Archive for the ‘Shadowlands’ Category

As the story of Dragonflight advanced — and I had fallen behind because I hadn’t yet completed all the stories unlocked by the four launch faction Renown tracks — I increasingly wanted to just be done with Shadowlands — to not have my unfinished business in that expansion still nagging at me.

So, I’ve spent the past several weeks pushing hard to get through the things I hadn’t done in the Shadowlands yet. I did the 9.0 Kyrian Campaign a second time with Kaelyla to get the silver and blue version of the vesper staff. I finished the 9.0 Necrolords Campaign with Kaelinda — looking back on Shadowlands, I really should have just done all four 9.0 Campaigns with her to begin with. With that done, I was at last ready to finish the Korthia Campaign. I liked the Covenant chapters of the Korthia Campaign. It seemed like each Covenant got a meaningful advancement to their story, particularly the Kyrian.

Of course, while I was doing each of the Covenant-storyline-advancing chapters of the Korthia Campagin as a member of the relevant Covenant, having finished that Covenant’s 9.0 Campaign, so I could get the Covenant-specific extra bits of story, I also needed the appropriate Eversong Elf Mage persona, and an appropriate outfit for each chapter:

Bwonsamdi’s Watcher

Crown of the Seducer (LFR), Mantle of the Skyterror (LFR), Osteowings of the Necrolords, Divine Fury Raiment (LFR), Master Builder’s Shirt, Prime Conjurer’s Gloves, Prime Conjurer’s Cinch, Prime Conjurer’s Slippers, Staff of Earned Tranquility
I never thought I’d use the shoulders and robe from the Battle of Dazar’alor set — which I picked up while trying for the Crown of the Seducer — but whaddayaknow, they work really well with the Renown coloration of the Necrolords pieces.
The Crown of Autumnal Flora would coordinate nicely with the staff, but Mistcaller hadn’t coughed it up yet.

Although Bwonsamdi appears in the Ardenweald storyline, his aesthetics are rather more Maldraxxus. The use of Necrolords pieces in this ensemble made it fitting attire for Kateleina while finishing up the 9.0 Necrolords Campaign and doing the 9.1 Necrolords chapter as a Necrolord.
I liked how this chapter tied up some loose ends related to Kel’Thuzad and gave Thrall and Draka a chance to get to know each other.

Red is for Revendreth

Crown of Eternal Memorial, Soulbreaker’s Ebony Mantle, Burnished Crypt Keeper’s Mantle, Lovely Red Dress, Redeemed Inquisitor’s Handwraps, Vibrant Wildercloth Slacks, Sinful Inquisitor’s Slippers, Crypt Watcher’s Spire
After Kateleina finished the 9.1 Necrolords chapter, Kaelinda could do the 9.1 Venthyr chapter as Venthyr.
I liked how this chapter finally completed the crown of the medallions (a very obvious loose thread from the 9.0 Venthyr Campaign), gave Vashj and Kael’thas a chance to compare afterlives, and opened up a story thread for a future expansion (where have the Dreadlords taken Denathrius and will we see him as a boss again?).

Twilight Courtier

Night Courtier’s Regalia with Fae Revel Masque, Night Courtier’s Pack, Vestments of the Twilight Grove, and Meadow Guardian’s Staff
After Kaelinda finished the 9.1 Venthyr chapter, white-haired Khrysanthemina took up the baton to do the 9.1 Night Fae chapter as Night Fae.
I definitely appreciated how this chapter brought in some excursions to and interactions with the other Covenants, something which was lacking in their 9.0 story. I also liked how it gave a small measure of closure for Tyrande and the Kaldorei (a story which was further followed up in the Zereth Mortis and 10.0 Campaigns) and revealed new information about the relationship between the Winter Queen and Elune. Are the Winter Queen and Elune each others’ only sisters because they are from the diametrically-opposed forces of Death and Life, or do they also have sisters from each of the other cosmic forces? Is Eonar their sister from Order, Xal’atath their sister from the Void, and do they have sisters from the Light and from Fel/Chaos that we have yet to meet?

Selfless Seeker

Vestments of the Selfless with Crown of the Righteous, Selfless Sigil of the Archon, and Selfless Watcher’s Spire
After Khrysanthemina finished the 9.1 Night Fae chapter, Kaelyra took the opportunity to do the 9.1 Kyrian chapter as Kyrian.
I liked how this chapter finally brought the Kyrian who had been stranded in Maldraxxus home, gave souls assigned to Bastion the choice to keep or cleanse their memories, and clarified the nature of the Soulbinding relationship. I was intrigued that Apolon has a platonic, sibling Soulbind relationship with Artemede — and a romantic relationship with Kynthia.

When Kaelinda left the Shadowlands to move on to the Dragon Isles, she was halfway through Revered with Death’s Advance, with enough Stygia banked to get the Death’s Advance colorations for two out of the five Covenant 9.1 sets. I pushed that reputation to Exalted. I was dreading grinding the Stygia to get the Death’s Advance colorations for the rest of the Covenant 9.1 sets — until I discovered that, duh, farming Stygia from Maw star mobs was a piece of cake at level 70, with ilevel 402 gear.

With the goal of getting at least one piece of the Sepulcher of the First Ones Mage Tier set, I’d done the first four chapters of the Zereth Mortis Campaign so as to unlock the Creation Catalyst. After I finished the Korthia Campaign, I decided that I really ought to get the Shadowlands fixed up with a new Arbiter and Sylvanas sentenced to the Maw to retrieve all the souls who had improperly been sent there, so I finished up the Zereth Mortis Campaign (and all of its follow-up quests), too. I’m glad that I took the time to experience those stories for myself. I did the Zereth Mortis weekly & dailies until I had enough Sandworn Relics to get the purple Choral chestpiece from Rafiq and then upgrade it to the LFR version of the Sepulcher of the First Ones Mage Tier chestpiece using the Creation Catalyst. Along the way, I also managed to finish up Unlocking the Secrets. So when I was almost done with Zereth Mortis anyway, I finally got flying for the zone. Ah, well, that’ll make getting around there for Mog photoshoots easier to do 😀

I’d had Kaelyla hearthed at Root-Home trying to convince Mistcaller to just give me the Crown of Autumnal Flora already; yesterday, I got it!

I always hearthed or teleported out of the dungeon immediately after defeating Mistcaller — I didn’t continue on to Tred’ova — so I don’t have a count of how many tries it took me. At least a couple of months of doing it just once a day on Heroic (sometimes twice, with both Kaelyla and Kaelinda), I think.

Today, I finished the Stygia grind and got the last Death’s Advance Covenant 9.1 set. I also got the Anima-Siphoning Sword (its lavender color will be so perfect for Arcane Mage outfits!) after about two weeks of camping The Engulfer.

And now, at last, I am DONE with Shadowlands.

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The Korthia Campaign has multiple references to the Dreadlords being Up To Something and having some greater plan or objective that they are working toward. Sargeras being imprisoned with Illidan as his jailer doesn’t seem to have slowed them down at all! They successfully stole Remornia/Denathrius right out of the Dawnkeep. Although part of the Dreadlords’ schemes had them assisting the Jailer, that doesn’t mean that was all of their plan. Being demons, Mal’Ganis and Kintessa are hardly gone for good following their defeat in Sepulcher of the First Ones, and Remornia/Denathrius has not been recovered.

Meanwhile, in case you didn’t remember, Queen Azshara is out there intending to claim some form of power even greater than that of N’Zoth — or so she gloated when she scooted off when the Champions of Azeroth released her from Ny’alotha.

Currently, the Naga are making trouble in the Forbidden Reach and you can find a rather sinister lore book hinting at the return of Queen Azshara.

Now to put on my Tinfoil Hat:

What if… one component of the Dreadlords’ master plan involves getting Denathrius out of the slammer and married* to Queen Azshara so that together they can be the Ultimate Power Couple and reshape existence to their whims?


* Azshara will be no one’s consort, but with Sargeras on ice, perhaps she might deign to accept Denathrius as her consort?

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My oldest has been doing well in kindergarten. He’s gotten good at figuring out a word by putting together the letter sounds, and he knows most of the “high frequency” words in the caterpillar that’s been growing on our living room wall. He can read words in simple stories.
He is by no means literate enough yet to read quest text*…
He discovered Transmogrification, but his lowbie toons didn’t have any money. I told him he needed to do quests to get money. I taught him the elementary skills of questing: talk to the person who is sparkling**, pick up things on the ground that are sparkling, loot your kills, the silver arrowhead on the minimap is you and the yellow arrow is pointing where you need to go and when you get to the right place the arrow turns into a yellow dot. I’ve given him occasional help with specific quests that have trickier requirements (such as the one to /wave at the ogre chef in Exile’s Reach).
I’ve been amazed by what he’s managed to figure out how to do on his own.
He can get all the way through Exile’s Reach, the Demon Hunter starting zone, the Dracthyr starting zone, the Warlords of Draenor Dark Portal to Garrison introductory scenario, the Legion Broken Shore introductory scenario, the Battle for Azeroth rescue of Talanji from Stormwind introductory scenario, and the Shadowlands escape from the Maw introductory scenario.
Without reading***.
I’ve shown him how to take the skips for the expansion introduction scenarios, but he likes to play through them. He plays through them over and over, deleting a character he already has# to roll up yet another new Zandalari Troll or Nightborne to do it again. He peppers me with questions about the characters and the storylines (I am so tired of answering questions about Sylvanas…) and I tell him, “kid, you know that better than I do by now.”


*Or, thankfully, city chat channels. I ought to teach him to leave city chat channels whenever he comes into a capital city for the first time with a new alt now, so that he’s already in the habit of automatically getting out of them by the time he’s literate enough to know what they’re saying….
**I don’t use Outline mode because I’m too lazy to turn it off and then back on again when I want to take Sunday Mog Show screenshots. I still have to contend with sparkles in my screenshots, but I think they’re less distracting.
***He doesn’t go out and do any regular zone questing, though, so perhaps it might be better to say that one doesn’t need reading to do an on-rails scenario questing experience.
#My account only has about 8 slots that aren’t filled with my own toons, so I had to teach him how to type “delete” soon after he started wanting to make his own characters instead of just playing with my Night Elf Druid and the Orc Hunter I’d created for him when I first began allowing him to play WoW.

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The beginning of a new semester is always a slow time in WoW for me as I try to figure out what this semester’s daily and weekly routines are going to be.
Kamalia has reached Renown 10 for three of the four Major Factions; she’s lagging with the Iskaara Tuskar with whom she is only Renown 9.
Marukkai and Iskaara have Leatherworking patterns, so Kamalia will want to push those reputations. Expedition and Valdrakken have Tailoring patterns, so Kaelyla and Kaelinda will want to push those reputations. Depending on how completion of the 10.0 Campaign affects Campaign access in further patches, I may need to push reputation in lower priority factions just enough to get to the story unlocks.
I was pleased to discover that I only needed to reach friendship level 2 with Wrathion to be able to acquire the Obsidian Dracthyr Battlegear. As soon as I can Gather a few more Rousing Fire and Rousing Earth, I’ll pick it up and then it can be what Kamalisaura’s Visage form wears forever. I’ll still want to get all the way to the final friendship level to get black scales for my Dragonriding mounts, though. As long as there are other folks farming in the Obsidian Citadel with whom I can tag along when I have time and energy to do that stuff, I think I’ll be okay.
Speaking of Dragonriding mounts, I’ve been liking Dragonriding as a flight system well enough — though I dearly dearly miss the ability to hover. It’s nice to be able to stop and hover, aloft, to look around at the area below me and figure out where the quest objectives actually are and where the best place to land would be — not to mention hovering while AFK. I only did the basic versions of all the Dragonriding races; that’s good enough for doing the WQs, and looking at some of the Dragonriding abilities, I suspect I just don’t want to bother with the additional mechanics of the Advanced races. That Dragonriding theme music is such an earworm. I merely have to think about Dragonriding and it pops into my head… I don’t need to go Dragonriding with my Sparkle Pony, but I really would love to go Dragonriding with my older drake mounts, especially the Enchanted Fey Dragon. I never did Paragon with Stormheim enough to get the storm drake mount, but if I could go Dragonriding with it, it might be worth going back for…
How do the wind and stone drakes from Cataclysm and the storm drakes from Legion fit into the Dragonflight dragon ecology & society, anyhow? Is this something that the Aspects and the Primalists might spar over in some future patch storyline — each sending emissaries to the “lost flights” to try to persuade them that they belong on their side?
Meanwhile, Kaelinda has worked her way through Chapter 4 of the Zereth Mortis Campaign. Looking up how to get Sandworn Relics, though, she’s thinking ehhh… I’ll come back for these when I’m level 70. She only has a little more Anima to collect to finish off her Kyrian Cosmetics shopping list, and then I’ll really have to stop procrastinating finishing up Shadowlands 9.0 and 9.1 story stuff and grinding Stygia for Korthia Cosmetics.

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I finished the 9.0 Night Fae Campaign with my Druid last night, at last! Now she is Done with the Shadowlands!

The second time through, the Night Fae Campaign still felt awkward and disjointed. The NPC losses were still downers, but I guess I “got” a little better how they raised the stakes this time. The things that made playing through it a LOT better the second time through were 1) Prowl is awesome for not having to fight through everything, 2) flying is awesome for not having to fight through everything, 3) being able to ride and not having to worry about the Eye of the Jailer made the Maw sections so much easier, and 4) having OP gear made the necessary fighting so much easier (iLevel 252 Primal Storms stuff, which I didn’t begin replacing with Kamalia until she was about level 65).

Except for Prowl, those things will also make replaying all the Campaigns easier for my Mages. As I’ve mentioned before, Kaelinda, who originally did the Venthyr and Kyrian Campaigns, decided that she needed to do the Night Fae and Necrolords Campaigns so she can do each Covenant-story-advancing chapter of Korthia (which has been on hold since the Primal Storms phase of the pre-patch went live) as a member of the appropriate Covenant. But then Kaelyla, who originally did the Night Fae and Necrolords Campaigns, decided that she needed to do the Kyrian and Venthyr Campaigns. Kyrian, because Kaelinda chose the sword and I decided that, actually, I do want to have the staff as well. Venthyr, because Venthyr was my favorite the first time through, so how can I replay all the others and not replay that one? Also, I want to see if Kael’thas says anything special to Void Elves once he’s installed in the lower level of Sinfall (if you know, don’t spoil me please!).

I do still want to finish the story Campaign for Korthia, get Exalted with Death’s Advance, and grind the necessary Stygia to acquire the Night Fae set as well as both Venthyr sets. Seeking to minimize the time I still have to spend in Shadowlands, however, I looked up how far I’ll need to get in the Zereth Mortis Campaign to begin using the Creation Catalyst to make Sepulcher of the First Ones raid items. Upon finding out that that occurs in Chapter 4, I decided that that is as much of ZM as I’m going to do. I looked up and spoiled myself on the rest of the ZM Campaign story. After I’ve finished Chapter 3 of ZM with Kaelinda and unlocked the skip for alts, I’ll probably bring Kaelyla, Kamalia, and Kaurinka out there for a brief look around so that they have it as an available location for Mog photoshoots, just in case.

But all of those things will have to happen when I’m not busy doing stuff with Kamalia in the Dragon Isles!

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It’s been about two months since I finally got started on Korthia.
Today, I finished collecting the Korthia questing versions of all of the 9.1 Covenant sets.
I’m about halfway through Revered with Death’s Advance.
I have 14K Stygia, which is enough to buy both of the Death’s Advance Venthyr sets as soon as I ding Exalted… but I also want the Death’s Advance Night Fae set. I am dreading having to just flat out grind the remaining 4K Stygia for it.

The worst part of Shadowlands, for me, has been the punishing Stygia mechanics. Even with completely ignoring Ve’nari as I did, Stygia is so agonizingly slow to get, and you need so much of it for the Death’s Advance Cosmetic sets, and you lose so much of it when you die in the Maw that it is very, very, very discouraging. Before Patch 9.1, you got 20 Stygia every time a soul entered the Soulkeeper while doing Return Lost Souls, so you could get 400 Stygia per week and that felt like a decent reward for the time invested doing the quest. Then Patch 9.1 removed that, and although I understand why the introduction of the repeatable version of the Return Lost Souls caused the devs to make that change, I still haven’t forgiven them for doing it.

At the time that I first went to Korthia, I wrote, “I think I’ll go do the 9.0 Covenant Campaigns for Night Fae and Necrolords with Kaelinda — putting Chapters 5-9 of Korthia on hold until I do — so that I can do each of the Covenant story-advancing chapters of Korthia as a member of the appropriate Covenant”. Then I spent the past two months feeling completely psychologically blocked about playing through the 9.0 Necrolords and Night Fae Campaigns again. It took being halfway through Revered and realizing that if I wanted to get any Death’s Advance reputation from doing the rest of the Korthia Campaign, then I needed to start working on it for me to finally push past the block. I did Chapters 3 & 4 of Necrolords, then swapped Covenants and did Chapter 3 of Night Fae yesterday night. Now if I can just keep going…

So, I’ve still got to do the Korthia and Zereth Mortis story Campaigns. I’d like to get a few pieces (definitely belt & robe, perhaps also cloak pants and boots?) of the Sepulcher of the First ones set via items purchased with Sandworn Relics and upgraded using the Creation Catalyst. I have 54K Anima left of Kyrian Cosmetics to acquire. I’ve also got to finish the 9.0 Night Fae Campaign with my Druid (she’s stalled out at the beginning of Chapter 5).
Of course, my current state of lagging has arisen almost entirely from my own play decisions, which have in turn been influenced by the circumstances of my out-of-Azeroth life. I’ve learned from the last several expansions, though, that I’ll need to stay in Shadowlands until these goals are Done, because if I leave, I won’t come back later to complete them.

But then, it might not be so bad to already have the first round of catch-up mechanics in place by the time I finally get to the Dragon Isles 😛

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I picked up the last item I wanted from the Soulbreaker’s Burnished Vestments set last week. I don’t have the full set, but I do have all the pieces I most wanted for Mogging mix-and-match. So now I am Done with Venthyr Travel Network Broken Mirrors. Hooray!
I only need two more pieces from the Night Fae Korthia set and two more pieces from the Necrolords Korthia set. In other words, I only need a Cosmetics quest to show up one more time for each of those Covenants, because with both Kaelinda and Kaelyla on the job, I can get two pieces each time one of those quests is available.
Kaelinda and Kaelyla paid back earlier gifts of Anima from Kaurinka to help them finish upgrading Covenant Sanctum features, thus allowing Kaurinka to get her Queen’s Conservatory fully upgraded to Tier 5 and to purchase the Queen’s Conservatory recolor of the Oakheart set. Now I just need to push Kaurinka through the rest of the 9.0 Night Fae Campaign…

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I reached Revered with the Ember Court this past week. This allowed me to purchase the Cosmetic set pieces I was most interested in, the shoulders and belt. I ran a full Kyrian guest list for that Court and they were all Elated with the party I threw for them. And whaddayaknow, Sika’s tribute chest contained the RNG-dependent item that I’d most particularly wanted from the Ember Court, Tranquil’s Censer, the most golden version of the Bastion bell off-hand.
So… after I get the slate of Ember Court upgrade quests that popped up with Revered cleared from my quest log, and get the guest list RSVPs and the party planning selections for my next Court finalized, I’ll… stop doing the Ember Court.
At least for the time being.
Well… Mostly.
I’ll still want to do an Ember Court at least once during each Holiday, to see Theotar’s take on Azeroth’s celebrations 😀
The Ember Court is fun, and I love the lavishing of detail that went into it. It’s also rather a lot of stuff to do. When I have Ember Court quests active in my log, I somehow don’t dare to Covenant Twist for Korthia because I don’t want to risk having my progress on those quests get reset.
There are things I might like to get from the Ember Court at Exalted, such as the Mantle of Court Blades. I might also like to eventually get my favorite guests to be my Best Friends so they can be my penpals after I leave the Shadowlands. But I can come back to the Ember Court to work on achieving those things when I am finished with Korthia and have moved on to Zereth Mortis….

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I’d been thinking that Blizz had better give us a release date for Dragonflight sometime soon, but this date for the release date — November 28, the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend — is somehow sooner than I’d thought it might be.

I’d already been thinking that I had so much I still wanted to do in Shadowlands that I probably wasn’t going to be heading out to the Dragon Isles on Day 1.

In 9.1 content, Kaelinda’s still got Chapters 4-9 of the Campaign to do, over 3/4ths of the Death’s Advance reputation grind, and Korthia dailies Mog collecting — both Venthyr sets, the Night Fae set, and the Kyrian set — but when it’s the Necrolords set, I’ll stay one of the other Covenants and take the Anima, Catalogued Research, or Death’s Advance reputation tokens instead.
As for 9.2 content, I’ve still barely begun it — and while I plan to ignore almost all of it except finishing the Campaign and getting the base pieces with Sandworn Relics to upgrade into Tier pieces, that’ll still be quite a bit to do.

Kaurinka and Kamalia still need to get through the Night Fae Campaign, too. And depending on how Zereth Mortis goes for Kaelinda, I still might want to try to take Kaurinka there, as well.

And the other day Kaurinka was suggesting that when she finishes in Shadowlands, instead of going on to Dragonflight, maybe she’d rather go back to Uldum and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms to work on getting the second appearance upgrade for the Shroud of Resolve, so we can use that Mog appearance for reals, and not just temporarily from Wrathion’s box of fancy cloaks.

Last week, I was all excited about having finally started doing Venthyr Travel Network Broken Mirrors, and Covenant Twisting, and Korthia, and the Ember Court, and I was staying up way too late too many nights… This week, I’ve been wallopped by this awful cold and I’ve haven’t had the energy to do more than collect my Anima Conductor Treasure Chest to slowly replenish all the Infused Rubies that I spent rerolling the Guest List for my next Ember Court.

So, when everyone else is gleefully leaving the Shadowlands behind to ship out for the Dragon Isles, I’ll be waving goodbye to them from Oribos and then going on my way to Korthia or Zereth Morthis.

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Yep, well, despite otherwise completely ignoring the Command Table, I went ahead and upgraded Kaelinda’s Venthyr Command Table to Tier 2 to get the second extra Anima token from World Quests:

As she’s my primary Anima collector — and is starting to really rake the stuff in when I spend an evening in Korthia — I felt like it would be worth the investment for her. I do still have a laundry list of Cosmetics to get from the Kyrian one of these days…
I might do it for Kaelyla at Heart of the Forest. I probably won’t do it for Kaurinka; I’m just not playing enough with her for it to be worth the setback toward finishing her Queen’s Conservatory. And I definitely won’t do it for Kamalia; she hasn’t even upgraded her Anima Conductor to Tier 2 yet.

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