WoW: Adventures in Azeroth (Pt. 13)

The conclusion of a glorious campaign.

I would like to thank the overflowing abundance of world quests, my champions, my cats, and Nethershards for the successful resolution of Moggie’s Class Order Hall campaign. Or what I would assume is the main bulk of the content at the time Legion was released. I don’t think we’re entirely done, as I’ve still got quests and other things related to the Class Order Hall campaign to do. But I’ve also got an upgraded appearance for Ashbringer and Truthguard alongside a new title. So I’m officially the Highlord. I’m just a very busy Highlord.

I’ve learned a lot over the course of this campaign, though.

Things that will undoubtedly be very useful for the other characters I have. Hence why I wasn’t sure if I should continue with the single campaign or start multiple ones, as I’m sure there would be new mechanics introduced which accelerate the process. Among those are world quests, collectible vendors, and the rather significant increases to Artifact Power accrual.

It’s been a fairly fun campaign, too. I’ve watched Moggie grow into quite a formidable Paladin. I’ve also taken quite a liking to Protection again, which, while it isn’t the specialisation I remember, is actually a really fun way to experience content. Active mitigation tanking is still new to me but it’s fun. There is a considerable difference in damage output, though. Which is to be expected. But the survivability and versatility are greatly heightened, which makes it a war of attrition as opposed to a burst DPS nukefest. I’ve even considered doing some dungeon tanking. I doubt I will- but I’ve humoured the idea once or twice. Truthguard isn’t as strong as Ashbringer yet, either. Though I have finally got some relics for it which have pushed me into the 4.5m health range.

Put your faith in the Light.

I certainly can’t feel bad about my progress with Moggie. I’m interested in seeing what new things the Hunter, Shaman, and Death Knight will bring to the campaign as well. So I’d say that Legion is going fairly well at the moment. It was always a rather spontaneous decision, which is why this subscription didn’t exactly proceed as expected as I didn’t foresee the purchase of Legion. Not that I regret it. But I’ve got a little more work to do to bring the others up to where they would’ve been. I’m looking forward to bringing the Monk into this, too.

She’s still made very little progress since her creation.

There are definitely a number of opportunities available if I’m willing to invest in them. I’m quite pleased about that in general, too. I’ve managed to bring all of my characters into some degree of order, which allows me to actually level and play them as I would’ve wanted to for all these years. There’s still work to be done- but it’s significantly less work than it once was.

I’m going to be starting the Legion campaign for Voljaarn next. Simultaneously, I’ll be focusing on the two Warlords of Draenor campaigns I’ve got for the Hunter and Death Knight. This way I’ll be bringing three new characters into Legion at least. Four with the Demon Hunter. Who I’m still unsure of how to proceed with. But the next subscription period will likely be focused on bringing everyone together, moving forward, and possibly accruing a decent number of Lvl 110 characters in the process. It might not be as exciting as this one was but it’s a necessary step forward. I’ve also got to figure out the professions in Legion, too. Lots of new crafting reagents of which I’m confused as to who would best utilise them.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

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WoW: Adventures in Azeroth (Pt. 12)

The journey to Argus has begun!

As is probably evident by the shattered core of the planet and overflowing Fel corruption- it’s not the most hospitable place. Our journey wasn’t a pleasant one, and we’ve had to fight for what little ground we’ve gained since landing. I’m also slightly worried that Moggie lacks the gear to fully explore Argus. I’m not that concerned as I’ve got business to attend to back on the Broken Isles in Suramar, so I don’t need to return immediately. I wasn’t entirely sure I’d even reach Argus, either.

Legion has some rather interesting quest mechanics.

It’s hard to tell what’s going to feed into what with some quests. I’m also not too fond of having to clear dungeons to retrieve the Pillars of Creation, as these are quests that follow on from things that are part of your personal story (or that of your Class Order Hall). Which feels disjointed. You’re able to do everything else as the champion of your Class Order Hall except that.

The majority of my confusion regarding quests is from not playing since the release of Legion. They’ve introduced much more content since then and I’ve not experienced the natural progression of that content, so I’m experiencing the rush of various things to do all at once. I’ve gone from collecting the Pillars of Creation, to gaining ground on the Broken Shore, to travelling to Argus, and I’ve even unlocked content that I didn’t know about in a few days from reaching Lvl 110. It didn’t even need to take a few days, either. Which is not to say I’m not enjoying it- as I am- it’s just a much broader experience than I was expecting. The recent ridiculously potent increases to Artifact Power have significantly accelerated the progression of Ashbringer and Truthguard, too.

A grand collection of ancient relics.

I’ve also been working on things outside of exploring Legion content with Moggie. Flint and Sanguinaer are making progress with their Warlord of Draenor campaigns, while Voljaarn is making the final preparations to start his Legion campaign, and I’ve completed the starting experience for the Demon Hunter. The new addition, Felaendruhn, is currently sitting in Orgrimmar while I try to figure out what I’m doing with him. I’ve been thinking about trying Vengeance instead of Havoc, which I’d probably do while soloing old content to get a feel for a rotation I could use.

It’s been a while since I’ve had an entirely new character to explore.

There is the Monk, which isn’t entirely new but is a class that I’ve not explored yet. But the key difference is that they have to do the levelling process like any other non-hero class. Whereas Demon Hunters (like Death Knights before them) have an accelerated process, which allows them to begin with most of their abilities unlocked. You’ve got less time to get a feel for them.

It’s definitely one of the busier times I’ve had on World of Warcraft in a while. That’s a good thing, though. It’s nice to see that the time I’ve invested in sorting through inventories, banks, and professions has been worth something. That now I’m able to do what I originally set out to do. It’s not going to be long before I could take another four characters into Legion content, which would make five (with Moggie) and that would be the highest number of characters I’ve ever had actively levelling in an expansion. Which could easily become seven if I level the Priest and the Monk. I don’t know how much time I’ll be investing into World of Warcraft in the coming months, but I’m hopeful I’ll be happy with the results of that investment.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Greatly Textured Horns

It’s easier if you squint.

Which is also true of the process to create such details in the first place. I’ve recently reintroduced my Copic Multiliners to my creative process, as the replacement Mitsubishi Uni Pin fine liners aren’t quite as reliable as I would’ve hoped they’d be. Great pens- but they run out incredibly quickly. Or seem to. Which isn’t too much of an issue as they’re fairly cheap, but even things that are fairly cheap become expensive if you’re continually investing in them. For example, I’ve already replaced the 0.05 pen three times since I started using them.

So I decided I’d take another chance on the Copic Multiliners.

They’ve always been great pens and they’re exceptionally reliable. That said, I did run into an issue replacing a nib and ink cartridge that made me slightly wary of them. But the new replacements have taken to the pens perfectly, everything is great, and as to familiarise myself with them again I’ve been doing ink sketching. You’d be surprised how different certain pens feel.

Or maybe you wouldn’t. But it makes for great tangential conversation, as it relates back to how much confidence you have with particular materials and much of that is derived from how they feel in your hand. Or how they react to certain types of paper. It’s particular evident in how you sketch with pencils, too. As you tend to lean on certain qualities of pencil to make it easier to translate those lines to ink, which, again, feels quite different depending on the type of pens you’re using. I notice that with Copic Multiliners I’m able to sketch finer details as I can actually translate those details to ink with them. The difference between 0.05 and 0.03 seems insignificant- but it’s there- and it’s very noticeable. Especially when you habitually sketch fine details.

It’s not only the horns that are greatly textured.

This particular sketch falls somewhere between a few earlier attempts and a finalised attempt with this approach. An approach that will likely include Faber Castell Polychromos at some point. I’m rather limited in my colour selection with those at the moment- but I’m sure I can work something out. I have got a small collection of certain colours. It’s also likely I won’t move straight to a finalised piece and more likely that I’ll do some more sketching. Trying to learn more as I go. But I’m fairly pleased with how the line work in this piece turned out.

I’m also quite pleased with the horns.

I don’t usually illustrate horns in this particular style but I do like them. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really understood how they work anatomically and some might argue that I still don’t. But I like ’em. They’re neat. The rest of the anatomy is fairly standard and muscular. Which is pretty much my standard. I even threw in a little armour to further my progress there, too.

It’s been a while since I’ve done larger pieces and most of that is down to my own perceptions of my inability to do so. Which, again, is partly due to my confidence. So I’m trying to work through new ideas that basically force me to do these things. Mostly because I don’t understand how arm anatomy works, either. So if I can cover that with armour I’ll be fine. I’m kidding. Mostly. This year has definitely been a learning experience, for better or for worse. I’m leaning towards it being for the better of my creative efforts as a whole. But you could also argue that I’ve wasted time pursuing some approaches that are less useful. That said, I’m starting to think that the side effect of being creative and being on social media is feeling like you’re never good enough.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Comparison in Iron

Quite the comparison to make.

This is more or less the same idea as Comparison in Blood but it’s in reverse, which is more significant than you might think. It’s also slightly overdue as I’ve not been feeling well recently. I couldn’t really do much about that, though. I’d much rather have slept at some point in the last week. In any case, this was always a spontaneous piece and one that will remain unfinished for various reasons. But as a material study it’s actually fairly useful. It might not seem as significant as I’m suggesting but I assure you it has merit.

Mostly in bringing traditional and digital approaches closer.

Needs more fire.

Hence why I’m doing these slightly odd studies in the first place. In this case, I was mostly trying to see how much impact adding line work to the piece would have. This is slightly closer to what I’d do traditionally, too. But it’s still a laborious and overworked process, as I’m still of the opinion I’m doing extra work due to the limited technical specifications of my tablet.

It’s still a possibility that I’m entirely wrong about that assumption. I don’t think I am. But I wouldn’t rule it out. I’ve definitely learned new things as a result of these material studies, though. I feel as though my digital pieces are stronger and that there’s potential for better results in the future. How I’m going to go about achieving those results, what form they’ll take, and with which equipment is entirely open to interpretation at this point. I’m almost certain I’m going to invest in better equipment mostly because I’m curious. That’s as good a reason as any to spend a lot of money, right? You know what they say about curiosity and cats. I might not be an actual cat- but I’m covered in enough of their fur that I might as well be.

The biggest challenge of this comparison was to try and recreate something recognisably similar. Not exactly the same- but recognisable enough that you can at least see what I’m trying to do. Which I hope you can. Otherwise that previous sentence exists simply to exemplify my failures. Usually I’m just applying digital approaches to previously attempted traditional pieces, but this seemed like a fun change of pace. Mostly to see how different the approaches would look and feel once completed. Unsurprisingly, they’re incredibly different.

Needs more everything.

Probably better approached with ink, too.

But that was mostly a matter of time and not wanting to invest that much into something to be used as a comparison. I’m fairly confident in my ability to translate pencil to ink at this point. I’m scarcely using that for anything worthwhile- but that’s not important. What is important is that I’ve got my confidence back. Somewhat. I think there’s some left under the cat.

I apologise if this content feels disjointed or it’s not particularly what people want to see. I’ve always believed that knowing where you came from is important, that knowing where you’re going is equally as important, and that we should do our best to understand these things. Especially for those who create. We’re often more personally invested in our work and there are usually reasons why certain things appeal to us. Being able to utilise those- through understanding, learning, and experimentation- is incredibly important to our growth. We’re all going to fail at one point or another, but understanding why we failed and learning from that is infinitely more important than not.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor, Blackhand, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Blizzard.

WoW: Adventures in Azeroth (Pt. 11)

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Light’s Hope Chapel.

With the release of the Shadows of Argus it seemed as good a time as any to finally upgrade to Legion. I’ve been delaying the purchase for a while, but I’ve mostly moved forward enough that I feel good about starting my adventures in the Broken Isles. Flint, the Survival Hunter, has made good progress through the Warlords of Draenor campaign. While both Moggie and Voljaarn are ready for what lies ahead. The freshly rolled Demon Hunter will be eligible for Legion content, too. Not forgetting Sanguinaer, the Death Knight, who can easily catch up.

It’s quite exciting having so many options to choose from.

Hence the reason I’ve been purposefully delaying my introduction to Legion content. I didn’t want to experience everything from only the perspective of a Paladin and a Shaman- I wanted to bring in some of my other characters as well. Of which the Demon Hunter is an entirely new class, and, as such, is slightly more exciting. Their character creation options are great, too.

I’ve reclaimed both Ashbringer and Truthguard for Moggie. I’m more than likely going to spend the majority of my time with (and Artifact Power on) Ashbringer, but reclaiming Truthguard did bring back fond memories of being a Protection Paladin back in Cataclysm. That said, I’ve more experience and interest in being a Retribution Paladin. I could also reclaim the Holy Paladin Artifact but I’ve no use for it. Moggie has never been (and likely never will be) a Holy Paladin. The only healing he does is panic mashing Flash of Light. I kid. They’re very precise panic taps. He may occasionally throw a Word of Glory out if things get that bad, too. They have a very satisfying AoE healing bubble to them.

Jimmy Cliff has the best advice at times like these.

I’ve been feeling strangely nostalgic about Legion, too. It’s either nostalgia, heartburn, or they were right and sitting at a computer for this long is actually bad for you. It might also be the Legion Chilli that Moggie ate after leaving Draenor. It’s been a while since I’ve had to prospect ore and use gems of varying colours for Jewelcrafting designs, while Mining has mechanics that seem to offer increasingly higher returns when mining ore you’ve gained knowledge of. It’s a satisfying combination of old and new approaches to profession levelling.

The Class Order Hall is pretty neat, too.

It’s like a less time intensive reinvention of the garrison concept. But there are still reasons to visit, such as, but not limited to: upgrading your Artifact, embarking on missions, engaging with NPCs to tie together individual stories, and saving reckless Paladins who take literal armies with them and still lose. Somehow. I guess that’s why Moggie’s the Highlord and he’s not.

I’m not entirely sure how best to proceed from here, though. I don’t know if I should focus on levelling Moggie to Lvl 110, or whether I should experience some of what the Shaman has to offer through Voljaarn. Or whether I should burn through Warlords of Draenor slightly faster with Flint. I’m still fairly new to Legion, which makes me think that if I focus on several characters at once I could potentially lengthen the process by not realising later mechanics exist. If later mechanics exist. Which they probably do. Don’t even talk to me about the Monk. She’s still in Duskwood. Well, you can talk to me about her if you like. I just don’t know that much about Monks yet. I should probably think about levelling her at some point, too.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Garrison Architects

Today is a good day to build.

It’s also a good day to run around the overflowing wilderness of Draenor trying to earn the Draenor Pathfinder achievement. It’s an interesting achievement that is feasibly doable at Lvl 100 if you’ve got the gear for it, which only the daily reputation quests might prevent if you’re going solo. But only if you’re having trouble fighting the elites out in Tanaan Jungle. Otherwise it’s just a few daily quests. Moggie was fully geared during the pre-Legion invasion event so he’s pretty much able to kill anything and everything Draenor has to offer.

Even as far as being able to solo some of the dungeons out there.

I’ve managed to get through Bloodmaul Slag Mines, The Iron Docks, and Auchindoun with relative ease. I don’t really want to push much further than Auchindoun, though. They nearly managed to kill ol’ Moggie. The dungeons in Warlords of Draenor are smaller and less loot intensive than those I’ve experienced prior, but they’re still well made encounters. They’re diverse, too.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the steadily decreasing size of dungeons (and other instances) since Wrath of the Lich King, though I am pleased to see more story being put into them. Story that usually ties into the zone the instance is in or the quests available in the instance. By the way, if you’re wondering, this post isn’t particularly related to the ongoing series– I’m just reflecting on the joy that is Warlords of Draenor. Attempting to earn the Draenor Pathfinder achievement (and working towards adventures with Legion content) has reignited my interest in this expansion. It’s pretty good. I’m really enjoying how the garrison helps to not only develop your professions but also opens up new locations to visit. The shipyard is particularly neat to look at, too.

The Temple of Karabor.

It’s definitely a gamble as if you don’t enjoy the garrison you’re out of luck. Incredibly out of luck. You’re also going to have to deal with being on the ground for the majority of it, either until you earn flying or leave Draenor never to return. But I like it. I can’t really explain why but there’s something about it that’s refreshing. The crafting is incredibly simplified compared to other expansions (including Legion it would seem) but it’s enjoyable all the same. Especially if you’re planning to carry on to Lvl 110 and want to easily burn through 600-700.

The art direction is perhaps the best I’ve seen in World of Warcraft, too.

The halls of Auchindoun are ridiculously beautiful. The dark, charred, Fel scarred landscapes are gorgeously haunting. The music is deliciously fitting and helps tremendously to create an enchanting atmosphere, whether it’s holy or unholy, which helps to deliver key story elements. I still enjoy the core gameplay but a lot of my return is thanks to Warlords of Draenor.

I’m particularly fond of the Horde story as Thrall is a major part of it. For reasons I won’t explain (as not to spoil it) he’s a particularly notable inclusion in the events to come, which helps develop his character further. The Alliance story is pretty great, too. In fact- all of it is great. It’s probably a good thing that I’ve got numerous other characters to experience the content with. In any case, I just wanted to highlight this expansion as more than just a setting for my ongoing series. It really does deserve the praise. I’ve also got three out of the five requirements for Draenor Pathfinder met, with the last two being the quest lines for the zones and the daily reputation grinding. So I guess I’ve got some work to do.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

The Realisation of a Dream

The very fabric of the universe is tearing apart.

Megadimension Neptunia VII is the first adventure that I’ve experienced in the Neptunia universe that isn’t part of the Re;Birth remake series. It’s an interesting one for that reason. Things that I’ve become acquainted to (such as the Remake system and Stella’s Dungeon) are not present, but there’s a bunch of other interesting ideas to replace them. Like the ability to invest in cities, which, for the most part, replaces the Remake system. Or the use of Scouts. Which also replaces some aspects of the Remake system.

There’s a world map (with actual enemy encounters), too.

Along with more emphasis on New Game+ in which more items become available the further you go. I was most surprised about this, as I know that Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation used a similar mechanic for multiple endings- but New Game+ is almost required in Megadimension Neptunia VII. It’s still incredibly content dense without it, though.

It’s broader (with a much longer story) but simultaneously narrower (with much less to unlock and use) but there’s more emphasis on each choice. Weapons have been completely overhauled in this way, they are fewer in number but actually have specific combo capabilities. Chaining together effective attacks is more important, too. The EXE Drive returns but only lasts for a single battle, while Formation and Coupling Skills are actually based on surrounding an enemy. Or slicing straight through it. There’s quite a variety of those as well. You’ll easily be able to build effective parties (even with DLC characters) and utilise those powerful attacks. There are also specific intense boss battles with unique conditions which require HDD to be activated.

Even the quests have been reworked so that you need to earn access to higher rank offerings. It’s incredibly ambitious and ridiculously enjoyable. The lack of opportunities to grind endless experience in your first run presents much tougher opposition, with some boss battles becoming quite heated. The introduction of a smaller but more specialised cast is appreciated, too. The DLC characters are some of the best I’ve seen in the series, with many not only having a great selection of skills but really unique (and gorgeous) character models.

Then there’s the HDD Next Form for the CPUs.

Introduced as the ultimate evolution of the CPUs and requiring a second activation to unleash once available, it boasts skills that are so powerful they cancel out HDD once used and return the CPU to their human form in return for devastatingly powerful results. They also feature really gorgeous character models and some of the most impressive animations in the series.

I’ve only one regret with regards to Megadimension Neptunia VII and that is that it marks the end of the currently available content. That said, I’ve scarcely been happier with a series than I have been with this one. I’m looking forward to seeing them all through again in New Game+, too. Especially this one. Which boasts the highest replayability of the series. I was surprised by the depth of the story- which is actually three stories- and how enjoyable it was. The true ending was among the best I’ve experienced so far as well. I’m certainly looking forward to the return of Neptunia (in any dimension) and can easily recommend this series to anyone who enjoys JRPGs. Or Neptune. Even if you don’t now- she’ll grow on you. I promise.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie