I’m loving WoW and feeling a little frazzled, because as usual there are too many things I’d like to be doing like RIGHT NOW and not enough time to do them all.
I blame Blizzard for adding so many awesome new systems into the game, some of which seem pretty simple but can have a subtle but powerful impact on the multi-alt player.
While the vocal part of the community seems hell bent on bashing Blizzard for any delay in flying, I’m praying they make haste a little more slowly because time, time, ask me for anything but time!
Yes, of course I’m eager to Fly Draenor and enjoy those majestic vistas and go exploring. I have my screenshots of the glorious skies over Outlands, now it’s time to see what nice scenery my tourist butt can find in da land of Orcs and Honey.
But not yet, please not yet! If flying gets released I’m going to feel guilty if I don’t start doing archaeology again, and I have enough guilt from my gaming.
Here’s the deal, buttercup.
I’m like thiiiiiis close to getting my 250 mounts for that achievement that nets me a fel green fire hawk of my very own. It would also position me within spitting distance of that future 300 mount achieve from Legion.
Getting those 250 is a done deal, I just need to consistently do the Argent Tournament dailies on my Druid each day for maybe three or four more weeks, tops, and I’m done.
In the process of working out what mounts I’m missing and where they can be found, a process that the website SimpleArmory made easy, I started messing around with the Custom Group system and made some alarming discoveries.
Now, I’m sure what I’m going to talk about is old hat to most players that are current on blogs, websites and the community.
I’m not current, I haven’t been spending any time reading blogs or WoW sites anymore except for Twitter or the front page of MMO Champion and, sometimes, following a link to Wowhead, and that only rarely. When I get home from work, I’m too busy playing the game to read about others playing the game. Kinda why I don’t watch videos or streams, either. It’s okay, if you’re a streamer, please don’t take it personally. It’s the same reason why I don’t watch any sports at all. I’d rather be doing than watching others having fun. This bear ain’t got time for that.
But the custom group thing, this took me completely by surprise when I really started looking at it and wondering what I could do with it.
See, I’ve been using the Find Group tool and Custom Groups since day one, just like many, many wonderful people in WoW to do cross-server hopping looking for rares that are up in the zones that can drop mounts (or for rare pet spawns), looking for Garrison daily commodity traders and pt quest givers, all that stuff.
I mean, everyone does that, right? You have a Blacksmith, you don’t wait weeks hoping that when the Ore Trader is in Garrisons, your character with Blacksmithing just HAPPENS to be lucky enough to have that NPC, right? No, you check Wowhead’s front page where they kindly list all of the things active in the game that day (including Garrison trader NPCs and quests), and if it’s the vendor you need, you go to Find Group and Custom Groups, and find some incredibly nice soul who has started an auto-join group so you can visit their Garrison where they have the trader up and ready to go.
This right here, this feature and how people are using it, has restored my faith in the actual players of WoW. No matter how many angry twits are spewing venom to community managers or Blizzard Developers, the fact remains there are a lot of people, all the time and every day, who go out of their way to form Custom Groups just so others can come and use their Garrison for vendors, traders and pet quests. God bless them, they are magnificent people.
But I hadn’t gone any further than that, not until I started working on making Custom Groups so that I could get my account and my son’s account both grouped up to run some old raids for mounts, and came across the most amazing thing.
You can group up with your own alts, and share raid lockouts!
All internal to your one account!
This is insane, and I love it, and it’s caused my gaming to explode lately.
It’s really simple.
Say, like me, you don’t have the Pureblood Firehawk that has the potential to drop from any version, heroic or normal, of Ragnaros in the Firelands.
Well, Ragnaros is the last boss in there, and even at level 100 a full clear of 25 normal can take a half hour to forty five minutes. Lot of loot drops, sure, but time! Ask me for… you get the idea. 45 minutes per character clear across, what, I’ve got 7 alts to level 100 now, that’s a lot of damn time.
But with Custom Groups, what you can do is go in on a character, in my case my feral Druid, and clear all the bosses in 25 normal Firelands through Majordomo Staghelm. So, everything except Rag.
Then my Druid leaves the instance, sits down and logs out just outside the entrance.
Now, I pick one of my alts, log in, fly out to Firelands and stop outside the entrance. I open Custom Groups, start a group, name it ‘test run’, and list it. Then I make sure it’s set to ‘auto join’.
I log that alt out, I log in the Druid that cleared Firelands, search for Custom Groups, and right there is my ‘test run’ sitting there. I join it, and then log out again.
When I log my alt back in, I’m still the group leader because I started the group, I’ve got my Druid in the group but offline, and maybe there are other players who are joining groups to server hop that are in there as well.
I edit my group so that it no longer lets you auto-join. Then I remove other players besides me and my Druid, if there were any.
Then my alt walks into Firelands, and no shit, the warning pops up, “You have joined an instance where 7/8 are killed, if you accept you will be saved to this instance.”
I accept. I am now the raid leader in a Firelands that has everything but Ragnaros killed.
Then I boot my Druid from the group. 🙂
I go on from there to go straight to Ragnaros, kill him, loot him, and hearth to my Garrison. Elapsed time on that character for a Rag kill from first log in to return, about 10 minutes, max.
Log in to my next alt to run it, repeat the process.
The next time I enter Firelands with my offline Druid in the group, it gives me the same warning, 6/7 or 7/8, whatever it is. I’ve run it so many times, and so many others raids, they’re all blurring together.
I don’t even have to reset instances or any of that on the alts, as the group leader that booted the Druid, the Druid was never in the raid when the last boss was killed.
Now, there has been a learning curve. I’ve been working on this for weeks, in multiple raids.
For one thing, you have to clear a normal raid, not heroic, on your original clearing character. And you have to be set to normal on the alts when you’re entering the raid for the boss you intend to kill.
Only after you have booted the Druid (or clearing character) from your group can you choose to convert raid from normal to heroic, from inside the raid. And of course, if your alt has never killed the raid on normal before, he can’t convert it to heroic. You’ll have to get at least one normal clear under your wing first on every character in order to do heroic bosses.
Also, you can do this the other way. You can start the group with your clearing character, have the alt join, then wait around for a while and the offline druid will eventually time out and lead will automatically pass to you. I don’t like that because the whole time you’ve got the auto-join setting on and other people will be popping in and out to see what’s going on. That’s great if your group is going to be up long enough for them to do cross-server stuff, not so good when you’re trying to farm a raid, or hoping lead passes to you instead of someone else. I personally prefer my alt to form the group, and have the character that cleared the raid join it and later on be booted after sharing the raid ID.
This whole thing has been transformative to my play.
As I said, I’ve got seven characters at level 100.
Thanks to Apexis Crystal upgrade gear, Garrison missions, LFR and Shipyard mission drops, all of them are at least iLevel 645, and three of them are over 675. ALL of them can clear Ragnaros 25 normal easily. Ridiculously easy.
Last night, I killed Ragnaros on EVERYONE.
I didn’t get the mount, but my Druid and my son’s Death Knight both got Sulfuras, the two handed mace, to drop. And both can use it for transmog. well, the Death Knight can when in Unholy, which happens to be my son’s favorite spec. He’s INSANELY excited.
I can’t wait to level up my Warrior to 100 just so I can start farming Ragnaros weekly for Sulfuras, JUST to Titan’s Grip the mace and dual wield it. I’m almost in tears, that vision is so glorious.
The night before last, on server reset, I killed the Lich King on almost everyone. It turned out to be a bit too difficult for me to do on my Rogue, I kept getting bounced off the top to my death by those glowing balls of shame.
I was killing the Lich King on Heroic 25, which is the only mode that Invincible can drop from.
I didn’t get the mount, but again, my Druid cleared the place on 25 normal, and then my alts all started groups, the Druid joined them, the alt walked in, booted the Druid from the group and then converted it to Heroic. Boom, a Heroic 25 Lich King only run, instantly. This only works, as I said, if the alt has cleared the full normal mode before. can’t convert it to a Heroic otherwise.
I’ve run Ulduar 25 no lights a few times to try to get Mimiron’s Head to drop, but that was before I ever found out about this, and as much as I love Ulduar, doing a full clear 5 or 6 times a week was just too much.
But this… as soon as I get either Invincible or the Pureblood Firehawk, I’ll drop that raid from my weekly rotation and start up Ulduar.
Talk about a revitalized interest in running things.
And on the subject of old raids, do you have any idea how powerful we are now? I hadn’t completed the achievements for Icecrown Citadel 10 man before to get the Bloodbathed mount thingie. I only did it with blog readers on 25 man a year ago or so.
Well, I started off at zero, ZERO achievements for the 10 man version, and soloed it in two weeks with my Druid as Feral, using a hastily thrown together Resto spec for the green dragon.
It only took two weeks, and it wouldn’t have taken that long except one week I had to kill the vampire queen after getting bitten, and the second week I had to burn her super fast so she died BEFORE I got bit.
Maybe you’ve long ago gotten every mount and pet in the game, you’re sick of soloing old raids, you’re bored off your ass and there’s nothing for you to do byut wait for flying.
If so, I’m really sorry. I am. I love this game but I need goals to excite me and shape my activities. Whether it’s chasing that transmog set, farming legendary staff drops or going for mounts os achievements, I have to have a goal.
But this Custom Group thing has me running my butt off, and frankly I love seeing all these different places… as long as I only have to clear it once.
Now, I’m not even doing this as far as I could. I haven’t tried it, but I’m pretty sure I should be able to push the raid instance lock each week after reset, and never have to clear the place after the first time. Just keep pushing it every week.
I’m not doing that, because I LIKE clearing ICC and Firelands on my Feral Druid. It’s so damn FUN!
So after all my alts have killed the boss in a week, I go in on my Druid and kill him too, get that one extra chance, and I’ll just clear again next week.
Sorry, i know this is really long, and all I’ve talked about is soloing old raids, which is nothing new and has been our fall back plan when times were slow for years.
I haven’t even had the chance to talk about how easy it’s been to farm ALL the rare drop mounts in Draenor thanks to the cross-server Custom Group feature!
With most active players hanging out in Tanaan Jungle, the rest of the zones are fairly quiet.
It’s been a great time to go to each spawn point where a rare could be that drops a mount, usually three or four spots in each zone (and easily crossed if you have a Feather) and then
use Custom group to quickly check four or five servers at each spawn point to see if it’s up.
I got all of them except Poundfist and the Voidtalon portal mount within an hour of deciding to target that rare. Felt really nice to finish that up, it had been nagging me.
So much to do, so many places to go, so many mounts to get!
Shoot, I’ve even been enjoying jousting at the Argent Tournament once again. And I’ll admit, it’s nice to be able to just walk up to a Commander before the gates of the citadel and smack him a few times instead of having to mount up with a lance and try and joust them. Makes the actual doing of the quests a breeze.
My only complaint has been that I don’t like to leave my Garrison for too long… I’ve got missions to complete and more gold to get! Those 120,000 gold mounts on the Auction House aren’t gonna buy themselves, you know.
Geez, I also didn’t mention the new Night Elf Death Knight alt I made to level. I’m already up to 72, and having a good time feeling my way through Northrend quests again. It’s been a long time, but it’s just like coming home. These heirlooms from the new system are so nice, and the Void Tendril heirloom trinket you can get from a Garrison mission (if your character is over iLevel 675 and so are your followers) is so overpowered it’s insane. Oh, and that trinket comes in a bag, the trinket is BOP but the bag reward you get is BOE. So you can buy that heirloom trinket from the Auction House if you search for the bag it comes in! It’s called the Void-Shrouded Satchel, and the trinket is called the Touch of the Void.
So much to do, so little time….
Please, Blizzard, just hold off the patch and expansion, just… yes, bring them, I really want them, but… not yet!