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Archive for the ‘Alts’ Category

The pre-patch is almost here and the excitement to leave Draenor and the Garrison behind has built to kid-on-Christmas-Eve levels. In describing it this way, I don’t mean to be derisive or to imply that I’m immune — I wrote about what I plan to do on the day before the patch comes, to get ready for it, about a week ago.

Today I want to write about what I want to do after the patch comes.

I’m glad that the devs are giving us some time to get used to the class changes before the Demon Invasions begin because that also gives me some time to finish up a few lingering Warlords content goals.

* As I’ve mentioned before, my Hunter is currently Beast Mastery, and losing her pet when she mounts up on one of the Stables mounts-in-training is a big hit to her DPS. After the patch, I’ll use a Lone Wolf Marksmanship spec to do the Black Claw of Sethe and Garn-Tooth Necklace mounted combat challenges so that she can get the Stable Master title.

* Just in the past week or two, I’ve been taking my Alliance Mage back to Tanaan to work on Lion’s Watch rep so that she can get the Packaged Ceremonial Karabor Finery clothie-only Transmogrification ensemble. Although I don’t think I’ll ever wear the complete outfit, I would like to have some of the pieces available for mix-and-match. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Tanaan, actually — the bits of the zone that aren’t covered in fel green goo are rather lovely jungle, and the semi-directed playstyle makes it a lot more fun to me than the mostly undirected Timeless Isle was. Anyhow, Kaylynda still has about a week of bopping around in Tanaan to get up to the necessary rep level.

* I’d gotten all my primary characters fitted out with Royal Satchels in all their personal inventory slots (F8-F11) (a task that kept my Tailors busily growing Windshear Cactus at Sunsong Ranch well into Warlords) and Hexweave Bags in all their bank slots. Then I took a break from Tailoring CDs for a bit while I tried to decide whether or not I wanted to make Hexweave Bags for all their personal inventory slots, too. To help with that decision, I looked up the Tailoring bag in Legion and discovered that it will be a catch-up 24-slot bag. With that in mind, I concluded that even with the massive inventory cleanup coming in the patch, it would be worth the effort to get all my active characters fully outfitted with Hexweave Bags. So I got my Tailors going again, but they’ve still got a week or two of work left before they will have made enough bags to finish outfitting all of my current active characters and have a full set of eleven bags ready for my Demon Hunter.

After I’ve got my Transmogrification Collection sorted and am ready to dig into the new content, here’s what I want to do:

* I’m unclear on whether the gradually unfolding lore-heavy plot-bridge questline will begin as soon as the patch goes live or not until later when the Demon Invasions and Demon Hunters become available. Either way, I intend play through it at least with Kamalia and Kaylynda.

* I’m going to need to do Demon Invasions with a character of each armor type — Kamalia for mail, probably Kaylynda (though maybe Kaelinda) for cloth, either my Paladin or my Warrior for plate, and either my Druid or my Monk for leather. Each character will need to do enough to get the Transmogrification ensemble for her armor type, of course, and I’ll probably try to do enough to get all 16 of the event-exclusive weapons, too.

I’ve also been thinking about what I want to do when Legion itself launches.

One of the pre-expansion anticipation questions that’s been making the rounds of the blogosphere is “how many Artifact weapons do you plan to get?” which is a variation on the more usual “how many alts will you play in the new expansion?” question.

I’ve divvied up my active characters into one spec, two spec, and three spec groups based on how many of the specs of each class appeal to me.

One spec: Frost Death Knight, Destruction Warlock, Outlaw Rogue, Havoc Demon Hunter

Two spec: Discipline/Holy Priest, Fire/Arcane Mage (Blood Elf), Arcane/Frost Mage (Human)

Three spec: Shaman, Hunter, Warrior, Paladin, Monk, Druid (Balance/Resto/Feral)

Kamalia will level to 110 first, as she always does, and she will most likely do it in Resto as her primary spec because BTH has been saying that he thinks he’ll come back to WoW just for the leveling game part of Legion. Kaylynda has a high probability of going second, partially so I can see the Alliance side of the Broken Shore experience and partially because I’m pretty hyped about getting Aegwynn’s staff (though I’ve decided she’ll do Frost second because she’s been having a blast playing as Frost in Tanaan).

After that, I’ve been contemplating the notion of bringing up the rest of my alts in the inverse order of how interested I am in playing them long-term throughout the expansion. What I mean by this is that after Kamalia and Kaylynda have gotten started, the next characters I would start doing Legion content with would be the one-spec alts. I’d take them through the acquisition of their Artifact weapons and the establishment of their Order Halls, then set them aside. Then I’d play the two-spec alts through to level 102 and the acquisition of both of their desired Artifacts. Then I’d start working on the three-spec alts, playing each of them through to level 102 and the acquisition of all of their Artifacts. After that, I’ll play whomever I’m most interested in playing with in the moment. My thought is that doing it this way will allow me to spend most of the expansion playing with my more-favored, higher-priority characters without feeling bugged by wanting to get my less-favored, lower-priority alts at least through the acquisition of their Artifact weapons and the establishment of their Order Halls — because that would already be done. Although I’ve heard that there’s a Feat of Strength achievement for completing the Order Hall Campaign for all 12 classes, so I’ll probably end up playing them all through the entirety of their Order Hall Campaigns eventually…

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I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m starting to get really itchy for the pre-patch to arrive. Of course I’m looking forward to the questline — which I will probably do with Kamalia, then my two Mages, and then with other alts as I have time and energy — and the unfolding lore reveals and so forth. What I’m anxiously awaiting, though, is the inventory cleanup and Garrison wind-down that the patch will bring.

I’ve already got what I need to do on the evening before the patch drops all planned out:
*Bring in all Followers and don’t send them out again that night
*Trade all Garrison Resources for gold
*Turn in Primal Spirits for Savage Blood and dump them in the Guild Bank, just in case I want/need to craft a Warlords item in the future
*Open up Big Crates of Salvage, put stuff I do want for Transmogrification in the mail as a temporary storage, and vendor stuff I don’t want for Transmogrification — I seem to recall reading that Salvage Crates obtained before the patch will be unchanged after the patch, but I don’t want to risk my accumulated crates turning into junk
*Move alts who are Retiring to capital cities

Then on Patch Day itself (and probably for the next several days) I will be systematically logging on with each of my characters in turn (including the low-level toons that I haven’t actually played for two or three years), loading their clothing inventories into the Wardrobe, binding all the stuff I’ve been hoarding all these years, and vendoring just about everything once it’s bound. After that’s done, then I can jump into the actual patch content

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the clock is ticking…

So the pre-patch is on the PTR, eh? Well, then, I guess it’s time to check in on how my characters are doing with their Warlords goals.

I am almost done with my massive “Savage Blood” (Warlords-crafted items) transmogrification project. I finally have all the items crafted, so now it’s mostly down to finding time and figuring out good places for screenshot sessions, then processing the pictures. I hope to get it all wrapped up and published during July.

The Druid is steadily working through the 6.0 Garrison Campaign. Checking the achievement tracker for the thing, with this week’s episode, I have completed 8/12 and will now be heading into the home stretch of the four episodes about Azuka Bladefury that always go in the same order. So I might be able to finish that up before the pre-patch drops (depending, of course, on when it does arrive).

The Druid went to Tanaan. When she got to Honored with Vol’jin’s Headhunters and the Saberstalkers, she burned the small pile of Medallions of the Legion that Kamalia’s followers had collected to get to Honored with the Order of the Awakened, too. The followers she wanted thus recruited, she hasn’t been back. She tried to kill the rare who drops the glyph technique I wanted… but it is an elite and it wiped the floor with her. So I looked for the glyph on the AH and discovered that not only was someone selling it for cheap, they were selling it for less than the price of the one Felblight required to make it! So I just bought a Glyph of Ascendance for Kamalia.

Then I decided to take the Alliance Mage to Tanaan, because I wanted to see how the dialog of the introductory quest series differs between the factions. So I now have Shipyards running with the Alliance Mage to maybe get an item or two of HFC cloth, with the Druid for HFC leather, with Kamalia for HFC mail, and with the Warrior for HFC plate. My other characters are all completely ignoring Tanaan and the Shipyard.

I also ran the Alliance Mage through the first of the Isle of Thunder solo scenarios. One of these days I need to sit down and finish the solo scenarios — and then I’ll probably just burn rep tokens to get her to Exalted with the Kirin Tor Offensive. I collected a big pile of Sunreaver Onslaught tokens while doing the Isle of Thunder with various Horde alts; because they are BoA, I sent one to the Alliance Mage as an experiment and was pleased to see that it converted to a Kirin Tor Offensive token when she took it out of the mailbox.

The Monk grabbed a Huojin tabard, picked a Wrath Heroic to farm, and cleared it every day until she reached Exalted with the Pandaren. The mog item that had been my reason for choosing that dungeon didn’t drop while I was farming the place for rep, but I haven’t bothered to keep farming the dungeon for the item since she got the Pandaren guards for her Garrison.

Most of my alts have only the Amulet of Rukhmar left to obtain before Harrison will join their Garrison staff. After I’ve finished that project, my next priority will probably be chipping away at the Laughing Skull rep grind with the Death Knight. In theory, I’m also working on the Sha’tari Defense rep grind with the Alliance Mage, but uuuuuugggh I hate pure grinding reps and the fact that that one starts at neutral is just so discouraging to me.

The Hunter has been working on the mount training quests here and there. I think I’ll probably be able to get her Stable upgraded to level 3 by the time Legion launches, but I might not have gotten around to doing the mounted combat challenges for the “Stable Master” title.

The Hunter is also curating her collection of pets in anticipation of the Dire Stable that will be coming in Legion and fretting about how there are more pets that she’d like to tame than she has empty spots in her stable (let alone leaving an empty spot or two for a kodo and a mechanical pet).

And I’d really like to find some time to do the Green Fire quest chain with the Warlock. I’ve chosen the “Black Temple” track for her jukebox because I know that the final scenario of the Green Fire chain takes place there. I’ve discovered that I’m really quite fond of my Warlock because for all that I’m not keen on the lore aspects of Warlocks, the gameplay of a Destro ‘Lock sure is fun!

My summer class has been competing pretty intensely for my time and attention. I often bring work home with me, and if I try to do both work and WoW in the same evening, I end up staying up to 2 or 3 am… Plus, I was out of town last week for the first of the teaching workshops I got into and I will be out of town again for the second one next week. I left my play computer behind for the first workshop and will probably leave it behind for the second one as well. It was actually rather nice to have a break from the pressure of profession CDs and mission/shipyard tables.

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alt exhaustion

One of the questions in the Blizzard Watch Queue this morning was, “How many alts are you going to play in Legion?”

A few weeks ago, I would have answered, “sixteen — one of each class as Horde, plus my Alliance Mage, plus Horde doubles of Shaman, Monk, and Druid”.

After this month’s leveling extravaganza, I’m thinking that I don’t really want to try to manage any more than thirteen characters in Legion: one of each of the twelve classes as Horde, plus my Alliance Mage.

In the week between my big leveling spree and last weekend when I got the last two of the “one of each class” set leveled, I would sit at my computer desk looking at my Garrison progress chart and my other alt-tracking spreadsheets and just feel tired. Worn out. So tired of the zone opening questlines that everyone had to do to unlock their Outpost bonuses and followers. So tired of Pinchwhistle Point. So tired of busting Solog Roark out of the Iron Docks.

Back in the day, I rolled secondary characters of various classes either to experience the third specialization of the class without having to spend a lot of time and gold switching back and forth between specs or because I had more Transmogrification ideas for that class than one character’s inventory could handle — or both. Legion addresses both of those problems with making all specs always available and the Wardrobe. I’ve been saying that I’m going to carry forward my doubles of Shaman, Monk, and Druid because it would feel too wierd to play their designated specs with my primary characters of those classes… but then I as I looked at my Garrison worksheets and thought about doing the Order Hall stuff for the same class twice, I felt tired already. I thought, “you know what, it wouldn’t be all that wierd to play Kam as Enhancement, or Kate as Brewmaster*, or Kerisa as Feral.” I’m thinking, therefore, that I’m going to retire my secondary Shaman, Monk, and Druid** along with the Underpowered Death Knight — leave them at level 100, and you’ll see them occasionally when I have a Transmogrification kit idea that uses all pre-Legion gear for which I think one of them would be the best model.

Legion‘s focus on class-specific experiences will be both less exhausting and more exhausting for my altoholic self. Each character having a more unique, distinctive experience will be less exhausting in the sense of the content becoming tediously repetitive. Each character having a more unique, distinctive experience will be more exhausting because there will be so much more stuff that I’ll feel like I ought to do and want to do.

Sometimes I contemplate the idea that I’d probably get less tired of the content by the time I get through leveling all of the classes — and I do enjoy playing with the different playstyles of each class — if I gave myself more variety by playing only the classes that Tauren can be as Horde and all the classes that Tauren can’t be as Alliance. I have thought often enough about faction-changing the Rogue and the Warlock to know that if I did, they’d both become Humans — the Rogue because her blonde ponytail and freckles are more important to her being herself than being an Elf is, and the Warlock because of Cynwise and Cimmeria. I always end up thinking, though, about how I love my Blood Elf Mage too much to retire her, how Blood Elves have cooler stealth animations than Humans do, how Humans don’t have access to the right haircut for my Warlock***, and how I’d be bugged by not having all of my “one of each class” set on the same faction so they can all be in the same guild, and I don’t do it.

And how many alts will I really play in Legion? Kamalia will go first because she always goes first, and it really would feel wierd and wrong to let someone else go first. I’m not going to try to predict who will go next. It will be whomever I most want to play with in the moment. The others will follow along as I have time and interest. Maybe I’ll repeat the feat of getting a character of each class to the level cap for a third time, or maybe we’ll actually manage to either conceive or adopt (or both!) and I’ll drop off of the face of Azeroth for most of the expansion.

~*~*~

* In fact, at the moment, I am enjoying Brewmaster Monk so much more than Windwalker Monk that I’m considering doing the Brewmaster Artifact first.

** The secondary Druid will probably still get the Boost whenever I manage to finish playing her through Outland. I have her RP-flagged as a Highmountain Tauren, so she might also pick up the Feral Artifact and play through the Highmountain zone before she actually, completely, finally retires — but I’m going to try to allow myself to not be in any hurry to do any of those things.

*** What this really all boils down to is that my two favorite races in the game, Tauren and Blood Elves, both happen to be Horde. And with Demon Hunters coming on the scene, well… Night Elves are fun to draw, but I just can’t get into playing as one. I’d rather be a Sin’dorei Demon Hunter than a Kaldorei Demon Hunter.

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With only the Warlock and the Rogue remaining, I knew that I wouldn’t want to wait long to get them up to level 100. All the little boxes in my Warlords Garrison progress spreadsheet needed to get filled in.


With my Rogue, I used an Elixir of the Rapid Mind in the “recommended” way — I went through a few of the bonus objectives in Talador and most of the bonus objectives in Gorgrond and completed everything but one kill or object interaction. Then just before pulling the last kill of the last bonus objective area, I popped the Elixir and ran back through them all, hitting that last kill or interaction, to get lots of XP very very quickly.

I wanted to get all that leveling done this month, and I did. *whew!*

All of them are now busily collecting class gear sets from their salvage yards and acquiring relics for Harrison Jones and hiring follwers to fit a theme from the Inn and making as much money as they can from Treasure missions A few of my characters have additional things they’d like to do in Draenor. These are not necessarily objectives I intend to complete before Legion launches. I’d like to complete each character’s Warlords goals before she heads out to the Broken Shore, though.

KAMALIA: go fishing now and then to keep Alchemists stocked with Crescent Saberfish and to collect lunkers with which to eventually get the Sea Calf pet

Kerisa (Druid): Garrison Campaign so she can recruit Choluna; Tanaan Jungle for followers from factions there and for Ascendance minor glyph technique that drops from a rare there

Kaylynda (Alliance Mage): Sha’tari Defense rep grind so she can recruit Vindicator Heluun

Ketura (Hunter): mount training quests & mounted combat challenges for level 3 Stables and Stable Master title

Kregga (Death Knight): Laughing Skull Orc rep grind — the Skulls’ attitude toward death amuses her, and I think it might be fun to make a Mog for her with the blue version of the cosmetic helm

Kalaneia (Warlock): Steamwheedle Preservation Society rep grind and Patch 6.2 Garrison Campaign because Warlock followers

Kaelinda (Horde Mage): considering doing Tanaan Jungle and leveling up her Shipyard to 3 for a chance at HFC raid stuffs for Teh Moggingage

And a few of them have some past-expansion objectives, too…

Kaylynda: Kirin Tor Offensive rep on the Isle of Thunder for that pretty violet and white tabard

Kalaneia: Green Fire quest chain

Katewatha (Monk): Huojin Pandaren rep by farming old dungeons with tabard so she can get Pandaren Garrison guards

You’ll notice that these are all things that can be done solo. Partly this is because I didn’t really like any of the Warlords dungeons running them as a healer with Kamalia. Partly this is because of the Silver Proving Grounds barrier — not that I think I couldn’t do it, more that I don’t want to spend the time figuring out how to do it with every class. And part of it might be that maybe I burned myself out on doing group content with multiple alts when I was LFRing with all of my healers during Mists. Together, these factors have very effectively shut down my motivation to do Warlords group content.

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One of the benefits of a) being the auxilary income in my household and b) teaching on a 9-month contract at a small, rural, two-year college is that after my Spring semester grades are in, my time is more or less my own until Fall semester begins. Of course, I have a heap of work to do to get ready for Fall semester — and this year I should try to get as much of that done during May as I can, because I volunteered to teach the summer term chemistry class, which runs during June and July. I’ll also be out of town for half of June attending a couple of organic chemistry teaching workshops (very excited about those; I have a colleague covering the class for the weeks I’ll be gone).

After taking most of last week off, I intended to start digging into my summer tasks this week. By Tuesday afternoon, however, it was abundantly apparent that with the other looming deadline of Legion launching on August 30 (which will be a week after Fall semester begins), and the pre-patch likely to arrive in late July, I wasn’t going to be able to focus properly on my school work until I’d gotten my remaining characters leveled up to 100 and started on collecting followers from their Inns and the new character selection screen sets from their Salvage Yards.

So I stayed home and played for the rest of the week.

Tuesday: Warrior

Wednesday: Although I played most of the day on this day, too, I spread my activity between multiple characters and didn’t manage to ding anyone. It did set me up to get two characters dinged on the same day later in the week, though.

Thursday: Blood Elf Mage

Friday morning: Enhancement Shaman

Mini-Kam was one of my last alts to come to Draenor, and after getting to the point in the Frostfire Ridge storyline where it splits and you can choose whether to go north with Ga’nar or south with Lokra first, I just couldn’t bear to do anymore of it. I’d already been thinking about leveling an alt primarily through Bonus Objectives, so she became the one to do it. I did only the minimum amount of questing required to get to the Outpost building activation in each zone, then got the rest of her XP from Bonus Objectives and treasure and silver dragon hunting. I also used an Elixir of the Rapid Mind (though not in the optimally recommended way) to get almost a whole level (98 to 99) out of the Outpost establishment chapter in Nagrand.

Friday night: Paladin

Saturday: Priest

The Warlock and the Rogue, however, will just have to wait for another time.

Despite my post title, it wasn’t exactly an “assembly line” approach. Though most of these characters did a lot of the same things, no two of them did exactly the same combination of quests and treasure hunting. Playing through the Auchindoun storyline in Talador, the first parts of the arakkoa storyline, and various areas of Nagrand multiple times during the past fortnight has me wanting to go play through the corresponding areas in Outland again. Good thing I already have a character right there, hmm? The Feral Druid will still be getting Boosted eventually, though.

And yes, I absolutely cheated expedited my way through all of this with flying. The first time I go through new content, with Kamalia, I’m perfectly happy to do everything the slow way, the “real” way, on the ground. But with alts? Especially the later ones? I want to be able to pick and choose from the available content and get through it quickly.

Now I have only two weeks left to get as much school work done as I can before the summer term begins. After how hard I’ve played this week, though, maybe I’ll be burned out enough on WoW that I’ll actually be able to focus on updating syllabi and lab manuals and purchasing equipment and supplies..?

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Being a Death Knight, Kregga must admit to being undead. Being neither Human nor High Elf in origin, however, she has no particular loyalty or affinity for Sylvanas Windrunner. Nonetheless, it amuses me to think of populating her Garrison with Forsaken, Death Knights, and Ghosts.
So I took her out to gather up all the quest & zone followers who fit into those categories — including temporarily replacing her Trading Post with a Lumber Mill so she could get Alexi Barov. I did some other questing here and there along the way, not necessarily in linear zone order…

That makes seven level 100 characters.

I don’t think I should try to predict which of the remaining nine will be next to reach the level cap. They keep surprising me this expansion. It probably won’t be the one that I currently think looks the most likely.

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