Monday, July 28, 2014

A Week in an MMO: Exploring Azeroth again

Kentrei helping the Stillpine on Azuremyst Isle
I have started three posts since my last one, but I couldn't seem to get the motivation to actually write any of them, so you'll just get another summary of what I've been doing, primarily in World of Warcraft.

Rediscovering Cataclysm

I leveled four characters to 60 before Cataclysm and didn't have much incentive to revisit the zones afterwards.  The idea of the druid always appealed to me, but I like my hunter and I'd rather heal as a priest, so it never became a priority to level him.  However, since I plan to get Warlords of Draenor and I'd rather get the max level leatherworking profession with the included Instant Level 90 character offer, I've decided to level my druid to 60 and finally see some of the Cataclysm zones.

I'd like to see entire zones if possible, but I'd also like to take advantage of rested experience.  From my experience finishing up Stonetalon mountains and Desolace and starting on Feralas, that'll mean starting at level and becoming too high until you end up skipping a zone.  I enjoyed both new zones and Desolace seemed like a huge improvement from how it was originally.  After all this time I still distinctly remember looking at the quests where I could gain favor with one of the centaur groups but lose favor with the other.  Now the quests have been overhauled to unite the groups, leading to a much more satisfying experience for me at least.

Rediscovering Burning Crusade

I don't remember when, it might have been towards the end of Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King, I decided to create a Draenae Shaman so I could experience the starting zone and the class (since I hadn't done anything significant on the Horde side).  I probably got about half way through Ambermyst Isle when she just became another bank and game mail location where I could send things without losing them.

Finally this month I have finished Ambermyst Isle and am now progressing through Bloodmyst Isle.  I was a little surprise to see there wasn't an achievement for Ambermyst Isle, though I'm doing it more for the experience and the lore than for the achievement.  I've said several times I don't see myself getting the Loremaster achievement, though I guess that could change.  It has been interesting finishing off these different zones together because it is easier to contrast them.  I think it is improved from the original starting zones, but I didn't find it nearly as involving as the Pandaria or Cataclysm zones.

Finishing off zones

As part of finding things to do, I went back and finished a few zones.  Kanter had been fewer than 10 quests from finishing both Blades End Mountain and Nagrand so I finished those off.  The WoW Pro leveling add made it easy to find the quests that I missed and generally it was fun revisiting that world I spent so much time in years ago.  I did run into one dilemma in Nagrand.  I had finished what I thought was all of the quests, but didn't have the achievement.  Eventually I figured out that it was because I hadn't done the Ring of Blood series of quests.  

For those who don't know, this is a series of progressively more difficult fights designed for 5 people that ended with what was at the time a good weapon.  Now it is trivial for a level 90, but when I showed up a level 64 player was already battling.  I had the decision to make whether or not I should help.  I asking the player, but it was a Horde character, and though they responded back, I couldn't read what they said.  I started to watch but once I saw the character have less health than the NPC they were fighting, I decided to help.  I can remember fighting on Timeless Isle and having people stand around as I died when the mob I was fighting had a sliver of health left.  I think it was the better decision given what I know, but others could have fairly acted differently.  After the fight they emoted a 'No' to me, so I think they would have rather tested themselves and it's unfortunate that they probably won't have that chance again with that character.  Certainly if someone asks you not to help them, you shouldn't, but in this case I had to act on the information I had.

Finally, during Wrath I had decided to complete the Icecrown quests with my priest.  She did many of them, but there were a set that required a group and I wasn't able to get a group together (being very late doing the content like I normally am).  Now I was finally able to complete those quests to get the 'Icecrown:  The Final Goal' achievement. I only have 'Into the Basin' to finish the Loremaster of Northrend achievement, so I'll probably get that done with my Death Knight.  I was very pleased with how the Pandaria Loremaster achievement was pretty easily done with two leveling characters and it will be nice to have Northrend done as well.  There really is a big cinematic change from Burning Crusade to Wrath, particularly in the quests.  It was a nice contrast to see them so close together and, again, I think it was an improvement.

I had to create a crest, right?
Introducing the Den of Iorek

For years I've thought about creating a guild to help with my pack rat mentality (yes, selling things would be a better way, but I'm not there).  Finally this last month I received help from my guild mates creating a personal guild, the Den of Iorek.  My favorite pet has always been the first bear that I tamed with the hunter quest around level ten about 10 and a half years ago.  I thought about putting Kanter in the name, but decided I would much rather honor his faithful companion and the character he's named after.  The guild bank seems huge and though it took me a little time to understand how it worked, I have two characters in the guild and the ability to add a whole lot of space for a lot cheaper than the cost of Royal Satchels.

I Can't Heal

About the time Kanter, my hunter, hit level 60 in the original game and I saw the number of hunters in my guild, I thought I'd like to level a priest and heal.  Kantra was born soon after and did some healing in the original dungeons, and even a little in Cataclysm, but never went on any raids.  I was thinking I might try to raid with her in Warlords of Draenor and keep thinking how I might want to prepare for that.  I don't want to do LFR and, even though I started the Legendary Cape quest line, I'd rather play with people I know.  I kept thinking I would try her in the Proving Grounds and finally got to it this month.  

I know Bronze is supposed to be easy, but as someone who has almost never healed and not in years, it was a learning experience.  For those who haven't done it, you travel to the Temple of the White Tiger and talk to an NPC who queues you for a solo scenario.  Once there, you have a series of fights with a five person group and you in the role of Tank, DPS, or Healer.  The first fights start out easy, but they get progressively harder and by the last (5th) fight I was always running out of mana. I think putting down the Lightwell put me over the top.  I guess it should have been obvious, but I've done so few dungeons or raids since the Lightwell was introduced, that I wasn't used to seeing it even.  

At least I was able to do Bronze and it might be enough to let me heal some dungeons or raids.  I would like to go back and try to get the Silver achievement, but I'm not sure I want to work that hard.

What's next

Besides finishing up getting my druid to level 60 and Bloodmyst Isle, I'm not sure what I want to do.  I am close to 100 mounts, so that is certainly achievable.  A day at a time I am producing Jard's Peculiar Energy Source so I should soon have my Sky Golem and Pierre to go with Jeeves.  I'm interested in trying out a monk and that could be a good third character for the Den of Iorek.  Maybe I'll try out my healing in groups and see if that's really something I want to do.

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