The Great Gnome Race

The minute that I saw the micro holiday event of “The Great Gnomeregan Run”, I knew that was something that I needed to do. For the most part, I don’t really bother too much with these micro holidays, especially after the first time. This one? This one needed to happen. I imagined the rows of RPers taking this a little too far, but isn’t that part of the fun? I got on my Dark Iron, in hopes to squeeze out a little extra XP to get to 110 for my heritage armor. (So far, 106. Not bad in the short time I’ve dedicated to her.) It granted 20k, which was a bit more than a single Legion quest and I received exploration XP. Not too bad.

I admit that I used my flying mount to cheese my way through it. At some point I joined a group, but they were moving at a turtle speed to the finish. (No seriously, they made everyone mount up on a turtle.) I quickly decided that this went far beyond my RP limit and left to hurry up with this event to see if the XP was worth my time. It may not have been, but it was an interesting break from the grind.

What this micro holiday did accomplish was showing how much detail the design team is capable of adding into anything. The fireworks every time that you cleared a gate. The tables with water for the “runners”. The road blocks and rows of gnomes cheering you on as if this were a serious marathon. It was cute. It was really really cute. (I wish I had time to stream myself completing the event, because it was hilariously fun.) As I described how cute it was to my husband, he said “well, maybe the guy in charge of that team should be leading the WoW Development team.” He’s a reformed WoW player, who gave up after the 1st raid of Legion due to raiding again turning him off of the game. I haven’t actively raided since defeating the Heroic Lich King and received both ICC achievement mounts. Things happened, completely turning me off of the hardcore raiding thing. I nearly quit the game, feeling it was ruined for me. I didn’t. I went back to a core of players that were genuinely fun to be around and who have also been reformed raiders.

He may be right. I love BFA, but I wondered if I could love it more. I love the Allied races, as someone who is a confirmed alt-aholic. I love the island expeditions, but I gave them up for the sake of alts. Because I love alts more. I do the warfronts and the quests because those are also fun, but my character has hit a point where aside from going back to raiding there is nothing really for me to do. I’m exalted with all the new factions. The only quest zone I found fun to level in on the Alliance side was Drustvar. I haven’t played Horde yet, (but I just may level my Nightborne all of the way to despite swearing not to touch 110 alts until flying) so I can’t say whether or not the Horde side had a better story. From what I saw in Beta though, the Horde side had a more cohesive and entertaining story. Though listening to Bwonsamdi every time I die is not something I want to experience again.

I’m not even sure what they could have done to improve the experience. The time-gating is lame, but I get why they do it. Could it be less annoying? Sure. But I’m happy with it since it gives me more time on alts. Maybe give a cooler story line for Stormsong, which was the most annoying zone for me. Maybe they could have also made getting turtle rep more worth it. The Jaina storyline was awesome, and Taelia’s was also pretty interesting. I can’t wait to see where that goes. But Stormsong was meh, at best. It could have been more interesting if it didn’t feel so disjointed. Drustvar was all about the witches. Every quest revolved around the Heartsbane. The story with House Waycrest was interesting and the instance that completed it was also well-designed. Tiragarde Sound was about fighting pirates and Lady Ashvane, as well as Jaina’s and Taelia’s story. But Stormsong? That was all about Tidesages who turned evil. And fighting the Horde. And fighting the Naga. And helping the turtles. It was like they had all of these things that they wanted to do and just tossed them together in Stormsong. It makes sense, in a way. They had to introduce the Queen Azshara story somehow. That was the main storyline of the zone, but I thought that gets lost in every other storyline they tossed in the zone.

With new content coming in the near future, maybe things will turn around. But for now, I still stand loyally by this game that has offered me way too many hours of entertainment.

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The Thing About Alts

The reason why I have a great time playing WoW is that I like the grind. I like leveling alts up. I don’t necessarily have the taste or desire to do anything really hardcore anymore. Time and real life responsibilities can get in the way of that anyways. I’m a very goal oriented person. I like setting goals and I get an incredible high off of completing them, in both real life goals and in games. That’s why I like doing challenges like NaNoWriMo. I like the challenge. I like being told that I can’t do it, only to not-so humbly shove it in their faces when I do. That’s just who I am.

The thing that is so great about alts is that you can relive an experience. Maybe when you speed through the levels to get maxed quickly, you don’t stop and experience the game. With alts, there’s no rush or pressure to get up there quickly. You can enjoy content anew. You can speed through areas you hate. The new system where you can choose where you want to level rather than being forced into one area is awesome. I never have to level in Burning Crusade ever again. If only I could get out of leveling in Warlords of Draenor, which is in my opinion the worst of the expansions to level in. Even if I do have flying, it’s still annoying. The instances are awful. The zones are well-designed but the whole place is boring with annoying quests. The only redeeming quality is the XP pots you can use to level quicker and the ability to use garrison missions to farm up XP for you. And that you can now farm herbs/mine to level up quicker. Which is why all of my toons now have mining/herbalism. Should they all get to level 120, I may end up rolling in the gold from the ore/herbs.

You can make the game into any experience that you want. I like Allied races because I like how I feel there’s this incredible story to them. Sure, I used to kill Dark Irons while leveling in Vanilla but now I can be a Dark Iron killing the same Vanilla Dark Irons. I can be a Nightborne, something I have been dying to be since first meeting the race in Suramar. I can be an Alliance character one day and the next see the other side of the story on the Horde. I don’t feed into this us vs. them mentality that a lot of players immerse themselves in when they play. (Much like I don’t feed into this in real life politics.) And I still have fun.

My first alt order of business, if you’ve been following my stream, is my Dark Iron. I was on my Nightborne, until the Dark Irons were able to be unlocked and now I’ll work on that until at least I get my heritage armor set. I’ll probably go back to the Nightborne to at least get my heritage armor for her. Then I’ll have to make a decision of which Horde character I need to start farming on so I can be ready for the Zandalari troll release because I need one of those in my life. I don’t want to go priest again. So my choices will end up being my BELF Pally, my Troll Furby/boomkin, or my Undead or Nightborne Mage. My instinct is one of the mages, but we’ll see when I get there. If you have any suggestions for me, let me know. Otherwise you can see me failing my way through WoW (and sometimes Overwatch) on my stream, which is linked on the sidebar.

Dark Irons, New Torb, and other Interesting Blizzard Gaming Topics

Even though I already have the coolest, the bluest, costume for Sombra in Overwatch, there is something even cooler about the Demon Hunter skin. It almost makes me want to willingly play Sombra to learn how to not suck at her. (Because really, not sucking at her would really be my best case scenario here). I should learn to play a DPS hero that isn’t a mediocre Junkrat style or easymode Soldier style, but I just can’t. I do much more DPS as D.va and I find it far more fun. All this rant is totally not the point.

Easily one of the biggest bits of information from Overwatch this week are the Bride of Junkenstein and the Torb changes. I’m not sure what Bride of Junkenstein is going to be but I have a feeling I’m going to love it. I think I live off of the Junekstein event when it goes live and I think between me and my boys, we could pretty much dominate. I do hope for some really cool new skins. Ana, Winston, and Moira are desperately hurting in the “Cool Skin” category, so I would love to see something that doesn’t suck for them. The Torb changes seem to drastically change who he is as a character, despite the fact that they didn’t want to fundamentally change who he was as a character. I’ll be streaming a bit from the PTR before I get into WoW stream today, especially since I want to see the Orisa changes as a partial Orisa main. Torb, as you probably know by now, can now shoot lava out during his Molten Core. According to Reddit, you can even get more out of it if you shoot it up in the air first but I have a feeling that this is going to be fixed soon.

In the Overwatch League, Danteh has unsurprising joined the Outlaws. They needed a strong Tracer/Sombra/Genji and he certainly fills that role. That lets Jakerat go back to what he’s good at and makes it so they have a better shot in Season 2. Ark, one of the most personable supports in the entire league, was rumored to be looking for a new home. If he is, I would strongly suggest heading to Boston. That would be awesome, as a huge Boston fan. There still hasn’t been too many announcements about the final rosters for teams yet, but I predict we are going to be slammed with all the exciting news soon enough.

Lastly, Dark Irons. Sometimes in WoW, you get a new race and you’re super excited about it only to be let down. The Highmountain Tauren: nope. Nightborne: a little disappointing so far, but I’m only level 30ish (coming from someone who has wanted to play  one since the Suramar quests opened up for me). Void Elf: Love. Lightforged: Kinda love. The Dark Irons, I wasn’t so sold on. Mostly because I never played a Dwarf race because I never wanted to. The voices are annoying.. and I want characters that look cool. They definitely don’t look cool. But then I found out that Dark Irons had a Mole Machine. A MOLE MACHINE! Yeah, that needed to happen. No regrets, I hit 60 over the weekend and today on stream, I will bore everyone by searching for all of the mole machines I can. They are fun. They are cool looking. And their home is in a freaking volcano. With elemental changes coming in the next patch, I may not even totally hate playing it. I highly recommend them to anyone who wants a cool new option.

This was just my brief overview of interesting topics from this past week in gaming. Don’t forget to check out my stream and my YouTube channel for past streams. Links are on the side.

Let the Grind Begin

Now that Overwatch League is over, I can adjust my focus to the other game that drives my life: World of Warcraft. (Though next week, I’ll take a look at all of the latest on OWL releases and free agency with a special focus on my team the Boston Uprising.) This week I can begin streaming again after the holiday, now that my face doesn’t feel like it’s on fire. For added enjoyment, I can let people watch me fail through Overwatch competitive placements prior to WoW’ing. I think I can handle the trolls now. Maybe, until a troll makes me cry. It could happen.

I hit 120 in only a few days. I would have been quicker had it not been for life, namely emergency surgical tooth extraction. But I did it quick enough that the grind began. My first goal: getting the Pathfinder part 1 achievement. I want the faster mount speed and to get my flying mount as soon as possible so that I can start the alt grinds. It’s more efficient that way. (Though this week on the stream, I will be doing a lot of Nightborne leveling. I really want to be a Nightborne.) I also want to farm up 7th Legion rep so that I can unlock the Dark Irons. This is probably the only Dwarf race that I actually want to play. They just just much cooler than the Dwarves of Ironforge.

The problem is that the grind for Champions of Azeroth and Tortollan Seekers (aka: Turtle Rep) seems to be a more difficult grind. Sure, they offer more rep per quest, but they are much fewer of them. Even with human rep increase racial, you can only do so much when only 2 or 3 of these quests are up at a time. I know that they don’t want people to just breeze through these, but it’s almost as annoying of a grind as fishing is. Still, you kind of need to power through it anyways because these two reps are essential parts of the Pathfinder quest.

There is also the mythic grind, getting as geared as possible for when the first raid is released tomorrow. The gear grind is real, especially when RNG hates you as much as it hates me. That’s really all WoW is: one big grind. You grind for rare mounts, rare pets, achievements, gear, alts. But we always do it because that’s what we do. I actually love the grind, but I also figure out the best ways to manipulate the system to maximize results. For instance, when my characters hit Legion I wouldn’t do anything with them except farm Legion invasions. You saw this from my streams, if you watched. That way characters would get rested XP for a faster leveling grind. It’s all about knowing the most effective way to grind what you want.

Tomorrow also comes the release of Warfronts, which I loved more than I do Island Expeditions. (Which I walked away with the Surf Jelly mount and a pet from completing.) These are great additions that I wish came sooner, but came before I lost total interest in the game. Not that I have ever lost total interest in the game. It will be interesting to see the changes that they made to warfronts on live and if there will be even more incentive to farm them other than the weekly and the world boss.

A New Day, a New Expansion: Part 2

Yesterday went better than expected. Despite spending an hour trying to locate my current favorite quest in game (which was hotfixed during one of the few disconnects), the whole process went a lot smoother than I would have expected. Sure, there were some annoying bugs and getting booted offline 3 times in 4 hours. But it was playable, and that’s really more than WoW fans have come to know with this company. Their hamsters were spinning the wheels just fine last night. There were a lot of complaints, but honestly, has an xpac launch ever gone as smooth as this one?

Prior to the expansion, my guildmates asked me which zone they should be questing in. Of course if you have kept up with my blog on this, Drustvar got my vote. So far on live, it is just as amazing as it was on Beta and I couldn’t be more thrilled about that. The zone has this creepy Victorian vibe to it, probably what makes me love the zone the most. I think that the storyline is cohesive and immersive. Plus, a good portion of the zone reminds me of fall. I’m a New Englander that loves her fall.

My leveling plan is as followed: finish Drustvar, then do 2 war campaigns worth of quests. Then Tiragarde Sound, to see what they’ve added since Beta. I want to see the Jaina storyline play out. Stormsong is a pretty zone, but it wasn’t very interesting so that’s a last resort questing zone for me. Hopefully there are some great changes to make these zones better, but honestly I don’t have a lot of hope for that.

Today is a new day in the xpac. We’ll see what bugs await us and maybe get some instances in to try them out. My toon needs to get levelled quick so I can get back to my Overwatch Event. I say Blizzard should have waited until September to launch, that way us mega-fans of both games could enjoy the Summer Games before worrying about speed leveling through new content. Just a thought for next time.

The Pre-Patch Event That Was Promised… but Did It Deliver?

During the Overwatch League, I continually spent my Monday Gaming posts discussing the leagues, recapping the important/shocking/interesting details of the week. I should have dedicated more time for my love of Uber and Mr. X, Soe, Puckett, Reinforce, and Bren. But I focused on the game. Next season, I will mention them. Because they are awesome and deserve it. Also, Uprising should definitely keep Avast because despite not playing, he is a huge morale guy that needs to stay. Just saying.

However during this time, I lacked the ability in my one day of gaming posts to mention my other gaming loves. In this case, my hardcore love of WoW and leveling alts. I have been streaming my beta/alting experiences (though apparently I still can’t figure out how to get my mic to work), but haven’t been able to really delve into the current happenings of the game. Today is that day.

The War of Thorns event was one that I played through its entirety in one sitting on the beta. I didn’t have the cut scenes, but the core set of quests were there. It was haunting on the beta, even without the cut scenes. It really was. I couldn’t get the “Can you hear the screams?” out of my head for several days. When I did the play through on live, which was separated into 2 parts, I again was haunted by the same voice line. It sticks with you in the most beautifully tragic way. The cut scene/Warbringers video of Sylvanas was emotional. I felt angry. I had the same feeling of sadness as watching Ysera’s fate in Legion. I actually wanted to PvP to kill horde players for their part in this madness. I read the pre-xpac novel. I was already bothered by the path Sylvanas was taking. She was becoming the cruel leader that Garrosh was.

It’s sad that they keep doing these storylines where the horde leader is a villain. I hope that this finally leads to redemption for the horde, and I don’t even main horde. But there is a bigger issue with this pre-xpac event: it was long and drawn out. There was a lot of hype going into it. I even loved it playing on Beta, though the alliance side was heartbreaking trying to save all those people only to have the screen flash with “Quest Failed” on a quest that you were meant to fail. If they had released it all at once, I think it would have had a better impact. You would have been fully immersed in the event, rather than going “Oh, part one was meh” then having a strong reaction to the second part. Did they have no faith in their product so they had to disappoint before delivering? It was likely because they didn’t want a huge roll out in case of bugs, but guess what? It was a disastrous rollout anyways. Hold off the event in a different patch, then release the event in its entirety at once rather than 2 parts. I’m not a coder or game designer. I’m not sure if that’s how it works, but I’m pretty sure they could have separated the code for the stat squishes from the patch events. Again, no expert here so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

I hope the Battle for Lordaeron is more successful. I hope that the cut scenes are just as amazing. I hope that Zappiboi is the new Warchief, with the wise and honorable Saurfang as his advisor. I hope that the expansion delivers the hype better than the pre-xpac events did. Until then, I will be streaming on Twitch. You can also find the link on my sidebar. Feel free to follow me.