The Slowest Leveler in All of Zandalar?

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People have been 120 for over a week now, and I’m still piddling along at a measly level 112. Yeah, yeah, filthy casual and all that. But mostly I’m having a predicament where I have almost no time to play nowadays. Between parenting a rambunctious toddler and working my butt off at my busy job, I’m lucky if I get an hour to play every other night. So I’m trying to accomplish what I can with the time I have, which is little.

I’m duoing with my roommate/best friend. I’m playing as Resto with Feral Affinity (cat form) and of course it’s slow but I’m not really in any sort of rush. My friend is an Affliction Warlock and that’s a fun pair so far. It’s nice that she can tank pet and then we can take down things that are bigger and badder than ourselves. We chose Zuldazar to start and we’re one questline away from finishing it. Haven’t done any dungeons yet, sadly.

I’ve experienced so little of this expansion that I can’t give any sort of accurate assessment aside from saying a few things.

  • It’s beautiful. The vistas are gorgeous, the environment artists did a fantastic job.
  • The audio is top notch. The music is perfect and I’m loving all the ambient sounds. It really feels like we’re in a dinosaur-infested jungle.
  • I’m invested in the story, which is surprising given that I’m really not a huge fan of WoW trolls in general.
  • It’s humorous and entertaining. Reading all the quests is the name of the game, and I’m enjoying all the funny tidbits and easter eggs. I don’t get half of them because I’m no longer pop culture relevant, but it’s fun nonetheless.

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I’m Back in Battle

There’s nothing like making a triumphant return to an MMO to make a blogger wanna blog.

Battle for Azeroth launched last night, and in typical form for me, I’m playing. And I’m playing Treetopsy, my Tauren Druid (of course).

I’m in a weird spot though, because as I mentioned on Twitter….I didn’t finish much of anything in Legion. I never unlocked flying, didn’t unlocked Allied Races, or do Broken Shore, or Argus. It’s the second expansion in row where I basically did no professions, very little raiding, and no pet battling. I guess I should be thankful I have scores of content to go back to, but it feels weird to move on when I haven’t finished things. But I know that content isn’t going anywhere.

Expect more posts here as I chronicle my journey among the trolls.

(P.S. sorry for no screenshots, I’m at work!)

Ding 110! (And I Found A Guild!)

I don’t get a ton of gaming time, but I’ve been making pretty darn good use of it in WoW. Last night, while collecting an herb in Azsuna, I dinged 100 on my main girl, my Tauren Druid.  Now, I’ve been 110 before on an Alliance alt (go go “Double Agent” achievement) but I immediately stopped playing her after dinging. So this will be first time actually doing end game content, and I’m really excited for it!

Immediately after hitting 110, I went back to my class hall and picked up some quests. I then headed to the Timewalking vendor in Orgrimmar because I had a quest to turn in, and was shocked that he sold ilvl 880 gear for only like 25-50 Timewalker Badges! So I picked up a few pieces and now I’m at 828, which is enough to queue for heroics already! I’m a little nervous about jumping right in and healing heroics if I have to be honest. So my plan is to finish the last couple of factions I need to get to friendly in order to open up World Quests, then quest a bit in Suramar, and then maybe hop into heroics or LFR.

Which brings me to…..my new guild! I joined up with a guild named <Steamy Romance Novel> that I saw an ad for on the official Blizzard forums. They seemed like a good group to join up with. The best thing is that they have movie nights twice a week where they all watch together. Neat idea, I thought! They do raid and I have a goal of trying to catch up and get geared so that maybe I can join them. I haven’t raided seriously in WoW in a long time, but their raid times match up with my single mom schedule (they start at 7:30pm my time after my son is asleep and go until 11pm which is my bedtime). I could probably manage the 3x a week schedule, and it would be a fun diversion to keep me busy and focused in WoW.  We’ll see though. I have a long way between here and there, and I’m in no rush.

 

The Point of WoD, or, the State of WoW

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There’s a post from the amazing Anne Stickney over on Blizzard Watch that felt so interesting, so important that I wanted to highlight it here.  (Aside – can I just say how happy I am that Blizzard Watch exists and seems to be continuing the kind of steam the team had at WoW Insider?  So relieved!)

Which is why it’s so weird that right now, standing a little over three months into the expansion, I am desperately looking for a story that simply is not there. It’s even more strange because the leveling experience from 90-100 was so good — but once you hit level 100 and finish all zone quests, the narrative simply peters out. Draenor is a world that reeks of history, untold stories and mysteries that have yet to be discovered, much less solved, but we are floundering in our garrisons looking for some kind of meaning to it all.

Yes yes YES!  This!

I love World of Warcraft, I always have.  One thing that has always driven my desire to play the game is the story that is so huge, so sprawling, so deep.  I love the world, the characters, the backstories, the lore, the setting, everything.  The Warlords of Draenor concept as an expansion felt incredible to me — a chance to go back and see some of the big characters from days yonder, big figureheads from WoW lore pre-WoW.  It felt like Caverns of Time on steroids, an entire expansion of cool characters doing awesome shit, and how could I not stand behind that?

Levels 90-100 were so compelling, so fabulous.  The questing didn’t feel tedious, because I wanted to know what would happen next.  The cutscenes were downright magnificent and the story drove the whole leveling experience.  Now, at level 100 — I’m just unsure what’s next.  I find myself hand-wringing in my garrison, brainlessly doing chores and sending my followers out on supposed exciting journeys that I get to share no part in.  The apexis dailies are monotonous and not story-driven at all, the Highmaul raid and Blackrock Foundry are so lore-light that they feel like simply ways to improve my ilvl with little else to get invested in.  There’s no more story arcs, just hints and glimpses and bits and pieces of disconnected unfinished stories with supposed badasses lingering in the world without a threat.

Which is why I’m bored.  I’m not logging in much anymore, because I’m not really just interested in filling bars and meters and ticking off boxes without a story to encompass my actions.  And it’s why FFXIV is appealing to me right now, because if there is one thing that Square Enix excels at, it’s story. But I don’t have the immense love for the mythos of Final Fantasy as I do for Warcraft, so I know I’ll be back.  Patch 6.1 doesn’t seem to be bringing enough to excite me into coming back, but perhaps a content & story driven patch 6.2 could bring my excitement back?  Maybe when Tanaan drops and we find out more about Gul’dan?  I don’t know.

Long Time, No Post

Oh hey everyone, I totally forgot I have a blog. 😉

(Just kidding, I would never forget about the 5 people who read this!)

In all honesty, I’ve been blogging elsewhere about non-videogame things, and until Warlords of Draenor was released I’ve been spending little time playing games because I’ve been busy with work and things.  I’ve been back in WoW for the past couple of months, scrambling to finish bucket list items I’d been wanting to do (achievements, killing Garrosh, getting my heirloom weapon, transmogging, running old raids) but now that WoD is live – it’s all fun and games in Draenor.  Can I just say that I’m loving this expansion?  I just dinged level 100 yesterday on Thanksgiving, and I’m currently exploring all the fun there is to do in the end game.  I feel like this expansion has so much to do, so much depth to the gameplay that I’m being pulled in so many directions and I love it!  The story and the quests are just fantastic. Here’s the state of my experience as it stands right now.

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My Garrison

Garrisons are an amazing addition to WoW.  I managed to remain completely unspoiled throughout the beta, and I’m super happy that I did.  I had no idea what to expect out of my garrison and so far it’s blown me away.  I love the followers (I’m so attached to them) and missions, and having my own personal herb garden and mine, and bank and vendors. It’s like my own little antisocial home in WoW, and I’m totally down for it.  I’m not 100% solid about my decisions on my buildings because I didn’t really read any guides.  I have a level 2 herb garden, fishing shack, and mine, and a level 1 storehouse and stables, a level 2 Scribe’s Quarters and Lumber Mill.  I have three empty spaces right now because I’m lacking the garrison resources to build anything new, so I have to optimize my follower missions better.

Alts

Of course I leveled my Restokin Druid Treetopsy first to 100.  My Shadow/Disc Priest Jiraa is only level 91 and has her garrison, though I haven’t had a moment to think about playing her since the second day of the expansion. I have a level 90 Hunter that I boosted who hasn’t even journeyed to Draenor yet, and all other alts have been forgotten.  There is so much to do on Treetopsy that I can’t imagine juggling multiple characters!

Questing

I feel like getting to 100 was incredibly fast. Way faster than it took me to go 85-90 in Pandaria the first time. I finished Frostfire Ridge, Gorgrond, and Talador and only did half of Spires of Arak.  I have all of Nagrand left to check out!  I also have to finish all the exploration and bonus achievements, along with

Proving Grounds

I completed Bronze Healer and Silver Healer, but Gold Healer is way too hard for me at my current ilvl. I’m completely out of mana at the end and barely beat Silver.  I need to get better gear and come back for this!

Pet Battling

I am so so so so behind on this.  At some point I need to devote a ton of time to grinding out some great pets, finishing the Azeroth & Pandaria pet trainers before moving on to WoD, and need to get the pet menagerie so I can do pet dailies.  Argh, so much to do!

Tradeskills

I maxed out my Herbalism and I am slowly grinding up Inscription. I’m thankful that my husband doesn’t need herbs for anything so he sends me all of his herbs in exchange for my ore.  I’m fine with that! =)  It means I can mill all my herbs for work orders and daily cooldowns and hopefully I will have my inscription staff soon!

Gear

I’m sitting at ilvl 582 right now. A long cry from being able to do Molten Core or any of the heroics.  However, considering I have a ton of quests left in Spires of Arak and Nagrand, and have all the level 100 dungeons left to do, I think I’ll be just fine and I’ll enjoy the gear grind.

I’m going to try to chronicle my fun in WoW more often here.  For the meantime, have some screenies! =D

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I Refuse to Believe that MMOs are Dead

(First off, an apology.  I have basically all but disappeared over here, but life + work + other projects have come into play, and good ol’ CuppyVille has to sit aside while more important things come first.)

When we last spoke, I was pretty enamored with WildStar.  I even made some kind of proclamation on Twitter that it was definitely going to be my “main MMO” for months, and I canceled my WoW subscription for the first time in months.  But to be fair, by all accounts it should have been my main MMO.  I loved the world, the art style, my character, the combat, the housing, the crafting — literally everything about the game.  It had the polish that I love, a fresh fantasy/sci-fi hybrid feel that I was enjoying, some humorous elements, and ticked all the boxes on my mental checklist of “things I love about MMOs”.  I liked my Esper and I thought she was adorable and fun to play. I had a guild of likeminded people that I was playing with (fellow bloggers & feminists too) that should have kept me firmly solidified in the game.  But I got to level 16 and then just didn’t want to play anymore.

I’m not the only one who has talked about this.  That Angry Dwarf mentioned that he believes MMOs are habit-forming, and that once you break the habit they’re really hard to get into.  I think this hits right at home for me.  When I’m logging in nightly, I’m enjoying myself.  But if I miss a day or two because of real life, I lose my desire to log in and play.  And once the desire is gone, it’s really hard to rekindle the inspiration I need to log in and make any progress on my character.

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Liore offered up similar sentiments over on her blog.  She was super into WildStar and she’s always been a staunch supporter of a variety of MMOs, but she too has lost her desire to play the game.  She’s even gone so far as to declare MMOs as dead (which she clarified in the comments — she meant they’re dead to HER) and is no longer going to be playing them at all.  How has the industry gotten to this point where we have MMO community influencers such as Liore saying that they don’t even want to play MMOs at all anymore?

It’s gotten to be a joke with my friends — how long will Cuppy actually play any given MMO for?  An hour?  A day?  Maybe a week?  In that time, I’ll be tweeting and taking videos and making screenshot albums and joining guilds and writing about the game at length.  Completely immersed for the moment, but then I’m unable to stick with them.  For awhile I’ve been declaring that as some fault of my own, and sometimes I think my friends assume it is a trait that only I possess.  But if you read the comments on those articles, if you read Twitter, it’s not just me.  Sadly, I feel relieved about this because I’m glad to know that I’m not someone who is a “bad gamer” who has ADD who just can’t stick with something.  I mean, look at my gaming history.  I played EverQuest so hardcore for YEARS that I basically flunked out of my first semester of college while raiding with one of the top guilds in the world.  My love for these games (and blogging about them) is what lead me to transplant myself to California from Minnesota so I could spend the rest of my life working on them.  I ran one of the leading server forum communities back in the day for my EverQuest server.  I created fanart, fan fiction (yeah, yeah), videos, podcasts, went to fan conventions.  I moved onto WoW and gave that game a steady four years of my life as well, raiding throughout vanilla and TBC and flying across the country to meet up with my guildmates.  Clearly I possess the capability to devote myself to a game and stick with it, but why have the last few years been so full of malaise?

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Guild Wars 2 was a fantastic game. The art was beautiful, I liked the combat, and it was innovative.  I made it to level 25 and quit.  Lord of the Rings Online was always intriguing and had some systems that I truly admired (music, costumes, horses) but I couldn’t stick with it.  SWTOR wasn’t that great of a game, but I cared a lot about my Bounty Hunter’s story up until the day I didn’t.  FFXIV was AWESOME, but once I realized that I’d end up running out of quests when I want to do a second/third job, I felt exhausted with the idea of grinding and gave up before even finishing my first job.  ESO was a decent game with interesting stories, but I didn’t make it to max level there either. ArcheAge was a ton of fun in alpha (and I’m still planning on playing it) but one day I just decided I couldn’t keep playing it if I was going to have to re-do my progress when the game goes live. I have played EverQuest II off and on since launch and my highest character EVER is level 45.  RIFT never held onto me, even though it too was a good game.  Aion, TSW, Neverwinter, I’ve played them all and stuck with none of them.  You get my point.

But millions of people still play WoW.  New players who stumble across these games still love them.  I’m a numbers girl and I refuse to believe that MMOs are dead when millions of people across the world are enjoying them.  Is it possible that those of us who’ve been around since the beginning are just exhausted with the same game mechanics and can’t commit to something because everything is so derivative and we’ve already done it?  Wilhelm talks about how he’s having great fun in WoW right now because that’s where his friends & family are.  Is the MMO scene just too fragmented now, and since everyone is playing something different we’ve lost that sense of community with our real life friends?  Check out the r/MMORPG subreddit — it’s filled with people looking for a new MMO to play because they’re bored with the one they’re playing, and 90% of the people will be looking for a new MMO again within a month.  This is a rampant feeling, so how do we solve it?

I actually think the MMO world is very fragmented.  “MMO players” are lumped together into one bucket, but everyone actually wants radically different things out of their games.  Some people want choice, and sandboxes, and want to be able to change the world and leave a mark on it.  Some players want PvP and are passionate about it, but of those — only some want hardcore PvP where death matters and the others want to be able to casually dabble into PvP without too much negative consequence…and of those, some only want open world PvP and others want arena combat.  Some players want a life-encompassing immersive experience that commands hours per day, while others want to jump into a game ‘casually’ and make meaningful progress.  Some players want housing and farming, but only some of them want it instanced, private, and safe while others want it to non-instanced and take up physical space in the world.  Some players want to raid, and some of those want to raid with friends but others have no friends and want to easily connect with other people in-game and still accomplish end-game content.  Some players care about costumes, and pets, and collecting things.  Some care about achievements, and some completely hate them.  Some people read the story, love the lore, and even roleplay — while other players click through quests as fast as possible.  The list goes on and on.

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All of this boils down to the fact that no game, no matter how good it is, will appeal to all MMO players.  I read people like Tobold and Keen (both of which I respect quite a bit for their opinions) making sweeping statements like “choice should matter” that don’t really read as opinion pieces but instead as broad generalizations that are completely false as they pertain to my gaming style.  The fact of the matter is, that some people’s MMO preferences are in exact odds with each other.  One game can’t necessarily accomplish both.  And WoW is still a titan because it tries (and has succeeded) at mostly being everything to everyone.  Sure it misses here and there, but overall — it’s a game that rewards you for how you choose to play.  Other games are trying to copy that method, but without the budget and the longevity that Blizzard has been afforded, they’re unlikely to hit the mark on the nose.

Anyway, I’m rambling and I’m not sure where I’m going with this — other than to say that I think Liore, the Angry Dwarf, myself, and all the other frustrated and bored MMO players out there haven’t found the game we’re looking for because it either doesn’t exist yet, or it already existed years ago and feels archaic at this point. Just because these MMOs keep launching doesn’t mean we will like them — but we try them because “dammit, we’re MMO players” and they seem like they have everything we’re looking for.  But they don’t, they’re missing potentially small-yet-important elements of what makes an MMO stick with us.  I don’t want to say I’m done with MMOs forever because I have loved before and know I am capable of loving again. But I do need to start being more careful about how I’m spending my money, because buying every MMO on the market isn’t a viable strategy for me anymore.  Just because it looks good and people say it’s good, doesn’t mean I’ll think it’s good.  I am better off tackling my 200+ game Steam backlog than buying boxes of new games I won’t enjoy for longer than a week or two.

Unsure what to do in WoW….

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It wasn’t that long ago that I was talking about how overwhelmed I am in WoW — about how it feels like there are endless things to do.  And here I am, logged into WoW, staring at my Druid and wondering what on earth I should be doing with her.

It’s weird because I’m certainly not even remotely finished with Pandaria. I’m sitting at ilvl 529 and I still haven’t beaten SOO or Garrosh yet in LFR.  I could do that, I guess.  I only just now have a level 25 pet team, but I have a ton of achievements and the Celestial Tournament and all that ahead of me, but I feel ‘meh’ about it.  I could PvP, but I really don’t have interest in that right now.  I could work on factions and dailies, which is moderately appealing I suppose.  I never finished questing in Kun’Lai, and I never did Dread Wastes or that other Pandaria zone.  I’ve never gone to Isle of Thunder. I have tons of achievements and things to do on Timeless Isle if I wanted.  Mounts to farm. I’ve never done challenge modes.  I haven’t done all the scenarios on Normal, and I’ve never done a single one on Heroic.  I haven’t even done all the level 90 dungeons on Heroic yet.  I could gear up my 90 Priest.  I could level an alt. Hell, I could buy WoD and have an instant 90 but I basically already have fresh 90’s that I don’t know what to do with.

In theory, I want to do all these things.  Yet when I log in, I have no interest in any of them.  It’s a conundrum.  Instead I find myself fantasizing about leveling up in EQ again. Or wandering back to LotRO, or giving RIFT a real honest attempt since the housing & dreamweaving profession seem awesome.  I’m not sure if I need to just force myself to do some things in WoW to rekindle the excitement again, or if I should put it aside and play something else for awhile and see if absence makes the heart grow stronger.