Posts Tagged ‘blizzard’

Yesterday (or today, as I like to put it, since I haven’t slept yet) I had a rather long and boring day at work. Nothing much to say on that front, it was the normal crap with a bit of back pain and a headache thrown in for good measure. I finished up the shift, got home, checked WoW missions briefly, then finally managed to dive into what I’ve been waiting on for quite a while… Season 4 in Diablo 3.

Seasons are Diablo 3’s ladder system. Each one has a limited time, usually a little over 3-4 months, sometimes more, sometimes less. There’s random dungeons called Rifts that just throw a bunch of mobs onto a randomly created map, and Greater Rifts which do the same thing, but get progressively harder and don’t drop any loot until the end. The ranking part of the season is based around how high of a greater rift you can complete in the time window before the rift closes.

The best part about seasons, in my opinion, is that you get a fresh start. At the end of each season, your seasonal characters become the non-seasonal versions of what they were, and all the loot and stash items go along with them. So, my paragon 239 Hardcore Seasonal Witch Doctor joined my other normal Hardcore characters, and is sharing their bank and gold. Regardless of that, when a new Seasonal character is started for the first time, it gets its own sub-server thing. For example, when I rolled a Hardcore Season Monk earlier tonight and got it killed at level 6, the next hardcore season character I rolled had access to the bank and the gold from the first monk… all 1100 or so gold. But not the 100 million+ gold from my main hardcore account.

Huzzah for whatever attempts to explain all of that stuff. I’ve been craving a new Seasonal experience for a good month or two, now. Hardcore with no safety net and no stockpile of crafting materials to get my characters tweaked out before they leave base for the first time? Oh good gods, do I love it. Sure, I got my monk killed twice before level 10, and had to start over. But now TooFuriosa (was just Furiosa twice, but then I remembered my personal rule about changing the name when they die) is riding nice and cozy at 42, with several legendaries and more than able to farm whatever comes her way.

I’ve already got my build guide lined out, and practicing with the playstyle as I level into the other abilities. It’s the first time I’ve actually played a monk, and not just had it powerleveled and checked out some gimp guide to go along with the random pieces of gear I had in storage. Nope, now I get to deal with all the close calls, and get the muscle memory of twitching a certain way to just barely avoid something that’ll flatten me.

Another interesting part of the new season is the “Chapters” system. It gives you a bit of a guide to follow along, making sure that you deal with different things at the appropriate time. For example, doing a Rift and hitting level 35 are parts of the first Chapter, whereas making sure your follower is fully equipped, leveling the different crafters to 10, and hitting 60 are part of the second Chapter. The fourth Chapter reward is where you get the rest of the seasonal cosmetic items, so it’s got incentive to have players follow through and not just get farmed or carried.

All of that said… any time I can sit down at my computer at 9:30pm, blink, and realize it’s past 2am because of how fully immersed I am in the game? Yeah, that’s a good thing. A bit dangerous, but always enjoyable. And now for sleep before I continue to blitz through and try to start farming for the pieces I need.

-Bane Falcon
Rest your shields, lean on stones, listen and always remember, long are the arms and legs of men, yet still longer, the Dwarven members!” (a battlefield limerick meant to relieve stressed-out dwarves, usually exclaimed by leaders and commanders whenever the outlook is otherwise grim)

Writing today’s post before sleep not because I’m currently having trouble sleeping, but because I fully intend to sleep as late as possible tomorrow to allow myself to wake up, bolt out the door for work, come home, and lose myself in the new season in Diablo. Today, I’ll be rambling about something that’s kinda been getting under my skin lately. A bit of a sore spot that there really isn’t too much to do about, other than rant then resolve.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m casual in WoW these days, and came from a long-ish background in Heroic and Mythic progression. I thrill for the difficult fight, with a crack team of well-trained raiders working together like clockwork. The fun kinda runs where everyone knows how each other person is going to react through pure muscle memory, and you can raid in either complete silence or while talking about completely different things. I loved being a part of a team like that, and my proudest and fondest memories in WoW came from those raids, or the people I raided with trying to blow off steam outside of it.

Well, now that I’m casual and my guild’s raids are on days I work late (aka every day except for my days off, since I always close, and they’re east-coast raid times whereas I live on the west coast), I pugged Normal Hellfire Citadel a few times. Tried to get a couple other casual guildies in along with me, then they went on vacation and I stopped caring enough to try. Eventually, another one of my friends asked me to help out with their raid group. They started with Blackrock Foundry and were claiming a full clear, so I figured why the hell not, I want to try for The Black Hand.

Almost 3 hours of wipes later, I realized the group wasn’t all it was cracked out to be. Sure, they had a tank who was new to the fight and new to tanking in general. And my friend was basically being carried to farm up some gear. But… some of their choices were… interesting. Then again, there were also some derpy pugs in there who had zero idea of what was going on, so I didn’t hold it against the raid group altogether.

My friend ended up getting some gear and since their guild liked me, they brought me along to HFC. That was an… interesting experience. The first boss is a joke and barely counts as an AoE loot pinata. Even then, they managed to derp on some of the fights. The second one… we actually managed to wipe a few times because people marinaded themselves in fire or stood in front of (or under) the boss when it was simple to get out of the way. And the third boss… I’d… prefer not to think of that one at all.

Another raid night, another time of me being dragged along. Fourth boss, and… oh good gods. It’s a really good thing that I have a decent amount of gold saved up for repairs, and that I stopped caring about raiding. The Council fight was miserable. Half of the people refused to move away from mechanics that would kill them, and the other half of the time, the healers couldn’t keep up with people standing in shit, the tanks being special ballerina snowflakes with their positioning (instead of kiting the boss to drop their stacks, or use personal CDs, they made the entire raid run all the way across the room) and the standard damage… so people would die.

We hit enrage on that fight more times than I care to remember, all because half the DPS was floor-tanking after the first phase. We don’t end up downing it on the second raid night of the week, and so we go back in again the next lockout. First boss, fine. Second boss, fine enough even though a bunch of people are dead (again). Third boss, several other wipes to the point that they ask the melee to run all the way out and cover the job that two of the ranged constantly prove themselves unable to perform. Even then, we wipe several times. Get back to the fourth boss, and yet again, it’s a clusterfuck of people having no damned idea of what they’re doing.

We EVENTUALLY down the boss, after the special-snowflake-tank suggests an idea that I brought up the previous week on the third wipe, and after changing the entire set-up around to allow him to stand still and not pop his CDs and still manage to stay alive. Woo. Astounding victory, go us. Moving along to the next boss, and it’s just as much of a miserable clusterfuck.

The main breakdown of what I can’t stand about the group, despite really wanting to help my friend:

  • They ask for anyone they pug to have their gear in order and enchanted, along with using flasks and runes. However, they’ll take their guildies who are undergeared to the point of not being able to queue for LFR.
  • They have too many “leaders” all with different ideas, which are usually clashing with one another, and trying to call different things at different times.
  • There is little understanding of the fights by some of those leaders, and zero research done by the bulk of the raid on the mechanics and their personal roles.
  • No situational awareness, to the point that someone was bragging about it.
  • Regardless of how badly things go, they will never drop their undergeared DPS guildies who die within the first minute of the fight, and would rather wipe all night with them in the group than have them sit, fix their shit, and come back when they’re able to contribute.

My personal philosophy is that, if I’m specifically carrying someone, I’d better get paid for it. Since I can’t get any gear from the bosses we keep wiping on, and there’s no hope whatsoever on moving beyond them, I’m very rapidly approaching the point where I’m no longer going to be available for their group. Sure, they offered me an honorary raid spot on their team. But when they can’t even fill their own damned raids until an hour after start time, and once in the instance it becomes a carnival of horrible mistakes? Yeah, I’ll pass on that. I might be a bit pretentious, but that style of raiding to me is not fun, by any means.

Luckily, the new season in Diablo starts today.

-Bane Falcon

Evil breeds in the guts of the lazy.”

One of the things I keep harping on is the community of Blizzard games. There’s a reason that I’ve been playing them so long, and why I enjoy the company. Part of it is because of all the people I’ve met with a shared interest in the games, but diversified opinions on what faction want to play, or which deck is better, or what class they feel like rolling next. But the people wouldn’t all be there, or at least not in the same way, if the company were to stick to each universe being completely separate.

There’s just something about the bleed-through of the different games that I love and enjoy. Now, some are the tiny easter eggs, like Kerrigan from Brood War being in the console on a shredder in WoW, or the Horde logo on a wall in an Overwatch trailer, or re-used lines by the same voice actor playing different characters in Diablo and StarCraft. But I also love the more blatant ones. Thunderfury and Ashbringer in Diablo. Lost Vikings in Uldaman. Collectors edition pets from the other games available in WoW. And that’s just the ones I can come up with, off the top of my head.

Sure, part of it is branding and intentional and sales. Get people to preorder X game that they might not play, get some cool stuff in Y game that they do play. Level up to a certain amount in that one, get snazzy things in these other two. But to be honest, I love that. I love that Blizzard is intentionally trying to get their players to dabble into other genres, and expand their gaming experience. Hells, speaking for myself, it goes a long way for my longevity of a Blizzard fan. At the moment, I’m fine with being casual in WoW… but good gods, I’m counting down the days ’til the 28th, when I can roll my new Hardcore Seasonal character in Diablo.

The bleedthrough element also goes a long way within one of their more recent flagship games, Heroes of the Storm. Sure, it was based off of Defense of the Ancients (DotA), the custom Warcraft 3 map, but those were all still Warcraft sprites and some interesting character ideas. With Heroes of the Storm, you get everything. Diablo, Warcraft, StarCraft, even classic Blizzard game characters, all duking it out with and against one another. The flavor alone is one of the reasons why I love playing Heroes.

Their most recent step is even more impressive… Instead of simply getting some cosmetic reward, like a mount or pet or flag emblem, Diablo and Heroes of the Storm are having a crossover that gives you a character to play. Sure, you could save up the gold and buy it yourself, but for someone like me who never picked up Diablo in Heroes, but played Diablo III quite a bit, it’s an awesome little perk just for dabbling in different games. And you still get a shiny portrait and banner in Diablo for being a certain level in Heroes during next season. Oh, and a mount in Heroes for reaching max level in next season of Diablo. They had a similar event across Hearthstone, WoW, and Heroes a little while back, giving you a pet in WoW, a mount in Heroes, and a card back in Hearthstone.

Okay, that part is kinda getting away from me, but basically, if you play a Blizzard game, chances are, they’ll give you some free shit to play their OTHER games, too. And even if I’m horrible at some of them (StarCraft, Heroes, I’m looking at you) that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them… or enjoy some shiny rewards for dipping my toe in the water. That’s even more incentive to play around (giggity), and with battlenet and realID, you can play around with your friends, too (giggity goo).

All I know is, I hope that they continue with these ideas, and keep giving people incentive to cross the boundaries to get free prizes and special stuff, just because they want you to feel awesome for playing.

-Bane Falcon
“Dragons never bother the Dwarves. They just want to compare hoards.” (the dwarves are not resentful of the wealthy)