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Archive for the ‘Questing’ Category

Because of the association of some of the drawings with stories, this idea to clean out my backlog of unposted art is turning into cleaning out some of my backlog of unposted stories, too.

Way back when, I wrote a story about the experience of my Forsaken Mage. With Cataclysm and the Worgen and Goblins already announced at the time I wrote the story, the story ended with my Forsaken looking at the Greymane Wall and remembering that she had an older sister who lived in Gilneas. After Cataclysm launched and I’d played through the Worgen starting zone, I started writing a story about my Worgen Mage and how she was separated from her family, then unexpectedly reunited with her now-Forsaken sister. I wrote fragments of significant events in the story, but never quite managed to get them all completed, transitioned, and tied together. I also began a story intended to explore my Forsaken character’s reactions to the new storyline for Silverpine introduced in Cataclysm, culminating with her perspective of the meeting with her sister. After I’d got it started, though, it turned out that I wasn’t really all that interested in writing it, and so I never continued it.

I was working from a personal headcanon timeline that assigned to each expansion an amount of calendar time corresponding to the real-world calendar time that we actually spent playing it — roughly two years per expansion, rather than the one year per expansion in the official chronology. When the Ultimate Visual Guide came out, I realized that I had my timeline entirely wrong because I’d underestimated the amount of time between the end of the Second War and the beginning of the Third War. Now my story didn’t work at all. I suppose I could still make it work if I retcon my original story about my Forsaken and let the sisters be a decade or so older instead of relatively young women…

If I’d ever properly finished these stories, I would have posted them in multiple parts, so all the unfinished bits and pieces make a rather long post. I’ve put them behind a cut and you can read them or not as you please. (more…)

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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

Next: the Underpowered Death Knight takes the bank

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Highmountain! You know that I love my Tauren, right? I’m keen to learn some new Tauren lore and the new buildings and so forth look amazing.

High resolution moonkin form! (but no thanks, high resolution seal form, I’ll keep on using Glyph of the Orca)

Flexible leveling! Being able to go through the leveling zones in any order I please will make leveling multiple alts more engaging and entertaining.

Flexible level 110 activities!… though with the way things have been going this semester, I’m concerned that I’ll miss out on some of the activities with the shortest availability windows, especially if Legion doesn’t launch until mid-September — a month after my Fall Semester begins. I sure hope it comes out in late spring or early summer!

Artifact weapons! For the most part, the appearances of the Artifact weapons won’t be affecting my choices of class/spec combinations of alts to to level. Some of them are keen and others I’ll be Mogging over pretty quickly. The rapiers for the Combat Outlaw Rogue look pretty sweet, though — I’d decided to retire my Rogue, but now I’m being tempted to reactivate her. I’m intrigued that the Elemental Shaman weapon is going to be a fist weapon… if I’d known that this was coming, I’d have tried to get Wu-Lai, Bladed Fan of the Consorts for Kamalia back in the Throne of Thunder day.

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holding myself back

Here we are in what are definitely the waning days* of Warlords, and I still have only one level 100 character.

I can’t even complain about it being a side-effect of all the evenings I spend working instead of playing due to my job, because I could have had at least two more characters at level 100 for quite some time — if I hadn’t been deliberately holding back on questing with them.
My primary Monk is at 53% through level 99 from diligently doing Practice Makes Perfect, augmented by herbing in her Garrison and character XP missions.
My Hunter is at 69% through level 99, with most of her XP having come from pet battling, mining in her Garrison, occasionally doing the Fishing Shack daily, and character XP missions.
Neither one of them has done any questing in Draenor beyond completing Frostfire Ridge.
I have held both of them back from doing the Pinchwhistle Gearworks/Salvage Yard quest chain partly because they won’t have a third small building spot until they get to level 100 anyway, partly because I thought it would be nifty to get them to level 100 mostly from dailies, and partly because I’d had the thought, since before Warlords launched, that maybe this time around I should let my Alliance Mage be my second character to 100.

Unfortunately, my Human Mage isn’t cooperating very well. She’s always had a mind of her own, and after I got the Underpowered Death Knight her Shado-Pan hat, she decided that she needed to go get hers — my Human Mage was my last character to reach level 90 before Warlords, and by that time I was so tired of the Pandaria reps that I only barely managed to push her through getting her Farm fully expanded. When she left Draenor to return to Pandaria, my Human Mage was halfway through Talador, having done everything but the Auchindoun and Shattrath questlines. She’s only been doing the Shan’ze Dao set of Shado-Pan dailies, though, so it’s going a bit slow. After she gets her Shado-Pan hat, I may or may not be able to convince her to come back to Talador instead of going off to do the Divine Bell questline and the Kirin Tor Assault on the Isle of Thunder. For whatever reason, she hasn’t been utterly charmed by Yrel — perhaps I’ve been inadvertently spoilt too much on events that will happen later in the Alliance storyline, thus diminishing my desire to pursue it just to see what happens next? Or maybe I have screenshot fatigue from trying to screencap everything because I know I’ll probably only go through the Alliance stuff once…

The Underpowered Death Knight is now at 74% through level 96 from working with the Serpent Riders. Since I took her to Frostwall, I’ve begun to contemplate letting her be my second level 100. Wouldn’t that be funny, my character who usually lags far behind the rest, being the second to the finish line? With Hallow’s End about to start, she will gain about a level over the next fortnight from doing the holiday dailies. Getting her that last couple of levels will then be as simple as flying around Draenor looking for the purple glow of treasures…

* Regarding the moose mount: I am sad that it won’t be widely available, but getting it is so far out of my reach that all I can do is shrug and say, hey, that’s $25 I can spend on Christmas presents, or joining 2YC3, or the third book in Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart series, or something, instead of at the Blizzard Store. I’ll just be over here hoping that a less-elaborately-outfitted, less-supernaturally-glowy version of the moose mount will be available through a rep grind in Val’sharah.

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bye-bye, birdies

Well, Kamalia finally reached Exalted with the Order of the Awakened tonight and built “The Awakener” for her fleet.

She’s not quite finished with Tanaan yet, though; she still needs Tooth & Claw to come up about five more times before she can get the Savage Cub. But when that’s done, she’ll at last be able to laze about doing Archaeology and running Iron Docks every now and then to collect a few more copies of the Iron Horde shoulder token for the cosmetic armor sets, while I turn the majority of my attention to getting my alts leveled…

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In Casually Odd’s sidebar, I saw a link to a post by Misdirections entitled “What will you be doing for the rest of WoD?” I’d already been beginning to think along similar lines — what things do I want to accomplish in Warlords content before we return to Azeroth and find it under siege by the Burning Legion*?

Kamalia

I still have a couple of things to finish up in Tanaan. I need to get Exalted with the Order of the Awakened to get the Awakener blueprint, and I need to collect 1500 Blackfang Claws to get the Savage Cub pet. I’m about two-thirds of the way to the former and about halfway to the latter. Lately, though, I’ve only been bothering to go to Tanaan when Wowhead tells me that the Tooth and Claw daily is up, so that I can work on both goals at once.

I want the Order of the Awakened blueprint for the rare Shipyard missions that reward the Heirloom rings. These missions all require a Carrier and a Destroyer. They also require five counters but, like all Shipyard missions, take two ships. The Arakkoa-crewed Destroyer functions as a Carrier as well as a Destroyer, and I’m hoping that will allow me to get to 100% mission success chance by an appropriate choice of companion ship. I will continue to play the Shipyard with Kamalia until I’ve gotten all three of the Heirloom rings.

When Kamalia has finished the Order of the Awakened rep grind, I’ll be able to take down her Trading Post and rebuild the Inn, to continue trying to recruit as many of the Tauren followers as I can. I’ll probably keep the Lumber Mill until I’m finished with the Shipyard, and then I’ll rebuild the Barn, to work on making all those Savage Blood Transmogrification kits I designed.

When the Flying in Draenor patch goes live, Kamalia will finish up Draenor Archaeology. Then she will be pretty much done with Draenor.

et alia

My alts are slowly making their way toward level 100, but with Fall Semester starting on Wednesday, I won’t be making any effort to get all of my currently active 90-something alts to level 100 before the Burning Legion arrives. The Hunter is level 99, with much of that XP coming from pet battle dailies. The Monk is level 98, with much of her XP coming from the Practice Makes Perfect daily at the Peak of Serenity. Only two alts — my darling Mages — have actually done any Draenor content outside of Frostfire Ridge/Shadowmoon Valley. The rest have been slowly but steadily gaining XP from herbing, mining, and follower missions within their Garrisons.

While I’m focusing on getting Kamalia to level 110 and through the initial offerings of max-level content in Legion, my alts will almost certainly be lingering in their Garrisons on Draenor, just as they lingered at Sunsong Ranch for the first few months of Warlords. I’ll have them build Inns and assemble RP-themed collections of followers, just as I’ve daydreamed about doing with them throughout this expansion. The Druid will complete the storyline achievement for each zone** to be sure that she’ll trigger the Garrison Campaign so that she can eventually get Choluna to be one of her followers. The Hunter will build the Stables and do the mount taming & training questlines — I’m not particularly interested in the mounts themselves, as I lost interest in the mount collecting achievements long ago and the Warlords mount offerings have not impressed me, but I want her to have the “Stable Master” title. The Warrior will go to Tanaan just long enough to fetch the lookalike of Admiral Taylor’s Greatsword. The Druid will go to Tanaan to get the technique for the Gylph of Ascendance. Unless they decide that they want to use the Frostwolf Grunt/Karabor Councilor costume toy, the rest of them will probably ignore Tanaan and the Shipyard entirely.

* Just as Anne Stickney has predicted all throughout Warlords that we would!
** With most of my alts, I’ll be picking and choosing which questlines and outposts I want in each zone based on which followers I want them to get.

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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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