Legion and Storytelling

The topic of storytelling came up the other morning while my husband and I were discussing how much we were enjoying Legion so far. We had both decided that Legion may actually mark the first WoW expansion (at least since Wrath of the Lich King) in which story has been a primary motivator for content completion.

Each zone in the Broken Isles has its own distinct story to tell, all ultimately tying into the legion invasion (thankfully different stories with a different flavor, aka not all green fell shit). That element in itself isn’t unique to Legion, but I feel that this expansion pack is the first in which I am able to actually complete each zone before moving to the next one. There are two main reasons for this:

1. Level Scaling: In the previous expansion packs, each zone was designed for a specific level range. Since it was pretty easy to out level any particular area, the general flow of things was to half complete a zone, move onto the next one once all of the mobs and quests turn green, complete the questlines at max level when there isn’t anything else to do. Since Legion content scales with your level, there’s really no pressure to continuously zone hop.

2. Non-Prohibitive Gameplay: For example, not having to compete with other players in tagging mobs and not having to wait indefinitely for named quest mobs to spawn. Few things in a new expansion pack are more of a bonerkill than huge questing bottlenecks.

Maybe I just have a short expansion pack memory, but without spoiling anything, the quest lines seem more…personal this time around. I feel like there are a lot more character driven events and quests. So far, Blizzard has done a great job of communicating just how dire the invasion is. It certainly feels more ‘important’ than alternate dimension orc slaying.


Legion Day 1: Paladin Things & Azsuna

Sitting at work while everyone is having fun playing Legion kind of sucks but adults gotta adult I guess.

Thus far, no queue, no lag, no disconnects, no waiting to tag named mobs, or really any of the typical expansion release bullshit. Smoothest launch to date; Having 4 starting zones + level scaling = best idea ever. No more funneling half the server into one zone or feeling rushed to drop a quest chain in one area for the sake of moving onto a more level appropriate zone. Good on you Blizzard.

….it’s still weird though not having any new talents.

There are three paladin artifact weapons, each corresponding to one of the three paladin specs. Everyone, or at least all true paladins of course know that there is realistically only one choice, and that choice ain’t no hammer or shield. So alas, after a decade and change of pining for it: The Ashbringer is mine.

Pretty zone.

I started in Azsuna because it was located in the lower left hand corner of the Broken Isles map. If there are no obviously breadcrumbs, I will probably just go left to right.

Going to honestly resist the urge to power level to 110. What’s the rush?

Progress report for day 1: Hit level 101, managed to complete one-and-a-half quest chains in Azsuna, obtained Ashbringer, did some of the class hall quests, sighed at Khadgar. I don’t know what the other class hall content is like but the paladin quests so far are fantastic in both content and lore. They feel more connected and important than anything from WoD if that makes any sense. I am also enjoying having a secret paladin clubhouse, though we will see how they pan out after the novelty wears off.

[Spoilers for Azsuna] Favorite new NPC so far has to be Runas the Shamed. I was expecting a betrayal but he kept his word, helped save the oldest blue dragons and in the end, thanked you for giving his last sane moments meaning before slipping away. I didn’t expect that to come from an NPC that initially felt like a parody of Tyrone from the Chapelle show. Feels.


On the second to last day of WoD, my garrison finally gave to me…

…That stupid S.E.L.F.I.E Camera that I have been wanting since re-subbing a month ago. And with that my lovely garrison, I bid you adieu. You were a cool idea but ultimately ended up being an elaborate iPhone game that killed half the social aspect of the game. So, here’s to a new expansion pack’s worth of good times and stupid selfies. Going to try to avoid spoilers and screenshots while at work tomorrow.


[Disney World] Min-maxing Test Track

TL;DR: We were vacationing this past week in Orlando. Our goal was to hit the high score on the Test Track leaderboard in which we had almost achieved (matched it at 230). I am pretty sure that the score cap however is 232; I haven’t seen any indication online or in the actual attraction that it can go any higher. We ended up riding test track 3 times, each with the following score: 208, 222, and 230. I am not quite sure where we lost 2 points, I suspect that it was either a screw up when drawing the contour of the car or wheel size. It is worth noting that only higher scores will override the current leader. If you want to stay on the board, ride early.

There are a total of four categories: Power, responsiveness, capability, and efficiency. Your overall score will be the total of all four categories combined. So, the trick is to max out your overall score not just a particular category.

For vehicle type, choose the sports car on the far left. When drawing the contour of the car, you will want to draw something resembling a normalish car shape (small curve for the hood, larger curve for the body). It should resemble something like this:


When sculpting the car, make the tail as tall as possible (drag it to the upper left). For length and width, make the car as short and wide as possible. The hybrid engine is by far the best choice as it gives you an additional accessory slot.

For accessories, the trick is to use the selection that nets you the most overall gain. It doesn’t matter what category it boosts so long as it offers the most points. So for example, if accessory #1 offers +2 power but accessory #2 offers +6 capability and -2 power, you will want to go with accessory #2 because the overall gain is +4 (vs +2). The max amount of point gain for accessories seems to be 20 (front +3, hood +4, side +2, top +2, rear +3, tail +6). Same deal for the wheels. I am not sure if there is an ideal ratio for wheel size.

The best part being the cool gnome mech.

[WoW] The Invasion

Huh well image that… If you add content to a game, it becomes fun again; Who would have known? But in all seriousness, we enjoyed the invasion scenarios and cutscenes quite a bit and are currently enjoying catching up on the bits and pieces of content missed during our absence from WoW. The invasion gear has also rather quickly replaced a fair amount of the crappy LFR and Timewalking gear that I have been slowly accumulating. Overall, it is a suitable farewell to WoD and transition into Legion, which we are looking forward to playing at the end of the month.

I really wanted to boost either my Shaman or Druid to 100 but the Shaman is only 20 and the Druid is 45. In order to get the profession boost, which is what I really want (because screw grinding anything, especially JC, from 1 to 700), the boosted character needs to be 60+. The only character even remotely close to 60 would be my DK, who had previously been at 58 since Wrath of the Lich King. I guess if we are being totally honest, the likelyhood of me even playing a 4th alt beyond profession muling is abysmally low. In that regard, I suppose it doesn’t matter which character I boost so long as it is above level 60.


The hunter is finally 100 as is my newly rolled Demon Hunter. This marks the most max level characters that I have ever had (up from 2 to 4). I think my favorite part of the new class is either the eye beams or being able to jump off of your flying mount at great heights and gliding around with the wings.

I was hoping to get Draenor flying before Legion, but I have a feeling that Saberstalkers rep is going to take too long to grind out. Everything else can be completed relatively trivially.

Draenor Flying

Odds and Ends: FFRK, WoW, and Fallout Shelter

Photo-2016-08-01-21-48-57_7636Record Keeper was put on the back burner a bit in light of Pokemon Go and our return to WoW. I still need to clear the FFV U+ fight as well as Ifrit. The Support Nightmare fight wasn’t that hard once I had the timing down, but it did take a few tries and party configurations. The general idea is:

  • Phase 1: Shout and zerg the two nodes down. Keep in mind that when a node dies, it will respawn in about 1 to 2 turns.
  • Phase 2: The CPU will cast the physical barriers first so keep your Power Breakdown and Armor Breakdown (and Multi-Break if possible) users on standby. Finish off the nodes with other party members, PBD and ABD need to be queued as soon as the nodes respawn to avoid double barriers.
  • As soon as the nodes respawn: Queue PBD on the top one and ABD on the bottom one. Wait a second then queue Multi-Break. The idea is to time it so that Multi-Break goes off after PBD and ABD, doing this will make the nodes go haywire.
  • DPS the boss when the nodes to haywire. As soon as the second Barrage and Heal go off (from the nodes), queue Multi-Break. The idea is to cast Multi-Break before the CPU has a chance to put a barrier up. If you do it right the nodes should go haywire again.

WoWScrnShot_073116_145644Hopped straight on the gear treadmill despite Legion looming off into the not-so-far distance. My retribution set is sufficient enough to do okay damage in LFR HFC raids. Working on my healing set. I may actually start healing again; If for nothing else, so that we don’t have to sit in the LFR/LFG queue for 30 to 40 minutes. There were literally two healing buttons the last time I had bothered healing back in Vanilla so we will see how that goes…

My hunter has a near full set of 630+ gear tokens from the Tanaan dailies, garrison missions, etc. I can’t however, seem to bother to quest out the last 60% of a level to 100 so that he can use it. I’m bad at alting. I am not sure which character I am going to burn my insta-100 boost on. I am thinking that it will most likely be either a my lowbie druid or lowbie shaman.

Fallout Shelter
I was surprised to hear that a significant amount of content had been added to this game so I redownloaded it on my phone and have been poking at it on-and-off over the past week. The missions are pretty fun though I can tell that my interest in the title is starting to wane.


[WoW] Pre-Patch Impressions

For the first time in about forever, enough people have been back on WoW to socialize and do stuff so we caved-in and resubscribed. Luckily, the majority of my user interface seems to have survived the patch. I will though, need to find replacements for a few deprecated addons. Since my interface feels a bit top heavy, I think that I am going to spend part of my pre-expansion play time thinning out and redoing most of my UI.

I’m not sure that I would necessarily describe Retribution 7.0.3 as streamlined. It feels more, pruned than anything else. I find muscle memory moving my finger towards the buttons that I would press for Hammer of Wrath and Exorcism quite often. But that said, it has literally been almost two years since I have touched WoW and even then, it’s not like I was all that familiar with Retribution 6.x so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hopping on the gear treadmill once a gain. My gear is slowly getting better. It is up from a paltry 645 iLevel to a slightly less paltry 664 iLevel. The goal of course being to be non-shit geared by the time the invasion occurs.

My Pending Return to WoW

Like much of the player base, my husband and I are planning to return to the World of Warcraft, albeit for a brief month or so, when the Legion expansion launches at the end of August. The pressure however, of seeing more and more friends filter back into World of Warcraft over the past month or so has been increasing. Now that the pre-expansion patch is out, I am quite tempted to re-subscribe a bit earlier than originally planned.

I haven’t really been “into” WoW for about two years, so Legion has felt like more of an obligatory/out of curiosity purchase more than anything else. As such, I have neither paid much attention to any WoW related news nor am I versed in any way on any of the changes that have been made to the game, classes, etc.

That said, let’s say that I do re-subscribe. What do I do? I guess I can try out the new class, LFR old raids, or see if enough people are playing at the same time to do something. Or I guess, I can take the extra time to re-learn how to play this game…

In any event, I have already re-downloaded the game, updated my interface, and re-configured my gamepad so I guess it’s just a matter of time.

PS: I did actually re-download the entire game this time onto the new drive (yada yada bought an SSD for Prime Day) instead of just copying over the same WoW folder that I have been using for a decade from computer to computer. It was kind of funny though, having a WoW directly full of old patch files stretching all the way back to Vanilla.

[Music] Zero Wing: Legrous (Stage 2)

At some point close to 2000 to 2001 when the “All Your Base” meme was becoming popular, I had downloaded a .midi from Zero Wing (old side scroller from Sega that was never released stateside). I was digging through and cleaning out my media folder and came across my MIDI stash which had somehow managed to survive multiple harddrive transitions. Given that my phone doesn’t play .mid files, I thought that it would be nice to find a decent soundfont and convert it to .mp3 format for the sake of adding to one of my lunchtime listening playlists. I have no idea where this midi is from or who the original author is so sincere apologies for no credit. Soundfont used: Arachno.


Pokémon GO Ramblings & Tips

The team so far. Needs work

Literally every single nerd with a smartphone is playing Pokémon GO. A group of us went out last night to go Pokehunting and true enough, if at any point we were to bother to look up and away from our phones, there were quite a few people doing the same thing. The lures seem to not only attack Pokémon, but fellow nerds as well. Kudos to the dude who dropped two last night while we were poke walking.

Pokémon GO doesn’t quite have the depth as Ingress in my opinion: No portal linking obviously or colluding with other faction members to boost portals and capture large areas. I also wish the app had some sort of faction/player leaderboard. I am sure that will be added in a future update.

Literally every single time I want to play during my lunch at work 🙁

I have been also having difficulty capturing gyms because of the “1 HP gym bug.” Whenever I attack a gym and get the defending Pokémon down to 1HP, the game will glitch out and cause it to remain at 1 HP indefinitely. I have heard that this issue may have something to do with tapping the screen too fast as well as with multiple people attempting to take the gym at the same time.

In summary: Pokémon GO is generating the player response that we really really wanted from Ingress. The mere fact that there are so many people who are going outside and doing stuff is super cool.

Here are some odd tips and tricks that I have gathered so far:

  • If you see pink confetti on a pokestop, go there. Pink stuff = lure = more pokemans!

    Pokémon GO is obviously built off of data from Niantic’s other title Ingress. Portals = PokeStops and high traffic portals = gyms. There is no interactive map for Pokémon GO, but if you play Ingress or at least have an account, you can use this map to estimate PokeStop concentration.

  • Wait until the ring in the middle is at it’s smallest for the highest chance of catching the Pokémon.
  • Throwing curveballs increases your catch chance. To throw a curveball: If you spun the ball clockwise, throw the ball slightly to the left and visa versa. Most important thing: When you spin the ball, it will travel in the direction of the spin.
  • To spin the ball: While holding the pokeball, move your finger in rapid small circles until it shines.
  • Though less fun, I have found it easier (and to be honest, less suspicious looking in public), to turn off the AR camera while catching Pokémon.
  • Capture absolutely everything regardless of level or need. If you don’t need it, you can transfer it to the professor for candy. Candy is used for boosting and evolving Pokémon.
  • This game, much like Ingress, absolutely eats your battery alive. Investing in a USB power bank will increase your enjoyment of this game greatly; Or at the very least, allow you to enjoy it for longer periods of time without your phone dying.
  • Distance traveled is GPS based. In other words: Shaking your phone will not hatch the eggs faster. Go outside!