Opinion

BfA: The Landing

Bwonsamdi and Rezan

With Battle for Azeroth out for a few weeks now I figured it’s time to start writing down my thoughts on the expansion so far when it comes to the things I have experienced, what I like and what I dislike. I could write an entire essay about this but for now I want to focus on three points. The best thing of the expansion, the okay/good stuff and the major disappointment so far.

From what I see around me the general opinion of Battle for Azeroth seems to be a mixed bag, as is usual the case with newly released content. People either seemed to love it or hate it from the get go but as time goes on opinions get more nuanced and as hyped up as people may or may not have been there are most definitely elements that are done good and bad in the game. So let us start with what in my opinion is the selling piece of this expansion launch:

The Lore
For me the story of the expansion so far has been overwhelmingly positive. I like how Alliance and Horde get their own continent and their own stories. It encourages people to take a look “over the fence” to see how the other faction fares because if you don’t you’ll miss out on roughly half of what Blizzards’ lore team has created so far. Obviously some things could have been done better, like the dungeon introductions for opposite factions. So far though the zones have been great with Drustvar as the big standout to me. That was just the perfect zone story with the perfect zone vibe. The only one coming close is Nazmir but it just misses this bit of oomph that Drustvar has for me. The only zone I feel is a bit disconnected in a way is Zuldazar, but that has more to do with not really following a “road” through the zone but instead getting sent all over the place.
As far as the whole Horde vs Alliance narrative goes, it’s less present than I thought it would be. Then again I opt to play with Warmode turned off. The War Campaign itself is rather interesting, especially since we get to team up with some people that deserved more spotlight like Lilian Voss and Shandris Feathermoon. All in all I’m liking where that story is headed aswell so the lore is the one aspect I’m absolutely positive about.

The okay
So Blizzard opted to take a few things from Legion and implement it in BfA. I’m okay with most of it. I prefer doing World Quests over dailies and the Mythic+ system is really nice aswell so I’m happy they have brought this along. There are still some tweaks to make here and there, like also implementing the paragon reputations again, but overall I’m happy that these elements remained in the game.
I’m also quite pleased with how the dungeons look. Even though some are a bit more hectic than others, Blizzard undeniably succeeded in making some dungeons to remember, again. One of the best ones in my opinion is Freehold, simply because one of the bossfight encounters starts out with having to catch a greasy pig and it’s hilarious. Underrot is at the bottom of the barrel for me, but that’s mostly because of the aesthetics of the dungeon itself. I can’t comment on the raid yet because I’ve not stepped foot in it, but I will definitely poke my head into LFR as it comes out just to experience the story.

Machinist lvl 70!

I’ve purposely inserted a picture of me getting my Machinist to level 70 in a post about WoW? Why? Because I’m going to discuss the final point I mentioned earlier: the big disappointment.

Alting
I could have picked numerous things here because I’m also disappointed with Island Expeditions and the Warfront stuff but my biggest disappointment of the expansion is once again how people who like to play multiple characters are treated. The biggest selling point FFXIV had for me was that I could play every available job and have every available crafting and gathering profession on one character. In WoW this means having to level alts. And where in Legion there was an incentive to level alts, because of the Order Hall stories, Class Mounts and Mage Tower challenges, in BfA I’ve already found out that I don’t feel like leveling anything besides the two characters I have at level 120 right now. Even though I miss my Warrior and miss my Hunter and even want to poke my head back onto a Demon Hunter, the idea of having to work my way through the zones again and then stall out on the same World Quests I’m already doing with the same endgame grind to get gear and to get your Heart of Azeroth leveled up is just the biggest turnoff ever. And I do realize it’s only a few weeks into the expansion and I will probably level something up at some point when I’ve done the big “start of expansion” grind it just feels so lackluster compared to Legion it’s not even funny.
I sincerely hope Blizzard will implement something that will want to make me level more than the one Horde and Alliance toon I have right now, besides Allied races and their associated achievements, or I will see myself walking away from WoW again sooner rather than later.

As I said at the start there are more things I want to nitpick on than just the stuff I mentioned here. Warfronts, Island Expeditions, Azerite Gear. It’s all things I think could be improved one way or another. Even though the faction fantasy is okay I miss the class fantasy from Legion and I miss my Artifact weapons and the quests associated with them. All in all though I’m still having more fun than frustrations so I will keep on playing for a while to come.

What do you guys thing about Battle of Azeroth so far?

Legion: A Look Back

Now that we’re less than 10 days away from BfA launch I figured it would be a nice time to take a look back at Legion as expansion and highlight some of it’s highs and lows for me personally. I’d like to talk about my favourite, and least favourite, storylines. Which expansion mount looks the most amazing (hint, it’s a Class one!) and what I found most disappointing overall. So without further ado, here is my Legion in a nutshell!

Shadow Raven mount and end of the Rogue campaign.

Most awesome class campaign: Rogue
Yup. Kind of a shocker isn’t it? I’ve not played Rogue seriously since Wrath of the Lich King and as class it was the last one to see max level and probably my least favourite up untill that point. But holy hell Blizzard did such a masterful job with the storyline here. I have to admit that the class hall itself was a bit of a letdown (I didn’t particularly enjoy any of the Class Halls overall) but the story. Oh the story. And all the iconic characters. I loved the whole thing surrounding Matthias Shaw. I loved staging a pirate type coup. And I especially loved the Class Mount involving me assassinating targets in Horde (or Alliance, depending on the side you play) capitals. It was all very well done and 100% Rogue.

Least awesome class campaign: Death Knight
There. I said it. I know it will probably not sit well with many people because I’ve read nothing but praise about the Death Knight storyline but honestly I hated it from start to finish. Maybe because I was around in Wrath where the whole thing about being a Death Knight was being free of the Lich King and not following in his footsteps. Well here comes Legion and you are basically his puppet again. I hated killing and reanimating things. I hated having to bully my way to information and I sure as hell avoided any unnecessary killings when I could. I feel like Death Knights are set back by this story line and it probably is trying to make a point about how the Lich King is still evil. I just wish I had the choice to not go along with it.

Best looking Mount of the expansion: Shaman Class Mount!
Shaman takes the cake, I mean hello. You’re actually riding an elemental. Can’t really top that can you?

Liquid fire mount best mount

Most disappointing Mount of the expansion: The Riddle Worm/Paladin Class Mount.
This is actually a nice tie. I see people riding around on the Riddle Worms and honestly it’s just ugly. I don’t want to ride a gigantic eel out of water, if it was a water mount I guess I would have taken a bit more liking to it. But just seeing them soar the skies is a sore sight for me. I rate the Paladin Class Mount here because really, it’s just another horse. I would’ve loved to have something a bit more exotic than that. They are pretty horses in their respective four colour variations, but still rather disappointing.

Most creative encounter: Elisande, the Nighthold 
I’m guessing this one comes with a bit of nostalgia goggles because the Nighthold was the last serious raid I did with my guild in the expansion. I really liked the Elisande fight, even though for us it wasn’t a very steep learning curve. The fact that she resets herself while adding mechanics was a delight and I really loved dealing with all of the stuff that was going on there. Killing the right adds, dodging the spheres, it was an amazing fight overall and especially enjoyable on a high mobile class like Warrior.

Most disappointing encounter: Varimathras, Antorus the Broken Throne
This one is most likely caused by the fact that I’ve only done it on LFR but man, this fight is dull. All the mechanics can be neglected and it’s just a straight up tank and spank, making it uneventful to say the least and straight up boring on almost anything but a healer class. Please don’t make fights like these anymore Blizzard.

My biggest enjoyment and biggest frustration all in one!

Best content overall: Mage Towers
This should come as no surprise really. I’ve tackled all 36 Mage Towers, and the Holy Priest and Shadow Priest ones twice, and I can honestly say it’s some of the most fun I’ve had in an MMO in a very long time. Even though some of the Healer ones almost made me break my keyboard, as did Subtlety Rogue on a 1% wipe, I’ve never felt more proud of myself than when I got all of these done. It feels like it’s a testament to my perseverence but also to my adaptability and skill in this game in general. I may not be a Mythic raider but I know how to play everything and I enjoy playing everything.

Stuff I hoped would go away with BFA: AP Grind
The AP grind. Oh the AP grind. It was horrible. Before the whole catch up mechanics it grinded my gears so much. Alting was a nightmare because of this and even playing more than one specc was made so much less enjoyable because of the damned AP grind. I know it’s coming back in BfA in a bit more friendly form but in my opinion Blizzard should have done away with it alltogether.

What Blizzard needs to do more in future expansions: Storytelling like the Class Hall campaigns
I think one of the most outstanding things in Legion were the Class Hall campaigns. Even though some may have had better stories than others (I’m looking at you specifically Monk and beer related content) they all felt unique and fitting to the class in one way or another. I felt engaged in the stories for every class I did and, as cherry on top, it was excellent solo content with a splash of grouping up. It was well executed and really helped built the rest of the expansion with that base. I really hope that Blizzard will do something similar in BfA with tailor made content that you can do solo and gives fun and engaging storylines.

My beloved, and hated, Alchemy station

Most torn opinion: Professions
Ahh Professions. For some reason I get the feeling that Blizzard looked at FFXIV for this. We suddenly had a ton of profession quests in Legion. And even though I enjoyed doing them it also felt like a chore to do on every new alt I made. I’m not overly thrilled on the whole 1-2-3 star recipe thing either, especially for the gathering professions Mining, Herbalism and Skinning. I can honestly say I’ve Mined a LOT on my Warrior this expansion yet I’ve not obtained all three star skills and it’s pissing me off. I like that they added more depth to the professions and I can see why they did the “expansion split” with the pre-patch but I’m not a fan of the star system and the quests get really repetitive when you do them more than once. I guess I’ll have to see what BfA brings on this front.

So there you have it. I could go on and on for a very long time about all the things I liked and disliked about Legion but overall I enjoyed the expansion more than I thought I would, especially without a raiding guild. I can only hope BfA shapes up to be as good and hopefully even better.

What are your opinions on Legion?

A (slightly) Disgruntled WiiU Owner

I’ve been mulling over whether or not I want to write this post. With the recent announcement of more WiiU ports to the Switch, and me reinstalling my WiiU again to play games, I feel like I want to get this post out sooner rather than later.
I am well aware that this is a debate going on within the Nintendo community and it has split the community into various camps. I find myself to be in the digruntled WiiU owner camp mostly, but the reasons may differ from what I’ve seen online so far.

What is it all about?
Nintendo has announced their line up plans for the Switch multiple times. From the get go it was clear that they were going to reuse some of the things from the WiiU to target a broader audience now that the Switch was launched. I myself hopped on the bandwagon for Mario Kart 8 DX, mostly because it’s one of my favourite franchises, it had bonus tracks as default that you had to purchase as standalone packs on the WiiU and being able to take Mario Kart with you anywhere and be able to play with anyone was super appealing. Later on we got Pokken Tournament DX. I wasnt too phased by that since I’m not interested in that type of game but I could hear the community grumble a bit. Luckily with Arms and Splatoon 2 Nintendo showed us that they were more than capable of bringing us new IP’s and also sequels instead of direct ports. Even though by all means Splatoon 2 is half a port, I still picked it up because I’ve never gotten Splatoon on my WiiU. Notice that I’m not counting Breath of the Wild as a port seeing as it was a simultaneous release for the WiiU and Switch and I personally chose to get it on WiiU.
Fast forward a bit and more ports of WiiU games are announced. We are getting Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Bayonetta. Two great WiiU titles that should have gotten a bigger audience than they did. Nintendo realized this and chose to bring these games over to the Switch as ports.

Now this is where it starts to wring
As a WiiU owner myself I’m happy that Nintendo recognizes that games like DKC: TF and Bayonetta are deserving of more love and that they want to bring them over to the Switch. Hell if you don’t own a WiiU it’s great to be able to pick up these games and play what you’ve been missing out on! The ports themselves are probably just fine, you get more polished images and maybe a few extra modes. If you don’t own these games I strongly recommend to pick them up. However….
Nintendo is releasing these games at full prices. Me, being the WiiU owner that I am, already own these games. There is zero incentive for me to rebuy a game that I already own for a new system. And certainly not at full price. Just for comparison, DKC: TF is only €25 right now because it’s a Nintendo select so it’s easily picked up for WiiU owners. The Bayonetta special edition (which contained both Bayonetta 1 and 2) cost me €50. Seeing as these are marketed as new games for the Switch they will be expensive. I’m sure as hell not going to rebuy a game that I already own, that gets little to nothing special added, at full price. It may be nice to have the portability of the Switch for these games and they may look better but it’s simply something I refuse to do.
And I’m not the only one.
It also saddens me a bit because instead of focusing on new games in the series (with the exception being Bayonetta 3) they release ports and then hope people will be happy. I rather get an entirely new Donkey Kong game than a rehash of one I already know and have. The same can be said for Pokken DX and MK8 DX. I much rather would have had an entirely new Mario Kart game. I know that ports require less resources and I know Nintendo wants to keep people’s attention so they probably feel the pressure to bring as many games to the system as they can. Which is fine, but I feel like they’re going about it in a less than ideal way.

Ofcourse I’m not a big publisher and I know these games will sell well, even for people that already own their WiiU counterparts. But it still feels like they could have put this time of porting into focussing on bringing the Virtual player to the Switch, do something about the My Nintendo rewards for Switch (which they have finally announced!) or just give us more customizability. And maybe take a look at the Switch E-shop and get rid of all the shovelware games.

I guess I’m just a bit salty about not being able to look forward to a lot of actual new games. I know that Kirby Star Allies will come out and I will definitely pick that one up, aswell as most likely Project Octopath Traveler and Bayonetta 3. I’ve also not nearly finished Xenoblade Chronicles 2 or Super Mario Odyssey so I still have tons of hours of playtime to get out of my Switch without even having to look at the ported games. But where my 3DS library is full of amazing games I feel like my Switch is falling behind… And that’s not what I hoped it would do.
I just really hope Nintendo picks up on the mixed messages when it comes to porting games and devotes more time to develop sequels instead.

Not Switching… Yet

I know I’m a bit late to the whole Switch hype, but I needed some time to get my thoughts in order and be able to really express what I feel about this new console, the games that Nintendo announced for it and whether or not I would want to buy it at launch.

First up: What do I think of the Switch as a whole?
So far it looks to be a good console. Nintendo needed innovation and something to compete with the PS4 and Xbox One and I think they may have hit the right angle with the Switch. Not because performance wise it’s better, but mostly because they are making console games mobile. They have tried this with the WiiU aswell, but unfortunately the concept kind of failed. Now with the Switch there’s no more need to turn off a game because you have to travel somewhere… You just take the game with you! I loved this concept the moment Nintendo showed us at first and I’m still in love with the concept as of now. The only thing I really wonder about is if Nintendo will do away with the 3DS because of the Switch… But that is something they need to decide on their own. Personally I’m still in love with my 3DS and I hope they can let the two things co-exist for a while yet.
Onto some other details. I think the price tag is too high to warrant buying a Switch at launch. It’s €309-329 here, and then you only get the console with no games. Obviously the same was the case for the PS4 and Xbox One launch. And if I didn’t already own a WiiU and a PS4 with an enormous backlog to work through I probably would have taken the bait and bought a Switch at launch (with the new Zelda game). Right now though I just can’t justify to myself to buy one so I’ll probably hold out untill the after the Summer or around the Holidays of 2017. Seeing as my plan is to make a big dent into my gaming backlog this year, I feel like I can’t invest into a new console when I barely touched it’s predecessor in the year that I’ve owned it.
The amount of games at launch is also kind of disappointing. They really hope Zelda will carry the system long enough that people will invest in it. It’s a gamble, but I hope it pays off for Nintendo. I do realize that PS4 and X1 didn’t have many launch titles either so I can’t really say something about Nintendo not having that many titles at launch either.
All in all I think this could be a succesfull console, provided Nintendo makes a steady stream of first party games for it. I could do with a new Donkey Kong, Kirby or even a cool Disney title to make this console interesting for me.

The announced games
As far as first party games go, I’m mostly excited for the new Zelda game, the Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2. I’m doubting if I want Zelda on my WiiU or the Switch though. I really need to know the differences between the games before I decide. Super Mario Odyssey just looks cool. Mario sandbox games have been quite succesful so far so I hope Nintendo makes this one just as good as Galaxy was. I’ve never actually played Splatoon but maybe the Switch will draw me into the game.
Now as far as third party games go. Hell yes Dragon Quest! I fell in love with the series after purchasing DQ7 for my 3DS and I will definately purchase DQ11 for the Switch. Next to that Square announced a new RPG especially for the Switch which is always something to be excited about. I also know Yooka-Laylee comes out for the Switch and the makers promised Nintendo players something extra over the other platforms so I’m actually brought to doubt whether I want that game on my PS4 or on the Switch. There are definately some things to look forward to on this console, but I’m unsure if I will buy games for the Switch when they also come out on the PS4 which, by all means, probably has better performance.
I am kind of disappointed by the Mario Kart 8: Deluxe. It really is just a port of MK8 with some added tracks and characters and I’m not sure if I want to invest in that, owning the original one on the WiiU.

So will I buy a Switch?
Eventually, yes. I think I’ll hold off on buying a lunch model. I rather wait untill bundles appear or when it might lower in price a bit. If there’s anything I learned over the years the prices of consoles and games drop really fast so it’s probably better to wait a bit. I also want to see the library Nintendo builds around the Switch over 2017. I really hope they have more games planned than they initially let show, but I guess only time will tell. Next to that I already stated that I have a huge backlog to work through, so I can’t justify to myself to buy a new console anyway. Not when I have so many unfinished games lying around. But maybe around the Holidays… maybe I will get a Switch.

 

Raiding Attitudes

At this point in time I consider myself a veteran in not only MMO’s but also raiding in said MMO’s.
I started playing World of Warcraft in 2007 and was into raiding not long after. Starting out at 10 man Kharazan to eventually joining the best guild on the server at the time for progress in Sunwell Plateau. I have competed for realm firsts in Wrath of the Lich King and was raidleader for a significant portion of Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria.
In FFXIV I was raidleading together with our Paladin Tank (since we were the only ones who actually prepared for encounters) and this got us to Turn 9 of Coil when it was current content. Unfortunately our group ended there due to the sheer badness of two of our players which we just couldn’t carry anymore then.
In Destiny I’ve taken a backseat when it comes to the raiding. Shooters aren’t necessarily my strong point and I’m too focussed on actually hitting stuff that I’m able to call out postions or dps targets when needed.

In all these years of raiding I have noticed a trend that seems to be getting worse and worse. It could also be the people I raid with, actually I strongly believe it IS because of the people I raid with, but nonetheless… In the last years raids have become easier to organize (you need less people to actually form a good raidgroup, 6 man in Destiny, 8 in FFXIV, 10 minimum in WoW). Although tactics have become very intricate on some bosses in World of Warcraft with the acces to content before it’s live now there’s usually guides out there that will help you with new encounters, thus giving everyone a “headstart” on the raid before you can actually enter.
This has led, in my opinion, to a very elitist attitude among some of the people found in guilds. Not just the big guilds like (ex) Method, but also the smaller guilds who have different goals. I definately see it in my guild. We have a few veterans who are simply not used to guiding newer people anymore and don’t feel the need to do so either. Instead they get grumpy and hateful in private chats (this time it was our raidleading channel).
This, to me, is an extremely destructive attitude to have when it comes to raiding in general. With the flux of players and people taking a more casual stance to gaming and raiding overall I think a bit of flexibility is needed. Have a bit of patience with newer players, especially ones who have never done heroic content or are used to different tactics than your group uses. Everyone once started from the bottom and being elitist jerks (ha!) to them is not helping in any way.
But, one may argue, if they keep it to private channels… That shouldn’t be too much of an issue right? Well actually it is. Even in private channels. Being elitist and rude and condescending about your fellow players breeds resentment and a sort of segregation of players in a team where co-operation is crucial. It’s the perfect soil for burnout to grow upon and it’s a huge problem when it exists in a raidgroup. I really hope our group can get through it, but as it stands now I need to pray for a miracle because people’s attitudes are getting worse every time we raid.

Movies. Watch them!
Which brings me to another point. A lot of the people raiding with us right now have the same mentality to raids as they had in Vanilla WoW and Burning Crusade. You don’t have much prior knowlegde to fights and are mostly left to figure stuff out on your own… So you just head in blind.
This might have worked back then. But now it’s just really not an option anymore. There is so much going on at once in a lot of fights (Iskar I’m looking at you) that watching a movie or reading a guide or even the Dungeon Journal is almost mandatory. It’s impossible to go in blind and handle all the mechanics perfectly from the get-go. Unless you are extremely talented.
This leads to people making mistakes that wipe the raid… Which are completely unecessary if you had taken 5 to 10 minutes of your time to read or watch a guide on the fight. I can’t count the number of times I had to bite my tongue on Teamspeak or Raidchat when people made mistakes like these. It’s really annoying having to explain tactics over and over again to people who are just too damn stubborn to watch a movie themselves.
Especially in a raidteam where people are at most average I think it’s a MUST to atleast know a fight before you head into it. But apparently I am wrong and people should do as they please.
Which is fine.
But don’t start crying when we clock over 100 wipes on a boss…