what I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for February 2017.

So, another month quickly gone by. I’ve already posted the movies I’ve watched in a post cleverly called “Some Movies I saw last week, part 2” (the first part being like a moth to flame for random spammers to make comment posts for some reason.)

Anyways, gonna start out with movies because I always start off with audiobooks or games, so I finally picked up The Star Wars Complete Saga Bluray edition and the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Bluray, literally years later. I picked up star wars because Rogue Fucking One was good enough to make it my favorite star wars movie, above the original trilogy, well past the prequels (of which I do not hate like most people do), and definitely more than the Force Awakens (although it is pretty good.) I know you are gonna make me rank this shit, so let me do that right now. Save your flustered mouth sounds, or as Ari Shaffir calls it “the sound of white injustice”, until the end of the list.

  1. Star Wars: Rogue One
  2. Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back
  3. Star Wars: A New Hope
  4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  5. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  6. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
  7. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
  8. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Ok, now you can make your flustered sounds and mutter to your screen about how wrong I am.

I picked up picked up The Lord of the Rings Extended edition because it was only 39$, which I thought was a pretty fucking good price and I was tired of watching it in DVD Quality. I also made the conscious decision to pick it because I did not want to wait around to get in 4k or 4k with HDR, both of which are although cool as fuck are crazy niche right now. 4k and HDR are have such little content and so little people have both or even one that it qualifies being categorized as esoteric.

So, with both series, I will be doing a re-watch, starting with Star Wars Original trilogy first, then the Prequels, then the Force Awakens, then into the Lord of the Rings, followed by the Hobbit trilogy that really should have been 2 movies (although still decent, not hating on it.) Also, a leaked time frame for Rogue One bluray release date is around the end of march, which seems pretty fucking early but I sincerely hope it is because I wanna re-watch it so bad right now.

On the audiobook side of things, I am currently listening to P.N Elrod’s very entertaining “Vampire Files.” I was kinda hesitant picking something up completely new and little research done on but I was pleasantly surprised by it. It has everything I like: a decent story, compelling or interesting characters, decent dialogue, and Vampires. Mostly Vampires though, it can’t be just anything with vampires though, it has to be vampires done well or at least interesting (that means no twilight for me, I’m more of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel dude.) I liked the story enough in the first one and liked the Jack Fleming character enough to get the next two books in the series.

I also had a Jules Winnfield type moment of clarity, I don’t have to read every book in the series before moving onto the next one. Which is of course what I’ve been doing so far, I read (listened to rather) all but the last book in the Saxon Stories/Last Kingdom series (which is pretty good, Uhtred of Bebbanberg is such a good character and it’s refreshing to see a non romanticized or idealized historical take on Christianity.) I have the last book in the series so far, The Flame Bearer, but was craving something different so I jumped into the Vampire Files. From there I had my Jules Winnfield “moment of clarity” about reading or listening to audiobooks in a series. It’s a big change for me because up until now I fucking devoured every series I picked up and read/listened until I finished every book in a series before jumping into something new or different.

This approach is a refreshing change because I was kinda losing interest in keeping up with my 2 books read or 2 audiobooks listened to per month new years resolution I made a couple of years ago, and this sort of renews my interest as I will probably just listen to what I like or please to in the future. The timing on the “moment of clarity” is also fortuitous as Neil Gaiman’s new book “Norse Mythology” is out on audible next week, I am extremely looking forward to listening to it. It also lets me check out some other stuff I’ve been looking at for a while like from this reddit post from Joe Abercrombie, some other related books or series based on Abercrombie’s recommendations (like Richard Matheson’s  Shadow on the Son or Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles), why am I doing this the long way lemme just link my audible wish list. Out of the all the books in my wish list, I am looking forward to checking out the Expanse the most, it will probably be next series I will jump into.

Gaming wise, I’ve been slacking on my 1 week in or out shit, as I should probably already finished Assassin’s Creed Syndicate by now, but I’ve been gone for a couple of days on a trip this month, being sick the last few days of and currently still a little under the weather. I’ve played about an hour or so of AC: Syndicate and liked it so far, it’s crazy how long it took ubisoft to make a female assassin playable and a main character.

WoW has been taking up the majority of my time, as usual, because the changes in 7.1. I was able to level a Demon Hunter to 110 and get my artifact knowledge up to 25 quickly because of the catch up mechanics and also get an Ilevel of 874 in less than a month or so, which is pretty crazy because my it’s the same Ilevel as my rogue which I have played for months now. My Death Knight is approaching geared levels as well thanks to mythic plus 10’s.

I’m gonna start watching The Expanse season one soonish, as soon as I’m done my re-watches mentioned above, I had to stop at episode 2 because my internet was pretty shitty at the time and could barely stream with out multiple buffering  and quality shifts. My internet is more reliable now and I’m looking forward to continuing with the Expanse.

The Arrival is expected to be released on Feb 14th, and I am extremely looking forward to picking up and re-watching it, I may even pick up the short story it was based on by picking up this from audible.

Suicide Squad.

Another late to the party first impression or take.

Why didn’t people like this movie? I thought it was a great adaptation of the comics and characters that stayed pretty faithful to the source material. It was kinda flimsy with the sorceress and her brother as the enemy but it did provide the framework to tell and sell the story. Every member of the suicide squad was interesting and compelling, excellently and faithfully adapted into characters for film. Deadshot and his daughter was captured pretty well, the great take on the relationship between Harley and the Joker, really showed commitment to the source material while still being adapted well for a movie. I particularly enjoyed El Diablo, as there is massive lack of mexican ethnicity characters in any super hero movie or comic, his character and his backstory was extremely compelling.

The story, while predictable in some parts, I thought was enjoyable. The backstory flashbacks were done very well, in fact the movie started off pretty strongly because of how well they were done. I thought the movie did well to connect the DC universe starting with Batman vs Superman, which I also liked, and did well enough to be “it’s own movie.” Meaning it wasn’t DC’s version of The Avengers or the X-men, or even similar to Nolan’s Batman, Snyder’s Man of Steel or Batman v Superman.

The special features are also pretty good. Although short and not many, it provided some nice background on characters and their gear. I particularly enjoyed the character inspirations and motives part, it gave me more reason to like El Diablo and Waller.

I seriously don’t get why the movie isn’t more popular at all or how anyone would rate it disappointing in any way.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for January 2017.

Totally have check and re-check if I correctly put 2017 as the current year now.

I’ve been listening to the Last Kingdom/Saxon stories the last couple days, really it started immediately after I finished the re-listen to the Dark Tower series just around December 20th. I am nearly finished Death of Kings, and that leaves me The Pagan Lord, Empty Throne, Warriors of the Storm, and The Flame Bearer left to listen. Each book is about 10-12 hours in length, and usually narrated well, however, the narrator changes nearly every books and is quite jarring. It looks I’m in for 2 more narrator changes but at least it looks consistent for the last few books.

I’m hoping to finish off the series by 15th or so, earlier the better, so I can listen to The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher and Bloodlist by P.N. Elrod. Both books are something I’m looking forward too as a change from historical fantasy. If Bloodlist is something I like, I will probably use my credits to pick up the following books in the series, as I am hooked into anything decent that involves Vampires and Werewolves.

During the christmas/new years steam sale I picked up Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on a pretty good deal. Definitely looking forward to playing that, I really liked Human Revolution aside from the mess up with the boss fights and I hope Mankind Divided has similar gameplay and playstyles.

The next game in my queue is Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, of which I have low expectations and hope it is better storywise than Unity was. I will probably go back to my tried and true 1 week on and 1 week off playing time for games in my queue.

I’m playing The Division again, the changes since 1.1 have been for the good and I like new modes of play. I also got back into WoW and leveled my Demon Hunter to 110. I’m going to leave it to let my artifact knowledge get higher before trying to gear out.

I also picked up a new Monitor, a 2560×1440 resolution monitor with a refresh rate of 144hz, and Headphones, Beyerdynamic DT 990 premium 250 ohm. The headphones are very good, I’m using them primarily for gaming but it’s also good for movies and music/audiobooks. I thought my ROG Xonar Phoebus would have a hard time driving the headphones but I was pleasantly surprised that it drives them just fine. I got DT 990’s for 219$ CAD, which is about 60$ off the normal price, I feel like I got a good deal and some good headphones.

This month I will be watching the rest of The Expanse, I’ve only watched the first episode so far and what I saw I liked. It was impressive enough that I will definitely start picking up the audiobook versions of the book series.

I’m looking forward to my trip to Vancouver and watch some good movies.

This is a smaller post than usual because I’ve already posted some lengthy posts detailing what I’m reading/listening/playing/watching.

Anyways, hope you have a good 2017.

 

2016 year in review. Gaming/Movies/TV/streaming.

This year was more gaming focused for me this year rather than last year, a first since I started listening to audiobooks 2 years ago. I played an insane amount of the The Division, World of Warcraft: Legion, Overwatch, and The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine. I also played a decent amount of Civilization 6, Battlefield 1, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, and Assassin’s Creed: Unity.

The game that surprised me the most was The Division, the leveling experience, the game-play, and the coop experience were all very well done. It had a huge drop off in play for a couple of months because of the very lax response to cheaters and exploiters, the nerf to crafting, and the reliance on the Dark Zone as endgame. Since 1.5 patch, however, it has been changed for the better. It’s extremely easy to gear but still very satisfying to do because there are numerous path’s to get good gear, and the are interesting play-styles that are enjoyable to play. I’ve been playing a lot recently as it is a nice break from WoW mythic+’s.

My personal best experience of the year is easily The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine DLC. It provided a great story with very compelling characters and interesting conflicts while also giving a nice closing of the series. I personally thought Heart of Stone was better story-wise but this year no other game I played this year has really had such a well done story that can branch out in drastically different directions.

The only game I found disappointing was Assassin’s Creed: Unity, as I’ve said in a previous post. In contrast, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue was a very interesting and well done game, it took what made Black Flag good and then added to it, and told an interesting as well as compelling story that also advanced the modern-day Assassins vs Templars story.

I’ve switched up how I buy games, unless it is a game or developer I have confidence in, I wait for a sale to pick it up. It’s a patient gamer approach and really manages expectation vs investment. Games that are bought at full price usually have some regret and disappointment involved, not to mention the current trend of Developers releasing buggy games at launch. Buying games later on sale really cuts through disappointment from buyers regret or from having high expectations from a game that does not deliver on the hype.

Here are my arbitrary and personal choices for best games I’ve played this year, some of these games are oldish but new to me, as explained above:

  1. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine.
  2. World of Warcraft: Legion.
  3. Overwatch.
  4. The Division.
  5. Civilization 6.
  6. Battlefield 1.
  7. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue.
  8. Assassin’s Creed: Unity.

Here is a list in my to be played queue:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider.
  • Far Cry Primal.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
  • Fallout 4: Far Harbor and Nuka World.
  • Planet Coaster.
  • Doom.

I also have fewer games in my backlog that I hope to get into or back into to replay eventually:

  • Dishonored.
  • Splinter cell: Blacklist.
  • Bioshock remastered 1 and 2.
  • Bioshock Infinite and it’s DLC.
  • Crysis 2 and 3.
  • Final Fantasy 13 and 13 two.
  • Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines.
  • Legacy of Kain: Defiance.

For Movies and Tv/Netflix or other streaming services this year, How fucking good was Westworld? My show of the year and very easy choice. I think its as good as, if not better than the HBO’s Flagship Game of Thrones. Can’t wait to see season 2. I also got to watch the Wire (seasons 1-5) this year and was very impressed. I was also very impressed with the various Netflix series, Daredevil season 1 and 2, Jessica Jones, Stranger Things. I still need to get around to finishing Luke Cage, which I enjoyed but The Division and Legion took my focus. Game of Thrones season 6 was also good, I was able to guess alot of what was going to happen but the show also threw some nice curveballs to my expectations.

My movie of the year is definitely Deadpool, it showed that a superhero movie could be successful with an R rating and it really did justice to my favorite X-man Colossus. I also enjoyed and liked Batman vs Superman, while many people didn’t like its darker tone and the change of character for Batman. X-men Apocalypse was also a favorite of mine. Captain America: Civil War was also decent. Hateful Eight and The Revenant were also stellar. Star Trek Beyond was also decent.

I have a trip to Vancouver next month, in which I will be watching the following movies:

  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Star Wars Rogue One
  • Arrival
  • Dr. Strange
  • Passengers
  • Live by Night
  • Fantastic Beasts and where to find them

Can’t wait to see all those movies.

What I’m looking forward to in 2017:

Gaming:

  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Vampyr

Books/Audiobooks: Either coming out in 2017 or new to me.

  • Neil Gaiman’s North Mythology
  • The Vampire Files series by P.N. Elrod
  • The Black Company series by Glen Cook
  • Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey
  • The Expanse by James S. A. Corey
  • Lady of the Lake by Andrzej Sapkowski

Movies:

  • Logan
  • The Dark Tower
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • John Wick 2
  • Wonder Woman
  • Alien: Covenant
  • Guardian of the Galaxy 2

TV/Netflix/Streaming:

  • Daredevil season 3
  • Game of Thrones season 7
  • Jessica Jones season 2
  • The Expanse
  • Penny Dreadful
  • Luke Cage
  • Stranger Things season 2
  • Spectral
  • Westworld season 2

Again, if you read all of this, I hope you have a great 2017. Happy New years!

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for December 2016.

Time seems to really pick up its pace in the later months of the year. December, already. Soon I’ll have to do an end of the year wrap up.

On the Audiobook front, I’m still one my re-listen to the Dark Tower Series, I’m on Salem’s Lot at the moment (the last half of it.) I’m going to be skipping Wind thru the Keyhole because Stephen King narrating it is pretty bad, that’s too strong a description for it but it’s bad in comparison to how well Frank Muller and George Guidall narrate the series. So I’m gonna jump right into The Wolves of the Calla after Salem’s Lot. I enjoy Callahan’s arc of redemption as well as Balazar and Andolini returning as big coffin hunters to battle Roland’s Ka-tet.

I have about 7 novels to finish off the Last Kingdom/Saxon Stories, I’ll be using 1 credit to pick up the last book in the series The Flame Bearer, the novels are fairly short (about 10 hours each) and I should be done by the end of the month. I’m extremely looking forward to finishing off the series because I already have the next series ready to go, it’s P.N. Elrod’s Vampire Files series. I’ve been wanting to find a good vampire or werewolf series (that isn’t Paranormal Romance or the more heavily erotic Urban Fantasy, and it’s pretty difficult to find) and the Vampire Files is the one I settled on. The series I would have prefered to get into is M.L. Brennan’s Generation V but that series does not have any audiobook version.

On the games front,  I picked up Battlefield 1, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Far cry Primal, and the Season Pass for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (also picked up the Dreadful Crimes DLC, which wasn’t included the season pass.) Only paid full price for BF1, I got the rest on pretty good sales from Steam and Uplay. I’ve had my eye on picking up the new Tomb Raider as well as Far cry Primal and to get them for less than 35$ CAD each. I picked up the DLC for AC:Syndicate because I’ve been enjoying playing through the AC series so far, I’m liking the look and feel of Unity and enjoyed the story for Rogue. My only dislikes so far are the story gated skills for AC: Unity, and the emphasis on doing Co-op missions to unlock all the skills and for AC:Rogue the short story length.

At the moment, I’m near the end of Unity, and I’m doing the collectibles, side missions. I’ve already completed the Dead Kings DLC, which I thought was okay, it definitely rewarded some good gear though.

This month I picked up a subscription for CraveTV, mostly for The Expanse but it also allows me access to Penny Dreadful, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Battlestar Galactica, Carnivale, and the Flight of the Conchords.

Also, how fucking good is Westworld? If this is HBO’s replacement for when Game of Thrones eventually ends, then they have a damn good show already and HBO won’t miss a beat when GoT does end.

I picked up a subscription for Google play Music, and I’m liking it so far except that they don’t have some songs I would like. I’m also displeased with the amount of “my interpretation” of whatever song that shows up when I do look for a song.

What I’m looking forward to is going on a trip to Vancouver next month to be able to watch the following movies: Star Wars Rogue One, Doctor Strange, Assassin’s Creed, Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and where to find them, and Live by Night.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for November 2016.

October was pretty rough for me and I’m just gonna say some non related stuff here. My dad died last week of pancreatic cancer, he was diagnosed 6 weeks ago and the doctors told us he had a few weeks to live. The day before he died, the doctors estimated he only had hours left, he fought on for a day longer. It’s a tough thing to deal with, he was my Dad and now he’s gone. I was told once that there things in life that happen and there isn’t anything you can do about it all you can do it carry it. It’s not a burden and the emotions while sad, are not negative or hurtful, it’s just processing grief.

My dad, like most dads do, use to tell me how tough he was when I was a kid and after watching him battle and fight these last 6 weeks, I believed it then and I believe it now.

RIP Dad. I’ll see you again when I reach the clearing at the end of the path.

It feels weird and wrong just to carry on, but that’s life. A quote from Jim Butcher from the Dresden Files: White Night puts what I’m feeling right now into words better than I could.

We still hadn’t learned, though, that growing up is all about getting hurt. And then getting over it. You hurt. You recover. You move on. Odds are pretty good you’re just going to get hurt again. But each time, you learn something.

Each time, you come out of it a little stronger, and at some point you realize that there are more flavors of pain than coffee. There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind – graduating, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There’s the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expectations. There’s the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn’t give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life they grow and learn. There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens.

And if you’re very, very lucky, there are a very few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realized that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last – and yet will remain with you for life.

Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don’t feel it.

Pain is a part of life. Sometimes it’s a big part, and sometimes it isn’t, but either way, it’s a part of the big puzzle, the deep music, the great game. Pain does two things: It teaches you, tells you that you’re alive. Then it passes away and leaves you changed. It leaves you wiser, sometimes. Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another.

-Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files: White Night.

 

So with that said, this is me trying to carry on.

Gonna start with Audiobooks first. I’m still re-listening to the Dark Tower series, I’m at the end of the Wastelands and will immediately jump into Wizard and Glass right after. I’d like to do a re-listen of The Stand (I still might, it’s almost 48 hours long) before Wizard and Glass but it’s very long and will make this re-listen go up until December.

I still have the rest of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories/The Last Kingdom series to listen to as well, books 4-9. The books are short and I’ll likely go through them quickly as they are only about 10-12 hours long. I also have The Hobbit, which I’ll get around to eventually. This backlog of 6+ books means that I will to choose some more books to pick up with my audible credits for November and December. This will likely be one of the following series: Sandman Slim, The Black Company, The Felix Castor series. I will definitely Pre-order Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology with 1 of my audible credits this month. I’ve been thinking about picking up Jim Butcher’s Aeronaut’s Windlass as well. I will most likely go with the Gaiman book and Aeronaut’s Windlass this month and then into one of the previously mentioned series in December.

For gaming this month, I have stopped my subscription for World of Warcraft and started to use some of my gold to pick up tokens for 30 days of game time. WoW is a good game that I’m slowly starting to stop playing for no real reason other than it takes up so much of my gaming time. It’s the type of game you either go all in on or you want to just quit. Not that I necessarily want to quit, just not have it as the main focus for my gaming time. I am slowly wanting to stop playing though, with no real reason as the game is fun. Mythics, Mythic Plus, Karazhan, and the odd Battleground is fun to do. The progression of the Artifact weapons is nice and feels rewarding to complete each trait. It’s just that I’m losing the will to keep up the time investment.

I played some, around 10 hours, of Civilization 6 and liking it so far. Most of the changes have been good but this does not mean the game is flawless or perfect or great. The A.I. cheats, the difficulty only makes it so the A.I. gets tech and other things quicker and cheaper than the player. I hate to say the A.I is the major problem but it is, pointing to the A.I as a fault is pretty hollow for a criticism and it’s picking low hanging bitter fruit because every game has this problem, it is only more pronounced in turn based or real-time strategy games. However, it is still very fun to play and easy to lose a few hours playing it. Definitely worth the money and I have no regrets pre ordering it.

I have also wanted to get into my backlog of games, the Assassin’s Creed series (Rogue, Unity, Syndicate) and Dishonored being the games in particular. The trailer for the Assassin’s Creed movie got me thinking about the series and planted the desire to play the series. As for Dishonored, I watched some cool let’s play highlight videos and the desire to pick up the sequel. Skyrim Special Edition was released recently and the nostalgia is really sucking me in. I also picked up DOOM on a sale and also want to check it out.

I’ve also wanted to pick up Farcry: Primal, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided but I may just wait to pick those up on sale.

For movies this month, I wanted to quickly talk about X-men Apocalypse. I really liked the movie, it captured and re-imagined the characters pretty good. Oscar Isaac and Michael Fassbender portrayed their respective characters with some great acting and nuance. The special features were very good as well, I enjoyed the audio commentary and the short featurettes. Overall, I thought it was a good movie and had some good special features, it was a worthwhile purchase.

This week, I plan to pick up Star Trek Beyond on blu ray.

On the streaming video front, I added some movies I’ve wanted to watch or rewatch. The Prestige, The Princess Bride, Mystery Men, Master and Commander, The Forest, Pale Rider, American Psycho, and the Magnificent Seven (1960). I may also check out Westworld (the old movie.)

I’ve found out that The Expanse will be available on CraveTV on November 4th and I may just renew my subscription just for that.

I’ve also been obsessively been watching HBO’s Westworld, definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already as good sci-fi is hard to come by.

I’m also watching Luke Cage on netflix, it’s missing the compelling and memorable villain that Daredevil has with Wilson Fisk and Jessica Jones had with Kilgrave but it’s enjoyable. I’m on episode 8 at the moment.

I’m also re-watching The Wire (I’m on season 2) and will do one for Deadwood as well. Call it all getting back into the Dark Tower.

I may be travelling next year and during that time I will check out Logan, The Dark Tower, and Assassin’s Creed as those are the movies I’m most looking forward to watching.

For gaming, I’d really like to see Rockstar do a PC port for Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s unlikely but there is at least a year before it comes out and it is a remote possibility that it will. Dishonored 2, Final Fantasy XV, Hitman, and Battlefield 1 are games that come out in the next few months or are already out now that I would like to check out. In 2017, I’m looking forward to Mass Effect: Andromeda, Prey, and Horizon Zero Dawn. For some of those games I may need to pick up Playstation 4 to play them, and I may just end up doing that in the next few months.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for October.

So about 1 month into Legion now and I have a much better idea and opinion on the game. I spent nearly all of September playing Legion and there is a decent chance I will for october as well.

Firstly, I like the mythic and mythic plus as “endgame” gearing options. I sometimes like to use group finder to look for a group to do raids, right now the only raid is the Emerald Nightmare, and the group finder is pretty rough this early in the raid cycle. Groups vary hugely at the moment, sometimes you can find a very competent group that specifically needs dps to fill out a group, or 1 or 2 healers, or looking for a tank and this type of group can easily clear normal mode and other times you get groups that can barely clear 1 or 2 bosses (usually just Nyth and Ursoc, as they are the easiest) that are a nightmare to group with. The nightmare groups usually have one thing in common, they are entirely dependent on mods like deadly or bigwigs bossmods and are unable or unwilling to learn boss mechanics. This type of raider, a casual type player, will not do anything unless their mod tells them to do something. So it’s like a lottery of sorts of which type you will get into. Another nitpick, sometimes you will open up group finder and look for a group only to find that shitty raid leaders will want you to link ahead of the curve for Xavius before an invite or have a ilevel that exceeds the content you are clearing such as 850+ for normal mode which happens only to drop 850 ilevel gear. However, Mythic plus offers a more manageable risk for gear from 840 ilevel to 880 ilevel, right now most groups can competently clear up to level 4 mythics which awards 850 ilevel gear in the chest after completing the instance and 865 ilvl gear in your weekly chest in your order hall. That makes mythic plus a viable alternative to raiding at the moment, that may change when the tier gear is available in the new year.

Second, Class balance. This is more of a touch and go issue at the moment as people vary in class competence or performance. Blizzard has done slight adjustments for some classes/specs and major tuning for other underperforming ones. Before the changes, Frost Death Knights and Frost Mages were the most underperforming and least damaging specs, after the changes they have had their damage go up by a very decent amount. While other specs like Havoc Demon Hunters and Outlaw Rogues, have add their numbers adjusted downwards. This is a thin ice situation as the people who are playing these classes have heavily invested time and artifact power into their relics and have seen their numbers either adjusted upwards or downwards and because artifact weapons need huge amounts of artifact power (to unlock traits and golden talents) and decent relics to be effective you cannot just simply change specs to be effective. If you also happened to have gotten a legendary item that is specific to a particular spec, you are also doubly fucked if you desire to change your spec and artifact weapon. So far the changes have been drastic for Demon Hunters who have seen their single target damage nerfed significantly, and Frost specs for Death Knights/Mages who have had their numbers adjusted so they are middle of the pack DPS. Since I have an outlaw rogue, my dps has gone down by a fair bit, pre hotfix nerfs  I was able to do about 200k dps single target and 300+ in multi-target/cleave situations. I avoided going assassination early because outlaw was so well performing in single target and cleave situations and now assassination is top-tier single target DPS, I have kind of regretted investing so heavily into Outlaw now. Anymore of these type of “adjustments” by blizzard and I will reconsider how much time I spend playing WoW. My main is a Blood DK and I am completely satisfied with tanking and damage I can do, as well as the PVP viability (Tanks in PVP, another thin ice situation for blizzard, most tanks specs are the best 1v1 type classes and can really change the outcome in group pvp.)

Third, content. World Quests are probably the best idea they have stolen from Diablo, the second best being mythic plus, as they really add options to gear or add artifact power to your chosen artifact weapon. Mythic and Mythic plus dungeons really give you a reason to do something every day. Professions are decent, but the real game changer at the moment is herbalism because there is massive demand for herbs for flasks and combat pots (these are the differences between a 2 or 3 chest mythic plus at keystone 5+ or even clearing under the timer for one chest, not to mention the need for them in raiding heroic and mythic Emerald Nightmare.) Double professions are no longer required to be a top performing DPS/Tank/Healer and blizzard has made it easy to switch up professions this expansion.

Ok, so enough about WoW, on the audiobook front I am 2 books off of completing the Last Kingdom series which I will listen to after I’m done listening to Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes. I also picked up the Hobbit for about 7$ CAD from audible on sale. My audible credits roll over near the end of the month and I will use them to pick up the last 2 books in the Last Kingdom series. I should be well into Sword Song: Battle for London next week and will quickly be making way through the next 3 books in the series.

I have just finished watching Stranger Things on Netflix, and I am thoroughly impressed with it, I can’t wait for the second season. It’s like a Stephen King novel or several of them combined. The Firestarter influence is strong but I also get a vibe from the Mist, and Stand by me/The body. Definitely it is one of the best shows on Netflix.

I just started Luke Cage and like it so far. I will probably watch the rest of it this week.

I picked up Captain America: Civil War and Warcraft on Blu Ray. Civil War was pretty good and did a lot more with a loose thread of a story than I thought it would. I wish they had cooperation with Fox so they could really do Marvel’s Civil War but the Russo brothers did a fine job of making a compelling story with loose threads of other movies and featured a lot of good characters. I still would like to see a Black Widow movie and really don’t get why they won’t make one.

Warcraft was an enjoyable film and worth the money, however, I wish it didn’t have to be cut down to a sub 2 hour movie so the general audiences can stomach it. I felt it would have been better as an extended cut release as it would have made more sense to have more time to round out the rough edges of the story.

Both movies were definitely worth mone. I plan on picking up X-men Apocalypse tomorrow and will watch it ASAP.

What I’m looking forward too this month is the release of Civilization 6 and Skyrim Special Edition. They will provide a nice break from WoW/Legion.