Travels on the Timeless Isle

I hesitated to talk about the week so far, especially since I’ve been very fortunate. I was able to play, and I’ve succeeded at everything I set out to so.

I know that it’s nice to hear when a friend is very lucky, but if you’re stuck or frustrated, hearing someone else is having a great time doesn’t help.

I try to avoid “Oh wow look at how lucky I am!” posts, or “Ooh look at my new shiny loot!” announcements because, really, who cares? Did YOU get the loot? If not then grats, and then back to playing.

So why?

I’m going to talk about these first few days and how it’s been going, because I am the one who usually is in the middle of the loot cycle, the middle of the raid cycle, the outsider, the soloer, the alt gearing player or the pet battler.

I’m not the hardcore progression raider, and when I am having fun in the game, I’m paddling in the shallows and the ponds around the edges, not the flow of the mainstream. If you still hang around here, you probably know what I mean.

“I hear there is this awesome new raid, cool, but what is in this patch for ME?!”

First things first.

I do have my Legendary cloak.

It is on my Warlock, and I feel very fortunate to have it. I know I spent a lot of time on all of the preliminaries, but the end result is worth it.

The animation effect pops up frequently, and I love it. The DPS cloak reminds me of green-tinted Diablo Angel wings, and I really like seeing it.

Even better, the graphic spell effect appears even if the cloak is not displayed.

What that means is, if you have the cloak and don’t like your spell effect, you are in for a bad patch. You can’t turn it off. Also, being a Legendary, you cannot transmog your cloak to look like a different one. That doesn’t bother me, I never show cloaks, but if you do have a nice cloak transmog, prepare for disappointment.

I am very glad that I did a ton of exploring and wandering around the first night BEFORE I got the cloak.

I finally ended up at the top of a hill, high above the island, at the edge of a broken bridge. I looked across that gap, wondering how to reach that fascinating fortress on the other side.

I tried all sorts of different things, before getting distracted by a shiny looking treasure chest you reach by jumping across the tops of pillars. That was fun, I did it while mounted, and apparently my mounted speed was the perfect pace to jump/run/jump and boom, treasure!

The next day, I completed my 5000 timeless coins, enjoyed the storyline ending, and equipped my new Legendary Cloak. Shortly after arriving back on the isle, someone asked for more DPS to take down Ordos.
“I can do that now! Wahoo! But where to go?”

I didn’t ask anyone, and I didn’t request an invite. Instead, I assumed if I could get there, I could tag the boss too. And I remembered that broken bridge, and that mysterious fortress.

I made my way back up there, and once I reached the edge of that broken bridge and looked across, I was told my cloak activated something, and BOOM! Away I flew safely across the gap.

A short run, winding my way through the patrols of firey shaggy tauren and I was with the rest of the group, and able to fight Ordos with all the cool kids.

Just as if I were a special raider, too.

Ordos… what to say about Ordos. Lots of fire? The return of living bomb, and being blown up into the sky? I had put the standard parachute tinker on my new Legendary cloak by accident, and it came in extremely handy. It has a much shorter cooldown than the Goblin Glider, so I was able to use it to fall gently down multiple times in the fight rather than just one Glider shot. Plus, parachute goes straight down while the glider has forward momentum. When fighting Ordos on that tight little ledge, I’m thinking this is a good thing.

Still, fighting Ordos felt special. The fight itself was fairly simple, the tanks kited the boss out of the fire path when it got laid down, it was a massive DPS pile-on race, and the only other real thing was dealing with being blown up into the air by people with the living bomb that didn’t move away from you. It was quite simple, and less confusing than many world boss fights like Sha of Anger.

Fighting the four Celestials for that part of the quest. Sigh.

Not a fan, since in this first week, instead of cautious and planned groups my experience was more one of “zerg the boss, die and rez, zerg the boss, keep the streams of people coming.” I liked the fights themselves, the mechanics were a lot of fun once I get a group with a consistent tank and healer team, but I’d love to see them as a phased queue boss instead of the open world zerg it is now. I think the Celestials would have shone in that venue.

The island. Ah, the island.

I ran around and poked my nose into things. I bought keys and opened a few chests. I danced in the rigging of a pirate ship trying to reach the plunder hanging off the mast, and I rejoiced in having a mount that can race over open water.

I was, sadly, not a lone explorer in a new and facinating island paradise. I was indeed just one more faceless member of the unwashed horde that descended like locusts on this hidden land, intent to devour it’s secrets.

Still and all… pros and cons. Was it annoying to see dozens of people standing camping sole spawn points? Yes, but at least it wasn’t as bad as easter egg camping. Too much shit happening for a group of campers to bogart everything, and too many bosses you could share the tag on.

The new skulls to mark world bosses you can share tags on? They show on the minimap, and are a work of art.

Did you know they work on rare mobs elsewhere on Pandaria? True story! I was flying over Townlong Steppes last night, fighting tamers to level my Son of Animus for my Little Tommy all mechanical team, and I saw that familiar skull icon pop up on the minimap.

Sure as shit, there was a rare down there and I got the kill and goodies. As someone who NEVER farmed or found all the rares, this is a good thing and makes me even more excited to go back exploring the original Pandarian continent.

The tamer fights?

Ah, how sad we all are, amiright?

Let me be the first to sing this sad lament. Farmer Nishi has been buffed.

The Sunflower has a nuke, and uses it!

I had my leveling pet out, got a whack in, swapped in my Mirror Strider, and the Sunflower suddenly drops the bomb, uses a Solar beam nuke that CRIT, and in one shot my Mirror Strider was dead.

Of all the things that have happened in this patch, that was my one moment of literal jaw-dropping “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT!” shock. If I would have had coffee in my mouth at the time, my desk woulda been soaked.

It’s cool, just gotta plan accordingly, but that was a sign that some of the fights might be a teensy bit harder than before, and it took me a few hours to adapt.

After all, the Celestial Tournament is up, and this is the prime time in live to suddenly realize “OH SHIT I NEED THAT ONE PET AT 25 NAOW TO CHANGE MY TEAM”, and that is the least special moment to find out your pet leveling routine just got an axe to the wheel hub.

The Celestial Tournament.

Ah, yes.

Well, as you might have seen from my rush to trumpet my joy, I did defeat the Tournament on the first night of patch, and yes, I am just immature enough to run around EVERYWHERE with my new pet glowy tiger, with a Biscuit on it to be super-sized, AT ALL TIMES.

Because damnit, I worked hard for that, and almost everything I did was from my own strategies and pet team planning. I earned that kitty, and I’m proud of it. Plus, it’s so damn cute.

I did learn, in fighting in the Tournament, that I wish I had more than one Anubisath Idol. Or more than one nuking mechanical pet, in the case of Little Tommy. I have always relied on my Darkmoon Zeppelin and the Idol for heavy hitters, and when I put together my team to go after Yu’la, that shit didn’t cut it. I had the Flayer Youngling as a humanoid in there, and it was close to useless. Great avoidance, but splitting up the damage among a few slices meant nothing got through the green serpents’ armor/shield. It turns out I am weak in my Humanoid heavy hitting choices. But Pandaren Monk? That was a fine pet for Yu’la. That one worked well.

Of everything that has happened in the last few days, I couldn’t continue without talking about the epic BoA drops.

My friends at Blizzard, if any of you are reading, I want to go on record as saying thank you.

I know in the weeks and months to come, someone will surely begin to complain, or to have second thoughts.

I personally am truly grateful. It has been delightful to have drop after drop fall down that can be given to my alts, and there are SO MANY items that can drop that there is STILL more I wish I would see. It has caused excitement in leveling some abandoned characters, it has finally strengthened others I would have liked to do some Pandaren dailies with that just felt too miserable to contemplate (like my Shadow Priest), and in general has allowed us to get all of our alts to a point they can be comfortable running around in Pandaria without fear of dying every time any trash mob aggros on us. Quality of life in fighting on the farm has improved. Fatty Goat Steaks are no longer to be feared. Thank you.

Also, Cassie says they fall frequently enough she could build a healer offset. Damn.

Now, to the new raid.

Ah, the Raid on Orgrimmar.

I am the alternate (the dude on the bench) for Team Wanda, the Band of Misfits progression raid team, and last night I was tapped to join the team for our first foray into RoO normal 10 man.

We killed the first three bosses in about 2 hours (maybe a little less), and yes, I won some loot, and yes, I have quite a few thoughts about it.

The primary one being, “Holy crap it’s amazing to play in a raid with a well coordinated, smooth team of experts that get shit done and never, ever play the blame game. Ever.”

I think, considering the scope of the raid and how fun and different it is, I’ll talk about it in more detail in a follow on post. I know I do bearwalls, but this is getting a little bit much even for me.
So that being said, I’ll end this with one thought.

I may have been one more face in the crowd on the Timeless Isle, but somehow it never felt too crowded, and it never felt like I had run out of things to do or see or explore, and I never had to wait for someone else. I was free to find some trouble to get into all on my own, and considering the flood of players involved, that is simply amazing.

Well done, Blizzard. Well done.