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World of Warcraft

Totenkindly

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We don't actually have a thread for this but maybe instead of posting in my blog, I'll post here and then anyone else who plays can chip in to comment or bitch or whatever they'd like.

WoW is still actually in business, which is remarkable considering it was a major revision of the early days of MMOs (it took everything learned through EQ and other MMOs at the time, and then reworked it / built from the ground up to get a "cleaner" game -- so I'd call it a second generation MMO, as opposed to EQ and similar). Pretty much it was the model that encouraged so many other MMOs to roll out... and then most of them to crash and burn over the years. It's obviously one of the most successful, and then actually getting "WoW Classic" on its feet last summer drew back some of the old-timers who no longer identified with the newer releases and wanted a throwback to the early days.

Anyway, there have been quite a number of expansions over the years (typically every two years or so): Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, Legion, and now Battle for Azeroth.

Currently it's wrapping up BfA (with more open-world PvP) expansion, in preparation for Ghostlands this fall which people seem more excited about. There are things I have enjoyed about BfA, including actually getting some skill at open world PvP when I'm in War Mode; at the same time, there's some of the same-old corporate crap involving sitting on quality of life features until they need them to drive participation at later stages of the expansion. This video captures some of what I am talking about.


They apparently broke BfA into "three" pieces as far as the story rollout went, and I was kind of irked when they rolled segment #3 out about 5-6 months back. I was happy just waiting for Ghostlands and meanwhile playing old content for achievements and transmog and also trying to level some alts... and suddenly it's like there's another whole piece to the game that you have to play to some degree in order to keep your item level and gear current. And it wasn't just higher gear -- now we have "corrupted" gear to go along with the essences you needed for your Azerite necklace. The only reason that whole thing exists was just to drive up numbers, but I think the player base was happy to have been done. And it is a LOT of content to do. Meanwhile, they had a lot of the stuff (like the cloak upgrades) on timed rollouts -- you were restricted either by the amount of currency you could get to run the scenario to earn a cloak upgrade OR there was a literal lock on how much upgrade you could get. [Apparently blizzard must have seen people not finishing the cloak leveling, because last week they dropped the last levels of the cloak to stuff that can be accomplished in a single run of the scenario per level instead of having to run the damn 30-minute scenario 3-4x to complete.)

Meanwhile, it was all very alt-unfriendly, to have to do the same content (extensive as it was) to max out any alts you might have wanted to play. And the high levels of the cloak leveling was just ridiculous in terms of time you needed to spend, with it increasing in number of drops needed per level. So I never ended up leveling my cloak to 15 until this past week for my main, and I accumulated 250K of the currency needed to run the scenario (the original cap on it was 25K, until Blizzard removed it because I guess people just weren't running it, and so the currency would cap out, and then people would just be like "screw this").

So as of late, and tying in with this video, they have now instituted an ADDITIONAL currency where you could buy either essence upgrades for your alts and now last week corruption power upgrades. I was really excited at first because you'd typically get 50 currency for completing a world something, and 500 currency could get an alt a new essence. When they rolled out the corruption items, they increased the 50 currency drop to 250 instead so technically you could get an essence just by completing two sets of dailies... and then (something you missed if you didn't bother to read the patch notes) upped the amount needed to 2500 for essences (so they just multiplied everything by five) so then they could just 2500-8000 currency for corruption upgrades.

For a game that is in the last 5-6 months of its lifecycle, and the content is mainly played out... why the hell would I want to WORK that hard on a main or alt for content that is going to vanish in six months and serve no purpose? There is no long-term purpose to doing it.

Meanwhile, when you scrap or disenchant an azerite item, you get a certain amount of residue. And you can use this either to buy a random piece of azerite gear or spend a lot more to get a specific piece of gear. (Random, you take your chances.) Anyway, it's a hell of a lot of residue you need unless I guess you are doing mythic or high-end raids (which will also give you some). So it's like, "Hey, here's a vendor, aren't we cool?" but "Hey, we'll make everything so expensive that unless you do particular content ALL THE TIME you might as well not bother because you'll never collect enough to purchase an item in enough time before the new expansion for it to be worth it."

That is my current gripe about the game.

----

But I guess I shouldn't generally just gripe. There were some things I did like about BfA -- and the storylines were actually pretty good overall (aside from the major gaff of screwing up the Banshee Queen IMO. I guess she was never meant to be a painful tormented figure but simply off her rocker ever since the Lich King screwed her up). I ran both the Alliance and Horde storylines, and I actually got more sympathy for Jaina, who I routinely hated before then.

And I have been spending a lot more time just running old dungeons, doing holiday events, leveling characters representing all four types of gear (to transmog the most I could), and acquiring mounts and reputation. There are some expansions I just loved. I know some people hate the pandas, but flying around in Pandaria leaves me feeling at peace. It's one of those things where I don't even need to be playing / doing something game-wise, I just enjoy flying around through the zones ... it makes my heart happy.
 

Totenkindly

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I managed to bag two of the months I desperately wanted over the last few months. I mentioned at least one in my blog, it was the Ashes of Al'ar phoenix mount. Every week (if I had time), I'd run about 4-6 characters through the Burning Crusade "The Tempest" raid -- you can run through and skip all the bosses aside from the last, who can drop the mount. It seems there was a 1% chance for the drop each time on Heroic. I finally got it on my (total altogether) 120th run, I think. So happy to never have to go back there again.

(And yes, it's a cool mount, simply one I don't use during PvP because it's SO conspicuous.)

a0a4826e83edf76721d8bb8ca086eb22.jpg



The other mount I got was the Astral Serpent from Pandaria (drops from Elegon). That one, I got in far less tries than expected, within two weeks after I started running it.

world-of-warcraft-mists-of-pandaria-celestial-dragon-mount.jpg



So it's on to bigger and better. Currently I am trying to tag Sha of Anger with multiple characters per week, to get the purple dragon mount. Also I am using the "personal raid" trick to set up fast runs on the Lich King so I can get his steed without running the entire raid with each character I have.

(Basically I have one character in Horde and in Alliance who have killed all but the Lich King on normal mode -- and each week I reactive their lockout code. Because WoW does not immediately kick someone off who looks "disconnected", you can start a party, logout, sign in with another character in Normal mode and join, logout, go back to the original and accept the request, logout, then go back to the character you WANT to do the raid with and accept the acceptance. Now WoW waits about a minute after someone looks disconnected to pass group leader to another person in the group if they were the leader, and that is what happens here. So wait outside the dungeon until your new character gets group leader, go into the raid, accept the raid lockout (so you only need to kill the final boss), uninvite the original character who no longer is group leader, and now that you're the only one in the group and you're leader, with the OTHEr character's boss lockouts in place. Change to Heroic mode, and you'll be asked if you want to accept the lockouts in Heroic mode too. Yes. Now you only have to kill the lich king and can transport as close as possible through the raid with all the teleports activated.)

I have six Horde characters and three Alliance characters (plus the two "party starters with lockouts" -- they never complete the raid, they just carry the lockout status from week to week) to run through the raid now. It takes about five minutes instead of 35 to do the raid and just farm the lich king, for each character. So it's not nearly so tedious.

I tried this trick with Firelands but did not get it to work. I can run Firelands in 15 minutes with my main, but it's still a bit tedious, just to farm the boss for a mount drop.

Anyway, I'll stick with Sha and Lich King until I get the drop, then move onto farming other mount drops.


Tangential note: I was irked on Alliance chat the other night. Some guy apparently has MULTIPLES of the Time-Lost Proto-Drake in his bag. He thought he could sell them, he didn't realize they were Bind on Pickup (BoP). This mount is one of the hardest to get because it appears free-range in a section of WotLK flying, and you have to tag it to get credit (without dying -- so you need to be able to attack while flying, probably a glider), and it's on a 2-8 hour timer it shares with another Rare that gives no such drop and is the less common of the two. IOW, you either get really lucky to fly around, find it when it's up and tag it FIRST, or you camp the location for hours waiting for it (maybe get a group?) and hope you can all get to the location if it spawns so you can get credit. Needless to say, the latter can take days of camping.

And this guy has multiples sitting in his bag that he can't even use. Idiot.

I have only accidentally run across the OTHER rare twice in all of my time playing WoW, btw. Once, I killed it; the other time I ran across its body before the corpse despawned.

The only comparable mount I think i have farmed was the phosphorescent dragon in Deepholm. Same deal, 2-8 hour spawn timer. you have to reach it first, and hop on its back, and then ride/attack it into submission, and then it gives you the drop. I was lucky, I only spent probably 5-6 hours altogether over the course of 3 days for it to appear and I got it... and luckily that zone is pretty dead nowadays. So it's not like I had to fight about 50 other PCs to get there first, I just had to be there when it blipped in.

There's another mount I got as well a few months back -- the Time-Lost Hippogriff, in Legion -- five crystals pop into existence scattered across one of the zones. There's about 35 spawn points (so only 5 would have the crystals) and you have to collect all five and it's yours... but you're competing with everyone else. So if someone else finds all five first, you lose all your crystals and then have to start over when the next set of 5 crystals pop into being at potentially new spawn points. Again, I did this quest well into BfA, so not many other people were around. Finding that last crystal can be a bitch.
 

Totenkindly

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Do other people like to focus on one character type and/or race, or do people like to try as many other types as possible?

While I have a few favored toons/combos, I am more of the latter and am trying to get a cross-section of the available classes and races at least on Horde. As far as classes go for either side, I have 120s for:
- Paladin
- Priest
- Demon Hunter
- Warrior
- Hunter
- Rogue
- Druid

I have a 113 shaman that I will cap off. I also have level 60 death knight and a level 63 monk and a boosted 110 level warlock.

Each class has three subclasses. Typically I will learn multiple subclasses if I can, although DPS style ones are easier.

I am learning that I do not really like ranged characters as much (although I'm happy with my priest). I think my favorites are still Paladin and Demon Hunter, followed closely by my priest. I really do not like Hunter, although I've been using Marksman -- I think it would be great in a raid / setting where I can just plant myself far away and blast stuff while everyone else takes aggro. So mage probably operates similarly. The class I hate the most currently is Warlock, although I've only tried Destruction so far. the play style just doesn't seem to fit with my preferred play.
 

Totenkindly

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So about these secret mounts / puzzle chains. There's been a number that came out and the devs actually expect some of them now to be discovered during data mining so it seems built into their thought process when planning them.

I finished three of them since Thursday night (I got my Lucid Nightmare, the Riddle Wyrm, and the Fathom mount by activating the WQ). I cannot complete the Mindhive mount on my own (the whole latter half demands a five-person group with extensive interaction), so probably will never get that -- that mount actually allows five people to ride it at once... but only the five who complete the questline/end ritual together. So to let other people mount, you need to actually do the questline with them. An intriguing idea but not super-useful unless you have a group of people you normally team with... so automatically it's more of a "mythic dungeon team"mount or something. And it's a hell of a lot of work for this mount.

I think my biggest gripe is that the puzzles aren't really tailored towards normal single-person puzzle solvers. The chains of quests is usually 8-10 items along... and the clues are ridiculously vague now that I have seen them. I honestly don't know how people figured them out... except that there's a TON of people trying to solve them they come out, so instead of one person trying 1000 different things to see what works, you get 10K people trying 1-2 things apiece and someone gets it right and then shares the answer on social media. So while I might feel a twinge of guilt "riding the coattails" of others who actually solved the problems, considering the clues aren't really solvable in most cases without extensive group involvement, then it doesn't seem to matter much. (Some of the answers also demand a deep knowledge of WoW lore to even understand the clue... OR have involved complex and seemingly random mathematical calculations that only people familiar with mechanics of a particular part of the game would think of.)

---

The Fathom Mount involves getting yourself attuned to ten dark orbs IN THE RIGHT ORDER and then reporting back to the NPC quest giver. Then the WQ finally shows up on your map -- every two weeks, the quest changes between either dropping the mount or the pet. Technically you can get both within two days if you do one the day before the change, then do the other immediately after the quest changes. (Which is almost what happened with me -- I got the mount two days from the changeover). Anyway, here is my thing -- Was there any way to know (1) how many orbs there were, without data mining (so you know when you have found all of them) and (2) where they were in ALL OF THE BROKEN ISLES and then (3) what the proper ORDER to click needed to be? Does one know how many sequences exist when you have ten items and only one sequence works? All I can think of is that it would have to be a large-scale group effort -- basically list all the combinations, then have people a LOT of volunteers to each do one. You should do them in cycles -- take the first clump of however many, try those. If one works, you are done. If none work, assign one item to everyone in the next cycle. Rinse, repeat.

The thing I most appreciated about the orbs, though, is where they were located. All of them were in small caves (a few underwater away from shore),and pretty much they were all locations I had passed countless times while doing the expansion, and never even realized there was a cave there -- all hidden behind bushes/foliage. I was laughing because all you can do is plunge in the foliage, sometimes at an odd angle...and suddenly you're in a hole that expands into a cave. That was pretty sweet.

---

The Lucid Nightmare is a cool ground mount but again most of the clues seemed SO vague, I am shocked that people figured them out. About the most enjoyable part of doing this questline (even through the guide) was the Endless Halls, it's the last big piece of the puzzle before you conclude it. You click on an urn and are transported into a maze of rooms. They all look the same, but there are five altars and five sconces in the maze of rooms, all of different colors, and your job is to click on a sconce, then run that color back to the appropriate altar to click on. When you complete this, exit to another room and no matter what room it is, you're dumped in to the "final" room where the clue awaits.

This is complicated by a few factors:
- The rooms all look alike -- EXCEPT that some rooms will have one or more exits blocked by stones (which makes them look a bit more unique) and some rooms have the colored sconce or altar.
- When you clear a color, the colors disappear from the altar and sconce -- so now those rooms look like the others.
- One of the rooms is a teleport. You don't know which room it is but it teleports you somewhere else in the maze. Needless to say, this can really throw off your bearings.
- it is not a pure flat grid. Some times your rooms will pass over to different rooms from where you'd expect on a 1-to-1 grid. Sometimes they don't. You have to figure this out and map it as best as you can.
- The maze spills over when you leave the boundaries. You don't know when you're leaving the boundaries, it just wraps around on its own and suddenly you'll realize you have been mapping the same passages.


So basically the approach I used:
- Map the entire area as much as I can.
- Find the teleport room -- which means every time you enter a new room, go back the way you came and see if the room you go back to looks like the same room you left previously. If it's different, you got teleported. Mark that room on the map. Don't enter it again.
- Find all the altars and sconces first before using any of them, so you can (based on the map) do the quickest and least confusing sequence to clear them, so you don't happen to get lost once the landmarks start to disappear.
- Have multiple sheets of paper handy for when you start overlapping, get teleported, whatever.

I ended up needing about 90-120 minutes and three sheets of paper to finish the maze (although I don't think it was bigger than 15x15 or 20x20 rooms). Fortunately where everything was positioned was pretty easy for me to finish. I cleared any isolated colors first. The last three colors sets were close to each other, and in the right sequence where I could clear one, walk a room over to grab the next flame, then clear the next, and finally have one long path without any exits to grab the final flame and walk about 10 rooms to the final altar.

But I did not need any 'secret knowledge' of the game or its lore, nor did I need to do any weird mathematics based on game mechanics. I was just tossed into a maze and had to figure out the solution to get out, it was pure logic and trial/error. I wish more of the puzzles were like that. It was more elegant than all the random shite in the rest of the puzzle lines.
 

Totenkindly

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The prior weekend i ended up running the "timed" Karazhan upgrade and getting the flaming dragon mount off that.

They basically had redone Karazhan which was an old raid from either classic or TBC I think -- it was a real slog with lots of trash mobs, along with eight bosses, and has a chess match competition right near the end that is so clunky that it's hard to win solo. I finished it once, and then just quit because it was an hour of time for not-so-great drops. The only great thing it had was the undead horse mount drop that is right near the entrance. And the trash mobs are SO many that you can pretty much level up your reputation by only doing the raid once a week for a month or something.

So they redid it as a 5-man dungeon and it was so much better / streamlined as such. But the added a "timed" quest -- there's 5 purple gems. When you run it on Mythic, you have 8 minutes to get the first (typically the Opera house, although the floor plan is open), then five minutes added for each after I think. And when you get all five, then you have 5 minutes to find the spirit of the wizard who made the tower, who actually is back at the bottom of the tower (yeah, annoying). If you click on him, there's a roleplay of a fight he had with a dragon that leaves it a flaming undead, and if you kill it, there's a 20% chance you'll get the mount if you're solo, otherwise typically one person in a 5 person group will get it... and it will know who already has it, so there's better chance for someone else to get it.

Anyway, since it's last expansion, it's much easier to get solo. I just ran the dungeon with my 120s, and got the mount of the third attempt that weekend. (I just blew two attempts the prior weekend trying to figure out the sequence and where the wizard spirit was located). Not a hard mount to get if you know the pattern and you can then still finish the dungeon as well.

 

Totenkindly

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I have now done the Heroic Darkshore warfront on Alliance and Horde.

I gotta say, especially the end boss is much easier on Alliance. I'm still trying to determine whether that's because the graphics / color contrast is easier, or whether there's simply not as much environment damage from being in the wrong squares (i.e., there's more safe spaces) + the razor discs actually blow a 4-person wide hole in the approaching wall versus the horde version where I swear the hole is smaller. I think it is designed to be easier. When I finally ran it three times in one week (because I had three 120's), I just had to shake my head. Much much more simple.

Long story short, I still can die pretty easily on Horde runs with the flaming floors and flaming marching troops even at i465, if I'm not careful, where I've never died running it on Alliance i445 even with sloppier play.

I think the only area on Alliance Heroic Darkshore that was deadly is the final boss at the base area, which is a dragon that spews poison on the ground, leaving very little safe space to stand on if you're melee. However, that fight is also a bitch for Horde because the bear boss creates occasional magic blasts around itself that you have to jump out of quickly or you can get close to one-shotted. In addition, the boss are the airbase area is worse for Horde too (the shrieking griffin), I've died there my share of times as melee just from getting stun-locked repeatedly.
 

Totenkindly

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So I lucked out in the Vale assault this week -- happened to hear that the Ha-Li elite bird was getting worn down, so I stopped in with my character at the time (Vasliss, my nightborne arms Warrior). I took enough damage that I had to stand back for the last 45 seconds of the fight and just chuck axes and then back away, lol. It was lame, I know.

But when it died, I just thought, "I think I've got the mount!" and checked my bags... and there it was, the rare mount drop from that elite. Luck of the draw, since it only has a 1-3% drop chance and there were about 20 people there.

Anyway, it is modeled after the bird drop I got out of the final Pandaria raid -- except that one is brown/orange feathers and this one is pretty shades of blue, otherwise it's the same model.

Here's a random pic here:

 

Stigmata

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I want to play WoW, or should I say in my head I like the idea of getting back into it, yet in actuality sitting still and focusing on one activity for more than 20 minutes seems like a fate worse than death.

I keep vacillating between whether I should play retail or classic, and what class I'd want to play in endgame content. If I ever do decide to play again on a serious level, I'm completely done and burned out on Horde. That said, I log in, create my character and class, fall in love with the prospect of what could be, then spawn in the game and feel a tidalwave of apathy wash over me as I'm doing beginning level quests.

Then I decide, "hey, I've done all thos before. Might as well play the max level characters I have on retail and just be done with it." I log on there, immediately think of the gigantic retail grindfest that awaits me, then log out of there as well. Rinse and repeat, daily.
 

Totenkindly

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I want to play WoW, or should I say in my head I like the idea of getting back into it, yet in actuality sitting still and focusing on one activity for more than 20 minutes seems like a fate worse than death.

I keep vacillating between whether I should play retail or classic, and what class I'd want to play in endgame content. If I ever do decide to play again on a serious level, I'm completely done and burned out on Horde. That said, I log in, create my character and class, fall in love with the prospect of what could be, then spawn in the game and feel a tidalwave of apathy wash over me as I'm doing beginning level quests.

Then I decide, "hey, I've done all thos before. Might as well play the max level characters I have on retail and just be done with it." I log on there, immediately think of the gigantic retail grindfest that awaits me, then log out of there as well. Rinse and repeat, daily.

lol. I get that.

I have a few toons I have been leveling. Most get stuck in leveling hell -- I lose momentum, then they sit there for months without me doing anything. Recently I decided that I should just cap my Alliance shaman off (from level 113), so i did that last week. Just by running assaults, I get a level per assault basically, and eventually get there. I have a shaman on Horde I wanted to level but they are only level 23 and I am overwhelmed just by looking at them (Vulpera). I started a death knight (blood) but am only at level 63. But I have some mid-level stuff (void elf priest around level 50, monk at 64) that I never finished leveling.

Even as I post this, last night I was just thinking that I could get a few hours of writing time instead of playing WoW. I think my biggest thing I wanted to do was hit Honor level 40 to get the silver mount. Running the weekly "kill opposite faction" quest on 11-12 characters gives me 2250 points a shot, and each level is only 8800 points. I'm almost halfway through level 38 now, so only a few more weeks to reach that level. But I might just go cold turkey and cut off access.
 

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I seem to be stuck in a neverending dilemma about whether I actually want to get back into WoW. It was my jam up until WoD, but with Legion and then BfA (my two least favorite expansions) I completely lost interest. I've purchased a gaming laptop twice in the past year in hopes of reigniting my passion for the game, but returned it both times, as I felt so bored with my abilities and watching my character perform the same rotations and doing the same content. I hate the addition of allied races, and I also do not care for most of the new zones or instances. I often feel nostalgic about Classic WoW which is what keeps tempting me to play again, but every time I realize that I've already experienced what Classic has to offer and it no longer feels magical to me. So, now I play Overwatch in order to get in quick gaming sessions which don't last long enough for me to start questioning what I am doing with my time.
 

Stigmata

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I seem to be stuck in a neverending dilemma about whether I actually want to get back into WoW. It was my jam up until WoD, but with Legion and then BfA (my two least favorite expansions) I completely lost interest. I've purchased a gaming laptop twice in the past year in hopes of reigniting my passion for the game, but returned it both times, as I felt so bored with my abilities and watching my character perform the same rotations and doing the same content. I hate the addition of allied races, and I also do not care for most of the new zones or instances. I often feel nostalgic about Classic WoW which is what keeps tempting me to play again, but every time I realize that I've already experienced what Classic has to offer and it no longer feels magical to me. So, now I play Overwatch in order to get in quick gaming sessions which don't last long enough for me to start questioning what I am doing with my time.

I think that's my issue as well. The older I get, the less of an attention span holds up for unnecessary things that require large amounts of effort. In my head playing WoW sounds fun, but once I log in and see how many tasks I have to do just to reach a point where I can play and be somewhat competitive, it just kills it for me (this is especially true in Retail WoW -- if you don't have the absolute best gear, you're completely uncompetitive despite your actual skill level). That said, I've been recently playing around on a level twenty-ish rogue on classic WoW -- I'm excited for the prospect of classic burning crusade, but realize I'll have to endure the snoozefest that is classic in preparation for it
 

Totenkindly

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Well, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish in terms of gearing.

Mythic level raids and high-end mythic dungeons, or maybe hardcore PvP? Sure. If that is what you want to do, you need to be geared and also probably fit your build within the metrics of whatever guild or group you are trying to get into. (I just can't commit to that stuff.) I haven't played enough battlegrounds to know how well the gearing fits in, and it might change depending on the size of the battleground.

But I still can do world content PvP and related PvP events just fine. I've been running the weekly CTA PvP quests on all my 120 toons since I get 250 honor for each completion (and the Against Overwhelming Odds, an additional weekly kill 25 quest that drops a 445 item, which always always always is only for Alliance because there's always more Horde in PvP?), I just want to get the Honor Level 40 mount. My high ends are only i460-i465 range and feel at the top, and my i440-455 ranges are capable even if not the most powerful. I feel happy with my ability for the kinds of activities I like to do, at least. [I ran CTA in Voldun with 10 separate characters, 6 horde and 4 alliance, and completed all the quests within two hours.]


---

The Midsummer Fire Festival just started yesterday and I've never done any of the quests/achievements, so... started yesterday and got a few done. Most of them are travel quests, like with the Lunar Festival -- go around the world and either pay homage to your own faction's bonfires or extinguish the other faction's.

While it takes some time to do the circuit, I actually enjoy it because it reminds me how much of the world I know and remember and the feelings I experienced when first exploring them. There are also some cross-faction ones. I was doing them on my BE ret pally and had to reset time to visit Teldrassil before the fire, and also the Exodar zones. The Draenei are my favorite Alliance race and I remember grinding up through there so many years ago at this point -- recalling stuff I had completely forgotten. I decided to just map out all of the Exodar zones with my horde toon since I was there, and it gave the experience a different feel.

Also, being a little bit of a badass. There's one quest where you have to steal the fire from the four opposing faction cities. Teldrassil island and Exodar aren't a big deal because no one is there. But I had to solo live Stormwind, lol. I circled around until I found the bonfire, then waited and dove in. (The fire is right outside of Mage Quarters. It could have easily been placed in a worse location, so I shouldn't complain.) Had to try to click it a few times because the guards started to attack and breaking the click, and who knew how many Alliance players were close by? I gave myself about 10-15 seconds to get it done before things got bad. But I got it, then cut down the guard and then just ran for the coast and escaped. I did see a 120 Warlock but he ran away.

Ironforge was interesting (and the last one I did) because it's in the far back of the city. I had to fly in the front gate. I got shot down before I got a third of the way around, tried to run the rest of the way, finally had to turn and take out all the guards chasing me, then regain my mount and try to fly some more. Finally got there, had to remove all the guards around the bonfire, and got that before hearthstoning out. It's not a bad zone because you aren't going to find many if any 120 players hanging out there anymore, but it was the most inaccessible location and I wasn't sure how bad the guards would be.
 

Totenkindly

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Also did some more horrific visions work.

After leveling the corruption cloak to 15, you can do a full run once per week to slowly add more corruption resistance to the cloak, but there are also achievements with rewards (like mount or titles) if you do the extended effort which involves retrieving five masks (as the first step), then start doing full clears (of all five zones in one run) while wearing them. Each mask brings another penalty. One of the penalties isn't bad, two of the penalties are average, and the final two penalties can be a real bear because one cuts your Sanity bar by 50% and the other increases boss damage from corruption attacks by 400%.

If you do a full clear while wearing a mask, you immediately get a cosmetic version of that mask you can use with transmog. They are all the same mask model (the octopus mask) from BFA, just different colors.

The goal is to ultimately do a full clear wearing all five masks at once. I think there are achievements for each multiple of mask as well (full clear with 2 masks, full clear with 3, etc.)

Last night's run was extremely painful. There are "madnesses" in each zone type (there are three zones, which increase in difficulty), and they again typically incur new penalties. I was wearing the Daredevil mask, which any time you move leaves a large trail of black pools behind you that you will take Sanity damage from if you stand inside, although the trail fades after about 5 seconds. The Daredevil pool isn't much damage on its own and you can get out easily - but I was realizing a lot of fights involve circling and backtracking on ground I just crossed. Here, basically you either just stand your ground (which doesn't work well most times if an elite is casting AoE on your location) or you have to be moving the fight away from places you've already stepped, WITHOUT aggroing new mobs.

In the level 3 zones, there was also a random madness this week called Split Personality, where as you are moving, a circle of screaming images of yourself appear, although there is one opening in the circle that you can escape from -- and if you touch the circle, you are confused for 4 seconds and wander around randomly. The circle is also vicious -- I don't know if there is a warning anywhere that it's coming, but it seems to appear right in front of you / around you and if you're running you'll just immediately hit it before it registers. Coupled with the Daredevil pools of Sanity drain, basically you are going to wander around confused (typically into the Sanity drain pools) and take sanity damage -- and of course also getting tagged by mobs and maybe even bosses. Update: Determined last night there is a warning, but I had to do a clean run (one without masks or anything else) to realize it was for this effect. The mind-flayer looking dominators who are in the instance have a spell outside the instance where they "drown you" that is marked by the corners of your screen turning fuzzy purple and then contracting until much of your screen goes purple. Well, that same effect is used by Split Personality when it's about to appear. So about 1-2 seconds after the effect starts, you should stop moving. It's just that there are Dominators in the instance as well, so I thought the effect was from their spell; it is not.

I can't imagine doing a full clear with 5 masks with this Split Personality madness up, with one of the masks causing 400% Sanity damage from bosses, another reducing your Sanity bar by 50%, and a third forcing two madnesses rather than just one. It's like you have to plan to do the run when SP is not that week's madness.

At this point I think I have three of the transmogs, but haven't run the 400% San damage or the double-the-madness mask for a full clear. I think I can handle wearing two of the masks at once and clearing it all but three or more? Not sure.

Note that there are also potions and buffs available in the instance that you should pick up if possible.
 
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Totenkindly

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I think there is currently a five-week timewalking event going on in Retail.

Normally it's on a rotation that occurs one week out of every four (once a month), and each time it jumps to the next xpac, so it takes awhile to get through the full rotation; but they've just run TBC and then WotLK back-to-back. I don't really find them useful for usable gear (it all clocks in at i425 or so), but it's useful for xmog and also for rep boosting or even alt leveling perhaps (I've read some people commenting on that). You can get a drop that I think is only i445 for running 5 timewalking dungeons in the active week, which isn't useful to me; however, the first run in the week for each toon gives you the guaranteed 500 timewalking credits drop, and that is actually more useful since you can buy rewards for the active timewalking event.

Since I'm working on my Exalted reps (I just hit 80+ total over the weekend), I was spending the last day trying to clear out the 5 remaining WotLK reps. I discovered this with the centaurs over in Desolace when clearing their reps -- there are a few items now that Blizzard build an automatic complete in for if you finish the activation question chain. It happened when I resolved the centaur war there, I didn't have to grind the Exalted rank. Now it happened for sons of Hodir -- I did the SoH questline (it's about 20-21 quests that you can blitz through in about 45 minutes at 120 level), and instead of grinding, as soon as I activated the dailies/hub, it kicked me full rep to Exalted immediately. Not complaining.

During the timewalking runs, you also get 50% extra rep for quests and dungeons for that expansion. Running a heroic dungeon with a tabard for a faction in WotLK has been dropping anywhere from 3-5K of rep, and that expansion has a lot of heroic dungeons you could run daily.

At this point, I cleared out everything but Ebon Blade (which wasn't activated) and the walrus critters, which is still at neutral -- I must have done nothing with the quest chain. I can buy rep using timewalking tokens tonight (since they're account-owned) to help clear them for whatever I don't get done.

I am going to assume they are walking through each expansion in order. So this means:

July 7: Cataclysm
July 14: Pandaria
July 21: Warlords
 

Totenkindly

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Capping of the Cataclysm rep this week and not doing much else. I was able to clear Thorazane (or whatever it's called) and Hyjal Guardians (the latter just by doing questlines, due to the bonus rep this week). I can easily finish the others, although the Tol Barad stuff is annoying -- no tabard for dungeon rep gain, and unless your faction actually makes an effort to control the area in the periodic battlegrounds, you will not get the additional rep quests. So far alliance has been holding it any time I've looked, and the one time Horde had it, I only noticed about 30 seconds before we lost control. So it will be a grind, I will have it into Revered before end of week cycle but then more just about taking ten minutes a day to run the rep and finishing it a month later. Only a few more to go before hitting 90 Exalted reps.

The Mt. Hyjal Cataclysm quests actually were somewhat amusing. (WoW typically has quirky quest names and sometimes even the content is amusing.) For example one quest -- very different than most -- involved climbing up a pine tree where baby bears were hiding from a nearby forest fire, taking them one by one to the top of the tree, then pitching them off so that they would land on a makeshift trampoline at bottom. ("Hey, what could go wrong?")

There was also a sequence of quests where you had to join a cult as a double agent, pass all their initiation tests (most of them silly and most with your instructors encouraging cutthroat behavior), then essentially eradicate all your competition for class valedictorian / leader so that you could give the class speech at your "graduation" (which is actually played out as another quest, you have to make choices responding to the mood of the crowd in real time) and inflame passions in such a way to force a violent fight to break out while you use it as a diversion to rescue an important cult captive. It was pretty inventive and some of the better quest lines I've seen.

---

And the typical PvP kerfluffle. Assault was in Voldun (Horde contienent) last night. Watched as a group of Ally camped the Azerite gather quest -- 9 Ally, at least 6 of them ended up with bounties. Which means they were just picking off Horde singles/duos that were entering the area.

Since there was no quest attached (that you wouldn't get credit for in a raid), we made a raid of about twice that size. It was brutal, swift, and fun. We all snuck up around them (blocked by land formations) after buffing, a few folks went in as initial assault to grab their attention, then suddenly everyone else came down on them from all sides (and they were trapped by the rock formations they were lurking in). All clustered together, and large quantities of Horde just dropping multiple AoEs (melee and ranged) with healers healing. It was about 15-20 seconds of a fight until everyone there was cuisinarted, and I managed to snag two bounty bags. They didn't even bother to come back after. It was nice to be on the dishing-out side for once, I've been on the receiving end before.

I'm sure they were all complaining about "not fighting fair" on the other side, after... although they were picking off loner Horde, which drove the retaliation. But I listen to the same complaints on both sides, when I run Ally for the CTA weeklies. "[The other side] sucks, they have to make raids to win, blah blah." It's funny to hear the same things being said on both ends. Unfortunately, that's how the game is balanced, quantity can mean more than quality in Open World PvP. (In controlled battlegrounds where there is a mandated balance, then mix and individual gearing and play seems more important.)
 

Totenkindly

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I won my first Tol Barad game today!

The doors locked me into the battlefield as the timer counted down, I ran around in there on my raptor for 15 minutes looking for any enemy to defend against, and I guess no Alliance were locked in there with me because none of the assault tanks moved... and at the end I got an achievement for it.

I was excited about this:
god-of-war-kratos-video-games-wallpaper-thumb.jpg


Instead it was more like this:
D1gOFDVW0AEyzJW.jpg
 

Totenkindly

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Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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You know those panda creatures? Can you be a panda wizard? I'd like to be a panda wizard.
 

Stigmata

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I've been slowly dragging my undead Rogue up level 120 -- I kinda hate I missed out on that period where they had continuous timewalking dungeons so that I could've just grinded it out over a few days. I respecced back to Assassination from Outlaw and now am enjoying it much more now that I'm not playing the equivalent of DDR with my fingers trying to keep up with the insane amount of stuff going on with that spec.
 
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