Where did August go?

Well it wasn’t spend gaming in any form, is the relevant answer. My grandparents are in pretty ill health and we were worried about them, there were a fair few trips to the hospital, which is about as personal as I get on this blog.

Anyway, I may possibly be going on vacation in a weeks time. We booked it in a fit of optimism a few weeks ok, before the heart attacks and other drama. If nothing more happens then we’ll go, but of course if something does go wrong then we won’t. Family first, after all. I’m planning a blog post of epic proportions to document it, my first vacation in four years, my first proper vacation in eight. I’m quite excited to be honest, but trying not to be as I don’t want to be disappointed if something happens. It’s unfortunate that 5.4 is going to drop as soon as I go away, which brings us back to the proper subject of this blog – gaming.

5.4 – Siege of Orgrimmar
I realised I hadn’t updated here in a month, given that I might be going away for two weeks I couldn’t let that stand, hence this update. I mentioned in the last post that my guild had recovered and gone on to get Ahead of the Curve, well so far so good we seem to be pretty solid right now. We got Jin’rokh on hc on Wednesday, so that’s not a bad ending to the tier. Makes me hopeful that we’ll do well in Siege, we’ve even got another tank so I doubt they’ll miss me at all. I will miss not being there, the first forays into a raid, when it’s new for absolutely everyone are exciting. I’m relieved that we have recovered and are in a solid position, given that connected realms aren’t launching with 5.4 after all. At one point we were depending on them to bring us out of the hole, so I’m glad that’s no longer the case.

The big question with 5.4 for me though, is whether blizz can fix what I think was their biggest mistake in Mists. All I do in Warcraft these days is raid, and use the Tiller’s farm/fish for raid consumables. Part of that is lack of time, but most of it is lack of inclination. Mists ruined alts for me by making LFR part of the gearing path. Can 5.4 change that?

Well you have pre-5.2 gear downgraded to justice points, most of the slots are covered by 489 ilevel gear, but some are 496. Just from that an ilevel of 490 could be achieved. There is of course the PvP gear available for honor at 496 ilevel but I would never choose to gear up that way personally. This ilevel would easily make heroic scenarios though which offer a chance once a day for 516 gear. As there is no new valor gear available for purchase the 522 gear would be an option without feeling like you were wasting your points. This would require one LFR run for the reputation to push into friendly but that is probably bearable. Then there’s the Timeless Isle which confuses me. On the PTR a couple of items are being sold at 535, I’m unsure whether that is just for PTR convenience or not. I’m leaning towards it being legit as most of the gear is 496 drops which could be upgraded, there’s a bit of rng involved, and I’m not sure how quick or easy it will be to find these tokens/upgrade token. However, that is also potentially an ilevel boosting option.

Following this path could, within a reasonable time frame, see an alt in early 500 ilevel gear. Depending on the group that might be enough to get into flex. So in theory alts could be geared up to a nominal level with barely any LFR time, or none if you can get into a trash farming/first boss normal run. That’s in theory, whether it works well in practice is debatable and it brings up a big concern I have about 5.4 – time.

The timeless isle is aptly named for a patch that seems to demand more of the players. I know, that you don’t have to do anything, so I’m not really complaining even if it isn’t that simple. The problem is entirely of my own making, in that unless I’m physically unable to go to a raid I will sign up whether I want to go or not. I feel obligated to do so, if they have the signups to go without me then I get a night off, but if they don’t I’m not going to prevent them from going by being selfish. I’m hoping that flex accomplishes a lot, it’s a feature that I’m very interested in, but that doesn’t stop it being another item on the list. As we get closer to the end of the expansion I get more worried about challenge modes. They’re something I haven’t really had time for, and I’m worried that with the new expansion they’ll lock them. I’m hoping that they’ll just implement a scaler so that it takes us back to level 90 power, but we’ll have to see. I would like to do challenge modes but where could they fit in? I don’t live alone, and 4 nights a week is already a lot.

That reminds me actually of something I want to work into this blog post somewhere. Words have power, I’ve always known this but I blog here without much concern. I try not to get too personal with it which means I don’t worry so much about what I say, it won’t be anything I regret later. Plus, I don’t really think many people read it, some do of course hence this little aside. A post or so back I was talking about my burnout, and moaning about people that /w me as soon as I login to talk about the raid team, saying that I could never just login to play. Well, that was wrong of me really to moan like that, especially as I didn’t mean it like that. The whole situation with the team in a downward spiral was what was the problem, not the poor raiders who were just trying to deal with it. They were looking to me for answers, looking to me to fix it and I couldn’t as I didn’t know how. It was my own feelings of inadequacy that I was hating, thankfully my guild leader had a bit more sense and managed to pull us out of the fire. I’ve never hidden my blog from the team so I do hope that I haven’t put anyone off from talking to me, if they’d needed/wanted too. I’m a big believer in communication, I think it’s vitally important, so I feel a touch guilty that I moaned now.

Marvel Heroes
I did have a post in draft about ‘fixing Marvel Heroes’ which will never see the light of day. These devs really do have their skates on and aren’t half rolling out the updates. A lot of what I was going to suggest has already been implemented, or is about to be. The core game hasn’t altered but the feeling about certain things has. An in game currency has been added so you can buy any hero in the game for free, you just play the game, gather the drops and when you have enough Eternity Splinters head to the vendor. Very soon, next week I suspect, difficulty modes will finally be added which will transform the levelling process meaning the game won’t just stop, or be relegated to instanced content at level 20, just a third of the way to cap.

When I first played this game it was like a new love, the honeymoon period, it being Marvel made it an instant hit with me. When the gloss came off I wasn’t sure that I would play it once I’d finished the story mode. However, the more I played, the more grudging appreciation I came to have for the game until I quite liked it. There were still sticking points but the two big ones they’ve just fixed. Now, all I hope is that they can fix the games public image, the reviews on launch were terrible, criticising things they’ve now fixed, so I hope people find that out and then play the game. Given, all the good work they’ve put into it, I’d hate for the game to disappear in a year or so due to lack of players.

A little more Warcraft
5.4 seems set to do good things for the game. Alts still aren’t as well supported as I’d like, but they are finally approaching a reasonable middle ground. If I can actually play my alts again that might be the kick I need to play the game more. As I think I mentioned above, all I do these days is raid, or get consumables to raid. I’ve been sitting at 196 mounts since 5.3 came out, I did have such drive to get 200 and it just went. There is a lot I’d like to do in game, but no impetus to do it. I should write more on that to do list I keep here, see if breaking it down and writing it down, helps any.

In a few weeks, once 5.4 is out, I might write a post about my hopes for the next expansion. I’ve been itching to write one for some time now, but haven’t as it seemed premature. As I’m almost positive they’ll be a 5.5 it’s likely still a bit early. However, if I don’t write it early, then they might release information and it would be nice to write it first, to see if I call anything correctly. If I say nothing else, I’d like to say that I want something like the Tiller’s farm. A big part of me suspects that they won’t implement it again as it made farming mats a bit redundant. I have 7 90’s with the farm fully unlocked and that ended my need for a gatherer. This is a little easy and overpowered, and against their policy to have us in the world. Still, I like the farm, probably precisely for those reasons. It’s kept my guild in raid consumables, obviously with contributions from others, with little trouble on my part.

To end
Theory says that 5.4 will bring good things, whether that’s true in practice will be the subject of another post. Still, I’ve rambled long enough now, and given a post this month, I really must update more often. Still August is over, let’s see what the autumn brings.