Monday, January 28, 2013

A druid in Pandaria

Mnium is meandering through Pandaria, in no hurry to reach level 90. She's mostly questing, and has gotten the achievements for finishing Jade Forest and Krasarang Wilds. I wanted to explore Krasarang with her because of the night elf quests, in which she assists the Sentinels in finding the Pools of Youth. Seemed like kind of a bad idea, given the history of the night elves and magical pools and immortality and all that. Mnium quested her way to western Krasarang Wilds, then up to Stoneplow, and then to Kun-Lai Summit to help the Alliance establish a base there. Now she's in Townlong Steppes and halfway through level 88. She'll probably help the Shado-Pan as much as she can in order to finish the quests in this zone. Since finishing Dread Wastes on my Horde priest Blatella over Xmas, I don't want to revist much of that zone so soon.

In addition to questing, Mnium has been doing a few dungeons, mostly as balance DPS. She spent all of the JP earned on some incredibly gaudy BC gear in Shattrath, as seen above. With her dungeon spell dagger and Binan Village quest off-hand, she is the most colorful druid in Pandaria!

Mnium just got a couple of quest rewards in Townlong Steppes that have a pinkish hue to them, and they match pretty well with the help. Hopefully she'll get the whole set as she completes the zone- she got the entire Mortbreath set from Krasarang Wilds, which is a beautiful red and silver. I really like the return to more colorful, detailed gear in this expansion. It's really filling up my bank slots, though!

I'm still enjoying playing as Balance. I like throwing on Barkskin, planting some mushrooms, rounding up a few mobs at a time and casting Starfall on them, and using Ursoc's Vortex to keep the mobs in the toxic mushroom spores after I detonate them. This had made questing a lot of fun. Dungeons have been more challenging- healers still seem to be struggling in the 85-90 dungeons. After nerd raging a couple of times this weekend I switched Mnium to Resto for a dungeon so I could see what the problem was. Turns out Resto druid is a lot more challenging than Resto shaman at this level. OOM + plus only two OMG spells on long cooldowns (Tranquility plus Tree form) + only one big heal with a super long cast time (Healing Touch)- I had a hard time keeping up in heavy damage. I  attributed part of it to having mostly low level questing gear, but still, it was painful enough that I don't know if I'll heal with Mnium again. Nuking things is far more enjoyable.

I figure that by the end of the week, Mnium will have hit level 90. I'm planning to start her Operation Shieldwall and Tillers right away, in addition to some heroics and scenarios until she can get into LFR. Revered with Operation Shieldwall provides access to valor belt, boots, ring and trinket, and hopefully Mnium can fill the rest in doing LFR. I don't think I can do Klaaxi and Golden Lotus dailies for a third time, at least not right now.

Throughout her leveling, Mnium has been making a few trips to level up her herbalism. Between selling herbs and the generous Pandaria quest rewards, she finally has a little money to spend. So she splurged on fast flying- I love the new flight form, and can't wait until she can fly around Pandaria too!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Whirlwind to 85

My recent interest in playing Mnium, a night elf druid, comes from having found the War of the Ancients trilogy at a used bookstore over the holidays. This is her 3rd race change, and by moving her to Feathermoon she's now on my chosen Alliance server. She took some gold and heirlooms over with her to help with leveling and purchasing odds and ends off of the AH, and thus prepared began her journey in Silithus with the Cenarion Circle. 35 or so levels, and then she would be off to Pandaria and perhaps my first Alliance toon to make it to level cap.

Although I usually hate Silithus, Mnium had a goal of collecting rep for the Cenarion Circle. She just dinged Revered as she hit level 58 and began queueing for BC dungeons. I like BC dungeons, as the gear rewards are some of my favorite. Since I took a lot of care with her appearance, I had Mnium use the starry boomkin glyph, so she only goes into boomkin form during her mecha laser chicken cooldown.

I like questing in BC zones too, also because some of the gear rewards are very nice looking.  Above is Mnium entering Zangarmarsh, still in her low level gear but carrying a staff from Hellfire Ramparts. She quested mostly in Zangarmarsh and Shadowmoon Valley, in addition to dungeon runs.

Here's her "Outland Veteran" outfit, as she left to begin questing in Borean Tundra. The chest and gloves are part of the rogue Bloodfang armor which drops from BC dungeons. The belt is the low level Hunter's belt and everything else is from the Clefthoof leather set.

Onto Wrath Mnium quested in Borean Tundra and Dragonblight before I got completely sick of all the snow. I'm gaining a bit more of an appreciation for the Wrath armor though. This leather set from quest and dungeon drops looks pretty cool, especially the staff and shoulders. I got the snail out just for the picture.

Burned out on questing, what to do. Druid can heal too! After a respec to resto and some helpful hints from folks on Twitter, Mnium was ready to heal through the rest of the Wrath content.

Yes I had to check out the treant standing in fire effect. Looks uncomfortable!

The first 2/3 of Wrath went smoothly, and then things started to really grind. Mnium did fine as resto, but levels 78-80 went very, very slowly. Everyone seems to be in Pandaria, as dungeon queues even as healer were 5-15 minutes.

Cata was even slower. Mnium quested in Hyjal from 80-82 and then hit the dungeons as resto once again. She got the Throne of the Tides staff and a cool leather dress from Blackrock Caverns. Overall though, 81-85 felt like a terrible grind, whether questing or dungeoning.

But she finally made it to 85, and is ready for Pandaria. I bought a full set of 415 blues for Mnium as a reward, both to make her a bit less squishy for the upcoming levels, and because I've always liked the leather gear for the newest expansion. She'll get a new staff from one of the first quests into Pandaria, and then she'll be good to go for awhile.

Now at level 85, I have a few goals for Mnium:
1. Work on Cenarion Expedition and Cenarion Circle rep for Guardian of Cenarius achievement
2. ENJOY five levels of Pandaria Alliance-side
3. Find goodies around Pandaria for the Relic Hunter achievement

Most of my gameplay revolves around my enjoyment of leveling toons. But this last experience has shown me that there are areas of leveling that are just not interesting for me anymore. The Wrath content became dull for me but I can see getting interested in questing in some areas of Northrend again that I haven't visited in awhile, for future toons. But I have been through the Cata zones and dungeons so many time, they're hard to bear.

But for now, I have 2 Alliance toons at 85, 2 Horde toons at 90, and 4 Horde toons from 85-87. That will keep me in Pandaria for a long time, until I'm finally ready to brave the lower levels again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Mnium is a druid and a member of the Cenarion Circle, most recently stationed in Silithus. While she has performed her duties admirably, being stuck at a forgotten outpost against the long-conquered Qiraji threat has failed to slake her need for adventure, and the buzzing of the silithids has begun to drive her just a little bit mad. So to her great relief, Mnium has been sent to assist the Cenarion Expedition in Zangarmarsh, by way of Stormwind.

Mnium dresses simply and functionally, as befitting of a druid trainee. Still, she can't completely suppress her night elf heritage and tendency towards stylish fashions. The Stormwind auction house has provided her with a new jerkin and pauldrons that suit her.

What a city! She mustn't dally here though, as she is needed in Zangarmarsh. She is young enough not to worry too much about the dangers of this strange land called Outland, and in truth looks forward to the challenge. Her mind is focused on a lofty goal, of someday becoming a Guardian of Cenarius.

She has seen some curious things in Stormwind, further whetting her appetite for adventure. Pandaren? A new land? She has heard whispers just during her short time in Stormwind that this land contains a Well much like that which nearly brought the night elves to destruction in Kalimdor, and sure enough, there are rumors of a great evil afoot in Pandaria, fueled by the magical waters. Will the night elf druids be needed to help purge the world of this threat, too?

Mnium closes her eyes, breathes deeply and smiles. First Zangarmarsh, and her duties to the Cenarion Expedition. And perhaps with a job well done, she will make her way to this new land, just as she has done before. She has a whole life ahead of her for such adventures.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Is there a worse month than January?

I think not. Awful gloomy weather, and I always manage to get sick with one thing or another. Add some beginning of semester work stress and by the time classes start I am already worn out and ready for summer! My WoW time has become something I relish even more than usual, as working on all of my little tasks in game is very relaxing. All of my Hordies have been very busy, to the point where I'm feeling it might be time to play some Alliance for awhile just for a change. In particular, I want to get through Pandaria and the Operation Shieldwall story on my mage, since I've just completed Dominance Offensive Horde-Side (more on that in a second!)

First up, Petrusian the fury warrior. He is nearly level 65 and can wear all of his green armor! Go green man! I am still loving the dual wielding 2h weapons, and the fury playstyle is, well, furious with a lot of procs to keep track of. I really like the pace at this point, and I am pleasantly surprised by how complex the rotation is this early on; I was under the impression that warriors were one of those faceroll classes. Not for me at least!

What a great creepy picture! Blatella has been hanging out in Dread Wastes, which suits this forsaken shadow priest just fine. She finished all of the quests for the achievement, and is now working on getting exalted with the Klaaxi, as I'm curious about the story and I really, really want the sweet "Wakener" title. Blatella has been keeping up with LFR, but after 3 weeks with only duplicate gear drops and no upgrades, I'm a bit discouraged. Looking forward to Patch 5.2 and the increase in gear drop probabilities that have been hinted at. I would also be happy if an upcoming patch allowed trading within the raid group, after gear is initially distributed. I've gotten duplicates, and today on Lei Shi heard a guy complaining about getting his third sha-touched weapon. I haven't seen one on any of my toons yet.

Wapsi has been busiest, having reached exalted with the Anglers and Dominance Offensive over the past few weeks. The water strider mount is officially my favorite mount ever. I just wish it could fly!

I don't know if I just suddenly developed a search image, but rich soil piles were everywhere a couple of weeks ago. No exaggeration, Wapsi found around 20 of them within about half an hour one day.

This was handy, as Chee Chee had been awful standoffish and Wapsi was only at acquaintance with him (she's been best friends with all of the other Halfhill folks for awhile). With so many piles of rich soil about, and a couple of plates of Valley Stir Fry, Wapsi was able to finally buy Chee Chee's love in a single afternoon. Now my farm has sheep!

Speaking of the farm, Jogu has been a rather unreliable farmhand, to say the least. He leaves the farm for his pool by the market, and I have to remind him that he works for ME. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, he is a drunk after all.

As mentioned, Wapsi completed the Dominance Offensive story line. I don't consider Wapsi a bloodthirsty Horde soldier, being tauren she's more neutral than evil. But after helping Garrosh obtain the equivalent of a nuclear bomb, and the final scene of the story (above), she's rather anticipating Garrosh receiving his due for escalating the war with the Alliance in such a way.

The story progression in this expansion so far is fantastic, and I am really looking forward to all of the upcoming content patches. The additions of LFR and these story-driven daily quests have really put the lore of the game at the forefront, and accessible. I can get all kinds of cool mounts and a legendary weapon, and really feel like my toons are participating in big, important, world-shaking events that are unfolding in real time. I haven't played enough MMOs to know if other games are like this, but it's a unique gameplay experience for me.