Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Completing Legion after Battle for Azeroth

Kanter with his Class Mount 

One of the things I like to do in World of Warcraft (WoW) is plan things to be efficient.  Now with the experience bonus going on until the Shadowlands prepatch and the reputation bonus going on until May 18th, it is influencing how I want to play.

I have slowed down interest on leveling my characters in Battle for Azeroth, but two were pretty far along.  Kantro was only half a level from level 120 (max level) so I went ahead and completed that.  Unless I get motivated, the other three over level 110 will wait until after the reputation buff is gone (or might not happen at all).

The Legion Pathfinder part 2 achievement required Legionfall reputation in the Broken Shores area that I barely visited during Legion.  With the reputation bonus it made sense to finish that and it was done in a couple of days of Quests and World Quests in the area.  It included having to complete five dungeons, but I could solo them now so that wasn't an issue.  Then I just had to visit a couple of spots for the Explorer achievement in Broken Shores and I could fly in Legion.

Once that was done, I was trying to decide what to do next and spotted that there was a class mount available during Legion (see picture above).  That required the Breaching the Tomb achievement that required just a few more quests in Broken Shores.  Then there was another quest that required a Nordic themed scenario where you used beast tracking (a skill I almost never use) to find different beasts.  With the conclusion of the scenario I had my class mount!

Where to focus next?  Because of the reputation bonus, it made sense to focus on items that need reputation.  The most obvious of those are the allied races.  Now, I'm not particularly interested in them but I would like to see the Argus area that was added well after I quit Legion and it makes a good goal.  That would unlock the Lightforged Draenei and Void Elf Allied races.

There are two other allied races available with Legion, the Highmountain Tauren and the Nightborne.  It probably wouldn't be too difficult to get the Hightmountain Tauren to Exalted but, again, I doubt I'll ever use it.  I will probably go ahead and do the Class Hall quests for the reputation since I'd like to level my newest Champion and if exalted reputation happens, it'll be a nice bonus.

The Nightborne Allied race requires a reputation that is already exalted but also requires completing the Insurrection questline that didn't exist when I was playing Legion.  I will try to get that done but I'd rather get a reputations done first (probably just Army of the Light for the Lightforged Draenei).

There are also additional reputation grinds for Chromie and Conjurer Margos.  Conjurer Margos and the Legendary Fishing Rod both require grinds for fishing and, even though I enjoy it, I don't particularly see a reason to fish just for a rod I don't need or a reputation I won't use.  I've always liked Chromie as a character and I could work on her reputation after Argus as a way to gain faction quicker.

I also enjoyed what I saw of the Illidan questline and would like to see it to the end.  I am at the step that requires a visit to the Nighthold raid.  I'll do that after the Insurrection questline because it also ends with a quest for that raid.  It'll continue with the Tomb of Sargeras raid.  It'll be interesting to see if I can solo them.  I might invite some guild mates in case they are interested.  I completed the earlier Trial of Valor raid which I might describe another time.

Finally, once the reputation bonus is done, I would like to see the Demon Hunter quest chain.  It would be a reasonable use of the experience bonus and as a Explorer, it would be areas and quests that I've never seen.

I'm pretty amazed at how much there is to do in Legion that I never saw.  Certainly plenty to keep me busy for a while.  Oddly, it has discouraged me from ordering Shadowlands, the new expansion, since one of the reasons I saw so little of Legion was that I started it at the beginning and then quit.

Blaugust post #13

Monday, April 27, 2020

Back to Legion after Battle for Azeroth

Opening one of the "Leylines" in Suramar
I said I might want to go back and get flying in World of Warcraft (WoW) Legion, and I've now done that, but it opened up so much more that I now want to see.  Legion has gone from one of my worst experiences during the expansion to a great after expansion experience.

I said that typically I've been buying expansions well after release but when I look back, it seems that wasn't true for Legion.  I honestly don't remember anything in this paragraph but through this blog (yeah!), Blizzard transaction history and Amazon order history I could put it together.  During 2015 and 2016 I had enough gold to buy tokens and so that was how I played WoW.  Amazon at the time was offering $10 off prepurchased games, so that was how I bought Legion at release.  The funny thing is that if I waited, I am sure I would have enjoyed my time much more.

So I spent a crazy amount of time in Suramar and, looking back at my posts (hurray again!), I enjoyed the quests more than I remembered.  I mainly remember the irritating 'Masquerade' mechanic that turned everyone into an elf and made you watch for people with circles over their heads (the way they indicated people who could see that you were stealthed).  In order to complete the quest chain you had to be exalted with Suramar so I spent a lot of time getting that done.  Making it even longer, the only place you could teleport to was on the edge of the city and you had to get to where you need to be, avoiding being 'revealed' and down to another level before you could even start the quests.  It's so much easy now with being over-powered, with flying, and even with a convenient portal right in the center of the city (more on that in another post).

So at that point, after being unhappy that dungeons were required I get to pretty much the end of the quest chain and it requires a raid.  At that point I quit.  I'm sure the raid would have been quick, but it was not something I wanted to do so I did other things (for three years!).

Now, when went back, I had a difficult time finding Shal'aran even though I spend so much time there (though that was 3.5 years ago and, as seat of insurrection, it is supposed to be hidden).  I saw the quest indicator so I traveled all around thinking it was outside and then finally went to the hub and it was right there.  I was a little concerned because it was a raid and travelled in and there was a red 'Shade of Xavios' right near the door.  I killed it in a few seconds and thought there must be more but went in and the item to get me past this 3.5 year roadblock was just a few steps away!  I think the whole thing took about a minute.

After that I had to get the 'Leylines' (picture above), a little tougher because I couldn't fly but it was pretty quick, and soon enough (just a few hours) I finished the Pathfinding Part 1 achievement that had taken me so long.

That seems to be a good stopping point, so I'll continue this in my next post.

Blapril post #12

Monday, April 20, 2020

More Battle for Azeroth Leveling

Kantro ready to finish his leveling at the Zuldazar camp
Recently, Blizzard announced that they will be extending the 100% bonus experience buff for World of Warcraft (WoW) until the Shadowlands expansion pre-patch.  They also announced on the same day that there will be a 100% bonus reputation buff for Battle for Azeroth (BfA) and Legion from April 21st until May 18th.  This matches nicely with my desire to finish the Legion flying achievement later in the month but puts less urgency (something I was already feeling) to level my characters.

That said I have made some progress in BfA.  I started with Kantro, my warrior, because he is a miner and can gather for two of the other characters (Kantra for jewelcrafting and Kantrina for Engineering).  I remembered starting in Drustvar with Kanter and decided to start there with him as well.  In two days I pretty much used up his rested experience bonus at level 116 and I decided to switch.  At that point I both switched to Kantra, my priest, and lost most of my momentum.  I spent another day later getting him to level 118 (when his rested experience ran out again) and then another completing the Drustvar quest line.  This got me almost to level 119.  

I had two other quests, one for the Tortollan Seekers and another for mining (Ritualistic Preparations) which gave me multiple nice short goals that could be completed together, one of my favorite things.  I was able to use flying to pick up some flight points in Stormsong Valley (where the Tortollan Seekers quest was located), mine anything I saw and turn in the Tortollan Seekers quest.  I flew him back to Boralus and complete the mining quest which advanced him to 119 along the way.  Generally if felt like a nice, pretty easy road and I'll take some time soon to do enough War campaign quests in Zuldazar to get him to 120 and open up the World Quests that I probably won't do unless it helps with crafting.

Kantra, in contrast, seemed much more of a struggle.  I think part of it was because she is a priest and even as a Shadow priest, she is much more likely to die.  While with Kanter, my hunter, and Kantro it was unusual for me to get overwhelmed, it seemed to happen much more often with Kantra.  Also, leveling in Tiragarde Sound only got her to a little over half way through 117, so it was a slower process.  I'd say some is fewer quests, but there are also multiple unrelated lines that require more travel and are more disjointed.

With my other characters, I leveled Kantrina to level 111 just so she could get the Mage portal and teleport spells.  She doesn't need them but I like them for completion and I'm likely to forget until I want them at some point.  Kantree, my Druid, is also at 111 and I'll probably level him last.  It'll be interesting to see how they go.  Leveling a Mage tends to be more like leveling a priest (though not as difficult) while leveling a druid is easier.  Kanter is just leveling Cooking and Alchemy when it's convenient, and completing easy Emissary quests for reputation.

I've definitely slowed but other than a little bit of frustration+ on Kantra, it has been fun and it seems worth another month of subscription.  I could try to earn gold so buy a token but I'd rather spend the subscription and not have to bother.

Speaking of slowing down, I've slowed down on posting as well.  I'll probably target two a week for the last three weeks which will gain me a silver award.  I'll be happy if I can keep making two posts a week, since that's a good long term goal for me (as long as I'm still playing).  Blapril is at it's half way point.  Thanks to everyone who is participating and motivating each other.

Blapril post #11

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Life in Pandemia

Line to get in the local grocery store
Part of Blapril is a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic so I thought I'd share some of how it has impacted me.

Like many people, I am working from home and my children are home from school.  Besides one digestive issue with my autistic daughter, we have stayed healthy.  It is interesting how this impacts my thoughts about healthcare even though we have been directly impacted.  Besides being autistic my daughter has other issues which cause her to get dehydrated quickly.  When she got sick my wife and I were both considering when is the point that it is worth taking her in to the hospital, where they are overworked and where she might get exposed to COVID-19 or something else.  Fortunately, she was better the next day.

My whole family is a little stir-crazy.  It is difficult not being able to do what we normally do.  Work is difficult for me and I've spent more time on conference calls on my cell phone than I could have imagined.  That said, I'm employed, my employer is an 'essential' manufacturer and though some people have been furloughed due to lower demand, generally our company is ok.  Others are not nearly so fortunate.  I have been picking up meals more often than usually and more often from locally businesses to support them.  We even got our Easter meal that way and have been enjoying it for the last three days.  I have tried to let people at the stores know I am grateful that they are there to help us.

I hope you all stay healthy!  My thoughts and prayers go to Mr. Peril and his family and others impacted by this illness.  Stay home and keep yourself and others safe!

Blapril post #10

Monday, April 13, 2020

Getting to Know Kanter

Happy Easter!  This is getting to know you week for Blapril so I thought I'd take a break from my World of Warcraft posts to say a little about myself.

I am 55 years old at the time of this post (2020), married, and have three daughters, ages 11, 15, and 17.  I guess I'm older than the average blogger, but there are certainly others in my age range.  I am a Christian.  My 17 daughter is profoundly autistic and, for the most part, non-verbal.  She is also a joy to be with and very affectionate with me and my wife.  I am always grateful for my family and they definitely shapes my life, including the gaming I do.


While I'm reluctant to post pictures of my family, pet pictures are expected.  If you really want to see a picture of me, my twitter account (@kckoury) has a photo.  At the top is our border collie, Mercy.  She is a sweet dog, but doesn't act like a typical border collie.  She won't play fetch and mainly wants to be loved on.  We also have a cat, Sammy, pictured here with a crown my 11 year old made for him.  He is getting old (at least 17, but could be older) so he spends a lot of time sleeping.

I'll focus on how I spend my time now, in the pandemic, and my gaming life in my next two posts.

Blapril post #9

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Darkmoon Faire

View from Darkmoon Faire Roller Coaster

I mentioned earlier that a guildmate helped me with a World of Warcraft (WoW) Legion dungeon that had an Engineering related quest for my mage.  During the quest I received two Darkmoon Faire drops and since Darkmoon Faire is this week I decided to travel to the faire to turn them in.

Since I hadn't been in years, I had to find the portal in Goldshire but a hawker showed me the way.  The Darkmoon faire quests rewarded 10 tickets each.  Most rewards were either 90 or 180 tickets so those will have to wait.  I did the profession quests that reward 5 levels for each of your professions after a pretty simple quest.  I also rode the roller coaster (see above) that provides a 10% experience and reputation buff.  Not a lot in addition the 100% experience buff but I thought I should at least try it.

I didn't bother with the other faire games.  I've also put off leveling Alchemy because I need to gather more herbs and I'd rather use the time with the experience buff leveling my characters.

Tomorrow starts 'Getting to Know You Week' in Blapril.  I'll use that as an opportunity to change topics.

Blapril post #8

Thursday, April 9, 2020

MMO Motivation

Hunter's Lodge in World of Warcraft Legion

After leveling four characters through World of Warcraft (WoW) Legion, it shouldn't be too surprising that I've lost some of my motivation.  Yesterday I was tired and decided I didn't want to play WoW.  This evening, I got a level done but didn't feel like doing much more.  As I mentioned in my last post, I should be able to do different zones on all but one of the characters but I just went through Battle for Azeroth (BfA) not too long ago and I'm not nearly as motivated as I was when I had the different class quests to look forward to in Legion.

Different people have different motivations for playing MMOs and I can only speak to mine.  In terms of Bartle types, I am EASK.  PVP doesn't motivate me at all.  Exploration is my biggest motivation which is why seeing new things, like the new class areas in Legion are so motivating.   If there isn't anything new, it becomes difficult for me to stay motivated.  Sometimes I can be motivated by creating things (see my earlier Vial of the Sands post) but achievements, and social activities, though they help, are not usually enough to keep me going.  

After Burning Crusade I decided that if I was not going to have the time or be motivated through a full expansion, I might as well wait.  There is excitement it getting a game or expansion when it is first out.  I bought World of Warcraft at Gamestop on the first day when it went on sale (I think it was 10 pm).  However, I discovered I would always be behind and, although I raided in Vanilla and Burning Crusade, I didn't think I had time for it any more so being in the raiding end game with other players wasn't something I felt I could do.  I could wait, pay less, and not feel rushed to get through the new content.  I am still motivated by the excitement and the fear of missing out (FOMO) and I even feel it now with Animal Crossing, but I know it isn't a game that I'll stick with and I can't see paying $60 for something I won't play that much.

I am quite motivated by taking advantage of bonuses.  Right now I might be tempted to see if I could solo those dungeons that blocked me and seeing Argos, an area in Legion I missed.  I would also like to see the Demon Hunter starting quests even thought I don't particularly want to play one.  However, I know I am getting the bonus to experience until April 20th and I want to take full advantage of it.  I'm even more likely to not play at all than play Kanter who won't be getting that experience.  It may not make sense but human's don't always make sense.

Writing motivates me as well.  It is nice to be able to describe and understand how I'm playing and enjoying these games and hopefully others will be interested enough to read what I have to say.  This will probably last me through the end of April and Blapril, but I don't have any confidence it will last after that.

Blapril post #7

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Back to Battle for Azeroth

Warrior in front of Boralus Inn
Yesterday my Druid got to level 110 in World of Warcraft (WoW) and is now ready to start Battle for Azeroth (BfA).  I have reached my objective of getting four of my alts through Legion:

  • Kantra - Priest - Tailor, Jewelcrafter,
  • Kantrina - Mage - Engineer, Enchanter,
  • Kantro - Warrior - Miner, Blacksmith,
  • Kantree - Druid - Skinner, Leatherworker.
I list their crafting trades because that is a significant motivation for me.  I hate to waste things and I'd rather be able to make them myself.  Kanter, my hunter, is an herbalist and alchemist.  I actually created Kantro because Kanter got the Broken Blade of the Heroes in Vanilla and I wanted someone who could craft and use it.  The only profession I don't have ready for BfA now is Inscription, but I've never had much use for it (I do have a level 80 Death Knight with Inscription, but I don't think I'll be leveling her any time soon).

That said, there isn't anything I really want to craft.  But, since I want to be able to craft and my Mage and Priest need a miner to be able to get ore for their professions, I decided to level my Warrior first.  

As I mentioned previously, I never got flying in Legion because of the Dungeon/Raid wall, but I have it in BfA and that is making leveling much easier.  Kantro is level 114 and still is rested for the remainder of the level.  I'm only about half way through Drustvar so I'll probably get to level 120 either within the one zone or just a little bit into a second zone.

So far, even though I've done these quests before, it's been a little while and it doesn't seem too repetitive.  With four characters and three zones, I shouldn't have to do too much duplication.  I might even level one more in Zandalar (the Horde BfA zone) for variety.

Blapril post #6

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Dark Iron Dwarves

Dark Iron Dwarf Warlock

One of the items added to World of Warcraft (WoW) with Legion and expanded upon with Battle for Azeroth (BfA) is allied races.  I was never very interested in it when I heard about them with Legion and once I stopped playing I didn't think about them very much.  However, one of the quests you get at level 100 is to visit the Stormwind Embassy and there you get an introduction to the different races.

I have never liked elves and always had a preference to dwarves even before I started playing World of Warcraft. When I completed the quest I realized the one race where I had completed the prerequisite was the Dark Iron Dwarves and I became interested in how it worked.

I took Kanter to the embassy and he was able to get the intro quest for the Dark Iron Dwarves which initially took him to Blackrock Depths, a dungeon where you have to spend a significant amount of time in Vanilla to get the Onyxia key.  I thought the quest was quite enjoyable and about the right length.  I was guess it took me about an hour (I wasn't rushing it at all) but because it was fun, it's difficult to say if it was shorter or longer.  The quests take you to a few different Dwarven areas in keeping with the theme.  At the end you get an achievement, a transmog outfit, a mount, and the ability to create a Dark Iron Dwarf.

For a feature I wasn't interested in, I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed it.  I've now created the character you see above.  The starting area is in Blackrock Depths and, even though much of it is closed off, it is fun to see several areas like the Grim Guzzler zone where everyone is friendly.  I'm not particularly interested in any of the other races other than the Vulpera, which are a Horde fox-like race and I doubt I'll ever invest the time on the Horde side to create one.  However, I'm very glad I spent the time visiting the feature and would recommend it to anyone who has the option.  It might even get me to level my first Warlock.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Leveling alts in World of Warcraft Legion

Warrior Class Hall - Skyhold
I'll be talking about Legion, an expansion that came out more than three and a half years ago (August 2016), so if you don't want to look at World of Warcraft history, feel free to skip this post.  I will, however, be talking about it as someone who is leveling alts with the current bonus experience.

I was frustrated with the World of Warcraft (WoW) Legion expansion when it first came out.  Initially I liked the class hall and the much of the questing but as I was working on reputations, the beginnings of the Illidan questline were fun (particularly when you got to play Illidan as the raid boss) but I didn't like Suramar.  I didn't like having my dwarf be an elf (you wear a disguise most of the time in the area).  I didn't like worry about the stealth mechanism almost all the time (so you didn't lose your disguise and get attacked).  And then, when I was exalted with the faction and I was almost done with the quests you needed to do for the achievement that eventually lead to flying, they put it behind a dungeon and raid wall and I didn't want to do that.  Right about that time I quit the game (and, about that time, I quit blogging).  I never even visited the Argus expansion area that came out later.

However, now, as a solo pass through area on the way to Battle for Azeroth, the expansion is great.  The class halls are all quite different and very well themed to the class (you can see the warrior one above).  I haven't seen them all but the Hunter and Druid class halls are outside areas that you can travel to in the Broken Isles (the region where the expansion takes place) which makes sense for these classes.  In contrast the Warrior, Priest and Mage areas are buildings you visit.  The Mage area requires teleport, a mage only spell, while the Warrior area is viking themed and you use a Thor-like leap to reach the area and get back to Dalaran, the central city hub.

With the 100% bonus experience (including quests, exploration, and gathering) levels go quickly.  Not spending too many hours or using any additional bonus experience except the rested bonus (another 100% but only for the experience when killing mobs, not from the items listed above) I was able to gain the 10 levels for the expansion in about 2 days.  That also pretty much consumed my rested bonus but then I would go to the next character I wanted to level.  This way, over the last two weeks I've leveled three characters through Legion (levels 100 to 110) and have a fourth almost half way there (my Druid started at level 95 so he used up rested experience half way through).

The bonus experience is through April 20th, so if you are reading this when it's current and you've left World of Warcraft and are interested in leveling some characters you have, I'd recommend it.  It goes very fast, I was able to avoid the things I didn't like (Suramar), and there are enough differences between the classes and enough different areas to quest that you don't have to have the same experience.

At this point the characters I originally leveled are rested again and I have started leveling them through Battle for Azeroth.  More about that in future posts.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

World of Warcraft Casually, Classic and Retail

Battle for Azeroth

When I started playing World of Warcraft (WoW) Classic, I saw it as a way to start over and enjoy things differently than I did the first time I played through.  What that didn't mean, as I mentioned in my last post, was that creating different characters.  I liked my characters and tried to recreate them as much as possible.  What I was hoping was that I could advance with my guild again and have Kanter, my hunter, be my solo character, and Kantra, my priest, be my dungeon and raid character.  That all fell apart when I realized dungeons weren't practical with the internet issues I was having.  However, I was already subscribed to World of Warcraft and there was this tempting bonus experience only in retail, not in classic.

Blagpuss was talking about how easy isn't a bad thing in MMOs when discussing how he was enjoying that last expansion in Everquest II.  I was feeling the same way as I was able to easily get to max level in World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth with Kanter after putting it off for so long.  The contrast with Classic made it especially enjoyable.

I spend a descent amount of time reading blog posts (see blog roll to the right), many of them about MMOs.  I started reading them before I started this blog and they definitely encouraged me to write and I still enjoy reading them even if I'm not playing.  I've read the criticism of how World of Warcraft ruined MMOs from certain bloggers and I understand what they are saying, but they aren't playing the game I'm playing.

I want to be casual.  I was looking for a free to play game thinking it would be a better match for a casual player but it hasn't happened.  World of Warcraft is an easy solo game.  For a few years I did raiding in Vanilla (not Classic) and Burning Crusade but it was always stressful for me.  What that time did (and it is a lot of time, supposedly almost 152 days of play time just on Kanter according to WoW) was put me in position to be able to play the game on my own terms as long as I'm willing to pay or buy a token.  

World of Warcraft is comfortable for me and, even though they recreate it with every expansion, it still keeps that level of comfort.  They have also added more for the solo player to do. More features like the farm in Mists of Pandaria, more profession related quests, and more little goals that give you incentive to stay around.  Legion was even better for solo players in that there were more class related quests (more about that in one of my coming posts).

I remember people saying that end game was the game but even when I was raiding, I enjoyed the journey more than the destination.  At this point there is so much content in World of Warcraft that I don't need to worry about running out of things to do.  I don't know if it would be that way if I had never played WoW, but, for me, WoW Retail is a great casual game.  WoW Classic is not.