I got myself Alleria Windrunner, the Hunter skin on Hearthstone

Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=xY5xK3B853U&list=PLKQUciHiP2v6lehTLfSf2M9HVjrfb8Hzt

There aren’t very many heroes I play on Hearthstone. I main Warlock, I occasionally play Mage and Hunter, and pretty much never touch any other class unless it’s in Arena.

Taking that into consideration, I decided that I would get some Hearthstone hero skins for the ones that I do actually play.

Alleria and Medivh were released as the skins for Hunter and Mage (with Magni being the Warrior skin, and the other six hero skins not being announced yet). I didn’t really like Medivh, but I decided Alleria was nice enough. Also, I assumed I would like her because she’s a Windrunner, and Sylvanas Windrunner is my favorite character to play on Heroes of the Storm.

For those who don’t want to buy the skin but want to see what it’s like and haven’t encountered it yet in PvP, I decided to upload a VOD of the emotes, as well as some gameplay of mid-range hunter.

There was quite a bit of negative hype surrounding these skins, both prior to release and after release. Prior, people claimed that they were too expensive (at $9.99 apiece); after, people claimed they were not well polished.

If the claims people are making are true, then I would hope that Blizzard goes back and adds in the little details to the hero skins. I would like to see them have special gold portraits, possibly some modified class-specific cards, and unique card interactions.

Until then, I don’t really have that strong of an opinion on Alleria. It’s not bad, but it definitely didn’t make me say “wow” when I first used it. At the rate that it’s going now, I’ll probably end up getting the Warlock skin if it’s a character that I like, otherwise, I will most likely pass on it.



Leveling Shadow Priest to 94.1 in WoW: Warlords of Draenor

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwCKiRMCkDs

Earlier this week, I posted that I would be returning to World of Warcraft for one week and trying out the new Warlords of Draenor expansion after receiving seven days of free game time.

After a tiring evening of teaching martial arts for three hours straight, I hopped on WoW to continue level­ing, and made it to Level 94.1 before going to sleep.

I redeemed my free game time this past Monday morning, which means I only have this coming weekend to finish my leveling. This means that I’ll need to level up three times on each day in order to meet my goal (which, unfortunately, I don’t think will happen).

I looked up some information online, and it seems like most people believe it takes approximately 30 hours of gameplay to level from 90 to 100 (which averages out to about three hours per level). Sure, my first levels took only about two hours each, but I’m sure it gets a bit slower once you get higher up.

This most likely means that I need to play over a full time job’s worth of World of Warcraft on both Sat­ur­day and Sunday in order to meet my goal.

Sure, this expansion improved the game a noticeable bit, and the storyline seems somewhat interesting, but I don’t think it’s good enough to warrant me playing as if it’s my job.

I haven’t decided yet, though, and I don’t even know how busy I’ll be over the weekend, but I’ll post an update on Monday letting you guys know how it went.



I’m returning to World of Warcraft for seven days

Back in March 2014, I started playing World of Warcraft. It’s a pretty big game, and I decided that it’s historical enough that I should probably at least try it out.

At first, it was pretty overwhelming because there was so much content that I wanted to do that has been piling up since the game first came out over a decade ago. It managed to keep my attention for about three months before I decided to store it away for a while and move on to a different game again.

Back during that time, I preordered Warlords of Draenor. The expansion came out late last year, but I hadn’t played since then.

It seems like Blizzard noticed how inactive my account was, and sent me an email offering me seven free days of game time. Seeing as I had an entire expansion already purchased and waiting for me on my account, I decided it would be a good idea to capitalize on this promotion.

Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=gT1IWGo_1Ec & http://youtube.com/watch?v=0Nm0Nl1KzLQ

A little bonus on top of the free game time is that, if I manage to hit the new level cap of 100 during my free week, I can also get a mount in Heroes of the Storm. If you’ve been following me at all for the past few weeks, you know that I very much enjoy Heroes of the Storm and I played it nearly obsessively for quite some time.

Apparently some guy leveled from 90 to 100 in 11 hours back when it came out on the public test realm; I’m obviously not going to get my leveling done that fast.

It seems like I’m going at a rate of about two hours per level, so in that case, I should be done in about 16 more hours of gameplay. In an ideal world, I’ll be able to play three hours every day for the rest of my trial period, but I have a feeling that it might not end up like that.

Regardless, I’m going to try and get as much as I can out of my seven days, and if I discover that Warlords of Draenor is a huge improvement from Mists of Pandaria and I want to keep playing, I might even resubscribe for another month to continue enjoying the new expansion.



I finally finished the TERA: Fate of Arun expansion storyline

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG7Rn_jNgNE

Back on October 24, 2014, TERA released an expansion and a level cap raise with the release of Fate of Arun.

TERA is a game that I started playing a long time ago in around January 2013. Back then I thought the game was great, but the more I played it, the more I disliked it due to the fact that its end-game content is very redundant, and way too much of the game’s gearing and advancement mechanics are wildly RNG-based.

One thing that I liked about it, though, was its skill-based combat. TERA is one of the few games where you actually have to aim your skills, and there are not that many point-and-click abilities. Since playing TERA, I started playing World of Warcraft, and I’ve played RuneScape ever since I was little. Playing these games made me miss how involved TERA’s combat system is.

I decided that, eventually, I would go back to TERA to finish the storyline, and I would level up to the new cap. It’s obviously been quite some time, but today, I finally made it.

At the beginning of the storyline, I tried my best to read everything and immerse myself into the plot, but it became very difficult. Eventually, I just did what most other MMO players do and skipped all the text.

But, at the end, something quite shocking happened, which you might be able to see from the thumbnail of the VOD I embedded above. This suddenly woke me up and made me wish I had paid closer attention to the events leading up to it, but unfortunately it was already too late.

I do have another level 60 character, my priest. I originally leveled that class because I wanted to see the game from a healer’s eyes, and I wanted to know how to make it as easy as possible for my healer to carry me through dungeons and raids. Even though I finished the storyline and did all the leveling, I still think healing is very boring, and I most likely won’t be bringing my healer to the new level cap.

Although I’m level 65 now with my sorcerer, I don’t think the full storyline is over yet. There is still obviously quite a bit of end-game content that I still have left to play, and I’m obviously not going to think it’s redundant the first few times I play it. So, this stream session most likely isn’t going to mark the end of my TERA playing during this expansion.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m sort of at a lull period of variety gaming after grinding Heroes of the Storm for two weeks, so it’s possible that I’ll thread in some more TERA within the next several days if I get a chance.



Defeating the Fortree City Gym and catching more Pokémon

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGiAssZvMqI

As I mentioned before, I want to get a few small things done in various games before going all-in again on another big gaming project (like grinding to Rank 1 on Heroes of the Storm). One of those things is finishing up the Pokémon Emerald expansion on PokéMMO.

I tend to have quite a bit of trouble just finishing up the storyline because I get distracted in Pokémon very easily. I like keeping everything organized, and when I see unevolved Pokémon in my PC Box or missing spaces in my list, I’m eager to tend to them.

Today, I started off by progressing up until Fortree City, and defeated the gym leader. From there, I went out to catch an Absol (which took a very long time due to its low encounter rate), and spent even more time on top of that trying to find another Absol with better stats and a more ideal nature (which ended up not happening).

In the spirit of catching new Pokémon and filling up my PokéDex, I continued leveling and evolving Pokémon until the end of the stream session.

PokéMMO is obviously a very low-intensity game compared to the other games I play, and I treat it as such, because I don’t really obsessively play up to a goal (but rather, I treat it like an outlet of relaxation where I can relive memories of my childhood). But, hopefully, this relaxed approach to the game doesn’t get too extreme, because I would like to actually finish the Pokémon Emerald expansion storyline soon (and can continue filling my PokéDex afterwards).



Five-man Zagara Maw turns around a losing fight in HotS

“This is a really bad fight … NOT ANYMORE!” :^)

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLhSD0ymf5c

Today’s stream highlight clip comes from the end of my journey to Rank 1 in Hero League on Heroes of the Storm.

Facing a losing fight with our engage spells down and Illidan on the brink of death, I Bolt into range to hit a five-man Devouring Maw. This buys my team enough time to heal and re-engage favorably, ultimately leading to a five-for-one won team fight.



The climb is complete – Heroes of the Storm Hero League Rank 1

I’m proud to announce that, through my commitment to climbing the Hero League ranked ladder on Heroes of the Storm in the past two weeks, I have reached my goal and hit Rank 1 today.

I won my last two games today, both with Zagara, and streamed both games.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-uOoP5j97U

It seems like once you reach Rank 1, you go off a different point system, where you can collect up to 1,000 points. The point progress bar also disappears, so you’ll have to hover over your rank in order to see how many points you have left until you max out.

I’m eager to set my new goal at 1,000 points into Rank 1, but I’m also a little hesitant, as I don’t want to overwork myself.

As you might have suspected, I tend to get burnt out pretty easily, especially if I’m doing something by myself, and I don’t want this same thing to happen to Heroes of the Storm. Because of all the dedication and focus I’ve been putting into this, as well as the fact that I am solo queueing all my games, I feel as if it’s even more susceptible to burning me out.

So, for now, I’m going to mix in some different games into my schedule for a little while as I cool down from Heroes of the Storm, and only play it casually for a bit. From there, I’ll decide if I’ll go for the ultimate goal of 1,000 points before the Grandmaster system gets introduced (the gold border that was asset-farmed from a recent patch).



I can taste success – one rank away from my HotS Hero League goal

At the beginning of my Heroes of the Storm Hero League journey, I set a goal for myself – to reach Rank 1.

I knew that I could do it. I was a diamond-level player from Season 2 League of Legends, which sup­pos­ed­ly put me in the top 0.1% of players on the elo system. The top 2% that comes along with Rank 1 surely can’t be harder than that.

Earlier today, I hit Rank 2, putting me two victories and one rank away from my goal.

Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=QhLEhi9dpH0 & http://youtube.com/watch?v=bhhvx7MRFRs

I started panicking a bit at the end of the second stream session because my Internet died when the en­e­my core was at 3% health. I literally had Banelings rolling out to deal the final blow when my con­nec­tion dropped.

After trying to restore my connection, I finally managed to get back into the game.

Due to my discon­nect, the game recorded in my match history as a defeat. However, as a result of great fortune, my team’s victory still registered in my Hero League ranking, and I got all the corresponding points.

There was another funny occurrence with game result reporting earlier today, where apparently I had an “un­decided” game, even though we were actually victorious.

That was a game in Hero League, but as you can see, the entire indicator for ranked points gain is com­plete­ly missing. Fortunately, it ended up just being a visual bug, and when I went back to the Hero League preparation screen, I saw that my points had been added.

Only two more victories should be enough points for me to Rank 1, and I look forward to doing that to­mor­row.



Climbing up to HotS Hero League Rank 4, now within the top 10%

The lull in my climbing action is finally over, and I’m back to ranking up again.

My last post stated that I was having trouble getting past Rank 7, and was plateauing because I was losing just as many games as I was winning. Luckily, I’ve started to go back on winning streaks again, and made it up to Rank 4 after a little over five hours of gameplay.

Supposedly, according to the little info button on the Hero League ranking system, each rank represents about 2% of the Heroes of the Storm Hero League population (meaning, the ranks are assigned linearly). That means I’m finally within the top single digit percentages of players.

(For those who are curious, on the contrary to Heroes of the Storm’s linear ranking system, League of Leg­ends has an exponential ranking system. Back when I used to actually play LoL seriously, the ranks ta­pered off where it got harder and harder to rank up the higher you got. Silver was the top 68%, gold was the top 13%, platinum was the top 1.5%, and diamond was the top 0.1%. Master and challenger leagues didn’t exist back then.)

Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Y-5GfFQaeIM & http://youtube.com/watch?v=bZTK-BhFGng

I’m still sticking with playing specialists and assassins, and I’ve started enjoying playing Zagara a lot more.

Prior to playing her, I was a one-trick pony with Sylvanas, where I had trouble having a satisfactory impact (to my standards) with any other hero. However, when I found out about Zagara, I played her a few times in Cooperative and Quick Match modes, then went straight to Hero League with her.

I feel as if her ability that spawns a Hunter Killer Hydralisk is overpowered. If used correctly, it makes it literally impossible for anyone to out-trade her in a 1v1, and when timed properly, it can either zone your opponent from minion experience or make them pay half their health bar for it.

Of course, there are times when Sylvanas is stronger, such as when you already have an extremely high-damage composition, you plan on laning as a pair, and/or when you need the grouped pushing power. I like to play Zagara on zone-control maps (such as Sky Temple) where your objective is to stand in an area, and if your opponent decides to do what they need to, they’ll take absurd damage from your Hunter Killer.

On the other hand, I like playing Sylvanas in pushing maps (like Haunted Mines) where you can push with the Grave Golem and disable enemy structures to prolong your creature’s life.

I realize that eventually, I’m going to have to try out all the heroes and be comfortable playing at least two out of the three roles (I already play damage dealers, so now I need to pick up tanking or healing). But, for now, I feel as if I can still make it to Rank 1 without having to be too flexible.



The climb has slowed; I’m hovering around Rank 7 in HotS Hero League

It seems like I’ve faced a small lull in the intense Heroes of the Storm climb, as I hover around Rank 7 for a few days.

Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=pgrBcBE01Io & http://youtube.com/watch?v=etn2pIHMHzs

At this point, it seems like I’m losing just about as many games as I’m winning, and I’m no longer seeing massive winning streaks.

I’m not getting discouraged yet, though, because I know better than to give up now. I’ve had enough trash allies and opponents in League of Legends to realize that I’m just getting a bit unfortunate with allies who don’t have the best attitude.

All I need to do at this point is to keep playing with patience, and try my best to pacify upset teammates.

I’ve played with and against a good number of Rank 1s already, and almost every time I see one, I can con­fidently say that I’m better than them in every aspect of the game apart from game knowledge (mean­ing, excluding knowing which heroes exist and what they do, I’m better at pretty much everything else).

Most of the Rank 1s I see have several hundred games already played, so it’s only a matter of time before I get there too.

A good way to regain mental composure is to take a break from the grind and do something fun, so I de­cided to join Seltzer (Rachel Quirico) for some Quick Match games.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbv-_vvjRUI

The 8+ hours of gameplay footage from the past three days, as well as a ton more footage from before that, means that I have enough plays to throw together my first ever Heroes of the Storm montage.

I’ve already gotten started on piecing some clips together, and hopefully the final product will be done by tomorrow.