WoW into the New Year!

First of all, as I type this, I feel that I could be in a Dickens novel. It is very cold outside and I am wrapped in a robe and slippers and have a blanket on my lap. The temps will go up next week but for today: brrrrr!

Everyone seems to play WoW very differently. It’s a big game. I have a person in my guild who runs achievements. And then gets on an Alt and runs them again. Like Ulduar. Or Suramar. Eventually another Alt will run Ulduar again. My guildie is very happy to play this way. I’m a-thinking that it is no more crazy than anything else we might do in an MMO; people play.

At this time, my four characters in each of their covenants have all earned their tmog stuff and pets and mounts. Three of those four are done in Korthia with the conduits upgraded to 252 and have installed sockets. My fourth is still faithful and is also a skinner, so gold abounds on my account.

The key, for me, in Korthia is to not race through the dailies but to dally about a little bit and get the rares. This is not a whole lot more time. Gather up three or four hundred relics and buy your conduit upgrade and find another paragon cache perhaps. To max out the conduits means more player power and I like that.

My main has something like 700 grateful offerings. I am not sure how it works but I might change covenants and (if) all my stuff transfers over, I’ll buy the leather tmog stuff from a different covenant. I do need to look into some article to see how all of that works; I’d hate to leave my earnings on the floor and left behind.

Raiding is part of my social life. I look forward to gathering up and we do talk about our lives; mostly about our ailments! Gallbladder surgery or our covid boosts and things like that. Slow computers count as ailments. It is very hard in WoW right now to sustain a group. We are still stuck in the middle of heroic SoD. It is frustrating but also a sign of the times, I read that Riot Games got hit with a big lawsuit much like the one on WoW. I wonder if there will be a righteous exodus from their products as well. My guess is that, like Lady Macbeth, no one’s hands are clean. Out damn spot!

Patch 9.2 will come soon enough. And with it a new raid, hooray. I feel that I am ready for some new content though I have unfinished business in Korthia on one character. I’ve tackled most of the toys, pets and mounts but not all of the achievements.

Achievement running, for me, kind of sucks in design. You look through your achieve list and see which ones are partially done already and decide to finish it up — then you look it up on Wowhead and follow the coordinates offered and do what they say. Not much fun. Blizzard has to design the achievements with Wowhead in mind because that is their pact with the devil. Very little discovery or delight. But, the flash announcement is satisfying.

Another way to play WoW is gold running. After donating a bunch to our guild vault for guild repairs and throwing some about for whatever I still am up around 4.3 million gold. I like watching that number go up, simple as pie. The Callings do pay off and the mission boards can too. When I had four characters in Korthia I was selling those Korthian stone things and doing even better. The nice side was the Korthian armor drops which go to my upcoming Alts who will step right into 200 ilevel gear; pretty nice.

And that is that! There is still plenty in WoW to keep me entertained. Right now is the first time I’ve felt that it is slowing down to a real lull. Happy New Year, y’all.

Stay warm!

WoW Listens

Sure, I’ve been playing every day as usual. The typical stuff, Korthia and Achievements for the most part.

The Tier sets were announced for the upcoming patch 9.2. I read the Resto-Druid descriptions and saw “swiftmend” and thought, “uh oh”. So, I went straight to the Suggestion Box and suggested that they do something different, anything different.

We have had this tier set before in some past expansion. In general I like the set bonus idea and it normally reinforces us to use our spells, often the spells easily skipped as a minor spell. This is true in Torghast too when a spell might be buffed and you use it a lot.

But, after I sent in my suggestion; today I read the responses from the guide writers on Wowhead; who agree with me! Almost useless in raid and not much in mythic plus was their read on the tier set.

So, the announcement today come from the designers who said that we’ll get something different! This is wonderful! How often have I felt that a decision has been made and the designers have moved on and are done with it.

I don’t know what they’ll give us. In my Suggestion I was a little snarky and suggested that our dispel have no cooldown and that we could spam it. I said anything, anything at all that makes us feel better about our game play.

So, WoW listened! I am surprised and delighted. Lets see what the designers come up with.

Patch 9.1.5 and Me

A big patch tomorrow and it is hard (for me) to sift through all of the notes and to figure out what those notes mean to me as a player. But, as ever, anticipating change is a lot of fun.

Speculation is that patch 9.2 will have content on a new zone with new crafting materials. We will see increased volume in our gathering nodes. And, again for me, I have four characters who are actively high enough to do the materials missions and I have stacks of raid feasts; so it will be an embarrassment of riches until the next big patch if I am right and for the now, much less time spent on grindy activities.

For my mains (two raiders), logging into them tomorrow first thing will make the new alt systems unlock as those systems are based on my progress and they are full campaign and renown 80. Wowhead’s comment section tells me that (on the PTR at least) the vendor for the main-to-alt items is right next to the flight point in Oribos, so stop there and see what can be had. I can send my freshest 60 a token to jump up to renown 40 in one swell foop and I can send over anima, of which I feel that I have plenty but those sanctum upgrades are spendy!

The only player power boost that I can see is an increased relic and research item drop in Korthia including a mysterious quest into the rifts for even more. The minor power boost that I see is buying the tokens that increase the ilevel of your conduits. Having been doing the grind in Korthia, most of my conduits are maxed at 252 and it will be great to finish them off. I think my other alts don’t care much at all.

We can buy upgrades to our heirloom gear, but I’ve already put in the time on my characters. I will buy the new flight-point toys for the past expansions to expand my toy collection. It seems to be that since I can already fly in those zones, getting all of the flight points is pretty minor.

If jumping covenants is as easy as it reads, I might do some tourist guest stops and see, but again, I have a character already assigned to each one to see their stuff. Players with only one character might enjoy this feature a lot.

I’m looking forward to this new patch. The Callings quests will drop offerings and that will help my alts buy their cosmetic pieces. Little things like that will be discovered with a smiling surprise and it all starts tomorrow!

Korthian Payday

I’ll admit skipping the Korthian dailies quite a bit. My main stopped but my new alts enjoyed the anima rewards from the quests. The road to Tier 6 was just too long, tedious and no fun.

But, it had to happen eventually. My main got interested and started killing rares again and the occasional treasure chest in a tree. And, I dinged yesterday. I’d saved up almost 40,000 things (offerings maybe?) and thought I’d never spend all of that stuff.

So, I bought the mount first off.

Then I bought a socket to add to my gear and found that I could buy as many as I wanted! So, I bought three (neck, waist and ring so far).

I bought a token to upgrade my 226 conduits to 239. And found I could buy as many as I wanted and did a run until I was out of currency. It is a random upgrade based on spec and happily my final one was for Convoke (whew!).

Maybe I should have done this ages ago but Korthia felt so dreary. The tooltip says that I can upgrade the conduits to 255 I think. So, that is where my currency is going from now on.

And the most dreary of all but now the reward is worth it, I can prowl as a druid and sneak around and look for chests and dudes with the purple outlines. What a thing to do, what a thing to do in WoW.

My Surreal Shaman

Let’s make a short story long.

I’ve played a raiding resto-druid since WotLK. Full time, love it. But, I have always been jealous of the Shamans and their totems and I thought that they’d be fun to play.

Years ago I made a new Shaman! During the Legion invasions, as I recall, you could take any level character to the invasions and get a bunch of XP. And they had crates that you could earn for future gear when you got up to your then max level. You didn’t really have to know how to play.

Well, that is as far as I got. My Shaman sat around for a while and then one day I got a friend to port me to WoD and give me a lift over to Ashlei, the pet tamer in Shadowmoon Valley. There you can do a pet battle daily to level up your battle pet and get xp for that one daily.

Now, my guild leader is talking with much excitement about the new Mage Tower in the next patch and the Tome mount for completing all of the challenges. I’m told that you can do them all with a Druid, a Hunter and a Shaman.

I have a Druid and a Hunter with full out raid gear and filled out shards and Domination Sockets. The whole deal. The Druid is done with the Torghast talent tree and the Hunter is close; so I know how to play these guys pretty well (in their specs).

This is what is surreal. My Shaman is:

  1. Level 58!
  2. Gear level 34 with worthless heirlooms.

I think I’d get wasted in the Maw and it’s opening quest line. So, I’m now doing the pet battles in the Eastern Kingdoms with the DMF buff to get to 60 (this week, I bet) and the Korthian Armaments and I still don’t know how to play this guy at all.

I had to use the toy to learn the flight paths. My hearth was in the Commons in Iron Forge. I have the Call to Arms quests for WoD, Legion, BFA and our current expansion. This guy has been no where. I still have 8 hours on the twenty-four hour BFF buff from logging in to do the daily pet battle: for years!

Fun, surreal, but fun.

LFR Hero

The game moves on. My main is at 5/10 Heroic with that number 5 an “only once so far” as it is a tough one. We struggle to field ten players sometimes. It feels like so many have lost interest in the game and this has all happened before.

The big push to collect Stygian Embers is over. My main has almost filled out all of the shards and so no need to go to the LFR to pick up the stray bosses not seen on our regular raiding nights. And you can see it and feel it, the shift in the culture in the LFR.

The raiding “elitist jerks” are not there any more with their sole motive of getting in and out as quickly as possible. So that leaves everyone else including me on my Alts. These are the players who are there for the fun of it. Last week we were wiping on Sylvanas in the LFR. One player demanded that we kick another player (who responded, “Me? What, why me?”). The accused had wiped the raid and was a “tard”. The LFR promptly kicked the outraged demander and kept the quiet player who may or may not have been guilty. I loved that.

I’ve become more sensitive to the VtK. I used the Suggestion Box to request a five minute hold on any VtK at the beginning of each wing; my reasoning is that if you have to wait an hour to get into the raid, you might have to take care of some natural business at home and to return to see that you’ve been kicked just sucks. And I say it now in Raid Chat, we are so accustomed to kicking the laggers because we are in a hurry (because the jerks are in a hurry, really) that we need to re-think the impact of what we have been doing automatically without much thought.

I have some thoughts on New World. It is the new MMO game from Amazon with lots of interest and some of our raiders have tried it and talked about it in Discord. I am not a fan of Amazon, period. They are too big, they are Big Brother and know everything about you, they will TELL you that it is a good popular game because they control the discussion. I can dig it if Amazon saved you during the pandemic, if they delivered your much-needed walnut vanilla coffee that you can’t live without, then they did the hero’s turn. All I know is that I have moved three times and Amazon has always known where I am, provided me with my password and login until I felt it was uncomfortable and I dropped them. The tentacles are wrapped too tight and I quit Amazon!

There is always room for a new game to go explore. New play is great. For me, not from them, I don’t want to support it; they control the message. Paranoid? Tsk, I call it righteous logic!


Me and Drippy

The story is that I was looking through my uncollected pets and found one called Lucy. After a google search of “wow lucy” I found in the comments an extensive explanation on how to get this elusive pet.

When you get the Calling to do three WQs in a zone with your trainee, occasionally you’ll get a special trainee. My character from Revendreth has a little dredger named Drippy. I’ve done the three quests but I am still lingering in Ardenweald because there is a once-every-five minute chance to get this little pet.

It is a full five minutes logged in to the character per chance. You kill any level 60 and Drippy will say something like, “Dredged up somethin’ interesting, boss”. You click on the sparkly and you get something. So far, no Lucy. I have gotten several Flawless Battle Stones and some potions and three pocket portals to Oribos and a Squeaky Rubber Duck fishing bobber and non-buff food that could heal you up.

So, I gave it a go yesterday for about an hour. And am on it this morning again. And I’ll likely give up soon. This form of farming is really bad. In game, five minutes is forever. You could stare at your character until he/she went AFK after a five minute time of no touching the mouse or keys. Or, as the comments on Lucy said, use /timer 300.

Outside of WoW, five minutes is nothing. I might get coffee or read headlines or visit my favorite bloggers. Or I might write this today. When the timer goes off, it gives a ding sound that I can hear when tabbed to other pages.

The heart-breaker is that I don’t care a whole lot about Lucy. I did want to try it. I’ll be glad to give it up and go turn in my quest. But — one more try.

I’m a sucker for one more try.

3/10 Heroic Solid

The “push” part of this expansion is over. The shards for chaos bane are maxed. I have yet to earn a helm but Blizzard added a work-around (gloves or waist, I forget) so it doesn’t matter because I am maxed. Professions are maxed to the point where mats are stockpiling with feasts in abundance. Pet and mount and toy hunting will always continue.

We are stuck as a raid team on the fourth boss. But not for long. It is all about learning some pesky mechanics. With the shard buffs, we are over-powered with the healers chipping in on the dps to pass the time. Upgrading your shards is recommended, please keep them leveled up as a group because the proc is based on the lowest shard of the three.

And so the Grander Plan begins to unfold. Alts! With the Queen’s Conservatory reduced to routine, it is time to look to the Ember Court. And stitching monsters. And something in Bastion which is currently baffling and needs much better quest text and I’ll be bummed following some guide on Wowhead.

As far as “time spent” my three alt covenant guys are sort of LFR geared with one very strong and the others catching up. This is so that I can do the things required. Taking these alts to Korthia for the much greater anima rewards has pushed the systems forward, once they can survive Korthia which they can do now. Using stygia on my main to purchase Korthian Armaments meant that my freshest alt stepped into 200 gear and was off to the races.

My main has bought everything cosmetic possible with the greater offerings pending renown gating. The intention is to do the same with the three alts though I doubt my own diligence to do the gifts dailies to stockpile them before reputation and renown makes them available. Finding the vendors is a task; the night fae has three or four vendors so it must be the same for the others.

So, I’d not call it quite a lull. If it were my main only, it’d be a lull big time. But I have ambition to see the other covenants and then embrace the changes with the new patch coming (maybe November?).

And I do love it. My freshest Alt is in Revendreth and doing the introductory campaign. At first he could barely survive a fight but he could hop over things with flying. Getting high enough to enter the LFR and pick up some rings, trinkets and a weapon made everything much easier. Using the Revendreth special mechanic (it’s like a shadow step, I guess) makes it very easy to get to those pesky treasures in the trees in Korthia! How satisfying.

So, as far as game progress goes, I am 3/10 on heroic with a very long time to the next raid. As for the rest, there is a lot to do to see how the game design plays out in the other covenants.

Happy Hunting!

Shadowlands Raid Mechanics

I think that they have done a terrific job this time. In the past raids, going back a while, it felt like the designers kept stacking mechanics to make it harder with no real over-all design. The current raid, SoD, seems so much better and has new stuff and old stuff.

The first boss should be a cake walk. Giving us anima cells and a Torghast boss fits perfectly. The second boss is comfortable with stacking and then splitting the raid, we’ve done this and know what to do. The third boss is easy also but it is getting a little harder with the pressure to dispel on the healers.

And so on throughout the raid. We see new things like the spikes and maze marching across the space but we’ve seen those rolling balls before so we are not totally overwhelmed. Racing to avoid Torments and killing adds is new in design but old in execution, which is part of what makes these designs work so well.

The puzzle boss is a LFR killer. The designers got a little too tricky, I think. That you have to make a quick choice on direction and needing a second player to go the other way is too much, the timer is rough.

KT is old school stuff and choosing a group to jump to another place is something we’ve done before. Stacks and adds and AoE damage might look new but we know what to do.

Jaina is wonderful on normal and a nightmare on the LFR.

Now I am into the heroic version with the first three bosses easily done as a good design should provide. Along with the higher HP and need for higher dps and heals, there is one new mechanic added. The fourth boss, the one on the round platform with the knock-backs is hard right now; in heroic it is two quick-timed dispels for the two knock-backs but we’ll get it and it will be old news soon enough.

I still grumble at the trash with boss moves. I think that after a boss kill that we need to relax a little bit. I think that we need more BoE drops (Ion said that they’d pay for guild repairs). That they sprinkled in some much-desired stygian ember into the trash run kind of makes it all better, until we don’t need that stuff anymore.

All in all, a very good raid. My only reservation is that we’ll finish it on heroic way before the next raid and patch comes along!

Another Week, Another Great Vault

Do you want to hear some swearing? Try being in Discord and getting loot one boss before your desired boss! Actually it really sounds like “Ka-” as you take your finger off the push-to-talk button. This is the time in the raid where one piece of gear makes all of the difference. The rest of the gear might get passed on to someone but more likely will be vendored.

I can’t say “all” but for my four characters who wear mail or leather, the best place to put your legendary is in the legs slot because of the higher stats. So, anytime legs drop from a boss, it is vendored. Hence the griping and moaning and the occasional curse word, especially if it is right before the boss that you want loot from. No one gets back-to-back drops, it feels like one out of six, maybe.

Not to say that I am fuming all of the time. Not at all. I’m having fun going through the process. Whether it is my main who has already started some raiding on the heroic level or my fresh 60 in all Korthite Armament gear who can barely step into the LFR, all are wanting to get the Domination Socket buffs and play the game as designed.

Chaos Bane is from the helm. Of my four, one has the helm and it is my profession alt who likes to skin leather. And I am excited to get it on all of my guys (come on Great Vault!), the blue swirling around me as Chaos Bane is ramping up is terrific and fun.

So: my main has run the two LFR wings that drop the helm and will complete the normal run tonight. My next-top alt is a hunter and she’s run the one wing that drops two helms and did a normal run up to KT. My other two did the LFR runs, one has Chaos Bane and the other got only shards, no socket pieces.

Sylvanas? Nine stacks of Determination, that is a 45% buff to damage, health and healing. In phase one it doesn’t matter at all, it is timed or something because we should have melted it but did not, we saw that same mechanics every time (with nine wipes, I’d know phase one). The major problems that we had with Sylvanas is players falling off of the bridge (there are a lot of people and ground clutter, it can be hard to merely see the bridge) and getting the interrupt off before she casts Ruin at the end of the bridge. Knowing what to do and actually getting there in time wiped us many times.

This was on my fresh alt, all those stacks. My alt won a shard and a renown after about 90 minutes of trying to keep these random strangers hopeful and amused. In normal, our raid team blows right through Sylvanas now that we know the fight and there are only 12 of us. Easily done, we feel cocky when we drop over to heroic and start on those beginning bosses.

So — once again, all my hopes lie in the Great Vault on Reset Tuesday. C’mon helm piece, my shards are already powered up and ready to go!