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Archive for the ‘Shadowlands’ Category

The implications of unrestricted Covenant swapping once at least one alt has reached Renown 80, combined with RL factors that are pushing me toward focusing on fewer alts, and how very far behind the content consumption curve I am, are leading me to contemplate some rather dramatic changes to my plans for which characters will do what for the remainder of Shadowlands.

Specifically, I am thinking about proceeding through the rest of the expansion with only Kaelinda and Kaelyla, and setting aside all other alts until the end-of-expansion doldrums (though I’ll still bring Kamalia through to the Heart of the Forest).

Kaelinda is at Renown 68 and could get to Renown 80 soon enough if I start doing Return Lost Souls and/or Callings again in addition to Replenish the Reservoir. Kaelyla is at Renown 62 and could also reach Renown 80 fairly soon if I put more effort into obtaining Renown.

Kaelinda is Venthyr, and from having done the Venthyr Campaign, I know that it intersects with/shares a climactic cinematic with the Necrolords Campaign. Kaelyla is Night Fae, and I’ve been spoiled enough to know that the Night Fae Campaign intersects with/shares a climactic cinematic with the Kyrian Campaign.

Kaelinda is Exalted with all of the 9.0 leveling zone factions. The Undying Army have cosmetic backpieces available for Exalted+Necrolords; the Ascended do not have any cosmetics for Exalted+Kyrian.

So, my thoughts are running thusly —
1) Get both Kaelinda and Kaelyla to Renown 80
2) Do Night Fae Campaign with Kaelyla
3a) Covenant swap Kaelinda to Necrolords and do Necrolords Campaign, perhaps as Kaelydia or as a yet-to-be-discovered new Alter Ego
3b) Covenant swap Kaelyla to Kyrian and do Kyrian Campaign as a new Alter Ego who is a never-left-the-Alliance High Elf, using one of the new natural hair color customization options for Void Elves that are coming in Patch 9.1.5
4) Covenant swap Kaelinda and Kaelyla back to their “home” Covenants
5) Do Korthia Campaign with both Kaelinda and Kaelyla
6a) Collect Venthyr and Night Fae sets from Korthia dailies
6b) Get to Exalted with Death’s Advance with both Kaelinda and Kaelyla and obtain the Venthyr and Night Fae sets from that source
7) Covenant swap Kaelinda and Kaelyla to their secondary Covenants
8a) Collect Necrolords and Kyrian sets from Korthia dailies and Death’s Advance
8b) Obtain any 9.0 Necrolords and Kyrian cosmetic items that I am interested in acquiring
9) Covenant swap Kaelinda and Kaelyla back to their home Covenants
10a) Do Ember Court and Broken Mirrors with Kaelinda until shoulders of the associated Venthyr Campaign set recolors have been obtained
10b) Do Queen’s Conservatory with Kaelyla until the associated recolor of the Night Fae Campaign set and the pink/purple version of the moths backpiece have been obtained
11) Round-robin Kaelinda and Kaelyla through the Covenants they haven’t been in yet so as to get access to all Covenant cosmetics
12) Return Kaelinda and Kaelyla to their home Covenants
13) Repeat this process as necessary to collect all Covenant cosmetics from 9.2, etc, until the end of the expansion

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Like my four year-old who is so excited for Halloween, I “can’t wait” for Patch 9.1.5 because I’m so excited to be able to bring Kamalia to the Shadowlands without having to go through that introductory Maw experience one more time. As I’ve played with my Mages, Druid, Priest, and Warlock, I’ve found myself missing slinging Flame Shocks and Lava Bursts and Chain Lightnings and Earthquakes as an Elemental Shaman. I also just miss being Kamalia because she’s my oldest and “flagship” character.

With Kamalia in the Shadowlands, I’ll have three of the four armor classes there. That makes it tempting to also bring out my Paladin, Karelia. Then I’d want to bring my Tauren Priest, Kaohana, so that I’ll have all four armor classes as Tauren, and because the twins don’t like to be separated. But I know that that’s more alts than I can really manage, so I am telling myself quite firmly that I am only going to advance Kamalia.

I plan to matriculate Kamalia with the Night Fae and then slowly level her with my favorite no or minimal combat World Quests. After Kamalia has acquired all of the Night Fae stuff I’d like her to have, I’ll covenant swap her to the Kyrian to get their gorgeous set — at least the Campaign coloration; I may or may not also go for the Renown coloration — then swap back to the Night Fae.

In thinking about what kind of Covenant hopping I might want to do with my other characters, I began to think about which characters I might want to bring ahead to 10.0. Which characters will need to cycle through all the Covenants so that they’ll have access to all the things to Mog with in the future? Over the past few expansions (Shadowlands included), I’ve figured out that I can handle about four active characters at a time. The four characters I want to keep actively playing for as long as I keep playing WoW are Kamalia, Kerisa, Kaelinda, and Kaelyla. Kamalia only wants Night Fae and Kyrian stuff, and Kerisa only wants Night Fae stuff. It’s just the Mages who really want stuff from all four of the Covenants. So, after Kaelinda has reached 80 Renown and unlocked unlimited Covenant hopping, and after I’ve completed all of the 9.0 Covenant Campaigns with the designated characters, I’ll want Kaelinda and Kaelyla to each take turns with all of the Covenants. I’m imagining having them work together to collect the sets from the Korthia daily quests…

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Hmm, hmm, hmm — now that brown will be an available hair color for Void Elves in Patch 9.1.5, I’ll be able to make Kaelyla’s pre-Telogrus Incident appearance with the toon Kaelyla herself. This opens up some interesting storytelling possibilities — Kaelyla as her pre-Fall of Quel’thalas self, with brown skin and brown hair and blue eyes, in Alliance locations; Kaelinda as Kaelyla’s post-Fall of Quel’thalas-pre-Telogrus Incident self, with brown skin and brown hair and green eyes, in Horde locations; Kaelyla as her post-Telogrus Incident self, with blue skin and blue hair and blue eyes, in Alliance locations.
Hmm, hmm, hmm — but I think I’ll still end up creating a new Alter Ego of Kaelyla who will be an Alliance High Elf through and through.

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My WoW playing lately has been driven or dominated by what Kaylriene has recently discussed as the time-wasting or “hamster wheel” aspects of the game. I’m still logging in almost every day, but I’m just doing Anima Conductor Treasures and my favorite super-easy WQs to get my 1K Anima each week. I’m marking time, making minimal increments of progression toward Transmogrification collecting goals (by the proxies of collecting Renown and Anima and Grateful Offerings) between the widely-spaced opportunities when I feel like I have enough time and attention to do a segment of story progression.

Transmogrification is where I get the most fun out of WoW, as you might guess from the persistence and prominence of “Sunday on the Promenade” as a feature of this blog. I love designing new outfits & looks for my characters. With each expansion and patch, I am most interested in finding out what nifty new things there will be to wear and what interesting new character customizations will be available. I catalog which items are both awesome looking and not overly difficult to acquire relative to the comfort zone of my playstyle, then focus my gameplay toward obtaining those items and making outfits with them.

Although I am so, so far behind on experiencing the current storylines, I’ve appreciated and agreed with posts about how the story of WoW is struggling in Shadowlands such this one by Kaylriene and this one by Redbeard.

I’ve found that I engage with the story of Azeroth most at what I think of as the “middle” level — the zone and Campaign storylines. The “little” side-quest storylines can be quite interesting, but I don’t make the effort to search out all of them. As for the “big” overall narrative, well… it lost me in Warlords of Draenor.

For me, the premise of Warlords of Draenor was just a little too reality-warping, even for a fantasy universe. By interacting with the Draenor of the other timeway in such drastic ways, we essentially pulled it out of its original timeway into our own timeway. Between that and the magnitude of the differences between Draenor and Outland, I am more comfortable thinking of Draenor as just another continent (that happens to be on another world) than as a version of the past of Outland. Then there was the “boys’ trip” kerfluffle, which was only tokenly addressed by the roles of Draka and Yrel — and was a clue to Blizzard’s now very public internal woes.

Legion had a good overall premise and narrative. I think that we could have gotten to the premise of “the Burning Legion comes roaring back to Azeroth and we have to make our Final Stand and Stop Them For Good This Time” by another route that didn’t involve timeway shenanigans and alt-Gul’dan.

Battle for Azeroth‘s main premise and Sylvanas and N’Zoth narratives lost me again. I also couldn’t ever quite get over the cognitive dissonance of having the Zandalari be our enemies in Kun-Lai Summit and Isle of Thunder, then our buddy-buddies in Dazar’alor with seemingly very few hard feelings — even with the handwaving that the Zandalari invaders in Pandaria were Zul loyalists whose activities were not officially sanctioned by King Rastakhan, and that Princess Talanji had concluded that the best folks to help her with the Blood Troll problem would be the ones who had thoroughly kicked the butts of that rogue group.

And then there’s Shadowlands, in which I will be more interested, when I finally get there, in how the 9.1 Campaign advances the smaller Covenant narratives than in what it discloses about the larger Sylvanas-and-Jailer’s plot narrative. Because I don’t really care about it, I’ve let myself get spoiled about the Sylvanas-and-Jailer’s plot narrative while trying to stay only minimally spoiled about the advancement of the Covenant storylines.

In each of these expansions, because of my playstyle, I’ve felt like my character’s actions and interactions have mattered the most on the zone-leveling and Garrison/Order Hall/Suramar/Covenant Campaign storyline level. I feel like I could, if I so desired, write an in-character RP story about how my character(s) participated in and thought and felt about these events. The Battle for Azeroth War Campaign, however, was just a vehicle for showing me what was happening in the faction war because the events that happened weren’t things I was particularly enthused about having my characters actually be participants in doing (except for rescuing Baine from Sylvanas — Kamalia did help out with that!). I feel the same about the Torghast questchain and the Sylvanas-and-Jailer’s plot stuff in Shadowlands — it’s a way to show me what is happening with the faction leaders, but it’s not really stuff that my characters would be personally involved in doing. I may be a Big Damn Hero, but I’m not that much of a Big Damn Hero.

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Come Patch 9.1.5, the Maw Intro will be skippable at last! Time and time again I’ve thought about bringing Kamalia and Karaelia into the Shadowlands so that I’d have a character of each armor class there, but just couldn’t stomach doing the Maw Intro again.
Once one character has completed a 9.0 Covenant campaign, alts who join the same Covenant will be able to skip to the end! I intend to have Kamalia join the Night Fae and Karaelia join the Kyrian immediately upon arriving in Oribos using Threads of Fate. When they eventually reach level 60, it’ll be great to not have to run them through the Campaign storylines before I can get to the business of Mog collecting.
Covenant swapping will be easy to do once a certain Renown threshold has been reached, and all unlocked Covenant rewards will always be accessible regardless of current Covenant affiliation! This means that once Kamalia has acquired her Night Fae set(s) and reached the required Renown level, she can hop over to the Kyrian and get their set(s), then hop back to the Night Fae, and be able to use all of those awesome appearances!
Even if I don’t do anything with Kamalia and Karaelia in the Shadowlands until much later in the lifecycle of the expansion, I’ll still be happy to have them settled in with their intended Covenants.
~*~*~
I’m also pretty spiffed about the new customizations for Void Elves. We’ve got warm silver, platinum blonde, honey blonde, red-gold, and cherry red as “natural” hair colors for Void Elves. I suspect that a new Alter Ego for Kaelyla will show up who will have “natural” skin tone and hair color — a proper Alliance High Elf!

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…is the Spectacles, of course!


Several years ago, I drew Kamalia wearing glasses.

None of This Nonsense, Please



Dazzling Spectacles, Black Velvet Robes, Shadow Council Boots, Tower of Theramore
Patricia C Wrede is my favorite author; The Enchanted Forest Chronicles are my favorite of her works; Morwen is my favorite character in that series. I was thirteen or fourteen when I first met Morwen, and I wanted to be like her when I grew up (spoiler alert: I’m not as much like her as I thought I wanted to be). When I was first venturing onto the internet over twenty years ago, I used “Morwen” as my screenname. So somehow it was no surprise that my primary Mage character ended up with an appearance very much like Morwen’s description. The Dazzling Spectacles are what I needed to finally complete that look!

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This weekend, I finished leveling Kaelyla. By the time she’d seen the vision of Ysera’s death and done the next two quests, she was 98% through level 59. At that point, I took her to Oribos and activated Threads of Fate. After completing next couple of quests to talk to Lady Moonberry, she was so close to dinging that I just went and did a little gathering to push it over instead of working on the “Aiding Ardenweald” fill-the-bar quest. I got her through Chapter 1 of the Night Fae campaign; now she’s gathering Renown, Souls, and Anima and waiting for Patch 9.1 to arrive so that she can not have to go to Torghast.

One reason I chose the Night Fae for Kaelyla — or Kaelyla for the Night Fae — is because of the aesthetic similarities I saw between the Void Elves and Ardenweald. I created her “Full of Stars” outfit (#37) to highlight those aesthetic harmonies —

— and specifically to coordinate with the animacone backpack that is an on-quest visual effect for the quest “Tending to Wildseeds” at the Tranquil Pools adjacent to Tirna Vaal.

There are a number of other nifty on-quest visual effects during the Ardenweald main storyline, so I ended up taking many, many screenshots of this outfit. I’ve put the ones from “Tending to Wildseeds” in the outfit listing on the appropriate “Things My Void Elf Mage Wears” page. To keep that page from getting overcrowded, I’ve gathered the rest of my favorite pictures of this outfit in this gallery — click through the cut to see them all!
(more…)

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I decided I might as well get it over with, so off Kaelinda went to Torghast. I did the first 6 floors of the Twisting Corridors three times in a row, then watched 20 minutes of cinematics and conversations between the faction leaders in Oribos, and now I’ll be ready to skip into the Patch 9.1 Campaign. With the content of these questlines being rather significant lore moments, not to mention required to unlock the next stage of the story, I was expecting their completion to be signposted by Achievements and was rather disappointed that they weren’t.
The cinematics were really very good, and I’m glad now that I’ve seen them for myself, so that I know the whole story — not just the key bits that were summarized in the beginning of the Patch 9.1 trailer cinematic.
~*~*~
So now that I’ve done this, I’m thinking maybe I want to hold off on doing Covenant campaigns with Kaelyla and Keliora and Kalaneia until Patch 9.1 drops and they can all skip Chapter 2. Kaurinka has already done Chapter 2 of the Night Fae campaign and is getting kind of tired of waiting to get started on the rest of it, so I’m thinking I’ll abandon my plan of running Kaurinka and Kaelyla through it in parallel and just get going with Kaurinka. If I can get Kaurinka through the Night Fae campaign and get the other three up to level 60 before Patch 9.1 arrives, that’ll be good enough. I’ll still want to do the other three 9.0 Covenant campaigns before I get into the 9.1 campaign itself, though.

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Kaelinda finished acquiring the Renown recolor of her Covenant armor set this week. She doesn’t want any more of the Venthyr Anima collectibles, so she’s Done. She doesn’t need to clear the map of all the Anima WQs she’s willing to do anymore. She can rest and relax and be satisfied with 1000 Anima per week — half of it just from rescuing 20 souls from the Maw — until I’ve finished the other three Covenant campaigns and am ready to start playing the Ember Court.
I’ve been farming Anima so intensively with her for the past however many weeks that it’s being a bit hard to resist wanting to take her out to clear those Anima WQs, though…

Meanwhile, I’d given Kaurinka the task of acquiring all of the Night Fae backpieces that are available from various vendors. There are seven in all: one from the Wild Hunt, two from Marasmius, two from Renown, and two from the Court of Night. I’ve been slowly ramping up her Anima farming, and she’s now got five of the seven; she just needs the two from the Court of Night. When she’s got those, she’ll start saving up the 25K Anima to get the Winterborn recolor of her Covenant armor set from the Court of Night; the Renown recolor is my least favorite version of that set, whereas the Winterborn recolor might be my most favorite. I’d also eventually like to get the Renown recolors of the staff and harp, but perhaps Kaelyla can work on acquiring those. Anyhow, now that Kaelinda is Done, Kaurinka will have first dibs on going out to do WQs each day, and her Anima farming will go faster.

Well, I guess Kaelinda can’t completely take a break. She’ll want to keep running the Blood From Stone wing of Castle Nathria LFR until either the Stone Generals themselves or the Great Vault cough up the robe version of the chestpiece. And she does still have to go to Torghast a few more times to get through the questchains that will be required to unlock the Patch 9.1 content. At least once she’s done that, the rest of the crew will be able to skip that stuff!

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Well, damn.

I abandoned the Torghast questchain after rescuing Thrall; the Patch 9.1 trailer spoiled Anduin’s fate thoroughly enough that I felt like I didn’t need to do the last two steps of the questchain just for the sake of the lore.

The latest news from the Patch 9.1 PTR, via Wowhead, is that there’ll be a skip for the Torghast questline. Chapter 2 of the Covenant Campaign only requires doing the first three steps of the Torghast questline, but it’d be nice to be able to skip it and jump right into Chapter 3, where the real story of the Covenant Campaign begins. Not particularly surprisingly, however, being able to use the skip most likely will require one character on the account to have completed the whole thing.

This Wowhead post also revealed to me, though, that there was a whole ‘nother questchain that I’d been ignorant of. If you’ve completed the Torghast questchain, there’s another questchain that opens up after defeating Sire Denathrius in Castle Nathria. In Patch 9.1, it, too, can be skipped on alts once one character on the account has done it. Completion/skipping of this second questchain is, however, required to access the Patch 9.1 Campaign.

So I guess I’d better go attempt the Twisting Corridors after all — as three sessions of going just to Floor 6; many thanks to Gnomecore for pointing out that the quest to find three clues about Anduin’s location can be completed in this fashion.

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