Post Patch Positives

And perhaps the odd negative.

First up, I’m “Fabulous”. Who knew I was hoarding that many items of clothing. With the exception of my Shaman, everyone else is hiding shoulders and is likely to be doing so for the foreseeable future. I’ve also found so many things I didn’t know I had like the scythe off Ahune and the Blessed Leggings of Undead Slaying.

The changes to the Toybox have given me lots more bag spaces as well as the Robo-Gnomebulator.

Gnome Hunters…every baby Gnome I encountered at the start zone had a mechanical Bunny in tow.

Snow has decided to go back to her roots. The achievement for Benediction has made her very happy, even to the point that she let Sprout transmogrify Anathema.

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Playing a Holy Priest today though felt a lot less fun than yesterday. Now part of that is definitely the content I’ve been doing, we did heroic UBRS as a Protection Warrior/Holy Priest duo and then did a couple of the Pandaria raids with the same combination. Mana really wasn’t really an issue even when someone pulled all the first packs of UBRS at once (glares in Warrior’s direction) so I had the talent which lets your single target heals refresh renew. That meant for virtually all of it, I had to cast renew once per fight, then flash heals interlaced with smite spam, holy fire off cooldown and loot.

No inept Shadowfiend, no mind sear, no shadow word pain, no power word shield, no fear and no mind vision. I didn’t think I’d miss them but I do. Obviously raid/pvp healing will need more than those 3 spells to sustain a fight but I liked having a tool box bursting at the seams with spells.

The removal of Basil the inept Shadowfiend probably hurts the most. Not because he was needed for damage or mana but because I have fond memories of his ineptness during raids. In an ideal world, we’d get a cosmetic glyph which lets Holy Priests summon an “inept shadowfiend” which would bounce around being useless for 10 seconds on a minute cooldown.

On the plus side, getting Mind Control back gave me a big smile. I never felt I could justify the talent point on something so specific but it’s fun for duoing five mans at the appropriate level and it’s a great source of amusement in PvP.

Finally no more gold missions at the Garrison makes me very happy, okay it essentially paid for my mobile Transmogrification Yak but feeling I’ve escaped them even if it’s temporarily is a wonderful feeling.

Pre-Patch Nerves and “Fond” Farewells

Knowing the Patch is going to come and knowing exactly when the patch is coming have turned out to be two entirely different things, at least in the Harpy Household.

My plan for Wednesday morning has entirely centered around transmogrification and the long awaited Wardrobe feature. Can I imagine using “the Fabulous” title on any of my characters…absolutely not but from the little Beta testing I’ve done, the ability to hide shoulders along with cloak and helm makes me very happy. Especially because I love some of the older cloth robes and they just don’t have shoulders which match perfectly.

In fact my only bugbear is the way they’ve changed the mechanics behind the “hide” feature. Having to return to a Transmogrification NPC whenever you secure a new piece of equipment is for want of a better word annoying. I know in the grand scheme of the game, it’s a very minor problem and one that perhaps 75 percent of the player base won’t even see as an issue but it grates for me.

So I finally gave in and purchased this:

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It’s probably an accurate representation of the luggage I take for even the smallest trips too.

 

I’ve exchanged all my garrison resources for gold, I’ve mailed out all the bind on equip gear which my bank alts have been hoarding since the Wardrobe system was first mentioned and I’ve taken farewell pictures of Snow’s Chakras (I know I hated them, hated the giant “I’m a holy Priest come and try and kill me” targets on you in PvP, hated the noise they make whenever you switch but I’ll still miss them).

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Technically I’m ready for the dawning of a brand new age but despite the fact that I didn’t enjoy Draenor, I can’t escape that tinge of sadness.

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

I’m a creature of habit. My first Onyxia kills took place in vanilla, before flying mounts entered the game. As my then Guild tag acted as a sort of red rag to a Tauren (Orc, Troll and Undead too), we used to meet in Theramore and then either ride through the Marsh or make our way across the water slowly.

Now whenever the urge to kill her crosses my mind, I still go to Theramore before flying off to her lair.

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Things have changed somewhat since we used to gather, chatting by the main gate. An army of 40 players all in our glistening armour, looking more unified than we ever were (actually it was more like 38 because every raid had at least two players who needed summoning from somewhere…normally Gnomes). There is however still a beauty to be found amongst the ruined stone and gaping crater. I know it’s only a video game and yet, I can’t shake that feeling I have of loss whenever my character stands by what used to be the Theramore Tower.

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This story however has a happier ending. Much to my surprise, wrapped up in the usual Onyxia loot (Hunter/Druid…somethings never change), I discovered a mount. For once those fickle Gods of RNG smiled on me.

When Worlds collide

I paid a visit to the Kirkwall Chantry recently…somewhat disappointed by the lack of men in armour wielding broadswords but it was a really beautiful building.

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It did however get me thinking about different game worlds and how they reflect on the world around us. There are some similarities between Kirkwall the real place and Kirkwall the virtual one, both are located by the sea and both have religious buildings as a focal point but there is a distinct lack of chains (at least in the areas we visited) in the Scottish version.

Looking at art work like this, (one of the loading screens from Dragon Age II).

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It doesn’t require a huge imaginative leap to contemplate that perhaps the designers also had the “real” Kirkwall in mind with it’s Cathedral named for  Magnus Erlendsson (St Magnus) when they decided to call the “City of Chains”, Kirkwall.

In fact, the Orkney Islands seem full of virtual gaming references as seen in the picture below:

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Here we can clearly see a Gnome leaving a Dwarfish dwelling (or not).

I know it’s been a long time since I posted last and if I’m being honest, I have no idea if I’m back. It turns out that I was “not prepared” for Post-natal depression, in fact I imagine it was the real world equivalent of fighting C’thun, Ragnaros versions 1 & 2, the Lich King and 4 Horde raids all at the same time whilst in the Suppression rooms from Blackwing Lair.

In an ideal world, I would like to start posting at least once a fortnight (folder full of drafts, half written stories and I’m still finishing the last Dragon Age) and intend on returning to the game at some point prior to the next expansion going live. In the real world…who knows.

On the Potential Selfishness of Selfies

As I ran through the Black Temple the other night, I realized that I’m grateful I no longer raid. The thought of trying to oversee people trying to do this whilst in combat would have got old real fast…. The sheer number of Hunters we would probably have had to kick for posting selfies of themselves hugging our corpses during wipes they avoided with feign death would most definitely have been over 9000 and that’s before we get to the wipes certain members of my old guild would have managed to create whilst trying to grab artistic shots of themselves with the next boss.

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Doing on your own though… well that’s another story.

A Bittersweet Return – First Thoughts on WoW following Seven Months away

On Tanaan

Three days in and it’s been bittersweet so far. I’m glad to be back, WoW is a distraction like no other in many ways but my thoughts on Tanaan are mixed. It feels much like the Barrens campaign did, lots of disjointed wanderings around slaughtering things for rewards which much exceed the effort required. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy with my three bits of 675 gear I’ve acquired to date but I’m still not convinced that it’s the right model moving forwards. If most people raid for gear (this is my cynical experience from many years in high end raiding guilds) where is the incentive to encourage those on the fence so to speak if you can get better gear than you need for grinding/questing purely from grinding and questing. I know there was an issue with the vanilla model and whilst I was lucky/responsibility free (choose what you think is applicable) enough to experience high end raiding during that period, I know most people didn’t or couldn’t so something had to give but I think things have shifted too far away from organised scheduled content to random throw your hat into ring chaos. What I loved about WoW in those early days was the multi player aspect and I feel that’s definitely been a casualty of the move towards being all inclusive. You don’t need a guild anymore thanks to the Raid Finder, dungeon groups etc and I’ve gone from knowing everyone on my original servers to speaking only to a handful of people. When you run Dungeons people err towards the unsociable and often down right rude end of the spectrum and many of the Garrison missions like the one Yrel gives you for Auchindoun can only be done by people on the same quest which is why my poor Priest had the time to be taking selfies rather than be healing Mr Harpy. Having one party member being able to disappear down a hole in the group whilst the other just stands there doesn’t smack of multi player.

On taking Selfies
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I now have this sudden desire to have Snowflower wander around all the dangerous locations taking selfies whilst being beaten up… a sort of living on the edge collection.

On the Navy

This was a surprise. I made a point of not reading patch notes whilst the game was updating and I’ve been a bit too busy to read many other blogs so this came out of left field. Despite the odds of failure seeming awfully high, I like this addition to the Garrison but I’d be hard pushed to express why.

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Here is hoping that at some point we can make fishing boats and something a little less warlike in our shipyards.

On the Death Recap Button

I must admit to being disappointed with this. I was hoping for a “Horrible Histories” style video replay of my demise and so having to sing the “stupid death” song myself whilst looking at a damage log isn’t quite up to par.

On the Garrison in general

So far apart from the new exit (which I don’t like on roleplaying security grounds), I haven’t noticed many Garrison changes although either I’ve got much better at pet battling or the opponents have been heavily nerfed, I’m assuming it’s the latter.

On what I’m most excited about

Flicking through the achievements list in search of new ones, I couldn’t help but notice a new Raiding with Leashes and seeing that M’uru drops a chaos pup, something I’ve wanted for a very long time so that’s definitely high up on the list. I’m also becoming a bit obsessive with those races at the Darkmoon Faire.. so close and yet so far. Given that my approach to time is now more like a Goblin one, it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to do more than dip in and out of Azeroth for the near future at least, although the little one does find it fascinating in short bursts so I will be focusing on the exploring, the curious and strange rather than raiding and PvP. The biggest question though seems to be what’s next, which feels a little disconcerting less than a year after Warlords launched. What ever it is, I can’t help but feel less Orcs would be a good thing.

The bottom line though is I’m back and I have a camera… oh and apparently I still enjoy playing WoW 10 years after I started (see Mrs Hill… I’m capable at sticking at things I like so nah!!!).

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Home Coming

Apparently it’s over six months since I last logged into WoW ….

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Although it seems on my first admittedly brief glance around that little has changed. I haven’t been keeping up with the news so am hopefully setting off on a WoW voyage of discovery this weekend and surprisingly enough I’m looking forwards to it.

As for what’s been keeping me distracted, well…. I can’t believe he’s almost five months old. We were experimenting with selfies this morning and it seems he rather likes them.

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