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Archive for the ‘Questing’ Category

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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ONE: Five of my eight characters who are in Garrisons have gotten cameras so far. Only the two Alliance Mages have been vain enough to snap some test self-portraits.

It seems that these cameras will, in fact, be satisfactory for acquiring the sort of close-up pictures I want for my Characters page. I’m still waiting for one of the characters who has already gotten a camera to get the follow-up mission that will upgrade the camera to an account-wide Toy…

TWO: I hadn’t originally intended to upgrade the Storehouse to level 2 because the Mobile Banking guild perk is generally sufficient for my guild bank access needs. Nevertheless, some weeks ago, Kamalia upgraded her Storehouse on a whim. I was delighted to meet the guild banker!

Aww, Yorn got to bring his wife out to Draenor, like Murne Greenhoof at the Tannery brought his wife Suniya with him!

Or maybe Ranea is Yorn’s sister, and Suniya is Murne’s mother — whatever, they are still obviously family. Charmed, I decided that I’d upgrade the Storehouse to level 2 on all my characters so that Yorn wouldn’t have to be lonely. Then Patch 6.1 came, and Ranea disappeared, replaced by a soulless goblin golden piggybank. It would have been nice if they’d let Ranea become one of the building-associated extra NPCs who wanders about the Garrison — like Suniya who appears when you build the Tannery or Jozzle the Neat who appears when you build the Scribe’s Quarters — but I didn’t see her. I was so sad about Ranea’s disappearance that I busted my Storehouse back down to level 1.

THREE: I recruited for a Treasure Hunter this week.

Treasure hunting and scavenging together is a powerful combo that I may never see again — but how could I not choose Ken-Ken?

FOUR: Harrison Jones finally showed up in my Garrison the other day. Turns out, I do have my Archaeology up to 700 already — it’s just that I haven’t yet done enough digging to find all the Draenor things. Anyhow, I was anxious to get his mission done, just in case it disappeared from my quest log the next day. Unfortunately, I had to grade homework first that evening — so I stayed up later than I normally do on a weeknight afterward to play through the mission. It was a nice little story, with a fun little puzzle at the end (though the hardest part of the puzzle was figuring out how to actually interact with the device). I look forward to the next time Dr Jones shows up.

FIVE: Kamalia achieved Exalted status with the Arakkoa Outcasts a few weeks ago, thanks to all the Relics of Rukhmar that the followers in my various Garrisons collected, but she didn’t get the achievement that granted the follower. I was puzzled at what I’d missed, but didn’t follow up to try to find out. When I flew into Akeeta’s Hovel at the border of Arak and Shadowmoon to do my mission from Harrison Jones, a quest popped up to go talk to Terokk. Oh. I hadn’t been to Arak since I got Exalted with the Arakkoa. So I visited Terokk, and he proclaimed me Talon Queen, and then I got the achievement and the new follower.

SIX: This expansion is really making me wish that BloodHigh Elves were a playable race for the Alliance. For one thing, I would much, MUCH rather have the Alliance architecture than the Horde architecture for my Blood Elf Mage’s Garrison. For another, just the thought of running twelve Garrisons — one of each class Horde-side, plus a token Alliance character — is exhausting enough that I’ve thought about just leaving my Blood Elves behind this expansion. I am too fond of my Blood Elf Mage to want to leave her behind, though, and the Rogue and the Warlock were surprisingly fun to play when I was leveling them through Pandaria. Because I’ve already got a level 91 Alliance Mage (or two), I’ve seriously contemplated taking the Rogue and the Warlock over to the Alliance side and playing the non-Tauren classes as Alliance from here on out. Eight Horde Garrisons and three Alliance Garrisons would be a little less exhausting than eleven Horde Garrisons just because of the greater variety. I like Kaelinda, Kelisanna, and Kalaneia just as they are, as Blood Elves, though, and don’t really want to turn them into Humans (or any of the other Alliance races, for that matter). It would really be so much nicer if High Elves were a playable race for the Alliance…

.ONE: People must have complained on the forums about the Tauren DK colors getting dulled with the new models, because since Patch 6.1, the Underpowered Death Knight’s braids have been brilliant sapphire blue again.

The other two DK colors look a little bit more intense/saturated now than they were in 6.0, but they’re not as close to the originals as the blue-and-white.

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Around the time that she dinged 88, the Underpowered Death Knight decided that she wanted to go to Draenor, too.
No, thank you, she did not want to dink around in Pandaria gaining reputation with the Tillers and the Shado-Pan.
The buff against creatures from previous expansions had made questing in Cataclysm areas as a late-Mists level-range character trivial, and even the questing she’d done in Pandaria (getting her Grummlepack and opening the Vale) hadn’t been especially challenging.

So, after completing her annual Lunar Festival World Tour and dinging 90 in the process —

— off she went to the Dark Portal.


Seeking a proper challenge, she started out with her weakest weapon, a simple Training Sword. It didn’t take long before she realized that she wasn’t putting out enough damage to reliably survive. She tossed the Training Sword back into her bags and pulled out her Greataxe of the Ebon Blade.

I hadn’t really noticed with other characters that the encounters in Tanaan get progressively more difficult. The Umbral Halls segment was where it really started to get hard. The mobs are so dense that I died three or four times to patrols — the Underpowered Death Knight can handle one enemy (counting a pack of three Void Wolves as one enemy) at a time, but not two and certainly not three! I had to attempt Ner’zhul’s lieutenant a few times before I managed to work out a proper sequence of interrupts and cooldowns, and even then, it was close. There were many times in the Umbral Halls where I felt like just giving up, retreating to Pandaria with hanging head, and coming back to Tanaan after she’d gotten to, say, level 95 or so — but I persevered and eventually got through it.

The first part of the Blackrock Quarry area was easier than I’d anticipated — partly because another player happened to be running through at the same time and cleared out a lot of the mob density. In the second part of the Blackrock Quarry area, I just could not get past the Burning Blade overseer that holds the key to Ga’nar’s shackles. I tried three times, pulling out all the stops in the Underpowered Death Knight’s no-spec-and-no-talents-limited spellbook, and I just could not put out enough damage to kill that guy before the magic damage from his set-you-on-fire debuff killed me. My two available damage mitigation abilities, Icebound Fortitude and Anti-Magic Shell, have CDs that were too long for me to use one every time the dude set me on fire, and using Death Strike on CD didn’t heal enough to keep me alive, either. I could tell from the trouble I was having that fight that I wouldn’t have a chance against that gronn by the big tank.

About that time, I ran out of health potions (which the Underpowered Death Knight can use if she loots them) and was close to running out of food. Feeling a little bit desperate, the Underpowered Death Knight summoned a Death Gate and went to Acherus to buy some food and runeforge the Iron Horde Waraxe that she had received upon deactivating the Dark Portal. A little more strength and stamina and a lot more raw weapon damage might be just what she needed to make it through the Tanaan Jungle and get her Garrison established while still being suitably challenged. After she got to Frostfire Ridge, perhaps she could go back to her trusty Greataxe of the Ebon Blade?

I tried again, another three or four times, switching from Blood Presence to Frost Presence to get more DPS and attempting to use my abilities even more effectively. Having to wait ten minutes between attempts due to the CD on Army of the Dead made my failures even more frustrating. It still wasn’t enough; the lowest I ever got the guy before he burned me to death was 26%. The Underpowered Death Knight’s schtick/gimmick/goal is to have ordinary leveling questing be a challenge, but this was becoming as maddeningly frustrating as the Thunder Forge and Celestial Challenge solo scenarios in the Mists Legendary questline had been.

Equipping just one of the Tanaan quest reward armor pieces might provide enough more stamina and strength to beat the fight… at the expense of one of the key factors of the “Underpowered” playstyle challenge concept. Although I long ago established that the Underpowered Death Knight may use her DK starting zone weapons, using the Iron Horde Waraxe was still a stretch of the “no gear” factor.

Defeated, the Underpowered Death Knight retreated back to Azeroth to lick her wounds, soak up easy XP from the Darkmoon Faire and holiday quests, do some archaeology, do some rep grinds in Pandaria, and try Tanaan again in another level or so.

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Friday night got us to level 92. Saturday, we finished up the Frostfire Ridge storylines (<3 Draka so much!) and headed into Gorgrond. There, we found such a bounty of bonus objectives that we were 94 in no time flat. Abandoning Gorgrond, we headed into Talador. In much the same way that the Dread Wastes feels like an amped-up version of the Ghostlands, Talador feels like an amped-up version of Eversong Woods. It’s got a very similar color palette and general terrain landscape, only with shiny crystal-studded art noveau blue and purple Draenei architecture instead of shiny crystal-studded art noveau red and gold Sin’dorei architecture. We cleaned out Talador pretty thoroughly, even getting all the bonus objectives, then headed into the Spires of Arak. We established our outpost there before calling it a day, having reached level 96 and already well on our way to 97.

It wasn’t until we established the outpost in Spires of Arak that I noticed that the main building of the outpost contained a Garrison Command Table. Huh. I went back to the other two outposts and found that their main buildings also contained Garrison Command Tables. So we could have just gone back to our outposts instead of hearthing back to our Garrisons themselves all day!

I am finding the missions and followers aspect of Garrisons quite compelling. My poor followers don’t get much chance to rest; as soon as one set of missions completes, I send them back out on another. I soon found myself wishing that Blizzard would make a Garrison Command Table app for smart phones, so that I can deploy my minions even when I’m not directly logged into the game!

The Garrison is already a much more appealing addition to the game for my personality type than Pet Battles were. I dabbled with Pet Battles as a mid-expansion umpteenth alt alternative leveling method, and they did work out quite well for that purpose. Once the Pet Battling Monk reached level 90, however, I stopped doing Pet Battles. I couldn’t even convince the Underpowered Death Knight to pick up the Pet Battling baton as a way for her to level. It didn’t help that my saved teams in the Pet Battle Teams addon seemed to get wiped every single time there was a patch/hotfixes. I’d decide to Pet Battle one day and have to re-organize my teams, then not think to Pet Battle again for another two or three weeks and come back to all my teams having been wiped again. That was really frustrating and discouraging. But still, if there were also an offline-mode Pet Battles app for smart phones, I might Pet Battle more often, too.

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BTH and I sat down to play together yesterday evening and only got a few quests into the Tanaan Jungle sequence before he lagged out and could neither properly log out nor do anything. My screen soon showed him as disconnected, whereas on his screen, he could still run all around — he just couldn’t interact with anything. While we were waiting for this situation to resolve, I looked around and noticed that a nearby NPC had the sort of funny name that I would normally associate with a player character. When I looked at the NPC, he had funny armor, too — it was a male Tauren Warrior named “Etubrute” decked out in the full Amani kit. So I had a look all around the steps of the Dark Portal, and everywhere I found pseudo-player character NPCs.

When I saw this guy, I just had to chuckle!

BTH did eventually get back into the game, and we were able to finish Tanaan, establish our Garrisons, take Bladespire Hold for the Frostwolves, and ding 91 before we logged off at about half-past midnight.

Here are all the pseudo-player NPCs I found in the battle at the Dark Portal: (more…)

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Kinevra has always had a mind of her own. A few months ago, I sent her to the Argent Tournament to complete my collection of Tournament mounts. While she was working on that task, her own end-of-the-OLRG-evening portal roulette sent her to Tol Barad a couple of times… and she started thinking that maybe she wanted the Spectral Steed, too. So when she finished up at the Tournament, off she went to Tol Barad.

I was still on a PvP server during most of Cataclysm, and with Tol Barad being a designated PvP zone, I just said NO to doing the dailies there. I never even set foot on Tol Barad except for a few times when my guild was raiding Baradin Hold and I was summoned to the meeting stone.

But Kinevra thought, hey, it’s an expansion later, and I’m on a PvE server, so I want to at least check it out.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that doing the dailies didn’t auto-flag me for PvP. I’d kind of expected that it would. After a few days of doing the dailies at the base camp, I decided to go to the battleground side during a time when the Alliance controlled it and check out the dailies there. I’d thought I might be auto-flagged for PvP just by going over there, or by doing the quests there, but again, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t.

An expansion later, on a PvE server, Tol Barad ain’t so bad.

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