Friday, September 9, 2016

Warlock Legion Week 1

Legion is upon us. Only took me three days to finally login. I started on my main, Elkagorasa, and spent about an hour to go through the artifact weapon quest chain and settle his class hall. It wasn't bad,  or hard like the green the chain. In fact,  it was a quaint bit of lore.  My biggest complaint is that I had a human disc priest helping me out, casting his healing bubbles on me for some big fights. But then, he deserts me on the boss fight, causing me to wipe twice on that fight.

The warlock class hall is a major let down. I know that Blizzard said it was going to be dh prison world, but really? So,  can I take any of these demons with me as a body guard? No. Can I change my demons names with one there already? No. Can I learn vanity glyphs that allowed my pony to run on water?!  No. BTW my druid CAN pickup a spell to CHANGE HER travel form..

Gearing has been relatively easy. Went from. 704 post pre-expansion to 718 before leaving first quest zone. Mr Robot is coming in handy with his BiB tool.  The interface change has  been a little confusing,  but I think I have it. Question,  how do I determine my gear for destruction while still leveling affliction? @askmrrobot

Favorite parts:
  • Four starting zones instead of one or two.  This has allowed me to run a different zone with each toon. Warlock Azsuna, druid that druid zone.  Probably going to go back on priest and pick something other than Azsuna. 
  • Solo most content. What I can't, often I'll find someone else nearby about to trash the same world boss. One quest chain had me zone intro erodar and help velen. I accidentally pulled a mini-boss and all his minions. They had me down to 8% health as I ran.  Happily the Draenei that I was saving,  stood there and healed plus dps. We killed all and no wipes. 
  • Multi-tap.  If I see someone working on the same mini-boss that I just killed,  I am happy to throw a few instant cast spells and send my minion over there. Running through the murlock area,  I managed to chain most of the reef along with me.  So I stopped at the end where a Tauren and undead were killing and (without asking) enlisted their help.. 😊 I didn't feel TOO bad because they both got xp as well.  
  • Zoneless.  No matter where I go,  I am always the right level. With the mix of old and new content,  sometimes it's hard to tell if this is the quest zones or not. Hey look that's a 110 alliance warrior helping me with this bird.  Oh look there's a level 50 in New Dalaran? 
  • Demon hunters. My son is now at level 101,  Dingo of Auchindoun.  I don't think he realized it,  but it's a PVP realm and can easily be targeted by the Horde.  
  • The critters. It's awesome to be exploring an area and find animals hidden under trees and in nooks around the zone. Friend mentioned killing a bear for skinning, only to have cubs appear, whimpering about their dead mom. Found the fawn that you can pet and he excitedly prances around the inn. The prancing ponies and animals chomping on the verdant meadows. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Zone less Warcraft

The Legion invasions have shown us that Timewalking is about to go mainstream.  Blizzard has mentioned that there will be no questing from zone a to zone b path, instead you'll be able to go in any order you wish.  What I think they've failed to explain is that it doesn't necessarily mean at level 100+.

I forsee content having no borders.  You approach a bad guy, he will automatically match your level.  This means you could theoretically raid, quest and run heroic dungeons if your gear is appropriate. Or would you need to complete the pre-quests?

Of course, some content will still be gated. You can't have people flying around before level forty, can you?? Oh! Disregard my chauffeur please, and this pair of wings,  and the feather from Draenor.

So my question is, why am i bothering to level my bank toon? Next week,  she'll be running Siege LFR!! Leveling via all possible dungeons! And maybe even questing in Panda land even though she's not even level 30 yet.

Friday, August 19, 2016

August Update: My Orc Wants A Tattoo Too!!

Monday I finally got a chance to logon and run Elkagorasa through the new pre-patch content. Horde side, it's rather distressing to watch all the chaos in the event. My priest even considered levitating down to the Alliance to help them out.. (invisible wall). I did find the final horde cutscene awkward in that Vol'jin looked like this guy.

I do like the direction, so far, of what I've seen. At max level, wearing lfr gear, the demon invasions 'hurt' but I am never really worried about dying. On the final 'boss' fight, I've been killed due to aggro, but that's after all the tanks died. The rewards are fairly nice, with a gear piece dropping pretty much each time. Elkagorasa has gone from roughly 700 gearscore to 703, and Eride (priest) has (after only one event) gone from 698 to 700 gear score (2 i700 items, one warforged 710 item).. I am hoping to run my max level alliance hunter and my level 94 monk through the scenarios as well. I want to see the entry area from the alliance perspective. Pre-Tuesday, I've heard of one level per invasion XP increase. Since my monk is still mostly decked out in heirloom gear.. :)

I then decided to spin up a demon hunter. Please welcome Ellidari (the Illidari). The demon hunter quest chain is interesting. I think it feels a little bit like the death knight chain, except without the awkward, go kill 30 villagers to prove your worth to Arthas quests. Instead, it feels a bit more like a low-level boost, in that you only get one spell/action at a time. One or two quests so far have been "Go do ___ and so you can learn this ___ from ...". Overall, I think DH game play is fun, Double-jump is nice for getting over barricades. I'd be curious how the Nagrand jumping puzzles would be with a DH. (Can I even open a garrison?)

You can't have my tattoos!

My biggest complaint?? Tattoos. You spend time picking out what your character is going to look like, Loved the silver colored tattoos as they looked less 'fake'. Except, sort of like a druid, you don't actually get to see those tattoos. Once start upgrading gear, you quickly get clothes with arm and shoulders covered. That doesn't stop me though, from wanting my Orc to get tattoos. How about PVP related, or achievement markers?  Horde symbol on my right bicep, guild symbol on the left.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Legion You MESSED UP MY ...

I recently subscribed to "Taliesin & Evitel Do Games" on youtube. The video that started it all was Taliesin's video "5 Things We'll Miss About Warlords when Legion Comes."

This got me thinking about things that I already miss from prior to 7.0. So far, my biggest complaint is the disappearance of the dual-spec option.

Excuses like "Sorry I can't play a healer, I only have DPS and Tank build". 

No longer, can I queue up with my druid for dps, and hope that I'll get to play DPS through the entire dungeon/lfr. Now, if the tank or healer drops, there's a chance that everyone will look to the hybrids to help finish the dungeon. I am not sure I can handle the pressure. Even my priest is considering sitting in the stables so that she doesn't have to heal?! Ok, Discipline looks fun, maybe it won't be so bad.

Alternate PVP Builds

Speaking of my Disc Priest, I had a lot of fun playing PVP one day a week, then going over to raid healing on alternate days. To do this really effectively, I would have two disc healing specs, but would alternate my talent builds. This way, I could safely have PVP oriented AOE fears on my spell bars or aoe-healing all based on if I was 'tagged for pvp'.

F-Ugly Gear Combos

Leveling up through the quest zones, it's inevitable that one's toon will wear a mis-mash of new-expansion and last expansion gear. This lent to some pretty ugly combinations of gear. Now that my warlock is 90%  completed with Fabulous achievement (I only need 20 items?), my priest no longer needs to wear odd helms while leveling up. One can at the very least xmog over that gimp mask.

I had a much longer list of indirect hits to normal game play, but darn if my RL work hasn't sucked those completely out of my brain. If I remember, I'll come back and update this post.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Importance of Being Human

I've been having a long (140 characters at a time) conversation with Goldy (aka @BFSTINMG) about Blizzard's new "Silence System". This system will 'silence' users who abuse text chat in the game. If they get reported for spam or abuse multiple times, they will get an account wide silence penalty. This penalty will range from 24 hours for the first incidence, doubling for each additional incident.

Goldy's comment on Twitter was why can't they automate this? This is way too complex of a system.

As a fairly avid PVP/LFR player, I can think of several times that people have become abusive. That random BG, where you have one player bashing everyone for their 'terrible DPS' or lack of healing, etc.. That dungeon late at night, where someone playing drunk or high and sitting there chatting about their nakedness. The LFR where we've died multiple times on the same boss and someone keeps DPSing when the boss is in berserk mode and someone is brutally calling them out on it.

Ok, a little background. I've been an email administrator for a number of fairly large companies. (Only large companies want a specialty email admin.) As an email administrator, I've been called in on more than one situation to enforce blocking of certain types of communication via email. This ranges from the basics of spam filtering and virus/malware blocking to capturing protected health information (PHI) that is leaving the system. I've come to learn that you can't enforce policy solely with technology.

One year I worked for a CEO who was extremely concerned about corporate image. He asked that we configure an email filtering policy that would prevent receiving and sending email containing swear words. Two members of the team created a 200+ long list of words that could be considered swear. Each word would combine into a total score. If it contained any violators the email would be blocked from delivery and someone would receive an alert about the incident. The problem with email correspondence is that we had customers. Sometimes they live in location that looks like a swear word. Sometimes, they have an unfortunate name that looks like a swear word. Unfortunately, we found out that the system we used to filter, pulled from anywhere in a word. This caused things like "Essex" to be captured. The filter was too op. We had to implement a a weighting system, where 0-5 words would not be captured and more than that was flagged and stopped.

From my about page, you'll know that I am dad of 3. In any adult's life, there comes a point when you are inclined to swear. Someone rear-ends your car while your waiting for the light. Waiter drops a piping hot cup of coffee on your lap! Over the last years, I've trained most swear words out of my vocabulary. Instead of something repeatable by little kids, I now use words like 'cupcake' and 'fudge-nutter'. (which actually makes it easier to swear more often. "Oh cupcake, I forgot my phone in the house!" Point being humans can easily replace spam/abuse words. A computer can be set to scan for specific keywords, but can you can't program meaning.

I am a casual player. I often get into random groups with people as they are about to break up for the night. This means the  players are already grumpy, and some swearing is happening due to "wipe 18 on so-and-so boss". More often than not, this chatting is over VoIP (Ventrilo, TeamSpeak, etc.). As people sit venting their frustrations, it's easy to join along with the f-bomb festival going on. Unfortunately, with kids either sitting in the other room, or even sleeping on the recliner next to me. I would be typing my complaints into raid-chat. If a system was setup that simply blocked me based on verbiage and not on context, I'd be in trouble. It requires human intervention. I needs someone with the entire story and not just what was said/typed. Sure, for some interactions, it's obvious, but due to the sheer number of subscribers, Blizzard would have not likely caught this user without their input.

WoW is awesome because of it's community. We don't need toxic players polluting the game. It only goes to scare away new subscribers and frustrate the existing ones. We can all /ignore them individually, but having a system like this where if they are reported enough, they may be forced to leave the game, even better. Most importantly it us, the community, doing the reporting. It's easy to contest a anonymous computer algorithm and say 'it don't understand', but it's completely different when 5-10 people are reporting an offense. You have witnesses. You have undeniable, irrefutable proof. When someone is giving you money for something, and you tell them GO AWAY, you better have darn good proof as to why.

Monday, July 18, 2016

So Long and Thanks for All the Apexis Crystals

Tomorrow begins the end of Warlords and brings about those big, new expac changes that we think we want until they happen.
Get ready for the hashing out of things disappearing from your bags (and going into your xmog closet), your mailbox filling up or emptying out, the auction house markets will stagnant and all those snazzy add-ons that we use for managing them will break!

Get ready for a rebalance of your raid team. Discipline priests are going to be hit hard with a new rotation. Demonology warlocks will need to learn how to DPS without a demon form. Rogues will now use pistols so hopefully they have one in their bags. Survival hunters that fight with swords, not pets. How about the option of changing specs with each and every fight?! Hybrids can pretend their playing Overwatch swapping between Mercy, D.Va and Tracer.

Gear is going wonky. PVP is going to have a major upset with gear-normalization (Blizz knows what spec you want). Goodbye spec specific stats (What's the lore behind no spirit gear on my healer??) and more QQ over 'the over-simplification of the game'. Goodbye glyphs. Wait, I wanted to tank in my feral cat build, heroic dungeon in mythic PVE gear takes too long in bear form!

Elkagorasa's things to do tonight:

  1. Send out followers for their last gold-making missions.
  2. Clear your mailbox of all mail. 
  3. Spend your valor and conquest points.
  4. Update those add-ons and backup the WTF (configuration) folder. Consider replacing or removing those add-ons the developer has stopped updating.
  5. One last Friendship Moose run tonight?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Adventures of Teddi the Pandaren - part 3

Last night, Teddi ported back to Orgrimmar to partake in the Mid-Summer Fire Festival celebration. He took a spin on the 'may-pole', did some torch tossing (putting the quest item on '2' on keyboard) and then ran a dungeon (while torch still on 2). With all of the festivities, plus monk buff, he managed (to my surprise) to ding 90 last night. (no banner, no 'welcome to draenor', no fanfare at all).

The dungeon last night was a Cataclysm timewalker, Tol'vir. Nothing awesome dropped, but I did go turn in the quest for 500 TW badges. With this I picked up replacements for three items, each coming in at 483 gear score.

The belt has a nice, bronze buckle built in, so it might actually be a keeper in my pirate xmog. Overall the xmog is coming along nicely. The chest piece was relatively easy to pickup (at 88-89) as the quests were in Thousand Needles (level 40?). The hardest of them all was a 'firefighting' quest where you have to put out fires lit by the headless horseman, er, pirates! :) Same aiming reticule, same narrow 'correctness' margin. I am still working on opening up the quests in Twilight Highland. I've now done one quest for Garona and should have these soon. Still need to run the dungeon to get gloves, and backtrack to find the quest to pickup the shoulders (Hinterlands). 

Belt of Hidden Keys from Cata TW Vendor

So now that I'm level 90, that means.. 
  1. Talents - I guess I need to select my level 90 talent. According to Noxxic, it should be Invoke Xuen. IcyVeins agrees, but they are different on earlier talents. I wonder who I should listen to? 
  2. Timeless gear! I need my auction house goblin to send some gear tokens over to Teddi. As I don't want to break up the heirloom set, I'll probably just send over tokens for non-heirloom slots. (I didn't just spend 15,000 gold to upgrade the tokens for nothing!)
  3. LFR? I noticed last night, that I could start running raids. No idea if there is actually people online at night running Mogu'shan Vaults at 10PM PDT, but once Teddi equips some Timeless gear, he should have the i-score to queue. 
  4. Garrison - Now starts the final stretch into Draenor. I think this should go fairly quickly for a couple reasons, including flying is unlocked, heirloom gear, accelerated mind pots, etc. I am going to try out the garrison follower guide like I followed on my alliance hunter, 14 followers for Horde, nice. Wonder if I can get them all before I reach 100??
  5. Late Add: Check out enchants applied via Ask Mr Robot on my current gear. As I am now over 85, I should be able to apply all fixes.. 
1 day, 19 hours, 52 minutes
49 bubbles of rested to use

Monday, June 27, 2016

Legion Priest Preview

Just spotted the Legion Tier preview for priests. IMHO, this is a great looking set. This reminiscent (personally) of the wrath set my priest is currently sporting as her xmog.

Eride sporting Wrath Tier

Blood Elf female is around 40 minutes in.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pirate Pandaren:

Ever since Teddi equipped the Admiral's cap, I've been working to fit him out as a pirate. So far, it's been a matter of looking at the AH, for stuff that I 'think' looks pirate-y. Oh, look this bracers, or this chest piece.

Boo. I had found the a chest piece at a vendor in town, only to find that it's not xmog-able. But of course. Then I went and started searching the AH, found a vest, and it's cloth and "can't be used to provide look for this item." Bleh.
Wow Role Play Gear: Pirate 4 

Back to Wowhead, I found a comment pointing over to Over here they have 'builds', how hard it is to complete (BOE, crafting and some luck). With that I've fallen in love with "PIRATE IV', an alliance only (OMG REALLY?!) set posted back in 2012.

The centerpiece of this set is the chest, Knightbane Carapace. Problem being it's a rogue class chest, so there's a different model for the horde vs the alliance. So even if I send my alliance toon over to get the item, it appears that my horde monk won't even be able to use it.

Knightbane Carapace
Alliance version
Horde version
Ok, I see how it is.. Blizzard loves the Alliance, despite what people say about Orc love.

How about something I already have used. Looking at my Discovery armor set I did for my druid. The chestpiece has buckles, it's leather and on a big furry male panda, it wouldn't, say, look like a bikini.

So I started searching for sets that used this piece. Happily, there appear to be several color variations of the item, ranging from white, brown and black. The brown, Swindler's Vest is a quest reward available to both Alliance and Horde. Oh, wow, look at this xmog! Ok, the Draenor PVP belt is perfect. Little dagger as the buckle (just don't use it as a panda and have your pants fall down). (Wait! The belt is MAIL! I thought I recognized this..hunter) The pants are alliance only (sigh).

So, how about something like this?

Monk HORDE Pirate

  • Hat   - check
  • Shoulders - quest reward -- which starts here
  • Chest - quest reward  - starts here -- quest chain contained about 15-20 quests, focusing on the main quest chain. Starts in duskwood, take free taxi to 1000 needles, grimtotem, canoe, start bar fight, put out fires, kill pirates, beat up alliance negotiator, swindle natives, get swindler's vest. 
  • Gloves - Cataclysm heroic dungeon boss drop 16%
  • belt - crafted
  • leggings - quest reward - starts here (can I get to twilight highlands if I didn't open up other areas?)  -- warchief command board, voljin, "machines of war"
  • shoes - ugh, wrath raid boss drop, 9% but my current boots have the 'cuff'. Just like the detail work. Oh, damn, The Acidmaw BOOTS are ALLIANCE! Where as the Acidmaw Treads are Horde. The treads are black knee socks with a yellow gem at the shin. NEVER MIND.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Adventures of Teddi the Pandaren p2

Teddi continues his adventures in Azeroth, trying to reach 100 before Legion drops.

Last night was the first time in about a week that Teddi ventured out of Orgrimmar. His compatriots have logged in to repost auction items and spin the garrison gold wheel. Looking at a little over 30k gold just doing this weekly. It's nice to finally be fluid in the game again. Tempted to have a guildie build me the mechano-hog, but then again..

Teddi has reached 83 now (oddly armory hasn't caught up from last night's game play). Found a tank and healer that kept queueing up for random dungeons; we ended up doing about 6 dungeons. At 81, I was prompted by a fellow DPS for the 'monk buff'. ?? I hadn't realized that it was a thing, even a thing that I could do. I had always assumed the monk buff (bong bong) was a Brewmaster thing.

Teddi (Armory) at level 80
Looking at existing armory, I realized that 1) I need to upgrade the heirloom agility ring. It's currently 0/2, so it's max character level 60. Sigh. Why didn't it drop at max level?? And 2) all my other heirloom gear (except necklace) is 1/2 meaning it's max level 90. I was really surprised to see more and more players without any heirloom gear. 3/5 dungeon crawlers last night ran in drops. Considered not even rolling greed on non-agility leather drops just so they could win the gear. Is this because they are going for the slower leveling experience? Or because they had to (no level 1/2 heirloom gear)? Sigh, if I upgrade the gear, I am going to need to re-ENCHANT?! Ugh. Thinking of that, I am glad I didn't apply the leg and shoulder enchants to his gear.

1 x 60-  90 armor heirloom casing      1000g     (ring)
7 x 90-100 armor heirloom casing    14000g     (ring, trinket, head, shoulder, chest, back, legs)
1 x 90-100 weapon casing                   5000g     (weapon)
Grand Total:                                    20000g

So, how badly do I want the mechano hog? Or at 90 should I start crafting items and/or picking up drops?? 90 to 100 can still be fast when using something like the elixir of accelerated learning, combined with DMF and fewer upgrades.

Leatherworking and skinning - I am finding it odd what I can and cannot skin. Violet Hold, everything that spawns from the portals. Where as the wolves in Utgarde Pinnacle, I couldn't. Maybe I just failed at the loot rolls all the time?? Maybe I am not remembering correctly. It definitely appears that skill is no longer an issue, I get scraps all the time. (Considering my skill is technically only at 75, aka some starting zone). As for leatherworking, I am not worried about leveling as the garrison will give me plenty of options.

So, I think my plan will be simple (and cheap). Play with my current heirloom gear until something better drops after level 90. If I'm not lucky, I'll start spending the gold to upgrade the remaining items. The neck and tentacle trinket are good to 100. Craft my 3 items when I have the mats. I'd like these to be the +5% xp items (i.e. back, ring) but probably won't be that lucky. More likely, I'll end up replacing my chest, legs or head with crafted items. :)

Speaking of making it to 90, I've been looking at questing zones. "when do scenarios come back?" and I found this tidbit "The Situation in Dalaran!" This looks like it was a quest that I never picked up while working on Dominance Offensive event in Pandaria. I really wonder how I missed this quest?
Blizzard revealed that they wanted Dalaran to take part in the Siege of Orgrimmar; however, this couldn't be handled due to game engine problems. Instead the Skyfire was placed up in the air in front of the gates of Orgrimmar.
(Sends warlock to Pandaria to investigate).