Weekly Hype Train Week of 3/18/2020!

What interesting times we live in, eh? Yet, there is still a lot to look forward to in gaming, which I will discuss!

WoW: Echoes of Ny’alotha/Heroic N’Zoth Fights/Horrific Visions: So much going on in WoW for me this week! Firstly, with the new hotfixed Echoes of Ny’alotha currency, a lot of my DPS and tank characters will be able to get excellent Azerite Essences. Blizzard reversing courses on Essences both reeks of desperation (it obviously creates a just-in-time gameplay loop for alts as mains begin to hit goal plateaus and people are likely to start tuning out) but also shows a willingness to learn and adapt, which is perhaps a good omen for Shadowlands!

As for Heroic Ny’alotha, my raid is now 10/12 and starting to close in on the Heroic N’Zoth fights, which will likely be the bulk of the month. The raid is more fun on Heroic, as the increased challenge means the game is more engaging, but I also fully expect that once our raiders have Ahead of the Curve here, we’re likely to start hiatus-ing and tuning out until Shadowlands.

Lastly, Horrific Visions, and these are getting interesting. I got Thrall to 30% on a 5-mask run last week twice, which was agonizing! A problem I notice is that in Orgrimmar, I managed through the rest of the vision incredibly well both times, only for Thrall to be a sticking point at which things fell apart rapidly. With Stormwind up this week, I’m likely just going to 4 mask for a reward, and then farm my rank 15 cape upgrade items. After that, all bets are off and 5 mask runs are going to be what I push on, but for this week, I’m pushing every vessel towards ranking up my cape!

Final Fantasy XIV – Leveling Black Mage, Diadem: Black Mage, once the weirdness of the rotation is grasped, is a ton of fun in my opinion! I’ve really enjoyed learning and leveling it (76 currently!) and the last 4 levels should fall into line quickly with challenge XP bonuses. As for the Diadem, I’ve really enjoyed leveling gathering here, quickly gaining 20 levels as a miner in no time, and it is passive enough to be good Netflix/YouTube/podcast time while leveling up. It is enjoyable and the scrip earnings for the Ishgard Restoration is nice, because I really want those mounts!

I’ve also got bard, machinist, warrior, and paladin all on deck at level 70, Blue Mage leveling, crafting, and continuing to gear White Mage, so plenty of stuff to do!

Rocket League – A Lot of Fun!: Super late to this party, but I finally decided to grab Rocket League and play it, and it is a surprising amount of fun for me. Team-based, but with minimal chat and thus minimal toxicity, skillful gameplay but a lot of variables for other players, and short games meaning an hour of play is action-packed. It is pretty much everything I want in a fun distraction game, and with the customization of your car, it really scratches a lot of itches!

Va-11 Ha-ll-4: Typing the name sucks, but plus side – the game is interesting and fun. A bartending simulation of sorts, with visual novel type elements and a larger sense of a world in turmoil outside the walls of the bar, I haven’t played much of this yet, but between stumbling onto the soundtrack on Spotify and a post about it from This Thing is Neat made me decide to grab it on Steam, and so far, I think it will be one of those things I really enjoy!

Wrestling, In General: Outside of my own work-from-home status in the face of CoVID-19, much of my world isn’t impacted yet – frustration with people in positions of power not following medical guidance on the issue endangering people and some changes to wedding plans not withstanding.

One thing that is impacted, however, is pretty much all wrestling. WWE is down to doing empty crowd shows at their Performance Center in Orlando, a feat which includes the upcoming Wrestlemania, originally scheduled for a stadium of 70,000 in Tampa, now being scheduled for a gym in Orlando for no in-person audience. The first show of this sort, last week’s Smackdown, was an almost surreal performance art. While the rumors are aplenty (Raw had no wrestling live in the same format, rumors that the plan is to get the city of Orlando to shut down Wrestlemania due to the number of talent on the show in order to reschedule it forward to June in NYC) the format is actually kind of interesting in a morbidly fascinating way. AEW is also due to perform the same way, although how they continue remains to be seen (they were due to reveal a big new gimmick match, Blood and Guts, at the end of the month, but the venue for that show has cancelled and the scale of it (a two-ring match) means that it is unlikely the show will push forward, but Dynamite tomorrow should be illuminating in this regard!

Either way, for WWE, the empty arena concept has produced some surreal and interesting content to watch via video clips on third-party sites later, and AEW’s first empty-arena show is tomorrow, but I imagine it will be similarly fascinating. For as much as wrestling (mostly, WWE) can disrespect and push away fans, it also depends on their reactions and energy to propel the show forward, and the ways in which the performers try to work around that are intriguing!

With that, I’ve covered the things in my week that I’m looking forward to and I’ll see you back next week for more!

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