It’s a Monk!

First thing in the morning Micromantica, already parked in embassy, completed the Kul Tiran storyline, and here they are – the lovable fatties :)

I’ve immediately created four trial characters with random silly names – a monk, a druid, a rogue and a hunter. The routine was to play through class introduction scenario, switch between specs and also see the possible transmogs just in case.

Druid went off very quickly – I realised I’m not a current Balance fan, and there’s no option I pick a shapeshifting spec. The druid forms are amazing though, and I can’t wait to see them in game fighting alongside me.

Rogue was crossed out as well. Outlaw is certainly flashy and light-speed, but I’m not fond of its rotation and idea. And as much as I like Assassination with all its poisons, it requires some insane amounts of haste not to feel like a tea-time. I’ve recalled how replacing a single haste item to crit or mastery or whatever turned an assassin into a turtle-speed, so I pass.

Hunter – in Survival – has just stunning animations and vibe. Problem is, it feels awesome in earlier levels, but in the endgame you feel like there’s too much going on: you are overwhelmed with stuff coming off cooldowns, so it’s a piano play. Changing talents to calm down rotation didn’t help much. Otherwise, it’s an awesome spec and class for a Kul Tiran – I may even consider another alt later :)

Monk – I’ve cringed at the thought of having to play the scenario as a Kul Tiran Windwalker… but it appeared to be the coolest option ever! You’d never believe that a Kul Tiran could be so plastic and agile. It’s just awesome – and the most awesome thing is, while I’m planning to make her a tanking character, I could switch to Windwalker to speed leveling or questing and feel GREAT about it.

So yes, here she is – my new toon in her Vanilla level 20 outfit :)

Kul-Tiran-Monk

The awkward thing is the race size and forms of course. You may find it hard to pick the right face and transmog at a first glance. But for all of my trial toons I’ve picked almost random haircuts and faces, and they all appeared to be actually awesome. Transmog here is an interesting game to play: like with clothes IRL, you need to mask the drawbacks and bring out the good stuff – challenging, but extremely satisfying.

The other challenge is a name of course. I think I want to go with something utterly British – probably following my pattern of picking not a name, but a surname which is more likely to be free. The other options could be tying her to a monk/oriental thing, or a beer reference. Currently this trial toon is named Buxendale – a reference to Helen Baxendale, an actress who played one of Ross’ girlfriends in Friends.

This post is spoiler-free on purpose – I will describe my thoughts the Kul Tiran and Magni questline later today.

Current mood: happy!

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Roleplay: Exploring the Evil Side

I’ve been thinking about the place my new toons could have in my character roster. Just leveling them for achievement sakes is definitely fun in the process, especially during lull. But leveling what would be a THIRD cap level fire mage and deleting it afterwards ultimately feels like like a waste.

I’ve found the answer in roleplay. It struck me hard as a sledgehammer: I’ve always been extremely enjoying the NPC parties, banded up from completely different individuals. They are of a different race, class and everything. It is important that they are individuals: not the Twilight Hammer mooks, but characters having a name. We will have this kind of boss in Dazar’Alor: I believe it’s a monk and a fire mage (an orc and a blood elf for the Horde side).

When I come across this kind of a party in the wilds or in dungeons, it always intrigues me to learn their backgrounds. How did they meet, what are their goals, how they started to cooperate – the presumably hostile, suspicious and egoistic persons from different factions?

I thought it’s a great idea to roleplay my three under-120 toons as this kind of party!

Let me remind you about them:

Melaris – the Havoc Demon Hunter (110)

Melaris

Jagda – the Elemental Shaman (60)

Jagda

Kargash – the Fire Mage (33)

Kargash

I haven’t woven their common story yet (this happens on the shores of Kul Tiras and Zandalar), and not even their individual stories yet. I’m carving their ways on the surface of Azeroth, and only starting to think of their backgrounds and what led them to evil.

My major alt roster is generally good. This means that they support their faction efforts (more or less willingly depending on the toon), eager to fight the big bad to save the planet.

But this. This would be the ruthless trio, pursuing their own goals, loyal only to themselves and their band mates. They will never ever work for greater good, seeing the big bad and faction war mess only as means to make themselves rich and powerul. Ambushes, betrayals, deserting, assasinations – everything necessary, the goals justifies the means.

I’m pretty excited about leveling them and weave this kind of story into my experience :)

The binding theme for all the three is flame. Fire mage orc, fel fire demon hunter, and a naturally attuned dark iron lava shaman. This calls for a badass name, and I’m excited to think of it too :)

See, hype doesn’t come only from the game itself, but comes from inside your head too :) I am hyped. On to the speedy leveling!

The Future of Allied Races: Possible Options

An interesting thought has struck me considering Allied Races, and it’s so simple. Here goes: every current race receives an allied version. 

Check out my list:

ALLIANCE

Humans – Kul Tirans (Drust)
Dwarves – Dark Irons
Gnomes – Mechagnomes (from 8.2.)
Night Elves – Void Elves (with Blood Elf models)
Draenei – Lightforged
Worgen – ?

HORDE

Orcs – Mag’har
Trolls – Zandalari
Tauren – Highmountain
Undead – ? (Dark Rangers?)
Blood Elves – Nightborne (with Night Elf models)
Goblins – Vulpera (same skeleton and animations)

Considering that 4 races of every faction are already done, we might as well take it as reality.

Your thoughts? :) And I’m most intrigued about the Undead and Worgen.

Dark Irons: Introduction Questline

…Through dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ‘ere break of day…

*warning: the post contains spoilers about Dark Iron questline

As you know, I’m not a fan of deliberate grind of any sorts. And yet Micromantica, my main, has spent two sessions of clearing Zandalar from all the world quests – even pet battles :) The reason was simple – Exalted with 7th Legion and access to the Dark Irons! Lo and behold, this is my first Exalted reputation in Battle for Azeroth:

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Yet acquiring access to Dark Irons is not that easy. First you need to quest a bit.

No one informs you about the Dark Irons upon Exalted with 7th Legion, so you have to guess that the questline naturally waits for you at the Allied Races embassy in Stormwind.

Upon arrival, Moira Thaurissan invites you to check out what they did to azerite by King Anduin’s command in Blackrock Depths. It must be said that there is no travel on your own during the whole questline, cause Dark Irons have mole machines at your service :)

So, the first step is watching Thaelin and Anvil-Thane forging a piece of azerite and defending them from a batch of azerite elementals. Then a dwarf comes running and informs you that goblins invaded BRD to steal azerite. You clear many of them and confront the boss – Rixxa, further the third boss from Motherlode (!!!!!!!!!). She has 1500k health, and you need to cope with 400k or so, then she runs for it.

It appears that the goblins in Motherlode (!!!!!!!) are from Venture Co, and they stole some important ancient hammer. They send you to the dungeon to claim it – could be completed on any difficulty, so I queued for both normal and heroic, whichever pops first.

Then we need a piece of Molten Core to repair the Dark Anvil. We are sent to the Molten Core raid, and we clear it… in a tank! You just need to drive straight from the entrance to Ragnaros chamber, eradicating the elementals with your ice cannon :) That was super cool. In the Ragnaros pool you fight a guardian, and he grants you a piece of Molten Core.

Said piece must be reinforced, and we are sent to Firelands raid to do so. We arrive by the bridge to Fandral Staghelm with Anvil-Thane only to be attacked by cultists and elementals:

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It’s not a surprise what the cultists want:

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Exactly this, resurrecting the fallen Firelord and selling all the Dark Iron’s asses to him. The paladin on the pic above is the ultimate boss, and you should be real quick to step out of the hammers he drops on you during the encounter, they hit like a truck.

Hooray, now we can boost our MoltenCore fragment, and return to Moira. She praises you for active participation – come on, during your what was meant to be a tourist trip you’ve defended them from the goblins, reclaimed an ancient hammer, fixed an anvil and unveiled the plot in their ranks! There is a little speech – King Anduin formally accepts the Dark Irons as part of the Alliance, and Moira states that wtf, this is just a formality, because they already are.

The achievement is yours, and yours is the ability to roll a Dark Iron toon!

Which I did immediately. There was small thinking whether it would be a Fire Mage or an Elemental Shaman, and it was Shaman. I like the idea of wearing a shield – moreover when my warrior is Fury, and there’s no paladin in my ranks. And here she is –

Jagda

Jagda reads in Scandinavian manner (YUG-duh), and I’m so happy the name was not taken yet, because otherwise we’d be in big trouble :)

The introduction cinematic is super cool, we get an ultimate inspiring speech from Moira, and we’re more than motivated to play a Dark Iron afterwards.

I chose her jewels/mining. The other option was a blacksmith, but neither of my Allies wears plate armor, so this could be a waste of professions. Jewels fits second best for the dark iron dwarves.

By all means I’m leveling her, and I’m eager to play her actively, casting shaman is one of my favorite specs in game.

So, one more thing to do during expansion – as a distraction from world quests and raiding :)

I’m eager to see the Mag’har questline for lore sakes (evil crusader Yrel intrigues me to the bones), but I’m not rolling one afterwards. But the Dark Iron… yes, please. She’ll be in her rightful and equal place among my alts.

P.S. The questline is filled with important lore scraps. We learn about the deep bond of Dark Irons to Fire, Earth and Azeroth core. We now also know that Blackrock, cleared of all abominations, orcs and dragons, belongs to the Dark Irons (to the Alliance) and the whole mountain is now obviously friendly.

This Much…

Vol'dun

…is left considering leveling questing :) Yes, it’s just Jammu, and it’s just one hub for 30 minutes of playtime.

Frankly, leveling left me exhausted this time. I may think deeper into expansion if I really want this amount of alts to proceed.

My altoholism started with Pandaria, trying as many new classes as possible – to see if anything awesome was being left out and untouched. And I frantically leveled and LFR-raided during the lull before Draenor – up to the WoD release, I barely managed to make it.

Draenor was played through with a draw – 5 Alliance, 5 Horde, and I’ve tried different specs and classes too, my alt roster grew up to 17 toons – up to I had to cut them to 12 before Legion.

In Legion having this many classes was justified – unique stories and artifact weapons, unique order halls, unique mounts all added up to the experience and lore, lore, lore, my favorite lore.

In BfA I left 10 – disposing of my least favorite demon hunter and death knight. And this now feels like a bit too much.

If I considered my next alt culling, this would leave me with:

  • Micromantica the Mage – no doubt it’s my major toon no matter what.
  • Jellica the Priest – I enjoy the character, and healing is one of the nice activities.
  • Pins the Rogue – being a stealthy blade is highly enjoyable.
  • Baisa the Hunter – is under question. Not really a fan of current spec versions, but it’s the most relaxed class gameplay to me, and I need that from time to time.
  • Schlitzchen the Shaman – as the one for the Horde side, and the character that I feel highly attached to.

Having leveled through BfA, I finally decide that druid and warlock I’m not a fan of at all, neither of the specs, and paladin, monk and warrior are ok, powerful as DPS, easy to play, but not that appealing, no strings attached to the classes. Still, this leaves me with no plate armor toons – and I want to see and collect its transmogs :) Maybe a warrior should stay?

Is it time for the next culling? Cause ten alts definitely feels too much today. And thinking of getting busy with all of their reputations and mission tables and what not feels like a doom :)

Alt Leveling: Writing Your Own Canon

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Since the release of Warcraft Chronicles, we are aware that not all of the events were experienced by our heroes. For example, the Alliance was the only faction to storm the Lady Vashj domain in Zangarmarsh, while the Horde canonically laid waste to the red orcs of Hellfire Citadel and put an end to Magtheridon.

Which left me wondering: what if our alts did not participate in all of the events, but shared the experience among them?

Surely due to gameplay conventions you play them one by one, and through all the questlines. And yet, the ‘canonical reality’ maybe different.

I’ve come up with this story experience layout among my alts:

Micromantica 

  • She’s the leader of my Alliance alts. So she talks to the major lore figures like Cyrus, and Genn, and Anduin, and makes strategic decisions for all of alts.
  • As a water/ice attuned person, she solved the whole Stormsong business, including Anglepoint in Tiragarde and storming the Shrine dungeon.
  • She also repelled the naga invasion in Fort Daelin.
  • She was the one saving Jaina – her mentor and teacher!

Pins 

  • My gnome rogue was the one to investigate the plot of Ashvane along with Flynn, including the grand reveal at the Prooudmoore Admiralty.
  • She put a dagger through Harlan Sweete’s healthy eye.
  • She found the treasure in Deadwash in Stormsong Valley.
  • She also helped tortollans with Venture Co., as long as she was nearby.

Aurinka and Anibell 

  • The gnome priest and the human paladin traveled together through the grim forests of Drustvar to fight the witches’ curse, and stormed Waycrest Manor.
  • They also struck at Algerson Timber Yard in Tiragarde to eliminate the witch presence once and for all.
  • Anibell went for an extra horseback training and saved Norwington Estate from troggs.

Baisa

  • As a seasoned gnome hunter, she traveled through the Tiragarde hunting grounds with pleasure. Kennings Lodge and Roughnecks hubs were her responsibility.
  • She also hunted the sirens in Tiragarde.
  • She helped to fight off the ettin in Stormsong’s mill hamlet.
  • She and Paitsu fought off the Horde invasion and attacked the Clearcut together.
  • And she hunted the BIGGEST GAME EVER! in Zuldazar with her old pals from Nesingwary’s company.

Paitsu 

  • The gnome monk had some really good fight on her hands :)
  • The Horde invasion in Stormsong was mentioned already.
  • She was the one to enter Briarback Kraul and leave with multiple scratches on her fists, but very much alive.
  • And then she solved the mystery of Mildenhall Meadery.

All of my Alliance toons took part in Siege of Boralus and Arathi Warfront.

Schlitzchen

  • The shaman’s ultimate quest was in Vol’dun, solving the great Mythrax mystery and putting General Jakrazet to nail.
  • She also learnt something new about calling the lightning power from sethraki.
  • She stormed the Temple of Sethraliss.
  • She was the one to investigate and explore the war campaign story.
  • She participated in Arathi Warfront, desperately trying to win the wild elemental circles favor and eventually losing to the Alliance.

Fearella

  • My goblin warlock’s life purpose is search for fun and pleasure.
  • She found the troll pirate treasure.
  • And the treasures of the lost temples along with vulpera.
  • She helped the goblin azerite mining operation in Vol’dun for little to no profit.
  • She traveled to Warbeast Kraal and had extreme fun educating a small direhorn.
  • She also participated in digsite operation in Xibala.
  • And helped the tortollans in the south.
  • King’s Rest was rumored to hold many treasures, so it was a natural lure.

Gorhaug

  • The orc warrior was solving the plot around king Rastakhan in Zuldazar, in the city of Dazar’Alor and surrounding territories.
  • Naturally, Atal’Dazar dungeon was her final endeavour.
  • She made many friends among the loyal city guard.
  • She also fought against the Alliance in Talanji’s Rebuke.
  • She participated in Arathi Warfront (on the winning side).

Jammu

  • The highmountain druid was greatly disturbed with unnatural ongoings in Nazmir.
  • She befriended many loa and even had to kill one.
  • She was down there in Underrot, putting an end to corruption.
  • Now besties with Talanji the princess, she brought the news of blood corruption to Baine.

All of my Horde toons joined forces in the battle by Blood Gate and answered to Talanji’s rally for Uldir.

Uldir-Scenery-Central-Hub

Kul Tiran Druid Moonkin & Zandalari Druid Aquatic

Beware, beware… of the new druid forms!

Kul Tiran Druid Moonkin

Zandalari Aquatic Druid Form

I would quote the Blizzard Watch post in full, because it made me laugh so hard, and they have a point :)

I’m just itching to create these guys (but seriously, enough alts is enough :) But mo-om, they fit so well into Zandalari and Drust fantasy!

Enjoy:

What is that thing?

The first time I saw this form I said, “It looks like someone who’s never even heard of a Moonkin got one described to them and they decided to make one out of a patch of dead trees and some taxidermy scraps.”

I stand by that description.

That head looks like someone found a turtle who didn’t make it to the water and mounted some antlers on it. It’s like an approximation of what you might think a Moonkin was if your day-to-day life was suffused in utter nightmares. In other words, it fits the Kul Tiras Wickerpunk Druid aesthetic to a T.

The best part is that they slapped a hood on it like that helps at all. “Oh, don’t be scared, children. That wooden corpse puppet is our friend! It’s come to restore the balance of nature, which of course includes the manifest truth that death comes for us all in time, even your beloved pet turtle!” I really have no words for how fast I’m going to race change my Worgen into a Kul Tiran Druid as soon as it becomes possible. This is just great. It’s baffling and macabre and everything about it makes me want to go out on a fall evening and think about my eventual death. They made a caster form out of mortality itself.

A very Ichthyosaurian aquatic form for the Zandalari

At first glance, this form appears shark-like — but the particular tooth arrangement reminds me of ancient, extinct marine reptiles like Cymbospondylus or other Ichthyosaurs. The back fins are much more like marine reptiles than sharks. They also remind me of the Machimosaurs, ancient sea crocodiles that evolved a more aquatic form; however, that tail is pure Neptunidraco. Like many marine reptiles, there’s a certain copying of shark elements, which isn’t surprising, as the shark form is a pretty solid one for aquatic predators. I might have liked a big Liopleurodon form, but this definitely works.

Still, I feel bad for this terrifying aquatic hunter to be in the same post as that wickerskull monstrosity up there. I’m sorry you got upstaged, bling-wearing sea reptile. It’s hard to follow that.