Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

After Hallow’s End, the Underpowered Death Knight finished up getting Exalted with the Order of the Cloud Serpents. Her last day of those dailies just happened to be a Sky Race day…

I hadn’t managed to accomplish this with any of the other alts with whom I’d done this rep grind. I suppose I’d finally had enough practice with the Sky Race to figure out where to take shortcuts in the course… or maybe I just got lucky.

Now level 98, the Underpowered Death Knight returned to Draenor and set about doing the Pinchwhistle questline to acquire the plans for a Salvage Yard. She died so much that she was getting increasingly rez-timered, until I worked out a strategy of calling up an Army of the Dead on every pull. This meant waiting out the 10 minute CD on that spell between each pull aloft, hovering on a flying mount — thank goodness for Draenor Pathfinder!

Having at-level questing actually be difficult/challenging is kind of the point of being “Underpowered”, but having that much downtime wasn’t much fun.
Next, she did a little bit of archaeology and some treasure hunting, looking in places where I vaguely remembered having found treasures with Kamalia.

She paid a visit to Khadgar, too, just to clear that first step of the Legendary questline from her log, and to her great surprise, this popped up:

A little while later, the Underpowered Death Knight was somewhere in Frostfire Ridge, up above the Bloodmaul ogre stronghold, when she found a strange portal. When she tried to enter it, she was repelled with a message that she had to choose a class specialization before entering that scenario — and then the portal disappeared. She shrugged her shoulders and moved on.
When I logged in the next day, she had a letter from Khadgar:

So that‘s what that strange portal was. Well, how about that! I certainly hadn’t had any plans to go looking for that, and it was sheer dumb luck that I stumbled across it.

The Underpowered Death Knight wears the title “the Patient”, but by this point, she was not-quite-halfway through level 99 and I was starting to get rather impatient to just get to level 100 already. But now I had a dilemma. The XP yields from dailies in Pandaria and even quests in lower-level zones in Draenor had gotten quite small, but the mob strength and density in higher-level zones in Draenor are large enough that I knew I would have a difficult time getting anything done there. While I was pondering what to do, Pilgrim’s Bounty began. In past years, I’ve just done the initial round of Pilgrim’s Bounty quests and not bothered with repeating them. This year, though, being so close to the level cap… I did just enough of the first few quests in Spires of Arak and Nagrand for the XP gains from doing the Pilgrim’s Bounty dailies to get the Underpowered Death Knight to that final DING!.

The Underpowered Death Knight started out as a playstyle experiment: sometimes I feel bad for the mobs that I just mow down with most of my characters, thinking about how the experience of the mobs, even though they are in theory of equivalent level, is like my experience in PvP — un-fun because I feel helpless against my foes. So I thought it would be a nice change of pace sometimes to play with a character who has to choose her battles carefully and pull tactically, a character for whom one battle with an equal-level foe could potentially go to either combatant… but if adds come along, then she’s toast. And so the Underpowered Death Knight didn’t actually do that much at-level questing, or even that much below-level questing. She turned into an alternative leveler, gaining much of her XP from the holidays — especially the Tour-the-World holidays of Lunar Festival, Midsummer Fire Festival, and Hallow’s End — so that she could get overleveled enough to easily do the quests that she wanted to do for Mog gear rewards… which kind of felt like it was defeating the point of having her be “Underpowered”. I think this playstyle experiment has run its course, and the result is that I don’t really like being “underpowered” and I’m really rather tired of touring the world during the holidays.

The Underpowered Death Knight is “underpowered” because she has no specialization, no talents, and no glyphs other than a couple of entirely cosmetic minors and because she wears the lowest level plate armor that will still let her Mog. With Legion being so heavily focused around class specializations, what with the Artifact weapons and all, I’m not sure what she could even do in Legion content.

So I think that having reached level 100 makes a good stopping point at which to retire the Underpowered Death Knight.

She’ll still be around, from time to time, because I have a handful of Transmogrification kit ideas for her that I haven’t used yet. After all, my other main reason for creating the Underpowered Death Knight was to have a blue-and-white (and occasionally green) Tauren.

Previously: the Underpowered Death Knight visits Frostwall

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Decorated with dozens of glowing carved pumpkin lanterns — imported at great expense from Azeroth — the Garrison looked very cheery.

Kamalia’s Garrison is more decorated than my IRL house this year. This is about as far as I go with Hallowe’en decorations at home —

— and I didn’t even get that much done this year. Although I thought about pulling my few decorations out from time to time during the month, I never quite managed to get around to actually doing it.

I’m not much of a Hallowe’en person; I prefer the “autumn celebration” aspects of the holiday to the “facing our fears of death and mutilation” aspects. I like the dressing up part, too — though cosplay allows one to do that all year round, if one so desires.

I’ve done the Draenor/Garrison Hallow’s End dailies three times. Once to get the “Ghostly Glow” package for Kamalia’s Garrison, once to get a Seer’s Invitation, and once to get a second Ghostly Glow package to send to my DK for her Garrison. I sent the Seer’s Invitation to my Druid (she’s fascinated by the Arakkoa), but when she used it in her Level 2 Garrison, nothing happened. So my DK will hang onto the pumpkin package until she reaches level 100 and can upgrade her Garrison to level 3.

I will be doing the Winter Veil Draenor/Garrison dailies more often, though, because I want almost all of those decoration packages and may want to send some to alts, too.

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Once upon a time, the Hallowed Helm was introduced as a cloth item so that everyone could wear it. Nowadays, I think that it really ought to be upgraded to a Cosmetic item so that everyone can Mog it. Using a Weighted Jack-o’-Lantern gives the same effect, albeit only temporarily.


Jade Epaulets, Wildguard Breastplate & Leggings, Ghost-Forged Belt, Gloves of the Overwhelming Swarm, Boots of Avoidance, Slavemaster Axe
So I was assembling this kit for my secondary Warrior, until it occurred to me how nice it would look with the Underpowered Death Knight’s green coloration… Then Hallow’s End began, and this goofy Mog idea sealed the deal.


Sparkleshell Mantle, Brackwater Vest Leggings & Boots, Unyielding Waistband & Fists, Poison-Tipped Bone Spear
There weren’t really any nice green guns or bows that Kawneiha could use at her current level (58, and I didn’t feel like pushing her through to 63 to use the Fel Iron Musket just for this kit). Looking forward to Survival being a melee spec in Legion, however, this polearm worked. At higher levels, the Ranseur of Hatred or Kaleiki’s Lost Training Staff would be good Mog choices for a polearm for this kit.

Forest Gypsy

Keeper’s Mantle, Gypsy Tunic & Trousers, Deviate Scale Belt, Forest Leather Gloves & Boots, Sower’s Cloak*, Staff of the Green Circle
Kaiuna has so much green in her wardrobe that I’ve barely begun to explore all the possible permutations.


Greenweave Mantle Leggings Gloves & Cloak, Ivycloth Tunic, Willow Belt & Boots, Green Linen Bracers, Lesser Mystic Wand, Simple Branch
This off-hand is the same model as many low level wands, thus enabling a character to appear as if they are dual-wielding wands.

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At Hallow’s End, I make my Death Knight a kit using the Horseman’s Helm.

2015: Evil Pumpkin King II

Horseman’s Horrific Helm, Crystalvein Pauldrons, Embossed Plate chestpiece & Leggings, Veteran’s Scaled Belt, Borderland Fortress Grips, Subservient Greatboots, Illskar’s Greatcloak, Apolyon, the Soul-Render
Whether Kregga plays Frost as DW-1H or as 2H has generally depended upon what weapon I want to use for her current Transmogrification kit. With Artifact weapons boxing Frost into the DW-1H niche for Legion, she’ll probably want to keep using a 2H weapon right up until the new expansion launches.
I’d originally contemplated farming up this sword for my Titan’s Grip Fury Warrior, but when I discovered how nicely it coordinated with this hat, well, then, my DK was the one who really had to have it.

2014: Grave Moss

The Horseman’s Horrific Hood, Crystalvein shoulders chestpiece & gloves, Field Plate Girdle, Antique Reinforced Legguards, Pyrelord Greaves, Gravestone War Axe*/Greataxe of Stonard
I thought about making black “Grim Reaper”-type outfit to go with this axe, but somehow that seemed excessively cliche. These greens look better with the glowing helmet, anyway.

2013: Ata’mal Spectre

Horseman’s Horrific Helm, Crystalvein Pauldrons, Chromite chestpiece & leggings, Symbolic belt gloves & boots, Sword of Nefarian’s Hand, Purple Trophy Tabard of the Illidari
This spooky ensemble combines ideas from two outfits I originally designed for the fourth round of Mog Madness.

2012: Evil Pumpkin King

Horseman’s Helm, Kraken shoulders, Embossed chest pants gloves & boots, Fel Iron Plate Belt, Green Workman’s Shirt, 2x Gurubashi Punisher
I watched the AH for the Embossed items all year so that I could make this set when Hallow’s End rolled around again.

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I was thinking about the new rewards for Brewfest this year — I’ll be spending the Underpowered Death Knight’s tokens on the Stout Alemental and naming it “Yes No Peppers” or “More Corn” or something else of the sort in honor of Uncle Gao’s masterpiece — and it occurred to me that if there was a Brewfest Music Roll (ideally just the fun polka music, minus the drunken laughter and terrible jokes) on offer, I’d be doing ram-racing with Kamalia, too.

I wondered, why didn’t Blizzard do this? It would be a fun addition to the holiday. As I thought about it, I realized that most of the other holidays don’t have distinctive holiday music tracks. The only one I can think of is the ribbon pole dance music from Midsummer Fire Festival (I’d spend holiday tokens on that, too). Can you guys think of any other special holiday music?

If all the holidays had special music, then I’d say that it’s a huge missed opportunity that Blizz hasn’t added holiday music rolls for the Garrison jukebox to the holiday vendors. But if it’s just one or two, then I guess it wouldn’t make quite as much sense.

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Kamalia and the others who had worked with the Shado-Pan previously must have made a good impression, because the pandaren guardians readily accepted and even welcomed the Underpowered Death Knight’s appeal to be allowed to assist them for a time.

She got to know Fei-Li and Snow Blossom quite well as she helped them thwart the objectives of the mogu still plotting on Shan’ze Dao. She went with Chao the Voice, Lao-Chin the Iron Belly, and Protector Yi when the unruly yaungol at Fire Camp Gai-Cho needed subduing. Like her Dawnstrider friends, though, she politely declined missions to deal with the mantid on Sra’Vess.

The Underpowered Death Knight never felt like she’d even begun to understand the “Shadow Dance” of which Snow Blossom so often spoke, yet, after some months, the Shado-Pan honored her with one of their signature hats.

She stayed on at the Shado-Pan Garrison in Townlong Steppes for another fortnight or so simply because she wasn’t sure where to go or what to do next. She considered again if she might be strong enough to return to Draenor. By some magic, just as she was pondering this question, she received a letter from Kamalia.

She was probably strong enough now that she could go to Frostwall Garrison, but she wasn’t sure that she’d really have anything she could do there. Archaeology, perhaps, maybe with a little fishing on the side? Or would that be fishing, with a little archaeology on the side? As she hadn’t taken any primary professions, she felt that gathering herbs and ore at Frostwall would be… cheating, somehow. And this thing she had heard about gathering followers to help staff Frostwall… was she not herself a Follower, in a sense, of Kamalia? It didn’t seem right for her to have followers collecting things for her, and it didn’t seem at all fair that actions of her followers could bring her experience…

The Underpowered Death Knight read the letter again. It did not specify a time by which she must come to Frostwall.

There was still a lot that she could do in Pandaria. She could look for the Lorewalkers’ scrolls. She could help the Golden Lotus with cleanup in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. She could learn more about the August Celestials. She could even go into the Dread Wastes and see if the lesser members of the temporarily truce-making faction of the mantid, the Klaxxi, still wanted outside assistance in the wake of the total party kill of their Paragons during the Siege of Orgrimmar. But one pandaren group stood out from all the rest — as she had worked with Fei-Li and Snow Blossom to free the wild cloud serpents of Shan’ze Dao, she’d been intrigued by their mentions of an order of cloud serpent riders in the Jade Forest. Yes, that was where she should go next, to the Arboretum to see how those cloud serpent eggs and hatchlings she’d helped to rescue were faring.

While she was at the Arboretum, however, the checkered flags suddenly made her aware of a certain crispness in the breeze. Perhaps she should take a couple of weeks off to go ram racing as a warm-up for cloud serpent racing…

Previously: the Underpowered Death Knight and the Tillers

Next: the Underpowered Death Knight visits Frostwall

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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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