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After a few months of sparring with Kura Thunderhoof whenever she showed up in Kamalia’s Garrison and paying frequent visits to Stone Cold Trixxy, Lydia Accoste, and Blood Knight Antari with alts, I’ve managed to level enough pets to 25 that I could attempt the Celestial Tournament — if I thought I had the right assortment of level 25 pets, which I’m pretty sure that I don’t. The Sign of the Critter therefore encouraged me to try my luck against the continental trainers I hadn’t beaten yet — although despite the XP bonus from the Sign, I didn’t care about actually getting XP for lower level pets, just about winning the battles. I did most of the battles with all level 25 pets, only using lower level pets when I didn’t have enough level 25 pets of the correct family to counter the trainer I was facing. I went through a lot of battle pet bandages…

By the time I got to Pandaria, I had to beat only two more tamers to get my Safari Hat — the Pet Battling reward I’ve wanted all along. Would I want to continue and attempt the rest of the Pandaria trainers after I’d beaten the first two? Hmm… Yes — unlocking the Pandaria tamer dailies would give my secondary Monk something else to do besides just tending Sunsong Ranch and visiting the Peak of Serenity — battling Farmer Nishi. It only took me two attempts to defeat Aki the Chosen, but after all that pet battling, I was tired!

I visited the Draenor trainers with Kamalia just to finish filling out the “Master Pet Tamers” page in my Note-Book of Faffing — but actually battling them could wait for another day.

The main reason why I’ve wanted the Safari Hat all along, though, is to give my Bankers more options for looking stylish…

Because it is still summer and therefore I can, and because I knew I would be too distracted to focus on working on the items on my to-do list anyway even if I did go to my office on campus, I stayed home this morning to follow the Blizzard Watch and Wowhead liveblogs of the big expansion announcement. Continue Reading »

Casually Odd’s post about feeling that Warlords content is ephemeral prompted me to think about whether there was anything in Draenor that I might find myself frequently returning to do.

As much as gaining rep from pure grinding bores me, I’ve had a few characters for whom Aldor/Scryer rep was important enough for RP reasons, crafting recipes, or clothing items that I ground it out anyway. I also return to Outland frequently to run those old dungeons and raids for Transmogrification stuff.

I have put several characters through the Argent Tournament, whether by stalling them out to do it instead of moving on into the Cataclysm content right when they reach level 80ish, or by coming back to it later when they have reached whatever the current expansion’s level cap happens to be. My Paladin, who pushed through to get the Crusader title on her own merits, has recently begun returning to Icecrown to collect seals so that when she reaches level 100 and gets her level 3 Garrison and Jukebox, she’ll be able to buy the Argent Tournament track for it right away.

Although I was very glad to be done with the Molten Front by the time Kamalia finally got her Flaming Hippogryph, I have since come back to it with a few other characters who wanted something from Damek Bloombeard for Transmogrification purposes. I’ve even enjoyed it more than I did the first time around, because it’s less crowded and also because I’m no longer on a PvP server!

I still have a couple of characters hanging out in Pandaria — the Underpowered Death Knight, merrily working for the Tillers and soon to be moving up to Townlong Steppes to work for the Shado Pan, and my secondary Monk, who has been dutifully toiling away at Sunsong Ranch growing Windshear Cactus and Songbells to make Royal Satchels. One of these days, I intend to take my Human Mage back to Pandaria to do the Lion’s Landing questline and the Kirin Tor Offensive on the Isle of Thunder. I got her to level 90 late enough that I didn’t get her a Shado Pan hat, so she should do that someday, too. I’m likely to take other characters to the Isle of Thunder to farm Honor from the PvP version of the dailies, as I’ve heard that those mostly involve disrupting the activities of opposite faction NPCs and don’t actually require combat with other players. I’m not likely to go back to the Timeless Isle, though, unless I want to take Transmogrification screenshots there, use the backdoor to Draenor, or get one of the weapons from the Timeless Coin vendor.

In Draenor, I’m beginning to feel like the hourglass is running out on actually accomplishing anything with alts. Kamalia is still my only level 100 character; somehow the time I think I might like to spend in a dedicated questing & leveling session with this or that alt always seems to get frittered away in doing everyone’s Garrison chores. I’ve had all these lovely daydreams about how I want my alts to staff their Garrisons with various RP-themed collections of followers and get specific RP-themed tracks for their Jukeboxes… but if the next expansion has come out before I get any of them to level 100, will I actually want to spend the time lingering at level 100 to do all that with them?

For me, the big draw to come back to previous content again and again is Transmogrification. I come back for armor, weapons, and occasionally tabards. I can see myself using my Garrison hearthstone to pop in and out of my alts’ Garrisons to level followers and run the missions that award character 615/630/645 armor tokens. I can see myself hunting down the Draenor rares & treasures that drop armor or weapons, but not the ones that drop toys or pets or other such bric-a-brac. I can even see myself taking an alt to Tanaan for that purpose — though I don’t plan to play the Shipyard with anyone but Kam. I’ll probably send my secondary Monk out to Draenor eventually, and park her in her Garrison with a Barn, a Tailoring Emporium, and a Tannery to churn out Hexweave Bags. But somehow I don’t see myself coming back to Draenor again and again and again (after I’ve moved past it level-wise), the way I’ve done with the Argent Tournament and the Molten Front and will probably do with some of the Pandaria content (though it’s still a bit early to tell for that).

The Underpowered Death Knight was well-satisfied with her efforts in the Valley of the Four Winds.


She’d helped Mr Yoon revitalize his grandfather’s property and prove his worth to the Tillers. She’d helped him get together with Gina Mudclaw, too.


Helping out Farmer Yoon had led to helping each of the Tillers, and she’d slowly gained the respect and friendship of all of them* — even the arrogant Haohan Mudclaw.


Most recently, she’d helped Fish Fellreed find the legendary Old Man Thistle’s treasure.

Coming back to Pandaria after her defeat and discharge during the assault on the Dark Portal in Tanaan Jungle had been a crushing lesson in humility. The Underpowered Death Knight had thought, when she joined the invasion force, that she had grown strong enough that the creatures of Pandaria would no longer provide a suitable challenge, but when she had started helping Mr Yoon try to get into the Tillers’ good graces, the virmen infesting the Mudclaw farms had overcome her. Toiling in the farms every day had slowly strengthened her, though, and now those virmen — and even the big hozen ravagers up on the Skyrange — were easily defeated.

The Underpowered Death Knight considered. Was she strong enough yet to rejoin the battle on Draenor? Perhaps not. Maybe it was time for her to seek the favor of the Shado-Pan…

* Making her only the second of my characters, after Kamalia, to have completed this achievement. Most of them just got the furniture, the mailbox, and the straw hat. A few got one additional upgrade, such as the orange tree or the kitty.

The illustration for the new “Lock and Load” card in the upcoming Grand Tournament expansion for Hearthstone (the sixth one in the Blizzard Watch gallery after the opening “Coldarra Drake”) sure looks like a Gnome dual-wielding pistols to me.

Gnomes can’t currently be Hunters, nor can Hunters dual-wield pistols. Is this a hint about something we can expect to see in World of Warcraft‘s next expansion? Or is it merely Rule Of Cool flavor art just for Hearthstone?

I wish it were the former, but it’s probably the latter. sigh


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.

Well, not everybody-everybody, but all my level 90+ characters who are currently on Draenor, at any rate. As I was going through my wardrobe pages the other day, it was clear that it had been far too long since I’d updated — several of the pages were still showing my end-of-Mists outfits, while the characters themselves were loafing around their Garrisons in sloppy, mismatched combinations of Frostfire Ridge quest reward gear and Tormented token gear that their followers had brought them. Even if nobody will see them in-game but me, it was high time for some new Transmogrification kits.

Scorched Earth


Pauldrons of the Deafening Gale, Warsong Wraps, Netherstrike Belt, Valorous Earthshatter Legguards (T7), Grips of Nature’s Wrath, Thunder Bluff Doublet, Gutgore Ripper, Viryx’s Indomitable Bulwark (H)
This High Arakkoa shield design is pretty cool, but I don’t know if I’ll keep it beyond the end of this expansion. So I figured I’d better make a kit with it for running around in Tanaan. The dagger was an obvious match, but Kamalia didn’t really have much else that was orange in her wardrobe. Poking around in MogIt, I found this combination of chestpiece and kilt, which is so nice that I feel like I’ve seen it somewhere else before… but where or when, I can’t recall. I had this kilt during Wrath, but I sold it at the end of the expansion to free up some bag space, so I had to re-collect it.

In order of seniority… Continue Reading »

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