August 24, 2016

Legion Invasions

So in my last post, many preparations and decisions were being made before Legion launched. I managed to clean up the remainder of my alts inventories and even managed to begin collecting cloth dungeon items on Vel. I'm starting with vanilla dungeons, and I'm very happy to announce that I've gotten quite a few out of the way. This is something I hope I can continue to work on as I can find the time. So what else have I been doing? Ah yes, enjoying the heartbreaking scenarios that is the start to Legion. Now if you haven't played yet and don't want spoilers, please stop reading here as I'm not putting anything under a cut - You've been warned.

As I logged in that Tuesday I decided to change up the way I do things. I logged onto my Alliance character first and experienced the Broken Shore scenario from their point of view. I knew what was coming, but I didn't know how. I teared up and felt anger toward the Horde. I felt sadness for the loss of such a great King and heartbreak over Anduin having to take on his father's role and Genn having to deal with the loss of yet another close to him. Then I logged over and did it on the Horde side and saw the second point of view. It wasn't until it was all over that I was filled with anger because I did not expect Vol'jin to die. I honestly thought that he was going to fake his death and work undercover. Sadly that was not the case, and to make things worse, he appointed Sylvanas as Warchief. I can sit here and talk about why I don't think she's a good choice, but I won't. I'm just hoping Blizzard uses this as some story line to get Varimathras back in the picture. Expect a speculation blog post about that in the future...

Then we have invasions. After I pretty much geared out my mains and collected all the weapons I could (minus the dagger; no rogue), I put my focus on my alts. I had a few stragglers left over that I made recently or just never got around to leveling. This included a second warlock, which is Melathor's twin, a dwarf shaman, and a brand new gnome hunter. When it was added that characters level 10+ could join in the event, I took advantage. The XP gain was huge, and on the first day I leveled up my alts quite a bit. Sadly the experience gain was nerfed significantly to where it was taking me longer to level. I didn't mind though. I'd often put my characters at a site and /afk while I did housework during the day. This weekend a tagging bug was fixed and our lovely XP was flowing once again. I managed to level my warlock to 100, my shaman to 80, and my hunter to 70. No bad at all. I plan to continue to do these until they are gone.

I also took the plunge and pre-ordered Legion a few days after the invasions began. I now have a lovely demon hunter, and my first night elf as well. I also boosted my paladin like I had stated in a previous blog post. I'm not going to lie though, it was hard. To be honest, I felt a lot better when it was all over and I did a few invasions on him. I forgot how fun paladins are, and possibly my favorite melee class. I do look forward into doing current content with him. It's been way too long. So what's next? Now we wait. In less than ten days, Legion will be launching. I'll be getting some real life stuff done so I can focus on the beginning of the expansion. I hope that Legion give me more inspiration to blog, but I can already feel it in my bones. This one is going to be good!

July 25, 2016

Patch 7.0

The new patch is here, and as with all patches, things have changed. That overwhelming sense of having to get everything done right now is racing through many people's minds - as well as mine. As I was sorting through the banks/void storage of one of my alts, it hit me; I don't have to stress over any of this. I have more than enough time to sort out transmog, gather up some of the new items, and learn my new rotations well before the Legion invasions hit the servers. So day one was basically cleaning out banks and void storage, and boy am I happy with all of my new found bag space. Of course there were still some special items I kept on certain characters, but most stuff went out the door. I was sad to realize that the Scarlet set wasn't all changed to plate like I was previously led to believe. So that put a little damper into my paladin plans. I guess I will have to wait and see if it's a bug or until the ensemble is actually available at the Darkmoon Faire. I also realized I have a cloak collecting problem as my 16 pages of them shows. Day two was re-doing talents on all my characters and reading up on their new class rotations and changes. Thank goodness for Icy Veins because I would be a lost mess! The next few days were spent leveling alts and running old raids (these weapon illusions are calling!).

What else? Ah yes, the doomsayers in the cities. These people always like to pop up when times are about to get tough. This time they give out pamphlets, and collecting all twelve will give the user the achievement "It All Makes Sense Now". I decided to casually talk to them every time I was in the city, which has been a lot more than usual these past few days. However, waiting the twenty minutes to get another pamphlet wasn't fast enough for some people. It was funny, and a bit horrifying considering the content of these pamphlets, that people were dropping their characters to their death to get rid of the twenty minute de-buff. I managed to get my achievement this weekend without repeatedly harming my character.

I also can't decide if I want to jump on the gnome hunter bandwagon or just make another mage. I have an alt gnome saved on Scarlet Crusade (US) for Running of the Gnomes, but I never got a chance to participate yet. The gnome itch is strong right now, and I think an engineer hunter with all the mechanical pets would be a good addition to my alt family. However, I also think having a fire mage in the Time Lord's Regalia would also be awesome. The good thing is nothing is set in stone yet so I still have time to decide what I want to do.

After all of that, and a very long Warlords expansion, I guess it's safe to say that this blog has now crossed over into the Legion expansion. As boring as Warlords actually was, I prefer to look back on the better things about it: The questing experience was amazing, and I liked how they gave you faster options such as potions, objectives, and treasures when leveling up alts. The cut scenes between zones were amazing, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them in Legion. Let's not forget our "gold farms"... I mean garrisons. Seriously, I will miss logging in to get thousands of gold for virtually doing nothing. Ah, good times. For now, let us leave Warlords behind and wash out that sour taste it left. Bring on Legion!

June 13, 2016

The Warcraft Movie

Just as many others did, I saw the Warcraft movie this past weekend. I have been hearing about this since I've started playing WoW, and I know others have been waiting for it even longer. To finally have something like this happen is absolutely amazing. I was so awe struck on seeing my favorite video game come to life on the big screen, and despite all the critics giving it terrible reviews, I went in with an open mind. I knew the movie lore was different from the game lore, so I was prepared for that. While I really enjoyed the movie, there were still things minor things that bothered me. I wanted to put down my opinions on it to perhaps persuade those who haven't seen it yet. Don't worry, I promise it's spoiler free.

What I Liked
First off, if you haven't listened to the movie soundtrack, I suggest you do that. The music for the film was amazing. Right from the beginning you get the title track that sounds like something straight from the game. Ramin Djawaldi did an amazing job just as I expected.

The CGI is amazing! As someone who plays a mage in game, I was excited to see all these different spells being cast and naming them all as it happened. The orcs looked phenomenal! They looked so realistic and believable. They were very detailed. In some scenes you could see little hairs on their skin. Also the dwarves looked great. I haven't heard many people talk about them, but they are perfect Warcraft dwarves. I can't say anything more about this than the CGI was top notch. Imagine what you see in Blizzard cinematics and multiply that by a thousand.

The orcs were amazing. Every single actor and actress put in their all and played a believable role. From the first scene in the movie, I fell in love with Durotan and Draka. Not only could you feel the love between them, but also the respect they had for one another. Different feelings brewed up as the movie carried over from Blackhand, to Gul'dan, and definitely to Orgrim. Every scene between the orcs was perfection. I just have to say that Toby Kebbel played an absolute amazing Durotan, and I could have watched an entire movie based around just him and the Frostwolf clan.

On the human side, I wasn't sure how to feel after I heard some rather harsh reviews about Medivh and Khadgar, but I loved them. I like the casting choice of Ben Schnetzer. I loved the awkwardness that he brought to young Khadgar, and I think many people relate to a character like that. For Medivh, I was a little unimpressed at first, but as the movie went on he turned out being my second favorite character. He had the hints of madness and fear that you would expect Medivh to carry all while trying to hold everything together. I think many people missed the complexity of the character Ben Foster was trying to achieve. Once again, I could have watched an entire movie revolving around those two mages.

What I Disliked
From very early on in the movie, it's apparent that the time lapse feels a little... strange. Sometimes it's not clear whether it's been a few days, months, or even longer that has gone by. As someone who knows the Warcraft universe, I knew these things didn't happen overnight. As someone watching who doesn't know, they may be confused - especially having Garona speaking broken common in one scene then perfect common in another. I'm not sure how they could have portrayed time going by, but I'm sure it could have been done in a non cheesy fashion.

While I praised the orcs for being absolutely amazing, I thought that the humans fell flat at times. I believe if it weren't for Khadgar and Medivh, the human story would have been very boring. I was very unimpressed by Lothar, who I was actually looking forward to seeing on screen. I know a lot of people love Travis Fimmel from Vikings, but I'm not so sure he sold me on Lothar. He often came off as empty and something about him on screen just made me uncomfortable. Maybe it's the way he was looking at Garona, but I can't exactly put my finger on it.

King Llane and Queen Taria were no different. I felt no attachment to them as I did with Durotan and Draka, and they didn't feel like a powerful royal unit. There is only one, maybe two, scenes where I thought the King's true emotions and feeling are shown. Other than that, nothing. I think maybe if there were a private scene where he and Queen Taria could have talked more candid about how they felt about the orcish invasion and their kingdom, this may have changed my mind. I can only hope something like this exists in the deleted scenes otherwise, I really didn't care for them.

Of course there are other things little things I liked and disliked, but those points I talked about are the bigger ones. After calming down from seeing it and thinking it over, I'd have to give the movie a solid 8/10. While it's not the best movie I've seen, it's definitely not the worse. I do plan on seeing it once or twice more, and I definitely will be buying whatever the best extended cut/collectors edition they will be releasing on Blu-ray. Basically if you like fantasy movies, you may like this. If you love Warcraft, you will definitely enjoy this. If you're looking into get into Warcraft, sure, go see it! Just don't let any reviews turn you off to it. Be your own critic and judge it for yourself.

May 27, 2016

Warcraft Reading

I truly couldn't have picked a better time to take a Warcraft break. With all the lovely books that have been coming out lately, there was no better time. Anyone who knows me completely understands the issues I have with reading. I tend to buy books, read a bit, and never finish them because I'm usually so busy with real life and gaming things. Not to mention it takes me a while to read through one fully due to the fact that I'm a slow reader. It's hard to find time to fit everything in! So after taking a step back to distance myself from roleplaying and the Warcraft Twitter community to focus on myself and other person things, I found myself really enjoying my quiet time in a book along with a cup of tea or coffee.

With the Warcraft movie and the new Legion expansion on the horizon, this opened up an entire variety of books. Not only was a novelization of the movie released, but there will also be a graphic novel called Bonds of Brotherhood released as well. Along with this, the novel Durotan is available and follows the events prior to the movie. I decided against reading any of these before seeing the movie as I want to go in with a fresh outlook. I've previously read Rise of the Horde, and while I understand that the movie will be different than the in game lore, I still want to be surprised at the events playing out on screen. Maybe after I see the movie I will consider purchasing and reading some of those, but at this point it's highly unlikely.

I did jump at the opportunity to order World of Warcraft Chronicles, and let me just say that if you were on the fence about doing the same - DO IT! It's a beautiful book, and volume one focuses on Titan lore and the beginnings of Azeroth. I'm not sure how many of these they will release, but I'm hoping to collect all of them. If you were looking into diving deeper into Warcraft lore, this is a great place to start. I also ordered the Illidan novel, and I went in feeling strangely about it as it wasn't written by the wonderful Christie Golden. However, I did enjoy the book though I felt like some parts of it seemed to drag on a little too long. It left me wanting to hurry up to get over the parts with Maiev just to see what Illidan and the other demon hunters were up to. I also wish the publishing company took a little more care in the editing of the book as I found many errors that kept throwing me out of the story. Putting all of that aside, it's a wonderful introduction into the Legion expansion.

I also picked up a hardcover copy of Curse of the Worgen which I have still yet to read, but I will be getting to that one soon. Other books I may be considering in the future is the official cookbook that will be released in October. We haven't heard much about this yet, but I'm sure there will be more about that in the upcoming months. Hey, if you always wanted to throw a WoW themed party with buzzard bites for an appetizer, this may be the book for you! Finally the last book to catch my eye was the Traveler book series aimed towards children. I instantly fell in love with the artwork, and while I don't have or plan on having children to share this with, I know it will look great in any collection.

I know many people always complained about having to read many of the novels to get the story on what happened between expansions, but I would really recommend it even if you can fit in just an hour or so each night. Before you know it, you may be hooked just like I am and struggling to put the book down to get some sleep.

April 26, 2016

My Favorite Flavor is Vanilla

So unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you've heard the many arguments surrounding Blizzard wanting the plug pulled on one of the biggest private vanilla servers, Nostalruis. This outraged many people while many others defended Blizzard's right to have the server force a shut down. This is something that has been addressed again and again. Players claim they want it while devs sit there and say "You think you do, but you don't.". Do they really want it? Maybe... This petition to get Blizzard to at least recognize the demand for it has reached over 200k signatures and even has the backing of a former developer who claimed that if it hit the 200k goal, he would personally deliver the petition into the hands of Mike Morhaime.

I sit here and I can't help but wonder many things about these servers. One of  the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that they are free. Who wouldn't want to play WoW for free? My concern would be if Blizzard did decide to implement these Legacy servers, there would still be a subscription cost; Let's say $10 USD. People tend to forget that Blizzard is still a company and though the servers would be running the "vanilla" version of the game, they still need to pay people to maintain that. Would people still want to play on legacy server if it had a subscription cost? My final answer, yes, some still would, but many probably wouldn't.

I look at the game in the form it is in today. It looks beautiful, the game plays smoothly, I don't have to worry about being dismounted when I walk through a puddle or have to bother with buffing ever 30 minutes... oops, sorry. I'll be the first one to admit, I'll put on my rose colored goggles and remember the past like it was the best thing ever. I still love flying through the old zones, and going to secret places. This is the part of the game that drove me to create this blog. Perhaps that's the second thing that brings people to vanilla servers? Azeroth in it's purest form. Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. No flying, no Cataclysmic destruction, and the original tedious questing. I could definitely see the appeal of a legacy server to those people who never got to experience it, but would those people continue to play it after they saw how different it was from the game we have now? Some probably would, but the majority would probably just log off and never look back.

Nostalruis right before the server went down for good. (image from here)
"Warcraft is dying!" zone chat says as you look around and see one or two people questing, all from different servers. Who are these people? I log onto my server now and I immediately cannot pick out many of the old Skywall people. Every once in a while I will see a familiar face pop up, but the majority of people I see now are from the Drak'thul server. If it weren't for these server merges and CRZ zones, our Azeroth wouldn't feel very lively. Vanilla Warcraft did have a strong sense of community, and I totally understand that appeal. Someone was a ninja? You and everyone else knew. You needed a gem cut? I know just the person who is a pleasure to work with. That guild killed that boss tonight? Congrats, everyone would cheer (at least on Horse side of my server). Community with any hobby is strong. Everyone wants to be a part of the bigger picture, and I think the vanilla server community has that appeal. Would that bring people to play on legacy servers? Maybe, but I think you will get a better experience of making a Twitter account and engaging people that way.

I know I said a whole lot without really saying a whole lot, but the topic has been racing through my mind for the last week or two, and I just got around to writing it all down. I also disabled comments because this was mainly for me to get out my thoughts on the matter. Where do I sit on all of this? Well, I love the game how it currently is, but if Blizzard offered legacy servers, I'd definitely roll a character on there too. I would love to experience the old world and questing once again just for nostalgia sake. Knowing what I know now, I definitely think I would have much less deaths.

With all of that said, it seems this is something Blizzard are already talking about internally with this post on the official forums. While vanilla servers may be out of our reach, it's likely that we may see these pristine realms in the near future. This may help players who want that difficulty curve without all the problems of Blizzard running a vanilla server. Personally, I just don't think that's what people want, but the fact that Blizzard are also in contact with those who ran Nostalruis may be a good sign. Who knows what will happen. It will be interesting to see where this is going to go in the next few months.

By the way, I wasn't lying when I said that vanilla is actually my favorite flavor, but other others are just as good.