From the Ashes

Greenish tints are common in post-apocalyptic wastelands.

Devil’s Crossing has seen better days. Mostly the ones where they’re not under siege from a fallen city overflowing with horrific monstrosities. But, seeing as they are under siege, and their militia is more or less useless, you’re going to be busy for a few days. Or weeks. Assuming you aren’t immediately swallowed up by the void. Ashes of Malmouth is the utterly fantastic continuation of Grim Dawn, which features both new Masteries and new story content (alongside a heapin’ helpin’ of new items legendary and otherwise).

It’s a good ol’ fashioned expansion.

The two new Masteries alone are worth the price of admission, as they can either be used on their own or with any of the other Masteries which opens up myriad possibilities. I’ve been trying the Death Knight (Necromancer/Soldier) and the combination of summoning with close combat is pretty fantastic. Having a menagerie of unholy beasts and skeletons is pretty neat.

That said, the new story content is excellently introduced through a series of breadcrumb quests which take you back to Burrwitch and then to heart of the void. From there you journey to Malmouth and (quite literally) fight your way to the heart of the city. Gaining ground and losing it in equal measure as you push forwards. It’s a surprisingly extensive journey which will introduce you to new factions nestled deep in marshes and crumbling cities, and will require you to make choices, as your actions will dictate who will welcome you and who won’t, and those interactions will help you understand the true nature of these factions. As expected from Grim Dawn there is a wealth of choice and consequence that’ll keep you busy for hours to come.

Crown Hill definitely has an infestation problem.

I’ve had a few pangs of nostalgia while playing through this expansion, too. It gives me similar feelings to those I had when I first experienced Diablo II Lord of Destruction, wherein the snowy plains of Act V kept me company while I adjusted to the innumerable challenges that lay ahead. I’m also quite excited to see how the Death Knight develops. I’ve mostly experienced Ashes of Malmouth with my Warder (Shaman/Soldier), which, besides being my first character, doesn’t have a particularly strong or effective build.

It has great burst potential but terrible survivability.

However, despite the build drawbacks, I’ve greatly enjoyed all that I’ve experienced so far. I’ve still got to find those new dungeons, too. I would say that I’ve seen the majority of what this expansion has to offer, but I know that isn’t true as it is so incredibly content dense. I’ve definitely missed quests and NPCs along the way. Not to mention the results of different choices.

It’s an incredibly easy recommendation to make if you love ARPGs. Grim Dawn is an expertly crafted and beautifully complex yet intuitive and easy to learn ARPG, which only becomes better (in every way) with this expansion. That and you can raise skeletons. All the cool kids are doing that. I’m not really sure what the Inquisitor does- but I’m sure that’s neat as well. I’m quite excited to see what’s coming next for Grim Dawn, but, until then, I’ve got to roam the fields of Wightmire with my Death Knight. She’s due to loot something really cool any day now. Or maybe I’ll try to make sense of the Devotion screen and pick something out for her. I don’t really open that screen much. It’s big and confusing.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

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Purloiner of Cinders

That’s a fairly accurate description of what I do.

I’ve also been known to farm Silver Knights for their equipment, collect spells of many different varieties, collect armour sets that I’ll never use, and sometimes even fight bosses to progress the story. I became the Lord of Hollows, too. That was quite an interesting marriage ceremony. Dark Souls III is an adventure that I’ve been eager to begin, but one that I approached with a build that focused on two things I’ve scarcely used before- Strength weapons and Pyromancies. It’s an odd combination and it’s not the easiest build to make effective.

But I get to throw smouldering fireballs at people. Which explode into lava.

I’ve greatly enjoyed the build, but I will admit that I mostly fell back on using my weapon and shield instead of the varied Pyromancies. Which still feel like (mostly) PvP options to me. That said, I’m not too upset about that as I’ve been able to make use of a greatshield. Which is also a first for me. I’ve had varying success with bosses for obvious reasons, too.

As is becoming common practice for Dark Souls, Human Effigies (like Humanity before them) have been replaced by Embers which are much less required as they only really boost your maximum health until you die. It’s a nice boost- but it’s not as necessary as using a Human Effigy because you’re missing half of your health. Many of the mechanics you’ve become accustomed to have returned as well. Infusions allow you to enhance or completely change the damage type or scaling on your weapon, the reinforcement process remains unchanged, and the most major of differences is the introduction of Ashen Estus Flasks. Which are like regular Estus Flasks (and they share collective charges) but recover FP instead of HP.

Let’s take the scenic route.

FP is a rather important mechanic but only if you intend to cast spells or use weapon arts. It replaces the previous mechanic of attuning multiple copies of the same spell for extra uses and introduces a casting resource (FP), which is recovered with Ashen Estus Flasks, and so every spell has a cost, while spending points in Attunement will give you more FP and more slots. It’s probably the broadest change and it’s a little confusing at first, but very simple once you get the hang of it. I’m actually really supportive of the change. It feels balanced.

Likewise, weapon arts allow you to use special moves with certain weapons.

These special moves will also drain FP but they’re often worth the cost. While some of the more unique transposed weapons will have entirely different movesets to what you may expect, which makes those weapons interesting for reasons other than scaling and/or damage. It’s an enjoyable experience overall which still holds a lot of secrets (and optional bosses) for you to discover.

Likewise, the Dark Souls series as a whole is quite enjoyable. There are some less than enjoyable moments or bosses, but it’s mostly a very well made series, which has the ability to be experienced in different ways over different playthroughs, and will most certainly give you hours of entertainment. It also tends to teach you how creative you can be with profanity. I’ve got a few other builds I want to try with Dark Souls III as well. Mostly those that include Sorceries or something that suits my usual build. Even the dual wielding weapons look fun. I’ve also yet to make my way through the DLC, which I know are quite difficult and feature several multiple phase bosses. Those are my favourites- that’s when the despair really sets in!

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Shieldless in Drangleic

It’s a dangerous world out there.

Likely even more dangerous when you willingly opt out of using a shield entirely. That said, I’ve started to wonder if I rely too much on my shield. Especially when I don’t really build characters around heavier armour which are more likely to require a shield, or, at the very least, make good use of one. Dark Souls II is an experience I don’t really talk about all that much. That’s not to say that the experience itself is bad, just that I made a bad decision in thinking that Miracles would be a good secondary damage option. When they’re really not.

Well, no, they are- you just have to progress pretty far into the story to get those Miracles.

Which meant that I’d need to start over with a new build and I never really got around to doing that. Until recently. Which is when I decided I’d run a full Sorceries build with limited weapon options and no shield. I’ll admit- it sounds like a bad idea. Which it was with some bosses. But it was something different that helped me to understand when a shield is actually useful.

The majority of character progression and development mechanics remained the same as they were in Dark Souls. But the most significant difference would be the introduction of Human Effigies, which essentially act as Humanity but also restore the temporary maximum health loss that occurs when you die. They’re not particularly required, either. Especially if you have the ring that reduces the amount of maximum health you lose with each additional death. I do believe the Sorceries have remained mostly the same as well. That said, for me, the greatest challenge was defeating bosses like the Lost Sinner with no reflexive shield raising. I always do that panic button press hoping that it will absorb the damage when I’m about to get hit.

Shower him with Soul Arrows!

I’ve had a lot of fun with the build, though. It’s definitely different as I’m usually doing most damage with a weapon and then relying on Sorceries for some enemies. Whereas, with this build, I’m having to think a lot more about actually rolling effectively as I don’t have a panic button. If I roll badly I’m going to get hit. Which makes equipment weight more important, which in turn reduces the number of armour sets I could wear without investing heavily into its governing attribute. Casting time is also something I’m now much more aware of.

It wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting, either.

Which many would say is because of the inherent damage of Sorceries, but in many ways I felt almost underpowered in the earlier areas as I had limited Sorceries to attune and these were my main sources of damage. But that’s part of the challenge. When using a Strength/Dexterity weapon you have steadily increasing damage, whereas Sorceries are much more spiky.

It took a fairly long time to come back to Dark Souls II but I’m glad that I did. I didn’t own the Scholar of the First Sin version until recently, so these are all observations of a character in the original version but I do have the DLC for that version. So I’ll likely be exploring those at a later date. Until then, I’ll likely be moving on to the next in the series with which I will likely try another different build. But, again, as I said with the first Dark Souls, the character customisation and progression is what makes the series so enjoyable. It’s great to always be trying new weapons or building around different attributes. I can easily recommend Dark Souls II, though. It’s different- but it’s the enjoyable kind of different.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

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

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

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