Seven Days In – Thoughts on Warlords

So seven days have gone flying by since we passed beneath the portal…  Despite all the server “issues”, Mr Harpy and I arrived at the level cap on Sunday which I must admit surprised us both, especially since he was working Thursday and Friday. We’ve got level 3 Garrisons, ticked off the Silver Proving Grounds achievements for our respective specs and are planning to head into dungeons in pursuit of gold, gear and toys courtesy of the Garrison Inn quests at the weekend. In the meantime though I’d thought I’d talk about my over all feelings towards the expansion as a whole.

The Good

The whole leveling experience itself. At least from the Alliance perspective, the quest chains were powerful, interesting and used cut scenes to convey emotions and show things which wouldn’t have worked in cold hard quest text. Compared to say Uldum and it’s cutscenes where I found myself reaching for the ESC button the second Harrison Jones appeared, this time around, it’s a completely different story.

Yrel as a character also surprised me. I don’t think Blizzard fell into any of the myriad traps they could have with her. Yes, she starts out unsure of herself as a leader, but everyone has to start somewhere and as you progress through the zones, she’s not the weak annoying character she could have become. Her voice does grate slightly though.

The sheer quantity of pets and toy items to be discovered hiding around the world.

Garrisons (when they choose to work). On paper at least, I wasn’t a fan but now I have this quiet corner of Shadowmoon Valley which is mine and mine alone, my feelings have changed. Already I have my own little hideaway where I can sit, watching guildchat go scrolling by.

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The Bad

We hit 100 and were left looking at each other. We have five dungeons on normal if you could Skyreach which we’d already run for the legendary ring quest and the proving grounds quest in our Garrisons but there didn’t seem to be a clear path towards better gear. Yes, there are level 100 elites who have a chance of dropping something, you can buy things with Apexis crystals and of course make things if you have the relevant profession but we essentially stumbled our way into these things. Perhaps a bill board in the Garrison suggesting where to look would have helped, instead of pushing people to search the internet themselves.

The Ugly

Ashran. From everything I’ve read on the forums, every Ashran seems horribly unbalanced. On our server, there is around 100-150 Horde plus a large rock guy sitting in the Alliance base slaughtering the 15 or so Alliance brave enough to enter. I don’t understand why they didn’t follow on from the Tol Barad method where numbers are capped, for example if there are 20 of one faction, the other faction can only have 30 players to at least give tactical play a chance. If Mr Harpy and I had any intent of PvPing seriously this expansion we would have to server transfer to ensure we weren’t miles behind when the area season starts and that to me is just wrong.

 

All in all, I’m having the most fun I’ve had in WoW in a long time. Yes, the launch wasn’t brilliant and I admit I had a minor rant to Mr Harpy who develops software for a living, pointing out that if his work went live so prone to falling over, he’d be out of a job by now. His rational and reasonable response was simple, 10 million people aren’t all trying to use his software at once and should they do so, no doubt it would be a disaster. Plus, apart from the odd queue last weekend and one or two sticky episodes where my Garrison’s gravity trapped me for an hour or two, we didn’t have many issues.

 

First Days of Draenor

Draenor.. it’s certainly been an interesting ride so far.

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On Snowflower, despite the fact that she’s level 92 her garrison lies unloved and mostly untouched mainly because I daren’t set foot in it. I spent most of yesterday afternoon stuck to it, attempting to leave only to be ported back and told my transfer was aborted. Clearly Garrisons have rather strong gravitational pull. Sproutling, perhaps because she’s a Gnome and thus has lower mass has had a lot more success and might actually manage to develop hers beyond a Barracks.

Questing has been far more successful. Shadowmoon Valley is without a doubt beautiful and the quest chains fit together nicely.

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I also love the sheer number of “treasure” dotted around the landscape, whether in the form of rares or just little trinket boxes hidden around the place. In fact I’d argue my biggest bug bear, apart from the Garrisons of course is the fact that half these items don’t seem to go into the Toy Box meaning bag space fills up just as fast. My favourites so far have to be this very fast and quite unpractical mount who drops from Shinri, a rare spawn in Shadowmoon Valley.

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Shinri’s Ghost – a very fast mount only usable in Shadowmoon Valley which lasts for about 20 seconds

and my Ancient’s Bloom, a toy I fell in love with on the Beta and made sure to grab as soon as possible on live. It drops from Yggdrel and whilst also impractical in that you can’t move whilst tree’d, I love it’s look.

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All in all, my experiences once away from the Garrisons have been fairly positive, although I see from Trade Chat that many don’t agree.

Home Sweet Home – The Garrisons are coming

Given that I won’t be leveling straight away due to Mr Harpy’s work schedule, the first thing I’m probably going to do when I wake up on Thursday morning is start establishing Garrisons for the many Alts. This naturally has required some planning and whilst I’m still torn about a couple of buildings on some characters, I thought I’d share my rough Garrison master plan.

Snowflower – Holy Priest and mostly main

My ultimate goal for Snowflower will be as follows:

Building Name Size of Plot Rational behind choice
Dwarven Bunker Large Given that I haven’t raided at all in Cataclysm, a slightly higher chance to get decent upgrades whilst questing would be useful.I like the transmogrification sets, especially the cloth one which can be gathered through the Bunker.Making my seals of tempered fate go further will be useful given how much I hate farming.
Stables Large Show me a list and I’m hooked. Collecting whether mounts, pets or toys is a massive draw to me so being able to get mounts through the Stables is a big part of the attraction.As a Holy Priest being able to gather quest items on the go rather than necessarily having to dismount and fight suits me when solo.Being dazed is up there with the suppression rooms in terms of my pet WoW hates.

Riding 20 percent faster on Draenor means getting places faster and could be handy for that odd bit of world PvP.

Lunarfall Inn Medium Ignoring the RP aspect, i.e. how can you have a Garrison without an Inn.. this appeals again to the collector in me. There are two pets, the adorable Everbloom Peachick and the Sentinel’s Companion available from questing through the Inn as well as toys like Gamon’s Braid and the Void Totem.
 Trading Post Medium Whilst reputations are perhaps less important in this expansion than they have been in the past, i.e. not providing much in the way of gear upgrades, they do give toys and pets.  I’m also particularly interested in both Wrynn’s Vanguard as they allow you to acquire some PvP gear and also the Sha’tari Defense whose goodies are only available through the Trading Post.
 Engineering Works Small One of Snowflower’s primary professions
 Alchemy Lab Small One of Snowflower’s primary professions plus I’ll already have a herb gatherer in Draenor before Snow due to leveling constraints.
 Enchanter’s Study Small Because disenchanting always comes in useful.

 

I chose to leave out the Barracks because I’m not hugely interested in the whole follower side, I know not having it will slow down my efforts to get 20 followers to 100 in order to upgrade my Dwarven Bunker but I can live with that. I also don’t like the idea of having a “body guard” whilst out and about given that I already have one in the shape of Mr Harpy and our experiences with NPCs has been lacklustre to say the least, i.e. pulling extra mobs, keeping them in combat with you whilst you’re trying to shadowmeld to avoid dying etc. In fact I’m not particularly keen on this building on any character but Mentzelia will probably draw the short straight mostly because I’m not that good at being a Boomkin.

Whilst I love the look of the Mage Tower, I didn’t feel that it brought enough to the table other than looking pretty. My Mage however will obviously have one because … well you can hardly call yourself a Mage without a Tower now can you! My Warlock will also probably have one because she wants everything that Mages have.

Sproutling will definitely be picking up the Barn, both because it’s useful for tailoring and also because being a Gnome she wants to get herself a pygmy cow.

Saying no to the Gladiator’s Sanctum was hard on my main but I suspect my Mage will be picking up and blowing the ashes off the bones. Plus out of combat regen isn’t particularly important to a healer.

Needless to say that by Friday, this table could be completely obsolete.

For proper Garrison suggestions, driven by something other than what in my personal option looks good, check out the Godmother’s wonderfully awesome Garrison guide complete with everything you need to know about Garrisons.

Merrily We roll along into the last days of Pandaria

The expansion is so close, we can almost reach out and touch it. Am I organised? Well I’ve been tasked with planning Garrisons for all mine and Mr Harpy’s alts which had led to lots of happy little lists and diagrams but I suspect I’ll still be changing things right up until Warlords is live. We won’t be starting leveling in any proper fashion until Friday night due to Mr Harpy’s work schedule so from the expansion going live til then, I’ll just be setting up Garrisons for all the alts and doing any final preparations like making sure we have enough easy to eat food.

I have gold, more I think than I have had at the start of any other expansion but probably still less than most people.

I also managed to get myself a bone white primal raptor because given that we can’t fly in Draenor clearly I needed a new ground mount:

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So that’s another thing off the list.

Finally and perhaps more importantly, I’ve actually got around to buying the expansion and using my free 90. Therefore I’d like to introduce Merrymaker Merrily, fire Mage and all around pest.

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She’s at her merriest when setting other sentient beings on fire, is looking forward to Ashran and hopes her Garrison comes with some sort of ceremonial fireplace for the immolating of invaders and cremating of critters. Some how I suspect she’s going to be disappointed. In fact the only thing I need to get done by the 13th is come up with a suitably fiery transmog for her, perhaps incorporating the blazing wings.

#IntPiPoMo 2014 – Theramore before and afterwards

Once again November has rolled around bringing with it IntPiPoMo which was originally started by Angelya of Revive & Rejuventate but is now hosted by Jojo of Admiring Azeroth. The idea behind IntPiPoMo is to post fifty screenshots/pictures across the month with no set themes or rigid rules however given that we are a week away from the latest Warcraft expansion, I suspect the vast majority of mine will be WoW related.

Theramore 

Before.. there were tradespeople bustling around and guards watching, their hands brushing their sword hilts.

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Before.. there were buildings, white stone tamed into Inns and Keeps. Wood carved into lintels and doorways, everything serving a purpose.

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Before.. there was life. Vivid green grass trapped between cobbled pathways  and bird song fluting down from the walls.

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Afterwards.. there were graves, so tidy hiding the truth about those entombed below the earth, none of those who lie beneath were ever this neat in life.

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Afterwards.. there was broken rock and twisted wood, the remains of the buildings shattered like the bones of those who inhabited them. Spiral staircases rearing up to the sky like jagged spines ending in emptiness and burns smeared across the pale stone.

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Afterwards.. there was death. Craters tinged with blood and raw angry magic bubbling up with hatred.

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With thanks to Zidormi who lifts the veil between past and present so that we will not forget and we will not forgive.

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A Holy Priest and a Protection Warrior walk into the Firelands: Cataclysm content as a pair post patch

One interesting change brought about by the recent patch was the ease with which Cataclysm raid content has become accessible.

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So a Holy Priest and a Protection Warrior walk into the Firelands… it might sound like a bad joke but it turned out to be both profitable and interesting. I started off the legendary staff chain just because it’s there and then we began trying normal 10 man to see how far we could go.

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As it turned out, all the way to the end was the answer to that. I found myself with mixed feelings at the end though, the fights were far too easy given that five levels go, this was current content. I know some people could solo certain fights when it was current content but they were the exception not the rule. I barely had to do any healing whatsoever, instead just smiting away. We also didn’t have to bother with anything which could even vaguely be called strategy. In fact I’m not sure we could have failed regardless of what we did. Sure, the Heroic and 25 man versions might be much harder but somehow I doubt it. Running the Sunwell as two was a challenge even at the end of Cataclysm which made it fun, whereas was  this was more walk in the park territory.

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As a follow up, we decided to try the Dragon Soul again on 10 man normal and again managed with no real issues. We might have benefited from reading up on some of the fights before hand, especially the Spine of Deathwing encounter but at least Blizzard were kind enough to provide an achievement for those too lazy to do research. The lack of trash made the Dragon Soul a lot less profitable than the Firelands but it’s a far nicer dungeon from a visual perspective and really anything beats actually heading to the Isle of Giants and fighting Warlocks, Rogues and Hunters for Giant Dinosaur Bones.

I suspect that Mr Harpy (Prot warrior) could easily have soloed both instances with perhaps the Spine of Deathwing being the only issue but with trial and error I bet that’s doable too. As a Holy Priest my mileage would vary, not convinced I have enough output for anything with an enrage timer but think some fights would be doable. So if you want to finish or start either the Dragonwrath or the Fangs of the Father quest lines now is probably a good time to do it.

All the Fun of the Darkmoon Faire

Along with the Day of the Dead, this Darkmoon Faire brings with it new and shiny goodies.

For the Toybox, you can pick up the following:

Haunting Memento bought from Chester for 90 Darkmoon Prize Tickets. This gives whoever you cast it on a 15 minute Haunted debuff and whilst the debuff is up, bad things can happen. So far I’ve seen a rather large quantity of nasty spiders spawn on me and have taken several panic attacks.

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Blazing Wings: These are a reward from the achievement Brood of AlysrazorWoWScrnShot_080614_161452

From the Beta I’d say the best strategy for this is to plan ahead before you start the quest and make sure you know which blazing rings you want ahead of arriving at them. However when I tried it tonight, rings kept disappearing on me which makes me think that other people can take them and that this might be best done when the server is a little quieter.

Flimsy Yellow Balloon purchased from Carl Goodup for 10 silver.

Pets

Also Christoph VonFeasel is in town with a chance of getting a new Syd the Squid Pet from his prize bag.

Miscellaneous 

Chester also sells some rather attractive finery.

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The Erinyes are there lamenting away and can be killed and looted for the ring but at the moment we aren’t high enough to turn in the quest. You will need probably need a group of four or five if not more to complete it at this level.

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