Grinding Lull

Warframe

Warframe deployed!

In the morning I’ve scraped cash throughout my eight Alliance toons, and we’ve bought ourselves the warframe mount. Yay!

I’m not sure I’ll be riding this. It looks very bulky, and besides it would feel devoid of power without all the mighty cannons. Anyways, I’m done here.

Alliance toons are left with 5-10k on them, just enough for repairs and transmog. This means that Argussian Reach talbuks are the responsibility of my Horde toons – which require Exalted.

So, the great farm begins. Here’s my to-do list:

Legion

  • 5-7k to Army of Light Exalted and 8-12k to Argussian Reach Exalted on alts
  • Fishing Artifact, Margoss rep and fishermen rep – are all to go.
  • All Archaeology pristines for Legion, and I have only 100/250 Legion digging sites until achievement
  • 2,900 demons on Argus to kill for character title
  • 17,000 Underbelly eyes to farm until rat mount
  • Chromie scenario to be finished at least on one toon. On my way there with hunter toon Baisa
  • Catch all Legion pets achievement and doing pet dungeons
  • Argus mount drops from Argus rares
  • 8600/10000 world quests done till achievement – 1400 to go
  • Farming class quest for rogue Hexen – stealing from mobs in Suramar
  • Farming class artifact weapon quest for Faerella – 11 more skulls from danger rares for hidden appearance (it procced yesterday quite unexpected)
  • Farming 250+ demon eyes to get the portal and kill the last rare for achievement – 3 sessions 1 hour each

Vanilla – Draenor

  • 4,000 Saberon claws to farm in Tanaan for achievement
  • Garrison invasions to do for achievements
  • Hunt for transmog in older raids
  • Hunt for mounts in older raids
  • Hunt for pets in Wrath & Cataclysm raids

So, the list is dark and full of terrors. I’m not gonna be idle :) But doesn’t it look like… work to you?

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Blizzcon Aftermath: Battle for Azeroth Preview Opinion

So, after my return back home, I’ve been watching Blizzcon in retrospective with my virtual ticket.

Some quick highlights about panels before we set out to talking about WoW news.

I enjoyed listening to Mike Morhaime’s speech. Talking about community and attitude was something we really lack in the modern world. The amount of asshole behavior and hate speech is overwhelming nowadays, to the extent that I’m not really looking forward to dungeon experience in the new expansion. We need reminders like this to feel ourselves a family, rather than other players as means to measure our virtual dicks with, both in playing skills and/or your-mom talk.

I’ve enjoyed the new cinematics for Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm. I’m playing neither of these games, but they were awesome – as always. And with every piece of Overwatch lore I’m longing for a full-scale pixar-type movie, because I really want to see this world’s story and their cinematics are already of a movie quality. Hope they do.

I’ve watched several extra panels, and they were not too exciting. There was a fun master class from ‘Carbot Animations’ – I’m a fan of his YouTube channel, and seeing him creating this magic live was very fun. If you’re not acquainted with him, go watch immediately! It’s better to see for yourself.

I’ve watched two sound panels. It was amazing to see the sound engineers create the ambience of a nerubian dungeon in WotLK right on spot. I’m not a noob in sound programs, and I actually used most of his perks myself – it was interesting to see the origins of sounds and how they were being edited.

But with the voice panel… I mean, what the fuck was that?! There were ‘power women of Azeroth’ voice actresses… and we haven’t heard anything from them. The panel was hosted by a casting director, and she was awful. I was totally convinced that she was drunk as hell. She just didn’t shut up, and she didn’t give the actresses any chance to speak. She interrupted them, gave comments – and oh my, would it be something clever? No. It was comments like “Yeah!” and “Go girl!”. What she lacked was a pint of beer and a bar counter to make a complete impression. Whichever part of the video I click – I hear her talking some bullshit. No sense, no information, no nothing. So, the panel sucked.

Now, for WoW.

Expectations and Reality

The expansion guesses? Let’s roll through my list of predictions as of the previous week.

  • Sea-bound theme – Yes.
  • Azshara, naga & N’Zoth being the ultimate enemy – Yes, Azshara was announced as a later raid boss. They haven’t announced the ultimate expansion enemy, but it’s very possible that it may be N’Zoth.
  • Zul Again and pirates as raids in the middle of expansion – Yes. A Zandalar/Titan tomb raid as the first one.
  • Kul Tiras and some goblin/troll island as the most likely A/H sea base of operations – Yes. Kul Tiras and Zandalar as faction bases, and we return to Kezan as a dungeon. What I didn’t expect was that continents will be separate for factions.
  • Your own admiral ship as the new garrison. It’s gonna move from island to island by Vindicar’s technology of moving between Argus shards, and it’s gonna be upgraded during the expansion instead of artifacts. – Yes and no. There will be some sort of a map to jump between the islands for the endgame scenarios. The thing to upgrade is gonna be a necklace.
  • Old grudges rekindled: A/H clashes, with Jaina/Genn vs Sylvanas leadership – Yes! And it’s actually in the name of the expansion.
  • A special point will be awarded to Blizz if there will be an emphasis on dwarf/gnome/goblin technologies and overall steampunk/dieselpunk attitude to building your fleet – Not confirmed yet, but probably not.  We rely on the new factions’ navy. Yet, if we’re going to reach Azshara… we may need submarines and submarine turtles.

So, 95% of my guesses were true :) As long as every speculation is basically a player’s wish, you could assume I’m happy as fuck. I’m so eager to see and explore Kul Tiras and Zandalar, as these territories were heard of much, but never seen before.

New Zones

Kul Tiras – there will be three zones, more or less in one vein. A classic, fantasy human setting is one-love to me. The variety includes a rich, vibrant sea port city (yes, please), a lush valley zone (give us some open space!) and a haunted zone – did they finally bring witches in WoW?! Whoo-hoo! And a zone preview also involved some gallows quest scene!

KUL-TIRAS

Zandalar – is a type of southern terrains, and although I’m not a fan, it looks very diverse and the thing to explore. Obviously a Zandalar capital which brings Stranglethorn troll villages in mind and majestic aztec temples. Then there’s gonna be a swamp… not a cool one, but there were some bone monsters. And a deadly desert, which will remind me of Tatooine, along with a friendly hooded cuddlies vulpera.

Zuldazar

I’ll be exploring both with pleasure, and I’ll be happy running world quests there.

Then there’s gonna be islands, islands and islands. They will bring amazing variety, adding to the continents, and they look like very nice places to be at. There’s actually no limits in them. They shown us a tropical beach and a Victorian city yet, but there could be anything: bare reefs, Northrend icy isles, old Goblin refinery platforms – anything.

Warfronts

As a person who started his acquaintance with Warcraft universe from RTS in 90s, namely Warcraft II, I’m eager to see how it will work live. It’s an experimental feature for Blizzard, so I’m not sure how this will work. there will be mistakes and drawbacks, some unpredictable bugs will pop up. But all in all it looks a very promising activity to do.

WoW_Battle_for_Azeroth_Warfronts

New Artifact 

A necklace, which will alter your abilities on other worn items. I didn’t understand a shit after watching all the Blizzcon videos, I hope it will work somehow easier than artifacts. What I definitely want from the new system is two things

First, less grind. Empowering must come naturally.

Second, no special runs to some empowering crucibles or whatever. At this step of Legion it feels too lazy to return to your order hall to activate your next earned level. So however this works, I hope that I put on a new helmet, I open it and choose the empowering abilities right at the place – easy as that.

Heart-of-Azeroth

Legendaries

They go away. Hooray!! The players’ obsession with this orange random shit was somewhat scary in Legion. To hell with them.

Allied Races

…and six new slots. More leveling for me :) At least for transmogs. But I like leveling, so why not. I also like that there’s some plot involved in opening them.

Tauren and Zandalar, Dark Irons and Lightforged Draenei – are nice. All seem like an awesome playing option for me. Elves… I’ve got overfed with them in Legion, so no excitement.

Battle_for_Azeroth_Allied_Races_Alliance

Leveling Scaling

Yes, yes and yes. Again: I like leveling, and it’s amazing that you will finally be able to finish the storylines and not overgrow them by 5-10 levels.

Changes in PvP/PvE Realms

I don’t care as long as I can do questing without being ganked.

Plot & Cinematic

The cinematic obviously gave me goosebumps. Every character present got his highlight. Sylvanas finally remembered that she’s a banshee queen, not a freaking elf ranger, and she deserved a grim satisfying nod from me :) Anduin is still dual, he’s still between his priest nature and his father’s expectations, with Shalamayne sword as a constant reminder. It would be awesome to see the character in development.

A very special flip off to Blizzard is for the absense of both Gnomes and Goblins in the cinematic.

World-of-Warcraft-Battle-for-Azeroth-Cinematic-Troll-Shaman

The real highlight – and you never guess it would have been – were the troll shaman in action, it was the sort of thing that makes you create an alt. Guess who’s gonna be my Zandalari toon? And my second favorite and inspiring moment was the Alliance footmen proudly rising with their spears and shields… What can I say? FOR THE ALLIANCE!!

The battle between factions is what everyone was asking for, and this is what we get. I’m grim happy, I’m ready to go and die for my blue/golden colors. Lordaeron is ours!

My Horde toons are not that bloodthirsty. I’m playing three goblin girls, and they are happy to explore the new lands more than rip the other factions’ throats. And my Tauren druid will devote herself to mending the wounds of her allies rather than rushing into action in cat or bear form.

It’s strange, but I met the destruction of Teldrassil… with a shrug. It’s been a cosy place, and I liked both being there, questing and leveling, hanging around in the city… but no hard feelings. Yet the siege of Undercity is what I’m gonna do with eager. I want to join the fight – on Alliance side, obviously.

Cherry on the top of the plot – Jaina’s back, and with Proudmoore family!

Summary

Bring the expansion on!

It’s amazing how I couldn’t care less about the upcoming Antorus raid… Just bring us these demon loot bags to while away the time until the true things will happen next year :)

I’m hyped.

Their Task is Not a Grind?..

Let the late days of expansion begin!

Legion-Swamp

Tomorrow is Blizzcon, and the new expansion will be announced with a 99,9% chance. From this point, the Legion will grow old in an instant. Even the upcoming Antorus raid is not going to fix that. Everyone will be in anticipation, creating theories about the possible story and discussing the new features of the expansion.

Like I said before, and I’m gonna repeat that here, the new expansion would go like this:

  • Sea-bound theme
  • Azshara, naga & N’Zoth being the ultimate enemy
  • Zul Again and pirates as raids in the middle of expansion
  • Kul Tiras and some goblin/troll island as the most likely A/H sea base of operations
  • Your own admiral ship as the new garrison. It’s gonna move from island to island by Vindicar’s technology of moving between Argus shards, and it’s gonna be upgraded during the expansion instead of artifacts.
  • Old grudges rekindled: A/H clashes, with Jaina/Genn vs Sylvanas leadership
  • A special point will be awarded to Blizz if there will be an emphasis on dwarf/gnome/goblin technologies and overall steampunk/dieselpunk attitude to building your fleet

I will learn if my predictions were true only on Sunday. My band’s leaving to Tallinn for a gig tomorrow, on the day of Blizzcon, so I’m gonna use my virtual ticket in retrospective after two days.

Anyways, we will have 9-12 months of Legion coming, so we may better think of what to get ourselves busy with. My to-do list goes as follows:

Argus Exploration Meta-Achievement

Almost all set and done. I’m all exalted on my main, I’ve seen the story, I killed every Argus world boss – well, everything. I need one more invasion boss to pop up – sadly it’s our favorite random in action. So what is left here is to continue grinding common invasions until this boss shows up and wait for the last Antorus raid wing in LFR.

Argus Rares

There’s only one rare left untouched for achievement, and it comes via a portal of 500 demon eyes. I’ve already started grinding it, and I had ~100 in an hour.

Argus Mounts and Pets

I have every mount and pet from eggs, and I’ve actually already started giving them away to my guildmates. I still need mounts from Argus rares – no luck so far. I need to buy reputation mounts, but it’s reputations to go yet. Micromantica won’t buy Argussian Reach talbuks, because my Alliance toons are saving for the Army of Light warframe. So it’s up to Horde toons and their Exalted with Argussian Reach.

Argus Demon Grind

I need to grind 5000 demons for the final achievement and the title. I did a grind with my guildmates, and it brought me 1500 demons up, earning myself a 2000 achievement and a mount. More to go. One fun way of doing it is launching a warframe in your spare minute in a heavy demon-populated area, and laying devastation. One merry round would easily make you 50 demons. And of course grinding the demon eyes is also a way up there.

Antorus & Tomb Transmogs

I’m eager to collect sets for every class, but we shall see. With Tomb, I have only trash drops left for several toons, and it may be too grindy.

Reputation Mounts

Like I said, it’s gonna be only by tokens which come from table missions. If I never win them by the end of expansion, so be it. I’m tired of half-a-year world quest grind.

Rat Mount

 There’s a small batch of 17k Underbelly eyes to grind… I need this mount.

Profession Leveling

My toons must come to the next expansion 800-skilled in both main professions, Cooking and First Aid. All is being done via Darkmoon Faire treats, and I’m actually very close to the end here. So not thinking about it at all.

Fishing

Micromantica must grind all the fishing achievements and earn a fishing artifact weapon. It’s a long path to go.

Archaeology 

I need kinda 5 pristine items for Legion archaeology – the rest achievements are fine. I also need to finish pristine Arakkoa and Draenor clans projects – there are things to be done yet.

Transmogrification Sets

I need those transmogs obviously, and I’m 5 PvE achievements short on Micromantica. And beyond achievements there are other toons and their transmog sets too. Also, some order halls have an option to complete any world quest in an instant (warlocks, mages, demon hunters, warriors, paladins, death knights), so I use this to earn myself PvP tokens to be exchanged for PvP transmogs. It’s not an urgent task, but something very enjoyable to do, as well as trying for the raid mounts on my way.

Pet Battles

When I’m TOO bored and the other things are done, I’m gonna earn some pet battle achievements. I’m eager to see pet battle dungeons too someday.

Chromie

Didn’t get past the first boss in the Blue Dragon den :) My mage just got crushed in seconds and a pair of blows! I want to do it, but I need a bigger ilvl.

 

Summary

We’re entering the wonderful and amazing world of grind now! Let’s hope we find an element of fun there…

 

Lucid Nightmare

Finally it was time to get busy with the Lucid Nightmare mount.

Let’s say I’m not a fan of the whole “secret mount” idea in the first place. I mean, hiding a barely visible note – even if you knew the zone and location, it’s ridiculously difficult to find. Not the kind of quest you could do alone, so nope. A needle in a haystack is neither fun nor immersing type of riddle.

Although following the already discovered steps is a fun adventure, so I went there.

I can’t recall any difficulties. Micromantica did a tiny grind around and within the Blackrock to get the mask recipe and get some mats for crafting it, but it was not too long. There were a couple of mini-games, but I got the mini-game achievements early in Legion from Engineering toys, so this was piece of cake. I got stuck with the maze – obviously :)

It required me two evenings to solve the thing. On the first evening I drew a map in Excel upon my progression, and I got confused a bit, missing a room or two. When it was 3 a.m., I quit because my concentration was not perfect already.

On the second evening I’ve installed an addon, and it helped me although it is not that perfect. I’ve discovered 5 fires and 4 runes pretty quickly (77 rooms), so I extinguished 4 runes first, then I took the 5th fire, erased the already crammed map to point zero, and carefully explored the maze as if from the beginning. So what I needed is just to come across the last rune room – and I would win. Which I did.

Lucid-Maze-Win

I think there are no teleports in the maze. Because I’ve noticed a wonderful thing: when you walk in certain passages, you clearly see the STAIRS GO UP. And so, when you return back, you may have made your way through the second floor and then descend at the other staircase. So, the maze is just multistoried – and the addon doesn’t know that. When I went with my last torch in search of the last rune and paid attention to that, I definitely noticed that I went UP two times – that means, I got from the first floor to the third.

The whole experience vividly reminded me about one of my most favorite horror/thriller movies: Cube.

For those not acquainted with the series (there are 3 movies, Cube, Cube 2 and their prequel) – people awake in a cubic room with absolutely nothing but clothes on them. No food, no water, no medicine, no tools or devices. And no possibility to find anything helpful like that.

They soon discover that all six sides of the room (four walls + top and bottom) have identical trapdoors, leading to the identical cubic rooms. So a person can go in either direction, trying to find the way out of the maze. There’s a group of people trapped in the maze, but they all start solo, coming across each other after some time. Some of the rooms are deadly traps which kill in an instant (wire, acid, flamethrowers etc.), so you have to check every room before entering – like throwing your boot first and dragging it back by laces.

The effect in WoW was absolutely the same. The deadliest trap of all is the Cube – is the maze itself. It’s the maze that drives people insane, making them the most dangerous trap of all.

Now I’ve experienced it on my own skin, and I actually was thrilled about it. It is not a pleasant experience, but if you think of it as a Cube simulator, it was very-very authentic and cool. I liked it.

Lucid-Nightmare-Box

Anyways, we got the horse :) I was surprised that I had to run the crypt too – it was not like enter/loot thing.

Lucid-Nightmare-Gnome

The mount is very cool, I never expected that. Awesome ‘Spacebar’ perk, beautifully drawn, and a very strange movement – not like a horse at all. I’m surprised, but I’ll be riding this.

Reputation Paradigm Changed

 

WoWScrnShot_050617_115017

Yesterday I decided that my paragon reputation assigned teams are no more.

Previously, and for half a year by now, my 12 toons were divided into 3 groups. Every group was assigned 2 factions.

For example, Micromantica, Aurinko, Bons and Paitsu are assigned to Valar’jar and Highmountain. This means that when VJ or HM emissary arrives, these four toons are doing their batch of 4 quests, buff their reputation – and well, are thus responsible for getting a paragon mount. This also means that whichever other toon gets a VJ or HM token from missions, they send these tokens to one of these 4 toons.

This scheme is no more.

These are the reasons of why it grew old.

  1. The changes in mission rewards. Reputation tokens are raining in dozens today, so you don’t have to fish them out one in a week. A very, very significant buff to reputation income.
  2. The changes in emissary rotations. Now every week we have obligatory four emissaries: Argussian Reach, Army of Light, Kirin Tor and Legionfall. The other three slots are shared between the rest of the factions, but I believe that Suramar’s Nightfallen could be the one I meet too often, so it may be obligatory too. That leaves us with TWO weekly emissary slots for other factions. For example, I’ve met Valar’jar only once per 1,5 months. That means that rotation is pretty ruined anyways.
  3. I grew tired of this routine. I got the moose from Highmountain pretty fast, a pet from Legionfall’s first paragon chest and 3 toys from Wardens on different toons – and no other mount for 6 months, with 4 toons working on every paragon rep and not missing a single emissary.

So, I felt that it is time to let it go. I’ll keep heading for paragon mounts, but it should and will be a side dish. That means: rep tokens are still the most desirable item from Order Hall mission table, but they will be consumed by the very toon that gets them. No more scheming, mailing them, charting them, assigning duties and all. The same with Broken Isles factions emissaries: I’m running an emissary quest if I feel like doing so, and on random toon now. The one that would feel like doing it.

Dobby is a free elf! :)

RNG Wardrobe Shower

Silithus-Argus

Yeah, so yesterday I had this old raid run for the mogging achievements on my mage.

Hooray, I was glad to get the lacking shoulders and belt from Mogu’Shan Vaults and Terrace. I even thought: what are the odds that the two lacking pieces drop?

Then I went to other raids: Tempest Keep, Karazhan, Ahn’Qiraj, Black Temple, Molten Core, Firelands…

I stopped smiling at the third one. I have finished SEVEN mogging sets and achievements yesterday. The lacking pieces just dropped raid after raid. See my achievement streak from twitter, all dropping within one hour:

Mogging-achievement

Whew. The line broke at Argent Tournament and I went to bed. That was awesome :) And I even didn’t realise yet that I don’t have to go to these raids anymore :)

Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge: How Do You Find the Time?

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I’m awfully sorry for keeping silence for so long, but there’s nothing new happening (really). Doing emissaries, doing transmog runs, farming Halloween horse… Just routines not really worth talking about. There is one thing though: while on my way trick-or-treating, I took some amazing screenshots which would illustrate this post :)

So, while we’re in a lull, it’s TIME for Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge: How Do You Find the Time?

How do you balance playing WoW with the real life commitments you have? Are there things you give up in your life to be able to play WoW, or vice versa? What do you to do make the most of your pay time? Let us know!

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As many of my readers could have already guessed, I’m a casual but devoted player. I’m not even sure that the word ‘casual’ applies to me.

I don’t do any hardcore activities like raiding above LFR difficulty or mythic dungeons. I did two Mythic dungeons during the whole expansion – yes, two. I despise PvP. In other words, I’m always selecting Easy mode – and in that I’m casual to the bone. It doesn’t depend on the game actually. I never saw Challenge modes as something worth playing. It’s a game, for F’s sake, and it just should be relaxing and fun. I never care about measuring the size of my virtual dick and compare it to others’ – that’s not what I play for.

On the other hand, World of Warcraft is one of my major hobbies, so the time I devote to it is really big – and in that aspect I’m not casual at all. I’m exploring every aspect of the game to find what it is and if it will be worth doing, I’m learning its secrets, exploring the world, digging the lore, hunting the achievements. And I’m an altoholic – which is both a blessing and a curse. One character of every class. I’ve explored every one of 36 spec playstyles and I understand the other players. I’ve seen every artifact and class order hall story, and I never get bored cause I could always switch to another spec/class for dailies/raiding/doing an achievement. On the other hand, they require time of course.

So, time.

On my workdays I normally play an hour or two in the morning before I go to work (that’s my ‘morning coffee’ time), and 1-3 hours in the evening. On weekends it’s 4-5 hours in the morning while my wife sleeps, then she awakes, we have breakfast/lunch, and it depends on what are our plans for the day. It is important to tell that my wife is not a gamer at all – she doesn’t play a single game. So, it depends on whether we have plans and stuff to do together, or we have our own things to do – in that case WoW could always be one of my things to occupy myself while she’s busy.

By all means my game schedule never interferes with my real life activities. I don’t think I ever cancelled any activity or plan due to my gaming. I could even not feel like logging in the other day – like last month, my head all busy with the new apartment, and too often I didn’t even think of gaming or watching something or whatever. The same happens on my vacations abroad – I took my laptop with me a couple of times, and I even launched WoW once in the evening. But playing in a hotel room felt so out of place, so I’m never doing that again :) Same with garrison apps – I just won’t use them anymore when away from my gaming laptop.

Nevertheless in my everyday life I’m happy to go and have some fun in the world of Azeroth. I have stuff to do there daily.

To cope with that many alts, I’m always having a plan to do. I’m making an Excel chart of a current important goal or goals – it maybe leveling, artifact leveling, reputations, professions, collecting a current raid set. Just one glance at this chart immediately lets me know which alt today requires my attention. My ultimate goal is keeping them up to the current content, so they’re now roughly at the same spot.

The things which help my gameplay feel fresh and always fun are these:

  1. Set goals. Have your own short-term and long-term goals in the game. You may or may not keep track of your goals like I do with my charts, but I find it very satisfying to see how my goals are achieved. Like I devoted 3 months to Ashes of Al’Ar runs on every toon, or doing dailies for Argent Tournament for mounts.
  2. Understand that your current goal is very important. Your current, own personal goals are the most important things to do. Not what friends, forums, guildmates or even Blizzard designs for you and thinks what you should be doing at the moment.
  3. Proper scheduling. Keep your personal goals in mind, and be well aware when and how you could complete them. For example, a 30-minute playing window allows you to do an emissary or run an older raid for transmog, but it’s definitely not enough to fully experience finding a riddle mount or whatever. Put the riddle mount aside for a spare weekend.
  4. Do what you feel like doing at the moment. If I have Argussian Reach emissary to complete, and this on four yet toons, but I’m already puking of Mac’Aree, I may go and run an older raid instead. Or queue somewhere. Or go fishing. Whatever feels like fun at the moment!

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Later or earlier, you’ll be there. It doesn’t matter if you would play 12 hours a day or 2 hours in a week – you’ll be there. See how people are eagerly running the older content for what not – pets, transmog, achievements, experience of the missed lore. And it’s the content that grew old 10 years ago! See how people are trying other classes to see if they missed anything awesome.

Set your goals, have fun, and you’ll be there.