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Archive for the ‘Legion’ Category

My WoW playing lately has been driven or dominated by what Kaylriene has recently discussed as the time-wasting or “hamster wheel” aspects of the game. I’m still logging in almost every day, but I’m just doing Anima Conductor Treasures and my favorite super-easy WQs to get my 1K Anima each week. I’m marking time, making minimal increments of progression toward Transmogrification collecting goals (by the proxies of collecting Renown and Anima and Grateful Offerings) between the widely-spaced opportunities when I feel like I have enough time and attention to do a segment of story progression.

Transmogrification is where I get the most fun out of WoW, as you might guess from the persistence and prominence of “Sunday on the Promenade” as a feature of this blog. I love designing new outfits & looks for my characters. With each expansion and patch, I am most interested in finding out what nifty new things there will be to wear and what interesting new character customizations will be available. I catalog which items are both awesome looking and not overly difficult to acquire relative to the comfort zone of my playstyle, then focus my gameplay toward obtaining those items and making outfits with them.

Although I am so, so far behind on experiencing the current storylines, I’ve appreciated and agreed with posts about how the story of WoW is struggling in Shadowlands such this one by Kaylriene and this one by Redbeard.

I’ve found that I engage with the story of Azeroth most at what I think of as the “middle” level — the zone and Campaign storylines. The “little” side-quest storylines can be quite interesting, but I don’t make the effort to search out all of them. As for the “big” overall narrative, well… it lost me in Warlords of Draenor.

For me, the premise of Warlords of Draenor was just a little too reality-warping, even for a fantasy universe. By interacting with the Draenor of the other timeway in such drastic ways, we essentially pulled it out of its original timeway into our own timeway. Between that and the magnitude of the differences between Draenor and Outland, I am more comfortable thinking of Draenor as just another continent (that happens to be on another world) than as a version of the past of Outland. Then there was the “boys’ trip” kerfluffle, which was only tokenly addressed by the roles of Draka and Yrel — and was a clue to Blizzard’s now very public internal woes.

Legion had a good overall premise and narrative. I think that we could have gotten to the premise of “the Burning Legion comes roaring back to Azeroth and we have to make our Final Stand and Stop Them For Good This Time” by another route that didn’t involve timeway shenanigans and alt-Gul’dan.

Battle for Azeroth‘s main premise and Sylvanas and N’Zoth narratives lost me again. I also couldn’t ever quite get over the cognitive dissonance of having the Zandalari be our enemies in Kun-Lai Summit and Isle of Thunder, then our buddy-buddies in Dazar’alor with seemingly very few hard feelings — even with the handwaving that the Zandalari invaders in Pandaria were Zul loyalists whose activities were not officially sanctioned by King Rastakhan, and that Princess Talanji had concluded that the best folks to help her with the Blood Troll problem would be the ones who had thoroughly kicked the butts of that rogue group.

And then there’s Shadowlands, in which I will be more interested, when I finally get there, in how the 9.1 Campaign advances the smaller Covenant narratives than in what it discloses about the larger Sylvanas-and-Jailer’s plot narrative. Because I don’t really care about it, I’ve let myself get spoiled about the Sylvanas-and-Jailer’s plot narrative while trying to stay only minimally spoiled about the advancement of the Covenant storylines.

In each of these expansions, because of my playstyle, I’ve felt like my character’s actions and interactions have mattered the most on the zone-leveling and Garrison/Order Hall/Suramar/Covenant Campaign storyline level. I feel like I could, if I so desired, write an in-character RP story about how my character(s) participated in and thought and felt about these events. The Battle for Azeroth War Campaign, however, was just a vehicle for showing me what was happening in the faction war because the events that happened weren’t things I was particularly enthused about having my characters actually be participants in doing (except for rescuing Baine from Sylvanas — Kamalia did help out with that!). I feel the same about the Torghast questchain and the Sylvanas-and-Jailer’s plot stuff in Shadowlands — it’s a way to show me what is happening with the faction leaders, but it’s not really stuff that my characters would be personally involved in doing. I may be a Big Damn Hero, but I’m not that much of a Big Damn Hero.

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Getting the Fel Out

“I want to have a baby,” Keija announced, “and I would rather not give birth to a Feltotem. I am not actively working with felslate anymore. Please remove these.” She swept her right hand down the length of her left arm, where bulges of scar tissue at the shoulder, elbow, and wrist encased small shards of felslate.

“What will you pay me to do this for you?” Felsmith Nal’ryssa asked.

“The remnants of one hundred demons killed on the Broken Shore, and all of my unused stock of felslate.” As she spoke, Keija opened a satchel and dumped the materials in a heap by the Felsmith’s forge.

“Very well,” Nal’ryssa responded, smiling slightly. “This will not be pleasant. Are you prepared?”

“I am prepared,” said Keija. “I have brought healers with me.”

The Felsmith looked around, and Keija knew that although she was blind, her spectral sight allowed her to perceive Keija’s sisters, Kaohana and Karaelia and Kamalia, and Kamalia’s husband, Haitou, standing nearby.

“Then let us begin.”

Keija turned and pressed her face into her husband’s chest, and Raharto wrapped his arms securely around her, leaving her left arm exposed.

With the same firm, gentle touch that Keija remembered from before, Nal’ryssa’s fingers probed around each of the lumps of scar tissue.

“Hold the wrist steady, please,” Nal’ryssa instructed. Raharto grasped her wrist firmly. With one swift, deft movement, using the very tip of her warglaive, the Felsmith sliced open the scar tissue and hooked up one end of the shard of felslate embedded within it. She took a pair of tongs that had been heating in the forge and pulled the shard out. The jagged edges of the shard tore at the tissue around it as it came out, but Keija had experienced worse arrow removals. She gritted her teeth and grunted.

In a moment, she felt the fizzing sensation of holy magic, and the pain dulled. She heard the thump of a totem dropping, and pulses of cool water began washing over the wound as Nal’ryssa carefully wrapped it.

Felsmith Nal’ryssa waited until Keija’s breathing and heartrate had steadied before continuing. Keija’s sisters continued to soothe her with small healing-over-time spells.

“Now the elbow,” said Nal’ryssa. “If you could hold it above and below?” Raharto held her upper arm, and Haitou grasped her lower arm, just below the elbow. Another swift slice, another yank with the burning hot tongs. This one hurt much more than the first one had, surprising her into growling out an “AARRRRGH!”

It took longer, this time, for the pain to subside as her sisters cast healing spells and Nalryssa bandaged the wound.

Once more, the Felsmith waited until Keija’s breathing and heartrate had steadied before she continued.

Nal’ryssa probed the shoulder scar tissue again. “This one will not be as easy as the others,” she said. “Secure the shoulder.” Raharto grasped her shoulder joint, and Haitou wrapped both hands around her arm, holding the already bandaged areas as gently as he could. This time, the slice exposed the felslate shard, but did not begin to pull it out. Nal’ryssa spread the edges of the wound with the fingers of one hand, then carefully dug with some kind of small blade until she was able to extract the shard. Blood poured down Keija’s arm. As she felt the shard tugging out, it seemed like it was trying to pull a portion of her soul with it, and she screamed, arching her back against the unyielding support of Raharto’s arm. Her head swam and spun.

Keija awoke lying on her back on the ground. Her head was pillowed on her empty satchel, a blanket had been wrapped around her, and her feet were propped up in Raharto’s lap. Her shoulder had been bandaged, and her sisters were pouring healing magic into her. Her arm throbbed from shoulder to wrist, and she felt weak all over — but her spirit felt somehow lighter and cleaner than it had since, well, since she had allowed the Felsmith to put the shards in. She struggled to sit up, and Raharto quickly shifted position to support her.

Keija looked around until she found the Felsmith. “Thank you,” she gasped.

Nal’ryssa just nodded and returned to her work.

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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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magical elven ecosystems

I was thinking about magical ecosystems cultivated by elves the other day, and I thought again, as I have many times since I completed the Suramar campaign, that while I understand Thalyssra’s reasoning for shutting down the Nightwell based on the sociopolitical ecosystem that had developed in Suramar, I am still saddened to think about how the unique and irreplaceable biological ecosystem sustained by the Nightwell is now doomed to wither into extinction. Other forms of vegetation and wildlife will creep in to replace the Nightwell-fed lifeforms, but Suramar City will never be quite the same.

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The story concept of Shadowlands isn’t hooking me any more than the story concepts of Warlords of Draenor or Battle for Azeroth originally appealed to me. Warlords had some great characters & character moments (I love Draka in Warlords!), though, and the Alliance-side leveling story story, being unified by the meteoric trajectory of Yrel, felt more cohesive than the Horde-side leveling story. I’ve also found myself much more engaged by the stories of Battle for Azeroth than I initially expected to be. So I am tentatively optimistic that Shadowlands will also have characters, moments, and locations that I will discover that I like very much indeed.

With four different endgame campaign stories to play in Shadowlands, I’ll want to have at least four characters at level 120 by the end of Battle for Azeroth. Three of those four characters will be Kaylynda, Kaelinda, and Kerisa; who the fourth will be, I’m not sure yet. Kerisa will of course Covenant with the Night Fae of Ardenweald. Kaylynda will probably choose the Kyrian of Bastion. Kaelinda is the most likely candidate to choose the Venthyr of Revendreth because the concept art for that faction suggests that their gear will coordinate nicely with the Sin’dorei Heritage Armor for Mogging mix-and-match and also because Kaelinda would like another chance to poke Kael’thas in the eye. That leaves the Necrolords of Maldraxxus… If I want to send a clothie there, the most logical choice from an RP-standpoint would be my Warlock, Kalaneia. The Vulpera Mage that I’ll be creating as soon as Patch 8.3 goes live could also be a good alt to team up with the Necrolords — the Vulpera have that scrappy fight-for-survival attitude and, thinking of Nisha and her maps and battle plans, could work with the “spy” angle of the Necrolords.

Kamalia will be retiring for Shadowlands. During Legion and again in Battle for Azeroth, I was more interested in doing end-game activities — specifically LFR for Transmogrification shinies — with my cloth-wearing Mages and leather-wearing Druid than with my mail-wearing Shaman. Because Kamalia had leveled first, however, she had a huge lead on story and reputation progress toward the Pathfinder achievements, so I felt like it would be better to keep going on those things with her than to play catch-up with another character. In Shadowlands, I want to have the character(s) who I’ll actually want to do end-game activities with be the first one(s) to level.


In-character, Kamalia finally met her match in Haitou Rivermane (one of Jale Rivermane’s sons) and will be getting married and settling down to attempt to give her parents some grandcalves before she gets any older. Kerisa, meanwhile, spent the latter part of Legion and the first year of Battle for Azeroth being pregnant with her second child, then nursing the infant. She weaned her son, allowing her to return to active service with the Cenarion Circle, just in time for her to help with repelling the Void assaults on Nordrassil and the Emerald Dream.

I’m most likely going to purchase the Heroic Edition because of the special armor set — and the level 120 boost will go to Karaelia so that I can have a character of each of the four armor classes prepared to move into Shadowlands. However, I will most likely not level Kamalia and Karaelia in Shadowlands until the end-of-expansion lull.

I am relieved that there isn’t a new Class. That would be another alt that I’d definitely want to play, but considering that I haven’t even got a second character to 120 in Battle for Azeroth yet, when would I find the time and energy for it?

I’m excited for more character customization options! Kjerstin will be getting herself some Wildhammer tattoos. I wonder what new customization options Tauren and Blood Elves will get?

I’ll probably roll up a Pandaren (or maybe a Void Elf) Death Knight to check out the Bolvar Needs More Minions starting zone, but that character won’t be a permanent addition to my roster. I’ll need another temporary toon to explore the new 1-10 tutorial zone, as well.

I’ll continue to work on leveling my Allied Races characters (Highmountain Tauren Druid, Void Elf Mage, Kul Tiran Mage, Vulpera Mage) for their Heritage Armor. The level squish and ability to level from 10 – 50 in any previous expansion’s content (Wowhead, Blizzard Watch) will help a lot with that, I hope!

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The cloth leveling gear from the Broken Isles has a certain Art Noveau aesthetic to it that suggests pre-Sundering elvish culture… except that it’s not what the Nar’thalas ghosts and the elves in The Nightborne Pact cinematic are wearing…


Leywalker (Azsuna), Runespeaker’s (Stormheim), Sunfrost (Highmountain), Nightvale (Val’sharah)

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Leywalker

Leyfrost

Leywalker set with Frostscythe of Lord Ahune

Silver Shadows

Demon Warding Halo, Mantle of the Unknowing, Royal Apothecary Robe, Belt of the Night Sky, Cobalt-Threaded Gloves + Wristwraps of the Grieving Prophet, Communal Stave

Frosted Lilacs



Violet Guardian’s Corona, Mantle of the Unknowing, Leywalker Robe, Belt of the Night Sky, Wristwraps of the Grieving Prophet, Suspicious Slippers, Trident of Corrupted Waters (LFR)

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Runespeaker’s

Black Rose

Runespeaker’s set with Cerith Spire Staff

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Sunfrost

Dusty Petals

Snowblind set with Chillwind Staff

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Nightvale

Golden Dream

Nightvale set with Blade of Savagery + Imbued Draenethyst Crystal
There’s a grey quality chestpiece that looks like just the top of this robe; I’d love to have a Moggable chestpiece that looked like that.

Oracle Moth


Nightvale Mantle, Vestments of the Oracle, Apothecary’s Waistband, Gloves of the Messiah, Infernoweave Boots, Scarlet Filigreed Doublet

Spellflower

Nightvale Mantle, Spellfire Robe, Silkwood Cord, Widow’s Clutches + Goldenvine Wraps, Ruby Slippers, Giorgio’s Caduceus of Pure Moods (LFR)

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With only three characters remaining, I decided to push them all through the Falling Star questline — get that mini-progression goal wrapped up — before having them continue on to level 102 and acquiring the rest of their Artifact weapons.

As I’ve taken more and more characters through the Battle of the Exodar, I’ve begun to imagine that what really happened was something like this: (more…)

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