Seeing as I’m having a mellow day today, I didn’t fall asleep untill 4 am last night, I figured I’d talk abit about my progress in FFXIV and how much hype I have for the stuff announced at Blizzcon.

So first up: FFXIV
I’m still firmly planted in Eorzea for the time being. My static has the Savage content on farm and we may be looking at doing Unending Coil, although the mere thought of having to go in there is already giving me anxiety. Not because I don’t think I can do it, but more because I’m worried it might kill my static alltogether… Although this is something for a different blog post.
When Stormblood launched I had set the goal of getting every possible class up to 70. I’ve never had everything max level before and I don’t plan to quit for most of the expansion like I did in Heavensward so here I am on the leveling bandwagon. With the addition of the Alliance Raid roulette and the new Kojin beast tribes it’s actually not very complicated at all to level your battle classes up these days. Especially when you’re focusing on your healers and tanks that get instant queues for everything… I’m pretty sure I can get a character from 60 to 70 every 2 weeks or so. So far I’ve brought up my Ninja, Bard, Red Mage and White Mage and my Astrologian is currently sitting on level 66. I’m really enjoying healing again and just casually running stuff as healer somehow feels very relaxing compared to doing it on a DPS. I really want to get the “Goddess of” titles and seeing as I only have Summoner/Scholar and Black Mage left after I finish leveling Astrologian I will probably go for the “Goddess of Magic” title first. After that I’ll have to see. I’m really enjoying Monk again so I may just want to pick that up, even if it means having to spam Palace of the Dead to get to level 60 first. The only downside to leveling DPS is that queues for roulettes are quite a bit longer than for healers and tanks but I can live with it.

Yesterday I also decided to start working on atleast my gathering classes again. My Botanist is currently sitting on level 58 and my Miner is level 56. The goal is to get both of them to 60 atleast over the coming two weeks and then hopefully do the final push to 70. Even though it’s quite tedious to level these gatherers, especially when you go the Levequest route as I am doing, it’s nice for when you feel hungover and don’t really want to think about playing much. It’s relaxing and you can just stop and take a break and do something else for a bit and come back and do the next Levequest without worrying if you might miss out on a queue pop or anything else. After I get my Miner and Botanist to 70 I may want to look into some crafting classes but I’m not sure yet how I’m going to tackle those. The majority are still below level 30 and spamming leves isn’t my favourite part of the game. But if I want to get into the crafting game I need to bite the bullet at some point… So we’ll see how it goes.

WoW BfA logo

Now to the second part of my post: the future of World of Warcraft.
I have to honestly say that I wasn’t very thrilled about Blizzcon this year. My interest in WoW has been waning for a while and I’ve not been subbed for a long time. I returned for 2-3 weeks to see the Argus content but after that I drifted back to FFXIV again with no real intent to return. After seeing the announcement for a new expansion, and the vanilla servers, I can’t say I feel motivated to return anytime soon. I think ideally I’d want to return at some point just to see Legion through to it’s end. I’m still a sucker for WoW lore and I do want to know how stuff ends so I will probably purchase atleast one month of playtime at some point to live through the final moments. After that I don’t really know. I’m not a proud player on any faction although I heavily favour Alliance and the whole Alliance vs Horde story doesn’t appeal to me much. The only thing I am quite pissed about is that they’re destroying Teldrassil. Night Elves are by far my favourite race and they better come up with a damned good incentive to why this happens.
As for the vanilla servers. I never played true vanilla WoW and I don’t think I could go back to something that has been dubbed a “grindfest” time and time again by the people who did play in that era. I feel like the nostalgia pull is very strong but only for the people who actually played back then and even then I think some caution is adviced. All the QoL stuff that we’re used to won’t be around there and I think that’s a harder pill to swallow for many people than they realize right now. If anything I’m staying away from the vanilla server alltogether unless they end up making it a sort of progress server after a while. I would like to live through the different expansions again, but for now I’m not hyped.

All in all this has pushed me even deeper into playing FFXIV, even though I can feel the burnout slowly coming there aswell. I need to start playing some other games because spending all my time in an MMO has proven to be bad for me before and I don’t want to quit and not come back for a year again. I am planning to start playing Horizon Zero Dawn, even though I’ve been saying this for a few days now, just to break up the leveling grind in FFXIV. Another game I want to play is Xenoblade Chronicles on my 3DS. This is mostly due to XC 2 coming out in less than a month and I do plan on picking that up at some point… It would be nice if I atleast knew what the story and setting is about before I commit myself to the sequel of a game that I’ve never finished in the first place.
Then there’s Pokémon Ultrasun coming out next week and I’m definitely picking that one up aswell. Luckily I don’t have to invest that much time into Mario anymore, now that it’s just the grind to get all moons and coins, which leaves me with an “open slot” for atleast one single player game. I just really need to learn to plan my time to accomodate all of this!

Blizzard made a very good move with the release of their new Hearthstone expansion: Whispers of the Old Gods.  Next to introducing another new set of cards (134 in total to be precise) they have launched a new mode of play: Standard. Standard mode will only use cards from the last two years of the game, meaning that older expansion and adventure cards will not be used in this format anymore. It will also be the new official tournament format, something I actually quite cheer on. For someone like me having a format where I don’t actually have to catch up on hundreds of cards is a huge deal. For new players it’s also very nice since it’s easier to create “good” decks due to limited use of cards plus there are some mandatory cards that are rendered more or less useless now (I’m looking at you Dr. Boom) giving people much more freedom in deckbuilding. It will also allow for a more shifting meta, all to keep the game fresh.
Ofcourse for the people who are disappointed and have a really big collection of cards there is a game mode called “Wild” where all old cards are still usable. And there will be some Wild mode tournaments going on as well, meaning all the money people may have put in their collection will not feel like a “waste”.

What makes the launch of this expansion so good, in my opinion, is that Blizzard compensated the reduced usage of cards with “free” Old Gods packs. Some earned simply by logging into the game now that the expansion has launched, others earned by winning a grand total of 9 games in the new Standard mode. All in all this earns you 13 WotoG card packs, giving you a nice boost in deckbuilding with the new meta in mind.
Unfortunately the cards from my free packs haven’t been that amazing, but I managed to gather enough Dust from disenchanting old unused cards that I run a decent Shaman deck for Standard mode now and I am enjoying myself very much doing so. It feels much easier to make a decent deck this way and the Old Gods cards themselves are interesting. Add up the fact that next to the 13 free card packs you also get a free Legendary card, C’Thun, and two basic cards to use so you can buff C’Thun. The how and why of this I won’t explain in this post, but it helps new, returning and old players build new decks easily, something the game desperately needed.
As added bonus, it also makes it easier to decide what Adventure one wants to unlock first. Since Adventure cards are rotated out aswell, it’s wisest to always go for the newest one. The downside to this is that not only are the Adventure cards rotated out, old “unused” Adventures are no longer available to be played to new players. Only the players who have unlocked atleast one wing of Naxxramas are able to unlock and play through the rest. Anyone who starts playing now will not see the Adventure at all, and that kind of makes me sad.

All things considered this expansion  caused me to promote the game among my friends, telling them that NOW is the time to get playing because the game technically got a soft reset. It also made me want to play more again and be more serious about climbing the ladder (and consequently get better rewards at the end of the month).
And when a game company achieves that with me, they have made a very good move.

Now, will YOU be inspired to play with the Old Gods?

Legion. The 6th expansion of the World of Warcraft. And most likely the final one?
A bold statement. I know. But I will go into detail as to why I think this is supposed to be the pinnacle of the World of Warcraft game.

Lore
From what the initial panel showed us, Blizzard is trying very hard to make up for the absence of lore in Warlords of Draenor. Not only are we continuing the fight against the Burning Legion, which will apparently be a bigger invasion than the War of Ancients was, we are also going to explore the Emerald Dream/Nightmare, have a run in with Azshara AND finally find out what happened to Alleria and Turalyon.
It’s almost like a lore overload. A tiered cake of lore. You want more lore you say? Here we shall add another tier, and another, and… another. It feels rather overwhelming to focus on that many “big” stories at once. May I remind people that there have been rumours of an entire Emerald Dream expansion instead of the “addon” we get right now?
And Aszhara. She has been surrounded with so many mystery. She made a short cameo in Cataclysm if you played through the Darkshore story quest. She was once the most powerful being on the planet. Anyone who has read R. Knaak’s “War of the Ancients” knows that even Mannoroth could not do anything against her. That makes for a pretty damn powerful woman. I had hoped she would get a bit more attention than just a sidezone in an xpac, but we don’t know what Blizzard has planned yet.
And then there’s the brief mention of Alleria and Turalyon. People have been wondering for ages what happened to them. They went into the Outlands only to disappear and never be heard from again. What has been their story? Can Blizzard do right by them?
And ofcourse there’s the Burning Legion arc, which is a direct continuation of the story so far in Warlords of Draenor. We will be dealing with the biggest invasion ever, and might even get to deal with Sargeras himself? Who knows!

So yeah. What I mostly see here is Blizzard’s attempt of knitting together a lot of loose ends that have been created throughout the years in the Warcraft universe. Lore that people have been yelling for, for years. The question is, will they succeed in doing this?

I see two scenario’s played out here:

1. The expansion is an utter piece of shit. Lore is treated badly. The new gimmicks of Artifact Weapon and Class Halls suffer the same fate as Garrisons do now and people are disappointed. Sub numbers keep dropping and Blizzard will eventually either pull the plug from the game or decide it to go f2p. After 10-12 years it has served it’s purpose, it’s time to look to the future and focus on a different project.

2. The expansion is amazing and truly the pinnacle of the World of Warcraft. We finally get a lot of answers, if not all, to all our lore questions. The newly implemented features are great. PvP is finally in a good place. Sub numbers rise again and people are happy. The question is WHAT THEN?! Since it looks like they are tieing all loose ends in this expansion will people be open to new stories? New adventures? Or is this the end to the Warcraft story, which is good, and will Blizzard make it like Final Fantasy XI, it will still be around but there won’t be any new content added. Instead we are groomed towards a new MMO, a better MMO. Warcraft 2.0?

So yeah. These were my first thoughts to make it to my blog on the newly announced expansion. I will probably write more about it when the dust has settled down a bit and more details are being brought out.
As parting words I will only say: OMFG DEMON HUNTERS! DIBS! ROLLING THAT!