Category Archives: WoW Classic

Checking Up on Alts in WoW Classic

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

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

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

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

Wilhelm running down another quest

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

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

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

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

And some things running at you

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

Felwood map

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

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

Made my way to Xavathras

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

Nobody can leave captivity without their stuff

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

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

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

Unfriendly means they don’t attack

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

First stop, Denova Snowden

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

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

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

A Plaguelands panorama

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

Where I’ve been from Chillwind

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

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

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

Facing the Avatar of Hakkar

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

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

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

Moronae was moving yet standing still

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

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

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

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

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

Crowd when I arrived

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

When the spirit hits you

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

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

Gorlash down

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

Camping Out

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

Trash to clear on the way in

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

In the room where it happens

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

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

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

And then the power went out at my house.

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

Local temp while we were playing

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

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

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

The Avatar of Hakkar down

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

The plate chest was not for me

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

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

Restart the whole thing

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

Round Two begins

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

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

The winning team

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

Next stop Stormwind

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

Quest turn-in ahead

There we turned in the quest.  Done with that.

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

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

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

Upstairs at the Sunken Temple

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

The Temple of Atal’Hakkar

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

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

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

Back at the start

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

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

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

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

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

The Old Sunken Temple map

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

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

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

Resting on a balcony

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

Huku was last on the list

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

Into the fourth floor… lots of welps and dragonkin

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

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

Jammal’an ahead

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

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

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

Dodging the ghosts

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

There he is, get him!

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

Chaos on the altar by Moronae’s corpse

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

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

The vestments

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

Victory over Jammal’an

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

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

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

Morphand and Hazzas flying around

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

Both dragons down

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

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

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

Slept by the shade

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

Down as Eranikus returns to his slumber

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

Reviving at the graveyard

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

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

The Fallen Hero has something for me

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

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

So I took the Diamond Flask.

Some health on demand

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

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

August in Review

The Site

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

August means some sort of Blaugust

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

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

A post a day keeps… something away…

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

One Year Ago

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

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

PlanetSide Arena also resurfaces with a new plan.

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

There was more talk about lock boxes and bad analogies.

I hit three years with Pokemon Go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Years Ago

It was Blaugust and a lot of people played along.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years Ago

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

Massive Blips went away.  I miss it.

I made my position on raspberries perfectly clear.

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

Cryptic and Atari announced they were doing the game Neverwinter.

Runic started talking about Torchlight II.

Stunt Rock.  I need say no more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twenty Years Ago

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

Twenty-Five Years Ago

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

Most Viewed Posts in August

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

Search Terms of the Month

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

eve online notoras
[They have icecream]

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

felwood or un’goro first
[Un’goro]

Spam Comment of the Month

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

Gaming Time from ManicTime

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

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

Anyway, game times:

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

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

Diablo II

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

EVE Online

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

Pokemon Go

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

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

World of Warcraft

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

WoW Classic

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

Coming Up

More World War Bee in EVE Online is a given.

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

More Diablo II certainly.

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

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

A Year of WoW Classic

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

Classic is as Classic does

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

Waiting in line in the snow

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

And it has been good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Down Stairs in the Sunken Temple

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

The Temple Awaits

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

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

In the Blasted Lands again

Our group for the run was:

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

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

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

Looking down into the temple

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

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

There is a mask, so this way maybe?

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

Into the instance at last

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

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

The Old Sunken Temple

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

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

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

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

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

On the altar for the order

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

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

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

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

Some statues already lit up

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

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

There he is below us

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

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

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

Looking down at the coming fight

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

Onto Atal’Alarion

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

Atal’Alarion defeated

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

Everybody recalling home

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

That is one boss down… many more to go.

The bosses of classic Sunken Temple

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

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

 

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

The Long Road to Sunken Temple

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

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

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

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

Devilsaur in the crater

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

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

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

Devilsaur Down

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

Riding out of Un’goro

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

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

Finding Marvon

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

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

Waiting for the next boat

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

There it is

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

Stormwind is just a click away

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

Just overlooking Qeul’Danil Lodge

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

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

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

Hyena corpse pile forming

And it worked.  Rocs began to spawn.

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

So we basically came along and fixed the spawn.

Rocs spawn!

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

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

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

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

Being drunk means never getting to the point…

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

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

Blizzard Continues Its Pandemic Profit Roll in Q2

We got the 2020 Q2 financial results for Activision Blizzard earlier this week and it confirmed what many had probably already guessed; people staying home play (and pay for) more video games.

So, not really a surprise that they did well, though I am sure senior execs from Bobby Kotick on down will claim that their leadership was the magic ingredient.  It is always their work that causes anything good and unavoidable market conditions that cause anything bad.  So the execs get huge bonuses and the employees… well… and it isn’t just people on the Activision side of the house.

Anyway, as the presentation shows, revenue was up year over year.

Activision Blizzard Q2 2020 Financial Results Presentation – Slide 10

Of course, things were looking pretty meager a year ago, with the 2019 Q1 results showing people had fallen away from Battle for Azeroth with Q2 reviving slightly… margins up from 16% to 20%… on anticipation of WoW Classic and the Rise of Azshara update which unlocked flying in the expansion.

It wasn’t until the Q3 results that included the launch of WoW Classic that things began to look better.  And then, of course, the national disaster of the pandemic hit and kept everybody home.

So things are looking up for the company.  Surprising to me is the lack of depth in the portfolio at Blizzard and across the company.  The only thing new in Q2 was the Call of Duty: Warzone battle royale addon to the Call of Duty franchise and the promise of the Shadowlands expansion for WoW some time this year.

Activision Blizzard Q2 2020 Financial Results Presentation – Slide 7

Of course, maybe that shouldn’t surprise me.  Activision is mostly Call of Duty these days, and Blizzard has some other titles, but WoW is still the revenue juggernaut and when it sags there isn’t anything to take up the slack.  A new card pack for Hearthstone isn’t going to make a huge impact at this point and Diablo: Immortal still seems to be far from going live.

So I expect things will remain upbeat so long as we’re all encouraged to stay home as much as possible, and there no doubt be a spike when the Shadowlands expansion launches in Q4.  But the company remains the same.  It is WoW and everything else.

For those interested, the financial data, presentation, and audio of the conference call, can be found on the Activision Blizzard investor relations page.

Class Quest Prep for Sunken Temple

We decided that we had had enough of Maraudon in our two runs and turned our gaze towards Sunken Temple, or The Temple of Atal’Hakkar, to give it its proper name.

The Temple of Atal’Hakkar out in the swamp

But there was some preliminary work to be done.  Some of it was the usual rounding up of quests for the instance.  Oddly, my usual starting point for that, Icy Veins, doesn’t seem to have the instance on their list.

Nothing between Maraudon and Dire Maul?

Still, there are other sources.  And some of those quests have lead-ins that we need to do, staring with one to just find the temple.

But there were also some special quests to pick up.  At level 50 all of us were offered a class quest, and while they all have different starting points, they all end up in the instance. (WoWhead has them all listed out.)  So we set out to get those ready.

Between the four of us we had to go to the Blasted Lands, Un’goro Crater, and Azshara.

The warrior quest was in the Blasted Lands and I had already been out there with Viniki to do the first part of it.  That, and the fact that it was somewhat on the way to any place else we were headed… not too far from the boat out of Booty Bay… made it the starting point for the day.  We got on the bird and headed to the Blasted Lands.

Making this even easier, I had already scouted the next step, which just involved killing a variety of mobs who were all located in and around a cave just south of Nethergarde Keep.

It all fits on one little map section

We landed there and Skronk got to use his newly acquired group fortitude spell to buff the group.

Everybody at once

It requires a reagent, which means something else to keep track of, but it gets everybody in one shot and takes less mana than hitting us one at a time, a process that was requiring a break for a drink in order to complete.

We rode out and were able to pick up the kills we were trying for fairly quickly.  The only problem we ran into was a Servant of Allistarj, a mob that just refused to die.  You would knock them down to one hit point, and then nothing would stick.

The Servant of Allistarj abides

We ended up having to just run away from them if we ended up aggrod.  That was a minor inconvenience, but it did slow us down a bit.  Later I looked up the mob and found that you needed to get them to one of the local pylons to finish them off.  That would have been handy to know at the time as one of those pylons is literally in the background of the above screen shot.

Still, we wrapped things up and I was able to update the quest chain with the Fallen Hero of the Horde just over the zone line in the Swamp of Sorrow.

Quest update please

From there we were off to Un’Goro crater and the druid quest for Moronae.  That meant a boat trip, some flying time, and a ride across Tanaris to the pathway down into the crater.

The path is at least well marked

There we needed stingers off of the Gorbashi mobs, which are in the south end of the zone.  The quest notes say they come off of the bugs in general, but we only ever got drops from the wasps.  Given the low drop rate, we were there hunting for quite a while.

A stand up fight or another bug hunt?

We persisted, killed a lot of bugs, then finally got the final drop.  Then there were some bloodcaps to be found, but those drop from the bloodpetal sprouts around the zone.  We found some of those fairly readily and were able to finish up and update the quest back at the path down to the zone.  From there we needed a devilsaur.

However, time ran out for Moronae.  He had announced a hard stop time, but misunderstood and discovered that time was when he actually had to be at his destination so the stop time was moved up considerably.  We had just enough time to run over to Marshal’s Refuge and the flight point, where he camped.

With Moronae out, the next stop was Azshara, where both Skronk and Ula would find their quests.

Azshara is a zone I mostly think about in its post-Cataclysm, crazy goblin rocket ramp state, a much different place than the WoW Classic version of the zone.

A Panda riding the rocketway during Mists of Pandaria

Even getting there was a bit of a chore.  We decided that the nearest flight point was in Ashenvale, but that required use to ride almost the full length of the zone before Azshara finally came into sight.

The bridge into Azshara

We remembered enough to go grab the flight point that, for the Alliance, is off to the right almost immediately after entering the zone.  Then we went in search of the quest giver Ula needed for the mage quest line.

This led to one of those quirks of the old days.  The NPC she needed to speak with is in a tower in the zone, but it is up on a ledge and you need to use what is essentially a teleporter in order to get up to it.  We found the area from which you teleport.

This will get you to the tower level

There is an NPC there you need to speak to in order to be teleported.  But you don’t just ask him to send you or click on a cog wheel item.  The NPC has a quest, and you take the quest, then complete the quest, after which you get teleported.

The quest isn’t part of the mage quest line.  Anybody can do it.  It is just one of those things that probably got setup before somebody decided on a standard way to teleport people.  Blizz wouldn’t do this as a quest today.  But back then, a lot of things seemed like they were figuring it out as they were doing it.

The quests themselves, it was a two-parter like mine and Moronae’s, were straightforward enough.  Go slay, get drops, return, go slay some more, get more drops, and you’re done.  We just had to go find the mobs.

Riding around in the high plains of Azshara

Skronk’s quest was even more simple.  We had to find a quest giver then run off to slay some non-aggro mobs for drops.  The drop rate was low, but we had the area to ourselves, so we were able to kill steadily until he had the final drop.  Both sets of quests took place in the same area of the zone.

Around here, which is the only part of the map I have filled in

Once everybody had their quests turned in, we were about set.

We still have to go back and finish off Moronae’s class quest preliminaries, as well as running down any lead-in quests, so there might be another week of ground work.  But we should be able to get into the instance soon.

 

July in Review

The Site

Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

This is the most common spam message over the last couple of months.  I believe it translates to “Thank you. How do I log in?” and it shows up dozens to hundreds of times a day in my spam folder because Akismet isn’t sure if it is spam or not.  Welcome to the problems of programmatic moderation, where the algorithm cannot pick up on a single repeated phrase because the IP address that they spoof or the user name or the email address change every time so it cannot say for sure if this time this person is really asking a legitimate question.

see what we’re working with here?

A false positive is seen as much worse than just piping thousands of messages into the spam folder for me to review.

Life in tech.

Meanwhile, I noticed that, for not particular reason, I have posted every single day for four months straight.

March wasn’t quite there

April, which was Blapril, which was Blaugust come early, is explainable.  After that, I guess I was just on a roll.  (That one last empty square in July is covered by this post.)

One Year Ago

There was a Steam Summer Sale to write about, with its odd contest.

Daybreak was fiddling around and registering studio names with the USPTO.

Pokemon Go hit its third birthday. StarCraft got cartooned.

And it looked like Blizz was going to give people a mount every six months so long as they subscribed to the six month renewal plan.

CCP, after saying they would change the 1 million skill point starter pack, just kept on selling it so long as there was sufficient demand.  But at least it was limited to one per account.

Out in null sec space, it was all about the Drifters as the month opened up.  They changed up a bit, but the war we had in progress was already ruined.  We tallied up the damage and headed home.  We had chased PanFam out of Tribute and Vale of the Silent.

But the Drifters were just the start of what would be dubbed the Chaos Era.  CCP announced that local would soon be blacked out in null sec.  We got warnings it was coming.  And then it hit and CCP said it would remain in place indefinitely. (Which some people took to mean permanently.)  The idea came from Hilmar, though many people were going on about null sec being risk averse.

The big VNI nerf hit in there as well.  And a tax increase!  Good thing devs don’t need to run for re-election.

Meanwhile, CCP was trying to keep people in the game during the blackout with skill point handoutsSo many skill points.  And they had to clarify what they meant even.  But the online player count suffered all the same.

And I was on CCP about maybe building their own killboard or at least making SKINs for all the things.

Still, I did get some play time in New Eden.  We did a Triglavian roam with DBRB.  I went on a blackout roam. I moved a dreadnought around to a new deployment on my own, then lost it.  It was a suicide dread.

I tried out DOTA Underlords.

I had been fiddling around with tracking my game play time for six months.

And, finally, we were getting ready for Blaugust once again.

Five Years Ago

I was feeling a bit of the summertime MMO ennui blues.

Windows 10 launched, bringing with it the Microsoft Solitaire Collection.  This wasn’t your Win 3.1 Solitaire or Freecell, and more is the pity.

Project: Gorgon was off with another Kickstarter campaign.  Would the third time be a charm? (Spoiler: yes.)

Need for Speed: World shut down, so I said farewell to Palmont.

Derek Smart began what would become is crusade against Star Citizen, detailing why he felt we would never see the game that was promised.  It could have ended there, but RSI responded in a way guaranteed to turn it into a fight and took away his Rear Admiralty.   Game on!

In Minecraft I was learning about not falling off of thingsbringing light to dark places, and accumulating materials.  Also, sheep stole my mine cart.

I was mucking around in War Thunder for a bit.  It is a pain to return to the game because there is always a huge update required.

Over at Daybreak, there was a vote up for the EverQuest progression server Ragefire about speeding up the unlock of Ruins of Kunark, as well as talk about raids and such.

On the EverQuest II side of the house, there was a beta for its first nostalgia servers.  I avoided the beta but was there when the servers went live… for the big surprise, the return of the Isle of Refuge, adding to the nostalgia experience.

And while that was going on, it appeared to be the end of Smed at Daybreak.

In New Eden my alliance, TNT, handed over its last system in Deklein. We then lived in Tribute.

The Aegis expansion hit… but there was a delay between that and other bits of what we now call Fozzie sov to be deployed.  But entosis link modules were finally able to take sov as the month rolled along.  So we started to learn by doing.

There was a plan in the Imperium to bring in care bears to mine and rat in order to raise ADMs so that our now much reduced space holdings would remain secure.

At one point Mordus Angels managed to claim some sovereignty in Pure Blind!  Can you imagine?  Crazy times!

Meanwhile, in the cash shop… erm… New Eden store, more skins were being rolled out.  Or, rather, the same skin on more ships.  The blog banter of the month was on about attributes, and I was bitching about never having enough jump clones.

On the Azeroth front, Blizzard said they would be announcing the next World of Warcraft expansion… right after the Q2 quarterly report was released, which raised some suspicions in me.  What would the subscription numbers look like if they felt they needed a big announcement to distract from them?

And I finally got my copy of Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls from the Kickstarter… only two years late.

Ten Years Ago

The late Paul the octopus created the largest page view day ever in the history of the blog, later to be surpassed by Cats playing Patty Cake and Alamo.

I was told I write like Cory Doctorow… or maybe Ian Flemming.

My daughter was Banned from Club Penguin.  Tears were shed, lessons were learned.

EverQuest II Extended, the free to play EverQuest IIwas announced.  I wondered whether trying to play it without paying at all would be a challenge in and of itself.  Meanwhile, there was some evidence that EQII accounts had value.  That stunning news no doubt got them going on the authenticator they announced at Fan Faire this year.

I completed 100 levels in The Agency: Covert Ops.  I was unemployed, what can I say?

StarCraft II launched.  I never bought a copy and the base edition eventually went free.

Need for Speed World, an MMO version of the Need for Speed series, launched.  I ended up playing it for a bit.  But, being an EA MMO, it was doomed to be shut down.

In EVE Online Hulkageddon III ended, and it even had a video wrap-up.  And then PLEX was made transportable in space.  I wonder if they waited for Hulkageddon to be over for that?

In another Summer hiatus season, the instance group started another run at LOTRO.  This time it was Bung who was out, having the dual issues of moving and having a new baby to care for.  Those of us in Middle-earth hung out with old friends.  That put off deciding who my main character was, by letting me roll another one!

Blizzard gave up on some of their RealID plans thanks to much public kvetching.  Shortly there after, the ESRB came out against Real ID as being bad for consumer security while proving they too were bad for consumer security.

Blizzard revamped Parental Controls again.  As much as I have griped about them, they are better than any comparable controls I have seen, even in games that offer that as a feature.

World of Warcraft Magazine issue #2 showed up.  Issue #4 would arrive 9 months later, which is kind of a long time for an alleged quarterly publication.  Once issue #5 was finally out, the whole thing was shut down.

And somebody was trying to make yet another flying car that failed to live up to our expectations.  Have none of these scientists ever seen The Jetsons?

Fifteen Years Ago

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas gets rated adults only (AO 18+) and the company faces sanctions when the hot coffee mod unlocks a hidden mini-game that existed in the product which allow the protagonist to have sex with his girlfriends.  Unlike some other infamous graphic mods, this one was not fan created content, but something the company put into the game.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. SuperData and Wavering WoW Subscriptions
  2. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  3. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  4. Day One of World War Bee
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  7. Lurking in Catch
  8. Leveling up Your Crafting Without Actually Crafting
  9. EverQuest II at Fifteen and the Memories of What Could Have Been
  10. Opening Moves in the War
  11. Two Weeks of World War Bee
  12. Theaters of Operation

Search Terms of the Month

is lotro fun
[When it is running it can be]

bloodmyst isle tedious
[Yes]

classic wow peoplle arent doing shadowfang keep
[It is kind of low level, most people are past it I bet]

minecraft burning forest
[guilty]

nfs diggy donuts
[Hell of a file system]

story of babylon in swahili
[Let me get back to you]

Game Time from ManicTime

EVE Online pretty solidly dominated my play time in July.  Diablo II was probably the surprise entry.  I wasn’t planning to play it, but then I wrote something about the 20 year anniversary and decided I ought to take a look.

  • EVE Online – 72.36%
  • WoW Classic – 15.83%
  • Minecraft – 6.53%
  • Diablo II – 4.43%
  • EverQuest – 0.74%
  • World of Warcraft – 0.11%

Diablo II

With the 20th anniversary I downloaded the game again and spent some time playing.  I never did find a mod solution for screen resolution, but the game is still very playable in 800 x 600 and you get used to the graphics pretty quickly.  It still holds up pretty well.  I doubt I’ll do a full play through, but I did get through Act I, so we’ll see how far I go.

EVE Online

The war in null sec, World War Bee (or World War Bee II, depending on your narrative), has been raging and, as the ManicTime numbers indicate, that is where I spent most of my gaming time.  There are quite a few posts this month about the war, something I expect will carry on for a while.

EverQuest

My time with the Overseer option slackened quite a bit.  I had been logging in a couple of times a day to keep that going, but with the war in New Eden and other things vying for my attention, something had to fall off the list, and that was the Overseer. (Along with Swarm Simulator, which I forgot to backup before I purged my browser cache, which reset me to the beginning.)

Minecraft

There was the Nether Update, which I wanted to explore.  I did manage to find one of the new nether biomes.  The whole thing makes the Nether more interesting… and even more dangerous.

Pokemon Go

I did not pay the $15 for Pokemon Go Fest.  That seemed like a lot for something I didn’t quite understand.  But the side effects of the event were still beneficial, including some returning legendary raids.  Thanks to that and remote raid passes, my wife and I picked up Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina.

Level: 39 (51% of the way to level 40)
Pokedex status: 556 (+11) caught, 589 (+12) seen
Pokemon I want: Some more good legendaries from raids
Current buddy: Fraxure

World of Warcraft

As usual I have been wasting the double experience opportunity in retail WoW, which I am sure I will regret at some later date.  But not today.  So all I did again this month was log in and do Darkmoon Faire on my main to get those five points of trade skill experience.  And, at this point, I am not sure that is even worth the effort.  Will it matter when the big squish hits that I got close to 150 points in BFA engineering?

WoW Classic

This remains my Azeroth focus.  The instance group got out and finished up Maraudon and we are going to get ourselves ready for Sunken Temple and our class quests next.  We are all past level 50 now, but there is still a ways to go before we are done.  I remain surprised at how well we have done as a group of four.  I suppose it just indicates how bad we were back in the day as a group of five.

Coming Up

August means school is starting and our daughter will be off to college.  My wife and I will be without a common foe.  Not sure what this will mean for our home life.  It will be different.

The month usually hosts the Blaugust event as well.  But, since we had Blaugust in April… Blapril… Belghast came up with a different event, Promptapalooza.  Instead of everybody posting as much as possible, we will be putting up a chain of posts from a prompt list starting tomorrow.

We should be getting the Activision Blizzard Q2 results.  We will see how much the pandemic helped their bottom line and hurt their shipping schedule.

WoW Classic will celebrate a year since launch.  I still don’t have a character at level 60, and I likely won’t by then.  I do have two in their 50s though.  Not too far off.

The war will carry on in EVE Online, and the front lines are moving closer to home as we try to fight off most of null sec.  They want to stomp us out, we just need to survive.