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

Darkmoon Faire: Legion

Then you may take me to the fair
If you do all the things you promise
In fact, my heart would break
should you not take me to the fair

Camelot


Darkmoon Faire: Legion

For the first time since the pre-expansion patch, the Darkmoon Faire is open. On my hunter I wore my Scarlet Crusade Tabard and visited the Scarlet Quartermaster. Wowhead has not updated this NPC.

I bought the Ensemble: Chain of Scarlet Crusade for a whopping 10,000 gold. Clicking the Ensemble released a Chest, Wrist, Hands, Belt, Legs and Feet into my wardrobe. A nice little complete set in one swift click.

There was also a Cropped Tabard of the Scarlet Crusade which I did not buy. It cost 25,000 gold. This tabard looks like it is tucked in at the belt-line and I imagine some hard-core tmog guys will want it.

Thanks to the tip from Alternative Chat, I picked up the toy Sparklepony XL. Happily one of my alts had plenty of DMF tokens. This is a fun toy and must soon be macro’d to my favorite ground mount.

During my pre-Legion cleaning, I noticed one of my alts had the Darkmoon Fishing Cap. It summons a pool of Shipwrecked Debris. Thinking to chain a lot of goodies, I “used” it in Dalaran. It works. But … a one hour cooldown. Yes, it’s in the tooltip. Yes, I didn’t read the whole tooltip. Yes, I tossed it and walked away — wotta waste of what could be a fun thing.

I wonder what else is new at the Darkmoon Faire?

Silence Penalty: The Community Standard

“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”
Justice Potter Stewart


Silence Penalty: The Community Standard

Misdirections wrote Time Out For Trolls, discussing the Silence Penalty.

Alternative Chat wrote as well with The Sound of Silence.

Both of these writers bring insight into the topic, go read their stuff. Having done so, it will help shape your understanding of this new system; soon to be in place.

Now, Alternative Chat used a term “real cockwombles”, of which I have no idea what it means. This writer lives in a Land Far Away and so has different language.

Which brings me to my point and that is: it is the community that sets the standard.

The quote at the top of this page is from a ruling on pornography in 1964 and the decision on if something is obscene. The Justice said (now famous for it), “I know it when I see it.”

It will be up to the community to keep their realms clean. What is offensive in St. Petersburg, Russia might be very different than in London, England. I’ve never been called a cockwomble (yet!) but in London, this might be hilarious and not a bother.

If the community works at it, it will be kept clean. We will have to trust Blizzard to “know it when they see it” for all of the reports by us.

It will be regional, by realms. Some realms might get a “reputation” for loose play and require much gossip and a visit; much like Goldshire in Moonguard if they survive this Silence Penalty. It will be timely; daytime will be much stricter than night time but the Nighters will get more bans, I betcha by golly.

However, I think that we are all delighted. Absolutely delighted.


cockwomble ‎(plural cockwombles)
1.(Britain, slang, derogatory) A foolish or obnoxious person.  [quotations ▼]


See, that wasn’t offensive at all!

Wrathsome the Fabulous

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
Muhammad Ali


Wrathsome the Fabulous

The news of the day is the change to the number of pieces that you will need in your wardrobe to (hopefully, eventually) get the Fabulous title. Alternative Chat wrote up a commentary called She’s in Fashion and Bubbles of Mischief also gave us an update called Fashionista Changes which also included a video. Seeing that video, one notes that to make a transmog change — a full set would cost about 300 gold! You won’t see me swapping sets often, I promise!

Go ahead and read their pages, they have much more insight than I do!

I visited Captive Wrymtongue, the vendor for the Invasions. I went to Gadgetzan but later found out that he’ll be in our capital city as well.

I think everyone who plays a Warlock will want the Felbat Pup for the low low price of 1800 Nethershards. Remembering that you get a mere 260 Nethershards, this pet will cost you the time and play of eight Invasions — totally fun.

The Captive Wrymtongue also sells armor ensembles, which are transmog sets that look very “legion invasion” and fabulous! Warning: these ensemble tokens are Bind on Pick Up! Buying a leather token with my Mage would bring heartbreak. The ensemble armor set costs a trifle: only 1850 Nethershards.

This is also an introduction to the “ensemble set token” system, new to Legion.

I looked up Ensemble: Felshroud Leather Armor on Wowhead and got way too much information.

The other armor sets are:
Ensemble: Fel-Infused Cloth Armor
Ensemble: Fel-Chain Mail Armor
Ensemble: Felforged Plate Armor

Along our pre-expansion patch journey, we will want to do all of the Legion Invasions and get the feat of strength: Defender of Azeroth. Frankly, it should be a title, right?

How do these ensemble sets work? Does learning via that token break them into all the pieces into my wardrobe? Or does it keep it always as a single set … we’ll find out, I’m excited.

Pre-Patch: Players are Busy!

“Your Majesty, I am like you. I do no work. I do nothing, but I am indispensable.”
Sergei Diaghilev


Pre-Patch: Players are Busy!

It has been a treat the past few days and weeks to see the surge of excitement (and trepidation) for the upcoming expansion.

Misdirections is posting on the experiences from the Beta and PTR and tackling the worries that we all have with professions. Following other players concerns and decisions will help me decide on my choices: which might be best dealt with soon.

Gnomecore is also on the Beta and PTR and posting on the frustrations and experiences of getting into scenarios and also reporting on the feel of three DPS classes. Thankfully, he is also writing on Transmog, which we are all very interested in.

Alternative Chat is a bit of a nut and very fun to read. We are reminded to prepare (today!) for titles and toys and, of course, a whole lot more.

Bodhi Rana, sensibly, has bailed. That’s all folks! I guess we’ll see him in Legion.

So, players are busy. The Devs are busy, now hosting a weekly chat on Twitch covering expectations, news and rationale for Legion decisions. It helps shape in our imagination the way that we’ll be playing soon.

We are all looking to the pre-expansion patch and planning while also putting pieces in place for when Legion drops. It’s fun.

I was watching a preview/overview of the Marksman Hunter on YouTube. The channel seems to be FinalBossTV. Since this guy is the only guy posting this type of material, I looked in since I hope to play Marksmanship in Legion. I also watched his Resto-Druid piece and in both cases I got “I don’t play this spec”.

Even though FinalBossTv doesn’t play the spec, we do get a video over-view of the Artifact, Talents and Spells. We also get his impressions, which are useless. And, since he’s the only guy doing this stuff: it is worth it to me to look in.

Which brings me to my burning question. Will the Class Guide sites like Icy Veins be posting class guides on the day the pre-expansion patch drops? Icy Veins has worked hard to dominate the click market for guides, I hope they are prepared!

I think that what I want to know immediately is: what is stat priority? Since everything changes at the pre-expansion patch and we carry our “geared” characters into Legion; having a solid understanding of Mastery and the stats is crucial. We need to understand our classes!

Like everyone, I’ll have a great time learning rotations and I’ll play with Talents a lot: it is fun. Still, I can do something about stat priority … if I know the information. If we don’t get at least a basic class guide out of Icy Veins or some other source; I think that they have failed. If I solve that problem on my own, then there is no reason to look to their site in the future having released myself from dependence on a third-party fan site.

What makes me worry is that there is been not even a hint that someone is working on it. Even Ask Mr Robot seems to be vamping with no hints.

C’mon guys, now is the time!

Legion: Expansion and Collapse

“Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.”
James Thurber


Legion: Expansion and Collapse

I don’t know how Legion will play out. I only have my impressions from following bloggers and the data-mining sites. Players are planning by prepping their Alts for the move to the Broken Isles. Players are researching on Battle Pets in Legion. Players with the Beta Key are exploring and reporting their findings.

Warlords of Draenor was such a wonky expansion. I now have 13 characters at level 100; many of them with maxed professions, some with doubled-up professions for making bags, for example. WoD rewarded us big time for leveling up Alts, we got rich beyond imagination.

Legion is not Alt Friendly. The synergy between the characters on your account is broken via BoP signature crafting mats and, really, a monstrous Artifact leveling grind that will take months. Investing time (it is really simply time) in your Artifact is mandatory if you want to explore group content: the cornerstone to a MMO.

Today, it feels like I’ll collapse my empire down to one character! At first pass, I think it will be my Resto-Druid with the hope of welcome arms in many group adventures.

There are Alt-ernatives, bringing up my entire army until level 110; chasing profession quests and then World Quests. But, I fear that a set of “daily” world quests even on one character will take two hours due to travel time on the ground.

I’ve always loved my hunter. I imagine that he’ll do the Exploration and Loremaster stuff eventually with the assumption of getting flying after a year in Legion. I’m sad for him.

In WotLK, I had my hunter and healer with “matching professions” meaning a gathering profession to compliment a crafting one. In Cata, ease of leveling Alts led me to bringing up Profession Alts, dedicated to serving my Mains. In MoP and WoD, I had a factory and was filling the guild’s raid tab with flasks and pots.

What about professions. My mind-set in the past was assembly line industry. I don’t know any more what to do.

WoD was like a ice cube tray, filling up all the squares at the same time; easily and encouraged. Legion, at this stage, feels very Loner Against the World. Mini-games like pet battles, crafting toys, making profit in the AH will all have to be pushed back to much later in the expansion when things ease down (if they ever do).

Legion is designed to support the Main. Can Blizzard give me enough stuff to satisfy me as a Loner? How long before they can’t sustain my interest and I look to my Alt? How long before I dread entering the same Dungeon again, no matter the reward? Can they balance us in group flexible content?

If the patches release like MoP, then I’ll be scrambling to keep up on my sole Main. Getting that rep trinket, for example. This is THE test for Blizzard, do or die.

The design is friendly to support a second (up to fourth) spec with catch-up mechanics on the Artifacts on your Main. Imagine starting at ZERO with a brand new Artifact! It will be like molasses puddles, all up hill.

Filling my ice cube tray with attention to Alts, I fear will take way too much time. I may end up with gear having no enchants or buying flasks; that makes me sick.

So much to learn, so much to imagine; come on Legion, come on pre-expansion patch: let’s get it on.

Let It Bleed: A Rebuttal

“It is the still, small voice that the soul heeds, not the deafening blasts of doom.”
William Dean Howells


Let It Bleed: A Rebuttal

I’ve been called a squatter. I didn’t know I was a squatter and I’m not sure how offended I should be. Alternative Chat posted a gloating smug post called Let It Bleed.

The crux of the news is that we now know that the main crafting material, Blood of Sargeras, is bind-on-pick-up (BoP).

Alternative Chat is a self-professed LFR hero. Why this otherwise intelligent writer would invest in crafting high-end gear to do LFR runs is beyond me; no one will love you more. No need to be defensive, we all understand. It’s okay.

Okay!

Now that I’ve talked back after being called a hater and squatter and unhealthy; lets get over that and consider the news. If that is the design, good or bad, we have to make it work. (Just to be clear, I enjoy reading Alternative Chat and do so every day and I listen to the podcast too. In this case, talking smack does not mean unloved).

The crafting material, Blood of Sargeras, will probably be about as rare as Felblight but it can’t be traded. This means one will be gathering on the profession toon who wants to craft. My first question is: can this high-end crafted gear be sold or is it BoP too?

The Second Law of Thermo-dynamics says that everything that has an input must have an output or it stagnates. Or, if you have an Alt with two gathering professions; you will be constipated and uncomfortable for the expansion.

If you have an Alt with two crafting professions; you are consigned to Fishing for the rest of your life. If you are paying a fifteen dollar subscription fee, your gaming hour is worth about two copper and a farthing. Like the character in The Phantom Tollbooth that convinces our hero to move a pile of sand … using tweezers, there was a lesson in that book!

This falls under the Dirty Trick category. Once upon a time, some professions had a dps gimmick built in to the profession. Synapse Springs in Engineering, for example, was something a progression raider really wanted. They took that away, saying that a profession should not give a dps advantage. Yet, with the Blood of Sargeras being BoP, the crafting raider does very much get an advantage. Assuming massive research within the next few weeks; a crafty raider (sorry) will know which profession will benefit the most and invest in that lone profession — could it be crafting a trinket or could it be many pieces of mail gear or high-end gem crafting: I don’t know (yet).

As I’ve said before and I do believe, no matter the design with advantages or flaws; we have to make it work. If I learn that we have to make cake but are given no flour, we still have to learn to cook cake — or we get no cake at all. As a long-time cake enthusiast, I’ll even eat bad cake (all the while dreaming and remembering that café in Hong Kong that served a wonderful rich cake, air conditioning in August and smiling servers, happy to have my business).

If the design for professions in Legion is based on Grind, and it is; even if it is a throw-back to Vanilla where we spent hours (or days) grinding mats to be able to raid; even if they have discarded intelligent design evolution that allowed more players to actually spend time playing: if this is our cup, then we must drink what is served.

We’ve known all along that Legion would be punishing Alts. Watcher said in his interview that an Alt should not serve a Main. The “why” eludes me, there was no justification or rationale; only the statement.

I have no real investment in my Alts. I’ll gladly leave them in the garrison; like the CEO of an automobile plant that buys a robotic arm: I’ll fire all those workers; coldly and dispassionately. At least they won’t be homeless.

I can’t believe that my Main will go back to mining. That is fucking depressing. That is sooooo WotLK. ew. I’d guess that, at best, 10% of the player base follows the news and patch notes and hype leading into Legion. 90% of the player base is in for one helluva shock, probably about two weeks into the expansion will they figure it out. Either they’ll scramble to make it work, give up on professions, dial down their involvement in the game or … well, I don’t know.

Finally, there is crafting and there is crafting. Some professions craft gear, trinkets and off-hands. Some professions craft flasks, potions, glyphs, scrolls and food. I can’t imagine that the Blood of Sargeras is needed to make flasks, if so; I give up.

The Starting Zone

“Cheers, love! The cavalry’s here!”
Tracer in Overwatch


The Starting Zone

I just had the pleasure of listening to a new (to me!) podcast called the Starting Zone. The episode was called:

Blizzard Q1 2016 Earnings Report which sounds a lot more dull that it really is: it was fascinating.

The discussion that blew my mind was the change in how Blizzard thinks of itself; a transition in the last year from “gaming” to “entertainment”. And this is huge. When combining their products like WoW, Overwatch, HoTS and so on into a “viewership” notion (instead of numbers of subscribers) then we begin to see that this company is on the scale of the big boys like the NFL.

I didn’t know that Activision had bought out King, which is Candy Crush. This means that they can do the mobile app thing and then, pretty quickly, my understanding begins to fade out.

And, from what I heard on the podcast, the talk of esports is that it will be big: very big. The discussion guys were marveling at articles in Forbes magazine about a character in Overwatch. Simply considering that while Blizzard (and Activision) is a big world-wide company that this might explode is incredible. I also heard that Overwatch is one of the top games viewed in Twitch, rising up to some of the big games like Call of Duty and that kind of stuff.

When the mind-set from gaming has moved to entertainment, then it is easier to see the how and why we see more books, store items like plushies and to even imagine an Overwatch movie. Cross game promotions make total sense. The broad vision of these guys is, well, visionary!