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.

Filling the Toybox – Part 1

One of my favourite new additions to Warcraft is the Toy Box. I find myself almost wishing that I didn’t have to wait another few days for the next patch before this feature is released into my hot little hands. It’s first of all a list plus it’s going to free up beautiful and desperately needed bag space across so many of my characters so what’s not to love.

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I’ve tried to be a bit systematic here, things I’m currently attempting to farm are green, items which aren’t yet available in game are red and items which come from Trading Cards are purple. Anything which is purchasable for any sort of currency whether gold, Timeless Coins or some sort of token is orange.

 

So to sum up page 1, that’s currently 8 items definitely not obtainable until the expansion starts in earnest with a further one item as a maybe. Then we have three things from varying branches of Archaeology, 5 drops from various mobs currently in-game and one item purchasable for Champion’s Seals. As things stand out of these 18, I possess a whopping four items, although I do have enough seals to purchase the Argent Crusader’s Banner so I suppose my current score for page 1 is 5/18.

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Well based on the first four pages, it’s going to be while before I get my hands on the achievement and reward for 150 toys. So far I have twenty two of these out of a possible 74 with a further 22 unavailable until Draenor aligns itself once again with Azeroth.

Beta – First Attempt at the Proving Grounds mark II

Today on logging onto the Beta I noticed that my Garrison was offering me a quest to go and try the Proving Grounds and perhaps more importantly offering me a new and shiny weapon for completing the Bronze wave in any of the disciplines. Despite the fact that I’m playing the Beta with no addons and no proper keybinds, I thought I’d go and give it a shot. As a Holy Priest wearing mostly the bits and pieces Blizzard give you for making a level 100 Premade, Bronze was extremely easy. I have no idea if it’s tuned correctly but my mana didn’t go below 75 percent and I barely cast any solaces at all. In fact I felt slightly guilty taking the weapon because if I played like that in a proper group setting I’d feel rather guilty. On the positive side, the NPCs felt better at moving out of bad but unfortunately they were equally good at moving out of my sparkling disco floor too.

I didn’t have time to look at the Silver level, the one which Blizzard have stated everyone will need to enter Heroics through the Looking for Group mechanism but if it’s just a step up from Bronze I really think that the Healing Proving Grounds should be in the grasp of anyone who has healed at least a leveling dungeon on their healer. However hopefully tomorrow I’m going to make time for trying the Silver and seeing just what it’s like, especially in comparison to the Proving Grounds currently in game.

Turning completing Bronze into a quest with a useful reward for brand new level 100s is I think a brilliant idea. Now it should become one of those things you do on reaching the leveling cap, just like doing the Arena Scenario for the Blue weapon was almost compulsory at the start of MoP on every new character. I do wonder though if there should be a quest for completing the Silver and Gold versions too, just as that added incentive to those who feel uncomfortable with the idea of the Proving Grounds. I haven’t run any dungeons at the level cap yet as I haven’t been the most diligent Beta tester recently but in terms of the items I have seen, this weapon is by far the highest item level coming in at lv 610 with over a 100 more spell power than the one which Premades get.

In the Alliance Garrisons, you can collect the quest from Lieutenant Thorn, Mission Specialist so I imagine that in the Horde Garrisons, you pick it up from her opposite number.

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The Truth about Challe

Witchcraft has been on my mind these last few days. In part because of the rowan tree laden with berries in my new back garden but also due to the chaos of moving which always makes you look at your possessions in a new light.

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This was a post I started almost a year ago but took no further. I think my intention was to write about the Jade Witch, Hallows End and my favourite Warlock trainer but can’t be too sure but my original working title seems to have been The Witches of Warcraft. Today however inspired by something I discovered on the beta, I thought I’d resurrect it.

One of my all time favourite stories as a child was that of Baba Yaga, my Grandmother and Great Grandmama could tell it in such a way to have shivers racing down your spine. I still don’t like dark forests when the mist comes in because for all you know, that scratching sound, the wind on bark perhaps could be the chicken feet of Baba Yaga’s hut watching and waiting. So there I was riding around Nagrand on an Orc Hunter, exploring and looking for new pets to tame when I came across this rather creepy looking cave.

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I mean fairy stories should teach us all that people who hang wind catchers made of skulls outside their caves have to be approached with caution.
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Inside the cave turned out to be even more creepy, I mean who puts that many nails in a poppet?
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It was the woman inside who caught my attention though. She’s not the first Challe to be encountered in the hills of Nagrand after all. At first because I hadn’t done any quests here I thought perhaps it’s just a mistake or laziness on Blizzard’s part but somehow it kept nagging at my brain. To that point that I even logged on to live and flew to Nagrand to confirm that my memory wasn’t playing tricks.

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Of course on discovering that Challe on Live was Troll, I thought it must just be coincidence but my over active imagination wouldn’t let it drop and instead of logging back onto my Nightelf, I thought I’d do a spot of Orcish questing and with hindsight, I’m so glad I did. A couple of very sad quests later of which I won’t go into details because it spoils the emotional impact of doing them yourself, it seems that Miss Challe, she of the isolated orphanage isn’t quite so charitable and kind after all. In fact, she’s the sort of face eating monster who lurks in the shadows and really shouldn’t be trusted with children. In fact she really deserved having “her” face eaten by my pet cat as displayed in the picture below.
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Of course this helps put certain things about her Home for Little Tykes into perspective, the little Orc boy caged in bones for example and the large quantity of red meat and bones in the kennel take on whole new sinister meaning but that’s what I love about Warcraft and this particular expansion in general. As it gives us the ability to see beyond face value, to engage with characters who have fascinated or interested us for years and potentially to kill them, adding another dimension to the game.

For those of you wishing to see the chain for yourself on the Beta, it’s Horde only (sadly) and can be picked up straight away in Nagrand on a Level 100 Premade or a Lv 98 if leveling through. Gar’rok, the quest giver can be found by the Throne of the Elements, if you’re standing in front of the Giant Elemental types, he’s off to the right hand side up a little path overlooking the lake. The Wowhead link shows a map with his exact position on it.

 

Pre Warlords to do List – It’s Panic Time!

So we have three months almost to the day and it’s time to start panicking in this neck of the woods.

My list can essentially be broken down into 2 parts:

  • Things which having played the Beta I feel are things I want to have achieved
  • Things which would be nice to have but won’t make a huge difference either way

I am however trying to keep both lists relatively short to save myself getting distracted.

  1. Level a Warlock to 90 and attempt to get Green Fire. I’ve no idea how possible this is, leveling itself won’t be an issue as I have multiple Warlocks to choose from but whether I can level, gear to a decent enough standard and beat the boss in time I’m not sure.
  2. Acquire as many of the items on the Toy Box List as possible. Due to the sheer size of this, I’ll probably do a separate post or series chronicling my attempts to achieve this.
  3. Sort out Snowflower’s transmogrification requiring items from UBRS asap as the dungeon will clearly be changing prior to Warlords being released.
  4. Attempt to get Dulcamara to the end of the Brawler’s Guild. She’s rank 7 at the moment but has received a few upgrades since my last attempt at beating the fight she was stuck on. If I keep failing as a Mistweaver, I will try speccing dps to have a go.

My focus with List Two is more to keep things ticking over, for example when I’m running UBRS I’ll try and remember to use a tabard to finish up my Panda Rep and whenever the Faire rolls into town, I’ll do a couple of dailies and my profession quests.

  1. 60 exalted reputations on Snowflower. Whilst this would be great before November, there are new reputations coming with the expansion and I’m not missing that many.
  2. Enough Darkmoon Faire tokens tucked away to purchase the new clothing coming with the expansion.
  3. Farm the other 8000 Dinosaur bones I need for the White Raptor. Riding it on the Beta has shown me how lovely it is.
  4. Farm around 300 Oshu’gun Crystal Powder to get the two Halaa mounts. I have the kill tokens I need so slaughtering some Ogres in practice for the expansion should be easy enough.

I’m sure there are a thousand and one other things but to begin with at least, these eight should keep me out of mischief.

Undercover in Warlords: A Few of my Favourite Things

Some spoilers included so look away now if you’re trying to avoid!

I’ve been spending a lot of time recently pottering around Draenor looking for bugs, exploring and generally getting a feel for the expansion. I had been feeling jaded with the game and had actually contemplated not purchasing Warlords at all. There is a lot going on in my personal life at the moment which has left me feeling extremely ill 90 percent of the time, plus I finish work in 4 days to start another University degree with the prospect of juggling that as well as personal stuff going forward into the autumn however it hasn’t taken me long to realise that this expansion hits my buttons like WoW hasn’t since Wrath.

I know a lot of people have been critical of various aspects of the game but I’m struggling to find negatives. Is Garrison player housing? No but it’s still nice to have your own slice of Draenor. Do I mind Ashran being my capital? No, it’s across between Dalaran and Theramore at least for the Alliance with a side order of PvP and personally I like that.

My new favourite toy has to be this:

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The Ancient’s Bloom is a drop from a rather nasty rare spawn in Shadowmoon Valley called Yggdrel which turns you into a miniature version of said tree for 5 minutes. Naturally you are rooted in place whilst transformed and so far at least, nothing happens when you /sleep, /cower or /dance but every so often you do a sort of roar animation to express your general grumpiness.

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Needless to say this will be one of the first rare spawns I attempt to slaughter on release but given that it was a rather messy kill with level 100s, it might prove tricky. It also goes into your Toybox meaning that acquire it once and you should have it on every character without having to lose a bag space.

My first new Draenor Pet:

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is a Teroclaw hatchling stolen from a random nest just north of Auchindoun. There is definitely a dinosaur feel to this little chap.

Finding Old Friends in the strangest of places:

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One of the aspects of WoW I like the most is the linking of content. We move from one expansion to another in search of adventure and having the NPCs do the same is a wonderful touch that makes the virtual world feel more concrete.