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 :)
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A Weekend in Broken Shore: Artifact Quests in 7.2.

It was quite a weekend!

Artifact Questing

It was the highlight of the weekend. I drove all my alts to acquire the knowledge level of 26, place orders, and run some quests for unlocking new traits. I ran them in a casual way: whenever I felt to. The important thing is not to get exhausted – the expansion launch days taught me a lot about overdose.

And yet: List-Artifact

If the weapon name is in bold, it means I did the quests and unlocked new traits for it. Of course I’m doing every weapon, but step by step.

Quests are shared among classes and are actually few:

Tanks: One Quest

  • Legion robs Bank of Dalaran for the heart of Highlord Kruul, and you investigate with Kor’vas the Illidari. It’s walk and talk in the city, then you transport to Hellfire Peninsula staircase and fight waves of mobs solo while Kor’vas holds a portal open. It’s a hard quest, and dying is not uncommon – imps scorch very hard, and you just lack magic defenses, self heals or dps power to kill the summoners fast. Still, you can kill some, die if you die and continue killing them after your resurrection.

Healers: One Quest

  • There’s a new wave of crazy ghosts from Black Rook premises upon Gilneans, so you are on errand to help them. Although it’s a healer quest, you are not healing or dispelling anything much. You heal 8 Gilneans in the beginning, and then you can switch to DPS or tank spec.

DPS: Five Quests

  • You investigate an undead mage case – who was corrupted by a succubus. First in Dalaran, then you work with a warlock champion for clues and portal to Azsuna.
  • You investigate a case of a necrolyte cult in Dalaran with a Blood Elf knight – his brother is corrupted. Underbelly, then you go to a cave in Broken Shore.
  • You are sent to Azshara zone in Kalimdor to investigate a case of a famous mage Xylem – apparently he read some bad tome, and it corrupted him.
  • You are sent to Highmountain to stop Blood Totem tauren who use fel magic to twist the creatures and prepare an assault on Thunder Totem.
  • You are sent to Jandvik, then to Stormheim to help Skovald’s daughter unite the Vrykul tribes.

And this is it. If you saw these quests, you didn’t miss any lore.

The common point is that major villains always escape: we will deal with them later.

Few shots:

Mindebad the Death Knight and Her Unholy (Least Played) Weapon

4

Anibell the Paladin and Her Majestic Shield

5

Schlitzchen the Shaman and She Sometimes Forgets How to Hold her Claw

3

Paitsu the Monk and They Seem to Have Spoiled Her Beer with Arcane Energies

6

Reputations

…or, more important, Legionfall reputation.

List-Reputation

Micromantica is actually digging reputation – and in a casual way. She doesn’t farm anything, thank gods. I just grab every world quest available – and the batch of four actually takes 15-20 minutes. So, in the first week of this casual gameplay, I will be already Honored. And I barely had one order hall mission for rep tokens.

What Blizzard says: this step for flights is gonna take us 2-3 weeks.

My alts don’t run Broken Shore quests – I just don’t see any reason now. Other reputations for toons are somewhat frozen in a stalemate a bit over Honored/Revered borderline. I would casually take a toon and run an emissary now and then. We’ll be there.

Useless Stuff

Nether Shards – I don’t count them. Eventually I would buy some toys, but armor tokens are about the mogs that I already have, so I better upgrade through raids.

Obliterum – all the same. Micromantica boosted a 835 item to 880, and it’s the highest ilvl item I have except legendaries. But its appearance doesn’t change like it was with upgraded weapons in Draenor, so I just go: meh. Doesn’t worth bothering.

In other words, it’s nice to have options to raise your ilvl, it’s just I’m not too hungry for ilvl, and so I won’t use them.

Professions and Darkmoon Faire

It’s an amusing routine actually. I gathered some mats throughout a month and didn’t spend them. And Darkmoon Faire is a perfect time to check your state of skills: revise the collected mats and craft a lot of stuff to raise skill level along with the Darkmoon +5 quests.

Like I said, professions in Legion mean nothing to me. I only want to cap 800, do all the mogs, toys and mounts, and forget about professions until the next expansion.

I’ve ran the profession quests for every toon in Darkmoon Faire, and this time my Leatherworkers, the monk Paitsu and the hunter Lizgun, both dinged 800.

Which means that I was able to craft myself a moose!

1

I’m glad cause it’s finally a proper moose. Not some ghost one or streaked with magic tattoos. Just your common, hairy, smelling, alive moose :)

I’ve tried the potion of night or whatever it’s called. It’s too cool to be true, and I love it. I need to buy more of this. No screenshots of it yet (the picture above is actual Highmountain nighttime).

Heads Turn!

The coolest thing in 7.2. is that your head turns after your target’s face now. Now it’s not like you’re talking to a person and ignore him completely: your toon will look at his/her face.

The most benefits here are for Gnomes and Goblins! They actually raise their chins if they’re talking to taller NPC or players. The days of speaking to kneel caps and belt buckles are over!

See Hexen looking up at Skovald’s daughter:

2

– I mean, c’mon, girl! Take it easy!

Taller races like Elves, Tauren and Draenei would tilt their heads down to talk to shorter races.

And you actually pay attention to your enemies now, not looking in the horizon while cutting off limbs.

Awesome.

Dungeons and Raids

Suramar dungeons and Karazhan wait for me to explore. Didn’t touch them yet, but it’s in week’s plans of course. I want to see them – and then it’s just single runs for quests. They won’t be included in my dungeon routine – because I don’t have any dungeon routine and never will.

Didn’t have time to continue my raid runs yet – I think I’m gonna do them when I’m done with weapon questing.

Waiting for invasions this week. I wonder how they would work – the most important thing here is schedule of course.

This is it for tonight :)

Winter Holidays in WoW

It was quite a week :)

As you probably know, the winter holidays in Russia normally last 8-10 days. We have New Year celebration which is arguably the most important holiday in the year (with families, parties, presents, Santa and all), and a calm spiritual orthodox Christmas on 7th which is a national holiday too. If you throw in floating weekends, you’d never bother to insert any workdays in between if you were government. So we always have this long streak of work-free days.

Me & my wife normally use this time of the year for travelling, but as long as we’ve already planned our vacations in February, we suddenly got a big holiday at home. Due to very cold weather, we were circling between series and movies, reading, eating, playing with our cats, and – in my case – WoW. Quite a perfect vacation!

Suramar

Being in the world of Azeroth on this holiday has reminded me of a leveling process for my alts: only this time it was Suramar questlines. The big important thing was moving my toons through the available parts of Good Suramaritan campaign. The last 2 chapters open respectively at 7k and 20k revered, but everything else could be completed – and for enormous AP rewards.

This I did. Now I know all the routes. I can run any of the questlines with my eyes closed, plan side questlines and world quests to be completed on the way, open the portals and enhance my ancient mana pool. I can say I’ve mastered Suramar.

The ultimate Blizzard fail here is Jandvik’s Jarl of course. It’s a perfect example of how you DON’T design questlines. Everything is wrong with it. It’s long, tedious, it’s grind, grind, grind, it’s underwater or caves, it’s swarms of extra mobs on your way or coming from behind, it has no flight path or safe road to the place, it’s located at the end of the world. And it’s not even a single bit related to Suramar itself considering lore. I mean, why the hell did they even put it here as a part of campaign? I hated replaying the questline every single time even if my last toons could do it in 25 minutes or so.

I liked the main Suramar storyline though. The whole rebel/revolution business, and the story is very fun. I also like how Blizzard incorporated the experience of Krasarang in use – opening the new chapters and phasing along with reputation. The strategic design of Suramar is awesome, and visuals are cool too. Some of the questlines are not pleasant to play through – I mean the politics part where you have to run 6 times through the swarms of detector guys. Every time – even if you perfectly know how and where to move at full speed, mounted- it’s a gamble whether you’ll be discovered and dead or not. I don’t like that kind of a thrill. My absolute favorite Suramar part would be vineyards, it’s awesome in every aspect. The quests, the narration, the emotional swings, the motivation.

Naturally I jump at a Nightfallen emissary questing like a hungry tiger, driving all my toons through it. It’s a great chunk of reputation: suddenly you find them alts with a big rep progress made. Previous time they were at 100-3000 revered, and suddenly they are at 4000-7000.

It’s a shame that only Suramar rebel questlines award you reputation: the auxiliary night elves, vrykul or slaying demons with an illidari are not. But those serve as a great help. Not only they also grant you much artifact power, but the final reward is a big ancient mana piece – along with mana you get while doing them, it’s quite enough for the main storyline submissions of 800, then 1200.

Artifact Knowledge

This is high time when my alts begin to finish their artifact research. My mage Micromantica (obviously), rogue Hexen and warrior Bons crossed the finish line, and have their full research done. The others are almost there – at least at 22 some of them. In two weeks all my alts will be good and having  the artifact power flowing like it should.

Or should it? Once you’ve opened your 34 traits, there’s a Paragon one. Each paragon level will grow in artifact power you need, but researches just stopped – so the gap and effort will grow. I don’t think it’s a nice design: you’d be crawling for paragon traits at a 1-5% speed. Also I’m not sure what will happen when Blizzard introduces the promised 4th level for traits. Does it mean we will struggle for them even more?

Artifacts

I’m also closing in with artifact traits. Micromantica was the first to get her Paragon trait, and the others range between 31-34 traits. Suramar was really a bliss, and I’m not even at the final chapters which will throw in 500k AP items per quest.

I also discovered a new fun for me: the off spec artifacts. Some of them – like healer ones – are never meant  to be played by me, but I still want to open all the traits for them eventually – till 35. I don’t really want to play any mage specs except Frost, no priest specs except an obvious Shadow, demon hunter and paladin are bound to stay with dps.

Yet for some classes there are actually the specs I WANT to play. So I invested artifact power income into upgrading the weapons. I’ve invested into Doomhammer for Schlitzchen because I want the shaman to be ready for both melee and ranged playing styles. I’ve invested into Scythe of Elune – it’s the same story for Mayluna, because I should be able to nuke the bosses with star fire from afar if I feel so, or sneak and rip the mobs while questing with Fangs of Ashamane.

Then there are tank issues. Bons the Warrior and Paitsu the Monk are my tanks, but often I don’t feel like tanking a group content even if I need to go there. So it’s investment into Fury and Windwalker specs respectively for this type of situations (and I enjoy these ones cause I played them since the beginning). Vice versa, Mindebad the Death Knight has always been Frost, and while I’m playing it no matter what, I’m investing into Blood’s Maw of the Damned to crack the most tough elites in the field solo.

Then there are situations when artifact investment doesn’t depend on gameplay utility: the specs are just fun to switch! It concerns Hexen the Rogue (my favorite Assassination/newly discovered amazing Subtlety), Lizgun the Hunter (an ultimate Survival/lazy Marksmanship), and Microfury the Warlock (nuking Destruction/mischievous Affliction).

Will it be long? As we know it – it’s not. For all the mentioned off-specs, I’m already at 26-30 traits. Thanks, Artifact Knowledge!

Conclusion

The important thing is that I’m finally entering a routinely lull now – which is good. The goals with big effort are completed. The gameplay will look extremely simple and enjoyable: log in with a toon you feel like, queue up for LFR (we need many mogging to acquire), do Suramar world quests while in queue. There’s absolutely no rush for me now. Nighthold opens in a week, and LFR – in two weeks. My toons are totally ready with their ilvl, so it’s just a casual rep grind for whichever alt I feel like playing.

Alt Management: Artifact Knowledge

Something wild has happened during weekend.

Pre-Story

On Saturday I grew a bit tired of playing Survival Hunter. Mind you, I still think that this spec is something really wild and cool. It has interesting spec fantasy, it’s very mobile, and it’s quite effective in the field. Nothing wrong with the spec itself.

The only problem is that my hunter is a GOBLIN. There’s nothing wrong with it, but one of her hunter strikes animation looks pretty ridiculous. It looks like a ballet pirouette. Imagine her spear is a pole, as she raises it vertically and spins around it like a strip dancer. It’s supposed to be a strike. If I were her enemy IRL, I would plant at least three strikes while she does this stupid thing, all exposed.

And that, my friends, is ruining your gameplay at large. When you watch your toon fight, and your rotation is: hack, slash! (never gets old), hack, stupid, slash! stupid, stupid, stupid, hack… At some point it’s too much ‘stupid’ for you. It’s a solid reason for a race change: I did that already. An Undead warrior does flip-flops for 50% of battle. A warrior – performs – flip-flops. With all the plate armor and weaponry. It was so ridiculous that I changed her race to a Tauren.

So, when I realised that this hunter strike in goblin performance was pretty annoying, I considered a race change. There was a test-drive of a human in Survival spec – a test toon at another realm. Hooray, suddenly everything looks perfect.

And I’m glad she stayed a goblin – yet. Because this fuss also made me try some other stuff – another spec. Beast Mastery was never an option, I mean, the hordes of pets are not my thing. But Marksmanship – ooh, I played Marksmanship from the start and was forced to change to Survival with Legion changes. And now I read that Blizzard finds Marksmanship just in its place. Maybe it’s worth another try?

It was worth another try. I’m Marksmanship once again. I swiped the dust off my metal scorpion pet, and I’m having a good time just shooting things from afar. I tested an LFR, and I remembered why I loved playing a hunter: it’s a total relief and leisure time. Once I learnt the synergy between three main abilities, everything just started to crack under my arrows like chestnuts.

Sorry for the long introduction, but that brings us to a problem itself. Here goes: 

How can I possibly make my Artifact weapon as cool as the “main-spec” Artifact weapon? I mean, you’ve been upgrading it since Legion launch, and now you want to change specs?

Two words, guys. Artifact Knowledge.

lizgun

  • Lizgun puts aside Talonclaw with 24 traits.
  • She equips Thas’dorah with zero traits.
  • She has her Artifact Knowledge at 16.

Guess what happens next? She goes for a pair of Suramar questlines. She does two world quests for artifact power – just ordinary ones. And she runs Trials of Valor and Emerald Nightmare LFRs.

It took her only half a day, and Thas’dorah has 24 traits now. Let it sink: HALF-A-DAY.

Now tell me Legion’s not spec friendly? :)

If you need to test if you have enough Artifact Knowledge level, here’s your tip: 

  • Complete an order hall mission for Artifact Power item and win a bonus roll.
  • Now you have two items which give you artifact power: the main reward and the side reward which grants twice as much.
  • Apply them to your artifact.
  • If the bar will be filled with these items for at least 20% or more, you’re at the right place.
  • If less, you need to wait for Artifact Knowledge orders to complete. Just not to waste your effort.

=========================

Got this in the first evening:

thasdorah

Then I played two hours more in the morning, and it became 24.

All Weapons To Be Acquired…

In the coming week I’ve decided to acquire all artifacts for my toons. You know, lore-sake.

Of course I have no problem with all-DPS toons.

Artifact quests are easily completed in other specs. I had no specific problems with getting all three Mage artifacts while Frosting them all, all three Rogue artifacts with Assassination, both Shaman artifacts in Elemental. I’m pretty sure I will easily nail all Warlock weapons in my Destruction.

I even nailed Hunter’s Marksmanship quest in Survival, although it required ranged shooting and kiting by design – because mobs dealt strongest AoE around them. Now I’m sure I can get Beast Mastery artifact too – with Marksmanship weapon if Survival won’t work.

DPS artifacts were a piece of cake for tanking toons in tanking specs: both for Warrior and the one for Monk.

Now, here comes the trouble: I need to get tanking and healing artifact weapons for DPS-only toons.

Tanks

Mindebad the Death Knight – I’ve never touched Blood, ever, and I don’t even know how it works and what the spells are. I would try to Frost through the quest, even if it means a bit dying.

Melaris the Demon Hunter – I’ve played a tanking demon hunter during invasions, I’ve caught the general idea, so I will switch to Vengeance if things go really tough.

Mayluna the Druid – I’ve worked through several Hellfire Citadel LFR bosses as a Bear, so I think I’m gonna win this easily. Rumors are that bears became even more healthy in Legion.

Gardell the Paladin – I have only 15-36 level tanking experience, I think I will fail and fail.

Healers

The most trouble are of course healer artifact weapons. I’m no healer, I hated the role when I had to do it, and it’ll be all sweat and blood. But I need to get:

  • Priest: 2
  • Shaman: 1
  • Monk: 1
  • Paladin: 1
  • Druid: 1

I have little to no experience with all these specs. I’ve tried only Holy Priest for Mechanar dungeon and Restoration Druid for 15-64 levels while leveling. And I’ve never even specced into paladin, monk and shaman healers.

Six disasters are coming.

The healing experience might be fun albeit for the weapon quest only. But is it possible to DPS through them if things get tough?..

Legion Impressions: Artifact Weapons

So, Artifact Weapons is today’s topic.

bons

Getting My Artifact Weapons

I must say that the weapons were my first goal in the first launch hours. What I did before any zone questing is that I led all my 12 toons to get their artifact weapons – both to see the story and see their class order halls.

Maybe it’s the weapons fault that I was overloaded, overdosed with lore on my first days. The story behind artifacts is HUGE. Yes, the quest chains are different. For some you jump across two or three locations, leading investigation. For some you just arrive at a place and boom! you’re done after you slay a pair of mobs and a boss.

So far I’ve acquired these artifacts and saw these quest chains:

  • Micromantica: Frost, Fire, Arcane
  • Microfury: Destruction
  • Aurinko: Shadow
  • Bons: Protection, Fury
  • Paitsu: Brewmaster
  • Mindebad: Frost
  • Mayluna: Feral
  • Melaris: Havoc
  • Lizgun: Survival
  • Schlitzchen: Elemental
  • Hexen: Assassination
  • Gardell: Retribution

People keep praising some artifact chains and call the other ones dull. It means that I plan to see all the 36 artifacts for my toons. Even the healer ones. For the sake of lore, and to compare.

By my liking, the most interesting and enjoyable quest chains were:

aurinko

Priest – Shadow: shares the first place with Monk – Brewmaster. I liked these quests best of all, very different, not alike each other at all, but so cool. Total immersement in Shadow thing for Priests, I was screaming with delight at every step of the quest chain.

Perfect fun/dark balance in the tanking Monk quest. You actually collect your fighting staff – it’s the most fun thing ever, and then things grow dark when you have to protect a temple from Legion forces. Then it’s sunshine again thanks to the very amusing Hozen King. I’m not fond of Hozen, but the King was hilarious here.

By the way, isn’t that stance awesome?

paitsu

The ones I liked in no particular order:

  • Mage – Fire: return to ICC, and you need to break the ice walls on your way. You know, what Fire does? It melts.
  • Mage – Arcane: it’s the hardest but very interesting quest chain with Azuregos
  • Shaman – Elemental: it’s a way back to Pandaria with three very different stages – each of them is awesome. If you ever wanted to kick LiLi Stormstout’s bottoms for all her questing in the Valley of Four Winds – it’s a quest for you.
  • Paladin – Retribution: a big lore thing there. I’ll just say it’s linked to Broken Shore scenario and it happens there.
  • Druid – Feral: there’s a big lore thing, and it’s a great lead into Val’sharah, so you just want to start questing from there, no options.

mayluna

Now, next go the ones that were quite ok, simple but well done. This is the case when simplicity is the best way possible, and it works. I wouldn’t add or alter a single thing to these quest chains:

  • Warrior – Protection and Warrior – Fury. Both are very easy and fast smashing some vrykul skull in Stormheim.
  • Demon Hunter – Havoc: Same thing, but in outer green space. Slay some demons, kill a boss.

These quests were intended to be awesome and filled with lore, but complexity appeared to be very tiresome:

  • Warlock – Destruction: make your way to Scholomance grounds, then Tol Barad, then meet Gul’dan. You are required to be cheating and stabbing your allies in the back.
  • Mage – Frost: there’s some very tiresome, boring and hard demon slaying in several places.
  • Death Knight – Frost: I was dead more than with any spec. It’s very hard to complete, and if the mobs healed themselves after you died, I would never make it. Even some Arthas flashback does not win it.
  • Rogue – Assassination: despite that the core of rogues is stealth, I hate stealth quests. A single mistake, and you start over – that sort of thing. I was just glad when it was over, despite the long and what meant to be lore-rich quest chain.
  • Hunter – Survival: it was plain dull. You’re hunting a beast in Stormheim, and while they teach you to use traps and all, it’s pretty bugged, repeatable and boring.

The important point is that you can complete an artifact quest chain in another spec. For example, if they give you a quest to acquire Felo’melorn, they will switch you to Fire, but after taking this quest you can switch back to your Frost and complete it as such.

I didn’t see yet how it works with healer quests, but by all means you can get dps artifacts as a tank – which I did.

Artifact Models

I totally enjoy the Elemental Shaman’s shield and claw thing. Protecton Warrior’s combo of sword and shield is cool. Shadow Priest’s dagger and tome are awesome! And I like the Brewmaster’s stuff – but these dangling mugs are a bit annoying. I need to get her a keg model, and it will be perfect.

The others are… well, they’re very nice. I don’t feel the urge to mog over them, no.

The only artifact weapon I dislike is Destruction Warlock’s staff. It’s too big for a gnome. That one will be mogged I guess, and very soon.

Artifact Leveling

It’s very fast up to level 13-14. I’ve decided to play Fire on my Mage (cause Frost felt weak and not enjoyable at all), and  I went for Felo’melorn. Ebonchill was put in the bag at its level 14, and the fire blade became level 11 in the first day. Mind you, I don’t have any artifact knowledge yet.

Artifact Traits

What I feared much is that Blizzard chased themselves in the corner with artifact traits – that they will need to rework the classes again in the next expansion to make them work without artifact weapons. But no, they didn’t. 95% of traits are percentage buffs, and that’s tweaked easily. Blended into spells or passives. That’s very good I think.

——————————————–

All in all Artifact Weapons are an enjoyable feature

They add this extra leveling layer. They are your favorite pet you care about through the expansion. You educate and nurture it, and watch it grow in power. Not to mention huge chunks of lore they add up to your knowledge of places, stories and characters.

Me likey.