Category Archives: WoW Classic

First Peek into the Violet Hold

I’m doing a bit of catch up here, but that is fine.  The last time we left off with the instance group, we had done a run at Drak’Tharon Keep, finishing it off with just four of us… which meant we had to go back and do it again with the whole group.

The group lineup for the afternoon was as follows.

Today’s lineup

Amazingly, we somehow managed to forget almost everything we learned on the first run through Drak’Tharon Keep, so got to relearn a few things, like not standing in the summoned pool of black gunk or you’ll die.

I will contend that the first group of mobs after King Dredd is bugged.  The troll death knight doesn’t patrol like he is supposed to, so you get him and the four other mobs and the death knight heals them up and… we wiped.

Fergorin with the soul stone and the ress

But then after that he starts his patrol path and you can pull the group you started on, finish it off, then pull groups in reasonable numbers until you’ve made your way around to the final boss.

We managed to get through that fight without any major issues… I think it is just an easy fight despite the special mechanics… and were done and jumping down the platforms on the back side of the instance in about an hour.

Drak’Tharon done again

Which gave us some time to do something else.

Next on the list for dungeons was Violet Hold, which is back in Dalaran, so Ula spun up a portal and got us there.

This way to Dalaran

If we couldn’t remember our foibles in Drak’Tharon Keep even a week down the line, what were we going to remember about Violet Hold, an instance we hadn’t run since the summer of 2009?  That was a while ago.  (Also, looking back at that now,  I had forgotten that whole period of time when my client would crash whenever I was in Dalaran.)

The map of the city

Well, I did remember where to get the key, though I suspect that has come up more recently for some reason.  Anyway, the guy in the Violet Citadel across town will help you out.

You speak to him, get the quest, run over to the Violet Hold, talk to a guy outside there and you have the key.  Easy peasy.

After that though, we were a bit at sea… I felt like it was some sort of event, maybe a random boss order… but we weren’t going to look it up or anything.  We plunged right in.

And it was event, with waves… there was a counter at the top of the screen tracking them… and what seemed like a random boss every six ways.  We can do that.

We ran after the different portals that spawned one at a time, hitting the Portal Guardian and anything that came our way, keeping it together.  We made it through six waves and got a boss.  Moragg was coming for us.

Moragg unleashed

Moragg wasn’t a tough fight and when we brought him down he coughed up a nice set of shoulders for me, a pretty big upgrade compared to what I was wearing.

Shoulderplates of the Beholder

After that we carried on with the next wave… and then somebody was shouting something and everything despawned and the even was over.  We were kind of at a loss as to what happened, but Beanpole asked if those guys with the lasers attacking the door we came in through might have had something to do with it.

Oh yeah… up at the top of the screen, near the wave counter there was something about portal seal integrity, which was now at 0%.  A few more memories of the instance came into blurry focus.   I had seen a couple of mobs walk past us rather than attacking us.  Clearly that was bad.

So we stood there for a bit until we figured out how to start the whole thing over again.

Everybody escaped I guess… our bad

Once we got that sorted… the first NPC respawned eventually… we were back in business, this time with an eye out to keep any strays from getting to the door.

We got through the first six waves again and this time around… we got Moragg again.  Well, at least we knew him.  And he obliged by dropping the same set of plate shoulders.  Fergorin could have used them, but passed by mistake.  They went to Ula to disenchant.

We kept up with the next set of waves without too much effort, always on the look out for a sneak.  We managed to get ourselves to the next boss encounter, which was Ichoron.

Ichoron arrives… Moragg’s corpse is still hanging around…

Ichoron turned out to be a bit of a chore.  He has a mechanic where he disappears and a bunch of water elementals spawn, then he shows back up and if the elementals get to him they seemed to be healing him.  We were making headway, but it was slow going.  And that was when we found out that the waves were on a timer.

The next portal opened and some more mobs joined the fight while we were still struggling to burn Ichoron down.  Things were getting out of hand.

We managed to finally get Ichoron down, and I did a quick loot, which yielded yet another pair of plate shoulders, but these much better for Fergorin, our holy healing pally.

Those are some healing shoulders

There wasn’t any time to celebrate that drop however, as another wave had showed up and we started losing people as we got blindsided by more mobs.

We wiped, but then there was the question of whether or not to jump back in, which you could do, or wait for things to end and start over.

We managed to pick wrong, but the afternoon had worn on by that point.  Once things had reset once more, we picked up our stuff and went back out to repair.  It was time for me to go, leaving the Violet Hold as yet unconquered.  But at least we ended up with some sense of how the instance runs.  We’ll see if we remember it when we get back there again!

Friday Bullet Points with World of Warcraft and the Lunar New Year

The lunar new year is upon us, or will be officially this Sunday.  And with that in mind there are a few things that have come up with WoW related, and not, to the celebrations.

  • Year of the Six Month Rabbit

It is the year of the rabbit… unless you’re Vietnamese, in which case we’re talking year of the cat… and Blizzard has a special mount to celebrate the year.  For just $25 you can get the Bright Foreseer mount… or, if you subscribe in six month billing cycles you get it as part of that package.

Year of the Rabbit in Azeroth

In addition, if you are playing Wrath of the Lich King Classic, you get the Hoplet bunny pet for being on the six month plan as well.

  • Lunar Festival 2023

Today is also the start of the Lunar Festival in Azeroth, a chance to seek out the elders scattered throughout Azeroth, earn some achievements, and even get an easy ride to that Moonglade flight point if you do not already have it.  It is in both retail and classic, so choose you’re lunar new year destination.

  • Wrath Classic Phase 2 is Live

Blizzard has launched Phase 2 of Wrath Classic, which for raiders means that Ulduar is live, and it even has a trailer.

For non-raiders like me, it means that the Argent Tournament is now live.  I’ve flown past the empty space where it lives a few times already, but now construction is under way and the tournament is open.

Approaching the Argent Tournament

This is where I spent a lot of time back during original Wrath, where I went exalted with all of the alliance factions, and where I picked up my favorite flying mount, the Argent Hippogryph.  It is my flying mount of choice in retail WoW to this day.

The Sun Was Cooperating For Once…

We shall see if we have the wherewithal to do any of that again.

The downside of Phase 2 is that is broke pretty much all of my addons.  Now I am waiting around to see which ones will get updated and which authors have wandered off to other games.  Always the hazard of addons and mods.

  • WoW Closed in China

Meanwhile, things are not so hot for WoW players in China at the dawn of the lunar new year.  We heard back in November that a deal between Blizzard and NetEase might not be forthcoming, a situation that has come to pass.  As I pointed out in yesterday’s post, NetEase has been very aggressive and confrontational when it comes to the Blizzard deal, blaming Blizzard for any fallout, heaping scorn on their attempts to get an extension, and distancing itself from any attempt for current WoW players ability to save their current player data declaring that Blizzard’s download toolset, used to archive player characters, may contain security risks and could lead to loss of virtual items.

None of this is good for WoW players in China, who are suffering due to friction.  I remain a bit surprised at NetEase’s behavior.  They clearly are not interested in any goodwill from their former customers.  But this performance may be as much a warning to its other Western partners that if they don’t get what they want they are prepared to go for a scorched earth policy as it is a strike against Activision Blizzard.

Exalted with the Kalu’ak and the end of Winter Veil

It was a busy holiday season.  Somehow we managed to extend Christmas into a four day event, spending time with different parts of our extended family.  Then our daughter turned 21 and there was a full day of that, and then New Year’s Eve, and in all of this I didn’t have a bunch of vacation time saved up so I only took a couple of days off at the end of the year, which all added up to not a lot of free time to play video games.

Oh well.  It happens.

That meant not much time for big gaming goals, so I set myself a small one.  One of my checklist items for Wrath Classic has been to become exalted with the Kalu’ak, the walrus-oid peoples who should be a playable race by now, but shamefully are not.

They have three daily quests that earn 500 reputation, though as a human I get 550 reputation.  That 10% bonus can add up.  Doing that meant basically flying Wilhelm to three different points to do the daily quests.

The flight points cut together

Each quest is just a couple of minutes, so it is mostly the flights between the three points that takes up the time every day.  And that was enough time that there were a couple of days when I only did two.

Swimming to net some fish for one of the quests

But as I got closer to exalted (and started having a bit more time in the evening to play) I realized that I had a pile of quests at Moa’ki harbor, the middle flight point, that would also cough up 550 faction for me.  So after one evening run I went back there and chased those down, earning myself the exalted status and the achievement.

Also, my first exalted faction I guess

Once I had that I flew to Kamagua where the Kalu’ak faction vendor is and bought the items I had been looking forward too.  Sure, Pengu the pet penguin is nice, but the fishing pole is the item to have.

Time for more fishing!

And it is honestly not a bad weapon either.  Enough to whack anything that interrupts my fishing time, though some of that time is spent fishing in the fountain in Dalaran.

I swore I wasn’t going to do this, and yet there I am

So I did get that done over the holidays.  What I did not do was make any progress at all on the Feast of Winter Veil achievements.  After having done the Pilgrim’s Bounty achievements to get the meta achievement and title I thought sure I would be on the road to that during Winter Veil.

However Ula and Fergorin (and Bjorid) had been on the case for Winter Veil and were almost done when New Year’s Day rolled around.  They just needed on more item, the holiday cap, to complete the final achievement to get the Merry Maker meta achievement and title for the holiday.

To get the hat you have to take it off of a dungeon boss.  There is a list of possible bosses, including some in Outland.  But to have a 100% chance of a drop you have to do a Northrend boss, and the easiest of those is Grand Magus Telestra in The Nexus.

We had actually defeated her with this very group of four, and at lower levels than we were currently, so it seemed like a viable plan.  Doing the run as a threesome, even with three level 76s, was a bit much without a dedicated tank, but the four of us were able to run in and take her on.

Making our way to Telestra, past the Hall of Stasis

The fighting to get to her wasn’t too bad, though there was the that section in the Halls of Stasis with the frozen mobs that got a bit out of hand due to tab targeting and auto-targeting on cast deciding to select the next group while we were still involved with the previous one.

But other than that we were able make it to Telestra and defeat her.

Telestra down, with Pengu peeking at the camera

The problem came when we looted her.  We all hit “need” on the hat and I won it… but there was only one hat.  And I won the hat, the person who needed it least.

As it turns out, while Van Cleef can offer up five heads, dungeon bosses can only have one hat.  Going back to our 2009 Merry Maker run, it turns out that one hat per run was the way it was.  So we had to run back to the entrance and reset the instance and fight our way back to Telestra again, and again, and again.

There was an issue in the Hall of Stasis on one run

We managed to make it, did our four runs, and everybody got a hate.

Telestra looted four times

There was a brief moment of potential disaster when somebody forgot they got a hat and went need again, but the RNG was kind to us and we did not have to do a fifth run.

That got Ula, Fergorin, and Bjorid most of the way there, though we had to run around a bit to get some rugged leather so Tistann could make the Winter Veil boots that are required wearing for the final achievement.  You put on the hat, the boots, and the tunic, then eat Graccu’s fruit cake, and there you go.

The achievement

For me it was just the one achievement, for them it was the final achievement that got them the meta achievement and the title.

After that I started looking into what it would take me to get to the meta achievement as well.  Unfortunately, I was starting off on that journey about 14 hours before Winter Veil ended, and I was going to need to sleep at some point in the middle there.  So I made a bit of progress on some of the achievements.

Just 36 more honorable kills to go

So I have a head start on next year, if Wrath Classic is still a thing next year.  Retro experiences go much more quickly.  I seem to remember the Kalu’ak achievement taking me much longer back in the day.

And the four runs was enough to get me to level 76, even though I had the Joyous Journeys bonus xp turned off.  And that level unlocked a nice upgrade for me, again from the Kalu’ak.

A nice tank chest piece

I had been honored for a while, but I needed the level.

So now we’re into the new year and the group will be looking towards the next dungeon… and the next holiday I suppose.  The Lunar Festival kicks off in a couple of weeks.  Maybe I can manage that.

What did I Play in 2022 and how does 2023 look?

Did I mention 2022 was kind of a crappy year around our house?  Nothing tragic happened.  Nobody died and the house didn’t burn down or anything.  Instead it was just a wearing down of the spirit as one dumb thing after another happened.  It was a year of reacting to problems.

2022 is what we get

This resulted in me spending about 33% less time in 2022 playing video games, at least as tracked by ManicTime, the app I use to spy on my computer time.

ManicTime – For your app time tracking needs

And things started with me being laid off at the end of 2021, which probably boosted my time played in January, because you can only spend so much time on the job search before you are crippled with anxiety because the job you got a decade ago with a Business degree now lists a Master Degree in Computer Science as the preferred education.  This is how HR aids and abets the bottom line, by inflating required qualifications so the company can complain that there are not enough qualified candidates so they need more H1B visas please.

But I digress.  Job searching is a part time thing, but once you have a new job then the work of figuring things out is just beginning.  So the new job starts in April, then my mom falls and has to come and live with us over the summer and I spend a lot of my free time trying to figure out her finances (still not there yet) and getting her into assisted living, so October is about when I come up for air from that… and then the holidays hit but I don’t have enough vacation banked up to lounge about, otherwise November and December would have been the high points of the year, as they have been in past years.  The last two weeks of December are traditionally a very big gaming time for me.

Time spent playing games in 2022

So quite a year.

And what did I play?  ManicTime tracked 21 titles played on my PC, broken out as follows:

  1. WoW Classic – 29.02%
  2. Valheim – 18.70%
  3. EVE Online – 16.62%
  4. Lost Ark – 9.44%
  5. EverQuest II – 7.04%
  6. Minecraft – 4.39%
  7. Stellaris – 3.42%
  8. Pokemon Shining Pearl – 3.03%
  9. New World – 2.49%
  10. Combat Mission: Red Thunder – 1.50%
  11. Solasta – 1.23%
  12. RimWorld – 1.22%
  13. FreeCiv – 0.35%
  14. Raft – 0.33%
  15. LEGO Star Wars – 0.25%
  16. Diablo Immortal – 0.24%
  17. World of Warcraft – 0.22%
  18. V Rising – 0.20%
  19. EverQuest – 0.17%
  20. LOTRO – 0.09%
  21. World of Tanks – 0.05%

For those more visually oriented, I have a pie chart, which breaks out the top ten, with a slice to cover everything else.

Games played in 2022 pie chart

96% of my tracked gaming time consisted of those ten games, so it seems pretty safe to focus on them.

Now, for purposes of tracking, when I played things is almost as important as how much I played… at least to me, and all the more so given that first chart.  So I am finally down to the usual chart that breaks out the top ten titles by when I played them in 2022.

2022 in gaming for me

EVE Online is the usual all year title.  It may only be in third place on the percentages, but it is a title I did go in and play every month.  I am on a kill mail and have at least one fleet participation credit for each month.

WoW Classic in 2022 really translates into Wrath of the Lich King Classic, along with the pre-patch to get ready for it.  We tired of Outland well before we got very far, but once Wrath was looming we were back in business.  We hopped into Outland to get our characters and a few alts to level 68 to be ready for Northrend.  It is the most played title for me, though it covers a bit less than half of the year.

Then there was Valheim, which we went back to try again with a fresh world in order to see what had changed since we last played.  That was a pretty focused play time, but Valheim is very good at that.  With the release of the Mistlands biome I got our world back online, but we’re still pretty tied up with Wrath, so it might be a while before we seek a foothold there.

Lost Ark was where we landed after New World.  That went okay for a bit.  It was fun, but kind of silly and not really our thing.

EverQuest II was me playing the Visions of Vertovia expansion, which wore out once I got to the end game stuff and needed to get on the gear and skill upgrade grind to be able to managed any further content.

Minecraft was an attempt to fill the void after we reached the end of the plains biome.  But after all the work we did in that world my daughter and I started back in the day, I feel like I might have worn out Minecraft.  It always feels like I am redoing things I’ve already done.

Stellaris and Forza Horizon 4, both titles I want to go back and play, were there because I had lots of time over the holidays and into January, and then reality began to sink in a little more firmly.

Pokemon Shining Pearl, the remake that my daughter and I had been waiting for, saw quite a bit of play around the Holidays… and is the one item on the list that ManicTime doesn’t track.  But the Switch gives you some play time numbers and Pokemon games themselves always have a timer for how long you’ve played.  That was good fun, until I beat the main game, after which I fell off the title.  I wasn’t going to catch ’em all.

New World was the end of our stint there.  They’ve since merged servers and removed our company and what not to the extent that I am not sure we’ll ever return.  It is go back to that mess or go back to queues on a fresh start server… until those servers die and get merged again.

Finally there is Combat Mission: Red Thunder, which was an attempt to relive a bit of my gaming from 20 years ago.  It isn’t Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin, but it was okay.

So that was what I played.  I am not going to go as deep into charts as Belghast, but I have a summary of sorts.  Maybe at some point I’ll try and wrap up a five year view.

And what does the new year look like?  What do I think I will play in 2023?

Likely Candidates:

  • WoW Classic
  • EVE Online
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
  • Valheim

Those all seem safe since I am literally playing them already.  LEGO Star Wars… we’ll see how far I get with that one.

Strong Possibilities:

  • Pokemon Scarlet
  • RimWorld
  • Dwarf Fortress

Those feel like things I might get into.  My daughter got me Pokemon for Xmas, RimWorld has the Biotech expansion to explore, and Dwarf Fortress is finally available in a comprehensible form on Steam.  I should try it.

Seems Likely:

  • Diablo IV

I think I will be in for that, if it ships this year.

Things I will want to play, but probably won’t:

  • Forza Horizon 4/5
  • Lord of the Rings Online
  • Solesta
  • Civilization
  • EverQuest
  • Project: Gorgon
  • Most of my Steam library

It just seems to work out that way.  I have a limited amount of time and a hierarchy or titles I am in the mood to play.

Negative Interest:

  • WoW Dragonflight
  • New World
  • EverQuest II
  • Minecraft

Not saying they are bad games, but my own mood isn’t there for them.  I’m sour on New World and, in something of an odd twist, the previous expansions have put me off of both retail WoW and EQII for now.  And I think I covered Minecraft above.

But, in the end, my ability to predict what I will end up playing is somewhat limited.  I have a whole history of these post and my looking forward statements about what I might play have often not aligned with the reality at the end of the year… to the point that I stopped writing a separate forecasting post.

Anyway, that is another wrap up post for 2022.  We shall see what 2023 really brings.

December in Review

The Site

The end of another calendar year has arrived.  As it approached I did make it to the milestone I was attempting to achieve, posting for one thousand days in a row.

A four digit number

That and a double sawbuck will get me something at Starbucks.

I am actually up to 1,008 days in a row today, having a bunch of year end stuff to finish up.  And I’ll hit 1,009 tomorrow for sure.  But at some point soon I’ll take a day off and break the streak.

It was actually not a bad month for traffic here at TAGN, though that was largely due, once again, to somebody rolling up on the site in the middle of the night and viewing all the pages.  Or something.  I don’t know.  I just woke up and found I was about five thousand page views ahead of the norm that day.

The middle finger, in the nicest possible way

So an uptick this month, but not exactly representative of the trend around here, which is all down hill.  The new year will no doubt revert this momentary spike.

One Year Ago

My daughter and I finally got the Pokemon remake we had been waiting for with Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.  All Pokemons were go!

There were end of year summaries where I wrote about how much time I spent on Reddit, what channels I was watching on Twitch, I reviewed the answers to my questions for 2021, and then there were the highs and lows of 2021.

I was wondering what the FFXIV Endwalker expansion might do to WoW’s numbers.  Then there was the WoW Community Council, where Blizz selected members that pretty much aligned with their own outlook.  It seemed a bad year for Blizz and I was wondering what the biggest blow to them was in 2021.

EverQuest II got the Visions of Vertovia expansion while EverQuest got the Terrors of Luclin expansion.  But those were barely news compared to how much coverage the hint that they were making a Marvel superhero MMO was getting.

While Potshot and I had tried out Forza Horizon 5 on XBox Live, I went off and downgraded to Forza Horizon 4 on Steam, where it was on sale with all the DLC content.  Also, it was set in the UK and I wanted English (and Italian) cars.  It seemed like a bargain and lots of fun despite not being the latest offering.

The instance group was still playing New World.  We were out to find that Azoth staff, needed for dungeons.  Finding that got us to the Amrine Expedition. The first run went poorly, and the second run ended without killing the final boss.  The third time we managed to finish it off.

Meanwhile, our server was starting to decline, though not as much as some.  Still, we got merged into a new one. I was also feeling the pain of not allowing alts on a server.  But we did get the Winter Convergence event.

And then there was EVE Online, where CCP began inflicting the New Dawn permanent austerity plan on players.  My view of the state of New Eden was somewhat grim.  They even fumbled getting the MER out.

There was the Winter Nexus holiday event in New Eden, I commemorated a decade in null sec space, and I got my year in review video from CCP.

I was also wondering what, if anything, came before PLEX in the industry.  And then, in a Friday bullet points post, I noted that Daybreak acquired Magic the Gathering Online, Crowfall had found a new owner, and Perfect World Entertainment had been embraced by the Embracer Group.

Five Years Ago

We got the Ring of Scale expansion for EverQuest.

Nintendo and Game Freak released what might end up being the last Pokemon title to arrive on their handheld hardware in the form of Pokemon Crystal for the Virtual Console.

I was kind of bummed when Blizzard took away my sunglasses.  But I was still out fishing and doing pet battles in World of Warcraft.  And, most important of all, I unlocked flying in the Legion expansion.  I also spent some time trying to find an objective way to measure my favorite WoW expansion.

CCP launched the Arms Race expansion for EVE Online which included expanded Alpha Clone abilities and special skill injectors just for them.  The Agent Finder also got moved into The Agency completely.  Meanwhile, the Yule Lads weren’t delivering presents to us in New Eden.  We had to go find them ourselves.

I also hit a tipping point in the game, where now most of my time playing was now in null sec.

Actually out in space Reavers were deployed into Pure Blind and were quite active in December, with the following posts about fleet ops:

There was the usual set of review posts for 2017.  I looked at my predictions, my MMO outlook, highs and lows, and some MMO bloggers.

And there was, of course, a Steam Winter Sale.  I was in the “not enthusiastic” part of my relationship with Steam.

Ten Years Ago

I wrote a post looking at 50 years of James Bond.  It included ranked lists for people to argue about.

There was my standard Highs & Lows post for the year gone by, and I reviewed my questions for 2012.

Turbine announced that they were bringing back Asheron’s Call 2.  That ended up going mostly wrong in the end.

I was deep into my World of Tanks binge.  I was up to the KV-2 on the Soviet heavy line, choosing that path after the three way split at the KV-1. (And the T-28.)  I was also still working on the German tank destroyer line.

We were having a bit of fun in Need for Speed: World.  I even made a holiday video.

In Rift we were having some trouble getting a full group together, so we were doing some lower level instances as a group of four.  I was also struggling with the whole dimension thing.

Gaff and I took a quick peek into EverQuest II.  Nostalgia didn’t last long.  I also took a one-time shot at Wizardy Online.  It just wasn’t a game for me, but not every game has to be.

I was looking back on a year in null sec in EVE Online.  The Retribution expansion went live.  Also I hit 90 million skill points.

I crammed together all the ads I could find from the EVE Online splash screen.  The then new launcher killed off those ads… sort of.  They’re just elsewhere now, but not so easy to screen shot.

Fifteen Years Ago

December 2007 seemed to be a busy time for the SOE.  First there was the whole “moving a whole guild from test to a live server” brouhaha.  Then there was the rumor of SOE being purchased by Zapak Digital Entertainment.  And, finally, there was the deal with Live Gamer to take over transactions on the Station Exchange servers, at which time Smed himself said that this did not mean that they were going to open the flood gates of RMT on any of their servers not currently served by SOE’s own Station Exchange RMT plan.  All of which I wrapped up in one post.

Another EverQuest Nostalgia Tour was off to the usual activities, including grousing about keyboard settings.

I put up my predictions for the “Next EverQuest II Expansion,” the whole “predicting Kunark” thing from the year before having gone to my head.  I was also looking at crafting after the Rise of Kunark expansion shipped.  I hit level 61 and then 62, but I wouldn’t get much further for a long time.  And I was looking at shrunken owlbears and trolling in Darklight Woods.

The Saturday Night Instance Group was in World of Warcraft and finishing up Blackrock Depths.  This was back in the days where you didn’t just run an instance in 15 minutes with some strangers then queue up again in dungeon Finder for the next one.  Our first run got us through the detention block, our second run got us to Lord Incendius, and our third run finally finished off the instance and got us on our way to Marshall Windsor and Lady Prestor.  That was basically four Saturday nights dealing with one instance.  Good times.

I was also happy about a feature of the WoW Armory.

Dr. Richard Bartle brought up the “why so much fantasy” question for its regular beating to death.

was interviewed over at World IV blog.  That was back when I was somebody I guess.  And blogs were still a thing.  I had to reset that link to the Internet Archive.

I was annoyed at Lord of the Rings Online, which was updating a lot of files and killing my video card, but still wasn’t giving me a horse.

lost my first battlecruiser to pirates in EVE Online.  Meanwhile, after pissing away a lot of ISK on invention, I was not getting a lot of results.

We also got the Trinity expansion, which had some issue… like deleting the boot.ini file on people’s drives.  #NeverForget

CCP was also telling people to get out of Jita, it already having grown to be the trade hub of New Eden.  A couple of jumps over in Hageken somebody built one of the first space designs I had seen.

I bought a new gaming computer full of Quad Core goodness.

X-Fire was still a thing and putting out stats about what their users were playing, including MMOs.  EVE Online figured on the list, as it did on the F13.net poll about MMOs.

There was a Duke Nukem Forever trailer, just six years after the last one.  The game still wouldn’t come out until 2011 and remains the yardstick for delay to which even Chris Roberts may still aspire.

And the best selling PC games of 2007 were:

  1. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
  2. The Sims 2: Seasons
  3. Command & Conquer 3
  4. The Sims 2: Bon Voyage
  5. Supreme Commander
  6. Lord of the Rings Online: The Shadows of Angmar
  7. The Orange Box
  8. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  9. BioShock
  10. The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Stuff

Twenty Years Ago

The Sims Online launched, the first of a number of half-hearted attempts by EA to find success in the virtual world space without simply buying another company that had some success.  Misunderstanding the meaning of virtual worlds to paying customers, and perhaps the meaning of The Sims to that very dedicated player base, the game was reported to feel like and endless grind to do things like make pizzas in order to be able to afford to do things.  Since I was told that by one of the designers, I’m going to stick with that point of view.  The game would eventually be shut down in the summer of 2008, having survived pretty long for an EA effort.

Twenty Five Years Ago

Quake II launched, which I recall being mildly controversial and leading to a Quake vs. Quake II division in the community.

The Pokemon anime episode Cyber Soldier Porygon aired, causing hundreds of kids to have seizures due to the rapidly flashing animation.

Also my wife let her recently laid off boyfriend… me… move in with her for reasons I still don’t quite understand.  Any objective outside observer who had ever seen my apartment would have called it a bad idea I am sure.  Also, I had a cat.  An unemployed man with a cat.  What was she thinking?

Thirty Years Ago

Westwood Studios releases Dune II, arguably the first real-time strategy game and the one that serves as the template for its many imitators.  Some nerds at a company called Silicone & Synapse are obsessed with it and decide to make their own RTS, but allowing multiple players.

At a company Christmas party everybody who worked on our “Teleport Gold” project got a video game console, either a Super Nintendo or a Sega Genesis.  I was disappointed to get the latter, but we ended up playing a lot of NBA Jam on it.

Forty Five Years Ago

The Atari 2600 was on store shelves everywhere and I got one for Christmas.

Most Viewed Posts in December

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. Flight in Pre-Patch Outland
  4. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  5. Faction Warfare Updates Kicking Off in EVE Online
  6. WoW Shadowlands Sales Stacked Up Against Past Releases
  7. Making the Grey Pit in Valheim
  8. The RimWorld Biotech Expansion
  9. CCP Lets EVE Online Players with Multiple Accounts Subscribe Secondary Accounts at a Lower Price
  10. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  11. The Level 70 Boost Question for Wrath Classic
  12. The Federal Trade Commission Sues to Block Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Search Terms of the Month

all least of fantasy westward journey and thier names
[Not sure I can help with that]

which outlands area has least amount of group quests
[I think Zangarmarsh has the most soloable group quests]

2009 minecraft realms
[Only back in 2009]

world of warcraft collectible coin set alliance
[I am sure it is out there somewhere]

Game Time by ManicTime

Well, at least I played four games on my PC this month rather than just two.

  • WoW Classic – 62.71%
  • EVE Online – 31.90%
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga – 3.05%
  • Valheim – 2.34%

EVE Online

As you can see by the time tracking above, I actually spent a bit more time in New Eden this month.  There was the big battle at H-PA29, which kept me logged in for a few hours.  But then I also got myself invested in some ISK making in order to revive my bank account, which has been dwindling since the end of the war.  I want to have enough financial padding when the next big event comes along.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

I picked this up on Steam, though there is a longer tale about it than that, which I will get to in the new year.  But I did get some play time in with it.

Pokemon Go

My wife and I, having hit 43 last month, started the big climb to level 44.  11 million xp to get there.  I suspect I will be ringing in 2024 and not be there yet.

  • Level: 43 (10% of the way to 44 in xp, 0 of 4 tasks complete)
  • Pokedex status: 746 (+2) caught, 764 (+3) seen
  • Mega Evolutions obtained: 21 of 25
  • Pokemon I want: Pachirisu
  • Current buddy: Golisopod (just because he looks cool)

Valheim

The advent to the Mistlands update got me to dig out our old world and set it up again, then run out and get myself killed in the new content.  That is always the way of things.  I didn’t find a lot of time for Viking life after that, but it is still there as an option.

WoW Classic

I made it to level 80 with my first character and the group got together and did a couple of instances.  But the back half of the month saw a lot of family and work events getting in the way, so I didn’t spend as much time in Wrath Classic as I might have.  I also pretty much punted on the holiday events there.

Zwift

I fell off the wagon… or the bike I suppose… in the back half of the month.  Again, the holidays will do that to you.  My dedicated ride time is generally Saturday and Sunday mornings, and when Christmas and New Years fall on Sunday, they get in the way.  Still, I did not slack off completely.

  • Level – 17
  • Distanced cycled – 1,399 miles (+47 miles)
  • Elevation climbed – 54,409 (+1,387 feet)
  • Calories burned – 43,140 (+1,194)

Coming Up

2023.  That’s the year.

Well, you likely know that tomorrow will be some sort of New Year’s prediction post.  There are also a few more end of year wrap up posts to be done.

But most of all, I feel like a nap.  Are we all good with that?

Drak’Tharon Keep on the Run

I am a little behind in posting, but it has been the holidays and all of that.  So this is from the week before Xmas when we got together to take a look at the next dungeon on our Northrend list, Drak’Tharon Keep.

Drak’Tharon Keep is out in Zul’Drak, one of the zones I have pretty much avoided so far in Wrath Classic.  However, there was one quest in Dragonblight that I did that sends you off to the first flight point in the zone at Light’s Breach, so I had that already.  And, as it turns out, that is also where Drak’Tharon Keep is.

Just into Zul’Drak

However, only I had the flight point, so when Beanpole showed up I met him over in Dragonblight and we rode over from there to Zul’Drak together.  He got the flight point and, together we would be able to summon the rest of the group from the meeting stone.

We were a bit early though, so we ran around doing this and that while we waited.  I was fishing a bit while he was off collecting soul stones.  He burned down enough mobs that there was a Heavy Frostweave Bandage tome in the loot for me.  One of the quirks of Wrath is you can’t just train that, you have to get it as a drop and only in certain zones and only when you’re first aid skill is high enough.

The rest of the crew logged on as we were doing our thing, so we headed down to the summoning stone to bring us all together.

It is just down stairs

We got ourselves together and sorted and walked on in to the instance.

Drak’Tharon is one of those middle-game instances that I didn’t really have much of a memory of doing.  We obviously didn’t have Prince Keleseth levels of issues with it.

Into the instance

Going inside didn’t really shake loose any more memories, though the map of the instance did at least bring something up.

Drak’Tharon Map

The raptor pens sounded like a place I had been, but we had a bit to get there.

We rolled on up to the first boss, Trollgore, and having no memories of the fight, I went to take a look at what WoW Head had to say  There I found a series of dire warnings about Trollgore, his abilities, and how the fight might go wrong.  And then we fought him and won without an issues as all.

Trollgore down

I just kept him on the steps and backed up a bit when he was in an ability wind up, and that seemed to do the trick.

From there it was around to the Temple of the Forgotten and Novos the Summoner.

Arriving at Novos

Novos was another boss I read up on who had a whole bunch of stuff going and who, in the end, went down without a lot of effort.  I don’t think we’re over leveled at this point, hitting the instance at level 75… I forgot to take a pic of the group and levels this time… and all the more so when the hunter DPS is mostly on auto attack.  But there we were.

Novos did, however, drop something nice for us.  Or for the casters at least.

Robes of Novos

Those robes went into a need off between Ula and Beanpole, with Ula getting a new set of threads.  They were nice enough though that Beanpole suggested he might want to re-run this far into the instance for another shot at them.

After Novos we made our way into the raptor part of the instance.

Welcome to Raptorville

And the raptor in chief is King Dred, the next boss, who set us to our first wipe of the day.

That did not go well

That wipe was my fault.  The notes on him suggest clearing out ALL of the raptors in the area as they will come join King Dred during his fight if left alive and two of the raptors are behind where King Dred wanders.  Seeing a gap, I thought I could successfully pull them without getting King Dred… and I was very wrong.

We ended up, on the second try, sneaking past King Dred to get the two hidden raptors, but then had to take the boss when he came back.  But this time around we managed to take him down.  It wasn’t as easy as the previous fights… we weren’t really ready and I ended up laying hands at one point, but that is what it is there for… and he went down.

King Dred, now King Dead

And, like Novos, he has a nice upgrade for the casters.  This time it came in the form of a staff.

Staff of the Great Reptile

That went to Beanpole, and there was an opinion expressed that we might have to come back.

At that point, however, Beanpole was called away and we were left without our Warlock.  No more health stones to heal us or soul stones to revive us.

But the four of us decided to carry on… and got in over our heads almost immediately.  The trash mobs on the way to the final boss mix together in uncomfortable combos if you don’t pull correctly, and I ended up pulling a group that got us to wipe.  We were wondering if we would make it to the final boss.

With some care we managed to move forward, keeping the pulls simple and separate, until we found ourselves at the base of the steps look up to the platform where the final boss lay.

Behold The Prophet Tharon’ja… up the steps

This was another fight with a lot of details, including a whole mid-fight event where your group is transformed into skeletons with a special set of skeleton attacks.  The whole thing seemed like it might be a bit sketch… but then we started the fight and rolled on through with just the four characters.  The skeleton phase of the fight went by very quickly.  I guess we all pressed the right buttons.

And with the death of The Prophet Tharon’ja the achievement popped.  We had finished the instance.

Drak’Tharon Keep Complete

We were a bit surprised to be done, but went and took that final victory shot.

Victory over The Prophet Tharon’ja

Then we took the way out, which involves jumping down the back of Tharon’ja’s tower into a stair step of drops with water landings until we were back in the aptly named Hall of Return.

We may have to go back because Beanpole didn’t get to finish the instance with us… and because of the drop.  We also didn’t do any pre-work to pick up any of the quests for the instance, so that might take some looking into as well.

Our run was about on par with our original run at the instance back in 2009.  We wiped on King Dred then as well.

That was also likely our last Wrath Classic instance run of the year.

We will return once we’re past the holidays.

Level 80 in Northrend

I got my first character to level 80 in Wrath of the Lich King Classic.  My Death Knight, Irondam, has hit the level cap for the expansion.  Not bad for pretty much the last character I created in the game.  Yes, DKs start at 55, but I had a level 60 warrior before I even made Irondam.

So he marched ahead and became my highest level character… because DKs are hilariously OP in Wrath.  I may have mentioned that I have the glyph that resets the timer on death coil every time you get a kill that grants xp or honor and it makes just gabbing mobs too much fun.

The moment I swap to another character I feel its lack.  I’m just sorry I didn’t make a DK back in the day.  I mean, my paladin no longer sucks like he did in vanilla, but DKs… bwahahaha!

Anyway, as I mentioned when he made it to 77 and unlocked cold weather flying, I had been diligent with him, going through zone by zone and doing all the quests and getting the achievement.  I made it through five zones doing that.  And then he got flying and Blizzard threw the Joyous Journeys xp buff at us and I said “to hell with that” and went into Icecrown and just did quests until he finally capped out.

And so the magic moment hit.

Bazinga… or something

Level 80.  And look at the xp from that quest turn-in.  That is some Joyous Journey bonus xp being reflected in that.

Now what?  Am I done?  End of the line?  Boredom city?

You tell ’em!

Nah.  Irondam is kind of becoming my “do all the things” character… well, except dungeons I suppose.  But I guess I could solve that by standing out in front of some of the lower level dungeons offering to tank.  I actually spec’d blood, so part of the hilarity of my DK is that he has all sorts of self-healing on tap AND he still beats the crap out of most things he runs across.  I could carry some randos through at least half the dungeons with some mediocre healing.

Also, level 80 quests up in Ice Crown… they now pay out some gold when I complete them.

Some cash for my trouble

Yes, I realize that if you’re playing retail WoW a 20 gold quest reward looks like penny ante stakes.  But I am pretty happy with 20g a quest.  If only the Joyous Journey’s buff applied to the gold payout as well as xp.

And that will help me build up some gold reserves as my other characters move ahead.  And they can move ahead in style, because one thing you can buy in Dalaran is a tome of cold weather flying.

Just 1,000 gold – account bound

That account bound book lets you fly in Northrend as early as level 68.  You’re alts need never walk again.  I forget if you can send it across factions or not.  But, then again, I didn’t even remember such a thing existed.  Was that always in Wrath?

Anyway, I am split as to whether I should carry on earning cash or use the current holiday xp buff to get an alt a leg up into Northrend… flying as they go.

Reviewing My 2022 Predictions

We are back once again for another review of some really bad predictions I made at the start of the year.  I have engaged in an almost annual experiment in proving how wrong I can be about the future for a good fourteen years now.

2022 is what we get

While we are still a good two weeks shy of the new year in my book, if it hasn’t come to pass by December 15th, it probably isn’t going to happen.  So it is time to see how off base I was.

As usual, I will score by giving myself 10 points for each correct prediction, with partial credit available… because I often write rambling predictions with multiple points of contact.

Looking back at the questions from the start of the year… well, I seemed to be in something of a mood, especially about EVE Online.  Though not without reason on that front.  After declaring an “age of prosperity” they went and announced a plan to keep the economy strangled going forward.  “Prosperity” was nowhere in the cards they were dealing out.  But I was also moody about a few other companies.

Anyway, let’s get to the scoring.

1 – Activision-Blizzard will drop “Blizzard” from the Corporate Name

I backed myself into this one, having made a declaration about this in August of 2021, when it seemed as though the company could sink no lower in its scandal ridden tales.  It seemed like they had run the name through enough mud that it might be time to go back to Silicone & Synapse.

But it did not come to pass.

Now, I could make excuses about how the Microsoft acquisition, which showed up less than three weeks after my predictions, locked everything in place, so no major name change was likely to occur… but, in hindsight, no name change was likely to happen either way.  When you have Bobby Kotick at the helm, Blizzard would have to work a lot harder to eclipse the stink on him.

Zero points.

2 – No WoW Expansion in 2022

Man, I was not on a hot streak for 2022 was I?

Okay, this one did not look that outrageous a year ago.  Blizzard seemed to be in disorder, Shadowlands was flailing about without content updates, and there was some word about retooling their approach.  It seemed likely that they wouldn’t get out an expansion this year.

But they managed it.  The jury is still out on Dragonflight… I mean, I loved Shadowlands for about a month, before I found the quick trip to level cap meant and endless endgame treadmill… but it launched at the end of November and is still running along.  I haven’t seen the traditional glowing “current expansion exceeds all past expansions” press release about any sales metric yet.

In the end though, even if it dies in a month, they still shipped an expansion.  Zero points.

3 – The Arthas Hail Mary

I’m going to have to quote this one, just to avoid having to recount it point by point.

Wrath of the Lich King Classic will be announced to great fanfare.  This will be the big 2022 announcement for the WoW franchise, and it will be as stale as you expect.  While I love the whole retro server scene, and WotLK as well, there is a reason that Daybreak doesn’t put out a press release every time an EverQuest progression server unlocks a new expansion.  And it will be tainted by the same things that hurt Burning Crusade Classic, like a special deluxe package with a horrendous mount to single you out for ridicule.  It will be more popular than whatever is going on with Shadowlands, an admittedly low hurdle, but it won’t launch until Q4 so we won’t see any financial impact during the 2022 calendar year.

I mean, sure, Wrath Classic, big fanfare… but Dragonflight was probably the bigger announcement, if only because it was new and unexpected.  We all had no doubt Wrath Classic was going to show.  It also made it into Q3, just barely.  But it counts.

It did, however, get the ugly mount that singles you out and it was sure as hell more popular than Shadowlands this year.

I am going to give myself 4 points for this one.

4 – Immortality is Overrated

Okay, I am getting a little better as we go along here.

Diablo: Immortal will finally ship in time for summer… after all, NetEase is the one doing the work here.  It will get a lot of hype from the company because WoW Classic and Hearthstone updates can only carry so much water for them.  It will be briefly popular, because we do in fact all have phones, combining as it will everything Blizzard promised (something like Diablo) and everything fans feared (cash shop from hell), but the Q3 2022 financials will only mention it in passing.

I mean, isn’t that pretty much what happened, right down to shipping in time for summer?

You can split hairs on that one, but I am giving myself the full 10 points.  I rarely get this close to the mark.

5 – Activision Will Settle with the State of California

Okay, after that riding high on that last one I am brought low again.  I, not for the last time I am sure, invoke the Microsoft acquisition to explain this away.  Zero points.

6 – Bobby Kotick Will Remain in Charge at Activision

And, just to switch things around, the Microsoft acquisition pretty much made this a lock.  Not that I thought Bobby was going anywhere otherwise.  He has set himself up to suckle at the company’s teat, sucking down a huge amount of cash while he runs an entertainment sweat shop.  Why would he step away from that?  10 points.

7 – Enad Global 7 will Announce Marvel Universe Online

Oh EG7, you had such a potential winner here.  Even the hint of this project got the company more press than it had seen in a decade.

Massively OP declared Blizzard’s problems with its NetEase contract the biggest MMO company blunder, but when we measure the potential upside lost relative to the size of the company, this one dwarfs the NetEase deal.

Yeah, in case you hadn’t heard, all they announced was that the project was cancelled.

Zero points.

8 – H1Z1 Will Remain in Limbo

Sometimes I need a gimme.  H1Z1 is Schrodinger’s battle royale, neither dead nor alive.

10 Points.

9 – LOTRO Old and New

I was predicting a split in the product, with a new branch to support the console plans that EG7 kept talking about.  But we didn’t get anything really about the whole console thing.  I suspect the tepid response to Amazon’s Rings of Power, which was supposed to ignite more Tolkien interest, might be on the list of reasons.

Zero Points.

10 – Nothing New in Norrath

EverQuest and EverQuest II rolled on as before, and no new Norrath titles were launched, announced, or even hinted at.  Kind of a gimme.  But I need all the help I can get.

10 points.

11 – Ji Ham Confirmed as CEO of Enad Global 7

This is a complicated one.  Technically I think Ji Ham is still “acting” CEO of EG7.  His linked in profile still has “interim” on display.

On the other hand, the Daybreak team completed their reverse acquisition and now pretty much run EG7, so the idea that he is going to be asked to step down from the position seems pretty silly.

I am going to give myself 4 points because he is the CEO and they aren’t going to replace him.

12 – CCP will Circle the Wagons to Defend Against Player Feedback

Yes and no.  CCP management certainly came into the new year saying they knew better and would do whatever they wanted.  But push back from players got them to declare against crypto in EVE Online (for now), and they eventually began to relent on some of the things dragging down the New Eden economy, like capitals and battleships being too expensive to bother producing and the stranglehold on minerals… things that were pointed out as problems the day they were announced.

The economy is still not perfect, but things are at least better now… a year later than they could have been… should have been… but better.  I’m giving myself 2 points for the beginning of the year.

13 – New Eden Economic Times

This is basically part 2 of the previous item, only more about the in-game economy.  CCP eventually relented on many things that players had been complaining about since they were introduced, so I feel like I would be double dipping if I gave myself more that zero points.

14 – New World on Consoles Announcement

Sorry, no.  They spent most of 2022 trying to fix the game so people would play it again.  Their expansion saw a brief spike, but fresh start servers are really what brought people back because they could at least play on worlds that had not been screwed up economically by the company’s bumbling management of the game for the first few months.  Zero points.

15 – New World Store Update

None of these things came to pass.  Zero points.

16 – Crypto Mania will Continue and yet Yield Nothing of Value

I mean, unless you can assign value to schadenfreude I guess.  10 points.

17 – Metaversary Rhymes

Part two, the whole crypto metaverse idea of being able to bring your car from Mario Kart into Forza or whatever.  It didn’t go anywhere either.  10 points.

18 – Non-Fungible Fiascos

My ongoing bets against crypto seemed solid, but my guesses as to which company’s we beshit their games with it… well, this was the list:

  • EVE Online
  • Star Citizen
  • Black Desert Online
  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • Wild Card: Some Gamigo Title

None did however… which, given the talk a year ago, means crypto must have really taken a dump in 2022.  I was never happier to get zero points.

19 – Chapter and Metaverse

I was predicting that Zuckerberg’s own personal metaverse, Horizon Worlds, would gain no traction.  They were making managers force their employees to log in.  Hell, it was all they could do to announce legs… and even then they didn’t show the actual in-game legs, but specially rendered ones on the virtual Zucks.  10 points.

20 – A Better Metaplace

Raph and Playable Worlds did not deliver anything in 2022.  Zero points.

21 – Non Starters

My usual gimme list of games that won’t ship.  Basically 10 points for free.

Extra Credit

These are bonus, usually outrageous guesses for some additional points.

The first guess was that CCP would get fed up with players electing the CSM and just appoint their own council, the way Blizzard did.  Like I said, I was in a bad mood.  That did not come to pass, so zero points of extra credit there.

Meanwhile, I also guessed that Blizzard would get bored of their own WoW Player Council, thank everybody for their service after a year, and forget about the whole thing.  While the WPC has been a giant nothing burger so far as I can tell, I just went to check its special forum and it still exists.  So zero points of extra credit there as well.

The Final Score

I had a total of 210 possible points for my main predictions.  From my scoring above, I managed to get a total of 90 points.  That gives me a nearly 43% success rate, which is far better than I have done in some past years.  I guess the lesson here is always bet against crypto.

That is all I have.  Another year down.  Now I have to decide what I will do for 2023.  Predictions?  Questions?  Demands?  Something else?  I have two weeks to figure it out.

First Flight in Northrend

Irondam, my Death Knight, was getting towards the end of the quests in Grizzly Hill when he ticked over to level 77, the magic moment when flight becomes available in Wrath of the Lich King.

The classic comes to classic

That makes Wrath different from Burning Crusade, and was probably a self-conscious move by Blizzard when they realized that, having given everybody flight as an option at the end of TBC they were taking it away the moment we stepped into Northrend.

This is, of course, and issue that Blizz would wrestle with in every subsequent expansion up until the current Dragonflight, where they just said, “screw it, everybody flies all the time after the intro” and then found ways to make flying a thing you needed to unlock attributes for to make it all you wanted it to be.

The problems are multiple, starting with the fact that once you give people something they really hate it when you take it away.  That fights with the fact that if you make ground based content and give people flying, then they just fly past all possible obstacles, speed running through the content until they finish it, after which they will complain about there not being enough content.

But those were all arguments for the future when Wrath was out, because in Wrath Blizz decided to split the baby and give players flying part of the way through the expansion, and included along the way content that required that ability.   And it you have content built around flying, that is better, right?

(Maybe.  I don’t like swimming content because of the problem of moving in three dimensions, so you can clearly do flying content that would be as bad as that.)

Anyway, I did not come here to rehash old complaints, but to talk about flying in Northrend right now.  And once Irondam hit 77 I got him straight back to Dalaran in order to pick up the cold weather flying skill.  That runs 1,000 gold.

Cold Weather Flying

But, as it turns out, Irondam is the most wealthy of my characters.  It turns out having only had to pay a pittance for riding and flying skills after the Wrath Classic pre-patch, he has been able to simply accumulate wealth.  It also helps that in running his gathering skills… I have him doing mining and herbalism… he not only didn’t have to blow a ton of gold on a useless crafting skill, but was able to sell quite a bit of what he harvested to people who were prepared to blow a ton of gold on useless crafting skills.

And, with flying now an option, finishing up Grizzly Hills became a tad bit easier.

The main problem I had was finding the final 20 or so quests I needed for the achievement, which happened to be locked behind a quest I had missed at one point.  That meant retracing my steps quite a bit.  It turned out to be a quest where you are a passenger on a horse and worgen are chasing you… because they were just on the NPC list until Cataclysm.

They’re on our tail

That done I was able to wrap up the quests I needed.  I actually didn’t remember much of Grizzly Hills… there were some odd quests in there for sure.

The bunny escort quest

It was a bit less epic than Dragonblight… and included some of the Blizzard staples that seem to be required for any expansion.

Outhouse fart jokes? Blizzard?

Anyway, I was able to wrap things up, and all the more quickly due to being able to fly.  Achievement earned.

Grizzly Hills quest achievement

Then it was off to Sholizar Basin next.

Into the Basin on a flying mount

Sholazar Basin went by very quickly.  I think I did it in three sittings, ending up at level 78 at the far end after having earned the achievement.

Sholazar Basin Quest Achievement

This was a bit odd because, in my brain, Sholazar was a long bit of work.  I remember having to run up and down the zone multiple times.  But when you can fly… well, as noted above, you can bypass all the obstructions on the ground.

After that I was considering going to Zul’drak.  I had been sent over there and picked up the flight point as part of a quest back in Dragonblight.  However, when I arrived there I realized that the quests were already pretty low level for me.  I should have gone there from Grizzly Hills first, then to Sholazar Basin.  But, whatever.  I was already well into 78, I started thinking that maybe getting to level cap with Irondam ought to be my next goal.  So I changed directions and headed for the Storm Peaks.

On the glide path into K3

Because, if I get to level cap I can then buy cold weather flying for my low level alts and my druid can be one of those obnoxious level 70s dropping in to harvest herbs in while the plebs are still walking.

And it seems that Blizz wants to help my on my way to level cap.  Yesterday saw the return of Joyous Journeys, the 50% XP buff that they had up during the Wrath pre-patch.  I am not sure what that portends.  I was happy enough wandering through the expansion at the current pace.  Sure, I can turn the buff off… and I will for Wilhelm so he doesn’t get too far ahead of the group doing Kaluak dailies… but Irondam can get there and then all his quest rewards will have extra gold rather than xp, and I’ll need that if I am ever going to get epic flying.

Honest Game Trailers takes on Wrath of the Lich King Classic

We’ve been at Wrath of the Lich King Classic for… wow, has it been two months already?  It doesn’t feel like that long at all.

The classic comes to classic

Of course, anything that Blizzard does it news, so naturally Honest Game Trailers got out there and took a run at it, and I was eager to see where they went.

And… I feel a little called out by that video.  I mean, I laughed, but I also went, “hrmmmmm.”

I am on record here as saying how happy I am with how well my classes play and the story and seeing Arthas in Dragonblight and following his tale and that I am on board with achievements again despite having done them all before.

Look, I am down with playing through the MMO version of Warcraft III

And then the video hits me with everything is OP and too easy and achievements and the fact that holy paladins don’t completely suck anymore… and we have a holy paladin as our group healer.

But, you know what?  I don’t care.  I am fourteen years older, slower, and less capable, so the whole thing is just about my speed.  I am happy playing Wrath Classic.  I am glad I play a protection paladin tank that is pretty much all about AOE’ing all the things… because that is what makes the damage meter pop, and that is what it is all about, right?

You kids, get off my lawn.  I’m having fun here!