Tag Archives: Burning Crusade Classic

Cooking in the Blood Furnace

After the three run struggle to get past Hellfire Ramparts, I have to admit that I was a bit pessimistic about our chance for the Blood Furnace, the next instance on our four person instance tour of WoW Classic.

Yes, we had leveled up and geared up some, but even so we barely squeaked out that last fight on our third run in ramparts.  That was not a promising sign.

Still, what else were we going to do?  We can only go back to visit Blackrock Depths so often.

So we got together… this was back on the 12th… and our group was:

  • Ula – level 63 gnome mage
  • Beanpole – level 63 gnome warlock
  • Wilhelm – level 63 human paladin (protection)
  • Fergorin – level 63 human paladin (holy)

The first thing was to get everybody to the instance.  I scouted it out early, which wasn’t too hard because I had found it when I was looking for the Hellfire Ramparts instance previously.  But then I had to explain to everybody else where I was as they logged on, which I did poorly, so I ended up running out to the end of the wall to where the siege engine with the ramp is that lets you get up onto the wall so they could come to my marker on the map.  Eventually we got to the instance.

Up on the wall and around a bend and there we are

Once inside we looked around and steeled ourselves for a hard slog.  None of us could remember in any detail any of our past runs, though as we moved through we had flashes of wipes and bad turns.  I try not to go re-read the old instance group posts from back in the day before we do a run as not to spoil things, but I had a feeling there were stories.  So we moved forward to see how it would play out.

Inside and ready to move

We made our way in and up the passage, taking out groups, then up the stairs, where somebody mentioned stealthed rogues in a comment on the last instance group post, so we were warned and managed to handle them well enough.

We seemed to be doing okay, though I suspect our being level 63 help us avoid an accidental proximity pull here and there.  There were a few close runs, but it wasn’t until we got to the room outside of the first boss’s chamber that we had any real problems.  There are three groups close together and a walker that moves between them.  In an attempt to pick off the walker I managed to pull everybody in the room.

Things went badly soon thereafter.  I fell, then Fergorin, then Beanpole.  Ula ran for the instance line, blinking to keep ahead of all the mobs chasing here, which just allowed her to make it out.  That was all that kept it from being a full wipe.

The chorus line running back past our corpses after chasing Ula out of the instance

We had a soul stone handy, so Fergorin was able to revive then ress Beanpole and myself.

With that out of our system, we went in a bit more carefully and managed to pull a group, then the walker, then the other groups, clearing the room and letting us into the room of The Maker, the first boss in the instance.

You have to clear his room too, and there are groups standing around and in motion, but they are spread out enough that we were able to clear the room, which left us the prize.

Facing The Maker

The Maker did not end up being all that tough.  After a short sharp fight he was down.  He dropped the Diamond-Core Sledgemace, which is not only a very healer focused weapon, but a very dwarven one as well, which made it a perfect fit for Fergorin.

Sledgemace in hand

From there it was into the tunnel that runs to the second boss, where there are mobs in close proximity and wandering mobs and at one point Fergorin had to use Divine Intervention on me to avoid a wipe when we got in over our heads, so I was able to ress everybody so we could carry on.

In the tunnel

We managed to get through that and into the room where the next boss fight would take place.  We had to clear it out, of course, but once done there was a big lever to pull that would set the event in motion.

The lever awaits

We looked this one up in advance just to prepare.  You pull the lever and you have to face four groups of four elites, one at a time, then Broggok, the boss comes for you.  Mana management was recommended, with the suggestion that you crowd control the final elite from the last group and let your mana regen before killing him and facing the boss.  Seemed easy enough.

This went a bit rough with the groups.  We had some trouble focusing on a single target and mobs would break away to chase the casters and then I’d have to go chase the mobs and it was a bit of a circus.  My taunt, which pulls multiple mobs, has a 15 second cool-down and inevitably I use it for one caster seconds before the other unloads with some huge windup and then I am off chasing a mob while swearing at the cool down timer on my taunt.

Anyway, we somehow managed to keep it together through the first three groups all the same, then Beanpole died on the fourth group and it seemed like we might be done for.  We managed to finish off all but the last elite in that group, then kept him crowd controlled while we regenerated mana and considered our options.  We were in combat and didn’t have a combat ress, so we were just going to have to fight the boss without Beanpole.  So we offed the last elite and went to dance with Broggok.

You can just see Beanpole’s corpse on the floor a bit to the left

And dance is the right word.  One thing I did remember through the years was that he drops a poison stink that you need to avoid, so you have to keep moving through the fight.  So I unloaded everything I could on him, there being no point in holding back.  Fergorin kept me healed, I held aggro, and Ula burned him down.  And we won.  With just three of us.

It seemed kind of amazing.  We got Beanpole ressed and checked the loot.

Broggok Slain

He dropped the Arcing Bracers, which went to a roll-off between Beanpole and Ula, though I cannot remember who won them in the end, but they were another upgrade for somebody.

That left us clearing our way to the final boss, Keli’dan the Breaker, which we managed to do without too much additional drama.  There are still some stealthed rogues that far into the instance, but we managed  to spot them before they surprised us.

For Keli’dan you have to slay five elites who are holding him in place, and for once we managed some very good target discipline and chopped them all down one after another, before launching into the boss.  All we really knew is that he has an AOE fire blast and that when he says “Come closer” you run away like he’s promising you there is candy in his white panel van, and you don’t stop until you know the blast is over because you’re probably not far enough away when you think you are.

And with that bit of knowledge we managed to best him.  He died with some parting advice.

Says the dead guy

He dropped the Raiments of Divine Authority, which went to Ula, another upgrade on the run.

We took our end of instance screen shot.

The group made it to the end

Then we headed out the back door and called it a day.

Happy fun ramp exit

A rather successful run.  No full wipes, no runs back to the instance, upgrades dropping from each boss.  Hard to argue with that.

It will probably boost our confidence slightly until we get to the next instance, which is The Slave Pens in Zangarmarsh.  That probably means we’ll have to do some overland content to get quests lined up and all of that.  I have been avoiding that content for a few months now.  Maybe it is time.

And, after all of that I went back and looked at our original run back in the day… and we did it on the first try back then as well.  So maybe I was worried about nothing.

Hunting for Disenchants in Blackrock Depths

After our Hellfire Ramparts run Ula announced that she had finally made it up to 301 in enchanting and wanted to know if there were any gear enchants we might want.

Fergorin started looking at enchants that would be available to us at that skill level, and the common denominator seemed to be large brilliant shards, with a couple to a dozen being needed depending on the specific enchant.  Some investigation over at WoW Head showed that we might be in luck for some of those shards if we were willing to go back to Blackrock Depths to kill a few bosses.  And why not.  We’ve been there a dozen times in WoW Classic already, it isn’t like we don’t know the layout by now.

But it was Sunday and there was only three of us, so we’d have to see how well we could manage against bosses in the low 50 level range.  Our group was:

  • Ula – level 62 gnome mage
  • Wilhelm – level 63 human paladin (protection)
  • Fergorin – level 63 human paladin (holy)

We met up at Thorium Point and rode the familiar path to the instance.

Off towards Blackrock Depths

There was a question as to where we ought to go first… and if we even had the keys to the place.  Both Fergorin and Wilhelm are Outland replacements, so neither of them were on the dozen BRD adventures, and so neither of them have the Shadowforge Key.  Fortunately Ula had it, so we were able to move about.

The nearest boss seemed to be Lord Roccor, who wanders around outside the Ring of Law.  Fortunately for the sake of speed, our aggro radius was small enough to allow us to thread the needle and bypass a lot of mobs, though we had to knock out a few groups.  We were able to grab Lord R in between two groups who just sat there and ingnored the fight.

After Lord Roccor

His drop only yielded a small brilliant shard, not a large.  We went into the Ring of Law and did the event there, drawing the big spider, whose drop also disappointed when disenchanted.  Still, we pressed on, heading around the corner to find Pyromancer Loregrain.  His loot included the recipe Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon.  Not a shard, but something pretty cool for Ula. (Moronae got that last time we found Loregrain, but I don’t think he ever got his enchanting high enough to use it before he swapped out to Beanpole.)

From there we wound our way back, set the bridge/gate so we could cross it, and went looking for General Angerforge next.  He was a bit of a pain at level back when we did him.

There is General Angerforge

At level 63 and geared up from Outland, the three of us were able to handle him, with AOE taking down his non-elite minions when he summoned them to fight.

Then it was across the way to Golem Lord Argelmach.  Here we had a bit of trouble.  We were able to slip through the manufactory well enough, but we had forgotten that if you don’t clear it out, Argelmach runs out there and summons help.  So the fight seemed to be going off the rails pretty quickly.  But we held it together and were able to muscle through the boss, his two minions, and the adds he summoned.

Golem Lord Argelmach’s golem friends down

That goes us a good shard plus, on the ground near where he spawns, was the engineer recipe for the Field Repair Bot 74A.  You cannot even pick it up unless you’re a level 300 engineer, but Wilhelm was at 305, so a happy new recipe for him as well.  While the bot is one use and a bit pricey, requiring a dozen thorium bars and two fused wiring, the latter being the more painful item to provide, having one along if we need to repair or sell to empty bags some day may well save us some day.  I’m working on sourcing more fused wiring so I can make backups.

From there it was over to the Grim Guzzler, where we picked off Ribbly Screwspigot and the mobs that show up to defend the kegs when you break them.  The drops were now starting to disenchant nicely into the shards we wanted.

At the far end of the Grim Guzzler I bought the ale to feed to Private Rocknot to get him to start the fight with Phalanx when we had ran into a bit of trouble.  Once Phalanx went active I hit him with my taunt to pull him onto me, but it has a 15 second cool down, and in that time Ula unloaded on him, pulled aggro, then did her AOE freeze to hold him down so she could step away, not remembering that bar patrons were right behind her.  So the bar went aggro on us.

Melee in the Grim Guzzler

Ula got stomped and, as things started to really go bad, Fergorin pulled out the Divine Intervention card, sacrificing himself to bubble me, take me out of combat, and let me walk off to ress and restore the situation.

Time for a ress

We were able to get back together and slay Phalanx and move on around the corner to knock out Ambassador Flamelash.  He was another one that summons a bunch of minions where consecrate takes care of business.

We were not keen to go much further in.  The lyceum felt like more work that we wanted to do, though I suppose we could have tried threading the needle again.

So we turned around and jumped off the platform we were on to go after Lord Incendius.

Lord Incendius down again

After that we went up the ways a bit and knocked out Fineous Darkvire for good measure.  That done, we had the vault and a couple more small things we could have done, but it felt like enough for the afternoon.  I had a couple of real life chores calling, so Ula got us a portal to Ironforge.

Once there I asked about what materials were needed for the Fiery Weapon enchant.  It needed different shards and an essence of fire.  I bought the shards off the auction house and had the essence of fire handy, so she enchanted my blade.

Fiery Enchant Active

That is a good looking enchant.  I had just upgraded my weapon earlier, so I will get to see that fiery glow for a while.  And, of course, it throws an extra 40 points of fire damage regularly, which means it both looks good and is a practical addition.

We might have to go back for some more shards, but that was a pretty nice run back… again… to old Azeroth.

Return to Hellfire Ramparts

After some time away from the game and then some mucking around in old Azeroth in search of a guild tabard and some epic mounts, we finally had to get back to the business waiting for us in Outland.  It was time to go back and finish Hellfire Ramparts.

I wasn’t sure faster mounts were really going to help us, but we did get a level each in our wanderings since the last attempt on the instance.  A couple in some cases.  Our group for the venture was:

  • Ula – level 62 gnome mage
  • Beanpole – level 63 gnome warlock
  • Wilhelm – level 62 human paladin (protection)
  • Fergorin – level 62 human paladin (holy)

And even after our warm ups in various Azeroth dungeons, getting back into Ramparts was going to be a bit of a chore for us.  If nothing else we were going to have to get used to having a somewhat larger aggro radius.  So we got ourselves to Honor Hold and rode on out to the instance.

Our fate lay beyond the instance swirl

Once in and buffed up we were able to take out the first few groups without too much problem.  Another residual issue from doing Azeroth instances was the amount of sloppiness we could endure.  Pull a few extra mobs?  No problem!  Here, the aggro radius and the mobs more geared to our level meant when we managed to aggro not one but two additional groups, it was a race to the zone line when the tank went down.

Beanpole almost made it. Warlocks don’t have blink

The comedy of errors continued as we towards the first boss, Watchkeeper Gargolmar.

Even there, a boss we had brought down twice before without incident, we ran afoul of aggro radius, taking him on before clearing all the way around, and thus managing to bring two groups of guests to the fight.

Dead again in Ramparts

I think Ula made it out of the instance, or got close at least.  But the rest of us had to get a ress.  Fortunately we had the soul stone handy.

After that we decided to be a bit more thorough.  We pulled everything around the boss, so when we got him the next time it was just him and his two minions.  The minions went down quick, so when he called for healing there was none coming.

Watchkeeper Gargolmar getting his now

After that we started doing better.  The high point after that was the group of five at the top of the ramp which we have managed to wipe on every time.  As we got ready for that fight, I looked at my exp bar and realized I would level after we killed two or three of the group, so when we pulled them around the corner I did not hold back on mana.  I kept consecrate going and anything else I could throw at them.

Just as the third one was about to die I announced that I was out of mana… then he died, I leveled up, and was suddenly full again.  We had not problem that time around.

Win at the top of the ramp

We then managed to clear the mobs ahead of us until we had a choice.  We could go do Omor the Unscarred, who is generally the second boss, or we could just go straight for the final bosses, the duo we had yet to defeat, Nazan and Vazruden.

We went for the big boss pair.

This duo again

And we came close on the first fight.  A slip up on my part… late on a health stone… and I was dead, leading to a wipe.

The soul stone got us back in action again and we went right at them once more… and wiped again.  This was not going to plan.

We took a break to refresh drinks and feed cats, during which time we read up on the fight.  We were getting close, but we had been close before.  I was staying under Nazan’s snout to avoid as much of his fire breath as I could and we were burning down Vazruden pretty easily before turning on Nazan.  And then it came out of the guide.  Vazruden wasn’t really a threat.  We needed to focus all fire on Nazan as early as possible.  Ranged attacks and DOTs on him while he was still in flight, then all in when he landed.

With that bit of info we changed up our tactics and… won the fight at last.

Victory in Hellfire Ramparts

After looting the chest and posing for a screen shot, we ran around the corner and gave Omor the Unscarred a shot.  He went down very easy when compared to previous fights.  A couple levels and some gear upgrades will do that.

And the run helped us with a few more gear upgrades.  There was something for everybody along the way, and even more with the quest turn ins back at Honor Hold.

One instance down, many still to go.  We’ll see how far we get as a group of four.

The next target is the Blood Furnace.

Honest Game Trailers does Burning Crusade Classic

One of the problems with playing mostly old games is that Honest Game Trailers is mostly videos of games I probably won’t ever play.   But not this time.  This time they had Burning Crusade Classic.

Before the Dark Portal

And their assessment all feels pretty true to me.

 

I have a a few posts already from WoW Classic in the Burning Crusade era that have us still back in Azeroth taking care of unfinished business, including getting our epic mounts.  But I also leveled up my druid from 36 to 60 and, that done, started in on my level 21 rogue rather than spend my free time playing my mains.

Some of that was, in part, because of the instance group taking a bit of a summer hiatus.  We do go places now then.  But some of it is just reminding me that, over the years, I have said that I wasn’t too keen on the overland questing in Outland and that I might not have been mis-remembering how I felt at the time.

Still, I am not getting on the refugee boat to FFXIV.

Nope, not going there.  I can hold out for Wrath of the Lich King.  I swear.  I’ll level up in Outland eventually.

Going Rogue from Outland

I am not sure if it says more about me or the Burning Crusade content that I seem to be spending as much, if not more time, screwing around in old Azeroth as I do in the expansion content.

First, with the coming of the Burning Crusade Classic pre-patch I started working on my druid, who I managed to level from 36 all the way up into Outland.  Then there were trade skills to catch up and thorium to be mined.  And then, faced now with four characters in the expansion that I could work on, I turned around and picked up my rogue Chad.

Chad, or Chadwicke to give his full name, was part of the first group mix early on in WoW Classic.

Group 1.0 – Obama, Skronk, Chad, Jeepy, and Scscla

He was there for the run to Ragefire Chasm in the middle of Orgrimmar, the first instance we took on.  That was almost two years ago at this point.

Inside the instance

I was actually kind of invested in him at the time and had even given him a Chad catch phrase, marcro’d with an emote and sure to annoy everybody before too long.

Roll on brother Chad

However, it was not to be.  We ended up shifting characters and I ended up being the tank with my gnome warrior Viniki.

I worked on him for a little bit longer.  There was the possibility of another regrouping with Earl, but that never came to pass.  So he ended up at level 21 before I moved on to other characters.

When I returned to him last month he was still in the Santa’s Helper guise, from Winter Veil 2019 if I recall right.  That change has a 60 minute timer on it, so he hadn’t been logged in long during the intervening time.

I have also had a problematic relationship with rogues in WoW over the years.  It isn’t always a play style that suits me, so I wasn’t sure I would stick with it once I got him out again.  However, things seem to have gone well as he is already up to level 37.

I am glad I gave him a try for a few reasons.

First, it was nice to remind myself that the rogue isn’t as much like the cat form feral druid as I tend to think.  Sometimes I equate the two, forgetting some of the extras either class brings to the party.  Having buffs and heals makes the feral druid feel very different out in the field.

Second, which goes along with the previous one somewhat, is how complicated a class rogues were back in the early days of WoW.  I remembered lockpicking, which is a skill you get early on with your rogues, though I had forgotten the effort needed to go out and keep the skill up to date.

And then there are poisons.  I had totally forgotten that poisons were a thing and hadn’t really reached the point where I could unlock them before I let Chad slide.  Once I did the class quest to unlock those I had a whole new aspect of the game to play with.  There is a poison for every occasion and two weapons to coat so I can mix and match.  Also, poisons are both something that unlocks as you level up and a skill you have to keep up with, though the latter is pretty easy I suppose if you just make enough poison to keep your weapons coated at all times.

Finally, it has been interesting to see how much the game changed between the build chosen for WoW Classic and the build chosen for Burning Crusade Classic.

I got a bit of that with Alioto, my druid, going from 36 to 60 back in May and June.  But he was already at the start of the great dead spot for WoW Classic quests, so while I could see some improvement, he had to work a bit to get back on the center of the path forward.

Chad, at 21, got to enter his 30s and experience the fullness of quest options available.  Partially because there are more quests and partially because quest givers are on the mini map now so you don’t miss as many quests by accident, Chad hit level 36 and I felt like his quest log wasn’t big enough.  There is now almost an embarrassment of quests available, though I am trying to do them in order of level… I need that addon that puts the quest level in your quest log… to make sure I don’t gray out a bunch by mistake.  It doesn’t help that the WoW Head leveling guide is a bit off on which zones fall into which level bands.

If I play this through right I should vault Chad into his 40s with lots of options still available.

And then there are the quality of life improvements.  I mentioned the quest givers on the mini map, but there are also a few key new flight points.  At Chad’s level the new flight point at the Rebel Camp at the north end of Stranglethorn Vale is a huge help.

A new flight point has appeared

That means that the half dozen quests that require you to run back and forth from Booty Bay and either the Rebel Camp or Nessingwary’s camp are much easier to deal with.  I look forward to avoiding some similar runs when I get to Felwood, where there is also a new flight point.

And, with all that, I also got to enjoy getting a mount at level 30.

Riding through Redridge harvesting

Fortunately I have enough gold on my alts that it was now a no brainer to buy a mount for Chad.  It doesn’t seem like that long ago when we were working to scrape together the 10 silver for a guild charter.

Anyway, I am having fun with a rogue… whether or not that means I am avoiding Outland will likely be decided when he gets to 58.  Do I just roll up a shaman then?

Addendum: This post was written over the weekend, before the news broke about Activision Blizzard, so this might be the last post about their games until they do something.

Skulking in Frostwhisper Gorge for Thorium

I mentioned previously that our group, having arrived in Hellfire Peninsula, was still trying to catch up some lagging trade skills to keep up with our transition from vanilla content.

That was easy enough with some things.  Tistann, my hunter, was already at 300 for skinning and leather working.  Wilhelm, my pally, was up to 300 mining and closing in on 300 for engineering.  Viniki, past tank for the group and my weapons specialized blacksmith crafter, was in a bit of a bind though.

The path from 280, where he stood, to 300, requires a walk through a rich field of thorium veins… and he was hardly the only character in that situation.  The competition for thorium veins was pretty fierce.  So I was feeling kind of content at letting him stay behind for a while.

And then Ula succeeded in getting up to 300 in enchanting and needed a fel iron rod for Outland enchants and the market was alternating between empty and highway robbery on that front.  Suddenly a blacksmith with a 300 skill level seemed like a very handy thing to have around.  The rod is one of the first Outland recipes available for one.  I just needed a pile of thorium.  Fortunately, I had figured out a plan.

In farming for thorium for Wilhelm, I had noticed that at the south end of Winterspring, in Frostwhisper Gorge, there was a regular rotation of rich thorium vein spawns.

Six rich thorium veins

Unfortunately, the gorge is also home to a bunch of Frostmaul Giants, level 59-60 elites.  That makes getting into the gorge a bit of a challenge… unless you can stealth your way around.

Alioto, my recently level 60 feral druid had managed to get t 300 mining and could stealth around in cat form pretty well.  So I sent him there to farm the thorium veins.

Slipping by the giants

The next problem was the spawn rate.  Once you harvest a node it takes 20 minutes of so for another one to appear.  It is kind of dull just hanging out waiting for spawns to show up.

So I hit on the idea of just logging in every half hour to hour, depending on when I had the time, scooting along to find the current node.  Then I would mine it, go back into stealth mode, and log out again.

Sweet thorium vein spotted

This was pretty low pressure and something I could do throughout the day.  The joys of working from home.

In fact, logging in during the day was more fruitful than in the evenings.  Once the server hits prime time there starts to be some competition for the nodes.  There are a couple of level 70s who come in and farm the giants… they must drop something of value… and harvest the nodes.

But during the day things tend to be quiet.  Not perfect… you get a truesilver spawn every once in a while, which isn’t as useful… but pretty good.

A truesilver spawn

I had to hang out there for a while.  For Viniki to get from 280 to 300 blacksmithing, he needed to make 20 Imperial Plate bracers, which take 12 thorium each.  That is 240 thorium, which at 4-6 ore per spawn, takes a while.  But I just left Alioto parked in the gorge all week, logging in every once in a while to grab a bit more thorium.

Eventually I collected enough that his bags were full.  But when I sent it all to Viniki he went to work on the bracers and made it to 300.

300 the hard way

The fel iron rod was the next thing he made.  Op success!

Then I sent Alioto back to the gorge to help out Ula’s blacksmithing alt Scscla.  More thorium harvesting.

Swinging the pick again

One thing I did find out was that rich thorium nodes continue to give skill ups when you harvest them all the way to the Burning Crusade maximum.  Alioto hit 375 mining mostly on rich thorium.  (I did take hit to Hellfire Peninsula for some gear upgrades and he mined a bit of fel iron there.)

The whole thing has also made Alioto my wealthiest character.  Truesilver, and the gems from rich thorium veins, sell pretty well at the auction house.  He isn’t out buying an epic mount yet… but he is pretty close to that being an options.  Of course, that is in part because the expansion rewards pumped a bunch of gold into the economy, so everything at the auction sells for more.  But that is the way to get to a flying mount eventually.

What I Have Played so far in 2021

2021 is past the half way mark now and, as usual, the months seem to have slipped by.  But it did seem like a good time to maybe stop and look at what video games I played in the first six months of the year.  Thanks to ManicTime I have a handy list to work with.

Unfortunately, ManicTime can only tell me what I have played.  It cannot make my list longer or more interesting.  Still, let’s see where I spent my play time budget.

  1. Valheim – 40.18%
  2. WoW Classic – 39.50%
  3. EVE Online – 17.89%
  4. War in the Pacific – 0.97%
  5. Burning Crusade Classic Beta – 0.43%
  6. World of Warcraft – 0.39%
  7. Runes of Magic – 0.31%
  8. MMO Tycoon 2 – 0.24%
  9. LOTRO – 0.09%

Not even an even ten games, though these are just games on my PC.  We can add Pokemon Go if I need the round number I suppose, but I don’t have times for that, so we’ll skip it.  Anyway, looking at that list we have:

  • Valheim

Proof that I do play new games now and again.  It came out of nowhere in February and distracted the instance group from WoW Classic for more than two months.  It is actually in second place now in my Steam library based on hours played, just barely ahead of RimWorld and out in front of Age of Empires II and War Thunder, but still quite a ways behind Civilization V.

  • WoW Classic

The title I expected to be in first place, though it isn’t far behind Valheim.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while it making the list is probably no surprise to you

  • EVE Online

I am sure it is a sign of the current state of World War Bee that my time spent in New Eden is less than half of the time played in either of the first two titles.  Still, it is in the top three that together make up about 97.5% of my PC gaming time so far this year.  I do wonder sometimes if I should give EVE a multiplier for play time because there is no other game I spend so much time playing while tabbed out in a browser looking something up, and ManicTime only counts the time when the game has focus.  Then again, I do also sit docked in a hangar doing nothing a good chunk of time too.

  • War in the Pacific

My apparent attempt to prove that I no longer have the patience to get into a complicated war game title.  22 year old me would have managed it.  Even 35 year old me might have made it.  But far side of 50s me isn’t getting there it seems.  I blame the tiny text and the lack of a zoom feature.  And even as a failed experiment it makes it into 4th spot, so I tried!

  • Burning Crusade Classic Beta

You can argue that this ought to be under WoW Classic, but it had its own executable and was tracked on its own line.  Plus, given how little time I spent in beta, about which I have posted, there is a statement on how little I played anything below this.

  • World of Warcraft

Oh retail WoW, I was so into your Shadowlands expansion right up until I got my first character to level cap and decided I didn’t want to do dailies and grind anima or whatever it is.  I was seriously excited about some of the zones.  I’ll probably come back next year when the catch up mechanics kick in and make everybody who did it the hard way feel like a schmuck.  I mean, unless you enjoyed the journey.  I don’t want to take that away from you.  Anyway, my time spent here is mostly the monthly Darkmoon Faire login… and I even missed a month of that.

  • Runes of Magic

This isn’t a bad game, and it even works on my big monitor.  It suffers from the fact that there are just half a dozen other games at least that I would rather play.  I got hooked up into it for its anniversary for a bit.  Actually, it is probably for the best I didn’t carry on, because I never got as far as having to rent bag space or the dreaded $10 horse, which would have made me pissy about them having converted my account somehow causing me to lose all my diamonds.  Maybe it is a bad game.

  • MMO Tycoon 2

A single player game?  Whaaaaa?  Purchased this on a bit of a whim at the end of last month.  It seemed like it might be a bit of a laugh.  How meta, the one game on my list that has no MMO characteristics is about simulating the creation of an MMO!  Me so crazy!

  • Lord of the Rings Online

Grumble, grumble, monitor size and UI scaling.  I do log into the game once in a while, though I suspect if I went back into ManicTime and added up the time spent in the launcher patching and added that to the list, it would push LOTRO down another position.  Some day SSG will get around to supporting large screens.

What an entirely predictable list!

The good news, I suppose, is that I have picked up a couple items on Steam so the list ought to be a bit deeper before year’s end.  Everything won’t be “the siege of 1DQ carries on” and “the instance group rides again!”

Friday Bullet Points about Things Old and New

Here it is, another Friday bullet points post that future me will curse as I try to write up a month in review.  But I live for the day, and there are some things I wanted to mention but couldn’t really work up into a stand alone post.  How have I not made this a blog category yet?

  • Crowfall Ships!

Holy crap!  Color me shocked!

Seriously, I was interested enough in Crowfall to have created a category for it… something generally reserved for regular features and titles I play a lot of here on the blog… back when the Kickstarter campaign launched… which was in February of 2015.  So, its been about six and a half years.

Is this even still their logo?

This was back when I had stopped backing MMO Kickstarter campaigns but still held out hope that something might come of them, before the great cynicism fell on me after every date offered by an MMO Kickstarter campaign winded up being as much a fantasy as their IP.  The ship date projected during the campaign was December of 2016, and it featured in a number of my annual prediction posts as an easy “this won’t ship” call.

But here it is.  Live.  That puts it well ahead of titles like Camelot Unchained, a title that has helped sink backer confidence almost as much as Star Citizen by this point.

Anyway, congrats to the team.  I have no idea what they ended up shipping or if it is anything close to the “Game of Thrones meets EVE Online” catch phrase they were bandying about, but at least I could find out if I had even an ounce of inclination left in me.

  • Burning Crusade Classic Beta Stats

Blizzard sent out an email to those who participated in the Burning Crusade Classic beta back in April and May.  I was invited a bit late to that party, and honestly wasn’t all that into it, but I logged in long enough to find a few issues and to feel concerned about whatever Blizz was up to.  The beta felt pretty wonky in a way that belies the stability now that it has shipped.  But I apparently reported seven bugs… mostly related to hunter issues.

What I did in the beta… not much

Overall the community reported quite a few things.

The stats for everybody

It seemed to do some good I guess, because Outland has been pretty stable, at least on our server, though I am still a bit annoyed at the whole draw distance thing, but that was in WoW Classic as well.

  • The Next 6 Month Mount From Blizzard

Those of us on the six month subscription plan for WoW got a new mount for being such dedicated customers.  This time around it is the Sapphire Skyblazer.

The latest in a series

Part of me isn’t all that impressed. I have a few hundred mounts now, so another blue bird… eh.   Then again, at least it isn’t some cosmetic pajamas this time.  I am pretty sure Blizz learned their lesson on that front.  I’ll take a mount every time, thank you.

Six month subscribers also got a special prize in Burning Crusade Classic, the Imp in a Ball.

Available at an Inn near you

The Imp in a Ball toy actually went into the game with the Burning Crusade Classic pre-patch, so I have had one on my characters for quite a while now.  They come from a quest that the city innkeepers have, and are basically an Azerothian Magic 8-Ball… ask it a question… say it out loud or whatever… then activate it for a comically indecisive answer.  Your mileage may vary.

  • New Switch Disappointment

Rumors have been floating around about Nintendo possibly launching a new Switch model with 4K or a faster processor or whatever.  So there was some disappointment apparent when Nintendo announced a new model with an OLED screen.  Yay higher quality screens of the same size?

The Switch line up

It does have double the RAM built in and some other improvements, but it was very much an incremental upgrade to the product line… which is a very Nintendo move, really.  But it does mean that demand has slowed down enough since the pandemic rush on units that they feel they can tinker with the new models.

  • RimWorld Ideology

It was announced earlier this week that the survival game RimWorld, number three on my list of Steam titles I have played the most, will be getting a new DLC package soon.

A new drama generator

Called RimWorld Ideology, it will allow your colony or clan to create a belief system, allowing the configuration of things such as rituals, veneration, dress, adornment, and social roles.  You can play as a tribe of tree worshiping cannibals if you want.  I am sure this will crank base drama up a few more notches.

  • Minmatar Liberation Day

It feels like we just finished up Gallente Federation Day and we’re already on to Minmatar Liberation Day.  They always have the cards and decorations out so early.

Have a Brutor Libre, the official drink of Minmatar Liberation Day!

As is the usual pattern these days, there are login rewards (12 days worth), in game events, SKINs in the New Eden Store, and some SKINs you get as an add on when you buy some PLEX.  There is a full run down of events and rewards over at The Nosy Gamer.

Unfinished Business in Azeroth

It isn’t as though I am avoiding Outland, I am just having a bit of trouble letting go of Azeroth because there are still things to be done there.

Out with friends

I mentioned last week that I had run my druid up from level 36 to 58 since the pre-patch hit, which enabled him to head on through the Dark Portal.  And through he went.  But after doing the first few quests and getting some gear upgrades, he was back in Azeroth again.

He was back in part because I wanted to see how the gear upgrades would fare in places like the Eastern Plaguelands.  But mostly he was back because I needed thorium.

I needed thorium because my druid had picked up mining and herbalism as trade skills and, while I managed to get the latter up to 300 long before I hit level 58, mining was another story.  You cannot mine fel iron in Outland until your mining is up to 300 and his was still 280.

So there was mining to be done and thorium was where the skill ups were to be had and that was all back in Azeroth.

A rich thorium find

I do sort of wonder why there are Azerothian herbs in Outland… you find them all over Hellfire Peninsula… but no thorium.  Hellfire and the Blasted Lands look similar enough, at least at a glance, so tossing a little thorium into the former seems like it would fit the pattern.  But no.  Or at least I’ve never seen any thorium.

I also needed thorium for Wilhelm.  His trade skill is engineering and to make that last run up from about 285 to 300 he needed a bucket or two of thorium bars.

And then there was Viniki, who took up blacksmithing.  He too needed thorium… about 400 bars of it to go from 270 to 300, since the path forward for him needed about a dozen bars per skill up if he followed the least resource intensive way of leveling up.

That is a lot of thorium, and all the more so when a small thorium vein might cough up 3 ore if you’re lucky, while a large vein could be good for as many as 6.

This was all complicated by the fact that everybody and their dog has been out hustling for thorium nodes because they also need the skill ups or because they want to make some gold.  That hot market I mentioned last Friday?  It is still going strong with a huge demand for mithril and thorium.

If I didn’t desperately need the thorium for trade skills I might be making even more gold.  Still, I picked up enough mithril along the way to have something for market.

And I was not the only one in the group our working on that sort of thing.  Fergorin decided to go with jewel crafting as a profession, a new one that came in with Burning Crusade, so he too needed to mine himself up into and through thorium.

Ula was also out working on enchanting, which she took up in addition to being our tailor, in order to get herself up to 300.  Viniki managed to get far enough up in blacksmithing in order to craft the arcanite rod, which covers the last tier of enchanting.  Fortunately Skronk was able to transmute arcane crystals into arcanite bars to make that. (The transmute also required thorium, so add that to the list.)

I did managed to get Alioto up to 300 mining (along with hitting level 60) and Wilhelm up to 300 engineering, but Viniki is still stuck at 280 blacksmithing, so there is some work to be done there.

In addition to all of that, Potshot (who plays Skronk and Fergorin, keeping the names straight is a chore all around I guess) also took to heart a comment about Hellfire Ramparts having encounters that suited a shaman.  So he rolled up a Draenei shaman and started working him up through the levels this past weekend as well.  Alioto took some time out to shepherd him trough the Deadmines, which was fun.

Blowing the door in the Deadmines

It is a long climb from character creation to Outland, but it isn’t impossible.  I managed to get most of the way there with Alioto.  Still, we might not have a shaman healer in the group for a while still.

Then there is the epic mount question for Wilhelm, Fergorin, and Beanpole.  We still have things to take care of on the Azeroth side of the Dark Portal.

Friday Bullet Points from Outland

Bullet points posts are often tidibits of news that I want to mention.  This time around it is mostly just about me and Burning Crusade Classic, with a couple of news items mixed in, just to get them all into a single post.

  • A Druid for Outland

I have somehow managed to get my druid, who was level 36 when the pre-patch hit, all the way to level 58.

Level 58 out in Silithus

I will say again that the leveling path from 36 to 58 has been smoothed out considerably with the 2.5.1 patch.  The dead spots seem to be taken care of with new, or newly visible, quests.  I know the stuff in Theremore is new, but the fact that available quests appear on the mini-map means I probably picked up more quests that I likely missed the fire couple of times through the content.

This now gives me four characters available for Outland.  I suppose that means I should stop screwing around so much and go play in Hellfire Peninsula.  I do wonder if my druid should bother at level 58 or wait until 60 to go through.  There are still plenty of quests for him in Azeroth.

Plenty of quests at Lights Hope Chapel still

On the flip side, there is a lot of hugely improved gear if I go through the portal.  We shall see.

  • Hot Market

I mentioned previously that the pre-patch before Burning Crusade Classic was clearly pulling people back into the game, with my primary evidence being the number of pages of auctions that were coming up in Auctioneer.  That number had sagged down into the mid-to-low 200s towards the end of WoW Classic, but jumped into the 600s with the pre-patch.  And now with the Dark Portal open and Outland at our feet, that number can reach into the mid 700s over the weekend.

There is a lot of economic activity going on, at least on the Bloodsail Buccaneer server, with demand for commodities that aid in leveling up trade skills being particularly in demand.  As such I have managed to make a bit of gold in the game for once.  Not a ton.  I am just not that invested, so to speak, but before the pre-patch I was worrying about scraping together the 350 gold for the Paladin Charger quest, thinking I would need to loot my other characters.  Now, a few weeks later, I have that much gold just on my pally, so I am happy with that.

  • Fast Market

For a bit there after the patch, and even more so after the opening of the Dark Portal, the auction house was starting to drag quite noticeably when it came to searches.  People were complaining and Blizz looked into the issue, applying the following hotfixes:

  • Implemented settings changes intended to lower the time it takes to search the Auction House.
  • Players who list, bid, buy out, or cancel a very large number of auctions may now incur a delay between consecutive actions.

The latter is one of those annoyances that keeps coming up.  I am not sure what advantage is bestowed by listing dozens of the same thing, often a commodity that would sell fine as a stack, as a bunch of singles, aside from maybe trying to obscure your competition by driving them off the first page of results.

Anyway, Blizz says they are monitoring the situation.

  • Falling for Shattrath

I have already fallen to my death in Shattrath trying to run for the elevator out in front of the inn in the Aldor area.  This is one of those “seriously, why did I just do that?” recurring events that I remember from the expansion back in the day.

I’ll step out of the Aldor inn, get on my mount, and as I ride towards the elevator, it will already be at the top so that, just as I get close it starts to drop and I instinctively jump for it.  The descending platform and my forward motion then carries my over my  target and I fall to my death.

I did this often enough back in the day that with my pally I got good at hitting Divine Protection to save myself.  But this time I did it with my hunter who has no such option.  A passing priest ressed me, which saved me the run back at least.

As for “Why Shattrath?” that is where the portals back to the main cities are, which include the auction houses.  Shat isn’t one of my favorite cities in the game, but it is the transit hub for Outland.

  • Arena Season 1

Finally, Blizzard announced the start of Burning Crusade Classic Arena Season 1 for those who were waiting for more PvP options.  Available to teams of 2, 3, or 5 players, rewards include gear, titles, and even a special mount.  Not my thing, but everything doesn’t have to be about me.

Blizz did make a mistake and enabled some season 2 rewards, then had to track down the 81 players who cashed in on that.  The transactions were reversed and the honor refunded.