Good Suramaritan: Check

shalaran

Today’s morning Lizgun the Hunter was the last toon to complete the Good Suramaritan chapter.

And it’s perfect timing too. Tomorrow I’m heading off to my vacation, and no playing is planned during my trip – as usual. It’s good to leave with a big thing done.

Completing Good Suramaritan on all of my toons will have some consequences for my gameplay.

First, I’m not bound to Suramar dailies anymore. Of course during the Insurrection questline you’ll have to do 10 more world quests in Suramar, but it’s done once and fast (a couple of days). I don’t have to wait for Kirin Tor and Nightfallen emissaries and frantically complete their quests on every toon when they proc.

Second, I’ve deleted the rep tracking bar from the screen. It’s kinda relief to see only the AP one there.

Third, the mana hunt is over! If you’ve ever wondered how long you’ll need to collect those blue crystals all over Suramar to feed the suffering guys – well, it’s the exact point where it ends.

In short, it’s an ultimate relief – and the following Insurrection chapter is a collection of simple, lore-heavy and fun scenarios/quests leading the plot to The Nighthold raid – and with huge amounts of artifact power on the way.

Speaking of artifact power: upon completing Good Suramaritan all the main weapons are now 35, and their second weapons are in the range of 27-34 traits. Insurrection will help to reach my goal of 35 traits for all weapons even further.

So, it’s time for relaxed lull coming for me. It’s time to farm previous LFRs for mogging and The Nighthold LFR for mogging and gear upgrades. It’s time for non-frantic, relaxed emissaries of other factions to get access to profession recipes. There will be no rush: if I feel like doing an emissary batch on some toon, I’ll do it. It’s time to cover some missed side storylines in different zones. It’s time to get serious with Archaeology and Fishing.

Entering a relaxed lull till 7.2.

P.S. I thought it would be a good idea to encourage the Q-A comments. If you have any question or need any help with Suramar questlines, I’m eager to answer here.

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One Day at a Time

(c) Thalyssra

It’s pretty amusing how sometimes you should listen to what the NPCs tell you. Remember how in Pandaria people told you to: “Relax. Enjoy”? That was the secret to love the continent and expansion.

Thalyssra’s “One day at a time” catchphrase is your reputation guideline to Nightfallen and Legion factions in whole. If you think that you should reach Exalted in one big effort, you’re wrong. Because you see those 50-75 rep rewards and surrender yourself to dismay.

Still, if you focus yourself on this specific goal of reputation, it’s done very quickly. The whole daily batch of 6-7 Suramar quests will take you 30-40 minutes per toon at max, and you will be up by 1000 reputation. Add those Kirin Tor and Nightfallen emissaries with 750 and 1500 rewards, and you’ll be there.

Don’t try to squeeze more than these 7 simple daily quests in one day – make your reputations game a relaxed game. Ignore the goddamn withered scenario. One day at a time.

My toons are starting to hit the ceiling of Nightfallen Exalted these days. It’s a week’s worth until going into the world of massive AP income of the Insurrection questline. And then we’ll be done with Suramar.  This journey comes to an end.

list

I’ve added a Valar’jar column – the four champions would hunt for cloth, leather, mail and plate armor kits within Trials of Valor. No need to charge all of my toons for the same Odyn’s quests – as we’re prepared for and running The Nighthold already. Still there will be Emerald Nightmare runs for the same mogging goals, and I guess the more runs the better here.

One day at a time :) Don’t get exhausted. Don’t rush. You’ll be there.

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.

Leyline Bling Achievement Guide

Today we are talking about Leyline Bling achievement.

The achievement requires you to open leyline feeds for Shal’Aran – the Nightfallen base. The result of opening all the feeds is:

  • Great advance of reputation with Nightfallen
  • Increased mana drop – you need the mana to fuel the withered scenario, feed the NPC and submit big chunks of it during the main questline
  • It reduces the cost of the most important mana buff from Valtrois – 10 against initial 50.
  • Finally, it’s required to complete Good Suramaritan – otherwise they don’t give you the last quests

Granted the mana importance in Suramar, you are bound to complete this achievement as fast as you can – priority number one.

You need to activate 8 beacons in whole, the first being Anora Hollow on introductory quest. That I will not mention as it’s easy to find following quest directions. The others require some tricky exploration and also mana submissions.

In this guide I will give you directions, exact mana costs/requirements and also some tips of when it is best to open the channels. As most of you have probably completed it on main toons – probably chaotically, the guide may prove useful to ease the job for your alts.

Let’s go.

*the picture is clickable – opens in new window

leyline-bling

1 – Moon Guard. From northern flight point, you cross the river by bridge, turn right to the north. Pass the kittens, corrupted bears and satyrs and climb up north and to the waterfalls bank. You need to find a smooth grassy descend to the river: no jumping. The entrance is a ruined gate entwined with twigs.

Cost: 200 mana
Extra requirements: Collect 6 quest items by killing arcane elementals in the very same place 

2 – Moonwhisper Gulch. Start with northern flight point. Go east. Pass the wolves and find a wide dark ravine (it’s wide like a highway) with aggressive panthers and a dangerous ettin (avoid him – yet). Follow the highway towards the bridge. When you pass the last mountain on your left, turn left to the river and cross it – here’s the entrance.

Cost: 200 mana
Extra requirements: You take a quest at a pillar and return for ettin! He stole an item and we must retrieve it. Ettin is marked with a star on the map. He’s soloable.

3 – Falanaar North. I suggest you do it during The Light Below questline – the last leg for Nightfallen But Not Forgotten. If you already did it, return to Falanaar where you are falling from a great height to the water pool. Fall again :) Then ascend the only staircase (one flight) – and the beacon is straight ahead guarded by an easily killed elite mob.

Cost: 250 mana
Extra requirements: none

4 – Falanaar South. It probably requires a separate travel if you don’t want to get lost in Falanaar tunnels and kill hundreds of mobs. Just ride from Meredil and find this lush riverbank outside :) There are withered dudes swarming, but you ignore them and just find the ruined entwined entrance on the south riverbank. Enter, follow where the only path leads you, 5 to 10 mobs to kill on the way, and you’re there.

Cost: 250 mana
Extra requirements: none

5 – Soul Vaults. Ride from Meredil to the demon grounds. When down there, find the most western highway and follow it all the way down, ignoring all the demons – infernals too. At the very southern Legion enclave you will find some chained nightfallen, inquisitors and fel hounds – that’s the place. Entrance to the cave is guarded by a pair of fel guards.

Cost: 250 mana
Extra requirements: none

6 – Kel’Balor. From the Crimson Thicket flight point, follow west through all the manasabers and Suramar beast hunters (ignore them) until you fall into a narrow mobless ravine. The ravine ends with Kel’Balor entrance.

Cost: 200 mana
Extra requirements: You need to activate the second beacon just beside the pillar and survive for three waves of 3 withered mobs attacking you. No time for food between attacks, a certain class without self-heals may want to bring healing stuff. Needless to say, clear the roaming mobs first before launching the defense.   

7 – Elor’shan. It’s best done with Kel’balor as it’s in close proximity. From Crimson Thicket flight point, follow a tidbit south and fall, then seek for the entrance against the mountains – the very same entwined ruined gate.

Cost: 250 mana
Extra requirements: none

The overall Suramar tip is you should go open the next feed as long as you have enough mana to do so. And remember having a buff from Valtrois all times on you when you’re in the zone. Completing this achievement at an early stage will greatly ease your journey through Suramar questlines.

Happy hunting!

Suramar Weekend & Malfunction

suramar

The weekend was quite productive with my Suramar questing. I’ve figured out a few tips for alts, as usual:

  • The very first priority while on Good Suramaritan is collecting mana
  • You must have this buff from Valtrois all the time on you
  • Try and get all the mana crystals on the way – but only if it doesn’t mean engaging in a hundred mob fight
  • Once you have at least 200-250 mana, go and open the next ley line feed – Leyline Bling achievement is your first priority which you must complete asap
  • Main questlines require you to submit 800, then 1200 mana, so if you don’t want to be grinding in waste, you better collect it before you come across these quests. don’t let these pools stall you, so that’s why you need Leyline Bling
  • You also spend mana feeding the nightfallen npc and probably withered scenario
  • Once you’ve done Leyline Bling and start questing, mana will flow fast and secure

Once you’re on a roll with your alt, rep flows very fast despite the small amounts of quest rep. Anibell, my paladin, started on Saturday with 2500 rep and ended up at 9500 by late afternoon. Well, you just do things in Suramar, and it happens.

As long as I have all my alts to complete their Suramar questline, it’s vital not to fall into grind. I take my pace: for example, one toon completes a chunk of plot, and the other does another questline. You don’t want to be doing one and the same pieces for every toon one after another the same day. I take at least a day or two for things to settle. Shortcuts and best ways to complete questlines remain, but the quests seem comparatively fresh.

In other words: take you time.

jeeves

That’s Jeeves. He has a hobby of racing with my other cat, and his shortcut to the windowsill is through my computer mouse area.

Knowing that, I don’t allow any drinks in tall opened vessels near my laptop. Exceptions happen though.

I had a beer from a bottle on Sunday night, and Jeeves was racing by. Beer went over the keyboard, and then whenever I type anything, my laptop adds 666 after every symbol I type. Sometimes it starts printing 666666 by itself.

Long story short, it’s two computer-less days for me, and a $64-worth whole keyboard replacement in service center. With a single swish of the tail :)

I love the dude.

Suramar Finished: What’s Next?

Yesterday I’ve experienced the last bit of Suramar campaigns.

The chapter felt way unfinished, even granted the further storyline coming at us. I’ve expected the junkies make some progress to their current state and be prepared for assault on Suramar, but it’s apparently yet to come.

Suramar will get its own review post, but all in all I must say that Blizzard failed to see the difference between challenging and annoying.

At least I can boast my Loremaster achievement now. What is left is 6000 rep for the Wardens, and I’m good with the first part of the flight requirement.

So my main Micromantica is largely good with her emergency goals. She has all followers at 850 ilvl and purple quality, she saw the Emerald Nightmare in full, she’s up and ready for tomorrow’s Trials of Valor LFR.

Other goals seem like expansion-long. She naturally has to level her Artifact Traits and Knowledge. She has yet all factions to Exalted. She has yet to level her professions, and it seems that no use would come out of Tailoring, granted how much mats you need and what sucking ilvl you produce. Generally I see professions as an extra lore adventure now.  Which is fun, engaging and all… but completely useless. Strange, huh?

Alt Management

Yes, with my main reaching her goals, it’s time to drag my alts further. And I must say my chess-like strategy did pay off! See for yourself:

  • I don’t have any toons which need leveling. I can’t tell ‘I have my shaman at lvl 101’, for example – which I often read in blogs or guild chat.
  • All toons are at artifact knowledge level 5 or higher.
  • All toons have 14 artifact traits or more.
  • All toons have completed their order hall campaigns and have 8 followers to pick from.
  • All toons are at ilvl 805 or higher.
  • Almost all toons have all pillars of creation – I need 4 dungeons to run, and that’s it.

So, my gameplay considering alts is finally a routine. World quests, garrison missions, professions and profession quests. There’s no rush!

Here are your alt management tips:

The first idea of alt management now is picking up an alt which lacks something: order hall resources expired, has fewer artifact traits and all. Then you go and do emissary questing. In just an hour or two you could complete a set of three emissary meta-quests. And you find your alt boosted! Much artifact power – enough for one more trait, resources sufficient for a week of missions, ilvl raised by 10 points or more. Generally, if your alt seems underleveled and underpowered, just pick it up and start playing it! You’d be surprised how much progress it makes in no time. Yes, even an hour is a huge leap forward.

The second imperative is having your artifact knowledge orders running, and it better always be two orders so that you don’t waste a minute. Time is of the essence here, so when your previous order is over, the next one starts right away.

The third goal for alts is going for Suramar questing, because it gives an enormous boost to artifact power. But I want to gain at least level 10-12 of artifact knowledge before I go there.

Don’t tell me Legion is NOT alt-friendly, because it is.