Archive for November, 2014


When do the dungeons show up?

I’m a quest reader and storyline follower.  I love to play through the game, following the characters and the lore.

I am used to dungeons showing up as part of a questline.  For example, in Mists you got to Stormstout Brewery as part of the Chen Stormstout questline in the Valley of the Four Winds zone.  You got quests and backstory that led you to go into that dungeon.

This week I’ve played through a lot of Shadowmoon Valley, and I am level 92.  The first leveling dungeon, Bloodmaul Slag Mines, is listed as a level 90-92 instance.  That means I’ve almost outleveled it, and I haven’t seen any mention of it in the game.

Will there be something in the game that leads me to it?  Or am I supposed to just queue for it because it is on the LFG list?


Slow and Steady. And Garrisons.

As of this writing, we are 5 days into the expansion.  Well, not really since the first two days were mostly lost to long queues and DDoS attacks.  I haven’t had a queue since Saturday, so I’ve had about three days to get into WoD.

In my guild there are now 4 people at level 100.  There are some people out there who already have multiple level 100 characters.

For me, I don’t have anyone over level 92 yet.

My wife is playing again, and she and I are going to level our mains together.  That means I can only play my rogue when she is available, and she has a lot less free time than me.  So my main has mostly been limited to one long WoW session on Saturday where we played through the first half or so of Shadowmoon Valley and got to level 92.

Since I can’t level my main, I’ve decided to try another approach.  I’m essentially a garrison juggler.  I leveled four different characters up to level 91-92.  I now have four garrisons I am running.  That can keep me pretty busy.  Four sets of missions to manage.  Between the four garrisons, there is a Tannery, a Barn, a Lumber Mill, two Enchanter’s Studies, a Scribe’s Quarters, a Forge, and a Tailoring Emporium.  Plus two Mines.  I can completely fill my gaming time by just jumping from one toon to the next, doing missions and gathering the materials to submit work orders.  I plan to get a fifth garrison going this week.

Yes, I am missing out on some of the dungeons that my guildies are running.  I’ll catch up on my druid and get into that by this weekend.  However, garrisons are keeping me plenty busy right now.


Where do Garrisons go from Here?

Garrisons are fun.  There’s no deny that – at least today.

Yes, they have been compared to Facebook games, and that’s a fair statement.  Remember, though, that Facebook games are tremendously popular, so while philosophically people might object, in practice that’s not a bad thing.

My question about Garrisons is this – is there an endgame?  In a few weeks when I have 15 followers and they are all at level 100 and I’ve done 10 missions a day and my garrison plots are all filled and upgraded, what then?

I’ve played many short-attention-span apps on my phone, and they usually get old in about a week or two.  Does Blizzard have a plan to keep this feature fresh?


It Takes All Types

I think I write a post like this on day 1 or 2 of every new expansion.  It’s my “get off my lawn, ya darn kids” complaint.

If your goal is to be server first to hit max level (even though they got rid of the achievements for that), then go for it.  If your goal is to compete for world firsts in raids, so you want to get to max level and start gearing up ASAP, then good for you. If you need to max out your garrison so you can craft things and make huge amounts of gold, then more power to you. There are valid reasons to want to be at the level cap quickly.

However, there is a large subset of WoW players that blaze through leveling for no good reason.  They don’t read quest text, don’t do side quests or the various diverse aspects of the game.  They just try to race to the level cap because its there.

I’m not saying that this is somehow bad or wrong.  I just can’t wrap my head around it.  WoW is not a game you “win” so there is no goal that is accomplished by getting to the level cap in two days.  The raids will be gated so they’re not getting any real head start on that.  They’re just going to end up grinding heroics for the next two weeks.  Is that the gameplay they like?

Many of these people will be the same ones that complain about Blizzard’s pace of releasing content.  They will talk about how bored they are.  I don’t get these people.  They are essentially playing $15 a month to play a game they don’t like.  I don’t buy the “I only play WoW for raids” line, either.  That is certainly true for a lot of hardcore raiders, but most players don’t fall into that category.  I think a lot of players are either impatient (don’t make me wait two weeks for my purplez!) or lazy (questing is hard and dull!).

Although a lot of reminiscing about vanilla WoW is tainted by rose-colored glasses, I can honestly say that I preferred the leveling there.  When it took a while to level up, and each level was an accomplishment, it gave you real purpose and long-term goals.  Even in BC the leveling process took a couple of weeks for most of us.  It was Wrath where it got really stupidly fast.

I have no intention of zooming to level 100.  I imagine that it will take me weeks to get there.  I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.  I don’t feel like I’m being left behind.  I feel like I’m actually playing the game… including taking in the story and the lore, which is part of an RPG.


The Worst Part About A New Expansion…

To me, the worst part about a new expansion is how ridiculously easy it is if you go into it wearing raid gear.

I know that they have to make the content accessible for all players, and that characters who have never raided need to be able to kill the quest mobs.  I get it.  I just get a very anti-climactic feeling when I wade in there and all the mobs fall over dead as if they were made of paper.  It takes me out of the immersion of the game.  In the brief time I played in beta on my rogue, most of the quest mobs in the opening zone died before I could even get off a finisher.


Alliance Commander: “Look out!  The Iron Horde is invading!  Run for your lives”

Raid geared rogue spits on an orc and it dies.

Alliance Commander: “Oh.  Nevermind.”


I remember the opening quests of Burning Crusade.  The very first fel orcs and fel boars were tough, and if you accidentally pulled 2 or 3 you could easily die.  That was a challenge – maybe too much so.  However, the quest reward gear you got immediately replaced your classic gear, so your power level jumped quickly as you completed quests.

This caused complaints by people who didn’t want to replace their hard-earned raid gear so easily.

In expansions since then, your raid gear carried far into the next expansion before being replaced.  Wrath did a fair job of making the intro zones still somewhat challenging at times.  In Cata (Mt Hyjal and Vash’jir) and Mists (Jade Forest) as far as I recall they were pretty easy for a raid-geared player.

I wish there was some way that the quest mobs could scale based on your gear level.  The technology is certainly available in-game.  Look how much scaling they already do in Challenge Modes and Flex raiding.  I’d prefer if the quest mobs were a bit challenging, no matter what gear level you are at.


Final Nights of Mists, and it all Comes Together

After the reset on Tuesday, I had two nights to finish up anything I wanted to get done in Mists.

I went into Tuesday evening still needing four Titan Runestones to finish that stage of the legendary cloak quest for my pally alt.  Then I had all the following steps of the quest left to finish the process.  I figured this would take me both nights to do.

I logged in Tuesday evening at 10:00, after my son’s baseball practice.  I immediately queued for three of the four raids that drop Runestones. (Thank you, Blizzard, for allowing us to queue for multiple raids at once).  My queue popped after about 20 minutes, and I was going, first into Halls of Flesh Shaping.

(as an aside, does anyone think about why there is a Hall of Flesh-Shaping in the Throne of Thunder raid?  I think Blizzard dropped the ball on the storytelling here.  All I know about the Throne of Thunder raid is that Lei Shen is in it.  I know Lei Shen’s story, but nothing else about the place)

Everything fell in my favor.  I ran two LFR raids and got 4 Runestones in my first 5 boss kills.  I wonder if Blizzard secretly upped the drop rate for the last week or two.  Then I was able to quickly queue for Pinnacle of Storms to kill Lei Shen.  After that, it was mostly easy going to do the rest of the questline and I finished my legendary cloak.  Now I have one melee dps, one healer, and one tank with the cloak.  Will that help in Warlords, or will they be quickly replaced?  Time will tell.  For comparison, the legendary daggers I got in Cata lasted until I hit 90 in Mists.

With that done on Tuesday, I still had Wednesday.available.  I decided to try and get an heirloom, since I had not yet killed Garrosh on any difficulty higher than flex.

On my rogue, I went into the Premade Group finder tool and searched for “Garrosh”.  I found lots of groups that were farming Garrosh for heirlooms.  I signed up for a few heroic versions and got accepted.  Killed him on our second attempt, and got my heirloom dagger.

That was quick, so I switched to my druid and repeated the process.  Got his heirloom healer mace.  Then, with a little more time available, I jumped to my pally and did it once more, getting him a one-handed heirloom sword.

All in all, it was a rewarding last two nights in the expansion.  I’m looking forward to garrisons and epic cinematics in Warlords tomorrow!


Race to the Legendary Cloak, updated again

On October 20, I posted that I had decided to pursue a legendary cloak for an alt, since they had removed the Test of Valor quest.  My concern was that I wouldn’t have enough time to do all the collection quests before WoD.

Here’s how it has gone so far:

October 14-20: started collecting Secrets of the Empire.  Got 6 in the first week through LFR.  I ran all 6 available LFR raids (20 bosses) that can drop the Secrets

October 21-27: got 6 more in my second week of the quest through LFR, giving me 12 out of 20.  Again, I ran all 20 bosses that can drop Secrets.

October 28-November 3: Got the last 7 Secrets that I needed from 16 LFR boss kills.  Did the Forge quest on the Isle of Thunder.  Ran my one remaining LFR raid to try and get some Titan Runestones, but got none.  Tried to use the Premade Raid Finder tool to do some normal-mode raids, but none of the groups I was in killed even a single boss.

November 4-November 10:  After a week of running all 14 LFR bosses that drop Titan Runestones, I had 6.  Then I spent a whole weekend signing up for premade groups to do the raids on Normal.  That was… unsuccessful.  The premade groups were generally awful.  After something like 10 hours of signing up, forming up, replacing people who dropped, etc… I got all of two more Runestones.  I was not able to find a premade group that was coordinated enough to kill Lei Shen.  Out of the 14 bosses I could have killed on Normal, I think I only killed 9 or 10.  I now have 8 Runestones out of 12.

This now leaves me with two nights – Tuesday and Wednesday – to get 4 more Runestones, complete a Celestial’s challenge, kill the four Celestials on Timeless Isle, and then kill Garrosh.  Depending on queue times, that could easily take 5-6 hours over two nights.  I don’t really have that time, so I will have to decide how late I’m going to stay up in order to finish this.  How important is it to get my 3rd cloak?


Classic WoW:
Dinaer - 11 Assassination Rogue
Cepheid - 13 Prot Warrior
Cartho - 11 Elemental Shaman

Retail WoW:
Dinaer - 120 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Cartho - 120 Elemental Shaman (US - Quel-dorei)
Derence - 120 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 120 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 120 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 120 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
November 2014
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