Me and Drippy

The story is that I was looking through my uncollected pets and found one called Lucy. After a google search of “wow lucy” I found in the comments an extensive explanation on how to get this elusive pet.

When you get the Calling to do three WQs in a zone with your trainee, occasionally you’ll get a special trainee. My character from Revendreth has a little dredger named Drippy. I’ve done the three quests but I am still lingering in Ardenweald because there is a once-every-five minute chance to get this little pet.

It is a full five minutes logged in to the character per chance. You kill any level 60 and Drippy will say something like, “Dredged up somethin’ interesting, boss”. You click on the sparkly and you get something. So far, no Lucy. I have gotten several Flawless Battle Stones and some potions and three pocket portals to Oribos and a Squeaky Rubber Duck fishing bobber and non-buff food that could heal you up.

So, I gave it a go yesterday for about an hour. And am on it this morning again. And I’ll likely give up soon. This form of farming is really bad. In game, five minutes is forever. You could stare at your character until he/she went AFK after a five minute time of no touching the mouse or keys. Or, as the comments on Lucy said, use /timer 300.

Outside of WoW, five minutes is nothing. I might get coffee or read headlines or visit my favorite bloggers. Or I might write this today. When the timer goes off, it gives a ding sound that I can hear when tabbed to other pages.

The heart-breaker is that I don’t care a whole lot about Lucy. I did want to try it. I’ll be glad to give it up and go turn in my quest. But — one more try.

I’m a sucker for one more try.

3/10 Heroic Solid

The “push” part of this expansion is over. The shards for chaos bane are maxed. I have yet to earn a helm but Blizzard added a work-around (gloves or waist, I forget) so it doesn’t matter because I am maxed. Professions are maxed to the point where mats are stockpiling with feasts in abundance. Pet and mount and toy hunting will always continue.

We are stuck as a raid team on the fourth boss. But not for long. It is all about learning some pesky mechanics. With the shard buffs, we are over-powered with the healers chipping in on the dps to pass the time. Upgrading your shards is recommended, please keep them leveled up as a group because the proc is based on the lowest shard of the three.

And so the Grander Plan begins to unfold. Alts! With the Queen’s Conservatory reduced to routine, it is time to look to the Ember Court. And stitching monsters. And something in Bastion which is currently baffling and needs much better quest text and I’ll be bummed following some guide on Wowhead.

As far as “time spent” my three alt covenant guys are sort of LFR geared with one very strong and the others catching up. This is so that I can do the things required. Taking these alts to Korthia for the much greater anima rewards has pushed the systems forward, once they can survive Korthia which they can do now. Using stygia on my main to purchase Korthian Armaments meant that my freshest alt stepped into 200 gear and was off to the races.

My main has bought everything cosmetic possible with the greater offerings pending renown gating. The intention is to do the same with the three alts though I doubt my own diligence to do the gifts dailies to stockpile them before reputation and renown makes them available. Finding the vendors is a task; the night fae has three or four vendors so it must be the same for the others.

So, I’d not call it quite a lull. If it were my main only, it’d be a lull big time. But I have ambition to see the other covenants and then embrace the changes with the new patch coming (maybe November?).

And I do love it. My freshest Alt is in Revendreth and doing the introductory campaign. At first he could barely survive a fight but he could hop over things with flying. Getting high enough to enter the LFR and pick up some rings, trinkets and a weapon made everything much easier. Using the Revendreth special mechanic (it’s like a shadow step, I guess) makes it very easy to get to those pesky treasures in the trees in Korthia! How satisfying.

So, as far as game progress goes, I am 3/10 on heroic with a very long time to the next raid. As for the rest, there is a lot to do to see how the game design plays out in the other covenants.

Happy Hunting!

Shadowlands Raid Mechanics

I think that they have done a terrific job this time. In the past raids, going back a while, it felt like the designers kept stacking mechanics to make it harder with no real over-all design. The current raid, SoD, seems so much better and has new stuff and old stuff.

The first boss should be a cake walk. Giving us anima cells and a Torghast boss fits perfectly. The second boss is comfortable with stacking and then splitting the raid, we’ve done this and know what to do. The third boss is easy also but it is getting a little harder with the pressure to dispel on the healers.

And so on throughout the raid. We see new things like the spikes and maze marching across the space but we’ve seen those rolling balls before so we are not totally overwhelmed. Racing to avoid Torments and killing adds is new in design but old in execution, which is part of what makes these designs work so well.

The puzzle boss is a LFR killer. The designers got a little too tricky, I think. That you have to make a quick choice on direction and needing a second player to go the other way is too much, the timer is rough.

KT is old school stuff and choosing a group to jump to another place is something we’ve done before. Stacks and adds and AoE damage might look new but we know what to do.

Jaina is wonderful on normal and a nightmare on the LFR.

Now I am into the heroic version with the first three bosses easily done as a good design should provide. Along with the higher HP and need for higher dps and heals, there is one new mechanic added. The fourth boss, the one on the round platform with the knock-backs is hard right now; in heroic it is two quick-timed dispels for the two knock-backs but we’ll get it and it will be old news soon enough.

I still grumble at the trash with boss moves. I think that after a boss kill that we need to relax a little bit. I think that we need more BoE drops (Ion said that they’d pay for guild repairs). That they sprinkled in some much-desired stygian ember into the trash run kind of makes it all better, until we don’t need that stuff anymore.

All in all, a very good raid. My only reservation is that we’ll finish it on heroic way before the next raid and patch comes along!

Another Week, Another Great Vault

Do you want to hear some swearing? Try being in Discord and getting loot one boss before your desired boss! Actually it really sounds like “Ka-” as you take your finger off the push-to-talk button. This is the time in the raid where one piece of gear makes all of the difference. The rest of the gear might get passed on to someone but more likely will be vendored.

I can’t say “all” but for my four characters who wear mail or leather, the best place to put your legendary is in the legs slot because of the higher stats. So, anytime legs drop from a boss, it is vendored. Hence the griping and moaning and the occasional curse word, especially if it is right before the boss that you want loot from. No one gets back-to-back drops, it feels like one out of six, maybe.

Not to say that I am fuming all of the time. Not at all. I’m having fun going through the process. Whether it is my main who has already started some raiding on the heroic level or my fresh 60 in all Korthite Armament gear who can barely step into the LFR, all are wanting to get the Domination Socket buffs and play the game as designed.

Chaos Bane is from the helm. Of my four, one has the helm and it is my profession alt who likes to skin leather. And I am excited to get it on all of my guys (come on Great Vault!), the blue swirling around me as Chaos Bane is ramping up is terrific and fun.

So: my main has run the two LFR wings that drop the helm and will complete the normal run tonight. My next-top alt is a hunter and she’s run the one wing that drops two helms and did a normal run up to KT. My other two did the LFR runs, one has Chaos Bane and the other got only shards, no socket pieces.

Sylvanas? Nine stacks of Determination, that is a 45% buff to damage, health and healing. In phase one it doesn’t matter at all, it is timed or something because we should have melted it but did not, we saw that same mechanics every time (with nine wipes, I’d know phase one). The major problems that we had with Sylvanas is players falling off of the bridge (there are a lot of people and ground clutter, it can be hard to merely see the bridge) and getting the interrupt off before she casts Ruin at the end of the bridge. Knowing what to do and actually getting there in time wiped us many times.

This was on my fresh alt, all those stacks. My alt won a shard and a renown after about 90 minutes of trying to keep these random strangers hopeful and amused. In normal, our raid team blows right through Sylvanas now that we know the fight and there are only 12 of us. Easily done, we feel cocky when we drop over to heroic and start on those beginning bosses.

So — once again, all my hopes lie in the Great Vault on Reset Tuesday. C’mon helm piece, my shards are already powered up and ready to go!

The RNG Sting Again

Okay, it’s Monday Night. The night before Reset.

I have done all the bosses on normal, three bosses on heroic, all possible bosses on the LFR and I did the four mythic weekly.

I wonder if I’ll get my Unholy Chaos Bane helm in the Vault?

Wish me luck!

The RNG Sting

Broadly, I don’t mind the random nature of loot drops. In my mind it is like an ice cube tray, they all get filled eventually and if one doesn’t, well, that’s okay because all of the others did. The random loot drop system has worked fine for me for quite awhile.

Until you need one specific piece.

This is different than hoping for the final piece to collect your set (or maybe not, really). I guess it is exactly like waiting for that final piece. Once you do finally get it, you forget about the hassle pretty quickly.

In my case and for very many, it is about the raiding helm. This is the key to unlocking the Unholy Buff called Chaos Bane. And, I’ll do most anything to get it.

Last week we went 9/10 on Normal so this week I had two solid chances via the Great Vault to get my helm from Remnant in Wing Two and Fatescribe in Wing Three. No luck so I ran the LFR. No luck again and I ran my typical run of Normal with my raid team. No luck at all.

I’m not sure how the Armory counts kills, it has ten kills of Remnant on Normal for me. I might have run with another raid team having already killed that boss with now no hope of loot but it might counted as a kill. But ten is ten with no helm!

I am running with the Frost set. I tried the Blood set and it does zero for healers (tanks love this set). The Frost set is kind of strange but it doesn’t help my healing much either. Unholy is the grail for healers right now as I see it. I have three of the shards upgraded to level three, waiting to go!

Like I said, RNG is fine for me but when wanting that specific piece: it is disappointing. Until I get it and then I’ll forget about it!

Torghast: Choose Your Fun

Dipping into the forums (wash your hands after), I see a lot of players calling it Choreghast and really hating that part of the game. This is because one earns the materials to upgrade your legendary in Torghast. If you can remember back to Junior High, when you had to read a book and do a report it was a total drag, no fun; when normally you’d enjoy reading a book and talking about it. Simple human nature. If you can get past your own human nature, recognize it, then you might go have some fun in there.

The new scoring system can trip you up and it is offset by the new talent tree.

You get scoring points for clearing and escorting and opening chests and breaking urns. There is a time element but that is folded into all of the other scoring and it’s not a major factor, just one thing among many. You get points for what you do during Empowered (kill mobs, break urns) and the talent tree can extend that empowered time by 50%, which is a lot of time.

The choice (in choose your fun) is your decision when you start.

If your fun is getting five stars, a flawless run, and a chance at the upper floors; then you will skip some of the fun by not picking an epic anima cell or saving your phantasma so that you have 500 at the end of the run to add to your scoring points with a goal of 200 points. And, if you go that route, you’ll probably have a ton of phantasma to spend on a cosmetic piece from that upper floor broker.

The other choice is not caring at all about the flawless stuff. Then you can enjoy getting your epics and spending your phantasma on goodies and buffs and cells. Being overly powerful is part of the fun of Torghast. And, I can say from experience, sometimes you get a surprise flawless which is kind of fun too.

I think that people resent the time factor and the pressure to perform for flawless and the idea of returning again and again for more Cinders to upgrade the legendary. But, you can ignore all of the pressure things and simply enjoy a run. It feels to me like the old gaming days, say playing Diablo I. One would start on the bottom floor, weak and nervous, but by the time you face the Big Bad, Mr. Diablo himself, you are powerful and ready to go for the kill.

Torghast, as in all games, the designers want you to win. It is designed for you to win and have fun with your own character.

The Three Shard Bonus Set

As you know, there are three types of shards; unholy, frost and blood. Each shard has some little bonus like leech or movement. These shards drop from the raid. There are gear pieces associated with the types, the helm piece is for the unholy set – you’d use this helm and three unholy shards and get the bonus, Chaos Bane.

I tried the Blood set in the raid last night. The bonus is called Blood Link. I was on my healer and I asked my raid leader to run logs so that I could go over the stats. The shards were all at their lowest level, none have been upgraded.

According to the logs, the Blood Link sucks!

Tomorrow, at Reset, the Blood Link bonus should get buffed by 20% and the Frost gets buffed by 45%, as I recall. I might be wrong. Why Blizzard released this system from the PTR is beyond me, it clearly wasn’t ready for play and players have already invested in upgrading their shards!

My guess is that most players will still go with the Chaos Bane (unholy) set because it stacks up your main stat like intellect but we will have to wait for all the theory-crafting guys at Wowhead to see the changes and do all the simming and then write about it.

However…

The main reason I wanted to report today is that while wearing my Blood Link set in Korthia, it offered my second highest dps number and my first highest healing number — probably because we don’t heal ourselves much at all. So, even at it’s lowest and unbuffed state Blood Link is very worth having while doing your chores in Korthia.

Also, I wore this set into Torghast to see if I could “feel” any difference. It didn’t make any difference really. It felt the same as always in that place.

Personally, I don’t have the helm for the unholy set yet. Nor do I have a third unholy shard. But, at reset I will have two choices in the Great Vault, it is timewalking week (I probably won’t do it) and I’ll run the second wing of the LFR hoping for that helm and shard. And then, I’ll keep looking when we raid normal too.

My advice is that as soon as you can make a set, use it. But don’t upgrade the shards until you know exactly which set you want to live with for a few months. My guess is Chaos Bane, the unholy set.

Happy Hunting!

Blizzard’s Lawsuit and Me

I guess it is really Activision, if you are going to sue, you don’t sue the janitor, you sue the guys at the top. I’ve read the lawsuit and I mucked about in the forums for a bit yesterday. I read some thoughtful blog posts too.

Of course, I’ll keep playing the World of Warcraft.

The company had, I guess, a very weak HR. I mean, were people really drinking at work? If so, no wonder it got so bad! But, they are very publicly busted and they will clean up the place. As I read it, it is two things: sexual harassment and non-equal pay with unfair promotions. The two things are not easy to clean up and it will be hard but it will be the right thing to do and all will feel much better for it.

Personally, I’m not the type to get up in arms about much of anything. I am assuming that those with the torches and pitchforks demanding things in outrage don’t wear shoes made in China. It is too hard, for me, to keep track of the many things that cross my path. Child labor in China is pretty bad and no one can bust them with a lawsuit. This isn’t to say that I don’t have lines, I can’t watch Kevin Spacey movies anymore.

So, we know that Blizzard will clean up it’s act. Reading the lawsuit, there are a ton of questions that came up in my mind. I’ll be curious if we ever get to find out the details, I don’t think that everyone working at Blizzard is a bad person. But, when you have a bunch of all-men in leadership I can see how it can get pretty bad, just look at our Senate and Congress.

I even have a bad analogy for you. When you buy a steak at the grocery, you are all happy because it looks great and you will eat a yummy dinner. But if you ever saw a slaughterhouse or a meat-packing plant, that glimpse behind the scenes might give you pause for awhile. But, if you like your steak, you’ll get over it. Pretty bad analogy, right?

Peace.

WoW: A Brand New Raid

I’m feeling typical. Last week our raid team downed five bosses over two days on Normal. We did the five bosses again on the first night and will be working into real progression now with learning the fights and the mechanics. I see that in the big mythic race to world first that they are stuck on the sixth boss, just like we are!

Loot drops continue to be elusive and now with the special sockets and the need to have a specific piece to make the bonus work; it is, as ever, discouraging. My “ideal” is three pieces of unholy shards to get the Chaos Bane buff, which is supposed to be powerful but all of that hinges on me getting the piece of raid gear that offers the unholy bonus.

The problem with the “rare drop mechanic” to build our systems, as I see it, is that it takes so long that when you finally get it; you won’t care. I feel the same way with the legendary upgrades; the cost is so very high in gold and materials that when/if you ever get there there is no excitement, just resignation that you had to do it.

Part of my problem is that I don’t really understand how it works. Does that higher piece of legendary gear make the legendary stronger? I doubt it but maybe it does. Or maybe the higher piece with it’s stats will simply up our power and when that is the case, the price we are playing in gold and materials is way too high. The question is if that legendary is really a difference maker or a mere 3% boost to your overall actions.

Like most everyone, I had to do a very expensive (in gold) shuffle to change my legendary piece from boots to pants because leather boots can have a domination socket. It burns! And I made some stupid, unlearned choices on gloves and with all my changes and mistakes I think I went through a lot gold. Like I said, it burns. While there is no cool gold sink mount in this expansion, the gold sink is in the legendary gear; something you won’t keep beyond this expansion. Yet you burn through your cash.

On the other hand, the need to run Torghast to get the needed materials for the legendary seems, to me, almost secondary to the fun of running Torghast. We are building our talent tree by hitting max “tower knowledge” every week and enjoying the buffs and the perks offered. Yesterday I made it up to the special floor and saw the looks and monsters, I earned a toy (that eats other toys like that darn train set) and bought a cosmetic back piece that is animated and cool. So far I have bought the Experimental Anima Cell toy and two or three cosmetic pieces and the toy eater was a drop.

On my big run to the top new floor, I had equipped the Night Fae Convoke legendary which has a one minute cooldown. After gaining three “reduce by 20 seconds” anima cells, Convoke had no cooldown! I just spammed my over-powered button again and again. Totally fun.

And, I think my experience is typical for most players. Working through the new raid, I have yet to see the new mega-dungeon, slow gear gains, worrying over the new socket system and playing everyday.

So far, so good!