Different Things

Have you thought I’ll be writing this post about Kil’Jaeden?… No!

Well, I’ll be writing about Kil’Jaeden tomorrow because I’m eager to step in the fourth wing tonight.

I’m actually having many important things these days going on in my life, and if you want a small insight, you’re welcome to read on, otherwise the post is not about WoW, but rather IRL stuff which occupies my mind.

First thing first, me and my wife, both being 34 years old, 7 years together and 2 of these years married, have finally made a decision to have our own (not rented) place. We’re having all our minds busy with choosing a flat and acquiring a bank loan throughout all the past month, and now it seems to finally come to an end. If the bank would affirm our chosen place, we’re likely to move in the new place within a pair of months. It’s kinda a big thing, and an important one – the other day all my thoughts are occupied with all the real estate business. I really hate all these law and financial things, I really do :) But it appeared to be a new and interesting experience. Yet I’m looking forward when the place would be ours, and I would forget about it.

Second, my band – which is a huge part of my life – has released a new single today. That would be our 9th release so far.

For those who missed the “About” section of my blog: the band is not what I do for a living, it’s a hobby, but the band is what I am. I’m one of the main composers, I come up with concepts and ideas, I write all the lyrics, and it’s basically a big part of my life, filled with studios, rehearsals, composing, gigs and festivals.

The concept in whole tells scary stories (pretty dark, even if humor is involved) about a nordic village populated by magical creatures (witches, dwarfs, elemental imps, swamp monsters etc.) who play very dirty tricks and destroy human villages and cities. Every album is conceptual and tells about new type of creatures.

On the next album it’s gonna be chthonic monstrous beasts, which sleep for centuries, and now a matriarch of the village, Mother of All Witches, climbs a mountain to perform a shamanic ritual and awake them. That’s the single’s story, and the music is epic folk metal, to my perception it happened to be quite beautiful and atmospheric this time.

So, you’re welcome to check the single out if you want an insight of what I do apart from WoW :) Stream listening and free downloading is available at the link:

https://svartby.bandcamp.com/album/under-frusna-stj-rnor-2017

Svartby-Under-Frusna-Stjarnor

Love is in the Air?..

There hasn’t been any posting from me for a while, and none should be expected too soon as well.

The past week was wholly devoted to my trip through Greece and Italy – 6 cities in total. It was a perfect weather – no rain, +10-14oC – in other words, ideal for walking and sightseeing. I hate heat, and I don’t understand any beach vacation (booooooring), so Mediterranean trip was planned in February on purpose.

Obviously I didn’t play any WoW because that’s not what you do while traveling. Though it seems that my rest from WoW appears to last longer than I thought. Upon my arrival home I’ve discovered my home internet not working – which tech support has diagnosed as something to do with cables. And the internet guys have such a busy schedule that they’ll be able to fix it only on Saturday.

So, I’m effectively missing the Love Rocket trying time. I’ve pretty much slacked any holiday mount farm last year, and in 2017 I thought I’ll renew hardworking Hallows End, Brewfest and Love is in the Air bosses. Well, not earlier than Saturday night.

Meanwhile I’ve blown off the dust from my Warcraft 3: RoC & TFT cds – and it’s time to walk through the campaigns again. It’s very cool to relive the events of the Third War with all the immense lore baggage and terrain knowledge that came after via playing WoW. Seeing the familiar places, foes, weapons, heroes and all. Making discoveries – for example, when Thrall and Cairne want to get to the prophet (Medivh) in Stonetalon mountains, they must deliver the “heart” (gem) to a statue of an elven priestess Azsune!

You get to meet many Legion lords too during the campaign. Now that they reappear in Azeroth, it’s cool to see what they did during the last invasion – for example, Aneteron or Mephistroth dreadlords.

It’s also cool to look at units from WoW perspective. For example, it’s a whole new look at orc shamans or night elf bear druids, and it adds much depth to the RTS routines. It considers buildings too: during your WoW journeys you’ve been inside each and every of them. Knowing how many floors and ladders are there in a construction your peons just built is so immersing!

Finally, I’ve played Warcraft 3 in Russian only before. Localization was perfect: a very good translation and an amazing voice cast with lots of famous and character fitting actors.

Now I’ve installed an English version, and it’s like playing a whole new game. Actors from WoW match those from W3, and it’s an extra link to the present events for me.

When life gives you lemons… buy some good cognac and consume both :)

P.S. : Suramar IRL – the Greek island of Santorini – one of my destinations.

Winter Holidays in WoW

It was quite a week :)

As you probably know, the winter holidays in Russia normally last 8-10 days. We have New Year celebration which is arguably the most important holiday in the year (with families, parties, presents, Santa and all), and a calm spiritual orthodox Christmas on 7th which is a national holiday too. If you throw in floating weekends, you’d never bother to insert any workdays in between if you were government. So we always have this long streak of work-free days.

Me & my wife normally use this time of the year for travelling, but as long as we’ve already planned our vacations in February, we suddenly got a big holiday at home. Due to very cold weather, we were circling between series and movies, reading, eating, playing with our cats, and – in my case – WoW. Quite a perfect vacation!

Suramar

Being in the world of Azeroth on this holiday has reminded me of a leveling process for my alts: only this time it was Suramar questlines. The big important thing was moving my toons through the available parts of Good Suramaritan campaign. The last 2 chapters open respectively at 7k and 20k revered, but everything else could be completed – and for enormous AP rewards.

This I did. Now I know all the routes. I can run any of the questlines with my eyes closed, plan side questlines and world quests to be completed on the way, open the portals and enhance my ancient mana pool. I can say I’ve mastered Suramar.

The ultimate Blizzard fail here is Jandvik’s Jarl of course. It’s a perfect example of how you DON’T design questlines. Everything is wrong with it. It’s long, tedious, it’s grind, grind, grind, it’s underwater or caves, it’s swarms of extra mobs on your way or coming from behind, it has no flight path or safe road to the place, it’s located at the end of the world. And it’s not even a single bit related to Suramar itself considering lore. I mean, why the hell did they even put it here as a part of campaign? I hated replaying the questline every single time even if my last toons could do it in 25 minutes or so.

I liked the main Suramar storyline though. The whole rebel/revolution business, and the story is very fun. I also like how Blizzard incorporated the experience of Krasarang in use – opening the new chapters and phasing along with reputation. The strategic design of Suramar is awesome, and visuals are cool too. Some of the questlines are not pleasant to play through – I mean the politics part where you have to run 6 times through the swarms of detector guys. Every time – even if you perfectly know how and where to move at full speed, mounted- it’s a gamble whether you’ll be discovered and dead or not. I don’t like that kind of a thrill. My absolute favorite Suramar part would be vineyards, it’s awesome in every aspect. The quests, the narration, the emotional swings, the motivation.

Naturally I jump at a Nightfallen emissary questing like a hungry tiger, driving all my toons through it. It’s a great chunk of reputation: suddenly you find them alts with a big rep progress made. Previous time they were at 100-3000 revered, and suddenly they are at 4000-7000.

It’s a shame that only Suramar rebel questlines award you reputation: the auxiliary night elves, vrykul or slaying demons with an illidari are not. But those serve as a great help. Not only they also grant you much artifact power, but the final reward is a big ancient mana piece – along with mana you get while doing them, it’s quite enough for the main storyline submissions of 800, then 1200.

Artifact Knowledge

This is high time when my alts begin to finish their artifact research. My mage Micromantica (obviously), rogue Hexen and warrior Bons crossed the finish line, and have their full research done. The others are almost there – at least at 22 some of them. In two weeks all my alts will be good and having  the artifact power flowing like it should.

Or should it? Once you’ve opened your 34 traits, there’s a Paragon one. Each paragon level will grow in artifact power you need, but researches just stopped – so the gap and effort will grow. I don’t think it’s a nice design: you’d be crawling for paragon traits at a 1-5% speed. Also I’m not sure what will happen when Blizzard introduces the promised 4th level for traits. Does it mean we will struggle for them even more?

Artifacts

I’m also closing in with artifact traits. Micromantica was the first to get her Paragon trait, and the others range between 31-34 traits. Suramar was really a bliss, and I’m not even at the final chapters which will throw in 500k AP items per quest.

I also discovered a new fun for me: the off spec artifacts. Some of them – like healer ones – are never meant  to be played by me, but I still want to open all the traits for them eventually – till 35. I don’t really want to play any mage specs except Frost, no priest specs except an obvious Shadow, demon hunter and paladin are bound to stay with dps.

Yet for some classes there are actually the specs I WANT to play. So I invested artifact power income into upgrading the weapons. I’ve invested into Doomhammer for Schlitzchen because I want the shaman to be ready for both melee and ranged playing styles. I’ve invested into Scythe of Elune – it’s the same story for Mayluna, because I should be able to nuke the bosses with star fire from afar if I feel so, or sneak and rip the mobs while questing with Fangs of Ashamane.

Then there are tank issues. Bons the Warrior and Paitsu the Monk are my tanks, but often I don’t feel like tanking a group content even if I need to go there. So it’s investment into Fury and Windwalker specs respectively for this type of situations (and I enjoy these ones cause I played them since the beginning). Vice versa, Mindebad the Death Knight has always been Frost, and while I’m playing it no matter what, I’m investing into Blood’s Maw of the Damned to crack the most tough elites in the field solo.

Then there are situations when artifact investment doesn’t depend on gameplay utility: the specs are just fun to switch! It concerns Hexen the Rogue (my favorite Assassination/newly discovered amazing Subtlety), Lizgun the Hunter (an ultimate Survival/lazy Marksmanship), and Microfury the Warlock (nuking Destruction/mischievous Affliction).

Will it be long? As we know it – it’s not. For all the mentioned off-specs, I’m already at 26-30 traits. Thanks, Artifact Knowledge!

Conclusion

The important thing is that I’m finally entering a routinely lull now – which is good. The goals with big effort are completed. The gameplay will look extremely simple and enjoyable: log in with a toon you feel like, queue up for LFR (we need many mogging to acquire), do Suramar world quests while in queue. There’s absolutely no rush for me now. Nighthold opens in a week, and LFR – in two weeks. My toons are totally ready with their ilvl, so it’s just a casual rep grind for whichever alt I feel like playing.

Leveling Almost Done

I know I’ve been absent recently, and it was for two good reasons.

Reason one, the last week I spent on tour with my band Svartby through Czech and Poland. The tour was awesome although tiresome, as every journey. It is interesting how every trip to another city or country is a test on my gaming addiction. When I’m at home, WoW is one of my major leisure activities, and it’s always interesting for me to check if I miss the game on my travelling or not, because under no circumstances I take my laptop with me. Yet another test passed: I was glad to return to the game of course, I was glad to run through Azeroth again on my return. But during the trip itself I was quite busy and happy with new impressions and activities, so I didn’t even remember about the game the other day.

Reason two, is that my current gameplay before and after vacation is a long leveling journey for my team of twelve toons. I’m glad to report that leveling business comes to an end now. Let’s see how my chart has filled since before and then talk about it a bit (the picture is clickable):

list

So, leveling. The big ‘+’ under the zone name means Loremaster, the one beside means Explorer, and the third one is the corresponding Pillar of Creation which requires to complete a dungeon (except Val’sharah). With 120 levels to go for 12 toons in whole, I have done 110.

As you can see, I have each zone to be completed for the last time now. And it’s gonna be a slow ride. Once again I will be reading all the quests like for the first time. I will be saying goodbye to storylines – it was a productive, interesting and compelling journey.

Meanwhile I’m having new goals now upon reaching 110 with my toons.

  1. Artifact Knowledge – I know now that it’s one of the most important things to spend garrison resources at. You must always have an order running. The range between artifact power acquired by Micromantica (AK level 10) and for example Hexen (AK level 5) is frightening. I may want to collect as much Knowledge as possible before even starting to properly do Suramar questlines.
  2. Opening Suramar for World Quests – yes, all the toons need the first two or three questlines to open world questing. World quests are fun, different, fast and very rewarding. So that’s top priority to get my toons busy.
  3. Class Order Hall Campaigns. Also top priority. Not only it gives a nice boost on resources, ilvl, and all, but it’s also a very different lore storyline for every toon.

My main, Micromantica, is still far away from completing Suramar questline. Being at 3000/21000 rep, she got two quests to Suramar dungeons which are Mythic-only, LFG-unavailable ones. This could really, really be a problem. Are they obligatory for Loremaster? Because this bothers me in huge scales.

I’ve completed LFR Emerald Nightmare with her, and I can’t say I was quite moved by the story. I don’t feel like I wanted to fight the bosses in the first place. It’s not my job. It’s a local and very class-specific problem. My druid – yes, she could add this to her duties. And probably it’s also because these ‘out there’ locations seem like they’re not real anyways, just an alternate versions of real locations, and OMG we’ve been fed up with that.

I have many posts planned about Artifact Weapons, leveling zones and everything. Leveling comes to an end for me, and with new routines I’m gonna sum up this experience.

P.S. Not so grindy about the Halloween horse this year. Just an occasional run or two during the day :)

Halloween Album For You!

As you know, it’s a game blog, and I’m writing only WoW posts, very rarely mentioning anything else. But certain important events in my life are worth posting here.

So, I’ve been busy with my band for 11 years by now. It’s not my job that I’m doing for living, a hobby, but a very serious one. I’m playing keyboards, composing lion’s share of music and writing all the lyrics.

My interest to fantasy worlds which led me into playing Warcraft games and finally World of Warcraft must have been reflected in my band’s concept, and truly so, it does. We sing about wild forest magical creatures which lay waste upon human towns and cities. But, rather than exploiting any epic/mythical fantasy setting, we’re tended to halloweenish, witchy themes – like dark, scary fairy-tales where villains always win :)

And so, today we have finally released our 4th full-length album –

SwampMyNeighbour

We put all the songs at our Bandcamp where stream listening is free – here’s your link: http://svartby.bandcamp.com/album/swamp-my-neighbour-2015

Hope you enjoy it – and Happy Halloween!

Epic Ring – IRL Quest

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Well, it is one of the few posts I devote to IRL cause it’s kinda important. 

I’ve completed the Epic Ring quest chain IRL and got this achievement officially mentioned in my ID. My wedding happened on Friday 13 (March 2015) – last week, and we chose the date on purpose cause it is so cool :)

Me and Elena have been living together as a family for 5 years by now, renting a flat together, bringing up our 2 cats. So the wedding itself didn’t change much in our everyday lives, but:

  • We got Epic Rings to wear (silver + black opals)!
  • The Government is now officially aware of our relations and officially approved them (which makes few things a bit easier here in Russia)
  • Our families and friends participated in a beautiful ceremony
  • And now I can refer to Elena as “my wife” which describes our relations best! (Cause “girlfriend” sounds like you’ve met at a club yesterday).

Unlike many gaming families I come across in my guilds and different blogs, she doesn’t play WoW or any game at all. But she totally supports my interest and the time that I devote to World of Warcraft. The only thing you need to do for harmonic relations is: find balance between your gaming (any other hobby) and your personal life. And of course support and understand your life partner’s interests as well.

Here’s a toast: to mutual understanding and respect!

2

IRL Fuss: Laptop Upgrade!

As a gamer, I’m probably supposed to have a cool PC. But I simply hate PCs since I don’t like fussing about choosing and changing technical details, many stuff occupying place both at the floor and on the table and collecting dust… Yuck. So it’s laptop for me to use as a home computer system.

My old laptop was ok to play World of Warcraft with around high graphics options. Still, I needed moar, and moreover, it was noisy despite all the cleaning and extra cooling device. So I braced myself, had some money planning in the recent month and just got from the shop with my brand new Asus :=)

It’s not top-notch gaming machine, but it’s better than my old one.

Short list of most important features:

  • Screen: 17.3″ (1600×900), and all my previous ones were 15 inches. So better for movies too.
  • Intel Core i7 4210U 2.0 GHz- my previous was generation i5, so it’s an upgrade.
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 840M 2048 MB – twice better than the old one.
  • 8192 MB – twice better than the old one.
  • HDD 1000 Gb – a 250 Gb upgrade is useful.

Can’t wait now to come home and launch my chars from the new laptop :=) But wait… OH SHI~ I need to install WoW there at first.

Hope that my new laptop will serve me well and allow to launch WoW with higher graphics and everything. Which will also result in better screenshots for the blog.

WoWScrnShot_112114_000044
Riddle from yesterday: Will Micromantica land at Garrison safely and get started new buildings? Spoiler: NO (because garrisons didn’t work).