Legion sounds awesome!

Okay, for once I got to watch BlizzCon streams at home in real time!  All in all, I'm excited about a lot of the stuff they talked about.  I'm not super-stoked about playing Marksman without a pet, but it's for sentimental reasons, not mechanical ones, so I figure I'll just swap over to Beast Mastery when I want to visit my pets.

But what I am looking forward to...  (If you don't have livestream access, try Blizzard Watch for info and lots of pictures!)
  • The new Hearthstone adventure:  Okay, it's not a WoW thing, but I literally yelled, "Oh, my God," at the screen when they showed the Golden Monkey card, so... yeah, I'm kinda stoked.  I don't play enough Hearthstone to get past rank 15ish, but I play enough to get to 17 most seasons.  So slightly more than casual play, but not a lot.
  • The whole artifact customization system:  It kind of reminds me of FFX-2's dress sphere system, lol.  But I loved FFX-2 (it's the only one I've actually finished), so that's really a plus for me.
  • The transmog system.  I was commenting in guild chat as I was watching it, and everyone seemed excited.  I've done a lot of quests on Duskhawk, and I've got a pretty awesome shield collection... on a level 47 alt on another sever from my warrior and paladin that will actually be relevant.  Only having to get something to drop once to use it in transmog for all the toons that could equip it will be really helpful for shared armor types for the classes I mostly heal on.
  • Atonement focused Disc!  I've been playing Discipline (or a Discipline-heavy hybrid spec) since Vanilla, and I loved when they added Atonement.  It feels weaker this expansion than in previous ones, but I'm looking forward to the soloing survivability returning again.
  • Okay, so when they started talking about the Subtlety rogue as ninja thing - yes, yes, that is why I made my rogue in Vanilla.  I spent most of that panel just kind of happily gibbering.
  • Improved UI!  Every quality-of-life improvement they make just makes me that much happier.
  • Meaningful profession content!  There are days all I want to do is spend three hours going in circles mindlessly mining - and now we won't even have to compete for nodes!
  • The changes to the mob-tapping system also make me happy; I was doing Throne of Kil'jaeden dailies Saturday morning on my Disc priest, which is a, well, slow process.  And the event to spawn the Succubus boss popped up.  So I go up and start slowly working on the elite mobs there.  I can kill them, it just takes a while.  And a hunter comes up and starts killing them, and I was glad even though I wasn't getting objective completion just because it went so much faster, but in the Legion system, I would have been getting completion credit, and loot, and that would have been nice!  People might actually help you kill stuff in passing more often because it benefits them!
  • The seeming mashup of daily/weekly quests and bonus objectives - show up in a zone at max level and there will be some content there to do!  No need to hit up a hub, just go to the map area and do it!
  • I want to be excited about what they're doing with dungeons - I like the concept - the folks I mostly ran dungeons with up through, like, Wrath stopped playing for the most part around Cataclysm.  Maybe if I find some new folks to run with regularly.
  • The frickin' Scythe of Elune.  Okay, I did like, all the quests in Vanilla.  All of them, as in, when they first put in gold at max level for quest rewards when you couldn't get the quest XP, I went and did every quest I could find.  And so I did both the Alliance and Horde branches of the Scythe of Elune stuff, and they dropped it, and then in Cataclysm in the Worgen stuff they finally wrapped that up, but I'm so excited by the presence of the Scythe of Elune that I'm debating making my druid primarily Balance instead of Resto to start out with that.  SCYTHE OF ELUNE.  
  • I like the idea of my hunter getting a Windrunner-legacy bow, but I've been transmogging into the Golden Bow of Quel'Thalas, and that's aesthetically hard to beat. (It's bigger than my Tauren.)  But I really do like the idea, and it sounds like the progression process for the artifacts will have lots of story meat.  And story meat is the best meat...
  • NONI GREW UP and he has bacon for us!
  • Baby mooses!
See? Bigger than my Tauren & 100% awesome.

So that scene at the end of the movie trailer, where he jumps off the balcony onto his griffon to fly into combat? THAT. THAT IS WHY I LOVE FLIGHT ON MY DRUID.

I'm kind of stoked. >.>


Things I didn't notice in Draenor until flying

This is going to be an image heavy post.

The spires of light in Talador:

Crowds (relatively) at pet battles:

This elevator is not the Aldor Rise:

It's not actually that far from Frostfire to Nagrand:

I didn't have my view distance set on Ultra.  The clarity:

Alliance towns:

Seriously, these zones seem to be set up to route you completely away from the other faction's towns.  I couldn't tell you where most of them are.

The extent of the ogres in Nagrand:

(I think I quested there and I didn't realize just how big it was.)

The volcanic? peak over Hallvalor:

Holy crap, why did you give us Warspear, Bladespire looks frickin' awesome:

Hot damn, this place feels underused now.  Sorry, Bladespire.

Seriously, Bladespire:

Drov the Ruiner.  Sorry, Drov:

Oh, my God, the Foundry:

This is what it felt like to fly into Storm Peaks the first time and see all that Titan architecture.  This place is amazing, and we've been stuck down there not able to see the forest for the trees.

Trees in a steam vent:

Gorgrond isn't that much less confusing from the air, but at least the plants aren't trying to kill you up here:

Huh, I apparently had the music off and oh my God I know that music but why is it in flutes and not brass??

Well, this looks particularly uninviting from the air:

Huh, there's mountains up there:

Oh, they fel-broke the roof?

Huh, symbols inside the portal:

Okay, enough sight-seeing; time to level the druid:


Artifact Weapons: Speculative Concerns

If you've done a lot of raiding over the years, you know that it seems like there's always someone in your raid group who just can't get a weapon to drop.  That was me, for the entirety of Wrath Naxxramas, stuck using my engineering gun until an Ulduar-25 PUG landed me the gun off Kologarn.  It sucked - I literally couldn't crit high enough to pop the constructs on Ignis until I got a weapon upgrade.

So Legion is going to bring us artifact weapons, and no one will need to worry about weapon drops (because there won't be any).  The various skins you can unlock and the ability to transmog the artifacts mean you aren't visually stuck with it for the whole expansion.

But then they put this up during the GamesCon presentation (with my markings for emphasis):

And then you start looking at the already revealed weapons and who has/had them:
  • Ashbringer - Tirion Fordring
  • Maw of the Damned - demon Gorelix
  • Ebonchill, Greatstaff of Alodi - formerly Alodi
  • Sheilun, Staff of the Mists - formerly Shaohao
  • Thas’dorah, Legacy of the Windrunners - formerly Sylvanas, as Ranger-General
  • Icebringer & Soulreaper (Frostmourne) - formerly Arthas
  • Fangs of the First Nightsaber - ??
  • Eagle Spear - whatever killed the last wielder
  • Felo'melorn - formerly Kael'thas
  • Doomhammer - Thrall
A lot of these were formerly possessed by someone - Arthas, Alodi, Shaohao, and Kael'thas are (presumably still) dead, and the wording on the Windrunner bow suggests it was lost at the time Sylvanas became a banshee or some such.  So some classes go find the weapon where it was broken or lost and somehow get it fixed.  The Eagle Spear and Maw of the Damned sound like you're going to have to kill something to take the weapon, and the name of the feral druid fangs sounds like they're going to seek out the resting place of the first nightsaber.  The unnamed prot warrior sword and board were mentioned as artifacts you retrieve from a tomb, so we know that wielder is already dead, too.

But what about Doomhammer and Ashbringer?  WoWhead's article mentions something about Thrall losing hope, so maybe he's passing off the Doomhammer to a worthy enhancement shaman.  But Ashbringer was the one the developers mentioned going back to the Broken Shore to getting it from where it was lost, so...

I dunno; I think Tirion's future doesn't look very bright.  Depending what the other twenty-some weapons turn out to be - how many more lore figures are going to die for us to get fancy weapons?  They did mention Alleria and Turalyon are going to be back, but not how - and marksman hunters are getting a Windrunner bow.  So I'm a little worried we might not be finding one or both of them alive.

If beta really is later this year, we've only got at most five months to wait for at least some of the answers.  Maybe all the currently alive wielders of artifact weapons are going to realize they're too old be doing this crap anymore, but Blizzard's never really been shy about killing off characters, so I'm not going to be surprised if any of them don't make it.


Pre-Legion Goals

I'm not gonna lie, I'm not surprised that we're looking at a Legion expansion, even with Wrathion mostly m.i.a. in Draenor.  We've had so many Old God expansions that we've been due for some serious Legion action, and even with Gul'dan mucking about in Draenor, it hasn't really been a Legion expansion yet.

But before the Legion gets here, there's stuff I want to get done.  The list isn't terribly long:

  1. Emerald Drake.  I want to get the Drakes achievement finished so I can be flying around the Broken Isles on the loveliest of drakes that isn't a fey dragon.  I just need Deathwing to cooperate...
  2. Tiger Cub.  I want to finish off grinding enough Blackfang Claws for the Saberstalker pet, because it is adorable.
  3.  Level the remaining alts.  Not all of them, but the remaining nine that were also at 90 in Mists.  These are three hunters, a mage, a warlock, a shaman, a druid, a paladin, and a monk.


Pet Battles of Tanaan

Over the past week or so, since I finished Draenor Pathfinder and don't feel compelled to do grindy stuff for reputation, I started working on the new boss battle pets in Tanaan.  These are all boss pets with a kind of nasty surprise - they all come with two additional pets.


Many of these pet battles wouldn't be nearly as troublesome if you didn't have to deal with two buffed extra pets after knocking them out; the boss pet will cast Fel Corruption throughout the fight while they're up, and in addition to being a fairly hard hitting AOE (and making it hazardous to have mechanical pets in your lineup), it turns the backline pets on their side into minibosses for up to 10 rounds.

Most of these battles I was able to get through with some experimentation, though for a few I had to hit the WoWhead comments for ideas on pets to try.  It should be obvious from the chart that, although some of the commenters frequently push the Anklerender and the Emerald Proto-Whelp, I don't have the former leveled, and I only found the latter helpful once.  I also tried out suggested strategies involving forced pet swaps (to minimize the Fel Corruption), but those gave me no success.

Due to the back line pets, setting up a traditional "Howl Bomb" (Unborn Val'kyer/Pandaren Water Spirit/Chrominius) frequently meant that the Fel Corrupted pets would finish off the AOE-damaged remaining pets even if the boss pet was dropped.  Using 1.5-2 pets to get the boss pet down and cleaning up the remnants with the Anubisath Idol was ultimately more reliable.


The numbers after the pet name are the ability slot choices - particularly with Chrominius and the Anubisath Idol, who saw heavy use, there are some fights where not swapping out an ability really hurt.

PetSlot 1Slot 2Slot 3
BleakclawChrominius 2 1 2Disgusting Oozeling 1 1 1Crimson Geode 1 2 2
Chaos PupIron Starlette 1 2 1Pandaren Water Spirit 1 2 2Chrominius 1 1 2
Corrupted ThundertailPandaren Water Spirit 1 2 2Chrominius 1 1 2Emerald Proto-Whelp 2 2 2
Cursed SpiritTolai Hare 2 2 2Mr. Wiggles 1 2 2Anubisath Idol 1 2 2
Dark GazerLil' Deathwing 1 2 2Infinite Whelpling 1 1 1Anubisath Idol 2 2 2
Defiled EarthDancing Water Skimmer 1 2 2Magical Crawdad 2 2 2Anubisath Idol 1 2 2
DireflameGarden Frog 1 2 1Dark Phoenix Hatchling 2 1 2Crimson Geode 1 2 2
DreadwalkerFel Flame 1 1 1Infinite Whelpling 1 1 1Anubisath Idol 1 2 2
FelflyChrominius 2 1 2Disgusting Oozeling 1 1 1Crimson Geode 1 2 2
Felsworn SentryPandaren Water Spirit 1 2 2Chrominius 1 1 2Anubisath Idol 1 2 2
MirecroakCrow 2 2 2Chrominius 1 1 2Anubisath Idol 1 2 2
NetherfistUnborn Val'kyr 2 2 2Ghostly Skull 1 1 1Anubisath Idol 1 2 2
SkrillixPandaren Water Spirit 1 2 2Chrominius 1 1 2Anubisath Idol 2 2 1
Tainted MaulclawSprite Darter Hatchling 1 2 2Darkmoon Hatchling 1 2 2Anubisath Idol 1 2 1
Vile Blood of DraenorInfinite Whelpling 1 1 1Anubisath Idol 2 2 2Crimson Geode 1 2 2

Pet List

Anubisath Idol: The Anubisath Idol saw heavy use in Tanaan, making it into the lineup for 10 of the 15 battles.  Sandstorm is the big boon here - the damage reduction and its humanoid healing allow it to survive the Fel Corruption-buffed backline pets.

Chrominius: Chrominius makes it into 7 of the teams in Tanaan, although in one he was a barely-used third pet.  He is frequently paired with the Pandaren Water Spirit for the "Howl Bomb," buffing the Whirlpool/Geyser combination, but for the two flying pets, he can simply Howl + Surge of Power to one-shot them.

Crimson Geode: The Crimson Geode makes it into four of these fights, not so much for the boss pets but because it's a strong candidate for cleaning up flying pet adds.

Crow: Crow makes one appearance in Tanaan, using the Call Darkness/Nocturnal Strike combo on Mirecroak.

Dancing Water Skimmer: The Dancing Water Skimmer was brought in to handle the Defiled Earth.

Dark Phoenix Hatchling: The Rebirth ability helped make the Direflame fight doable for the team I was using.

Darkmoon Hatchling: There are other pets with the Predatory Strike ability, but the Darkmoon Hatchling is a Critter, which is less susceptible to Fel Corruption, so it survived on the backline to be brought in as a finisher on the Tainted Maulclaw.

Disgusting Oozeling: The Disgusting Oozeling was put into two lineups in case Chrominius couldn't for some reason handle the flying boss pets, but it turned out to be handy for cleaning up the back lines for them, since Fel-Corruption-empowered pets make fast work of a recharging Chrominius.

Emerald Proto-Whelp: The Emerald Proto-Whelp only turned out to be useful for me for cleaning up the Corrupted Thundertail's back line pets.

Fel Flame: Fel Flame was a trial pet in a lot of battles, but it only ended up on the final team for Dreadwalker - albeit as a starter, not on the bench.

Garden Frog: Garden Frog softened up Direflame enough for the phoenix to finish off - and the crowd control from the Frog Kiss didn't hurt to keep down the Fel Corruption casts.

Ghostly Skull: Bob was brought in for Netherfist; Ghostly Bite is lovely for how hard it hits, even with the boss damage reduction.

Infinite Whelpling: The Infinite Whelpling made it onto three teams; with its mixed bag of abilities, it's useful both on magic and mechanical pet bosses.  The heal doesn't hurt, either.

Iron Starlette: Iron Starlette was one of the suggestions I got from the WoWhead comments; the Chaos Pup was giving me fits, and it turned out to be the mechanical for the job.

Lil' Deathwing: Dark Gazer was Lil' Deathwing's first appearance on a pet team for me.  He is the hardest hitting dragon I've got, and many team combinations went down to this fight before he joined the team.

Magical Crawdad: Magical Crawdad is another pet you see touted a lot, and it can be quite good in some lineups, but for me it only helped with Defiled Earth.

Mr. Wiggles:  Mr. Wiggles was brought in, as he not infrequently is, for an undead fight, the Cursed Spirit.  Being a critter, he could take the Fel Corruption on the back line better, and he hit especially hard following up the rabbit.

Pandaren Water Spirit:  The Pandaren Water Spirit made it onto 4 teams, most often as a truncated version of the "Howl Bomb," i.e., with no leading Val'kyr.

Sprite Darter Hatchling: The Sprite Darter Hatchling was brought in for Life Exchange versus the Tainted Maul Claw; it helped set up for Predatory Strike from the Darkmoon Hatchling.

Tolai Hare: The hare, like almost all the rabbits, can be wicked against undead pets, and it made the team for the Cursed Spirit as an armor break before Mr. Wiggles.  Dodge and critter resistance to elemental damage didn't hurt.

Unborn Val'kyr: The Unborn Val'kyr made it onto only one team, versus Netherfist.

Alternate Teams

I'll update as I find additional combinations that work.

Direflame: Jungle Darter, Pebble, Crimson Geode


Prot Warrior Deck

So the caveat with anything Hearthstone is that I'm not that good - the best I've done is rank 15, once, and I did that on the back of Oil Rogue and Mech Mage decks.  That said, I do enjoy playing around with random decks.

This warrior deck is okay - it works well enough for quests, but you're unlikely to get anywhere on the ladder with it.  It's all weapons and armor for the most part, with some warrior spells thrown in to flesh it out.

The problems I've run into most frequently with this deck is the card draw hitting a patch of all weapons, or getting stuck with a freezing minion in a mage deck with no removal or minions.  When it works out, though, it can be quite fun - build up armor, smash things with axes.

Card list:
  • Inner Rage x1
  • Execute x2
  • Shield Slam x1
  • Upgrade! x1
  • Whirlwind x1
  • Fiery War Axe x2
  • Cleave x1
  • Slam  x2
  • Armorsmith x1
  • Ogre Warmaul x2
  • Bouncing Blade x1
  • Shield Block x2
  • Death's Bite x2
  • Mortal Strike x1
  • Arathi Weaponsmith x2
  • Defender of Argus x1
  • Arcanite Reaper x2
  • Brawl x1
  • Siege Engine x1
  • Shieldmaiden x2
  • Gorehowl x1


A Shot in the Arm

As I mentioned in the mount post, chasing mounts is a pretty big motivator for me in terms of content; heck, I did Long Strange Trip on three characters for faster flying prior to the achievement (and mounts) becoming account-wide.  So flying in Draenor?  Well, I just needed to finish three of the apexis areas for Securing Draenor for existing requirements.  But the carrot of flying is going to have me in Tanaan working on the new reputations, for sure.

So what am I looking forward to with flying?
  • Leveling my druid.  I love flying on my druid, and taking her to Spires of Arak, after all the druid flight quests in Outland?  That's going to be pretty cool.  Anzu used to be part of the quest to get epic flying on druids.
  • Flying around in my Sky Golem.  Maybe I'll farm herbs on my death knight; maybe I'll just track down all the followers she missed while leveling.  I don't know, but I'm gonna enjoy flying around in my green goblin iron man suit doing it.
  • Archaeology!  It's going to be so much less painful to farm for unfinished rare relics.
  • Pet battle dailies!  There are a few pets I only have lower quality ones too.
  • Maybe farming?  I used to swap over to farming ore, or fishing, when I had bad brain days and wanted something mindless today.  In Burning Crusade it was Nagrand; Sholazar in Northrend; Uldum or Deepholm in Cataclysm;  Vale of Eternal Blossoms in Pandaria.  I need a lot of lunkers for Nat Pagle still...
In the meantime?  I finished Grand Treasure Hunter back in November, but I'm going to try to get them all before the patch drops.