On Fabled Events

So I’ve had a bit of a rough time coming up with topics, and generally having the time to write. All I’ve been doing lately is playing Hearthstone and World of Warcraft, but that doesn’t really give me anything new to talk about. I’m not one for relaying stories of what I’m doing, mainly cause I’m not doing anything worth talking about, and because that isn’t what this blog is really about.

Thankfully my friend Bel has been posting writing suggestions so I’m going to steal borrow one of those for today’s post.

For me GenCon is this fabled event, what is yours? What is the event that you would love to attend but have never had the opportunity to do so for whatever reason.

For me this would have to be Comic Con. Not just any Comic Con, but the San Diego Comic Con. The big one. The one that everyone wants to go to. If you’ve ever listened to the Aggrochat podcast when I’ve been on you’ll know I’m a huge comic book fan. I would spend so much money on that as a hobby if I could, and eventually will (darn you student loans…*cough*).

Anyways, right now this is a bit out of my budget but is certainly something I want to do at some point in the future. I had been planning to hit up the Tulsa comic con in November but I’m not sure my budget will allow me to go and enjoy myself. I could probably get the tickets and hotel plus travel costs, but I wouldn’t have the money to blow on comics & toys like I would want. I’ve done a con before where I only had enough money to cover my part of the room and gas but I couldn’t buy anything so the whole trip sucked.

I do think that once next summer rolls around and a lot of my expenses go away I’ll start saving up for the San Diego trip. I’d love to go and be able to come back with some amount of goodies, even if I had to ship them back home. I might still be able to go to the Tulsa one that’s coming up, but I need to take a look at my budget and see what I can afford.

On RNG or Why Can’t I Pull A Good Hand

So stretching a bit for a topic here, but I’m trying to post more again.

This weekend, like the last few before it, were mostly spent playing Hearthstone and World of Warcraft. Most of Saturday I ended up working, but either way my gaming would have been the same. The majority of the latter half of Saturday night was spent on Hearthstone building and researching decks and trying them out. The one thing that always seemed to happen is that I’d lose a match because I couldn’t pull that one combination of cards that I needed, or in a couple cases top decked just the right card to pull off a very, very narrow victory.

That happening just reminds me of how much I loath RNG in games. Granted I see the point of it, especially in a card game, but that doesn’t mean I can’t loathe it. Especially when you start the night at rank 18 and end at rank 20 (though as of last night I’m up to rank 17). So I guess it is more of a love/hate relationship. I think there’s a saying for this, “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword”, something like that.

I do have some screenshots I’ve been meaning to post over on anook, so keep an out out there for them. I like taking screenshots of legendary / rares I get out of packs or really close matches.

I feel like I had more to discuss here, namely some memorable RNG in WoW but I got interrupted at work when I was typing this up (on lunch, not while supposed to be working) and lost my train of thought.

I’ve seriously considered streaming some Hearthstone, but I am not sure anyone would want to watch someone who loses most of their matches.

On 10 years 10 Questions

I’ve seen a few people mentioning this on twitter so I thought I’d give this a shot.

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

I started playing mainly because all of my college friends were playing. When WoW first came out I was a full time college student, and I didn’t have a very well paying job so I was using the household PC. I didn’t jump on WoW right away either, because at the time I didn’t like the graphical style, so I was playing Everquest 2. Eventually I did pick it up, but had a ton of issues with my computer. Namely that while playing WoW my computer would reboot every 30 minutes. I’m pretty sure I leveled to 50 this way. But short answer, I started playing because I wanted to do stuff with my friends.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

I think that the first character I ever rolled was a hunter, but I don’t think he lasted very long. My second character was a mage and I still play him to this day. He’s always been, and always will be my main character and I use that name in every game I play.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

My friends were all rolling alliance, so I rolled alliance.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

I mentioned this in a post the other day, but one of my earliest raiding experiences is probably one of my most memorable times in the game. Another top memory is the night that Burning Crusade launched. I had pre-ordered the collectors edition and everything was patched up and ready to go. Everyone on the server was standing out by the portal waiting for it to open up so we could go in to the new area. I staid up way to late that night, but that remains my favorite WoW expansion launch still.

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

Exploration and achievements have always been why I keep coming back to the game. There are always things to do in the game. A lot of other MMO’s I’ve tried over the years just fall apart after you reach the max level.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

I can’t really say that I have a favorite area in the game. I tend to find myself sticking to whatever area is the current one for content.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

I honestly don’t know this right now, so I’ll have to update this later. I can say thought that it has not been continuous. Over the span of 10 years I’ve taken several breaks. Some for just a few months and at most a year. I always seem to come back though.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

I try to, but more often than not I just glance at it. That has, on occasion, come back to bite me in the rear.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Not starting the game earlier would probably be my biggest regret. By the time I started playing all of my friends had moved on to the end game content so I wound up doing all the levels available by myself. I never got to do the starter dungeons at level for various reasons because of this. At the time there was no group finder, and I was much shyer than I am today. The only time I ever ran with a pug group was if one of my friends was there and they got me in.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

I’m having a hard time thinking of any effects that I could solely relate to playing Warcraft. I know for sure I spent more time playing than studying, which is one factor in why it took me longer to graduate than it should have. But I have also met some really good friends on there that I still play with and talk to out of game.

oh and here’s the source

On Thankless Jobs

Ok, so honestly I wanted to make the title of this post “Thankless Jobs, not with Mike Rowe”. Nobody said I was funny, but I amuse myself.

So over the last week I’ve been trying to post a bit more as part of the Blaugust initiative thing that my friend Belghast started up. I find daily blogging challenging because it is really, really hard to come up with a topic every day. Thankfully Bel is a swell guy and put up a list of topics people could use as talking points. So today I’ll be talking about what I feel is one of the more thankless jobs in gaming, at least from my personal experience.

The Enchanter

Now, this isn’t an entirely thankless job in the sense that people say “thank you” for enchanting their gear but I don’t feel like people really know what it means to be the person in charge of handling your entire raids enchantments. A little bit of backstory before I jump in this.

From time immemorial, otherwise known as for a long time, my main character was not in fact an enchanter. He started off as mining/engineering. It wasn’t particularly self sustaining. I just liked making the gadgets, and worked very hard to build the alliance side motorcycle mount. I still have engineering as one of my professions, because there is still plenty of stuff I want to make.

Eventually a point came in my raiding career that we found our raid without an enchanter. I honestly don’t know why we lost our enchanter but we did and they asked if someone could step in and take the role over and me being the guy I am volunteered. Keep in mind this was Cataclysm raiding, and I had to gofrom 0 enchanting to raid enchanting super fast. Thankfully my guild is awesome and I got a lot of help with materials and gold so that I could grind up to raid level enchanting. That’s still a lot of work.

The tricky part is that enchanting things takes mats, lots of them, and raiding level enchants specifically required epic level items to be turned in to mats. This meant constantly running heroics and rolling DE on everything, soloing and hoping for blues or buying materials. Our raid at least had a policy that any gear that no one could use would go to me to disenchant and then those crystals would go in to the guild bank until they were needed. In writing that doesn’t seem to bad, but in reality enchanting became my second job. Keeping in mind I work full time, then had to go home and farm when sometimes I just didn’t want to.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like enchanting. I still have it and I keep it up to date as best as I can without raiding. I might not have the top of the line enchants now, but I do what I can. That way if anyone ever asks in guild for an enchanter I can say I am and be of some use. I don’t farm heroics anymore, or raids. In fact I’ve only done LFR a handful of times, and I refuse to pug dungeons.

So the moral here is thank your enchanter, they do a lot more work than you might think.

Hearthstone

On a bit of a sidenote, I’m still enjoying Hearthstone. I’ve started playing almost every evening. This week saw the 3rd wing of naxxramas unlock which I promptly worked my way through last night. Did a little bit of ranked play afterwords and ended up hitting rank 19 which I believe is my personal best.

On Warlords

So here’s the thing, I pre-ordered the Warlords of Draenor expansion yesterday. I know, I’m weak. I have no willpower. Hal Jordan I am not. There has been some discussion related to what people call an “item squish” that is going to reduce stats to be more reasonable (no more 1 million hit points you silly tanks you). But that discussion is for another day. Mainly one where I have time to fully research it and talk knowledgeably about it. This was more just me making a confession.

So yesterday my buddy Kodra (from the Aggrochat podcast) posted what he considered a significant grouping experience, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’ve told this story to people on voice chat a few times, and it always gets a good chuckle. So I figure I can share it here as it’s a short story, and I need something to talk about.

Keep in mind, at the time World of Warcraft had only been out for maybe a couple years and at this point I had no raiding experience what-so-ever. Most of my grouping experience came from doing the end game content. Which at the time was Scholomance. I knew my role, go pew-pew and tank the floor. I was good at it. Especially tanking the floor. But I also had some skill in crowd control, which sadly has become less useful as the game has progressed.

At the time my college friends and I were in our own little guild, not part of the larger guild that most of us ended up in. They were part of a raiding group consisting of older people who generally only could play in the evenings. You know, adults with real jobs. They had formed a group of people that did the raiding content, and did it well. I heard my friends talking about it at school and eventually I started doing some group content with a few of those people. One of which turned out to be my future buddy Belghast (he wasn’t playing as Belghast back then so I didn’t know).

At some point or another they needed an extra dps to fill in for a night when they were running Zul’Gurub and they asked me to come along. This was back in the day when that was still a 40 man raid, not an entirely soloable 5 man dungeon. I don’t remember the entire run, other than things were going pretty smoothly up until the point I almost wiped the raid. We were in the middle of some trash pull and I was clicking buttons as I do when I accidentally cast a portal to Stormwind. Some people, not paying attention clicked on said portal and were whisked away right out of the fight. Back then all the portal spells were separate in the spell book, and I had them on my hotbar so I could get around without having to look them up.

So I learned a very valuable lesson that day. Don’t have portal or teleport on your hotbar. EVER.

I also didn’t get to raid for awhile. But they eventually let me come back. A while later Bel bribed me in to joining his guild which had a lot of those people and I started doing raid content with them. I don’t raid much anymore, but that one experience is up there in my all time favorites, even if all the details on it aren’t clear. Namely, I’m only fairly sure we were in combat when that happened, it might have just been a funny accident outside of combat.

On Hearthstone

So if you follow me on twitter you’ll have noticed the last few days I’ve mentioned hearthstone quite a few times. This is because I’ve been playing it quite a bit more the last week or two. Blizzard recently launched the “Curse of Naxxramas” expansion that gives players 3 NPC boss battles per week for around 5 weeks. Each week 3 bosses unlock, and defeating each of them gives you a new pair of minion cards. Defeating all 3 unlocks a boss minion, challenge modes and the heroic versions of the bosses.

Out of all the card games I’ve played, which granted is not extensive in size, I feel like I like Hearthstone the best. At least at the moment. Eventually HEX will release their game with the CO-OP dungeons and avatars that you can get gear for. But until then I like Hearthstone better. It’s free to play, which is always a bonus, and any additional decks can be purchased for gold earned by playing the game. Even paying cash the cost of packs of 5 cards is not terrible. I think it is $2 per pack of 5, but you can get the same pack for 100 gold. It is definitely easier to just pay real money, but if you’re good enough it is entirely possible to fund all your packs via gold.

Like any card game the majority of the time will be spent playing against other players, which is something I normally avoid due to a dislike of PVP. That stems a lot from PVP chat which I’ve never found pleasant. In Hearthstone there is no player v player chat other than a select list of emotes. Since I don’t have to worry about someone talking trash or saying insulting things I find it a bit funner to do. Plus the matches tend to go fairly quickly. I’ve rarely had a match last over 10 minutes. I might not win all the time but it’s still fun. And with the release of additional content (for $20) there is more single player content to do.

Now there is one thing I think could be improved which is that I wish the chat feature was not garbage. I’m not sure why they couldn’t allow me to have a regular chat window to talk to my friends while I play. I understand this might be because this is a tablet/mobile friendly game but I don’t feel it is to much work to detect the device being used and then set which chat feature is used.

That being said, I enjoy playing the game and have dropped money on card packs so that I could find a play style that suits me.

On Sniper Elite 3

So over the weekend I finished up Sniper Elite 3 on the PS4, and I have to say I enjoyed this game. It isn’t a long game, at least not for me. I’m used to playing RPG style games that take 40+ hours to complete, and I think my total campaign time for my playthrough was around 17 hours. According to How Long To Beat website, it is possible to burn through the story in 6 hours. I can see that happening if you know what you’re doing and you skip all the optional stuff.

Before I picked this up I played through Sniper Elite v2 on the PC and enjoyed it, so when this game was released I decided to pick it up. Comparatively speaking the games are pretty close to each other mechanics wise, and the graphics seem to only be slightly improved over the previous version. Not that the graphics are bad in either game, and 3 does look better, it just seems to me like they are pretty close graphically. The controls are the same as far as I can tell, I played Sniper Elite 2 with an XBox controller and Sniper Elite 3 with the PS4, but the layouts are close enough that it wasn’t confusing.

If you know nothing of the series, it is a 3rd person, over the shoulder stealth game. Well, you should stealth. You don’t get much ammo for anything other than your sniper rifle so it’s in your best interest to, you know, snipe. The feature that (as far as I know) is unique to this game is the x-ray kill cam. Most of the time when you snipe a target you are treated to a short cinematic of the bullet destroying your targets insides. For me this involved a lot of faces exploding, cause headshots. On most difficulty settings you have the option to have a form of “assisted aiming” that lets you see where your bullet will hit when you use the breathing technique button to steady your aim. There are setting to take this off, but I don’t think I’m that good of a shot.

Before every mission you can choose your weapons and items that you will start with, called your Loadout, of which you can save four different combinations. To be honest having more than one seemed a bit pointless, but might be more useful in multiplayer mode. I pretty much stuck to the same one the entire game, swapping out rifles as they were unlocked. You have three main weapons, sniper rifle, assault rifle, and pistol along with medpacks, grenades and a couple types of mines. I think throughout the game I used only 4 of the items, and I used my silenced pistol almost as much as my rifle.

The game is pretty challenging in that you can’t just fire a gun repeatedly without the guards coming at you full force. If you fire you have to move, and fire and move. The only way around this is the times when there is a loud enough noise that it will cover up your shots. If you find one with a good vantage point you can clear a good area of guards before you have to move. Since these masking sounds are not guaranteed you have to be extra careful. This usually led me to sneaking around using melee stealth kills or my silenced pistol. This becomes increasingly difficult when you start getting guys in groups.

Once you finish the campaign there is some replayability. Finding collectibles, doing challenge modes and multiplayer if you are a PS+ subscriber. I tried the challenge mode last night, but I don’t plan to play multiplayer at all, and I don’t think I’ll play through a second time. It’s not because it isn’t a good game, I just don’t feel like there is enough sandbox to play through a second time.

I feel like I had more to talk about here, but I got interrupted with work meetings so I’ve lost my train of thought. So I’m going to leave off with a video of me playing the “Hunt For the Grey Wolf” aka “Kill Hitler” DLC.