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.

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Expansion Day! Part 1 on Battle for Azeroth

Today is the day that Warcraft fans have been waiting for, even moreso after the events of the pre-patch. In an expansion that is supposed to be about choosing allegiances, we are getting repeated reminders that there are no winners in war. Ignoring the debate of why the events happened as they did (I have several theories that I buy into, which I may dedicate an entire second blog), the events of the xpac did take place and they were heart wrenching. I played both sides of the scenario and I witnessed players on the horde side lamenting about how hard it is to fight for the horde after everything. Maybe that’s the entire point of the xpac. Soldiers aren’t meant to think about the actions of their leaders; they are meant to follow. And we are. And I repeat: Zappiboi for Warchief.

In this xpac, much like every other before that, I have made the difficult decision to stick with my original main: a human priest. I love my Void Elf, but I just can’t seem to take the plunge and swap mains despite how it is far cooler than the humans are. Though, let’s face it: most races are.

I will be doing a series of posts this week in addition to streaming the new xpac. If you want to follow me, check the sidebar for the channel link. This first part  of the blog will discuss my predictions for launch as well as some advice from playing in the beta.

First, my predictions. It’s a Blizzard launch of a major patch/game. It will be laggy, buggy, and annoying. Especially after the big item squish patch that broke the game. Don’t complain about it. You’ve played Blizzard games long enough to know this, I shouldn’t have to remind you. Just deal with it or wait until tomorrow when they hotfix the problems. (Or over the course of the next few weeks.)

I also predict that most players on Alliance side are going to go with the Tiragarde Sound, which will contain the Jaina storyline. She has gained waifu status after that incredibly awesome cutscene, so that will probably be the busy zone. Me? I’m starting off in Drustvar. In the beta, I really loved that storyline the best so it was the most enjoyable zone for me. It may be busy because the consensus is that Drustvar was the best zone in beta, but they could have withheld all of the cool things for launch. (Entirely plausible. Don’t want to give everything away.)

Okay, so that last one was also a tip. Here are some more:

  • When you get max level, the Battle of Stromgarde is amazingly fun as are the island expedition. Plus, getting free loot for seemingly little work is always a good thing.
  • Flynn on the Alliance side is hilarious and I wish he were real so we could be best friends.
  • The instances are a little gimmicky but I miss having mechanics that you actually needed to pay attention to in instances. Makes it more important to pay attention rather than playing Bejeweled. Sorry, wrong xpac.
  • I’m Pro-Night Elf and want them to destroy Sylvanas. Or the demon controlling her. (Maybe?) It will be really interesting to see what happens to this story later one.

Happy hunting, WoW players. The Battle for Azeroth will be upon us at 6pm on the east coast. I will start my stream around then, to share the bugs and the excitement of the release.

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.

First Impressions of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

I start by saying that if you haven’t read “Before the Storm” yet, you need to. It was a fantastic book that really sets up a nice picture for the upcoming expansion.

I was fortunate enough to have participated in the alpha and then was later invited to the beta. I have been streaming my progress on the beta, which you can check out on Twitch: username Leighanneore. I have already leveled a character on both sides of the aisle to get a comparison of the story and try out different characters. Currently on my stream you will see my leveling a Lightforged Paladin, waiting eagerly to try out my boomkin Zandalari that I have been waiting so desperately for.

The first play through happened when the beta first came out. Despite all the bugs, the first zone I completed was Tiragarde Sound. I was disappointed because there seemed to be no story. What happened to Jaina? Do you ever see a resolution to the Ashvane storyline? (In a recent update patch, you did at least a resolution to the Lady Ashvane story.) The leveling was very quick in comparison to other expansions. My biggest problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a good story on the Alliance side. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any real story on the Alliance side so far. Drustvar has the most interesting quests and storyline as of this point, but that isn’t a knock to this zone. This zone has a really really good storyline to it. The bonus is that the zones on Kul Tiras are stunning.

The Horde side does have a cohesive story that was actually very well done. The zones are complicated and confusing to get around. So much so that you may see me on my stream just flying from one side to the other rather than traveling by mount. Though as soon as I learned the portal, I just did that to get back to the main city area from the docks. Still, flying to the docks is the quickest way to get there. Bwonsamdi is a nice touch to the zone (don’t want to spoil too much about this character), which I think helps to make this story better than the Alliance side.

Each side has their own positives and negatives at this point. Still, overall I have to say that I think this is an unimpressive expansion. Maybe they are saving a lot of the punch for launch, but as it stands right now it is just a little bit more interesting than WoD. I say that because at least I got my Pandas in MoP, but both of those expansions were unimpressive. Battle for Azeroth may not have even been that bad if it weren’t for the fact that Legion was such a good expansion.

Check out my Twitch channel for videos of play throughs. Eventually I’ll update my YouTube page with past videos. Maybe this week.

A Quick Recap of Gaming this Week

First thing that should be mentioned is some of the gaming related April Fool’s Day pranks.

  • Blizzard released all of their hilarious gags as usual, though I do miss the days when the joke’s were actually believable. That doesn’t take away from the hilarity of how ridiculous they are, like the WoW Dance Battle Arcade system, the new micro-holidays, and the Blizzard Game Room. In fact, check out all of the hilarious Blizzard ones here.
  • Want to up your gaming ability? Razer’s prank promised to give gamers the edge that they need to improve their skills thanks to Project Venom. What is Project Venom? Nanobots that you drink. They even offered signups for the beta, which I did because they probably are going to actually release an energy drink and my husband lives off them.
  • Final Fantasy XIV Online Go was a prank that seemed to mesh the worlds of Pokemon Go and Final Fantasy in one bizarre mobile game.

These were just some of my favorite ones. I do have to say that I would actually really love the Blizzard Game Room idea.

Overwatch League Stage 3 starts this week, and the Boston Uprising are in the running for the big final playoffs at the end. They just keep getting better and I can’t wait to see what they do in this stage. I also wonder what changes Seoul Dynasty will make to help them overcome whatever slump they seem to be in and see how Spitfire bounces back from the Fusion upset in the Stage 2 playoffs. Stage 3 is going to bring a lot of excitement.

I have been playing in the Battle for Azeroth beta, which has been pretty fun. I like it so far, though my first impressions are they had most of their focus on the alliance side of things. The first zone that I have played in, Stormsong Valley (which didn’t make the stream because I thought that they automatically saved streams on Twitch. They don’t unless you click a button. Rookie mistake that has been fixed.) was very polished looking, the zone didn’t seem as bugged, and I didn’t feel like I was traveling miles for the next quest. The Zandalari Trolls look amazing, though I’m sad the race isn’t playable yet in beta. So far, it is fun and I look forward to seeing more of it. I will be sure to blog more about the beta as well, maybe even dedicating another day of the week to the blog for this purpose.

Lastly, I have started a Twitch stream of me playing the World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth beta. You can check me out as I play both the Void Elf priest and a Nightborne mage. Eventually I will also be playing a Zandalari Troll druid, moonkin of course. I try to remember to speak while streaming, but I end up getting in a zone that makes me forget I’m even streaming. I’ll try to be better. I may move onto other games, including when Frostpunk comes out later this month or watching my fails as I play Overwatch (especially in my favorite mystery heroes mode). We’ll see how it goes. But for now, you can see the streams saved on Twitch for your viewing pleasure and I will be sure to save them after I stream there and on my YouTube channel.

 

 

Overwatch League Stage 2 Finals and Other Gaming Announcements

The Overwatch League was full of fun this week, with some really shocking moments. My Uprising wasn’t in contention for the Stage 2 playoffs, but they went out strong with an unexpected California sweep, defeating both L.A. teams in their matches this week. In their match against the Gladiators, the Fusion waited in the crowd to see their fate in the playoffs which rested in the hands of the Uprising. If they were to at least win 1 game against the Gladiators, Fusion would get the 3rd spot in the playoffs. Uprising ultimately went 3-2 in the match, which meant Fusion would go up against the Stage 1 champions the London Spitfire.

Without the Uprising in, I defaulted to my second favorite team. I expected them to easily take on Fusion, then go against New York for the championship again. In a 3-2 match, Fusion upset the Spitfire and went against the top team in the league: New York XL. This match also went into the tie breaker map, only Fusion fell to XL and New York took home the Stage 2 championship trophy and money.

The next stage will bring in some interesting changes, especially with the Shanghai Dragons being able to play their new players including the much hyped Zarya player Geguri. They are currently 0-20, so here’s to hoping that they don’t go the whole season without a win. I’m especially excited to see Geguri, not because she’s the first female in the Overwatch League but because her videos of playing Zarya are just insane. I wish I could play tanks as well as she can.

In other gaming news, I have recently received my Alpha invite to the “Battle for Azeroth” World of Warcraft expansion. After much convincing, I’ve decided to not just blog about it but to also stream and post videos of game play. I’ve never streamed before and I’m told I sound like a Smurfette on the headset, but here’s to trying. Look for me on Leighanneore on Twitch and I should be starting sometime this week.

The Return of Vanilla WoW

It is very likely that sometime this year, WoW fans will get to achieve their long-awaited dream: going back to the beginning. For a long while, a lot of fans that got into the game later on wanted to have that Vanilla experience that they missed when they were making fun of their friends for playing the game. There was still plenty of content by then for people to enjoy. I enjoyed my time in MC and Naxx, though the AQs were more difficult to get into as everyone had played them out so much by the time I got into the game. I didn’t get to experience the opening of the Gates, an event that I’m told was equal parts frustrating and exciting. (It was certainly more exciting for those who weren’t booted from the servers so that they could experience the moment.)

Nostalgia really is often times more amazing than the experience itself was. People can get clouded by remembering something was greater than it was. How many times did people lag out because of bugs in the game during important fights? Or remember when you finally killed Rag but you were Alliance and all shaman loot dropped? Sure, your guild bank got enchanting materials but you want something for your time. These bugs did give the game character, but it was more frustrating than it was worth sometimes.

The thing is, while the content was amazing and fresh in Vanilla, that wasn’t what I missed most about it. I liked how hard it was. There were only a few add-ons that you needed, but you could’ve gotten by successfully without them. You just managed to do your job. But there was a unique social aspect to it that really drew people in. You needed to be in a guild to see content. You couldn’t just LFR it like you can now. Sure, I like that I no longer have to dedicate so much of my time for raiding. But I miss the friendships that you could make with people across not just the country, but sometimes the globe. One of our tanks was this hilarious guy from Egypt. There was this shadow priest from Australia. You could connect with people while working together to complete these pixelated goals that meant so much to people.

With the newer expansions, the emphasis grew to making the game better for casuals who didn’t have the time to raid but still wanted that experience. But in the process, the game lost something that made it so special to begin with. You really cannot form these kinds of friendships and bonds with people anymore. I still talk to people, albeit sparingly, that I played with nearly a decade ago. (Probably a decade ago now) We mourned when a friend of ours died. We mourned a person that we had never met in person but yet had such a profound impact on (at least in my case) our lives. The Vanilla server could be a good thing if it was able to bring back that same level of comradery that drew so many people into the game to begin with.