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Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Discount deals on games
« Last post by Snique on July 10, 2020, 07:08:36 PM »
In the Blizzard launcher there's an ad for 50% off cosmetic items - pets and mounts mostly, plus one toy.

The pets are $5 on this sale and mounts $12.5.

BFA is also 60% off.
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Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Shadowlands
« Last post by Marco on July 09, 2020, 11:37:51 AM »
There was a Shadowlands stream update this week, followed by a round of interviews and a major alpha update.  My notes:

* Beta begins next week.  No announced release date yet beyond "fall".

* All modes of Torghast will be ungated, though rewards may be capped (beyond the implicit cap of only being able to equip one legendary at a time).  There will be no timers.

* There will be a mission table, with some evolution based on auto-battlers to maybe make it more interesting.  It doesn't sound like they're planning to make it any more important than the BfA mission table in terms of rewards.  (I do run the BfA mission table on a few characters.  It generates a bit of gold, sometimes in the form of faction rep or consumable runes.  Nothing like Legion, but it's trivial to do once you get it going.)

* Each covenant will have a different associated activity; for instance, Ardenweald has an activity reminiscent of the Mists of Pandaria farm.  They sound a bit like legion class hall activities, which were very optional.

* Heirlooms are losing XP bonuses, as the pace of leveling alts will already be much faster and is targeted at completing one expansion's storyline.  They may get some other perks as a replacement.

Taliesin has a video looking at the endgame reward loop as it appears in the current alpha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrz2oftomvI&feature=youtu.be

wowhead has a preview of the legendary crafting UI: https://www.wowhead.com/news=316817/shadowlands-rune-carving-legendary-crafting-alpha-preview
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Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Coalesced realms are live on ER
« Last post by Marco on July 03, 2020, 07:17:39 AM »
Realm connections have been gearing up again, after having been stalled for several years (by auction house limitations, according to past dev interviews).  There are no specific connections listed in this blue post, just a time frame of 2-3 months with a few connections each week.

realmpop.com went down early this year and didn't come back up, and I can't find a good equivalent.  wowprogress.com tracks populations of max-level players (not characters) who have killed a heroic boss in the current tier.  By that metric, Earthen Ring surpasses four of the six connected RP clusters, but is far beneath either of the other two unconnected servers.

Getting a connected realm would mostly affect the auction house at this point, since so much of the retail game is already cross-realm.

https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/t/new-realm-connections-are-underway/572562/1
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Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Method and #metoo
« Last post by Snique on June 28, 2020, 06:16:29 PM »
CW discussion of sexual harassment, abuse, and cover-up of same:

https://dotesports.com/streaming/news/multiple-method-affiliates-end-relationship-with-organization-following-sexual-harassment-allegations

Apparently this has been around and known for some time, which is part of why people are so ripshit. Apparently people were told in response to past complaints that "it's been handled" when in fact nothing was done.

Twitch's statement is SUPER unhelpful: https://blog.twitch.tv/en/2020/06/24/an-update-to-our-community/
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Outside Azeroth - General Chatter / Re: Finished playing...
« Last post by Winston on June 28, 2020, 03:05:05 AM »
Greedfall

This is another essay copied-and-pasted from my blog.

Right now, the PS4 game that everyone is talking about is The Last of Us, Part II.

So I’m going to talk about GreedFall.

GreedFall, published by the French game company Spiders, is a story-based role-playing game in the same vein as Bioware’s Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises. The flow of GreedFall is the same:

– The game is story-driven, and you make decisions that affect the outcome of the story.

– The story is quest-driven, with both main-story quests and plenty of side quests.

– As you progress in the main story, you unlock sections of the world map. You can return to any section you’ve previously visited if you choose.

– In classic RPG fashion, you go up in level as you accumulate experience points from completing quests and defeating enemies. As you go up in level you gain points that you can spend on skill and talents.

– There are several skill trees from which you can choose abilities. You can specialize in one or two, or spread out your skill points. You can respec if you choose.

– You are introduced to a set of companions, from which you can select two to go along with you on your adventures.

– Each companion has two or three quests of their own. Completing those quests improves the companion’s relationship to you. You can establish a romantic relationship with one of your companions if you choose to pursue one. After completing a companion’s quest chain, they boost one of your talents if they’re in your party; this can be very useful.

– At the time you create your character, you have control over your character’s gender and appearance. Neither has any effect on game-play, except that some companions may have gender-based preferences for romantic relationships.

The story: You play De Sardet, a legate from the Merchant Congregation. The Congregation is one of the continental factions trying to exploit the resources and natives of the island of Teer Fradee. Your job is to balance the needs of the different factions (including those of natives, who have factions of their own). However, your primary goal is find the cure for a plague that’s ravaging the continent; since none of the natives contract it, the hope is that the island holds the key.

As you might guess from the name GreedFall, the spine of the story is the needs of colonizers versus the needs of the natives. The way the story is presented is… OK. It’s pretty easy to always choose the natives’ side, and that leads to generally favorable outcomes. That made the story fairly predictable, though there were occasional surprises.

One bonus in the story implementation is that each of your companions is associated with a different faction. If you think a bit about a mission, you can determine which companions might provide diplomatic solutions or additional options; e.g., bring Kurt of the Coin Guard if you’re on a mission that involves the Coin Guard. I don’t recall the Bioware games offering this benefit if you weren’t specifically on a companions’ particular quest.

I’ll idly note that if you choose to romance one of your companions, the resulting “bed scene” is rated PG. This contrasts with the soft-core porn of the romance scenes in Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Who would have suspected that a French game developer would be more restrained than a Canadian one?

At the start of the game, when you create your version of De Sardet, you get to choose an initial skill path: Melee combat, Magic, or Technology. I chose the last one, and gained some starting expertise in traps and rifles. This was a bit rough at the start, since those skills involve consumables (compounds and bullets) that I had to purchase. But as usual for these types of games, after a while the money started flowing and the defeated enemies dropped better stuff to sell.

By the end of the game, I had increased my skills and gear to the point where I was tossing long-distance large-area multi-effect grenades in battle. Not too shabby!

Companions in combat: The companions automatically level up as you do. You can improve their gear, but you can’t select the skills they have. You also have no way to control their tactics; they simply rush into battle and use whatever skills they’ve got. In Mass Effect and Dragon Age, you can coordinate your companions’ skills with your own to deliver combos; in GreedFall there are no combo effects.

As usual, I played the game on its easiest setting. As a result, I rarely had any serious difficulty getting through any of the combats. I explored every side quest I could, in an effort to level up and see as much as I could. It took me 62 hours to complete the game. I just hit level 37 at the very end, when the game concluded and the consequences of my story choices were revealed.

The end of the story does not suffer from the controversy of Mass Effect 3. In my game, all the factions liked me (and the companion I romanced (Siora, of course) loved me); I got the best possible ending or darned close to it. A few glances at YouTube videos shows a wide range of possible endings depending on your choices.

Overall: the next game in the Mass Effect or Dragon Age franchises is years away, if there will even be any more. GreedFall provides a reasonable light-weight substitute while we wait.
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Overwolf in the past did not play nice with Blizzard games to the point where I had to tear it out at the roots in order to get Hearthstone to display properly. The overlay tries to do clever things but like many third-party tools it lags badly on games that update frequently. I would not install it if I had a choice.
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Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.3.x stuff
« Last post by ghoselle on June 25, 2020, 10:17:02 AM »
So part of the issue is that this is also the currency for catching up with essences and corruptions.  So if I were to try to spin up a new Hunter to be reasonable to take to heroic raid, I might be looking at wanting 70k+ echoes (and hunter uses cheap corruptions).  And some of that will be reduced by running visions, and getting lucky on loot drops.  But assuming you are doing a 15-keystone, major & minor assaults, 1 vision, all the daily emissary quests, you are getting about 5k per week.  You are still looking at 2-3 months to spin up a new character.

I mean, they could have done something where the cost varies with cloak level.  So if you are getting your first upgrade, it costs 5, but if you are buying the one that caps your cloak it cost 2500, with scaling in between.  So you could probably get a bunch of levels, but would need to do a bunch of content too. 

I guess the real question is, how much do they want you to be able to catch up?  And I think the awkward bit here is you have possibly 3 different directions you need to be catching up:  essences, corruptions, cloak levels.  And they are all sharing the same catch up currency.
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Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.3.x stuff
« Last post by Piralyn on June 25, 2020, 08:40:27 AM »
I'm both happy and sad about that. 

At the moment I feel like spinning up an alt takes a mountain of echoes, and beyond the time gated sources, they are really slow to farm.  So it both helps but doesn't help enough.

I think it's important to note that while this speeds up one of the things that makes alt(s) or newly leveled characters feel behind, it comes with the cost of the other things falling more behind. It will probably help "delay" some of that feeling, since the Cloak's resistance is a very in-your-face measure of where your character is at/behind, but if you spent 2000 echoes on +3 corruption resistance, that comes at the cost of buying specific corruptions, or catching up on essences, etc. Echoes are theoretically less gated than the Coalescing Visions, since you can also get them via M+s or whatever, but it's still a slog, since if you're significantly behind, you're probably not going to get to do high enough M+ to have that be a significant source of income.

I'm not sure what the answer is here. They obviously want/need some kind of progressive power scaling to keep the game moderately interesting for the dry months leading up to Shadowlands, and they can't/couldn't have that be without some sort of incrementally increasing cap otherwise people would have felt compelled to get 8293892 blobs of resistance increases in the first month.

It might be better if they just let you get more than one blob a week from a full Vision clear, up to the current cap. With the coalescing vision increases, it can theoretically be possible to run a ton of visions a week, so this would further help with catch up without the opportunity cost of using echoes. Might be a bit too early to do that now, but seems like a natural progression.
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Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.3.x stuff
« Last post by ghoselle on June 25, 2020, 07:52:33 AM »
I'm both happy and sad about that. 

At the moment I feel like spinning up an alt takes a mountain of echoes, and beyond the time gated sources, they are really slow to farm.  So it both helps but doesn't help enough.
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Theorycrafting and Class Discussion / Re: 8.3.x stuff
« Last post by Marco on June 24, 2020, 12:13:14 PM »
MOTHER will shortly sell Malefic Cores for 2000 echoes, repeatable up to the current cloak corruption cap.

https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/t/faster-legendary-cloak-upgrades/565241
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