Legion or How I Learned to Love PvP Again

A couple of days ago, Fussypants and I played the PvP brawl Temple of Hotmogu.  I have played this PvP battleground the day before and had a great time, and even got some achievements!  Sadly when we played together she got quite frustrated as the opposing team was very coordinated and was excellent at focusing firing her down.  Totally did not help that she was the only healer on our team either!  Afterwards, Pants was more than happy to move on to a different PvP battleground for the next go, just not the PvP Brawl.  We also had a guildie friend along who had no clue what they were as he told us he simply never PvPs.

So here we are, joining a battleground, muddling along fighting the bad guys.  Our mini team was 2 tanks and a healer, an unusual trio for battlegrounds.  Of course the first Battleground we get is the Temple of Kotmogu  but this time, we did a lot better.  While the team overall was not as coordinated as Fussypants, the other tank, and I were, the experience was a lot smoother.  And it certainly helped that Pants and I used voice communication with each other – we were in the same room!  We focused on picking up the orbs and holding onto them, particularly in the courtyard.   Pants made sure that she healed herself and me when needed, and I went after a few of the problem players on the other side to try to keep them focused on me rather than her.  There was on vengeance demon hunter I particularly disliked – I loved taking him down.

We both had a lot of fun and we won the Battleground!

Legion has made a lot of changes to PvP.  Frankly, I think overall for the better.  One big example for me is separating out talents that work just in PvP and talents that work just PvE.  The “leveling up” of the PvP talents as opposed to PvE talents makes it more interesting in my mind.  They added value to the play.  It is no longer just a grind.  Game play is always better when meaningful choices are available.  While there is not a lot of choices initially in PvP leveling up, they do appear later in the process.  You have a decision once you meet max level by getting to choose between different PvP options within a grouping of 3.  Of course, everyone is familiar with this from the talents from the PvE side.  Once you move far enough in level you have some interesting options to choose, they can really affect your game play.

Additionally, they evened the playing field for all the types and specs.  By tuning the damage, mitigation, and healing of all the different abilities, they gave everyone a better chance of survival and completing objectives.  Gear no longer determines your success rate, how well you play does.

The PvP aspect of the game now is even more interesting to me than it was in recent expansions.  When I first started playing WoW, I played exclusively on PvP server.  I transferred to a PvE server in order to play with Fussypants.  Now as I learn from the upcoming expansion news, Battle for Azeroth, it will not matter which server, I can PvP just about anywhere.  That makes me excited!  I might even go Horde again!

 

P.S. Seething Shore Battleground preview in 7.3.5?  Sign me up!

This blog post was written entirely by Yotaan. Thanks Dad ❤

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I am a Rose: A Visual Story

There is a little house in Val’sharah with a story to tell. Tucked away under a corrupted tree, this house appears to be like any other unfortunate structure caught in the Nightmare – hastily abandoned and then ransacked. Except… in this house, the previous inhabitants left notes.

This is one of those things that I think is far cooler to experience in game rather than read about later, so I’d highly recommend you guys check this structure and the surrounding areas out for yourself! I unfortunately don’t have the exact coordinates, but it is located across the bridge from Starsong Refuge and to the left once you reach the branching of the trail. However, if you want to know the story now, keep reading after the cut!

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Treating Developers Like Human Beings

Image courtesy of Kotaku

This article is not actually about World of Warcraft (gasp!) but rather the gaming community in general.

A couple of days ago, a firestorm was raging on video game Twitter. Electronic Arts (better known as EA), the creators of the game Star Wars Battlefront II, had just added a brand new, highly unpopular feature locking many of the game’s most iconic and best characters behind micro-transactions. As a result, the players were pissed. I’ve never played Battlefront and don’t really follow much of that news but even I saw multiple angry rants, memes, and conversation generated by these micro-transactions.

In the midst of all this turbulence, a tweet from an “EA developer” claiming to have received multiple death threats over the micro-transactions went viral. A well-needed conversation about the gaming community’s treatment of developers came to the forefront, with game developers from across the video gaming community chiming in. Toxic behavior such as death threats and personal attacks were, rightly, called out and people were once more reminded that game devs are human beings too. The tweet also garnered attention from mainstream, non-gaming media sites.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the “EA developer” who started the whole thing… might not have been who he said he was.

Kotaku’s Jason Schreier set out to confirm that @BigSean66 indeed worked at EA but the answers he found proved otherwise. Scherier wrote an absolutely amazing article on his investigation and his conclusions that I highly, highly recommend (it is one of the best pieces of investigative gaming journalism that I’ve read), so I won’t sum up all of his findings here.

Instead, I want to talk about the “Now What?”. BigSean66 has pretty much been proven to be a fake, but the sentiment behind the message he went viral for is definitely not. Developers do receive death threats from unhappy players, and that’s something that I think the gaming community needs to address far better than it has been.

Players won’t always love every feature introduced into their game. Heck, there’s been plenty of things over the years that WoW has added that I haven’t been very keen on. But no matter how upset you might feel, it is never ok to threaten harm against the makers of the game. I honestly even have a problem when people single out and ridicule specific developers because of something they’re mad about.

Game developers, first and foremost, are human beings. That can sometimes be hard to remember when all we see are blocks of text transmitted over the internet, but behind every avatar is a person with thoughts and emotions. So when you send off a death threat to a game dev, that’s not just being shot off into space. It’s being slung directly at another human being who has done nothing to warrant such vitriol.

I don’t care how angry you are, there is no feature, no matter how bad, that is worth threatening the well being of another person. I honestly can’t believe this has to be said. If you don’t like something about a game, don’t play it! Or write about what you don’t like in a constructive manner! But don’t, for the love of all things that is holy, go after the people who made the game. They don’t deserve that kind of treatment. I can guarantee you that no developer specifically puts something into a game in order to anger players. They want to make as many people happy with their product as they can so people will continue playing. Sometimes they misstep from that goal, but with constructive and even-headed feedback, I promise you most game companies will make efforts to correct the issues.

There is another really important facet to this issue: a single developer isn’t typically the sole creator of a feature. In many cases, they might not even be involved at all. So not only are people lashing out against developers in an absolutely inappropriate way, they’re also lashing out against people who had nothing to do with the feature in question. If that’s not the definition of insanity, I don’t know what is.

While I am incredibly impressed by Mr. Schreier’s work, it does make me wary that the whole point of the tweet, not just the source of it, has been disregarded. Absolutely, BigSean66 is full of baloney, and should be regarded as such. But the problem with toxicity in gaming communities is far from imaginary. There was nothing unrealistic about the numbers BigSean66 chose. The only flaw in his narrative was that he himself was not an EA developer.

I worry that this might be a case of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf”. Whenever actual developers choose to talk about the death threats they receive, sometimes on a daily basis, the rest of the gaming community has to pay attention. We can’t treat this like some sort of non-issue.

The gaming community will always be a very passionate, emotional one. People get very, very worked up about the games they play, and rightfully so. Video games, for many, are a source of family, community, or escapism. All three are super important parts of people’s lives, and when they think any of them are under threat, they go on the offensive. What we, as a gaming community, need to do is use that passion in far less negative ways. Be constructive rather than destructive. Provide feedback rather than abuse. And ultimately, we need to express our displeasure with our wallets rather than our insults.

Hallow’s End Riddles

Hopefully, if I’ve set up everything properly on my side, this post and all the ones published after it should be published automatically throughout the week.  Cross your fingers! With any luck, I’m on an airplane right now, about to enjoy family and warmer temps. As you can probably guess, I won’t be able to check in with the blog throughout this week, but I most definitely will be able to respond to any comments as soon as I get home. If something is going horribly wrong with the blog, I can be reached via DMs to my Twitter account, @thefussypants.

With all the business stuff out of the way, I think it’s high time to actually get to the content of this post! For those who don’t know, for two years, I have organized a (pretty rockin’) Hallow’s End party, complete with scavenger hunts, transmog contests, and scary stories. The clues for the scavenger hunts aren’t your everyday clues though, they’re brilliantly crafted riddles by an amazing guildie of mine, Vin (shout out to you!).

We typically have contestants search around in the zone where the party is being hosted to look for the locations described, and then whisper one of the people running the party with their guesses. Teams are divided up into no more than 4 people and are encouraged to jump into separate voice channels to plan. The event usually takes about half an hour in total, but it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever had the pleasure of helping put together!

The Halloween season is pretty much over and our party has already occurred, but I would hate to see all these genius riddles go to waste. So, with Vin’s permission, I’m posting his riddles here for all of you if you are interested in either solving them or using them for your own scavenger hunts! Now’s the perfect time to begin planning for next year’s Halloween after all!

Our location was the Ruins of Gilneas, so all riddles describe a location contained within the zone itself.

Answers are posted below in white text and can be revealed by highlighting over them.

1.
In the shadow of divine spire, loom gnarled boughs o’er murk and earth charred
Souls lie ever dreaming in a Sepulcher, not of man’s design, but of The Dark Lady’s scheming
Their countenance…forever marred

A: In the courtyard of the Gilneas cathedral there are some dead, black trees. Beneath the trees are pools of fetid water and skeletons of dead Gilneans.

2.
A monolith oversees a marble town, where none will wake alive
Betwixt two budding beds, within circle and square, fourteen eyes to guide the dead
They cross the Styx, one torch between the five

A: In the main cemetery, there is a large stone in the center. Around the stone there are three grave plots, the left-most being a circle and the right-most being a square. There are a total of 14 lit candles (not counting the middle plot). The plot in the middle has 4 headstones and sarcophagus (total of 5 graves) with only one candle lit.

3.
In a hall of emerald radiance, where man and woman enjoy their vigil
A feast beneath the gibbous moon, wasted…for they left to soon
By lantern’s glow, how beautiful this sigil

A: In Gilneas manor, the main hall has a green stained glass window. There is a banquet set at the table, with a painting of a moon and sea over the dining table. To the right of the table is a tapestry with a family sigil of flowers. It is lit by a single lantern in the hall.

4.
They place them in this iron room, to wax upon the sadness
Rooftop islands in the sea, this edict fades, no more to be…
It drowned amidst this madness

A: There is a sunken area of the town where only the tops of the buildings are visible. If you swim down, there is a gibbet with a declaration of the criminal’s crimes beneath it. These buildings were flooded when the Forsaken sacked the city.

5.
Over the river and through Stygian wood, a gated monument, albeit grim
Twelve were they, so sad that to this day
But one sweet sentiment between them

A: If you leave the city by the bridge and go into the Blackwald forest, there is a lone house that guards a small graveyard (encircled with stone and an iron gate). There are twelve headstones and only one has a flower on it.

Hope you guys enjoy these as much as we did! And once again, thank you Vin for such awesome clues!

Totally Thrilled to Tank

I actually remembered to grab a screenshot!

Just a small update today; between packing for the trip and – ironically – writing other blog posts, I didn’t get around to writing up this post until very late at night! I’ve got some great ones all scheduled up and ready for you guys for the next week, so definitely enjoy them!

I wanted to do a follow up to a post I wrote previously about my first experience tanking, and report back that the excitement was definitely not a one-off thing! I wasn’t able to raid on the first raid night of the week, but for the second one, I once again strapped on my shield and threw myself at the tail end of Heroic Tomb of Sargeras.

Tonight’s raid was much, much smoother than last week’s (although, I highly doubt this was due to any better tanking on my part, we had many more bodies). We got through Heroic Maiden within twenty minutes, and very quickly were back downstairs at Avatar. Last week, we’d wiped there for the rest of the evening due to low turn out, alts, and some folks who were unfamiliar with the fight, which is nothing to be ashamed of since these runs are completely optional and most of the raid has gone on break until Antorus. However, our merry band was several bodies bigger tonight and that made all the difference in the world.

I discovered that, last week, I’d accidentally been murdering our melee quite a bit. I was positioning the Maiden too far from the Avatar, so when the tank swap would happen, it would take me a couple of nanoseconds after taunting to get within melee range of the Avatar. As a result, the big guy was using those spare moments to drop kick our poor melee players. This week, I made sure to keep the Maiden within the arc and things went a lot smoother! I only killed one person, and it was the raid leader, so who cares about that guy? (He totally got me back next pull though)

After about an hour’s worth of attempts, we got down Avatar! I rolled, and once again failed to get the heroic tier shoulders -boo! – but now I know for sure that I can tank Avatar. By the last couple of pulls, I was really getting the fight down-pat like I never had before, to the point where I was able to drag the Avatar off the platform right before he broke the last bit, in order to give us more time.

There was no time to celebrate for the scariest boss in the entire instance was left: Heroic Kil’jaeden. I’d heard horror stories about this guy, how his Fel Claws would hit like a cement truck barreling at you 100 miles per hour, how he would reduce tanks to quivering wrecks, how he would make you feel like you knew nothing at all about your spec. Luckily, I already knew nothing about my spec, so his power was gone!

In all seriousness, Heroic Kil’jaeden wasn’t as horrifically horrible as I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, he still hit like that cement truck, and it still took me a couple of tries to really start getting a handle on my rotation for the Fel Claws. But, and it’s crazy even to me that I’m saying this, it wasn’t all that bad. Even though protection paladins are one of the hardest tanks to attempt this boss on.

A large, large part of my success, honestly, was due to my wonderful guildies. One of our main tanks plays a protection paladin and thus was intimately aware of when I should be using my CDs and, more importantly, when I should not be. My raid leader, too, had a great deal of experience with protection paladins, so he too gave me some very valuable tips. I highly doubt I would have been as successful as I was without their help. Thanks Xerra and Cloud!

Our first couple of pulls were pretty rough; we didn’t even get him to the first flying intermission. However, after rearranging a few of my cooldowns and, for the rest of the raid, remembering to prioritize soaking the swirlies, we starting doing significantly better. Each pull we got farther and farther into the fight, and I grew more and more comfortable with tanking it.

For the Fel Claws, I very quickly discovered that I needed Shield of the Righteous up for every single one. Period. I also needed another cooldown for the last couple of strikes, so I ended up alternating between Ardent Defender and Eye of Tyr, both of which reduced damage taken. My last major survival CD, Big Glowy Man (it has name other than this, I just don’t remember) was reserved for any panic moments.

In the end, we got him as low as 2% on the last pull of the night, opting to end on that high note rather than get sloppier and wipe at a higher percentage. While it would have been rocking to get him down my first try tanking, I’m pretty confident now that I know how to tank that fight. It’s a shame I’m figuring this out right at the end of the raid tier though!

So, I’ve most definitely got the tanking bug. And, I think I can say without being too boastful, I’m maybe not the worst at it! There is definitely things I know I could improve upon, but figuring out tanking has honestly been as easy as figuring out a different healing class (figuring out DPS characters is like rocket science to me). I’m really hoping that my raid will allow me to gear a tank set come Antorus because I’d really love to learn those fights from a tanking perspective as well as a healing perspective earlier than I did this raid tier.

Guys… I think I love tanking.

P.S. Huge, huge shoutout to my co-tank Alarys! You were the best tanking buddy ever and I’m so appreciative of your patience and understanding! ❤

Better Long Term Legion Goals

[Fussypants] There were a lot of failed attempts to get a new blog header photo

Battle for Azeroth is pretty far away, so we have Legion to play with for some time. Fussypants cornered me yesterday, grabbed me by the collar, tried to pick me up, and demanded I write a follow up blog post to her Legion long term goals. [Editor’s note, I did not.]  After I grounded her and banished her to her room, I decided it was a good idea!!

Long term Legion goals:

Finally get the %$# Ratstallion – I have been farming coins in that stinking sewer for months! An elemental shaman is not the best for PvP down there. I have a little less than 2000 more coins to go, so close! Hitting up the weekly quest to get 150 coins helps, but Yotaan will need to buckle down, hold his delicate panda nose, and grind coins down there.

Speaking of mounts, I hope to get up to 250 mounts collected. I am at 242 and have gotten most of the simple ones. I was very, very lucky to get the Reins of the Infinite Timereaver in WotLK timewalking last week, so cross your fingers for more lucky drops. Plus, the Pants has another sibling that occasionally plays, and that toon has been farming up some mounts as well.

PvP has been better this expansion, we’ve wrote about it before. Yotaan is all of Prestige 1 – the goal is 4 for the prestigious bronze courser mount. Stretch goal is the prestigious ivory courser mount. Fussypants is interested in artifact appearances and there are a few hiding in the Prestige ranks, but I just can’t get too excited about those.

Yotaan wants to finish some stories! From a lore perspective, I missed the part when Illidan returns – does he get rezzed, does he get put together again like humpty dumpty, does he get really angry about it? (Well, I think he never stopped being angry.) That part of the story is gated behind Mythic dungeons end bosses. You have to acquire enough bits-of-something-or-another to see the next part of the story. Yotaan is only half way thorough – not really keen on the grindy dungeon crawl so it is taking more time.

Other stories to finish is the death knight series and the demon hunter series. I haven’t gotten the class mounts or seen the resolution of either. Fussypants informs me that it is worth working for, so that is interesting to see how that plays out. Plus, we are leveling our demon hunters together and they are only 107 or so – lots more story there!

Finally, for the Horde! I have a Forsaken Rogue that is only 101 – I would like him at max level as he may become my main in BfA. I am missing playing Horde and I might be able to talk the Pants into joining the better faction…

Another other good stuff out there we missed in Legion? Let us know! I’ll go and let Pants out of her room now.

This post was written entirely by Yotaan.  Thanks Dad! ❤

Long Term Legion Goals

With all this talk of Battle for Azeroth, it’s sometimes hard to remember that we’re not even done with Legion yet! There’s still another raid tier to go, which means more months of demons, demons, and more demons. That also means there’s plenty of time to get cracking on some long term goals!

I’m not sure how you guys operate, but for me, long term goals are my bread and butter. I got the legendary cloak and ring on almost every single one of my characters back when those were in the game, not because I really wanted to kit out those characters, but because I’m a total sucker for long, drop-based quest chains like that. Even when I only get one Abrogator stone per boss. There’s just something so satisfying about ticking off a checkbox on your list. While I haven’t gotten into it as much this expansion (so little time!), the artifact quest chains are perfect for this.

I’ve focused pretty heavily on my paladin main this expansion, so most of my alts have barely been played at all. A part of me misses raiding on multiple different characters but my bigger concern here is transmog. I need to make sure I collect as many artifact appearances before they vanish forever with the end of Legion. Luckily, I’ve realized this earlier in the expansion cycle than I usually do, so I should have enough time.

Mercifully, a recent tweet by the Warcraft Devs account clarified that most artifact appearances would still be obtainable in Battle for Azeroth. However, the Mage Tower and appearance the Mythic 15 one are going to be vanishing at the end of Legion. I doubt that I’ll be able to get the Mythic appearance on many of my alts, considering my main hasn’t even gotten it yet (I might be a mythic raider, but my mythic + experience is… lacking). However, especially with the gear upgrades coming in Antorus, the Mage Tower should be totally doable.

Come to think of it, even though the other appearances won’t be removed, it would probably be a smart thing to do to knock out as many of those now as I can. I very rarely go back to old expansions to farm transmog appearances because I am rather lazy. To save Future Me a bit of hassle, I think I’ll grab as many artifact appearances now as I can.

And then there’s all the class specific storylines and mounts. I haven’t heard anything about those being removed, but I definitely want to grab those up before the expansion ends as well. The list just keeps piling up and up!

Before I add anything more to this, let’s go ahead and write down for the record all of Fussypants’ Legion Goals.

Paladin
-Complete a Mythic fifteen in time (this is getting silly!)
-Finish out those last couple of world quests and dungeon bosses for my last two easily achieved artifact appearances
-Purchase the Protection and Retribution class mount
-Maybe work the the Prestige appearances?

Mage
-Balance of Power
-Mage Tower
-Class Mounts
-Maybe complete a Mythic fifteen

Monk
-Balance of Power
-Mage Tower
-Class Mounts
-Maybe complete a Mythic fifteen

Priest, Druid, Shaman, Hunter (all my invasion-leveled babies)
-Finish Class Storyline
-Balance of Power
-Mage Tower
-Class Mounts

What are your goals for the end of Legion? Any big ticket items you wanna knock out while you’ve still got time?