Retail Bullet Points

I haven't written about it in more than two months, but I thought it might be worth noting that I'm still playing retail on the side. Let's summarise the sorts of things I've been up to under different headers.

Playing the table game

The thing that actually keeps me logging into the Shadowlands client on a daily basis is, funnily enough, the adventure table. Ever since WoW introduced these tables reminiscent of mobile games back in Warlords of Draenor, I've heard people express nothing but scorn for them (at best they've seemingly been a feature players can just about tolerate), and to be fair, I didn't exactly love the first iteration of the system that I myself encountered in BfA content either. The table in the Legion class order hall was a bit better, but I've got to admit, I really like the Shadowlands version. I'd never played an auto battler before and only really knew about the concept from Wilhelm's posts about them, but I honestly quite enjoy it!

I do still have the casual long-term goal of maxing out my main's covenant sanctum features (something that I'm sure more regular players finished months ago) and I like the slow and steady trickle of anima that some of the table missions provide. I enjoy choosing which ones I want to do on a given day and then sorting my companions into optimised teams for each one. I love the collectible aspect of recruiting new companions and I love making their numbers go up, even if it doesn't serve any greater purpose.

I even tried to install the WoW companion app on my phone to manage my table through that, but it crashed every time I tried to log in so I eventually gave up. The only result of these login attempts was that according to my launcher I now apparently also have a US trial account for retail...

Korthia & Zereth Mortis

For a while, the husband and I kept going to Korthia once a week even after we'd unlocked the last bit of story, but our interest didn't last very long. Initially it was nice to be able to upgrade our gear by doing dailies, but the pace soon slowed to an absolute crawl, to the point where we weren't able to buy even a single upgrade per week, and that kind of made us lose interest. Why spend this much time grinding for gear that'll surely be replaced by the most basic rewards in 9.2?

Speaking of the latter, I'm sure we'll check it out and it will be fine, but the 9.2 developer video really was quite embarrassing. I got the feeling Blizzard was genuinely trying to do something different with it; e.g. I don't think they were featuring female devs "just for show" or anything like that, but it was just. So. Bad. Seriously, who signed off on lines about water "unlike any water that we've seen before", or extended talks about how unique everything about this new zone is, coupled with shots of a snail and a chicken? They really deserved all the memeing that people did about that.


Back in July, I wrote that the changes to Torghast didn't really impress me but that I could see the husband and me playing around with them a bit. For quite some time, we didn't. However, one of the changes introduced with patch 9.1.5 was that the weekly quest to rescue souls could now also be done in Torghast... and as that aligned with my desire to work on my covenant sanctum, I decided to give it a go again.

Since then the husband and I have been running a couple of Torghasts a week, with me swapping between my monk and my demon hunter, and it's actually been decent fun. Once we got a bit more comfortable with not worrying about deaths anymore and going faster, we eventually managed to achieve some flawless runs - though I do think it's annoying how heavily the score is weighted towards beating the timer - if you do so by a large enough margin, little else seems to matter.

At some point it struck me that I should use some of all this currency that I'd been gathering to upgrade my monk's legendary... and got supremely annoyed by both the gold cost involved in the process and the utter unintuitiveness of the user interface, which actually resulted in me buying the wrong materials at first. After that I quickly discarded any thought of getting a legendary for my demon hunter too because it just seemed like too much of a hassle.

I will say though that it's funny to me how my relationship with Torghast illustrates the many ways in which I'm seemingly the total opposite of the current retail player base. From everything I've read, they just wanted their legendaries and were annoyed at having to deal with "Chore-ghast" to get them... while I find the gameplay decent fun and then basically toss the gear-related rewards because they are uninteresting to me.

Guildies & Levelling

In September I mentioned that we'd formed a levelling group with some guildies from SWTOR. One of them dropped out after a while, but with the two that remained we did pretty well, completing all the original dungeons, all the Cataclysm ones and most of the Wrath ones, which has taken our alts close to fifty.

Our experience with the last Wrath dungeons was really odd though... we went into Forge of Souls manually with a group of four, something we'd done before with other instances, and got absolutely destroyed on the first boss. Being one person down means lower dps and all that, but we didn't even get close to having to worry about that because his constant AoE damage would just delete us. Somewhat bewildered, we exited and went to try Trial of the Champion instead, where we made it through the jousting event, but then wiped over and over on Argent Confessor Paletress, whose spammable main attack would shave off 70% of a person's health with each hit. I tried to research this online but couldn't find anything about scaling problems with these dungeons, only confirmation that the damage we were seeing was definitely off and we weren't just being bad. We haven't really decided how to proceed after that.


Another thing we've been doing whenever it's been on has been timewalking, something that hadn't yet been added to the game the last time I played retail before our current stint with it. It's certainly been odd for me whenever Burning Crusade timewalking is up, to see the contrast between doing e.g. heroic Shattered Halls in Classic and then the timewalking version in retail. It's no comparison of course, the retail version is still ridiculously easy when you look at them side by side, but the attempt at scaling the dungeons to current power levels is at least something. As an evergreen feature that provides almost nothing but cosmetic rewards, it's also quite at odds with the modern WoW team's usual priorities. I wonder how popular it is with players? It certainly strikes me as one of the modern game's better additions, and to be honest I don't know why they don't do more with this scaling tech.

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