Hunter Mount Quest

I finished this quest before my break from WoW, but only remembered to post it once I resubscribed. Whoops. My hunter was the last alt that is already 110 that hadn’t gotten her mount. My DK and shaman are 100 and 101, and my warrior is not even close, so they will all have to wait.

Hunter is in a strange place for me. I’ve always liked the class, and the archer archetype is second only to spellcaster in terms of my “player fantasy” preferences. In Legion, however, the class has seen some major changes that detracted from my enjoyment of the class. Beastmastery has always been my favorite spec, and even at 110 with all my gold traits on my weapon it still feels like something is missing. I like having pets but I don’t like feeling like I’m useless in comparison to them, and I also don’t like how much the pet survivability has been nerfed this expansion. Marksman is a nonstarter because the optimal way to play involves getting rid of your pet altogether, and while the new Survival spec is more fun than I thought it would be, I will always prefer ranged to melee.

All that grumbling about the state of the class aside, their mount quest was amazing. Unlike so many of the other class’ quests, there’s no gating, gathering, or extraneous running around. Instead you receive an invitation to Odyn’s great hunt and go straight there. The scenario takes place in the wilderness area of the trial of valor, and it’s just perfect. You get to eat and drink at a valajar feast (doing so gives you some nice buffs), and then you set out into the night to hunt the spirits of some great beasts and put them to rest. You have a few rounds of stalking around in the dark and fighting your prey, and then you get to fight the wolfhawk. The fights weren’t bad at all, even in my barely 110-for-a-week gear. If anything they were slightly too easy, but for this kind of content I’m perfectly okay with that.

The mount looks cool, and fits well with the hunter class theme. About the only thing I didn’t like about this quest is Odyn, because he’s a jerk and on principle I don’t want to do anything to help him. If you have a hunter alt laying around I’d highly suggest going for this class mount. It was a lot of fun!

August 2017 Gaming Goals

I’m a few days late with this one since I’ve been AFK for most of this week. I had set a few somewhat ambitious goals for July and did a decent job on them. Let’s see what August brings!

July Goals recap:

FFXIV: Clear both EX primals.  Check! I still haven’t done this with a FC group, but I did at least get my kills.

Advance at least one of my Anima weapons at least one step. Nope. I dialed my play time back and mostly focused on current content.

Level my AST.  Not really. I did get a couple levels, but AST is still not 70. The problem here is that they fixed some of the problems with scholar, so I felt way less motivated to have the 2nd healer job.

Figure out how to buy a house. I do know how to buy a house now so I’ll count this as a win. I haven’t actually bought one because I’m still waiting for people to move out to the new zone so I can find open property in Mists.

Diablo 3: Complete the basic season 11 journey with a necromancer. Done! I haven’t gone much past the first 4 chapters but this is still a win.

Complete the challenge rift every week. Nope. I did attempt it every week, but last week’s build was really difficult and I didn’t manage to clear it under the timer.

Master all the crusader set dungeons. Done! I was an overachiever and got monk and witch doctor too!

August Goals:

FFXIV: Level my AST. I’m so close it really is silly that I still haven’t finished this.

Clear at least 1 boss of Omega Savage. This might be a matter of flinging myself at pugs until I smash through, but I’d love to get this done.

Diablo 3: Finish Barbarian set mastery. I’ve only got one barbarian dungeon left to master in order to get my fancy wings. It might mean giving up on much seasonal progress this time around, but I can do this!

WoW: Get back to the Robo-squids project. There’s an awful lot of dungeons left for our little undergeared, underleveled, undersized group to get through, and now that the new game shine is starting to fade from Stormblood I’m ready to jump back in.

I think these are pretty modest goals for the month, and they’re all things that I really do want to get around to. I can’t wait to post about my pretty new wings!

July 2017 Gaming Goals

A belated post for my July goals since I was too busy playing games over the holiday weekend to blog about playing games!

Review of June Goals:

WoW: Level one more class to 110. Done! I ended my temporary return to WoW with only the Shaman, DK, and Warrior below the level cap.

Subnautica: Rebuild my sweet sea base empire. Done? I’m going to call this a win. I didn’t build quite as fancy a base as I did in my earlier playthroughs, but I did build two of them and that should count for something.

FFXIV: Play Stormblood. Done! Yes this goal was a gimme but I don’t care. I didn’t want to stress myself out with goals I just wanted to enjoy the expansion for a couple weeks.

I actually completed all my June goals! I guess the secret to success is having really easy goals.

July Goals:

FFXIV: Clear both EX primals. I got Lakshmi this weekend but Susano still eludes me. I want a fancy weapon and maybe a doggo.

Advance at least one of my Anima weapons at least one step. Hopefully an easy goal but I’m being intentionally vague with it. My SCH weapon is on the light farming step, while my AST weapon is on the “do a bunch of dungeons in order” step. I should be able to finish at least one of these, especially with a certain friend who has been encouraging me to do these silly things.

Level my AST. After leveling roulette last night I’m at 65, so this should be easy. I am very curious to see how different the healing feels compared to SCH. It will be easier to compare the two when they’re both 70 and equally geared.

Figure out how to buy a house. My FC is moving to the new housing district when it opens, and I would like to continue living in the Mist. That means I’ve got to buy my own place. I’ve been saving up, so hopefully I can afford it when everyone abandons their property to move to the new zone.

Diablo 3: Complete the basic season 11 journey with a necromancer. This will be a somewhat short timer since the season doesn’t start until near the end of the month, but completing the 4 chapters should be easy.

Complete the challenge rift every week. I’ve done the first 2 so far and they’ve been quite fun and not too punishing so hopefully I can continue.

Master all the crusader set dungeons. I have been slowly working on this since season 10. I just finished Roland’s set dungeon last night so all I have left is Akkhan’s. I just need to finish farming the set.

I have some actual goals this month for a change! Hopefully keeping them focused on just 2 games will help me meet them. Wish me luck!

More Class Mounts

After my previous run of class mount acquisition I thought I’d slow down a bit. The next mount on the list was actually not a mount, but druid flight form. I like Thisalee Crow, so I was happy to help her when she asked. We’ve got to defend the shrine of Aviana from a demon invasion, and take back the idol they stole so we can restore the flight form for all the druids of the talon who depend on it. This quest was surprisingly action-packed, and even though I’m not quite sure yet whether I like the new flight form, I definitely liked the quest to get it.

WoWScrnShot_061017_235310Next up was my rogue. I have loved everything about the rogue class hall and story so far, and this one started off with my favorite buddy Lilian Voss so I was excited. Unfortunately this quest chain is somewhat pvp focused and it stressed me out a lot. You have to kill marked targets in each of the opposing faction’s capital cities. This means using a lot of your various rogue-y tricks to infiltrate and murder your target before you get caught by guards or players. After I finished this quest I kept seeing Alliance rogues hovering around outside the Horde cities and now I know why. I have so much sympathy for them. On the plus side, I think this might be my favorite mount of all the new class ones.

Warlock started off slow because you have to gather a bunch of items up front, and one item you need only drops from the end boss of legion invasions. It felt very parallel to the pally quest, which makes sense since both of those classes had previous mount questlines. However where they pally one made up for its annoying start with a nostalgic romp at the end, the warlock quest just felt annoying. It might be because I’m not great at playing a warlock, but I didn’t think their mount quest was very fun. I do really like their mounts though.

The demon hunter quest might have been the easiest of all of them. They just have a short scenario where you fly down to the planet of the felbats and have to punch the felbat brood mother until she decides to be your friend. Or something. You have to chase her around a little bit and there is a cool moment where you have to glide down to her and jump on her back in mid-air. There’s also a set-up where you can use your demon sight ability to try to track her down, but it wasn’t strictly necessary to complete the mission. I might have been cooler to set up something that made it more vital, but it is difficult to make that work and not just be annoying. I was fairly happy that it was easy anyway, since I still felt like I was recovering from the rogue quest even after several days’ break. The mount is kinda cool looking although I hate the weird blade-on-the-head thing.

The only character I have left at 110 that doesn’t have her mount yet is my hunter, and she’s still a few days’ worth of questing away from unlocking the start of that chain. My shaman is still level 100, and the highest level warrior I have is only in the 70s, so it will be a while. So far, aesthetically the rogue mount is my favorite. As far as the quests go, if the start of the paladin one hadn’t been so awful that one would probably be my favorite. But because of the hangup of having to get crafted items and Suramar stuff it got knocked down a peg. Instead I have to say that the priest quest has been my favorite overall.

Class Mount Quests!

After how long we’ve had to wait for them to unlock, I was half expecting the quests for the new class mounts in WoW to be epic and complicated and time-consuming. This was not the case, and honestly I’m glad. Leveling up all the alts and finishing all of the broken shore quests to unlock the class mount quest was enough of a challenge. And for those who are dedicated to one class, there are a few extra goodies like spec-specific mounts and bonus pets for unlocking concordance. For me as someone who merely dabbles in all the classes for completion’s sake, I’m happy I get to see this little extra flavor content, and increase my mount stable a bit in the process!

For all classes, you need to complete the “Breaching the Tomb” achievement in order for the mount quest to unlock. It has been a lot of painful busywork doing those quests over the past few weeks, waiting for each new one to open up with the weekly reset. Now that they’re all available you can motor through them on new alts with no waiting. The main things that will slow you down are having to wait for an invasion for one of the early quests, collecting nether shards (I wait to spend any on new alts until after I finish this quest), and completing the broken shore order hall missions (if your champions aren’t leveled and geared yet). That last one was my biggest sticking point on many alts, but now that the requirement has been nerfed from 3 missions down to 1 I can finally move forward.

I haven’t done all of them yet, but much like the initial class hall quests, the mount quests are quite variable. Spoilers and opinions about the specific quests follow.

The monk quest was the first one I did, since that is theoretically still my main. Also because I can use the mount on my baby monk for our level-locked silliness. I was all ready to have more fun times with beer because that was pretty much the entirety of the monk hall quest line, but sadly after buying beer for one Master in exchange for a story there was no brew to be had. The quest has you running back to the peak of serenity to look for the tiger spirit who traditionally serves as mount for the grandmaster. It seems he’s been in mourning since the guy you replaced was killed in the demon invasion, which is why you didn’t know anything about his existence until now. It definitely has a very strong monk flavor even without much beer in it, and the mount is extra cool because he is a sentient being and will occasionally talk to you. Since this is my main I will also be attempting to get concordance eventually so I can unlock the matching tiger pet as well.

Next I did the pally quest. Sadly, one of the first things you have to do is buy a gem from some elf in Suramar. Did I mention I almost entirely skipped Suramar on all my alts? Before I could do the mount quest, I had to do Suramar far enough to unlock the mask so the vendors would even talk to me, and then I discovered I needed 500 ancient mana. My current cap was 300 so I had to first run and find 2 of the items that increase your  cap, and then go pick a few flowers in the vineyard until I had enough to buy the gem. After this inauspicious start, the rest of the mount quest was amazing. It is a huge callback to the original paladin mount quest from vanilla. You get to go back to Stratholme and kill a bunch of undead with a NPC all-pally party, and eventually purify Rivendare’s mount to turn it into your sweet new holy steed. I’m not entirely sure how I brought that undead horse back to life but I still enjoyed this quest a lot!

The next class on the list for me was priest. As someone who used to main a disc priest, I have not been happy with the direction of the “class fantasy” or the feel of priest healing in this expansion. This makes everything I do on my priest bittersweet these days. Anyhow, the priest quest premise was intriguing: Magni Bronzebeard, the dwarf who turned into a diamond and now speaks for the spirit of the planet itself, had a vision and sent me off on my quest. After my own heart, the quest sent me deep under the ocean in a submarine to a lost titan vault. Once there I got to see some banter between the Bronzebeard brothers and relive one of the most annoying Wrath-era dungeon fights with snarky dwarven commentary. It could have been obnoxious but I found it really charming. It didn’t feel especially “priest flavored” but it was an amazing quest and definitely one of my favorites. It also helps that I like the look of the priest mount a lot.

After priest, I tackled the mage quest. For that one you chase down a magic flying disc that Antonidas had been working on. It involved tracking down a couple archmages in various places around the world, and then a trial in the Eye of Eternity. I was hoping for some clever puzzles or something here but it was mostly a matter of tracking down the right mage and asking nicely if I could have their priceless artifact, please. The mage quest wasn’t as exciting or nostalgic as some of the other ones, but the trial was fun enough. You get to murder elementals of fire, frost, and arcane, which somehow bleeds off the excess energy from the disc parts and lets you combine them together into something that works. Sure, Antonidas never figured out how to do this and it was part of his life’s work and you knocked it out in 20 minutes. You’ll forget all about that once you’re riding around on your cool new mage frisbee.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten in the past 2 days, but Druid, Warlock, and Rogue are all ready to go and Demon Hunter is not far behind. I’ll have my comments on those quests up as soon as I get through them!

Silly Inspiration

Sometimes you get a weird bit of nonsense stuck in your head and there’s nothing for it but to see where it takes you. Such was the seed that started with a conversation lamenting that WoW doesn’t have level scaling in its dungeons like FFXIV does. This led to a discussion about the Herald of the Titans achievement (for killing Algalon at level and at the proper ilvl), and guilds that level lock themselves to do old content.

Suddenly this seed started taking root in my brain. I would love to do all those old dungeons and raids in a way that still felt meaningful, and let me have fun with my friends. Unfortunately I have no desire to try to find a guild that is already doing this, and I was doubtful that we could wrangle enough interest amongst our circle of friends to make it work. But. With three interested co-conspirators, we could still potentially do something silly and fun with the idea.

Thus a new guild was born. We three buddies would roll a new tank, healer, and dps and try to do all the dungeons in the game at level. Maybe even throw ourselves at the raids too, and laugh as we die horribly without a raid group. I think this will nicely scratch the itch to do something silly and fun with my friends for a little while, and should keep us entertained at least until FFXIV Stormblood gets here later this month.

Since Belghast beat me to the punch blogging about this, make sure to wander over there for his take on this nonsense. Maybe we’ll even stream our adventures!

June 2017 Gaming Goals

Hello again. I’ve survived yet another month and that means that it is time for this month’s edition of gaming goals.

May Goals Recap:

FFXIV: Get enough scripture to buy a weapon, and get it upgraded. Nope. I’m still sitting on all the materials for this because I could never decide if I wanted to buy it for scholar or astrologian. Then I stopped playing FFXIV for a while so it was moot.

Finish the aether oil step of the anima weapon. Yes! By some miracle I actually got this done. I blame a brief burst of enthusiasm for the game fueled by the most recent live letter with all the new Stormblood info.

Diablo 3: Complete the season. Yes! I honestly surprised myself with this one, because I was afraid I would get bored and wander away just before the finish line like last season. Instead I followed through and was weirdly proud of myself for accomplishing this.

WoW: Level one more class that I don’t already have at 110. Yes. Hahaha! I’ve been playing way too much WoW lately. The only classes I don’t have at 110 in some form now are Shaman, DK, and Warrior.

June Goals:

WoW: Level one more class to 110. I can tell I’m getting close to burning out on WoW, and with Stormblood on the horizon I know I’ll be putting it down once this month’s sub is finished. Hopefully before then I can get one of the 3 remaining classes up enough to see their story.

Subnautica: Rebuild my sweet sea base empire. This is my AggroChat game of the month for June, so I have to play it at least a bit. My intention here is to see what has been added in the 6+months since I last played, and to do my best to recreate some of the cool stuff I had acquired in my earlier playthroughs.

FFXIV: Play Stormblood. Ok this is basically cheating, of course I’m going to do this! But I don’t want to have any more strict goals because I want to be very chill and just enjoy the launch and the leveling process without having to rush things.

Once again this is a month with really modest goals. I’m hoping that means I will actually accomplish them for a change. And I know myself well enough to know that when Stormblood launches all other games will be purged from my attention for at least a few weeks, so there’s no sense trying to do anything ambitious in June.

Class Halls in WoW Legion

12. That is the number of characters I now have sitting at the level cap in WoW. Why on earth I have done this thing I do not know, but there it is. Except for the demon hunter, which was number 12, I have finished everybody’s order hall quests and have all the horde ones plus one ally monk caught up on the broken shore quest line as of last week. Even with 12 characters, there’s some duplication, so I still haven’t seen quite all of the class stories yet, so that’s still a goal. The only one I’m really dreading is warrior, simply because I don’t have a warrior leveled at all, so instead of having to dash from 100 to 110 I’ll need to grind myself all the way up from level 20. That process of getting from 100 to 110 is incredibly painless now, especially with invasions. Those events are fairly quick and in addition to decent experience they give way more AP and order resources than you otherwise have access to while leveling. That, combined with gifts of an AK tome and some boxes of resources from the blood trader from more established characters, makes the initial stages of gearing up at 110 and upgrading the order hall a breeze.

Something that becomes increasingly apparent the more class stories you see is just how variable they are in terms of gating, story, and difficulty/annoyance factor. The really frustrating difference to me is the amount of dungeon runs required. Some, like the demon hunter I just finished, don’t make you run any dungeons at all until after you hit 110. Others send you to one or two. The druid is the worst offender, forcing you to run at least 4 dungeons and then even more once you reach 110. Some of the story quests are also expensive, requiring various crafting materials to finish. I think some of this may have been nerfed since Legion started, but it is still weirdly frustrating that some classes had this step and others didn’t. Finally, don’t get me started on the differences in order hall upgrades. I like that in theory there’s some differences there so that every class isn’t just given the same choices with different flavor text, but a few classes make out like bandits while others are left with really lackluster options. Druid loses here again in my opinion. There’s a couple key abilities that make life way easier in the order hall: the ability to complete one free world quest per day, an NPC that lets you place work orders for champion equipment, and the option to get bonus resources when completing world quests. The poor druids get none of these, which means leveling and gearing up your champions is much slower, and you need to do more world questing to be able to afford to run missions. Meanwhile my mage, pally, and lock are fairly set since they can all place orders for equipment and also get one free world quest per day. Some of these bonuses will matter less when some more time has passed and champions get fully leveled and geared, but for a fresh alt these perks are really helpful.

As for the stories, there are some definite winners and losers there too. At some point when I’ve finished all of them I’d love to go into detail about which are the best and worst and why. So far my favorite is surprisingly the rogue story. It has a real authentic rogue flavor with lots of sneaking and subterfuge (and some pirates too!). It wasn’t the most original thing in the world but it was executed well and made me feel important in the story of Legion without having to be a big damn hero or a cookie-cutter version of what everyone else was doing. It also helps that the bonus companion rogues get from the broken shore quest line is one of my favorite characters in the game, and now she and I can go be buddies murdering demons out in the world every day.

I’ll wrap up here with my top three order halls (the ones I’ve seen anyway) for flavor of the hall itself (layout, atmosphere), story, and convenience:

Flavor of the hall itself:
Mage – It’s Hogwarts in Dalaran. ‘Nuff said.
Rogue – Secret passages, vaults of loot, and a fighting ring. Much better than “the Dalaran sewers” makes it sound.
Druid – A tiny piece of the Emerald Dream and a beautiful grove in Val’shara. There’s even a barrow den, which, annoying as they are to navigate, definitely exude druid flavor.
Worst: Hunter – A lodge on top of a mountain with very few distinguishing features. It is pretty, but so boring.

Class Story:
Rogue – Subterfuge, treachery, pirates, secret codes, and Lillian Voss. Clear winner.
Druid – Very true to druid class flavor and ties directly in with major world story events.
Monk – Beer beer and more beer. Once I got over how silly it was I realized how much fun I was having and how different it was from the other classes.
Worst: Hunter – loses points again for boredom. I was not interested in their organization or their story at all. I love hunters! Why is their order hall stuff so boring??

Mage – Easy teleport access from anywhere, optional portals to every Legion zone, free world quest completion, compact layout
Warlock – Mostly tied with Pally for including lots of useful options in the order hall upgrade tree, it wins over pally for the slightly better layout.
Pally – Like the Locks, Pallies get useful hall upgrades and as an added bonus it’s an extra way to get to the Eastern Kingdoms in a hurry.
Worst: Druid – As stated above, they are missing key quality of life options in their hall which makes starting out and maintaining resources more annoying. Also their hall is huge and sprawling (but at least you can fly in there).

Legion’s Profession Problems

After my WoW alt update post last week I decided to level my druid next. I just couldn’t resist the joy of flight form, cheering many quests and sniping all the herbs. For some reason I enjoyed the process way more than when I leveled my Alliance druid. I’m not sure if it was having flying, or not being an elf or what, but I had a lot more fun. I’ve been tempted to get the new flight form glyph because it looks really nice, but I just can’t bring myself to give up my awesome bat form.

Speaking of herbalizing from the skies, I also decided to give professions another go, mostly because I knew Darkmoon Faire was coming up and I figured at least I could get 5 free skill-ups that way. Unfortunately professions in Legion are still completely awful. I wanted to focus on my priest, who has tailoring and alchemy, since she’s my most nostalgia-heavy character and those professions made me a ton of gold over the years. Sadly the biggest moneymaker she has is still probably the 30 slot bags from WoD. Meanwhile leveling tailoring requires doing the Suramar questline, which I was avoiding like the plague on my alts. I loved Suramar, but it was long and had a rep grind and I don’t have any desire to repeat it if I can help it. On the alchemy side I’ve run up against the RNG of learning upgrades. Having to make a billion potions that are too low to give skillups to try to learn new ranks that might give skillups does not appeal. On top of all of that, you also have to run multiple dungeons for each profession. At least now that I’m 110 I can be carried through heroics by people with way more gear in a matter of minutes, as long as I don’t make myself depressed by looking at the damage meters.

The huge disconnect between how easy it is to level up an alt and how annoying it is to level their professions is really messing with my normal path to expansion/patch lull enjoyment. This is the time in prior expansions where I’d be raking in gold. Sure, we all got spoiled by how easy that was in WoD, but even in prior expansions I could level an alt and be useful making flasks, bags, gems, or transmutes pretty quickly. This time around even my main only got her professions maxed by staking out the Darkmoon Faire, and my alts are getting to around rank 760 (out of 800) at best before I hit a wall of dungeons or RNG or both. It has been fun to see a bunch of the class hall stories, but feels really strange that these alts aren’t being useful like they should. All that investment into leveling alts feels very hollow if I stop logging into them as soon as I’m done with their story. Oh well, at least I can keep selling plenty of Draenor-era bags. Maybe I should park my alts back in my garrison again…

WoW?! Alt Overload

If you had told me at the start of April that I would get heavily invested in WoW again that month I would probably have laughed at you. For better or worse I’ve gotten back in the habit of messing around in Azeroth. It turns out that lifting the pressure of trying to keep up has done absolute wonders for my enjoyment of the game. I’ve still been logging onto my main to do occasional world quests and each new piece of the class quest when they are available, but otherwise it is alt time all the time.

After leveling my pally I got my warlock up next. Leveling as affliction was incredibly easy, which is good because when I swapped to demonology for the weapon quest I was totally lost. I guess it has been a while since I spent any quality time with demo. Much like beast mastery hunters they seem to have put the focus on quantity of pets instead of quality, and I am not a fan. Once I hit 110 I struggled a bit more with soloing than I did on the pally, but I’m still pretty functional. The artifact knowledge 25 token that I can buy with resources from my main makes a huge difference, as does the cheap nethershard gear from the broken shore.

My plan is to at least finish the original class hall quest line with everybody, and make progress on the class quests for the mounts as much as I can. I’m prioritizing that on my monk, and waiting to see if there are any bottlenecks in terms of difficulty or resource requirements that will make it a waste of time on alts. I’m hoping I can get at least the priest and druid ones done if they’re reasonable.

Running the same four leveling zones over and over is starting to get a bit tiresome, so I’m not sure how many more alts I’ll get to 110 before I get sick of it. I still have a lot hordies sitting at 100 and in need of love*. If I’m still motivated to play but need a break from leveling in the broken isles I can always either work on professions (hahahahahaha no…professions in Legion are awful) or level something I don’t have near 100 yet horde side. Raiding is still firmly off the table for now, because I am enjoying not worrying about the pressure of learning the fights and showing up on a schedule.

I’m still slightly baffled at how much I’m enjoying being back, but that’s the allure of comfort gaming – it works best when I don’t think about it too much.

*My current roster on my primary Horde server (yes I have even more alts at 100 elsewhere, please send help) looks like this:
Priest 110
Pally 110
Warlock 110
Druid 103 (have 110 Alliance-side)
Mage 100 (have 110 Alliance-side)
Hunter 100 (have 110 Alliance-side)
Rogue 100
Shaman 100
DK 100
DH 98
Warrior <10
Monk <10 (110 main Alliance-side)

What would you level next?