Pre-Order Dragonflight

Pre-Order Dragnoflight

For the curious, I have been re-reading Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series of which the first book is called: Dragonflight. That may have been part of my enthusiasm for the new expansion, and I bought it right away, day one.

It must be tricky timing releases. For me, I am primed for new content, so I am an easy mark. This has to fit into their quarterly financial report and all kinds of factors that I cannot imagine. So, the proof in the pudding is that everyone I know has bought the top package; seeing our hunter in raid with the new tmog wings was really great to see.

But: six months? That is a super short time if that part of the game is not even in Alpha yet. How can it be? My thought is that there are no new systems being introduced. The “new system” is the talent tree design and all of those spells have been tried and balanced and tested in the real game for a long time. Assuming that the artwork is in place (how can it be?), it may not be such a challenge to cobble together the beginning of an expansion in six months.

And, in my opinion, the best time to release a new expansion is right when school starts; everyone is done with summer, ready to be indoors and ready to squeeze in some hours on a new game before the classes drop all of the homework and exams and projects. Imagine this new expansion in three months!

Blizzard has been nerfing the current raid a lot. We have to be able to get our AOTC before this season four thing shows up with rotating raids. Part of the nerf is because the darned raid has some of the most punishing and complicated mechanics that I’ve ever seen. Many of us over-gear the content (the drops are meaningless) because of m+ but I rarely see a phase push except in the Pantheon boss. So, we are not really that over-powered or the mechanics are designed to prevent us from steam-rolling the content.

All in all, a six-month timed hype release will be really fun. As they release the new versions of the talent trees for the classes and then we’ll get more information on the new heroic class and peeks at the raid designs (and bosses) and hints, hopefully, of why we want to go there at all — this could be a lot of fun in the build-up.

Let’s play WoW

WoW and the ZM Model

WoW and the ZM Model

It has been a month since I last posted here, it feels like a week. Maybe there isn’t enough to chat about or maybe my days slip from one into another.

Progress is the first three bosses down on Heroic. That feels about right but we can only guess at the drop date of the next patch. Blizzard loves being coy, I want to plan; and that is that. Our goal is AOTC, lets hope that we make it in time.

My current obsession is on a throw-off statement by Ion in an interview. It could be meaningless or that I read more into it than will prove true when the next expansion arrives. Ion said that the Dragonflight expansion will be based on the ZM model; our current patch.

Zereth Mortis feels like Wow stripped down. This is a good thing. There is no real pressure to fill any bars. The rewards are minimal. Of the five daily quests, two sometimes offer gold as a reward but it might be anima (and I am drowning in anima). These quests are mostly easy “kill ten” or “fly on a frog” type quests, pretty fun but done very quickly. Only two offer rep.

Which makes me wonder (a lot) about life in the next expansion. WoW stripped down means no mission board. The zones are progressive and connected (I think) and probably won’t have Callings. And there is a big push on players making gear with a focused profession hub and many variants on the made gear.

There was no gold sink mount in Shadowlands, the gold sink was the Legendary system. Players sold gear for a ton of gold, those players made bank and crowed about it. Players like you and me spent, maybe, a million gold on gear. That is scary. And, in my opinion, way too much. If I were the King of the World, I’d ban TSM.

With so many unknowns but a tepid fear of lack of gold in Dragonflight, I am running Callings right now and will until the next expansion (perhaps a year from now). It is a mild fear but enough to have me spend some time every morning at reset to run some alts through the system. Happily I am a pet guy so if there are “three quests in bastion” I can do three pet battles in three consecutive days and not sweat it at all.

So, I have almost 6 million gold and I don’t feel like it is enough! I’ve never been a crafter in WoW, I make glyphs and flasks; anticipating a big profession gear system with so many players invested in leveling up the systems with the intention of making gold, a system that has to work for the expansion to be successful — is a lot!

I may be wrong but I do believe that the crafting Work Order system is not part of the Auction House. It will be a powerful mini-Auction House on its own, I think. That might be the only thing that keeps prices reasonable. I don’t know.

So: to recap. Still raiding, on Heroic. Doing a few M+ (it is a culture on its own), near the end of making my pets and mounts and determined to earn some gold by running Callings on four characters until the next expansion, maybe a year from now.

Happy Hunting!

Oh! I did spend 170,000 gold on a transmog piece. I don’t do that but I did. Rhinestone Sunglasses have been my wish and they finally showed up on my server’s AH. I love them, all my characters wear them. It was spendy, but I am happy!

WoW: Top Five Dailies in Zereth Mortis

WoW: Top Five Dailies in Zereth Mortis

Having my Main near the end of the ZM experience and having my Alts begin to trickle over, somedays the dailies are a hassle or I am in a hurry and so on. There is a decent range to the daily quests and on certain days, I am only willing to do the fun ones or the easy ones.

Once you have begun in the zone, picking up Patterns within Patterns, the weekly is a must. Doing the World Boss once a week will fill your bar by 20 percent. The bar doesn’t go away at the end of the week, so an Alt can just do the World Boss once a week and still make some progress.

The early quests in the zone will get you to Pocopoc, your little companion. I invest early in column two to get the power buffs to make questing easier. Eventually you’ll open the Jiro guys.

Here are my Top Five ZM Dailies, based on fun and easy:

  1. Open the Cache.
    This daily uses Poco’s powers to spend nine of his stuff to open the cache for you. Skip the puzzle, enjoy the done-and-done satisfaction.
  2. Frog’it
    I love this daily! It is a no-combat daily and you ride a frog. He jumps really far and you command him to use his sticky tongue to lick up the eggs. Well-designed, you can click to return to the start, you can click to leap far and then target your landing. If you get dismounted, the designer put an extra in your bags.
  3. The Portal One
    This gives you a portal to jump to areas that need you to do something to 12 guys. It is typically non-combat but you might find a mob or two. This takes no time and it’s fun.
  4. Super Jiro
    Once you open the Jiro guys, this quest is a non-fail, low effort bomb-the-zone quest with a couple of extras. I look forward to doing this one when it is up.
  5. Save the Vombata Cubs
    The area is populated with mobs but you can be careful and work around them. It is darling and adroable, the cubs sit on your back and you get the “plenty of room for cubs” buff. With its very high Cute Factor, I like doing this one every time.

When you want to do the minimum or get some early progress before you commit to the zone, try these five easy and fun dailies!

WoW: Moving Forward

WoW: Moving Forward

There were some nice completions this week.

Our raid team downed Anduin, on Normal, for the first time. This has been a tough boss for us with raid-splitting mechanics and more. It is a big deal for our raid team and finally we can think beyond this boss.

My main got the Enlightened paragon cache with the Engineering Wormhole to get to ZM. This has been a goal from Day One and, frankly, they should have given this to us on Day One. Silly grind.

I’ve made a combined 25 pets and mounts to get the achievement this week! With Genesis Motes as a currency, you don’t skip looting anything and finding the occasional lattice is a boon. This is designed pretty well with much of the gathering grind folded into our daily routines. Of course, surprise, there is an achievement hidden behind it to make a total of 50. Why not, I’ll give it a shot.

My Inscription guy got to Revered in ZM and has bought the Contract: Enlightened recipe. This guy has the four-piece tier and might be done with a lot in ZM.

Finally, our guild prodded and poked me until I joined them on a Mythic Plus run. Actually I ran two with them and the Great Vault gave me a ilevel 278 staff! We ran a 9 key and the players were, “Dude, you are jacking up 10k heals. You could totally run 15s”. Of course, I don’t know these dungeons like they do at all. The lure might be there, but I won’t take the bait.

The game is moving forward and I’m in no hurry. Since this is the last raid of the expansion, we need to milk the experience a little bit. I am glad that I’m not on a push-at-all-costs team that finishes Heroic and has nothing to do. Well I remember, since WoD I think, players who have finished their Mythic raiding joining our little band because their teams dissolved.

Happy Hunting!

WoW: Four Piece Resto-Druid

WoW: Four Piece Resto-Druid

So far, really great!

In our raid, we waltzed and were cocky through the normal bosses up to Anduin. We spent about an hour working on That Guy and then dropped down to try the first boss on heroic.

The other healers didn’t have their four-piece yet, so (for once and briefly) I was the top dog on the meters. And, for the first boss on heroic, there is a stacking phase at the end, a long one, so that suits Druid healing nicely. I was looking good!

And, I won a chest piece on heroic that I could use and will probably use the catalyst to make it a tier piece and swap out the LFR piece in my shoulder slot for a 252 from the cypher guys.

According to the Warcraft Logs, I got off 14 Swiftmends in the fight. Maybe half or more lined up with Convoke, which is the design. Still, my numbers were high. As casual as we are, I hope that everyone puts in a little extra this week to get their four-piece sets and we can finish out normal.

……………………….

One of my hunters has the four-piece tier set as well! Pure LFR and Sandworn Relics and one stop at the Catalyst (for the relics). It isn’t hard to do and getting there is satisfying. It is fun to be a bit weak again and cautious as I will grow in power.

Since my hunter is following my main, I kind of pick and choose what I want to do with the advantage of doing the stuff before on my druid. This time I’m investing my console into the popopoc buffs; making them last an hour and getting more. They are strong buffs to have early in the exploration and questing phases of ZM.

My initial intention was to have each of my characters in each of the zones. And I’ve done that since the expansion launched. But, my hunter hated the Bastion resonating arrow so, like everyone else, swapped to a new covenant. I chose Night Fae and am happy again.

I bought the renown up to 40 and spent a ton of anima which is easily sent from other characters. But, the drag is finding those lost souls to upgrade the travel, mission, collector and eventually the conservatory. So, I went to Torghast!

I have loved Torghast from the beginning. This hunter had almost completed the talent tree before I gave up on the whole thing. My fury was that I could not keep my pet alive when I got to the higher challenges in Torghast. Doing the Twisted Corridors, I’d get to the upper floors and it was obvious that my pet could not handle it and I was hanging on each cooldown for mend pet. I’d quit after two hours of playing.

Some time or another, I don’t know when, they fixed Torghast! I was shocked to see new (to me) anima powers that buff up your pet’s health (by 15% per anima cell) and damage output and size (for fun). I am most happy now to re-enter Torghast to collect 20 souls on the repeatable quest: I have collected all of the cosmetics and toys long ago, so just do it for fun. I’m fine with that.

………………..

And these fresh-to-ZM alts send Genesis Motes and more to my main. I am 21 of 25 pets/mounts towards the achievement without resorting to buying lattices on the AH. I like this mini-game in ZM.

WoW: Creation Catalyst

WoW: Creation Catalyst

We’ve been waiting! Today is our big chance to take a piece of gear and convert it to a much-needed tier piece.

I made a mistake, of course. I assumed that the cypher gear that we earn in ZM would be able to convert but that is not the case. I had two pieces from the raid and one piece from the LFR. The Great Vault proved to be not-so-great again.

And I was upset some. Not a lot but bummed might be a better word. I went back and re-read all of the rules on Wowhead. And eventually made a 246 sandworn relic piece, a helm, that could be converted. So, I dropped my 252 ilevel down to 246 and another 252 ilevel down to the 239 LFR piece. And now I have the four-piece. And it did not feel like a moment of great victory. I wish that it had.

I almost made another mistake. Only my cloak was lit up as a conversion choice. I drummed my fingers, this was the obvious thing to do; it was lit up. But cloaks are not tier, I almost used my much-valued conversion on tmog.

This patch has two distinct but really not-so-specifc-on-the-surface systems. All of the fun-time played in ZM to upgrade your console and inserting fun things in the sockets do nothing to help you in raiding except that the speed socket insert is great in raids; but those pieces can not convert to tier and so you probably won’t get to use those any more.

Unless you keep dual sets of gear and swap around back-and-forth but why would you drop your tier to play in ZM? And ZM is not useless to raiders, you get the extra legendary and can earn an augment rune.

My guild master calls this patch “unpolished”. A lot of the stuff is there but you find odd holes, I guess that the cypher gear can not be converted is an example.

And that is that. I’ll try to find a Swiftmend counter weak aura to track my big tree triggers so they align with convoke. And probably re-talent to solace and change my play style. I’ve always held my Incarnation: Big Tree with it’s three minute cool-down for emergencies. But if I swap over to solace, my over-all through-put will be much greater and I’ll look fantastic on the meters but, come on: timing three swiftmends to line up with convoke when no one needs healing is bogus healing, it’s padding the meters. Still, I am excited to play and raid with the four-piece! I’ll do a test run in the LFR tonight to practice and then we raid on Wednesday.

Wish me luck!

WoW: Legendary Excitement

WoW: Legendary Excitement

Tuesday was a big day.

The servers came up about twenty minutes before Reset. I decided to start taking my Alts over to the new World Boss. The Great Vault was packed with players; excited and early, waiting on their gear chances from running raids or dungeons. In ZM, there was a crowd around Bolvar, waiting for the new quest line to get our second legendary unlocked, a covenant belt and the Mastery of Unity token that would open up putting that second legendary on any piece of gear.

You can’t tell me that this game is dead. Not with that many players on my medium sized server, online and waiting for the go. I ran the quest line twice, on my Main and on my hunter Alt. The first was crowded with players and the second not so much (later in the day); the game mechanics ran perfectly. They gave us what we wanted; a short run, robots to ride upon and boulders to push into holes. Best of all, for me, is seeing my character in the cut-scene, I love that.

Now equipped with two legendary pieces at 291, I ran the LFR on Tuesday night and got my second tier piece. On Wednesday I asked our Raid Leader to run logs so I could see what was what with my new systems in place.

It was kind of as expected. The tier gives me passive (proccing off of rejuve) spells which add to my mastery and it totals up to 5% to 6% more to my overall heals. I’d guess that it is true for all over the players across the board; everyone got a 5% boost to their game, maybe some more from the legendary set-up.

Several of the boss fights are pretty much on farm, we are doing Normal, so on those fights my healing numbers were very high and my parse on the logs looked great. On progression fights it was not quite so clean, as expected.

Blizzard did a good job. Everyone is excited to play and the players feel powerful. In video games the hero must always feel powerful!

Early on I was worried about the complexity of layering systems on top of my base game. I have plenty of buttons to push already, thank you very much. I am used to having Convoke in my rotation and the two Tier set is passive. We’ll see how much the four piece Tier set trips me up, I’ve done my homework, I just need the set and it will come soon enough I’m sure.

All in all, I think we are pretty happy!

WoW: Getting It Right

WoW: Getting It Right

Our new zone in patch 9.2 works really well, at least for me. The artwork is lovely, and the place is kind of inviting, one enjoys being there and playing. Gone are all of the demands on time that we are used to: the grinds are minimal.

If you are a raider or pvp guy or a dungeoneer and don’t want to go there, you don’t have to. The needed Cosmic Flux for your second legendary comes from bosses killed (and from almost everything). Just don’t go!

You do want to do the campaign quests and learn the story. These are short quest-lines once a week until the last set which is next week. And that will also reward you flying in the new zone, if you want to be there.

The systems in the new zone are decent. Spending my stacked anima to give my alt gear was a piece-of-cake. My investment in the talent-tree console has led to higher ilevel drops in gear (though I think it’ll cap at about the same as Normal for raiding), but it is welcome now.

The Enhancement Console, which at first, I dismissed, is now a nice bonus. You can buy buffs which last an hour (in the zone) and several of them to use all at once. They don’t make you a god, it is more like a speed buff or +5% Mastery or healing; things like that. Again for me, this is ideal if I do choose to grind Genesis Motes to make my pets. I have made three pets and one mount so far and it is getting easier and easier.

I know a guy. He has built a “speed set” for gathering. Gear does drop with some built in buffs and, while it might be lower that your power gear, there are not many great threats in the zone. Consider it if you are going to spend a lot of time there.

There are recipe drops but they don’t compel you to go there. Glyphs like a spectral form for the Shaman can be found, made and sold on the Auction House. The double-the-healing potions are not selling, so maybe our players don’t feel the need while playing at what they play.

Because this zone will be around for a long time, I’ll likely switch my play time over to my hunter who has been set aside as an Alt. My druid is my healing raider and I’m wishy-washy about playing as a boomkin; we’ll see, no pressure at all.

All in all, I like it and want to go back there and play some more.

WoW: Passive Gold

WoW: Passive Gold

The way World of Warcraft is designed, a player will make gold by playing the game. You should earn, modestly, enough to pay for repairs and the odd little things that you come across in the game. I think that is what the goblins call “passive gold”.

The Shadowlands expansion has been pretty great at earning gold by doing the Callings which give about 1900g a day and then the occasional paragon cache which gives under 4000g. Being consistent with that single task will make sure that you have gold in your coffers.

I am selective now that I’ve seen the Callings many times, so I choose the quick one (3 broker coins, for example) and I do it on four and, sometimes, five characters. This has paid off well for me and a nod that there is gold to be earned inside of those Calling’s tasks.

And, I don’t feel like a true goblin because I only dabble in the AH; rarely buying but putting up some odd mats when I’m tired of seeing stacks in my Reagent Tab. And, I’m sitting on about 5.4 million gold on my server. So, that might seem like a lot to you or it might not.

The purpose of this post is cautionary. We have a new zone that is fun to play. We won’t be buying a lot of mounts but, instead, be making them; if we choose to chase that goal (something like 40 mounts and 40 pets to make). Our specific goal, as I understand it today in week two of the patch, is to earn enough Cosmic Flux to pay for our Legendary. My glance at Wowhead says that we need 2000 and I’m at 6000 in week two, so no one is in for a terrible grind. You could get in and out and be done.

You won’t earn passive gold in the new zone. At best the occasional quest will reward 247g or thereabouts. If you are depending on the game to sustain your playtime, this zone won’t do it.

You might start posting mats looted from dead mobs or herbs, which is tedious pre-flight (we get flying on March 15th). That active gold-making means that you are competing in the Auction House which you might not like but it will give some pay off.

This week I decided to keep a close eye on the Callings and, if they are quick and painless, do them on my four or five characters. 10,000g in a day (or hour) doesn’t suck. This does take me away from the new zone when I want to be there but I think it is necessary and the ride is a well-worn groove.

One last note. While we are in pre-flight mode and ground bound in the new zone, there is one toy that will zip you up into the air and let you use a goblin glider to find that out-of-reach treasure.

Borr-Geth’s Fiery Brimstone
Binds when picked up
Toy
Use: Draw power from this fragment of Borr-Geth, summoning a pillar of flame underneath your feet and sending yourself flying into the air. Can only be used in The Maw. (20 Min Cooldown)

The other toys like the anti-gravity well or the rocket helmet won’t work. The comet toy from Legion will throw you across the zone but you have almost no control, but it is wicked fun to do.

WoW: Patch Week

WoW: Patch Week

New content, new scenery, new toys and more: I’m pretty happy.

My first day was a bit rocky and it was all my own fault. One of the first quests to get you out and exploring was to open treasure chests and right out the door was our first treasure chest and it was a jumping puzzle.

I am terrible at jumping and often bribe a friend to carry me on their stag form or even in the choppa to do the jumping for me. So, I was very frustrated – until I went exploring. And then it was, “oh, look, a chest right over there”. Someday I’ll be a gamer.

The zone design is nice and big, at least while we are ground bound. Maybe double the size of Korthia, I’d venture. And we are a bit weak right now at the start and that is expected. The designers need to time it out because right now there is a whole bunch of players racing to kill that big elite 63. As time moves on, there will be fewer players and we need to be stronger with fewer.

I like that they’ve dialed back the grind. The grind, if you call it that, is three dailies and one (soon to be) weekly bar to fill which can be filled in a day or two. Today I did my dailies and kicked back for a bit; and then decided to hunt rares for a while. This is all morning play, not all-day play.

Most of the gear drops are 233 with enhancements (a boost to movement and mount speed, for example) and below my heroic ilevel from the last raid. So, I brought over my LFR hunter to look around and play too; he loves this new gear. I have seen 239 gear and my guildie got a 245ish. So, the gear-up is sweet if you play (and survive). And, thank Elune, the grave yards are everywhere so it is a short run back after a failure.

Skip fishing! The new fish is only used for the Stone Soup recipe. Same with the Protoflesh off of mobs. No need to grind any of the profession stuff that I can see. The new herb, First Flower, can be used for a better health pot, but ho hum on that.

I have earned some toys and pets. I like one toy that is a fruit basket which flings fruit and, this is great, it is channeled but you can move! So, you can run through your friends flinging odd fruit. Good silly fun.

As I type this I’m not sure of direction but, if memory serves, to the South is easier and more settled and as you venture North it gets less safe and the mobs get scarier. This is good design when you are first scouting about the patch.

The raid is time-gated until another week. We’ll fly in three weeks. There is plenty of discovery and exploration. I’ve yet to try the gauntlet-style of Torghast, still have to do that. I’d like to see Tavesh now that it is split into two zones. I have pets to capture AND pets to make along with mounts to make (all in good time).

All in all, I’m pretty happy. It is sad, to me, to see blogger Gnomecore drop WoW; he is a very good writer and entertaining to read. But, people move on!