It was quite a week :)
As you probably know, the winter holidays in Russia normally last 8-10 days. We have New Year celebration which is arguably the most important holiday in the year (with families, parties, presents, Santa and all), and a calm spiritual orthodox Christmas on 7th which is a national holiday too. If you throw in floating weekends, you’d never bother to insert any workdays in between if you were government. So we always have this long streak of work-free days.
Me & my wife normally use this time of the year for travelling, but as long as we’ve already planned our vacations in February, we suddenly got a big holiday at home. Due to very cold weather, we were circling between series and movies, reading, eating, playing with our cats, and – in my case – WoW. Quite a perfect vacation!
Being in the world of Azeroth on this holiday has reminded me of a leveling process for my alts: only this time it was Suramar questlines. The big important thing was moving my toons through the available parts of Good Suramaritan campaign. The last 2 chapters open respectively at 7k and 20k revered, but everything else could be completed – and for enormous AP rewards.
This I did. Now I know all the routes. I can run any of the questlines with my eyes closed, plan side questlines and world quests to be completed on the way, open the portals and enhance my ancient mana pool. I can say I’ve mastered Suramar.
The ultimate Blizzard fail here is Jandvik’s Jarl of course. It’s a perfect example of how you DON’T design questlines. Everything is wrong with it. It’s long, tedious, it’s grind, grind, grind, it’s underwater or caves, it’s swarms of extra mobs on your way or coming from behind, it has no flight path or safe road to the place, it’s located at the end of the world. And it’s not even a single bit related to Suramar itself considering lore. I mean, why the hell did they even put it here as a part of campaign? I hated replaying the questline every single time even if my last toons could do it in 25 minutes or so.
I liked the main Suramar storyline though. The whole rebel/revolution business, and the story is very fun. I also like how Blizzard incorporated the experience of Krasarang in use – opening the new chapters and phasing along with reputation. The strategic design of Suramar is awesome, and visuals are cool too. Some of the questlines are not pleasant to play through – I mean the politics part where you have to run 6 times through the swarms of detector guys. Every time – even if you perfectly know how and where to move at full speed, mounted- it’s a gamble whether you’ll be discovered and dead or not. I don’t like that kind of a thrill. My absolute favorite Suramar part would be vineyards, it’s awesome in every aspect. The quests, the narration, the emotional swings, the motivation.
Naturally I jump at a Nightfallen emissary questing like a hungry tiger, driving all my toons through it. It’s a great chunk of reputation: suddenly you find them alts with a big rep progress made. Previous time they were at 100-3000 revered, and suddenly they are at 4000-7000.
It’s a shame that only Suramar rebel questlines award you reputation: the auxiliary night elves, vrykul or slaying demons with an illidari are not. But those serve as a great help. Not only they also grant you much artifact power, but the final reward is a big ancient mana piece – along with mana you get while doing them, it’s quite enough for the main storyline submissions of 800, then 1200.
This is high time when my alts begin to finish their artifact research. My mage Micromantica (obviously), rogue Hexen and warrior Bons crossed the finish line, and have their full research done. The others are almost there – at least at 22 some of them. In two weeks all my alts will be good and having the artifact power flowing like it should.
Or should it? Once you’ve opened your 34 traits, there’s a Paragon one. Each paragon level will grow in artifact power you need, but researches just stopped – so the gap and effort will grow. I don’t think it’s a nice design: you’d be crawling for paragon traits at a 1-5% speed. Also I’m not sure what will happen when Blizzard introduces the promised 4th level for traits. Does it mean we will struggle for them even more?
I’m also closing in with artifact traits. Micromantica was the first to get her Paragon trait, and the others range between 31-34 traits. Suramar was really a bliss, and I’m not even at the final chapters which will throw in 500k AP items per quest.
I also discovered a new fun for me: the off spec artifacts. Some of them – like healer ones – are never meant to be played by me, but I still want to open all the traits for them eventually – till 35. I don’t really want to play any mage specs except Frost, no priest specs except an obvious Shadow, demon hunter and paladin are bound to stay with dps.
Yet for some classes there are actually the specs I WANT to play. So I invested artifact power income into upgrading the weapons. I’ve invested into Doomhammer for Schlitzchen because I want the shaman to be ready for both melee and ranged playing styles. I’ve invested into Scythe of Elune – it’s the same story for Mayluna, because I should be able to nuke the bosses with star fire from afar if I feel so, or sneak and rip the mobs while questing with Fangs of Ashamane.
Then there are tank issues. Bons the Warrior and Paitsu the Monk are my tanks, but often I don’t feel like tanking a group content even if I need to go there. So it’s investment into Fury and Windwalker specs respectively for this type of situations (and I enjoy these ones cause I played them since the beginning). Vice versa, Mindebad the Death Knight has always been Frost, and while I’m playing it no matter what, I’m investing into Blood’s Maw of the Damned to crack the most tough elites in the field solo.
Then there are situations when artifact investment doesn’t depend on gameplay utility: the specs are just fun to switch! It concerns Hexen the Rogue (my favorite Assassination/newly discovered amazing Subtlety), Lizgun the Hunter (an ultimate Survival/lazy Marksmanship), and Microfury the Warlock (nuking Destruction/mischievous Affliction).
Will it be long? As we know it – it’s not. For all the mentioned off-specs, I’m already at 26-30 traits. Thanks, Artifact Knowledge!
The important thing is that I’m finally entering a routinely lull now – which is good. The goals with big effort are completed. The gameplay will look extremely simple and enjoyable: log in with a toon you feel like, queue up for LFR (we need many mogging to acquire), do Suramar world quests while in queue. There’s absolutely no rush for me now. Nighthold opens in a week, and LFR – in two weeks. My toons are totally ready with their ilvl, so it’s just a casual rep grind for whichever alt I feel like playing.