Archive for the ‘happy dance’ Category

We Hear You

In the nearest metropolitan area to the small town where I now live, there is a car dealership chain which, for the past several years, has hung its hat on the slogan “We Hear You.” It’s the idea that unlike all those other car dealerships where the salesperson will talk your ear off trying to get you to buy a car that’s more luxurious and expensive than what you really want or need, at this dealership, the salesperson will listen carefully to everything you have to say about what you need and want in a car and then do their very best to select the car that most exactly fits your desires.

To me, the content of Patch 6.2.2 feels like Blizzard saying, “We Hear You.”

There’s the flying thing, of course, for which I am very grateful.

Then there’s the increased rewards for Timewalking. I’m a fan of the principle of Timewalking, but I just haven’t managed yet to actually get out and DO it when Timewalking is the Bonus Event of the week. Collecting Badges to add the Hourglass of Eternity and Ever-Shifting Mirror to my Toybox just might be the right carrot for me.

The thing that makes me the most excited and happy, though, is this:

Sure, there are those who say that with Legion glowering on the horizon, the Garrison is practically obsolete already and so it’s silly to patch in this stuff that we’ll only really get to use once. I agree that it would have been better if this stuff had come out right at the beginning of Warlords, or even with Patch 6.1. But I, for one, am sure glad that Blizzard paid attention to the fraction of the population who feel that being able to decorate their Garrisons for the holidays will make them feel a little more like a home. I’m delighted that I can look forward to putting out some pumpkins and spooky lanterns for Hallows End and some trees and wreaths and mistletoe and lights and stockings and presents for Winter Veil. I hope that a little later on, we’ll get paper lanterns for Lunar Festival and lacy hearts for Love is in the Air and maybe even painted eggs for Noblegarden, too, because I would be astounded if Legion launches before those holidays come around again.

The giddy anticipation of being able to decorate my Garrison for the holidays is almost enough to make me want to try to get all my active Garrisons to level 3 in time for Winter Veil… except that I’m enough of a realist to recognize that I simply don’t have that kind of time, nor will I really want to spend the time collecting holiday tokens to buy decoration kits on all of my characters. I should at least try to get my Alliance Mage up to level 100 by Hallow’s End, though, so I can have Garrisons of both factions all decked out for the holidays.

Thank you, Blizzard, for listening and for taking the time and effort to make our remaining time on Draenor, in our Garrisons, more pleasing and enjoyable.

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There was something different about the world this morning.

At first, Kerisa couldn’t quite put her finger on just what it was. The sky was the same overcast grey as every other day, with snowflakes floating lazily down into the drifts against which the Garrison staff waged constant war. But the breeze felt fresher somehow, and as she looked up at the sky again, a rylak matriarch and her brood swooped over the Garrison, screaming at each other.

A group of large creatures flying

There were many small flying creatures on Draenor, birds and insects and such, but it seemed that only the strongest individuals of the larger winged creatures could actually fly. In Nagrand, the great windrocs hovered only a few feet above the grass instead of soaring above the trees. The Frostwolf Orcs celebrated those who could successfully tame and ride a flight-capable rylak. Likewise, the Laughing Skull Orcs occasionally managed to tame and ride flight-capable ravagers. Kerisa had heard that in Shadowmoon Valley, the Draenei had tamed fey dragons, which were unusual in that almost all of them could fly.

As the forces from Azeroth had settled in, their wyverns and gryphons had only been able to make short flights from outpost to outpost. Even that was exhausting for the beasts. People who kept stables of personal flying mounts had been sorely distressed by the inability of those creatures to make more than pathetic fluttering hops.

Ever since she had come to Draenor, Kerisa had been quite unable to shift into Stormcrow form. Every time she’d tried it, she’d found herself inexorably shifting into Stag form instead. She’d eventually concluded that there was some enchantment on the land that prevented most large creatures from flying — an ancient warding of the Gorian/Highmaul ogre empire, perhaps, or maybe a working of the High Arakkoa, jealously guarding the skies for themselves.

The sky… the sky did not feel so heavy today. Though she knew not how it could have been done, could the enchantment have been lifted? Or just… worn off? As soon as she had the thought, she began experimentally shifting into Stormcrow form — and instead of feeling her intentions thrust aside, her limbs involuntarily slimming toward delicate hooves and her horns stretching into a great crown of antlers, she felt her fur transforming into long, elegant feathers and her muzzle reshaping into a sharp, curved beak.

Crowing triumphantly, Kerisa spread her wings and flew.

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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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Because it is still summer and therefore I can, and because I knew I would be too distracted to focus on working on the items on my to-do list anyway even if I did go to my office on campus, I stayed home this morning to follow the Blizzard Watch and Wowhead liveblogs of the big expansion announcement. (more…)

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Just in time for the Flying-in-Draenor patch to hit the PTR, I’ve completed the requisite achievement*. I attained revered status with the Order of the Awakened this evening, and I became revered with Vol’jin’s Headhunters and the Saberstalkers last night. I was pleased to observe, when I learned the Frostwolf costume toy, that I also automatically learned the Karabor costume toy — but the costume still requires Revered with the appropriate faction to use, so I’ll have to take Kaylynda to Tanaan, after all.

Knowing that Tanaan was an iteration on the Timeless Isle model, I felt a certain amount of trepidation about it. I found the Timeless Isle pretty thoroughly boring, so I only went there when I felt like I absolutely had to. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how fun I’ve found Tanaan to be; the quests that give direction, but still choice, to what content to do each day make a huge difference in my enjoyment of the zone. Using the Group Finder to join groups for Rumble in the Jungle or Throne of Kil’jaeden as a healer has also scratched the itch to do group healing again that I’d been feeling.

In other Patch 6.2 progress, my Shipyard is at 19/25 Treasure missions completed toward the stage 3 upgrade. I plan to continue playing the Shipyard until I have each of the three Heirloom rings, the cosmetic hat, and BMAH access in my Garrison. After that, I probably won’t continue actively running my fleet. I want to rebuild my Inn, eventually, to keep working on my projects of a) getting a follower with each two-ability combo** and b) collecting as many of the Tauren followers as I can.

Meanwhile, Vivianne became my Wingman on Tuesday night. Although I thought the Bodyguard concept was a pretty nifty iteration upon the Shado-Pan Companion concept, I’d ignored them for most of the expansion. Partly this was because I kept forgetting to actually assign a bodyguard to work in the Barracks; I wouldn’t think that maybe I should do that until I’d already sent all my followers — including the ones who are bodyguards — out on missions. I finally started remembering to bring a bodyguard when I started working on Securing Draenor after the Draenor Pathfinder meta-achievement was announced. Having Vivianne along has been immensely helpful in Tanaan; without her, Kamalia feels almost as weak as the Underpowered Death Knight. I think Tanaan must have been tuned with the expectation that players would have their bodyguards along.

Then I needed to decide if I wanted to continue with Vivianne, or start working with one of the other bodyguards. Although I still have things I want to do in Tanaan — the last chapter of the Garrison Campaign (the Cipher of Damnation), getting to Exalted with the Order of the Awakened for the fancy ship blueprint, collecting enough claws for the Savage Cub pet — I probably won’t be spending as much time in Tanaan anymore. I’ll want to do the main oil daily, the arakkoa daily, and the garrison resources daily, but I might not bother with making sure that I complete all the other dailies each and every day anymore (I wasn’t always doing that, anyway). So another bodyguard’s rep will go slower than Viv’s did. I decided to go with Tormmok — Ishaal is one of my scavengers and thus too valuable to spare from missions while my Shipyard is guzzling all my Garrison Resouces, I’ve heard that Aeda dies a lot because she is an aggro hog, and I think I’d rather have potent DPS than the small heals from Leorajh.

I wonder, though, what will happen to our bodyguards when we move on from Draenor? Will we get to bring any of them — particularly ones that we’ve raised to Wingman status — to our base for the next expansion, whatever that iteration of the Garrison concept turns out to be? Will they be able to come with us as adventuring companions for the next expansion? That’s kind of a cool thought, but I don’t think it would really happen. Tuning leveling content with the expectation of a Wingman bodyguard would be very alt-unfriendly. Anyhow, it’s not in Blizzard’s general expansion philosophy for WoW to make players have to complete anything more than getting raw leveling XP out of last expansion’s content before they can proceed into a new expansion’s content. They’ll want new players to be able to move straight on from dinging level 100 into the level 100-110 questing content. Still, I think it might be fun to have our Wingman bodyguards show up in our new base, like Dog did, and to maybe have one of them them be the person that appears when a quest spawns an assistant, instead of the default NPC (characters who don’t have Warlords bodyguards would still get the default assistant NPC).

* I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Blizz has been monitoring the progress of playerbase completion of the achievement to decide when to put out that patch.

** I still have four or five holes there, and while I have followers whose abilities I could reroll to fill some of them, there are one or two that I will need to recruit for.

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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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Ever since Patch 6.1, I’ve been patiently biding my time, waiting for Harrison Jones to show up in my own garrison with his Treasure Contracts. Because I’ve been busy, I’ve ignored him when he’s had a contract I’ve already done, and I’ve been glad that the days when he’s been in my garrison with a contract I haven’t already done have mostly been Fridays or Saturdays. I’ve taken to watching Wowhead’s “Today in Draenor” sidebar to see what Treasure Contract quest is up. On Wednesday, I saw that the Treasure Contract of the day was the only one I hadn’t done yet, the very last one I needed to get Harrison as a follower. When I logged in, though, High Overlord Saurfang was in my Town Hall. So I did something I had never done before — I looked in the Group Finder for someone who did have Harrison Jones in their Town Hall, and joined the group, and went to a complete stranger’s Garrison.

At last, I have Harrison Jones to mentor all my new recruits!

Although the format of the Treasure Contract quest chains very quickly became predictable — find/kill Named NPC, read the journal, collect Item #1, collect Item #2, collect Item #3, assemble the Super Whatsit, find the secret cave, do the puzzle (and sometimes fight a miniboss) — I enjoyed them. I liked the little stories the journals told. I liked trying to figure out where in the zone the clues in the journals were leading me before looking at my map to see where there were Quest Objective areas lit up in blue. And I liked the little puzzles at the end of each quest chain. They were simple enough to fun instead of frustrating, but they weren’t so simple as to require absolutely no thought whatsoever. For casual solo player me, they were great content.

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