Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Post-Thanksgiving Snooze

To return to writing after a long weekend can be much like a trip to the dentist to extract  a tooth gone bad - you know you will feel better after it is accomplished, but getting yourself into the chair is oh, so diffcult. After giving myself the entire Thanksgiving weekend off, and then extending my "time off" through Cyber Monday, I find I am now officially out of holiday time, and must return to the keyboard and monitor.

Even my gaming has suffered over the weekend - I had every intention of spending some significant time on Hearthstone, attempting to push into the single digit ranks, but was waylaid by many other items of interest. Accordingly, my Hearthstone November wound up like so:

As I had stated once before, it may not be single-digit yet, but I will take "top 9% of ranked play players" any day. I actually feel as if I am making some serious progress with my deck design and HS play here. This ranking was achieved by initial use of my Face Hunter deck to get up to Rank 15 or so, then I alternated between my Mage and Paladin decks to push the rest of the way up to Rank 10. I was maintaining a better than 50% average with all three decks, so speaking mathematically I should have been able to get into the single digits if I had invested the time. Since I did not, I will have to rest on my laurels here. Perhaps December...?

All was not quiet in the rest of the gaming universe, however. Lor and I invested some time and we both managed to unlock Cho'gall in Heroes of the Storm:

We have discovered that, due to my tendency to over-extend, we are better off with Lor driving and me providing the spell-casting muscle. He is a tremendous amount of fun to play, and if you are part of a gaming couple or duo I strongly recommend him.

I have also gotten myself focused on Gold Farming on WoW once again, and have gone in search of expertise and recommendations for viable gold-generating strategies. And, to my delight, I have found just such expertise! If you are looking for tips on Gold Farming, I completely endorse the YouTube page of OldBess.  Great videos, good strategies, and math holding up his techniques and recommendations. If you are short of gold in WoW, pay him a visit. Tell him Hawkwind sent you. He has no clue who I am, so the confusion should be priceless.

That should do it for today! I will be streaming later today, probably beating my head against the solid wall of pros looking to climb the ladder early in the month. Feel free to come and experience my pain with me. Catch you all later!

Gearing up,

- Hawkwind

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Technical Difficulties

I had a glowing, thematic blog post planned - full of Thanksgiving imagery and happy togetherness stuff.

Then Lor discovered DAMNYOUAUTOCORRECT.COM and has been reading me the entries therein. I can't stop laughing, my train of thought is destroyed, and I will be worthless for several hours now as I look over her shoulder at these conversations.

So, yeah - Happy Thanksgiving Eve, everyone. Drive safely, drink safely, eat safely. We will catch you on the other side of the holiday.

Laughing So Hard I Nearly Wet Myself,

- Hawkwind

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The climb continues!

So, due to the WoW Birthday article yesterday, followed by an afternoon filled with seizures, I forgot to let everyone know the outcome of Friday night's tournament. In fact, there was no outcome. We went through a series of delays in getting the tourney rolling, then had the tournament software auto-cancel the event when there were an odd number of participants. Apologies were extended and accepted, and we have agreed to give it another try at some point in the future. 

So, the big news for this week is this:

Rank 10, Ladies and Gentlemen. I have finally cracked the top 10 of Ranked in Hearthstone, and still have 6 days left in the month to see if I can push it any further. If I make it no further this month, though, I can call it a success - I will accept top 9% of Ranked players for the Season as a successful month's work. This has been done with a combination of the Buff Paladin, Mech Mage and Face Hunter decks that I have been working with for several months now. Either I have finally got the decks tuned in, or, more likely, I have needed a combination of a speed deck, a control deck, and a mid-range deck in order to make any significant progress against a constantly shifting meta.

I would love to see some more significant growth through the ranks this month, but I am quickly running out of month, with a major holiday coming up where I will be neither gaming nor blogging. I also have noted that out of the 8 Arena matches I wanted to play this month on the Urfeck and Hawkwind accounts, I have managed ONE solitary Arena match thus far. The rest of the Hearthstone month will very likely be spent working through those matches, hoping for some nifty cards to broaden out my library.

Also, a mea culpa: I was 100% wrong about the first wing of the League of Explorers having cards of limited usefulness. I am running into more and more Reno Jackson decks, and while they frequently are built incorrectly and are therefore not triggering his Battlecry, when they do trigger it is an absolute show stopper. I also have myself adopted the use of the Forgotten Torch in my Mech Mage deck, using it exactly as I speculated it would be used - a 3 Mana removal of 2 - 4 casting cost minions at first, followed by a 3-Mana 6-Damage face shot to the opponent later in the match. Twice now I have combined a Fireball and a Roaring Torch in the same turn for 12 points of game ending damage to an opponent. I may frequently be wrong, but at least I can be taught.

Two days left to work online before Turkey Days 1 and 2 (we celebrate one day with Lor's family, the next with my family.) - wish me luck and Iron Digestion.

In Pre-Turkey Training,

- Hawkwind

Monday, November 23, 2015

WoW a Happy Birthday!

Amazing to believe, but World of Warcraft turns 11 today. It was on November 23, back in 2004, when I had my father give me a ride over to Best Buy so that I could pick up a copy of this "latest and greatest" MMO. I was recently divorced from my wife, living with my parents again at age 34, literally unable to carry on a conversation due to the severity of my Epilepsy and the medications being used to treat it. I needed an escape mechanism - and boy, did I ever get one.

WoW became my companion for those next few years. During a period of time when I could not find competent medical care for my Epilepsy, when I tried and failed three times to return to college, when I watched my abilities as a musician wither up and blow away like Autumn leaves - I could log back in to WoW, hop on Dunharrow, my Dwarven Hunter, and pretend to be someone else. There were new horizons to explore, new challenges to face - and here in Azeroth I was able to succeed, something I couldn't do anywhere else.

As life went on and changed, so did my interaction with WoW. I found a combination of surgery and drugs that would enable me to at least communicate clearly again, and I was suddenly able to be part of a social network online. As Lor and I tentatively reconciled after 4 years apart, I suddenly had a constant partner (and healer!) for my ongoing adventures. As we remarried she even seduced me over to the Horde, creating the duo of Urfeck and Loralia so often referred to here. Somewhere around the time of Wrath of the Lich King we even became Guild and Raid Leaders, forming a set of relationships that still persist to this day. For several years, World of Warcraft was literally at the center of my life.

Now, as any person who has spent any time reading this blog knows, WoW has been an "on and off" relationship for me in recent years. I departed for a year or so after the collapse of our guild, The Rusted Iron Rats. We left again for nearly two years after the release of what Lor and I still sneeringly refer to as "Pandaland." But I return to WoW like a yearly sinus infection - no matter what, I can't ever quite get it out of my head. Even today, when we are effectively only a two-person guild, Lor and I still happily spend some time inside WoW every single day. 

So, Happy Birthday, World of Warcraft. Despite the many voices clamoring that your time has passed, I, for one, hope that you remain at the top of your field for another 11 years. You are more than a game, more than a social network, more than a way to pass an hour or two. You remain a marketplace of relationships, an encyclopedia of adventures, and a shared dream that I, for one, do not wish to wake from. Many Happy Returns!

Plate filled with Birthday Cake,

- Hawkwind

Friday, November 20, 2015

Frantic Friday

My life is usually a very quiet, calm and sedentary one. I get up early in the morning, play some WoW, write a blog post, take care of whatever household stuff I have lying around, play some other games, go back to bed. Very straightforward. Boring, even.

Boy, are things different today. Remember Hawkwind, the Death Knight, from WoW? Last time you heard anything about him he was level 72 or so...

Funny how a couple of weeks of pet training changes things, eh?

Later on today he will hit 90, giving me a total of 6 characters in Draenor. With fully developed garrisons, this is going to mean 3 hours a day of Garrison maintenance alone. I may no longer be adventuring, just send out Followers on adventurers of their own. Not real sure how I feel about that, though the in-game finances will sure be nice.

I also have a real, live functioning Twitch channel now, with followers and everything! (Welcome aboard, takeme_ and Sawbones_7!) So, for a couple hours mid-day each day, I will be streaming - usually Hearthstone, with a dash of Heroes of the Storm, and a pinch of whatever else might have caught my attention at any given moment. 

And, to top it all off, tonight will be my first ever online Hearthstone tournament. I am excited and nervous at the same time - excited for something new and unusual, nervous that I may get ROFLStomped. (Trust me, it's a thing.)

My usually quiet and sedate life is suddenly turned up to 11. Tomorrow may be more mellow...except that I have plans to hit Heroes of the Storm for the first time in weeks tomorrow. Oh, my. Where does the time go?

Pedal to the Metal,

- Hawkwind

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's Alive!!!

After over a month of software issues, equipment failures and scheduling conflicts, we are finally ready for Prime Time:

A huge "thank you" to my parents, who had the 15" ViewSonic monitor lying around their house, and told me to come get it so that I could start streaming on Twitch. It actually fits better on my desk than the malfunctioning 20" Dell as well, so every cloud has a silver lining, etc.

So, with all that out of the way, I will start streaming later on today. The initial stream will be Hearthstone, where I hop on my Barfoogle account and sacrifice my Foe Reaper 4000 to the Dust Fairy, in order to build a new 1,000 point-ish deck from scratch. I will then attempt to play it up the Ranked Ladder and see where I wind up. Could be a stunning success, might be a train wreck, but it won't be boring!

Potential deck choices? I am leaning heavily towards Zoo Warlock or Ramp Druid. I am currently having pretty good success with a modified Face Hunter on my main account, and don't want to be playing the same main deck on two different accounts. Obviously, if anyone has any input, feel free to fire away at me on Twitter (@tjschofield, for those who have forgotten). But make it fast - I will probably start streaming within about 4 hours or so. Hope to see you there!

Hyped up,

- Hawkwind

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Behold the Golden Legendary

So, I finished up a Hearthstone Arena match on an alt account, cracked the seal on my booster (I went 3-3, sigh), and what should appear but:

My first ever Golden Legendary. How about that. Because nothing in life is ever easy, of course it showed up in an Alt account, not on my main account. (Oh, be quiet, those of you telling me if I only played on my Main that this kind of thing would never happen to me.) But, still, it is a primo card, right? Look at that special ability!

Except, I mean...how the heck am I supposed to use this thing anyway? If I play this when I am in control of the board on turn 8 or later, it just becomes kind of a "Win More" card. If I am in a Control vs. Control matchup, he is going to get blown into oblivion before I ever get a chance to use him next turn. And, if I am playing against a Face or Zoo deck - the game is largely over by the time he shows up.

So, as you can see, I am considering just Disenchanting him. 1600 Dust is a BUNCH - enough to craft a whole other non-Golden Legendary, should I choose. Or, 40 Commons, or 16 Rares...you get the idea. I can really fill out a Library here. All the decks I am constantly making fun of for "only" costing around 1,000 Dust? I can make one of them in one shot here, with some Dust left over. But which deck would I make? Do I suddenly promote this account to my secondary account over the "Hawkwind" account and start working on Ladder climbing and Adventure unlocking here? (For the record, this is on the "Barfoogle" account I talk about in my second article for HSP.) This is a totally legitimate F2P account - literally not a dime has been spent here. But do I shift gears AGAIN and start following this account along with my main, leaving the "Hawkwind" account to sit in the corner and get dusty? TOO MANY CHOICES!

This is my life - so good at making decisions, so bad at making choices. Wish me luck.

Thrust upon the horns of indecision (again),

- Hawkwind