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Archive for the ‘Questing’ Category


Now that the rest of Draenor is Secured, I can tackle Tanaan Jungle. Where did I put my mosquito netting and quinine tablets, again?

Among other reasons, I didn’t build my Shipyard and sail off to Tanaan Jungle last week because I was at my parents’ house — which always puts a crimp in my ability to play the game. As I’ve read about other folks’ adventures in the Jungle over the past few days, it occurred to me that the dailies there will probably take up most of the time I have or want to spend playing. It would make sense, therefore, to finish off the 6.0 Apexis quests before heading out to Tanaan. So today I picked up Scouting Missives for all the Apexis objectives I hadn’t done yet and went out to polish them off. I even remembered to assign a Bodyguard (Vivianne) to the Barracks and to ask her to come with me before I went out — usually I don’t think that maybe I ought to do that until it’s too late (because I’ve already sent all my available followers off on missions). In the process of completing the Apexis objectives, I managed to trigger Iron Horde and Shadowmoon Invasions — though I may not ever actually talk to my Sergeant and allow the invasions to happen…

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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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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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The semester having ended, I took a break from work during the first week of May to catch up on WoW. Specifically, I wanted to get my Tauren “one of each class” characters not just into their level 2 Garrisons, but also all the way through Frostfire Ridge. By the time I got to the last of those characters, I went into the system sound menu and turned the dialog slider all the way down to 0 so that I didn’t have to hear it anymore. I’d gotten so, so, so tired of Orcs. What is it that Taran Zhu says in the last of the Isle of Thunder scenarios? Ah, yes: “Every reprisal is itself an act of aggression, and every act of aggression triggers immediate reprisal.” That describes the escalation of the war between the Frostwolf clan and the Thunderlord clan pretty neatly, and after having played through Frostfire Ridge nine times*, I was utterly exhausted by Orcs and their bloodlust.

When I told BTH that I was so, so, so tired of Orcs, he responded, “Why are you still playing that game?”

BTH quit playing WoW himself several weeks ago; the raid time that had worked relatively well when we were in Atlantic Canada was not working very well now that we are in the Mountain West, and he wasn’t really enjoying Warlords raiding enough to want to look for another guild (possibly requiring a server transfer). He has always played WoW primarily to raid, so if he wasn’t going to be raiding, why play at all?

I… am not sure that I have a good answer to that question. Do I keep playing WoW just because I’ve gotten into the habit of using it to fill my idle time, and I don’t want to expend the effort to find something else, something better, to do with that time? That’s not a very satisfactory answer, even if it is an uncomfortably large fraction of it.

Being thus discomfited, I didn’t play much WoW for the next week. Instead, I read webcomics — catching up on ones I hadn’t read regularly for a few months and reading through the archives of a few ones I hadn’t read before — and reread the classic early detective novel The Moonstone (by Wilkie Collins).

Why are you still playing that game?

Syrco has been looking for a reason to log in.

BBB, in his characteristic way, answers with the things that keep him going.

The Godmother asks her audience, “if you’re tired of/angry at the game, why are you still playing it?”, in various forms, constantly. She is also continually asking herself “why am I still playing this game?” and exploring the various forms that answer takes.

When I think about the things I have enjoyed about WoW in the past, and why I’m not doing those things now, I inevitably get tangled up in either the Garrison or the Faction Divide… or both.

In the past, I’ve enjoyed exploring the stories of the World of Warcraft. Now, I’m tired of Orc-centric Horde stories… but I still prefer to play as a Tauren or a Sin’dorei. I’ve played mostly Horde for long enough that when I do play Alliance, the anti-Horde prejudices in the Alliance-side stories alienate me. I enjoyed the Legendary storyline in Mists, but when I found out what was involved with getting Garona for my Garrison, I decided that maybe I’d rather not continue following the Warlords Legendary storyline. When I think about going out with a low-level alt or perhaps back with a high-level alt to play through past-expansion storylines that I haven’t yet seen, I get tripped up by wanting to run through all my Draenor-level alts’ Garrison chores first… and then by the time I’m done with that, my limited playtime is gone.

I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of Transmogrification, but with the LFR gear being uninspiring and the normal/heroic mode gear being out-of-reach** because I don’t want to PuG with the Group Finder, I’ve been lacking in Transmogrification inspiration for this expansion. Some of the crafted gear looks really nice — though the upgraded appearances are, of course, nicer than the Stage 1 appearance. When I’m looking at making crafted gear for Transmogrification instead of just equipping, though, I start thinking about making whole sets, and then the upgrade costs — 150 of the daily CD material, plus 30 of Sorcerous whatever, plus 15 Savage Blood just to upgrade one piece once — start becoming overwhelming. Even with — especially with! — Work Orders, I feel like I’d be spending all of my playtime doing nothing but Gathering. I also can’t bring myself to go farm old raids just on speculation or to make money; my inventory space is crowded enough already that I have to have a specific item or items from a specific raid that I want, for a specific planned Transmogrification kit, that I’m farming for. Even when I do want a specific item for specific set that I’m thinking about, again, tending all my Garrisons usually takes up all my limited playtime.

Time to take a few pages from The Godmother’s playbook, I think.

Taking a bit of a break from the game and thinking through my current feelings about it (in the form of this Bearwall) has been a good start.

Next, I need to find my own motivation to do something other than just routinely tending my Garrisons. I should also find a reason to be doing the daily profession CDs that’s better than “just in case I want this stuff later”.

So — I should design some Transmogrification kits that use Warlords crafted items — but not full Warlords crafted sets — so that I have specific items that I want to craft. I should prioritize leveling my two Alchemists to 100 and getting their Garrisons to Level 3 so that they can get the Savage Blood transmute from the herb trader***. I should also prioritize Follower missions that reward Primal Spirits so that I can trade those for Savage Blood. The upcoming Patch 6.2 changes to increase the amount of materials, including Sorcerous whatevers, generated by the daily profession CDs will definitely help this plan!

I should shake off the OCD tendencies that have been shackling me to my Garrisons. When I know that what I really want to do on a given evening is farm an old raid for a Transmogrification item, or go Fishing, or do Archaeology, or do Pet Battles, or quest in Draenor with one of my high-level alts, or quest elsewhere with one of my low-level alts, I should allow myself to just leave my Garrisons untended for that evening.

And then maybe I’ll get back to playing this game because it’s fun instead of just because it’s habit.

~*~*~

*Eight Tauren characters plus the Blood Elf Warlock

**Yes, my Followers do bring me normal mode raid gear, but because it is randomly generated and not from the loot table of any specific boss (unless there is a correlation between the various Follower raid missions and the loot tables of specific bosses that I haven’t been paying attention to), it isn’t really a reliable way to collect pieces for Transmogrification. Plus, more often than not (in my experience) it turns out to be a non-visible item such as a ring, necklace, or trinket.

***Or, perhaps, get the Savage Blood transmute from the herb trader when he’s in the Garrison of one of my battlenet friends?

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I had enough things-wot-needed-to-be-dun that I couldn’t take Spring Break entirely off and just play WoW all day. Still, I had more evening time for the game than I’ve had for awhile — enough that I could think about doing something other than just managing my followers.

Monday: The Blood Elf trio used Kairoz’s SUPER SECRET Wormhole to get into their Garrisons. Kalaneia (Destruction Warlock) and Kelisanna (Subtlety Rogue) had a merry romp burninating and sneaky-stabbiting their way through the Garrison establishment quests, but poor Kaelinda (Arcane Mage) felt almost as fragile as the Underpowered Death Knight. Perhaps I am playing Arcane wrong and need different talents, glyphs, and rotation? Or maybe I ought to just switch to her secondary spec (which vacillates between Fire and Frost)?

Tuesday: I decided that it was time to get another pet up into the mid-level range so that Ketura (Hunter) could start taking it to her daily bout with Stone Cold Trixxy. Although it’s been some months since I did pet battles regularly, my notebook page about the pet trainers provided enough information that I could remember my favorite pets to use with each one without much difficulty. The pet that started at level 1 in a battle against Zunta at the beginning of the evening finished up at level 19 after battling Blood Knight Antari. When I spend time on pet battles, the Kalimdor and Outland pet trainer circuits make it relatively easy to get a pet up into the 15-20 level range… but getting a pet from 20 to 25 feels like a long hard slog. Part of that is because I haven’t really attempted to defeat any trainers past Blood Knight Antari. Part of that is because I don’t want to just grind wild pet battles for those last five levels. Lio sez that I can level a pet quickly in Draenor, but I’d need to have an Infinite Whelpling, Emerald Whelpling, Nether Faerie Dragon, Giant Bone Spider, Unborn Valkyr, Tranquil Mechanical Yeti, and Lil Bling already at level 25 to do it. I don’t have the Emerald Whelpling (and am not likely to just buy it off the AH), and I refuse to use spiders. I have the rest of the pets, but most of them aren’t anywhere close to level 25, so I guess I’d better start working on them…

Wednesday: More minions! cried Kalaneia I. Must. Have. MOAR MINIONZ! She burninated her way through Frostfire Ridge and rounded up all the followers found there. Did the Frostwolves and the Thunderlords have this kind of near-genocidal enmity before the Iron Horde, or before the Iron Wolf? (Speaking of the Iron Wolf, what an amazing set-piece the interior of Grom’gar is! It’s kind of sad that it only gets used for that one encounter, as epic as that encounter is. I wonder if any RP guilds use it as a meeting hall?) It seems to me that after having some of the clan captured and carried off to the Dark Portal, and the continual slaver raids by the ogres, and the war with the Thunderlords, the Frostwolf clan ought to be in tatters — barely holding themselves together physically and even more just barely holding themselves together psychologically. But then, I suppose that being more robust all around is one of the things that makes an Orc not a Human.

Thursday: I cleared out Kamalia’s lingering non-!, non-Legendary quests — two first-run Dungeon quests from the Inn that I didn’t complete before the hotfix that made it so you didn’t have to do all the Dungeon quests to get the level 3 Inn went through, taking the Mystery Notebook to Estelle Gendry in Undercity, fishing up some lunkers for Nat Pagle. Kam still has things to do — digging up the rest of the Draenor Archaeology relics, recruiting Harrison Jones, collecting more music rolls for her jukebox, the Field Photographer world tour — but it’s a relief to finally have taken care of those loose ends from her quest log.

Friday: Kaylynda (Human Fire Mage) declared that she was tired of twiddling her thumbs in her podunk Level 1 Garrison and that it was her turn for some playtime. Playstyle-wise, she had just about as little trouble and just about as much fun burninating through Shadowmoon Valley as Kalaneia’d had in Frostfire Ridge — so I guess it must indeed be the Arcane spec that’s Kaelinda’s problem. Story-wise, I’d heard that the Shadowmoon story was more powerful, more moving than the Frostfire story, and… wow, yeah, they were right. Yrel initally struck me as a bit, er, fluffheaded, but she began to mature rapidly over the course of the zone. I like her. I look forward to seeing how she continues to develop over the rest of the Alliance storyline. Alliance characters can get Dagg out of Frostfire for their Garrisons… I wish Horde characters could get Rulkan out of Shadowmoon for their Garrisons. Anyhow, now Kaylynda can twiddle her thumbs in the greater comfort of a Level 2 Garrison.

All in all, quite a successful week!

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This week being Spring Break, I decided it was time to buckle down and get the remainder of my One of Each Class set of characters into their Garrisons. On Saturday, I powered through Tanaan with the Hunter and the Warrior. Although I am so, so tired of Tanaan, I determined to grit my teeth and just get it over and done with the Rogue, the Warlock, and the Blood Elf Mage. I wished that there were some way to just skip the Tanaan intro sequence.

In a post that couldn’t have been more conveniently timed, Anne Stickney just shared her discovery of a hidden backdoor access to Draenor. It’s not exactly a “shortcut”, but it definitely doesn’t require running circles around the Dark Portal!

Personally, I think this must be how Kairoz got Garrosh to Draenor.

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