Accidentally Epic’d

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wow-64-2016-09-15-06-35-02-17

I figured this screenshot was appropriate this morning because this if anything else is how I feel.  Ragweed is my direst of dire enemies.  It has always been a problem for me and continues to be this day.  I feel like I am a bit of a walking zombie and I didn’t really know completely why until I watched the forecast this morning.  Sure enough ragweed pollen is spiking like mad right now, which explains the constant congestion, watery eyes… and general inability to breathe.  On a day like today all I really want to do is to either go back to bed and hide from the world, or snuggle up in a cocoon on the sofa playing video games.  The problem with this plan however is that our human resources department is being super bizarre with sick leave.  I have almost 400 hours of sick time built up over the years…  yet they tend to freak out any time someone actually uses some.  What is the point of giving us sick leave…  especially in the hundreds of hours territory while being stingy with actually getting to use it.  So instead of chilling out on a day like today when I am not really a fully functional human being… I am going to shamble in my undead state to the office and mash keys with confused fingers.

One the WoW front however, as of last night I am missing one ring and a belt from being completely purple once more.  The strange thing about this process has been that I didn’t really do anything super intentional to get there.  Through unlocking my class hall, completely its mission… and then spending order resources to upgrade items all the way to 840 I got a big chunk of the way there.  From there it has simply been doing any items that were upgrades each day from the world quests.  The end result has been the least grindy gearing process I have ever gone through.  I just played the game and did the things I enjoyed and before I knew it I was sitting there at 838, a reasonable level to do just about anything available in the game right now.  The truth is I have only actually run two dungeons in heroic, and while I have done a slew of normal dungeons they were always for some other purpose than just grinding.  Either I needed something for a quest or a friend of mine did… and we ventured forth and had a grand romp inside.  It has been amazing just how painless and seamless this entire gearing process has felt.  For a long time I have given credit to the way the catch up mechanics felt in Final Fantasy XIV, but even there you had to have a focus on actually running content to get gear.  This time around it feels like I just did the things I would have done normally… and accidentally got epic’d.

Short and Long Game

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wow-64-2016-09-13-21-58-46-88

Last night is a perfect example of why Legion is working so well for me.  When I first got home I piddled around for a bit doing the few world quests that actually had upgrades for me.  I managed to pull out another 835 trinket, and a 830 Iron Relic which combined with a 830 necklace that I got much later in the evening takes my overall item level to 834.  For the most part every single night I am doing two things.  Firstly I am knocking out the four quests that are required to get me the emissary chest with whatever faction is highlighted.  After that I check World Quest Tracker to see which rewards might be upgrades, because as my gear level has gone up… the sorts of rewards available to me has also increased.  For example when I checked a few minutes ago before sitting down to write this blog post I had an epic chestpiece somewhere in Azuna with roughly 20 hours left on it.  For those not familiar with the addon, it gives players a similar view to the mobile app in game and allows for the tracking of individual world quests.  This is super handy because when you are tracking one… it then also shows up on your flight map so you can see pretty easily which location is the closest to the quest you are trying to finish.  It also color codes the quests so you can see which ones are expiring soon.  This way if you are trying to complete every possible quest, you can make sure you get those with a short timer on them done so you don’t risk them expiring.

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After hopping on voice chat we organized into a group, because in part we were looking for something to do with Tam who has been working on a Monk healer.  I needed a quest for enchanting from Halls of Valor… because even though I have done this place five times now the staggering of quests meant I kept needing something from it.  The positive is that we could run a dungeon with him… the negative is that because of his “just boosted” gear score we had to zone in manually.  What was awesome about the run last night though is that Grace has done quite a bit of healing on the Monk, so Tam and her talks about which abilities work for which fights as we went through the dungeon.  By the end Tam was Mistwalkering like a pro, and I went from having to largely keep myself alive with Ignore Pain to not really even getting close to dying at all.  The other thing we noticed is just how ridiculous the range on the Monk healing statue is.  It seems to be most of an instance worth of distance… and I am not entirely certain that when it finally stopped healing… that it was due to range and not due to line of sight.  We finished the dungeon successfully and it broke up the logjam that seemed to be my enchanting progression.  After completing that one quest I got four other quests that unlocked a series of endgame neck enchants.  Grace and I were talking a bit about this problem last night, that while I really enjoy the quests… it is going to make tradeskilling on alts a pure nightmare.

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After the dungeon run, the group broke up as Mor and Ashgar needed to go off to bed… or whatever it was that they actually did.  From there Grace and I decided to work on some of the Gold Dragon Wardens quests.  These show up on your map with the traditional elite boss seal around them, and represent tougher group content.  Sometimes these are reasonable to solo… other times they simply hit too hard or have too much life to be reasonable.  While they are not often soloable, they generally speaking can be duo’d with my protection warrior and her mage.  I can keep myself alive mostly long enough for her to burn it down and more often than not when we actually get to a given location… there is already a group starting the fight that we just hop in on.  So I started the post with a statement about last night being a perfect example of why Legion is working so well for me, and all of these examples are why.  I started off the evening soloing, then pulled together a group and ran a dungeon… then continued the grouping in a much smaller scale with tracking down a bunch of elite world quests.  I went from solo, to group, to duoing… all in the same night and it felt seamless and largely effortless to find some objective that felt valuable to do in all of those cases.  Eventually I am sure raiding will be added in to that mix giving me a whole new level of things to do with friends, all the while constantly feeling like I am moving the needle forward.  Legion is doing an excellent job of giving me small term gains, but still keeping extremely long term goals present and making me feel like I am constantly inching forward towards them.  Now I just want them to keep this  up for the rest of the expansion and continue this feeling into the next.

Battered Paw

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The last twenty four hours has been interesting for a few reasons…  most of them not terribly good.  A few days back I introduced you to Luna, and to say her integration into our family has not been going swimmingly is an understatement.  She is quite possibly one of the sweetest cats we have encountered… when it is human to cat interactions.  However as she has gotten more comfortable in the house, she has also become less tolerate and more willing to straight up fight our other two cats.  We are trying to work through this, but occasionally one of us has to try and break up a fight.  Yesterday my wife attempted to break up one of those fights by trying to remove our youngest from the situation.  In a highly stressed and freaked out state Kenzie bit the shit out of her hand.  Now this same sequence of events had happened a few weeks earlier to me… but this time Luna bit me.  For me everything seemed to be fine once I stopped the bleeding because four puncture wounds can really produce a lot of blood.  For my wife however she is having some adverse effects… namely that her hand is swollen, red and fevered.  Yesterday after work she went to an urgent care place here in town, and they too were concerned giving her a shot of antibiotics, and a ten day course.  They also drew a boundary around the effected area saying, if the redness breaks this line… to get to the emergency room because my wife will need a course of IV antibiotics.

Needless to say I am now doing a lot of things for her, given that it is painful to grip anything in her primary hand.  I’ve latched a couple of bras and opened a lot of pill bottles and pretty much anything else that requires grip strength.  I would post a picture of her poor battered “paw” but honestly I am not sure the comfort level folks have with seeing injuries.  When I posted my knee, it looked questionable but there were no open wounds.  This on the other hand feels like it would cross some invisible internet line.  Needless to say it looks bad, and thanks to the irregular line around it…  and the swollen nature of the area… it kinda reminds me of a jellyfish.  On the Luna front, what is ultimately happening is that we have built her a little suite of sorts in my wife’s office with litter, food and water and some comfy places to chill.  She is ultimately staying there when we go to bed around midnight, and then getting back out when we are physically home and able to intervene if needed.  The problem with this is that when I let her out each night she is starved for attention, and it just makes me feel horrible for doing it.  That said I don’t want either side of this squabble to injure themselves further.  Both Luna and Kenzie/Allie have several battle scars already from the past scuffles.  Nothing yet that needs a trip to the vet thankfully, but still I don’t want to encourage more unsupervised “encounters”.  Additionally when we are at home we try and make sure there is one of us on each floor of the house… so that there are clear safe zones that they can stay away from each other.  I just am not sure how we get past this current situation and get to one where they at least tolerate being in the same room…  if not hopefully someday are friends.

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As far as the game goes, last night was a night of doing so many World Quests.  Early in the evening I unlocked a set of quests… the first was to do 30 World Quests, and the second was to collect 30 Demonic Runes.  Somehow I managed to actually complete both of these last night during my extended play session.  With my wife in her current injured state I purposefully tried not to get into anything that I could not also get out of rapidly.  There are so many little things that she just needs help with at the moment, and I didn’t want to inconvenience her or my party by getting into group content.  So I spent the majority of the night running around doing these little vignettes of action, and I guess I caught it at exactly the right time…  because when I finished the first round there were a handful of new ones up popping which allowed me to complete the 30 in total.  This is not the sort of thing I will do often, as in try and do “all the quests” but it was fun to do it at least once.  One of the things that I like the most about World Quests is that I don’t have to worry about collecting a quest… and if I get interrupted having it stranded in my quest log that I will then have to abandon to pick up something else of importance.  I get to enjoy the action while it is happening and then forget about it if I need to get pulled away.  The real shocker of the night however was that I did one of the PVP quests…  admittedly without really intending to.  I was bouncing around the map and noticed that there was a nearby quest with good rewards…. and it was only after I had killed a few mobs did I realize that I was now apparently flagged.  It took a lot of deaths…  not to PVP but just to the density of the mobs, but I managed to complete it and get my shiny bauble.  All in all it seems like these are a way more reasonable and enjoyable form of potential PVP for me…  it is doing an objective that has a clear reward at the end… rather than just killing players for the sake of killing players.

New Expansion Buzz

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Wow-64 2016-09-01 13-29-26-88

I have been having more fun in World of Warcraft than I have had in years.  That at least feels like a true statement, but also one that makes me question it.  Sure it seems like I am having a blast, but it got me thinking…  don’t I always have a lot of fun at the launch of a new expansion?  One of the interesting things about having a blog that has been active since 2009 is that in theory I should have evidence of how I felt at the launch of Cataclysm, Pandaria and Warlords.  Around the launch of Cataclysm I seemed to be mostly focused on grouping and gearing… and grinding dungeons to get to the magical number needed for raiding.  I think I was still very much in my “games are serious business” mode, so there really isn’t any talk about the expansion being fun or not.  In truth remembering that time period I was very much not having fun, and I think in the grand scheme of things that is ultimately why Cataclysm was the expansion that caused me to “quit” World of Warcraft.  The quit is of course a lie, considering that I am still playing the game… and never really went longer than six months without reactivating my account.  The launch of Pandaria unfortunately happened during a serious lapse in my posting, and by the time I start back up… I was on the daily posting kick and talking about casually playing the game.  With the launch of Warlords… I talk a lot about how nostalgic the game makes me feel, but in reality not much actually talking about how I am enjoying it.  This was after all the expansion I had originally said I was going to take a pass on… so this quote makes sense.

I still stand by my original statement that if you have no interest in World of Warcraft, this expansion will do little to change that.

So if I set out to prove that I am always pumped about the launch of a new game expansion…  I guess I disproved that theory?  I guess at least on some level, any infusion of new content is something that I ultimately enjoy.  There are new zones to explore, new quests to figure out… and lots and lots of tasty loot.  However this time around something feels different, and I am having trouble quantifying exactly what that is.  For the first time since the launch of Wrath of the Lich King… I have hope that the best days of the Warcraft franchise are not behind us.  With all of the previous expansions…  I felt like they did a decent job of stirring up nostalgia, but not really doing a great job of making me feel like the game has a new purpose.  This time around so much feels fresh, from the class designs and reworks to the fact that they all seem to be focused on a clear vision of what that class does.  I attempted to talk about this yesterday, but the fact that my airflow was pretty low ended up with the post being a jumbled mess.  To be truthful I am still sick right now, so for all I know this post is also going to be a jumbled mess.  However I love the feel of my Warrior for the first time since I really came into my own as a tanking main during Burning Crusade.  The irony here is the fact that I am not really tanking at all, but instead dpsing my way through the content as Fury.

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The only problem here is that we have just barely scratched the surface, and myself even more so than that.  The game launched Monday night, and we already have four level 110 characters in House Stalwart.  I am very much not one of them… but instead hanging back in the middle of the pack at level 105, having completely finished Stormheim and just started Azsuna.  I have no idea what the “feel” of the expansion is going to be once we all kick off the training wheels and move into that sometimes glorious time known as the end game.  Even Warlords had some really fun moments while leveling, and including some really amazing cinematic experiences.  However once we arrived at the end there was a very hollow game waiting for us.  I guess the difference this time is that with the launch of Warlords I absolutely expected to have bounced off of the game by about the three month mark.  In truth it was a little closer to the six month mark, but the bounce did in fact happen at least mentally even though I don’t think I ever actually cancelled my account this time around.  This time however…  I have a blazing pyre of hope that maybe just maybe that won’t happen.  Ultimately I really like what is going on… with the class design, with the storyline, with the zone creation, and heaven forbid with the lore itself.  The bigger story of Khadgar being Khadgar and Jaina being Angry…  well it can screw off.  However the intricate intra-zone stories are awesome, and I totally want to have reasons to hang out with Havi during later content.  World of Warcraft and Blizzard…  please don’t break my heart this time.

Expansion Retail Forgot

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Wow-64 2016-08-30 20-26-43-87

Yesterday was of course the launch of Legion, or more so the first full day of the expansion.  I have a lot of memories of acquiring copies of World of Warcraft throughout the years.  When it launched in 2004, I was firstly in the “never pre-order anything” camp, and while there was a line out the door and down the sidewalk at Gamestop… I was able to stroll into Walmart at midnight and pick up my copy.  I remember Walmart having this huge display in electronics, the size you would have expected for a major movie release.  With Burning Crusade, getting a copy was significantly more difficult, but I still managed to roll into Walmart at midnight and snag one.  I did however spent the next few weeks going out at lunch trying to find copies for folks who could not for whatever reason seem to get it in their area.  When Wrath was released, once again I did the Walmart at midnight thing… and this time there was actually a line.  I had an awesome conversation with another warrior tank while standing in line waiting on our boxes.  However by the time Cataclysm came around… I believe that was the first expansion you could purchase a digital collectors edition and I did so happily because I was getting “too old” to be doing this midnight madness.  I had reached that point in my life when I just wanted to be able to log in and play, and didn’t care too much about how that happened.

With Pandaria I somehow ended up with another physical collectors edition, and at this point I don’t even remember how or why.  Now traditionally speaking around here… World of Warcraft Collectors Editions rot on the shelf.  Not in a large quantity, but up until recently there have been a couple of physical copies of Warlords of Draenor available at various stores.  I have a second account, and could use a second key… so yesterday I checked a few places to see if there happened to be one available.  The idea was that I would ultimately trade that CE key with a friend who just got the normal copy, given that I already have the digital entitlement on my battle.net account.  That plan however backfired in the most spectacular of ways because no one seems to have Legion in any form, let alone Collectors Editions.  Throughout the day yesterday I heard tales of Amazon switching orders to arrive on September 29th, and listened as several friends had to dodge and weave to get around this delay.  Throughout the day I checked Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Gamestop…  none of which had so much as a single copy.  When I looked up Legion on the Best Buy website, it stated that there were no copies available in a 250 mile radius.  250 miles includes the Dallas Metro, Kansas City Metro, Fayetteville/Bentonville Arkansas area, Wichita Kansas, and Oklahoma City.

I refuse to believe that every single copy sold out, because that just seems impossible.  What seems far more likely is that there has been some massive shipping mishap, that involved delays to the central southwest.  The result however is that it feels like Legion was the expansion that retail somehow forgot.  While Warlords of Draenor was supposed to be this expansion to invite people back that had been gone a long time…  it feels like Legion is actually delivering on that promise.  It is going to be sad if it somehow misses its opportunity simply because the copies of the game are not available.  The truth is… my only interest in a physical Collectors Edition is the fact that it includes the soundtrack.  I wish that they would add that to the list of digital entitlements that you get when you buy the collectors that way.  I can also always use a new mouse pad at work, so there is always that bonus as well.  I however more than anything wanted to walk into Walmart and see a big display of pretty new copies of the game, in the hope that it might entice players to return.  It has been great seeing players coming out of the woodwork for the first time in years, and I guess part of me wants to see that continue.  Pretty boxes sitting on a shelf taunting you when you go to get groceries… seems to be an awesome way to guilt players into coming back.

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As far as the expansion itself…  so far I am enjoying myself.  It is a much slower paced expansion, but that is precisely what I had wanted.  I spent all night playing the game, from the time I got home around 5ish until when I finally went to bed around 10:30.  During that time I managed to make it to level 101 and about 15-20% into level 102.  As I had originally planned I went Fury this time around… which is quite honestly the first time since the launch of the game that I will not be leveling my Warrior as Protection.  I am sure somewhere something is turning over in its grave…  but more than likely it is just the old me that used to take pride in saying “Real Warriors Level Prot”.  Fury is fun as hell, but there was a period when I started on the artifact quest… that I questioned my decision.  I am guessing that maybe these quests are just a little “overtuned”… because I remember in beta thinking they were rough.  I died probably no less than a dozen times when I tried to do this as a Deathknight, and I probably took a half dozen deaths as a Fury Warrior.  Towards the end I was super carefully picking my way through the zone a single mob at a time, and kicking myself for not bringing any food into the quest.  That was ultimately the hardest part was that I had no real way other than bloodthirst to get back my health.  I finished it however and once I started Stormheim… everything leveled out and I have had no problem taking down any of the starred mobs solo.  So far I am enjoying the hell out of myself, but I don’t feel like I have spent enough time in game yet to give it much more than a thumbs up.

Legion Without Rushing

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Wow-64 2016-08-30 06-20-12-21

This morning feels a little odd, for many reasons.  Firstly I got a good nights sleep, when normally in the past I would have made a failed attempt to get up in time for the launch of a new expansion.  In fact there was a point last night where I woke up at 3:30 in the morning…  a mere 30 minutes after the servers went live and thought to myself…  I could get up.  Then instead I rolled back over and went to sleep again.  Always in the past I have felt like I was chasing some goal that I never could quite catch.  I knew I could not take the amount of time that my friends like Kylana did, and push through during 24 hours of solid play time.  In fact when I logged in this morning I was shocked to see that he was only level 102, which seems slow for him.  I’ve heard however that this time around, the process just takes longer and that power levelers who have practiced it on beta say it is going to be around a solid eight hours to get to 110.  Which means for someone attacking it more casually you are looking at ten to twelve hours.  The strangest thing about this expansion is that maybe I have finally realized there isn’t a rush.  In the past I had my reasons… and those were namely an attempt to be a viable tank for folks to run dungeons with while we leveled.  My favorite leveling experience was likely Burning Crusade, because I was a fledgling tank and excited that everyone seemed to need me to be able to run dungeons… which at that time were significantly better experience than doing pretty much anything else.

During the launch of Wrath I remember leveling mostly through dungeons in a similar fashion, but when the change happened to Cataclysm I noticed that worked significantly less well.  It was as though folks just didn’t want to run dungeons in the same manner that I was used to.  In fact I remember going through a bit of an existential crisis at that time because it felt like there was only one dungeon group worth of folks willing to run dungeons at a time.  More often than not I ended up the tank left out in the cold and unable to get groups.  Now the truth is if you asked other tanks they probably would have felt the same, because we went from being the most valuable commodity in the guild…  to one of what felt like the least valuable over night.  By the time Pandaria rolled around I found myself still rushing to keep up… but never actually running the dungeons until I hit maximum level and was desperately trying to gear.  Similarly with Warlords I got drug through a few dungeons as dps, but mostly to knock out the quests as they came available and not so much as a leveling vehicle.  With Legion I am not even planning on leveling my Tank artifact first, but instead focusing on Fury which seems extremely fun to me at the moment.  So since I expect to be leveling almost entirely by doing the content… especially since saving up those dungeon quests can reward 110 level gear at the end, I also don’t feel that need to rush around.

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I logged in this morning long enough to do the teleportation of Dalaran to the Broken Isles and to rebind at the now Gilnean run Inn there.  I completed a few quests but stopped just short of delving into the lengthy quest that will ultimately end in me getting my artifact weapons.  While it was odd to not try and push through it this morning, I knew that all it would end up doing is making me have to rush horribly to get to work.  Instead I will have that waiting on me for when I get home and fight through the now inevitable server queue.  The thing is… that is perfectly okay.  If I am in a server queue that looks like it is going to take some time…  I have other things that I can do.  I can poke my head into Destiny since I have not been there in a good while, or I could go out into the back yard and go for a swim.  In any case I am trying to approach this expansion at a much more measured pace.  In the past I have rushed my ass off to get to the new cap, and with it beginning a lengthy gear grind.  Every time in the past I have always managed to burn myself out in the process to where logging in every night is a misery.  I now have a proper army of alts to tend to… and I fully expect to get each and every one of them to 110 before starting on the next round that have yet to be leveled.  I say all this with certainty… but really in the back of my head I have my fingers crossed that it will work.  I am hoping that I can fight my own tendencies and take things slow.

Listless

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Wow-64 2016-08-20 17-39-50-37

The past week was hyper focused on a single goal… getting Belgaoh my monk from 53 to 100.  The weird thing about this process is that once completed… I am finding myself drifting a bit without purpose.  The above screenshot is unrelated to anything, but I thought it looked cool so you are getting it with this mornings post.  Starting yesterday I begin finally running my stable of characters through the Broken Shore content.  I managed to snag all of the toys, and troll shoes transmog from my single leel 100 horde character, and on my second time through on an alliance character successfully got the bonnet cosmetic item.  I am assuming that tomorrow there will be a new step on the quest chain being patched in, and this time around we will actually do the moving of Dalaran to the Broken Isles bit.  Tonight is our Final Fantasy XIV raid, so that means I will go into this weeks patch not having run Broken Shores on the bulk of my characters.  At least in theory the content isn’t going anywhere so I shouldn’t feel that much of a rush to push through it.  I think this content will essentially be the “welcome to Legion” content for everyone from this point on wards.  I will say it was really strange buzzing right past the quest starter for Cataclysm, Pandaria and Draenor on the monk.  I think I have all of the quests sitting in my log, because they are given automatically when you zone into Stormwind, but I am not sure when if ever I am going to do them.  At this moment I am contemplating using the Timeless Isle port to get to Draenor, but then again that would mean I need to open up Pandaria to get to it.

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Even though I have completed one journey to 100… I am finding that I cannot seem to quit the Invasion Event.  A good chunk of yesterday was also spent running characters through the event trying to get the last few 700 items for each.  I managed to finish off Lodin and Tallow last night, which leaves Gloam, Exeter and Belglaive all needing a single item slot.  Belglaive is a little more complicated because I used that character to purchase the pet, and as a result he is still missing several of the purchased pieces of gear.  I just need to run ANY instances on him to get that finished off.  I do have his Glaives upgraded to 725, and I have started a second set mooching off of everyone else’s spare tokens to upgrade them for my eventual Horde demon hunter.  I wish the other weapons worked like this, in that they were bind on account and you could pass them around as needed.  Some characters I have gotten more than my fair share of weapons… and then others like Exeter have yet to see a single one.  I have this feeling that ultimately it is going to be Ex my Paladin that I will continue to run events on, as I try and get three weapons for him.  The other big thing that I need to accomplish before this event is over is to try and find the Demon that spawns in Orgrimmar and Stormwind and get a Fel Spreader toy.  I failed to get one the two times I tried it yesterday, with the one in Orgrimmar bugging out and running back to the Doomsayer and fading.

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The big thing I have learned over the years is that I have a lot of fun playing World of Warcraft, so long as I have a goal in mind.  For example this last week has been a blast as I leveled my way through to 100 doing events.  In theory I could pick a Horde character and start doing the same, but I don’t really have any that are nearly as close to finish as my Monk was.  Doing the event without flight was a pain in the butt, and I am not sure if I want to go back to that frustration right now.  If I was going to pick a character on that side of the fence I would probably pick my Warlock since I have really enjoyed playing my Alliance lock… and I have full cloth heirlooms.  Similarly I have full leather heirlooms, but of the leather classes the one I am most likely to play… is the Demon Hunter, which is easy as hell to get to 100.  I do however have the cash to just go ahead and outfit my plate heirlooms up to 100 and then push something else that I would likely play.  My Orc Deathknight is sitting at 60, so flight is possible, even if it is a slow version.  I might be fun to be able to use this event to play with one of the other specs like Frost or Unholy.  If the next goal is NOT the event however… I need to pick something be it Mount Farming or Dungeon Achievements because so long as I can keep a list of things I want to do… I will be able to stay engaged in this game.  I really am having a lot of fun being around all of these people again.  It is a bit like a reunion, because everywhere I turn on Argent Dawn I keep running into familiar faces from the past.  I know we have roughly a week until the official launch of Legion, and with that comes a whole new set of goals so I just need to keep busy in the meantime.

The Top Floor

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Off and on throughout this event I have used the “elevator” metaphor to explain how the experience bonus of the invasions has felt.  It started off as a steady elevator, and then took a bunch of detours for maintenance.  However at the end the final version felt like it was picking up speed as I finished the climb towards the top.  The other day Devolore made a comment about this invasion that I think is worth sharing.

devolore_comment

While I realize the goal of the event was not to level everything to 100… that is precisely what I set out to do.  Before the initial change I managed to get my Priest from 92 to 100, and then turned around and got my Mage from 90 to 100.  That left only my little monk that starting last Wednesday was sitting at only level 53.  In the last four days I have finished the climb to 100, finally dinging off of an invasion last night after we wrapped up recording the podcast.  It was a wild ride filled with pure madness, but overall it was an enjoyable one.  This is the feeling I have been chasing for awhile, going into an expansion knowing that every single character on at least my primary server was ready to go and awaiting the next content release.  There are a bunch of things I learned on the trip, and I took care last night to log some of my findings.  The rest of this post is likely going to be a bunch of bullet points explaining what all I found out.

  • It took a total of 49 Invasions to go from level 53 to 100
  • I was wearing full heirlooms the entire way, so adjust accordingly
  • That makes it .95 levels per invasion completed
  • I saved 97 loot boxes while doing the even, 49 Blue, 48 Green.

The Loot

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This is what 97 loot boxes from the event looks like sitting in my bank.  I saved every single one from the moment I started climbing from 53 to 100, in a large part because I wanted a bunch of information to be able to draw conclusions from.  On a whim I ended up opening all of my Green chests first, and they my Blue chests… which caused me to notice a pattern.

Phase 2 – Small Legion Chest – Can Contain

  • Bracers
  • Gloves
  • Belt
  • Boots
  • Weapons

Phase 4 – Large Legion Chest – Can Contain

  • Helm
  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Pants
  • Weapons
  • Coalesced Fel

In the course of the events I ran I got 118 items to drop from the chests, and around 2000 nethershards… but I was not keeping as good of track on that number as I did the others.  As I opened the boxes I recorded the what dropped and divided up level 700, 710 and 720 drops in the hopes of being able to pull some percentages together on the chance of each.

Level 700 Item Drops

  • Helm – 9
  • Shoulders – 13
  • Chest – 10
  • Bracers – 11
  • Gloves – 11
  • Belt – 8
  • Pants – 9
  • Boot – 6
  • Weapon – 14
  • Coalesced Fel – 9

Level 710 Item Drops

  • Helm – 2
  • Shoulders – 1
  • Bracers – 2
  • Gloves – 1
  • Belt – 3
  • Pants – 1
  • Boots – 5

Level 720 Item Drops

  • Shoulders – 1
  • Belt – 1
  • Pants – 1

So in total I got 100 level 700 drops, 15 level 710 drops, and 3 level 720 drops.  Using some quick and dirty math that means that I got a Warforged 710 item 12% of the time, and a 720 item 2.5% of the time.  In any case… my Monk is likely going to be my best geared character once I complete the Broken Shores content and get my ring and trinket.  Leveling through Invasions was often times frustration… but overall it was an extremely enjoyable experience.  I would love to say I would do this same rough on my hordies… but with only nine days until the launch of Legion I just am not sure if I have that sort of grind in me.  More than likely I will be focusing on filling the gear holes in my various characters, and pushing them all through the broken shores and follow-up content.

Fixed Mostly

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The Wild Ride

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The last two weeks have been a bit of a roller-coaster of nerfs and buffs to the Legion Event.  When I first wrote Monday about the “elevator” it was really simple and fast to get a character through the levels, and it didn’t even require much attention to detail.  Simply being in the zone allowed you to reap the entire lions share of experience.  This unfortunately lead to a bit of a plague of afk leveling, because players would park in a relative safe spot and just wait for the phases to complete.  The irony here is that I didn’t actually do this myself until the first round of nerfs, taking the experience down so much that the event didn’t really feel worthwhile.  The positive takeaway of this experience is that Blizzard kept trying different combinations to see if they could find the sweet spot.  I know of at least four different hotfixes that were applied to tweak this variable or that until we wound up with the one that happened last night, and seems to FINALLY restore the event to a level that isn’t AFK leveling, but still feels like you aren’t wasting your time.  Also the new version of the event seems to reward group player, and dissuade players from some of the antisocial behavior that had sprung up.

For a period of time your best bet was to find a quiet corner of the zone to camp for demons and solo everything you could.  This however lead players to getting rather vocal when someone was encroaching upon their turf.  I mean I get the frustration because it could literally half your experience gained if another player touched whatever you had been soloing.  A drive by dot could wreck your experience, and as a result folks were somewhat understandably grumpy about the experience.  You can read my own twitter feed full of random comments about this over the week, so on several levels I have been grumpy as well.  Since I have been writing about it I thought this morning I would talk about the various methods I have personally experiences, and which have good results if you are going into these events hunting experience for leveling, rather than loot boxes.  You admittedly end up with more lootboxes than you could ever want as well, but that is just a fringe benefit.

Your Own Private Army

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Scattered throughout the Invasion zones are a number of NPCs that can be saved.  Several of them will fight along side you when you save them, and are really handy.  I am sure I don’t have a full list, but here are some of the ones I know about and have used.

I am certain there are more, but wowhead is freaking out this morning.  I know at some point I also had a dwarven hunter lady while out in Tanaris.  Essentially they are scattered throughout the battlefield, and in Westfall they are often times inside the farm houses.  Rescuing them essentially allows you to take things down more quickly because you have a battle minion following you around and attacking whatever you happen to be attacking.  For example if I have the Crusader I tend to go after the huge mini-boss type baddies because the stun effects them and allows me to shred them.  If I have one of the AOE minions… then I tend to focus on large packs because they will chew them up with AOE damage.  I am not sure how many of these you can have at once, but I have for certain had two up at once and been just fine.  Essentially when you have a couple of these battle minions up, you can run throughout the zone looking for packs of Legion mobs and shredding them for experience.

Vehicular Demonslaughter

The option one of my friends tends to favor is to grab one of the many vehicles scattered around the battlefield and start laying waste to baddies with it.  There is a shockingly wide variety of these available.  For the alliance I know we have Dwarven Steam Tanks, Gnomish Spiders, and Darnassian Glaive Throwers.  Similarly there are horde options as well including some weird undead thing that throws bombs.  Once again the idea is to grab a tank, and just go to town wrecking as many demons as you can before you run out of fuel.  Fuel being a buff that you get that shows how long you can be active in the vehicle.  Personally I have had the best luck with the Steam Tanks because they allow you to just brute force large packs of mobs at once.  Demolishers I think play a similar role for the horde, and allow you to just storm into a Legion camp and destroy everything in your path.

Chase the Skulls

Now personally after the patch I think this is the best option for maximum experience gain… and it seems like everyone else has caught on as well.  Boss fights reward a silly amount of experience now.  In my 70s last night I was getting 45k-60k experience per boss kill, and the various mobs scattered throughout the map and marked with Skulls in phase three… count as bosses.  So new best way to gain experience seems to be to chase these around the zone, and I say chase because there will be a massive amount of flying mounts heading in one direction or another.  The key here however is to stay alive.  This is my only real complaint about the changes… is that with placing so much emphasis on boss kills, you are completely screwed if you are dead while the boss is taken down.  If you are dead you get exactly zero experience for the boss kill, and makes the entire process a complete waste of your time.  As a result you have to play super cautiously, especially as you near the end of the bosses health bar.  I tend to disengage from melee range and use my extremely crappy channeled range attack just to make sure I am on the threat list of the boss but also giving myself maximum room to duck away in case of one of the many one shot boss abilities.  Overall the changes are much better than they have been…  and in truth you can end up with a lot more experience per invasion than you could even before the first round of nerfs.  The big difference is that you have to be extremely active and constantly moving around zone and fighting to make that happen.  Ultimately I think that was what they were going for, and I wanted to reward activity that helps the invasion out… and not activity that happens to get in through a loophole.

 

Slow News Day

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For lack of a better term, yesterday was a slow news day… at least in terms of me and gaming.  A handful of times a year I go out with some co-workers to RiffTrax and last night was the live show for Mothra.  I say live show… because in Nashville the Rifftrax crew genuinely is doing this live… and simulcast to the various theaters around the country.  We’ve talked about how great it would be to sit there in the theater and experience it in person…  but that would be like a nine hour drive.  Also the RiffTrax show is always on “a school night” which would make work the next day super awkward and staying over in Nashville even more bizarre.  The interesting aside from last night is that I apparently had either not seen Mothra… or did not remember it at all.  In truth when I think Mothra… I think Mothra vs Godzilla.  Growing up there was a local UHF channel that used to have “themed” weeks during the summer.  There would be one week where they played all of the Spiderman movies, or another week where they played nothing but Bruce Lee.  One of the weeks was always every single Godzilla movie, and I remember watching those as a kid and enjoying them greatly.  Mothra on the other hand…  was just way more bizarre than I ever realized.  Also as the RiffTrax folks kept pointing out… for a movie about Mothra she didn’t spend much time on screen.  The “Riffs” were of course plentiful and one of the more awesome things about going to several of these live shows… is that they keep making call backs to previous ones.  Both Merlin and the Ice Cream Bunny made appearances at least in joke form.

As far as gaming goes I did manage to get about an hour in before I finally collapsed, and during that time I mostly just worked on trying to get drops from the invasions.  Right now it seems like everyone is for the most part either finished gearing… or one slot away from it.  I’ve made a lot of progress in knocking stuff off in my spreadsheet, and at least feel like I am in a better place than I was earlier.  It does get frustrating when you need a single item… but keep getting nothing but bracers for example.  What I seem to be missing follows…

  • Exeter – Paladin – Gloves
  • Lodin – Hunter – Shoulders
  • Tallow – Shaman – Legs
  • Gloam – Rogue – Gloves
  • Belglaive – Demon Hunter – Grinding out Purchased Items
  • Belghast – Warrior – It’s Complicated

Right now I am mostly focused on that last one.  Belghast was my best geared character going into this event, so some of the items are simply not upgrades… unless I happen to warforge them.  Even then some of the slots are not worth it unless I get the 720 warforged versions.  The main thing for him however is gloves and a set of weapons because at least in my Fury set I only have a pair of 690 axes.  I am not sure at what point I call it “good” however, because really I feel like my 11 level 100 characters are all in a reasonable place for leveling in the Legion expansion, which ultimately was my entire point in doing any of the events.  At some point soon I am going to shift my focus over to the Monk and see how close I can get to pushing him over the level 100 line before the expansion actually hits.  I am not sure why but it just feels like it would be awesome to say I went into this expansion will a full stable of level 100 characters… at least on Argent Dawn my primary server.