sandrian

Sandy’s Sunday: Picking up the pace

As you can see in above screenshot I’ve obtained the Alabaster mounts that Blizzard made for WoW’s 15th anniversary. I got the code with the 15th anniversary collector’s edition box which I pre-ordered the moment it was announced. It was a bit unfortunate that it arrived right around the time Blizzard made a fool out of themselves with the whole Hong Kong controversy but alas. I hadn’t really foreseen this and I wasn’t planning to cancel the purchase since it was already paid in full.
The box is sitting in a corner of my room next to my tv and everything is still neatly boxed up except for the mount code and the mousemat. All in all I’m happy with this box although I don’t really have the room to display the massive Ragnaros statue just yet.. It’s pretty heavy and takes up more space than I thought it would.

This week I’ve been playing a lot of Final Fantasy XIV. Finally getting back into the rhythm of doing my crafting dailies every day and also doing some stuff to level up my Monk again it really feels like I’ve been picking up the pace there. My Culinarian is sitting at level 67 and my Blacksmith at 48. This means I will probably hit 50 around the weekly reset on my Blacksmith and can start Moogle dailies there and then start pulling Armorer through the Ixal ones. I forgot that as I get higher and higher in levels it’s not as easy to level up with beast tribe dailies anymore. I hope my Culinarian will be 70 before next weekend after which I can also do all the job quests between 60 and 70 that I’ve been neglecting for now.
As far as the Monk goes, she’s sitting at level 75 right now. I’ve been doing some FATEs in Raktika Greatwood as I’m waiting for queues and I actually got lucky and stumbled across my very first S-rank hunt: Forgiven Rebellion. As most hunts, or big FATEs it was extremely crowded in the zone and especially around the S-rank area. As we were engaging it my framerate dropped drastically and I was happy I could get a few spells out, I was on Red Mage, and I only died once. I wasn’t too impressed with the rewards from killing it but I think I have enough Sacks of Nuts, the current hunting currency, to get one of the two pets they have on offer for it. I’ve also been doing Main Story roulette where I can to get that chunk of experience but also the Moogle tomes. Even though I’m still undecided as to what I actually want to spend them on. I think I have two more weeks of this untill patch 5.1 hits and I can focus on all the new stuff that brings. I really want to continue the Shadowbringers story and see the Nier Automata based 24 man raid. I’m also really curious about the crafting overhaul and the New Game + thing so I think I will lose a lot of time there.

In World of Warcraft (retail, I’ve not touched Classic this week) I’ve been making steady progress on my Nazjatar (Waveblade Ankoan) and Mechagon reputations. I’m only 1.2k off Exalted with the Waveblade Ankoan right now and brought my first companion to level 10, Farseer Ori. I’ve chosen to once again focus on one or the other and not doing both in one day. So far it’s been working and I hope I can ditch Nazjatar dailies and world quests by Tuesday and then just focus on Mechagon. I’ve also put in some time on my Warrior and she’s sitting at level 114 as we speak. I’ve not finished Tiragarde Sound as zone yet and if I keep going like this I wonder if I will be level 120 by the time that I do. I don’t think so, but you never know.
It’s nice to go through the zone again and to do the first steps of the War Campaign again. After a while things tend to slowly fade from memory and it’s nice to get myself reacquainted with the quests and NPCs again.

Finally I’ve made the decision to buy Ring Fit Adventure for my Switch this week. I’m having a really hard time going to the gym, especially when the weather is as it is currently and I have to bike through the rain, and so I hope some home exercise will do the trick instead. I’m really curious about this game and I hope it lives up to the expectations I have for it.

All in all I had a decent week when it comes to gaming. I’ve made progress in WoW and FFXIV and am close to scratch off a few goals for the month October already. Now I just need to get back into Link’s Awakening..

The Blizzard Controversy

I’ve been doubting if I wanted to write a post about this, mostly because my opinion on this whole Blizzard controversy feels trivial and maybe unecessary but since I wanted to write something and no other inspiration struck me I may aswell write about this.

I’m not going to do a neat breakdown post like Belghast did. Nor am I going to announce my immediate breaking away from everything that’s Blizzard related so if you’re looking for that you can stop reading this post right here. Instead I want to talk a bit about my personal views on the subject and how this may impact Blizzard as a company (or not).

First off I want to say I think Blizzard made a huge mistake in how they handled this entire thing. The banning the player and taking his prize money, the firing of the casters, the immediate Chinese back-up. But I do understand why they did it. Blizzard, like a lot of other companies, unfortunately has quite a big stake in the Chinese market. As much as we would love it if they made a statement to support Hong Kong or any anti-China sentiment at all it would be financial suicide. They’re not alone in that, plenty of other companies are in the same situation. They may not condone what China is doing on a political plane but they are dependent on them from a market perspective.  In the end Blizzard is a company that needs to make a profit if they want to survive and keep churning out new content and paying their employees. As much as we want Blizzard to be on the moral high ground, reality is just not working that way. Their employees may be sympathetic to the Hong Kong protestors, but above that they want to keep their jobs. It’s just the way the world works and I think a lot of people have this rose tinted vision of game developers like Blizzard and get irrationally angry when stuff like this happens. Again I want to reiterate that I don’t agree with how Blizzard handled this and I absolutely know that China is run by a horrible regime that is violating human rights everywhere they look. I’m not ignorant to what is happening on the other side of the world and I can only count my blessings when I realize that I live in one of the safest, most free countries in the World. I don’t have to riot for my freedom nor do I have to fear for my live because I have different beliefs than the people who are in charge. I also know that I as a single individual can’t change anything. It’s the government of the Western world that has decided to turn a blind eye to Chinese practices because money. And I don’t think anything is going to change there anytime soon.

So where does this leave me when it comes to Blizzard games? I guess I’m still playing them. I’m still logging into WoW (Retail and Classic) and my sub is still going for three months. Do I feel the need to boycott Blizzard? No. I know that the employees who work on these games don’t make these decisions. It’s corporate greed and that’s not going to change anytime soon. If I was going to boycott Blizzard over this I could boycott half the companies I buy stuff from for the same reasons. Most of the stuff we buy is manufactured in China, where we know human rights are tossed to the side.
Do I think this has damaged Blizzards’ already tarnished reputation? Absolutely. It was ridiculous to do this so close to Blizzcon aswell. But I know that collective memory is short and something else will soon happen to make people forget this, as sad as that may be. But for now Blizzard find themselves to be in the center of the outrage and in gaming circles hatred can hang around a little longer than normal. I’m curious to see how Blizzcon will turn out this year and how they are going to try to save face.

Anyway that was my little stream of conciousness about the whole Blizzard controversy. Hopefully I will have better material for my next blog post.

When things click

I always really enjoy reading other people’s blogs. The way they passionately talk about their hobbies and games and make me feel I’m right there with them enjoying the same things they do. I’m not nearly as eloquent with my blog posts nor do I feel like I have a compelling way of writing but I aspire to be interesting nonetheless.

With my cold slowly going away, I only still have a nasty cough left, I’ve slowly gone back to normal life proceedings. Right now I find myself spending Monday evenings watching movies. A certain channel on Dutch TV has “magical Mondays” where the theme of the movie is Fantasy. So far I’ve seen Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Fabulous Beasts and Where to Find Them and tonight it’s the first movie of the Harry Potter anthology. It’s nice and nostalgic and even though the commercials drag this movie out for way longer than it should be I find myself not annoyed by them. Instead I use that time to get little things done around the house or, like right now, get a bit of game time or blogging time in. It’s nice to just sit on the couch and stare at the TV on a Monday, it’s usually a busy day for me at work and I just want to unwind and not think too much about things then.

On the topic of gaming I’ve found a nice balance between playing World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, World of Warcraft Classic and Link’s Awakening. For some reason things just seem to click and I feel I’ve found a bit of balance doing what I’m doing. In FFXIV I’m focusing mostly on leveling my crafters right now. My Culinarian has hit level 64, which is pretty nice, and my Blacksmith passed the level 40 mark. I expect that to be 50 around the weekend and my Culinarian to be either just shy of 70 or at 70. Which means I can put that to the side and pick up Armorer to take through Ixal dailies. I’m not really focusing on leveling my Monk during the weekdays but I’m getting plenty done during the weekend. As such I’ve hit level 75 and have been raking up Moogle Tomestones by running Main Scenario roulette. I’m not quite sure what I want to buy with them yet but it’s nice to have them in my back pocket when I do decide what I want.

In the World of Warcraft I’ve been spending my time making sure I do my Emissary quests every day aswell as trying to get my Mechagon dailies in often. So far I’ve been quite succesful and I think I only have about 7 or 8 days of Mechagon dailies to go untill I get Exalted reputation with them and can basically drop doing those dailies altogether. I’ve been logging into my Warrior during the weekend aswell and have gotten her up to 114. A Horde invasion was happening as I was leveling her up and to my surprise they give a nice boost of experience just like the Legion invasions did. Even better these invasions leave an hour buff which increases experience gained by 10% in Kul Tiras or Zandalar. It makes leveling a whole lot easier and faster and I hope next time I log my Warrior another invasion happens so I can partake in it again. With this I’m confident that I will be 120 in no time after which I have to decide if I want to gear her up and get her to the same level as my Rogue or be satisfied with getting to max level and then focus on something else. I doubt I will be able to do the latter though. I’ve missed playing my Warrior and I’m happy to be back on her so I think I will stick to her a bit longer and get her properly geared and work on various professions while doing so. Most notably Blacksmithing and probably Archaeology since I’ve not touched that this expansion yet.

On the WoW Classic front I’ve taken a decision that I think will give me more joy than anything I’ve done in the game so far. Initially I wanted to play the game on a class I don’t really play in retail to make the experience fresh and have a bit of a “what if” moment. However I soon found that I don’t really enjoy playing Warlock. The farming for Soul Shards is tedious and the standing still and casting, or wanding in most cases, while hoping my Voidwalker would retain aggro got dull fast. I tried a Druid afterwards and although I really enjoy playing Restoration, no matter what expansion or setting, it’s not a viable spec to level with. Thus I’m relegated to Feral which is less than enjoyable. I just want to heal. Let me heal!
As such I’ve done a bit of thinking and if I want to capture the nostalgia that many of my friends, and fellow bloggers, feel I should instead level up a class that feels like second nature to me. If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time the first class that would come to mind would be Warrior but I remember how absolutely terrible it was to level up back in the days so I’m going with my second big love in Azeroth: Hunter. On Retail I have three level 110 hunters with a fourth on the way, my Void Elf lady.
The moment I logged onto my Hunter in Classic something just clicked and felt right. Having my arrows back. Having a quiver again. Training Aspect of the Monkey, and later Aspect of the Hawk. Doing the level 10 taming beasts quests and subsequently taming my own pet for real. Hell even the dead zone inbetween shooting and melee all felt like a warm bath. I was instantly back in 2007, leveling up my Hunter and enjoying taming everything along the way. So now I’ve committed to my Hunter and am quite happily running along finishing off all the quests on Teldrassil. I’ve not been this happy in Classic since it launched so I know I made the right decision here and I hope to push my Hunter up to 40 as soon as I possibly can.

All in all I’ve quite found my groove and feel in a much more relaxed state of mind than I’ve been in the past few weeks. I’m happily bumbling through my MMO’s and playing Zelda on the side. I’ve found my “click” and I will do my best to hold on to it as good as I can.
Oh and as an aside. How on earth the ending of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone got approved as a kids movie is beyond me. He literally makes a guy turn to dust. What the hell parental advisory ratings?!

Down with the sickness

Unfortunately I managed to get knocked out by a nasty cold virus this past week. It started on Tuesday and I’m still feeling unwell today. As result I’ve been going to bed really early all week and didn’t get much of anything done. It was kind of sad that I took Wednesday off and then woke up feeling like absolute crap. I canceled all of my plans and instead stayed home and sat in my pajama all day, shivering under a blanket and downing tons of tea while watching the first day of the play-ins for the League of Legends World Championship (go EU!).

With all that going on I did manage to slip in some game time during the evenings before I went to sleep. I’ve mostly been poking around in World of Warcraft Retail to do World Quests and Mechagon dailies. I’m making progress there, albeit slowly. I’m almost halfway to Exalted with Mechagon now so there’s that. As for the Nazjatar rep… I think I’m on 12/21k towards Exalted there and I have been doing World Quests there when they were the Emissary. Unfortunately though I just didn’t have the energy to work on both reps at the same time so I just stuck to Mechagon, which was faster to complete to begin with.
On the Final Fantasy XIV side of things I’ve just been doing a lot of crafting dailies. I managed to get my Culinarian up to 63 as of writing this and finished off the Heavensward job quests chain. I really enjoy doing these and I’m more and more bummed that Square Enix replaced them with other stuff in Shadowbringers but unfortunately that is how it is. I’m waiting untill I’m level 70 to do the whole Stormblood chain for Culinarian since I will have good gear then and can just breeze my way through things. My Blacksmith is about to hit level 40 aswell meaning I’m not far off getting into Moogle dailies territory on that. Doing Ixal dailies is always a bit of a double sided experience for me. On one hand they’re quite tedious to do and I tend to skip the ones that involve fishing. On the other hand they do give a lot of experience to classes by using them and taking my crafters from 30-50 with those dailies never take longer than two weeks of just doing dailies everyday. It helps that they upped the experience from job quests aswell and that I tend to do Grand Company hand-ins for extra experience when the mood strikes me.

All in all it’s been a bit of an odd week. I’ve made some progress in my MMO’s which is nice. I went to see the Rasmus live on Tuesday evening, which was also nice but subsequently the rest of my week has been a mess due to my cold. I’m hoping that I will start feeling better over the weekend so I can pick up Zelda again, thinking about puzzles with a stuffed head is not ideal, and so I can catch up on all the house chores I’ve not done the past few days. I really need to clean…

Gaming Goals: October 2019

September has flown by. I can hardly believe tomorrow is October first. Where did my final weeks of summer go? Fall has arrived and with it colder weather, the need for house slippers and blankets. It’s dark out much earlier and everyone is slowly looking forward to the holidays. The weather has turned aswell and it makes me feel way less guilty about staying inside and game and that’s exactly what I’m planning to do this month.
But first… How did I do with my September goals?

MMO Goals

  • Level my Monk to level 80 in FFXIV. Start leveling my Samurai afterwards?
  • Complete the level 80 job quests for Botanist and Miner
  • Level Culinarian to level 70 + job quests
  • Start taking either Leatherworker, Armorer or Blacksmith through Ixal dailies towards level 50
  • Work on White Mage relic
  • Work towards getting Exalted with the Nazjatar reps on WoW retail
  • Play some GW2
  • Play some WoW Classic

Non-MMO Goals

  • Play through/finish Oninaki
  • Pick another game to play on Switch

I’ve not done as well as I hoped. Even though I put a bit of time into both Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft Classic it has not been enough to really enjoy the games. I have made some progress towards reputations on WoW Retail but again not that much. I picked up Blacksmith to take through Ixal dailies but I’m only at level 35. As for the rest of the goals… I got my Culinarian to level 60 and my Monk to 73 but that’s it. I’ve not spent much time on games at all this month.
The only things I’m happy about is that I finished Oninaki, earlier than I thought, and I picked up a new game on my Switch: Link’s Awakening. I want to rinse away the taste of September and all the stress I had during that month and look to October to redeem myself. So here are my goals for October!

MMO Goals

  • Level my Monk and Samurai to level 80 in FFXIV.
  • Complete the level 80 job quests on Botanist and Miner
  • Level Culinarian and Blacksmith to level 70 + Job quests. Level Armorsmith to 50.
  • Finish atleast three Animus books on my White Mage.
  • Get Exalted with Nazjatar and Mechagon in WoW
  • Level my Warrior to 120 in WoW
  • Defeat Aszhara in the Eternal Palace LFR on my Rogue
  • Complete the zone my Ranger is in currently in Guild Wars 2

Non-MMO Goals

  • Finish Link’s Awakening

I’m going full force MMO’s this month. I’ve already picked my non-MMO game and I’m quite confident I’ll be able to finish that. Otherwise I mainly want to focus on levelling all the things in FFXIV and some WoW shenanigans. I also want to give GW2 a bit of love so I want to play through atleast the current zone where my Ranger is in and 100% complete it.

All in all I think these goals should be doable as long as I keep logging on to play. What are your plans for October?

End of Year goals

Mechaspider mount

The weather has turned here in the Netherlands and Summer is officially over. Where last weekend we still had 24-25C degree weather we’ve had a week full of rain wind and cold last week and it seems it will be like this for the forseeable future. We are slowly moving towards the “dark days before Christmas” as we say in Dutch and this has gotten me thinking about what I want to achieve before the year is over. I know we are still three months out but time moves very fast so it’s Christmas and then New Years before you know it. As such this is really my last “chance” to set some more long term goals.

It’s been an odd year for me so far. I’ve moved out into my own home at the end of April, although I began moving at the start of that month, and I’m still trying to find my routines for many things. Adjusting to living alone has gone more smooth than I hoped although sometimes I do miss living with my dad and just the general company of having other people around. At the same time I got a steady contract and, a few weeks ago, a promotion to a more demanding position at the company. This has left me with less energy the past few weeks but I’m slowly getting settled again and I’m not as exhausted anymore as I have been.
Due to this I’ve not really played as many games as I would have liked to this month. When I do my goal post for October you’ll notice that I’ve barely met any goals I set for myself in September, but as the French say “c’est la vie”. With this post though I want to outline my future gaming (and real life) plans untill the end of the year to provide myself with a roadmap for the coming time and something to look to when I’m in an indecisive mood.
So without further ado, let’s set up my End of Year Goals!

Final Fantasy XIV
I’ve actually not spend as much time in FFXIV as I hoped this month. I’ve barely leveled anything except maybe Culinarian and a bit of Monk. Last year I had a massive race against the clock to get as many classes to level 70 before the New Year. This year I’m actually not setting the bar as high. These are my plans for FFXIV untill the end of year.

  • Level Monk, Samurai, Dragoon and Ninja to 80 and complete associated Job quests
  • Level Blacksmith, Leatherworker and Armorsmith to level 70 via Beast Tribe quests.
  • Level Fisher to 80
  • Complete the White Mage Animus step for the ARR relic
  • Clear Innocence Ex and maybe farm for mount from both that and Titania Ex
  • Clear out remaining quests from my log

I think all of this should be doable in three months time. All the battle classes I’m describing are level 70. I’ve chosen to just level up the Melee group next because I already started Monk and I would be doing Samurai next any way. I might aswell get Dragoon and Ninja out of the way then aswell and close that part of leveling. After that I only have the ranged jobs and tanks left. I’m currently nudging Blacksmith through the Ixali dailies while my Culinarian is about to enter Namazu territory. If I just keep doing Ixali dailies on the regular I don’t see how I wouldn’t be able to get my three remaining crafters through this part and into the easier zones that are Moogle and Namazu dailies. As far as Fisher goes.. It’s sitting at level 48 and is the only gathering class not at max level. I just have to sit down and get to it.
The rest of the goals aren’t that big. I’m already doing Animus books on my White Mage. I don’t think I will have much issues clearing Innocence Ex when I just sit down and find a group to do so. I have a few outstanding quests that I want to tackle, and a ton of sidequests still left in Shadowbringers. Ideally I want to just get them all out of the way so my maps don’t have any quests left on them.

World of Warcraft (Classic and Retail)
With Classic launching a few weeks ago and me going back into Retail a while back WoW is fully on my radar again. I foresee myself spending time in Classic mostly during the weekends when I feel like it and more time in Retail because there is specific stuff I actually want to get done there. Here are my end of year goals for the World of Warcraft!

  • Get a character to atleast level 40 in Classic
  • Do all the raids/dungeons I’ve not yet done in Retail, this being the Battle of Dazar’Alor, Mechagon, The Eternal Palace and Crucible of Storms
  • Level my Warrior to 120 in Retail
  • Level my Void Elf Hunter to 120 in Retail
  • Finish all the Rare killing and Treasure achievements in BfA
  • Get Exalted with Mechagon and the Nazjatar faction

In Retail my main focus will be catching up with content. Even though I’ve done the War Campaign I’ve actually not touched a single raid after clearing Uldir. I really want to do the raids just so I can see the fights and cutscenes I’ve missed. I will also be able to clear those quests from my questlog (yay) and feel like I’ve truly caught up. I’m also still needing to do Mechagon as a dungeon so I can finish off that questchain.
After that I want to turn my attention to leveling some characters. My poor Warrior has been glossed over for this expansion and she needs some love. I also want to unlock the Void Elf heritage gear so that means I should pick up my Hunter again and level her up. Other than that I want to chase some achievements and work on reputations.
On the Classic side of the coin I want to get atleast one of my characters to level 40. This is basically the mount level and it would be awesome to get there. Why not push for level 60? Maybe I will but for now I’m just not feeling Classic that much and I can only take it in small amounts or whenever the mood to play it strikes me.

Other Games

Of course I don’t want to spend all my time in just FFXIV and WoW. There’s other game to play that deserve playtime aswell. I’m still determined to get through my backlog aswell so I want to focus on single player games next to my standard two MMO’s.

  • The big goal here is that I want to have finished 3 games before the end of year. These don’t have to be epic big games like Persona 5 but I would like to be able to scratch stuff off my backlog. If I’m able to tackle more than that fine but the minimum is three. This tallies down to one game per month. Right now the first game on that list is Link’s Awakening which I’m currently invested in. Another game will be Pokémon Sword since I’ve already have that on preorder and it’s a game that I’ve been actually excited for. The third game is undecided as of now but I’m looking at something to play on my WiiU since that has been my most neglected console and it deserves some love.
  • Guild Wars 2. I’ve logged it occasionally the past few weeks, mostly to get a ton of anniversary gifts on my older characters. Some have been around for 6 years already and if I didn’t go on a delete spree a long time ago I would’ve had an original old character aswell. Oh well. I’ve been logging my Ranger again since it’s the class that I enjoy playing the most. She’s somewhere inbetween level 25 and 30 and my biggest goal is to just start getting through zones and getting some levels. Maybe do a dungeon. But atleast make some sort of progress.

Offline Goals

Next to gaming stuff there’s a few offline goals I want to work on aswell. These mostly pertain to my physical health but I also want to get out of the house more. I need to be around people more than I am now and I just want to experience new things in general. So these are things I want to work on or get a start in before the end of the year.

  • Visit my cousins in their new homes. We’ve been semi close growing up but ever since we’ve gotten to adulthood we’ve drifted apart. I want to visit all three of them and just have a nice day to look back on.
  • Go to a city I’ve not visited before. Dutch infrastructure is great and it’s easy to get everywhere by train. I want to visit a city in the Netherlands where I’ve never been before and walk around and take pictures and have a nice day.
  • Set up a healthy sleep schedule. It’s still all over the place. I know that I will feel much better when I just get enough sleep so that’s quite high on my priority list.
  • Set up and maintain a gym schedule. I’ve recently bought new sports bra’s and sports clothes in general. Now it’s just to get my ass to the gym itself. I’m a candidate for breast reduction surgery that gets fully or mostly covered by my insurance but one of the stipulations is that I lose some weight since I’m currently on a BMI of 32 which is 2 points above what I need to be to qualify for surgery. In reality this means that I need to lose around 7kg atleast to get to that point. That will be my starting goal weight and I will see from there.
  • Finish decorating my house. There’s a few things that still need to be done and most of it is hanging up shelves and a coat rack. I want to get this done sooner rather than later.

So there you have it. My end of year goals. I will try my best to actually get most of them, if not all of them, done. It’s a nice roadmap for me to look at when I’m a bit lost and it helps me move forward. For now though it’s time for some Timewalking.

The Internet’s Dead! (And so am I)

As I’m writing this post we’ve had a bit of a blackout of phone and internet in my area today. This made for an interesting day because basically it meant that although we had internet access at work basically everything else was down. No calls could be made, and anyone who used the same provider as me had no internet or phone coverage at home. For some reason the TV still worked, but otherwise I had an offline evening.
This suited me because I actually l left work early so I could get some rest in. I don’t know what exactly is draining my energy but I either have a cold that isn’t really breaking through or stress is doing some weird things to my body but I’m just feeling exhausted and have a general sense of “meh” when it comes to my current physical state. Just a bit of a nasty cough that won’t go away, having to blow my nose constantly, feeling like my head is stuffed with cotton. That sort of stuff. But not really bad enough to call in sick or actually feel really sick. So I’m just kind of going through the motions on auto-mode and hopefully somewhere along the way I start feeling better and start going back to my normal routine again since my sleep and eat schedule is all over the place right now… Which is probably not really helping me cope either.

Anyways, being home earlier and not having the internet available to me basically got me a bit more time to play the new Zelda game. So far I’m 8 deaths in and I’ve finished the second big dungeon of the game. I have to say that this game is very much about exploration and figuring things out on your own instead of the usual getting tons of hints and easymode going through dungeons. I’ve died plenty on the stupid Cyclops boss in the second dungeon and it took me a while to actually figure out how to get to the final boss there. On the plus side I managed to get the Strength Bracelet meaning I can now lift pots and stones. I immediatly put this power to good use by destroying every pot along my way of course. So far I’m having a lot of fun with this game, figuring out what to do and where to go next. There is a lot of stuff to explore and just try out, which is very nice. I will start to make my way to the third area probably tomorrow evening and see how that is. With a bag full of bombs and a strength bracelet in tow I think I should be able to make a lot of progress!

In other news, tomorrow is also the day of patch 8.2.5 in World of Warcraft for Europe. I’m woefully behind on the War Campaign story on my Rogue so I’m probably going to focus on catching up on that and try to stay spoiler free this week. I really want to know how stuff is going to turn out so expect a post on that soon(ish).
I’ve also gleaned that Final Fantasy XIV is bringing the Moogle Treasure Trove event back. I guess it was pretty popular last time. They have a few cute things that I may want to get, but it doesn’t start till next week so it’s not on my “to do” for now.

Backlog Anxiety

The inspiration for this post hit me as I was doing dishes and getting ready for bed tonight. So while in theory I should be already asleep right now, instead I turned on my PC and felt like I needed to get this out of my system.
First off, I resisted the urge for about three days before jumping onto the Zelda remake bandwagon. I was interested in buying this game but the €60 price tag was pretty steep. Luckily I remembered that I could get this game with the special Nintendo Online membership vouchers, which would bring the price down to €50. I managed to snag the coupon for a reduced price thanks to some Gold points so I’ve paid €48 for this game now. I’m still not sure if it’s worth that price but it’s €12 less than what I would’ve paid otherwise so I can live with that.

This is not really the main topic of this post though but it does add to a growing problem I have. I have eluded multiple times to the pretty big backlog of single player games that I’ve been accumulating over the past few years. It started mostly with 3DS games and then PS4 games afterwards. Then I got a WiiU three years ago and started getting games for that. Fast forward to 2017 and I bought my Switch and am on already quite a collection for that console aswell. Yesterday as I was going through my WiiU games to enter them into a catalogue I realized that I’ve owned this console for pretty much 3.5 years and I’ve not finished a single game on it. Much to my own dismay the game I’ve played the most was Breath of the Wild, with 7.5 hours played, followed by Mario Kart 8 at 5.5 hours played. All my other games, and I have around 16 or so, have sat on my shelf or in my TV-cabinet as good as untouched for that time. This made me realize that even though I love to treat myself to new games, the latest Zelda and Oninaki last month being case in point, I somehow fail to actually play most of them. My regular pattern is to buy a new game, get around 2-5 hours of playtime in and then I put it down and never pick it back up. The fact that I managed to finish Oninaki within 3 weeks of buying it was actually a pretty uncommon thing for me. Picking up this Zelda game now.. I can only hope I like it enough to actually finish it before it goes onto the pile of “2 hours played”.

I’m not sure why I do this but it doesn’t really help to stop my backlog from growing. On top of that I realised that, when considering all the games that are there and waiting for me to be played, I’m actually feeling really overwhelmed and anxious. I have no idea where to start. I literally suffer from the inability to make a decision because there are just too many things to choose from. I have tried time and time again to pick a game and just sit down and finish it. Hell most games aren’t even that long, I could probably finish them, and with finish I mean defeat the endboss or final level, within a week or so. Yet somehow I look at my pile of games and I just freeze. I can’t seem to get myself to do what I want to be doing. And it’s not about the games themselves not being my preference. Hell when I just take the time and sit down and actually play I have a lot of fun no matter what I’m playing. That also explains the roughly two hours of my life I’ve already lost to Zelda tonight just getting through the first dungeon and into the second area.

So yeah. I feel guilty. I’ve added another game to an already huge pile and all I want is to be able to actually start taking a bite out of said pile. I’ve finished more solo player games this year than I have in a very long time, Kingdom Hearts 3/Yoshi’s Crafted World/Kirby Star Allies/Oninaki, so I know that I can do it if I just sit down and play. I think one of the only things that have helped me in the past was when I had no access to my MMO’s. I’ve made so much progress in games during vacations where I was away from my PC and PS4. I remember putting in quite a lot of time in Ever Oasis on my 3DS when I was on Mallorca and Octopath Traveler on my Switch when I was in Norway. When I don’t have the MMO distractions calling to me I find it much easier to sit down with a game of choice and just play it. And so I find myself logging into Final Fantasy XIV or the World of Warcraft instead of picking up a game from the pile which I’ve now easily spent over a thousand euro’s on. And it gnaws at me more and more to the point of just feeling anxious about it. Which is obviously a bad thing.

My Groove

In my search of all the hidden treasures in Stormsong Valley I landed at this specific mountaintop and was instantly enamoured with the view from here. The skies in Stormsong Valley often remind me of the skies here at home in the Netherlands with awesome and sometimes terrifying cloud formations. World of Warcraft may be more cartoony than some of it’s counterparts, especially Final Fantasy XIV which has the slick Japanese polish, but sometimes I shoot pictures like this and I’m reminded that even with all it’s flaws it still is at times a gorgeous game. My Rogue looking at the clouds in the distance just kind of finishes this picture for me aswell.

I’ve settled on a nice groove when it comes to gaming right now. Putting Classic aside and all the frustrations that came with it has been a good choice. Instead I’m focusing on WoW Retail and FFXIV again and have been able to fit in a tiny bit of Guild Wars 2. Especially Retail has gotten some love from me over the past few days. I’ve been doing a bunch of World Quests, taking full advantage of the reputation buff that is going on right now. I’m also chasing some achievements again, most notably killing all rares and finding all treasures in given zones. Unfortunately I had to find out the hard way that the final rare that I need in Stormsong Valley is tied to a world quest that has a very low chance of showing up on the map. Nonetheless I want to log in on the daily to see if it’s up so I can finally complete this achievement. After that I will turn my attention to Drustvar and Tiragarde Sound and with some outside help from WoWhead will probably tackle finding all the hidden treasures there.

Next to grinding World Quests I’m also slowly trying to empty out my regular questlog. I finally started the 8.1.5 War Campaign questline, the one where (spoilers!) Jaina gets her brother delivered back to her by Baine. I’ve just gotten past the cutscene and as always it’s superbly done by Blizzard. I also managed to stumble upon the Xal’Atath questchain on accident and am running around trying to complete that aswell. Because obviously the best idea ever is to give a mysterious whispering dagger surrounded by void energies what it wants… Right? Especially since it manifests itself after you feed it a Void Stone as one of the first steps of the questchain.. Creepy stuff.

Coming back into Retail WoW and being able to pick up undiscovered lore and clear out quests is exaclty what I needed. I know that the storytelling isn’t as great as FFXIV and their mainstory but Blizzard has tried this expansion to tie things together a bit more. The War Campaign, even if not always high quality, has been a nice consistent line of story throughout Battle for Azeroth. When I leveled up during launch I also remarked that the zone stories themselves, especially Drustvar on Alliance side, were extremely well done aswell. Mechagon and Nazjatar may be a tad below that experience but still have interesting stories in their own right. I just have to tie everything together more by actually doing all the raids that I’ve missed out on. Maybe I will set aside a night or two for that the coming week, starting with the Battle of Dazar’Alor and working my way from that.

Another interesting addition they made are the changes to the Heart of Azeroth. With opening up skill slots and tying some questchains to that I already feel much more involved in the system and leveling up my necklace than before. For instance yesterday I did the quest to level up one of the skills you can slot into the necklace and it sent me back to Val’Sharah and the Emerald Dream to aid the Green Dragonflight. I still remember how much of an impact that cutscene of Ysera dying in Legion had on me and to be back and see the rest of her brood being shattered struck a nerve. The quest itself was short and maybe not that interesting except for the dialogue referring to Ysera. It took me about 15 minutes to complete and I had a nice upgrade and a bit of lore expansion after that. It’s little things like these that make me so fond of WoW as a whole and I can’t wait to discover more quests tied to the necklace. Even though I already know that everything has been one big manipulation show and in essence we are exactly doing what Azshara wants. Oh well. For now I’m mostly just playing catch up to various quest chains and raids and who knows. Maybe I will even dip into doing some Mythic dungeons again.

Warcraft Weariness

It’s an odd thing playing two installments of the same MMO. Goals in World of Warcraft Classic are completely different from goals in Retail. Yet both are a grind in their own way.
I made it to level 20 on my Druid in Classic and started the journey from Darkshore to Westfall. My intention was to deliver a quest in Wetlands and the move along and pick up Deadmines quests on my way to the Aquatic Form quest. So far I’ve picked up the ones from Ironforge and the Dwarven District in Stormwind. And that is also where I stalled out. I’ve not touched my Druid since or Classic for that matter. I’m not sure why. Maybe the 45 minute trip just to get to Stormwind triggered something in me that resembles burnout. Maybe playing both Classic and Retail has been overload. I already sort of “rationed” my playtime so I wouldn’t get frustrated and burn out sooner. Yet here I am with no real motivation to log on at all.
At the same time I’m seeing the group of people that “raced” to 60 in my guild slowly log on less aswell. Now that the leveling is done and the gear grind has begun it seems people have kind of lost their drive to play. I mean, in the end if you don’t raid what is there to do in Classic? PvP and ranks aren’t introduced yet. The only raids that are in are for 40 people and not that easy to assemble/execute. Any high level dungeon takes forever, especially Blackrock Depths and Lower/Upper Blackrock Spire. It’s not just log in, play for an hour, do a dungeon and log back out. It’s really sit down and commit for multiple hours now and it’s something I’m really not looking forward to.

I guess the small honeymoon period I had for WoW Classic has slowly run it’s course. Level wise I’m quite behind the majority of people. I don’t feel the urge to play and the though of having to scrape together gold to buy a mount has actually made me glad I rolled a Druid and get travelform so it’s not such a nuisance to get. Even if the community seems to be much better than retail with easy random groupings and people offering eachother free stuff and buffing left and right it just doesn’t take away the massive grind that everything turns out to be. It’s nice that this version of the game seems to be exactly what people want but for me it’s just not all that. So I’m slowly drifting back to retail where my goals are different and more centered around solo play. I don’t need other people to explore zones and find treasures or to do daily quests and world quests. I don’t have to fight people about loot and I can just help with killing mobs that other people tag. I hop on my flying mount and just go to where I need to be. It’s relaxing and frustration free, which is exactly what I need after a long day of work.

So yeah, I guess I’m tired of Classic right now and I’m going to throttle down my time on it even more. There are other games that are demanding my attention, chief among them Xenoblade Chronicles 2 which I’ve picked up now that I’ve put down Oninaki. All in all this post isn’t really shocking. I’ve already voiced my opinion on Classic before and that it wasn’t really my jam. I’ve tried to play it, mostly for the social interaction, but now that I’ve reached the goal I wanted to I guess in my mind I’m kind of done with it… For now.