Time Elements

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”
William Shakespeare

Time Elements

More and more it is hitting me just how insidious the design for the Artifact will be to level.

My plans for the first day and first week of Legion want me to get a good start, to build a strong foundation of profession alts and to go play and have fun. I look forward to exploring and to questing and to finding odd bits and to embrace the over-all design of Legion.

Typically with a new launch, players with Alts quickly flip through all of their characters so that they can begin building Rested. My intention is to do just that, build from the bottom up and ending with my Main who will go get the Artifact and make it to the Class Hall and; three, two, one: go!

The nagging little bit is that for every minute that I am on an Alt, I am not building Artifact Power on my Main. It is a dirty trick! Well, not a dirty trick, more like a time element in the design.

I have my Profession Alts who need to get to Dalaran and get their own Artifacts and the profession quests; six, seven, eight Alts? That is a big time buffer away from my Main.

And I do have a Main. I want to run dungeons, mythic plus dungeons and raid! I like playing with my guildies and friends.

Yet, I am leveling a ranged Shaman in Invasions right now and they are fun! I’d like to play that one too; sadly I’m locked into an Arms Race with my Artifact.

The more time I spend on my Main, the stronger I am — this is a new facet to the World of Warcraft game play. I can’t buy or create a bunch of high-end gear and be as good as the next guy; that Artifact will be either a beacon or an anchor.

I’ve decided (and that can change quickly) to port all of my Alts up on Day One, take the quests for the future day when I can invest in them, visit the trainers and pick up any profession quests available. Then, flip to the next guy and repeat. In this, I am very glad that we’ve already done the time consuming Broken Shore Scenario and the entry quests.

Oddly, the deciding factor for my Alts may be when my Main runs out of the Rested bonus. That is kind of strange as a reason. It may be best to wait for the next major patch (and speedier Artifact leveling) to then look to my Alt Factory.

The time invested element with the Artifact design is new to us. It could change the way we play by a large margin, at least for the first three months.

There will come a time in the Artifact leveling where the Next Step is a long one, each and every step; then we’ll start to think that we are “good enough” and begin to look at our Alts.

Remember long ago when the discussion on the gathering of the Blood of Sargeras; when the designers said that it was a product of time spent playing? I’m thinking that with the Blood and the Artifact that we may find other rewards that are purely based on the time we spend on our characters. We are used to Reputation but this is taking it to a new level.

We have three weeks until the first raid. It might be possible to get to 110 on my Main and begin to do rounds of World Quests and then look to a support Alt to level. Until raids begin to really soak up time (happily), we have a good chance to take care of our Alts; after we are at 110, I think.

Profession Alts should end at 110 and looking to the odd profession World Quests. That should be their End Game, right there. Getting to that point could take some time and more time.


Keeping Up With the Gnomes

Stewie Griffin: Forecast for tomorrow; A few sprinkles of genius with a chance of doom.
Family Guy

Keeping Up With The Gnomes

Players are planning! How well planned, you ask? Gnomecore has his Feat of Strength Team geared and powerfully ready. Impressive with a dose of envy, well done!

It seems to me that the most powerful path is to dual-spec rather than keep several characters Group Ready. The leveling arc of the Artifact supports that second spec more soundly than spending game time to keep up two different characters. My history is Druid Healer and Hunter but (a big if) IF I could learn Moonkin; my Druid could be the all the “one and done” toon.

It is unsettling because at the cusp of our new beautiful horizons to explore, I can imagine a Tree/Guardian dual spec and to be a force to be reckoned with. Repetition is a heavy key to learning and we’ll be in those raids and dungeons for a long (long) time.

Don’t we all wish that Artifact Power progression was account-wide? Starting over and over at zero on a different Alt kind of sucks, especially when later patches arrive with tougher content (think Thunder Isles).

The Dungeon and Raid Schedule is out. It lines up with being 110 for Brewfest and the trinkets, as we imagined a year ago. How crazy would Brewfest be as a motive to drive our Alts up to 110?

The cool thing listed under the Dungeon and Raid schedule (I linked to the MMO Champs posting) is that the hot fixes have Developer Notes! This is the best thing ever and I applaud … no: I give a standing ovation and hope that they continue with explaining the curious rationale.

I hope bloggers begin posting on Legion Drop Day plans. My own include blowing through my Draenor profession mats for gold once I can train to 800.

Happy Hunting and may all your hits … be crits.

Lissanna to the Rescue

“We’re our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.”
Tom Robbins

Lissanna to the Rescue

Heads and shoulders above the rest, Restokin has been a solid source and has had an impact on the game itself. She writes with authority and economy without ultimatums. Brilliant on every level.

A couple of days ago, there was a timely posting called Leveling advice for Resto druids 100 to 110. I spent hours reading the article and then following the links and then following more links.

Where once I felt that I’d simply go into Legion and muddle about, now I have a sense of the overall arc and a plan on how to achieve my goals in the fashion that I choose for my own game play.

Today, I can spend my time in Icy Veins (for example) and pre-set all four of my specs for later use. I can set up my spells and talents and also the Affinities. The suggestion to run all three of the next Artifacts at level l02 is a good one for all the reasons listed. For me; it is the XP and getting the Artifacts themselves early in the expansion (done and done).

I also feel encouraged to quest as kitty, boomy and bear. The “13 trait” limit is good to understand. And, face it, we will be doing questing throughout Legion; our time in Suramar and on World Quests could be extensive. Let’s make sure there is room for play along with our workmanlike tasks by swapping specs on occasion.

Finally, I now know that I can level as Resto using the three Affinities. It is viable and will allow me to explore some of the depth provided in the class design in Legion. Um, this may take a while …

Even if you are not primarily Resto, it is worth the read and the following of the links. We can prepare now when there is little to do so we can go straight into business when there is a lot to do!

Legion: One Week and Counting

“They can’t censor the gleam in my eye.”
Charles Laughton

Legion: One Week And Counting

Legion will drop in one week. I’ll be one of those guys who will stay up late to see it flip over and head to Dalaran.

I’ve been keeping an eye on The Transmog Queue and Kamalia et alia for some good ideas for building a set. I need and want to look my best in Dalaran! Seriously, look at some of these design ideas. Good stuff, good inspiration.

I am very excited to be around players again in a Sanctuary. Especially after the lonely isolation of my Garrison. I’ll doctor my mount up with a macro to show off but I don’t want to be too obnoxious! I’ll let the other kids get big and /yell and be annoying.

We ran heroic HFC last night up to Manny. My Druid healer held his own against our Shammy healer, the Holy Pally is still gearing up big time. On fights like Manny or a stack-up phase like Feast of Souls, Druids really shine and glow with pride. When players are scattered about, we are merely even. The good news is that we feel like we can do the job.

I have some unfinished business still, though the list is small. Like Alternative Chat and Gnomecore, I invested heavily in the Invasions. Well designed, good rewards; very much everything that I’d expect in a pre-expansion launch. Well done, Blizzard. I look good in my Invasion tmog set.

I want to run the ulduar/kara/dalaran quest line again (not for the gloves, though I think they might rock in HFC) but to explore! I apologize to the blogger who suggested taking a stroll around because I can’t remember where I read it. My first run, I was absorbed in the “reading of the text” and following my leader. My next run, I’ll take a look around a lot more.

Finally, this week, I plan on finishing Feltaco of the Burning Region. He is still puttering about (sorry) in the opening quest zone. I’d guess I’m about half-way done.

I have a tab in my (new) personal guild vault just for leveling my characters in Legion. I have stacks of Versatility food*, Drums of Fury, Augment Runes, Bandages and Goblin Gliders. I doubt I’ll make a dent as much of it will be replaced by better stuff; but I hope these things will ease my characters through the level-up zones.

One week! Come on Legion!

*Jumbo Sea Dog

Legion Content

adjective: facetious
definition: treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.

Legion Content

NB: Most of the commentary today is a reflection on the Developer Q&A posted over at MMO Champs.

Once upon a time, I was designing for a dance concert in Los Angeles. I knew that we had brought in a professional photographer to document the work and so a few days later I went to visit him.

Me: Hiya. Did you get any good pictures of the concert?
Him: Oh, we don’t take good pictures.

I stepped back and realized that I had offended him. Yikes, how dare I even suggest that he might not be doing his job?

The designers at Blizzard are known to be sensitive and to react harshly. Witness the complaints about too many Dailies in Mists of Pandaria. “Oh? You don’t like Dailies? Then you get none. Zero. How do you like the game now? Happy?” Of course we were not happy, we wanted the good Dailies.

The designers have declared that “Don’t worry, we got you!” on the topic of not enough content to play and will specifically be dumping content on us for Legion. They’ve said so. It will be non-stop potential for game play.

We players have developed an Alt Culture over the years. This is because there was not enough “content” to keep one character active and moving. The culture shock, I think, will be profound; the reality has yet to be seen but one would guess that our Army of Alts will slowly lag behind until almost forgotten.

Watcher has said, “An Alt should not support a Main.” In my defense, this culture has evolved of Main support by Profession Alts only because it could be done within their game design.

“Bring the player, not the class” has been the mantra for three full expansions. It has given us relief and the belief that we could play any class and be welcome in any group content.

That design philosophy is being removed. Which class you play will be important because of the class and the decision of whether you get to play will be in the hands of another player.

Watcher was being cruelly facetious when choosing the hunter for his example because in Legion, no one will want a hunter.

The team would like to get back to a place where if you are a PuG leader, you are looking at your raid comp and saying, “We could really use a Hunter, let’s look for a good hunter”, rather than “Let’s look for any ranged DPS, especially the flavor of the month that is 2% better and thus is the only viable one”. Obviously this isn’t the case literally right now, but it is what the team is thinking about and would like to move towards over the course of patches and future content.

What IS a “good” hunter anyways? Or a “good” healer or tank that people ask for. Define a “good” standard and we can have a conversation; until then, stop using the word. Like my photographer, it easily offends.

Misdirections took on the section on Game Development in Timing and Content. It is, as ever, a very good read. Go take a look.


It will be a shock not only how much content there is to do in Legion but how long it takes to complete said content whether it is a profession or an artifact.

I can already guess that our “new complaint” will be that so much of our progress and play effort should be account-wide to support our Alts.

We became completionists because we had so much time in the game without any new stuff. We will now be leaving a lot of things “at revered”, so to speak, as we move into the new areas; fearful of falling behind the herd.

Embrace the new paradigm, it will be a radical shift to absorb into our Gaming DNA in the World of Warcraft. It should be more than busy, it should be fun.

Hot Fixed and Ready to Go

“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”
Bruce Lee

Hot Fixed and Ready to Go

These fixes are being pushed live now, and should be active worldwide within an hour from now. Enjoy the weekend!

And so, with great pleasure; last night I leveled from 95 to 100!

How nice to play the game when it works as designed. Stepping in immediately into level 700 gear made me feel ready to roll into Legion.

Oh yeah, twelve Fel Bat Pups.

Now … do have any other Alts just sitting around?

Leveling in Invasions

“Ronald Reagan used to alarm his Soviet counterparts by saying that surely they’d both unite against an invasion from Mars.”
Christopher Hitchens

Leveling in Invasions

NB: I am currently leveling a character from 78 and am now about 95.

[snipped from MMO Champs]
We were able to investigate and identify that there were indeed a couple bugs with the way XP rewards were being handed out. We’re working on a hotfix that will correct the following issues:

Fixed a bug that could reduce the amount of XP a player received when more than 6 players were attacking it.
Fixed a bug that could reduce the amount of XP a player received from creatures that scale with the number of attackers.

Once these fixes are live, please let us know how things feel.
[close snippage]

I’ll be pleased that on the third week of a three week experience that the Invasions will be working as intended.

The idea is that you participate. Players can camp and get the rewards. But if you play you are better rewarded by far.

Currently, it is a travesty. The fun is dashing with groups of players to attack the Invaders. And, if you are using this to level up (as designed) you can get as little as 87 xp. I’ve seen it. Phase One is a joke.

Phase Three is evolving. Players, like myself, head to the far fringes to solo mobs. We don’t help each other, we respect each others kills. We don’t down the buildings, we prolong this phase as long as possible. Completely counter to the design.

But, it’s the only way it works. Tomorrow, Saturday, it should all be working as intended. Tagging a bunch of mobs should really and finally pay off.

That being said, the Invasions are fun. I enjoy them. However, I should be 100 now. I hope their fix works!