE was up and running after the PSN/SOE outage.  A pity they fumbled the marketing opportunities offered by their make good plan.

The instance group had finally gotten out of the damn starter zone in EverQuest II Extended, but the game still wasn’t sitting well.

On the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server, the Ruins of Kunark expansion was opened up and then “finished” in short order.

Ten Years Ago

Paul McCarty turned fucking 64 already and could probably afford to buy the entire Isle of Wight at that point, regardless of how dear it was.

Sonic the Hedgehog turned 15, which I guess means it is 25 now.  Maybe I shouldn’t do call backs to birthdays.  But relevant gaming history was a bit light a decade back, so I felt like I needed some filler, which explains the first three items in this section.  Come September it will be better.

Bill Gates announced that he was planning to relinquish his remaining full time positions at Microsoft in order to focus on his foundation.  Though Steve “Uncle Fester” Ballmer had been CEO since 2000, Gates was still Chief Software Architect and Chief Research & Strategy Officer (along with being chairman of the board).  As of today he still retains the position of Technology Advisor to current CEO Satya Nadella.

EverQuest II got the Fallen Dynasty adventure pack, the last such pack until 2015’s Rum Cellar.

Nintendo finally shipped the Nintendo DS Lite in Europe, though $3.2 million worth of them went missing en route from China.

Half-Life 2: Episode One was released as Valve briefly tried to pay attention to the core of their biggest franchise at the time.  Still waiting for Episode Three.

Featured Sites of the Month

For this month’s featured MMO Blog I want to bring your attention to:

Rohan has been at it for more than a decade now digging into the nuts and bolts of game mechanics as well as bigger picture issues.  While World of Warcraft has been a prime focus, he has delved into other titles along the way.

Then of the “other” site of the month, I want to point you at is:

I am a little bit late in pointing at this, give that the NBI 2016 event ends today.  But I haven’t been able to keep up with the event in any case, it having taken to Discord.  Still, it has weekly summaries of this year’s event, which includes the new bloggers joining in and the blog posts done in support the whole thing.  Hopefully there will be a final event summary post tomorrow so I can crib the list of new blogs for a post of my own.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  2. Remembering Spaceship Warlock
  3. Blizzard Admits that WoW Expansions are Just Going to Take Time
  4. Thrill of the Hunt Not Thrilling Enough, Being Removed from New Eden
  5. RAZOR Leaves The Imperium
  6. One Hundred Million Copies of Minecraft
  7. Scenes from the Saranen Undock
  8. Return to Draenor
  9. Minecraft 1.10 The Frostburn Update
  10. Hurricane Massacre
  11. A Carrier Dies in Deklein
  12. Landmark Goes… Live

My post about the Warcraft movie was in 13th place, but on the Chinese version of the blog it is totally at the top of the list.

Search Terms of the Month

recommended skills to fly a naglfar well
[A tolerance for losing expensive ships?]

hyperion or dominix
[Megathron]

joke european heaven and hell
[Must involved Brexit somewhow]

does anyone play everquest 2 time locked servers
[Yes, yes they do]

jotunheim brass tiamat corpse mud
[Mixing up your Forgotten Realms areas aren’t you?]

Spam Comments of the Month

Labelling the third time inside collection of as the most important improve nevertheless, Jagex documented potential customers will capability to take part in the wow free of necessitating coffee beans or other stopper inches.
[And that is just one sentence out of five long paragraphs of nonsense.]

With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems
of plagorism or copyright violation?
[Posted to my picture blog.]

EVE Online

Just to annoy people with another inapt WWII analogy, so popular with sideline pundits over the course of the war, we seemed to have our Battle of Britain Adlertag in Saranen.  After trying to sit on us and hold us down for weeks in the system, during which we undocked to fight again and again against superior forces, where we were losing the ISK war daily, and were feeding the hostiles many kills, our foes got tired of the whole thing and went away.  Now we just have to liberate Europe… erm, the north.  Maybe the MBC will attack the Russians.  Of course, if we really want to beat this analogy to death, that ends up with them making satellites out of the eastern half of the area and a new cold way or some such.

Anyway, we’re still in Saranen, but with the letup on pressure, we have begun to push back into null sec again.  For us, the war, the same war that has been going on since January, continues.

EverQuest II

I did spend some time pottering about on the Stormhold progression server.  I continued moving along at a leisurely pace.  What I might call my “main” there is just level 25, but I spent some time crafting with him, so his crafting level past 30 now.  And then I used his skill, he is an armor smith, to equip and alt that I ran up to nearly 20 before I set him to crafting as well.  Pretty much usual story in EQII, just at a slower pace.

However, with the return to WoW, I suspect my time here is at and end.

Minecraft

I passed the one year mark for playing the game.  Our world continues to get sporadic attention, though after finishing one grand project, the rail loop, I am looking for another.  Minecraft pretty much took the time slot that used to be filled by a secondary fantasy MMORPG, which is why EQII has fallen off the “games I play” section of the side bar.

World of Warcraft

My daughter and I are back in WoW, though just yesterday she confided with me that maybe we came back a little too early.  She is stuck with one level 100 on the horde side and a level 91 on the alliance side and isn’t keen to do level cap stuff or run through Draenor again.  We’ll see if we can find something while waiting for the pre-Legion 7.0 patch.

As noted, I have made unlocking flying in Draenor my goal, which has given me a series of things to do on a regular basis without it becoming too grindy.  I did warm up a couple of the trade skills so I could get my tailor cranking out hexweave bags again.  Bigger bags are always good.  So I am reasonably content for the moment having a few goals that won’t take huge efforts.

Coming Up

There are a few posts I have planned already, including a salute to NBI Class of 2016, if I can find a definitive list of them somewhere… or even if I cannot… some sort of summary of where I ended up in EQII and what I liked (or did not like) so far with the Stormhold progression server, what I am up to in WoW in some more detail, and some mention of the original PlanetSide, which goes dark tomorrow.

On the WoW front, there is a reasonable chance that the pre-Legion 7.0 patch will drop around the end of this month.  I would not expect it to hit earlier than July 26th.  August 2nd seems more likely, as that would give us four solid weeks with it before WoW Legion goes live.  More than that “feels” like it might be too much, with August 9th being the latest date I think it will hit.  We shall see.

Amazon also delivered my copy of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  If I can get some time in front of the TV, I will play it and probably end up writing about it.

The Steam Summer Sale is going on right now, and will wrap up this coming Monday.  I haven’t posted about it.  But then I haven’t bought anything either.  I haven’t even been logging into Steam to get my daily trading cards during the sale.  I am bad at Steam.

WoW and the Nostalrius Survey Summary

As noted previously, the team running the Nostalrius private/pirate vanilla WoW server, which was effectively shut down by Blizzard back in April, an event which caused a good deal of attention to be focused on the whole nostalgia server question.

Ever mindful of the mob… see flying in Draenor… said they would at least consider the whole alternate server idea, inviting Nostalrius to come speak to the Blizz team in Irvine. (I keep putting Blizz in Anaheim in my head, because that is where BlizzCon happens, rather than in Irvine, which is on the other side of Santa Ana, where their offices actually are.  It’s not that far away… it is all in the OC… but is incorrect.)

Give the opportunity to meed with Blizzard, the Nostalrius wanted to have some data to hand beyond their server stats, so put together a survey to get a sense of their community.

Surveys are misused constantly, so I am always dubious about generalizing too much from results.  But Nostalrius did get 50,000 respondents to their survey.  20,000 responses had to be culled from that batch as they gave what were called “incoherent” responses, where the respondent gave conflicting information.  Examples were indicating that they had played a given expansion on a Blizz server but indicating elsewhere that they had never played on a Blizz server.

That still left 30,000 responses.  And while that is largely from an admittedly self-selecting group, so long as you treat it as such… don’t, for example generalize out to “all WoW players” from the results… you can gain some insight, or at least food for thought.

Of the respondents , the majority of whom are in their 20s, have played retail WoW at some point, and were not playing retail WoW at the time of the survey, money was not a listed as a major factor for most.

Figure 8. Left Retail Because...

Figure 8. Left Retail Because…

Additionally, when asked which expansions they had played on retail, over 60% of respondents indicated that they had played any given expansion.

Figure 6. Players per expansion played on retail

Figure 6. Players per expansion played on retail

So this is not necessarily a batch of freeloaders seeking a cheap time, something players on private/pirate servers have been painted as previously.

One of the side details noted in the survey results was that the age range of respondents indicated that many of them were likely too young to have actually played vanilla WoW back in the day.  For them, seeing vanilla is only an option through such server.

The ranking of the expansions (0 to 10, with 10 being the best) was interesting, but unsurprising for this group.  Basically, Cataclysm is viewed as the breaking point.  Before Cataclysm, vanilla and the two expansions, The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, are rated very favorably.  But Cataclysm and beyond are rated much less favorably, with Warlords of Draenor at the bottom of the list.

Figure 9. Four expansion ratings compared

Figure 9. Four expansion ratings compared

Wrath of the Lich King, the worst ranked of the first three phases of the game seems pretty well liked when compared to the Warlords of Draenor.

Figure 10. WotLK ranking vs. WoD

Figure 10. WotLK ranking vs. WoD

I would imagine that WoD gets an extra helping of negative due to it being the current state of the game, but that is still a pretty negative view from this particular group.

Of course, one of the things that this highlights is that there are differing views as to where nostalgia really lies, as I note previously.

And then there is the question as to what, if anything, Blizzard will with any of this.  My bet still rests on, “little to nothing.”

Anyway, the charts I used above are all part of a nine page summary of the survey, available as a PDF file here.  There is more in the summary, I just cherry picked a few items that interested me.  The full report is said to range out to 80 pages and will be made available at some future date.

Hat Tip to Massively OP

Return to Draenor

My daughter and I have been discussing our return to World of Warcraft for a while now.  That whole reflective nature thing I have about games has rubbed off on my daughter… a bit.  She did agree with my assessment that, in light of historical play trends in our house, it was safe to assume that there would be a limited timeline before either of us decided to stop playing WoW and move onto something else.

The release of the WoW 7.0 patch to the Public Test Realm put the need for a plan onto the front burner, and on Saturday we weighed the merits of a Father’s Day return to the game or pushing it off until the Independence Day holiday.  And then we were sitting around on Father’s Day this past Sunday wondering what daddy/daughter activity we should indulge in and an afternoon of playing WoW was declared.

So we returned to Azeroth and places connected there to.

And, of course, once clients had been updated, accounts activated, and so on, we came to the musical question of the hour, “So what are we going to do?”  Neither of us were keen to return to another stretch of Garrison Crossing: Follower Festival, so there was a bit of running about and checking out dimly recalled characters and what not.  It has been about a year or for both of us, barring that 30 day stint I did with a WoW Token, which was solely focused on running garrison missions to earn back the money I spent on the WoW Token in the first place.  Sure, I came out ahead, but I didn’t want to play another 30 days of that.

Remembering how to play and where to go and shouting at each other across the house from our respective computers until we settled down into our own little voyages of discovery pretty much occupied the balance of play time on Father’s Day.

By the end of the evening though, I had decided on a goal.  A goal is important to me.  I can put up with all sorts of tasks, both fun and tedious, in pursuit of such.  We just covered that in my Minecraft post earlier this week, right?

I announced to my daughter that I was going to try to unlock flying in Draenor.

She thought that sounded good, right up until I told her what it would take, at which point she said, “screw that” and went back to collecting things for transmog after she heard about the new wardrobe stuff coming with WoW Legion.

And she was put off by my vague notion of what was required.  I had written about it before, but I hadn’t really added the task up and then compared it to where I stood currently.  Tanaan Jungle wasn’t even in the game when I wrote that post.  To unlock the Draenor Pathfinder meta achievement, which gives you flying and a mount to go with it, you need:

Five achievements?  How hard could that be?

Then I started looking into how where I stood.  I didn’t have any of them completed yet.

For Tanaan Dilplomat, the reasons were pretty obvious… I stopped playing before Tanaan Jungle showed up.  However, I had at least built the shipyard in my garrison during that WoW Token stint and, in doing so, I had at least set foot in Tanaan and had the first flight point.

At the other end of the spectrum, I was a bit surprised I did not have Loremaster of Draenor on Vikund yet, as I had been pretty diligent about rolling up at least all the main quest lines, and even the bonus quest lines in the early zones.  In fact, I had all the achievements I needed for it save one, the Nagrand achievement.

Getting that meant going out to Nagrand to re-trace my steps and figure out why I hadn’t wrapped that one achievement up. (I also cleaned up my quest log a bit.  I still had Mists of Pandaria quests in there.  With just 25 quest slots, you can’t leave stuff sitting there forever.  EverQuest II and its 75 quest limit has spoiled me.)

After a bit of running about to find which quest was actually the one I needed, I got there and had a dim memory of it being bugged… like a year and a half ago.  Something happened and the item I needed didn’t spawn.  Anyway, I dropped the quest, found my way back to the quest giver, then started it up again and things seemed to proceed.  Whatever was wrong or whatever I missed back then didn’t seem to be an issue and I was on my way.  This all ended up with an assault on a Iron Horde camp with Yrel in order to arrest the trouble maker… again.

Didn't we take him into custody back in Pandaria already?

Always Garrosh…

That turned into a set piece where Thrall stepped in and eventually took him away.  If we have to go capture him again in some other timeline I am going to be annoyed.  This ended with all the big names standing around in a circle, so I took a pic.

The leadership powwow

The leadership powwow… and me

But what mattered at the moment was that I got the achievement I needed to wrap up the first item on the list for flying.

Always Garrosh, always achievements I guess...

Always Garrosh, always achievements I guess…

One down, four to go.

On the Explore Draenor front, I have a few corners of the map to explore.  It would be really easy to get this if I had flying… which I guess is somebody making a point.  Anyway, this is more a matter of just getting out and doing it.

Securing Draenor involves running a dozen missions from the map table in the garrison.  I have four down already, but some of the required missions are group focused, and I am not over-geared enough to handle elites solo or anything.  I demonstrated this to myself when I tried to do The Pit solo.  So some planning required on that.

Master Treasure Hunter requires looting 100 treasures in Draenor, excluding Tanaan Jungle.  I have 25 so far.  I am going to bet there is an addon that will help me with that.

And then there is the Tanaan Diplomat achievement, which requires me to get revered status with three factions in the jungle, the Saberstalkers, the Hand of the Prophet, and the Order of the Awakened.  I haven’t looked into that, but I imagine that will need running some dailies for a couple of weeks.

So that is my goal for now, to get flying in Draenor before the WoW 7.0 patch hits and the pre-Legion events begin.