Is there Enough Endgame?

Highmaul RaidingSorry for the long delay without any forewarning.  Life caught up to us; between holidays, birthdays, finals, shoppings, and celebration we haven’t had any chance to write!  Don’t worry, we are back to start off the new year writing once more.

Endgame content is arguable one of the most important aspects of World of Warcraft.  The majority of our playtime is spent at max level so there is a huge need for long term max level content.  As with all expansions, WoD brought in new max level content.  The current debate is, is this enough?

Fussypants: In my mind, there are two types of max level content: PvP and PvE.  On the PvE front, we have garrisons, raids, dungeons, and reputations.  On the PvP front, we have battlegrounds, arenas, skirmishes, and Ashran.  Now I’m no die hard PvPer, so my knowledge is more limited for that, but I would say the PvP front is pretty well covered.  The main content issue seems to be with PvE content.

I think that the lack of an overwhelming number of dailies has created the notion of less content.  Minute for minute, I will agree that there is less to do.  However the content we have is much more enjoyable and much more lasting.

I will be the first to admit- I hated dailies.  I did very few of them and only when I really had to.  Because I couldn’t log on every day for two hours to clear out all the dailies, I always felt behind and annoyed.  So consequently, I barely did any dailies and I have very few Pandaria reps at Exalted.  With WoD, that two hour glut of dailies has been replaced with a twenty minute garrison jaunt.  Chores are chores, and checking my garrison isn’t the most entertaining thing.  But I’m liking it so much more than the MoP chores.  I can leave my garrison alone for a few days and I won’t fall behind.  Also the time commitment is WAY less, so I feel motivation to check my garrison almost daily.  Garrisons allow me to do more with my playtime because I spend less time completing chores.  I will definitely agree that garrisons aren’t perfect (cough cough professions cough), but they are a much more enjoyable form of content.  And if they are more enjoyable, they are more lasting.

As a dps facing long queues, I do miss the quickness of scenarios.  Dungeons are about an hours wait and raids can be even longer.  But the number and variety of instances are something I would not give up.  With the added bonus of Inn quests, dungeons are unique and challenging (less so than the start because of raiding gear, but not a snoozefest).  The only dungeon I dislike is Everbloom, not because of mechanics or boss fights, but because I find the story really creepy.  My experience raiding has been limited thus far, but I have found Highmaul to be an entertaining raid.  Molten Core though, that can die in a fire.

WoWScrnShot_122014_132815
I think the biggest problem is there are no dailies with reputations locked behind them.  I think dailies were a bigger amount of content than people realized, and without them it can seem like there is very little to do.  I have yet to run out of things to do, so personally I think this expansion is better for it.

In the PvP field, let me just say that I think its the best thing that Blizzard could have done.  I, I of all people have began seriously getting into PvP.  For realsies.  I’m saying this with a straight face.  I absolutely love Ashran.  You can go get the bad guys in a massive brawl or go off and do side quests or just collect artifact fragments.  Almost any playstyle still supports your team so you can pretty much do whatever you want.  Plus, the gear that drops both in Ashran and from battlegrounds is a huge incentive to go out and PvP.  I love that stunned till death is no longer the fate of noobs like me, and that even as an undergeared boomkin, I can still help my team.

I might be the only person to think this, but I really do love the Southshore Anniversary Battleground.  Not for nostalgia’s sake (I actually never participated in the original incarnation) but because it was an awesome free for all brawl with no objectives other than destroying the enemy.  I haven’t dabbled into any rated PvP, but the non rated PvP I have done thus far has been awesome.  My only wish is that Ashran didn’t have super long queues.

If you can’t tell, I’m totally enamored with this expansion.  I’m discovering new passions and enjoying every minute of my playtime.  The content we have is just fine in my mind!
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Yotaan: I will admit that I have not played as much as Fussypants in this expansion.  This isn’t for a lack or interest, but rather a lack of time.  I have a confession too…
I haven’t leveled Yotaan beyond Shadowmoon Valley.
I actually spent most of my time playing on my Forsaken Rogue and got him to level 100.  I’ve missed the Horde it seems.

As for endgame PVE, my experience has been very limited, With the rogue I reached level cap in Spires of Arak and then went into PVP.  I didn’t even go into Nagrand, my idea being that I will save it for Yotaan to experience it fresh.  So, while I have done a bunch of Garrison stuff (and boy was I lucky with followers – most of them were epic right from the start), I haven’t done any dungeons or raids.  I’m not even sure if I want to, at least on this toon.

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On the other hand, I have always enjoyed PVP and never had a max level rogue in it.  Ashran is very good but has been a challenge.  It is not friendly to squishy melee, particularly in those big brawls.  I can see why Fussypants likes it, shooting her moonbeams in the back!  I’ve tried the anniversary PVP BG as well, but they have been poor groups, we lost every time.  Once I learn my rogue better, I will be able to help more.

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There is definitely plenty to do in the endgame.  I don’t miss dailies at all, but now I don’t understand the point of reputations either.  Plus, there are more zones to open down the road, so I do think there is plenty to do now and in the future.

The State of Healing

Healing dungeons with my guildies

Healing dungeons with my guildies

You knew it was coming.  The inevitable.  The inescapable.  The healing article for Warlords.
Duh duh duhhh!

As  you probably already guessed, I’ve been doing a lot of healing recently.  Up until two days ago, I was the only healer in our guild at max level.  So I was healing just about every dungeon we ran. My gear is far from great due to my forever terrible loot drops, so for the majority of my healing I was around 600 ilvl.  And because of this, I have only healed normals.

My first reaction to healing, is that is hard.   A lot harder than it ever was in Pandaria, even in the beginning (I started healing in MoP, so I’m not sure how hard it was compared to earlier expansions).  There’s a lot more button mashing frantic spamming than I remembered. However, I noticed five big things with healing, that both made it harder and easier.

Number One: Less deaths
Maybe this was just me and I’ve mastered my pally this well, but there were a lot less deaths.  Near death accidents? Oh plenty.  But full on deaths? Not as common.  A combination of a decrease in spike damage and my Lay on Hands spell seems to help prevent the issue.  I have the time to react and throw out an appropriate heal.  Death isn’t as sudden and unavoidable as it once was. And this I really, really like.  I feel like I’m getting the chance to make a difference.  If someone screws up on mechanics, there is now a small window of time where I can save them.
I’m liking this less death thing.

Number Two: Less Spike Damage
I’ve definitely noticed this one; there is less spike damage.  No longer does the tank drop from 100% to 25% within a second.  Damage is steady and predicable.  But I’m not saying there is less damage, in fact I’d argue there’s more.  Damage is high but steady and sometimes heals alone cannot power through it.  There have been plenty of bosses where my heals simply could not spam through the damage and I have to pop some sort of cooldown.  My Gift of the Naaru has gotten quite a lot of use this past couple of weeks.  It takes more cooldown mastery instead of blink luck to keep people alive now.
I’m liking the less spike damage, but managing all my cooldowns can be stressful.  So I’d say this one’s in the middle for me.

The powah!!

The Powah!!

Number Three: Cooldowns are a lot more Powerful
In Mists, popping a healing cooldown on my paladin was a little boost to my healing but more meter padding.  I could feel a little increase in power, but not much.  Not now.  Now, when I pop my cooldown, its like I’m unleashing my inner angel of healing.  I grow larger, get freakin’ wings, and can heal like a beast.  For that brief space in time, nothing can kill my party members.  A couple of my AoEs and they are at full health.  Cooldowns are last resort, super charged moments of awesomeness.  And I absolutely love it!
But this is a double edged sword.  Sure, I have a button of awesomeness, but it has a three minute cooldown.  And I only have one button of awesomeness.  It’s really my last resort button because if I push it too early, we all can die later when I truly need it.
I have to say, I’m really digging this new powerful single cooldown thing!

Number Four: Mana Isn’t too big a Deal
I think I’ve only gone oom mid fight twice out of dozens of boss fights.  All my single target heals barely cost any mana.  Even when I spam Flash of Light on a tank, I don’t lose too much of that blue bar.  What really drains my mana is when I cast my AoE over and over again.  That’s when I go oom, and when everything falls to pieces.  This mana cost has effectively gotten rid of AoE mashing for a whole fight.  I will admit, it definitely took some getting used to after the AoE spamfest that was SoO.  But its admittedly more fun.  You gotta plan which heal to use instead of AoEing for all damage.  Sure, you still can AoE and it still will heal up everything but then you run out of mana.  And with spirit and mana regen spells gone, then you are kinda screwed.  You gotta know your spells and know your cooldowns.
I am really really liking this change!

Number Five: Some Fights are Very Movement Heavy
There are some fights that are extremely movement heavy.  As a  healer, I sometimes have to move constantly.  And with the decreased amount of instant casts, this is somewhat of a problem.  I often can’t stop to shoot off a heal, because if I do I’ll be dead or falling off something.  But if I don’t shoot off a heal, my party members will die.  It’s this wicked struggles, and I haven’t quite figured out the trick.  My fights with the most wipes are the ones with the most movement.  Ner’zhul and That Guy On The Train come to mind right away as some of my least favorite fights because of this.  Perhaps, as my gear improves and my one instant cast spell gets more powerful this will be less of a problem, but right now I’m struggling.
This change is not my favorite.

All in all, healing seems to have moved to become more cooldown and spell mastery than spirit stacking and AoEing.  And, even though its a lot harder I’m liking it more.  No, this is not me being elitist (I am far too lazy and goof off too much 😛 ) but me knowing what is best for me as a healer.  This new style of healing has kept me on my toes.  I’m relearning cooldowns and honing my reaction times.  I’m becoming a better healer and overcoming the difficulties.

Also as a side note, Proving Grounds Silver for heals, a total snooze-fest! I was able to two shot it (the first time failing due to a buggy mechanic) without busting out any cooldowns.  I will have to go back and try out gold, but that was super easy!  And a pretty bad preparation for dungeons unfortunately.

This has all been from the perspective of a holy paladin, so other healing specs might find they have different experiences.  I have not gotten the chance to level my druid or priest, so I’m going from this one view.  What has been your experiences with healing of any class?

Just Warlords Things

#justwarlordthings spikes
I will be the first to admit; I was not super excited about anything in particular in WoD.  I was looking forward to getting out of SoO more than getting into any new content that was coming.  Honestly, I thought WoD would be boring both story and content-wise.  I will also be the first to admit I was completely and utterly wrong.

WoD has completely blown me away.  It’s probably the best WoW expansion I’ve ever experienced.  And I believe this is due to three aspects that hit the nail on the head.

Ding!(Side note: Yes, I have hit 100! I have only done alliance side questing thus far, and have completed Shadowmoon Valley, Gorgrond, and Talador, and am about halfway through Spires of Arak.  I will be finishing Spires and going on to Nagrand to finish the stories!)

The first aspect that nailed it is questing.  Never before has the questing be as immersive as it is now.  The cutscenes combined with some fantastic writing has made questing the star of the show.  I stayed in zones long after I had outleveled them, just to experience the story.

My favorite zone so far has been Shadowmoon Valley.  The overall story built up very well, and the final cutscenes and the attack on Karabor were very impressive.  Yrel is now my favorite character of all times.  But the thing that really made the zone for me were all the side quests.  The one with the podlings was both horrifying and enthralling; it was like watching a car crash.  The botani area was really pretty… until I found the pile of dead bodies in the middle of their sparkly pool.  That was properly chilling, and the area felt much more constricted and closed off (very effective storytelling!).

I know I made fun of Blizzard for overusing this word, but Draenor really is savage.  I was afraid to let any NPCs out of my sight, lest they get killed from some dangerous enemy.  Whenever I had to go find an NPC, I always assumed they would be dead or injured.  All the zones felt dangerous- not game-playwise, but lorewise.  Like if I weren’t an adventurer, I would be dead by now.

DON'T EAT THE MUSHROOMS!

DON’T EAT THE MUSHROOMS!

I think the best (and by best, I mean most horrifying and stomach churning) quest chain was in Gorgrond.  You are sent to the Crimson Fen to check on one of the Rangari groups who hasn’t checked back in a while.  Upon arriving, you find that all but the leader are dead or missing.  What follows is the most awful but fascinating quest line I’ve ever done.  Basically, you watch as the Rangari captain slowly gets infested and taken over by the fungus of the Crimson Fen.  And the worst part is, you are actually helping him get infested by following his orders.  The atmosphere of the area (a dim but foggy orange underneath huge mushrooms) and the quest text made all the difference.  When I finished that chain, I actually had to take a break from the game for half an hour.  It was just so CREEPY!  Gave me the chills! Very, very well done!

The second aspect that is making WoD such a great experience is, surprisingly enough, garrisons! I know when this was first announced I had no interest in them whatsoever, but I’ve really come to love them.  The amount of customization as well as all the little details (Ray D. Tears and Pepe comes to mind) make it really feel like my own thing.  Plus, everyone calling me Commander certainly helps!

My only grip is that I have all these level 100 follower missions, and only two level 100 followers.  This means that I have a lot of missions sitting in my backlog.  I’m hoping they do not get deleted, because I really want to send people out on them!

The last aspect that I love about WoD are all the treasures and details in the world.  Finding purple items or downing rares is a very satisfying experience.  Also, it really gives a player the incentive to go out and actually look at the world.  Go to the end of that cave instead of looping around the front.  Go inside and look at those orcish huts, there could be treasure.

Basically, this expansion has been the perfect melding of lore, exploration, and solo content.  Everything I loved about MoP has been increased by a thousand!  I can’t wait to finish all the quests, and run it again on horde side!

Addendum: Yup, I leveled up entirely as a shockadin (as per the vote) and I found could do acceptable damage to mobs.  I’ve also done a bit of healing in dungeons, but nothing above normal levels.  What I’ve done so far has been pretty hard but I know my gear isn’t great, so it’s too early to make any judgements.  And nope, haven’t stepped into the new Molten Core or the new battleground yet!

The End of an Era

Goodbye Pandaria!

Goodbye Pandaria!

Mists of Pandaria is finally coming to a close.  Come Thursday, we will rush from her mist-shrouded shores to the savage new lands of Draenor.  But what legacy will Pandaria leave behind? What went well, what missed the mark, what will be remembered forever?

Fussypants:  Mists has been my favorite expansion thus far.  In this expansion, I discovered raiding, really got to know the awesome people in my guild, started a blog and met all you amazing folks, and really experienced everything in the expansion for the first time.  This was the first expansion where WoW became a social game for me, and now that’s one of the biggest reasons for me to log in.  I also absolutely loved the stories and the feels of the zones, and the music and aesthetic.  I will definitely be remembering this expansion for yeas to come.

For me, the most successful elements of this expansion were flex raiding (and its’ increased access), the lore, and the state of healing. This was my first expansion raiding and healing and I have to say, I couldn’t have asked for a better one to start in.  I feel I have a pretty good grasp on how to raid, how to heal, and how to heal raids.  And with the increased accessibility, I got the experience I needed to call myself a raider.

While some people weren’t so keen on the lore, I absolutely loved the story.  It was light and happy at times, and appropriately dark at others.  Jade Forest is one of my favorite zones in the game, all due to it’s beauty and fantastic storytelling.  The sha was very well done and the faction war was believable and intense.

The least successful elements of this expansion were PvP and professions.  PvP was entirely too gear and CC based, so unless you started at the beginning of the expansion, you had little chance.  I leveled a character for the strict purpose of trying PvP for the first time, but it was so intimidating and difficult that I quickly stopped participating.  PvP was pretty much stunstunstunstunstunstunyoudied.  Not my definition of fun.

And professions, they were just boring.  You got it to 600, and then made one daily cooldown and that was pretty much it.  Or, you could grind out rep for forever and get more recipes, many of which required more daily cooldowns.  I was thoroughly unimpressed.  Professions should be a fun mini game into themselves, not a boring grindfest.

All in all, taking the good with the bad, I absolutely loved MoP.  I will even go as far as to say that it was my favorite expansion to date. All the same, bring on WoD!

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Yotaan: What would the legacy of Pandaria be?  In my opinion, it will be the sights and sounds.  The visuals were amazing and beautiful.  Many times I would pause and just look around.  My favorites were the bridges, particularly in the Jade Forest.  The music was great and always set the mood.  I always have the challenge of setting the music sliders, I tend to make them too loud  and I miss the other sounds!
The less positive legacy will be the daily quests.  They did put me off.  Blizzard started with way too many and then overcompensated and removed all of them by the time the Timeless Isle appeared.  I have to say, though, the patch in which we were in the Barrens was very good, and I think they should expand upon that notion.
Overall, Mists was a very good expansion.  Of course, the best part was playing with my daughter.

But enough reminiscing on the past! What are you looking forward to in WoD?

Fussypants: HOLD UP! Before I start to get all excited about WoD, I need to decide my main.  Yup, one day out and I still don’t know who I’m going to play!! I’m totally split on this too!

Just to recap, I have a gnome frost mage, a draenei holy paladin, a night elf resto druid, a blood elf disc/shadow priest, and an undead fury/prot warrior. This is the order I’ve gotten thus far for leveling.

1) ???
2) ???
3) Undead Warrior
4) Belf Priest
5) Nelf Druid

It’s between my draenei paladin (Fussypants) and my gnome mage (my ‘main’).  Here’s my conundrum. I want to level Fussypants because she’s a draenei and this is the draenei expansion.  On the other hand she is holy, so leveling will be a long and at times painful process.  I would have to change her to ret, and I’m not sure I’d want to do that.  However, my mage is already a dps class, which makes leveling easier.  But, she’s not a draenei, and I would be missing that unique experience first time round.  So should I level my mage or my pally? Help!

As for what I look forward in WoD, leveling? Raiding? Pretty much just new content.  I’m not super interested in garrisons right now, but I’m sure I’ll find something I love.  I honestly just want the expansion to drop.

Oh, and I’m also going to log out all my characters at my five favorite spots in Pandaria.  It seems like an appropriate good bye to the continent!

Yotaan:
I miss PvP, so Ashran looks awesome.  I leveled a rogue just in case its as fun as I want it to be.  The changes they made, such as the scaling back of CC, will be a motivator for more folks to try PvP, always a good thing.
I also fully expect some great lore and surprises.  I do remember Outland well, so the contrast with that as well will be exciting.  I loved the Warlords videos and I studiously avoided lore spoilers, so here we go!

What did you think of MoP? What are you looking forwards in WoD? What are your last minute preparations?

Iron Horde Invasion: RE IMAGINED!

The New Dark PortalAs you all know, I found the ‘Iron Tide’ pre-expansion event more of an ‘Iron Puddle‘.  While I totally appreciate Blizzard spending the time to make a pre-expansion event, this one was just… eh.  However, its much more fun to look at the positive than critique the negatives, so I’m taking this opportunity to stretch my creative writing muscle.  What follows is the Iron Tide pre-expansion event, re imagined FUSSYPANTS style!

The event starts with a pop up quest (similar to what happened for the actual 6.0 launch).  This quest comes from a Stormwind/Horde soldier, who basically says something like this:
“Hail adventurer! I have a message from the King/Warchief! His Royal Highness/The Warchief asks for your aid for a quick little mission.  He asks that you travel to Nethergarde Keep/Dreadmaul Hold and check up on the men stationed there.  There has been no contact from the Keep/Hold for almost five days and every messenger we have sent has failed to return.  The King/Warchief grows concerned.  Please check up on the fort and make sure that everything is copacetic.”

Upon accepting the quest (it would also be auto-accept), you are instructed by the quest to take the portal by the portals trainer to the Blasted Lands.  The portal dumps you somewhere near the two fortresses and you head to the keep.

You find Nethergarde Keep/Dreadmaul Hold damaged and on fire.  Alliance/Horde forces are desperately trying to repair the fortress, and signs of a battle are everywhere.  Lots (but not all) of friendly NPCs are dead or dying, and there are orc bodies and orc machinery scattered about.  It appears that your fort was attacked, but no one is entirely sure by whom.  The Alliance think it is the Horde, which the Horde has honestly no clue.  You offer your services, and complete a few quests dealing with clean up, and then the leader of your respective fort sends your out on a scouting mission.  You are to find where those filthy orcs went to.

Following the trail of the attackers, you come to the Dark Portal.  Only, this isn’t the Dark Portal.  The thing is swirling an angry red instead of it’s normal green.  The Alliance and Horde camps that were there are in total ruins, and there is more of that strange machinery lying around.  You notice a few Iron Stars too.  You decide to go through the portal (rather, a quest suggests it), but as soon as you approach, Khadgar appears out of no where, and tells you to get out out of here as fast as you can. “They are coming again! It happens again!” He keeps telling you, but you aren’t quite sure what he means.  All the same, you two retreat to a safe distance.

You cut to a cinematic.
The portal starts to swirl more vigorously, the red deepening.  Then, (with dramatic music and a zoom in) orcs start to pour out of the portal.  There are hundreds, no thousands of them!  Then, comes machinery and Iron Stars, so very many!  A particularly nasty looking orc steps out, and the camera zooms in on him.  He smirks, and then the cinematic ends.

Khadgar, upon seeing this, turns into a raven and flies off to ‘send warning’.  You decide to head back to the Keep, but you have to kill a certain amount of orcs on the way (sort of fighting your way to the camp).  Flying isn’t disabled per say, but the skies are teeming with Iron Horde and flying too close to them will dismount you.  You are restricted to leap-frog flying but mostly on foot.

You arrive at your Keep, and it is just chaos.  The proverbial poop has hit the fan and everything is nuts.  Iron Horde are everywhere, bombs keep going off, supplies are falling from Iron Horde in the sky, everything is burning and everyone is fighting.  The majority of the mobs are elite, but will only attack if you attack first (aren’t neutral mobs, just preoccupied with fighting).  A frantic battle for survival.

Now, this is where the questing would get interesting.  Instead of normal questing, objectives would pop up sort of like a scenario.  Phasing would be minimal, you would just be able to interact with different things depending on which objectives you are on.  And no, it would not be instanced, so you could see other players and even group up if you wished.

The first objective would be to kill a certain number of orcs.  You would get a buff so that you could take down these elite orcs without getting slaughtered.  Next, you would be sent to find the leader of the keep.  Upon finding them, you would then be sent to get rid of Iron Horde champions and commanders in charge of the battle.  At this point the phase would change, making for less friendly NPCs, more orcs, and a more destroyed fort.  The next objective would be to find three friendly NPCs and bring them to the tower where your leader is.  This tower is one of the last holding defenses.

You find the three NPCs, one of which is guarding a child who got caught in the midst of battle.  You and the NPCs make your way back to the safe tower, which is about to be overrun.  Your next objective is to repel these attackers.  After a few short seconds, the orcs retreat.  You then jump to another cutscene.

It’s you and the survivors catching your breath after the battle.  While the others go to tend to the wounded or guard the entrance to the tower, your leader remarks upon the hasty retreat of the orcs and the fact that they could have won if they didn’t retreat.  Suddenly, there is a horrible spinning and grinding noise coming from outside.  Everyone freezes, and you pull the child behind you.  With a massive crash, an enormous Iron Star shatters through the walls.  The cinematic ends with the NPCs beginning to scream and then black….

You awaken to a worried Maraad/Thrall.  You are injured (lorewise, not gameplay wise) but very much alive.  Maraad/Thrall explains to you that the Alliance/Horde got Khadgar’s message and sent a fleet of ships.  The Alliance and Horde combined managed to create a beachhead and sent scouts into survey the numbers of the Iron Horde and the state of Nethergarde Keep/Dreadmaul Hold.  The scout found you in the wreckage and brought you back to the camp.  You are ‘healed enough to fight’ (again, lore not gameplay), and once again begin questing.

You kill more orcs, and then go destroy their siege weapons (similar to the beginning of the questline currently ingame).  The scouts have gathered vital intelligence about the enemy and Maraad/Thrall decides its time to strike for the leader (that nasty looking orc from the first cinematic).

This part would be similar to the Undercity Invasion event.  You, Thrall, Maraad, a bunch of friendly NPCs, and whomever else was on this part of the quest charge in (in a phased environment) and attack the Iron Horde head on.  You puncture through their lines, and work you way to the Dark Portal.  Once there, you find even more orcs, more than you could ever hope to fight.  So, you get in these Iron Star-like things and basically mow them down.  This angers the leader, that nasty orc you are after.  After an epic battle involving a lot of crazy mechanics (like driving the Iron Stars into the enemy’s incoming Iron Stars), you and your raid finally defeat the orc leader.

Triumphant, but not for long! Once more, Iron Horde starts to pour out of the portal.  You beat a hasty retreat in those Iron Star vehicles, and make it safely back to your camp.  The final quest is Maraad/Thrall telling you to warn the King/Warchief of this new and deadly threat!

Looking through the Dark Portal
So that’s what I would imagine for the quest chain.  A lot longer, and more actual invasion witnessing.  And more danger.  The Iron Horde is savage, so the questline would reflect that! And of course, the questline would reward gear like it currently does.

Now, this wouldn’t be all to the pre-expansion event.  Once you have completed the questline, you can go back and loot Iron Scraps, a new currency just for this event.  This currency would drop from any and all Iron Horde forces.  At every capital city and in the Blasted Lands too, there would be vendors that sold you gear (similar to the quest gear), transmog gear, an Iron Star Vehicle toy (similar to Yak Fur), or a temporary tabard that will teleport you to the Blasted Lands in exchange for this currency.

In addition to all of this max level content, there would also be content for lower levels.  Iron Horde Scouts can be found in all leveling zones as a rare-ish mob for leveling characters to defeat.  Killing them would yield the Iron Scraps, a sizable chunk of change, and a low chance for the Time Lost Box.  However, killing these mobs on a character that far outlevels them (if the number are grey to that character) gives no loot, so you want to kill the Iron Horde forces more you level, and not farm the level 5 scouts.

Also, these Scouts will occasionally mount attacks on capital cities.  The Iron Horde Scouts will appear all over your city, and you and your allies must band together and find and slay them all.  Otherwise, they start killing off NPCs (don’t worry, vendors, questgivers, and trainers are attacked last) slowly but surely.  The NPCs would disappear for an hour before respawning.  The scouts would be elite 90s, but they would be neutral so lowbies don’t get slaughtered.   However, anyone can help take them down, and if you damage them you receive loots.  So even a level 5 can help and reap the benefits!

UBRS the dungeon would receive a little more explanation for why it exists (Iron Horde that escaped into rest of Azeroth and set up a stronghold in the mountain), and the ending would also have explanation and not be so abrupt.  The Iron Horde in the dungeon would also drop Iron Scraps.  But other than that, I’d leave it pretty much the same.

This event would go on until the dropping of WoD, wherein an ingame email from Maraah/Thrall would say that Azeroth has repelled the majority of the invader, and if the player is maxed leveled, would invite them to come and push the Iron Horde back even farther.  Mobs, venders, and currency from the event would disappear, but pets, toys, and gear would not.

So there you have it! A lot more than what we got, but hey! You have to admit, this would be a pretty savage pre-expansion event!  Man, I should become Blizzard’s pre-expansion event planner! 😛

Patch 6.0: Iron Tide or Iron Puddle?

https://i0.wp.com/bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/blog_header/mg/MGD943QHKTJS1413251328414.jpgIts been about a week since the patch dropped, which is a long enough time to come up with an informed and not knee-jerk reaction to the changes.  So here it is; Fussypants and Yotaan’s responses.

Fussypants: To sum up the entire patch experience for me… lackluster.  Before I sound like some whiner on the forums though, let me explain.

This is what I saw when I first logged in.  My poor action bars!

This is what I saw when I first logged in. My poor action bars!

The first thing I noticed when I logged in was that my action bars were missing a ton of spells.  I didn’t realize how much was being taken away until I saw the reality of it.  So, the first hour or so, was just me remaking my action bars and re-choosing my talents.  I was upset, intrigued, and excited by this change, because I now have five new play styles to relearn.  But this also means that my Pally’s Selfless Healing is no more, and my Disc Priest’s Atonement is not the powerhouse it once was.  But for a game such as WoW to go on, change is inevitable.

After I managed my action bars, it was off to the barber shop for me for some plastic surgery.  To put it bluntly and shortly, all my characters were wrong.  My gnome seems to have gained an affinity to axe murdering and cats, while my draenei looks blank faced.  My night elf seemed too harsh looking, but my undead was pretty spot on.  Needless to say, this is all getting it’s own article!

Next came the toys/reagents tab.  Those changes are life savers, lemme tell you!  Over one hundred spaces were freed on each character, and my bags are gloriously empty!  (My only complaint; let jewelcrafting gems be allowed into those reagent tabs too please!)  I actually managed to fill my reagents tab on my bank alt, so it looks like I will be doing some AHing.  Speaking of AH, I’m liking the merging.  I haven’t tried it out yet (due to the crazy fluctuating markets), but I’m liking the amount of stuff on it!

I have a lot of junk, but I can't get rid of it because I might need that!!

I have a lot of junk, but I can’t get rid of it because I might need that!!

So, for the most part, I really enjoyed the UI updates.  They were much needed, and much appreciated.  However… I don’t think the PvE scene was as successful.

So.  The LfA tool.  It’s… uh… a good start? I’ve never used (or even seen OQ) so this is a completely unbiased view.  I like that its only 25 groups per page, but I wish that you could page through instead of clicking refresh, so that you have the option to come back to groups you are tentative on.  I do not like the HUGE filter that it has though.  In my opinion, the raids should be broken down into more categories.  For example, these should all be separate filters that groups can list under: SoO, ToT, HoF & ToeS, MSV, Open World Bosses, Others.  That way, one can find their Ordos group much better instead of paging through hundreds of SoO groups.

Also, I predicted this to an extent, but there is a bit of elitism.  My lower ilvled characters never get accepted into anything (I literally spent an hour on my ilvl 528 resto druid trying to find a group that would take me),  but my higher ilvled ones can get into any group.  I’m not keen on this at all; there should be some incentive for bringing along those with lower ilvls.  On top of this, I want to be able to whisper the group leader before I apply.  There are times when I want more info on a certain group that I might not want to join, but I can’t just ask the leader to clarify.  This one’s a much smaller pet peeve.

I’m luke-warm on the whole LfA thing right now.  I don’t personally see it as the most convenient method for pugging, but I know it will change a bunch before WoD drops, so again, not too worried.  What does alarm me slightly is healing.

I’ve tried out almost all my characters.  My mage felt very different without Alter Time, mage bomb, and Evocation, but I could definitely get used to her.  There is a clear rhythm and logic to the game play and I like it.  My 80 something Fury warrior is even more stoked, as I no longer feel rage starved or weak.  Loving that!

But what I’m not loving is healing.  I’ve healed on both my disc priest and my holy pally, and neither felt right to me.  In fact, healing on both felt distinctly wrong.  My priest had no rhythm, no build up to it.  To me it seemed spam Smite for Archangel, then spam Prayer of Healing until the Archangel runs, and Holy Nova whenever around people (by the way, Holy Nova is the bestest spell ever).  Its boring, its only three spells, and it felt unfinished.  All my big CD massive heals abilities are gone, and I feel lost without them.

WoWScrnShot_121113_210844
My paladin was even worse!  The changes to SH made me far less mobile and less bursty, which was my favorite play style.  Other than that, the class didn’t lose too much else, but I feel so weak!  I can spam Divine Light (a long casting ‘big’ heal) all day, never run out of mana, and barely heal anyone.  I was struggling to keep up in UBRS, a dungeon that I should be out gearing.  I’m really not happy.  My pally is going to get some massive talent changes soon, I can feel it.

To put it in more general, less class specific terms, DPS seems overpowered (two shotting things I never could on my mage) and healing seems very very weak (barely able to keep up a tank while on my pally).  Raiding seems harder because the heals just cannot keep up, but solo playing is easier than ever.  Everyone is more turret-like, but the new encounter (UBRS) demands a pretty high amount of movement.  Its all discombobulated!!

Moving on to the pre expansion event itself; the Iron Horde Invasion.  Better known as the Iron Horde House Visit or the Iron Horde Tea Party.  All joking aside, this was my least favorite part of the patch.  I’ve done the quest line once, and have no inclination to do it again.

It was boring!  The Iron Horde was a pushover; I could pull twenty of those guys and come out with more health than I started with.  The quests were boring and uninspired.  Kill guys. Kill spies.  Poison ogres.  Talk to king.  This had the potential to the the most awesome atmospheric expansion event yet, but all it turned out to be was a short, boring, forgettable, and ultimately lame quest line.  I had such high hopes, and I’m enough of a Blizzard fanboy that I would have settled for almost anything.  But this?  This was… lifeless. Lack luster.  Stale.

And the dungeon, eh it was ok.  Some annoying mechanics (hello first boss dude), some nice perks (no corpse run!), some nice loots (550 gear? Yeah, I’ll take it) but other than that, it was forgettable.  And the fact that is just sort of ended with no explanation, yeah not so cool.  I was unimpressed.  There were no boss lines I remember, no cool gimmicks, and a pretty cliche and reused environment.  I just… blah….

Long story short, I was underwhelmed by patch 6.0.  The UI changes were great, but the story and the ‘pre expansion event’ were honestly lame.  Maybe I’m being too critical, and please tell me if that’s the case, but I was not impressed.

Yotaan:  Okaaaay…  My impressions are not quite as strong as the young Fussypants here.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much with this pre expansion patch.  I do remember fondly the Wrath pre expansion patch and that was tons of fun.  I enjoyed the world wide interruption of the Scourge – it really felt epic (an overused word.)  The two pre expansion patches since were not nearly as exciting.  Additionally, enough people complained about the Wrath event that Blizzard was not going to repeat that scale of an event.  So, I suppose I had lowered expectations.

I actually liked the pre expansion patch intro quests.  Sure, the quest line was a little short, but the story, at least on the Alliance side, was good.  The dwarf lady seeking revenge on the ogre’s with poisoning!  Not an expected storyline at all!  My timeless gear only monk did have to be a little careful fighting the Iron Horde so I think it tuned for the boosted 90’s.

The UBS dungeon was a great start but a poor finish.  When I first ran it, I did not know when we ended.  The 5 of us ran around to make sure we didn’t miss a boss.  A little research was needed to confirm that was as far we could go. This needs to be made much more clear by Blizzard.

As for the squish, UI changes, and ability changes, that’s really just part of game – it changes with every expansion.  I like the changes every time because it becomes a new game again and I know that what we have now will be totally different as the expansion unfolds and my characters advance.

 

So what did you guys think of the patch?

Blizzard giveth, and Blizzard taketh away

Achievements

While skimming the list of things that will be removed upon 6.0, I was struck by how much would be gone come patch day.  Ahead of the Curve SoO obviously, but something’s, like the Challenge Mode Transmog Armor?  Why take content away, when leaving it will have no negative repercussions?

An article by Tastes like Battle Chicken made me rethink my opinion.  Ambermist talks more about the raiding and PvP achievements being removed, but her premise still applies.  She explains eloquently why we shouldn’t feel entitled to achievements (I totally recommend checking out her post; it is a thought provoking and well written article).

Do I feel entitled to achievements? Well yes and no.  I agree with Ambermist’s premise, but I think the issue is more complex than a sense of entitlement.

Ambermist defines an achievement as “a thing done successfully, typically by effort, courage, or skill.”  That’s a great definition for the word achievement, but I don’t think it quite fits with what a WoW achievement is.  A WoW achievement can be more or less than that.  Definitely, for the heroic raiding, and the pvp, that fits.  But for things like The Old Gnome and the Sea I don’t really think that definition applies.

I would define WoW achievements as like collecting Pokémon cards.  Some are rare or hard to get.  And some are like Pikachu, incredibly common and easy to get.

On top of this, achievements don’t really tell the whole tale.  Some really hard to get achievements you can stumble on to, while other take you weeks and weeks and weeks.  I’ve gotten some rare kill achievements by blind luck, but have spent almost 2 months now trying to get Ahead of the Curve for normal SoO.  The effort required for every achievement differs, which is what makes this question so hard to answer.

Do I feel entitled to achievements? On one hand, not at all! I have a chance at getting some of them, but that’s it.  I’m not owed anything, and my own satisfaction should suffice as my own reward.  But on the other hand, I do feel entitled to some achievements.  I want that Normal Garrosh kill.  I’ve invested hours on it, wiped countless times, joined multiple groups. So at this point yes, I do feel a bit entitled to it.  I’ve put the work and sweat into it, now I want to reap the rewards.

But at the same time, I know that if I don’t get that Normal Garrosh kill by next Tuesday, then it’s over.  I don’t deserve to get more chances at it; I’ve had just as long as anyone else.  I understand that it wouldn’t be fair for people to, several expansions later, get that achievement after so many people broke their backs on it when it was current.  I understand this.

On the achievement front, I understand both sides of the argument, and can sympathize with either.

But, do we consider content the same as achievements?  Achievements is just a name with a time stamp on it, but actual content is slightly different.  After the AotC achievement goes away, the raid will still be there.  Yes, the mount and the title will disappear, but everything else will stay the same.  So what about Challenge Modes?  The entirety of those Challenge Modes are leaving; the dungeons, the gear, the mounts, the titles, the achievements, everything.  Or the treasure room on the Isle of Thunder?  Does the same rules apply?

I think not.  Achievements and titles, yes, should go away.  But the content itself should stay.  The treasure room should stay, but just have its money amount reduced slightly.  Challenge Modes and the gear should stay, but only be attemptable at level 90 (similar to the Herald of the Titans Achievement).  Taking away content for the sole purpose of making those who got it seem special is silly. And a waste of resources.

Getting achievements can feel like an accomplishment, and that sense of accomplishment is often increased by the unavailability of that achievement later.  But content does not and should not follow that rule.  Achievements can only be completed one way; the way described by the achievement itself.  But content can be completed in any way one would like, the normal way, the blow-through-everything-because-I-outlevel-this way, the I’m-going-to-take-off-my-armor-to-make-this-difficult way, any way you’d like.  And removing the content entirely is foolish and unfair.  Achievements can be the special snowflake ‘I did this when it was hard’ thing, but content should be completely by anyone at any time.

And one last thought: Does an achievement really portray the ‘accomplishment’? Or just the numbers?

But seriously though, gimme that AotC!

Pre Patch Panic

Life Aggro
Between school (5 hours of homework each night!), getting sick, and a super secret project coming Soon™ (ooh, cryptic messages), Fussypants and Yotaan have had almost no time to blog, and even less to play WoW.  Never fear, we are hoping back onto that blogging train, and just in time because 6.0 is on the horizon.

Fussypants: I was doing what typical Fussypants’s do when there is not much coming in WoW; meandering through normals, slowly gearing up, smelling the roses and all that.  And then BAM! Patch 6.0.2 PTR NOW LIVE!

Uh oh.  I need to get moving!  I have a bajillion things I need to do before that patch drops!!
For instance, I want to
⦁    Kill Normal Garrosh for the Ahead of the Curve achievement!  This is an almost obsession, and I’ve been pugging frantically in an attempt to get this
⦁    Get all the Proving Grounds achievements I can, many which will turn into Feats of Strength
⦁    Finally finish up Hexos in the Brawlers Guild (I’ve been stuck on him for MONTHS guys)
⦁    Perhaps get some Challenge Mode dungeons done?
⦁    Kill Ra-Den for the Achievement, which will also become a Feat of Strength
⦁    Get my warrior to 90, she’s kinda stalled out at 80 right now
⦁    Legendary Cloak on my druid if I can
⦁    Start running flex raids with my guild again
⦁    Get at least one heirloom from Garrosh
⦁    Possibly try out RP? Maybe? How does one do that?
⦁    Decide on a main for WoD
⦁    Do stuff on this list!

So yeah, that’s a long list! And I’ve got two weeks to a month at best.  And school is ramping up hardcore. Yikes!

Yotaan: I have been not only busy but I have been distracted by Hearthstone.  Deathrattle Priest for the win! I do have a few things I want to accomplish before the patch drops:
⦁    GREEN FIRE!!!!  I got the legendary cloak on my warlock, so I hope I can handle the scenario questy thing.  I’ll get a cool title too.
⦁    Help Fussypants get her normal Garrosh kill.  I really hope she gets it!  (of course an heirloom for us to share would be nice too.)
⦁    Well, that’s pretty much it actually…

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What are all your prepatch panics?

Beta Key Giveaway Rules

Oh man,, these Photoshop skillz though

Oh man, these Photoshop skillz though

You voted, you commented, and now the results are in!  The way Yotaan and I will give away the Beta key is… by riddles in the blog!

Now, time for the nitty gritty.

On Sunday the 14th of September, at 3 PST, 5 CST, 6 EST, I will post the riddles through out the blog.  I will also post an article basically saying GO! and shortly after that I will update my Twitter with said post.  So that time is when you start hunting and solving riddles.  Just to reiterate Sunday the 14th of September, at 3 PST, 5 CST, 6 EST.

HOW THIS WILL ALL GO DOWN
In the article I post, will be the first riddle clue.  The answer to the riddle will be either the title or the topic (or some other such clue) of one of my previous blog posts.  Upon going to that blog article, you will find the next clue at the bottom of the post.  This riddle will lead you on again.

There will be four riddles in all.  Riddle number four won’t lead you to a new post (you will be reminded on that riddle that this is the last one).  Instead, you will email me at thefussypants@hotmail.com (remember the ‘the’ in front of Fussypants in the email, or I won’t get it) with the answer to the riddle AND THE TITLES OF THE OTHER POSTS IN THE ORDER WHICH YOU HIT THEM.  This way, I will know that you actually followed the trail instead of just answering the last riddle.

The first three people to email me with the correct answers win!

Prizes will go as so
1st place: The beta key (obviously)
2nd place: A watercolor painting of your character
3rd place: A (slightly smaller) watercolor painting of your character
(Key will go out the following day if possible, paintings depending on when I get them done)
If I cannot reach you to give you your prize, I will award it to whomever was next.
If you are first and you don’t want the key, please make that clear in the email, and I will give the second place person the key and you shall receive a different prize.

In order to make this more fair, I will be changing the blog temporarily so that only the first paragraph of every article shows.  The riddle will be in purple text in order to make it clear where they are.

You don’t have to want a beta key to join! Anyone can participate, for fun, for the watercolor, or heck, even for bragging rights!

TIPS
Use the search function in the blog
Think outside of the box regarding the riddles
If you are stuck on a certain riddle, comment in the first clue post and I might help you
Have the email all set up beforehand so you can send it right away once you have the answer
Have fun!

REMEMBER
This is supposed to be a fun event! Yes, it is also a competition, but don’t lose sight of the fun aspect in your race to be first!  Good luck to you all!

The rules stated here will also appear in the first clue post next Monday.

Disclaimer: Yotaan and I retain the right to refuse to award the prize to anyone on the grounds of cheating or unsportsmanship.  So please. Don’t do it.