Ding 120!

I actually hit 120 on Thursday evening. I didn’t use war mode for the xp buff, and I did take my time, read all the quest text, and watched all the cutscenes. There’s so much to do now I’m not even sure where I should start. I was so tired when I dinged that I didn’t do too much with it. Unlocking world quests was simple because even though I still haven’t finished the story quests in all three zones I am at least friendly reputation with their factions. I did a round of WQs so I didn’t miss out on the emissary for the day but then called it a night shortly after.

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I want to live here.

On Friday I worked a bit on the faction war campaign quests. I had already set up my bases in each of the Alliance zones, but now they were sending me back to start making excursions farther inland. I had the awesome surprise of getting to quest with one of my favorite characters, Lillian Voss. I’m not especially enthusiastic about faction nonsense, but it was nice to have the change of scenery and run around together as murdery bffs. The quest line ended without giving me any more breadcrumbs, so I’m not sure what I should be doing next to progress it. I wandered around to a couple places where there were flight points and found a few random bounty quests but not much else. There are plenty more horde flight paths to discover on my map so I know I’m not done. I suspect something else will open up when I increase my rep with the Horde war faction.

I’ve also run a few (normal) island scenarios. Supposedly they are a good source of azerite. I’m not really sure how I feel about them yet. I like the small (3-person) group size like scenarios in MoP. The islands do seem to be strangely freeform. I’ve seen groups stick together and roll through lots of enemies, and I’ve seen groups where everyone seems to wander off in a different direction. No group I’ve been in has ever done any of the quests that pop up, sadly. I’m sure soon an optimal strategy will evolve and everyone will start doing that. Overall they seemed reasonable to do, but I’m left wondering exactly what was the point. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I can do the more difficult versions with higher rewards. Side note: if you care about getting all your war campaign upgrades quickly, make sure to run a few islands sometime before reset. You have to finish five different ones to unlock one of the tiers of upgrades, and there are only 3 available each week.

I am sitting at the level cap but I still have most of the quests in Nazmir left to do. I plan on working on them slowly in between world quests and dungeons. I’m not in a huge hurry to gear up since I don’t have a raid group and will probably just be doing LFR, but I do want to get at least enough of an ilvl where questing isn’t too painful. As a fresh 120 disc priest the world quests aren’t horribly difficult, but it does take a long time for me to kill things.

I also want to start working on my crafting skills a bit now. I’ll need to find a good place for farming cloth, and send my druid through the intro quests so she can start picking herbs. I wish I had leveled with someone who had double gathering so I could have been selling raw materials all along, but my priest has alchemy and tailoring. They will be expensive to level right now, but should pay off nicely once I have a steady stream of bags and potions to put on the auction house.

Right now most of my friends are still leveling, so I’ll be focusing on getting my emissaries done every day and then branching out into whatever I feel like at the moment. It’s a good time to start working on alts for crafting and for seeing the alliance side of the story. I’m also looking forward to running some dungeons and/or islands with my friends this weekend, and hearing everyone’s reactions to the different zone stories.

 

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Pug tales volume 4

So I haven’t actually messed with my baby priest (who was level 48 at the start of this set of dungeons) since BfA launched. But the backlog of pug stories will continue to pad my Blaugust post count while I’m busy enjoying all the new stuff!

As a side note to the dungeon running, I really enjoyed the world level scaling. Since I’ve been getting most of my XP in dungeons, I’ve been able to cherry pick my questing zones and focus on the ones I enjoy. So far that’s been Ghostlands, Silverpine, and Hillsbrad. I really like being able to completely finish a zone without the quests turning gray on me.

Maraudon: The Wicked Grotto: This dungeon was relatively fun, even though things went to hell. You know you’re off to an ominous start when the pally tank zones in and immediately says something along the lines of “you’d better try to keep up.” Things were mostly fine until we got to the first boss. We had tried to skip a bunch of trash but someone who was lagging behind the group pulled. We ended up with the boss and about 3 packs worth of trash. The warlock died but everybody else made it through. Amazingly the tank even complimented my healing. Which of course wouldn’t have been necessary if he’d have kept an eye on the group. In however many years I’ve been healing, trying to skip trash has led to dungeons taking longer way more often than not. Anyway this tank ended up bailing after the satyr boss, but the rest of us kept going to kill Celebras. It was honestly easier without the tank, since we took our time and everyone looked out for each other.

Razorfen Kraul: It feels weird that this one is stuck in the middle of the three Maraudon dungeons. I obviously haven’t run this one in a long time, because there are changes that I do not remember at all. Where did the pig boss go? Anyway I had a pally tank and a solid group. They were mostly quiet but the tank pulled at what was probably the perfect pace for me. We kept moving, but they didn’t pull tons of packs at once. This was a breeze to heal.

Maraudon: Foulspore Cavern: I had another reasonable pally tank for this one. Healing is always more fun when the tank’s pace matches what I’m comfortable with. This dungeon is so short that there isn’t much to say about it. The only rough patch was the area where there’s some ambient damage on the group. It was a little tricky to deal with since I didn’t have all the tools I would like for aoe healing.

I finished off at level 52. At this point almost all of the vanilla dungeons are open to me, and there is no way I’m going to get through them all before I hit 60. I’m not even halfway through them yet! Sadly this is all I finished before BfA, and it will probably be a while before I get back to this alt.

The good news is that this mini-project definitely helped me get comfortable enough with disc healing to try maining it for BfA. It has ridiculous survivability in questing and has been pretty fun in dungeons so far too.

Dungeons on Day 1

I played a ton of WoW yesterday, exploring the new zones and slowly working my way toward the new level cap. When I got my first “go run this dungeon now” quest I was excited to see it. Sadly the character I’m leveling is in a solo guild, and the few friends I have that are actively playing wanted to wait until they finished their zone story before running the dungeon. I’d rather see this stuff with friends, so I waited.

When I eventually leveled up a bit more a new dungeon unlocked. THE MOTHERLODE!! There’s not really any story leading up to this one other than a quick conversation with Gallywix. I was a bit too eager so I decided to take my chances and pug it.

Other than on my “pug story” leveling priest, this is the first time I’ve healed a dungeon as disc in forever. Luckily the practice I got from pugging vanilla dungeons seemed to be enough for me to figure things out. In fact, healing this dungeon was a breeze. It was probably because the tank was 120 and had obviously already been chain running dungeons for a while by the time I healed them.

I don’t have any screen shots of this dungeon to post here because of course the tank chain pulled so fast I could barely keep up. The healing was easy because of their level and gear, but it was frustrating anyway. I had no clue where I was going. I didn’t have any time to look around at the instance or at the map. Nobody explained anything about the boss fights (at least they were pretty straightforward). I expect this kind of thing to happen eventually, but on literally day 1 of a new expansion I guess I was hoping for a different experience.

We all survived, and nobody was rude or anything, so I guess I should just count it as a win. Still, I want to be able to take some time, take some screen shots, and enjoy the newness of the expansion while it lasts.

Pug tales volume 3

These are a little bit delayed since I had a few other things I wanted to post about. I have been running these vanilla dungeons pretty steadily so far. With the expansion upon us, I’ll have to set this project aside for a bit.

Gnomeregan: This group had a monk tank and a pally that pretended to be a tank. Even though the pally kept pulling everything went fine. Well, except for the fact that I forgot to turn in one step of the quest chain in there, so I didn’t get the quest to kill the last boss. This is possibly my most hated classic dungeon, but I felt like I hadn’t completed it without doing the quest so I went back a second time. I’m glad I did because the second group was super fun. People were chatty, emoting and dancing and having a good time. We even killed one of the extra bosses and people were happy to do it instead of complaining about wasting time. It was definitely the best group I’ve had so far, and I was actually sad when we were finished.

Scarlet Halls: Fast, quiet, no-nonsense group with a warrior tank. There were a few spots where the whole group was taking damage and I didn’t feel like I had enough tools to handle it well, but I did at least handle it. It is very strange to me how different the lengths of some of these vanilla dungeons are now. Blackfathom Deeps seems to go on for days, but the two Scarlet dungeons are over in just a few minutes.

Scarlet Monastery: Paladin tank this time. The group was very “gogogo” but given how short the dungeon is I didn’t really mind. The only time it caused trouble was when I stopped to turn in a quest and everyone ran on without me. Line of sight is still a thing, so one person died. If people pull without looking to see if they have a healer then I can’t be bothered to muster sympathy for them 😛

Pug Tales Volume 2

Wailing Caverns: A relatively uneventful run. The dungeon is a bit long for as low level as it is, but at least it is less of a maze than the original version. I had a warrior tank who was just slightly squishy and liked to keep moving but it was never a problem. I’m starting to have fun looking at the meters and seeing that I’ve done more damage than the DPS.

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Blackfathom Deeps: I forgot I had been queuing as both heals and dps. Somehow for this one it put me in as dps. I hadn’t set up my bars or talents yet. Whoops. I got that sorted, and it was a fun run with a decent group. The healer died at one point and I got to save the day. Other than that one slip up there weren’t any issues and we even cleared the extra boss. I wonder how many times I’ll actually get to go shadow…

Stormwind Stockade: Warrior tank who was a little timid on pulls but otherwise fine. They went to Hogger first and I was afraid they would leave without doing the fire elemental boss, but they did actually stay. The fire boss got pulled with a bunch of his trash but it was manageable. Between that quest and a couple more from when I was in queue I dinged 30.

So far in 6 dungeons I’ve only really had one bad experience, and even that wasn’t awful so much as weird. Did I get super lucky? Are WoW players getting soft? Or do I just need to get past the easy introductory dungeons before people start losing their sense of civility?

Tales from too many pugs

I wanted to try to keep from completely bouncing off of WoW after all my feelings about the War of the Thorns content. I decided that leveling something new from scratch would be fun and would keep me far away from the pre-expansion stuff for a while. Because I’m full of terrible ideas, I’m trying to level a priest via pugging dungeons.

WoWScrnShot_080518_235455This is DiscGrace, my new blood elf disc priest. It’s been a few years since I really played a priest, but in my heart my undead priest will always be my main. Now I’m trying to re-learn how to disc while subjecting myself to the best and worst of pugs in WoW. Either I’m going to get super good at priesting, or I’m going to ragequit MMOs for a while. At least I’ll get some good blogging out of it.

I leveled to 15 questing in the blood elf starting area. I like how quiet it is there, and how much has stayed the same since I first started playing the game. Once I could queue for dungeons I started running them and only questing a little to fill in the down time. I’m going to try to run them all in order if I can.

Deadmines: This was a reasonable group. I had a very nice bear tank. I was frustrated for a while because you don’t get atonement until around level 20, so I had to heal “properly” for this one. I hadn’t run many dungeons since the leveling changes last patch, so the time to kill the bosses was surprising to me. Other than that this was a smooth run.

Ragefire Chasm: Another reasonable group. I could get used to this. I had a monk tank this time. They were a little bit slow to pick up aggro but other than that there were no problems. People even said thank you when we were done!

Shadowfang Keep: My first wtf moment of this experiment. I’m amazed it took this long. Had a pally tank and a monk that kept rushing ahead and pulling. I finally had atonement at least and kept everybody alive fine even through some big pulls and various kinds of stupid. The wtf moment came about halfway through when the pally asked me “don’t you know how to atonement heal?”. That’s…what I was doing the whole time? Apparently they were mad that my largest heal on the meters was my shield, and nothing I could say seemed to placate them so I just gave up. Even the annoying monk that kept pulling stood up for me which was a shock. I ended up keeping my mouth shut for the rest of the run and just kept healing the same way I had been the whole time. Very odd.

So far I’ve made it to level 22 with only one relatively small incident. I’ll call that a win. I’m sure things will keep getting more interesting as I move into more complicated dungeons. Anybody want to take bets on how far I get before I get sick of pugs and give up?

August 2018 Gaming Goals

Happy Blaugust everyone! Before I dig into this week’s theme, I wanted to keep up my monthly tradition of evaluating my goals, seeing how badly I failed at meeting them, and then steadfastly creating new ones anyway. Note: I wrote most of these goals before seeing the new quest content in WoW yesterday. I’m not sure if I really want to follow through with them anymore but I’m putting them here anyway because I don’t have any other goals in mind right now.

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BfA pre-launch story: Week 1

I’ve already gone on the record about how much I dislike the faction conflict theme of the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion. I think I’m in a weird place compared to some of my friends, because I do have strong faction pride. I like playing Horde and I enjoy their story perspective. I just don’t think overt faction conflict in WoW is at all interesting anymore, and hate when it stands in the way of me playing with my friends.

Because of this I’ve been struggling with this odd malaise ahead of BfA’s launch. I want to be excited about new WoW things to do and the inevitable flood of players returning to the game. Instead I have mostly been annoyed by the story beats that feel at odds with the way I enjoy the game. Still, I was not going to miss the pre-expansion story quests that were added in this week. Spoilers for the “War of the Thorns” story ahead!

WoWScrnShot_072418_180346I started off on the Horde side because that will always be my home faction. The opening quest from Sylvanas immediately made me feel better for two reasons. First, although the Horde are the aggressors here, we’re not marching to Teldrassil to burn it to the ground. Sylvanas’ stated goal is to occupy the city to gain access to its port and cut off the Alliance’s azerite supply chain. I am a confirmed Sylvanas fangirl who also really dislikes the night elves, but even I would have reservations about marching off to explicitly commit genocide and burn down the world tree. The second thing that made me feel better about the story was Sylvanas’ other goal here: kill Malfurion. March off to murder one of my most hated lore figures in the game? Sign me up!

The quests themselves involve a lot of running around. From Undercity to the Barrens, Ashenvale, and finally Darkshore, we’re rushing ahead of the Horde forces to prepare the way. The individual quests are fine, nothing especially exciting or awful. I did like the rogue quest in Ashenvale, where you are meant to be taking out town guards. If you direct the assassin to kill civilians, they will do it, but are vocally unhappy about it. It was a nice touch.

In Darkshore, the Horde forces get blocked, first by Malfurion’s wisp wall and then by Alliance forces at the river. There’s some conflict over azerite, but otherwise the story for the week ends there. The Alliance side quests are spent reacting to the Horde. You start scrambling to try and fail to protect Ashenvale. Then you move to Darkshore and help bolster the defenses there. Finally you head to Teldrassil to warn them and set preparations in order. I feel bad for the night elves, and I had some pain because I know soon my beloved Undercity will soon be in the same situation. But mostly I hated taking orders from Malfurion and I sure hope we actually get to kill him soon.

Once you’re finished the story a few world quests open up. Importantly, once you’ve done the story on one character (per faction), you have the option of skipping straight to the world quests on all of your alts. They were mostly simple, and reward 210 gear. I was hoping that the rewards would be interesting new transmog options, but they seem to be the garrison/level boost class armor from WoD. I’ve seen some folks complaining that this gear is “only” 210, but I’m perfectly happy with it. It will be a guaranteed upgrade for all of my alts unless they happen to have a Legiondary in that slot. My only complaint is that I’ve had to give up my artifact weapon on a few characters already. I was hoping to hold onto them for at least a couple levels into BfA.

Bucket list fail

WoWScrnShot_071618_193620A few months ago, around the time we learned Battle for Azeroth’s release date, I made a bucket list. I figured since it’s patch day I should revisit it. I’ve been running fairly cool toward WoW for the past year or more, still playing but not really engaged. So my bucket list felt very humble when I wrote it. And yet I did a very poor job checking things off. Here’s the list:

  • Get the mount from new Karazhan
  • Do a mythic +15
  • Get at least one artifact maxed out in the netherlight crucible
  • Cap my professions
  • Get all the First Aid achievements before it disappears
  • Save up some gold
  • Level at least one of my allied race alts to 110

How did I do? About 3 1/2 out of 7. Not great but not a total failure.

I didn’t get the Karazhan mount. I didn’t even try in the months since I wrote the list. I did become part of a group that intended to work toward M+15, but it lost momentum after a month or two and we never met that goal. I was really keen on both of these things but wrangling other people to do them with when I was on the edge of burnout just didn’t work.

I did get one artifact capped in the crucible, even before the freebies we got by siphoning off Sargeras’ sword. I will be honest though, it was not fun. It was not difficult, it just felt like an entirely pointless chore. Go pick up rocks to make this number tick up higher. If BfA has more of that in store I’ll be starting the expansion halfway checked out already.

On the profession front, I had envisioned capping everything on all my primary profession characters. I did finish all the ones I use regularly, or that are traditionally good for turning a profit. I came up a little short on my lesser-used profs. I think I’m still missing blacksmithing and leatherworking. I also never got close to the Field Medic First Aid achievement. I hate to leave something like that undone since it is going away forever, but reading people’s accounts of farming for it inspired me to spend my time on more productive things.

I made enough progress on the gold front that I’m willing to call that a win, since I didn’t set a concrete goal. I would have liked to have saved up enough to pay for the ridiculous dinosaur auction house mount, but I didn’t quite make it. If BfA continues the trend of the past few expansions I should have no problem taking my current balance and building it up enough to blow 5 million gold before BfA is over.

I was hoping to level more of my alliance race alts, but I did at least get one of them finished in time. I loved my baby mage, and she might end up being one of the first characters I level in BfA. I was very disappointed to see that we are not getting a leveling catch-up mechanic in the pre-patch like we did with Legion’s invasions. It would have been nice to rocket a few more alts up to 110 (or at least past the 60 – 80 slog) before BfA’s official launch.

Season 14 Still Going Strong

Screenshot061Even though I completed the entire season journey, I am still very engaged in Diablo 3 for the time being. Maybe it has something to do with the joy of double treasure goblins. It’s given me some time to work on achievements. You can see I’ve maxed out a few categories, like the set dungeons and campaign mode. I am sorely lacking in hardcore mode achievements though. I’m considering leveling a hardcore character this season just to knock out a few of the easier ones and bring that 31% up to something more respectable.


blaugustrebornlogo2018In other news, Blaugust is back! I’ll be joining in all the fun and games, with posts here and on my Creative Thing blog. If you are a blogger, or are thinking about becoming one, come join us!