You Know You’re Getting Old When…

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I’m getting dangerously close to turn 50. I remember when I was 17, people of that age looked boring and lame. I only hope to never become an old fart who only talks about football and adult stuff.

However, realising that nowadays 17 years-old kids were babies when The Burning Crusade was released makes me feel ancient.

And now, I’m going to rest a bit before the dinner…

Adapting to WoW’s Third Era

With Dragonflight, we’ve entered what Executive Producer Holly Longdale would call the Third Era of Warcraft.

For more than 15 years, we were used to play a certain way, we would gather all the daily quests from an area, complete them to increase our reputations. Upon reaching exalted, we would then visit the quartermasters and buy the pets and mounts with our gold.

Now, the world quests are scattered across the maps and they reset twice per week (instead of daily). There are hourly events happening across the entire expansion, each on a different timer and rewarding renown with different factions.

It doesn’t seem like much but, trust me, it has completely changed our way to play WoW. Before, we would just log in the game, fly to a zone and let the dailies tell us what to do.

The new system is more chaotic and requires planning. Starting my gaming session by first deciding which zone to visit and which event to attend keeps me from wondering what to do next.

On top of that, there’s a ton of pets, mounts and appearances to collect, each one purchasable with a different currency, you got to keep track!

I’m not gonna lie, the launch of Dragonflight was pretty brutal for us. We’ve stopped playing after two weeks and only came back recently.

However, we’ve managed to change our habits and we’re much more organised than before. We use Obsidian to keep track of objectives, currencies and event timers. We make notes about pretty much everything and it has greatly helped us bringing order to chaos and enjoy the game again.

I still don’t like Dragonflight and I don’t think that I ever will. It’s a patchwork of new systems, stitched up together by a mediocre story (which was so sliced up and gated behind renown that I completely lost track of): “There is an Island with Dragons, some are good and some are bad. Let’s unite so we can defeat Fyrak, the evil one.” I’m also shared about Dragonriding, which feels more like riding a glorified kite than a dragon. I can’t believe that people criticise Shadowlands when everything was better then, even the protagonist. The story of the jailer was much deeper than “I’m a bad dragon” Fyrak. Korthia was much more enjoyable than Zalarek Caverns and Zereth Mortis was definitely better than the Dream Grove with that horrible Superbloom event (whoever green lit that thing obviously didn’t try it himself). I still think that the zones were very well designed, they were just not that fun.

Changing WoW as much as the devs did for Dragonflight requires guts. When other companies try to provide the same experience with each iteration of their franchises, Blizzard didn’t hesitate to rock the boat and have us adapt to their vision. In the end, the community followed but it was a risky move to change so many things, all at once.

We’re now days away from The War Within’s pre-patch and weeks from the official release. I love World of Warcraft, and I play it first and foremost to be part of that fantastic universe and goof around with my wife and the other players. I’ve been waiting for over a decade to see more sharing between my characters and it seems to happen with the Warbands (don’t screw this up, Blizz!). I’ve also been waiting a long time for a solo end-game content that would reward us with real end-game rewards and it’s finally happening with the Delves (don’t screw this up either, Blizz!). So, despite a disappointing last expansion, I’m eagerly waiting for The War Within. I’m sure that the return of Chris Metzen will help with the quality of the story.

To conclude, I’d say that we’re far from our days running around Dark Shore, levelling our first characters and Dragonflight brought this to the next level. However, WoW remains, to me, the best game ever made and I know that by trying to content the many different kind of players that constitute its community, Blizzard is fated to create expansions that can’t satisfy 100% of the player base but it doesn’t matter because, as Ion Hazzikostas wisely said, you can do anything in WoW, you just can’t do everything.

Which Video Game?

Snory – BM Hunter on Silvermoon EU

There’s probably a short answer. However, this question is a trigger to my complicated self.

The last 15 years have been a complicated labyrinth created by a back and forth between solo games and World of Warcraft. Would I have known what I know now, it would have been much easier but, most of the time, us humans have to learn by trial.

I’ve been collecting games since I was 11 years old. From my C64 and my Amigas (500 & 1200) to my PCs, I must have owned several hundred (if not thousand) games. However, I only hooked on a few of them: Maniac Mansion, Zelda – Link’s Awakening, Quake 2, Diablo 1&2, Animal Crossing and Life is Strange.

However, it’s in April 2006 that I discovered World of Warcraft. It was as if I had found the game that I had been looking for my entire life. Little did I know that it would change my life forever.

From a hobby, gaming became a passion. I wasn’t just filling my free time anymore, I was creating time to be in Azeroth. I was reading everything about the game, watching every video I could find (Athene still makes me laugh), it was perfect!

I first played a resto druid and I will never forget the day that my guild was the first guild of the server to kill Ragnaros. Then Burning Crusade came out and I rolled a combat rogue. There too, I had my moment of glory when I killed 3 times in row Achrono one-on-one in the middle of Alterac Valley. Wrath of the Lich King was an absolute blast, mainly because Soforah joined me in the game and we’ve been playing together since then.

However, the following years have been quite different. I’ve been jumping out of World of Warcraft only to be disappointed by solo games and jumping back in… Since we didn’t really hook on the last expansion (Dragonflight), we’ve been trying as many games as we could: Diablo 4, Grim Dawn, Hogwarts Legacy, Starfield, The Division 2, Enshrouded, Stardew Valley, Elden Ring, AC: Valhalla,… However, I felt exactly the same as I felt before discovering WoW: alone.

To me, the greatest revolution in video games isn’t how big the open worlds have become or how incredible the graphics are (not that incredible, even on ultra with an RTX 4090). What baffled me during my first week in WoW is still what I find amazing nowadays: playing with people and I don’t think that I’ll ever come back from that.

People say that WoW‘s community is toxic. Honestly, they’re the best people I know! They can be rude and even sometimes nerve wrecking but I’ll take any Goldshire creep over of a fake romanced character from Stardew Valley or Cyberpunk!

So, sorry for the entire history of my gaming life but my answer to the question “What game do I play?” is the same as it’s been during the last 18 years: World of Warcraft!

You can now resume your activities.

Season of the Malignant – Statistics

A few days ago, we’ve received an email from Blizzard with our statistics from the first season of Diablo 4, it’s a really nice touch and I hope that they’ll continue with the next seasons. We both enjoyed the Season of the Malignant but we didn’t go further than level 80 because we were busy preparing our trip to New-York. We both played a Sever Necromancer and the Malignant hearts were synergising perfectly with it, making our corpse explosions and corpse tendrils auto-casted. We’re now trying different builds for the Season of Blood and we’ve already narrowed it down to Pulverise Druid and Fury/Rapid Fire Rogue.

Diablo IV

It’s kind of strange that it took us so long to write something about Diablo 4, especially knowing that Hack’n Slash are our favourite games. This is actually the third version of my Diablo post. Since the first beta, we went through three stages:

  1. The Beta: we didn’t enjoy it;
  2. The release: we enjoyed the campaign but we ended up disappointed by the gameplay;
  3. The first season: amazing!

During the beta, we were quite disappointed by the slower gameplay. We’re used to Diablo 3, Path of Exile and Grim Dawn, where we can destroy an entire map with very little downtime. In Diablo 4, the builder/spender builds are slower and the monster density is very different from what we’re used to. It was very frustrating at the start.

At launch, we actually enjoyed the campaign which is absolutely amazing! Blizzard’s seal of quality is everywhere: the gorgeous cinematics, the huge amount of details and the soundtrack. The scale of the world is also very impressive. Unfortunately, the gameplay of the Barbarian and the Sorceress made us very nervous and, once the campaign was complete, we found it hard to continue. We played very slowly because the weather was very warm and the PCs made it even warmer in the office. So we actually completed the campaign two weeks before the release of the first season.

The launch of the season changed everything. We started with a Necromancer with the sever build from Maxroll and, with the synergies of the malignant powers, the gameplay feels amazing. Since we had completed the campaign before the season, we could skip the story and I was afraid to run out of things to do, but I was wrong. Between the renown, the malignant dungeons, the whispers, uncovering the map, the altars of Lilith and so much more, we never ran out of things to do. We’ve been playing the entire weekend with sessions of 5-6 hours and not once have we felt like we were doing twice the same thing, all that thanks to the variety of activities.

The Team behind Diablo 4 wasn’t afraid to change things and it really pays off, they delivered a superb game and I can’t wait what they’ll come up with for the next seasons.

As I write this post, I’m watching the Exilecon 2023 and the gameplay videos of Path of Exile 2 look fantastic. What a time to be an ARPG fan!

Hardcore Adventures in Classic WoW

Last week-end, following the huge trend, we both tried Hardcore Classic WoW. While we had fun in the starting zones, our nostalgia trip was brutally interrupted by death. I understand the excitement around Hardcore but I personally don’t enjoy to delete a character that I’ve been levelling for hours. I can’t imagine the feeling when your character dies after level 50, I would be devastated.

However, this little adventure made us realise how great vanilla WoW was and how bad retail has become when you play the game the way it was meant to be played. It was a game made by roleplayers for roleplayers while retail feels like a phone game ported on PC.

So, thank you Nostalrius for having made Blizzard consider creating Classic servers. And fuck you, J. Allen Brack, You were dead wrong!

Diablo 4 Beta

It wasn’t easy to find a “cute” screenshot

I’m gonna start this Diablo post by talking about World of Warcraft. In case you didn’t read the blog, Soforah and I have been playing WoW for 15 years. Ok, there were highs and lows, but the game always managed to keep us entertained. I don’t know if it’s due to the new – more socially acceptable – crowd at Blizzard, or if the game is simply not targeted at us anymore, but we both have had the most horrible time in Dragonflight. It’s so bad, it had us quit after 2 weeks, and I’m not talking about a break… The game is a chaotic, frustrating, ugly pile of stinking dung!

So, when we went to the beta week-end of Diablo 4, we didn’t have high expectations. Of course, we were very curious to see what Blizzard has in stock for its next gen Hack’n Slash…

We both completed the beta and we both found the game underwhelming, to say the least.

First, the monster density is horrible! Sometimes, you fight 20 mobs, then you have to cross an entire area without finding a single enemy to kill. I understand that they want to introduce mounts in the game (so they’ll probably fill the cash shop with hundreds of poneys, horses and unicorns in every possible colours), but it completely broke the pace of the game.

Second, I find the textures quality pretty poor for a next gen game. I know that Blizzard is trying to keep their games accessible to most, even those with outdated PCs, but this is ridiculous for a game set to be released in 2023.

Finally, I played a sorceress and I found the gameplay boring. I was using arc lightning and I was constantly out of mana. My other ability was a recycled hydra, which I already found boring in Diablo 3.

I know that the game is still in Beta and still needs polishing, but I found the core of the game bad.

I remember the beta of Diablo 3, it was awesome, it had left me wanting more. Diablo 4’s beta makes me afraid, I hope that nowadays Blizzard is not gonna butcher another of its franchises.

We’ll probably try the game in its final state, but the beta has set my expectations very low.

Dragonflight Hype

Image via @KatieDev on Twitter

The new expansion releases in less than 2 weeks, so there’s no time to waste.

The Search For A New Main WoW Character

For a few months, we’ve been using all our gaming time trying to decide which class could replace our Hunter as main characters. Here’s a little break down of our research:

Elemental Shaman: You like casting Chain Lightning? Because you have to cast it 12263737 times/hour which makes it very dull.

Balance Druid: The spec we’ve tried the most. It could have been nice, wouldn’t it be for eclipse… We both get very nervous after a few hours keeping track of the short duration dots, full moon/mushrooms, astral energy and being in the right eclipse. I thought that it would all become muscle memory. It doesn’t.

Shadow Priest: In dungeons, in raids or in the open world, the game has become an AOE fest. So, having to use Mind Sear as main AOE ability easily becomes easily frustrating. Too bad, we really enjoyed this one.

Destruction Warlock: The lack of mobility, in and out of combat is very frustrating. Burning Rush isn’t enough, if you even talent in it.

All those hours spent trying other classes were kind of hardhat they made us realise how much we enjoy our BM hunters. I guess that using the same rotation (give our take a few minor changes) for a decade becomes a bit old at times, but it remains the most fun for almost every aspect of the game. So, we’ll keep maining our hunters in Dragonflight, without any doubts in our heads.

WoW’s 18th Anniversary

Happy Birthday to the best game ever created! I’ve been playing it for more than 16 years and I can’t imagine a world without it anymore. Sharing the adventure with Soforah is also one of the best thing ever.

Unfortunately, the celebratory event isn’t too fun. It could have been if these damn Dragons would chain stun us until oblivion. So, event complete, let’s move on.

Dragonflight’s Pre-Launch

The first phase was filled with classes and specs experiments (hundred of hours). The new talent trees are great but we’ll only get to experience the real thing when we’ll be 70 and geared.

The second phase got us really hyped for Dragonflight. We’ve created two Drachtyr (even though we don’t plan on playing it) and we went through their starting zone. It gave us a taste of the Dragon Isles which really look awesome! The pre-launch event is also pretty great, we especially enjoy the revisited version of Uldaman and the huge chaos surrounding hundreds of players simultaneously farming the primal invasions. Is it me or it feels less laggy than Shadowland’s pre-launch event?

From A to Zereth

After the fun we had completing the “Breaking the Chains” meta achievement for Korthia, Sardoken and I started working on the one for Zereth Mortis, “From A to Zereth”.

Until now, we’ve downed all the elusive rares, found all the remaining treasures,… the only thing left on the list is to reach exalted with The Enlightened. Since this is fairly easy by just doing world quests and killing rares, it’ll happen soon. 

Compared to other meta achievements (think BfA) the Shadowlands ones are pretty easy and fun. The only part that I thought would be hard to get was “Dune Dominance”, even that was completed in the blink of an eye. The screenshot below portrays perfectly what I love in WoW, the huge amount of people for one rare. What a lightshow! I hope this’ll never change!

Right now, I’m searching for all the schematics for protoform synthesis to craft all Zereth Mortis’ pets and mounts. Before Dragonflight comes out, I want to have completed all that Shadowlands has to offer. We need a lot of special materials to craft protoform creatures, and even these are fun to farm. The LFG tool always has farm groups up to get Genesis Motes, and they drop fairly easy.  I think we’ll still be spending quite some time in this zone, if not for the crafting, there are also other fun achievements to complete like “Apocopocolypse Now”.

Now, if the summer heat would calm down again, that would be great. I have other places to be than in my living room. Even though, having more time to work on the blog is a great thing.

We’ll be there!

That’s right, we’ve done it! We’ve purchased Dragonflight.

At first, we were really not hyped, the announcement was underwhelming (those scripted discussions around a table, yuk!), the Drachtyr looked (and still do) ugly and we didn’t catch anything exciting.

During the last months, we’ve learned more about the new zones, dragon flying, the extra mat stash, the new UI and the return of the Kalu’aks. Now, the hype is real.

Also, don’t think that we could ever skip a World of Warcraft expansion, especially if it’s set to be released by the end of the year. Christmas trees and new stories really make the best time of the year.

See you in the Dragon Isles!

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