World Quest Aftermath & Gear

This World Quest week has really boosted my toons. Now when I caught some breath, the aftermath is huge.

  • Almost all have 5 followers at 850, ready to cope with all the threats.
  • It means that I also find them often on hold, waiting for Artifact Power missions to pop- which doesn’t happen every day.
  • My toons’ Artifact Knowledge range is between 11 and 18. Well, you can’t actually do anything about it, just fuel the research and wait. It will take at least month to make it from 18 to the final 25 – it’s 5 day research at the current stage.
  • All of my toons have at least 19 artifact weapon traits, the highest score being 29.

Finally, almost every toon is now ready for running LFRs. I think I’m gonna be back on Pandaria/Draenor-style tracks: LFR becoming a focus of gameplay. Take the toon you feel like playing tonight, go queue with it, simple. What’s awesome, is that you have world quests and Suramar to do while waiting for raids.

As I told previously, with all the rewards I just don’t see raids as a gear-up source. Chests from emissaries and world quests themselves are much more rewarding for less effort – even if we talk about LFR! But I want to fill my mogging collection, so I run raids, and ilvl would come as a bonus.

Trials of Valor system is exactly what I’ve been talking about previously. You need to run few cooldowns of the raid, and you get a full set of mogging gear – it’s guaranteed. That’s an excellent system, and I wish it would be developed. You work to get your mogging, and it’s not a random drop, but you could get your gear somewhere else if you don’t feel like raiding.

Speaking of gear: I’ve performed world boss kills for every toon and for three weeks in a row. Gear drop rate by my stats is exactly 25%: I got 3 items for 12 toons every week.

Routines, finally routines :)

bons-valarjar

Bons is ready to tank Trials of Valor

World Quest Parade

Naturally the whole week has been a never-ending bouncing around world quests.

Just to remind you: the weekly quest grants you 5000 order hall resources for completing 20 world quests per alt. You also gain +50% reputation for single world quests, so it’s a small but nice buff too. Not to mention the usual emissary reward – which often grants +800 order hall resources as well.

In other words, upon completing the event you just stop worrying for order hall resources for at least a month. Your result upon completing the event would be 7000-10000 stack which is quite enough to fuel your artifact research and level up/gear up your necessary 5 followers – if you haven’t done it yet.

So, World Quests Week for Gnomecore

My 12 alt team means that I had a whole of 240 quests to complete. Scary as it may seem, it all needed just a small strategy to turn it all in a pleasurable and fun profit flow. Few tips for the world quest week event that I’ve developed:

  1. Go for short quests.Your average world quest should take 3 minutes tops.  Generally the kill-me-twelve is not good, you also need to avoid any gathering in highly populated hostile areas. Normally you go for these types: Kill an elite enemy, Fill the bar (several options beyond grinding, and killing a single mob grants 5-10% at once), Pick a single resource (kill a demon), Do any small fun activity (wand mastery in Azsuna, squirrels in Val’sharah, hunting the hunters in Highmountain etc.), Give in a profession quest if you can craft it and have mats.
  2. Go for quest batches. You may want to visit an area where you could do 2-4 quests within walking distance. But highest priority are short quests. If one of the closer ones involves grinding, drop it.
  3. Pick the rewards. You may still have to grind if a reward trinket is 815 and one of yours is 765. After all, you don’t want to end up with twenty 95-gold quests :)
  4. Emissary quests are nice if you could do at least three easily. If current emissary quests include two short and easy, and the other two require a dungeon run or grinding at faraway map corners, drop it.
  5. Don’t try and do them all in one sit per alt. You may want to complete the same easy quests with huge rewards alt by alt, and wait for another day for the new cool ones to pop. Waiting is bliss.

I’m very close to an end now here, having completed a total of 214/240 quests by now. With the guidelines I provided before, it was a pleasurable and fun journey.

Trivia

Of course it was not only world quests for me. The week is being highly productive so far, and the goals/achievements go as follows:

  • Raising ilvl – an important side-goal. Almost all toons (11/12) can do heroic dungeons now, half has an access to Emerald Nightmare, three are qualified for Trial of Valor.
  • Professions – once you roll up the sleeves, it’s actually not that impossible. Blasted through 30 levels with enchanting and tailoring, now at 780 skill level, could do more, but mats were over.
  • Won The Shortest Distance achievement – gained from completing 20 puzzles off an Enginnering toy. It was hell! You really need to be an engineer to complete that :) But not impossible once you’ve learnt what to do. An achievement well earned, and it will be one of my most precious ones.
  • Trial of Valor raid – need to complete a small lead-in quest chain for every alt to be ready for the raid and go there upon reaching the right ilvl. I need these transmogs, they are actually pretty awesome for all armor types.
  • Talking of raids, successfully performed my first Legion raid tanking. It was Emerald Nightmare LFR, and it was Xavius for Bons the Mighty Warrior:

bons-emerald-nightmare

It was an easy kill, but I must say that I don’t like the EN raid neither as a tank nor as a dps. The encounters are quite understandable, but all in all are a mess. I’d prefer not to run this raid if I have an option. Will do it mostly for transmog – and for this reason, I see necks, rings and trinkets drop as a waste.

  • Micromantica, my main, has accidentally completed her first ever mythic dungeon yesterday – Catacombs of Suramar. The goal was to see the dungeon and complete a pair of quests.

I got there occasionally as my guildies wanted to do some mythics – they always yell in a chat. The only reason I don’t want to do mythics is that I have absolutely no desire or need to go there. Why, an exhausting, few hours version of the same dungeon that I will run hundreds of times during the expansion? No, thanks.

Suramar is a bit different, as it’s mythic-only. Still a shame it’s not in group finder yet for being the only difficulty.

The run was punctuated with many deaths, but we actually managed to push through to the end and even do a world quest there. The main stopper was that three of the guildies in group were actually healers, and two of them had to switch specs into some poor, non-powered dps. Moreover, we failed to complete several vital mechanics on bosses on our first tries, and we wiped and died. But still, we were positive and persistent. Once you know how the bosses work and experienced the mechanics on your own skin, the dungeon is actually a piece of cake.

  • There was a mess with Kirin Tor quests this week. The quests were very hard, and there were not enough. People kept sharing that you must have an excellent internet connection to complete them, it all sounded like a very grindy arcade game. So I didn’t even go there and try it myself – I was on a big, short-quest run, remember? And I hate the arcades too in my MMO.
  • Well, suddenly this morning you could just login on every alt and give in the emissary Kirin Tor quest on every alt even if you haven’t completed a single Kirin Tor world quest. A nice excuse from Blizzard for their failing Kirin Tor emissary quests I guess, but not that earned by me :) Be warned, it’s not a bug – it’s confirmed by Blizzard, so please go and get your unexpected rewards.

This very busy week comes to an end, and I’ll be back to my small routines on Wednesday. Having fun so far! What about you?

What A Week!

And just as I scheduled some proper Suramar campaign catch-up for my alts… You know, LOTS of artifact power raining upon my 9+ artifact knowledge for completing the storyline.

Blizzard thinks otherwise.

This week: World Boss with 1000 order hall resources + weekly quest with 5000 order hall resources + apparently some side order hall resources for quests on the way. And +50% reputation for completing world quests too.

You can do all 20 in one sit per alt, you gain no extra rep for turning in emissary quests, so no point waiting for them.

This I must do on all of my alts. This solves the problem of even thinking about order hall “cash” for at least a month – it will be enough to upgrade the remained un-upgraded followers, and to fuel artifact knowledge research till the New Year.

Off for grinding. See you in a week :)

Professions in Legion: Issues & Solutions

TL;DR: they are useless :)

Not even one expansion before has been that hard on professions. Yes, even then-blamed Draenor, with all the work orders and all.

We are three months into expansion. My alts have all the range of professions, including Goblin and Gnome Engineering fork. And you know what? Most of them are not over their 730 skill level yet.

What’s New? 

  • The horse amount of mats – kept from Draenor. I fail to understand why you need 50 or 100 rolls of cloth to craft a pair of pants. Yes, it’s not actually 100 now, but the mats income is way too short.
  • Recipe/scheme levels – you are supposed to learn and begin to be more effective, not wasting extra mats. Iron logic as it may seem, the reality smashes the idea into smithereens.
  • Finally, profession quests.

Let’s see how it plays out.

Gathering

I can’t say anything bad about it really. Skinning, Herbalism and Mining are quite good. Of course there is no free mine or herb garden, but I still consider these sites as a Draenor failure, even if they were available only for herbalists/miners.

The recipe levels are just fine here. By all means, even if you haven’t done any questing and don’t have a specific mat skills, you will raise your skill level, you get at least some mats when working on nodes or wildlife corpses. You may reach 800 just gathering.

Naturally the questing helps: once you get 2 and 3 stars, you begin to gather more mats, and there’s a possibility to grab some rare ones. You are more skilled, so where a beginner would squash most of the herbs, you would delicately pick all of them. It works here.

The wrong thing with questing for gathering professions is its random nature. You may or may not get a quest from your node, so it’s just a lottery. That’s not how it must work.

Solution: while everything is fine with gathering nowadays, we need a guaranteed quest item drop upon reaching a certain level. Say, at 725 skill level all herbs, skins and nodes would give you the quest for the first level. At 750 – the second. At 775 – or 800, doesn’t really matter – the last one.

Make the quest item drop chances increase as you gain your skill level. At some point of skill level, the quest item drop rate must be 100%.

That’s just so easy and would solve all the problems.

Crafting

…is the worst.

The same very idea of recipe/schemes levels just doesn’t work- at all. You see, you are supposed to waste less mats as you gain your skill. That’s iron logic, but in practice…

When you are leveling, you are rapidly growing in your item levels. If you smash through a single leveling zone – which takes 3-4 playing hours at best, you will make your ilvl grow by 30.

Now, what’s the point of 715-730 gear when you outgrow it in several hours? And what’s the point of buying it?

I confess I put some use in crafted items. When I crafted my first modest items, they were sent to my alts, and they actually walked in them… for a pair of hours until they got a superior quest gear. I wouldn’t even bother, but items were crafted as a skill-raising process.

In no bad dreams I would imagine someone actually buying crafted gear of that ilvl below 800.

And here’s your pins under nails: these first items would cost you some enormous amount of mats. Because you’re a ‘crafting loser’ yet. To improve your schemes, you need to play at top level: recipes of higher level come from world quests and reputations.

So, by the time you are able to craft the gear cheap, you have no use for it. At all.

Profession quests are actually very good. But it’s… because I like extra lore. They are really fun and engaging, they make you feel your profession, how it works and all.

Yet there are some impediments: why on earth would you hide some of them in mythic dungeons? My tailor got a quest to the new Karazhan. You know what it is? A bag scheme. A bag scheme when I have the same capacity bag from Draenor. What would be your choice? Dungeon quests are general impediment as it is. My Enchanting progress was stalled for a month no less, because I couldn’t make myself pay an extra visit to the Halls of Valor.

I’m in a sort of a stalemate now: finally I have enough mats for low level recipes, but I don’t need to craft them, neither for use nor for raising my skill.

Complaining without offering an alternative is whining, so I need to offer some solutions. Here we go:

First, low ilvl schemes and recipes should cost almost no mats to craft. They shouldn’t probably even have star-levels. Their purpose is aiding you to level, so you should get this access and mats barely stepping into the first leveling zone. It maybe a lesson in Dalaran where they learn you to craft basic items and give you a basic stack of current mats. So you’ll be available to make your skill level to 710 right on spot.

Second, you are out to leveling world. There you can grab these profession quests and complete them alongside leveling. While doing so, you raise your skill level to at least 750 – again, schemes should cost little mats and have no star-levels. While leveling, you gather mats, and you craft the items up to 785 ilvl – competing with questing gear.

Third level – endgame. Now you’re ready for the challenges: dungeons, world quests, raids, reputations. Here come your star-recipes which are meant to raise your skill level from 750 to 800. These items are supposed to be crafted, because at 110 people want to get equipped for dungeons and raids quick. Crafted gear finally becomes handy.

Cooking

Don’t even get me started on cooking.

A Crazy Idea

…which is inspired by MMORPG called Blade & Soul.

I was quite surprised to learn that everything you wear in this blade& fist martial arts game doesn’t give you any stats. At all. You gain power via improving your weapon. Which makes a lot of sense. Cloth pants are cloth pants, and how could some Ragnaros or Lich King fail to pierce them?

Your outfits are purely cosmetic. But you earn and hunt for your costumes hard.

So, here’s a thought for WoW: what if gear crafting professions were concentrated on APPEARANCES rather than ilvl?

Tailors, Leatherworkers and Blacksmiths: what you craft is a set of transmog gear. Totally amazing to wear. But with no stats. If you want stats, you get them in raids and dungeons.

Imagine you craft some spiky cool Blood Brawler Set for warriors, or elegant and rich Ultimate Conjurer Set for mages. This will take one slot and sell as a whole, when you use it, all items would be added to corresponding transmogrification panels. And it would be relevant throughout every expansion. Something worth learning to craft and actually crafting, for yourself and for others.

If you’re in doubt whether it’s gonna bring profit, look at all the same Blade & Soul. Costumes are a THING there. These outfits are chased after as hell. So it all depends on armor artists.

In other words, could craft be concentrated on life-improvement and cosmetic items rather than gear? Toys, utility buffs, transmog, mounts, bags. I just think it is one of the ways out of the current pit.

What do you think? Could we drift in this direction?

Stormheim Zone Review: Jim Cummings & Fjords of Confusion

stormheim

Stormheim is easily my least favored zone – by many reasons.

First, it’s the plot. We open up with a stunning scenario, a brutal clash between Horde and Alliance, we are absolutely ready to rip the throats of the Worgen or the Undead with our bare hands, and we do, and then there’s aftermath, all settles down.

What I’m trying to say is that you’re completely confused about where are you and what’s all the point of you being here. So you seek the pillar of creation… or you are put into test of valor and glory… wait, what? drogbar and tauren are also into vrykul rituals?.. oh, suddenly it’s some bad vrykul… why are they ‘bad’? All the vrykul in the zone are hostile… whatever… now we’re underground and we need to save the winged ghost girls… then we have to fight them in flesh – so apparently ghosts are good… ok, now it’s Legion we need to handle.. now, remind me why some storm dragons are good and others are bad? Wow, a completely unrelated cinematic.

What the fuck is going on?!

It’s just too many stories, which only seem to be intertwined, but they are very much confusing per se. The Alliance/Horde clash is suddenly forgotten for good after the scenario until the final cinematic which falls on you as suddenly as meeting an elephant in the open sea. You fail to say who is your enemy here. Helya? We got there by accident. Legion? It’s presence is pretty small. Vrykul? Which of them? There are many vrykul factions, and each of them is hostile to us. We just hopping the slopes like mountain goats all confused and engage in a fight every minute, with every stone and bush. Wildlife is hostile too, yes.

The zone itself is Autumn in the fjords, and the problem is with fjords. The logistics are the worst. It’s that zone where you would hearth out rather than find your way. Slopes, mountains, every flat spot is heavily populated by enemies. Also, the zone is pretty dark and depressing, especially when played at night time.

I will say the horrible thing now, but, frankly speaking, vikings are boring :) They have style and all, but even the orc culture, not unlike the vrykul one, is much richer and more interesting. So when you get a zone filled with viking stuff by 95%… Well, it’s not fun. You just get tired very quickly of all the honor, battle and trial talks. Like it was not enough, there’s two dungeons and a raid to overfill your glass.

Yet I found a pair of highlights here.

The first one is the amazon vrykul village, Skold Ashil. I could listen to their battle cries forever – all the ‘Protect the temple!’ and ‘The battle is upon us, sisters!’. Their voices, it is something. Like it’s not enough, they are the most beautiful females among all WoW races (first noticed in Northrend). And the haircuts are badass as hell.

The second one is the stunning voice performance by Jim Cummings. His Havi is putting you into a trance. As long as he’s with us for most of the story, you’re just enchanted with his mesmerizing guidance and don’t think much about what actually is going on, where and why he’s driving you :) And all his small camp activities – frying a fish, cooking a soup, drinking and chopping a moose. Too nice.

Stormheim Points

  • Storyline: 2/5
  • Safe Hubs/Spots: 3/5
  • Visuals: 3/5
  • Travel Comfort: 1/5
  • Bonus points: Skold Ashil, the shieldmaidens, Havi

Highmountain Zone Review: Highmountain Stands

highmountain

Despite the name, you quickly learn that Highmountain is not about mountains as you travel. The paths here are really straightforward, and you almost never struggle with the need of taking a detour. Once you’ve discovered the flight paths, your logistics here are a pleasure. Even the peak itself is user-friendly.

What also helps is the nice spreading of hostile mobs. You’d never have to struggle through armies unless you came to struggle them on purpose. If you have to walk through packs somewhere, you’re doing it wrong. There are many perfectly safe highways too, so this all makes the zone quite relaxing to be in.

All the thumbs up for logistics are a bit spoiled with a pair of locations. First, it’s your path to Illidari camp. Whatever you do, you would grab a PvP flag on your first way there. Second, it’s the central hub, home of the moose tauren. Yes, you’ve guessed right. While the access to the eastern part is mere pleasure, everything else is achieved via elevators. That’s most discouraging, especially through leveling questing when you have to return to the chieftain after every quest hub.

The questing itself is probably the fastest of all zones. Once again, we need to make a whole out of parts, and this is my favorite thing. Here we need to unite the tribes helping them across the zone. One of them is corrupted, so we have a replacement – drogbar. I’m not a fan of the creatures, they are basically redesigned orcs.

All in all the story here is… nice. It feels a bit like you came in a kindergarten, you doing it all with an affectionate smile, but don’t take all the fuss seriously. The main nemesis, Dargrul, is like playing in a sandbox. He’s got this nuke – the Hammer, but he can’t use it properly. They are just bullying for fun :)

All the tribes feel like kids too. They are peaceful, very cute, and they have no clue. I don’t really know why Mayla became a chieftain. She didn’t do anything. We helped the tribes and brought them together, then we took her to watch a retro-video about Deathwing and the black dragon, and bam, she’s chieftain.

If I had to choose a true chieftain for the moose tauren, it would be Jale Rivermane. I’m a fan of the lady – and her voice too.

The story somewhat lacked epicness in the end of all, but it was so cosy and whole that I enjoyed it very much.

The zone itself is my favorite of all. I like the winter-touched zones, but here it’s not the winter in all its rage. It feels like spring, chilly breeze and warm air, fresh grass under your feet. I just love travelling there, just riding the roads. The same perfect verge of greens and snow was in Grizzly Hills and Howling Fjord.

My favorite zone.

Highmountain Points

  • Storyline: 4/5
  • Safe Hubs/Spots: Perfect
  • Visuals: 5/5
  • Travel Comfort: 5/5, except elevators and PvP flagging to Illidari camp
  • Extra points: Jale Rivermane, the peak, murloc quests, Addie (!) in Nesingwary’s camp

Suramar Finished: What’s Next?

Yesterday I’ve experienced the last bit of Suramar campaigns.

The chapter felt way unfinished, even granted the further storyline coming at us. I’ve expected the junkies make some progress to their current state and be prepared for assault on Suramar, but it’s apparently yet to come.

Suramar will get its own review post, but all in all I must say that Blizzard failed to see the difference between challenging and annoying.

At least I can boast my Loremaster achievement now. What is left is 6000 rep for the Wardens, and I’m good with the first part of the flight requirement.

So my main Micromantica is largely good with her emergency goals. She has all followers at 850 ilvl and purple quality, she saw the Emerald Nightmare in full, she’s up and ready for tomorrow’s Trials of Valor LFR.

Other goals seem like expansion-long. She naturally has to level her Artifact Traits and Knowledge. She has yet all factions to Exalted. She has yet to level her professions, and it seems that no use would come out of Tailoring, granted how much mats you need and what sucking ilvl you produce. Generally I see professions as an extra lore adventure now.  Which is fun, engaging and all… but completely useless. Strange, huh?

Alt Management

Yes, with my main reaching her goals, it’s time to drag my alts further. And I must say my chess-like strategy did pay off! See for yourself:

  • I don’t have any toons which need leveling. I can’t tell ‘I have my shaman at lvl 101’, for example – which I often read in blogs or guild chat.
  • All toons are at artifact knowledge level 5 or higher.
  • All toons have 14 artifact traits or more.
  • All toons have completed their order hall campaigns and have 8 followers to pick from.
  • All toons are at ilvl 805 or higher.
  • Almost all toons have all pillars of creation – I need 4 dungeons to run, and that’s it.

So, my gameplay considering alts is finally a routine. World quests, garrison missions, professions and profession quests. There’s no rush!

Here are your alt management tips:

The first idea of alt management now is picking up an alt which lacks something: order hall resources expired, has fewer artifact traits and all. Then you go and do emissary questing. In just an hour or two you could complete a set of three emissary meta-quests. And you find your alt boosted! Much artifact power – enough for one more trait, resources sufficient for a week of missions, ilvl raised by 10 points or more. Generally, if your alt seems underleveled and underpowered, just pick it up and start playing it! You’d be surprised how much progress it makes in no time. Yes, even an hour is a huge leap forward.

The second imperative is having your artifact knowledge orders running, and it better always be two orders so that you don’t waste a minute. Time is of the essence here, so when your previous order is over, the next one starts right away.

The third goal for alts is going for Suramar questing, because it gives an enormous boost to artifact power. But I want to gain at least level 10-12 of artifact knowledge before I go there.

Don’t tell me Legion is NOT alt-friendly, because it is.