• MMO/Gaming

    State of the Game


    I’ve been an MMO serial monogamist for years. I get passionate about a game, either brand-new or one that I have played off and on for years, play the hell out of it, and then sneak off for the stereotypical pack of cigarettes in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. It’s probably a character flaw.

    Legion was one of the best Warcraft expansions that I’ve ever seen, and everything was a huge amount of fun. I reached cap on my hunter and then…just kind of gradually petered out. I suppose it’s my usual performance for Warcraft xpacs, mainly due to the fact that I don’t raid (which makes it all seem a bit pointless). Raiding definitely falls into that second-job territory, and although I’m a bit ambivalent about committing to raiding at all in any game due to the time suck factor, if I did it would be in FFXIV as I think the content is more interesting.

    Playing at all with the ongoing problems in my hands, wrists and lower arms has been tough. I’ve done a lot of fishing in FFXIV as a result – it’s the only thing that I can do with minimum stress on tendons. Boo suck.

    Recently I started playing Overwatch, which I haven’t played since beta. I suck, but I’m having a lot of fun. At my age, my reflexes will never be able to compete with teen FPS players. Should I be playing on teams that I won’t be able to give my best to? I must be a bad person because I am, and I enjoy it. I keep voice chat off as I’ve no desire to be cursed at by eleven-year-olds of course…they can all kiss my ass. Yeah, I’m a bad person. :)

    Halloween is coming up and in October I plan to dive back in to The Secret World, longtime love and the absolute queen of horror games. I used to be religious about buying and loving all new issues, but as content got less and less forgiving for solo-only players it got tougher to justify. It’s a shame. Tokyo was such a slog as a solo player that I haven’t played much since.

    That’s pretty much it. I’m a lonely MMO vagrant, just looking for companions along the way.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Legion…Pretty Damn Fine

    Well, again it’s been a month since my last post (my bad) but finally I’m starting to see my way clear to the end of the year. Note to self: never, ever, ever take on more work than you can actually handle. Not a good experience either for me or for the people that I work with. That was definitely a life experience. :/

    In other news I’ve been bouncing back and forth between work and trying to spend some time playing with friends in Legion, and I have to say that all is forgiven. This was a really well done expansion, and I’m having a lot of fun. The zones are gorgeous, the class halls are helpful without being the overdone timesink that garrisons were. Professions are back (having been basically killed off in the last expac) and have their own quests which you do as you level – wonderful. I do skinning and leatherworking on my hunter, so of course I’m loving the Nesingwary quests which basically amount to “Welcome to this lovely land, and our bountiful animals. Now go forth and kill them all.”

    Blizzard has taken a tip from FFXIV in that they have worked instances into the actual storyline for each zone (although not to the extent that FFXIV does). Although I’m almost 108 I’ve only done one, and I have to say that that one was really trash heavy. I notice this specifically because, as a Marksman hunter, my AOE can hit things in the far distance. Other tightly packed group of mobs, animals, even birds and dragons from the sky. In their current state hunters are designed to give tanks and healers a nervous breakdown…and I love it. *evil grin*

    Well, back to work. I’ll have to post some screenies later on after I figure out how to keep Bitdefender from preventing Warcraft from saving them. I think it’s something in ransomware protection. Sigh…

  • MMO/Gaming

    Farewell to WoD (For Now)

    I just decided to cancel my Warcraft subscription again. I fully admit that I am one of “those” players, the ones who come back for every expansion, play to level cap, and then eventually quit. I no longer raid, and there just isn’t enough to hold my interest without raiding.

    There are garrisons, to be sure, and they were a lot of fun in the beginning on the first character. Third alt in? Not so much fun, as it turns out, as well as being a massive timesink. Of course you don’t have to do anything with your garrison…but after you have them it seems a bit silly to not gather those resources.

    I miss professions. On my leatherworker I hate the daily wait to have someone else create mats for me. I like levelling professions, and in the past have spent hours happily grinding for leather and so on. This isn’t as much fun.

    It always makes me a bit sad to cancel as Warcraft has been a part of my life (on and off) for ten years. Who would have imagined spending so much time in a game? I’ve had marriages that have lasted less time than that. :D

  • MMO/Gaming

    Warlords of Draenor: First Weekend

    I was bad this weekend: I didn’t check email at all until Sunday, early evening, and then had a total panic. Aside from that it was a wonderful weekend of pure slackage, a jump back into a world that I have loved for ten years, and quite a lot of frustration.

    The frustration part had to do with the massive queues on Argent Dawn, my server of choice and the location of my main characters. I’d paid to move every single one there at great expense because I’ve always loved the community there. The server is highly populated, the focus of RP events for the EU, and generally a pretty nice place to call home. Come the expansion, however, and there were queues of 3k to 4k starting from midday until late…yep, three and four hour queues if you were lucky. Garrisons were also a bit shaky the first weekend and quite often you would get “stuck,” unable to actually play your character until things reset.

    So, I scrapped my plans to level my warlock main. Also my Horde warlock. Also my newly boosted monk. Instead, my hunter Kitsune and I got re-acquainted back on Aggramar and I levelled her instead. Not entirely a bad thing, as new pets to tame was a huge draw. A few thoughts about the weekend:

    • Garrisons are awesome.
    • Garrisons should have been beta-tested a bit better, as they were buggy as hell.
    • Instances are fun again. No iLevel epeen and being forced to group with the GoGoGo guy. No snarky comments because you didn’t happen to know the instance inside and out the first time you run it. Just pure fun and exploration. I actually had to crowd control again…I can’t tell you how many years it’s been since I needed to do that. No grabbing everything in the entire dungeon and AOEing it down, just having fun. Awesome.
    • Armor is still fugly. I’ve always hated Warcraft’s armor design.
    • Seeing timelost versions of familiar areas was fantastic. There were a lot of very emotional scenes, and the voice acting (for the most part) was well done.
    • Everything was a bit too easy – all mobs could have been tuned up a bit. If an encounter says that it needs three people, you shouldn’t be able to solo it without your health ever dipping, that’s just not a challenge.
    • There were still a few really stupid bottlenecks. Remember in MoP, the scroll that everyone had to click on in the panda starting area? Why on earth would you not learn from that? Bad, bad, lazy Blizzard. Shame on you.
    • Gorgeous. Everything is gorgeous.
    • I still haven’t gotten used to human female’s faces. The expression “surprise buttsex” comes to mind. You know what I’m talking about.
    • I thought that it would irritate me to not be able to fly…but so far it’s not.
    • Did I mention how much I love garrisons? :)

    Here are a few shots from the weekend:


    wod1 wod2 wod3 wod4 wod5 wod6 wod7

  • MMO/Gaming

    Blue-Arsed Fly

    Autumn is always the busiest time for me, and this fall was hellishly busy. I love the work, of course, but the stress of having so many covers to do simultaneously is horrible. At the moment I’m booked into February and hope to be able to have a bit of downtime around the holidays in order to recharge the batteries and do some personal artwork. Perhaps even some writing. (Along with drinking holiday Baileys and eating pannetone.)

    But this was supposed to be a gaming post. It’s liable to be a very short one because I haven’t had a massive amount of free time and being tired makes me feel cranky and unable to concentrate on anything…rather like an exhausted two-year-old, it’s neither a pretty sight nor pleasant to be around. :)

    I finally cancelled my subscription to ArcheAge, and Phil and I sold our farms. Our lovely, lovely farms ideally situated on the coast, near the crafting stations. The things we’d worked so hard during headstart to get. I still love the game, but two things were wearing me down: one was the open-world pvp, which mainly means that you get ganked by zergs. It’s the ideal game for PKers, which are people who don’t have the guts or the skill to go off and kill enemy faction but instead prefer to hide and prey on members of their own faction who are just trying to move a tradepack from here to there. Bottom-feeder pvp.

    The other, more important, thing that was bothering me about ArcheAge was the Trion/XLGames situation. XL seems reluctant to make any changes to their poorly-designed game in order to combat hackers and bots. It’s a beautiful, immersive game – they did an amazing job there. It’s also coded so that much of the game is client side. Even someone with zero technical skills can adapt a config file that ensures all packs are worth more money, for instance. Packet spoofing abounds, leading to hacks such as the land-grab hack which allows individuals to snap up any free land before a player can claim it without even needing to be online at the time. Bots teleport underground, create items to sell from no actual materials, and teleport to turn in trade packs.

    Trion, who seem to have treated this game from day one as a massive cash grab, try to ignore the issues. GMs close thread after thread on the forums and customer service is next to non-existent. The final touch was when I went to cancel my subscription to the game…THE CANCEL BUTTON HAD BEEN REMOVED. It used to exist, but is nowhere to be seen now. There are very long threads on the forums confirming the same thing. I placed a ticket (which remains unanswered to this day), deleted my credit card information and mentally gave them two fingers as I logged out. My, how the formerly mighty (and well-respected) have fallen.

    What have I been playing? I updated FFXIV for the free weekend, started a baby rogue and enjoyed it so much that I resubbed. I also have a sub to Warcraft, which I am currently not playing until Warlords of Draenor comes out. Really looking forward to that one. :) And Rift a bit, mainly for minions which are very addictive.

    The holiday period, and having some free time, is going to be wonderful.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Going Home Again

    While I have been working through a massive pile of work to do (a twelve hour day yesterday, I kid thee not), Phil has been on holiday. All. Summer. Long. He works for a school, so he just had six full weeks of holiday.

    I hate him, just a little bit. Hey, I kid, I kid…I think.

    Anyway, along with working through a long “Honey Do” list, he’s been doing a lot of gaming and one of those games has been Warcraft. We have old friends who have been playing with him after being away from the game for a long time, and me when I can. It’s been wonderful.

    Phil played Warcraft in beta over ten years ago; I didn’t play at launch, but probably began playing in 2005. I rolled a warlock (who I am still playing as a main today) and never looked back. This was the point where I truly became a real gamer. Oh, sure, I’d played before that, beginning with Quake and lan parties all the way to roleplay in Vampire the Masquerade, Mage, Changeling, etc. I was always a gamer, but Warcraft was the game in which I discovered a place to actually live in as a part of a band of adventurers, rather than a way to spend an evening. I watched the sun rise over the Barrens, hunted fabulous beasts to tame as my animal companions and stood shoulder-to-shoulder before Ragnaros and Nefarion.

    As the years went by there were newer, shinier games to experience, but none that I’ve loved as much as I did Warcraft, and wherever I go I will always have that memory of sitting on a small hill in the Barrens, watching dawn slowly creep over the grass plains as a herd of gazelle bound past. It will always feel like home.


    Vanilla Wow

  • MMO/Gaming



    I’ve been in love with MMOs for a long time. Although I’m all crotchety and jaded now about new releases, I still have that yearning to disappear into a virtual world. The games that I’ve played the longest and been the most faithful to have been ones with a living, vibrant world and good community.

    My first love and my introduction to MMOs was Warcraft – like a lot of gamers who have been around a long time, I suspect. I didn’t play in beta, nor immediately after launch, but after Phil had gotten into it and I’d become a gaming widow I made my first little warlock. That character still exists, and I’ve played since early 2005, finding along the way some very good friends and experiencing new worlds.

    I recently re-subbed and have spent time collecting gear around Timeless Isle as well as levelling a few of the lower-level characters that I had on various servers. Phil resubbed for a bit, and it was nice to play together again. I’m not planning on raiding, I’m not planning on jumping on that iLevel/GearScore elitist treadmill again…I’m just enjoying the sights and feeling really nostalgic.

    I remember seeing dawn slowly rise in the Barrens (this was when the game had actual night and day), the light slowly spreading across the plains. A herd of gazelle-type things ran through the high grass in front of me, bounding away with the light gleaming from their horns.

    I remember how excited I was to get my first mount.

    I remember raiding, which I did for several years from vanilla through Wrath, and the great times that we all had. Even during wipes. I remember our Spanish guild leader screaming at everyone with his adorable accent during a wipe on Lurker in Serpentshrine. “IS that a brain in your head, or a peanut? I wonder! ‘E is a FEESH, a stupid FEESH, and still you stand there and die!” It wasn’t quite up to the standard of the “More Dots” guy, but in his own way it was a classic and still makes me smile.

    I still remember falling in love with my hunter, who introduced me to RP. Kitsune was born with a personality and backstory already in place, and I still think about her as being her own person, existing elsewhere, but existing all the same. I even had her name tattooed on my spine…now that is love. :)


    Gaming and virtual worlds are part of the heart and soul of me. I’ve written before about loving the idea of magic doors to other worlds (wardrobes, doors, whatever) and I suppose that gaming is as close as I can get to that. For the moment, anyway…I still haven’t given up hope that I’ll find my door. :)

  • MMO/Gaming

    Gaming: Going Home

    I’m one of those bitter, disillusioned players who still haven’t received a WildStar invite. I check mail every time an announcement goes out that they’ve sent out another 30k invites…and taste the tears of disappointment every time as I go uninvited. Damn you, Carbine.

    Games I’m still playing:

    The Secret World, which I play sporadically. I started to level a Templar alt and then couldn’t face throwing away the 49% completion that I have on my Dragon. Playing without a guild or friends, though, is getting boring and I don’t know anyone who is still playing that is both EU-based and also playing Dragon. *sigh* First world problems…

    Rift, extremely sporadically, both because I don’t know anyone still playing and also because it is so damned painful trying to get past the huge cockblock of grind called Storm Legion. Phil and I had been playing a bit, and then lost momentum knowing that those alts we were levelling were going to have to face the SL content eventually. Bah.

    Defiance, which is much better now than it was in beta – much more polished and less buggy. It is very much a console-type game, however, and I can only last for so long before I log in irritation at having to fight the UI to do anything. Transport especially – I’ve always sucked at driving games and I suck just as much at getting from Point A to Point B in Defiance. I run into trees, rocks, people, hellbugs and huge frickin’ elite Volge roadblocks. Arkfalls are a lot of fun – the few that I can actually get to before it is over, that is. Like I said, I suck at driving.

    GW2 is still there, and I log in now and then. Same thing…I don’t know anyone who is still playing. Pfft.

    I have been revisiting Warcraft and actually enjoying it a lot. Warcraft was my first MMO and going back to it always feels a lot like going home. You are very happy to be there at first, all warm-glowy with nostalgia, but if the visit lasts too long you start to get antsy and bored. Part of my problem with WoW is that it is very much a game geared around endgame gear-progression raiding, and I’m done with that. I spent over two years raiding heavily and I’ll never go back to doing that in any game. Five nights a week, 95% attendance in order to keep your spot? Not in a million years, baby.

    I moved my 90 warlock to Argent Dawn, which is the server I would like to move all my characters to if they ever made it sensible financially to do so. My 90 hunter main and level 85 priest, paladin and shaman all still sit on the old server. I had a level 70 Horde hunter on Argent Dawn which I’m having fun playing, just dinking around and taming various rare pets. I must have spent an hour or so trying to get Spirit of the North on her: it flies out of taming range in the area outside of the Nexus which is patrolled by elite dragons.

    Solution: there are other methods of doing this, but this is what worked for me. In front of the Nexus and a bit to one side is a building with an elevator that you can see from outside. To one side, on a front corner, is a very tall, spiky rock – fly up to the tip of this rock, positioned so that you can slide down the side when you are dismounted by casting. Shoot it when it gets within range, slide down the side of the rock, and enjoy an easy tame once you get to the bottom. :)

    Some of the pets that I have on my main hunter are no longer available: the Oil Stained Wolf, the Grimtotem Spirit Guide, the Spirit of Atha hydra and so on. Looking forward to levelling her mainly just for the pets. :)

    My gaming habits have changed a great deal with the influx of extremely high-quality free to play games – I’ve become an MMO nomad, a floozy who can’t commit. I stay for the night and leave in the wee hours, shoes in hand, tiptoeing in my socks. I’ll be back, but you’ll never be able to trust me to stay. And yet I dream of finding love. I miss that new relationship feeling, I miss wanting to spend every waking hour of the day in a new world.

    So, WildStar, about that unrequited love…stop turning me down!

  • MMO/Gaming

    No Pandas for Me



    Since I began playing Warcraft back in Vanilla WoW, this is the first expansion that I haven’t ordered as soon as it became available, waited for eagerly, preparing by getting banks and final achievements and so on done and been waiting to hit the servers as soon as they opened. This makes me feel a bit melancholy…I’ve played this game for so many years and always been in and out of love with it. I feel nostalgic and sad.

    At this point, loving Guild Wars 2 and with several other games that I could happily go back to (The Secret World, Rift) it just isn’t economically feasible. I probably will buy it and play at some point, just not immediately. I’ll play through it to the new level cap and then get bored and quit as always. Warcraft is a raiding game, in the end. Quests and content are wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoy levelling through new content. I don’t raid anymore, however, so dungeons are out, and with no friends playing I won’t run small instances. “GoGoGo” epeen jerks on their thousandth run of an instance aren’t kind to players new to the encounter, and it is rarely pleasant.

    I also have bad memories of the MoP beta, and the poor quest design – memorialised in the screenshot below. Making something that one person at a time has to click, and making that thing a roadblock to further advancement, was a shockingly naive design decision to make…and it wasn’t the only one.

    And yet…and yet it still makes me melancholy, as though I have moved on from a relationship with someone that I once loved.


  • MMO/Gaming

    Mists of Pandaria Cinematic

    The cinematics that Blizzard puts out are just so damned gorgeous. I wish they would just do a Warcraft movie already – there is no one who could do it better.

    I’m still not planning on playing MoP at launch, but will purchase it at a later date. But this is pretty freakin’ sweet.