2014, for what it was.

Ah, 2014.  Coming back from a year overseas I was about to get my life back.  And that included a little gaming.

Landmark.  The wife had gotten interested in something called, back then, Everquest Next Landmark.  I got my own Founders Pack as soon as I had a machine again that could play it.  I was in on the final weeks of Alpha, and have been playing in the Closed Beta since then.  “Playing” is probably overly broad.  “Logging in and paying rent,” is a more apt phrase.  For building buildings, it’s great.  And the ones really devoted to building can do some incredible things.  It also seems a few “voxelmancers” are teaching Sony, and the engine developer too, what the engine is capable of.  They’ve now introduced, finally! for some, combat.  Bunny hopping, circle strafing, if your melee you’re doing it wrong, combat.  Some suggest that’s what EQN is going to be like.  Probably too late, and means I’ll likely take a pass on EQN.  EQ and EQII appear to be deep and rich.  It would seem they want EQN to be superficial.  Their business.

Archeage.  Was I interested in it?  Was I looking for something new?  Sure.  Was it?  No.  Reminded me a lot of Lineage (it would) and the cheesy character models (everyone is 16 and beautiful to a fault, except the hideously abhorrent models).  Their implementation of a pay-to-play cash shop convinced me it’d be a pass though.  Add to that the hackers and botters and, oh my, d.o.a..  Even paying a subscription wasn’t going to get me as far as cheating would.

Wildstar.  Loved the game.  Loved the style.  Loved the humor.  But I’m not playing it.  I’m already paying one sub.

World of Warcraft.  The comfortable pair of shoes I’ve had for ten years now.  I had to make a table in order to track progress on all my characters towards their Level 2 Garrisons.  I’ve got eight of them now.  One of those has graduated now to Level 3, and tonight, maybe, my 2nd character dings 100 and I get a 2nd Level 3 Garrison.  Then I worry about more mounts, more companions.  And after leveling Archaeology from 0 to 600+ just to work towards heirloom pants, I think I could work on my pet battles too.

2015?  Nothing new on my horizon.

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Close enough! Ding, 2015!

Happy New Years folks.

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About dang time! Ding, 100!

My first character has finally reached 100.


It’s the same one that visited all the Cataclysm dungeons in order to help the wife’s level 80 Deathknight, deleted and restored, reach 85 without doing more quests than required to get an underwater mount.

It’s been fun.  He accomplished a lot in Frostfire Ridge, and then journeyed to Gorgrond and Talador.  Leaving a few quests undone in Talador (and probably Gorgrond) he journeyed to the Spires of Arak.  He’s got 3 more quest chains to complete before the questing achievement in the Spires is done.  (I believe that gets me a follower.)

Just when I get to thinking “Ah, I can concentrate a little more on the rest of my army,” I see there’s now proving grounds, the war continues, there’s a daily assault, …

And there’s the Garrison to upgrade still.  Work, work.  Who’s the Peon now?

P.S. It’s been a month and a half?  Ten levels in a month and a half?  It’s funny.  I really don’t remember what all I’d accomplished in the first month and a half after picking up the game in November 2004.  I really, seriously, doubt I even had my first level 40 yet, riding on a mount. … Okay, if I think of it like that, I’ve *only* leveled up 10 levels.  (Maybe two years between expansions is a little too long.)  (I wonder if I should feel even a little bad for people who leveled those 10 levels in the first night.)

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Savoring the slow crawl through Draenor.

When I’m in my favorite steak house, and the steak arrives and it’s cooked just right, I take very small bites, savoring each one.  “Mmmm mmm.  That’s some tasty steak.”

I’m doing the same with Draenor.  This is evidenced by having two eggs currently incubating in my bags (one on a 3 day timer, the other on a 7 day timer) and only yesterday hitting level 96 with my highest level character.  (He’s my soloist Death Knight.  And it really does feel like he’s outpacing the content.  I’ve vowed not to leave Gorgrond until I’m done there, and I just noticed he’s level 96 fighting level 93 mobs.  (What?)  No wonder he’s cutting through the bad guys with quest rewards like butter.  He did pop into the Spires of Arak, which wasn’t tough either, and after doing a couple of quests (picking up archealogy from one of the arrakoa npcs) headed back to Gorgrond.

The environments I’ve been through have been really cool.  The swampy area of Gorgrond is awesome.  So lush.  The mineral water pools of the desert interior look great.  And the forests I saw in the Spires looked really very nice.  (I’ve already gushed about Frostfire Ridge and Shadowmoon Valley.)

Part of my slow pace is explained by being a madman about garrison produced resources.  I’ve got 5 level 2 mines to harvests.  One level 2 herb garden, and more as soon as I can get it done.  These do take time.

And it’s cool that these garrison resources pretty much fill the entire need I have for crafting.  (I think that speaks to the limited crafting I *can* do.  The “good stuff” depends on work order output, which is a limited amount per day.  (Meaning I can’t ride endless loops through a zone filling stacks of materials, and crafting a full set *before* I set out and do any quests.)  The “common” stuff was gated by level.  (Lvl 91, 95, 98, or something like that.)  My blacksmith only knows 3 of the ? pieces of armor which just use ordinary ore.  Otherwise he’s learned plans for a full set of gear, OF WHICH he can only wear three of at a time??  Three of anything crafted at that level???  So I craft a Saber (100 truesteel ingots, this I’ve done), Shield (another 100, working on this), and then I can only take one more “good stuff” item??  Like a ring from my Jewelcrafter, or…

Maybe the point is to get me out there and earning the other stuff the “social” way.  (You know, by killing people and things.)

One of the cooler looking sets I managed to complete was the level 90 Deathknight PvP set.  (Transmog gear should Draenor not have me “complete” by the time I’m 100 and “done enough.”)

Before I wrap this up… houseplants.  I’ve got a sentient shrub wandering around my herb garden, and a walking tropical plant wandering around my garrison.  Very funny.

And Dagg, the funny rogue.  (With his “captured ogre” disguise.  Too funny.)

Draenor is a very tasty dish.

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Hearthstone and the Hearthsteed.

So I get this e-mail in the mail.  (My e-mail was the graphic with the steed on black, not the image below, which I grabbed off the internet.)


I’m thinking “They’ll want my account info, password, bank info…” But, no, it’s legit.

I saw the Hearthstone  ads.  I saw the manufactured buzz.

I played MTG Online when it first came out.  (Heck, I’ve got cards from the 90s even.  When I naively opened them to actually play a live person with real cards.  Years later, the wife and I bought a couple of expansion packs current to the new decade and played.  We had the glass gem rocks for the health points.  The cards were in a big cookie tin, and are now preserved in card holders for the little one and his posterity.)

So I saw Hearthstone and figured “Eh.”

I’m playing Warlords of Draenor now (and who isn’t?) so that got me a perk within Hearthstone.  This card back.


But, zounds, now they’re offering a mount.  And not a bad looking one.  I’d always wondered what part of the Panderia Expansion I needed to do to get that mount.

It wasn’t that at all.  It was just to play a little Hearthstone.

I’d gotten Hearthstone on my iPad a while ago.  (Free is good.) But wound up turning right around and deleting it so I could update the tablet to the latest iOS.

When I got the e-mail advertising “Just win 3 games” I figured “What the heck.”

I downloaded it on the PC from the Battle.net launcher.  Easy peasy.

First off, and I’m just one voice in the choir on this, but Blizzards quality and polish is second to none.  Nobody does it better.  (Well, maybe Bond.  James Bond.)

I’ve always figured “Other people are Hell” (okay, Sartre did that first) and had planned to game it by playing the wife 6 games.  (So we’d get our 3 wins each.)

First off was the five battles of the tutorial.  (Which you have to complete before you can play for reals.)  The voice acting is good.  But, and Sartre would no doubt agree, slightly annoying.  (But, now in hindsight, fine.)  And I pretty much steamrolled the first four.  Up comes the final, Illidian, deciding I was not prepared.  Little pop-up notes “This is going to be tough.  Blame the developers.”  And when he personally attacked me with his glaives I figured “Yeah right.”  But, no.  “Who’s prepared now, bitch?”  (Watching the entirety of Breaking Bad in a few short weeks at the end of my deployment, you pick up a little color.)  So I cleared the tutorial and was ready for prime time.

Last night, in about 45 minutes, I met, and conquered, 3 “worthy opponents” and got my 3 wins.  The Hearthsteed was mine.

The wife said she didn’t think she’d like Hearthstone.  Missing the land, and the colors, it appears less complex.

But, with the mana ramping up each round, that kind of replaces the land cards.  (It’s actually a guaranteed ramp up, for both sides of course, whereas playing cards you might have a drought of land and lose through bad luck.)

I liked the Jaina deck.  It felt very mage-like.  Sheeping big mobs down to 1/1s, then doing a gentle arcane explosion nuke and clearing away all the 1/1s, then the big 6-pointer fire balls.  Thrall’s Shaman deck, which I haven’t tried yet, appropriately had totems, some of which were offensive, some provided buffs, and were very shaman-like.

If you know your WoW classes, you’ll know the archetypes in the Hearthstone decks.  Very nice.

And the thoughtfulness required, same as in MTG, of what to play and when, is what earns you the win.

Too, my Alliance garrison picnic area has a Hearthstone table set up.  Wouldn’t it be very, very cool to have this actually be a functional link to the Hearthstone game, that you could play, in-game, while waiting for a dungeon group to come together?  (I do.)

If you were undecided about the Hearthstone thing:  Give it a try.  What can it hurt, and there’s a mount in it for you pretty much the first step or two in.

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Have fun storming the castle.


I’m doing something wrong.  Or, I’m doing something right.  Either way it’s funny how my team/s is/are out leveling me.  In one case, I’ve got three followers all at level 100.  I’m at 91.   The character with the most followers is also the highest level.

I enjoy watching them walk out of the garrison on their way to loot and adventure.

And I think Blook has an attitude.  He seems to drag his feet getting up and hitting the road.   Long after I issue instructions he’s still hanging out in the garrison.  We’ll never see eyes to eye I guess.

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An awful lot of goodness, this WoD.

There’s so many changes with this latest expansion, it really does feel “all new.”  Honest.  (And ten years on, it’s still an enjoyable game.)

The introduction quest for Warlords of Draenor introduced all the major players, you included, along with a run to the boats to escape.  A combo quest-cinematic.  The graphics of each major villain, introduced with a marquis and subtitled trash talk, was very cool.


I’ve spent the past few play sessions in Frostfire Ridge, and it’s a great feeling place.  (And a couple of epic followers, an epic drop, and some new toys, it’s like Christmas morning already.)

And if I’m “killing rats” it really doesn’t feel like it.  Not really.  At least not the old way.

And the garrisons are a blast.


Very compelling in that I feel I always want my followers to be up to something.  (I’m up to 6 now.)





My level 2 Garrison.  (It’s all mine.  Thrall came to visit the other day, for crying out loud.  Thrall. *The* Thrall.)

They had a rocky launch, true enough.  Just the millions coming back for another heaping helping of goodness.  And the DDOS thingy.  (Punks hate success.)

It’s good.  Good in the Warcraft ‘hood.



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