WoW: Next Expansion Clues

[Meznir here again, hijacking Telwyn’s blog to talk about WoW]

It’s getting to that time of [every other] year again, when World of Warcraft players are on tenterhooks to hear what the next expansion will be. Often by now we are all bored rigid of the current expansion and contemplating taking breaks from the game during the frequent content droughts – however this time around, Blizzard seem to be on track to keeping more of us subbed to the game by actually giving us content! Patch 7.3 is just around the corner and looks to have a healthy dose of content to keep us happy for a while yet – but that’s not going to stop us wondering what’s next.

Argus awaits in Patch 7.3!

For those who have been playing the Legion expansion, you’d be hard pressed to miss the heavy hints that Blizzard have been dropping throughout that all seem to point one way for their 7th expansion (i.e 8.0):

N’Zoth, the Corrupter

Old Gods. Olds Gods. Old Gods!

This set of “big bads” (based heavily on Lovecraft’s Chuthulu mythos) have popped up throughout WoW’s history: C’Thun in Vanilla, Yogg-Saron in Wrath and various bits of Y’Shaarj in Mists – leaving only N’Zoth left to appear.

Rather than go into too much depth, a quick summary of some of the “clues” to our future boil down to:

  • The Old God corrupted Emerald Nightmare raid & Xavius
  • a dagger that’s probably part Old God, talking to shadowpriests about the old gods (“The God of the Deep writhes in his prison, breaking free ever so slowly. You should hurry and defeat the fallen titan… there are greater battles yet to fight.“) and this easter egg for them
  • The boss Il’gynoth’s whispers
  • The brief appearance of Azshara – who was saved, along with her people, from death when her city Zin-Ashari was sunk to the bottom of the ocean (by being turned into Naga probably by N’Zoth).

I’m sure I’m missing some more pointers as the Old Gods have felt like that were lurking around in the background for a good chunk of the expansion.

But the reason for this post is that yesterday, another BIG hint to all this landed, with the release of a small quest chain and scenario: Whispers of a Frightened World

For those who are currently subbed to WoW – I suggest you go and do it if you haven’t already. It’s a bit of fun lore as a prelude to patch 7.3. What it basically boils down to though is that Azeroth (who we now know is a nascent Titan!) is worried about Sargeras and wants us to go fight him (i.e. the contents of 7.3). However, what interested me more is that fact that the chamber we have be sent to is riddled with Azeroth’s shadowy nightmares.

Void Tendril Attack!

To me, this is another big hint that the next expansion will be Old God related – that we will chase after Azshara into the depths to her rebuilt city Nazjatar and have to fight her corrupter N’Zoth in Ny’alotha.

A few years back “Golden Yak” did a fanstic job of speculating on a future expansion with his fan expansion concept: Reign of Azshara. I thoroughly recommend you have a browse through it as the ideas and artwork are great!

So what do you think? Will World of Warcraft’s 7th Expansion (8.0) see us heading across the seas with Jaina and her Kul Tiras brethren to chase down Azshara and N’Zoth? I’m sure Azeroth would sleep better if we did.

Posted in Gaming, WoW | 1 Comment

GW2: Path of Fire trial weekend

Although I wasn’t expecting to have any time in Guild Wars 2 this weekend, we did manage to sneak in a few hours late evening on Sunday. Going into the trial I had a few ideas of what to aim for, experiencing the story of the new expansion was very low on that list as I dislike spoilers in general.

So pretty!

Presented with a choice of a pre-made character of any class at level 80, I chose to try out the Revenant. We never bought or played Heart of Thorns so the temptation to try something completely new was too strong. It seems from the back and forth discussions this week that was probably a big mistake, melee is generally bad unless you know what you are doing. Going into the trial you’re very quickly in the thick of, what seems like to me, Heart of Thorns style fighting. Multiple mobs with nasty attacks, knockdowns or other crowd control and big health pools. So learning a new class in this kind of environment was a pretty dumb idea.

Not the Path of Fire I’m looking for

I did ok I suppose, I only died a couple of times on the later fights; the two doggies are particularly tough unless one bugs and they get separated. It didn’t leave me feeling like I had a good idea of what Revenant is about at all, sadly we didn’t have time to dive into the content I most enjoy in GW2 – a public event or event chain. I did try the race, but got stuck early on and didn’t go back for the ‘pillars’ I’d missed so didn’t get credit for completing it. I wasn’t playing super seriously anyway so that hardly matters but I like the idea of having non-combat content like this.

It started quite well…

The mounts are so beautifully animated, they look to be a potential highlight of the gameplay in this expansion. Not that I really mastered the jumping but it reminded me of a re-skinned version of the movement abilities in the old Bazaar of the Four Winds. Adding to the exploration and movement gameplay in the game is a pretty good idea since this game does it so well already.

Isn’t (s)he a beauty!

I’d like to have tried the content on a character I’m familiar with, a Mesmer or Guardian for instance but time didn’t allow a second run through. Perhaps there’ll be a similar weekend, or preferably one where we can copy a live character across – I’d much rather try out my actual character than some pre-generated clone.

In the meantime I’m considering whether I want to climb the mountain once more by leveling my Guardian to 80 (currently 58) and taking him or my Mesmer through Heart of Thorns to unlock the important bits. I’ve read enough spoilers over the intervening time to not care that much about HoT’s story, but seeing so many players gliding about all over Tyria does make me want to unlock gliding on someone…

Posted in Gaming, Guild Wars | 5 Comments

NW: missing the gateway

I’m away for the weekend at time of posting and find myself nostalgically wishing the Neverwinter Gateway was still around. It’s been almost a year since this web-based portal for the game closed. For long train journeys and downtime, while away from my gaming PC, the site offered full access to the game’s NPC-driven crafting system. The included Sword Coast Adventures dice-themed mini-game as a very fun little activity.

I could look at mobile gaming options as an alternative to such MMORPG-connected activities, but I don’t find separate or solo games that appealing…

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SRC: character reset and co-up gaming

There was a balancing patch in Shadowrun Chronicles this week, meaning a character karma (i.e. skill point) reset. That allowed me to correct a mistake with my current character, where I originally took sorcery/rigging but swapped the latter out for automatics due to a clash with another team member.

Aztechnology shenanigans

We’ve been playing a fair amount of this again, playing through the original Boston Lockdown campaign. I imagine we’ll play through the Infected DLC as well afterwards. The original campaign seems easier now than our memory of it, but then compared to the more difficult fights in the DLC campaign that’s not surprising. It may also be a dose of Nostalgia Filter, as of course I have played this storyline three times in total and can at least vaguely remember many of the fights before so the surprises and challenges that may have caused a wipe in the past are less likely to catch us now.

The joys of Manastorm

The game is still great fun to play co-op, it’s telling that I’ve not even finished the first of the single-player Shadowrun Returns games, yet I’ve played through the two Shadowrun Chronicles campaigns multiple times now. I’ve also recently started playing Divinity Original Sin with a friend, a modern “Baldur’s Gate” style game that allows two-player (max) co-op. It seems enjoyable enough to play in that mode, but I can guarantee I wouldn’t even have got past the starter zone without the co-op gameplay, it’s paramount in my choice of gaming these days.

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EQ2: fly-by tourism

I had great fun today flying around the Kingdoms of the Sky zone for this week’s weekly quest from Yun Zi. The three zones in question are all very different in visuals and moods. I played through a good amount of the Tenebrous Tangle zone on my Shadowknight, but can’t say I remember the other two particularly.

Barren Sky in perpetual dusk

There may be a lore reason why the three zones vary so much in the lighting, like each is stuck in a different and permanent time of day. The Arabian with chains themed Barren Sky, for instance, has the muted light of late evening/dusk.

Bighter skies over Tenebrous Tangle

The vine choked Tenebrous Tangle zone is a brighter zone, with some stunning waterfalls.

Fly me to the moon…

In contrast the third and last zone for this quest is the Bonemire, a place of perpetual night and appropriately spooky denizens.

So I’ve duly done my tourist round trip of three rather different zones, where flying is a real boon for navigation. I look forward to speaking to Mr Zi next week for another checklist of sights to see!


Posted in EQ2, Gaming | 2 Comments

Neverwinter: mixing it up

The campaign system in Neverwinter is actually pretty interesting. As I level my Hunter Ranger from 60 to 70 I’m mixing it up slightly by doing Tyranny of Dragons content (which scales for a wide range of levels), and the higher level Maze Engine campaign (level 60+).

Two campaigns underway

The campaigns past the original leveling zones are a mix story quests and instances, and daily quests. Since progress on a given campaign is limited by currencies earned from the repeatable dailies, it’s not possible to rush all the way through a given campaign in too quick a timeframe. It’s good then to have options of other content to play in longer sessions.

Dodge all the stuff

I have had issues with power-scaling, the Tyranny of Dragons content is mostly easy to solo (Ghost Stories and other lairs being an exception to this), but the Maze Engine content has been pretty rough to play as a returning player. Monsters have lots of ‘crowd control’ type abilities, such as stuns or knockdowns and their damage output is pretty high too.

I’m working on improving my build as level and gear up, but for the most part I focus on the easier and more relaxing Tyranny of Dragons campaign. I certainly want to see the Maze Engine storyline, but some of the fights have been really tough. I even resorted to using scrolls of life in the most recent lair run: the Depths of Madness. The groups of demons in that place were vicious to say the least. It was good practice actually at kiting and using mobility to avoid as much damage as possible, but with the added restriction of staying close to the cleric NPC I was escorting it was touch and go.

The bonus XP over the weekend helped me to ding three levels up to 66 in a relatively short time,  so well over half way to the goal of level 70. Having two different campaigns to work on with different difficulty levels, as the mood strikes me, is a good motivator: onwards to the cap!

Posted in Gaming, Neverwinter | 3 Comments

Sometimes getting started isn’t so easy

Sometimes an attempt at dipping back into a game for a simple task can lead to long and satisfying gaming sessions or a lot of confusion, or both. Bhagpuss’ comment on a recent post alerted me to the fact that there’s a Summer event on in Everquest 2 offering weekly tasks and significant rewards. In attempting to unravel why I couldn’t access the panda¬†(erm, Hua Mein even) village with the questgiver, one Yun Zi, I fell down the proverbial rabbit hole of tradeskill crafting chains on the wiki, leading back and back as I found that I had not done on any of this on any character.

Not the panda I am looking for…

The problem is that this new event uses zones from a level range I’ve never played in the game. I insta dinged two characters to levels 85 and 95 respectively in an attempt to catchup with the bulk of the playerbase, past level 55 and before level 85 the middle chunk of the game’s content and zones are a mystery to me.

Undiscovered country

So a fifteen minute quest for the first week of the event has ballooned into a chain of different quest ‘timelines’ and reputations as I worked my way through the Erudites of the settlement of Paineel, the Kerra cat-people and (at some point) the pandas in the zone.

Getting down to crafting quests

I’m not quite on to the event quest yet at time of writing, but I imagine I’ll manage to get there by the end of the weekend. This detour into Norrath isn’t the only instance of this problem I’ve had though. Yesterday as I finally logged into Lord of the Rings Online to take a look at the new Mordor expansion content I found myself riding in circles with no inkling of what to do to start the new epic quest or expansion content.

Finally, here you are!

I’d last played the end of the last update (20) back at the very start of June, some eight weeks ago. I only have one capped character suitable for running this content on, so I’ve done it exactly once. I assumed the new content would follow-up where we left off – after the Battle of the Black Gate. But travelling between the Camp of the Host and the smaller camp near the two hills featured in said battle, I couldn’t find Aragorn or a new quest anywhere. Back and forth I went via port skill, ‘taxi’ horse ride and manually riding. It wasn’t until after 30 minutes of looking, failing to find any solution in forums or online discussions or in the game itself that I came across Aragorn to the west of the smaller camp. I had no memory of him being there, or the special horse that takes you to the instanced zone of the battle (remember, I did this exactly once two months ago).

Black Gate sundered

Anyway afterwards I whiled away a more relaxing and lore-rich hour of epic story quests, I’ll dive into the post-epic story content more when I’ve freed up some time on my gaming roster. Sometimes the simplest things, like starting a new expansion or a simple event quest, don’t work out quite the way you expect them to.

Posted in EQ2, Gaming, LotRO | 3 Comments