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Archive for the ‘Questing’ Category


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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After a week in Tanaan Jungle, I’ve managed to reach Honored with all three factions. The Vol’jin’s Headhunters rep comes the fastest and easiest, and I’ll probably get them all the way to Exalted just by the default of always running the oil daily. I’m not sure which of the other two will end up being the slowest. I only plan to do Saberstalker rep through the Rumble in the Jungle weekly and the Tooth and Claw daily — whenever it happens to pop up. How quickly I’ll get through Order of the Awakened is a convoluted function of how quickly I deplete the treasures on the map and many rares I stumble across each day.

I’ve been playing the Shipyard very conservatively, only sending ships out if I can get the mission success chance to 100% by replacing equipment. This means, however, that I’ve been running through Garrison Resources like water. Yesterday, I took BBB’s advice and replaced my Barn with a Lumber Mill to generate more resources (though I have kept my Lumber Mill at level 2 because I don’t want the creepy Botani on my Garrison staff). I haven’t been picky about crews thus far. I do like the halved mission time from the Sin’dorei crew and the doubled XP from the Tauren crew, but I haven’t gotten a single piece of salvaged equipment from missions run with a Troll crew. I have a couple of Expert Captain missions available right now, so I suppose I should send a destroyer and a submarine out to be scuttled so that I can have a chance at getting the ones with Murloc crews. I should probably try for more Forsaken and Pandaren crews, too.

I’ve managed to collect all of the dropped ship equipment blueprints — even the Ghostly Spyglass! I jumped into LFR last night to get the Gyroscopic Internal Stabilizers; when I zoned in, the group was at Iron Reaver, so I got my blueprint and then made like a scrub and left. Oddly, I would have been more inclined to stay all the way through to the end if I’d zoned in at or before the first boss. Camping Captain Ironbead and hunting all the other rares and having to dip into LFR has been a hassle with one character — it’ll be a nuisance to do it with many characters. I probably won’t play the Shipyard extensively with anyone other than Kamalia… so why am I collecting oil with my other characters’ followers? Probably because it feels more rewarding to have my followers out collecting something that might be useful than to have them sitting idle.

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~*~*~
Something about the abandoned docks where the Hungry Riverbeast came ashore felt hauntingly familiar.


As Kamalia turned around and caught sight of the road leading away from the far side of the docks, the memories returned in a terrifying, overwhelming rush…


The bodies were gone, of course.


In this climate, in this jungle, after so many months, it was inevitable.


But as Kamalia and Draka fought their way up the road, Kamalia spied fluttering scraps of bright cloth snagged in the briars, and Azerothian pauldrons, helmets, and weapons half-buried in the mud.


Her heart ached again for the cost of war, for the valiant members of the Vanguard, Horde and Alliance alike, and for the rescued Frostwolves and draenei who had fallen in that final, panicked, headlong rush toward the (relative) safety of the boats.

Kamalia knew that Tanaan Jungle corresponded to the Hellfire Peninsula region of Outland. Studying the map, she knew that Vol’mar was in the same location, relative to the Dark Portal and Hellfire Citadel, as Thrallmar. But just as with Shadowmoon Valley, this land was so rich and full and overgrown with life that she could not make the terrain align in her mind. Really, this Draenor was so different from the Draenor that had become Outland (especially in the relative homeland locations of the orcish clans), that it was astonishing that it had spawned a collection of Warlords with the same names, and a Durotan and a Draka, at all.

~*~*~

Gameplay-wise, I’m enjoying this patch. With Vivianne at her side, Kamalia has been able to handle just about everything she’s encountered… except for the demons at the Throne of Kil’jaeden and the saberon in Fangri’la. I’ll have to be diligent about getting myself into Saberstalker rep groups for Rumble in the Jungle at the beginning of each week if I want to get this rep done at any kind of reasonable speed. The Vol’mar rep doesn’t seem like it will be too bad to do. The Arakkoa rep will be a bit harder; I’ve actually been deliberately ignoring treasures that I see so that I will still have treasures to collect for the treasure-finding/rare-killing daily for as long as possible.

I’m enjoying the Shipyard and Naval Missions (so far). I think it’s a nifty iteration on the original followers & missions mechanics of the Garrison. I like the gameplay depth of being able to customize my ships for specific missions by changing their equipment. I’ve found about half of the equipment blueprints I need; I still need to keep my eyes peeled for the rares that drop the remaining blueprints and brave the first wing of Hellfire Citadel LFR for the Gyroscopic Internal Stabilizer blueprint. Swapping out equipment is slowly draining my cache of Garrison Resources, though, so I suppose I ought to start using my Trading Post (as long as I have it up anyway for rep purposes) to generate resources.

At this point, I am thinking that I will take only three of my alts to Tanaan: Kerisa the Druid, who is my Scribe, to get the Glyph of Ascendance technique from the rare who drops it; Keija the Warrior, to get the Forgotten Champion’s Blade; and Kaylynda the Alliance Mage.

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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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