sandrian

Tiny update: (raiding) progress!

This week me and my guild in World of Warcraft decided it was time to start tackling Heroic Ny’alotha. Most of the people in the guild have been playing the game throughout the expansion and came from various other raiding guilds and as such were pretty much overgeared for normal raids to begin with.
We have established our raiding days to be Wednesday and Thursday. Which means that, even if it’s two nights in a row, I will be free to do whatever the hell I want for the rest of the week. Which is fine by me. Especially since I’m still trying to play another MMO (Final Fantasy XIV) and a single player game on the side.

We didn’t expect to get very far in the raid this week. I think our aim was 5 out of the 12 bosses. To our surprise though we managed to get 8 out of 12 down, with a sub 10% health wipe on number 9. It all went much smoother than we initially thought it would and the only bosses we really struggled on were Raden, which we killed after a few tries, and Vexiona which we didn’t manage to down unfortunately. I personally got a few upgrades and mostly I got to learn the fights as tank so next time we go in I will be better prepared on what to do and when.

As said earlier I’ve been working on a ton of stuff besides raiding in WoW. I’ve been focusing on upgrading my Heart of Azeroth Essences so that I can get the right ones slotted, and then get them ranked up. I think I have all the ones I need for raiding and Mythic+ tanking now which is nice. The only thing left is to get them all to rank four, which is still quite far away for most of them. I did however finish the Nazjatar zone story, and killed Queen Azshara in LFR, so the only thing left in that zone is dailies so I can get to Exalted reputation rank and getting my Nazjatar Essences to rank up. I’m diligently working away on Mechagon reputation aswell and I managed to get two more launch reputations to Exalted: Proudmoore Admiralty and Order of Embers.

Overall I’m making great strides to satisfy my inner completionist. The next thing to tackle is to kill Rakhastan in LFR so I can get that quest out of my quest log and then continue the zone quests in Drustvar so I can get that part of the map cleared out of quest markers. And then hopefully next raid reset we will be able to down more bosses in heroic Ny’alotha.

Battling The Questlog

Portal Room Boralus
About to zone into Nazjatar, one of the banes of my existence

Coming back to WoW, and especially on a character that I haven’t been playing since the launch of the latest expansion, has been a bit of an overwhelming ride. And that’s putting it mildly.
I kind of forgot how much content there is to catch up on when you haven’t played for a while. Even on my Rogue, who I’ve been diligently playing for most of this expansion, I suffered from getting fatigued with everything that was going on. Trying to keep an empty questlog, doing tons of dailies to get Exalted with certain reputations. Work on leveling up my Heart of Azeroth essences. It was all a bit much. Atleast on my Rogue I finished all the zone quests in both Kul Tiras and Zandalar and the War Campaign. On my Warrior I had to do it all over again. And that’s not even counting all the other random quests that you get from picking up items or leveling up your professions…

I guess it comes with an MMO like World of Warcraft that has been around since forever, but sometimes it’s so hard to catch up on content. Even when it’s only the most recent stuff. To give an idea of what I’m working towards right now:

  • Daily Quests: Doing them for four factions right now (Nazjatar, Mechagon, Rajani, Uldum Accord). Mostly so I can get my reputation up and buy fancy things from the vendors aswell as being able to upgrad my Heart of Azeroth essences.
  • Heart of Azeroth Essences: A thing to get in their own right. I need to do dailies, Visions of N’Zoth, raid, do dungeons, do Island Expeditions and PvP, all to just get the right essences to the right ranks.
  • Emissary Quests and Assaults: At four Emissary Quests per day and three Assaults per week that takes up a lot of time.
  • Raiding and Mythic+: Raiding is two nights a week. Mythic+ is another night, depending on how far we want to push.

And this is just the endgame stuff! Next to that I also want to tackle all the zone quests on my Warrior, level up Blacksmithing (I’m on 155/175 skill points), do the weekly events, hunt for mounts and pets. Basically do all the things. Oh and did I mention I’m doing a lot of this stuff on a few alts aswell? Yeah, I know I’m insane.

With all of this stuff going on it’s easy to see how an MMO completely swallows up your time, especially when trying to catch up on content or when new content is released. I guess I will get a bit more breathing room when I’m Exalted with all the factions I’m working on, since it means I can drop doing dailies for them, aswell as stop doing the assaults in Uldum and Vale of Eternal Blossoms. The Emissary quests can be done in 10-15 minutes when you just do them every day. At some point I will have obtained and ranked up all my essences so there’s nothing to do there anymore either. The Visions of N’zoth also have an endgoal and when I can get to doing a Mythic+15 on time I’m done with that aswell. Raiding wise I think we will be aiming to clear Heroic Ny’alotha and then call it a day there.

So as overwhelming as things may seem to me now, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I’m taking stuff one thing at a time. Setting priorities and choosing what to work on, on a daily basis. Right now I’m prioritizing catching up on the Nazjatar and Mechagon zones and their associated quests and dailies. Assaults and Rajani/Uldum Accord dailies are things I do on the weekends when I have a bit more time. The same goes for running Visions and Island Expeditions. Excellent stuff to do on the weekends where I have more than a few hours to spend.
Slowly but surely I’m getting there. And I’m doing it without driving myself nuts in the process. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to kill some Naga on their home turf.

This post was the 5th of Blapril

Five Favourite Game Series

There’s been a bit of a topic going around the blogosphere about what people’s favourite game series are, started by Krikket over at Nerd Girl Thoughts. Their top five to be precise. It’s an interesting subject because it kind of forces one to think about what a game series really is. Do they have to be successive? Is two a series, or is it three or more? Is it a game series if it’s just the same character in the lead all the time (like Mario or Sonic)? Interesting things to think about when talking about game series.
Personally I don’t actually have that much difficulty picking a top five, so here’s mine!

1. Pokémon
I’ve actually played a game of every generation starting at Blue. I can even say I’ve finished the main objective in every game except Black 2. I became the champion every time and usually also finished off the post game stories, however flimsy they were for every iteration of this game. Currently I’m just waiting for the DLC to hit for Pokémon Sword.

2. Picross E
So I’m seriously addicted to Picross games and on the 3DS there’s the Picross E “series”. I think they’re up to number 7 or 8 now and I’ve bought and finished every single puzzle in all of them. The games provide somewhere between 10 and 15 hours of entertainment and I tend to finish them in a week.

3. A2 Racer
Ok so hear me out. Back in my childhood years there was a Dutch development company called Davilex. They developed a few games that were very popular at the time and one of them was the A2 Racer series. The first one was pretty straight forward and was basically racing down the A2 highway modeled like the actual Dutch highway without getting caught by the police and also while avoiding other cars. After that came more installments in the form of racing in England and Germany, racing with speedboats and racing with campers, trailers and caravans. I’ve played every single installment they released up until the developer shut down. Good memories.

4. Final Fantasy
I own almost every game in the Final Fantasy Franchise, except for the original VII and the XI MMO. I’m playing through the remake of VII now though so I guess that’s fine. I love Final Fantasy, I think Square Enix has done a great job with the games over the years. Once I’m done with the VII remake I will probably go back to XV to finish that.

5. Spyro/Crash Bandicoot
Okay, these are technically two game series but they were the staples of my childhood and I immediatly jumped onto the remakes when they were released over the past few years. Both iconic series in their own right and both victims from falling out of favour after their glory years on the PS1 and PS2.

Bonus: Kingdom Hearts
Oh Kingdom Hearts. Probably one of the most confusing game series every created but so good nonetheless. I’m listing it as a bonus here because even though I’ve touched/played most of the games in this series I actually only really finished Kingdom Hearts III. I probably should go back and play through all the other games of the franchise…

I’ve played many more games that I could consider part of a series but these are the ones where I have the most fondest memories of. Let me know what your top 5 is!

This post was the 4th of Blapril 2020

Extensions and Expansions

Yesterday Blizzard announced they’re extending the 100% bonus experience buff untill the prepatch for Shadowlands. A lot of people were really happy with this since it meant they could invest a bit more time in getting up the classes and races they wanted, mostly to unlock Heritage Armours but maybe also to try something out they haven’t played yet.
Personally I’m not that excited about it. I’ve leveled enough for now and am focusing on catching up on Battle for Azeroth things on my Warrior instead. That’s why I was happier with the other announcement Blizzard made, that they were doubling reputations gains for a month with Legion (meh) and Battle for Azeroth reputations. Seeing as I’ve been playing my Rogue for most of this expansion my Warrior is woefully behind on every reputation. Which means this 100% buff to all reputations gained is actually something I’m very welcoming of. It gives me the time to level up all the reputations twice as fast as I’m doing now so that I can unlock more mounts and other stuff! The only reputations that are excluded are the ones that they added with the latest patch, which isn’t very strange since it’s current content and still relatively new.

Our raid team for Shadowlands is slowly starting to take shape. I will be one of the tanks together with a friend who will be playing a Deathknight. Maybe it’s not ideal to have two plate wearing tanks but we complement eachother on resistances, with me being a bit better against physical damage on my Warrior and him being better against magical damage. I’m not really looking at all the stuff that is being datamined and gained through the Shadowlands Alpha right now, mostly because I want to go into the expansion and the story fresh. I know that the Covenants will be a thing and for min maxing you probably won’t really have a choice when it comes to that. But I’ll tackle that once I’ll get there. I really like the look of the Kyrian armours though, so I’m kind of hoping that they will be the best Covenant for Protection Warriors. I guess we’ll see.
For now we’re trying to tackle a bit of normal Ny’alotha and hopefully some heroic aswell before Shadowlands hits. I’m also wanting to do a bit more Mythic+ and maybe get a +15 in. Warriors seem to be OP for Mythic+ dungeons this expansion and especially the Night Elf variety thanks to their Shadowmeld ability. I just need to get a group together and start tackling it, which is easier said than done. I still have some time for this though so I’m not too worried.

All in all I’m quite happily settling back into Azeroth. I’m doing my dailies on my Warrior and Warlock. I’ve transferred over my Priest from another server and turned her back into the Draenei she originally was. I’m poking about in world PvP, especially when there is an assault up and I’m running content I haven’t run in a while like Island Expeditions and raiding. It’s been fun and relaxing and also taking my mind off the whole COVID-19 situation. With a group of people to actually play with now I think I’ve found my MMO home again for the time being. And it feels good to be back.

This post was the third one of Blapril 2020

Back on the Horse (again)

Back to doing dailies in Nazjatar again. I didn’t think I would do this for the second time but here I am. Working away on the story and the reputation. I feel like a masochist and yet I’m also happy to be back online in World of Warcraft and enjoying myself as I again pour too many hours of my time into the game.

I’ve always had a bit of a natural ebb and flow with WoW. I would be very active when I was still raiding until we defeated the current endboss of the expansion on the difficulty we wanted to. Then my attention would wane a bit and I would dial back on playing as much and my focus would go to other things. After I stopped raiding I mainly came back for either the big patch releases and try to catch up on content then or whenever I had a week off so I could pour a lot of time into the game again. Like what I’m doing now.
The guild where I spent most of my time in for the past decade or so has been dead for a while. I think it died out after we killed Gul’Dan way back in Legion. The plan was to get back together again for the next raid, Tomb of Sargeras, but that never happened. People were fed up with raiding, had sudden other social obligations, moved on to other guilds or just disappeared off the face of the planet alltogether. I certainly started playing less and less and when it became obvious that the raiding days were truly done I just stopped caring, untill I set my sights on the Mage Tower challenge which kept me going for a long time.

Because I went into Battle for Azeroth without a clear goal I found it easier to detach myself from the game after initial launch. Of course I did some leveling on my Rogue and later on my Paladin, but that was mostly because I wanted to see the stories of the expansion. I cleared all zone stories, finished the War Campaign and hell even had a super short raiding stint with some friends before I got bored again. I leveled my first Allied Race up to 120 (Nightborne Mage) but after that I kind of lost the will to play. It didn’t help that all the people I used to play with had basically quit and moved on and as such it was a very lonely time in the game for me. Instead I turned my attention back to Final Fantasy XIV and leveling and playing with people there.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I was bitten by the WoW bug again, this time mostly due to the 100% experience increase when leveling which made me want to level up another character, my Void Elf Warlock, to unlock more Heritage Armour and because my friends were back to playing aswell. I had a blast being on voice chat with them again as I was leveling up my Warlock and they informed me of their plans to make a guild for Shadowlands and to make it a raiding guild with mostly friends and family that they would control. And it made me want to jump back onto the horse again and be part of that. I knew I wanted to get back to my Warrior again aswell so I also made the decision to finally pull her out of the dead guild she was in for the last 10 years and transfer over to Ravencrest where I now reside. So far I have no regrets. I’ve been doing dungeons and dailies with a group of people again. I’ve been having a lot of fun talking to people on voice chat and in guild chat. I feel like I’m part of a little community again and it does me so much good. I really needed this to come back to the game and I hope it will last for a while yet.

It has also caused me to decide to get a bit more serious about playing my Warrior and as such invest resources into her again. So I’m running Horrific Visions to upgrade my cloak. I’m doing dailies in Uldum and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms to get my reputations up and unlock more essences for my gear. I went back to Nazjatar to work on those reputations aswell so I can upgrade the essences I’ve bought. I’ve dived headfirst back into the grind and so far I’m enjoying it, even if it is a bit much to handle here and there. I’m mostly bothered by having an overflowing questlog. As such I’ve tried to make some priorities. Dailies in Uldum, Vale and Nazjatar are a prio since I need those reputations. The four world quests daily comes next. Other than that I still have a ton of content to work through. Two zones full of quests on Alliance side. The War Campaign. The story in Nazjatar. Mechagon. The list goes on. I’m tackling every aspect, mostly because next to giving me peace of mind it also gives me a ton of gold.
As such I’m going to designate weekends to activities. This weekend I want to finish the War Campaign, front to back. I’m a good chunk of the way there, finishing almost everything in the original chapter. I hope I can finish all of it before tomorrow night. After that I think I want to start tackling the rest of Drustvar. I did a few introductory quests on my Warrior since I wasn’t 120 by the time I finished Tiragarde Sound so it feels natural to just continue there. All small chunks and all pretty doable if I just want to pour in the time. And right now I’m more than willing to do just that.

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In some other news. I finally managed to get my Bard to level 80 in FFXIV. I did it mostly off pixie dailies and Trial Roulette for the last two levels or so but I’m finally there. Now I just need to level four more jobs before I get that very cool mount and title, signifying I got everything to max level.
Hatching Tide (FFXIV easter) is running aswell right now and I haven’t done the activities just yet. I’ve been told that the event is a two part one where the second part unlocks tomorrow. I’m planning to tackle the first part tonight and then see what the second has in store for me tomorrow night. I’m also going to start leveling my Machinist and will probably do what I did on my Bard for the past couple of levels: Trial Roulette and Pixie Dailies. They take very little time to do which means I can get experience in while only playing for 15 or 20 minutes. I could do more but since I want to dedicate most of my time to WoW this is a perfect little compromise.

All in all I’m back into full MMO mode. It’s taking away time from single player games, although I still make some time for Animal Crossing, but for now I’m happy where I am and what I’m doing with my time. Let’s hope I can keep this up when I go back to work next week because it’s doing a lot for my mental health right now and I don’t want work exhaustion to ruin it for me.

This post was the second one of Blapril 2020

My MMO Selves

As my first official post for Blapril I figured I’d break away from the sort of pre-established schedule and do some introductions in the first week instead of in the third. So here we are and I was struggling what I actually wanted to write about. Do I take my readers through my gaming history? Do I talk about what I do for a living? Do I just do one huge post that will become way too long and silly to read? Well I guess I could, but I’m not doing that today. Today I want to focus a bit on my current two MMO mains, my alternate selves if you’d want to describe it that way, and their history.

Although I’ve dabbled in many MMO’s, there have only been two that actually managed to stick around for a long time:
World of Warcraft to which I was introduced by an ex-boyfriend way back in 2007. I think it was right around the launch of TBC or maybe a bit before that. I’ve been playing that game off and on since and thus am almost on 13 years played somewhere in June or July on my own account.
Final Fantasy XIV which I turned to when my motivation to play WoW was dwindling. I fancied a new MMO and from what I could see at the time it looked very pretty. I always enjoyed the whole Final Fantasy range of games and I enjoy all the JRPG tropes so I figured why not try it? So I took the dive at launch in 2013 and have been playing ever since. Even if I have taken breaks there aswell.

Throughout both games I’ve made multiple characters. In Final Fantasy mostly because I switched servers and had no way to pay for a character transfer at the time. In WoW because alting was encouraged to get dabbling in multiple professions and ways to play the game. I’ve made many an alt there over the years and I’m pretty sure I have had atleast one of each class at max level during some point in my career. Especially in Legion since I did all 36 Mage Tower challenges. However there is one character in each game that has been with me since the beginning and whom I consider to be my alternate self in the game.
Let’s start with WoW shall we?

My Warrior: Sandrian. This is actually where my internet handle comes from. She wasn’t named Sandrian all the time, I think I renamed her when I joined my Dragonblight guild in 2010. She was the first character I made on my own account in 2007. She actually started out as a Human Warrior, because weapons were and are seriously oversized on Humans and I thought it looked badass. She was my first character to ever hit level cap, which was 70 at the time in TBC, and I’ve played her throughout all expansions. Sometimes as main, sometimes as alt. I’ve done a lot of PvP on her during TBC and Wrath, even did some arena at the time. I raided on her while playing all three specs, Arms/Fury/Protection, and she will always represent the truest form of who I want to be in WoW.
During my career I’ve been on three servers and changed factions twice. I started out on Vashj, a PVP server where I played both sides and ended up as Troll since Blood Elf Warriors weren’t a thing back then yet. Eventually I made the move to Dragonblight and back to Alliance in 2010 to join a guild for Cataclysm. I’ve hung out there ever since untill very recently. These days she resides on Ravencrest and I’m actually planning to get back into raiding with her again with a group of friends in the Shadowlands expansion. I will probably be doing that as Protection since I actually enjoy tanking a lot. Must be something to do with my inner control freak.

I have a lot of special memories of this character and I can’t believe I’m still playing her after all this time. It feels weird that this character has been with me for almost half my life now. I’ve grown up playing this character and met many awesome people along the way. I met one of my best friends in Wrath of the Lich King whilst raiding in the guild he was in aswell and I’ve met two boyfriends during that time. I don’t think I will ever be able to give this character up and she will remain played untill Blizzard decides to take WoW offline.
I guess it helps that this is who I aspire to be in real life aswell. A strong personality, a leader, a protector. Playing a Warrior just gives all of this and more and it makes me feel like I can finally show my true colours. Too bad I can’t run around in full battle armor and smash things with a shield in real life.

The other character that has been with me for a long time is my current main in Final Fantasy XIV. She’s not actually the original character I made but I’ve been playing her almost as long. I think I made this character in 2014 because I wanted to transfer servers but couldn’t transfer over my original character.

Meet another Sandrian! I started her up as Gladiator/Paladin because I was used to tanking from WoW and I wanted to be able to level fast on this character. And nothing says faster than instant queues for tanks. I think I’ve played a plethora of jobs as main on this character. I started out raiding as Paladin and then switched to Summoner. From Summoner I went to Bard, from Bard to Dragoon and then from Dragoon to Ninja. I finally settled on playing White Mage as main job for the time being. It’s what I love about this game and this character, you can just swap between roles and jobs as your heart desires.

Unlike in WoW I’ve not actually raided that much in FFXIV. I had a steady raid group in the base game for about one wing of the current progress raid, the Binding Coil of Bahamut. I managed to clear up to the 8th boss (or turn 8 as it was called back then) with my raid group and then we split up before we were able to clear turn 9 because we were just not seeing any progress on that boss. Partially it was one of the healers who had no idea what he was doing and partially it was the other Bard in the group at the time who just did abysmal damage. Eventually I cleared it with another group but that was a sort of boost. I just wanted it done.
I skipped raiding completely in Heavensward and also took the longest break of the game then. I came back to a new raiding group and guild group in Stormblood but again it was short lived. We cleared the first raid and then the group fell apart. I’ve not been into serious raiding since. Which is unfortunate because I actually really enjoy raiding in FFXIV and how Square Enix set it up. Maybe I’ll look for a new raid group at some point but with Shadowlands coming up in WoW in a few months I don’t think I will.
So for now I’m focussing on doing other things, like getting all my battle, crafter and gathering jobs up to maximum level. I have 4 battle jobs to go on that front so I’m actually quite close! After that there’s plenty more to do in game so I don’t think I’ll stop playing this character for a long time either.

So yeah. There you have it. The two “loves of my life” as I would like to call them. Even though I’m not as active in either game as I once was I still very much love and play both games. They tend to help me through a lot of bad times in my life and I’m able to just retreat, relax and play whenever I feel like it. With all the hours I’ve poured in both games I’ve made very good use of my subs and I don’t mind paying for both at all. Let’s hope they will continue to give me joy for many years to come!

Cleaning House = Cleaning Brain

Mondays. Usually they are the start of the new work week and the harbinger of another five days of constantly having to answer questions. Not today though. Today it was a day of sleeping in, cooking a nice meal and starting the big spring cleaning process that I’ve been wanting to do for a couple of weeks now. The weekends are always too short to do projects like this though so it’s nice that I have more time now to really dive into all the stuff I’ve been hoarding and, hopefully, getting rid of a lot of it.
Today I started with personal hygiene and care products. Working at the head office of a big drugstore chain has gotten me a lot of free stuff on the make-up, shower, perfume and body care spectrum. A lot of stuff that I don’t use or that has gone bad over the years of not using it up. I dove into two bags and a crate of the stuff and ended up with two bags full of things that I could throw out. Body creams and sunblock gone bad. Perfumes that were free samples but smelled absolutely horrible. Hairsprays that didn’t really work anymore and the list goes on. It felt liberating throwing everything out and now I’m left with a crate of stuff that I actually use and keep in my bathroom. It’s mostly shampoo/conditioner, shower gels and foams, body care products and some toothpaste. I’m prepared for summer with two different types of sunblock and some after sun. I also own a ton of facial cleansing products since I like to clean my face before I go to bed and put night cream on so I feel clean and hydrated in the morning.

I notice that next to working towards a cleaner and less cluttered house, it’s also decluttering my brain. Not having to be annoyed at random bags in my bedroom anymore feels really nice. Being left with stuff that I know that I will actually use is even nicer. I don’t want to say that I’m a minimalist, because I’m really not, but I don’t want to take stuff home with me anymore that I know I won’t use that someone else actually will. So now I’m left with the necessities and it’s making me happy.

I also realized that I’ve owned Animal Crossing for more than 10 days on my Switch now which means that I can actually see how much time I’ve put into the game so far. According to my Switch it’s somewhere between 15 and 20 hours. Which means I’m playing a little over an hour each day and that sounds about right. I’m actually not really actively working towards anything right now. I’m mostly just running around my island and making sure I dig up my fossils every day aswell as find the money rock and do some fishing and bug catching. I guess I’m aiming to get the next installment of my house paid so I can upgrade again and start making some individual themed rooms instead of the one big room I have now.
I’m kind of amazed with how other people have shaped their island by all the pictures I see on Reddit and Twitter. I know a lot of people do “time traveling” to unlock stuff. Which basically means they’ve been tampering with their date and time settings on their Switch. Personally I don’t feel the need for that and instead am just doing my own thing. Which is fine aswell.

I’m not sure why I suddenly feel the need to blog so much. Maybe without my work I finally have the headspace to focus on other things. If I had more than one week off I would have considered joining Blapril as active participant since it seems like writing is coming much more naturally now that I have the time. However since I have only one week off and my work will probably be slightly crazy as I get back to it I’m going to shy away from Blapril and just do what I feel like in the moment. No stress. No commitment. It’s nice for a bit.

Lightning Speed

So when I said I hoped to get my Void Elf Warlock to 120 during my week off I thought the leveling wouldn’t be as fast as it actually has been the past few days.
Where I mentioned yesterday that I had just hit level 90, I’ve now actually already hit level 110, 111 even as I’m writing this, and unlocked my heritage armor. Which looks absolutely freaking amazing. I love the Void Elf armor.

Look at those shiny sparkling shoulders of the night! I mean, who wouldn’t love a set like this? Okay I may have a battle bra instead of a proper chestpiece but as Warlock I don’t expect to take much damage anyway, I have my demons to take the hits for me.
Speaking of Warlock. I’ve really been enjoying playing as Demonology for the leveling phase so far. Summoning armies of Imps is hilarious, especially when I manage to go up to 12-13 running around me at a time. I have my personal tank in my Felguard plus I summon Dreadstalkers on command. Next to that I have a chance to randomly summon extra demons aswell as a Demonic Tyrant which extends the duration and buffs the damage of all my active demons. I’ve not really looked into the “endgame” spec yet for Demonology but I hope it’s atleast as much fun as the leveling variant seems to be.

All in all it feels like everything is going on lightning speed. It doesn’t actually matter if you take the questing or dungeon running route, every level up to 110 takes max 20 minutes to do. I think the absolute fastest I’ve been was in Warlords of Draenor and Legion thanks to the bonus quest system giving me a seriously humongous amount of experience for completing a single quest. Like almost half a level worth. It helped me fly through the zones, literally because I have flying unlocked, and on the doorstep for Battle for Azeroth in no time at all. I’ve chosen to tackle Stormsong Valley this time around and hope I will be level 120 once I’m done with that zone. Then I can turn my attention to gearing up and tackling Mythic+ dungeons, something I’ve been meaning to do all expansion.

I’ve also tentatively logged into Final Fantasy XIV again. Mostly to save my house, Square Enix has done something with the demolition timers and now everyone’s house seems to be flagged for demolition, but also to get myself used to playing on my PS4 again. The controller feels kind of weird in my hands after not using it for a long while because I’ve been glued to my Switch Lite and Animal Crossing instead. My Bard is now sitting at level 78 and the plan is to do Pixie dailies and Trial roulette for the most part with some Trust Dungeon shoved in the mix aswell. Once I finish Bard I will probably move on to Machinist so I can stuff away all the redundant aiming gear and am only left with tanks to level.
It’s kind of weird playing two MMO’s at once again but seeing as I have the week off I may aswell combine them to get some stuff done in both. For now though have another picture of my lovely Void Elf with a starry sky and desert oasis as backdrop. Laters!

Taking a breather

Thanks to the COVID-19 virus I’ve been working at home for the past two weeks. Next week though I’ll still be at home but not working.
I was looking forward to a four week vacation at the start of the year. Three of those weeks I would be spending traveling around Japan from Tokyo to Kyoto and then ending at Nagasaki. That vacation has obviously been cancelled due to everything going on in the world. However I felt that I needed some time off still since I’ve not had proper time off since last september. I’m quite exhausted and in severe need of some mental reset time, especially when it comes to work. My manager offered I could take two weeks off but since the country is as good as on lockdown it’s no real use taking that much time off when I can’t really go anywhere to enjoy it. So a week it is and I’m hoping that during this week I can get back to a bit more relaxed level and be ready to tackle work again for a while once the week is over.
I can honestly say though that the whole working from home thing has gotten to me. I feel crazy isolated, even more than normal. I managed to completely ruin my sleep schedule in a single week and I’ve been struggling with cooking healthy meals or eat at normal times. I’m trying to undo this damage now and atleast my food times have gone back to normal but I’m still battling major feelings of loneliness and depression right now.

As you’ve undoubtedly seen on other people’s blog this year we’re not doing Blaugust but Blapril. Mostly to give people some social interactions during the very daunting month that is looming ahead of us. I think the idea is great but I’m still on the fence about participating. As I said I’m in a really bad headspace right now and I don’t want to vent too much about it on here. I want to keep my blog a mostly positive space where I can write about what I’m up to in my gaming life and not all the anxiety that I’m experiencing on a daily basis right now. And I can’t seem to write a post without exactly that seeping through, as this post is a good example off. So I will definitely participate as bystander and cheer people on from the sidelines but I doubt I’m going to commit to anything myself.
My mood may change though so I’m not going to pin myself on anything yet, but for now I’m happy to not add extra pressure on myself to maintain any kind of regular blogging schedule on top of trying to fix everything else that has gone awry for me in the past two to three weeks or so.

One of the things that has helped me get through the days has been Animal Crossing. It launched at exactly the right time for a lot of people and I’m one of them. I’ve had the pleasure to visit a few friends’ islands and I’ve tried opening up my own island to people aswell but it seems like whenever I do no one is really online. Oh well.
I’m taking a very relaxed stance towards the game, playing for about an hour every day, sometimes two. I go around my island every day to dig up fossils and catch some fish and some bugs. I also make sure I always harvest all of my fruits and I’ve had my first bridge expansion done. Which also lead to three more villagers joining my island so now I have five goofy animals running around instead of just two. My villagers so far are Hamlet, Lydia, Alfonso, Pinky and Fauna. I enjoy all of them and I actually invited Pinky myself from the island I found her on.
Today the little tent that Tom Nook occupied finally got built into a visitor’s centre whichs means I’ll get Isabelle back on my island aswell. I can’t wait!
From here I kind of want to start getting some of those surprise island tickets to see if I can get to the fabled tarantula island but mostly so I can get off my own little island for a bit.
All in all I’m enjoying myself and the game is helping me relax at the end of a busy day of work so that’s always a good thing. Right?

Now for my week off I have a few specific things in mind that I want to get done. I’ve already gone through my clothes closet today and made a bag for donations which I will probably drop off in a special bin tomorrow. Next to that I took a ton of stuff with my from my dad’s house that I couldn’t really decide on whether I still used it or not. Seeing as most of the stuff has been in one of my drawers under my bed for almost a year now and I’ve not had to use any of it leadse me to think that I may aswell get rid of most of it because right now it’s just taking up space. So that is exactly what I’m going to be doing this week. Get rid of stuff I don’t use so I have space for other things that I do use or that are now sitting around in a bag somewhere waiting to be stored in a better place, like my christmas decorations.

I also have some plans when it comes to gaming. I’m still leveling my Void Elf Warlock, she just hit level 90 about two hours ago, and I want to get her up to level 120. And then maybe start on a new character after that. I also want to get back into FFXIV to tackle all the new content and do the Easter event. I’m not sure why I’ve bounced so hard from that game but for some reason I have and I want to get back into it and get my few remaining battle classes to level 80 and catch up on the story and tackle the new raids and dungeons.

Finally I’m going to finally take a decent shot at playing through either Final Fantasy XV or World of Final Fantasy as preparation for the Final Fantasy VII remake that is coming in about two weeks. Both games have been sitting on my shelf for a very long time and it’s about time I start playing through them. I’ll probably start anew because I have no idea where I left off in my last save game and I’m sure with an entire week off I have enough time to actually get a decent way into the story of either one of them.

For now though I’m going to back to leveling my Warlock the rest of the evening while half watching some League of Legends streams. What are you doing this weekend?

A tale of two

It’s been a weird couple of weeks. I’ve been sent home as of Friday the 13th to start to work remotely from home together with most of the people in my office. The Netherlands isn’t officially on lockdown due to the Corona virus just yet but we are slowly building up towards it. The government is urging everyone to stay inside as much as possible, to work from home and, if you have to go outside for whatever reason, to keep atleast 1.5m distance from others. Which is easier said than done.
This whole situation feels very surreal. Shops are closing, vacations are cancelled, entire countries are on lockdown. On the other hand the company I work for is thriving because supermarkets and drugstores are considered vital chains and as such are relied upon to be open and stocked at all times. It seems like the worst of the people stocking up has happened and as such everyone seems to be able to do their groceries shopping as normal again. The shelves are full, the stores aren’t packed to the roof with people anymore. We’re all holding our breaths as to whether we are getting even stricter rules enforced on top of the ones we already have or if the Dutch government remains a bit more lax. I guess it depends on how many people contract the virus this week.

With this pandemic making it’s way across the globe a number of gaming companies have kind of jumped in and assisted their playerbase in different ways. Square Enix is giving away free (older) games. The makers of Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online are offering all their paid content in the form of expansions as free to play to all players for a limited time. There’s free games on the Epic and Steam stores.
Blizzard has chosen to implement a 30 day experience boost to all retail characters in World of Warcraft. It’s this last action that I can personally enjoy the most. As mentioned before I’ve been leveling up a new Warlock on retail on a server that houses some friends. On my last post I made it to Northern Stranglethorn but as you can see in the screenshot at the start of the post I am already questing in Outland right now. Yesterday I powerleveled my way through Hellfire Peninsula and ended at level 70 around midnight. I think the whole 60-70 leg took me maybe three hours total. It’s really insane. With all heirlooms stacked, the 30% experience boost from having War Mode on, the 25% zone experience boost from Hellfire Peninsula and the 100% experience boost from the event just makes leveling a breeze right now. I may actually take advantage of this completely by rolling up more Allied Races so I can unlock their respective Heritage Armors. For now though I’m sticking to leveling this Void Elf Warlock. I only have 50 levels to go and with the current speed of leveling I expect to be 120 in no time.

Hellfire Peninsula was a bit of a ride on it’s own however. I think it’s one of the most contested zones to quest in with War Mode on. There seemed to be a constant battle between various levels of Horde and Alliance going on. It wasn’t as bad as Northern Stranglethorn where max level Horde characters would straight up camp one of the Alliance hubs for hours on end but… I ended up avoiding a few players nonetheless. Luckily HFP is a big zone with enough quests to do spread out across it so if there were a few Horde people in one part of the zone I just moved to another part. Right now I’m making my way to Sholazar Basin in Northrend to hopefully get from level 70 to 80 today.

The other game where I’ve been steadily making progress in has been Animal Crossing: New Horizons. As mentioned in my previous post I managed to obtain the game a few days early and I’ve been playing it every day for atleast an hour since. I’ve not been hardcore grinding anything but spreading things out a bit. As such I’ve only unlocked the store today, after finally obtaining 30 clumps of iron, and I’m waiting for my museum to be finished tomorrow. I did finally use my first Nook Miles coupon and went to a suprise isle where I met Pinky the panda, as shown above. I’ve asked her to move to my island but apparently I need to be able to build houses for that and I’m not near completion for that yet. So I don’t think I’ll see her appear for a few days atleast.
I do like the surprise island trip mechanics. You get sent to a random island that may or may not have an inhabitant. There you are free to gather whatever you want up to the limit of what you can actually carry. Unfortunately for me this particular island contained orange trees, which I have on my own island aswell, and not that many special flowers that I wanted to take back with me. On the other hand there were palm trees with coconuts so I shook all of those out of the trees so I can start planting them on my own island.

Right now I’m mostly in unlock mode. I want to get the shop built and my museum to open. Then I want to be able to connect a second part of my island via a bridge, I need to pay off my mortgage for that, so I can build more houses. Once that is under wraps I think I’m going to start thinking about terraforming/rearranging my island a bit. I have a ton of ideas but I need to figure out how everything works first.
So for now I just make sure that I dig up all the fossils around the island, collect all the seashells and shake the trees every day. I’ve expanded my inventory (yay!) and I’m working on unlocking more hairstyles and colours aswell. I think if I wanted I could play this game all day and still find more stuff to do. So I rather set small goals and work on those so that I don’t burn out and get the most enjoyment and longevity out of the game.
The only thing I really want to do still is visit the island of someone on my friends’ list. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to do that yet but I’m going to try again tonight.

All in all this forced sitting at home has kind of pushed me into playing games again. Animal Crossing released at a real opportune time and I’m finding it very relaxing to play. On the other side of the spectrum I’ve finally gotten motivated to pick up Allied Races in WoW again and I’m enjoying myself while doing so. I hope I can add some Final Fantasy XIV into the mix aswell and from there it’s just waiting untill the next big release on my radar: the Final Fantasy VII remake. I’ve pre-ordered it digitally and can’t wait to start playing it when it comes out. I’m kind of bummed that Square Enix cut up the game into multiple pieces but I hope the story is going to be as epic as I’ve been told. I’ve never actually played Final Fantasy VII so I can’t wait to dive into it and make up for all the things that I apparently missed out on.
I will have enough time to do so anyway since I don’t see the end to working remotely in sight yet. For now though it’s time to dive back into Azeroth and tackle some Sholazar Basin quests.

What are you playing this weekend?