Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Existential conflict over alts

I have a lot of alts, but I don't like multitasking in order to play them all. So I tend to focus on one at a time, only switching to another when I reach a goal (level 90, geared for LFR for example). But I would like to try to stay active on my alts this expansion. For example, Wapsi, my "main" and explorer of content, is now revered or higher with all factions aside from Shado-Pan and August Celestials. With the rep changes in today's patch, she will likely complete the grind to exalted with Klaaxi, Golden Lotus and Anglers for the mount rewards. She's decently geared and finally starting to get the feel for the LFR fights (at least the first two blocks, she's only run Heart of Fear once). She won't do any serious raiding, but I would still like to continue to upgrade her gear through LFR. In addition, she needs to get back to making flasks so she can put them up on the AH, as her beginning-of-expansion largesse is beginning to dwindle.

Blatella is also beginning LFR, and can now begin grinding rep with Golden Lotus and Klaaxi at 2x speed thanks to Wapsi's earlier efforts. As ranged DPS, she is my toon for running LFR when I don't feel like being melee and subject to endless cleaves and stomps. She is an herbalist and inscriptionist but selling glyphs on my server is like pulling teeth. However, she'll be working on the inscription staffs as she collects motes from her new dailies.

I was stuck on the question of who to level next for a couple of days. I hopped onto Panthalassa the resto shaman on a whim and leveled her to 85 by healing dungeons, despite the fact that she had awful, awful gear from questing 80-83 in Vash'jir. She did very well, well enough that I decided it would be nice to have a healer in Pandaria as well. So she respecced to elemental for questing, made her way to Pandaria, bought all the spirit mail she could find, and is now preparing to try her hand at healing normal Pandaria dungeons. I've seen healers have all kinds of problems this expansion, so I'm a little apprehensive, but I'm ready to give it a try, in part because I'm also not really feeling the love for elemental shaman. I think this is mostly due to Lightning Bolt as a filler spell being so much weaker than Mind Flay with my Shadow Priest. I would really like if Lightning Bolt were a channeled spell doing the damage of Mind Flay, rather than a long cast spell for a tiny amount of damage while I wait for a Lava Surge proc. I honestly don't understand why so many players choose elemental over enhancement, as I find enhancement to be far more satisfying and fun to play.

Aside from Panthalassa, I think I will play Gallore the BM hunter from time to time primarily because I would like to tame some rare Pandaria pets. So with two toons to level 85-90, in addition to end game activities, I'll still be plenty busy for some time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Farmer Wapsipinicon

So yesterday I decided to log on as Wapsi and play on the farm. Upon checking her reputation with the Tillers, I was somewhat amazed to see that she was very, very close to Exalted! I don't know how I missed that! Anyway, two rounds of dailies later and now Wapsi is Farmer Wapsi with a full 16-plot field and some sweet goat mounts. Now I suppose she can get to work on growing the rather ridiculous quantities of veggies she will need to max level her cooking.

I finally ran LFR on Blatella the shadow priest yesterday, and thanks to good groups and somewhat knowing the fights I really enjoyed it. Blatella even won a necklace so her armor upgrades continue, she has just a few 450 items left now.

After that, I figured what the heck lets try LFR with Wapsi again. This time around was much more pleasant for her, again knowing the fights a bit makes everything go so much more smoothly (no falling in the hole on Elegon, whee!). And surprise surprise, during the first four bosses she first won some bracers, and then a most awesome fist weapon! With these upgrades, she now has the 470 ilevel necessary to run the third portion of LFR. Sooo...maybe I won't be retiring her after all. She's progressing so well, I think it's worth keeping up with her, especially with the prospect of a legendary weapon in her future!

These next few days will be filled with holiday things and little time for serious WoW-ing, so it will be a good time to decide where to go next. I am feeling a tickle in the back of my head telling me to level my little baby warlock...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Embrace the shadow!

My goal over the Turkey Day holiday was to get Blatella leveled and into LFR. Well...she's already there. Much easier than I thought it would be. She dinged 90 on Saturday and Sunday-Monday ran heroics until she reached the magical 460 iLevel. I really like the heroic gear BTW, looks awesome on a shadow priest!

Honestly I didn't think it was all that much of a grind the second time around. So much complaining in the Blizz forums about Pandaria questing and dailies- is it honestly that much more difficult than leveling through the past expansions' content? It hasn't been for me. I wonder if people just want an endless torrent of new quest zones and instances, but then Blizz is attempting that this expansion with new LFR and quest hubs added with patches, and still people are unhappy. So I guess I'm a little confused by all of the rage in the forums community.

One bit of QQ that I can understand is that over the 8th anniversary gift. It was clearly an embarrassingly last minute, poorly executed effort (regifting last years rep/xp tabard, in addition to the letter referencing Cataclysm).  This was a missed PR opportunity, as simply tweaking the rep gains to include quest rewards would have addressed some of the concerns about the Pandaria rep grind, at least temporarily.

Anyhoo, Blatella has checked in with all of the daily quest hubs but won't be doing dailies in earnest until patch 5.1 and double rep for alts. She's maxed her inscription and herbalism and will be making the Inscribed Serpent Staff mainly because it looks cool. I'm looking forward to running LFR on her to see if it's less of a PITA to stay out of the crap and do decent DPS than it was for Wapsi.

Another happy change with patch 5.1- entering old raids no longer requires a group. Will Blatella be able to solo a couple of Sunwell Plateau bosses for the above Dark Sunwell gear? I do wish this old raid gear was BOA though, so I could just gear up my death knight, learn to play blood spec, and farm cool frocks for my squishier toons!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Shadow priest = WIN

Undead shadow priest in Pandaria is scary!

I am really loving playing Blatella the shadow priest. First off, she looks really cool in the gear available this expansion. Second, she kills mobs quickly and doesn't take much damage, meaning that questing is stress-free. Third, she does very good damage in dungeons, as she doesn't need to dance around the mechanics like Wapsi did as melee, and even when she does, her DOTs are ticking away. Although it doesn't mean so much for a non-raiding altoholic, I'm ready to consider Blatella my main for the time being.

Wapsi has paved the way for her in many ways. First, she gets the awesome archaeology umbrella off-hand, ilvl 450. Second, her rep grinds with Klaaxi, Golden Lotus, Tillers and Cloud Serpents will be quicker since Wapsi is already revered with them. Although I dislike having to repeat the Cloud Serpents experience so soon, I want Blatella to have Cloud Serpent riding for the kickass black cloud serpent mount she'll get when she's exalted with the Shado-Pan.

Right now Blatella is halfway to level 89 and questing through Kun-lai Summit, doing a lot of quests that Wapsi missed. So she's washed some yaks and now she's helping the grummles, and will eventually ding 90 in Townlong Steppes somewhere. As much as I enjoyed the Klaaxi story, I don't feel like running through Dread Wastes at the moment.

It still feels like there is so much to do in game right now. Despite her current retirement, Wapsi will probably run LFR here and there. I have my Alliance toons too, especially my three clothies I've moved to the Feathermoon server. Pet battles will catch my attention again in time, too, and with patch 5.1 and the removal of the requirement to run old raids in a group, I will be checking out some of those old instances for transmog gear. So I feel pretty busy, but in a good way!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Yes I'm still liking Pandaria!

There have been several threads in the Blizzard forums on whether the enjoyability of playing alts has changed in the latest expansion. In a nutshell, many players feel that the 85-90 content is too long and the endgame dailies are too grindy for running multiple times on alts. The recurring theme is that players have several alts stalled throughout the Pandaria content with little motivation to continue playing any expect their mains through endgame.

I guess I'm in the same place with my alts, but in contrast to posters in the forums, I don't feel like this is a problem. Instead, I feel like I have several options for what to play each evening when I log on, and when I get bored or frustrated with one toon, I can easily move onto another. For example, Wapsi, who I consider my main, has been played much less since she reached revered with Golden Lotus and Klaaxi. The reasons for this are twofold: first, I am a bit tired of running dailies on her, but since she doesn't raid, that's OK. Second, I feel like melee is very challenging in LFR right now, and this decreases my motivation to continue gearing Wapsi. Despite being decently geared, Wapsi's numbers in LFR are crap as I feel she spends more time running away from boss mechanics than actually hitting things. LFR feels like a chore to run on Wapsi, whereas I felt it was pretty enjoyable during the Dragon Soul content. I'm beginning to think that for a person of my skill level, Pandaria might be an expansion for playing ranged DPS or maybe even heals if can get my resto shaman leveled up.

Perhaps this is why I'm currently playing not one, but two mages Alliance-side. I just sent Fossegrimme into Pandaria and she is now almost level 86 in Jade Forest. I've enjoyed seeing the Alliance side of the expansion so far, although the first few quests were painful as I learned how to play a fire mage with the recent talent changes. Mages are SO SQUISHY, but once I worked Ice Barrier into my rotation Fosse's survivability improved a lot. I'm also really liking the new system for proccing instant Pyroblasts following two crits, the first of which is random and the second of which is guaranteed with Inferno Blast. The level of complexity is just right: I'm still learning to make things click, but I'm just proficient enough to stay alive and kill things reasonably quickly.

Iolae the night elf is my other Alliance mage on Feathermoon. In keeping with her role in an RP guild, she's doing a lot of questing and exploring in the night elf areas in Kalimdor, and working on her professions. I feel like I kind of stink at frost mage right now, freezing and ice lancing mobs is not easy in dungeons where other players are hitting everything and the bosses don't seem to be freeze-able. I imagine this will improve as Iolae levels and learns new skills however; looking at the endgame rotations on Icy Veins and Noxxic I see a lot of skills that I haven't learned yet.

The one thing I don't like about playing my Alliance mages right now is that they are SO POOR. Fossegrimme is making good gold in Pandaria, but Iolae spends it right away on transmog gear on the AH. I also brought Fosse's herbalism up so she can pick herbs in Pandaria, so hopefully that will bring in some cash. But I'm sorely tempted to transfer one of my Hordies over with a bunch of cash, but which one?

Because right now I really feel like playing my shadow priest. The rotation feels so much better than mage for some reason, she's not at all squishy, and I love playing an undead (thus I couldn't faction change her and use her to carry funds over to my Alliance toons). But right now Blatella sits in Krasarang Wilds because I have felt a bit obligated to play the above-listed toons. Is this a problem though? I don't think so. I LIKE having so many options for playing each evening, and I know that eventually, everyone will be at level 90 even if I am working on them until the next expansion. And if I get tired of leveling, hey, there's always farming, pet battles, loremaster, old dungeons and raids for transmog, etc etc. And that makes my $15/month worthwhile.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Back to the Alliance!

As mentioned, I rolled a new Alliance toon on the Feathermoon server in order to join a new guild that I read about on the Blizzard forums. I'm really enjoying chatting with people in the guild while I level, and I'm looking forward to our first attempts at some role playing. As far as playing a frost mage, Iolae is level 25 and has learned Ice Lance and the Fingers of Frost passive, so questing has become a heck of a lot easier. I like the mechanic of freezing things and quickly throwing out an Ice Lance for Shatter damage. The next thing I'm looking forward to is reaching level 30 and grabbing the Ice Barrier talent so she's not so squishy.

Of course I'm transmogging Iolae's gear too. I really like the Robe of the Moccassin from Wailing Caverns, and the Double-Stitched Woolen Shoulders go nicely with the grey theme and her silver hair. The Mystic's Gloves go pretty well and she's still wearing vendor boots but they barely show. The belt needs improvement. I have my eye on the Silver-Thread Sash, which is on the AH but out of my price range. I'll keep watching through!

Since I'm enjoying playing Alliance right now, I thought I would put my Hordies on vacation for a moment since I don't have time for both. However, the biggest problem with my Alliance toons is they are all so poor! So, I sprung for a server transfer for Fossegrimme the human fire mage so she can begin questing in Pandaria, collecting herbs and making some gold. Since she's a tailor she can also kit Iolae out in some stylin' gear. I've already had Fossegrimme make the Deathsilk set so Iolae can jump right into Cata dungeons when she hits level 80.

So for now, For the Alliance!

Monday, November 5, 2012


This weekend, Wapsi, Gallore, Fossegrimme and Panthalassa collaborated to finally acquire the World Explorer achievement. Wapsi and Gallore had already begun most of the zones, Gallore through questing and Wapsi through Archaeology, and Pantha was leveling through Vash'jir which was my last Cata zone to explore. I also "cheated" a bit and had Fossegrimme the human mage port to Exodar to explore the two Alliance starting areas I had left, Bloodmyst and Azuremist Isles. Much easier than trying to avoid angry NPCs on a Horde toon!

Overall, finishing the Explorer achievement was pretty easy and took maybe about 3 hours. Much more painful, however, was finishing the Loremaster of Cataclysm achievement in Vash'jir- Panthalassa had to complete 130 quests, and made it to level 83 before she was finished! I think Vash'jir's beauty rivals that of the Pandaria zones, and I really enjoyed the questline in which Pantha relived the naga fight against the Valkyr. But when that was finished, she still had 20-30 quests to go until she had completed the zone for the achievement! That really felt like work, and I'll be happy to not visit Vash'jir again for a very long time!

This kind of puts a damper on my desire to get the global Loremaster achievement- I still have several long zones in Outland and Northrend to complete, and I suspect they will all be as painful as Vash'jir was.

Explorer was much more fun. I found a lot of nice little places that I have never quested through- this little night elf area in Blade's Edge Mountains, for example. Overall though, I was impressed by how much more rich the graphics are in Pandaria than in most of the old world, especially Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. Lots of square treetops and low resolution textures in the old zones!

Last night I saw this post on the Blizzard forums and thought that joining a new guild for new RP-ers sounded like fun. So I began a fresh new Alliance toon, Iolae the night elf frost mage, on the Feathermoon server. I chose night elf because I still haven't leveled one completely, mage because I love the night elf casting animations, and frost because it seems to be a good spec right now. Now I need to think of a story for Iolae, which will be likely be percolating in the back of my mind while I'm at work all day!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

On pet battles

I'm putting off going through Cata content on Panthalassa by leveling up my battle pets and catching some rares along the way. Why can't I catch gazelles though? I get them down to low HP and the trap never lights up, with the tool tip saying that I can't catch that pet. Poo!

I've been battling pet trainers in Kalimdor, and I'm stuck right now on Cassandra Kaboom and her #$@$ cheating-ass mechanical pets. They heal, resurrect, hit multiple times in a turn, fly so I can't hit them and all sorts of shenanigans. I've lost to Cassandra twice with her last pet at 5-20 points though, so I think if I get my pets up one more level I will whip her!

This is my pet team right now- a dragonkin and two captured rares, a mechanical squirrel and a turtle. Aurora has one super powerful move but is also very squishy. Trill is overall pretty decent, and Knox is really tough with a shield spell. They're pretty good for battling out in the wild, but we'll see how they do with the higher level pet trainers.