More Civ6 Observations

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I’m playing Civ6 steadily; a distraction from work-life combined with a hobby when the house is quiet. As such my frustrations with Civ-like games has returned a little because:

  • The starting click through movies and “click to continue” screens are horrid. This game’s UX is so bad that you need to click “OK” to get to the starting menu! Who does that!
  • The UX for political interaction is shite too – you click teh bottom left hand buttons to make choices and then close the screen with the top right! That’s UX fail.
  • I hate using and defending Spys. I’d love a mod which removes them from the game.The in-game interface is ugly, constantly re-allocating the is a pain, and I want more detail on what they are doing and their success ratios. I give up trying to promote them.
  • I’m now trying to learn the ins and outs of a Religious victory. Its nonsense at present. I’ll learn the Tourism one after I get the religious one down.
  • The Domination victory is by far the easiest. By far.
  • The starting position, presence of barbarian, and leader choice makes all teh difference. Those three factors are huge levers for success or failure. Yes that makes sense, but it also means some games are just dead from the start.

Anyway, on a lighter note – here is what happens in a sim game – a launch pad is next to sheep. Those poor sheep.

Molten Core at 100 done

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Molten Core is done! I feel like I can de-stress a little as I’ve gained the mount and the helm, and don’t plan to return to there at 100 anytime soon. It was great to do though. I plan to open up an Alt now so they can also have a Garrison, to both feed my main and have a different leveling experience through Warlords.

For MC I joined an in progress fight so only had to fight the last 4 bosses, and our group had a far harder time on the trash than the bosses. Strategy wise I think there were enough folk who knew what to kill in what order, that everyone else just followed along – so it was like very old school MC. I missed Sam yelling for decurse, and thought that Ragnaros in particular had been toned back in terms of difficulty to make the experience more LFR friendly. Nobody made the joke about looting the damn dogs, sadly.

Art-MC

Finally level 100

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My Death Knight Mortigen is finally level 100. He ding’ed in the Spire whilst handing in part of the Terrok story chain. Immediately I used the armor upgrades for level 100 I had earned from Follow Missions. Then I signed up for the Bronze challenge mode, and was extraordinarily lucky to get an epic weapon from the reward. Last night I also queued up for the “movie train instance” (Grim Rail Depot?) and fought through that instance with repeat wipes. It was worth it, due to the two 615 items which I won.

Aside – Grim Rail is a terrible instance for melee dps. Constantly avoiding ground effects, constantly moving, circling around opponents as they switch facing so often, and sprinting between foes. I’ve only been in there once, but I am almost certain that range have a better time. Blarrrg. Granted there may be better ways to do the fights than what I saw; I’ll see. I’m not looking forward to the heroic mode.

So I’ve only just ding’ed and I’m item level 604. Not bad for a dirty casual, but I need to keep the pressure on to get to 615 so that I can queue and repeat-wipe in Molten Core for the damn mount. The helm would be good, but I’m not going for that.

Wow ain’t dying.

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WoW Nagrand oceanic. Position 3642 in queue, 126 mins. Dead? Right.
I’m kind of happy it’s like this: we have players everywhere.
Perhaps the Ddns attack affected times, perhaps it’s all the returning players. A bit of realm maint and the odd tweak we might see more capacity. I’ll wait. The content isn’t going anywhere.

Updates:

  • Position and time flings around a bit; from 45 mins to 450 minutes. Yikes!
  • 2 hours later, still a 2+ hour wait estimated.
  • 3 hours later, 45 min to 1.5 hours to wait. And I think the queue is going down because we all need to go to bed to sleep.

A great garrison overview by AskMrRobot

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AskMrRobot’s blog has a great guide for Garrisons (thank you Ask Mr Robot). I knew almost nothing about them, but after skimming through the basics I think it will be a major feature I’ll use in Warlords. Truthfully I can see garrisons being played on many alts and mains from day one, to acquire what they have to offer. It appears that Garrisons will have a straight up advantage to using them (very much like the Farm in Mists) and a wide breadth of game-play too. The fact that you could have a main with a raiding garrison, then alts also generating gold and materials is excellent.

Impressed, especially the chat sheet at the end which shows which garrison feature selections are better for raiding, farming, alts, or pets. The guide indicates that a full garrison will cost around 39,000 gold. Holy snap!

garrison pic from MMO Champion

Blizzard are not making this a fair fight!

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I’m going to resubscribe, but it was going to be at a time when it suited. Then I find out about the aussie servers, and later the same day I get an email giving away 7 days free game time.
Blizzard are making this too damn enticing.

So in a few days I’ll use that 7 day freebie to re-sub. They’ve probably won.

Patch 6 around the corner

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Well well, the new “shake it up and see how it flies” patch hits this week – and me still unsubscribed to WoW. Darn if home life isn’t getting in the way of a bit of fun. In previous expansions the pre-patch for the main event has always been fun. New special content for those still hanging around, and all new stats and powers to play with as combinations. I’m in no rush as yet, and even on release I think I’ll stroll rather than run into the world, take my time to have a look. Without the pressure of a raid team every game is entertainment in my preferred time. I like it. Somewhere in my Blizzard subscription is an unplayed D3 expansion too, perhaps I’ll smash a few Templar levels before deciding which character needs to be rushed to level 100.

I am looking forward to it though. A few nights a week of wow really sounds good at the moment.

WoD’s great cinematic

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The WoD cinematic is really good. As a semi-retired lore nerd I love seeing this stuff, just as much as I love seeing the Mage cast a Sheep spell in the first trailer, or Arthas summon an undead dragon. The MoP trailer did what it had to do (show us the Pandaren) and did it in a way which was fun. It certainly makes me think this is Orcs vs Humans … of Warcraft.

Non-serious aside – It does feel like a story set to make us like killing Orcs, and as an Alliance player I don’t really care if that is the wrong view. Orcs have proven themselves weak willed, power hungry, and generally the bad guys in the lore. Guldan gets his historic plans thrown asunder, but we’re still facing Orcs as the foes. These Warlords just reenforce the point. Thrall was the exception, and only that because some silly human made an effort to civilize him instead of kill him.

Now wonder he liked Jana. I’m happy to kill orcs, wargs, goblins, any sort of green or brown skinned filth.

(edit: truthfully that trailer makes the idea of playing an orc seem very appealing)

Is it as good as the others in terms of placing the players “in the world” and throwing down a challenge? Probably not, but then the excitement from an expansion is only partly attributed to the pretty non-gameplay video. There is not much that would top “you are not prepared“. As a video to continue the hype and announce a release date it was fine; great in fact.

Bring on more cinematic media for players, add more online comics, give us preview pages, lore updates, stat blocks to drool over. Complete the character models (I know, I know) and a few decent armor sets and it’s finished isn’t it? All of it. Build the hype with many strings of your bow Blizzard.

Should mmo have difficulty settings?

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Single player games tend to give players the choice of a difficulty setting, which they can do because the impact of that choice isn’t shared amongst anyone else. D3 on easy is darn easy, and I think there is nothing wrong with playing a game for silly easy fun. We don’t always need to be raiding Hard modes, just like you can’t eat pizza every night. In an MMO all the players tend to be in the same “game” so the game’s difficulty tends to be controlled in strictly controlled ways. Instances, special quests, achievements, collections, and special creatures are around for the folks who like a challenge, but generally speaking most players are playing the same game.

If you can kill 3x monsters in the starter zone at the same time without dying then you are at a certain level of game skill. If you need help, or get *repeatedly unlucky* then you become very accustom to running back to your corpse.

What if the game had a difficulty slider, which changed some options?

  • Rewards could be recognised (achievements) at different levels. We have this in raid modes, why not elsewhere?
  • Instances wouldn’t need to change, but perhaps a player using the lower setting is forgiven more in terms of damage taken, dps, healing, so that the other players don’t suffer because somebody is playing on easy.
  • A lazy player might always play on Easy mode, because they value easy fun over challenges. Perhaps they get slightly less rewards? Less cash to a casual probably isn’t an issue.
  • A dedicated player might be rewarded with more gold or increased special drop rates because of doing it the hard way.
  • The UI slider could apply for different reasons, so that even XP reward, death penalties, gold loss, and such are all configurable by the player. Perhaps even cofigurable per character and changeable in UI at anytime.
  • It would make Ironman style challenges supported as part of the game backbone.
  • It would add more bragging rights, which isn’t always a good thing, but depends on how it is used (gearscore & achievement linking?).
  • It might help farmers of special stuff.
  • Let learners learn. Let kids be kids.

Overall I’m not sure, but perhaps there is room for this.

* Repeatedly unlucky – ahem, meaning a fire stander? I used to rant in a furious way when folks said they were unlucky.

Just amid you are less skilled and get on with playing for fun. I did. The freedom of a noob is worth something.

Gone fishing, err Hunting, but watching WoW regardless

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I’m still watching the blogs and news for WoW despite not being subscribed. Interesting to see what others are still doing in game, and to reflect that it does not entice me back into a subscription yet. Later probably, but now – not at all.

One interesting set of information has been launched around the “cosmetic class items” as a way of rewarding players for participation and also allowing for character customisation. A good and interesting mini-feature. I see bags and quivers for Hunter types, and spell books for caster types (or is that a libram for Paladins?). These could be bracer on the hip, or shoulder of character models, hand from belts, attach to forearms, or even float about the character(?).

What would be great is to see them merge with the colour palette of the character gear as well. Why? Well the spell book looks fantastic as concept art, but will be way too hapy-happy-joy-joy for a soulful purple-black themed Warlock. Keeping the emo kids happy is somewhat important, and most of us MMO players are emo about something or other.

Anyway, I’m glad they’re adding these and hope vials, off-hand frills, sub-weapons, hunting kit, crosses and prayer beads, ioun stones, boot knives, random pockets, ghost-haunted crowns, and all sorts of other widget-like oddities might come. Collect them all…buy them… Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew.

Quick night in Warlock mode

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26px-Ui-charactercreate-classes_warlockI had a good quick night playing wow last night, in Warlock mode. I’ve loving Destruction as a spec choice as it takes very little management and stops and starts easily. For long fights it get a bit the same quickly, but I suspect that will change when i start learning how to use the cooldowns and specials I’ve been ignoring while leveling.

After jumping around a few zones my Warlock dinged 90 and I started throwing timeless isle gear at him. After thre 90s have been through the Isle of Random + Random there was a set of Boots, Bracers, Cloak, and two Rings gathering dust in my bank. Then it was a quick quest accept for the Black Prince storyline, another YUP for the start if the Warlock green fire quest, then finally off to timeless isle.

A few minutes in and I had a Chest token, and the bloody random gift gave me Bracers again. Boo hiss. Alas I was only able to get to 455 ilevel, but that felt a lot faster than I remember. As you’d expect it is the trinkets and old-ish blue gear which is holding my ilevel down, and the game tells me I should be doing the older LFRs to gear up. Hmm. Maybe later.
As a fresh 90 I look like a hodge-podge clown suit freak again. Perhaps some transmog is needed to save embarrassment.

skygolemI also finally got the mats to craft the Sky Golem, which I think is far more of a fun mount to use than it is too look at. Finally.

Happy killing folks.

WoWers are such murderer hobos.

Quick Impressions on Warlords of Draenor

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Quick little re-post of my thoughts when asked on the Guild’s forums. Overall there is a lot of material in WoW Warlords of Draenor which could be wonderful (WoD is about as great as MoP for an expansion abbreviation).

Likes:

  • I’m pleased with the item stat squish, and the associated HP value changes, etc.
  • separate raid lockouts
  • added flex style to normal mode
  • stat / gear use simplification. Pally Plate’s often DE needs to stop, this addresses that issue.
  • reduced gear-sets. The gear model means that one item may serve multiple roles. Brilliant. The negative on this system is not as large as the negatives we already have in game with the current system.
  • removal of reforge, etc. It was a way to “fix” shitty complex itemisation, or the wrong stats on gear. It was also a gold sink. I won’t miss it at all. i.e. I think I reforged manually about three times in the expansion, otherwise I used a mod. If I am seeking to automate a function then why bloody have it. Just fix the itemisation.
  • free level 90 toon. Cool, more powerful bank alts.

Too soon to tell:

  • How much sense does Garrosh escaping into the time machine really make?
  • Garrisons might be cool, or might be the “farm” of MoP. Great at first, a grind, and then pointless.
  • 20 man Epic mode. Might cause issues. Might be the same problem we have now but a different number as the target. Moot.
  • character models. Increased polygon complexity is fine and good, hopefully we see more. What about a thin human male model which has actual fingers?
  • followers akin to Star Wars. Good system.
  • craft from your bank mats. Great.

Not fussed:

  • +10 levels vs 5
  • Orc vs ?? Lore. Frankly the lore is never going to be cohesive and congruent to what came before.
  • no flying. It was ok when we could, it was ok when we couldn’t.
  • time travel stories

Dislike:

  • the renaming of the raid types is confusing at the moment because of the re-use of the same words. It’ll be fine later.
  • why scrap “the blood” corruption of the orcs totally? It was a cool lore.
  • the trailer was meh, but I’m thinking we’ll get a better one when the launch the actual expansion.

I want:

  • more/better Archy information, & Profession changes to suit actual raid benefits

Obscure gear

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WowInsider asked – What the most obscure item in the characters bank was? A good light question.

EyeOfShadowI have an Eye of Shadow on my Priest which was never used to create benediction.

I think I actually had the Eye of Divinity too, but didn’t get to completing the quest in time. Darn shame. It leaves me with a strange little memento of the pre-Cata game.

Panoramas and Banners for fantasy themed blogs

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As a blogger I never seem to have the “right” image, and get tempted to hike images from anywhere. Well, shamefully I do admittedly hike them, but I try to grab my own, or take them from folk who are willing to give freely.

I found that “The Other Tank” Blog has compiled a batch of images which are perfect for bloggers to use for wow-related banners and panoramas. Even better he has supplied a batch of these in zip file shared via DropBox for anyone to grab. Darn fine work sir!

serpents-heart

Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew.