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Snory & Hoofty & Poofty

Throughout the years, I’ve swapped factions and races. So, the time has come to re-introduce my hunter as she is nowadays.

Her name is Snory, she’s a Void Elf BM Hunter on the EU server Argent Dawn. You can follow this link to visit her armory page and better see her transmog gear.

I’ve been mainly playing this character for all post-Cataclysm expansions and I can say that Beast Mastery is my favorite hunter specialisation. The rotation makes sense, it’s fast, it’s ranged and it remains fun even when a fight requires to move a lot. It’s a real jack of all trade since you can easily top the meters in group content (LFR hero lol) and solo pretty much anything in the game.

Her professions are Mining and Engineering, which explains why she’s transmogrified as “techno” Hunter with Mimiron’s Repeater as weapon. my greatest wish in the game would be to get Mimiron’s Head as mount to complete her style (yep, back to Ulduar).

My total /played time with my hunter is over 152 days, which means 3642 hours and that’s only one of my characters. I could calculate my total WoW /played time, but some things are better left unknown…

Pet Battle World Quests: Shadowlands

Since we’re trying to complete each day all the Pet Battle World Quests that award Polished Pet Charms, I have created a page with all the pet battle strategies that Soforah and I use in Shadowlands. They are not always the most optimal strategies, but they work even with a rooster of not-so-rare pets. So far, all the battles from Shadowlands are covered and I’ll soon add the strategies for BFA. That page is accessible via the “Links” menu located in the brand new top bar of the blog (ooh, shiny).

Patch 9.1.5. Makes Me Happy

Soforah and I are having a blast in Shadowlands. Between the Anima hunt, the mushroom quests, Torghast, the covenant upgrades and Korthia, our daily routine is really fun and diverse. However, reading the developer update made us very excited for the things to come. I’m also glad that Blizzard continues to be the kind of developer who listens to the feedback, despite the negative vibe spread by the toxic community.

Well, that’s a lot, but what makes me really happy is:

  • 21 new soul shapes (mostly critters), I wanna be a squirrel and a cat;
  • Soloable Islands expeditions (we didn’t give it enough love during BFA);
  • Recyclable Shadowlands legendaries (bye bye boots, hello pants).

Also, I’ve already re-installed Hearthstone on my phone, because there’s no way that I would miss on the gorgeous new mouse mount!

Final Fantasy XIV Feels Bad

Sometimes, you realise how good something is after you’ve tried something else… Well this is exactly what happened to us. We were a bit burned out of Shadowlands, then came the Blizzard scandal and the huge “let’s quit WoW” trend that followed. So, out of curiosity, we gave FFXIV a try.

Final Fantasy Online was released in 2010 but we’ve never felt that it was something for us. We’re not fans of anime, we don’t like their aesthetics, it doesn’t match our idea of heroic fantasy. However, the hype got us and we felt that we had to give the game a chance.

The first thing that I can say is that, if you don’t like steaks, no sauce will make you love them. Well, it’s the same with games. No matter how you look at it, Final Fantasy is, at its core, a Japanese game with anime-like graphics. But I thought that I could close my eyes, put the steak in my mouth, chew and Swallow… I was wrong!

Graphics

The first thing that prevented me from enjoying the game is the lack of details in the landscape. For example, when you walk in a desert, it’s just plain yellow, you move on a yellow flat plate that’s supposed to feel like a desert.

The lines are too straight, the buildings feel like they’ve been drawn with a pencil and a ruler. There are entire cities made out of a bunch of textured polygons stuck together that resemble houses and castles but that’s it, there’s no charm.

Music and Voices

The music is miles away from what was composed for World of Warcraft. Most WoW themes have created memories that I will remember forever (Lament of the highborn, Aldrassil, Coldridge Valley,…), while FF14 themes are tunes that I want to forget.

We started by muting the music that launches automatically every time you ride a mount. Then we muted the combat music, which makes the game feel like Pokemon. We ended up by muting the entire sound, we couldn’t take it anymore.

There’s almost no voice acting, and when there is, it sounds bad. World of Warcraft’s voice actors can pride themselves for the amazing job that they do. FFXIV voice actors should rethink their career choices. Most of the time, it sounds so ridiculous that it triggered uncontrollable laughters.

Text

Each quest comes with pages of text . If you don’t read it, the game easily becomes shallow and if you do, you end up reading the worst literature that I’ve ever read in my entire life. The localization team apparently decided to go for some “old English” style, the results is a annoying to read, and there’s a lot of it.

Dungeons

Honestly, how can anyone find FF14’s dungeons good? Their design is uncharacteristic and the bosses are uncharismatic.

If you wanna see what I’m talking about, you could compare two starting dungeons from both games: The Deadmines (WoW) and The Copperbell Mines (FFXIV), the difference of quality is so huge, it’s embarrassing.

Gameplay

From the start, killing mobs in WoW feels amazing. Whether you hit them with a huge stick or you curse them from afar, WoW’s gameplay is smooth, fast and addictive.

FF14’s gameplay, when you get to experience it (between the hours of text reading), feels clunky. You will often read that you have to wait the last levels to experience the real gameplay of Final Fantasy, but no matter how many buttons are added to the action bar, weaving easily gets tedious.

Ridiculous

Everyone who plays WoW knows of Muradin, Sylvanas, Anduin, Ragnaros,… In FF14, I don’t even know the name of 2 NPCs, and if I do, it’s because they’re so ridiculous that I can’t forget them (unfortunately).

The name of the places are horrible: Limsa Lominsa (I had to google to spell it right), Costa del Sol (yep, I swear),…

I have to say something about the gear… Why even bother with dragons and castles, only to have us stumble upon a dude dressed in Summer attire? I completely breaks immersion.

Conclusion

Of course, my opinion isn’t objective but this is my blog and I don’t need to be objective. Now, I must admit that a great part of my negativity towards Final Fantasy comes from the fact that I’m not into anime. I love western fantasy, the one from Dungeons & Dragons.

But, regardless of my preference, I think that FF14 suffers of a huge lack of quality. From its gameplay, the way the lore is passed on, the graphics, the music and the overall charm, it feels like a cheap asian rip-off. Coming from WoW, it’s as if you’d be walking inside of a fake Chinese Disney park after visiting the real thing for years.

Trying FF14 has brought us some good though, it made us realize how spoiled we are with World of Warcraft. Since we’ve tried FF14, I’m even more amazed by the quality of Blizzard’s MMORPG. So many things are over-the-top, from the smooth gameplay to the music and the polished graphics, but the thing that matters most to me is the charm of the world and Eorzea doesn’t hold a candle to Azeroth.

An Eventful Week-End

We’ve built an entire winter village, we’ve received our Homepod Mini, we’ve transferred our characters to another Realm and we’ve even seen Donald Trump, beat that!

Our Winter Village

Since it was impossible to log in World of Warcraft this week-end, mostly because of the impossibly long queues, we decided to cozy up and build our Lego Winter Village while watching Christmas movies. It was amazing and I only wish that there were more buildings available or that they would re-release the holiday train (which I’d buy in a blink).

Apple Homepod Mini

We bought it to replace our Bose Mini speaker. I had no expectations and I was already resolved not to use Siri because I thought that I would feel silly talking alone in my apartment.

First, setting it up was as easy as usual: detected and recognized by all my Apple devices out of the box. The sound quality is amazing, it fills perfectly my living-room without exaggerating the bass like Bose usually does.

What I use the most is Siri. Yes, I know what I said earlier, but operating my music player without having to use anything else than my voice is incredibly useful. I can navigate through my music, set up a timer, check the time or the weather and even add songs to my playlists without having to get up.

Realm Transfer

Draenor is the most populated WoW server in the world. How does that translate in terms of gameplay: horrible lag, impossible queues and a constant feeling that you’re about to be disconnected. What do you get in return? Full cities and people everywhere, very active chats the feeling to be part of a huge community. Is it worth all the negative points? Certainly not!

We’re now less than a week from our winter holidays and I can’t picture myself waiting 2 hours in a queue only to be disconnected after an hour and returned at the back of the queue.

And the problems aren’t only related to the launch of Shadowlands, we’ve been experiencing laggy zones for months, which makes relaxing activities like fishing nerve-wrecking.

When Blizzard announced the free transfers to lower population realms, we moved our guild and all our characters to Stormscale. The cities are still filled with people, the prices at the auction house are decent and the experience is entirely lag-free, even fighting mobs or summoning our mounts feel smoother.

As the transfers were complete, I had to change the names of a few characters, since they were already used on the destination server. My Blood Elf Paladin is now named “Dumar” and I love it, it has a nice crusader ring to it.

We’ve seen Donald Trump

We were building our Lego village while watching Christmas movies, among which: Home Alone 2. As Kevin is alone in New York, he ends up at the Plaza hotel where he asks his way to no one else than Donald Trump.

Donald, you’re everywhere lately!

Two Hours Before Launch

We logged in WoW yesterday with no intention to take part in the big Shadowlands launch. We had the time to complete a few dailies/world quests, then the lag made it almost impossible to do anything else than read the chat and feel the excitement.

As we logged out, Orgrimmar was filled like I haven’t seen it in a long time. Thousands of people side by side, waiting for an event to start, this is the kind of moment that makes World of Warcraft so amazing. No other game can give such a fantastic feeling.

All we have to wait now is 10 days before we can finally join the fun.

Last Day Before Shadowlands

People are getting ready to enter Shadowlands or, at least, to participate to the huge lag-queue-bug fest that is an expansion launch. But we won’t be there. Woooooot?!

We have almost the entire month of December off and we’d like to start leveling our characters at the beginning of our holidays. So, we’ll resist the temptation, we’ll even lock our experience gain until the 4th of December.

Even if there’s something incredibly exciting to be in the first wave on release date, Sof and I have participated to too many expansion launches to still believe that the experience will be smooth. The game will truly be enjoyable 10 days later. Hopefully, by then, the queues will be smaller, the competition for the quest objectives will be less savage and the lag will be reduced.

Meanwhile, I’ll be fishing in Pandaria or killing rares in Nazjatar…

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