Preparing for BfA: My Bucket List Complete

It is three days left until expansion, and I have effectively nothing to do.

Let’s see it through.

LEGION GOALS

  • Legion Quests & Exploration achievements – done, 100%!
  • Legion Profession achievements – done, 99% (1 pristine to go for Archaeology).
  • Alt Professions capped at 800 – done… I guess :) I think there are few to go on random alts, but it’s not really an issue. It may be a thing to check on weekend.
  • Collect Legion pets – done.
  • Collect all class sets from all Legion raids – done, for all 12 classes.
  • Collect all the paragon reputation mounts, toys and pets – done.

PRE-PATCH GOALS

Story

  • Play through the War of Thorns 1 & 2 in Darkshore at least with one Alliance and one Horde character – done.
  • Play through the Battle for Lordaeron scenario – done, for all toons.

Gear

  • Gear up with Darkshore world quests in every slot available and get all classes transmogs – done, for every toon.
  • Relocate artifact weapons and legendaries in the bank – done.
  • Obtain the last legendary item per toon for transmog sakes – done.

Cleaning Up Quest Logs and Missions

  • Clear up the quest logs to point zero – done, either canceled or completed.
  • Clear up the remaining Nomi orders, running missions – done.

Cleaning Bags

  • Vendor or AH everything of value concerning Legion gameplay (food, mats) – done.
  • Throw away everything of zero value concerning Legion gameplay – mission table items, ancient mana stone, vrykul harpoon etc. – done.
  • Clear up banks – not done, not needed. I hoard very few things there – mostly memorabilia and holiday items. Legendaries and weapons fall into memorabilia category now.

Cleaning Up Alts

  • Revise your alts roster and pick the ones you’ll play in BfA – done, 17 alts cut to 10.
  • Choose your main – done, I love all my alts equally :)
  • Do realm transfers – done 6/10, an important task for me.

Prepare for the Journey

  • Buy whatever food, goblin gliders and other items of convenience you need for leveling – done, in my case it’s just goblin gliders.
  • Check in Uldum portal and park your toons nearby Silithus for the very first BfA quest – done.

And as long as I’m there in Uldum, why not farm the Air domains a bit for elusive dragon mounts? :)

Gorhaug’s Bags Example: 

Bags-Battle-for-Azeroth

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Battle for Lordaeron

And the final piece of pre-patch battles is now live. This is pretty much it, the moves were made, the figures set on the board. We have Azshara cinematic to come yet, the third and the last of Warbringers shorts, but it’s more of a hint to the future rather than addressing the current events.

Like with burning of Teldrassil, the battle ended with both victory and failure.

With burning the world tree, Sylvanas eradicated the major Alliance outpost in Kalimdor, but at the same time she failed to shatter it from inside and break its morale: she received an immediate response with the mighty fist of the whole Alliance military, including night elves.

With taking Lordaeron, the Alliance effectively got rid of the Horde outpost – and not only the outpost, the source of blight in Eastern Kingdoms and Sylvanas’ home city. Yet the victory did not help to claim the ancient citadel: it is presumed that the ruins are now inhabitable. Sylvanas’ ambush failed as well, all the leaders survived the dead end encounter.

I’ve completed scenario for both Horde and Alliance today. Here’s the highlights:

– Sylvanas behaves like a bitch. Her last talk with Saurfang before his heroic stand could cause nothing but surprise. Surely you may care for the feelings of the living not the very least, but you’re warchief, for gods’ sake. You’re a politician. Show some respect – a flicker of it would be nice, am I right?

– The reaction of Baine is precious. The Horde is not too eager to follow her. I’ll be waiting for her kicking the bucket. She’s the Gul’dan type of villain to me now, not Garrosh one.

– Small flavor thing: there is a goblin spy Renzik that works for SI:7. He was mentioned in the book, and it’s nice we saw him during the Undercity evacuation, acting on Alliance side.

– Small flavor thing: everyone who played Warcraft III would notice the absolute similarity of how Anduin entered the throne room and the same walk of Arthas when he killed his father. Google the cinematic from W3, it’s awesome and of movie-quality. Even the angle of camera shooting is exactly the same. But of course, there’s nothing similar between the two characters.

– Gnomes saved the day – twice! First they came in tanks, and then they transferred the Alliance over blight and allowed them to end the game. Finally, yes, finally we see some significant gnome contribution – they were denied this honor throughout… all Warcraft history?

SpiderTankHD

– As I wrote yesterday, it was awesome to feel my self one of the many. No one addresses to you as a champion, a hero, no one says that only you could save the day. we were a part of the army, and it was awesome.

– Genn’s animations.

– Finally, this:

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I don’t know how it could be more awesome :) My favorite character just got a moment of epic proportions. I’m so hanging around her during this expansion.

As you probably know, my main, gnome frost mage Micromantica is Jaina’s apprentice by background. I could never be happier to see my teacher literally rule the battlefield.

=======

The scenario appears to be an awesome introduction to the expansion. We’ve never seen such a widescale battle before or participated in one.

What is more important, it is almost cinema-like. Watching playthrough maybe interesting even for non-gamers, and this is awesome.

I hope we see more of these epic battles in the upcoming expansion. Six days, guys. Six days left.

Novels Elegy and Good War Released

Two pieces of writing are published, and not a moment too soon or late.

Both explore the current War of Thorns with minor expand on the prior events (namely, how the Horde tricked Alliance spies in Orgrimmar) and ending with Burning of Teldrassil.

The writing is moderate enough, and the both novels thoroughly explore the same events from Alliance and Horde sides.

We get little extra insights to what happened, just a bunch of extra characters. Those characters are fanfic-written – i.e., poorly described, Mary Sue, and not interesting to read about.  They don’t cause either sympathy or any desire to follow them in game.

Besides, the narrative fails to comprehend the actual distances: apparently Saurfang’s “For the Horde!” battle cry is heard throughout the Darkshore, much like the latest popcorn toy.

Things to be mentioned:

  • Sylvanas’ initiate plan was even more clever: Teldrassil captured, she would urge Anduin to take it back.
  • Either Night Elves or Gilneans should be outraged by the king’s decision (Why others’ homeland first?), so the plan was to shatter the Alliance from inside. As we know, the Alliance in result is never more united.
  • And even if it was captured, Genn claims that wtf, of course they would not rant. NE gave worgens home and soothed their rage.
  • Neither Horde nor Alliance have enough ships to deliver a conquering army – that explains the need for Kul Tiras and Zandalar fleets later;
  • Portals work best to deliver small groups, they’re not fit to bring any significant reinforcements;
  • Evacuation of Teldrassil started 1 day before the actual burning;
  • Horde’s catapults were empowered by magi and shaman magic fire;
  • Genn, his wife Mia, and a random night elf baby in Mia’s hands were the last to pass through the portal to Stormwind.

This is all. Of course, if you want to plunge into the world of poorly described no-name character emotions, and add up to your chagrin about the whole war campaign, you’re welcome.

Otherwise, it doesn’t worth it.

Battle for Lordaeron starts tomorrow. I’m making Sylvanas suffer from the loss of her safe haven. Some EPIC Jaina action was hinted too in the cutscenes.

And you know what? It’s gonna be so nice to feel ourselves ranked soldiers once again – for a change. One of the many, one of the army. Not ultimate champions and world saviours – just the guys with blades and staves.

We are at war.

Trivia: The Lull of the Lulls

For the first time before the expansion I’ve run out of things to do.

It’s been a while really. I’ve got all my goals achieved until Battle for Azeroth, and now I’m just biding my time. Every week’s plot quests and the upcoming scenario takes me just a minimum on the alt re-runs.

Gearing Up

I’ve geared up all my toons at Darkshore, and my list is complete. What I lack is merely shaman’s agility claws or axes for Enhancement spec which simply don’t appear on the loot list. But of course I could go with Doomhammer and replace it through leveling questing – if it doesn’t drop.

Cleaning Up

My grand bags cleaning is complete. I’ve vendored all the Legion mats, as I’ve crafted all I had to craft. Legion artifact weapons, replaced by Darkshore ones, now rest in the bank. My backpack is filled by half: travel stones only, and my profession bags now have only a picking axe or whatever items alike.

I’ve cleared my quest logs. Quests were either completed or canceled.

Last Legendary Piece Project

Each of my toons is bound to get the last legendary via mission table essences. I just pick the one with most exciting transmog upon gaining 1000 essences, then I stop running missions and stop tracking all the currencies. 6 are left, and they’re at 700-900 already.

Achievements

Achievements are now done, and mostly during my preparation for the pre-patch. Uncovered is just one pristine item from Archaeology, and I will have to do this later. This is a Highmountain item, and pre-expansion 2 weeks are devoted to demon artifact digging. I’ll have to do that later.

I have Draenor archaeology to complete, but I’m not really in the mood to do that.

Pet battles – I’ve done this to an extent. I’ve completed collection achievements – Raiding with Leashes in Cataclysm and Lich King. I had some fun collecting all pets in Broken Isles too. Hunting some of them was exploration and adventure!

I’ve tried pet battle dungeons which is kind of an adventure. I’ve completed Wailing Caverns, then I learn that now I have to do the same for achievement on hard mode, I quit. I got stuck with a hobgoblin encounter in Deadmines, so this also is left for good. As I see pet battles as a purely leisure activity, I’m not longing for leveling up specific pets all the way, then try to beat the hard encounters :) Same with Algalon – when you learn from Wowhead that you have to devote much time trying with specific pets, it’s not my piece of cake. Strategies are all there, but if the challenge is not resolved on spot via casual gameplay and casual thinking (like selecting a pet from specific family as in rock-paper-scissors), I’m losing the interest very quickly. So I guess I’m stuck with collections here.

Trying for Mounts

I’ve acquired the second and the last mount from Firelands on my pet hunting, that was cool :)

My casual activity is now hunting for the Undroppable horse from the Lich King 25HM. All the toons are clearing up the whole raid, no luck yet :) With rarer mounts, I’ve previously hunted with all my toons for Attumen horse (success in three weeks) and Ashes of Al’ar (success in 3,5 months).

As long as I have time now, why not go there.

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Toon Cleaning Up

Starting with 17 toons during pre-patch, I now end up with… 10. These had to go:

  • Myde the Arcane Void Elf – dismissed, as I have my Frost Mage and I don’t enjoy playing Arcane.
  • Kalaari the Lightforged Paladin – dsimissed, as my human princess paladin Anibell will both tank and dps, and healing’s not an option.
  • Arkeona the Nightborne Subtlety – dismissed, as my major rogue now doesn’t enjoy Assassination BfA version, and she goes in Subtlety herself.
  • Helu the Tauren Druid – dismissed, as I wanted a Tauren as a cool replacement for the awkward Night Elf back then. Now I have a Highmountain one, and moose girl feels just cooler :)
  • Faari the Dwarf Fire Mage – dismissed, as I’m in the mood of starting a Dark Iron as my dwarf toon. She’ll either be a casting shaman or a fire mage, and leveling her would be merrier – and cheaper, considering my multiple transfers.
  • Melaris the Night Elf Demon Hunter – dismissed for class issues. Everything is awesome in the spec, it’s just… it feels so boring to play. I mean I enjoy the mobility of course, it’s simply amazing, but the actual fighting routine feels kinda underpowered and simplistic. Besides, her job is done. The demon hunters defeated Legion, and their goal in life is complete.
  • Backston the Human Death Knight – dismissed for the same reason. I don’t enjoy either Blood (slow) or Unholy (pet) specs. Frost grew kinda boring in the field and in raids with me, and I’m also not a fan of ‘evil’ specs. It’s just become too grim to login with her, so nay.

Food for thought: all the class order hall achievements stay! For example, if you delete your death knight toon, and then roll a new one, he will get an immediate access to the acquired Legion class mount (and pets). One more reason not to keep it.

And so, I’ll be leveling with the following roster:

Alliance

  • Micromantica the Gnome Frost Mage
  • Pietra the Gnome Subtlety Rogue
  • Aurinko the Gnome Holy Priest
  • Baisa the Gnome Marksmanship Hunter
  • Paitsu the Gnome Windwalker Monk
  • Anibell the Human Retribution Paladin
  • *upon availability – Dark Iron Elemental Shaman (fire tossing and shields!)

Horde

  • Schlitzchen the Goblin Enhancement Shaman
  • Faerella the Goblin Destruction Warlock
  • Jammu the Highmountain Balance Druid
  • Gorhaug the Orc Fury Warrior

It actually feels easier to play only the toons you want to play :) In Legion it was kind of obligatory to see the stories for every class and spec, and then the new races arrived which took a while and a leveling achievement to get used to dealing with them as with major races.

Do you feel miserable? Invite a goat, a dog, a cow and a donkey to live in your apartment for a week, and then chase them all out.

My toon roster cut in half, I feel fine :)

An Unexpected Cinematic: Old Soldier!

This. So much this. For all who doubted the Horde honor – suck it.

And I told you – not longer than yesterday in my previous post.

I don’t know what struck me most – either the awesome sauce characters or the might of the Alliance war machine starting to move. I guess both.

This Zappyboy which I hope will get a game story. This Saurfang (not his son parts) – the true leader, the true Horde (and I told you so). If you put your Horde toons on the shelf, put them out immediately.

And the total impression how the Alliance prepared for battle. We imagine the orders: “We attack at dawn”, because upon the very first sunbeam the whole iron wall starts moving as one, according to the battle plan. Even if we don’t see it closely, we imagine the dwarf and gnome technicians in the siege towers, all ready. We imagine the infantry slowly starting moving forward in close ranks, a merciless wall of shields and spears.

As for the ending, I have the same tickles as observing the beginning of Gondor battle in Lord of the Rings. I’m literally shaking, as epic things are about to start. I don’t know how I could wait for the next week now.

Blizzard, you’ve planned this long ago.

War of Thorns: Aftermath & Opinion

We’ve been there. We’ve seen it all. More than we can bear probably.

War of Thorns Campaign – Warfare Analysis

In terms of warfare, everything went quite effective for the Horde. A blitzkrieg through Ashenvale and Darkshore with a flank strike from Felwood mountains left the Night Elves no chances. Even if the elven fleet arrived from Silithus in time, it was not enough to withstand the full power of the Horde. All the army was present there – during our battles we’ve seen all the Horde forces – trolls, tauren, blood elves, goblins, undead, orcs against scattered and poorly organised elven garrisons. Sylvanas proved to be a brilliant tactician.

The blitzkrieg goals are achieved: Alliance now has no base in Kalimdor (probably most draenei left on Vindicaar, so the small enclave in Azuremyst doesn’t count), and the Night Elven morale is broken. Yes, the Alliance is in rage now and will be quick in action, but this was never meant to be a small war – the final goal is taking all the kingdoms, particularly Stormwind. Stormwind humans will be raised as undead, bolstering her nation’s ranks, and its verdant lands will be given to other Horde races to prosper. At least that is Sylvanas strategy.

In other words, she made the first move, and this has become an overwhelming success. High five to Sylvanas as a warchief.

Now we must speak of more complex matters – and that is of course exactly how these goals were achieved.

And here we cannot high five Sylvanas. In the long terms this is an overwhelming defeat – a political grave, pun intended.

The Horde and Saurfang

If you try to describe the Horde’s essence in few words, you will inevitably end up with the word “Honor”. Your average Horde member would rather die in battle than let his honor stained. Undead are capable of atrocities due to the lack of human emotion, goblins value profit over beautiful talks, and trolls are no strangers to ambush vile tactics, but they have always played an auxiliary role. The backbone of the Horde – orcs & tauren – are all about honor, and they do not let these dark tendencies to thrive whenever they can. I think blood elves also share the approach. Even the brute, ruthless Garrosh was in horror when he saw Sylvanas’ Silverpine campaign. The very same Garrosh executed the orc commander with his own hands for wiping the peaceful druid enclave in Stonetalon mountains. By Pandaria he got worse, but still.

Saurfang character seems much more important to me than Sylvanas in the War of Thorns events. He speaks for the Horde, and he is what the Horde really are. He forbids to kill the civilians in Lor’danel. He saves his warchief in the line of duty, but is devastated by his strike in the back – so he doesn’t even kill Malfurion when he has this chance (and a direct order). The Horde obeys their warchief for now, but a coup d’etat is a matter of time.

The Horde did not cross the line of no return in the burning of Teldrassil – it was not the event where they say ‘Oh well, now we can do whatever we need and want’. On the contrary, it was a WTF thing that contradicts their every belief and ground. And making an orc do a dishonorable thing… Let’s just say it’s not good.

For those of you thinking that the Horde is evil… that’s your answer. They are no friends to the Alliance, they are ready for a full-scale war, but they will try to do so honorably. Keep your Horde toons – you’re still fighting to endure, for your future and for your place in Azeroth. Side with Saurfang and other honorable leaders… and provide an example of a fair war. Sylvanas is not eternal – every step of the kind she makes is averting the faction members from her. Be there to see her inevitable end as she digs her own grave – and maybe you’ll be the one to help bringing it closer.

As for Sylvanas… 

I’ve always been fascinated how total jerks get a massive fanbase. Arthas – which turned from an overzealous youngling to a cold blood butcher. Illidan – which was hyperactive 10k years back and now again, generally well-meaning, but always failing, ruining everything in his wake. Sylvanas – which we first saw as a common ranger general in Warcraft III, but she very quickly turned into a bitch of epic proportions. I mean, what’s all the fuss about the assholes?

If a character looks good in fan art, it’s not a reason that we must admire him. Maybe we look at the character actions instead?

Sylvanas, after gaining her free will from the Lich King, has become a cunning and genocidal bitch. Has she ever done anything honorable in her un-life?

In Warcraft III: Frozen Throne she claims Lordaeron lands from the governing Nathrezim. She sides with the surviving Lordaeron humans forces to accomplish that, and upon her victory her undead forces slaughter them all in their beds. Garithos, the human commander, was a racist swine, but it doesn’t excuse the genocide.

During the WotLK events the apothecaries researched a deadly plague. This friendly fire that killed thousands was blamed upon the Undercity opposition, but did she renounce the research in horror? On the contrary, the blight was further improved, enhanced and widely used to turn Gilnean and Hillsbrad lands into toxic and lifeless wastelands during Cataclysm events, wiping the living with no remorse.

She does nothing to battle the Legion after a Broken Shore fiasco, but pursues her goals instead, trying to find a way to prolong the lives of the undead.

And now the fanboys and fangirls are whining that we didn’t get any explanation why Sylvanas suddenly (!) turned so evil. Guys, chill – you’ve actually got it. Sylvanas bluntly admits that she didn’t plan genocide and Teldrassil burning. All the quest briefings and cutscenes talk about occupation, and her sceond-in-command Nathanos was so surprised to get this order.

What actually happened is obviously an impulse thing. Had the elven general shut up and not provoke Sylvanas, offering her an option of how to break the elven morale, the tree would still stand and the citizens would be alive (although probably in internment camps).

Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ has this quote: “The trembling of his [Napoleon’s] left leg is a grand sign”. This is how it works in history. Personal qualities, phobias, illnesses suddenly become very important if it concerns a person of power. A terrible migraine or a toothache could be the cause of war if it’s a king’s migraine or toothache. The elven general poked an aching spot of the warchief capable of giving strategy orders, and the rest is history. Had she talked to Sylvanas being one of the many Horde leaders… this would not happen, as another warchief would never give that order.

I do not excuse her for that. This is definitely a war crime, but one in the line of many she committed. Genocide, killing civilians, using poison weapons – she has always done that and will do that again – not later than in the upcoming Battle for Lordaeron scenario. This is who she is – a murderer with no empathy to the living. And yet… Teldrassil bonfire was not her plan. It just happened.

Anyways, it’s most probably the last expansion when she’s the warchief. No one approves of her actions. She has always acted without honor, and that’s not what Alliance or Horde will approve. Frankly I don’t see any option for her but death. Making her a hero with the void Old Gods story is not gonna be accepted – she’s just too wrong.

Aftermath

This is amazing how the pre-patch events have… united the Horde and the Alliance players. Most members of each faction feel that this is all going wrong – thank gods, war crimes are not accepted as a glorious thing. And this is good for the world we’re living in.

Imagine if the Horde merely claimed Teldrassil. The Alliance still loses it, but it would have been fair and square. We would storm Lordaeron with the same persistence and an urge to retaliate, but it wouldn’t be so bitter.

The baseline is: why it has been so painful and depressing?

The Alliance experienced defeat, a certain defeat despite every action we made, every world quest we participated in. Before, all our battles led to victory. Before, eliminating even minor threats was a step forward to a greater victory over foes. Now, for two weeks straight, all we do is losing a war – and we knew the outcome long before the action.

The Horde wins… but Sylvanas refused us a fair war. That is against honor, against the ground, against everything the Horde stands for. This is against every reason why you rolled a Horde toon in the first place, why you chose the faction.

For now, we have new lands to solve. And Sylvanas’ end as a warchief is inevitable. All is left to do is wait. Stay strong. Fight honorably. And it concerns the Horde members – our characters – more than the Alliance.

Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge: Farewell to Legion

Z & Cinder’s Blog Challenge – Topic 36 – is about saying farewell to Legion :)

Here’s the questions we have for tonight:

Part 1 – What were your top 3 moments in Legion?

This could be anything! We want you to take a moment to look back and think about what it was that made Legion a great expansion for you? Did you achieve something in game for the first time during Legion? Was there a quest line or NPC or zone that you absolutely fell in love with? Or was there a piece of music or a mechanic that you fell in love with. Share your favourites in this topic.

My list is as follows:

1. Touching moments. I will remember the heartbreaking moments of Ysera, Varian and Vol’jin demise. I will also remember some good tunes – particularly majestic Argus piano theme, Stormheim and Highmountain themes.

2. Finishing Gul’dan :) The bastard had to go, and it was quite epic. He wasn’t misplaced in some weird environment. We stopped him from doing a dangerous thing.  He was a 100% warlock in a fight, and a 100% dangerous. I think he would be my most favorite raid’s last boss of the expansion in every aspect.

3. The whole Suramar thing. People love rebels, accept that. The story was rich, it had chapters and development, it had a perfect raid to end it. The environment, although quite hostile, was cosy in a pervert way.

4. Healing. It was the first time I healed raids in any expansion, and I definitely liked it for most classes (not you, pally). To an extent when I queued for healing role in the first place, not dps.

5. Immersement. I will list here most different things. We got some knowledge how we make our items in professions (not just bang a piece of ore with a hammer). We even got an idea how our mail travels between characters! The artifact stories. The class orders and class champions. The characters’ and peoples’ backgrounds and stories (all types of elves, draenei, vrykul, demons). In short, we’ve got very deep insights on many common things, and it was quite cool.

6. Life improvements which will stay. A reworked and useful mission table, a flightmaster whistle, world quests system, PvP talents separated from PvE, and many more.

Part 2 – What are you most looking forward to about Battle for Azeroth?

For this one, it’s time to look forward. Whether you’re Horde or Alliance, there is much to look forward to in the new expansion. This topic isn’t necessarily focused on zones or NPCs that you’re looking forward to seeing (though that, of course, absolutely counts and of course feel free to write about these!) but maybe it’s something more than that. Are there some goals that you’re wanting to achieve now that a new expansion is on the horizon? Are there changes coming to your class that you are really excited about?

All right :)

1. Zones and exploration. Of course I’m longing to see the new lands – exploring is what I enjoy both IRL and in game. Most of all I want to see Tatooine-like desert in Zandalar (it’s been a while since we saw some open spaces) and Drustvar for their witch theme. If you type ‘witch’ on Wowhead search… there will be no proper witches. Only troll witch doctors and casting harpies. I’m so glad that Blizzard finally addresses this big thing in the world’s culture.

2. Seeing the story. Despite the beginning appeared to be very heavy emotionally, we now all want to know where this all goes. How the conflict will be resolved? What fate awaits the Warbringers? And what is the place of the Old Gods amidst all that? I expect surprises like in Pandaria – we didn’t know that Garrosh would be the final boss, or that we will fight Zandalari in the last but one raid.

3. Dark Irons! Of all the Allied races, it’s my most anticipated race, and I’m rolling (or rerolling) one as soon as I’m able to do so.

4. Old location revamps. We will have significant location changes – although Silithus, Tirisfal and Darkshore are torn by war and not cool to be at, Arathi Highlands will become an eye candy, a lush forested zone. Even destruction of favorite spots (like Loch Modan in Cataclysm) is refreshing. I’d like to see new events happening in older zones, not eternal gnoll/murloc petty threats for starting characters. It’s a thriving world of Azeroth, and I want to see it developed.