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Well this was a nice surprise to see once my short lived hiatus from WoW ended. Blizz decided to add a mount reward for killing Heroic Archimonde. I should say, it's in the form of a quest rather than a drop, but it's still nice to have. The quest is nothing more than talking to an npc once the killing is done, which is a shame. I'd have liked to see a longer drawn out quest for such a nice mount. Regardless, my mount count is now at 132 with the help of my new trusted Reins of the Grove Warden. Just in time for the holidays.

Reins of the Grove Warden

The only new or in development MMORPG anywhere on my radar continues to be Pantheon. From a concept standpoint, it seems to scratch all my itches in all the rights spots. An old school themed and group focused rpg is what i've been craving for a while now. Unfortunately every new game touting any sort of similar elements all seem to be relying or focusing on PVP. I've said this to be a mistake for a while and will continue to feel that way. Pantheon seems to be the only one of these games on the horizon focusing on group PVE as it's foundation and this excites me. I do worry though.

One of my fears of an old school group focused MMO is class and role rigidity. I'm all for strict and defined class roles as i feel they make for greater interdependence. This is really important for a group focused game such as the one Pantheon is attempting to create. Everyone has a specific role and they stick to it for better group synergy. What i'm not for, however, is forcing certain roles onto players based on their class selection. I like having the option to choose my role.

This is actually tricky the more i think about it because certain classes scream out for certain roles. No need to look any further than the Cleric to understand what i mean. Everyone i'm sure understands that playing a Cleric means healing and playing a Rogue means DPS. Though there are exceptions, i think overall players understand their roles with those classes. I'm more concerned about the classes that have had multiple roles in other MMO's. The hybrids if you will.

My archetype of choice has always been the plate wearing dps class. More specifically, the disease spreading, undead manipulating, blood curdling Death Knight/Shadow Knight/Dark Knight archetype. I enjoy playing these classes to their fullest potential as the damage dealing machines that i think they are. This is why i fear i'll be relegated to a role i don't enjoy if i want to play these classes in Pantheon. Dire Lord seems to be the DK/SK variant and i worry they'll be stuck on tank duties.

Now just to be clear, this hasn't been directly said by anyone working on the game as far as i know. If it has then please let me know so i can provide better feedback on this issue. It's more of a fear i have from reading the official forums, which i know can be a mixed bag of crazy and depressing. I could just be reading into more than is even there at this point, but it's still a valid concern i have as the development of the game moves forward. 

I see other options class wise i could possibly pursue if my fears are right, but they're all plate wearing ones as well. Are all of them destined to be stuck in a tank role and nothing else? I really hope not because that would definitely shatter my hopes for what this game could potentially be in the future. For all i know, i could be completely off base. At least i hope i am. I'm anxiously awaiting more news.

My most recent mount came as a consolation prize for finishing my first ever legendary weapon quest. Yes i'm of course talking about Shadowmourne. I know it's five or six years late but i've only been playing for two so it's still an accomplishment for me. If it wasn't for the Timewalking dungeons, i probably wouldn't have even bothered so hurray for those. Since this is considered the best weapon for those dungeons to and through Wrath, i of course had to have it. My typical terrible luck came into play as well as a two month break from the game, but it's finally done. I can now be considered a real DK.


With the completion of that quest line, i also got a few toys from follow up quests. One of them is my newest mount, Reins of the Crimson Deathcharger. I actually wasn't even aware this was an added reward for completion so it was a rather nice surprise when i turned it in. I dare say i maybe would have finished this a few months ago had i known, but oh well. Along with the mount came a new tabard as well. Tabard of the Lightbringer not only looks amazing but just happens to fit the color scheme of my transmog perfectly. It was meant to be! A new weapon, mount, and tabard in one evening is not too shabby.

Shadowmourne & Tabard of the Lightbringer

Reins of the Crimson Deathcharger

I shouldn't be shocked that Blizzard has once again taken a system another MMO does better and implement their own version. What bothers me the most is that it took this damn long. I'm of course talking about the revamped transmog system coming with Legion. One that i've personally been begging for since i started playing the game. That of course wasn't that long ago but my statement stands. WoW's wardrobe feature needed an update and boy are we getting one finally.

I thought Rift raised the bar back in 2011 with their outfit system. It was a step up from the Lord of the Rings Online system as well as the EQ2 wardrobe system. The best aspect of it was the ability to save multiple sets of appearance gear in different slots that could be clicked on at any time. No need to run to an NPC and overwrite a piece of gear you had equipped at the time. This not only made it simpler to customize a character but also freed up a lot of inventory space in the process. 

That inventory space is something i, and i'm sure everyone else, has been fighting for a while now in WoW. The majority of my bank space is taken up by armor sets and weapons i'm only holding for appearance. Void storage remedied that a little but that thing filled up in no time as well. Blizzard has decided to fix that issue by pretty much copying GW2's wardrobe storage system. One that i've absolutely been in love with since i returned to the game not too long ago.

It essentially gives us players a menu with every piece of armor and weapon skin in the game. Pieces that we've acquired become unlocked skins that we can then use for appearance at our convenience. The original piece of gear can be salvaged for material, vendored, or deleted. No need to fill up bank space with unwanted clutter. Everything's in one neat place all organized for us. I'm happy to see this coming to WoW. Now if Blizzard would stop slacking and also borrow GW2's dye system, then i'd be set. Put whatever twist you want on it Blizz, just implement a dye system already.

A gamer, to me, is someone that's on top of the hottest new releases and dabbles in lots of different genres. Someone that has one or maybe two consoles and a fairly large PC library on Steam. Perhaps someone that's constantly talking about having to get through a long list of backlogged games he's been meaning to catch up on. That to me constitutes someone i'd consider a gamer. In my eyes, i'm not one of these people. At least not any longer.

I used to be a gamer back in my younger days. I was raised on consoles back in the 80's in an era i often like to refer to as the Nintendo generation. I had my subscription to Nintendo Power and would run down to the magazine shop to catch a glimpse of the new Gamepro. I owned an NES before stepping up to the much maligned Turbo Grafx 16 system, which i loved. Eventually those systems led to the SNES which then led to the amazing Playstation. My last console before stepping up to PC was the PS2. This was also the last time i'd maybe argue that i was a gamer.

Once i finally graduated up to the PC, i discovered MMO's. That was the turning point for me. The point that i stopped being a gamer. The point that i stopped caring about other games and genres. For me it was all about the social aspects. Playing with others as opposed to against them changed my perception of games. I could accomplish so much more with the help of others that going back to any other genre was not an option. I was hooked and still am hooked. For all their faults, i love everything about MMORPG's. I stress the "rpg" part on the end as to not be confused with every damn co-op being considered an MMO these days.

It hasn't been all rainbows and unicorns though. I seem to be a dying breed. At least that's how i perceive my situation. You see, i'm a player that likes to invest a lot of time in this genre and in people i like to play it with. I don't like to bounce around games. I don't play shooters and i despise MOBA's. I don't disappear for a month when a new game releases. I also don't like the raid logger mentality of only logging in during raiding hours and then disappearing the rest of the week. I like to play one MMO and stick with it for as long as i can still find enjoyment.

That enjoyment has decreased the last few years. It's been tougher and tougher to find like minded individuals such as myself. Players don't seem to want to stick with anything anymore. I guess i don't blame them with all the options out there. I do understand, i really do. I just don't care. I know there are people out there that feel the same way as i do. Hell i just met one recently. My goal is to find an entire guild of players that feel the same as i do. Sure it seems like it would be impossible and often times i become discouraged in the process, but i know how rewarding it'll be. I'll keep chugging along with my non gamer self in the meantime. 

My final piece of ascended armor has at long last been crafted. I'm now officially fully ascended and relieved to be so. While most of my materials were acquired through the ever exciting farming method, many of my remaining bits and pieces came thanks to the price drop in cloth materials from the auction house. That damn silk cloth was a bummer prior to the expansion but has leveled off to an affordable price thanks to more frequent drops. I've sure noticed my material storage stocking up on cloth these past few weeks.

Guild Wars 2

I'm fairly happy with the soldiers stats i decided to go with. I gained around 4k health and 600 armor but lost a bit of crit damage in the process. That was a compromise i was willing to make but many others may not have been. I'm fine with that because it fits my playstyle much better. Damage for survivability helps me not only in the new zones while i explore but also fits perfectly should i choose to hop in some WvW. Not being a fan of glass cannon builds helped my decision tremendously as well.

That's not to say i'm completely done with all of my crafting. My next goal is to make myself an offhand axe to go with my main hand sword. Following that with a staff at some point down the road as well as a mace to finish off all my out of water weapons. It'll be a while though since i currently can't afford the recipes for any of those yet! Those damn laurels really go fast when you don't have a guild and discounted accessories. In due time though.

It's been a rather eventful week for me following the release of Heart of Thorns. My decision to switch mains form thief to revenant put a pretty large dent in my time in the new zones. Actually, i would say i spent around 95% of my time in old zones trying to acquire skill points to unlock everything on revenant. So much so that i went and got every single one of them, which took forever. It wasn't all bad since i got to see the wonderful zones i hadn't visited in years, but it detracted away from the expansion quite a bit. In the end i didn't mind it.

Now, what's the first thing a newly leveled revenant does? Why he crafts himself a legendary weapon of course! A Bolt to be more specific. One that i had been working on before i quit a few years ago. The majority of the materials i had already stockpiled in my bank with the exception of the ones requiring artificing which i didn't have leveled. I took the opportunity to remedy that while using it to level my revenant once all my boost were consumed. The tricky part was the precursor which took a bit of a price hit in my favor due to the expansion. That allowed me to be able to afford the last piece of the pie.

I'm now an official owner of a Bolt. The sword takes my grand total to a whopping two legendaries. I know this isn't a lot compared to most players but i'm still happy with them. It's a bit unfortunate i won't be seeing my shortbow for a while since i can't use it on revenant. Hopefully down the line my weapon sets get updated and expanded so i can make full use of all of them. Perhaps the new legendaries grab my attention and i can start working on one of them next. For now, i'll be running around electrocuting myself.

I've been a bit busy playing catchup with my gear in preparation for Heart of Thorns launch in a few days. Having zero pieces of ascended gear other than my rings, amulet, and back piece upon my return had me working overtime to try and acquire as many as i could before Friday's launch. Thankfully, as annoying and time consuming as this has been, the gear is account bound. I'll be able to hand it over to my Revenant once he dings 80.

Guild Wars 2

I've not managed to get a full set yet thanks to the horrible time gating on every piece, but i'm getting there. Silk cloth has been another road block thanks to every piece requiring at least 300 of those bastards. It could be worse and i could be making cloth armor, which requires even more, but i'm a plate wearer at heart. I'm currently only missing leg and shoulder pieces for my full armor set.

Bucking the trend even further, i decided to go with a Soldier's set rather than Berserker for my armor. I bounced back and forth on this issue for a while, even considering Valkyrie, but i settled on the extra vitality and toughness that Soldier's provides. Given the already high crit rate and perma fury Rev already has, i didn't see the need for more. I'm happy with the extra survivability as well as the option to tank. All my accessories and weapons are already Berserker's anyway.

Guild Wars 2

Current armor set looks like this:

Current weapons look like this:

I'd like to get a staff, 2-hand hammer, and an offhand axe crafted as well. Those will come once i finish my armor and will cover all the available weapons Rev has access to. Once those are completed, i'll be ready to roll. I'm actually not that far off but there's still a lot of materials i need and the bloody 24 hour cooldown on these components will slow me down. Regardless, i'm looking better than i was a month ago. Bring on HoT!

I've made it no secret that i'm excited about raids coming to GW2. One of the main reasons i stopped playing the game a few years ago was due to their absence. What actually got me interested in GW2 from the start was the actual absence of said raids ironically. The more i played the game, the more i missed not only the larger group pve environments that raids bring but also the combat mechanics involved with them - the trinity. I moved over to a game that gave me that experience.

I also understand why so many are hesitant and downright hostile towards raids coming to GW2. After all, this game was billed as different and lots of players, myself included, came to it to get away from raids and everything that usually entails. I personally know people that will probably stop playing the game once the expansion hits. While i believe this to be a huge overreaction i do understand their concerns. No one likes change, but in this case, change is good in my opinion. As long as it's handled better than my previous experience.

The group pve in GW2 was stale and rather dull from the start. Once players figured out how to game the system by bringing nothing but pure dps built characters, the content became trivial. I mean why deal with mechanics when you can just burn through the bosses and never encounter them? This turned dungeon runs from "explorable" to time trials. It became all about getting though the content as quickly as possible as opposed to actually clearing difficult content. This was the time i decided to depart. My favorite aspect of MMORPG's , the group content, was trivialized. I was bummed because i loved everything else about the game.

Enter Heart of Thorns and the arrival of 10-man raids. I unfortunately was unable to do any testing during this last beta weekend due to raids being down during the time i was able to actually play. I've read enough threads and watched enough kill videos to form an early opinion. There's certainly some good to be gathered from the initial raid testing, but as with anything new, there's some bad as well. I'm linking a kill video of the first boss kill from a healing Druid's point of view for anyone interested on how healing will work in the expansion.

The Good

It looks like threat is a real thing finally. Well it always was but now it's more controllable and less random. This first boss appears to attack and stay on the player with the most toughness and possibly highest armor value. I've been asking for this forever and it's nice to see in action. Whether this stays true for further bosses or how threat may change is unknown.

Another obvious one is the existence of an actual healer. This is made mandatory by a mechanic that pulses out steady raid wide unavoidable damage. Without an actual healer, i don't believe the raid could sustain themselves for more than a few seconds. Nor should they be able to in all honesty. This is basic raid stuff here and it's nice to see finally implemented.

Despite not showing up in this video due to a beta bug is the existence of new raid frames. Oh how i begged for something like this at launch so we could get the guild together under one group frame instead of multiple separate groups unable to stick together in large world PVP encounters. Group buffs will still be broken down by 5-man sub groups, like they used to in old school MMO's, but now we can keep track of everyone's health. This is a huge quality of life addition that will trickle down to other game modes.

Having actual mechanics to worry about rather than just stacking up and going full dps mode is also nice. Soaking lightning orbs and using knockbacks on red orbs as well as having to split the groups up for other phases will be a welcome addition for sure.

Lastly, having the group raid size set to ten is also a plus for me. I've dealt enough with the logistics of having to not only field but maintain a 20-man roster that i don't want to do it again. While i personally prefer the larger raid size, it's been nothing but a headache for me so i welcome the smaller format. It's more intimate and that's the way i like it. I'm not a fan of anything smaller so this hits the sweet spot for me.

The Bad

The zerker meta is not dead. As much as i hoped the introduction of more difficult content would deter guilds from running nothing but dps gear, it seems that raids might just encourage it more. Tight enrage timers will do that of course. I expect this to possibly change for other bosses so it's not all a loss just yet.

Group diversity as far as classes go is also a concern after this first boss. Some classes are just flat out better than others for certain scenarios. In this case it seems stacking condition damage Engineers makes the fight much easier to deal with. Not only is the boss immune to physical damage at one point but bringing condition Engineers also allows for more ranged and mobile damage when dealing with other mechanics. Again, this is just one encounter and i expect this to change boss by boss.

Piling on the diversity train here, i also have to mention the role breakdown. This group used one healer and nine dps with one dps having a bit more armor to tank the boss. This to me is a horrible ratio. I'd have liked to see something more traditional such as two tanks and two healers with the rest being dps. The balance for this first boss as far as role diversity goes is terrible. I'm hoping this is just to introduce players to how fights will work and the later bosses will encourage many more roles. I can't possibly imagine Anet is happy with more dps stacking.

Finally, ground and spell particles are off the charts. This was to be expected of course since they're a jumbled mess in open world content as well. Unfortunately in raids, being able to see the ground and whether or not you're standing in something bad is way more crucial. A slider has been needed to turn down other players spells for quite some time. Hopefully the feedback Anet has been getting about this finally gets addressed and we get this much needed option.


All in all i thing this is a good beginning to raiding in GW2. How the future bosses in this first raid expand mechanically from the first boss will determine how successful this new form of endgame can be moving forward. Can Anet make interesting bosses within their combat system? Only they know for now but this is a good start. It's certainly much better group PVE content than what we've had for the last 3 years. I'm remaining positive for now with some concerns of course.

Wooden Potatoes always does a fabulous job with his GW2 videos and his raiding feedback one is no exception. He goes into much more detail having had the chance to actually test. It's definitely a good watch for anyone interested. I share many of his concerns as well has likes.

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