So Tired. So, So Tired.

There’s been a lot of stress in my life lately, but I’ve found that WoW does not provide the escape or the entertainment that it used to.  At some point, I stopped having fun, and I started having a routine instead.  Sure, there have been moments here and there, but things just don’t seem hilarious the way they once did.  My gametime feels … tedious.

Bear-ly Making It How WoW feels lately ...

Bear-ly Making It
How WoW feels lately …

More blah blah blah after the cut!

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Have Some More Opinion You Didn’t Need!

I’ve spent a long time thinking about the topic of flying.  I’ve railed against substandard ride quality.  It is, of course, time for yet more!

Some say flying is an ability we never should have had.  It narrowed our view of the world, made surviving in the world too easy.  It reduced player connection to Azeroth.  In the interview, a typical quest goal was mentioned in which the player must rescue some trapped NPC.  That player was once forced to “interact” with the world by killing his or her way to the NPC and back out again*.  Flying enabled that same player to drop in on top of the NPC, free it, then fly out again.

/violin We can't put the cat in the bag, but we can take the cat away from you.

/violin
We can’t put the cat back in the bag, but we can take the cat away from you.

Yes, flying made it easier and more convenient to get from Point A to Point B – and that very convenience, though apparently detrimental to game enjoyment, was part of why I was so involved in the game even when I didn’t necessarily care for the content.  Being involved was a large part of why I enjoyed the game – but it’s important to note that for me, this meant being involved with goals of my own choosing, which usually wasn’t slowly grinding my way through masses of mobs to have a “conversation” with an NPC I’d probably never see again.

Flying seems like the low-hanging fruit that’s easier to get rid of than it is to figure out why, exactly, I don’t give a flip about the NPC as a character, and instead see the NPC solely as a required step towards completing an objective.  Or, perhaps, why we’ve chosen and kept certain behaviors for mobs – they can look square at me while I’m landing on top of the NPC’s cage, but they do nothing about it if I’m beyond a certain distance.

Frankly, I haven’t been interested in WoW’s plot for a very long time, and I dropped raiding because the time required was more than my schedule could handle.  Running LFR and acquiring transmog gear became my primary activities in Azeroth, and as a result, I was traveling between multiple locations in different expansions quite frequently.  Flying and portals made that level of activity doable for me.

Without flying, I tend to lose steam.  I don’t care that much about this patch objective or that one, but I know I should probably go do it.  So let’s see, which is the closest flight path again?  Okay, if I go there (wait, do I have that one?  Yes, thank goodness, I do), it’s going to take me [insert amount of time here] to get from here to there, and then I’m gonna have to run around [insert problem like level 100 elite mobs or mountains here] … yeah, you know what?  I’d rather sit in my garrison.  I’m going to alt tab and read blogs while I’m stuck on the flight path anyway.**

But I keep getting drawn back to how the designers seem to think the world should feel more dangerous, and how they think flying is one of the primary culprits behind a staid experience.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t need the world to feel that way, because it hasn’t for ages. I’d rather somebody figure out how to give Aggra a better role instead of just dumping her in Nagrand rather unexpectedly, like, “Oh hey, you THOUGHT we forgot her but YOU’RE WRONG.  Just ignore the fact she doesn’t do much.”  I’d personally bake cakes or something if I could have a plot line devoted to a topic other than more manly orcs.  Hell, I’d totally go for a goblin-themed patch!  (I know I’m in the minority with that one.)

THIS ORC-CENTRIC FOCUS IS UNFAIR Goblin expac forever!!  Sassy Hardwrench for Warchief 2016!!

THIS ORC-CENTRIC FOCUS IS UNFAIR
Goblin expac forever!! Sassy Hardwrench for Warchief 2016!!

I don’t think flying was the criminal responsible for sapping my ability to “immerse” myself in a fictional environment, either.  For me, the problem lies in how I have become a jaded old fart.  Time has passed and my skill level with games in general has increased as a result.  I’ve been running from killer monsters in MMOs and other games for years now, and I’m long past the point where mobs actually evoke terror.  Giant killer murdersheep in FFXI used to scare the bejeesus out of me and I would sprint from zone portal to zone portal – if I survived the initial encounter.  Now, meh.  Giant killer murder-anythings are old news (unless the ToT snails make a comeback).  Even crap that I know to be dangerous to my character’s well-being (thanks to my poor gear or low DPS ability on an alt) doesn’t frighten me like “the world” in games did when I first got my N64 and was freaking out about a whole extra dimension.  It’s just too familiar.

No, “dangerous” isn’t the feeling I get when I’m out and about trying to navigate a world without flying.  An MMORPG which keeps me on the ground with the aim of making things more realistic, dangerous, immersive, or what have you, feels mostly tedious.  I’ve done my duty, so to speak, walking from one end of the world to another in other games, years past.  I’ve waited for airships and zeppelins, taken slow boats across seas, and ridden chocobos and hawkstriders, and of course, all uphill in the snow both ways back in vanilla blah blah blah.

True, a lack of flying in and of itself isn’t necessarily stopping me from where I want to go.  Okay, so I run into some mountain cliff and I can find no obvious path to descend – I’ve got no problem throwing myself off the edge.  I run back to my corpse, then continue onward.  Or let’s say I run into elite mobs, get my ass kicked, and I die.  While I would prefer to make it alive, rinse-and-repeat corpse runs will do trick in a pinch.

Because I am jaded by time and familiar with how environment mechanics typically work in MMORPGs, there are usually two things that will stop me from getting somewhere – the amount of time taken by a particular activity, and the balance between effort spent and the reward for that effort.

Time I spend on the ground running like hell is fine in and of itself, but it’s time spent.  Time I spend fighting or dying to stuff that’s knocked me from my mount is also fine in and of itself, but again, it’s time spent.  After a point, I’m simply out of time to play the game, whether I’ve gotten to my destination or not.  I’d rather spend more time at my destination than getting there.

And if I’m running towards something I really really want, that’s one thing.  If I’m running towards something that I know I kinda sorta should do, but don’t really give a crap about, then that’s something else.  I’m simply going to have less tolerance for using my time on running like hell/dying/difficult terrain because the point at which it’s no longer worth it comes along much sooner.

So of course I’m going to fly to rescue that NPC.  Take flying away, and I’ll still find a way to minimize the effort I must put in.  If I’m on a rogue, I’m going to stealth.  I might use an invis pot if I have one available.  I might try to make a run for it, or I might creep around the entire questing area if it will reduce the number of mobs I must fight.  Being human and being stupid, I may even spend more effort trying to do it my way than I would’ve spent if I’d just done it the way it was designed.

* So if they want this to be a thing again, it seems to me like it would be awfully nice if they removed that EXP penalty they added a while back for killing a bunch of the same mobs in a row.  It was intended to stop bots from grinding, or something like that.

** If you want to talk about immersion and interaction with the game, I’d give players control by giving them flight and remove boring flight paths!

Going Greener

Prinnie: Okay, so, we’re going to try this green fire business.  It’s gotten easier thanks to gear, but rest assured – it will still be a long, tedious process, filled with immense challenge and requiring exact timing!

Ignitine: I’m not worried.

Prinnie: Are you ever?

Ignitine: No, actually.  Is that a problem?

We Got a Badass Over Here Of course you do.  She's a goblin warlock.

We Got a Badass Over Here
Of course you do. She’s a goblin warlock.

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Prinnie’s Useless Horde Bodyguard Guide

Who Would DO Such a Thing Who, indeed.

Who Would DO Such a Thing
Who, indeed.

Name: Aeda Brightdawn
Class: Derplock
Semi-Bonus: An infernal summoned whenever she feels like it
Bonus: You can summon a party member!

Comments: Let’s be clear here – Aeda’s got some sorta ambition problem, and she likes to bite off way more than she can chew.  Despite being a clothie without a minion of her own, she tries to tank everything.  She will taunt off legit tanks who can actually tank.  If somebody is fighting mobs near you, she will randomly leap over there and taunt all that too, regardless of whether or not that’s a smart move.  She will taunt anything and everything, also with complete disregard to whether or not she actually stands a snowball’s chance in hell against it.  Just the other day, I joined a group to kill Tarlna the Ageless, and you guessed it – Aeda tried tanking her, too.  Yeah, no, Aeda.  Not happening.

Let's Practice "No" Repeat after me!  "NO!  NO!  NO!"

Let’s Practice “No”
Repeat after me! “NO! NO! NO!”

Prinnierating: Nope.  Would not use again.


Best Picture I Had Sorry, Leo.

Best Picture I Had
Sorry, Leo.

Name: Leorajh
Class: Catman
Semi-Bonus: An actually bloody-looking Bloodlust even if you don’t need it
Bonus: A command table, anywhere!

Comments: Extra extra bonus: if you are almost totally dead, he’ll cast the dinkiest Chain Heal ever.  Chances are it won’t actually be super helpful if you’re getting smashed to pieces by a bazillion adds (that would make him unfairly better than the rest), but hey, at least you feel like he’s trying to be supportive.  Leo here likes the Sun Rock, learning, and long walks around your Garrison on patrol.  Now that I’ve maxed out rep with him, I’m starting to feel bad about the lack of learning opportunities he gets, and I’m avoiding him at all costs.

Prinnierating: Okay, until you suddenly realize you’re not cut out to teach anybody anything about the world.


Ishaal and the Kitchen Sink The sink is in my bag.

Ishaal and the Kitchen Sink
The sink is in my bag.

Name: Talonpriest Ishaal
Class: Shadow Priest
Semi-Bonus: Not being crazy, I think
Bonus: Ishaal has a side contract with United Draenor Mail Service, so neither sleet, nor snow, nor a hail of orcs will stop you from getting your mail, no matter where you stand

Comments: At first, it seemed like the worst thing was going through all of Spires of Arak to get Ishaal, but then I realized it wasn’t that bad, since I needed the cash more than I hated the repetition.  In the end, I saw one big problem: bodyguards in general when combined with a pet-based class played by someone who is also into pet battling and who may also be joined at any given moment by quest-based NPCs.  Let’s see, there’s me, there’s my hunter pet, there’s my battle pet, there’s Rexxar’s bird, there’s my bird bodyguard and his enormous mount, and sometimes he summons a thingiethenameofwhichIforget too!

Prinnierating:  Dude is almost sane.  If you’ve suffered through max reputation with Aeda, Ishaal seems almost forgettable – and that’s good.


So Freaking Tall Seriously, I can't even see my mog when questing.

So Freaking Tall
Seriously, I can’t even see my mog when questing.

Name: Tormmok
Class: Warrior
Semi-Bonus: I don’t know, haven’t gotten that far
Bonus: Repairs, anywhere in Draenor, anytime

Comments: Tormmok is super close to a flight path and as a result he’s ridiculously easy to get, but even so, he happens to be standing nowhere in particular, which means you won’t run into him unless you’re specifically looking for him.  I’ve gone through Gorgrond four times now, and only the last time did I know where to look.  Tormmok has almost disturbingly defined nipples.  Seriously.  Whenever you look at him, he seems faceless thanks to the helm, so your eyes are drawn unwillingly ever downward, where they make themselves quite obvious.  New idea for a feature: TRANSMOG FOR BODYGUARDS.

Oh. You can put those away now, Tormmok.

Oh.
You can put those away now, Tormmok.

In other news, Tormmok is EXTREMELY TALL (well, compared to a goblin at least), and thus I keep on clicking on him rather than the NPC or item I actually want to interact with.

Prinnierating: He’d be better if he would stand a little farther to one side so I can see NPCs again.  [EDIT: Just read the patch notes and saw “A vendor at the Barracks now sells an item that allows a character to shrink their Bodyguards for 60 minutes.”  PERFECT.]


Vivianne ... Look Up "Context" Eels don't have estates, unless there's an entire eel civilization we've just wiped out.

Vivianne … Look Up “Context”
Eels don’t have estates, unless there’s an entire eel civilization we’ve just wiped out.

Name: Vivianne
Class: Confused Mage
Semi-Bonus: ZOMG METEORS!!! (And a Cauterize should you be near death)
Bonus: A portal back to your Garrison!

Comments: Vivianne is chatty to the point of being somewhat irritating (like pretty much every NPC ever in WoD).  We were in Nagrand one day when she went totally bonkers on me and wouldn’t stop saying the same things over and over and over, even when we were just standing there.  Reloading did nothing, so it turned awkward.  I didn’t know whether I should scream back or do the good ol’ polite smile-and-nod while privately hoping she’d get herself together sometime soon.  Suffice it to say, the experience made me feel a bit iffy on Vivianne.  Still, lots of people loooooooove her sayings, so I guess I’m the only one she’s done that to.

Also, p.s., on the “Vivianne, what are you smoking?” front, her phrases aren’t necessarily, uh, applicable to the mob in question (see image, above).

Vivianne, Vivacious To this day I do not know what set her off.

Vivianne, Vivacious
To this day I do not know what set her off.

Prinnierating: Okay, as long as she doesn’t lose it.

 

 

I Give Up (on Tokens, Not in General)

Last week, Ignitine was still wearing a quest robe (item level was like, 603 or something), and what I wanted more than anything was a robe that was just a little less embarrassing – that one that Tectus drops would fit the bill real well.  Unfortunately, last week’s LFR loot results were as follows:

Kargath Bladefist: Shoes I already had
Everybody else: Gold

You Shall Not Haz Oh.  Okay den.

You Shall Not Haz
Oh. Okay den.

I didn’t have any extra rolls, because one of the challenges altoholics have is how we never seem to have quite enough of any one resource to get the full three tokens.  Ignitine is still maxing out her garrison buildings, so she’s low on both Garrison Resources and gold (for eff’s sake, why are those plans so expensive!?), and I don’t really PvP unless there’s that ONE perfect transmog item I NEED that cannot be substituted for anything else.  But by golly, I wanted to up Ignitine’s gear score and I was fixated on that awful robe, so I finally scraped together enough gold and got myself a shiny token.  SWEET, I GOT A TOKEN.  TIME TO RUN LFR AGAIN.

Ready Check for Murder Ok, ok, so this is a dungeon ready check and not one for LFR, but I found it on Pinterest and was like, IT'S PERFECT FOR THIS

Ready Check for Murder
Ok, ok, so this is a dungeon ready check and not one for LFR, but I found it on Pinterest and was like, IT’S PERFECT FOR THIS (despite the pixelation)

The queue finally pops, but then we wipe because they pulled all the trash without tanks.  Okay.  I’m not upset yet.  I’m not gonna leave, I really want to try for that freaking robe.  That was just a derp, really, and you gotta assume that LFR is gonna derp (despite how easy it is these days). We get Tectus down, and it’s time for my extra roll squee!

Given the title of this post, I’m sure you know the result.

BUT LO!  What’s this!?  My followers got a rare mission for a single token!  SQUEE!  ANOTHER CHANCE!  TIME TO DO IT AGAIN!

The queue pops, and we make it to Tectus without wiping.  Alas, the tank pulls Tectus too far out of the area and resets him at about 35%.  Okay.  I’m not upset yet.  I’m not gonna leave, I really want to try for that freaking robe.  We get Tectus down, and it’s time for my extra roll squee!

Yes.  Gold again.

Given that RNG and I are now obviously estranged, this is not a new problem for me.  I realize they can’t just hand us loot, or people would moan about LFR being even more of a gift-giving trainwreck than it already is.  But it’s like, dude, for the time I put into identifying that low piece of gear as THE PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED, getting the extra token, queueueueueing and killing the boss all the while getting my hopes up that the SOLUTION IS AT HAND – and repeating the whole shebang on multiple alts – that gold just sucks.

After cursing the name of RNG through Mogu’shan Vaults, Heart of Fear, Terrace of Endless Spring, Throne of Thunder and Siege of Orgrimmar, I believe I have enough experience to conclude that the only real protection against dashed hopes is to stop inviting hope in the first place – so no more tokens for me!  If they happen to come my way via follower mission, that’s fine.  But I’m sure as hell not going to actively pursue getting three tokens per week.  The satisfaction of knowing that I did everything possible to improve my gear is nothing compared to the annoyance of knowing I did everything within my power and still ended up with no gear to show for it.

 

 

(p.s., I think I rather preferred the ubiquitous bags that you opened rather than looting the bosses, for two reasons – one, you can open on the run, which is important in LFR, and two, you had a small chance of random crap like belts and pets that made the gold seem somehow less stupid.)