General · PvE

The times they are a’changing

It’s weird to think of how much this game has changed since I first started playing in late 2008.  Between 2008 and 2010 when I started blogging, I didn’t really notice any changes that were made – I wasn’t particularly great at playing the game, and I mostly just mashed buttons until things died and hoped for the best.

2010 was when I started paying attention.  Late 2009 I started reading WoW blogs, and in early 2010 I decided to make one of my own.  It’s never had much of a focus, being a distinctly PERSONAL blog vs many others that had a purpose of some sort, however odd or vague, but it was mine, and in it I documented my discovery of healing and how much I enjoyed it, my first foray into raiding, and a lot of the ridiculous stuff I got up to with my friends.  Even some of the community drama that went around got mention.

But man, looking back at my old posts I’m mostly struck by how much the game itself has changed.  Looking at Lis and how even in +int heirlooms (the cloth chest and shoulders, bc it was SO EXPENSIVE to get heirlooms at all) she was regularly stopping to drink during dungeons – these days on the rare occasions I heal (though I’m trying to get back to it), when I’m wearing heirloom gear it’s rare to actually need to PAUSE, let alone drink.

Looking at when I helped Megs (the ever lovely @whatsatotem) take down Attum the Hunter and she didn’t get the mount, but I got a nice cloak that lowered my int a tiny bit but gave me mp5 that was worth it bc i needed that mana regen, because spirit wasn’t a thing yet.

Talking about how levelling Lisan from 1-80, largely through dungeons (which gave quicker XP gains, especially if you were a tank or a healer and thus rarely had a proper queue) took me six months, despite almost exclusively playing her, because the XP gains for former end-game content (45ish-60, 60-70) and current end-game content (70-80) was so much slower than the same ranges are now.  (in contrast, I am over halfway to level 80 on my warrior that I rolled literally 3 days or so ago.)

I know there’s a lot of talk in some circles about how the game is too easy these days.  I don’t know about end-game content as I haven’t been active in endgame since mid-Cata (and even then it was just heroic 5-mans, not raiding), but as far as the game on the whole, honestly?  Yeah, I think it is, but I also think it’s a good thing.

Seriously, like… yes, I think endgame things like raiding and level-cap dungeons and so forth should be challenging (and have multiple difficulties like heroic/mythic/etc for people who need even MORE of a challenge) bc that’s the point of those things.  But just playing the game?  Levelling and questing and picking your stats?  That shouldn’t be hard.

And it was hard before, at least if you didn’t have all the requisite knowledge of the tropes and conventions that were the foundation for World of Warcraft, make no mistake.  Remember talent trees?  Before they were phased out entirely (which i’m completely neutral on honestly – I like the new system but the old way didn’t bother me in and of itself) they had simplified it and added a little tutorial thingy when it unlocked.  And I was so glad for that, because it meant that no one would be in the position I was in once upon a time: with absolutely no idea what you were supposed to do and no one to give you advice, and putting points willy-nilly into ALL THREE TREES because that meant you’d be sort of an all-around median rather than specialized, and that was good for levelling… right?

It’s easier to figure out what stats a class uses and what stats they don’t, which is great because that way it’s less likely that you’ll get someone like baby 2008 apple playing for the first time as a warrior, looking at the stats and saying “well intelligence says it improves mana, which is what you use for spells and abilities, but i don’t have mana, so I guess it must improve my rage!” and proceeding to wear int leather and mail.

It’s also easier to not die, which I see as a good thing, especially for inexperienced and new players, or players who have disabilities of some sort that make it hard for them to have super-snappy reflexes.  It lowers the threshold for failure and allows for more people to be able to enjoy it.  Like… yeah, it lowers it for everyone because unlike a single-player game, you can’t have one person playing on nightmare difficulty while another plays narrative difficulty, but like… why shouldn’t the person who wants something easy and low-stress be allowed to play?  There are places for the nightmare difficulty people – it’s called endgame mythic raiding.  And if that’s not hard enough… idk, lower the quality of everyone’s gear so you have to try harder?

Maybe it’s a controversial opinion these days, I honestly don’t know, but by and large I am happy with the changes Blizzard has made to WoW to make it more accessible and fun for people who aren’t necessarily able to play above casual mode.

The game has changed a lot.  Sometimes I miss how it used to be – if I had the chance to timewalk an entire server back to Wrath days, I probably would take the option for nostalgia alone.  But in the end… I kind of like the changes I’ve seen, and I’ll judge the rest of it when I come to it. :)

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General · PvE

Getting back into my WoW groove

Well, last night, I was going about my business, thinking about making supper and reading, when I got a tweet from Ose.

“APPLE come do OS2D 25!! <3"

Followed shortly by, "You know you would like to roll on the Twilight Drake. :P"

She meant OS3D, which I guessed was the case, but I laughed and said “sure, why not?” (to her great glee) and logged in. There was a long period of waiting and adding more and more people, during which one of our priests, Num, decided that Lifegripping me (other people, too, but I was the only one who seemed to get indignant about it, lol) all over the place was the best plan. Especially since I couldn’t figure out what was going on at first. BUT that was okay, we zerged it with no problem at all, being all in lv85 gear (and most if not all of them raid-ready), and when the Twilight Drake dropped, we all rolled need… and I won with a 96. SCORE!

After that, I admitted to a few of the people left in the chat that I’d told Kurn I was stepping down from the raiding lineup for now. Some… good-but-potentially-stressful-and-drama-inducing things are happening at work, and my life is full of lots of different kinds of stress atm, and I just don’t have the energy to devote to getting geared up in a short amount of time. What I’m going to do is just… do it slowly. Spend a couple hours a day on randoms/dailies/whatever, maybe more if I’m up to it, or less if I’m not. Get there in my own time. And then when I’m ready, I’ll reapply as a raider. It’s sad and disappointing, because I was really looking forward to it, but… I’ve only got so many spoons. And in normal, low-stress times, I’ve got plenty of emotional energy for things like the grind of gearing up (see: my scramble to gear for end-of-Wrath ICC raids, though that was somewhat less involved), but right now, I have precious little to spare, and I don’t want to waste it on something that would stop being fun before I even had a chance to start.

STILL! No biggie, I’m sticking with the guild in a non-raiding capacity for now. I told them, they all were sad (I love my guildies, just sayin’), and then they talked about doing Heroic Stonecore. And I said I’d come if they gave me a few hours to raise my ilvl. To which they declared that Walks could heal, I could go into my (oh-so-crappy) ret spec, and try not to die, and they’d get me a piece of gear or two, hopefully. It was interesting, fun, and I died on every single one of the bosses (I was SO CLOSE on the last one, too, but then a surprise rock one-shotted me), but I got a couple upgrades and had a lot of fun.

After that, Ose and Hulrok and I ran MgT for a shot at the Hawkstrider mount for Ose’s main (since she only has it on an alt), and the Phoenix Hatchling dropped, and since they both had it, it was MIIIIINE. :D So! The Twilight Drake, the Phoenix Hatchling, AND my first Heroic, all in one night. It was a pretty good one.

Hope today’s just as fun, and hope I have plenty of stories to share with you guys now that I’m starting to play again.

General · PvE

A new year in Apple-land!

Well, granted, it’s a new year EVERYWHERE, but this post is about MY new year and what I hope to do with it. :)

My first real exploit for this year is going to hopefully finish the post for my Blog Azeroth secret santa recipient. If he sees this blog post, he’ll probably know it’s for him, as I’m sure he’s probably the LAST person to not have theirs, but I’ve been… I don’t even know. It’s supposed to be a funny post and I can’t seem to get the funny. I’m halfway through and have my draft and research tabs open, and hopefully today or tomorrow I’ll be able to get it done.

This week is also going to be the week of “quests, rep grinding, dungeons, Heroics, gearing, alchemy, GO GO GO.” I have to do quests to build up my gold again (really, I shouldn’t have gotten 310% flying until I was gemmed and enchanted and had Alch. maxxed, but I am bad at thinking of stuff like that, and I wanted faster flying for my cross-continent archeology expeditions. Stupid Apple.) so I can afford the mats I’m going to need to get my guildies to enchant and gem me. I need to quest and reg. dungeon in order to up my gear ilvl so I can actually get INTO Heroics so I can grind for rep and gear. I was SUPPOSED to be raid-ready by Tuesday. Why am I not? Well… I bought Dragon Age: Origins on sale from Steam as a Christmas present for myself. And after spending a LOT of time (even if it wasn’t all on Lis) playing WoW since launch, it was a bit of a relief to play something else, and then it was so interesting, and the thought of logging into WoW to deal with the horrible state of Lis’ gear/alchemy/rep/gold was making me want to never log in again. So I took a little longer, realised it was almost January, and emailed Kurn about it. She was really nice about it, though I expect I’ll be nagged ALL WEEK this week – see, I have the week off, and I’ve decided that I’m going to use this time to get myself as ready as I can – hopefully with NEXT Tuesday finding me raid-ready and not logged out in my crappy Ret spec/gear that I’ve been using to level because it requires less drinking and thus less buying of drinks.

But that’s starting Monday. Today, I play Dragon Age for the last bit I’ll have until I’m raid-ready.

Speaking of Dragon Age, I love this game like burning. I, of course, made a Dwarf named Lisan. She was a Casteless, a bit idealistic, hated the life she and her sister had to lead. When she joined the Grey Wardens, she was determined to help save the world. And without fail, she’s tried her best to do the right thing. Which, sadly, included helping to put her lover Alistair on the throne, despite the fact that she knew he’d have to leave her if he was king. We’ve just finally passed that part, and she’s taking comfort in her friendships with Leilana and Zevran at the moment. Alistair will make a good king, she thinks. She wishes she could’ve been selfish enough to keep him for herself instead, but… well, like I said – she tries to do the right thing.

BUT, because I’m both an altophile and because I have to play through at least ONCE where she gets to keep him, I’ve rolled Lissa – a similar but not identical Dwarf of noble blood, who will want to keep him from that at all costs, because of the horrible betrayals and manipulations she suffered during her own stint as princess of Orzammar, which led to her joining the Grey Wardens in the first place. I’m not going to focus on her game until I’ve finished Lisan’s, but it’ll be interesting to see how the differences in personality and history influence her decisions in the game. :D

ANYWAY, folks, that’s my life and my new year. Hope your holidays were wonderful, and the coming year better than the last. :)

General · PvE

The New Adventures of Old Apple, Pt 2

So, clearly I fail at updating in a timely fashion, clearly. So! The state of the Apple, so far!

Computer

My shiny new computer is AMAZING! I can’t turn the graphics up TOO high without dropping down to 15ish fps, but that’s better even than on the old mac, so that’s good. I have the Good settings turned on, mostly, except for water effects and shadows, which I’m keeping at “low” and “fair”, respectively, and I get about 60fps most of the time. :) It’s very nice. So far, it seems like she’s going to work for me just fine.

Lisan (and the new zones)

Oh, my darling Paladin. Well, she hasn’t hit 85 yet, but she is 84. And, lo and behold, she’s actually acquired an offspec! Ret, of course, because I’d be shite at Prot. I’ve collected a little gear set that’s probably deeply shitty, but consists of plate stuff that has +str or +hit or other things when there wasn’t anything I could use for my Holy set. Her Holy set is also coming along – I managed to let go of her old boots finally, which I’d been holding on to for the minor speed increase. I’ve replaced most of her raiding gear, but not all of it – and her raiding set is going in the bank for posterity: “this is what I raided in back in the Wrath days”. ;) Once she hits 85, I’m going to go finish leveling her professions (I never did do that, oops) and Archaeology.

As far as the new zones go, I adored Vashj’ir and Hyjal – both had interesting storylines and quests that kept me interested, and I loved the look and feel of the zones. Then I went to Deepholm. And… eh. It’s not HORRIBLE, but it’s also not GREAT. It feels claustrophobic to me despite its expansiveness, and I honestly wasn’t having fun. So after I discovered Therazene (I think?) and getting my rep up to “Friendly” through the first quests, I said “fuck this noise” and hightailed it back to Stormwind. I did the quests with Anduin that lead up to Varian sending you to the Twilight Highlands, and then booked it over to Uldum. Sadly, I didn’t have a chance to do much there yet, but I’m already enjoying it more than I was enjoying Deepholm.

Alts (and more Alts)

Okay, breakdown by name, race, and class, and how they’re doing:

Chromatic (Gnome Priest) has actually been race changed. She is now Charité the Worgen Priest. And level 40. I’m not sure the race change is going to stick, though. I keep looking at her and going “eh, I’ll play her later” when I used to be really excited to play her as a Gnome. So. We’ll see.

Josephîne (Worgen Druid) has been temporarily abandoned in the name of levelling Lis, mostly.

Summer (Belf Hunter) has not been played in ages. Poor Summer.

Geneviéve (Worgen Warrior) is level 12 and in Darkshore. I’m actually having fun playing her so far. A warrior.

Twîzzle (Goblin Priest/Mage) I can’t decide which I want her to be, yet. On one server (ThoBro) she’s a lv 5 priest, and on another (E’T) she’s a lv 1 mage. I’ve been mostly busy playing Lis, to be perfectly honest, so I’ll probably come back to her once Lis is good to go. That said, isn’t Twizzle the greatest name for a Goblin?

I love the Worgen starting zone/quests, and I like what I’ve seen so far of the Goblin zone/quests. They’re both quite fun in VERY different ways.

In conclusion…

Cataclysm: IT’S AWESOME!

PvE

“It is done.”

kingslayer
“This was for Gerk.”

As expected, while it was thrilling to get Arthas down before the patch, and to have my Kingslayer title, it was not half as thrilling as getting Starcaller. Part of this was probably because it was in a little guildie 10-man with a good chunk of alts, as opposed to the proper 25-man that I missed last week, but mostly I think it was, like I said last week, that Lisan herself, as a character, wasn’t quite so invested in the kill.

Not that she didn’t want him dead, of course, but it wasn’t necessarily a cause for celebration – it was something horrible that had to be done. Yes, Arthas had become evil, and done horribly bad things, and was beyond redemption, but… he was like her, once – a young Paladin who perhaps wasn’t quite ready for the responsibility thrust upon him, just trying to do his best in the face of horrible atrocities.

Alas, I was so taken aback by the fact that we’d actually gotten him to 10% (7%, actually, if you want to be technical) on the first try tonight that I forgot that I’d been planning to shout “For Gerk!” as we finished him off after the rez. :( Alas, the moment has passed, if I ever do it again it’ll feel silly and scripted.

I feel like writing a bit – maybe I’ll put up a little drabble in an hour or two, if I can find the words to start it. I know I don’t sound as enthused as I normally do about big stuff – many less exclamation points. :) But while I AM thrilled, it’s more… subdued. I really put a lot of myself into the stories I weave, even if I’m weaving them within the framework of someone else’s story. So my emotions about things tend to echo Lis’ in most situations, if it’s emotionally involved. And in this case, it’s… quiet satisfaction. She did what she set out to do, the world is safe(r), she’s avenged the deaths of many good people. That doesn’t mean she’s happy about it. That doesn’t make any of the pain less. /shrug

I am very pleased, however, and thank you to my guildies who came (and set this up) for… well, everything.

Now I’m going to go… do things. Totally important things. Like put my Starcaller title back on…

General · PvE

Preparing for Cataclysm (Apple style)

I know, I know, this post is a bit late considering Cata’s going to hit on Tuesday. On Tuesday, I will be at work, and on my lunch break will be checking both GameStop and Best Buy to see if they’ve sold out of Cataclysm. I feel like most of the WoW players in this area probably got the download, so I should be okay – my computer is just SO SLOW at downloads, it’s annoying.

SO! Here is how I am preparing for Cataclysm, and what I’m going to do once it hits.

1. This afternoon and tomorrow, I will focus on maxxing out Lisan’s herbalism and alchemy (which are at 225 and 151, respectively). This may or may not be a frustrating venture, as recipes aren’t always cheap, and I’m kind of poor, but that’s okay.

2. Tuesday after work, I will (hopefully) bring my boxed version of Cata home and… promptly not do a thing with it. I will log on Mattie, probably, and keep levelling her while everyone else prances around Gilneas, Kezhan and the Lost Isles, Hyjal, and Vashj’ir.

“Okay, wait,” you say, “but Apple, don’t you need to get Lis levelled to 85 as soon as possible?” Well, yes. But the thing is that with all the people piling into the levelling zones, Donna (my current laptop) just isn’t going to be able to handle it. I’d be getting 1-2 fps while trying to quest, and that would honestly be worse than starting later, because I’d be so FRUSTRATED that I wouldn’t want to play. So what I’m going to do is not level Lis at all until Romana (my new laptop) arrives and I’ve installed WoW and everything on her. By this point, two things will have happened, I think: 1) the vast majority of people who are dragging a toon to 85 before rolling Worgen or Goblin will have pulled ahead at least a bit, so there will be less competition for my quests, and 2) I will be so revved up to get STARTED that I will hopefully get some real momentum going and will be able to actually get levelled in a timely fashion.

3. Once I have Cata installed, I’m going to level. But I’m not going to blow through so quickly I don’t know what’s going on, because what’s the fun in that? I don’t care if it slows down my levelling a bit – I’m going to ENJOY the game I pay for. :)

Anyway, that’s my plan. It’s… not much of a plan. I’m not stocking up on things in game or out, I’m not getting ready to settle in for a marathon gaming session, I’m just getting ready to play the new parts, when I get the chance. :) I can’t wait!

PvE

Apotheosis LK25 – DOWN

Okay, before anyone congratulates me, I wasn’t in the raid last night. I have no kill shot or title, and that’s okay. I’m EPICALLY proud of my guildies for clearing ICC as a guild, and I was there for a lot of it. :) LK and Lana’thel are my only gaps in regular kills, I believe.

So first off, before I say anything else, GRATS TO APOTHEOSIS! You guys were great, even if I wasn’t there to see. ;)

In some ways, I don’t really mind not being there. Unlike the drive to down Algalon, and the Ulduar hard modes, I’ve never really had much invested in the idea of killing Arthas. Possibly because I never imagined myself getting into ICC at all until recently, and had already sort of decided that Lisan wasn’t there – she was holding the line outside, or healing the wounded that (I’m sure) were pouring out of the lower spire after the strike force moved on. There was no personal-lore reason for her to kill Arthas, and I’ve never really cared much about the Kingslayer title.

But then… there’s a part of me, a little part, that wants to finish things. This part is REALLY IRKED by the fact that I wasn’t there to down Lana’thel, and is now REALLY PISSED that I didn’t get to be there to down Arthas. And it bleeds over a little into the larger part of me that just wants to clear content with my guild, and I end up being cranky and sulky and jealous because I couldn’t make the raid and they got him down, and there are no more lockouts before Cata to try it on. And this really shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but dammit I wanted to be there! And I felt bad last night wishing them luck when in the back of my mind I was DESPERATELY hoping they wouldn’t quite get it, so we could go in and knock him down tomorrow night, when I WILL be there.

Emotions are too complicated. /sulk

So, in short, I’m really proud of my guildies, and happy that they got LK down; but I’m also sulky and cranky that they got him down without me. So I think I’m just gonna avoid my Apotheosis toons tonight and level somewhere else instead, because when I get sulky and cranky, I sometimes end up being bitchy to people that I love for no reason, and I dun wanna do that. :(