Overwatch Thoughts

This weekend I was one of the lucky ones that was granted the privilege of participating in the Overwatch stress test.  While I didn’t get to play a lot, I played enough to tell that this is a game that I will be purchasing to play in the future.  I figured while my play from this weekend was fresh in my mind, I would post my initial impressions and thoughts on the game.

When Overwatch was first announced I very much thought it was going to be a Team Fortress 2 clone.  I am very happy to say that it is not.  While I do enjoy playing TF2, we don’t need another clone of it out there for play.  Overwatch is similar to TF2 in that it is an objective based FPS game, where it differs is in the diversity of the characters you can choose from to play.  Overwatch is definitely designed with team/esports game play in mind as you have the capability to swap characters throughout the game as a way to counter what the other team presents.

The characters are all fun and different to play and the ones I tried I didn’t have too much trouble figuring out at least the basics on how to play them.  Blizzard appears to be continuing the trend from Heroes of the Storm by trying to make this a game that even a beginner to the genre won’t have any issues picking up.  The characters I got to play during the stress test were Lucio, Mercy, Zenyatta, Macree, Winston and Torbjörn.  Lucio, Mercy and Zenyatta are all support characters designed to both heal and do damage, Macree is a pure damage dealer, meant to put high levels of damage on the enemy,  Winston is a tank, meant to soak as much damage as possible while allowing the other team members to take down the opponent, and Torbjörn is a builder, he uses devices like turrets to put damage on an opponent while staying safe himself.  The characters all have different play styles and each was fun in it’s own way.  I will admit, I spent the most time playing Lucio, partly because of how easy he was for me to pick up and partly because hardly anyone I played with chose support.  He is a blast to play and it was quite fun song dancing between speed and healing to make sure that the team had what they need when they needed it.

Overwatch has voice chat enabled in the game, and I can see why it might be necessary, though I will admit I didn’t use it myself yet.  Having it built in makes it easier to be used in solo queues and still have the same team direction as if you were going in with an entire team with team speak or mumble.

Overall the game is a blast to play and fairly easy to learn.  It was easy to tell it is still a beta product, but that did not take away from the enjoyment in the least.  I look forward to future testing (if given the opportunity) and playing once it has been released.


Return of the Legion – Initial Thoughts

Like many of you, my eyes were glued to my computer screen as the Blizzard expansion announcement from Gamescon happened.  I even blew up my twitter account a little bit with some quick impressions just based off what I saw.  I’ve now had a little bit of time to think about it and I wanted to give some quick thoughts that I’m sure will evolve over time as more and more comes to light about the expansion.

I will admit I’m excited for this upcoming expansion I see in it so much of what I’ve seen the community ask for over the past 6 years that I’ve been playing.  That same insight makes me a little wary.  Is this expansion meant just to appease the community.  I like that they are taking the lore back to more of the old races with the ancient night elf civilization and the Vyr’kul (human predecessors) as that seems to be keeping with the theme that was established in Warlords of Draenor (Orc and Draenai (and yes I know more orc than draenai)).  I’m also worried that they are trying to do too much in one expansion.  They are giving us the Emerald Dream, Demon Hunters, Class Halls (class garrison with a twist), and returning back to the expanded dungeon experience.  We are getting a new continent, new worlds and updates to the druid forms.

I will say I’m looking forward to all of these things, this already looks to me much like what I saw when I first started playing in Wrath, the awe of it all, the lore, the dungeons the raids, and hopefully many things to keep us busy once we hit max level.

Here’s hoping the part of me that is excited is right and that we are in for one hell of a ride.  For now don’t mind me, I’ll be sitting over here imagining what it will be like to wield Doomhammer.

Making Changes

I’ve decide partly in an attempt to get myself to write more that I’m going to shift this blog from being World of Warcraft specific to being a general gaming blog. I play so many games that having a place to write about all of them consolidated in one place just makes sense to me. There will probably still me more WoW than anything else, but this way I can write about more without violating the nature of my blog. Thanks for any that are actually still reading, hopefully I will be writing more for you to read soon.

What Comes Next?

With the recent news that 6.2 is the last major content patch for Warlords of Draenor, I have begun to wonder what will come next for World of Warcraft.  This expansion has been a polarizing expansion across the board, with every change having its own share of celebration and derision, and with WoW now being a venerable game, almost 11 years down the path, what more is there for us the heroes to due in Azeroth and beyond?  Think about it, in the last almost 11 years, we have repulsed the Burning Legion, subdued the Nerubians, taken down the legion a second time, this time on a distant world, dealt with a fallen prince and the undead menace he created, dealt with a rogue dragon, found a long last land and almost destroyed it, and finally gone back in time to stop the threat created by the former horde war chief.  What more must we heroes do?  What would keep us interested in this game?

Here is my opinion on this.  I think at this point there are a couple of different options for what they might do.  It’s entirely speculation, but I think my leading idea on the matter is that we will be dealing with Azshara and a return of the burning legion.  We’ve pissed them off by ruining their plans in Draenor and they are going to want payback.  I don’t believe that they ever quit speaking with Azshara and I also think that she has the power and the capability to provide them a way back to the world.  We may see a new underwater zone, but I have the feeling that this may entail more a revamp of some of the current old world, with a naga invasion.  I think what we will see is the destruction of Bilgewater Harbor as the naga return to Azshara with a vengence.  At the same time there will be an increase in naga activity in Ashenvale and Stranglethorn Vale.  Phasing of these zones will introduce new leveling content dealing with the naga in those regions.  The eradication of Bilgewater will force the Horde to fight on their doorstep while at the same time move to reclaim Kezan and Undermountain for the Goblins, while the alliance moving to help the Draenai and Night Elves will stumble upon long lost Kul Tiras.   Additionally, the Zandarlari seeing an opportunity will make their return in an attempt to rebuild their nation.  This will leave both factions fighting a two sided war as they work together to deal with the newly risen threat.  This will be the first true test for Vol’jin as Thrall fades into the background and Vol’jin must now deal with his old nemesis and friends the Zandalari.

The name of the expansion?  Rise of the Serpent Queen

Just my idea, what do all of you think?

An Acceptable Compromise

Rarely have I seen one issue cause so much discussion and venom in one community as the recent discussions about flying in World of Warcraft in Draenor and beyond.  So many of the people I’ve seen agree about other things in WoW were on opposite sides in this one and the discussion wasn’t always civil.  Personally, I am probably a rarity in the discussion, I didn’t care either way.  If flight was offered I might use it, if not then I’m ok with it not being there.  When I’m leveling whether it be main or alt, I do it without flight anyways.  I love the leveling experience and feel that I can only be totally immersed in the world if I’m in the world.  You don’t have the excitement of having to dodge that pack of Nagrand scavengers is you are flying above them.  I also realize that this is just my view on things and others don’t get the same enjoyment out of it that I do.  This is why I think that the way that Blizzard is introducing flying in this particular expansion is a good idea.

Gated flight is not a new concept in WoW, we have had it every expansion so far that I’ve played (I started in Wrath).  Up to this point, once you got your first character to max level you could purchase an unlock that would unlock for all you characters on that server.  This would normally mean that everyone would quickly push to max level then go back and experience what the rest of the content that they wanted to experience and avoid most of the danger, etc.. that came with it.  What they have decided to do now (incase you missed it, which I highly doubt) is actually gate the capability to fly behind content.  I like this idea.  The decision means that players will actually see the content that the developers have created (even if it’s forced upon them) and will hopefully get people out of their garrisons and actually doing stuff in the world.  I know this isn’t popular or acceptable for everyone (I wouldn’t mind seeing a PvP option for flight for those that don’t PvE), but I think it was the best way for the developers to give the community what it seems that most have been wanting while still staying to true to what they wanted from this expansion.

I look forward to 6.2 and all the new it brings and will see you all in the friendly skies when I’ve completed all the prerequisites.

Goodbye to an Old Friend #ThankyouWoWInsider

Yesterday we got confirmation that AOL is closing down Joystiq and all sites associated with it.  That includes WoW Insider.  I made a quick tweet about it yestyerday.Tweet

I actually mean that.  If it wasn’t for WoW insider, I don’t think I would be part of the twitter community.  I started on twitter as a way to keep track of new posts and to gain insight from the writers as many times they would answer questions on twitter as well.  What I found once I started exploring was a rich and vibrant community.  A group of people that are supportive and all share a great love for this game that Blizzard has made for us.  I’ve become friends with many of these people and even managed to find the guild I am now part of because of it.

But that isn’t all that WoW insider has been to me.  If it wasn’t for WoW insider I don’t know that I ever would have started blogging at all.  By showing me these blogs with all these amazing writers with such passion for their subjects, it made me want to share my thoughts as well.  WoW Insider has even affected the way that I play WoW.  My main is a shaman and has been almost since I started.  Until I started reading the shaman posts on WoW Insider, I would only heal for friends and then only on old content.  I didn’t have the knowledge or toolset to really consider healing otherwise, but seeing @LodurZJ and the other shaman writers have such a passion for healing as a shaman led me to dig deeper in the information and eventually try it myself.  I still don’t main spec heal, but I no longer have the trepidation about healing when needed.

I’m sorry to see what is happening to the site and all the outstanding writers and I hope all of you find a way to land on your feet.  I look forward to reading/seeing your work in whatever fashion it may come in.  May your passion continue to shine through, and through all of us may WoW Insider and the community it created live on forever.


It’s Been Awhile

It’s been about a year and a half since I last tried to be serious about blogging and wrote anything other than a quick thought or quick update post.  It has been an interesting few years.  In the summer of 2012 I retired from the military and embarked on the adventure of a civilian career.  I found very quickly that my breadth of experience was both a boon and a hindrance.  While it would get me in the door for interviews with most companies, it wasn’t comprehensive enough to get me the jobs that I wanted.  Partly out of frustration I took the first job to come along that was willing to pay me similar to what I was making in the military.  It wasn’t in my normal wheelhouse, but I was able to adapt and learn quickly. About this same time I also started going back to college.  It has now been 2.5 years since that day.  I have changed jobs once, to get me back to Florida, and as of earlier this month, I’ve now completed my degree.  This has given me an opportunity to actually play some video games again.  This isn’t to say that I haven’t been playing, I just haven’t been able to dedicate the same amount of time to them.  I’ve tried to stay active on twitter and in the conversations as I have been able, but it’s hard sometimes when I was sometimes only playing once a week, if that.  I’m still not sure if this will be a true return to blogging, but it is something that I enjoy doing when I get the chance.  I ask that you don’t expect regular posts, but I do have a few ideas brewing that I am planning out posts on, so we will see how that goes.  Hopefully there are some that still want to hear what I say, if not, I write these mainly for me anyways.  Thanks for reading my ramblings.

Gear Thoughts from a Sometimes Raider

I’m seeing a lot of discussion on twitter today on about gearing in WoW and thought it might be a good idea while the thoughts are running through my head, to put them down somewhere.  First where I’m coming from.  I’m  a part time/causual raider at best.  Most of my experience this expansion has been flex with some normal thrown in and a lot of LFR.  My iLevel is in the 550 range because of this and taking the time and Valor to do upgrades and such.  Now here is what I think.  I expect to get gear commiserate with the content that I’m doing.  If I’m raiding, I should be getting raid drops, if I’m doing heroic dungeons, I should be getting dungeon gear, and if I’m fighting a world boss that is considered Mythic or Heroic level, I should be getting drops that match that level.  Do I deserve the full mythic raid set just because I’m fighting a mythic level world boss?  No, but I should be able to get some mythic level gear from him.  It probably shouldn’t be tier gear, but it should be of equivelant level and stats.  I guess what I’m saying is if you want the gear do the content, with LFG/LFR you still have ways to do the content on your time.  Just my two cents.

Other site shut down

Because of my lack of blogging and the fact that I’ve moved recently, I shut down Amongtheelements.info  If I post anything new it will be here until further notice.  Not sure if you will see anything or not, still working that out myself as I’m kind of taking a bit of a break, but if I do, I will let you all know.

My Site has moved

My site has moved. To read new content head to http://www.amongtheelements.info