Category Archives: WoW Classic

Wandering the Wailing Caverns

The Wailing Caverns felt like a bit of a let down for me.  I imagine this is largely because, for an Alliance player at least, it comes after the Deadmines in the order of instances run. And if you’re high enough level to get through the Deadmines then you’re likely past the point where WC is going to be a huge challenge.  They occupy similar spots in the level curve.

Wailing Caverns from the Outside

They also make for an odd compare and contrast when it comes to early Blizzard dungeon design.  They both share some similar features, like an open world area before the instance populated by elite mobs complete with its own quests.  But where the Deadmines is a very linear ride… you literally come in the front and exit out the back with no real way to go astray… WC is much more sprawling and open.  You can get lost in there.  You can also create an unrecoverable screw up of a run in there.

But that is all getting ahead of myself.  First you have to get WC, something I started thinking about once we decided to carry on so long as our subscriptions remained active.  We had done some groundwork previously on getting to The Barrens and Ratchet back when we did our run to Ragefire Chasm.  We took the time to get flight points along the way so as to ease our return.

And then we shook up the group so now three of the characters who went to Ragefire Chasm have been replaced by three new characters.  We did a bit or work on that as well, though the fact that my character, Viniki, had been to Ratchet via Theramore had slipped my mind.  The problem with juggling alts… and I have too many now… is that I cannot always keep clear who has done what.  And I was worried that I had not been there with Viniki because I took the boat from Menethil Harbor to Auberdine and got several discovery messages, meaning I hadn’t been there before.

So Saturday morning I got Viniki out and carried on from Auberdine, making the run from there to Astranaar and on into The Barrens where I discovered, upon opening up the map, that I had been to Ratchet already.  Still, I did pick up some flight points and with how classic works, you need some of those to get where you’re going.

I got myself to Ratchet, then decided to make sure I knew where WC even was.  I had a vague memory of it, but decided to explore a bit just to get it on the map.  No point in wandering in The Barrens as a group.  Fortunately I was able to stumble on it without too much effort.

Wailing Caverns, Ratchet, and the Crossroads

I didn’t recall it being quite so close to the Crossroads, but memory is a strange thing.  Then it was back to Ratchet to clear out my bags at the bank and hole up at the Inn for the night.  I knew Skronk could get there, and Obama as well.  They had both been out for Ragefire Chasm.  And with three of us around we could use Obama’s warlock summoning skill to bring Ula and Moronae to us.  I think Ula had made the run, but Moronae would need a summon or have to do it the hard way.  Fortunately Obama had a couple soul shards handy for the summoning.

Warlock utility in action

Gathered, we began the trot over to the instance across the very orange land that is The Barrens.

On our way through the big orange

Our group lineup for the run was as follows:

  • Ula – level 23 gnome mage
  • Viniki – level 22 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 21 dwarf priest
  • Obama – level 21 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 21 night elf druid

We grabbed the quests from outside the instance… they are in the left eye (as you face it) of the skull that forms the entrance to the the place.

We were all up a level or so from the Deadmines run the weekend before, which made most of the mobs in the caverns on the way to the instance, the foyer of WC I guess, gray to us.  Still, there was a bit of comedy to be had as I, running ahead of the group, fell into the hole in the final ramp that leads down to the instance.

Seriously, somebody should put up a sign

That never fails to get a laugh.

Once I got out of the hole, we carried on the few yards to the instance where things began in earnest.

I could probably write a detailed, blow by blow narrative of the trek through WC, but I am not sure it would be good for either you or I.  A run consists of a lot of fighting groups of two or three, with the local druids gone bad making up a good portion of the mobs.  Sleep is their theme, as they kept putting a sleep charm on people throughout the run.  But even with that things went okay.  Occasionally we had adds or a bad pull, but even six deep into the trash mobs we managed not to lose anybody.

Having looked up the instance before hand, I knew that the “correct” method was to go west, slaying the two bosses that way, Lady Anacondra and Lord Cobrahn.

Arriving at Lord Cobrahn

They both dropped leather items from the fang set, the belt and the leggings.  Since we only have Moronae who wears leather, he was doing pretty well for openers.

Then you loop back and head east to get into the meandering ways of the dungeon.

The path starts off easily enough.  We ran across Kresh, the turtle who drops a shield that would have been a huge upgrade for me.  But he can also drop a crap shield, and the crap shield is what we got.

Then the way begins to wander.  You get choices in direction and it is not always clear which way you should go.  I recall at some point being told to follow the mushrooms, that they would not steer you wrong.  But at one junction the mushrooms seemed to be going in the wrong direction, so went the other.  And that brought us to Lord Pythas, who looks like just another druid of the fang hanging out in a cave.  He too coughed up an item from the Fang set, our druid continuing to do very well for himself.

From there we had a few paths and both Skronk and I started looking at maps.  There was a momentary threat of wife/mom aggro again, so it seemed like expediting our travel might do us well.  However, WC is a very three dimensional instance and two dimensional maps are not always helpful.  We thought about simply bypassing Skum, the next boss.  However, it looked like we had to pass right by him in order to get to the big boss we needed, so we stopped to take him down.

Die rebel Skum

He dropped the glowing lizardscale cloak, which again seemed like a good druid item.

From Skum it looked like a straight path up to the two bosses at the end of the trail.  We were actually able to bypass some mobs along the way, WC caves being broad enough to just slip by some clusters at our level.  There was a moment of anxiety when we reached the part on the path where you have to jump over a gap in the path.  Everybody made it, but we could all imagine somebody falling and needing to be retrieved.

From there it was just up the path a ways to the big open platform.  At one end was Lord Serpentis, at the other Verdan the Everliving.

On the platform

Lord Serpentis has two mobs near him, but one of them wasn’t even close enough to be bothered to join the fight.  You can see the errant druid at the right side of the screen shot above.  Bringing down Lord S got us the savage trodders, a pair of mail boots that were actually an upgrade for me.

After that we turned to Verdan the Everliving, who is a very big boy indeed.  It was here that we had the most difficult fight.  Verdan isn’t complicated, he doesn’t have any special mechanics, but he does hit hard.  I had to use a heal potion not too far into the fight, which made me a bit nervous.  Later, looking at Recount stats, Verdan hit me for more damage than any other boss by a fair margin.  In fact, he hit me for 3% of the damage inflicted on me for the whole instance, and we fought a lot of mobs along the way.

In the end though, we brought him down.  He dropped the seedcloud buckler, which was a pretty big shield upgrade for me.  It is actually much better than the shield off of Kresh, though it doesn’t have the distinctive look that the turtle shield does.  Still, I was happy to get the upgrade.  We took a group shot at that point since there was some concern that wife/mom aggro might return unexpectedly.

Verdan down after the fight

From Verdan you then have to work your way back to the start of the instance to speak with the NPC, the Disciple of Naralex.  I think one of the reasons that WC brings up memories of drudgery is that back in the day, back in 2006, back during our first run, we turned around from Verdan and walked all the way back the way we came.  And that can be a long walk.

Had we poked around a bit back in 2006 we might have noticed the hole… another hole… in the floor well behind Verdan that drops through into a pool of water not far from where we set out, about where we ran into Kresh.  That shortens the way back considerably.  Fortunately, here in 2019, we had since learned about this exit and so took it directly.

Back at the entrance we found the Disciple of Naralex.  He doesn’t have a quest, which is an odd mechanic, but once you’ve slain the other bosses in the instance you can interact with him to start the big event of the dungeon.

Starting him on his way

This is an escort event… not a quest… which leads you around to the final boss.  Once we started it I remembered that the general no fail plan was to go clear out the path first, then go back and set him in motion because if he dies then the run is over.  You cannot revive him and restart the event, you have to reset the instance and start from scratch.

And the Disciple of Naralex has some of the usual quirks of NPCs being escorted.  He is more in the Sarah Oakheart category when it comes to speed, but with an annoying tendency to ignore mobs the group is fighting around him.  That means he keeps on going while you’re engaged, walking straight into the next group of completely obvious mobs just down the path.  We had him wander off a couple of times and at one point I had to run from the fight we were having to taunt mobs down the way off of him.

Clearing the path ahead of time is clearly the pro tactic.  However, we made it, leaving behind unlooted mobs in the scramble to keep him safe.  He gets down into the final room and starts his ceremony.

Cover me while I do some stuff

That brought us to the final stage of the event, which was actually shorter than I remembered it.  You get two waves of mobs coming at you before the final boss appears.

Mutanus Arrives as we stand amid the viscera of the opening acts

Mutanus has an extra powerful sleep charm he uses during the fight, one that cannot be broken by players, but other than having to wait down the timer on that, things went pretty smoothly.  Mutanus was down soon enough.  He dropped the Deep Fathom Ring, which had the casters all salivating.

And that was the end of that, instance complete.

We still had a bit to clean up afterwards.  There was the Trouble at the Docks quest, which has you looking for the goblin named Mad Magglish.  He spawns outside of the instance, in the elite area, even though the quest is flagged as WC.  But the outside counts as well.  He is also stealthed when he spawns, but we found his corpse in looking for him, so that gave us a clue as to where to camp him.

There were also the quests we had.  We only finished one of the pair from the left eye, and that one sent us back to Ratchet.  Once there Obama and Moronae signed off while Skronk, Ula, and I went to track down the final quest.  We had to head back out into The Barrens to find the final turn in.

Orange sunset over an orange land

One of the interesting things about The Barrens is that you can run all the way up a lot of the hills in the middle of the zone, something you may not even notice if you’re grown accustomed to the “hills are zone walls” methods common in the genre.

The final quest turn in ended up being in a house at the top of one of those hills.

Great view, but a long commute

And with that we were done for the day.

Only after the fact did I go back and check out my posts about our past runs through WC.  They were illuminating to some extent.

October 22, 2006 – We do the whole thing, but with only four players.  Earl was missing, so I am not ever sure who was the tank with a mage, priest, rogue, and warlock.  The voidwalker I guess.

November 19, 2009 – We return to the instance as part of our run on the Horde side.  We fail to clear the path for the disciple ahead of time and he dies, scrubbing the end of the run.

January 13, 2011 – We use the dungeon finder to transport our new all worgen (plus a gnome) group to see what changed for Cataclysm.  We earn the achievement, the guild achievement, and get a special prize for completing the instance.  Also, Kresh dropped his shell shield.  I have a screen shot.

Another round to add to our history with this dungeon.  It is interesting to see what I mention and what I don’t as time goes by.

Next on the list is Shadowfang Keep.  There is probably another travel adventure in that.

In Search of VanCleef in the Deadmines

We left off yesterday in the Deadmines with Mr. Smite in the distance.

Mr. Smite awaits at the top of the gangplank… you can just see him

Back in the day Mr. Smite was the first boss to keep us from advancing in the Deadmines, the first one to send us home to try again later.  But that was back in 2006 when we were pretty bad at working as a group.  This time around we were hoping things would go better on our first try.

As usual, we relied on memory rather than looking up the fight.  It is amazing how many little details linger in the backs of our brains.  As with the first boss, Smite comes with a pair of assistants, which we decided to take down first, our new group rule becoming “Sheep left, fight right.”

This seemed to work.  Mr. Smite is not a particularly complex fight.  He has a routine of stunning everybody so he can go swap weapons from his big chest on the dock (which you can also just make out in the screen shot above) but otherwise isn’t very tricky.

We’re stunned for a weapon swap

He is, in the end, a DPS check.  If you can put out enough damage, you win.  If you cannot, you go home.  We were putting out more than enough damage and Smite went down.  He dropped Smite’s Reaver, a 1h axe.  Unfortunately, Viniki, the only axe wielder, was already holding better.  Something else to vendor.

It was at that point, with Mr. Smite down and the ship ahead of us, that the additional complicating factor to which I alluded in the previous chapter, came into play: Wife aggro.

Worse, wife and mom aggro.  At that point Moronae’s wife, also Obama’s mother, told Obama that it was time to get off the computer.  He said we only had 5-10 minutes left… an optimistic assessment by any measure… but we were on notice.  We had to get this finished up as soon as possible or be prepared to do it all again another day.  The race was on.

We went up the ramp and started clearing the pirates on the first deck.  We decided to simply skip Cookie, the murloc that wanders off to the left on the first deck, but he wandered into aggro range, so we took him, looting his tenderizer.

Then it was to the right to keep clearing, arriving at the series of ramps that lead up to the main deck and VanCleef.  We were edging towards recklessness in pulling mobs, but seemed able to handle the extras we go, settling out a group on the first platform up the ramp.

On the first platform

As you might be able to discern in this screen grab from video Ula was taking, Skronk is standing very close to the edge of the platform.  As the fight ended he both leveled up and fell off the platform into the water.  Ula says the video makes it look like a gold comet is flashing past.

This was not ideal timing.

To get back to us he would have to swim to shore and run around to get back on the wooden platforms leading to the ship.  It was a good thing we took out some of the goblins along the shore as we passed through, but we didn’t get them all.  So Skronk had to run past one.  His health and mana had been restored by leveling up, but he wasn’t going to solo the mob, so we ran around and back down the gang plank to meet him and knock down his new friend.

Skronk rescued, we headed back up onto the ship to take on the next ramp in order to get on to the final platform from which we could access the main deck where the final fight takes place.

In the press to get up to that platform we took on a few pirates.  Obama was being asked why he wasn’t off the computer yet, so we dove in.  But we were up for that.  Then we once again lost track of a runner who fled the fight and, before they could be taken down at range, brought Captain Greenskin, the penultimate boss in the instance, into our melee already in progress.  That gave us five or six active mobs, including a boss, so things looked bad.

And they got even more glum when Moronae ended up dying mid fight, remove his DPS and extra heals from the equation.

I don’t know if Skronk said his usual “everybody remain calm,” as he was pretty busy, but it played in my head and I knew that we had to knock down as many of these guys as we could before we succumbed.  So I just kept hitting the current target mob while turning to taunt mobs off of Skronk as tried to keep people alive.  Skronk even whipped out a heavy linen bandage to do first aid on me as we stood and fought, waiting for what we knew had to be the inevitable end of the fight, with us all down.

Only we didn’t wipe.  The last mob was down and four of us were still standing.

Ressing Moronae after the fight

What seemed like to be a disaster actually ended up speeding us along a bit.  We now only had VanCleef waiting for us.  We headed up onto the main deck and got ready for the final fight.

We see you in there VanCleef

Like some of the other bosses, including the recently dispatched Captain Greenskin, VanCleef comes with a pair of helpers.  He also gets a second pair part way into the fight.  So our plan was the new standard for the group, sheep left, fight right.

This started a bit precariously as I took a lot of damage right up front and had to use a health potion right away.  After that though things settled down and we knocked out first one helper, then the other, before focusing on VanCleef.

When the second pair of helpers appears it was the same routine… sort of.  Somebody didn’t switch because VanCleef went down before his final helper did.

Erm, why is he dead already?

Still, the helper didn’t survive VanCleef by very long and we were done.  We had finished the Deadmines on our first go.  Just time for a victory shot.

VanCleef defeated

After that we decided it was best to rush for the exit so as to keep Moronae and Obama out of as much hot water as possible.

However, jumping off the far side of the deck towards the exit meant running through a few more mobs.  But they were manageable in fairly short order.  Then it was straight for the out portal.

This way out

Once out of the instance, Obama and Moronae logged off while Skronk, Ula, and I headed back towards Sentinel Hill and Gryan Stoutmantle in order to collect a reward and have our names shouted to the zone.

Cheers for Skronk

The instance itself did not drop any upgrades for me, but at least the quest gave me a decent pants upgrade.

Blue pants, best pants

Overall I think we did pretty well.

Posing with Gryan after the run

During the run I ran the Recount addon, which is, among other things, a damage meter, which means people hate it.  But it supplies so much information about your fights, not just DPS but which attacks were used and how much damage they did, both by players and NPCs, as well as healing stats and such.  I don’t/won’t use it to name and shame people, but I like to see the data.

I seemed to do okay as tank.  The mechanics of the Deadmines are not exactly complex, so holding aggro and staying alive was probably enough.  I think a large part of our success was due to the fact that two members of the team were in their long established, Skronk as healer and Ula as mage for DPS and crowd control.  They contributed mightily to our success.

Which is not to downplay Obama and Moronae.  Lacking cat for for real DPS, Moronae spent a lot of time casting moonfire then hitting things with his staff, which limited the amount of damage he could put out.  On the other hand, having a few extra heals and a buff around was very nice, and the thorns buff on Viniki ended up being the second highest damage contribution from him.

I was wondering if the imp, with its blood pact buff, would have been a better pet for Obama.  The void walker is very good at picking up and off tanking, but it doesn’t contribute much to damage.  But, being new to WoW, Obama hadn’t realized there were pet skills to be purchased and upgraded.  An imp with blood pact and fire shield might have been worth it, but with what we had available to us the voidwalker suited us fine.

And so it goes.  We made it to my minimum group goal for WoW Classic, running the Deadmines.

Next up on the list is Wailing Caverns out in The Barrens.  Or it might be.  The obvious bad Blizz behavior has me considering the future of the group. But I’ll get to that tomorrow.

Into the Deadmines at Last

At last!  We made it to the Deadmines in WoW Classic.  It took us long enough.

The problem with getting the band back together is that the lives of all of its members have changed over the years.  As I have noted previously, we’re still waiting for Earl to get settled in Japan, so there may be a B group of alts on standby to run instances with until he catches up.

But, with the addition of a member of the younger generation in the form of Bung’s son, we were able to fill out the group.  And so our lineup for the night was:

  • Ula – level 21 gnome mage
  • Viniki – level 20 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 18 dwarf priest
  • Obama – level 18 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 18 night elf druid

That is not far off the group we first finished the Deadmines with just about 13 years back.  Some names/classes are even the same.

We were not certain exactly when things would kick off, but when Bung and his son, appearing as Moronae and Obama in the group, made it online we set about getting started.  Of course, there is always something to do first.  Obama and Moronae had to go over to Moonbrook to find the Defias Messenger.  On a Sunday afternoon his dance card was pretty full and he wasn’t wandering far from his spawn point before being slain for his drop.  Our guys joined another group waiting for the messenger and, having slaughtered him, were able to meet us back at Sentinel Hill for the next stage.

The Defias traitor.

Viniki and the Defias Traitor

In a fit of paranoia I had done the Defias Traitor quest already.  I have bad memories of that quest in Razorfen Kraul where you speak to that one quest give and unless you’re all right on the button he runs off without the whole group being on the quest.  Skronk wasn’t worried, but I got it out of the way all the same.

We got everybody around the traitor and Skronk explained how one person was going to get the quest and that then the game should prompt everybody else in the group to accept the quest as well (except Viniki of who had it out of the way) right away so we could do this all in one run.  Ula was the designated quest person and everybody else would accept off of her action.

And then, as we stood there, just about ready to start, somebody else ran up, got the quest from the Defias Traitor, and took off with him.  We would have to wait for them to finish, which takes about five minutes by my calculation.  During that time there was chiding to keep people from wandering too far afield, as the range of quest sharing is pretty small.

He popped back up in about five minutes, Ula grabbed the quest, everybody was in range and accepted, and off we went.  And I will say this about the Defias Traitor, he doesn’t let any grass grow under his feet.  Unlike Sarah Oakheart of LOTRO infamy, he moves off at a run headed for Moonbrook.  Once he gets there he slows to walk through town, and goes a bit Pengail on you, running after any Defias that gets within line of sight, but the final stretch is short and soon the Defias Hideout was revealed to us.

The Defias Hideout

Of course, then everybody besides Viniki had to run back to Sentinel Hill to turn that quest in and get the dungeon quest from Gryan Stoutmantle.  We met up again in Moonbrook and settled our potions and food and whatnot.

In Moonbrook getting set

Everybody was handing things out except Obama, who was back to his hobby of extreme planking.

You need a strong neck for that

Getting into the Deadmines isn’t as easy as all that.  The actual entry to the instance is at the far end of some caves populated by hostile elites, so just getting there can be a fight and the potential for getting lost exists.  We followed the time honored lore of following the right wall.  Also, another group went in ahead of us, so we figured they would clear for us.  Skronk put a big orange target marker on Viniki and I led the way in.

Of course, the group ahead of us was careless and we caught up to them not too far from the instance to find them dragging a train of hostile elite miners, more than enough to ruin our fun.  Shouting our usual battle cry of “Don’t make eye contact!” then “Follow me!” I raced ahead for the instance, the group in tow.

All out for the instance portal

Everybody made it in okay.  We took a moment for a bio break and to get buffs set, then we were ready to go.

Viniki looking eager

Of course, “ready” is a relative term.  I was ready to start, but how things would work were largely theoretical on my part.  I have rarely played a warrior in WoW, and I have only played them as DPS really.  My only experience as a tank has been as a druid in bear form, and that was only in the post-Cataclysm level 1-40 dungeons, which were all dumbed down so much that you could run a couple an hour to level up with much effort.

Actually tanking in WoW Classic with old school warrior skills, this was a whole new thing for me.  Not helping things was that defensive stance doesn’t allow some of the skills I am used to, like charge and hamstring.  Still, I had something of a plan.  I had practice a bit with defensive stand and I had trained up the gun skill, bought a gun, and stuck some ammo in my bag for long distance pulls.  Otherwise I would be trotting up to things to engage.  My plan was to use bloodrage to build up some of that all important rage, then hit the first target with sunder armor, which the tool tip says generates a lot of aggro, using taunt if something started to get away from me.

The start was not entirely encouraging.  There are groups of nomal miners mobs around, and I was getting those in twos and threes and wasn’t holding them all.  But normal mobs were easy enough and Obama had his voidwalker out to off tank while Moronae was dropping into bear mode now and then, trying to decide his best method for DPS in the group.

Elite mobs came as singles and I was able to hold them.  We moved on down the line until we got the first boss, Rhahk’Zor, in sight.

Rhahk’Zor awaits

He has two mobs with him, and something in the back of my head said that we could get him alone if we did things right.  But, to be safe, we decided to follow the time tested tactic of taking down the adds then focusing on the main boss.

That seemed to work, and we were soon standing over Rhahk’Zor’s corpse.  However, we had forgotten to set the group for master looter to allow Skronk to dole out boss bind on pick up items, and Obama looted the corpse.  Fortunately, he only had his crappy common hammer on him, but looting was changed up at that point.  The patrol that shows up once you’ve killed him was a bit of a surprise.  I had forgotten that part of the tunnels.  Once you kill one of the early bosses a three or four mob elite group wanders up behind you.  We survived, but it we were caught unawares.

Then it was a door through which more caves and miners and wandering elite Defias waited.  We worked our way through that, only veering off to see if the elusive Miner Johnson was there.  He was not.  He is never there for us.

We worked our way to the next door, through which we knew Sneed awaited.

Sneed is one of those fights that can go wrong if you don’t clear thoroughly first.  So I set out to get every single goblin helper of his.  That took a bit of patience, as you have to pull around his wandering.  The only problem was the tendency for people waiting for you to pull to follow you into the room to see what you are up to.  With lower level player who have a larger aggro radius, this can lead to surprises, but we managed to avoid that.  Once I had Sneed’s room picked clean, we went in to get him.

Sneed alone in his shredder

The fight at that point wasn’t a problem.  There was nobody around to run into if you got hit by his fear.  The only thing was, despite the fact that I know it is a two part fight, that once you defeat the shredder you have to fight Sneed, I am always surprised when he jumps out and the battle carries on.  Still, he was down quickly enough.

His big drop was a blue axe.  But it was a 2H axe, which nobody could use.  We rolled on who got to vendor it.

After that is was back to mixing it up in the tunnels until we reached the foundry.

Goblins at work here

Here is where things got a little shaky.

We were able to pull and deal with groups on the ramp down.  The goblin engineers release their own mechanical helpers which are full blow adds, but they were manageable.  But once down the ramp we had some problems around the platform.

One of those summoned adds on the platform

First, we got a pull with an unexpected add.  A goblin engineer, who created an additional add as part of the mix.  Then, we were fighting down at the bottom of the ramp, but at one point a goblin went to flee when it his low health… how I missed hamsting at that moment… and hopped up onto the platform and broke line of sight.  Nobody could hit him unless they ran after him.  He, of course, brought back another add.  Obama went down and things were starting to come off the rails.  But I just kept taunting mobs off of Skronk so he could keep healing while Ula and Moronae kept burning things down.

Eventually all the hostiles were down, and by virtue of this chaos we had almost finished clearing before the boss, but it felt like a near run thing.  We took down the final stragglers, then went after Gilnid, who was not a tough fight.  We looted the Smelting Pants from him, which went to Moronae.

After that I was all keyed up for the follow on patrol, remembering us getting the worst from a similar situation back in the day.  Oddly, that patrol was very slow in coming.  I was wandering up and down the ramp waiting for them for a few minutes before they showed up.  There were four this time, but we had no problem dealing with them.

Once that was down, it was down deeper into the tunnels, clearing miners and getting to the cannon, which Ula fired for us once the gunpowder was collect from the side tunnel.

The door comes down

We had to warn Obama, they new kid… almost literally… not to run through the door once it came down.  As usual, the pirates were waiting on the other side.

And then we were out on the boardwalk. where we cleared the pirates as well as some goblins who were lurking off to either side.  That last would turn out to have been a boon.  Then we sat a minute to take stock.

The group takes a rest

Nothing lay between us and the next boss, sitting up at the top of the ship’s gangplank.  There he stood, the aptly named Mr. Smite.

Mr. Smite awaits

And that is where this chapter will close.  I’m already past the two thousand word mark… also I’m home sick, so need a break… and I have a lot more to go as this is where things get interesting, for we had to face not only Mr. Smite and the remaining bosses, but a danger from an unexpected angle.  Tune in for part two tomorrow.

WoW Classic Sunday and Layering Progress

For whatever reason Sunday has become my day to catch up on WoW Classic news and updates, so I might as well keep rolling with it.

Classic is as classic does

First up, Blizzard put up some information about their progress with layering, listing out a number of servers that has successfully been reduced to a single layer.  As of the post on Thursday there were 13 American and 6 European servers that had been locked into a single layer.  They also said that it had been several weeks since any realm had needed to run more than three layers in order to accommodate the server population.

You will soon see an indicator in the realm selection screen as to whether or not specific realms are still running multiple layers or not, and free transfers off of especially crowded servers will remain open until they get all realms down to running a single layer.

That plan still seems to be to get ALL realms down to a single layer before going to phase 2 of the WoW Classic plan, which might involve some of the more crowded servers getting queues again if people won’t transfer off.

We’ll see if we get a timeline of sorts for the phases next month at BlizzCon.  In the meantime WoW game director Ion Hazzikostas was interviewed about phases over at PC Gamer.

On lighter news, Blizzard has continued with its city tour series, this time putting up a post about Darnassus, home of the night elves, and Thunder Bluff, home of the Tauren.  I guess the theme was “cities where druids start.”

There is also another entry in the video series with some of the WoW team, this time featuring Tom Chilton.

Tom Chilton’s name might be recognizable as one of the auction house NPCs in Stormwind has his name.

Tom Chilton also might be remembered for spilling the beans on WoW subscriber numbers after the company had officially stopped talking about them, which Blizzard then denied, as well as being the one to say Warlords of Draenor garrisons would essentially be the WoW version of housing back at BlizzCon 2013.

I actually have a few Tom Chilton quotes, like that one about expansions building barriers. or when he said WoD was further along than people might expect (BlizzCon 2013 again) which got everybody assuming there would be a February release or something crazy like that.  But he did help make WoW, so you have to give him that.

And, finally, Fandom Entertainment has jumped on the bandwagon with an Honest Game Trailers look at WoW Classic.

All the negatives won’t keep me away.

The Ogres of Loch Modan

Loch Modan occupies the same spot in the level curve as Westfall, being good for players up to about level 20.  It has long been my practice… since my first serious ventures into WoW… to run both the human and dwarf/gnome starter zones.  The pacing is about right if you bypass a quest here and there, and you never start running up against quests in the orange or red range.

That and I enjoy both zones.  They are similar in being smallish zones that feel bigger than they are, yet very different in layout.  Westfall has you ranging out from Sentinal Hill near its middle while Loch Modan is almost the inverse, with the loch in the middle forcing players to travel in a circle around it.

Loch Modan – Classic Map

Unlike Westfall however, Loch Modan does not have a dungeon at the end of its main quest line.  Even with the vanilla experience curve there is probably a limit to the number of low level dungeons you need.

There are, however, come elite ogres to battle with if you want a group challenge, congregated in the Mo’Grosh Stronghold in the northeast part of the zone.  I mentioned them in a previous post as we passed through Loch Modan in a series of quests that ended up with us in The Barrens on the way to Ratchet.  There are three “elite” quests that send you into ogre valley, and we had only knocked out one.  So this past Saturday we decided to take on the other two.

Well, some of us did all three since we ended up with some alts in rotation.  The main group has still not formed up.  Earl is still mid-move and Bung was away for the weekend, so it once again fell on alts to keep us busy.  I’ll have a whole post on alts later.

Actually, one main was with us.  Ula was on as her level 20 mage, a key part of the planned main group.  But Skronk was on with a level 19 dwarf paladin and I had my level 20 restoration druid, rounding on what would have been a decent group in EverQuest.  We had a tank, a healer, and a mage for crowd control and DPS.

The first two quests come from Thelsamar, while the third is part of the quest line around Stonewrought Damn.  After running into The Wetlands you come back and need to get a drop the ogres, which is kind of a pain because the rest of the quest line is soloable, with a group quest popping up in the middle of the chain.  Later WoW would never do that except to lead you into an instance.  Classic has no qualms on that front.

So off we went to take on the ogres.  And it went pretty well.

Fighting an elite ogre

As I said the last time we were out here, a dedicated healer changes the equation.  We were able to take single ogres without issue and pairs with some effort, though Ula was quick on the polymorph to sheep them if we needed.

We were again sitting at a cave to fish out some of the specific ogres we needed.

Orge cave screen shot from the previous trip

It was also said that the drop needed for the Stonewrought Dam quest would only drop from the ogres in the caves, so we kept on them.  But once you’ve cleared the easy cave… easy because your group is up to it… then you start eyeing the more difficult cave.  The cave where Chok’sul lives.

Chok’sul is the named ogre in the area, and one of the quests is to slay him and bring back his head.  Slaying him was the stretch goal for the evening, but we started off so well that we decided to head over and see about him.

His cave, the main cave in the valley, is deep.  Oddly, for me it was quite recognizable as the same cave used for some of the ogres in Nagrand in The Burning Crusade.  Never remake an asset when you have a good one to hand.

The cave itself wasn’t so bad.  We had to knock over a couple of ogres to get way into the back where Chok’sul was.  We found him there with two attendants.  We hoped that we could get one or both of them on their own, but when the pull happened we got all three.  Ula sheeped one and we tried to burn down the other two as quickly as possible.

We killed one attendant but in keeping Skronk alive I had pulls aggro with healing and Chok’sul was on my druid, pounding him to paste before I could adjust.  In hindsight there were a few things I could have done… going into bear form, for example, might have kept me alive longer since I had aggro… but I went down.  And without heals we were all soon running back to the cave.

When we got back we found we had made the classic WoW Classic blunder.  We had wandered into the cave after another group had cleared a bunch of it.  We saw them headed across the valley.  But rather than suspecting anything we wandered straight to the back of the cave.  But as we were running back to our corpses most of the cave respawned and we were in an ugly location with a couple of ogres wandering close to our corpses.

The plan was to resurrect and take, use a health potion quickly, then take whatever came at us.  We knocked down the closest one, but ended up wiping as we caught a couple more.

Back to the cave again.

The second time our position was better.  The ogre we had slain had been alone to one side of us, so we had a safer spot in which to resurrect.  There was still an ogre on us, but we were able to take him down right after we resurrected.

Ogre in the cave – note all the skeletons

Or space cleared out, we turned our attention to see how the Chok’sul situation had developed.  It looked like the respawn popped another ogre in between us and Chok’sul, but it looked to be far enough out to be able to pull on its own.

That ogre mystic up and off to the right

We got lucky on that.  Skronk was able to proximity pull only it and we had cleared enough space for ourselves to be able to break line of sight so it would come to us.

The bigger bit of luck was that Chok’sul attendant, the one we killed, did not respawn.  So we only have Chok’sul and another ogre.  It was time to sheep the ogre and let Chok’sul come and get us.

We were able to knock him down, though his ogre helper had to be re-sheeped before we were done with him.  Then we all looted Chok’sul to get his head right away lets something else go wrong and leave us in another situation.

We then went after the other ogre, dispatching him.  We were done with that quest, we just had to fight our way back out of the cave.  Fortunately getting out wasn’t so bad and we were able to clear our way to the cave entrance without further mishap.

There we took stock.  Chok’sul’s head had been obtained and we had knocked out the various ogre flavors that needed to be slain.  However, despite all that work in Chok’sul’s cave, we still had not come up with the crystal drop needed for the Stonewrought Dam quest.  It was back to the smaller cave, where an ogre at the entry waited for us.  We slew it and got the drop at last.  It was time to get out of Mo’Grosh Stronghold.  As with Chok’sul’s head, the corpse nicely yielded up a crystal for each of us.

We still needed a drop each from spiders and crockalisks, so spent some time hunting them.  Unlike elite ogres, they were only dropping one each.  But we were able to burn through them as fast as we could find them… finding them being the only real issue.  Eventually though we all ended up with the quest items we needed and headed back to the dam to turn in the quest.

After that there was a small matter of jumping in the water to defuse a Dark Iron blasting charge set to blow up the dam.  Then it was the final quest turn in.

As with the end of the Deadmines quest after you slay Van Cleef, Chief Engineer Hinderweir VII shouts out your name for the whole zone to hear when you wrap up the quest line.

A shout out for the help

After that it was back to Thelsamar for the other quest rewards.  Probably the best item received was the ring for slaying Chok’sul.

A ringing endorsement

It is not the best ring in the game, but for me it was the first ring I had received.  And any ring with some stats is better than no ring at all.

There is a post brewing in the back of my head about comparing how gear gets doled out in WoW Classic, where certain slots are not filled for many levels… shoulders just started to drop for us while rings, trinkets, and headgear are still mostly to come… to how a game like EverQuest II does it.  I cannot recall a slot you can’t fill by level 10 there, though one would need to loop in crafting, and there is another comparison to be explored I suppose.

Anyway, post ideas for the future.  But our Saturday night adventure in Loch Modan came to a successful conclusion.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before we get everybody together and into the Deadmines.

Looking Forward to BlizzCon 2019

BlizzCon is coming and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Not that you would want to stop it.  I certainly don’t want to stop it.

In fact, I am more than a bit excited to see what it will bring.  It is exactly a month away and I already want to start talking about it.

Last year’s BlizzCon was a bit less than thrilling.  It came a couple of months after a WoW expansion, so while there were some update items to reveal, there was no big Azeroth announcement.  WoW Classic was already known so, while we got to play a demo, the only big news was penning in the ship date to summer.  Hearthstone got a new expansion, OverWatch got a new hero and a cereal, Heroes of the Storm felt lucky just to get mentioned, StarCraft received the tiniest of nods, and if it had not been for the Diablo Immortal brouhaha there wouldn’t have been a headline worthy announcement out of the whole thing.

It wasn’t as dull as some made out, but it was a lot more details than big picture, and big picture is what gets attention.

This year though, this year has some potential.  So it is time to go once again go through what I expect to hear, what I hope I will hear, and maybe a couple of things somewhere in between.

Going down the list of franchises:

World of Warcraft

New expansion announcement.

Yes, there will be all sorts of anniversary related things to talk about, with special panels and goodies and videos and whatever, and rightfully so, but there had better be a new expansion announcement on the list.

If there isn’t a new expansion announced for retail WoW the stock price will crash, there will be unrest in the streets, we won’t be able to trust anybody ever again, and the world will pretty much end.

Okay, maybe it is not that bad, but it would be an unprecedented break in the pattern of the ages not to announce a new WoW expansion here.  It would be very bad to not have one to announce. A new expansion will make fans of WoW retail will feel better and we might get a bit of insight into what Blizz has learned from the summer of slumber in Zandalar and Kul Tiras.

But where do we go from Battle for Azeroth? I know the lore is pretty pliable, but that map of Azeroth doesn’t have a lot of wide open seas left in which to discover yet another continent. So what is it going to be?  Time travel again?  Khadgar leading us through some new portal into another world?  Will it be time for another invasion from an external source (please, no more Burning Legion) that will, once again, push the Horde and Alliance back into cooperation again?

And what will be the hook to get people back and playing?  I don’t think a new race by itself will work.  I think the whole allied races thing represented a draining of all interest in going back to that well any time soon.  How many alts do people need?

So a new class then?  Is there a class niche they haven’t explored yet?  Berserkers?  Technos?  Rangers? Necromancers?

Most things I come up with sort of fit in or between the current classes.  How is a Berserker not a fury Warrior?  How is a Techno not a Dwarf/Gnome Hunter with the engineering profession?  How is a Ranger not just a Hunter without a pet?  How is a Necromancer not just a cross between a Warlock and a Deathknight?

If I had to bet, it would be some sort of magic using class I guess.  While I see the cross over, Necromancers might still have potential.

And will Blizz try something new with levels?  Maybe they have some form of alternate advancement in the works.  Or will this be another ten level expansion?  With the company floating the idea of a level squish, it would be strange for them to simply carry on as before.

While I am not playing retail WoW right now I certainly plan to go back to it at some point, which means I am still quite interested in its future.  BlizzCon is the chance for the company to set a course for our expectations.  I hope they don’t blow it, either by coming up empty or setting expectations that lead to eventual disappointment.

WoW Classic

WoW Classic is the difficult bit for Blizz.  It has succeeded beyond expectations.  I think that is a pretty safe claim when the company had to more than double the server count (see the numbers) AND THEN double the amount of people a server was allowed to hold.  Also, there is that 223% increase in subscriber revenue.  All that has put WoW in the headlines again and may have even pushed up the stock price.

Which means you can’t just say nothing about it.  You can’t just say, “Wasn’t that great?  Aren’t we all having fun?” and move on to the next topic.  There has to be a plan communicated.  It doesn’t have to be deep or detailed, but somebody has to get up there and at least hand wave an idea of how Blizz keeps this party going.  Things I think they might bring up as options.

  • 100% Sure – Phase Plan – This is, to my mind, the bare minimum they can communicate, some idea of when the next five phases of WoW Classic will unlock.
  • 80% Sure – Other Expansions – The logical follow on for WoW Classic is The Burning Crusade Classic.  I expect the minimum they will say is that they are looking into it.  The upper limited of my expectations is a declaration that they will make this happen without any details.
  • 10% Sure – More Classic Servers – I will be interested to see if Blizz “gets” what makes up all of the appeal loaded into WoW Classic.  It is rooted in nostalgia, certainly.  But as SOE learned eventually, this is an evergreen proposition, not a one and done effort.  People want to start on FRESH servers and be in that wave of level one players.If they do get this, there will be a mention of a new round of servers at some future date.  Daybreak has found they can roll out a fresh progression server every other year and it will fill to overflowing.  Blizz could easily make this a filler for non-expansion years for WoW.  Maybe they don’t need 70+ servers, and it would be good if there was some sync between finishing up the phases and rolling out a new generation.
  • .001% Sure – Alternate Reality – SynCaine really brought this one up for me.  With WoW Classic essentially standing as an independent game with its own client separate from retail, Blizzard could realistically create a different way forward for the game with its own exclusive expansions.  If anybody has the resources for such a thing, it is Blizz. On the other hand, this is also very much a coloring outside of the lines move, not a Blizz strong suit, and if they can only get an expansion out every other year for retail, I am not sure they have the talent and other non-cash resources capable of producing something that would not lead to disappointment.

Diablo

Diablo IV or go home.

Seriously, if that is not announced after last year’s tease and follow ups, Blizz might as well give up on the franchise.  They have started calling Diablo III a “classic” title. I guess it is already more than seven years old.  So a new Diablo on PC/consoles seems due.

Also, give me a damn Diablo II remaster already.  I would take a GoG.com version.  I have already proven that when I bought Diablo from GoG.com.  Just give it to me already.

Oh, and we do want to hear what happened with Diablo Immortal, but only after you’ve made us all happy with the wonders of Diablo IV.

Heroes of the Storm

Auto Chess or go home.

HotS is still a thing, still getting some minor updates, and will probably get a special new hero for BlizzCon, but the esports body-blow still has many convinced the game is dead.

But Blizz has a unique opportunity here.  With Dota Underlords and Teamfight Tactics out there having stolen the thunder of the Auto Chess mod, the company could step into the fray with their own version.

However, it needs some special sauce, something tight to set it apart.  And I don’t mean putting making the play grid triangles rather than squares of hexagons.  They need a leap in the concept, because Teamfight Tactics seems to be doing pretty well.

Overwatch

Overwatch 2 or go home.

Okay, I am not sure whether Overwatch 2 is a good plan or not, but reports are revenue has been sagging and you know the Activision side of the house makes damn good money releasing slight variations of the same damn shooter every year.  Somebody might force that issue.

Otherwise, what else have they got?  A new hero?  A new map maybe?  A new cereal?

Hearthstone

More card packs.  Maybe a new play mode.  What else are they going to do besides milk this cow?

But I also don’t “get” Hearthstone in some deep way.  I mean, I understand how to play, I just don’t find it all that interesting.  I put the client on my iPad every six months or so, play a few hands, then wander off.

StarCraft

Yeah, I got nothing here.  I mean, StarCraft II has been out for more than nine years now… is it “classic” at this point too… and the base game has gone free to play, while StarCraft, its now 21 year old predecessor, has gotten a remaster and a DLC skin overlay.  The company is pottering around with tidbits, but nothing that is worth a headline.

What could revive the StarCraft franchise?  I think a third RTS would be pointless.  StarCraft was so well done that StarCraft II had to be, almost by necessity, nearly a direct knock-off of the original.   A new campaign module might interest some.  But something like a first person shooter would collide with Overwatch and my gut says that Blizz will never do another real MMORPG.  So what is left?

Maybe StarCraft is where Blizz goes with the Auto Chess thing?  Rather than just selecting from a random set of heroes you have to commit to one of the factions and only draw from their units?

New Stuff

There needs to be something new.  Like, really new.  As much as I dig Warcraft III or Diablo II remaster ideas, or even the thought of Diablo IV, there might be a need for some fresh blood down in Irvine.

The Blizzard tradition has been to remake a game that the devs are currently playing.  That literally covers the history of the company from its founding forward.  So what have the devs been playing?  Last year Blizz said mobile games were hot with the dev team, so what will they copy?  Pokemon Go?  Clash of Clans?  Honour of Kings?

Waiting

That is what we get to do for a month, wait.  BlizzCon is November 1st.  I am sure we’ll get more hints about what to expect as the month progresses.  The schedule, for example, is always something you can read things into.  Whichever game gets the first presentation after the keynote tends to have the biggest announcement, which will set expectations.

Of course, that can lead to disaster.  Last year that position of honor had “Diablo” written on it, but then they announced Diablo Immortal.  I expect they won’t make that mistake again.

So what is it going to be?  What will BlizzCon bring?  And when will the Virtual Ticket go on sale?

Addendum:  Just before this was slated to go live the Virtual Ticket was announced.  A couple of battle pets, murloc versions of Anduin and Sylvannas, along with cosmetic “Wendigo Woolies” transmog items for retail WoW players.

 

The Virtual Ticket battle pets have been some of my favorites, so even if I wasn’t already on board for the Virtual Ticket I’d be leaning heavily towards it.

I am also happy that replays of panels will be available for longer than previous BlizzCon Virtual Tickets.  I can re-watch things until March 31, 2020.  But more about the Virtual Ticket later.  Now the wait for the event schedule to be posted.  Who will get pride of place after the keynote?

September in Review

The Site

I mentioned elsewhere that, at least for this site, not only does the month of August often see an uptick in traffic… maybe due to Blaugust, maybe due to more posts, maybe due to moon fairies… but then September almost always sees an uptick in traffic from August.  This month continued that trend, though I am pretty sure I can figure out why.

Classic is as classic does

Yes, I once again put up a post every day, making it three months in a row for that.  But quantity doesn’t always trump… well, I won’t say quality.  Rather, I wrote about the right topic this month.

If you look down at the most viewed posts for the month you will see that nine out of the dozen are not only WoW related, but focused on WoW Classic , WoW nostalgia, or zones from vanilla WoW.   When WoW is hot, writing about WoW gets traffic.  Or having previously written about WoW in any case.  A number of those posts are rather old.

One Year Ago

I did my post-event summary of Blaugust 2018.  Also, the blog turned another year older.  It seems to do that almost every year.

Pirates of the Burning Sea was in danger of shutting down.  A player group eventually took it over.  We’ll have to see how that plays out.

WildStar was no so lucky as NCsoft announced its time was coming to an end.  Is there an emulator yet?

Club Penguin Island was done too, though that was the result of Disney being dumb and/or arrogant.  We don’t get emulators for mobile apps, do we?  Not that there would be much call for it given how CPI was received.

I was cynical about Torchlight Frontiers.  But I am that way about a lot of things.

Then there was the crazy Daybreak and NantWorks joint partnership around H1Z1 and maybe EverQuest on your phone.  I don’t know.  But at least Daybreak could announce an EverQuest II expansion.

I actually played some EverQuest II.  I went looking for a path to follow, getting stuck in a waterfall along the way.

I was on CCP about trading their touted “epic” tutorial with a laborious one based around The Agency interface.

That would fade into the back when just days later it was announced that CCP was being acquired by Pearl Abyss, makers of Black Desert Online.  That got me going on about what it is like to be acquired as a company, something I’ve been through a bunch of times.  I even related it to how a studio called Silicon & Synapse got acquired way back in the day, and they did all right, before wondering about the EVE Online store.

The EVE Online September update saw the end of another asymmetrical ship design.

Meanwhile, actually in New Eden, there was a war on.  We had out eyes on that CO2 KeepstarWe blew that up, along with other structures of theirs.  Then we were after more structures in Fade and Pure Blind.  That led to a day when five Keepstars were blown up.  With the war going badly, Dead Coalition bribed us to pack up and go home, ending the war.

Blizzard had a mount for you, if only you would subscribe to WoW for six months.  Speaking of mounts, I got my Darkmoon Dirigible mount at last.  And Blizz said people would get a demo of WoW Classic as part of BlizzCon, even home viewers.

Over on Kickstarter, the World of Warcraft Diary about creating the game picked up $600K.

I did a piece about the Elder Forest zone on TorilMUD.  A great zone and a boon for young elves.

I also had a bit of a time capsule post and a link out to a character name creator.

Five Years Ago

Blizzard said no to its Titan project.

ArcheAge went live, was overwhelmed, and pissed off some people.  But everybody is happy now, right?

Destiny also launched and though I went nowhere near that, I was interested in Bungie’s seven design point.

Project: Gorgon was coming to the end of its second Kickstarter campaign and it clearly wasn’t going to make it.  On the other hand Defense Grid 2 was headed for release even though Hidden Path didn’t make all of their Kickstarter stretch goals.

Also on the developer front, Notch sold Minecraft to Microsoft for 2.5 billion dollars.  Since then sales have gone past the 180 million copy mark, which I am sure Michael Pachter thinks is nothing.

Rift was set to join the insta-levels club as part of their Nightmare Tide expansion announcement.

EVE Online had the Oceanus release.  We all remember that, right? Parlez-vous français?

Meanwhile the Lords of Null Sec put our their Null Deal proposal.  In actual space, we left Delve yet again to come home and clean up Deklein. We were out numbered at one point, but we ended up with a nice op at the end of the month.

As part of my Pokemon binge I finished up Pokemon White Version 2.  I still think that is a horrible name, but it was a good entry in the core Pokemon RPG series.

In World of Warcraft I managed to get the Brewfest Kodo.  However, my Loremaster project started to fall apart in the Blade’s Edge mountains.  Well, we had more details about Warlords of Draenor to fuss over.

The strategy group was putting on a shameful display in Total War: Rome II.

I was wondering how long you had to be away before an MMO changed so much it became like a foreign country.

For the blog itself, I was on to the third iteration of my sidebar feed and it had been eight years since I started blogging.  And finally there was a review of the first Blaugust.

Ten Years Ago

I regaled readers with a post about the Adventures of Opus and Mopar Mac, which involved driving around Cupertino at night.

There was a brief moment of nostalgia for Infocom games… or at least for the ads.  Honestly, I think the ads were better than some of the games.

I was wondering if being there on day one was a requirement for MMO players.  It seems to be a thing for many players.

I was still talking about my days of playing TorilMUD, with a description of getting to Kobold Village and the great bronze armplate smuggling get rich quick scheme.

Turbine announced the Siege of Mirkwood expansion for Lord of the Rings Online, which brought out a little guilt in me, since I hadn’t even gotten to Moria yet.  I’ve since made it, but it took me a long time.  Siege of Mirkwood though, that ended up to be an interest killer for me.

Turbine also went live with their free to play program for Dungeons & Dragons Online.

Then there was WoW.  We were really on a WoW binge that September.  After the mention of a heroic version of Deadmines coming with Cataclysm I put up a poll about what instance we didn’t want to see made heroic, and the results were… unsurprising.  Everybody hating on the gnomes again. (We eventually got a pet battle version of Gnomer though!)

There were pirates and Brewfest and I managed to get my chef’s hat and all the sundry cooking achievements.  There was also corpse spam and phasing and maybe a unified auction house.  I think we got that eventually, right? Out in Northrend the instance group ran through Ulduar and the Oculus. and trial of the champion.

And, finally, there was the three year anniversary of the blog, with the usual round of stats and trivia.

Twenty Five Years Ago

Infocom released the text adventure version of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  It became one of their rare titles which I played completely through.  I ended up owning a bunch of their games but  Zork is probably the only other one I finished.  In HHGTTG getting the Babel Fish was such a moment that I bought the T-shirt they offered that said, “I got the Babel Fish!”  I still have, in a drawer somewhere, the “Don’t Panic!” button and the peril sensitive sunglasses that came in the original box.

One Hundred and Twenty Years Ago

Nintendo Koppa, later the Nintendo Playing Card Company, and eventually Nintendo Co. Ltd., was founded in Kyoto, Japan.

Most Views Posts from September

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains
  3. Traveling to the Scarlet Monastery
  4. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  5. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  6. WoW Classic gets a DDoS Attack
  7. WoW Classic and the Hunter’s Path
  8. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  9. Visions of a Sunken Temple
  10. Expecting Too Much from New Eden
  11. Desolace, Feralas, and Thousand Needles
  12. WoW Classic First Night Fun Complete with Queues

Search Terms of the Month

how many people play eve online 2019
[fewer than in 2018]

when will triglavian collective’s end?
[When Hilmar’s dreams tell him to end them]

ukdrillas
[Google says this is the top search term for my site now]

the ancient gaming nood
[This isn’t that kind of blog]

will there ever be a new everquest
[If you believe hard enough…]

Game Time from ManicTime

In which WoW Classic takes over my life.  ManicTime does not distinguish between the retail and classic clients, so it is all lumped in the World of Warcraft bucket.  But trust me, not a lot of time was spent in retail WoW.

  • World of Warcraft – 94.57%
  • EVE Online – 5.16%
  • Minecraft – 0.27%

Also, total hours played was up for the month.  So I played fewer games, but played more of them… or more of one of them.  In short, I played a lot of WoW Classic.

EVE Online

The blackout ended, the cyno restrictions went in, and chaos was… not very chaotic really.  Hilmar’s promise/threat of constant change and not knowing what was coming next seems to have been so much hyperbole.  It was enough to drive some people away and deepen divides in the player base, but not enough to actually change the game all that much.  Op success?  And Hilmar claiming it all came to him in a dream with delusions of game sentience hasn’t burnished his reputation in my book.  But he runs the company and I write a blog, so my opinion hardly matters.

Actually in New Eden I didn’t do all that much.  The Reavers deployed, then had to move due to a change in the political landscape of the war in the south east.  We scooted a bit north, but then Asher went on vacation for a week and not much happened.  I basically went on four ops this month and let my cyno alt account lapse.  My main and my alt are still logged out in a safe in hostile space, meaning they cannot do much.

Minecraft

Minecraft is on the list mostly because I stopped renewing my Minecraft Realms account to host our world.  There isn’t anything wrong with Realms.  It is an easy way to host your world.  But I did a sweep of subscriptions that were not being used, and Minecraft was on the list.  (So was Hulu.)  I mostly logged in to download a copy of the current world so I would have the most recent version available.

Pokemon Go

We saw the release of the first fifth generation Pokemon from the Unova region, the location for Pokemon Black & White.  That gave us new Pokemon to catch though, as I mentioned, there is now something of a Pokemon density problem.  And then there is the special task where I need to catch 50 steel or psychic Pokemon.  They are also scarce on the ground for me.

Level: 37 (+0)
Pokedex status: 444 (+6) caught, 467 (+6) seen
Pokemon I want:  Casting my net for Unova starter Pokemon
Current buddy: Lickitung

World of Warcraft

I did, in fact, log into retail WoW more than once this month.  I ran through a few things in Darkmoon Faire, as is my habit.  However, WoW Classic dominated my time.  They had a pet battle bonus XP week and I didn’t even log in for that.  I never miss out on pet battle bonus XP!

WoW Classic

Pretty much the main focus of my gaming for the month, and by a significant margin.  Just look at those ManicTime numbers.  Maybe 5% of that is WoW and the rest is WoW Classic.  I am not sure I have much to add here that I haven’t already posted about.

Coming Up

I hope you’re not sick of WoW Classic yet, because more posts about WoW Classic seem pretty damn likely.

BlizzCon is also approaching, going live on Friday, November 1st, which means the Blizzard speculation season has officially begun.  We have a month to read the tea leaves, decipher hints, and otherwise wonder at what will be revealed.  Expect a post about that soon.

We also have the last official CCP supported EVE Vegas towards the end of the month.  Basically the weekend before BlizzCon.  After this they will be holding it in San Diego.  I have my own conspiracy theory about that.  But I will be at EVE Vegas to help send it off.

Inside EVE Online the Chaos Era continues I guess.  Not content to stick Triglavian incursions in career agent systems, or between the starter systems and career agent systems, CCP decided to drop one on a starter system.  There is some chaos.  Do you wonder why I doubt they can improve new player retention?

We are also getting towards the time when Daybreak reveals information about the upcoming expansions for EverQuest and EverQuest II.  And The EverQuest Show went to Daybreak HQ to film some interviews and promises a big episode based on that some time in October.

And then the LOTRO expansion, Minas Morgul, is supposed to go live at the end of the month as well.  I will have to see if I have enough LOTRO points to add that to my collection.  I doubt I will play it, but I might as well own it.