So I was worried last week about getting my 4 celestial kills. One of my commentators, Tithian (supported by R) suggested I get oQueue, and I’d like to report on how THAT worked out.
VERY WELL. PERFECTLY, REALLY.
I’m not sure why I hadn’t heard of oQueue, but I got it up and running as quickly as you’d expect for a basic add-on, and about an hour later had all 4 celestial kills (six, really, since the first two groups were supposed to do all 4, but fell apart so badly after 1 that I just dropped when there were less than 5 people left). The third group did all four as advertised, and got my cloak. I am now legen… wait for it…
At any rate, that was a nice success. I went ahead and further oQueued to get my first Ordos kill, and he dropped a neck – one of my few remaining sub 540 pieces. I jumped from – I forget exactly – but about a 535 ilevel to 548, and I moved to doing about a sustained 200k on the Ordos fight. That’s pretty crazy, though, of course, probably much less than I “could” be doing based on sims.
Speaking of jumping, I also jumped over to my buddy’s server. I really don’t know why I didn’t already, but I went ahead and did so. I already met some of his other guildies and lent a hand in an ICC 25 run for someone working on the old legendary. I also bummed around Timeless Isle a lot more than usual and just sort of saw the sights and mopped up some achievements there. It was a good WoW weekend.
I also played DayZ a bit this weekend. I had by far the best start I’ve had since coming back, finding food and a weapon in a “low-hanging” building with virtually no zombies around it. I was well on my way to getting somewhere, but the server restart came, and I went ahead and stopped to play with my buddy, whose sight after his surgery is slowly returning. We played a few games of magic, which is about all he can really handle at the moment, but he’s hopeful to be back playing other games before too terribly long.
On top of that, I played League of Legends. I stepped into an ARAM (all random, all mid) and ended up on a team with 4 melee. Not good melee, even, like Xin Zhao or Singed. The other team had 4 ranged including Sona (for heals), Ashe, Ziggs, and Janna, all characters with long range, straight attacks that make facing them in a single-lane ARAM a nightmare. We didn’t do a single point of damage to their turret. ”That’s Aram,” I guess, but it’s little consolation when you’ve truly not got a prayer from the start. The best part of the game was when someone was complaining about what they “wished” had happened, and someone on the enemy team responded, “I wish I’d been paid in gum!” It was so random, so very ARAM.
So I got my first and likely only legendary in WoW, killed a new boss, and advanced quite a bit in the story. I look forward to seeing how I do in this week’s flex, and I wonder for the first time in a while if I’ll try to jump into some normals again. Flex has been enough so far, but once all of my gear is 540 or better, that incentive is gone. That doesn’t mean too much – I’ve never cared too much about gear – rather, it’s an incentive to try a harder mode. We’ll see.
I finally – FINALLY – got my 12 runestones. I admit to slacking off for a week, but heck; I got 5 my first week, so I thought they’d drop like candy. Unfortunately, it took another 4 weeks after that to get the remaining 7 (like I said, I slacked), but at Wednesday night’s flex, I got up to 11, so I determined to hop into LFR and get the one guaranteed one.
The good news is that one dropped off Iron Qon, so I snuck out of the LFR and turned it in so I wouldn’t have to do another to get the Thunder King’s heart. With those two quests out of the way, I galloped down the questline, eating up the follow-ups like cake.
I flew around to the temples and spoke to the celestials. They were all a little condescending, but I guess they have a right to be. I then easily whooped Wrathion in a duel, though as he acknowledged, it was a bit one-sided since he was blindfolded and I’m, well, a shaman. I can dps easily while moving and chain lightning his mirror images, so it was a cakewalk.
I flew happily on to Timeless Isle, not knowing what awaited me there, but figuring it wouldn’t be too much of a challenge…
…and then I hit a challenge. No one’s killing the celestials right now. Bah! Oh well, I figure I can wait until Tuesday if worse comes to worst.
Beyond that, our flex went off very well. We finished about a quarter hour earlier than we have before with virtually no wipes (there’s always something, of course, but nothing catastrophic like the previous week). One difference was we had an elemental shammy who was decked out in 561 gear who was OBLITERATING the dps meter. He wasn’t one of my buddy’s guildies, either; I’m used to them tearing things up. This guy, though – wow. We beat our DBM best time on virtually every boss.
So it’s been a good WoW week, and hopefully another will follow as I complete the cloak. I’m pretty excited to a) see what effect it has on my dps (I’ve been told repeatedly not to compare my dps with folks with cloaks because the cloak adds a lot more than one might expect) and b) to kill Ordos and check that castle out. I’ve been around the outside, but never in, so here’s looking to find out what’s hiding inside (a bunch more of the same mobs, I’m sure).
Enjoy your weekend!
Stubborn (and almost legendary)
My wife’s birthday went off without a hitch. She got a present a day for a week, got dinner and a play (though it was Sam Shepherd play, so that may or may not be a good thing depending on your proclivities), got a birthday cake, got surprised at work, and so forth. She seemed quite pleased, so I’m off the hook for another year.
She also stays busy, so I’ve had a lot of time to play over this past three-day weekend, and play I have. I got back into DayZ a little – only a little, though. I found a no PvP server, which I feel a bit guilty about playing on, since that somewhat defeats the purpose of the game, but kill-on-sight for no reason jerks do, too, as I talked about in the past. I’ve only played two “lives” worth of time, and I’m already wondering if I still have the patience for such a game. Part of what made the patience bearable was playing with someone else. In absence of that, the patience sometimes just seems, well, boring. That’s not the game’s fault, of course, just a comment about my tolerance for tactical detail. Both times I died were to glitches, too; in one case I stepped off a stair about a foot above the ground and broke my leg. In another, I accidentally shot off my gun in the middle of town; that’s not a game glitch, but a nerve glitch. Damn twitchy finger.
I played a few live games of LoL. That was a mistake; in one, three people said they were going to jungle, took smite (a jungle-only spell), and locked in. I just dropped out before it started, and of course, I got the penalty timer. Oh well; five minutes sitting is less than a half hour of watching those morons ruin the game. In another, we had the typical aberrant personalities going at it, who were both, as usual, in the wrong. One guy didn’t respect someone else’s lane call, and that person berated him the entire game about it. Surrender at 20, of course. Idiots. I went right back to AI. I just wish there was a 3rd step of AI, a truly hard to beat one, because now even Intermediate AI isn’t any challenge. I guess to be fair I don’t need a better Artificial Intelligence, just more human intelligence in the regular games.
I played some Neverwinter Nights, which really has held up well over the long time since it’s released. It seems to still have a very active mod community, so there’s a ton of content to choose from. I’m playing a duo game through a suggested mod from one of my buddies: the Aielund Saga, but I’m also playing some other mods solo. There’s one voiced entirely by a female DM, which I liked; it’s always dudes, so it was a nice change-up. I’m playing a sorcerer in my solo game; I remember having a very powerful sorcerer in the past, but it’s taking some time to ramp up. I think I may be playing a “low xp progression” mod, too, since I haven’t gained but a single level in probably 3 or 4 hours of playing. If I was a wizard, well, fine, but it’s going to be level 4 before I even get any interesting spells.
I also played a fair share of Card Hunter. I got to the adventure that I now remember made me stop playing. It made me stop playing again – for a few days. I tried it again today and got through it, but only just. I admit I haven’t been grinding the earlier content as much, but I’m still a level higher than the “new” content I’m doing, so it shouldn’t be such a struggle. Either I’m a tactical idiot (which is entirely possible), constantly get bad draws (which is quite definite), or have lousy decks (which again is quite possible). It’s likely a combination of all three, of course. So while I’m enjoying it, it’s only in small doses and occasionally with some breaks.
Those small doses, in fact, are a good description of my gaming cycle. Since my wife left for practice three hours ago, I’ve played 4 different games. This dabbling, I think, helps me stay interested in games that aren’t completely and totally holding my attention.
Of course, this is part of my grand cycle. In a week or two, I’ll find something new to completely hold my attention, and I’ll rave about that. Then I’ll be back to this.
Ahh, predictability. It’s good to be middle-aged.
Stubborn (and middle-aged)
That’s right, I’m taking a long weekend. This will be the last post until Wednesday. There’s a variety of reasons, but the main one is that my wife’s birthday is Monday, and I’ve set up a weekend of thrills and gifts that she’ll hopefully enjoy. We’re doing dinner, a play, gifts, bowling, roller skating, and a variety of whatever-she-wants.
Before I go, here’s a quick news update. I finished Orcs Must Die; it’s the first game I’ve basically played to completion without any breaks in a long time. It was fun and engaged me both on a physical/reflexes level as well as a mental/strategic level. there were several levels I hooted and hollered were “impossible” to do without the crystal taking any damage, but in the end, I was wrong; I finished it with every level at top completion. Go me.
So if you like strategy mixed with action, like a first-person, single-player (though you can have more) Dungeon Defenders, Orcs Must Die is a steal, especially when you get it on sale.
I played another round of Neverwinter Nights. I did reroll and min-maxed an elf rogue with 18 dex and 14 con, sacrificing both a good charisma as well as more skill points in the name of CRPG survivability. My buddy and I had an interesting talk about how pen and paper D&D worked with the “challenge ratings” of encounters, and he was shocked to learn that 4 level 1 NPCs fighting a single level 1 NPC was a “fair” encounter. I see his point and have often lamented that 4 on 1 in any even remotely balanced encounter isn’t fair simply from a strategic point of view, but them’s the bones. A CR 1 encounter, appropriate for a level 1 party of 4, is a level 1 NPC. I didn’t make the rules.
Regardless, we had no problems with this go-round. My character did a great job getting sneak attack damage (when possible), and his did a good job surviving. There were still a few close calls, but it was largely much better.
Our flex run this week was a bit rougher than usual, and we really didn’t have many truly new people. It ran about a half hour longer, but, frankly, clearing SoO in 3.5 hours is a hell of a lot better than most people have it, so I wasn’t complaining. On top of that, I actually got a few “bonus” rune stones, putting me 3 from my cloak. I also got 5 upgrades, which seems awesome, but it means I’m almost broke now for what amounts to a few ilevels total. Still, I’m happy for the gear, of course!
Enjoy your weekend and Veteran’s Day, if you’re in a place that celebrates it!
Stubborn (and resting)
Another gaming venture in which I’ve recently engaged is a return to Neverwinter Nights, the old classic of early “3D” CRPGs. I got back into at the request of a buddy of mine who suggested we play through some of the player-generated content together. I figured I’d give it a go, since I remember enjoying the game quite a lot when it was first released more than a decade ago.
The return to it was brutal. Let me be clear, though; it’s very likely not the game’s fault, but my own. It’s been so long since I’ve played something so, honestly, tough. With MMO mechanics having largely been standardized, things like balanced pulls, beginner areas, and trash mobs have become part of my gaming psyche. This is not how things were done in Neverwinter Nights. I thought I’d be clever and play a rogue so I could stealth around and make sneak attacks, but the truth is that more often I’m being sneak attacked by sly wolves or bandit rogues.
I’ve died over and over, and each time I die, there’s an experience and gold punishment for having done so.
Part of me rebels and wants to spit at the designer for being so “unfair” in the early stages of the game. I haven’t played the damn thing in probably 8 or more years, so to relearn both the mechanical system (which is not entirely D&D) was hard enough, but to top it off with having to relearn the culture of caution in a gaming atmosphere where players mostly run free and do as they see fit, conquering much harder mobs and overcoming the odds – well – that doesn’t happen in NWN.
That part of me is constantly criticizing the design, but the truth is, D&D is hard. My buddy keeps pointing out how “the early levels” of D&D are inherently poorly balanced, but I’ve never DM’d or been a player in a campaign where low level PCs were put to such tests.
But that’s the hot-headed part of me. The more coolly analytical part knows that I’ve been reckless (not only because my buddy keeps telling me I’m being reckless). I’m not used to games being so lethal; I was legitimately one-shotted by stealthed mobs three or four deaths in a row. In the mean time, mobs detect my stealth from across the screen and come running.
I had some early, deaths, too, from playing an RPG the way many (stupid) RPGs are played; I went into some random person’s house and started looting it. She did not take kindly to this and promptly killed me. That sort of “realistic” response is missing from so many games, and I’ve always lamented its absence. I loved that you couldn’t sell stolen things in Morrowind, and that people would get angry and potentially even attack you in Oblivion and Skyrim; that felt much more authentic. However, that early death set me back and prevented me from being the appropriate level when I left town, meaning I was getting one-shotted by the aforementioned mobs because I had less hp than I should have.
Part of the problem, too, is that D&D is designed for well-rounded parties. I figured a rogue could use magic device enough to partially make up for having no spellcasters, and I’d have a tank to help with mobs, but the fact is I can’t heal the tank at all right now, so if there’s a mispull, we’re likely both dead.
So these two sides of me are at war. I know I should be more careful; I’ve just been trained out of it by a decade of “less realistic” games. I also feel, though, that design that’s so tightly tuned is perhaps at fault because it means one early mistake can lead to, eventually, an unplayable character.
That said, these early setbacks haven’t prevented me from wanting to play; quite the opposite. I want to play to overcome the nonsense of the early levels and move on to brighter pastures. It’s just been a hard wake-up call from the land of MMOs.
Stubborn (and probably re-rolling)
It’s a portfolio week for me, so I’m going to have my hands full grading. As often happens, this grading is coinciding with a lot of meetings this week, as well. When it rains, it pours.
Orcs Must Die has turned out to be a lot of fun, but man has it gotten challenging quickly. I strongly suspect that my absolute insistence at keeping my rifts at full capacity may be why I feel like I’m struggling; if I let them take some damage and just moved on, I may have no such complaints. Regardless, that behavior may shortly go by the wayside; I’ve had to really, really struggle with the last few boards, often taking an hour or two to completely perfect the pulls. I have to say there is something sickly amusing about using flinging and pushing traps to fling and push (respectively) orcs into lava or acid. It’s more satisfying than just shooting them or watching them die to a hail of arrows. Maybe I need counselling.
Regardless, as frustrating as it has been at times, it’s still been a ton of fun, and mostly luck-free, so it makes a nice balance from Card Hunter. I’m still enjoying that quite a lot, though again there are situations where I just roll my eyes and curse as I draw 3 rounds in a row of no attack cards on any of my characters, despite the fact that at least half their decks are attack cards (well, 2 of their decks; the other may only be 33%).
I haven’t reached any new content in the game yet, but I’m fast approaching it. There have been some new cards that were fun to discover, and revisiting the boards I had previously been successful on has been fun as I replay them in new-ish ways, but I remember losing interest because I started to hit boards that seemed to require gear that, despite the fact I’d gone back to replayed every board a time or two, I still didn’t have. Either that or they required the perfect draw of cards on my part, which I’m not interested in grinding for. Perhaps this has been addressed since the beta, which I’ll be happy later to report either way.
I also got to pretend I was a real man a little this weekend when my disposal broke. Rather than tear at my hair, gnash my teeth, and weep for a plumber, I checked the Internet and found some basic repair information. After pressing a button and turning a wrench (that’s truly all it took), it began to work again.
I proclaimed, “I’M A REAL MAN NOW; BOW BEFORE ME!”
My wife laughed.
Then I went back to finish cooking dinner for my wife, cuddle my cats, and play non-sport, non-realistic violence games for the rest of the night.
Stubborn (Real Man)
Despite the title, this is a mostly good-news post. My WoW playing has been going swimmingly well, unlike anything I’ve experienced in a long, long time. For that, I’m very grateful. The ingrate is WoW itself.
This week’s flex run, after my posting that I wasn’t making any progress on my legendary cape, was redesigned to incorporate all four wings of SoO. To be fair, the leader of this flex did say last week that we might try to do more wings, but I don’t think he intended to go right back to all 4 after having just done 2. I feel a bit spoiled as a result, but I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Also, only good outcomes came from the extended run.
For comparison, let’s review the last three weeks of flex runs.
Two weeks ago, we did all four wings (I believe that was the first week all were available). We started around 9 and ended between 12:30 and 1 a.m. It was mostly smooth except for a few wipes on the final wing’s bosses: out of control shredder wipes on Siegecrafter and some Garrosh wipes from various things.
Last week, we only did the final 2 wings, and there were again only wipes on Siegecrafter (1 wipe, I think, but maybe a few) and Garrosh. The Garrosh wipes, though, were far more than the previous week, and I could see both my buddy’s patience (which he has a seemingly unending reserve of) and some of this guildmates’ patiences getting short. After a very close wipe (I don’t remember the exact number, but it may have been less than a percent) due to people ignoring the mind control function, it was made clear that the next pull may be the last, as we’d be losing our best healer who was enabling us to use a new gimmicky strategy. Luckily, the final pull was executed perfectly, and we downed the boss to much relief. Overall just the two wings ran from about 9:15 to 11:30.
This week, we returned to all four wings, largely, I know, for my benefit. I was worried that the longer run might cause people, particularly the better people, to take a pass and only run the last two with someone else. Instead, we got one of the best (or perhaps the best) group so far. We destroyed the place, having only one wipe in the entirety (another out of control shredder mixed with me positioning myself with my back to said shredder and not noticing when it went up for its instant-kill dive bomb while I was wailing on mines). We did all 4 wings and finished just before midnight, meaning the addition of the two wings only lengthened the run by 30 – 45 minutes.
Here’s where the ingratitude comes in; the damn raid only dropped the one runestone that’s guaranteed. In other words, while I’m sure some of the flexers got some loot, so I’m glad we did the extra wings, RNG did not cooperate and reward my buddy’s generosity by rewarding me with runestones. THE IMPERTINENCE!
I did get a tier piece, which, coupled with a weaker 528 LFR piece, gives me my 2 piece set bonus. I’m not sure whether it’s all that good, but it seems like it might be, since 4% extra damage for 14 seconds each time I fulminate seems pretty good. Having specced into Elemental Blast, I’m not sure if I do 7 lightning bolts every 14 seconds (with my haste I’d guess I was near that before the respec and reforge), so I don’t know what kind of uptime to expect on it. Obviously, if it’s even near 100% uptime, it’ll be a welcome addition. We’ll see.
In the meantime, I picked up the original NWN at my buddy’s request to give it another run. Since I’ll be playing solo, I thought perhaps a druid with an animal companion would be a good idea. Hunters are EZ mode, after all, though it’s weird after all these years to get back into the D&D classes as opposed to the WoW classes. Since I’m starting up a new D&D pen and paper campaign shortly as well, I hope it’ll help get my mind back in that space instead of the MMO space.
Additionally, I picked up Orcs Must Die 1 and 2 with all the DLC for 9 bucks. I always feel weird buying a game and its sequel at once, because I know that the second is probably the superior product, but I also know if I play the second one first, I won’t want to go back to the first one. So far, I’m liking it; it does a good job letting you play Dungeon Defenders solo and as a first person shooter, which was tough in DD because there were too many entrances for one person to cover. It’s been nicely challenging already; I’ve been able to complete every level on my first attempt (only to level 5, so no great shakes), but several levels I’ve had to do a second time to get the best reward. I know it’ll only get harder (as DD did), but hopefully I’m not too old to manage.
Stubborn (and old)