My Legion Homework

“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.”
Katharine Hepburn

My Legion Homework

I have probably spent more time on Legion doing research, Beta testing, watching Dev Interviews, following blogs and videos, and in the forums than any prior expansion. Part of this is because Blizzard has been much more open in their process. It is also because Legion is ambitious!

Legion is big. With so many systems and designs introduced; it is staggering and can be over-whelming to imagine. On some level we have to trust the designers and be excited to go and try out this new version of our old game.

At core, with the volume of material and the arc to end game, the design is meant to take much longer to “finish”. One can guess that keeping subscribers busy will keep them subbed. However, it is meant to be totally fun too; let not my cynicism squash any joy of play — I am very much looking forward to getting into the boat and rowing up the stream.

A lot of what we have learned while watching the process from the sidelines can be tossed out. Numbers, balance, spells, talents have all been shaken up and shaken up again. How our classes perform won’t be known for a while as the pieces get inserted in our progress; plus we’ll have patches that will re-balance us (but never enough, right?).

  • It should take about 16 hours of playtime for a typical player to reach 110.
  • The big Artifact progress will come after 110, so you’d want a different motive to squeeze every quest in every zone.
  • The typical player will complete their Artifact in three months with advancement pending on future content patches.
  • At level 102, you can start working on your second (and third) spec and Artifact weapon. This will mean some personal choices on time spent and Artifact power/points investment.
  • Each major patch will shorten the distance to Artifact completion, they call them “catch-up mechanics”.
  • Adding an Alt into the time equation means doubling the estimates of “16 hours/three months” to completion.
  • Flying will open up in about a year from Launch. Completing the criteria that we can do now could be saved for a later date, however the rewards are tempting like faster ground mount speed in Legion zones.
  • Dungeons will be popular and emphasized.
  • The Adventurer’s Journal will be far more useful as a study guide on fights with explanations of which spells counter which attacks (tanks and mitigation for example).
  • Haste will be a pretty big factor. Even the spell tooltips will say “increases with haste”. Whether we stack it by design is to be determined by the theory-crafters.
  • Tanks will be Prima Donas more than ever (if that is possible) with their need for direct heals.
  • Your Legendary Ring should fade in value as you near 110.
  • Your Heirloom trinket should be worthwhile until you ding 110.
  • Get used to looking (and looking again and then looking again) for spells that are now gone!
  • Think of it as a massive reset and a time for a new start. Choosing a new class or role is delicious and wonderful.

We will see so many changes but soon enough get settled in. Hunters missed Volley when it was taken away after WotLK but we got used to it pretty fast.

The pre-expansion patch brings:

  • Spell and Talent resets on our characters.
  • A big nerf to our trinkets.
  • Spirit and Multistrike will be gone!
  • Secondary stats that are additive instead of multiplicative so we won’t see the crazy numbers in end game.
  • Invasions with one-time-only rewards.
  • A progressive quest chain exploring the Lore and story of Legion.
  • Implemented wardobe (or appearance tab) and updated toy, mount, pet tabs.
  • The updated Profession interface which will be welcome indeed.
  • A search bar on our Achievement tab!
  • An opening Scenario to see the Burning Legion invade the Broken Isles.
  • We will settle into (new) Dalaran and get our unique Hearthstone for Dalaran.
  • Garrisons will get the Nerf Bat.

We will feel weak and nerfed and maybe betrayed to start Legion. As we should, I think. Today in WoD we walk as gods across the land with no fear or boundary. We’ve conquered Draenor, it is time to tackle a new expansion.

Preparing for Legion

“First comes the sweat. Then comes the beauty if you’re very lucky and have said your prayers.”
George Balanchine

Preparing for Legion

Players are playing! I see them everywhere in the game, from lowbies in Westfall to a busy LFR. I have to admit that I really enjoy running the LFR on my Alts because after all of those Heroic runs in HFC plus all the Achievements — I know those fights very well.

Brace yourself: it is two months until the next expansion and a LOT of players don’t know the HFC fights … at all. Somehow I thought that it’d be routine by now; silly me.

I have one Salvage Yard worker who, a few weeks ago, started doing all of the available missions to ramp up the number of crates. We know that on the day of the pre-expansion patch that the new crates will be worthless. The ones that we are stockpiling right now will have gear to build our wardrobe closets. A lot of people have rows and columns of crate stacks. I won’t got that far, I just want to know that I played the game.

Bubbles of Mischief has a brilliant posting today. It is called Battle on the Broken Isles. It is an introduction to the pet battles in Legion and very well presented. I watched the “battle for the toy” video (also made by Bubbles) on youtube. I see that Pet Charms will still be the currency. I have 3500 Pet Charms saved up for Legion!

My three Tailors will likely stay in their garrisons making hexweave bags. The new Legion recipe is for 24 slot bags, so I will be serving my community for a long time to come. I have upgraded all of my characters with bags and I have 50 new bags sitting in … well … a bag on an Alt.

My “bank alt” is a mage who is also my “holiday alt”. She didn’t get much action in WoD. However, I have saved many of those Gronling mounts and cinder pups that you can get from garrison missions. I have maybe six of those gruntling pets from the winter holiday. I hope that they sell well in a year. I even have extra Lil’ Leftover battle pets.

Our soon-to-be empty void storage bags; well, they’d be handy to store some gear that we might hold onto as we shift though choices when getting our tier sets — but a 20 gold deposit fee is pretty darn steep. I hope to leave them empty and useless.

It costs 330 gold to change my transmog set. Every time. I know that this is Beta but transmogging is looking more like a gold sink to me.

I will ding 2.5 million gold this week. This is across all of the characters on my server, of course.

I’m worried (very much so) that the design for Professions has the Auction House woven into the concept. Even herbs have a “can be bought and sold on the Auction House” in the tooltip! Scary stuff, I don’t want to be taken advantage of in the AH because I am not a savvy businessman/player.

The big news that was not big news was the nerfing of gold in the old raids. The vendoring of items is less but not by much, the gold for the boss kill is the same. Even if it were 20% less gold, it would still be worth the trip.

My intention is that when the pre-expansion patch drops that I’ll move to Dalaran and not look back to Draenor.

I realize the convenience of having bank and guild access and the tmog guys right next to a forge with a pet battle daily and trainer/vendor in the garrison is tempting — but, really, I’d rather not.

Focus “on” Legion

It is well that the earth is round that we do not see too far ahead.
Meryl Streep

Focus “on” Legion

There is so much that is going to happen! Alternative Chat pointed me to Magni: Fault Lines. This is an amazing comic book that has animation and sound and story! I really like how you click to get the next image because I went slow to look at the artwork.

One thing leads to another. You’d want to read the animated comic book first; the pre-expansion event will have a quest chain. MMO Champs has a video of what we’ll be doing. I watched maybe two minutes and then bailed because I want to do it myself! These quests are either daily or every couple of days, so (in my opinion) they’ve really loaded the pre-expansion patch! Totally fun.

Did you know that our ranged distance is measured to the center of the hit box? Celestalon, a very busy guy, is back in the forums on the Theorycrafting thread. Most of that stuff is over my head but I love that there are answers. Celestalon has been very open on the math and particulars.

Sometimes though, you laugh a little:
My question is a two-parter:
1) Are the probabilities of a each roll individually the same as other rolls before or after it, before truncating at the max obtainable iLvl? This would mean that we can represent the iLvl distribution of an item as Geom*(p,k).
2) If we can represent the ilvl distribution of item n as Geom*(p_n,k_n) and item m as Geom*(p_m,k_m), do we have that for any two items that p_m = p_n? In other words, is the success probability for this system global among all items, or is it individual for the source of each item?

-edited for clarity
This is one of the few cases where we will not be sharing details. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

The coolest thing is what people are calling a “hidden gem”. In the beta, you can do a console command that changes your camera to a different style of game play. Instead of the WoW classic player dead center, it is moved over a little and you are kind of looking over the shoulder; it is amazing. The video below shows it off really well. I agree too, it would be Fantastic(!) for questing and running around! Gimme, gimme now.

Legion: The Beta Fish Test

“It’s said in Hollywood that you should always forgive your enemies – because you never know when you’ll have to work with them.”
Lana Turner

Legion: The Beta Fish Test

I was doing some cleaning of my bags. My main had a Lure Master Tackle Box bag for fish, which I’d rather have as a hexweave bag but it was full of fish. In WoD I had six different baits, hooks and worms, and then three different versions of each fish; tiny, regular and enormous. I hadn’t actively kept things tidy and clean, when I got some fish; I’d toss them in the bag and move on.

Eventually, when my shipyards settled down, I put the fishing net on my submarines. With six shipyards, I chose an Alt with no professions to store all of that fish in the reagent tab. Now all of my level 100 characters are maxed cooking and first aid, even the ones who have never fished! I replaced those nets, I was drowning in fish!

Wondering if I could replace that Tackle Box bag for a hexweave bag, I went onto the Beta and headed for the open, yet broken, shores.

Both of my mains have the Angler’s Fishing Raft. It sits in the bottom left of my backpack since that bag is small and can stay open to re-set the ten minute timer. I clicked on my raft and … bam … it was a toy. Fun, I suppose, but I couldn’t put the icon back in my backpack. Precious action bar space or a favorite toy are my two choices.

The Angler’s Raft is faster than a ground mount. Tapping the space bar will make you zoooooom across the water. It’s great, everyone should have one. Safely fishing in the water instead of being attacked by a pathing mob on the shore is golden.

I fished for about thirty minutes, some of that was traveling about for fun. It was raining hard in one area and looked great.

I fished up three different fish in my experiment; Silver Mackerel, Cursed Queenfish and Black Barracuda. No little, medium, large fish at all! Yay. The Silver Mackerel looks to be the generic fish caught outside of a pool, the Queenfish is regional to Azsuna and the Barracuda must be dedicated to the ocean or outer shores.

I did catch a Message in a Beer Bottle. It gave up a two-minute lure for rare fish, of which I caught none.

Fishing Level seems to have no bearing on my success. The one lure that I had was a specialty item (of which I am sure that there are many), meant to be used right away for a short time span.

As far as I can tell, we won’t need fishing hats and lures to boost our fishing level and get better success.

I am guessing that fishing will take up about seven bag slots, a different type of fish for each zone.

There will be no need for a dedicated fishing bag in Legion.

Legion: Blizzard Feedback Forums

“We cherish our friends not for their ability to amuse us, but for ours to amuse them.”
Evelyn Waugh

Legion: Blizzard Feedback Forums
(or: Wrath the Advocate)

Gaming forums in general can be toxic. Now and then one reads of a Moderator who is getting death threats in their home mail box. It is not a fun place to visit and I believe that it is wrong to even have a suggestion or hint that a person writing onto a forum should think that the game will change because of his Bright Idea. Nature of the beast, web 2.0 and all that stuff; shameful really.

Still, I love the forums.

It is a very different experience to visit the Legion forums for Alpha and Beta and it is pretty cool. I’ve spent plenty of time reading the posts with the intention of a better understanding of my class in general and specifically once Legion arrives.

The forum posters are dedicated, knowledgeable, many know math and theorycrafting. However, you get zero sense of the forums being read by the class designers. For one, it takes too long! It can take a hour to even read a few pages (the resto-druid forum is up to 30 pages). Their time is better spent on Logs and using other comparative tools. In those 30 pages, there is one “blue post”, one; and it was months ago.

Partially, the flaw is that the forums are general and have no direction. “We want feedback” is simply too broad, giving them what they need is unlikely.

This link will lead you to the forums with Legion Testing on the top. By far the most interesting, in my opinion, is the dedicated Legion Class Feedback.

If you are visiting now (which I recommend) and have not been along for the ride on all the different build changes, start on the last page and work backwards. This way you will see the most current and, uh, meaningful comments. Stop when you feel you have seen enough.

You might get lucky. I loved a brief discussion on whether it is best to cast Innervate on yourself (as a resto-druid) or on a holy priest who has a lot more instant high-mana spells. Something to consider, no?

Everyone thinks that their class is nerfed! And it is! It is a new expansion with more and better pieces to come down the line. No one writes, “this spell combination looks really neat-o”. But, still, a lot of players are working very hard to give feedback to the game that they love.

Wrathsome the Activist
I even started my own thread on the PTR forum! It is called Guilds, Simply Guilds. Do I think that it will be read? No, I do not. Will it get a blue post? Never! I guess I got to vent some steam, which is part of the forum process too; not always the best of things. Still, maybe (just maybe, perhaps I can dream, possibly against all odds, one in a trillion, plant the seed) it will make a small difference in two years.

Pour a stiff drink or top off that coffee cup and take a tour of the Legion Feedback Forums!

WoW UI Zoom

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Winston Churchill

WoW UI Zoom

Any Blue Post that begins, “This is one of this changes that we realize will be intensely unpopular with the group of players that has used …” will make you take a second sip of your coffee in strap-down preparation.

Gone will be the console command /console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 4; which allowed us to max zoom out so that we were tiny on the screen with full visuals of our surroundings. The designers are right; this type of control was known to a few players but not all. They are also wise not to roll over and give it as a default on a slider because it does make for crappy game play.

I learned the command and pasted it on my Notepad of game notes back during Wrath of the Lich King while doing Sarth 3D. Zooming out would let you easily see the waves of fire coming from the right or left and avoid them. It was great! I also used it on Oregorger, my stupid Pac-Man style raid boss which forced me to be quick and reactive and sharp (all three of which I am not). Zooming out on Oregorger let me see down over the puzzle map to track that bad boy.

Click here for the MMO Champs page with the Blue Post of the rationale and justification. I found it interesting that they are fixing 2000 bugs in Beta a day! Good job, guys, keep up the good work.

Finally, click here for an image that they offered of Legion at the (new) max zoom, which looks just dandy to me!

Legion: Professions Realized

“The year I was born, 1956, was the peak year for babies being born, and there are more people essentially our age than anybody else. We could crush these new generations if we decided too.”
Tom Hanks

Legion: Professions Realized

I talked with my Guild Master for about two hours last night. Bouncing around ideas, weighing pros and cons, long term benefit and the fun factor were all topics balanced and measured. Everyone has a Guild Master like this, right?

We both agreed that change is difficult and it is in our nature to resist change. Understanding that the simple “change” can be a hurdle, it was then much easier to see new ways to come up with solutions. Embrace change, so to speak.

I have two Mains who do very different things and are played differently. I have a Hunter who feels strong and confident when questing, farming and simply running about the world. I have a Healer who will have to some questing but feels more like a cog in a larger group machine and is sometimes adrift or wimpy when soloing world content.

My goal is to level my Artifact and be strong and ready when the time comes to group up with my friends. This means play time invested, especially early in the expansion with a guess at about three months to level up and then taper off.

It would be easy to get distracted with my Alt Profession Factory and try to fill the ice cube tray. Having all the factory working and feeding my Main with flasks, gems, glyphs and whatever else needs to come later in the expansion; gradually and gently. Having my Main forge the pathway to 110 will make it much easier for my lesser Alts to follow.

The fun factor is important to me and most people. The most fun that I’ve had with professions is Engineering with it’s gizmos, portals, robots, gliders, mailboxes and Jeeves. Much more fun than having an easy gem to socket or a piece of gear to craft over and over and over again. My Man, Jeeves.

Here is what I am doing:
My Hunter is currently an Engineer and Jewelcrafter. I’ll drop JC and pick up mining. With mining, I can serve my profession and spend time on my Main; independent. In three months (best guess) I will have gotten most of the Engineering products completed and will have stock-piled Blood of Sargeras. Then, I will consider dropping mining and picking up Jewelcrafting again.

My Healer is a Leatherworker and Herbalist. I’ll drop Leatherworking for Engineering and it’s fun factor and the helps to raid groups like repairs etc. I’ll keep Herbalism as my gathering but use the excess ore from my farming Hunter to support Engineering. This way I am getting my Blood of Sargeras by playing yet eventually (in a year) my Druid will be an ace Herbalist. The herbs picked will either go to my future Alchemist, waiting in the wings, or to the Auction House for gold.

NB: many of the engineering portals and stuff will become toys and accessible to any character of mine who has Engineering. This is why the avenue for my Healer will be pretty easy.

My Gathering Alt has dual gathering. A Worgen hunter with the skinning racial was leveled with a gathering intention. To avoid the stockpiling of useless BoP Blood of Sageras, I will drop mining and pick up Leatherworking. All of the leather currently in my Healers reagent bank will go to my Worgen to level up as needed (which is not much). This will happen, but at the end of the day when it’s Grind Time, baby.

Eventually my Alchemist (who is level 100 and geared) will work to get to 110. As the Artifact is of minimal importance, doing the Artifact quest and then getting to 110 by any means (pet battles?) will open up the World Quests. Then my Alchemist can do the minimal profession questing and mostly serving my Mains again. This could be a slow road and that is okay. The same with my other profession Alts, but Alchemy with the pots and flasks will come first.

All of this is to point my Main Hunter and Main Healer to be able to focus on advancement and progress in the game. Early on, my Hunter will experience all of the fun questing zones, toy collecting and new content. Early on, my Healer will experience the dungeons, world bosses and group content that is new and exciting.

Resetting my professions to allow the “time spent” to heavily focus on my Mains will mean that I enjoy the game as a player with as much depth as possible.

The Blood of Sargeras: Time Spent Playing

“I am never writing a breakup record again, by the way. I’m done with being a bitter witch.”

The Blood of Sargeras: Time Spent Playing

In the developers chat on Twitch, professions were covered. The first questions were all about the Blood of Sargeras, the key crafting material for all professions.

Blood of Sargeras is a measure of how much you are playing the game. It isn’t supposed to be a gatherer specific crafting item where everyone else has to struggle to get it.

The above quote is not quite misleading but it it needs a qualifier. Blood of Sargeras is a measure of how much one character is playing the game would be a lot more accurate.

Maybe we have a new currency and measurement in WoW, the Time Price.

We listened to the presentation and came away feeling that we could have dual crafting professions. And we can. And this is encouraging. However, parking the character with dual crafting while you farm and grind mountains of materials will yield no Blood of Sargeras on that parked character. The balance of “time” between the two characters has now divided your success rate in half; or the time needed for your dual crafter is doubled except it is “dual crafting” and so quadrupled.

Dual Crafting is a time sink and a punishment.

The Blood of Sargeras is a RNG drop in most cases. RNG. Random. There will be few World Quests that feature the Blood of Sargeras as a reward. The bulk of your collecting will be “playing the game.” The smile and shrug of how much stuff one gains is open to feedback and we welcome your questions.

As they say in court, “what would a reasonable man do”? Prudence demands that a moderate player would be a crafter/gatherer. As much as we’d like the benefits of dual crafting, the Time Price is very high.

If I don’t like people, won’t join a guild, hate raiding, shudder at the LFR, refuse to do dungeons and have a grinding OCD: then dual crafting might make a kind of sense. My main can compete with anyone, as clearly seen by my eight pieces of 850 crafted gear; my status is secure.

It is a timed burn to grind mats on an Alt with the intention of sending them to a Main. The Time Price is staggering to get any edge or feeling of progress or power. Watcher’s mantra of “An Alt should not support a Main” is the litany of Legion; don’t fight it, winning comes at too high a price.

Twitch: Professions Q & A

“A great wind is blowing, and that gives you either imagination or a headache.”
Catherine the Great

Twitch: Professions Q & A

I’ll be curious to read other bloggers now that the Profession Q&A is finished. I have to say, they sold me well. I’m excited and curious and ramped up to get started in Legion. About 15,000 viewers were watching the live feed, that is a good number!

The terrific recap by MMO Champs can be found here.

For me, I was not satisfied at all with any solution for double gatherers who are stuck with stacks of a BoP mat called Blood of Sargeras. Not happy, no sir.

The statement, “Blood of Sargeras is a measure of how much you play” also sticks like popcorn in that bad tooth. I’d rather not be defined, period. I’d not want to be “measured” by anyone, especially with comments like, “you must play WoW way too much, fool, just look at all that crafted gear.” I don’t like the spin, definition, hype or result. It is ugly, a horrible way to start an expansion.

I was very happy with the presentation. Their candor and openness was very welcome. Plenty of humor and plenty of good information makes for a well-done show.

Oddly, except for tailoring which sounded awful, I want to be a craftsman in all areas! They seem like they will be fun and rewarding and worth the adventure. Being a JC sounded fun with rings and neckpieces all of which have a gem slot. The description of chipping the gems was the good example of fantasy and flavor in all of the professions.

Bring me my Legion, I am ready!

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.