8/8/15

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.

8/6/15

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.

7/15/15

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.

Direflame

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.

Teams 

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
 

6/13/15

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

6/12/15

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.

6/11/15

Favorite mounts

I just did favorite followers, and I think I ended up with seven out of seventy-three.  When I was drafting  posts I apparently thought limiting myself to five mounts was a good idea.

Five was not a good idea.  I have two hundred sixty-two mounts in my log, not including warlock, paladin, or death knight mounts.  But I think I've got it down to seven, including only mounts I actually have.  (One day, Emerald Drake.  One day.)

#7 - Dark Riding Talbuk

Way back in the Burning Crusade, when mounts we no longer items you had to keep in your inventory, I started... acquiring.  Mounts drove my reputation grinds - Netherwing, Sha'tari Skyguard, the Mag'har.

And then there was Halaa.  I was one of those people who got the first mount, and then... sat on languishing research tokens while vainly trying to acquire battle tokens in later expansions.  But I had the first one!


#6 - Azure Drake

So when the Emerald Drake was announced, I started farming Malygos for the two blue ones he drops.  The Blue Drake isn't anything terribly special, but the Azure Drake?  The Azure Drake is covered in arcane symbols and a variety of blues.  This is a mage's mount, for sure.


 #5 - Sea Turtle

This is the mount you get from fishing, originally in Northrend, but over time it got added to the new waters, as well.

I got it in Pandaria.  I wasn't even trying for the turtle - I had gone on dedicated turtle-farming fishing binges in the past.  No, I was trying to get a Flying Tiger Gourami for the Nat Pagle daily quest.

Bam, turtle.



#4 - Black War Raptor

Once upon a time, Tauren could only ride kodos.  Then Tauren could only ride kodos and wolves.  Then they added PVP mounts, and they decided that the raptor would be Tauren-tough.

I did a lot more PVP back in Vanilla, but it was still a bit of work to have the honor banked to purchase the raptor the day it went live - not to mention grinding out the gold for fast riding.  I did it primarily via Felcloth.  In the old Azshara.

This raptor is made of blood, sweat, and tears, for sure.



#3 - Sky Golem

I built the Sky Golem myself, because, you know, mount count.  I didn't think I was actually going to use it... until I leveled my death knight, an herbalist.

This was shortly after I leveled my druid, also an herbalist, and druid flight-form herbing is hard to beat.  Sky golem Tauren death knight comes pretty close.  And it matched her 'mog.  And her hair.

Sky golem for my death knight is one of the things I miss about level-cap flying.  I loved flying around in it on her.


#2 - Enchanted Fey Dragon

Back in Vanilla, I did the sprite darter hatchling pet quest chain on my original Night Elf; it was one of the handful of pets I had on her (along with the white kitten, which was my husband & I's introduction to limited-stock vendors).  Since then, I've been pretty sprite darter/fey dragon gung-ho; I have this in plush, as well.  This may have been my first mount-store purchase.



#1 - Swift Shorestrider

This is the mount Duskhawk is running around Draenor with; it was a birthday present, and I love it.  I like the striders the best of the ostrich-type mounts; they feel sturdy enough for a Tauren, and they aren't too flashy.



6/10/15

Spires of Arak


I love Spires of Arak.  It is far and away my favorite thing zone-wise of all of Draenor: the ambiance, the story lines, the puzzles.

You get introduced to the stories in Spires through two routes: aiding the Arakkoa, and helping out at Pinchwhistle Gearworks, where attempts to start an outpost have gone awry.  Along the way you meet various members of the Arakkoa Outcasts, find out what Wrathion has been up to in Draenor up to this point (not-spoiler spoiler: no good), and fight more plant zombies like you ran into in Gorgrond.

Into the woods to help my bird buddies...

I like the Arakkoa story here the best, but the two kind of side-plots with Pinchwhistle and Admiral Taylor's garrison are both engaging as well (and the former will land you the Salvage Yard plans).  Ultimately this is where my alts have been hitting 100, working towards getting Talonpriest Ishaal, their Salvage Yards, and Admiral Taylor's sword (where applicable).

The Arakkoa Outcasts have had a difficult time, basically on the losing side of an Arakkoa civil war.  They've fled from the spires in the sun down into the shadows, and you both help them against the Laughing Skull, who are hunting them, and against the Arakkoa who still live in the glory of the sun above, following Terokk's story as you do.  Depending on how well this Draenor's Arakkoa parallel our own, this story line helps flesh out the bits we got in Terokkar Forest in our broken Draenor.

Spires in the sun...
... banished to the shadows.

I vastly prefer getting around this zone grounded compared to Nagrand, and despite the rope puzzles making my palms sweat, I also appreciate most of the puzzle rewards here more - the archaeology fragments, the various items at Terokk's shrines.

Bear-okay puzzles
Bear-not-okay puzzles

Arakkoa are interesting; those following Rukhmar have sun and air magic, and they also make much use of wing-blades.  The Arakkoa Outcasts make heavy use of shadow and illusion magic - sort of the flipside of Rukhmar's followers.  They are closer to Anzu, the raven god, and Terokk, their former king.  Prior to Spires I didn't understand why people wanted to play Arakkoa, but now that I've got Ishaal and Kurekk hanging out in my garrison, and Reshad and Percy visiting?


I don't know that I want to play one myself, but I wish they were a bigger faction back in our home timeline.


In the meantime, I've retired Bloodsail Admiral for awhile.