League of Legends

Sandy’s Sunday: November 10th 2019

A lot has happened since I posted my November goal post. Blizzcon has come and gone, patch 5.1 has launched in Final Fantasy XIV and I’ve made the decision, and started the process, to buy myself a car. I’ve been pretty busy with real life stuff so gaming has gone onto the back burner a bit right now. Having said this, I still managed to find time to churn through tons of crafting dailies and take advantage of the hefty experience boost that Square Enix has implemented with the latest patch. As such I’ve gotten both my Blacksmith and Armorer to level 70 and my Leatherworker is currently somewhere in the 40-50 range. I’ve also managed to get my Monk to level 80 the past week so I’ve been dutifully working through my FFXIV goals. Instead of picking up Samurai straight after I decided to level my Paladin instead, purely because I want to see the tank story line from Shadowbringers. As a friend of mine put it I’m “bumrushing” the process and am currently sitting at level 73 after two days of doing the new Pixie beast tribe dailes, a ton of FATE’s and roulettes which provide me with very nice instant queues. I may even push to 74 after this post goes live and I do Mainstory roulette.

On the flipside there is the World of Warcraft where I’ve basically stalled out the moment I got my Mechagon rep to Exalted. Right now the 15 year celebration is going on ingame and I will probably poke my nose in and get the nostalgic raids done, purely so I can get the mount and then scoot out of there again. I may also do the PvP event but I’m not sure about that yet. As far as other WoW news goes… I’ve seen the trailer that announces Shadowlands and I should be hyped but for some reason I really am not. I guess Battle for Azeroth kind of soured my enthusiasm for WoW and I’m pretty skeptical about what is going to happen next. Sylvanas being the big bad isn’t surprising but I really wish Blizzard didn’t go that route. I will most definitely get the expansion, seeing as I’m still a big enough fan to play the game but I’m noticing that I’m enjoying myself more in FFXIV right now than I do in WoW.
In related fashion I’m also not terribly hyped for Diablo 4. I mean, I poured a lot of time into Diablo 3 when it launched and through all the changes and the expansion and DLC but for some reason I just can’t seem to get back into the game on my PC or my Switch. The “looter” genre isn’t really appealing to me right now so maybe when we get closer to launch I start feeling a bit more hyped but for now I’m not even sure if I want to get the game to start with.

As for my blogging right now. I’ve not really felt the urge to write or read anything for the past few weeks. My Feedly is kind of exploding with unread posts but I’m mostly just scrolling through them and not really reading what they say. I’m not sure why it’s like this and it’s probably a temporary thing but for now I’m not that engaged with the blogging community as I would like to be. I’m also a bit sad after seeing the League of Legends World Finals today. G2 has been the team I’ve been rooting for the entire season and it seemed like they were well on course to grabbing that very sought after World Cup. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. I can’t imagine how devastated these players must be feeling right now and I can only hope the team will take this as a learning experience and come back stronger next year.

Next friday the new installment in the Pokémon series comes out, I hope that will trigger my need to blog a bit because I will probably be all over that game. Untill then… Stay tuned I guess?

Zuldazar Sightseeing

Zuldazar: The Great Seal

When taking my second Horde Character through Battle for Azeroth content I specifically decided to tackle Zuldazar first. It was the zone I had up last for my Paladin and therefore I never really finished it. I was 120, I wasn’t that interested in the Horde side of the story and I felt the Horde zones all had to bow to Drustvar which, in my opinion, is the best zone in Battle for Azeroth so far. I still stand by that opinion, Drustvar is just perfect in zone story, atmosphere and level paths. It is by far the zone I enjoyed the most so far and if I could just do Drustvar only and get from 110 to 120 that way I would. Alas this is not an option and definitely not when you play Horde. So this time around I decided to pick up the zone I didn’t get to finish last time and boy am I happy I did.

Zuldazar on it’s own is a beautiful zone. I really enjoy the whole ancient Mayan thing Blizzard has decided to go for and even though Dazar’alor is a real tough cookie to navigate I think it’s very pretty and perfectly designed when it comes to aesthetics. It really is the golden city and the views of the city and anywhere from the city are spectacular and all of them screenshot worthy. So since I’m not really paying attention to the quest text this time around I really opened my eyes to the zone that is Zuldazar and I’m enjoying the view. The dinosaurs, the jungle, the beaches. They’re all extremely gorgeous and I can just run around for hours without getting bored. Unfortunately I finished off my final sidequest chain of the zone today so I will have to say goodbye to the exotic jungle and hello to the creepy swamp.

I sing praises to this zone but there’s also a lot of issues with Zuldazar. It’s a zone with a lot of vertical content, like Highmountain was in Legion. This means it’s kind of annoying and hard to navigate. I think once flying becomes available this zone will be much easier to navigate and it will be much easier and much faster to level that way. This also goes for the troll capital itself which is very vertical and hard to navigate. Although the totems of Gonk, which give you movement speed, help a lot it’s still a rather big pain in the butt.

I think Zuldazar is a perfect example of how much developers can do for an aging MMO. World of Warcraft may not be the best MMO looking out there, the underlying code is simply too old for that. Visual bugs are common and textures aren’t as pretty as they are in say FFXIV. However the developers still craft amazing zones that you can completely lose yourself in if you want to. I really hope that the future patches that bring new zones are just as gorgeous as the initial BfA zones have turned out to be.

Next to poking about in World of Warcraft almost every weekend I’m ready and perched to watch the LEC and LCS which are the European and North American League of Legends leagues respectively. I’ve purchased tickets to go watch the Spring Split European Finals in Rotterdam with a friend and I hope it’s as good as it was last time we went. We probably have a bit better seats this time and maybe we can meet up with some of the players and casters after the games, provided they don’t go on for too long. I’m a huge League of Legends fan and even though I don’t play the game myself I enjoy watching it and cheering for my favourite teams. This year it’s Misfits for Europe and Team Liquid (I’m a Doublelift fangirl) for North America. With Europe getting better and better as region I really hope we have an even better chance the coming World Championship. But a lot can change in six months so who knows. It’s a nice way to get through the weekend evenings though as I struggle sometimes with making my nights meaningful. These days I just make sure that I have League on and even though I may not actively watch it, it makes sure that I stay out of bed and engaged with something I enjoy. I get a lot of things done with League in the background and the games I want to see provide a nice break from whatever I’m doing at the time. So next to following my teams it also makes sure that my room is cleaned, that I make progress in games and that I relax where need be. It’s basically the perfect distraction when I’m at home alone to make sure I get through the evenings in a good way and to make sure I don’t sleep my time away instead.

Free to Play & Buy to Win

As I find myself playing Hearthstone and League of Legends (and to an extent Heroes of the Storm) again I feel like I’m getting sucked in the “free to play” controversy. I know a lot of people have opinions about how “free to play” certain games actually are and I’m probably somewhere in the middle stance wise.
When it comes to a game like Hearthstone, the buy to win is a relatively simple one: throw in cash, get way more cards than someone who doesn’t pay a dime and play good decks very early on. It’s a way to get a head start over everyone else who doesn’t want to put money in the game and makes sure you always have the newest cards. Be it from a newly introduced Adventure or from an Expansion set like the Old Gods one that is launching this week. Yet for Hearthstone that is kind of where the advantage stops. You’re able to get a headstart on people yes, but if you have all the cards that are around you will eventually be caught up on by people just playing a lot. Trump (Hearthstone streamer) has done many series about how he’s able to rank up with a random deck without spending a cent and just funneling all the ingame resources into building a good deck for one class. That’s also immediatly the restriction you have to work around: at first you are only able to really focus on building one good deck if you want to be able to compete with others.

In Heroes of the Storm and League of Legends the “buy to win” is a bit more complicated. In Heroes of the Storm it’s mostly being able to buy Heroes with real money, thus building a big roster early on which guarantees champion versatility and earlier acces to ranked play. Other than that money buys purely cosmetic rewards which boils down to just having a cooler mount or a cooler skin for a champion.
In League of Legends it’s the same principle. but with a twist. They have a runepage system which requires you to buy runes with the ingame currency. You could argue this is fair for everyone, however. You can buy boosts to that ingame currency with real money, thus making it easier and faster to earn said currency. This allows people to be able to get good runepages faster and more of them to boot.
It boils down to the same thing as it does in Hearthstone. It gets you a headstart on the people who do not want to pay anything for a game, but eventually you will be caught up on.
You may argue that you can buy an experience boost in both Heroes of the Storm and League of Legends, but again, this is only in getting a headstart. You are max level faster, your heroes are high level faster. At some point you don’t level any further and there goes the advantage.

Does this affect me?
The short answer is no. The long answer is a bit more complicated. I’ve only zoomed in on the games I personally play that make use of real money to get ahead. I know in a lot of games the “buy to win” is very real and damaging to the playerbase. League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone provide the exact same gameplay experience to buying and non-buying players. You dont unlock additional content from funneling money into them that can’t be accessed otherwise. You don’t obtain a fast advantage over the non-paying users, especially over time when these people catch up.
The only thing you really earn is a headstart and, in all three games, cosmetic items that can only be bought by money.
So for these particular games I am of the opinion that people can throw money at them all they want, for whatever reason they want. It does not affect me or how I experience the game.
And that’s really the way it should be no?

The Big Wildstar Reboot

This week Wildstar went Free To Play. A huge turnover for any game. Sometimes it works out (looking at SWTOR), sometimes it doesn’t.
Personally I’m happy with this change. I’m not too comfortable when it comes to finances and maintaining more than two subs a month is not really doable for me. I have let my FFXIV sub run out because of this reason aswell. I was simply not playing the game and it’s a waste of money to resub then… When you don’t know when you’ll be coming back to the game.

A Fresh Start
So with this reboot I decided I needed a fresh start. I never really got to endgame on Wildstar, mostly because I was way too busy playing other games and working and going to school… So I don’t really have any far developed characters yet. I made an Aurin Spellslinger on Jabbit (shown in the pictures), a class I had a brief flirtation with, but never played seriously.

The water in Wildstar is still amazing…

As far as launches go, I think this was one of the more “troublesome” ones. The megaservers weren’t used to the huge influx of players coming their way I guess so there has been a lot of emergency maintenance… Jabbit still remains somewhat unplayable 3 days later (lagg issues are persisting) but Entity seems to be playable for me since I play during off hours on that. Oh yeah, I mentioned it on Twitter already but the regional restrictions have been lifted so everyone is free to play on whatever region they want! I didn’t know this or I would’ve made my Spellslinger on Entity. Instead I chose to go with an Engineer there.

I really do love the Mordesh ladies!

For now I’ve been switching between the two servers. I chose to go the Everstar Grove > Celestion rout on my Spellslinger whereas I sent my Engineer to Northern Wilds. They both made it out of the starting area, lagging all the way through. Right now I’m mostly fiddling around with my skillsets. I know Engineers have the ability to be tanks and I have received a quest to actually train me as one… I’m just not sure if I want to go that route. I know absolutely nothing about Engineers, except that they use robot and electrocute people. I don’t know if DPS Engineer is viable at all or if I am better off going tank.

Right now I just want to focus on leveling up, working my way through zones beyond level 20 and enjoy the scenery and lore. I’m absolutely not worried about crafting or housing stuff yet. I just want to see the game first.
The Hype Has Started!
Today is also the start to the League of Legends 2015 World Championship. The show has literally started a few minutes ago and I’m so very happy it has kicked off again. This is probably on the same level as the World Championship Football for me. And as a Dutch person this says a lot. So I think I will be gaming very little the coming days. Or atleast not very focused and there will be a LoL stream in the background constantly.
Now if you’ll excuse me. It’s time to start cheering!

Heroes Heroes and more Heroes – Blaugust day 19

I’ve only done two things this weekend. Farm games on Heroes of the Storm and watch the LCS finals weekend for both EU and NA. I’ve cheered my heart out for Origen in the EU finals but alas it was not enough. However I’m more interested in the later game of today, which is CLG vs TSM. As a huge CLG fangirl (Doublelift forever!) I really hope they will finally win a split and qualify for worlds. I’m not sure if I can stay up and watch all of the games, but I do plan to watch atleast untill 1 AM!

As far as Heroes of the Storm goes. I swear the general population on that game is getting more and more dumb. People have no idea how to play together and often wander off solo… Getting themselves killed. It really boggles my mind in what universe you think it’s OK to take on five other poeple by yourself, but I guess in their minds they are invincible and thus should be easily able to do this.
As far as champions go. You can see what is the f2p rotation this week. I’ve had Anub’Arak, Malfurion and Nazeebo in all my games so far. All strong champions if played correctly but unfortunately there’s a lot of people still learning the game right now so I see a lot of horrible misplays… On both sides.

I do notice I get kind of complacent from playing Valla. I’m so used to being in the ranged role that having to play a Melee champion requires me to do a complete mindset switch. Right because of this I’m seriously considering picking up a Melee champion after I get my 100 games on Valla. Looking at the strong champions right now, and not wanting to pick up another Assassin, I will probably get either Leoric or Kharazim. They are exceptionally strong in the meta right now and both look ridiculously fun to play. I still need to play 90 more games on Valla however. She is level 6 now, my account is level 9. One more level should net me a 7 day stimpack aswell so I will definately use that to my advantage.
All in all I’m still massively enjoying myself in this game, even though I encounter a ridiculous amount of bad players. It’s nice getting the tactics down and being able to direct a game and win. Close defeats are more fun than crushes, mostly because you get more experience for your account and hero the longer the game goes, but it feels so satisfying aswell to battle it out untill the bitter end.

So far I have zero regrets starting this project. I do need to figure out however how to balance my job, my heroes time and my MMO’s.. And that’s something I’m saving for a next post!

Busy Little Bee – Blaugust day 14

Ugh, I had so hoped to not fail the Blaugust challenge. I was really looking forward to blogging everyday. But due to circumstance I managed to miss two days in a row. Bah!
Friday as I came home from work I was just completely exhausted. I crawled into bed after dinner with League of Legends on and basically watched that while half asleep… Before finally falling asleep at 22.00
Saturday has just been a blur for me. I had to pick up supplies for my best friend’s babyshower in the morning and headed off to Amsterdam after that to see a friend who has hit a rough patch. I ended up staying there till about twelve, drinking beer at the Irish pub close to where she lives and generally having a good time. I wasn’t really home until 1.00 AM and immediatly crawled into bed then aswell.
And today there was the babyshower and no real time for me to sit down and do anything untill I got home an hour before dinner.
So there you have the reasons I didn’t really have the time to write anything at all this weekend. I’ve been superbusy and as consequence supertired aswell. But I finally managed to sit down now and discuss the things I’ve been doing.

Gaming Goals Progress
I managed to unlock the first wing of Naxxramas in Hearthstone today. Apparently I had won a 100 matches on my account across all types of games and that awards you with 300 gold. Which pushed me right over the 700 you need to open up a wing. So I did and ventured in to battle Anub’Rekhan, the first boss. Seeing as I’ve chosen to focus on two decks only (Druid and Priest) I picked my priest and prayed my healing spells would carry me through. Luckily I found it an easy boss to defeat, so I’m staring at the Grand Widow now.
Atleast I can scratch that goal off my to-do list!

As for the rest of the goals. I’ve barely logged any games this week. I’ve been absolutely shattered whenever I got home after work. So I’ve mostly sat around watching streams and series and not gaming at all. Which means that no I didn’t get my Esoterics cap on Final Fantasy again and that my WHM is still poking about at level 45. I should really be playing now, but there is…

League of Legends Playoffs
My favourite game to watch: League of Legends. I basically root for two teams. One in EU (Elements) and one in NA (Counter Logic Gaming). Elements unfortunately had a bad season and didn’t make it into playoffs, but CLG did and played their semifinals last night. It was a 3-0 and I could cheer for my team and had a great time watching it. The finals should be next week, and you can bet I’ll be watching again. I really hope they win, it would be the first big prize they would get and I really think the team deserves it this year.

Anyway, I hope I can get back to posting everyday again this week. I hope work will leave me less exhausted and with more time to play than it does now. I really want to get my WHM to 50, so I’ll probably make that a big aim this week, aswell as getting my Esoterics Chest on my Dragoon. But we will see.