Lightforged Leveling Done

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That’s right, the achievement is mine :)

Kalaari finished Azsuna and Val’sharah questlines along with their dungeons. The rest came from bits of Paladin campaign, blacksmithing/mining quests and bonus objectives (which you can grab much like in Draenor – with no actual storyline questing running).

She sits with an admission to Emerald Nightmare now, so a journey of gearing up awaits. The best way for me is tracking the world quests which grant you upgrade gear, and also doing emissaries to fish out the legendaries. Argus argunite items also help.

Like I wrote in the previous post, Kalaari is not meant to be active in BfA, so her gearing up to 915-ish is purely a leisure activity during lull.

Her current transmog is Lightforged Pretorian, the legacy armor for the achievement pretty much sucks :)

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Now we have a Nightborne and a Highmountain to finish their leveling in Broken Isles :)

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Trivia: Slow Down

It’s Monday, and it’s time to revise my week.

As for reputations, the progress rolls as it should:

May 22

Reputation-List-May22

May 29

rep-29-may

I’ve decided I slow down now. Every day I’ll be doing only those emissaries and those toons which are not Exalted yet. When I’m there, I’ll assign the “mount teams” to factions, and it’s gonna be only 4 emissaries per day – basically an hour of gameplay which is quite sensible for chasing the mounts.

I need to take a break from world quests, although it’s still fun to do them. If I had only a pair of toons, I’d never even think about being exhausted. With twelve – and a race to Exalted – it was a bit tough. Although the end is nigh. This week I”ll be there- and then I’m entering the relaxed mode, ready for running and re-running raids for transmog and Broken Shore questing.

Broken Shore

Meanwhile my toons went to the long-delayed Sentinax farm for badges quest. And it suddenly appeared to be quite fun and fast, even for those like warlock, rogue, shaman or druid girls. The step is over now, and I’m glad the further ones are soloed.

For Micromantica the-lore-flagship who does every quest upon arrival, there’s two weeks and two steps left. It means that the new raid is coming at us in the middle of June, and also class mounts. So I need to be ready for this with every toon considering Broken Shore major questline.

Artifact Weapons

weapons-29-may

Just this sheet, nothing else.

My politics towards AK and AP are:

  1. I’m glad that I need only 40 AK now, not 50 – because I will stop worrying about them 10 orders earlier.
  2. My cap will be trait 52. Then I will just invest in other specs – even the ones that I don’t play. I did that previously – when the cap was basically 35, and it worked well. I could do the lore quests for every spec when the new traits in 7.2. were opened. And the traits were bounced back to 35 for everyone, and a small AP amount refunded.
  3. I don’t even think about grinding AP. What for? It comes naturally, and my main spec weapons are more than ready for LFRs. Let’s leave some room for their improvement :)

Blizzard Cancel One of the Flight Requirements

Blue post:

Blue-post-Legion-flying

So, Blizzard noticed the concern of players and addressed it the very next day.

It is true that invasions don’t come in convenient time. Valsharah yesterday was active for 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and while my workday starts at 11 a.m. and I was able to do it, the other people who study or work from earlier hours would not get it.

The flight requirements grow smaller. First we were supposed to complete the Broken Shore campaign, but upon the patch release we don’t have to wait for 11 weeks and we don’t have to do it.

Then Blizzard cancels invasions which could be an issue (although it’s perfectly likely that they would pop in convenient time over a course of 2 weeks).

It’s gigantic steps towards players, so thanks.

I will do the invasion achievement anyways. I’m eager to see every zone lore, and there are nice rewards. And I’ve found an answer to yesterday’s question: will the invasions grow old after we complete the achievement?

The answer is: no.

First, it’s a change in the routine, and you could do something new for the same emissary chests.

Second, it addresses one of my other lore concerns: that we didn’t actually fight the Legion itself during questing in Broken Isles. And now we do, and we feel the threat. It’s actually awesome.

Trivia

  • I’ve completed Val’sharah and Stormheim invasions by now, so I’m eager to see Azsuna and Highmountain.
  • Micromantica is at 3,368 reputation Honored which means 8,600 rep left for flying. I’m – not – farming – anything. I just do a couple of WQ in the morning and a couple of WQ in the evening, 10 minutes max for every seat. How’s that could be called grind?
  • Slowly completing the artifact quests to open new traits for every spec of every class. So far 23/36 weapons.
  • Completing a couple of emissaries in a day on random toons.
  • Looking in the direction of resuming my Nighthold raid runs.
  • Enjoying my game :)

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.

Azsuna Zone Review: Ooh, Mana Crystal

First of all, it’s the worst zone name :) Seriously, Azsuna or Aszuna? You just can’t remember that :)

Just in case, the post contains story spoilers for Azsuna questlines.

azsuna

Azsuna is most probably your first zone to explore for several reasons. Our habit to count and travel clockwise would naturally dictate your Broken Isles journey starting from Azsuna and finish your leveling in Stormheim. And the zone also has many profession guys accumulated here with starting quests.

Upon arrival the hero and Khadgar see a massive force of naga moving into the inlands from the sea. And Frozen Throne veterans will of course remember these naga behemoths which were absent in WoW previously – thanks for tickling our nostalgy, Blizz! Tidestone, naga – this all seems very logical in the air, but ground quests suddenly put us in Illidari camp to fight off a demon invasion. Erhm… ok. Forget about naga for now.

The Illidari part is probably the worst zone beginning considering comfortable gameplay. The Legion camp is just SWARMING with demons, and pretty much spoilt with hills and cliffs. Not once you’ll find yourself overrun by enemies on your erratic search of the correct path around the demon grounds. Once you band up with Kor’vas (btw, she’s my Legion starlight, I put her next to Yrel), you are lost in hostile cliffs where even bushes and rocks bite, and you have to run over and over around the cliffs to aggro packs of mobs and reach the captured Illidari. And while you’re fighting hordes of smaller demons, the wandering mo’arg tend to sneak behind your back and hit you very hard on the head. I hated doing this part every single time, even with shortcuts I learned to use.

Upon dealing with the Illidari traitor, you become friends with blue dragons, and they send you to their patriarch. Surprise: blue dragons live, and they are friendly. It’s like we didn’t farm Malygos for a forget-me-not pair of mounts… whatever. Here’s your relief: the road to the dragons from Illidari is smooth, broad and perfectly safe to ride. Enjoy it, cause it won’t be long.

I always hated the raw mana things, all the leyline business. It’s like my head and teeth start to ache and ring, and I feel metallic taste of arcane on my tongue. So a pair of cave quests is not a pleasant part, and also reminds you of dailies in Deepholm.

Yet the dragons don’t let you to starve underground for too long, and they send you to their whelp nest in the north. The next part is brilliant, and it’s my favorite.

The immersement here is achieved by a pair of things.

First, it’s helping the small whelps. You just forget about your dislike of mana or dragons on your errand to save the little ones. You heal them, carry them around, get a whelpling pet to own, one of the smaller ones is a quest giver, then the saved ones are your ultimate boomstick… You don’t even notice how you’re becoming a family member, and when you get that, it’s too late :)

Second, it’s the addiction theme. The Nightfallen are finally letting you know what elves really look like without mana. Blood Elves must be shivering at the sight. The exhausted junkies are really creepy and dangerous, their leaders are maniacal. When they abandon the leyline sight and head for the dragon nest, it’s also very scary and exploits the ‘swarm’ themes.

Third, alongside the creepy and soul touching things, the questline provides a comic relief. Runas, the junkie elf, is masterfully voiced by no less than Jim Cummings, and I think I’ve learned all his dialogues by heart.

My discipline is IRON! 

Like I said, the storyline my favorite.

The following major storylines are both good and bad. Bad goes first of course :)

First, I’m not happy with naga solo for 3/5 of the zone. Once you’re done with dragons and nightfallen, all you will see is naga, and you grow tired of them very fast. All the central and southern part is highly overpopulated with naga. Once you start questing from Farondis Palace, you never spend a single minute without fighting a naga by quest or fighting them while just trying to go by.

Second, I never cultivated any bonds with Prince Farondis – although I was supposed to. Mark you, he does and says everything right. He shows remarkable personal qualities: a rebellion against Azshara long ago, then he helps us on our quest, then he rejects Azshara’s cool offer, then he saves us. And still he does look like a pussy, not a leader of his people, I don’t know why. I smiled a lot when you accompany him, and other elves throw random insults. I don’t even like him giving briefing for World Quests, for Elune’s sake! I like his Court and his people, but not him.

The third drawback is the final questline: retrieving Sylvanas’ journal from the sunken ship. It’s just a plain boring grind. After a brilliant and inventive sea giant story which ends up in an epic battle, you must go kill some crab people and Vash’jir goblins in a dark, gloomy puddle. Meh. It just spoils all the possible zone epicness with a mediocre kill-me-ten.

All the middle and southern part which involves sea theme is pretty exhausting, and you’re naturally happy when it’s over. Yet I can’t say Blizzard failed to show us naga invasion. They really feel dangerous, plenty, and they are perfectly incorporated into Pillar thing. It could be perfect to exclude naga from the slave storyline. If there were only giants, it could feel like a completely separate piece, and naga would remain an epic and dangerous climax wrapped around the pillar of creation. But naga leaked into sea giants, and it all suddenly feels like ‘Oh no, not them again’…

Two questlines are pure gold. Of course, it’s the giant wrestling arena and the following slave revolution. And Hogwarts Magic Academy, an easter egg from head to toes. They provide a nice safe spot to rest a while, and a small comic relief.

Yet when you finish your Azsuna leveling, all you will remember is: Naga, naga, naga, naga…

All in all Azsuna is a good zone to start. There is much attention paid to Pillars of Creation, there’s Legion present, and there is a bright, vivid foe – our old acquaintance.

Azsuna is all ruins, but very pleasant ones. There’s plenty of room to ride without danger, many safe roads. Yet it lack some ways from west to east. And the whole naga part is the one I would shun forever to visit again. There’s just too much of them – in every sense.

Azsuna Points

  • Storyline: 5/5 North, 4/5 the rest
  • Safe Hubs/Spots: All Suck
  • Visuals: 5/5, very beautiful zone
  • Travel Comfort: 5/5 North, 1/5 Center and South (cliffs, rivers, ruins, hostile swarms, lack of roads)