Triumphant Return!

halls-of-valorLong  time no see! No, I haven’t died or been forced to run from the authorities, there’s just been a perfect storm of events that’s kept me from blogging (and playing Warcraft too!).  First it was an uptick of school and other work but the bigger interruption came about a week and a half ago when my computer’s copy of WoW kept encountering a fatal error upon launch.  I spent almost every bit of free-time I had for the past week trying to troubleshoot the issue- I rolled back Windows updates, deleted my cache and WTF folders more time than I care to count, scanned for memory issues, even reinstalled the entire game!  In the end though, it was futzing around with the drivers that ultimately solved the issue and as of Thursday I have been able to play again!

Since getting access to WoW again, I’ve been trying to cover a lot of lost ground.  I recently hit 110 (making me the very last person to do so) and have been plugging away at the very first 110 quests. Friday night I entered my very first dungeons of the expansion with some of my awesome guildies, which is what I want to talk about today!

My wonderful guildie Vin offered to bring me through some dungeons once I hit max level and true to his word, he invited my sorely undergeared butt for some runs. I may have only been ilvl 784 but Vin, Lore, Who, and Romanova were determined to bring (read: carry) me through.

Despite me never having seen the dungeon before, we jumped right into Heroic Eye of Azshara.  One of the very first things I noticed was that, even despite how undergeared I was, my healing spells were healed for an overall smaller percentage of health.  It seems we are back to a more triage form of healing yet again, which could be interesting, provided the damage isn’t too spiky.  The second thing I noticed after that was just how overgeared my guildies were for the dungeon.  Even though it was far higher than I should have been in, my guildies had me covered.

Eye of Azshara is a very interesting dungeon.  It’s probably one of the most open floorplanned dungeons I have ever been in, allowing the players to pick which bosses they want to defeat when.  And even though I spent most of the boss fights dead on the floor, the fights themselves seemed to be the typical run of the mill dungeon encounters, with one or two interesting mechanics thrown in there for good measure.  I particularly enjoyed the ramp up of the weather in the zone after each boss kill; it really added to the overall atmosphere.

Also, this is the part where I mention seagulls being the spawn of Sargeras.

After Eye of Azshara was finished, we then moved to the Halls of Valor.  First things first, this zone was gorgeous. I got a strong Diablo vibe from the floating structures and the gold and red but dang, was this place just beautiful!  I also really dug the Norse myth tie-in, the Hearth of Revelry and the Fields of the Eternal Hunt in particular.

It did seem a little odd to me that Eyir was mad at us as alliance players, seeing as how we did rescue her from Sylvannas.  Maybe she just lumps all mortals in together?  Regardless, I’m glad we did not kill her champion, or really anyone in the Halls, we just beat them unconscious (out of context this sounds really bad). We’re getting better at not destroying everything!

Oh and the rainbow bridge! The first time I went up it, my guildie Lore told me to look backwards at the beautiful stain glass windows behind us.  So, of course, I swiveled my camera around to take a look.  And then, promptly fell off the edge of the bridge and plummeted to my death.  Yeah, I won’t be hearing the end of that soon.  My second try was much more successful and we finished the rest of the dungeon without a hitch!

While I’ve only done two of the (how many? eight?) new Legion dungeons so far, I am already impressed! The zones were thematic and atmospheric, the dungeons themselves very different from each other, and the boss fights entertaining!  I am excited to try out the rest and maybe venture into a mythic or two!  While I might be super far behind, Legion has been a blast so far!

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Legion First Look

stormheimThe long awaited Legion expansion has finally dropped! Here’s Fussypants and Yotaan’s first impressions of the new expansion.

Fussypants: First things first, I want to give kudos where kudos are due, that pre-expansion event was AWESOME!  The quests, the invasions, the whispers, all were perfect for building up the excitement and anticipation for the final drop.  The Legion invasions in particular got me two new level 100s (a druid from 80 and a rogue from 64) as well as a bunch of shiny new gear to outfit out all my alts.  Two thumbs up from me!

Secondly, I’ve got another person to thank.  I would have had to wait several days for my copy of Legion to finally arrive had it not been for the super generous actions of one of my guildies.  Thank you so much Frandall for giving me the key that allowed me to enter Legion the day of launch!  You’re the real MVP!

Finally, onto the expansion itself!  I, of course, started leveling with my Holy Paladin right off the bat.  The whole Class Hall and artifact introduction was very, very well done (but I do have to say, it’s a little weird to be the big man in charge of all the paladins in Azeroth; I’m much more used to being underling number three).  I totally adored that aquiring the healing artifact took, you guessed it, healing! My lifelong dream has finally come true, healing quests are a thing!

the-silver-handSpeaking of healing quests being a thing, you know what else is a thing? Leveling in healing spec!  That’s right, I’ve been shockadining my way across the Broken Isles since the first moment I stepped foot and for the first time, it hasn’t been horribly inconvenient.  In fact, it’s much more akin to tank leveling now- I can pull anywhere from 3 to 5 mobs, pop a few AoEs, toss a couple heals on myself, and widdle down each and every mob.  The process has probably been slower than if I were leveling in a dps spec but at the same time, I cannot die.  And really, compared to previous expansions (looking at you Warlords), the only drawback is that it’s a just a bit slower instead of taking twice the amount of time.  Healers rejoice!

Right now I am level 105 and have quested through the entirety of Azuna and a majority of Stormheim.  If I were to write about each zone in specifics, we’d be looking at several thousand words so instead I’ll just brief over a few things that really stood out to me overall.  The biggest and best thing so far is that I haven’t been hit over the head with demons.  Sure, the Legion is invading and all that, but there’s a plethora of other lore having nothing to do with the demons.  Vykrul lore and Night elf lore and heck, even current Alliance v Horde lore, it’s been everywhere and it’s been awesome!

The other thing that has really stood out to me is the development of little side quests and characters.  I feel like everywhere I go, there is some fun little tidbit to watch out for.  Some of it has been highly comedic but others side stories have been incredibly sad.  If I had to recommend side quests to look for, my top three would definitely be Runas in Azuna, Tehd’s demon in Azuna as well, and the Moonkin up in Northern Stormheim.  (The goblins in Stormheim might also join that list but I have not yet completed that particular quest chain.)

Legion has just been… wow.  The story is fantastic, the zones are gorgeous, the voice acting is superb, man it’s almost perfect!  Now my only wish is that Blizzard maintains this level of perfection into the endgame; if this happens we might be looking at Pants’ new favorite expansion!

This part of the zone was so beautiful, I have over 50 screenshots of it!

This part of the zone was so beautiful, I have over 50 screenshots of it!

Yotaan: I have to agree with Fussypants, I really, really enjoyed the pre-expansion event.  The quests were an enjoyable as lore building.  I actually began to like Khadgar!  I do wish the whispers that lead to transforming into a demon were a little different.  The RNG gods smiled on my toons twice for this, but I was not able to complete the chores to transform.  It was not entirely easy or clear what to do.  I was hoping to achieve this (ala the Scourge transformation in the Lich King pre-expansion event) as I wanted to rampage as a vile Legion demon!  Speaking of rampages, the Legion invasions were very fun.  Initially, I was thought they were too simple – I had quickly grinded out Nethershards on Yotaan and did not need any gear.  But then I learned that they scaled for alt leveling.  I jumped on Poopertunity (for some reason Fussypants does not like this toon???) who was a lowly level 13 Brewmaster monk.  He had rested experience, full heirlooms, and access to the monk only daily experience gain quest.   So he joined the fight against the Legion and leveled like a mad dog!  It was so fun watching him ding repeatedly during just one invasion.  The other interesting effect of the invasion scaling was Poopertunity’s threat generation.  He was tanking the elites!  I had not really tanked on a monk (outside of a little with Fussypant’s help) and this new challenge was fun and rewarding.  It got even better the few times a healer targeted me and I never thought tanking would be so engaging.  Ultimately Poopertunity made it all the way to 71 from 13.  Very impressive for just a few hours of play.

Demon hunters are fantastic.  Fussypants and I intend to write a whole post on this so I won’t say any more.

Yotaan has not traveled in the Broken Isle as much as Fussypants has.  He is level 102 and has gone thorough most, but not all of Azuna.  The scenery has been beautiful to say the least.  When I came across unicorns and rainbow winged hippogriffs, I immediately ran off to get my youngest daughter to show her.  She loved it and demanded that Yotaan stay there forever.  I can really appreciate the new draw distance and attention to detail even on my Mac.  So far the questing has been inventive and the narrative has been reasonably complex.  I did not always know where the story was taking me.  I am a little bit concerned about leveling too fast as I want to take this slowly, but then again, the scaling tech is allowing me to go anywhere.

I am not particularly thrilled about the profession leveling however.  While the quests are cool and unique to the prof, I’m not actually making anything I could use.  Perhaps when I get farther along it will improve.

In an earlier post I complained about the shaman elemental artifact, a fist weapon.  The quests for Yotaan to obtain The Fist of Ra-Den were unusual and I liked the traveling beyond the Broken Isles.  The artifact tree totally reminds me of spec trees back in Burning Crusade.  All that is good.  Still don’t like the pointy claw thing and the teeny tiny shield.  I’m actually motivated to transmog….

Despite the very few missteps I overall really really like Legion so far.  I haven’t had a chance to play as much as Fussypants, for that I am jealous.  And, patch 7.1 is looking very exciting.   See you in Azeroth!