We’re only a few hours away from the global release of WoW’s 9th expansion, Dragonflight. For Brussels, the exact time is: November 29th at 12am. So, tomorrow evening, we’ll be camping the docks of Stormwind from 11.00pm, waiting for the boat the take us to the Dragon Isles.
This is probably the most exciting moment in a WoW player’s life: being part of a huge crowd (and I mean huge, we’ll post screenshots) counting down to the opening of a new world filled with new adventures, knowing that millions all over the planet are doing exactly the same. No other game can reach this level of excitement! What a great time to be a WoW player!
We may have roamed Azeroth in every directions and defeated Baa’l, but it’s a little girl named Uuna who did the hardest part: removing the goat’s shield so we could battle it.
However, before being able to face Baa’l, Uuna had to be empowered, which is another WoW secret where you have to find, summon and save her. Her story line is pretty dark, you have to bring her back from death through a grim scenario where her soul is about to be eaten by monsters. But it’s totally awesome because:
1. She’s one of the cutest characters in the game;
2. She’s your key to obtain the cutest goat ever!
WoW secrets are fun and bring an incredible depth to the game. Also, more goats is a good thing.
Two years ago, we were excited for the launch of Shadowlands. Just like now, the holiday season was starting and we were about to receive the greatest gift a WoW player can wish for (after incincible): an expansion for Christmas.
There have been highs and lows, but the overall feeling is very positive. We’ve played more during this expansion than we have with any other before. We’ve completed every single meta achievement in the game and we’ve even reached the end of the Twisting Corridors.
Revendreth was our favorite zone… It’s crazy how, after 16 years, they could still create a zone with such a distinct feeling. Big thumbs up to the creative people at Blizzard.
We had a blast in Thorgast, it was probably our favorite expansion feature of all times.
While we enjoyed the covenants, it would have been better if they wouldn’t have been connected to the character power, so we could have enjoyed the 4 campaigns with our main characters instead of having to use alts.
Of course, the Shadowlands aren’t gone and there’s still many achievements, pets and mounts to collect… But in a few days, Theotar and his friends will be history, even if its a history that we’ll gladly revisit.
At first, we were really not hyped, the announcement was underwhelming (those scripted discussions around a table, yuk!), the Drachtyr looked (and still do) ugly and we didn’t catch anything exciting.
During the last months, we’ve learned more about the new zones, dragon flying, the extra mat stash, the new UI and the return of the Kalu’aks. Now, the hype is real.
Also, don’t think that we could ever skip a World of Warcraft expansion, especially if it’s set to be released by the end of the year. Christmas trees and new stories really make the best time of the year.
If you didn’t see the 50 millions Proto-Drakes flying around, then you probably still don’t know about the free mount offered to your retail account if you create a Death Knight on a Classic server and walk him through the starting scenario.
We did it together and, while we were doing it exclusively for the mount, we had a ton of fun following Arthas’ commands, killing innocent people, stealing horses and torturing crusaders, a real blast from the past!
While it made us very nostalgic of our favourite expansion, I don’t think that we could go through it all over again. The past is the past and I would be afraid to spoil a perfect memory. Also, we love what retail has become and we’re both looking forward to Dragonflight.
On Saturday evening, we’ve also connected our Twitch accounts to our Amazon Prime and Battle.net to get the Crown of Eternal Winter for free. So many blue/white transmogs could benefit from that awesome crown, we didn’t want to let it pass.
Last week, we wanted to test the Elemental spec, but the only high level shamans that we have are Dark Iron Dwarves. The spec didn’t really work well for us, but the race was so awesome that it became impossible to go back to our Blood Elves.
After a few days of hesitation, we finally changed our main characters’ faction, joined the Alliance and became Dark Iron Dwarves.
We already wanted to change our hunters’ race for a few weeks. We both tried Orcs, but it was too bulky. I tried Goblin, but I really didn’t have the click. Finally, we went back to Blood Elves but we really weren’t happy… After a few minutes as Dark Iron Dwarves, we knew that we had made the right choice. We’ve had a blast the entire week-end!
Now, we need to find a new server because Draenor is almost exclusively Horde and it’s not easy to tag mobs when you’re the only one from the Alliance. The most Alliance populated European server is Silvermoon. I think that we would jump there without hesitation, but I ‘m not sure that it’s a good idea to choose a full server before a release. The other option is to go to Argent Dawn, where the queues will probably be shorter, but it’s a bit too quiet there lately.
Throughout the years, I’ve swapped factions and races. So, the time has come to re-introduce my hunter as she is nowadays.
Her name is Snory, she’s a Void Elf BM Hunter on the EU server Argent Dawn. You can follow this link to visit her armory page and better see her transmog gear.
I’ve been mainly playing this character for all post-Cataclysm expansions and I can say that Beast Mastery is my favorite hunter specialisation. The rotation makes sense, it’s fast, it’s ranged and it remains fun even when a fight requires to move a lot. It’s a real jack of all trade since you can easily top the meters in group content (LFR hero lol) and solo pretty much anything in the game.
Her professions are Mining and Engineering, which explains why she’s transmogrified as “techno” Hunter with Mimiron’s Repeater as weapon. my greatest wish in the game would be to get Mimiron’s Head as mount to complete her style (yep, back to Ulduar).
My total /played time with my hunter is over 152 days, which means 3642 hours and that’s only one of my characters. I could calculate my total WoW /played time, but some things are better left unknown…
Since we’re trying to complete each day all the Pet Battle World Quests that award Polished Pet Charms, I have created a page with all the pet battle strategies that Sisqi and I use in Shadowlands. They are not always the most optimal strategies, but they work even with a rooster of not-so-rare pets. So far, all the battles from Shadowlands are covered and I’ll soon add the strategies for BFA. That page is accessible via the “Links” menu located in the brand new top bar of the blog (ooh, shiny).
Sisqi and I are having a blast in Shadowlands. Between the Anima hunt, the mushroom quests, Torghast, the covenant upgrades and Korthia, our daily routine is really fun and diverse. However, reading the developer update made us very excited for the things to come. I’m also glad that Blizzard continues to be the kind of developer who listens to the feedback, despite the negative vibe spread by the toxic community.
Well, that’s a lot, but what makes me really happy is:
21 new soul shapes (mostly critters), I wanna be a squirrel and a cat;
Soloable Islands expeditions (we didn’t give it enough love during BFA);
Sometimes, you realise how good something is after you’ve tried something else… Well this is exactly what happened to us. We were a bit burned out of Shadowlands, then came the Blizzard scandal and the huge “let’s quit WoW” trend that followed. So, out of curiosity, we gave FFXIV a try.
Final Fantasy Online was released in 2010 but we’ve never felt that it was something for us. We’re not fans of anime, we don’t like their aesthetics, it doesn’t match our idea of heroic fantasy. However, the hype got us and we felt that we had to give the game a chance.
The first thing that I can say is that, if you don’t like steaks, no sauce will make you love them. Well, it’s the same with games. No matter how you look at it, Final Fantasy is, at its core, a Japanese game with anime-like graphics. But I thought that I could close my eyes, put the steak in my mouth, chew and Swallow… I was wrong!
The first thing that prevented me from enjoying the game is the lack of details in the landscape. For example, when you walk in a desert, it’s just plain yellow, you move on a yellow flat plate that’s supposed to feel like a desert.
The lines are too straight, the buildings feel like they’ve been drawn with a pencil and a ruler. There are entire cities made out of a bunch of textured polygons stuck together that resemble houses and castles but that’s it, there’s no charm.
Music and Voices
The music is miles away from what was composed for World of Warcraft. Most WoW themes have created memories that I will remember forever (Lament of the highborn, Aldrassil, Coldridge Valley,…), while FF14 themes are tunes that I want to forget.
We started by muting the music that launches automatically every time you ride a mount. Then we muted the combat music, which makes the game feel like Pokemon. We ended up by muting the entire sound, we couldn’t take it anymore.
There’s almost no voice acting, and when there is, it sounds bad. World of Warcraft’s voice actors can pride themselves for the amazing job that they do. FFXIV voice actors should rethink their career choices. Most of the time, it sounds so ridiculous that it triggered uncontrollable laughters.
Each quest comes with pages of text . If you don’t read it, the game easily becomes shallow and if you do, you end up reading the worst literature that I’ve ever read in my entire life. The localization team apparently decided to go for some “old English” style, the results is a annoying to read, and there’s a lot of it.
Honestly, how can anyone find FF14’s dungeons good? Their design is uncharacteristic and the bosses are uncharismatic.
If you wanna see what I’m talking about, you could compare two starting dungeons from both games: The Deadmines (WoW) and The Copperbell Mines (FFXIV), the difference of quality is so huge, it’s embarrassing.
From the start, killing mobs in WoW feels amazing. Whether you hit them with a huge stick or you curse them from afar, WoW’s gameplay is smooth, fast and addictive.
FF14’s gameplay, when you get to experience it (between the hours of text reading), feels clunky. You will often read that you have to wait the last levels to experience the real gameplay of Final Fantasy, but no matter how many buttons are added to the action bar, weaving easily gets tedious.
Everyone who plays WoW knows of Muradin, Sylvanas, Anduin, Ragnaros,… In FF14, I don’t even know the name of 2 NPCs, and if I do, it’s because they’re so ridiculous that I can’t forget them (unfortunately).
The name of the places are horrible: Limsa Lominsa (I had to google to spell it right), Costa del Sol (yep, I swear),…
I have to say something about the gear… Why even bother with dragons and castles, only to have us stumble upon a dude dressed in Summer attire? I completely breaks immersion.
Of course, my opinion isn’t objective but this is my blog and I don’t need to be objective. Now, I must admit that a great part of my negativity towards Final Fantasy comes from the fact that I’m not into anime. I love western fantasy, the one from Dungeons & Dragons.
But, regardless of my preference, I think that FF14 suffers of a huge lack of quality. From its gameplay, the way the lore is passed on, the graphics, the music and the overall charm, it feels like a cheap asian rip-off. Coming from WoW, it’s as if you’d be walking inside of a fake Chinese Disney park after visiting the real thing for years.
Trying FF14 has brought us some good though, it made us realize how spoiled we are with World of Warcraft. Since we’ve tried FF14, I’m even more amazed by the quality of Blizzard’s MMORPG. So many things are over-the-top, from the smooth gameplay to the music and the polished graphics, but the thing that matters most to me is the charm of the world and Eorzea doesn’t hold a candle to Azeroth.