MoP Bucket List

I like lists, they give purpose and clarity to my thinking. In fact the first thing I do every Monday morning at work is glance over last week’s list and then make a new shiny one for the week ahead.

I know that the next expansion isn’t even being beta tested yet but it’s time in my head at least to finalize what I want to achieve before we’re all heading off to a brave new world.

Non-character specific

  • Reach 14000 achievement points. I’m currently at 13215 so that’s quite a bit to go but I have plenty of options to tick off.
  • Get a Magical pet to 25
  • Get an Elemental pet to 25
  • Defeat Garrosh and my stupid lack of self confidence at the same time.
  • Explore Vashj’ir properly. This is the only exploring achievement I still haven’t completed.

Dulcamara

  • Make friends with everyone on the farm
  • Get Cooking to 6oo, do the Master of the Ways and pick up the Cooking School Bell
  • Farm the other 8000 Dinosaur Bones I require for the mount
  • Complete rank 6 in the Brawler’s Guild as a Mistweaver
  • Get Endless Healer on the Proving Grounds.
  • Master of Alterac Valley, only 33 graveyards to go.

Snowflower

  • 35 reputations ticked off
  • Exalted with the Oracles
  • Collect Oracle Eggs until one miraculously turns into a Dragon.
  • Argent Tournament goodies. I need more tokens to be able to buy the mounts I still have outstanding.
  • Finish up Frostbitten

frostbitten

Calantha

  • Finish farming the Oshu’gun Crystal Powder I need (in the region of 300ish) to grab the two Halaa mounts. I already have the tokens you get from pvp, it’s just the grind I’ve been putting off.

Anann

  • Level so that I can tame one of these beauties

WoWScrnShot_121513_225209

This will definitely do as a starting point. I’d like to level a Horde Hunter for example, probably an Orc to tick the dual boxes of rescuing Spot from Theramore and also being able to explore Draenor at some point on a Orc. I’d also like to level a Dwarf Mage or Worgen Mage, I can’t decide which would fit the name of Havisham best but these can wait.

Fear of Flying (and being 90)

My Monk is just on the cusp of 89 and endgame is so close I can almost taste it. My honor point stash is close to maxed and I’ve got plenty of justice points to play with too. Yet I almost don’t want to hit 90. I love the class, pvp is so much fun and suddenly battlegrounds that I hated on Sprout, I now adore. Strand of the Ancients being one because if no one else is slowing vehicles well I can bring them to halt plus healing whilst nuking annoying people in the face… always awesome.

So therefore my rough plan is to force myself over the finishing line and then start both pvping with the big boys and at least hanging out in the Isle of Thunder and running scenarios with the intention of getting a look at the Battlefield Barrens carry on before it’s removed. Here’s hoping I still have enough time to get the Hordebreaker title, after all, it’s some what appropriate in oh so many ways.

I also need a proper transmogrification outfit because I can’t always hide like this:

WoWScrnShot_071213_211448

Baby panda + zen mediation = Cuteness

I’m also planning on tackling my left over achievements in a reasonably sensible fashion. Got far too many left to tick off to suit my list focused brain. Besides this might slow down the march to 90.

“But war is a bitter bugle”

Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of the glowing globe of flame heading straight for the beachhead. Somehow the juxtaposition of the elegant ship, it’s sails furled sliding across the moon with the harsh bolts of the tower and the spiked defenses made me think of a few lines by Charles Causley.

But war is a bitter bugle
That all must learn to blow
And it didn’t take long to stop the song
In the dirty Italian snow..
O war is a casual mistress
And the world is her double bed
She has a few charms in her mechanised arms
But you wake up and find yourself dead.

from his poem “A Ballad for Katharine of Aragon

WoWScrnShot_022213_194018

Almost at the end of the quest line for the Operation: Shieldwall, I find myself wondering “What is worth fighting for?” Also I have to admit I preferred Anduin in the days of Lady Prestor when he just stood there as a small but quiet child to his current teenage brat behavior. Constantly running away from his protection detail… pff Jaina should turn him into a sheep for a bit.

 

Somehow from there, I ended up contemplating Sky Admiral Rogers, Sprout’s new role model (possibly because my wandering brain swapped her name for war in the previously mentioned lines). Not only did she tell Admiral Taylor to put his “big boy pants on” but her desire to weaponize everything and anything which might help turn the tide of war speaks volumes to a Gnome!

Plus she’s a bit genocidal, which probably means she’s going to die at some point in the not to distant future so we should revel in her whilst we can.

Those green dirtbags down there plagued your homes in Southshore, laid siege to your children in Redridge, and massacred every man, woman and child in Theramore.

It. Is. PAYBACK TIME! (from the quest text)

Although Thrall did something similar to unarmed Alliance in the Goblin start zone and he’s still alive and kicking so who knows.

Pre Patch Panicking

Time scales and deadlines always make me nervous, suddenly I feel that I have so much to do before Blizzard roll out the next patch.

Sprout

  • Finish up her remaining reputations (Shado-Pan and that pesky Alliance one in the Wilds)
  • Farm as many Conquest and Valor points as I can lay my sticky little mitts on
  • Finish up beating the Pet Tamers
  • Hit 480 item level for the new LFR

Twiceshy

I would also like to level a couple of my alts past their respective starting zones and tick off a few achievements which have been sitting around half finished for ages.

It may not seem like a massive list, but with my limited play time, I’m definitely a bit concerned.

The Wanderer’s Festival – IntPiPoMo

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.

Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy

With so many of the WoW festivals revolving around killing and death, the Wanderer’s festival is a real breathe of fresh air. There is no big bad to slaughter, no towns to save, just a leisurely Sunday beach party focusing on celebrating exploration and dreams coming true.

The party starts with the celebrants emerging from the jungle, some carrying lanterns which they take to the water’s edge.

Once released these glowing beacons float out to sea, drifting out to explore.

I find myself returning week after week just so I can sit on the beach watching the world go by.

I love the idea of a regular festival and/or event that happens all year around and really hope it’s something that Blizzard develop further at some point. So far we have the Wanderer’s Festival with it’s hatchling and of course the Darkmoon Faire but perhaps the market at Halfhill could expand into a proper market on a Saturday with twice as many stalls, some selling unique items and recipes. Maybe those enterprising Goblins in Booty Bay could set up a Fish market to help fund the rebuilding project or the Vrykul could host a little gathering once a fortnight to help draw people back to Northrend, obviously we’d have to dress up to avoid being on the receiving end of a pointy spear but the opportunities could be endless.

An Offhand look at the prettiest Off-hand frills MoP has to offer

Now that I’m 90 and in a slightly more stable position, factions are starting to love me and my item level is high enough for the LFR this weekend, my thoughts are turning back to transmogrification. In many regards MoP has provided us with some of the prettiest items we’ve ever seen at the start of an expansion, thus in no particular order, here is my pick of the off-hands currently available to us.

Umbrella of Chi-Ji

Perhaps the most beautiful item archaeology has produced to-date. My Druid is currently levelling purely through herbalism and archaeology in the hope of making it soon. Not a hundred percent sure but I think I’d pair it with something simple as not to distract from from the umbrella.

Inscribed Red Fan

Made by Inscriptions, this particular fan is both bold and bright. I can’t help liking the idea of my characters fanning themselves to cool down in the heat of battle.


Shomi’s Fan

This tree like fan is delicate and fragile looking.


Malevolent Gladiator’s Reprieve

Purchased with Conquest points.


Wakener’s Light

As a Priest, I’ve always loved the lantern type off-hands and I think this is a great addition to them in Pandarian way.

Thoughts on being 90

Whilst levelling is a journey full of wonder and amazement, arrival at 90 is like landing at the airport to discover they’ve lost your baggage, customs want to strip search you but you’ve won the lottery to compensate. Sure there are a lot of positives but some definite negatives thrown into the mix as well.

1. Dailies, dailies, dailies as far as the eye can see. The choice is overwhelming as is the feeling that you should ignore the “fun” ones (Tillers/Anglers/Cloud Serpents) whilst concentrating on the rest in the run up to raids and the arena season starting. Given that I don’t go back to work until Thursday, we have been spamming the lot but it definitely feels like overload. On the plus side (a phrase I never thought I’d ever use in this context) most of the daily hubs involve going to one specific area and slaughtering & collecting. On top of that, compared to the Molten Front, killing vermling, playing catch with baby dragons and beating up sharks with your bare hands is a refreshing change.

2. Heroics aren’t really heroic in any shape or form. When I queued up for the first time I was really nervous remembering back to the start of Cataclysm when on some trash packs mana was an issue. I didn’t need to worry, in fact even after boss fights my interweaving of power word:solace into the mix meant I didn’t need to drink then either. I know the challenge modes are there for just that purpose but I would have liked the Heroics to be slightly tougher. It just feels a bit wrong where the Stormstout brewery for example felt harder on normal at 86 than it did at 90 on heroic (just wearing blue 450 gear in every slot apart from my 463 legs and my epic trinket from Coren).

3. PvP is awesome. My favourite all time battleground now has to be the Temple of Kotmogu. It’s fast paced, fun and a bit like arenaing but with objectives other than making sure you’re the last team standing. I definitely don’t feel squishy as Holy unless the whole opposing team piles on top of me (or I’ve been hogging a power ball too long) which is a good start to an expansion too. I plan on doing a proper post covering my choice of glyphs + talents as Holy for each of the maps once I’ve finished testing a few things.

4. Scenarios! I love all of the ones I’ve played so far (apart from Theramore). They’re quick, varied and because it’s not just standing still and healing like a proper dungeon, great fun (ignoring the lore side of it, Theramore is just a bit too much like running a dungeon).

The loot bags are annoying though, I know RNG is RNG but so far Mr Harpy has had an item from pretty much every second bag and I’ve had zero which makes gearing up a little more irritating.

5. Priesting. Why oh why can’t chakras last after death and on zoning. I know it’s not a massive issue for most things but it’s still a quality of life issue. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with Holy. Mana is 10 times better than it was at the start of Cataclysm in both pve and pvp. In fact the only other thing which annoys me is the lack of useful minor glyphs for my chosen spec. We have a choice of ten, four are shadow specific, one is disc specific, one is holy specific but requires your death and the others are just flavour.

6. Pet battles. Fear my Hopling because it will lick you to death! This turned out to be more addictive and less annoying than on the beta. I’m still working my way through pre Outlands pets but I hit 250 unique pets a while back and am route to 400 albeit slowly. I have to admit I went and tamed an Infested Bear Cub even though I said I never would. (By the way, they only seem to spawn after midnight if you’re looking, at least that’s the only time I’ve ever found any sign of them). Also whoever designed Jaguero Isle to have a separate weather system to that of southern STV can take a spinning crane kick to the face.

7. MoP transmogrification. Yes please! The cloth pvp set consisting of a pants suit had me panicking slightly but the weapons and off-hands are stunning.

8. Pandas. I’m still not 100 percent convinced, but I’ve made one even though she hasn’t made it out of the start zone yet. She’s a Priest (surprise surprise) called Snowflower after a book I fell in love with a little while ago when I found a beat up copy in a charity shop. I’m slightly saddened by the fact that my favourite beta hairstyle isn’t available at the character creation stage but am hoping it will be an option once she escapes the Isle.

9. The Storyline in general. I’m really impressed with the stories this time around. Blizzard have added some really lovely touches and some tragic moments. I was particularly taken with the fact that my evil double giggles.

It’s a great mix of tragic, comedic and thought provoking.

I think I started out looking for things to criticise, wanting to believe that WoW had nothing left to offer me, that I reached my final destination as far as the game was concerned but it seems that somehow despite my cynicism, Pandaria’s beauty and sense of wonder has managed to pull me back.

Hoplings

I’ve been a bit of a vermling fan ever since I first encountered them on the beta and so when I discovered that they would also be available as cute little pets I knew I had to have one. (Yes, I fully understand that cuteness might be in the eye of the beholder).

Acquiring one of your very own is simple. First of all make sure that you have friendly name plates key bound on something, it defaults to shift – v but if you’re using that for something else (like me) bind it elsewhere.

Next queue up for Stormstout Brewery and speak to Auntie Stormstout who is in the alcove as you enter. You need to purchase Ling Ting’s favourite tea which gives the ability to see small golden vermling dotted around the brewery. There are thirty of them in total and you need to find all of them. You can only carry five teas at once and but each application lasts five minutes.

This is what you’re looking for. They are quite small but with the name plates up are easily spotted. You can also clear the dungeon first and then work your way back finding the little fellows. They’re usually hidden up against the sides of the room or beside crates and barrels.

The achievement which rewards the pet is very group friendly as one person can click on say five vermling, another fifteen and someone else ten and yet everyone in the party will still be rewarded with the achievement and pet. You don’t even need to have the tea buff when someone clicks on a vermling, but it will still count.

Now I just need to finish battling my way to 250 pets so little Bean can have another vermling to play with.

Falling in love all over again.

First impressions are so important. We make snap judgements all the time based on nothing more than the experiences of a few minutes, sometimes even less. If I’m being a hundred percent honest, I have to admit that my initial reaction to MoP was a bit less than positive. After twenty minutes or so of this:

I was starting to get a little grumpy, especially since Mr Harpy was stuck in limbo somewhere and couldn’t even log on. However the more I played, the more I got drawn in. Not only is the landscape stunningly beautiful but in many regards, MoP ticks all my mental boxes. The quest chains range from the fun to the serious as do the rewards. Both Theramore and Southshore get mentioned by the NPCs in the first ten minutes and there is a real sense of a world at war (at least from the Alliance perspective). The Sha, the bad guys of the piece are introduced in act one and have their nasty nature spelt out for us just to make sure there will be no misunderstandings later. The little details are important and I feel that Blizzard have nailed most of them spot on, from the voice acting for a lot of the quests which really helps bring them to life to the little scenes being played out by the NPCs.

I also think I’m in love with Sky Admiral Rogers, not only is she clearly a ganker at heart but the moment when she told Admiral Taylor to “put his big boy pants on” was jaw-droppingly perfect. A few more like her and the Horde won’t stand a chance.

So far I’ve only run the first two dungeons but again, I have nothing negative to say about either of them. I loved the idea of Temple of the Jade Serpent with it’s library of possessed scrolls from the beta but having now run through the Brewery, I’m not sure I could pick a favourite.

Stories coming to life versus the adorable Vermling, it’s a hard one to call.

In short, I’m basically back to vanilla. The little wide eyed girl in a candy shop trying to do everything at once because there is so much to see, to listen to and to play with. In the Cataclysm drought I found myself questioning why I was playing WoW and whether I wanted to continue but now two days into MoP, I’m rather glad I chose to continue.

A few of my favourite things: First loves and endearing stories

This close to the end of an expansion, my mind always starts roaming back over things I’ve enjoyed in the current and previous incarnations of the game so today I want to talk about my favourite five man vanilla and TBC dungeons. It’s a combination of things, the atmosphere (scenary and any storylines/quest chains) and the mechanics of the fights which draw me to specific dungeons over and  over again.

Vanilla

The Deadmines

You never forget your first, whether that was your first kiss, first shot of horseradish vodka, first lover or first ever WoW dungeon. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter, it was your first and that makes it special. It will colour your views of everything which comes afterwards.

We got lost finding the instance and then spent ages wandering around the tunnels before the dungeon proper thinking we were awesome because stuff was dying. When we finally made it through the loading screen there was this sense of WOW…. and that was before we even got close to the the whole boat in a cave bit. The fights were varied and fun, the loot was the best we’d see up until that point and the fact that you could get a rolling pin and two mini-pets made it even better.

The story line behind the instance has always struck me as a fairly poignant one too. I spent much of my childhood not far from Hamelin, the town immortalised in the tale of the Pied Piper and there are definite similarities between that and the story of the Defias, one which could serve as a warning to anyone planning on not paying for services rendered.

The Scarlet Monastery

When I rolled my first Priest, we were levelling as a threesome. Me, the now Mr Harpy on a Druid and a friend playing a Rogue. We had picked a server at random and so were levelling quite happily by ourselves. This involved ganking as many fellow questers as possible (If a Troll Shaman called Ada is reading this.. sorry) and seeing if we could three man most of the levelling dungeons at an appropriate level. This worked like a charm until we encountered the final wing of the Monastery, where Whitemane and co really didn’t want to go down easily.

Whitemane has remained one of my favourite dungeon bosses and I’m really glad that the revamp didn’t see her replaced with a pale imitation. There is something endearing about her fanaticism, her eye makeup and her love for Mograine that makes me feel slightly bad every time I kill her.

Plus she has a Benediction which clearly makes her awesome! Also every time I cast resurrection, a gleeful little voice in my head yells “Arise my champion”.

Scholomance

I love horror movies despite the fact that I have an over-active imagination and am prone to nightmares even if I’m not watching people being slaughtered in inventive ways by homicidal maniacs in haunted houses, thus Scholomance and I were always going to be a match made in heaven. Again it’s an instance I encountered fairly early on because I needed the mana potion recipe which was only obtainable by completing the quest chains there. Then it became a staple of my pre Molten Core farm as I and my guildmates worked on collecting our dungeon sets.  The arguments as the warlock in the party always wanted to do Jandice and the tank didn’t, people getting locked out of the Kirtonos fight and the yell of “Schools in session” which always sent a frisson of excitement down my spine as I prayed I wouldn’t be the one getting portaled into a room full of skeletons.

I wrote about my love affair with Scholomance back in 2009 and reading back over that post, my feelings haven’t changed at all. In fact whilst I like the re-make (although it’s bit like beloved films, a part of me is yelling “WHY WHY WHY!!!!”), I feel the spirit of the place has gone. The Eva Sarkhoff quest chain was both chilling and heartbreakingly sad at the same time and I feel it’s removal lessens the Scholomance experience.

The Burning Crusade

Caverns of Time: Old Hillsbrad

Saving Thrall and wandering about in the past, what’s not to love about Old Hillsbrad. Now that Southshore is destroyed, I make pilgrimages to the dungeon to sit in the Inn and mingle amongst the villagers listening to their chatter. I watch little Sally Whitemane running around, carefree and happy not knowing what the future will bring. I’d also love to make a human character who looked like this:

The story is a good one too, trying to stop someone messing with the time line and of course, I love the “disguise” element of the dungeon, seeing my Nightelves and Draenei turning into humans. Thrall versus the armourer never fails to make me smile either even though I know it’s coming.

Shadow Labs

My favourite board game when I was small was called Labyrinth and of course, I loved the the David Bowie movie too (he was my second ever crush after Daley Thomson) so my excitement towards Shadow Labs was building long before TBC was actually released. The first actual run was a little disappointing but as I healed run after run helping my guild attune themselves to Karazhan it grew on me. I particularly enjoyed the second boss, Mr Mindcontrol because of the chaotic nature of the fight. It was like a smaller scale precursor of the Faction Champions. Shadow Labs was also the source of one of my greatest triumphs when myself, Mr Harpy on his warrior and a warlock guildmate managed to three man most of the instance in the first few weeks of the Burning Crusade (at a time when most people were complaining about the difficulty of the instance and the randomness and nastiness of the 2nd boss in particular.

Next time I’ll be explaining why my favourite picks of Wrath and Cataclysm probably aren’t everyone else’s cup of tea.

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