Fire Festival Transmogrifications

In honour of the Fire Festival (and inspired by Kamelia) I’ve been playing around with the various outfits worn by my most commonly played characters. Each one is wearing one piece of Fire Festival specific clothing either from the set or the tabards you get from slaying Ahune.

Priest

Mage

Warlock

Shaman

The Owl and Pussycat

The Owl and pussycat suffered some sort of transformation malfunction apparently and we Priests have adopted the unfortunate result. Oddly enough I have yet to see another Priest riding one.

What is Priestly about this I really don’t know. The glitter trail combines well with the one from my legendary and the one from my staff though. Having tried all three flavours, I think the Holy one is my preferred choice but it’s just a bit too big and unwieldy.

If you haven’t finished the 100 Demon killing quest on the Broken shore, the baby spiders in the Creeping Grotto count and can be aoe’d down really quickly.

Still Here

As the title says, I’m still here and still playing.

My Priest is almost exalted with all the Legion factions and mostly pvping. In order to properly progress she really needs to do either raids or dungeons.

My Mage is contemplating the forthcoming Brawler’s guild with excitement, working on getting the mount from the PvP world quests and planning a vacation to the Dalaran Sewers to farm a Ratstallion that I’ll never ride.

In the real world, I’ve just survived Christmas Day with both my Mother and my Mother in Law at the same table proving that whatever 2017 throws my way, I can probably take it in my stride.

As far as intentions go, I hope to be writing slightly more often than I have been although it might be about more than just Warcraft.

A slightly belated Happy New Year to everyone! (at least it’s still January).

Quick thoughts on Battlegrounds

Since hitting level 110, I’ve been doing quite a lot of battlegrounds. Yes, Demon Hunters can quite frankly go and do something obscene with their ranged interrupt and the next Retribution Paladin who thinks it’s in any way amusing to /lick or /kiss whilst stabbing me with their Blade of Justice can just take a running jump off the Lumber Mill (with or without the aid of mind control) but over all it’s been a lot of fun.

Healing versus one or two is okay, healing versus 3 or more hitting you a lot less so. I found myself missing Spectral Guise and Fear because whilst Mind Control is great one versus one or even in larger scale combat when no one is hitting you (won the Lumber Mill quite a lot by throwing their non Priest healer off the cliff) it’s pretty useless when every melee in range is thumping you. I’m currently talented in Shining Force for more throwing power and it definitely boots people a long way if you’re up high when you cast it but unfortunately is pretty useless if you aren’t up a cliff or a tower or standing next to the edge of the map because everyone just bounces right back at you.

My new favourite PvP toy is the tailoring cloth chests. Having colour coordination is so important if you want to win. It’s even better when you convince your entire raid that they want to dress as Dalaran Citizens.

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The Honour talents annoy me slightly though, I don’t like the idea that I have separate talents for one area of the game which don’t apply in others but that’s minor compared to the annoyance of having to farm Honour to gain abilities like Inner Focus which I’ve previously had although to be fair, if it still makes “that” noise…the Priest Class Hall would be a nightmare if you could use it anywhere outside PvP.

I have a definite hankering after the various Prestige rewards so in-between hoping for a nerf of interrupts (or a limit to how many melee are allowed to hit me at any one time), I will be hanging out at the Lumber Mill, taking towers in Alterac Valley, lurking by the edge of the map in EotS and because Holy Nova is so going to get nerfed soon bouncing in the middle of Kotmogu holding an orb whilst confetti-ing people to death.

Zen and the Art of Dungeoning

So far I’ve run two Legion dungeons. Both were fairly easy runs, a couple of wipes in the Eye of Azshara to Serpentrix and a gentle wander through the Halls of Valor with zero casualties. In particular I really enjoyed the latter, the look of the dungeon, the boss mechanics and the variation in bosses.  In theory, there shouldn’t be an issue but there is. You see those two dungeon runs weren’t done with 5 people, they were done with 2.

It happens every expansion, I level and then I hit a wall of what to do next. The obvious answer is dungeon but I can’t. Even thinking about queuing up has me going into “worst healer EU” mode mentally which then swiftly becomes a self fulling prophecy. I get too many physical symptoms of anxiety to play to a “proper” standard (my words, not anyone else’s).

Doing this was easy, doing it with 3 more players seems impossible.

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With Legion it seems the problem is bigger than ever. You can’t do your Class Hall mission with dungeoning, you can’t level professions without dungeoning and then of course there is the revamped Karazhan heading our way. I would love to see it but the mountain it would take for me to get there in this expansion seems too high, too steep and with far too many feral goats hanging off it’s sides.

I was under the mis-impression that Blizzard had realised that there are many ways to play and that all those ways are valid, yet it seems that those lessons haven’t been learnt from the PvP fiascos of the Legendary cloak and Children’s Week. Yes, the dungeons are (in my limited experience) lovely looking and have lots of interesting mechanics and I can understand why the designers are rightly proud of them but forcing people who want to meander through the game into running them or hitting a wall seems as unfair as making people who want to progress their profession quests get blown up in the Underbelly because they either don’t know the “Guard for hire” system exists or they don’t get back fast enough to buy a new one before the timer runs out.
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Where I go from here, I don’t know. I’d like to say I’d wake up one morning and think well if I can do it with 2 people, adding another 3 to the mix should surely make it go faster and if one of them stands in the fire…”so what!” but the honest answer is likely the same thing will happen this time as has happened before, I play for a bit, end up with a log of dungeon quests and quit.

A Whole New World

Last night was a revelation. A launch night without as far as I could see a hitch, no getting ported to your doom, no getting stuck in or outside your garrison, no servers falling over repeatedly…instead everything worked first time. Latency was great, no six second delays between spell rotates and no speedups/slow downs.

All the problem areas I anticipated worked brilliantly, the moving of Dalaran, the class hall and artifact weapons had no hiccups at all. Even when about 100 hunters landed on me during the start of my weapon quest the server held up.

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It took us approximately an hour to get to level 101 and that included getting the weapons, picking up a couple of pets/drops off rare spawns and finding the time for a bit of a picnic.

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All in all, a great start for what I hope will be a great expansion.

Nostalgia – That Bittersweet Pill

Nostalgia is a funny thing. In someways those first few years playing WoW were my happiest, playing with a stable group of people, raiding high end content and generally enjoying myself.Yet when I unpick those memories most of them aren’t hugely happy ones. I’ve certainly been left wary of trusting others, of fully engaging with my current guild because of things which have gone before.

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I’ve just spent the afternoon running UBRS remembering how much I loathed the place when it was current content, when the General only dropped one blood and therefore you had to run it over and over again to get your whole raid attuned for Blackwing Lair. I remember having to solo heal it one day in a raid of 15 because the other Priest took offense when someone linked the healing meter (not me) and set out to smite the rest of the run. The wipes because people adored hugging the whelps or being knocked off various ledges and edges. The fights we would have to convince the rest of the group that they’d should do Solakar Flamewreath because Priests deserved a shot at their dungeon set shoulders just like everyone else. Then there was the night we had to go and rescue a guildmate who joined an UBRS raid three or four hours before hand so that he could raid with us the following night and when he finally asked for help, they’d only made it as far as the Rookery… I think I still have nightmares about that PuG.

As we approach the 10th anniversary of WoW, I find myself questioning why I’m still here, why I haven’t learnt from past mistakes and run away as fast as my legs would carry me.  There are plenty of decisions the Developers have made which have left me rolling my eyes but the flip side of that is they’ve also done things I love, Hallows End and Ulduar being prime examples. Besides if they always got it right for me, they would be no doubt a fairly large subsection of people criticizing that because they just don’t like or enjoy the same things as me. Yes it’s a balancing act but it’s not as simple as say deciding not to read a book because either things contained within the text revolt you or you just think a five year old could produce more literary merit. Take Fifty Shades of Grey for example, a friend gave me the first one stating I’d love it. I read the first few chapters in a mix of disgust and horror, imagining Thomas Hardy rolling in his grave and made a conscious decision not to purchase any of her books. WoW on the other hand is more than just a game, it’s a community, something which inspires and pushes me. Do the pluses out way the negatives, I’d argue yes they do at least in my current circumstances as I sit here trying to figure out a way of coping with ante-natal depression and what comes after. Besides, I think there is hope for WoW. People can and do change their minds and their perspectives, it’s just about keeping the dialogue going in such a way that everyone can engage with it. After all, when someone creates something and pushes it out into the Public view then they have to expect criticism. I read English Literature at University and that’s pretty much all we did, unpick other people’s words trying to get inside their heads. Art History contains a fairly hefty criticism component. We have book reviews, Food critics and people who write about the Theatre so why should the Gaming Industry expect to be any different?