Yet Another Race Swap

I did lots of race changes for my toons, and there’s always been one and only reason: I’ve stopped to like the vibe of a character’s moves.

The most outstanding example was swapping from a female Undead warrior: for no explainable reason she did flip-flop jumps during her rotation. Just imagine this: a sturdy warrior, a bony Undead, burdened with all the heavy plate armor, is jumping like a rabbit – even more than monks.

So, eventually I get tired of this, and it calls for a race change.

The current change was planned for Lizgun the Goblin Hunter.

lizgun

Generally I like the animations of how she shoots, but her running with a bow was a bit funny. It was cool how I forged a bazooka trooper of her during Draenor campaign, but in Legion it calls for a classic stalker thing, so a goblin doesn’t exactly match. And the last thing is: there’s a very ridiculous ‘pole dancer’ strike if I go for Survival spec. It just doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t look effective or powerful, and it exposes you to the enemy from all sides.

So, I did a test-drive of trial characters of different races. I was choosing between a Gnome, a Draenei and a Human females.

Draenei didn’t work at once. The girls are the most beautiful race in WoW, this is very true, but her shooting stances looked extremely clumsy. Draenei worked for my DK and Monk, but Hunter just didn’t fit.

Gnome was very cool. I just saw how she shoots, and it’s a proper steampunk / space marine. I’ve immediately imagined a front line with bunkers and trenches, or a war engulfed street. In this kind of setting I would go for a Gnome Hunter – Storm Trooper. Yet, in WoW we mostly deal with adventures in the wilds, so I wanted a classic explorer.

Then came Human. It worked at once, so Human it is. I’ve tried every spec, and the animations were perfect both with Survival and Marksmanship. She would fit both in towns and in the wilds. I was inspired by Grizzly Hills human community – if you remember the worgen curse questline there in Northrend. Just this trapper type.

Backston-Hunter2

As usual, I’ve spent one-and-a-half hour meditating about her name. The ones I’ve wanted were already taken, and even the inventive ones.

There’s a special benefit of giving a surname for nickname: yesterday it paid off.

Backston was my Human Warrior once:

WoWScrnShot_102314_094816

And I’ve came up with an idea: what if she and my new hunter were sisters? Now it makes sense:

  • Warrior sister: Julia Backston
  • Hunter sister: Katalina Backston

Julia has ended her campaign in Draenor, so my new hunter would use their family name now.

Backston

Backston-Hunter

The Worst Thing in Legion Expansion

Glitter Poop

No, it’s not flight delays, or AP grind, or class revamps, or dungeons, or even Nomi.

It’s “legendary” gear.

That’s right. It’s the worst addition in a game ever.

And the word “legendary” is coming in quote marks – for a reason.

Writing this post was triggered by a post in a guild chat – “It’s my tenth legendary on this toon”…

Everything is wrong with them.

You can’t wear every item you “earn”. A year into expansion most legendaries you get will become vendor trash. When you got the “best ones”, you may sell the others to Applebough. Legendary, huh?

That’s right, you don’t even EARN them. They come naturally and with not a slightest effort from your side. Ergo, they are not legendary. There’s nothing legendary about getting them, it’s just a flat bonus to one of your spells and stats given for nothing.  They don’t feel special, just a chaotic shower of random orange poop. And like I said – vendor trash is their nearest future.

Then there’s random. It bothers both serious hardcore players which need certain things to maximize their performance and casual players who just need the drop for drop and mogging’s sake. You can’t get one if you want it.

There’s a sick obsession with legendaries. I’m sick of being congratulated by guildies, the discussion of every drop and all. There’s nothing to congratulate me with, thank you very much.

Legendary

And finally, I’m sick of the slang name “lega” – it’s just disgusting.

Shinies for free must go away and never come back.

Side Quests: Yes or Not?

Addie.jpg

I’ve realized today that I will cover the side questlines on my toons.

There are several benefits coming out of it.

  • First of all, some of them grant you reputation, and a good chunk of it.
  • Second, it’s extra benefits: for example, it’s AP items, cooking recipes, or even the fact that kobold community in Highmountain would be neutral to you ever since.
  • Third, I’m a completionist :)

So, let’s list the side questlines that don’t count into Loremaster achievement. I list the ones that I know of, please add more in the comments!

Azsuna

  • Ghosts-and-wine enclave in the northwest (also a flight point)
  • Demon gates in the east (also a flight point)
  • Imp questline in the southern continental part

Val’sharah

  • Furbolg village attacked by imps
  • Hippogryphs & wood spirits
  • Mad moonkin & dryads

Highmountain

  • Murloc problem & murloc ‘king’
  • Kobold cave
  • Hemet Nesingwary & Addie
  • Harpies totem problem
  • Hunter equipment testing
  • Some cultist cave in the central ridge
  • Earth fury cave by Thunder Totem

Stormheim

  • Murloc problem
  • Sad moonkin story
  • Tricky murderous goblins

Suramar

  • Murloc love story
  • Druids & Suramar hunters
  • Cleaning the waters
  • Helping a Nightfallen researcher
  • Free a dwarf and find his human companion

Are there more?.. Please add in the comments below!

Many Little Things We Do: Trivia

Weekly reputation bonus was nailed during the weekend: each of my toons did 20 quests – and all via emissaries. 5k resource rewards went for order hall upgrades.

Now I can chill out again. I continue the emissary runs, but in a relaxed mode.

Melaris waiting for respawn of Isel the Hammer: “I’m just a fly on the wall” 

Melaris-Fly

Dungeon Experience

I went for a tourist trip in Court of Stars. The PuG was awful. We kicked a healer because he was afk during the first 5 minutes of a dungeon, so we decided we find another.

There comes a pally who is in tank spec, and he would be a second tank till the end of the dungeon. He claims that he can perfectly heal in tanking spec, but he can’t. I’m healing myself through conjured cakes in the breaks, and survive only by Ice Barrier and Ice Block. He doesn’t even bother to heal the mage: I was on a brink of death for 30 seconds.

Yes, he was also the type that squeezes first through a 2-inch aggro-free area, and then blames the others when wandering mobs attack the group.

I really need to stick with my leveling dungeons strategy: if the group cannot kick an asshole, quit myself and do it firmly, no matter how far we’ve traveled into an instance.

Suramar Catacombs went smooth. There was a bear tank which just ran and did his job on the way. You can’t imagine how cool it is. He doesn’t try to squeeze himself into narrow parts. If we could jump and avoid killing the whole room, we do it. But if we must pass a corridor, there won’t be squeezing around the corners. He just aggroes the packs, and we do our job. And bosses popped like rotten tomatoes. This was probably the best run ever.

I’ve queued to Karazhan too, but it was my bad. I was called to enter the dungeon when I was riding a manasaber during the world quest. When I took the last mana spot, I accepted the invitation, and something went wrong. I got teleported into a Karazhan library room or something, there was no one around, and there were mobs on both sides which means the group mates haven’t been here yet. The mana worms killed me, although I took few with me. When I rezzed, I got into some ruined staircase (probably the beginning of the dungeon), and after a small run over a balcony I saw the guys starting an opera event. There was no way I could reach them in time or even search for the right way, so I quit. Until next time.

LFR

NOT running raids disturbs me a bit. I seriously need to brace myself and go for mogging slots. Due to my reputation runs I’ve abandoned every raiding activity for several weeks already. Not cool.

Exploration

I devoted some time to exploration achievements: there was a hunt for rares and a hunt for treasure chests. So far it’s Stormheim rares, Val’sharah rares and chests, and Azsuna chests. More work to do :)

I like how this exploration takes you to different unusual places. Just take a look at the gorgeous corrupted underwater in Val’sharah:

Micromantica-Emerald-Nightmare-Roots

Anyways, it’s very fun, and it’s much more exciting to do with wings – that’s why I’ve put the achievements aside before I got my flights :)

Z & Cinder Blog Challenge: Why Do You Love WoW?

zcbc_contributor_rectangle4

It’s a shame I didn’t participate in every topic suggested, but I would write about this one for sure! The question sounds like this:

Why do you love WoW and what makes you keep coming back to it?

First, I need to clear “coming back” thing. Of course I may have a small break due to life circumstances like when I’m travelling, or hanging out, or have things to do at home, or just too tired to play. But generally WoW is one of my top-3 major hobbies. I never quit as in “quit”, and I don’t feel that I need a deliberate break from the game, so I just see no reason to do so.

Now, let’s see the reasons it’s in my top-3 life hobbies :)

Lore

Lore is a major attraction for me. I remember how I played Warcraft II when it was CURRENT content in 90s, and I was enthralled by it. It was very much like Lord of the Rings universe, but with its own very distinctive flavor- totally not a rip-off.

Warcraft III opened a whole new dimension: the world was not black and white anymore, it had different angles, different forces within one faction, and well, the story appeared to be much more epic than it seemed. There was a big bad (Legion) behind the Orc bloodlust, and the orcs evolved from villains to heroes.

Blizzard’s storytelling has always been awesome. It’s amazing how they make you switch sides immediately: only one mission ago you were desperately wanting to put an end to the effing dreadlord, struggling for survival… and after half an hour your meat wagons are bombarding these human villages you’ve just protected. They are throwing corpses at them, you sow plague and grief, and you like it. And then you switch to Night Elves, and you hate the undead again for destroying your precious woods.

My computer and internet were pretty bad when vanilla launched, and I was able to begin playing WoW only since Lich King. I was positively amazed how big of a world this is – and that felt right. I enjoyed the quests which made the world alive: every zone had its own problems, from simple helping peasant Romeo and Juliet to unveiling the most epic and mischievous schemes of Defias Brotherhood.

I won’t even mention the big figures like Lady Vashj, the biggest lore asshole Arthas or my favorite Jaina – their stories continued, and it is cool to learn what happened to them after the RTS plot ended. Hell, I can even walk to a lore character and talk to them!

And Blizzard is also very capable of growing new cool characters, and do it fast: Yrel in WoD or Valtrois in Legion are simply awesome. It’s all in their hands if they want to make them play a bigger role or just leave it as a passing episode in the big picture.

I’ll be playing WoW until the end – I want to know how the big story ends.

Loremaster has never been my chore: it’s always been my primary goal, and it’s always a pleasure to replay questlines on alts.

Wrapping

Game designers in Blizzard do their job top-notch. From Lost Vikings and Rock’n’Roll Racing – to SCII, WoW, Overwatch, Hearthstone and HotS – every aspect is done perfectly. Music, visuals and gameplay combo have little to no competition among other games.

There’s two distinctive points here I’d like to mention.

First, it’s trademark cartoon stylistics. I just like the colorful grotesque styles, I’m watching many cartoons, and I would prefer WoW style to more realistic grey colors of LotR.

Besides, this cartoon style helps the game feel relevant even when technologies leap forward. While other games could be struggling every year for more realistic depiction of skin, or grass, or water – WoW could linger for 5 years or more before implying some major changes to graphics.

Second, it’s visual designs and world interaction designs which make it easy to play. I could launch Wildstar (an awesome game, btw) or some other MMORPG, and in an hour my eyes would start to itch, and I would end my game session. When I launch WoW on weekend, I may remember about having a little break after 3 hours of playing. Nothing distracts you from the universe of Azeroth. You’re not struggling with reading quest briefings, dealing with interface or interacting with the world. You just step in and start to live in it.

Experiments

Blizzard love the game and the players. It may seem otherwise sometimes, but they really do.

You can’t even notice how much more convenient it’s becoming with every expansion. And they are adding new features now and then.

Some changes are welcomed and very quickly taken as granted, some changes appear not that successful and cause rants (and then require improvements or even cancellations), but you can’t deny that developers are in constant search of ideas to expand the game or improve what we already have.

High Fantasy Setting

Sometimes my soul just craves for a space opera, a steampunk, or other completely different setting, but all in all I like high fantasy most.

WoW is definitely the best setting in high fantasy, walking hand in hand with Middle Earth. And this is why.

Not only the stories are good written, the world itself is well developed and has no blank spots uncovered. It’s a living, thriving, developing world.

WoW allows itself to be different: epic, terrifying, light-hearted, gothic, playful, grim dark, heroic or just funny.

And, like all good stories, it relies on characters, not functions. That is why cinematics are so cool.

You see a cinematic intro to Mists of Pandaria, and you not only want to travel to the continent. You want to learn who these three guys are, you want to talk and interact with them in game, and see their story.

You didn’t lose King of Humans at the Broken Shore – you lost Varian. You didn’t put an end to an evil head warlock – you put an end to Gul’dan.

Feel the difference.

The Coming Week Trivia

This time my trivia would be devoted to plans rather than past events.

Weekly Bonus

  • Weekly bonus is yet again 20 World Quests runs: 5k Order Hall resources that I desperately need. It perfectly responds to my reputation goals, so I’ll be running them like hell.
  • Good thing: there is also a reputation bonus for world quests.
  • Good thing:  with flights they are completed so easily
  • Bad thing: it will take my time from running LFRs. And I’m largely ignoring them lately: could be barely a single Nighthold run for one alt during the week.

New Campaign Quests

  • This week Khadgar gives you a campaign quest to gather 2500 shards.
  • Don’t worry: he’ll give 2499 back to you upon completion.
  • And this is it, you just get shards for him this week. No story coming.
  • I’ve collected them via a wyrmtongue cave chest: I got lucky to open the very first chest with 2139 shards and a toy.
  • If you don’t know about this cave yet, do the goblin archaeologist quests in Broken Shore asap.
  • There’s also an Alliance-only questline available. For a start you need to get the Varian’s compass in the water where he dropped it during the Legion cinematic. Locating it is not easy, the quest is not seen on the map, and you don’t get any directions. So follow the cinematic directions: you need to go in the sea where the Alliance ships crashed.
  • There’s a small separate piece of land in the sea – follow the red arrow and search underwater:

Broken Shore Anduin Questline - Varian Compass Map

Shinies

  • Hexen got one more orange shiny today for Subtlety spec.
  • That makes it three legendaries in her bags, and she can wear just one.
  • I hate them. I seriously do.
  • They are not replaceable, because, oh wow, these are boots, wrists and shoulders
  • One is clearly meant for Subtlety and the other for Assassination. If I want to switch them with my spec, I have to wear three more items from Nighthold LFR in my bags. Should I save them just in case?
  • I just don’t care. I have no time, need or desire to fuss about these shinies. It just irritates me to large scales that I have three of them, and I can’t put them on. And there will be more coming.
  • Legendaries are a total mess.
  • They are not earned.
  • They don’t make transmog sets.
  • They are not replaceable.
  • They are a large annoyance.
  • And I hate all the GRATZ and saliva floods around them. They are not a good thing, there’s no room for celebration.
  • I don’t want them.

Alt Management: Reputation Teams

In 7.2. there is a new addition which I’m gonna be busy with. It’s the brand new emissary chests with mount rewards.

I’ve conjured up a plan, but before I start with it, I’m gonna continue my work on reputations that I started before patch. My goal is Exalted with all Legion factions on every toon – not to miss the profession level 3 recipes and also gain some freedom. I see it as a necessary cap for my alts.

So, when I’m there, I’ll be playing a game called ‘Reputation Teams’.

These are my goals here:

  1. Provide a solid flow of emissary chests
  2. Cover every faction
  3. Have fun and not burn out

How’s the game played?

I have 12 alts of top level able to do the world quests. We have 6 factions (I don’t count Legionfall here).

Here’s what I do: I split up my toons into three teams of four toons. And I will assign a pair of factions for every team.

For example, ‘Team Suramar’ may consist of my four goblins. And when the Nightfallen emissary will pop up, they are obliged to complete the Nightfallen chests, or the other teams won’t understand their laziness.

So they will be doing Nightfallen chests until they get the Nightfallen mount. Four toons is perfect: with flights the whole batch for one toon would take 10-15 minutes which roughly equals an hour for one day.

Of course the goblins are not only ‘Team Suramar’, but they are also ‘Team Azsuna’ – so they’re responsible for Farondis and Nightfallen mounts.

Kirin Tor could be used by alts as a bonus points for their teams.

Here’s what I’m achieving with this approach:

1/ All factions are covered. And I’m going at every chest with four alts at once.

2/ Every alt receives attention: every day I pick other alts, so I don’t forget how to play them, and they also advance with resources, artifact power and what not.

3/ Competition is the most precious thing here. The team which gets to the mounts first will cry woo-hoo! and be a king :)

4/ I don’t burn out with the grind thing Blizzard made us to do :)

Alt management!