Dungeon Encounters and STO

Somehow another week has slipped past without a blog post. Time flies, except when it doesn’t. Every work day seems to take an age to pass, but then suddenly it is Monday again. Next Monday is November 1st!

In days of yore this time of year would be the height of new game mania for me, but this year I’m not feeling it very much. Oh I’ll play Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite since they’re both on Game Pass but when it comes to shelling out cash I’ve become quite conservative. I have SO many games I haven’t played that it seems crazy to buy new ones.

Or at least that’s how I was feeling until Dungeon Encounters appeared out of nowhere and I had to buy it. In my defense, it was less than $25 and it was just so different from anything else I owned. Anything else remotely modern, anyway. It’s been a while since I played a game where I needed to take notes in order to remember where things are! I’ve been enjoying it. Maybe not as much as Tipa has (she’s already finished it!) but enough that it has pulled me away from most other games.

One thing holding me back is, well, my back. I’ve been having some terrible spasms in my back and it has made sitting in one place for a long time quite painful. So I tend to move from place to place. Gaming is particularly bad because once I get immersed in a game I start to slouch and that really aggravates my back. So I’ve been spending a lot of time watching TV while perched very upright on the front edge of the couch.

Alternatively I sit at my PC, where sadly I have a pretty shit chair, but it is so shit that it requires me to stay more or less upright, lest it (and me) topple to the ground. On the PC I’ve finally gone back to Star Trek Online. That only took a month to get around to. In September I shared a post from Roger Edwards about playing the STO story arcs in order. I’ve learned that Cryptic has put some obstacles up to prevent us from doing that. Some of the “Side Quests” that Roger suggests we play are now locked behind a level gate which is FAR above my level (I’m 10 and you have to be 55 or 65 to do these quests, according to reddit.)

Despite that snafu I’m enjoying STO quite a bit. We’re in the thick of a surge in Star Trek fandom here at Chez Dragonchasers. We’ve been re-watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’ve been re-watching TOS, and soon the new animated YA show starts up (with Lower Decks just recently ending for the season). So STO slots in very nicely, and the episodic nature means I can log in, play through an episode and then log out to give my back a rest.

I still mean to/want to play both New World and Black Desert Online, I just keep running out of time in the day before I get to them. I think for New World I have the opposite of FOMO. So many of the people who were hyped about it now seem disappointed in it so I wonder what’s the point of dumping a bunch of hours into it just so I can reach their level of disappointment. May as well take it slow and easy and see what new features/changes Amazon makes to bring folks back.

Meanwhile over in BDO I think I need to create a non-Seasonal alt. My seasonal character levels so fast that all the content she has to do is trivial (in terms of her main questline) and I think I’d rather level at a slower pace and have more time to absorb all the skills and systems. There’s absolutely nothing preventing me from rolling an alt other than choice paralysis because so many of the classes seem really interesting. I just need to set aside some time to do it. I think the Season system is awesome for established players but for this particular first-timer, slower might be better.

New World: Finally Feeling Settled

I’ve had a rough time with New World. Not the actual playing of the game, but the issues that orbit the core gameplay.

First it was the queues. On Day 1 I created a character on Minda to play with Belghast’s Greysky Expeditions Company. And, being me, I created a 2nd character on a different server because I know there WILL be times when I want to play in absolute solitude on a server where no one knows me.

The launch week queues on Minda & character #2’s server (not being coy, I literally forget what server it was) broke me though. I couldn’t take waiting hours to play any more.

Solution #1 was to create a character on NA West just to spend time with. So that was my 3rd character. Didn’t last very long since the lag difference was appreciable. Felt like dodging was a lot more iffy. That character still exists, gathering dust.

Solution #2: By the time I got to Solution #2 Amazon had rolled out a bunch of new servers on NA East that were empty(ish). I deleted my Minda character, created a new one (character #4) with the same name and look on a low pop server, and re-started. The idea was to level up on the new server until Amazon gave us server transfers, which they’d promised. Then I’d rejoin Bel & gang.

This new server never had a queue and at first I was having a great time. But then the community started getting super toxic. At least the Syndicate faction was super toxic and the worst players also ‘ruled’ the faction by dint of holding land. I mean there was other faction/Company drama (super high taxes set by bitter Governors) but the end result was I kept ‘moving’ towns to try to avoid the idiots. Eventually it started bothering me just to log in. But I still wanted to play.

I fired up character #2 and for some reason, just wasn’t feeling her. I often play female characters in MMOs but for some reason that felt off for me in New World. I think it was because I figured I might start actually interacting with others and didn’t want to deal with any confusion. That’s probably a really out-of-date attitude given I know many, many people who play a gender other than what they present in real life, but whatever. In the end I deleted her and started character #5 on yet another new, empty(ish) server.

And, though I’m worried I’m going to jinx it, I think I am FINALLY comfortable with queues, community and my character. Most of the big Companies on this server have non-offensive names and faction chat (I went Marauder this time) has been mostly inoffensive. I’m still sorting this character; I started him as a full dex built, using Spear and Rapier & wearing light armor. Not sure that is going to stick but since he is only level 14 I can respec for free.

My Minda-replacement character is still on the toxic server, waiting to be able to move. He is Hatchet/Hammer and with this new character I’m trying to resist replicating him but it’s hard. Hatchet is super fun.

But anyway the point is I now log in, putter around at my own pace, don’t get my blood pressure way up due to being around a bunch of asshats, and I’m finally really enjoying the whole vibe. But damn it took a while to get here!

Of course thanks to Stargrace’s posts about Black Desert Online, I am now torn between 2 MMOs, New World and BDO. When it rains, it pours! 2016’s Black Desert Online is now becoming a new obsession, but that story is for another post.

New World and the Goldilocks Problem

Last night, it being the start of a weekend, I did something drastic. I deleted my New World character that was on Minda where my friends were all trying to play. I just didn’t want to spend my weekend trying to manage a queue around chores and dog walking and such. Since Amazon has promised free server transfers, I’m gambling that I can play on another server for now, then transfer to Minda later.

[Since New World only allows one character per server I had to delete my existing character to free up room for my eventual transfer, plus I wanted the same name.]

In the course of one evening I almost caught up to the progress I’d made in the 3 prior evenings of combatting the queue in order to squeeze in an hour of playing before bedtime. So that’s the good news.

When looking for a new server to roll on, I sorted by queue size to find one with no queue, then I chose a server with Low population. Randomly picked Nolandia (NA East) and off I went. Overall the new server is pretty chill. I even have all the chats on because it is all relatively civil (there’s always the odd troll). Gameplay also felt more responsive but I’d had to reboot my machine earlier in the day so maybe that was just local. But suddenly I had no issues dodging out of the path of attacks and such; prior to last night it felt like my dodges didn’t register quickly enough to be super effective unless a mob had a slow tell, like gearing up for a charge attack (boars).

But there is always a downside. On this world NO territory has been taken by any of the factions. At first I didn’t care because that just felt like balance to me. But then I realized that, at least as far as I know, there’s no way to level up crafting stations unless a faction controls a town. So the entire world is stuck at level 2 crafting stations; we’re stuck in the iron age, literally.

Nolandia was add on Sept 29th and Amazon added even more servers to NA East on Friday which is puzzling. Why keep adding new servers if some of the servers you have are empty? Maybe they’re gearing up for server transfers. Or maybe it’s a publicity stunt to show they’re reacting while they figure out a real solution.

Anyway I’m interested to see what happens on Nolandia. When I was on last night there was no company with more than 5 members online. [I am a boob, I was looking at “# of Claims” not number of members.] There was some discussion in Faction chat of dissolving some of the companies and everyone joining into one large company so they can take a town. I don’t really understand how taking a town works, beyond being able to out and out buy one for I think 100,000 gold. I wonder if an alliance of several small companies could do it.

I’m not too concerned since I’m not thinking of this as my permanent home, but if you ARE looking for a server to call home for the long run, maybe look for one with Medium population. Too high and you’ll spend your gaming time waiting in a queue. Too low and there’s not enough warm bodies to support all the game’s systems, apparently.

[The image at the top of the post comes from New World Status. I don’t honestly know how accurate the site is (it isn’t affiliated with Amazon), but it is reporting that there are a total of 163 players on Nolandia! (Granted, it is early on a Saturday morning.)]

Re-Visiting Star Trek Online

Star Trek is to me what Star Wars is to a lot of the folks in my social-media circles: I grew up with Star Trek the way folks 10+ years younger than me grew up with Star Wars. In other words, there’s a special place in my heart for the IP. (Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Star Wars too!)

Star Trek is enjoying a resurgence of interest lately with new shows like Discovery, Picard, The Lower Decks and soon, Star Trek: Prodigy and Strange New Worlds. While all this is going on @partpurple and I have been been doing a re-watch of Next Generation. So I’ve had a lot of Star Trek in my brain lately but somehow I’d all but forgotten about Star Trek Online.

I’ve played STO in the past of course. I’ve found it a bit of a challenging game to love. I really enjoy the ship-to-ship combat, but the ground combat has always felt clunky to me. Staying with that theme, I find the ship models quite nice while the character models feel pretty dated. Then there are the free-to-play MMO trappings which means all kinds of esoteric systems designed around getting players to stick around and grind for items and hopefully spend some $$ in the cash shop. And of course, worst of all: other players. 🙂

But today Roger Edwards published a post on Playing the Story Arcs In Order and he got me intrigued. Before I knew it STO was installed and patched up and I was creating a new character.

Meet Cadet Jhemen, an Andorian from the 25th Century. During my last few tilts at STO I’ve created Original Series era characters but Roger’s post focuses on 25th Century characters so I went with that time period.

I chose not to skip the “tutorial” and I’m glad I did. I put tutorial in quotes because the tutorial these days is like a mini campaign. I don’t know how new this is but it is different from what I remember. This tutorial-campaign takes you from your graduation day at Star Fleet Academy right through a point where you’re commanding your own ship and along the way you pick up three Bridge Officers, upgrades for most of your ship’s systems and have the main gameplay systems explained to you. It took me over an hour to play through it and it was thoroughly enjoyable. (Story wise you do battle with two different enemy factions, both in space and on foot. The ground combat seems a little better than it used to be, but it still isn’t great IMO.) If I never launch the game again it was already worth the trouble of re-installing it.

Jhemen is a tactical officer. I don’t know if that matters but the 3 bridge officers that were assigned to her during the tutorial work well together. One has a skill that depletes enemy shields, another has a skill that enhances photon torpedoes. I quickly got into the habit of tearing down an enemy’s shields then launching a salvo of torpedoes. The third bridge officer can reinforce our shields, and Jhemen herself has Evasive Maneuvers which is a defense buff.

Now I’m ready to start the Klingon War story arc. My plan is to basically treat STO as a single player game. I set the chat to only show NPC dialog. I need to find a way to auto-deny Fleet (Guild) requests because I was getting spammed with those. My plan is to ignore the Duty Officer system, which I hate so much that every time in the past I’ve gotten to that point I’ve quit playing. (It just feels like a chore to constantly tend to them.) I’m hoping it can be safely ignored. I’m also going to ignore crafting which I’m only vaguely aware of in STO. I’m just there for the story this time, at least to get started. At this point in STO’s life there seems to be a LOT of story to experience.

I will have to figure out how to get better ships and remember how to level up Bridge Officers and stuff, but generally as much as possible I just want to fly around and pew-pew and experience the stories.

It’s nice to find a “new” game after bouncing off FFXIV. We’ll see if I stick to this one or now.

She’s not much, but she’s mine

Final Fantasy Fourteen Fail

Like that title? I’m still reading a bunch of Golden Age comics so alliteration is my life now.

So sometime around today my subscription to Final Fantasy XIV expires and I’m not renewing it. This is the 2nd time this year I’ve subscribed and basically not played. It’s time to learn my lesson.

Now let me be upfront. I actually think FFXIV is a wonderful game. I love the world’s aesthetics. I love how the characters talk. I love walking through cities and watching the crowds of players interacting. I just don’t really enjoy actually PLAYING, and spending $15/month just to sight-see is a little steep for me these days.

I did have more success this month than I did early this year when I basically never logged in. This time out, I started a new character just to get re-accustomed to how things work, and interspersed those sessions with logging in my level 60 Dragoon and refamiliarizing myself with his skills, as well as setting up the UI (since this was a fresh install and I hadn’t backed up my settings to the cloud last time I played).

My Dragoon somehow had not gotten a lot of his skills so I started going through those quests. I was wandering around some bleak frozen area (Coerthas/Foundation area) where I rarely saw another player. I found the map kind of confusing; maybe the designers expected me to have a flying mount? But I would run back and forth trying to get from Point A to Point B, with the points being at different elevations. Then I’d find an NPC, talk to it, kill a couple of trivial monsters (5+ levels lower than me) then teleport back to ‘town’ and get the next bite of the quest. Solo combat was basically hit 1, hit 2, hit 3, hit 1, hit 4, hit 5, repeat. At least in theory, mobs didn’t usually last that long.

[I wanted to add, this dissatisfaction with tab-target, hot-key based combat isn’t limited to FFXIV. I’ve recently bounced off both LOTRO and SWOTOR for the same reason. The difference with those games, of course, is that it doesn’t cost me $15 to test the waters to see if this ennui has faded yet.]

It was all kind of bleak and depressing. I probably should have powered through it to try to get where combat was challenging. but then I thought “Well if I do that I’ll have to start doing PUG dungeons” which I really don’t want to do even if the community is apparently awesome.

I was kind of tempted to just buy a story skip (looks like I’d want Tales of Adventure: Stormblood for $25?) to get to the expansion where the Trust system kicks in. I just want all the things unlocked, and then I could just become a farmer or blacksmith or something, and just hang out in towns enjoying the vibe while doing whatever dungeons are required with my Trust Buddies. At least I think that’s how it works. I should check to be sure.

But again, money is a little tight these days and there are free-to-play MMOs I can jump into if I want to scratch that itch (though I don’t know of any game that has such a wonderful world as FFXIV).

So I’m kind of bummed, but I’m not sure if I’m bummed about the game or about the place where my head is at. But I have to stop paying a monthly fee to NOT play a game!

Weekend Recap for August 23rd

Another weekend come and gone. This one was a weird one for us. We lost power Thursday night, though it was restored by midnight. Somehow that still threw our Friday out of whack. I’m amused at how ‘delicate’ we are. I can remember going weeks without power due to hurricanes when I was younger and while it was certainly inconvenient, we just kind of rolled with it. These days, 6 hours without power made us crazy. Of course back in the old days not every activity I did required a screen, so there’s that.

Anyway, let’s get started.

Movie Night — This week we watched The Suicide Squad which we’d heard a lot of good things about. It didn’t resonate as well with us. @partpurple almost called it but she started enjoying it more after the half-way mark. I liked it more than she did, but it certainly wasn’t a favorite. I can chuckle at over-the-top gore for a while, but two hours of it got old. My favorite character was Sebastian, and for those who haven’t seen it, he is a rat. Like, a literal rat. I think that says enough about my feelings towards the movie.

Family TV — The highpoint of our whole week, in TV terms, was Friday night watching episode two of What If…? on Disney+, and episode 2 of The Lower Decks on Paramount+. Both were really good. We’re really impressed by the voice casts (as well as the stories) on What If…? and this episode of The Lower Decks had us howling with laughter. Both are animated shows. What If…? is a series of stand-alone alternate history shows for the Marvel Universe, and The Lower Decks is a comedic Star Trek spin-off about the lives of lower ranking crew on board a star ship. When The Lower Decks was announced I was sure I would HATE it since I’m pretty serious about Star Trek, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Reading — Copy/paste from last week. Still on book 6 of The Saxon Stories series from Bernard Cornwell.

Gaming — I had a dumb gaming weekend. Thursday I finally re-subscribed to Final Fantasy XIV, but about 10 minutes after I did that the power went out. Friday I spent getting clients upgraded/installed on both PC and PS5, and tried to figure out where to roll a new character to get my feet wet. There is really no need for alts in FFXIV but the last time I came back I was so intimidated by the jobs and systems I’d forgotten about that I just bounced off completely. This time I decided I needed a new character so the game could re-teach me things and let me ease back in more gently.

Then I noticed that thanks to QuakeCon, the Elder Scrolls Online Blackwood expansion was on sale. I already own the expansion on Xbox but don’t know anyone else who plays there. I did have a friend playing on Playstation though, so even though I’m not nearly as advanced on that platform, I sprung for the expansion and a month of ESO Plus.

So now all of a sudden I have TWO MMO subscriptions. I spent a bunch of time researching a build for my ESO Dragonknight, and getting all the settings tweaked, plus doing the quest to get one of the Companions that Blackwood added.

And I started a new character on the Zalera server for FFXIV and got him rolling along, but now I’m kind of more interested in ESO. Typical me. I hate the forced grouping in FFXIV for dungeons. Social anxiety really spikes. ESO has grouping for dungeons too, of course, but they are optional and nothing is gated behind them (plus once you get powerful enough you can solo a lot of dungeons in Normal mode). What makes things worse for FFXIV is that if I play on the console (which is where I prefer to play) I run into the problem of no communication since, y’know, no keyboard.

I guess my next step is to get a cheap wireless USB keyboard for the PS5. It’d be useful for both FFXIV and ESO.

And because I guess I was operating under the delusion that we have plenty of disposable income these days, I ALSO bought the update/upgrade for Ghosts of Tsushima on the PS5, but thus far I haven’t even touched it. Clearly I need more gaming hours in my day!

So that was the weekend. Now we have another super hot week to get through, but September is ALMOST here. Also Gamescom is this week so there should be some gaming news to talk about to get us over the finish line of Blaugust.

Hope you’re all doing well!

Fallout 76 Custom Worlds: I Don’t Get It

Quakecon is happening as I write this. I wasn’t really following it because my FPS days are long behind me, but then a Tweet about Fallout 76 slid down my timeline. They’re adding something called Fallout Worlds. I do play Fallout 76 now and again so I had to go watch the YouTube presentation:

So the brief recap in case you don’t have time to watch the video: they’re adding custom world settings. Examples included build anywhere and unlimited ammo. Basically tweaks to the rules of the game so you can change up your experience. That sounds pretty neat…until you get to the huge caveat.

When you play on a Custom World, the game makes a copy of your character for that world. This is now a completely separate character and any progress you make does not translate back to the ‘standard’ worlds. Basically it is a one way cloning trip.

This feels to me like a Public Test Server where you can tweak the ruleset. I can see it being a fun diversion to go into a custom world with unlimited ammo and extra enemies and just blow shit up for a while, but long term I just don’t see the point.

Credit for this and header image: Bethesda.net

There are two ways to play on Custom Worlds. Every month Bethesda themselves will spin up a Custom World with some ruleset they find interesting. Anyone can play on these, and after a month they get shut down (and your character gets deleted) and a new Custom World with a new ruleset gets created. The one month duration is a starting point and they say they’ll adjust that to be shorter or longer based on player feedback.

If you’re willing to pay, “Fallout 1st” members (Fallout 1st is the optional subscription service for the game) can create their own Custom Private Worlds. Same rules apply: you get a copy of your character that, once created, stays on that world. I guess the difference here is you can leave that world up indefinitely and only play on it, which makes the system a little more appealing.

I’m still not sure the cost of playing on a custom private world is worth it. Normally you can play on your Fallout 1st Private World today, then decide to jump into the public server with the same character tomorrow. You can move back and forth whenever you want. But as soon as you make that Private World custom in any way, your character is locked there.

So yeah, I just don’t get the appeal, beyond a short term diversion to screw around with. I get WHY these limitations are in place. It’d be super easy to make a custom world and twink the hell out of your character and then go back into the public world super buffed. But because of that issue, I just don’t see why they’ve devoted the resources to creating this new feature.

Can anyone educate me? If you’re excited about the feature, please let me know why in the comments.

Custom Worlds is sccheduled to launch on September 8th.

Old-School MMO Fun in a Single Player Game?

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I used to play a lot of MMOs before I drifted back towards solo gameplay. I do miss MMOs from time to time, and I’ve found a game that (sort of) let’s me scratch that retro MMO itch.

This isn’t something new, the game itself might be considered retro at this point. It’s Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (available on Steam or Playstation). Sword Art Online, of course, is an IP about gamers trapped in an MMO; one where death in the game results in death in real life.

SAO: Hollow Fragment originally came out on the Playstation Vita, I believe, and it definitely shows its age. It posits an alternate timeline that forks from the anime (sorry, I’m only familiar with the anime) at the end of season 1. When the game starts you & your guild are working on level 76 of Aincrad & still need to get to level 100 to be able to log out and return to your lives. You play as Kirito who has discovered a secret “Hollow Area” of the game where you meet some new characters and fight more difficult enemies.

I would not call this a game of precision and finesse

I started playing this game probably half a dozen times before it finally ‘stuck.’ The biggest obstacle was that starting up is just like returning to an actual MMO after a long while. Kirito starts at level 90 with a bunch of skills and of course you, the player, don’t know how to use any of them. Sound familiar? That happens to me every time I return to an actual MMO after a long break.

Honestly the gameplay can feel pretty one-dimensional. You’re constantly fighting, often what we’d call ‘trash mobs’ in a real MMO. You get into a routine (or dare I say, a rotation) that repeats every time you encounter a new group of enemies. It’s not a game I can spend hours and hours playing because it gets a little dull. So I dabble in it and I’m slowly making progress.

But there are times when it SAO:HF reminds me of playing Everquest or something. The other day I was trying to get to a treasure chest but it was locked behind a door that would only open when the room was cleared of enemies. The enemies CON’d red and there were a bunch of them. The adjacent room had more level appropriate enemies so Kirito and Asuna (you generally play as a team of two) cleared that room first. Then (using a skill intended for just this task) Kirito started pulling the high level mobs, one at a time, into the now empty room so the duo could take them down. The fights were manageable even though the mobs were 20-30 levels higher than we were.

Not the fight I’m describing. In all the fuss I forgot to take screenies of that battle

This was going pretty well until mobs started respawning in the empty room we were using as our fighting space, so “we” moved into a corner of the room with the high level mobs. Then I screwed up, hit the wrong command and Kirito charged INTO the enemies instead of pulling one towards us. Oh shit. Again, this brought back so many memories of someone accidentally aggroing a bunch of mobs in an actual MMO.

I spent the next 10-15 minutes in a white-knuckle battle where Kirito and Asuna kept dropping to maybe 1/10th of their health pool while I frantically tried to defend until my healing skill cooled down. Just when I thought we had it under control, the mobs started respawning.

Death in Hollow Fragment isn’t quite as harsh as it is in the anime, but it does reset you to the last time you entered a zone which meant dying would lose me a good bit of progress. We battled on, and eventually we cleared the room but only because I was using a skill that shunted all Kirito’s experience to Asuna (he was much higher level than she was) and just about every kill earned her a level so she was more powerful by the end of the fight than she was at the beginning. Got some decent weapons from the chest behind the magically locked door, then made a beeline out of that zone to trigger an autosave. Whew!

I don’t know that I’d really recommend SAO: Hollow Fragment unless you’re a fan of the anime and enjoy grindy games. I like it though, and that encounter just made me feel nostalgic for the old days of roaming around with my guild, getting ourselves into, and eventually out of, trouble. If you do want to give the game a try wait for a sale. It’s $20 on Steam but regularly goes on sale for $5-$10.

Here’s some random gameplay (against low level enemies), mostly I was seeing if I could let Medal.TV grab clips from Twitter then embed them here. 🙂

ESO: Companions & Solo Dungeons

I play The Elder Scrolls Online on Xbox, primarily, and I play it like a solo game. Sure I’ll jump in with strangers to help take down a world boss or something, but I never communicate with other players beyond a /cheer at the end of those fights.

There are plenty of good ESO players that can solo dungeons. I am not one of them. My build isn’t ideal, my gear is just whatever I’ve had drop, and I only recently hit 160 Champion Points (before then it seemed silly to focus much on gear since I was replacing it so often).

The recent Blackwood expansion added Companions — NPCs that will fight beside you. I just finally got around to unlocking them the other day. My Companion is using mostly default equipment and doesn’t have all her skills or skill slots unlocked. In other words she is a noob Companion for now.

Thing about ESO is that the ‘overland’ content is really easy, even for my half-assed character. Add the Companion and we just slice through overland stuff like butter. (I’m not counting World Bosses.) While this is kind of fun in its own way, it left me wondering why I even needed the Companion. Delves are not much harder than overland content so I didn’t really need a Companion for those, either.

I decided to try a World Boss with my Companion at my side and she literally yelled out “I think we’re going to need some help” before we were both smushed. We’re both essentially DPS builds right now, and even with two of us we don’t have enough healing output to handle the damage we were taking.

Then I decided to try to solo a dungeon. I failed, but we did make it about half-way through an early-zone dungeon, Spindleclutch. (I know with “One Tamriel” everything is supposed to be the same level of challenge but in practice the zones that used to be low level are still easier.) I made it further solo than I ever have before, by a lot.

Now in ye olde days I have done Spindleclutch in a group, back when I knew other people playing. We blazed through it so fast that I mostly was frantically looting and throwing out some DPS and it was all a blur of spiders.

Going (part-way) through Spindleclutch alone was a completely difference experience. I was reading the notes scattered around. I was listening to what the NPCs were talking about. I was poking into corners looking to see what I could find. It was really enjoyable and pretty much a completely different experience from doing it in a group.

Now I’m really excited to kit out my character and my Companion, and to work on my character’s build. I really want to be able to do more of the dungeons solo. (I know that some literally can’t be completed solo because they require people to stand on pressure plates and so forth.) Being powerful enough to finish them while playing at my pace and drinking in all the sights and lore hidden within them is going to be a blast!

Suddenly I’m really jazzed to play Elder Scrolls Online again…just in time for the New World Beta to start. LOL

List of ‘Back to WoW’ posts

Just for grins and because I don’t mind making fun of myself, I decided to see how many “back to WoW” posts I’ve written over the years. It actually wasn’t as many as I thought, but here we go.

Back to WoW? Maybe You CAN Go Home Again (5/25/2020)
I just wrote this one, so we’ll see how long it ‘sticks’ this time.

WoW Classic: Why I won’t go home again (8/27/2019)
Including this one because it is a lie. I DID break down and subscribe to WoW Classic and logged in maybe 2-3 times before giving it up again.

Back to WoW?! WTF? (8/09/2015)
Beer was involved with this decision and it initially didn’t end well, but I guess I gave it a 2nd chance since a week later I blogged about having completed 3 zones and reached level 20 but I was about ready to set it aside.

Back to WoW again! (11/27/2010)
Looks like it had only been a few months since my last return so not sure why I jumped back in, but I did. I blogged about it for about a month, ranting about how it was too easy and I guess doing some cross-blog arguing with another WoW blogger.

Back to WoW? (09/06/2010)
This post pairs with the one below. Between July and Sept I logged in once. This “back to WoW” reads more like “farewell to WoW”. Which lasted 2 months. LOL

When I played WoW… (07/23/2010)
This is not technically a ‘back to WoW’ post but I do mention at the end that I’d purchased Wrath of the Lich King so presumably I played at some point soon after.

Willpower saving throw: Failed (11/24/2008)
FOMO got me and I was damned grumpy about it, but soon after I joined Casualties of War (anyone remember that guild) and had some fun for a week or two.

World of Warcraft (3/23/2004)
Not “a back to WoW” but a ‘there’s this new game World Of Warcraft” post. It appears to be my earliest WoW post. I was playing in Beta at the time and having a ball.

Gillain’s Journal – Day 1 (3/24/2004)
And just for grins, an in-character journal of my character’s time in the beta.