Archive for the ‘Screenshots’ Category

By the time Brewfest ended, the Darkmoon Faire was in session. Once again, Thaddeus Paleo scowled at the Underpowered Death Knight, saying, “Your Archaeology skill has stagnated. Come back when you have begun to improve your skill again and are finding more interesting fragments.” Professor Paleo had been telling her that she needed to improve her skill for… could it really have been so many months? Had he been saying that ever since the Vanguard went through the reddened Dark Portal?… OH. Although she could survey digsites anywhere in Pandaria, Pandaria no longer contained the most dangerous known regions. Those places were now on the other side of the Dark Portal, on Draenor.

Ah, and in talking with other Cloud Serpent novices, she’d learned that Jenova Longeye occasionally asked them to search for artifacts that might relate to the history of that Order. It would be good to be able to improve her surveying skill while performing that task.

The Underpowered Death Knight supposed that perhaps she should pay a visit to Frostwall Garrison just to learn where to find an Archaeology trainer on Draenor, and maybe to do a little bit of digging herself in the country roundabout — there were always new tricks to be learned when surveying a completely new location.

She followed the directions that had been enclosed in Kamalia’s letter.

Frostwall, with its rocky terrain, swirling wind and snow, and steaming, volcano-heated cave, stirred in the Underpowered Death Knight’s mind a faint nostalgic longing for her youth, traveling the mountains between the Howling Fjord and the Grizzly Hills and camping by the hot springs.

Lady Sena cracks me up. I haven’t been able to find her in the level 2 or level 3 Garrison, though… I wonder where she and Mr Pleeb go?

The Underpowered Death Knight dinged 96 during Brewfest, so she could, in theory, have opened up the Mine, Fishing Shack, and Herb Garden and, after collecting enough resources, upgraded them all to level 2. I chose to leave her Garrison at Level 1. Thus, without the big book o’ blueprints rewarded from the quest to upgrade the Town Hall to level 2, her only available large building is the Barracks, and her only available small building will be the Salvage Yard — when she reaches an appropriate level to do the quest chain that rewards that blueprint. I’m not going to do much with her Followers, so she just has the Fab Five team of the ones that are the first and easiest to recruit — Olin, Vivianne, Fen Tao, Ka’la, and Ulna.

After reporting at Frostwall, the Underpowered Death Knight travelled to Warspear on the contested island of Ashran in search of an Archaeology trainer. When she inquired about training, however, the woman just shrugged at her.

“I ain’t got nothin’ to teach ya, toots. If ya wanna learn more, ya gotta just get out there and dig. And don’t let those Reliquary goons get in the way of a good find.”

So the Underpowered Death Knight went to dig at some ogre ruins near the outskirts of Shattrath (she got quite distracted for some time exploring the great city and marvelling at its extent and beauty), and to her great surprise, her very first surveying efforts uncovered a brittle cartography journal. The document was written in a language she did not recognize, but the diagrams, illustrating techniques for such things as laying out and recording a digsite and preserving and cataloging artifacts, were clear enough to understand.

But when the Underpowered Death Knight returned to the Faire, Professor Paleo still didn’t want any more fossil fragments. It seemed that he hadn’t wanted fragments from anyone except newly-trained Archaeologists since about midsummer. Why, no-one understood.

She was glad, though, that she had gone to Frostwall. Doing so had allowed her to prove her strength against some of Draenor’s creatures, and she had been strong enough… mostly… if she was careful about choosing what to fight. Nevertheless, she thought it best to finish what she had started in Pandaria before spending much more time on Draenor.

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There was something different about the world this morning.

At first, Kerisa couldn’t quite put her finger on just what it was. The sky was the same overcast grey as every other day, with snowflakes floating lazily down into the drifts against which the Garrison staff waged constant war. But the breeze felt fresher somehow, and as she looked up at the sky again, a rylak matriarch and her brood swooped over the Garrison, screaming at each other.

A group of large creatures flying

There were many small flying creatures on Draenor, birds and insects and such, but it seemed that only the strongest individuals of the larger winged creatures could actually fly. In Nagrand, the great windrocs hovered only a few feet above the grass instead of soaring above the trees. The Frostwolf Orcs celebrated those who could successfully tame and ride a flight-capable rylak. Likewise, the Laughing Skull Orcs occasionally managed to tame and ride flight-capable ravagers. Kerisa had heard that in Shadowmoon Valley, the Draenei had tamed fey dragons, which were unusual in that almost all of them could fly.

As the forces from Azeroth had settled in, their wyverns and gryphons had only been able to make short flights from outpost to outpost. Even that was exhausting for the beasts. People who kept stables of personal flying mounts had been sorely distressed by the inability of those creatures to make more than pathetic fluttering hops.

Ever since she had come to Draenor, Kerisa had been quite unable to shift into Stormcrow form. Every time she’d tried it, she’d found herself inexorably shifting into Stag form instead. She’d eventually concluded that there was some enchantment on the land that prevented most large creatures from flying — an ancient warding of the Gorian/Highmaul ogre empire, perhaps, or maybe a working of the High Arakkoa, jealously guarding the skies for themselves.

The sky… the sky did not feel so heavy today. Though she knew not how it could have been done, could the enchantment have been lifted? Or just… worn off? As soon as she had the thought, she began experimentally shifting into Stormcrow form — and instead of feeling her intentions thrust aside, her limbs involuntarily slimming toward delicate hooves and her horns stretching into a great crown of antlers, she felt her fur transforming into long, elegant feathers and her muzzle reshaping into a sharp, curved beak.

Crowing triumphantly, Kerisa spread her wings and flew.

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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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After I’d been taking an alt to battle Stone Cold Trixxy every day for awhile, I decided to station a couple of other alts at the two other satchel-giving Grand Master trainers I’ve unlocked so far, Lydia Accoste and Blood Knight Antari. Flying back to Shadowmoon Village one evening after having given the smackdown to Antari, I was suddenly struck by the similarity between Shadowmoon Village on Outland and Lunarfall Garrison on Draenor.

The two settlements are in corresponding locations on their respective zone maps.

With no flying and all those trees in the lush, living Shadowmoon Valley of Draenor, it’s a little harder to get a good aerial view of Lunarfall Garrison than to get an aerial view of Shadowmoon Village in Outland, but both settlements have very similar terraced terrain.

The view from Overlord Or’barokh’s command tower, looking down the hill to the main gate of the village gives me an eerie sense of deja vu to the view from Lunarfall Town Hall, looking down the hill to the main gate of the garrison.



The Lunarfall Barracks is in the same place as the Shadowmoon Village Inn, and I have put my Lunarfall Barn in the same place as the Shadowmoon Village Stables!


The terrain isn’t exactly the same, in the way that nothing about Draenor is exactly the same as Outland — but it’s close enough. Lunarfall Garrison and Shadowmoon Village are the same place.

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The Field Photographer achievement requires characters to visit the Maelstrom in Dragon Soul and the Frozen Throne in Icecrown Citadel. I’m sure there are folks out there who are skilled enough to solo their way to those places, but I sure am not!
We ought to hit up the Terrace of Endless Spring (and Blackwing Descent and Naxxramas), too, because I’ve heard that there are Music Rolls to be found in there…

What do you think? When might be a good time for it? I’ve got RL events on Saturday evenings for the next few weeks, but what about Friday the 27th?

Tauren selfies look so silly! Especially when I’m trying to get Pepe into the shot, too :P

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Yesterday, one week after dinging 100 and two weeks after going to Draenor, Kamalia upgraded her Garrison to Tier 3.

I promptly put in an Inn, a War Mill, and a Salvage Yard. I’ll leave the Lumber Mill up until I get my Barracks to level 3 and my Inn to level 2, then take it down and put the Barn back up.

No sooner had I upgraded my Garrison to level 3 than this fellow showed up:

Have you guys seen him yet?

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Hallow’s End was good to the Underpowered Death Knight this year. She started out somewhere in the middle of 83. Between the dailies and trick-or-treat touring, this happened when she’d completed Northrend, Eastern Kingdoms, and most of Kalimdor —

She finished up Kalimdor, did the tour of Outland, and went under the sea —

Finishing up the Azerothian candy tour and dailies over the next few days got her halfway to 86.

Then it was time to go to Pandaria!

Hey, what’s that lout still doing hanging around here?!

Once she got on the ground, she ignored the rest of Jade Forest questing to look for candy buckets. I quickly discovered that if a Horde character who is still hostile to the Forest Hozen tries to run through hozen settlements that later become allied with the Horde (Camp Nooka Nooka and Grookin Hill) the hozen there will treat them as if they are Alliance — Elite guards will spawn and one-shot the hapless character with their bows, and they will be PvP-flagged when they rez. I did manage to get the Grookin Hill candy bucket, though!

Except that you won’t be here very much longer, now will you?

The candy buckets, exploration XP, and a couple of fortuitously-placed (that is to say, not very dangerous) Pandarian Archaeology digsites soon got the Underpowered Death Knight to level 86. I hadn’t been able to get the Eastwind Rest candy bucket because of the quest phasing, and while I could have tried to get a summon into the Vale for the two candy buckets there, I didn’t try very hard. Instead, I went back to Kalimdor and did some more Archaeology until she dinged 87. Then she could do the quests to open up Eastwind Rest and the Vale. Because I wanted to succeed at these quests fairly quickly, I didn’t bother using her usual weak weapon, but instead equipped her Greataxe of the Ebon Blade.

The Vrykul Drinking Horn enlarges my Tauren Female player character to approximately the size that I would expect a female Yaungol of the same scale as this male Yaungol to be.

Somewhat surprisingly, Ur-Bataar proved to be more difficult than Varian Wrynn the Spirit of Hatred! She died twice to Ur-Bataar and only succeeded the third time because a Night Elf Shadow Priest came along and joined the fight. In contrast, the Spirits of Anger, Violence, and Hatred in Xuen’s trials went down fairly easily — perhaps because I already know all their tricks and how to avoid them, whereas Ur-Bataar is simply a contest of raw power?

Now I am somewhat tempted to spend the next couple of weeks until Warlords pushing her through to become one last 90 before the level cap goes up…

Meanwhile, my ensemble of level 90 characters were taking their daily turns to whack the Headless Horseman. They collected almost enough Magic Brooms to completely outfit six Quidditch teams —

— just about as many Sinister Squashlings (I didn’t count those because I just threw them away), and a handful of helmets and swords… but no Horseman’s Reins. :(

Now that this holiday stuff is over and won’t be eating up all my playtime anymore, I’ll be able to go do that pre-launch world event quest chain in the Blasted Lands and run the new UBRS a few times. I should do it with Kamalia and Kaprikka — the two characters who I know for sure will be going to Draenor — even if I don’t manage to do it with anyone else.

Finally, here’s my other Death Knight’s annual Horseman’s Helmet outfit:

Grave Moss

The Horseman’s Horrific Hood, Crystalvein shoulders chestpiece & gloves, Field Plate Girdle, Antique Reinforced Legguards, Pyrelord Greaves, Gravestone War Axe*/Greataxe of Stonard
I thought about making black “Grim Reaper”-type outfit to go with this axe, but somehow that seemed excessively cliche. These greens look better with the glowing helmet, anyway.

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