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Archive for the ‘Alts’ Category

I’ve been doing quite a bit of dungeon running recently, mostly Spires of Ascension and Plaguefall because those have been the Oribos dungeons of the week and for “Defend Bastion/Maldraxxus” Callings. Having gotten to Exalted with Court of Harvesters with Kaelinda and with Wild Hunt with Kaurinka, I’m now pushing Ascended and Undying Army rep so that I can get the Gilded Prowler mount and have the Undying Army tabard in my tabard wardrobe for Kalaneia to wear with her Necrolords armor.

I’ve been seeing a lot of Shaman healers, which is making me miss healing with Kamalia. I used to be a devotee of Grid + Clique, but I haven’t installed any addons whatsoever since I began playing WoW on a new computer about a year ago. What addon(s) are considered the best for healing these days?

Seeing Tauren of other classes in other roles is making me miss my Tauren. I’ve been thinking about how my Shaman would be Night Fae and my Death Knight would be Necrolords and my Warrior and my Highmountain Tauren Druid would be Venthyr and my Hunter and Paladin and Priest and Monk would be Kyrian, so that I could get all of the Covenant armor sets that I find acceptably attractive. I’d only get the Campaign and Renown recolors of the armor sets with these characters — going after the other variations would be too much work.

Most of these characters haven’t yet leveled through Zandalar, though, and there isn’t yet a skip for the introductory Maw experience of Shadowlands. So for now, I will just have to sigh wistfully, and focus on getting my Eversong Elves through the Covenant Campaigns and into their Campaign & Renown armor sets, and hope that an intro skip gets patched in sometime down the road, and plan to bring all my Tauren through the Shadowlands during the end-of-expac lull.

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As Gnomecore and Coffee Cakes & Crits have recently commented, this is definitely seeming like a lull time.
Both of my co-mains — Venthyr Mage and Night Fae Druid — are feeling like they are in a maintenance mode in terms of what I do with them on a daily and weekly basis. The Druid is in a wierd sort of stasis; she’s almost (but not quite) to the Renown cap, but she hasn’t done her Covenant campaign yet because she’s waiting on the Night Fae Mage to catch up so they can do it together. Both of them recently got the third stage of the Travel Network and are now saving up to get the second stage of the Anima Conductor — as Coffee Cakes & Crits said, getting the Anima streams flowing now will let the Anima and the Grateful Offerings quietly, slowly, consistently accumulate until someday we’ll be able to afford all of those fun cosmetic goodies.
Speaking of fun cosmetic goodies that I can’t afford, my Druid dinged Exalted with Court of the Night today pretty much entirely from doing the Large Lunarlight Bud every day. Of course she hasn’t got the 25K Anima to buy the recolor of the Night Fae armor set that she’s now eligible to purchase. She could buy one of the backpieces, but she’s saving up for upgrading her Campaign armor set and getting Sanctum upgrades — cosmetics can wait for later.
Once both of them have rescued their 20 souls from the Maw and collected their 1K Anima each week, I’ve been doing lull-time sorts of activities:
*I’ve been doing some dungeon farming for items I want for Mogging — Mistcaller needs to give me that fifth coloration of the flower crown!
*I’ve been slowly leveling the Night Fae Mage, the Kyrian Priest, and the Necrolords Warlock, doing a questline at a time here and there.
*I do still need to get the Venthyr Mage into Castle Nathria LFR. I’ll probably do each wing only once, tourist-style to see the story, because I’m not a fan of the Castle Nathria cloth set. Every weekend, I think, “this weekend I’m going to do Castle Nathria LFR!” and then for one reason or another, it doesn’t happen.

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With doubled-up Callings to Maldraxxus this week, I finally made it back to the place — and it still grosses me out. I’m so glad that I don’t have to smell what my poor characters must be smelling!

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They said that we wouldn’t need the Flight Whistle because we’d be spending most of our time in the zone associated with our Covenant choice and the Travel Network would make getting around that zone easier. I still miss the Flight Whistle, though. I think that statement from the devs (was it from Hazzikostas, even?) misunderstands what the Flight Whistle is really for. The Flight Whistle is for quickly and easily getting out of the depths of some WQ area once you’ve completed the quest requirements, so that you don’t have to fight your way back out to the road through all the respawns.

~*~*~

I am struggling with prioritizing all the things available to do.

Kaelinda has reached Renown 10 and has accepted the starter quest for Chapter 4 of the Venthyr campaign, but I keep deciding to do Callings and WQs instead. The “get 1000 Anima” weekly has not been exactly trivial for me. I spend a lot of time chasing Anima WQs at the expense of playing through the next Chapter of my Covenant campaign — and I’ve had weeks where I didn’t quite make it because I didn’t feel like playing enough to clear all the available Anima WQs in all four zones. Is it better to prioritize getting Anima, to fill up the Sanctum Reservoir and increase my Renown, or would it be better to prioritize getting through the Covenant campaign story?

Kaurinka has reached Renown 11, but she is stalled out near the beginning of Chapter 2 — the you must do Torghast Chapter — of the Night Fae campaign, even though she knows that she’ll be rescuing Baine and does want to do so. Torghast hasn’t been quite as awful as I’d feared it might be, but it hasn’t tickled the “this is so fun!” spot for me, either. Kaelinda, who is currently Fire, managed not to die at all on her first true run through a Layer 1 wing of Torghast, though she did go through most of a stack of Mana Buns. I will probably not return there any more often than storyline quests send me there, and I may only complete the full questchain from Bolvar on one character (most likely Kaelinda).

I’ve decided that I should just go to the Maw more or less first thing on Tuesday evenings and rescue souls, then get out of there — ideally before my Eye of the Jailer even gets to 1. That, at least, will be a reliable source of Renown, and I’ll steadily collect the souls needed to lend their labor to Sanctum upgrades. If I’m spending as little time in the Maw and Torghast as possible, and only running Torghast on Layer 1 difficulty, repping up with Ve’nari to get stuff from her isn’t a high priority.

I decided to activate the Anima Conductor before activating the Special Feature and both characters are currently channeling anima to the location that has a special treasure. Each of them makes sure to go get their special treasure each day. So far, the Greater Greedstone has proved to be a reliable source of Anima tokens, but the Large Lunarlight Pod has mostly yielded Conduits — often duplicates of Conduits I already have.

With Anima being so scarce, I’m trying to decide how to manage my Sanctum upgrades. I’ve got the first stage of both the Travel Network and the Anima Conductor. Now, do I save up to upgrade one or the other of those things, or do I activate the first stage of the Special Feature?
I have made a tactical decision to ignore the Command Table entirely. I’ve got too many things competing for my attention already (especially if I decide to activate the Special Feature before upgrading the Travel Network or Anima Conductor). Besides, I’d rather save that precious Anima to spend on other things, such as upgrading the other Sanctum features, upgrading Covenant armor pieces, or acquiring the other tints of the Covenant armor and backpieces (once I’ve unlocked them).

~*~*~

And then there’s the other three characters who are patiently waiting in the wings in Oribos for their turns to level and choose their Covenants. I’m half-inclined to do it — to level them and play each of them through the first chapter of their chosen Covenant campaign and get them settled into their Sanctums — even though doing so will delay the progress of Kaelinda and Kaurinka through their Covenant campaigns. I think I might be able to resist doing anything else with them beyond the “rescue 5 souls from the Maw” weekly (and maybe the special treasures from the first stage of the Anima Conductor) until I’ve completed the Venthyr and Night Fae campaigns — especially with the you must do Torghast barrier of Chapter 2 of the Covenant campaign.

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And then there’s Horizon Zero Dawn waiting for me on Steam. I got through most of the first area and to level 4 in my first play session before I looked at the clock and realized that I really ought to go to bed. I need to finish up the last couple of side-quests in the first area before I turn in my current main storyline quest, which I think will move me out of that area into the next one — the challenge and rewards of side-quests are really only worth doing while I’m still at-level for the area. The gameworld is beautiful, and I was genuinely enjoying exploring around — and since I’m playing it on Story mode, of course, the combat hasn’t been overly challenging (yet). I want to play more — if only I can resist auto-pilot logging into WoW to do dailies after my schoolwork is done each evening (Spring semester classes begin on Monday!).

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I didn’t play on Monday because I was busy doing other things, nor on Tuesday because the authentication issues prevented me from logging it. That still left plenty of time to bring Kaelyla, Keliora, and Kalaneia through the Maw into Oribos. That will do, for now.

I also took those three characters, as well as Kaelinda and Kaurinka, to the Darkmoon Faire. It’s been many months since I last visited the Faire, because beyond making the first set of crafted gear for each of the armor types, I ignored Professions during Battle for Azeroth. But with Professions being, by all reports, more reasonable to level and more genuinely useful in Shadowlands, I thought it was worth my time again to get those 5 free Profession skill points. My Druid is an Herbalist and Scribe; all my other Herbalists will funnel their herbs to her to craft Staves and Missives. Kaelinda is an Herbalist and Tailor; all the rest will send her their cloth so she can craft the Shrouded Cloth and Shadowlace sets. Kalaneia is an Herbalist and Alchemist; I’ll work on leveling her Alchemy after my Druid has reached her crafting goals. Keliora is a Miner and Engineer (because Goggles); leveling her Engineering will be slower because no-one else will be feeding her ore. Kaelyla is an Herbalist and Miner, but she’s Alliance, so all of her materials will go on the AH and make her rich!

I’ve been contemplating what I might do about raiding in this expansion. I sat out LFR entirely in Warlords and did very little in Legion and Battle for Azeroth. It sounds like just getting ready for raiding — even at the LFR level — is a long haul of dungeon running and shelling out gold for crafted gear, plus running Torghast to craft whatever Legendary is BIS for one’s class & spec. Of course I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m not sure if I’ll like Torghast very much. After all, I only did as much of Horrific Visions as I needed to get the first Shroud of Resolve appearance upgrade. Even though I think the second appearance upgrade for the Shroud of Resolve is very pretty, whenever I have thought about doing more Horrific Visions — and more Black Empire Assaults to buy those attempts — I end up saying, “meh, I don’t feel like doing that.” So I think I only want to raid with one toon at most, if I can even manage that. That toon will probably be my Druid because I like the leather set from Castle Nathria ever so much more than the cloth set.

But then how to get all of the different Covenant weapons? Hmm… If I pick up a Castle Nathria weapon token and use it for one Covenant, then change Covenants, I know that I won’t be able to use that weapon appearance with that character anymore — but will I still be able to use it with other characters in that Covenant? So could I get a Castle Nathria weapon token, spend it with the Covenant I’m currently in, change Covenants, get another Castle Nathria weapon token and spend it with the new Covenant, and so on until I’ve gotten the Castle Nathria weapons for all of the Covenants? I would just try for all of the Staves, I think — though that Night Fae Harp is lovely and after I’ve gotten all the Staves and come back to the Night Fae, I’d want to get one more Castle Nathria weapon token to spend on that. From an RP standpoint, Kaurinka will want to stay devoted to the Night Fae, but Kaiuna might be up for some Covenant-hopping….

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Maldraxxus was a monstrous landscape that Kaelinda was anxious to escape as soon she could complete her mission from the Overseers to discover the cause of the Maldraxxi invasion of Bastion.

She was unexpectedly… what was the right word? charmed, perhaps? by some of the personalities she met there. Gruff Bonesmith Heirmir. Poor mad Plague Deviser Marileth! (But would he have been quite so likeable before the fall of his House and the breaking of his mind?) Bold Secutor Mevix. Baroness Draka — and those other two high-ranking Azerothian souls. The superb voice acting was what really won me over about all of these characters.

Being in Maldraxxus made Kaelinda feel powerful, and like she came from a World that is Powerful, in a way that she didn’t feel while in Bastion. Indeed, Azeroth is a Powerful World! It was her people (with some help from the peoples of Argus and Draenor, to be sure) who stopped the Burning Legion from destroying their world and defeated Sargeras! It was her people who have turned back multiple Old Gods from claiming their world for the Void! But ah, beware the Sha of Pride! Nonetheless, being Maldraxxi isn’t quite the thing for Kaelinda — but it will definitely be the thing for Kalaneia.

I liked that Maldraxxus wasn’t as linear as Bastion. After the first two chapters, three of the remaining chapters unlocked simultaneously, and I could pursue them in any order I wished. That will make it more interesting to replay.

I was surprised — and very pleased — to discover a follow-up to the ending of the Bastion storyline; I’m not sure why that surprised me, but it did. Probably because it has been a long, long time since zone storylines were intertwined in such a way. Maybe because this particular questline seemed to be an even more thorough integration of leveling storylines between two zones than I can remember happening ever before (though of course there is much I have forgotten about the storylines of past expansions). I’d been planning to have Keliora do all of Bastion before turning on Threads of Fate; now I think I’ll take her through the first two chapters of Maldraxxus, then that specific chapter, too.

By the time I got to the fourth or fifth chapter, I was wondering what the connection between Maldraxxus and Ardenweald was going to be… (more…)

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I’ve been taking small breaks from Shadowlands to level with Kasheena. I’d gotten her to level 60 and Old Dalaran before Patch 9.0.1 arrived. After Patch 9.0.1, shortly before the Death Rising event began, I Chromie Timed her to Draenor and established her Garrison, so she could camp out there during the zombie invasion. During the past week, I returned her from Draenor. Then I Chromie Timed to Pandaria and played through just enough of the opening sequence to get to the village, so that I’d have that portal open in the Orgrimmar Portal Room. Next, I dropped out of Chromie Time and did the Battle for Azeroth opening sequence — skipping the Stormwind Extraction scenario — so I’d have that portal open. Then I was ready to Chromie Time to Legion. I discovered, somewhat to my dismay, that I didn’t have the option to skip the Broken Shore scenario and go straight to New Dalaran. Oh well, it had been long enough since I’d done it that it wasn’t so bad to do it again. With Balance as my favorite Druid spec, of course she chose the Scythe of Elune first. I might also get her the Fangs of Ashamane at some point.

I think it’s rather silly that Highmountain Tauren PCs don’t get that campaign marked as completed and their reputation set to Exalted, the way Nightborne PCs get the Suramar campaign and reputation flagged as already done for them. At any rate, she’s questing through Highmountain and shaking her head at being treated like an ignorant outsider. When she’s finished with Highmountain, she’ll probably do Val’sharah, too. She’s currently level 33; if she’s not level 50 by the time she’s finished Val’sharah, well, I guess I’ll figure out what I want to do next when I get there.

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Kaurinka’s journey through Bastion went faster than Kaelinda’s — I did fewer of the side quests, and I now knew that the main questline would only uncover two-thirds (or maybe only half?) of the map. Watching how slowly the map was being revealed the first time through made that journey feel slower than it really was, because I was thinking I’d have to do enough questing to reveal the whole thing. I can probably expect something similar in the other three zones.

Kaurinka also paid closer attention during the initial orientation, and she ultimately came through Bastion with a rather more favorable opinion of the Kyrian than Kaelinda did. Sophone and Mikanikos are still my favorites; I’m finding that I rather like Pelagos; and Kleia, though I still think she has an annoying holier-than-thou attitude, is growing on me. It occurred to me this afternoon that the vocal tone of many Kyrian NPCs, especially the higher-ranking ones, reminds me of the vocal tone that I shift into when I am trying very, very, very hard to not lose my temper with my three-year-old…

I briefly toyed with the idea of bringing Kalaneia, Keliora, and Kaelya (Kaylynda will stay behind until I’ve decided which Covenant will be the best fit for her) through the Maw and through Bastion before sending anyone through Maldraxxus — leveling all my alts in parallel rather than in series. Realistically speaking, however, that would just get me thoroughly burned out on Bastion. For now, Kaelinda and Kaurinka will keep playing leapfrog.

A neat thing that I discovered from playing through Bastion with two characters with different previous questing history is that a certain Legion NPC who dies heroically and traumatically and ends up in Bastion says different things to you depending on whether you completed their zone or not… (more…)

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1. Cancel my nighttime Zoom student help session. It’s Thanksgiving week, and nobody ever shows up on Monday anyway.
2. Log in with each of my level 50 characters so that they can begin accruing Rested status.
3. Take either Kaelinda or Kaurinka through the introductory Maw experience and get her Hearthstone set to Oribos
4. Get away from the crowds, bottlenecks, and bugs by leveling my Highmountain Tauren Druid, Kasheena.

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About a month ago, I got a bee in my bonnet about using the Hidden appearance of Tu’ure, Staff of the Lightborn, with the Kyrian gear.

Kaohana had the Rod of the Ascended in her bags already, so I loaded her up with +XP Heirlooms and sent her off to level up. Brewfest was just beginning, so I did the ram riding Brewfest dailies. I ran a few Island Expeditions, did the quests to open up the Stormsong Valley and Drustvar bases, and then got bored of Island Expeditions. RL stuff got in the way, too, so she was at level 116 — which converted into level 48 — when Patch 9.0.1 arrived. After the patch, doing a a few Hallow’s End dailies, about half a continent worth of Candy Buckets, and the Tiragarde Sound foothold were enough to get her to level 50. I kitted her out in Benthic gear and sent her off to Halls of Valor to bully Hyrja into giving her the Crest of the Lightborn. It took 7 tries on Normal.

That’s all I’m going to do with her at level 50, though. I didn’t get her a Shroud of Resolve; after doing that questline 8 times, I just don’t have it in me to do it again. If she goes to the Shadowlands at all, it won’t be until the tail end of the expansion.

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When I read yesterday’s dev update from Ion Hazzikostas, I was intrigued by the section about how they’d changed the alt experience. Because I’m choosing Covenant affiliations for my alts based on aesthetics and personality rather than on gameplay utility, the feedback about wanting to test out all of the Covenant active abilities with a different class before committting to a Covenant doesn’t matter so much to me. The feedback about story disjunction and dissonance, however, does. Looking at the description in the update post about the Threads of Fate choice to either experience the linear narrative again or join a Covenant and use alternative XP-gaining pathways, I wondered if it would be possible to choose the narrative, play through just enough of the narrative to experience the leveling zone story for a desired Covenant, and then go and join that Covenant. For example, could my Warlock choose the linear narrative, play through Bastion and Maldraxxus, then join the Necrolords and finish her leveling by the alternative pathways? Now that the feature is available to test on the beta realms, Wowhead is reporting that it will indeed be possible to do exactly that. Hooray! and Phew!

So here’s how I’m currently imagining my Shadowlands leveling unfolding: Kaelinda will go first, complete the main storyline narrative quests of all the zones, and join the Venthyr. Revendreth is last in the linear narrative, which is why she has to go first. Kaurinka will go second, quest through Bastion and Maldraxxus and Ardenweald, then join the Night Fae. Kalaneia will quest through Bastion and Maldraxxus, then join the Necrolords. Keliora will quest through Bastion, then join the Kyrian. Kaelyla may level through Bastion, Maldraxxus, and Ardenweald before joining the Night Fae — or she might choose to join the Night Fae immediately because maybe I will be sick and tired of Bastion by then! By the time I get to Kaylynda — let alone Kamalia or Karaelia or any other alts — I might just jump straight into a Covenant with the Threads of Fate.

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