Lok’tar ogar!

SquadronSoDreen

Okay, I’m Alliance. I can’t motivate you by screaming at you about Victory or Death. We like the softer, cuddlier side of life.

In the Alliance, we’re a kinder, gentler evil overlord imposing our will on a brave new world of savage foes and savager delights.

Best I can do is exhort you to fight fiercely in all your battles, and remind you that at the end of the day your Pleasure-Bot 8000 will be waiting at your Garrison to offer you a massage and a nice hot toddy with your favorite slippers.

I won’t judge why you went to so much trouble to acquire a Pleasure-Bot 8000. Don’t ask, don’t tell, right? Hey, what you do in the privacy of your own inn is your business.

I’m also not going to ask what all those followers are doing in the ‘private rooms’ in the back. As long as the management gets a cut, it’s all good. Do what feels right.

Setting the tone, check.

This expansion has turned the game upside down for me. Blizzard has succeeded with Warlords of Draenor. Indeed, they’ve succeeded all too well.

Here’s the bare truth. I am legitimately more excited to gear up and level my followers than I am to level up on my main.

Or to put it another way, questing is what I do on my main while I wait for my follower missions to be completed.

Also, questing using the Wowhead Follower Guide is what I do to seek out new followers, new locations of minions, to boldly go where new followers have never been found before. I love that guide. That guide is my Gulliver’s journal to adventure!

For the horde!

That’s horde with a little ‘H’, I am a hoarder of a horde, I want them all, must have ALL the minions, must expand my evil empire, must pursue higher follower iLevels…

What, the followers are supposed to exist to support my character’s activities in the game? You’re joking, right?

That is no longer the game I want to play. I want my character activities to support the actions of my MINIONS in the game. Everything I do, I do it for you. And you, and you and you.

And YOU get an armor enhancement, and YOU get an armor enhancement, and You and You and You!

I want to quest to find a nice comfy chair for my followers to sit on while resting in the Inn. Just before the Spanish Inquisition bursts in and asks them pointed questions in uncomfortable ways.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! And certainly nobody knows how to handle… the comfy chair.

I want to be able to research a new small building… the BEER GARDEN. With attached outdoor barbeque area, of course. A nice patio, dancing with my Disco ball at night, luau lamps and tiki torches and a party going on down here, it’s a celebration that lasts throughout the year.

Is that so wrong of me?

I’m telling you. This carrot dangling in front of me will keep me going for years. Content patches? Give me more building options, furniture and missions to send my followers on, oh my.

Right now we can have some followers as Bodyguards with the level 2+ Barracks, follow us around.

The existing followers have pre-determined mounts they use.

Why not open that up? Have any of the followers be able to be Bodyguards.

Or failing that, of the Followers that CAN be Bodyguards, let us quest for Follower mounts we can assign to them.

Follower Mounts… and visible armor transmog sets (not pieces, full sets, let’s not get too complicated). And weapons. And banner poles they can have flying our guild pennant behind them. Or our Garrison symbol! We have Guild logos, why not a symbol for our own Garrison? Our own mark of zorro to strike fear into the hearts of our foes, a heraldic escutcheon carried by our sworn men-at-arms to protect them from the fel fire and arrows of outrageous posers.

Can you imagine being able to have Tormmok assigned as your Bodyguard, and then assign him a sparkle pony, or better yet a big barrel-bellied pony as his mount? And he already has wicked cool armor, but to be able to assign him the Stormwind Guard armor transmog set from the Dwarven Bunker? And top it off with a big banner pole waving your Garrison symbol proudly behind him.

Tormmok

Have your own hulking mass of monstrous badass following you around looking like your Garrison Thug. Your homeland homie.

Your own persona Knuckledragger. Riding around on his tiny fat-bellied donkey following along behind you, as you gallop forth on your majestic rounds surveying your demesne and keeping the peons hopping to it in the fields.

Oh my.

Would I raid for new Followers? Yes, of course.

Would I raid equally as hard for loot upgrades that are worthless except for transmog as soon as the next content patch hits?

Errr. Do I have to answer that where my raid leader can see me?

Blizzard, you won with this expansion. Body and soul, the Garrison and my Followers have supplanted my own characters in what I’m loving to do.

The scary bit is I’m also loving the zones and the questing and the playing of my character. It’s all fantastic, the level of care and grand adventure that all the storylines I’ve played have evoked is magical.

It’s just that as good as the questing is, I love my Follower mini-game even more.

I can tell you this, even at the height of my rare pet battling and collecting obsession, I didn’t go more than two or three mornings waking up to sneak downstairs and see if a rare spawn had popped on a low-pop server.

With Garrisons? “Oh, it’s 4:30 AM, I don’t have to start getting ready for work for another half hour… plenty of time to gather resources, collect mission results and assign Followers to new tasks. Best be quiet, don’t want to wake Cassie.”

Yeah. Yeah, this is a thing.

And my Garrison is still level 2! I can only hope my enthusiasm wanes when I hit level 3 and expand.

Did I mention how excited I am that today I should have my third level 100 Follower and can start taking part in the level 100 missions for bonus rewards?

I used to joke, and say I wasn’t addicted, i can quit any time.

Hah. HAH. LOLOLOLHAHAHAHAALOLOLOL bullshit bullshit bullshit.

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We’re still early days into the expansion, and I’ve learned a very valuable lesson.

I was lucky enough to be in the beta, and I spent most of my time on the Horde side, because I didn’t want to spoil the Alliance storyline.

This morning was hilarious. And frustrating!

On the Alliance side, I’ve been taking the completist approach. I’m poking my nose in all the nooks and crannies, looking for quests, rares, ore and timber for my Lumber Mill, neat caves, whatever I might find.

I know I need to get to max level so I can begin preparing for the first raid to be on track with my team. At the same time, this is my main, and I want to get ALL the things in the world. So many quest chains result in Followers that I really do have the perfect incentive to do everything there is to do. If there will be a mount, toy, pet or Follower at the end of it, I will be there, and grateful for the experience.

What is it about the Pets, Followers and Mounts that are so much different from normal quest rewards? Is it that those items are good and fun forever, regardless of your level or zone? Cloth shoulders may come and weapon upgrades may go, but having a cute whelpling follow you around can last a lifetime.

This weekend my family is celebrating Thanksgiving a few weeks earlier than usual, so today was going to be a short start. I had enough time to do what will certainly become our new game routine; log in, collect Work Order Shipments, set new work orders in action, collect missions and send my Followers out, collect ore from the mine, find those damn buried slippers, gather up the accumulated Garrison Resources from the crates, and then check my stock on materials. A little low on Timber? Time to head out on a mining, timber and rare run!

I wandered out of the Garrison and started riding around some of the areas I’ve found small Timber to be growing in the past, getting Timber stockpiled so I’m not always worried about it while questing in the world. You can have up to 250 so might as well stock up, right?

My travels running around enjoying the morning took me eventually to a place just to the southeast of the Burial Fields, over near the river.

There, I spotted a skull on my minimap meaning there was a rare I hadn’t yet killed.

Sounds like fun!

Now, this was within minutes of the servers coming back up, and they came up hours before the stated time, so gamer populations were scarce. Comparatively, anyway.

I had this guy all to myself.

His name?

Yggdrel, a big ass ancient tree dude.

Yggdrel

Looked pretty cool, had him all to myself, and it’s a lovely morning. Let’s get some Timber!

I ran in, and a few seconds later I was dead.

Wait, what the bloody heck was that what?

How the?

Okay, that was surprising. Oh, right, I bet I had no food, no buffs, no pet, I bet I even let the Grimoire of Sacrifice buff fall off, tooling around like I was invincible and stuff.

Well, see, that’s because I’ve felt just that. Throughout Shadowmoon Valley questing and rares, I’ve felt invincible. Unstoppable. What’s that? A wanted poster in the Draakorium, go kill some cute beastie, recommended three people or you get your ass stomped?

Lolright. I got this. No sweat.

I’m fully raid geared. This is my main, I’m iLevel 586 and I’m used to smoking those poor mounties that get in my way. Rawr Bear! Sure, ALL of my alts are gonna be having a challenging time of it when it’s their turn to come this way, but this is MY MAIN.

When you see me coming, just fall down and show your belly, boy. The Alpha is in town.

All right. So I died. It was just a fluke.

Summon my pet, kill him to enhance my calm (and boost those numbers, right?), eat some food, cast a buff. All right, let’s do this.

Wham, wham, there he wait, entangling what? WHAT? The FARM TENTACLES?!?! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Dead.

Okay, that’s just embarrassing.

Shit just got really real. Monstre hears about this, I’ll never live it down. Fucking tree takes my ass out? Like hell.

Resurrect, buff, tank pet OUT and upgraded, flasks, food, um… right.

Okay, let’s kick this pig.

Okay, pets in, looking good, tentacle cast and grabs me, send the pet at it and burn it down, good, taking a lot of damage but I can do this, I can do this, pop DPS cooldowns, pop 10 minute demonspawn, get in there and WTF HE CHAIN CASTS THE TENTACLE WTF OVER.

I fought my way through 3 tentacles before dying again.

Okay, this is getting silly. I’m better than this. Right? Hmmm.

I better be better than this, or I’m in trouble.

Hmm… Soulstones are a thing, right? Yeah. I coulda done soulstones.

Okay, this time I’m awake. All those other times I wasn’t really freaking AWAKE, you know? But this shit, this is going down. I am not just wandering off with a branch shoved up my ass crying that the big bad tree did mean things to me. Oh, HELL no.

We’re going all in.

Buff, food, flasks, the goddamn Soulstone, and you know what?

YOU KNOW WHAT?

I’m calling in close fire support. I’m breaking out the Alliance Garrison peeps that are supposed to give me a hand.

I haven’t ever used them before, but I made a Barracks and they gave me this nifty Alliance banner button and told me, when you get in a pinch, who you gonna call? GARRISON BUSTERS.

Fine, I’m gonna pop mah peeps on him, too. Who knows, maybe they will do that extra 5% damage I needed to kill this sucker.

That’s it, all out, going in, pet take that aggro and you hold it, you hear me you best be holding that aggro or I’m gonna summon you and kill you over and over until you think this is Edge of Tomorrow level shit.

All righty. Got it good and stuck in? Entangling Vine cast going out?

UNLEASH THE PUPPIES OF WAR!

And do you know, damned if that tentacle didn’t go after one of the Alliance guys instead of me?

Isn’t that just amazing? Using the Alliance garrison puppies in battle meant there were other targets to get grabbed.

Well, that felt like cheesing the damn fight. Tree fall down go boom.

I’ll tell you something, THAT kind of fight will sure enough wake you up in the morning, just holy crap.

Damn, was that fun! Was it?

HELL YES it was fun, that was just what I needed to cap my enjoyment of the entire zone before moving my thoughts on to taking on the new challenges of Gorgrond.

And as with all rares, there was a reward.

This one was extra cute, because it gave me a new Toy.

The Ancient’s Bloom!

AncientsBloomToy

Rawr look at me I’m a tree!

Now I can be a tree whenever I like… as long as I don’t want to walk around anywhere.

Whatever else anyone may have to say about the expansion or the release, it really all comes down to, will it be fun to play.

For me, the answer is a yes, it’s everything I could have wanted in an expansion.

Shadowmoon Valley is my kind of beautiful fantasy zone, and I’m delighted that my long term vacation home is right there in the middle of it.

I know the Vale was supposed to be the pretty ‘look at this place’ thing, but I’m not a creature of sun-drenched fields and sun-dappled hills.

I’m all about the purples and the greens, the shadows and the calm of twilight settling through the clouds. Shadowmoon is the place I want to be.

I know things with the game launch have been very difficult and frustrating for a lot of people, and that sucks. It’s the opposite of what a new game should be, a celebration of all that we love in WoW.

But please, remember, this too shall pass, and in less time than it would take to farm a new mount with 100 Champion’s Seals in the Argent Tournament, all this crazy will be behind us and fading from our memory as we dig deeper into a great new expansion.

Doesn’t help any when you’re the one pissed off, but it WILL get better. And once the technical issues fall away, the prize is well worth the effort.

I think you’re going to like it here.

Just… watch out for those fucking trees.

Comments 3 Comments »

It’s been a heck of a week, and no mistake.

I just wrote a page and a half about what heirloom weapons are and where they came from. Then I deleted it.

You’re welcome.

If you play the game, you already know. If you don’t, I doubt if you really care about the details.

Last Sunday before our scheduled Mythic raid we knocked off Garrosh on heroic mode from our previously saved run to get everyone who went the previous Wednesday an Heirloom.

Since then, we’ve killed Garrosh on heroic… oh, just a few more times.

Since time is getting short on doing this before the expansion is released, I wanted to make sure my friends knew about this and how it’s being done. I think Blizzard is specifically fine with it as well, based on one hotfix that went out that seemed to have no point other than making SURE this system worked the way I’m going to describe. I’m talking about the raid leader lockout hotfix.

Here you go. This is what my raid leader and other members of the Mythic team had heard of and worked out the details to, a method of allowing a raid team to perform chain runs killing Garrosh with the same characters.

The way this works right now is as follows.

One character, who I shall call the Keeper of the Key, raids and kills all the heroic (or normal) SoO bosses through Paragons of the Klaxxi. Then that character is put aside as the keeper of the raid ID keys.

When your raid team is ready to begin chain running Garrosh, the Keeper of the lockout Key is the one that begins the raid. They are the raid leader, they invite the other players into the raid team, they make absolutely certain the group is converted to a raid and set to the correct difficulty, and then and ONLY then the Keeper of the Key and ONLY that character enters the instance first and verifies that it is on his lockout and everything prior to the trash before Garrosh is already dead.

Once that is checked out and correct, everyone else in the raid can zone in.

Once other people are in the raid instance, the original Keeper of the Key can make everyone else assist so invites can continue to go out, and he can hearth out or take a portal, whatever so long as he leaves the instance. Then the Keeper of the Key must LOG OFF.

Still in the raid group, just outside and offline.

I want to say that again. The keeper of the key is still in the raid group, but is out of the instance and offline. That player can now switch to another character, get invited into the raid group and zone on in.

The raid instance is now full of people who can kill Garrosh without any of the earlier bosses, and the original Keeper of the Key character will NOT have a Garrosh kill recorded. He will still have a valid and usable raid lockout available.

The raid group kill the trash mobs, kills Garrosh, and gets their chance at loot. Use bonus rolls, etc.

Once Garrosh is dead, everyone must physically leave the raid instance. This is important, because it’s got to be reset.

The offline Keeper of the Key character logs back in, resets the instance, and it begins all over again.

Keeper of the Key walks into the reset instance, verifies that it’s right back at Garrosh trash again, the other members of the raid team walk back in, he hearths and logs off, and the cycle begins anew.

Yes. I’m telling you that you can currently chain kill Garrosh on heroic or normal difficulty over and over, as many times as your raid team can stand it, and as long as your Keeper of the Key works it just right each time.

Now, why the big deal about saving the lockout? Who cares? It’s only your first kill of Garrosh without having had an heirloom before that gives you that 100% drop chance.

It is true you only get one shot at normal Garrosh loot once a week, per character per kill.

HOWEVER.

The heirloom drops are proven by us to be on a separate loot roll from normal ‘once a week’ loot. Every single time you kill Garrosh in the same week, that extra roll for a bonus chance at an heirloom weapon happens. Trust me on this, in the last week of chain killing heroic Garrosh I have seen a LOT of people getting heirlooms.

Also, and this is nice if there is still loot you want from Garrosh (like the Tier tokens you can turn in to pick the specific Tier piece you want) you can still use a Warforged Seal bonus roll every kill.

I know that the plate Mannoroth Shoulders are an insanely rare drop from Garrosh, and our main tank Monstre has been trying to get them since the first kill, and bonus rolling every time. No shoulders have ever dropped for our raid group. They haven’t dropped once. I know we’re committed to running this damn thing until he’s got them, or we pass out.

So, reasons.

I am still unclear if you can get an Heirloom off of a bonus roll now. Some have said yes, some have said no, all I can say is I haven’t had one myself yet so I don’t know. I personally don’t think so, but with thousands lf Lesser Charms on my main, it doesn’t matter. I’m bonus rolling every kill anyway.

I do know for a fact from my own personal observation that characters that have already killed Garrosh two, three or even four times in one week can get a random Heirloom weapon drop.

That is why to save a Garrosh lockout and to have your raid team spend an evening chain killing the idjit. Every time you kill him, you have a chance to get a random heirloom weapon.

There is also one other reason to chain kill Garrosh.

If most of the raid team is on their mains hoping for an Heirloom drop, there is room for one or two of them to swap to a lesser geared alt. An alt that is guaranteed to get an heirloom weapon appropriate for their loot spec. If you really, really want that one heirloom before the expansion, if the team can accommodate you then you can go in once on that alt and be done with it, switch back to your main and give someone else a shot at the prize.

This event, wonderful as it is proves that I can screw anything up, even this.

Last Monday, the raid team was chain running Garrosh just as I’ve described. The raid leader let me bring in my warrior. My Fury Warrior.

I don’t really intend to play my Warrior that much. I don’t have a burning desire for Warrior weapons. My son, on the other hand, prefers to play his Unholy Death Knight over any other character. And Unholy Death Knights use two handed weapons.

So by the stunned and mostly dead body of Garrosh I was going to get him one.

Titan’s Grip Fury Warrior, uses two two-handed weapons, seems simple, right?

Tne one-handed sword Heirloom drops as my 100%.

I was specced Fury on my Warrior… and Fury can get EITHER a one handed OR a two handed weapon drop as that first 100%.

SHIT.

Now, if I had stopped for a moment, did some research and thought about it, I would have remembered that Arms is the only warrior spec that only uses two handed weapons.

There is no excuse for my forgetting you can set your loot spec different from your play spec. None. Just… totally spaced it. Panicked that I wouldn’t switch over to the warrior fast enough? I dunno.

I could have set my loot spec to Arms and gotten the two-handed axe. I just didn’t even think of it. Sweet.

So… basically, my Paladin has a tanking weapon good for leveling as a tank in Draenor? Or my own Frost Death Knight can use one as one of his single-hand weapons. If I played my Frost DK.

Whoops.

So, lesson learned and my warning to you… there are only a few more weeks before all this Garrosh heirloom stuff goes away. And if you do get in and get your kill with a character you’re not used to playing for a chance at a specific heirloom, please make sure you verify you’ve got your loot spec set for the weapon you want.

I consider myself damn lucky. Last night we did some more Garrosh kills, same character and lockout, and this time in the middle of the runs I brought in my son’s actual Death Knight in his actual Unholy spec. God bless my raid team, I don’t want to know what DPS I put out, or more accurately what DPS I didn’t put out.

Oh, and so that no good deed goes unpunished, since I’d been the one killing engineers last night on my main, we wiped because I was on a DK for that run and didn’t mention that someone else would have to take the engineer so IRON STARS LEFT SIDE HANDLE THEM.

We did kill Garrosh, though. My son will now have an Heirloom two-handed axe when he returns to playing his DK.

Until then…. Um.

I, well, I might have sent it to my Retribution Paladin? Just to try it out, you understand. I’m not gonna KEEP it. Oh, no. Just… borrowing it. In fact, if we chain run Garrosh kills again on Sunday, I might bring my Paladin in and with all upgraded gear and the Garrosh Heirloom, I might be decent DPS, so it’s really a help, right? RIGHT? I could get my own two-handed axe and give him back this one, just alittle blood stained and covered with purple goo.

Just because my first step was to transmog, gem and enchant the axe means nothing. I have to look cool, and gems and enchants on Heirlooms now carry over between characters, so it was really for him.

My Paladin will just be keeping it warm for him. Want to make sure it’s sharp, handles well. Wouldn’t want him to get a dodgy sword, now would I?

This post might come off as bragging because I was able to kill Garrosh, and if so I apologize. That’s not what this is about. I think with the way OpenRaid is available and so friendly and active, and the way things have been retuned and with our new gear and flex sized groups, most folks that have geared up from Celestials and LFR might now be able to find a normal Garrosh run and get their kill and an heirloom. And that is even if your normal guild raid team hasn’t managed it yet.

No, I’m certainly not bragging. The people I play with are so freaking good I always feel like I’m being carried no matter how hard I try to play my role properly. I don’t feel that I have anything to brag about, unless it’s how awesome the people I raid with are. Sure, I’ll brag about that. They’re freaking amazing.

What I really want to do was make sure that everyone I know sees the process clearly and has the chance to make use of it with their raid team while there are still a few weeks before the new expansion comes out.

Remember, this works with both Normal and Heroic SoO modes, so if you can try to take advantage of it.

Heirloom weapons are not ‘must have’ items. They’re a convenience. Once we reach level 100 they go away, in favor of real weapons just like the original heirlooms. But they’re still cool, and fun to trade among your lesser-played alts, and if you can get one, I really hope you do.

See? Bigcrankbutt is just keeping that heirloom shiny and warm. Totally just borrowing it.

IMG_2349.JPG

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This last weekend…. I took advantage of having a lot of level 90s. Maybe just a little.

Every year I’ve watched other people cycle through all these characters on holiday events, but hell no, I wasn’t gonna do that. Not me.

This time, I’m the one abusing the system. Why? Four words.

Mounts are account wide.

From the moment the new All Hallows Eve event went live on Saturday, I dove in neck deep.

Have you been doing the new Horseman? Are you trying to jack his ride, or steal his blade?

Maybe you’d like to wear a green glowing bucket on your head.

Me, I’d like the mount. Cassie won it years ago, and every year when this event rolls around, there she is, casually dropping it into conversation.

“You know, I have that mount.”
“Yes dear, I know.”
“It’s very pretty, isn’t it?”
“Yes, dear.”
“Don’t ‘yes dear’ me.”
“Yes, dear.”
[whack!]

I didn’t realize just how many level 90s I had at this point, and bless Blizzard for the iLevel 496 Timeless gear. With that and just a little playing, and some BoA iLevel 450 or 470 weapons from killing rares, finding treasures in Pandaria or Archeology, everyone is at least viable in an LFR low level group.

Fortunately I’ve so far been spared any bugs. I know Cassie has encountered the ‘I zoned into Scarlet Monastery and it was the normal run without the Horseman.’ Bug.

She has also had the ‘zoned in, killed boss, DC’ed on loot window’ bug, right after winning the roll. Thankfully she was still there and the item was in her bags when she relogged.

Me, I’ve just been logging into a character, queueing for Horseman, and spending the time until it pops cleaning up my bags.

So much crap in my bags, so many toys to D-E-L-E-T-E that are already in the toy box, so many reagents scattered to the winds that can be consolidated across characters and stacked in big piles.

So many Spirits and Motes of Harmony to track down.

Now, I have a confession to make.

I queued first and figured out ability bars later.

I did not realize how extensively some of my characters had changed. In most cases, the first time I looked at a character and what abilities they had was when the Headless Horseman was landing and I was expected to attack it. Somehow.

Did you know Feral Druids lost Mangle? WTF, right?

I’m sitting there running up as a big happy purple kitty and WTF where’s Mangle? Shit pop cooldowns to remove positioning requirement and Shred.

Hmmm…. it appears that Shred no longer HAS a positioning requirement. So, that’s my new Mangle then? Also, I had Swipe on my bar, next thing I know, no Swipe. Swiper, no Swiping Swipe please and thank you. Drag that sucker back on the bar.

Fury Warriors… just what in the world. I don’t even. It’s the same, but sorta not the same?

Some classes seem to have Talents that you can take that really change how some abilities function, making it a ‘choose your own class’ adventure. Bloodthirst I’m looking at you. Others appear to be exactly the same, but how procs and timers work have them feeling way different.

I have one of everything at this point, none of them tanks or healers, not a single one. Funny how that worked out.

Of everything I’ve run through Headless Horseman, I want to say the most fun has been, shockingly, the Shadow Priest. There is something to how the abilities were blending, the combination of long casts and procs that just popped and said “Hey, shit this is fun!” to me.

Second would have to be my Hunters, and third would be the Warlock. I’m starting to adapt to my Warlock, but it’s taken a lot of practice against the Iron Horde elites around the Red Portal. I’m using them because they’ve got a reasonable level of power so I can get some rotations off against them, there are usually a mixed threesome in a group, and their mechanics are solid to work against. A charging knockback, a caster with an erratic fire splash, some grenades. It’s pretty useful to practice AoE stuns, interrupts, moving out of the fire while attacking, and getting a feel for the Warlock survivability. Also, there is always the possibility I could get a Bronze Whelpling to drop.

Not that I have to get one. My friend Sarlas took pity on me and gave me one of his. He has apparently mastered the art of Warlock farming of the Iron Horse. He owns that town in the hills.

On the subject of relearning to Warlock, a personal note; to whoever took my Ember Tap and nerfed that ability into the ground, fuck you and the pale horse you rode in on. I hate you. Why did you want to hurt me so baaaaaad?

Oh, and thank you for buffing my single target DPS, I appreciate that, thanks very much. I’m feeling much better in raid now.

P.S. I really mean it about the Ember Tap thing, you asshole. /cry /weepsaltytears

I know I just got my Rogue all kitted up in some nice gear, I ran a single Throne of Thunder LFR and it was enough to get Friendly with Shado Pan Assault to unlock all those iLevel 522 items for gold. A little over 2000g later and I’m doing better on my Rogue than on other 90s that I’ve had since the beginning of Pandaria. I should be all amazeballs about the Rogue, right?

Yeah, even with that, and as much fun as stealthing around playing the Assassin has been, I’m looking at my Shadow Priest and wondering if maybe I shouldn’t give her a chance. What would happen if I replaced those 496s with some 522 gear? If it was that fun with lower gear, what would an LFR feel like in bolder threads? I like the feel, it was like the first time I played an enhancement Shaman, and I got a Windfury proc off a Wirt’s Leg and it procced another bonus Windfury. That feeling, mmmmm so good. Like, face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot.

Would playing a Shadow Priest bring that feeling back? Enquiring minds want to know.

Early days yet. Two days, two complete runs with everyone through Horseman. No mount.

BUT!

There have been rings here and there, a plate helm on my Warrior that could actually use it (I think I won it on my Warrior last year as well, now that I think about it, and built a green set I’m not wearing anymore), lots of broomsticks and a crazy amount of Sinister Squashlings. I’m about to flood our guild bank with the things.

It’s really funny. If it weren’t for account shared mounts, then I wouldn’t be trying to run everyone through Horseman. If it wasn’t for running everyone in a combat scenario, I wouldn’t have had a reason to look everyone up on Icy Veins to understand their changed abilities and Talents.

And if it weren’t for that…. I wouldn’t have found out I am missing out on Shadow Priest fun.

It’s a vicious cycle. Just when I think It’s safe to take a break, the game drags me right back in.

Damn you Warcraft, stop being so darn fun! Don’t you know I’ve got four season of Castle to watch, two episodes of Agents of SHIELD to catch up on, and the entire first season of Arrow sitting on my shelf on DvD?

Gaaaaack!

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I almost don’t know where to start, but bottom line it, I’m having a hell of a lot of fun scattered all over the damn place!

Patch 6.0.2 hit, or the pre-patch, or whatever the heck people are calling it, and I’ve been so busy doing stuff in it it’s crazy… but I can’t really pinpoint one specific thing that is the big ‘OMG new’ thing to do.

As soon as the patch hit, I checked twitter and hallelujah EvlUI is updated. I can play the game. Kind of the make or break addon for me.

SocialState, the addon I use with ChocolateBar to easily see who is on and what their guild note says (to tell me who their main is) was down, but I found a great replacement, Frenemy, and onwards to progress.

So, playtime? Hah! Wednesday night is supposed to be our raid night, so I used the updated Ask Mr Robot addon and manual updater to check my enchants and gems. I’d checked Icy Veins for gem recommendations already, and Ask Mr Robot confirmed what needed to change, so I regemmed both my Warlock and Hunter so they’d be ready to roll, changed up some talents, restructured my bars and abilities, and went practicing.

My Warlock… it’s going to be an adjustment, learning how not to rabbit hop everywhere. It’s built in, that’s why I loved my Warlock and my Hunter. I’m a hopper. I don’t stand in shit, it’s getting me to stand freaking still for five seconds that’s the problem.

it’s okay. Wednesday rolled around, Tom let me play my Hunter in raid while I continue practicing on my Warlock. I’m not taking Kil’jaeden’s Cunning, I’m going to use the double Dark Soul talent instead, but I will nail this. If I can damn well learn to stand still for Chaos Bolt, I can master it now.

This is part of the fun, for me. Learning new ways of doing things, trying the new methods out, exploring what we lost and what we gained. And make no mistake, we may have lost some things, but we’ve gained a few in the playing.

For example, old content.

There are some bugs, I’ve heard there are some bad bugs, but before I worry about them, holy screaming crap have you tried to solo old content since the patch?

I’m not yet sure how I feel about this. Except it’s cool, but social, damnit!

See, I’ve been used to running Firelands 10 heroic with friends every Monday night. Every Monday night except for those nights where I space out and play Terraria all night with my son, but let’s not go there right now.

Tom asked me about this upcoming Monday, in terms of wondering if I was going to still do it, and if so would I be done by 8 for the Flex Garrosh kill run.

When I asked him if he was going to join us, he said no, and asked if I had any idea how easy old things were to solo.

“Um, no?”

So last night I tested it for myself. I walked into Firelands 10 heroic, which is still called Heroic, and not Mythic. I walked in, and then I had to walk back out and make sure it was on heroic. I had to look, yep, yep that’s a fucking skull on the portal, yep, okay. Just checking.

I soloed Firelands 10 heroic last night.

I don’t mean I managed to solo it, or that I massaged the encounters, or did any shifty crap. I mean I fucking soloed it through sheer brute force, stand and shoot soloing. Or, for Alysrazor, scoot and shoot rooty-toot and loot.

All of them, yes, even Ragnaros. When all of the sons came out, I killed a few, but when some hit the hammer and blew up and I was fine, I ignored them after that and just burned him down.

So, I get Tom’s point. If you can easily solo Firelands 10 heroic, and you want mounts, why group up with lots of people?

Well, yeah achievements, but also friendship and social events.

But when shit doesn’t last long enough to be a blip on the radar of a single player, how much worse will it be for three or four? If you have any non-instant attacks, give it up, it won’t live that long.

So I’m happy for the ability to solo Firelands 10 heroic on three or four characters every week for mounts. But I’m sad that it’s no longer appropriate for big social shindigs.

Solution… find something new that IS appropriate! I’m still working on that. I haven’t tried soloing Icecrown Citadel yet, maybe 25 heroic there can keep three or four people busy long enough to hit a button. Or maybe when we hit 100 we’ll shift to grouping to farm celestial dragon mounts in Mogu’shan Vaults.

So soloing is now wide open, still some bugs and tweaks as we figure shit out but it’s clear we’ve got stuff to keep us busy.

Then there is leveling.

I know a lot of people are saying the item squish has made level 1 characters unplayable. Just, cannot play without miserable wipefests.

I don’t have anyone under 85, so while I hate that kind of situation, it’s not crimping my style this week. I had JUST gotten back into my Rogue, and since the patch XP gains for level 85 – 90 exploded. There is no other way to put it, I went from 87 to 90 in a day.

Last night I dinged 90, and I cannot believe how fast I leveled. Unreal. Just, freaking insane. No, seriously, I went through the last level in about 1 hour.

Once that happened… well, there was Timeless items to gather and equip, a pair of tankards from Brewfest to get my weapons to 470, some iLevel 489 gear to buy for gold off the old valor vendors for the slots I didn’t have timeless in, a Burden of Eternity on the Ordos floating isle to stealth to for a iLevel 535, and the Iron Horde starter quests to do for some 515 and 520 gear.

Boom, iLevel 502. Off to queue for Siege LFR!

And I get one boss, Protectors, kill them, get a fist weapon, and have to log off and go to bed, visions of leveling my Mage dancing through my head.

There are just so many little things everywhere, and I don’t want to do any one of them forever, but all together it’s enough to keep me busy.

Raiding for Heirlooms and fun testing the stat and ability changes. Running old raids solo for drops that I couldn’t do before. Leveling characters from 85 to 90 easier than ever, and gearing so they can actually DO something in the expansion. Practicing new ways of doing old things.

It’s not all sunshine and daisies, of course.

My Rogue has a problem with the new female human head clipping outside the back of my Darkmantle Cap, doesn’t look pretty.

I wanted to queue my Rogue for Ordos and the Celestials, but they broke the ‘easy list my name’ button from other raids, now you have to start a raid, or browse existing raids to sign up for them. The way it is now is miserable, since most people can’t even find the interface, and now instead of listing your name and someone inviting you in to their group, the pressure is on you to join one and hope enough other people see it to also join.

BUT… you can see why they did it, right? Once we hit level 100 and want to do runs on stuff, there won’t be Ordos or Celestial to do every week. And you’re going to want the power of choice on whose team to join to be in your hands. At least, I know I will want to have the power to browse the list and pick who I want to try and join, not just get a blind invite from a stranger to a group whose goals I haven’t seen yet. Blind was fine when there were two choices of one-off boss. Now, we have infinite variety of runs to put up, just like an in-game OpenRaid but without the long lead time on the calendar.

Still sucks right now, though. But it will be nice at 100, no question from me.

The new UBRS teaser… I haven’t done it, and I have to say I’m not hearing any great screams of joy from anyone. But I am looking forward to trying it out. Also, I’ll admit I like that it’s not the greatest thing ever with must-have farmed special loot, like a Brewfest mount. That would put pressure on my OCD to play and acquire that I don’t feel right now.

I’m saving that squee for the Molten Core that is coming soon. :)

I don’t know, I see people bitching about so much, and there ARE bugs, absolutely, but at the same time there is just so much to fiddle about in that even the stuff that ain’t quite right doesn’t bother me because I have other things to suck me in instead.

I’m looking forward to Mythic raiding on my Warlock this Sunday (I hope I get invited!) and I’m also looking forward to the simple Flex/Normal run for a Garrosh heirloom on my Hunter later on Monday.

I’m also looking forward to running Firelands 25 heroic with Elynea and Aldyrr and hopefully Serendipity and Draculia and Riven and others that have oftentimes come on Monday, in the hopes that we can still have fun if we crank it to 25. I’m not holding my breath on how long shit lasts, though. I’ll be the one showing off my sporty Hunter transmog and heavy metal kitty.

Just… so much fun. So many little things. Funny how many of them involve doing shit with other people.

Oh, and I have run for months with green fire turned off. It started as a way to screw with a guy in our raid named Mibs, make him think I never did it. I left it off because I like red fire better… but I earned that green fire early on. It was tough, one of the toughest and most rewarding things I did on my Warlock in game.

I didn’t get awarded the achievement or title ‘of the Black Harvest’. Apparently, there is this bug where you got the achievement based on whether you had green fire turned on when the patch hit.

So, I’ve got a few bug reports in, hoping that gets straightened out. I wasn’t planning on using that title, I am happy with my “Savior of Azeroth” title, lol, or “Dragonslayer”, but it’s the principle of that one. Damnit, if there is a single title I have ever actually earned the hard way, it’s of the Black Harvest. I hope that one gets fixed.

For you, my friends, I hope that this last week has been more about the fun to be found than it has about the bugs to be blasted by. I hope you’ve had luck getting Normal or Heroic groups for heirlooms, or have had fun playing with the Toy Box, or maybe just sneaking around killing stuff as a Rogue or Feral Druid and enjoying the combo points being on YOU instead of on your target.

One last thing.

If you ARE a Rogue type, or have one, don’t miss out on going to the Iron Horde offensive area and using your pickpocketing.

If you haven’t heard yet, there is some new fun to be had when you pick the pockets of the Iron Horde NPCs, especially the named ones. Make sure you take the time to check it out! :)

EDIT: And sure as hell, I get home and look at the MMO Champion updates, and a hotfix went out that nerfed the shit out of us in old raid content. So, by the time you read this, there is probably no more Firelands 10 heroic easy soloing. Positive side, we’re back to social gatherings!

Wish it wasn’t done like that, though. With so many other things bugged in the game right now, what gets prioritized right now at level 90 with a month left absolutely tells you what they care about, and making that a priority is bullshit. Fix the bugs in the game experienced by brand new players that just dropped cash, REAL cash, to make a level 1 for the first time. Worry about fake gold when you get your actual cash-costing shit right.

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