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Archive for the ‘Alts’ Category

That Big Bear Butt fellow sure knows how to have fun in WoW — and he always seems to have the most fun when he’s making his own fun. Most recently, he’s discovered a way to use the Custom Group finder to juggle multiple alts into the same raid group/lockout without needing a second person. What a terrific idea! I knew immediately just who to try it with.

Last week, I decided to take my level 94 Fury Warrior into 10N Firelands to see if she could snag the Spaulders of Manifold Eyes off of Beth’tilac for that awesome regal crimson kit that Silverblade designed for my Savage Blood mog event. I was pleasantly surprised by how easily she smashed stuff. My Disc Priest, who is also level 94, has been wanting the Mantle of Closed Doors from Baleroc pretty much forever… but I wasn’t sure she could smash Cataclysm raids with quite the same ease as my Warrior. After I read about BBB’s clever shimmy this afternoon, I decided to clear up to Baleroc with my Warrior, bring my Priest in to do Baleroc, and then go back to my Warrior for Majordomo and Rags. It worked like a charm! It did take my Priest two tries to kill Baleroc — and then, to my great delight, the Mantle of Closed Doors dropped! My streak of good luck continued; when my Warrior got to Rags, he dropped Sulfuras, the Extinguished Hand for her!

Thanks for the tip, Bear!

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Several months into Warlords, I’ve finally gotten around to updating my Characters page with new portraits showing how my characters look with the new models!

The SELFIE camera proved useful for getting good facial close-up screencaps to use for this project, as I’d hoped it would. Most of the Tauren expressions are pretty silly, but there are one or two that are cute if you catch them at just the right moment. Alas, that cute, flirty expression turned into a rather… dazed expression when I reduced the new portraits to the 100 x 100 size I use for my Characters page. I still think it’s better than the serious DMV mug shot expression, though. You can’t see the color of their eyes at the small size, either. I should remember to use the camera more often when I’m bopping around the world and when I’m doing Transmogrification photo shoots… and maybe get around to making those individual Character Profile posts/pages with all their favorite mounts and titles and jukebox tracks and suchlike, and links to artwork and stories featuring that particular character.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to update my blog banner. When I last updated it, near the end of Mists, I displayed my One-of-Each-Class set of alts, because I was so pleased with myself for having finally accomplished the goal, which I’d had since I first started playing this game, of getting a character of every class to the level cap.

I won’t be doing that again, though, because I just don’t have the time any more to play classes whose fantasy doesn’t really interest me. I probably won’t play a Demon Hunter much farther than just getting through their starting zone experience, and I’m currently thinking that I may not level the Rogue or the Warlock at all in Legion. Furthermore, making the row of icons along the bottom of the banner small enough to add another one for the Demon Hunter would have made them so small that they’d barely have been readable. Instead, I’ve displayed the alts that I actually intend to play going forward into Legion. I’ve reorganized the listing priority on the Characters page in a similar fashion.

It’s funny how my interest in particular alts comes and goes. I thought I was done with my Human Mage at the end of Mists. Then I decided that if I couldn’t have a High Elf Mage, a Human Mage would be the next-best thing, and so I renamed my Human Mage and made her look as much like my Blood Elf Mage as I could. I wasn’t quite satisfied with that, though. I kept iterating her appearance until I was happy with it, and it turns out that what I really wanted my Human Mage to be is as close to an avatar of my RL self as I could manage (oddly enough, the new model face that I ultimately chose as the one that seemed the closest to just right is one that I probably wouldn’t have chosen in the old model version). As I updated my Characters page, I considered putting my Human Mage’s race down as “High Elf”, signifying that even though the model she uses is Human, RP-wise she is really a Quel’dorei, but that just didn’t feel quite right anymore because I’ve gotten to a happy place with that character as a Human. If by some miracle the Alliance were to get playable High Elves, I’d most likely just create a new character instead of race-changing my Human Mage. I might still faction-change my Blood Elf Mage, though, and create (and perhaps even boost) that new character as a Blood Elf Mage, because I think I’d still want a Blood Elf Mage, as well as a High Elf Mage…

I did, however, put down RP-inspired race descriptions for some of my Tauren characters, indicating customization options (such as Grimtotem war paint) that I would take if they were available. I already knew which characters were of the Taunka and Yaungol sub-races; with Legion introducing a new Taurenoid sub-race, I looked through my other characters to decide which one to retcon as a Highmountain Tauren. I chose my secondary Druid, whose RP description already establishes her as having features that aren’t actually available in the current character customization options. Perhaps curly coat is a trait that was unique to the tribes that lived in the Highmountain region of Pangaea-Kalimdor, or, like the moose horns or the characteristics that distinguish Taunka and Yaungol from Shu’halo, a trait that developed among them after the Sundering split them off from the rest of the Tauren lineages.

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In Casually Odd’s sidebar, I saw a link to a post by Misdirections entitled “What will you be doing for the rest of WoD?” I’d already been beginning to think along similar lines — what things do I want to accomplish in Warlords content before we return to Azeroth and find it under siege by the Burning Legion*?

Kamalia

I still have a couple of things to finish up in Tanaan. I need to get Exalted with the Order of the Awakened to get the Awakener blueprint, and I need to collect 1500 Blackfang Claws to get the Savage Cub pet. I’m about two-thirds of the way to the former and about halfway to the latter. Lately, though, I’ve only been bothering to go to Tanaan when Wowhead tells me that the Tooth and Claw daily is up, so that I can work on both goals at once.

I want the Order of the Awakened blueprint for the rare Shipyard missions that reward the Heirloom rings. These missions all require a Carrier and a Destroyer. They also require five counters but, like all Shipyard missions, take two ships. The Arakkoa-crewed Destroyer functions as a Carrier as well as a Destroyer, and I’m hoping that will allow me to get to 100% mission success chance by an appropriate choice of companion ship. I will continue to play the Shipyard with Kamalia until I’ve gotten all three of the Heirloom rings.

When Kamalia has finished the Order of the Awakened rep grind, I’ll be able to take down her Trading Post and rebuild the Inn, to continue trying to recruit as many of the Tauren followers as I can. I’ll probably keep the Lumber Mill until I’m finished with the Shipyard, and then I’ll rebuild the Barn, to work on making all those Savage Blood Transmogrification kits I designed.

When the Flying in Draenor patch goes live, Kamalia will finish up Draenor Archaeology. Then she will be pretty much done with Draenor.

et alia

My alts are slowly making their way toward level 100, but with Fall Semester starting on Wednesday, I won’t be making any effort to get all of my currently active 90-something alts to level 100 before the Burning Legion arrives. The Hunter is level 99, with much of that XP coming from pet battle dailies. The Monk is level 98, with much of her XP coming from the Practice Makes Perfect daily at the Peak of Serenity. Only two alts — my darling Mages — have actually done any Draenor content outside of Frostfire Ridge/Shadowmoon Valley. The rest have been slowly but steadily gaining XP from herbing, mining, and follower missions within their Garrisons.

While I’m focusing on getting Kamalia to level 110 and through the initial offerings of max-level content in Legion, my alts will almost certainly be lingering in their Garrisons on Draenor, just as they lingered at Sunsong Ranch for the first few months of Warlords. I’ll have them build Inns and assemble RP-themed collections of followers, just as I’ve daydreamed about doing with them throughout this expansion. The Druid will complete the storyline achievement for each zone** to be sure that she’ll trigger the Garrison Campaign so that she can eventually get Choluna to be one of her followers. The Hunter will build the Stables and do the mount taming & training questlines — I’m not particularly interested in the mounts themselves, as I lost interest in the mount collecting achievements long ago and the Warlords mount offerings have not impressed me, but I want her to have the “Stable Master” title. The Warrior will go to Tanaan just long enough to fetch the lookalike of Admiral Taylor’s Greatsword. The Druid will go to Tanaan to get the technique for the Gylph of Ascendance. Unless they decide that they want to use the Frostwolf Grunt/Karabor Councilor costume toy, the rest of them will probably ignore Tanaan and the Shipyard entirely.

* Just as Anne Stickney has predicted all throughout Warlords that we would!
** With most of my alts, I’ll be picking and choosing which questlines and outposts I want in each zone based on which followers I want them to get.

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Casually Odd’s post about feeling that Warlords content is ephemeral prompted me to think about whether there was anything in Draenor that I might find myself frequently returning to do.

As much as gaining rep from pure grinding bores me, I’ve had a few characters for whom Aldor/Scryer rep was important enough for RP reasons, crafting recipes, or clothing items that I ground it out anyway. I also return to Outland frequently to run those old dungeons and raids for Transmogrification stuff.

I have put several characters through the Argent Tournament, whether by stalling them out to do it instead of moving on into the Cataclysm content right when they reach level 80ish, or by coming back to it later when they have reached whatever the current expansion’s level cap happens to be. My Paladin, who pushed through to get the Crusader title on her own merits, has recently begun returning to Icecrown to collect seals so that when she reaches level 100 and gets her level 3 Garrison and Jukebox, she’ll be able to buy the Argent Tournament track for it right away.

Although I was very glad to be done with the Molten Front by the time Kamalia finally got her Flaming Hippogryph, I have since come back to it with a few other characters who wanted something from Damek Bloombeard for Transmogrification purposes. I’ve even enjoyed it more than I did the first time around, because it’s less crowded and also because I’m no longer on a PvP server!

I still have a couple of characters hanging out in Pandaria — the Underpowered Death Knight, merrily working for the Tillers and soon to be moving up to Townlong Steppes to work for the Shado Pan, and my secondary Monk, who has been dutifully toiling away at Sunsong Ranch growing Windshear Cactus and Songbells to make Royal Satchels. One of these days, I intend to take my Human Mage back to Pandaria to do the Lion’s Landing questline and the Kirin Tor Offensive on the Isle of Thunder. I got her to level 90 late enough that I didn’t get her a Shado Pan hat, so she should do that someday, too. I’m likely to take other characters to the Isle of Thunder to farm Honor from the PvP version of the dailies, as I’ve heard that those mostly involve disrupting the activities of opposite faction NPCs and don’t actually require combat with other players. I’m not likely to go back to the Timeless Isle, though, unless I want to take Transmogrification screenshots there, use the backdoor to Draenor, or get one of the weapons from the Timeless Coin vendor.

In Draenor, I’m beginning to feel like the hourglass is running out on actually accomplishing anything with alts. Kamalia is still my only level 100 character; somehow the time I think I might like to spend in a dedicated questing & leveling session with this or that alt always seems to get frittered away in doing everyone’s Garrison chores. I’ve had all these lovely daydreams about how I want my alts to staff their Garrisons with various RP-themed collections of followers and get specific RP-themed tracks for their Jukeboxes… but if the next expansion has come out before I get any of them to level 100, will I actually want to spend the time lingering at level 100 to do all that with them?

For me, the big draw to come back to previous content again and again is Transmogrification. I come back for armor, weapons, and occasionally tabards. I can see myself using my Garrison hearthstone to pop in and out of my alts’ Garrisons to level followers and run the missions that award character 615/630/645 armor tokens. I can see myself hunting down the Draenor rares & treasures that drop armor or weapons, but not the ones that drop toys or pets or other such bric-a-brac. I can even see myself taking an alt to Tanaan for that purpose — though I don’t plan to play the Shipyard with anyone but Kam. I’ll probably send my secondary Monk out to Draenor eventually, and park her in her Garrison with a Barn, a Tailoring Emporium, and a Tannery to churn out Hexweave Bags. But somehow I don’t see myself coming back to Draenor again and again and again (after I’ve moved past it level-wise), the way I’ve done with the Argent Tournament and the Molten Front and will probably do with some of the Pandaria content (though it’s still a bit early to tell for that).

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Although it seems a little premature to call this a “Warlords bucket list” given that a) it’s been hinted that there will, in fact, be at least a Patch 6.3* and b) the next expansion hasn’t been announced yet, these are some things that I’d like to accomplish before school starts again in two months.

+ Spend a few evenings treasure hunting to get to 100 treasures found. I already have the maps for Frostfire and Shadowmoon, so I should gather all the low-hanging fruit out of those zones before getting the maps for the other zones.

+ Continue doing Apexis dailies until I have completed Securing Draenor. If the dailies that are up are both either one that I’ve already done or one that doesn’t contribute to the achievement (there are a few of those), I should buy a Scouting Missive and go do one that I haven’t already done that does contribute to the achievement.

+ Replace my Inn with a level 3 Trading Post for faster reputation gain with the three Tanaan Jungle factions.

+ If the new “Dowser” oil doubler trait will be available for recruiting from the Inn — I seem to recall reading that it would be, but that might have been a PTR thing that later got changed — recruit a Dowser next Tuesday before replacing the Inn.

+ Build Shipyard, rule the savage seas, profit.

+ Do dailies for all three of the Tanaan Jungle factions. I’ll want to get to revered with all of them for Draenor Pathfinder, of course. I’ll want to get to all the way to exalted with the Order of the Awakened for the super ship blueprint.

+ Level alts! Attempt to give priority to Kaylynda (Human Mage) to experience Alliance story.

+ Craft items for Savage Blood Transmogrification kits. This will require staying on top of profession CDs, work orders, and trapping for the Barn. The reduced costs for the upgrade items and the reduced Primal Spirits-to-Savage Blood exchange rate will greatly help this, as will the increased yield from personal profession CDs.

+ Find out how the new Ascendance minor glyph technique is obtained, get it with my Scribe, acquire one Felblight (should be pretty easy to do, Kamalia will probably be skinning heaps of beasties in the process of doing her rep dailies), and make it for Kamalia. I must confess that I don’t use Ascendance as much as perhaps I ought to because I can’t stand looking like one of those awful Cataclysm humanoid/elemental monstrosities.

+ Go digging for the Draenor archeology items that I haven’t found yet. I don’t care whether I get them as common or as pristine solves, just as long as between the common list and the pristine list I’ve found each item at least once.

+ After completing the Draenor artifact list, spend some time digging in Eastern Kingdoms** and use my crated Restored Artifacts for Tol’vir fragments. This is a lower priority objective.

+ If getting the costume toy for one faction does not automatically grant the corresponding costume toy for the other faction, get to revered with Hand of the Prophet with Kaylynda. This is a relatively low priority objective; on the one hand, having the faction costume be a toy means I only have to get it once (per faction?), but on the other hand, having the faction costume be a toy instead of an actual cosmetic gear set means I can’t mix-and-match with it for Transmogrification.

* fingers crossed for Farahlon, and hoping it will be more like the Isle of Thunder than the Timeless Isle
** I still haven’t gotten the rare Dwarf staff, the rare Troll 2H sword, and three of the Tol’vir rares

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So flying is coming to Draenor, after all, via a meta-Acheivement requiring the completion of various activities around Draenor that is more or less exactly what the folks whose opinions in the flying kerfluffle I have most agreed with have been suggesting all along could be the way for flying to be earned in Draenor. Hurrah!

So how will one earn one’s wings in Draenor?

Explore Draenor
I finally finished that up a week or so back, after having discovered that there were a few small spots in a couple of zones that I hadn’t managed to uncover yet.

Loremaster of Draenor
I did that while I was leveling. I haven’t done all the Bonus Objectives, though, and occasionally I stumble across a side-quest that I missed. I ought to go clean those up for easy Achievement points and delicious little bits of story.

Collect 100 Draenor treasures
Hmm. I’ve found 53 already. I’ve seen treasures that I haven’t bothered to figure out how to get to, or made a few pathetic attempts at the required jumping puzzle before giving up because I had other things I wanted to do that day. Time to go back and try those again.

Securing Draenor
Oh… I’d better start paying attention to Shadow Hunter Ukambe’s daily strategic assault recommendations, then. I’ve been an absolutely terrible “Commander” and ignored him so far.

Get Revered with all three of the new Tanaan Jungle factions
Well, I was going to have to do that anyway to get blueprints and and oil for my Shipyard.

And once I’ve done all this with Kamalia, Kerisa will be able to spread her wings and soar in Draenor’s savage skies!

~*~*~

Despite the snarkiness of the original version of this post, I really am quite pleased with the proposed implementation of flying in Draenor. I think it is just right: fully explore the content on the ground, and then you can take to the sky. Furthermore, this is the motivation that I’ve been needing to get out of my Garrison and experience some of the Draenor content that I have thus far ignored.

Treasures… yes, the treasures are fun, but I’ve felt overwhelmed by how many of them there are to find. Because there are so many, I am less inclined to pause whatever I am in the middle of doing when I see the purple glow to figure out how to get to it than I would be if the treasures were fewer and further in-between. On the other hand, because there are so many, I might be able to get up to 100 treasures found without having to become too thoroughly frustrated by the ones that are in places that are really difficult to get to.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I would much, much rather do dailies for reputation than pure grinding. I did the Timbermaw grind with Kamalia; I’ve done Aldor/Scryer with various alts; I didn’t bother with the Emperor Shaohao rep on the Timeless Isle because it was a pure grind. I haven’t bothered with reputation — faction or bodyguard — in Warlords because I wasn’t interested enough in the rewards to want to grind, grind, grind for them. The only Warlords reputation I have at Exalted is the Arakkoa Outcasts, and that’s because of the rep tokens my followers brought me. I’m relieved that the new factions in Tanaan Jungle will have dailies, and I will be perfectly happy to gather that rep at the pace set by the dailies.

After having discovered fairly early on that the Apexis gear was visually identical to the gear I was getting from dungeons and follower missions, I decided that I didn’t need to collect Apexis crystals to buy items for Transmogrification. Because I wasn’t running LFR, I didn’t need the Apexis gear for its stats, either. Thus, I had no motivation to collect Apexis crystals, and the daily strategic assault quest seemed to me to be a very thin veneer on what was really just a grind. Even recognizing that the chapters of the Garrison Campaign (which I very much enjoyed) were taking me to the same locations as the strategic assault quests didn’t motivate me to go back to those places later when they were the Apexis dailies. But I’ll gladly “Secure Draenor” to make the skies safe enough to fly in. I might even bring along a bodyguard and start working on those reputations, too!

In Mists, I didn’t really get going with alt leveling until Patch 5.1 un-coupled the Shado-Pan and August Celestial reputations from having to get Revered with the Golden Lotus first. I’m having this feeling that with the “Draenor Pathfinder” acheivement bringing an account-wide flying unlock, Patch 6.2 might just be the point in this expansion where my alt leveling finally takes off (pun intended)!

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alt fatigue

Looking at my Characters page here on the blog, or flicking through the loading screens of my “minor” servers, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of work it would be to take and then process portrait pictures of the new model appearances of ALL of my characters… many of whom I haven’t properly “played” for two years or more.

Perhaps it’s time to just admit that really, I’m not going to play any of those alts again. It might be time to slash and burn — to vendor all their stuff and send the gold to characters I’m actually spending time with, and then — BAHLEETED! But maybe I should at least play them all up to level 55 before I delete them, so that if I do ever happen to want one of them back, I could restore them…? No, no, no, no. No. That way lies madness.

If I am still playing when the next expansion comes around, and said next expansion features new race(s) and/or a new class, what will I be more interested in playing? Almost certainly the new class. Oh, for sure I’d play the new race(s) at least through their starting zone(s). After seeing the new content of the new starting zones, though, I’d really be pretty much done with those characters, and then they’d stall out somewhere in the mid-twenties or mid-thirties, like most of my “one character of each race” set of alts seem to have done. And if I’m not going to play them anymore, I might as well delete them. Catch and release. A character of the new class, though, might have a halfway decent chance of making it all the way to the new level cap — I did, after all, manage to level my DK to 80 before Cataclysm launched, and I got not just one but TWO Monks to level 90 during Mists.

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