WoW: A Brand New Raid

I’m feeling typical. Last week our raid team downed five bosses over two days on Normal. We did the five bosses again on the first night and will be working into real progression now with learning the fights and the mechanics. I see that in the big mythic race to world first that they are stuck on the sixth boss, just like we are!

Loot drops continue to be elusive and now with the special sockets and the need to have a specific piece to make the bonus work; it is, as ever, discouraging. My “ideal” is three pieces of unholy shards to get the Chaos Bane buff, which is supposed to be powerful but all of that hinges on me getting the piece of raid gear that offers the unholy bonus.

The problem with the “rare drop mechanic” to build our systems, as I see it, is that it takes so long that when you finally get it; you won’t care. I feel the same way with the legendary upgrades; the cost is so very high in gold and materials that when/if you ever get there there is no excitement, just resignation that you had to do it.

Part of my problem is that I don’t really understand how it works. Does that higher piece of legendary gear make the legendary stronger? I doubt it but maybe it does. Or maybe the higher piece with it’s stats will simply up our power and when that is the case, the price we are playing in gold and materials is way too high. The question is if that legendary is really a difference maker or a mere 3% boost to your overall actions.

Like most everyone, I had to do a very expensive (in gold) shuffle to change my legendary piece from boots to pants because leather boots can have a domination socket. It burns! And I made some stupid, unlearned choices on gloves and with all my changes and mistakes I think I went through a lot gold. Like I said, it burns. While there is no cool gold sink mount in this expansion, the gold sink is in the legendary gear; something you won’t keep beyond this expansion. Yet you burn through your cash.

On the other hand, the need to run Torghast to get the needed materials for the legendary seems, to me, almost secondary to the fun of running Torghast. We are building our talent tree by hitting max “tower knowledge” every week and enjoying the buffs and the perks offered. Yesterday I made it up to the special floor and saw the looks and monsters, I earned a toy (that eats other toys like that darn train set) and bought a cosmetic back piece that is animated and cool. So far I have bought the Experimental Anima Cell toy and two or three cosmetic pieces and the toy eater was a drop.

On my big run to the top new floor, I had equipped the Night Fae Convoke legendary which has a one minute cooldown. After gaining three “reduce by 20 seconds” anima cells, Convoke had no cooldown! I just spammed my over-powered button again and again. Totally fun.

And, I think my experience is typical for most players. Working through the new raid, I have yet to see the new mega-dungeon, slow gear gains, worrying over the new socket system and playing everyday.

So far, so good!

The Week We Fly

What was so unexpected to me is that the flying quest chain had nothing to do with flying and was a very cool campaign quest full of surprises and fun. I almost balked at carrying the Sigil, don’t give me that responsibility! But I am the Mawalker, it is my job.

The solution is pretty good and it’s been a worry to the designers and players. Having players fly up and over mobs to get to the goodies is not good design even as we relish the ability. Flying has you miss the scenery and the little bits and whimsy tucked into the corners. So, this time, we get a new zone and the solution is to let us fly in the older areas that are done. We do get some great satisfaction of soaring right over those pesky mobs that have been hassling us as we try to get the big World Quests. And we explore Korthia on the ground, looking for water; any water at all.

Torghast. Well, it is what it is. If you are doing it, my suggestion is to only put one point in each talent and open the row below you and repeat to fill out the tree; then go back and max the talents that you really like first. I didn’t do it and I’m paying a (small) price in waiting for the next week to earn enough Tower Knowledge.

I’ve earned four stars on layer nine, so layer ten is open but the ilevel is pretty high and my talent tree is pretty low so I’m sticking to nine. However, I needed only 34 Tower Knowledge to cap this week and ran a humble layer seven and got the five star achievement!

I do not know the mechanics of how it works, but if I can get decent Tower Knowledge from layer sevens; I think I might be running those easier and less stressful ones to farm the stuff for the talent tree. Like, how much less do you earn on seven versus nine? I don’t know that yet. Though I do think that you must earn more for more stars, so seven could be more profitable with five stars instead of nine with three stars. Ugh, this kind of thinking is too much.

The raid is open. We got three bosses down and a few shots at the fourth. The team was excited and yelling on Discord and laughing (can I say full of joy?). New content is super welcome, believe you me.

See you in Azeroth … or Shadowlands!

Experimental Anima Cell Toy

May Elune bless the designers at Blizzard. One great toy has come out of Torghast for the cost of some Phanastma and it is well worth it.

  1. One hour cool-down
  2. Can be used by all of your level 60s.
  3. Can be used in a Raid!
  4. It acts and looks like a cell for Torghast with two choices.
  5. It is so very tempting when dropped in any place with high traffic, very popular.

The choices are fun:

  1. Reveal Your Inner Child will make you a small child of your race and gender.
  2. Open a Portal to Someplace will send you somewhere in Azeroth, I’ve been sent to the Twilight Highlands for example.
  3. Get Really Big (I forget the actual name) and you get super big but you can not move, but you can dance.
  4. Party Dress Up, whether you are male or female it doesn’t matter, you may find yourself in a wedding dress or a nice suit.

This is a really great toy, at least for now. Everyone who walks by seems to be curious and most will try something. Except for the travel one, the rest are all 10 minute buffs that you can click off if you want to get going as a normal.

The New Torghast

All things old are made new again. Torghast has some added bells and whistles, it is harder but I think that the designers would want to say challenging. Layer nine is no joke and ten, eleven and twelve are higher that my ilevel so I think that I’ll be in nine for weeks to come.

There is a new point system. There are up to five stars or jewels that you can show for a run; so far I have earned a two, three and four. They even offer a break down after the run of where and how you earned your points which then earn you a currency that you put into a talent tree to make your future runs easier.

My first impression is that while there are all of these new added elements, Blizzard isn’t asking us to take to too seriously. Can’t down the final boss? Well, go try again, he’ll have less health from your first try. Again, my first impression is that it would be really hard to fail so bad that you feel bad about yourself (unless maybe your tried to play way over your gear score and you should accept that kind of failure with grace).

The talent tree is nice. You can earn blessings or auto-loot or fewer torments which you will always have in the future. The key, bait and lure and carrot is that you’ll want to earn your weekly currency to advance that talent tree and, someday, walk like a goddess through the game.

They dropped a floor and with one less floor to clear, it is much faster to get through. Doing the second one right after the first is not a big thing like it was before when you needed a sure break for your back and eyes. But, again I feel like I have to remind all, layer nine is no joke; even the mawrats take some time to kill.

For me, I think that the funnest flavors (sorry) will be the blessings. One blessing was that once a mob was down to 40%, there is a 40% chance of the mob dying right then. Another was fun, you can kill the broker after spending your phantasma and loot the broker for even more goodies.

Blizzard spent some good time on the redesign. I liked Torghast before and I think that I’ll like it even more as I fill my talent tree and get stronger and faster (and earn some achievements, of course).

New Patch: Day Two

Well, this game sure is a bag and time filler. A few days ago, a friend asked me:

Mi Amigo: What is the very first thing you are going to do when the patch drops?

Me: Update my addons.

Mi Amigo: Boooooooo

As it was, I had logged out prior right by the pet vendor to get my 10,000 polished pet charms pet! First things first, right? And, the rest ran smoothly; no hiccups, no DCs, clean cut scenes – the play went well.

I won’t go into too much but my big goal was to reach Renown 42 and get a new conduit slot by tonight’s raid on H. Sire. Maybe that will make the difference. So, I pushed on rares in the Maw, all the while mentally composing snarky suggestions to the designers. But, I got it!

And now, I think, a few alts to follow and then settle into the routine.

I did do two torghast runs at level 9. You can buy a toy from the broker called Experimental Anima Cell which is really really a great toy, really. You can use it anywhere and those around you can use it. It is an Anima Cell with choices like Dressing Up (I got Gilnean), or a portal to somewhere in Azeroth (beware!) or grow super big but you can’t move (but you can /dance!).

I am so very glad that this patch has arrived and that there is stuff to do!

Patch 9.1 in Eleven Days

Okay, nice of them to announce it. If you want a mini-vacation from WoW, now this the time.

The timing seems to be part of the plan all along, I upgraded my final step in the Queen’s Conservatory just this week. So the plan was seven months in the first patch and raid and, if so, then we can expect seven months in the second patch and then a final patch to finish out the expansion. That is my guess anyways.

My count is now: 453 mounts, 1146 unique pets and 517 toys.

Looking forward, we will earn flying in the first couple of weeks. As many have said, the zones are all so even that I don’t have that same urge and excitement to go site-seeing; no waterfalls in the distance that have caught my eye on the ground or strange landmarks to park on top of. As far as I know, it will be the same World Quests and the profession updates are minimal; the pay off of flying isn’t looking so great but I could be wrong.

We will get one new zone. It will be an extension of The Maw. Let us all hope that it is a zone that we want to go play in and around; loading up shiny pets and toys and cosmetics won’t do the trick if the zone sucks! Since we are tied to our mission tables and will likely keep our hearth at the covenant, I worry about how many steps and portals it will take to merely get TO the new Maw.

A new raid and one new dungeon with, I think, a Mechagon type “crawl” through many bosses with odd mechanics from the trash that will have to be learned. I hope that they put some love into it. My first impression of the new raid is that it is the same art-work as Torghast and phoning in art-work is tough on us as new content. Adapting old content like a pet dungeon set in the Burning Crusade zones is welcome and understood but, as players, we expect new stuff in our new content.

Aside from some minor buffs and nerfs, I don’t see any major class changes at all. The top dog in dps will be the same guy as before. The runt of the litter will still be the runt, no hero service there.

It feels routine to me. From the designers to the players, another patch and this is the game we are playing.

Glory of the Nathria … Whatever

Okay then. Our guild raid team got the AotC and decided to do an achievement run. Now, please remember that there is no title or mount for AotC on this raid. But there is a mount for the achievement run. And we got it. All in one night.

Looking through the achievement list, I have about 20 “Glory of” achievements, both dungeons and raids. Not all of them but I do go way back, I have Northrend Dungeonmaster dated at 2009. So I’ve played this achievement game.

We have addons now. That is a huge difference. In the many years past, we’d rely on some garbled and confusing comment on Wowhead on how to get an achievement on a specific boss. Then we’d try and maybe collectively wipe to reset our chance or sometimes you’d not know and kill the boss and not get it and have to wait for another week.

It seems that most raid achievements fall into two categories: Thank Your Tanks or Thank Your Healers. It is almost never a DPS thing, it is usually some task that can take a long time (with lots of long heals). And the typical move is to finish the heroic run and then go back to normal with your top-end gear to try these goofy things.

For Nathria, we have addons now. They list who has or has not “done the thing” like collecting flowers and then picking up anima orbs on the generals. A full description is built-in and can be posted in party chat if you want. And there is a big raid warning when it is okay to unload and dps the boss down. A lovely thing to have.

So, on Friday we did a full run in one night and got the mount. It was fun and festive as it should be. We are over-powered and cocky. It was fun automatically preparing for a punishing heroic mechanic and laughing when it’s not there at all in normal. It is very (very) good for our guild to get a big wall of achievements and a few cheers from the non-raiders.

The frustration is gone. The thrill is not as great. The group screen-cap outside the raid on our new mounts is always fun. Check it off of the to-do list for Shadowlands!


10,000 Polished Pet Charms achieved!

Now, that wasn’t so bad was it? When this next patch finally arrives I can buy my fancy cast-colors-on-me pet. I’ll macro it with /summonpet (and it’s name) with my mount and/or hearthstone. And it is account-wide, so even my lowbies can look special.

We got Heroic Sire down to 8% on Friday. It was funny because after that pull, several players just popped up out of nowhere! I guess they wanted the kill. And we didn’t get it. Not yet. This boss is loaded with painful mechanics, we feel that if we can get to phase three with everyone alive, we have a chance. Phase three is really really hard.

Mounts are starting to show up on my mission board. Level 60 missions and I’m not there yet. Now, let me tell ya, that is a fine carrot to dangle. I have a few adventurers who are mid-50s, so it will happen; someday.

And, I have one more stage on the Queen’s Conservatory to build. 15,000 anima sounds like a tacky lot but once done, I’ll be Done. Then the anima goes to cosmetics, as the game is designed. Ever faithful, I have many many Grateful Charms stocked up.

There is still plenty of game to play but I find myself, often, doing the Callings and pet battles and logging out. I’ll shift over to do Safari soon, I think.


More Polished Charms

It has taken nine days to earn 2400 battle pet polished charms. And there were a few times when I spent way too much time on it. So, lets be reasonable about it and do better at picking and choosing and time management. I am now right at 6000, stack height is 1000 (and they look pretty nice in my bank).

Confidence is high that I’ll reach 10,000 by the patch drop date and if I don’t; that’s okay too.

What has been surprising to me is the number of players still in BfA. The times I went over to Mechagon for a pet battle, the /general chat channel as been active. I see players in Boralus. Others must be doing the same as me when I see several players at a distant pet battle in Voldun.

I did a Throne of Thunder run and was very pleased to get the Son of Animas battle pet. This will be needed for one of the raid achievements in the Castle! So, a rare drop finally dropped. So you remember the rare spawn outside of the ToT raid entrance? I think it may drop a mount — there were eight players waiting for the spawn (I stopped and counted)!

So: I am reporting to you – it can feel like Shadowlands is empty with only a couple of players running around when you do stuff. Forget not that this is a huge game with many expansions and players are all over the place in the many different zones.

Spring as arrived, the rose bushes are in bloom.

10,000 Polished Pet Charms

I think that I’m the only one nuts enough to go for it. Here is the headline posted on Wowhead:

Special Rainbow Effects Added to Flawless Amethyst Baubleworm – 10,000 Polished Pet Charm Battle Pet.

No one I’ve talked to is going to try, they kind of scoff at the idea. But, I mean, really, why not?

Let’s take a tally. I am currently at 3650 PPC, a third of the way there. The patch is at least a month away. And I have Alts. Boy do I have Alts. I have three camped (or left behind) in Boralus and they don’t mind visiting Nazjatar or Mechagon or either of the two major zones. I have five characters in Shadowlands. I have three with engineering and can “pop” over to the two big BfA zones.

I can choose PPC as rewards off of the mission board now too.

So, I need 6350. The rewards seem to range from 15 to 20 charms, so lets say 15 for the math. I only need to do 423.333333333 pet battles that reward charms! To do it in 30 days, I’d need to do 14 a day (and that is a bit too much). So, let’s hope that the patch is longer than a month.

When you have this pet out, occasionally you get the prismatic rainbow buff on you. How can you resist?

So, am I the only one nuts enough to try for it? How about you?