Leveling in Morrowind (2/2)

As you may have already noticed, the background image of the blog has changed back to World of Warcraft. Our great Elder Scrolls Online adventure has come and gone…

What’s behind such a radical change? Well, it all happened around level 20, when we both got confronted with the clunky gameplay of the dual action bars. It broke the deal for Sisqi and I.

So, just as in my previous post, keep in mind that these are the thoughts of someone who has spent more than a decade playing World of Warcraft:

  • Forcing people into using more than one weapon set, just to be able to use more than 5 slots on the action bar is a bad idea. I don’t see any reason behind this choice other than wanting to be different from other MMOs. The result is that you have a first weapon equipped, with a set of 5 actions on your bar, and a second weapon with another set of 5 actions. During the fight, you have to switch between these weapons to be able to access all your actions. It feels horrible, especially coming from someone who is used to the extreme fluidity of the combats in WoW;
  • The builds don’t feel natural for a fantasy game. Casters with plate armor, melee with light armor and staves,… It reminds me Torchlight II, where the best ranger (bow & gun) had to use a wand to be optimal, it breaks the class fantasy;
  • The landscape feels too much the same. While it is beautiful and more realistic than WoW, there isn’t enough difference between the zones;
  • LFG is a joke. Our last attempt left us in the queue for more than 3 hours, we even forgot that we were queued, until we finally gave up;
  • The lag is real. High latency, endless loading screens, such is the daily life of an ESO player;
  • The combats feels chaotic. One opponent is easy, two and even three is manageable, beyond that, you don’t even know who you’re trageting, the combat is a total mess.

The lack of optimization of both combats and connection make it difficult for us to enjoy ESO. We have cancelled our plus membership and re-subscribed to World of Warcraft, where we were happy to find back a fluid gameplay.

Each time I try a new MMO, I come to the same conclusion: before creating a gorgeous environment or a complex crafting system, the developpers should focus on the gameplay, an area where Blizzard, to this day, reigns supreme.

Leveling in Morrowind (1/2)

We both were in Elder Scrolls Online on the day of its release, but it didn’t work for us. I can’t remember the reason for not falling in love with it, all I can say is that, at that time, we didn’t go further than level 6 on any of our characters.

Time passed and a Youtube video by Fextralife triggered my curiosity. The timing couldn’t be better, the Blizzcon was extremely disappointing, leaving no perspective of a great future for a World of Warcraft that had already nothing to do anymore with the game we once loved. Before we had the time to say Quidditch, ESO was bought and installed on both our PCs, and we were proud ESO plus members.

Since then, we’ve been roaming Morrowind, avenging mages, freeing slaves and dancing with spiders. Every aspect of the game has been a blast. The game is gorgeous, many places are breathtaking, exploring such a fantastic landscape and all the caves and dungeons it holds feels like a true adventure. I could go on to talk about it, using superlatives but it couldn’t come close to how ESO is a fantastic experience for both Sisqi and me.

A few of the screenshots we took during our leveling from 1 to 20 in Vvardenfell:

Here is what two players who have spent more than a decade in Azeroth especially appreciate in ESO:

  • Venturing in such a detailed world, with a compass instead of an overlapping map, forces you to look where you’re going and to recognize the landscape. It greatly contributes to the feeling of exploration;
  • The game is more “classic fantasy” flavored. It feels good not to play in a world where orcs ride pink ponies and rainbow dragons;
  • The chat options and the NPCs make you feel like you’re a part of the story. Many quest lines only open if you’ve completed a prerequisite. That way, you can’t rush into a hub, pick all the quests, follow the yellow dots, kill the mobs (eyes closed), hand back the quests and receive useless loot without even having a clue of what the whole adventure was about;
  • Crafting is more elaborated and doesn’t become useless as just as you hit max level;
  • There’s a real sense of danger. Most of the time, the boss at the end of a quest line will kill you if you’re alone. It makes you wanna be good at your class, use the best gear you can find, use potions and, more importantly, group with people. In ESO, no heirlooms that make rewards obsolete and mobs that couldn’t kill you even if they’d really try;
  • A Day & Night cycle where the night is really dark (without the help of a potion);
  • Instant mount for everyone (not only druids).

Voilà, I’m going back to Vvardenfell now, I have caves to explore. Also, they have Skooma…

Grim Dawn – Ashes of Malmouth (2/2)

Three weeks ago, Gamrok and I were highly praising Grim Dawn in this blog, and yes, we had a lot of fun until we had reached the end of Act 5. While the game is beautiful, it quickly becomes very boring due to the new system of “resistances” they’ve implemented.

We’ve both been playing a character with the same build, practically the same gear, except for some difference in our resistances (fire, chaos, life,…). Yet, I could run the Void’s Edge (end of Act 5) without dying once, while Gamrok’s character died about a million times. So, we did a test, I equipped gear with other resistances and went back to the same place, and guess what… Where all went smooth before, I now got killed over and over again. This means that no matter the build or the gear, all that counts is the right resistance. It didn’t only become frustrating in the end, it was also extremely boring because it’s a huuuuuge run back without any possibility of placing a portal in the Void’s Edge.

Once I had reached Act 6, I understood that the resistances on my gear that helped me flawlessly through Act 5, were obsolete. This time I needed gear with Aether resist, and due to the lack of that, I was dying all the time.This was a complete turn down for me. The game would normally score super well, but this extremely boring grind for gear with the right resistance is just horrible. I’ve quit the game in the middle of Act 6, and I can’t even bother to go back to see the end of the story. It could have been so much fun, I actually love the Cthulhu-esque and witchy theme that they have going on there. Too bad they’ve completely ruined it with that “resistance” grind, maybe one day I’ll feel courageous enough to go back there, but I don’t think that will be any time soon.

Grim Dawn – Ashes of Malmouth (1/2)

The first expansion of Grim Dawn is out and it brought a lot of new stuff to this already great Hack’n Slash: new class masteries, increased level cap, 2 new chapters,… You can check the complete list of new features here.
After having spent most afternoons of our first week of Halloween holidays fighting our way through the game, here are our thoughts about it:

Gamrok

I had a few weeks of fun last year playing Grim Dawn, but the unoptimized graphic engine broke the game for me. In some zones, the game couldn’t get above 20 fps on a last gen PC with a 1080GTX…

The first thing I noticed with Ashes of Malmouth is that the graphic engine has been updated and never goes below 60 fps no matter the zone. To me, that’s a big green light.

Also, the classes I rolled back then were too squishy (dual handed soldier with 0 physique) or too boring (summoner). This time, like Sisqi, I went for a balance between resistance and offense, a Witchblade (soldier + occultist).
So far (almost level 40), I’m having a blast. Leveling in heavy armor with a two hand and arc as main skill is insanely fun.

I know that I’m nowhere near the end game and that everything will change in ultimate but leveling is a big part of my experience, I’m not rushing, I’m on holidays and I wanna take it easy 😉

Sisqi

Before the release of “Ashes of Malmouth”, I was playing a summoner in Grim Dawn. While I had a lot of fun leveling my character before this expansion, I’ve grown tired of summoning things and letting them do the job for me. Let’s face it, nothing’s more satisfying and rewarding in a hack ‘n slash than smashing all and everything around you with a bad-ass weapon. So, I went for another build this time. No more “cast and run”, but a “come at me bro” type of character that can take quite some damage before dying.

The last time I went for a melee class was in Skyrim and Diablo, and man, did I miss it! I’m having so much fun, I can’t wait to see how my character will perform in endgame content.

At the moment, I’m following a Cadence Witchblade build, partially from a build Gamrok found on the Grim Dawn Forums, the other part by improvising.

Until now I’ve followed most of his advise though… I needed to start somewhere, right? ;-p

    Leveling guide by jajaja:

    Level with 2hand blade arc:

    Start soldier, rush mastery to blade arc, max it, then rush to laceration, max it. 1 point in blitz for gap closer, then rush to oleron’s rage, max. then pop a point in occultist and max CoF. Afterwards get soldier passives then more points in occultist for the passives as you see fit.

    Basically pop CoF and bladearc away.

    Start with falconswoop/hawk, then lizard to get kraken. afterwards slowly work ur way up to oleron, getting dryad/assassins blade on the way to level those skill.

    Get a high dmg 2hand mace from vendor on a high lvl char , or do the best you can if its ur first char, attackspeed isn’t that important, just high base dmg, a white one is fine. when choosing gear, make sure to get decent armor values and get armor absorption up with scaled hide/field of command. use ectoplasms if you need mana, if its your first char you can farm those from ghosts in A2 spined cave or something like that.

    Go all physique early to use high lvl armor/weapon.

    At lvl 75 spec to real build. devotions are straight forward and no backward speccing required.

So far, I’m having a blast! I can’t wait to see how this build will work when running higher difficulties, I’ll write a new post with my thoughts and ideas later on.

Who is Gamrok?

I don’t really have a background story for Gamrok… He doesn’t come out of a tale filled with heroism… Instead, I always pictured him being a mix between two different personalities.

His first half would be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for his heroic image and his muscles. No challenge seems big enough for such a character, he’s always ready to jump of a cliff to rescue his old neighbour’s cat…

The other half is Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter, not for his cowardice, but for being a total jackass. Always smiling to the ladies, he walks down the streets as if he was leading the parade. His favourite quote would be “It’s not because you’re not as fabulous as I am, that you’re not fabulous at all!”.

You mix these two guys and you get Gamrok, always looking for a challenge, always ending up in perillous situations and, eventhough he always gets rescued by the fearless Sisqi, he always manages to get out of the danger with a charming smile, as if he just saved everyone. A real hero…

Class Fantasy, Nay or Yay?

This time Z & Cinder wonder whether “Blizzard nailed it on the head, or is it just leaving you cold and wanting to re-write the way your toon’s class is portrayed”. Blog challenge accepted!

I’ve always been a die hard fan of class specific lore so, my answer to the question is most definitely: “Yay, Blizzard nailed it on the head”!

Beast Mastery: Among the most gifted hunters, there are those who have from birth felt a profound bond with the creatures of the wild. These beast masters are drawn to the perilous primal world, invigorated by its dangerous and untamed nature. Primitive landscape becomes home. Ferocious predator becomes kin. Whether in the thrill of the hunt or the heat of battle, beast masters call forth a litany of vicious animals to overwhelm prey and gnaw at their enemies’ will. – Blizzard

Pet Taming

The taming of beasts is reserved to hunters only, and has always been one of the things I truly enjoyed about that class. I remember, in Draenor, the secret quest chain to tame Gara… The day that I discovered that there was such a thing for us, beast masters, I went ecstatic. Class specific lore adds so much more to your character. Gamrok and I eagerely jumped into this taming adventure to obtain the magnificent ghost wolf, Gara.

With the release of Legion, Blizzard started implementing more and more “special” tameable creatures throughout the entire game. Imagine our suprise when we heard about this awesome news!

The first to be introduced were the mechanical pets. If you’re not a Gnome or Goblin, you must acquire the engineer-crafted Mecha-Bond Imprint Matrix to begin with. Once crafted and learned, you can tame about any mechanical hunter pet available in the game. Some are quite easy to obtain like the mechanical sheep Tekton, while others remain a little bit more challenging, like the Arachnodrones found in Alcaz Island.

The new Hunter pet family added in patch 7.2: the Feathermanes. My favourites being the Wolfhawks, that’s why I’ve tamed all three of them. The possibility of taming this new pet family requires the completion of certain achievements and quests. Wowhead, as usual, has a really nice guide that you can follow blindly.

Then there is the most ultimate challenge: Fenryr, whom you can only tame by soloing Halls of Valor mythic. Yes, you’ve read that right: you have to solo a mythic. I’ve never tried it myself, but I will… soon… one day ;p

As you can see, the range of tameable pets seems to grow day by day. It’s a hunter only thing and I’m very, veeerrrryyyy happy that Blizzard has put so much effort in our taming experience.

Class Order Hall

The Class Order Hall for the hunter is the one and only “Trueshot Lodge”. There is no place better for hunters than the Lodge. I love this place… It’s beautiful and cozy with bonfires, snow, pinetrees, and it has various bows, guns, and polearms on display from the history of World of Warcraft.

Trueshot Lodge is the home base of an ancient order of hunters known as the Unseen Path. The Lodge was originally built by night elves and tauren working together on Talon Peak in Highmountain. It serves as the order hall for hunters.
Talon Peak was known by another name that has not been mentioned. The site was blessed by Ohn’ahra herself through [Talonclaw] and thus inspired the change. – WowpediA

As you can see on the map, there are three watchtowers: the southern, northern and northeast tower. Only the southern tower has survived the centuries, the other two were apparently damaged beyond repair, and were replaced by smaller towers that are, currently, seen around the Lodge.

We also have a portal to Dalaran and the flight master has a unique set of flightpaths only for hunters. Inside the Lodge, we can imbue our artifact weapon and consult our command map for missions and objectives.

The artifact researcher is named Holt Thunderhorn. He is located near a large book at the east side of the lodge. The tome starts blank, but will grow to hold the “Tales of the Hunt”.

Around the Lodge there’s the Gladiator’s Sanctum, the stables, and a hidden cave where Ogdrul is trapped in a rune circle.

I could have never imagined a more beautiful Class Order Hall than the Trueshot Lodge. I’m happy that my hunter can call this her home, but I’m also a bit sad when I think that, after this expansion, I’ll be spending less time in this beautiful place.

Class Mount

The scenario to obtain the hunter class mount was amazing! It starts with a cinematic where everyone is gathered around the fire and celebrating. Then, the scenario begins…

First, you have to go out into the night and must use your tracking skills to find four great beasts, which you have to defeat. After that, you have to put the spirits of the Wolf, Fereki, and Hawk, Vetholnir, to rest to be able to proceed to “Challenge the Wolfhawk”. Haukenulfnir, the wolfhawk, is an elite and a bit harder to defeat than the other NPCs. Once she/he is down, the final stage can begin: “Revel the Night Away” – Return to Odyn and feast the night away.

After the scenario, you return to the Trueshot Lodge, where a wolfhawk flies into the camp and chooses you!

The Feathermane mount has a different color for each spec. To get all three of them, you must unlock Concordance of the Legionfall with all three specs. I did and it was totally worth it! This is one of my most favourite mounts throughout the entire game so, once again… I can say that I’m a happy hunter 🙂

Artifact, gear, talents,…

Before Legion came out, I wasn’t very happy with the hunter changes they had announced. In fact, I was very negative. Once Legion was released, however, I rapidly became aware on how ridiculous that was. I love the changes they’ve made. Each spec is more distinct from one and other. Granted, I’ve never been a fan of Marksmanship or Survival so, needless to say that I couldn’t care less about these two specs. I’ve always played Beast Master, and I’m glad to see that everything that Blizzard has done until now, made me love my favourite class (and spec) even more.

Beast Master feels more than ever like a real master of the beasts… We have two pets, thanks to the artifact weapon, which I really love. I sincerely hope that Blizz will continue focusing on more than one pet in the next expansions. I would feel too lonely without my entire zoo around me 😉 The thing I like is that our talents are more focused on the damage done by our pets. We still have Cobra and Multi shot, traps, and some really cool utility spells/abilities like “Flare”, “Tracking”,… All in all, when it comes to the talents, I am a happy BM hunter.

Our artifact weapon, Titanstrike is pretty cool. Eventhough I may not like every appearance, there are plenty of great looking ones. Overall, I like the artifact system. It adds a lot to each class lore, which must be very refreshing for altoholics or lore nerds. If I would have more time I would love to level all classes and specs, only to see all the different stories.

Talking about stories, I loved the entire Hunter Class Hall Campaign! From the most simple quest to the night with Rexxar, the entire campaign has been a wonderful adventure. Not to mention the title “Huntmaster”, that we gain after completing In Defense of Dalaran.

Last but not least, I think that, in this expansion, the gear for the hunter has made a bit of an upgrade. I mean, look at the Hunter Class Order Hall set: Guise of the Unseen Path. Gamrok has transmogged his last gear into this set, which proves how great the hunter set in this xpac really is.

TLDR, I’m very happy that Class Fantasy took such an important place in Legion. It adds so much more depth to each of the classes, which makes me love the game even more (if that was even possible ;-)).

Day of the Tentacle

Both Sisqi and I have been reading Lovecraft’s books since we were kids. We love everything related to the Cthulhu mythos: novels, comic books, video games,… The idea of ancient beings, hidden in the dark corners of the earth, manipulating the mind of the humans, has always been one of our favourite plots in fantasy. So, when Blizzard inspires itself directly from Lovecraft’s world (Yogg-Saron, C’thun,…), we are instant fans!

There are not a hundred ways to say this: We love Cthulhu!

Yesterday, Sisqi was wandering around the Eye of Azshara when she stumbled upon Kosumoth the Hungering. I had already read that he was the boss that could drop the Fathom Dweller, an aquatic mount, but I didn’t know that it was already available.

After a quick research, I’ve found this guide on Wowhead: Kosumoth the Hungering. It’s pretty straight forward and feels very much like the hunt for the Riddler’s Mind Worm.

I really enjoy those secrets, it adds another level of depth to the game. I can’t help but wonder how they find all those hidden items? Do they explore each map, each cave, each ocean in the game? Some of the caves in this chain are very hard to find and I don’t think that I would have ever seen them without the guide…

One of the caves was even hidden behind a toothless shark.

When you finally have clicked all the items in the right order, you can go back to an NPC, Drak’Thul, and unlock a world quest where you are to slay Kosumoth. Apparently, the loot alternates weekly between the aquatic mount and a pet, the Hungering Claw.

We both obtained our very own tentacle, but we’ll surely come back next week for the mount.

With a possible next expansion themed around the old gods, we are both super hyped. Please, Blizzard, make it happen!

Why do you blog about WoW?

Another community challenge from Z & Cinder. This time the topic is about the reason behind our blogging:

“Everyone who has created a blog has done so for a reason. For all of you WoW bloggers out there, what was that reason? Why did you choose to put fingers to keys to write about a computer game? What type of posts do you like to write? Does your blog have a theme to it, or do you just wing it and write whatever you want? We’d love to know!”

So here is why we blog about WoW:

  1. The main reason why we blog is because we want to keep remembrances of our adventures in World of Warcraft. We spend an incredible amount of time in Azeroth, fighting, exploring, fishing,… It would be sad not to have anything to remember those moments by. In fact, our WoW blogging started with separated blogs where we were keeping our screenshots, without text. Then, we started giving our opinions about quests and dungeons. And, finally, Navimie gave us the idea to blog together, that’s how The Brutes were born.
  2. Creativity would be the second reason. Developping this blog gave me a reason to get better at CSS, I coded the entire theme of The Brutes and it was an amazing experience. That’s not all, it also gives us a place to write our stories and to work on little projects like creating funny comics or videos about challenges like the Ironman. The blog is a great motivation behind our creativity.
  3. Finally, we really enjoy the blogging community. Even if the first reason behind our writing is nothing else but our own remembrances, we do enjoy our little corner of the internet. Big sites like MMO Champion and Wowhead are filled with guides and objective posts. We don’t want objectivity, give us the people’s experience, what they do in Azeroth, what they love about it, what they hate… We feel closer to the real people, those who have a job or a family or both, who have to create their own adventures based on the time they have in the game. It feels more real to us than reading about pro-gamers and how long it took them to down the last boss.

Voilà, what we wish to the WoW blogging community is to grow and to get closer to each other, each with thousands of posts to remember our goofy adventures by.

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