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Archive for the ‘Questing’ Category

As I’ve been bopping around in the Shadowlands with Kaelinda and Kaurinka, I’ve discovered that I have specific mounts that I prefer for each zone. In Ardenweald, of course I’m using the Wildseed Cradle. In Bastion, since I’m not anywhere close to being Exalted with The Ascended and being able to get the Gilded Prowler, I’m using the Winged Guardian. In Maldraxxus, I like my Gilded Ravasaur because I think it expresses primal might and apex power while also being pleasing to look at. In Revendreth, Kaelinda prefers her Creeping Carpet, while Kaurinka has chosen the Crimson Direhorn*, and Keliora and Kalaneia will use the Swift Red Hawkstrider. Kaelyla has chosen the Fossilzed Raptor for Maldraxxus and the Smoky Charger for Revendreth.

Have you chosen mounts to fit the ambiance of the Shadowlands zones, or are you just continuing to ride your old standbys?

~*~*~

A question in a recent Blizzard Watch Queue asked if the Queue writer of the day/Queue commenters were spending their Anima on Sanctum upgrades or Covenant Armor upgrades. The Queue writer answered that she’d been spending it on Covenant Armor upgrades, and hadn’t upgraded any of the Sanctum features to stage 2 yet. That sounds like a rather good idea, actually, since with my very slow, meandering playstyle, Covenant Armor upgrades will be the path of least resistance to improving my gear. Of course, that means I have to actually finish my Covenant campaigns and get all of my base Covenant Armor sets…. Kaelinda is still stalled out at the beginning of Chapter 4 of the Venthyr campaign. I finally managed to push Kaurinka through Chapter 2 of the Night Fae campaign, though. By now both of them have their Renown more or less high enough that they could get to Renown 22 and access the final chapter of their Covenant campaigns just by powering through all the other chapters — so perhaps I should prioritize/focus on that for the next couple of weeks.

I’ve noticed — as I’m sure everyone else has by now — that the Calling each day is the same the for all of the Covenants. Everybody gets “Fill the Bar in Ardenweald”, or “Do 3 World Quests in Maldraxxus”, or whatever. I’ve also noticed that Callings tend to “stack” — one day will be “Fill the Bar in Zone A” and the next day will be “Do 3 World Quests in Zone A”, or something similar. I’ll often do Callings in my Covenant zone — Revendreth for Kaelinda and Ardenweald for Kaurinka — immediately, but wait for Callings in other zones to stack before I go do them.

Kaelinda has been having an easier time of finishing the 1000 Anima weekly lately, it seems. She’s got her Anima Conductor channel to the special treasure permanently activated and has been doing the special enemy channel (SMASH BAD BAT!!) for about a week. Kaurinka just permanently activated her special treasure channel; I’m looking forward to activating the special enemy channel, since I’ve read that for Night Fae, it’s encore performances at the theatre.

Now that I’ve run the easymode version of a Torghast wing in which Baine is found for Chapter 2 of the Covenant campaign twice, I’m not worried about getting through it with any of the rest of my characters. I still think I’ll only pursue the full Torghast quest chain from Bolvar with one character, though. Kaelinda does want to rescue Jaina, at least — eventually. I think my difficulty with both Torghast and the Maw is that I find them to be… tedious.

Meanwhile, I’ve also gotten distracted by collecting the armor sets from World Quests not for their potential to improve my item level but rather for their appearances. Just as with the leveling gear, each zone has its own recolor of the World Quest/Dungeon gear. With Kaelinda, I’m trying to get all of them, but with Kaurinka, I’m only going to get the Ardenweald set.

~*~*~

* These are the mounts that Kaurinka uses when she’s not Prowling in Cat Form, that is. She tends to spend most of her ground travel time in Cat Form, unless she’s going a relatively long distance along a road.

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Since reaching level 60 with Kaelinda and Kaurinka, I’ve spent a lot of time in Revendreth and Ardenweald, of course, and also Bastion.

For all of its grim ambiance, Revendreth has proved to be rather entertaining. The severity of the treatment received by the souls there and the seriousness of the Campaign to defeat Sire Denathrius is counterbalanced by the droll commentary of the Dredgers and the cheerful insanity of Duke Theotar. The WQs in the Redelav district, messing with those hoity toity Venthyr nobles, are particularly fun.

Ardenweald also is a pleasing blend of seriousness and whimsy, perfectly exemplified by Lady Moonberry’s WQ to rain sparkly destruction on the Drust at Tirna Noch. The introduction play in the first chapter of the Night Fae questline was just as hilarious as I’d heard that was — especially the audience reactions.

Kaurinka spent a lot of time in Bastion because she had “Aid Bastion” from Threads of Fate partially finished when she dinged 60. Although she would no longer get Renown from completing it, the gold reward was still worth getting. Bastion has seemed less fun than the other two zones, though perhaps I just haven’t yet seen — or have simply not done because I wasn’t interested in the offered reward — its more light-hearted WQs.

I haven’t done a thing in Maldraxxus. I think I’ve only gotten a Calling to go to Maldraxxus once, and I didn’t manage to get out there to do it before it expired. I suppose I’ll discover its hidden delights eventually.

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Kaelinda’s progress through the first chapter of the Venthyr Covenant campaign was slowed by searching out and doing a handful of side quests that she hadn’t discovered while leveling in Revendreth so as to finish up the Sojourner achievement for that zone. Eventually, I made my way through it and unlocked Threads of Fate for everyone else.

Except for Kaurinka, who was already most of the way through level 59 and chose Threads of Fate, they all chose to continue the story campaign. Kaurinka chose the Night Fae, then did “Aid Ardenweald” and part of “Aid Bastion” to get to level 60 and complete her initiation into the Night Fae. She has one more side quest left — the one that doesn’t unlock until a Covenant is chosen — to complete the Sojourner achievement for Ardenweald.

My opinion of Bastion and the Kyrian has gradually improved as I’ve visited the other zones. In Revendreth, too, the souls unburden themselves of the memories and experiences of their lives — though they do not completely forget who they were in life — and those who choose/are selected to become Venthyr take on new names and new forms, as the Kyrian do. I also understand now, which I didn’t quite at the beginning of my journey through the Shadowlands, that choosing a Covenant now doesn’t irrevokably bind my character’s soul to that realm & Covenant when she passes through the veil — the Arbiter (once we revive her, as I’m sure we’ll do by the end of the expansion) will still determine which realm is the most appropriate place for her. If I ever manage to get Kasheena up to level 50 and decide to bring her on to the Shadowlands, I’ll probably choose Kyrian with her. Having two Tauren Night Fae Druids would be rather redundant, don’t you think? I like the Kyrian leather set better than the Venthyr leather set, for a Tauren, at least (the Venthyr set would suit my Blood Elf Rogue or Demon Hunter quite nicely, though), and the Necrolords leather set is a flat NOPE.

In terms of progression through Covenant stories, I’m currently working on Venthyr, of course, and will probably continue to keep that Covenant in the lead. I’m next-most interested in Night Fae, then Kyrian, and Necrolords last. I am slow enough, and there is enough to do with each Covenant, that it might take me half of the expansion just to get through the 9.0 content! Looking at the sources for the four tints of the Covenant armor sets, it looks like I want to prioritize getting the Travel Network and the Special Feature up and running first, then the Anima Conductor to boost my Anima-gathering capability to supply the staggering amounts of Anima required to upgrade the other features and to purchase the various items of the armor sets. I might just ignore the Command Table/Adventures entirely, though.

Kaelinda is for the moment stalled out on the quest to go back into the Maw and ask Ve’nari for help getting into Torghast. I’ll likely do as little of both the Maw and Torghast as I can — basically just what the Covenant campaigns and Renown quests require of me. Other heroes of Azeroth can be the champion Maw Walkers, just as other heroes of Azeroth have been the ones to defeat the most challenging threats ever since we went to Draenor…

~*~*~

Meanwhile, Real Life is piling on distractions from Azeroth. I had an unusually light class schedule in Fall semester; for Spring, I have a much busier schedule of four lecture classes and two lab classes. Two of the lectures are the same course, but one section is MWFx50-mins and the other section is TThx75-mins, so they will require different preparation! I just had a birthday, and BTH gifted me Final Fantasy X and Horizon Zero Dawn on Steam. The last time I actively used Steam was while Portal 2 was the new hotness, so just getting my account reactivated is going to take some fuss and bother. BTH would like us to do parallel plays of FFX — we haven’t played a game together for a few years now — and I did enjoy watching him play HZD a couple of summers ago when a friend loaned BTH his PS4 while he was out of the country for the summer. Thus, my continuing progress through the Shadowlands is likely to be quite slow indeed.

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Revendreth was a nasty place. Kaelinda hated the things that she had been asked to do by Sire Denathrius and his courtiers. Even as those repugnant actions added to her own sinstone, she fervently hoped that her life in total had not been and would not become so overwhelmingly vile that, when the Spirit Healer (whom she now knew to be a Kyrian Watcher) at last said to her “go on” instead of “go back”, the Arbiter would send her soul here.

Indeed, of the four — no, five — realms of the Shadowlands that she had seen, Kaelinda did not particularly want her soul to be assigned to any of them. Hadn’t Tal-Inara said that there were “infinite afterlives”? Surely somewhere there was another realm that would be a more appropriate place for her soul.

Things got better after she finally managed to fall in with the rebels that she’d been hearing about from the beginning of her travels through the realm. The situation in Revendreth, and Prince Renathal’s rebellion, reminded her, in certain aspects, superficially, of various situations she’d encountered before. The Scryers in Outland. The flightless Arakkoa in Spires of Arak. The Nightfallen of Suramar.

Though none of the four realms felt like a place where she truly belonged, nonetheless she had to choose one of the four Covenants to pledge herself to. After reviewing the options, she felt like she had the most to give — that her skills and experience were best suited — to assisting the Venthyr.

Furthermore, she had heard rumors that Prince Kael’thas’s soul had been assigned to Revendreth, and she was keenly interested to find out, if she could, his fate. Though of the three options — redeemed and returned to the Arbiter for reassignment to another realm of the Shadowlands, redeemed and become one of the Venthyr, or unredeemed and consigned to the Maw — she was not sure which she wanted it to be.

~*~*~

I was doing the side quests for each area before I accepted the main story quest to move along to the next area, and so I dinged noveau-60 partway through the third chapter of the main story.

I died a lot in Revendreth. I had a stack of about 20 Legion augment runes sitting in my bags and I went through all of them.

I will probably end up doing LFR of Castle Nathria with Kaelinda at least once at some point during the expansion, just to close out the Venthyr story properly — and for the skybox changes that occur after defeating certain of its bosses. After looking at the quartermasters, though, I see that the Castle Nathria weapons are simply recolors of the Covenant weapon models available by other means — which means that I don’t need to go chasing the Castle Nathria weapon tokens.

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Kaelinda blasted and burned her way through Ardenweald and didn’t have as much trouble with survival as I thought she might. Well, she did have to sit down and eat frequently, but with Mage Food, she wouldn’t run out.

Kaurinka didn’t ask Korenth to sing and dance, but Kaelinda did — and she was rewarded with some different conversation text when she turned in the quest to Lady Moonberry!

With Kaelinda, I noticed some neat visual effects during some of the quests that I’d completely missed with Kaurinka, perhaps because they didn’t show up on the Boomkin shapeshift. I’d been thinking about doing Threads of Fate from the beginning with Kaelya, who will pledge to the Night Fae, but now I want to level her through Ardenweald properly so I can take screenshots with those neat quest visuals — and maybe have a Mog to go with them!

Kaelinda was 65% through level 58 when she finished the main storyline of Ardenweald.

I continued immediately on to Revendreth — a zone which I will very likely only play completely through once. I didn’t do much there before I logged off for the night, though. First impressions: it’s like a mashup of Gilneas and the Forsaken town The Sepulcher, dialed up to, like, 13.

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Kaurinka felt like she already knew Ardenweald. One winter when she was an adolescent, she had gotten pneumonia and nearly died. She remembered little of her illness, except that it had seemed that while her body lay delirious in her tribe’s longhouse, her spirit had wandered freely over the dark, snowy landscape around the camp. Out of the corners of her eyes, she’d caught glimpses of towering, sigil-scribed trees with swirling, starry canopies, and underneath them, smaller trees, or maybe bushes, laden with glowing blue globes — but when she turned to try to look at them straight on, she saw only the normal, familiar trees. What was that place?, she had wondered many times during all the years that had followed. And now, here she was. If I had managed to find that place, and walk between those trees, she realized, I would have died.

~*~*~

I felt much weaker in Ardenweald than I had in Bastion or Maldraxxus. Enemies were harder to kill and took off more of my health in the process. I was using Regrowth more-or-less rotationally just to stay alive, which makes me rather worried for the survivability of my other characters.

Although I did a couple of side quests in Bastion with both Kaelinda and Kaurinka, I ignored side quests entirely in Maldraxxus. I wanted to know the whole story of Ardenweald with Kaurinka, so she did all the side quests. In the process, I discovered that for each zone, there’s one Achievement for completing the main storyline of the zone and another Achievement for doing all of the side quests* — and that both Achievements are required for each zone to complete the Loremaster meta-Achievement. Unlike Legion and Battle for Azeroth, side quests are not optional for Loremaster**! Fortunately, Loremaster is an account-wide meta-Achievement, so I can continue with my original plan of having the character who will pledge to the Covenant of each zone do its side quests — Keliora will do all the side quests of Bastion, Kalaneia will do all the side quests of Maldraxxus, and Kaelinda will do all the side quests of Revendreth — while all the others just barrel through the main questline.

Between the Rest that I accumulated last week and doing all the side quests, Kaurinka was 58% through level 59 when she finished the main zone storyline. She’ll now slumber in Ardenweald until Kaelinda has activated Threads of Fate, then use Threads of Fate to select the Night Fae as her Covenant and level the remainder of the way to 60.

Lorewise, Ardenweald delivered on the themes of heartbreaking loss and sacrifice promised by its Afterlives short. (more…)

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I went through Maldraxxus quite slowly with Kaelinda; for various reasons, I averaged about one chapter in a sitting. Kaurinka burned through it in two sessions (maybe because it was the weekend?).

The second playthrough of the zone went a lot more quickly and smoothly than the first because I knew where to find the quest objectives, what I needed to do for some of the less obvious quest objectives, better ways to path through things. This is, of course, how it goes in every expansion. I found myself wondering, should I send someone else through Ardenweald first, so Kaurinka can have a smoother run? I quickly dismissed that thought — the most valuable part of the first playthrough is that the story is completely fresh and new and full of surprises, and I want to be learning the Ardenweald story fresh and new and full of surprises with Kaurinka.

To allow Kaurinka to Rest awhile before she continues her journey onward to Ardenweald, however, I’m going to spend the next few nights bringing Kalaneia, Keliora, and Kaelyla through the Maw to Oribos.

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Maldraxxus was a monstrous landscape that Kaelinda was anxious to escape as soon she could complete her mission from the Overseers to discover the cause of the Maldraxxi invasion of Bastion.

She was unexpectedly… what was the right word? charmed, perhaps? by some of the personalities she met there. Gruff Bonesmith Heirmir. Poor mad Plague Deviser Marileth! (But would he have been quite so likeable before the fall of his House and the breaking of his mind?) Bold Secutor Mevix. Baroness Draka — and those other two high-ranking Azerothian souls. The superb voice acting was what really won me over about all of these characters.

Being in Maldraxxus made Kaelinda feel powerful, and like she came from a World that is Powerful, in a way that she didn’t feel while in Bastion. Indeed, Azeroth is a Powerful World! It was her people (with some help from the peoples of Argus and Draenor, to be sure) who stopped the Burning Legion from destroying their world and defeated Sargeras! It was her people who have turned back multiple Old Gods from claiming their world for the Void! But ah, beware the Sha of Pride! Nonetheless, being Maldraxxi isn’t quite the thing for Kaelinda — but it will definitely be the thing for Kalaneia.

I liked that Maldraxxus wasn’t as linear as Bastion. After the first two chapters, three of the remaining chapters unlocked simultaneously, and I could pursue them in any order I wished. That will make it more interesting to replay.

I was surprised — and very pleased — to discover a follow-up to the ending of the Bastion storyline; I’m not sure why that surprised me, but it did. Probably because it has been a long, long time since zone storylines were intertwined in such a way. Maybe because this particular questline seemed to be an even more thorough integration of leveling storylines between two zones than I can remember happening ever before (though of course there is much I have forgotten about the storylines of past expansions). I’d been planning to have Keliora do all of Bastion before turning on Threads of Fate; now I think I’ll take her through the first two chapters of Maldraxxus, then that specific chapter, too.

By the time I got to the fourth or fifth chapter, I was wondering what the connection between Maldraxxus and Ardenweald was going to be… (more…)

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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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