Saturday, November 28, 2020

Ignoring Shadowlands


Temple of the White Tiger

While most people are starting Shadowlands, I've been finishing up a few things before I take another break from World of Warcraft.  Before Shadowlands released, I finished up the prepatch quests on Kanter, my hunter, and got the pre-patch weapon on Kantra, my priest.

I had come to a standstill on the Tiller quests for Kintri, my Vulpera rogue.  A quest required flying and I was still in my low 20s.  Finally, over Thanksgiving break I was able to focus on finishing up some of the quests in Jade Forest and made it to level 30.

First, I had to either avoid or wait on the queues.  Area 59, where my Horde characters are, had a two hour queue on Monday and Tuesday when Shadowlands started so I decided to do something else and play in the morning when there weren't queues.  I thought I'd want to play my alliance druid, Kantree, to get him to level 40 (he's at 45 now), but I don't seem to be motivated to do that.  I had to wait for a couple of 20 to 30 minute queues earlier in the week but I haven't had any queues during the day the last two days.

Once I hit 30 I was able to advance the tiller quest line and get the last two votes so I could join the Tillers Union and get my reputation to exalted.  I've turned in the quest for the final 4 plots on the farm (not that I've used more than 8 at any time).  I'm at level 31 and the agility food (Sautéed Carrots) work at level 32 so I'll make some to have them available.

At this point, I'm ready to see the Horde introduction to Warlords of Draenor so I will switch Chromie time to that expansion.  I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as Mists of Pandaria, but I think it is the best opportunity to see something new since I think most of the Pandaria quests remaining are similar for Horde and Alliance.

Overall, I'm very happy with the leveling experience so far.  I'm looking forward to trying out Warlords of Draenor.  I don't think I'll make it all the way to level 50 before my subscription runs out but I'm enjoying it and maybe I'll come back to level Kintri and Kantree another time.  The ability to see more of individual expansions rather than jumping between them is a great change to the game.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

More World of Warcraft Pre-patch Activities

Starting spot of pre-expansion event

After focusing on getting my Vulpera rogue to level 20 last week in World of Warcraft, I just around between a few things this week.  My first focus was to see the pre-expansion event with Kanter, my main hunter.  I pretty much spent Tuesday afternoon looking at what was there and then decided I was done with it until the second week events open up.

As others have described, the event is divided in three pieces.  The first describes how the leaders were abducted.  The second takes you to Eastern Plaguelands to kill Nathanos Blightcaller.  The last part takes you to Icecrown where you complete some quests and can kill a set of bosses that spawn every 20 minutes (newly changed to 10 minutes). I completed the first two parts on Kanter and also did the initial quests in Icecrown and killed one of the bosses but decided I wouldn't bother with more.  I'll see what the second week offers and possible kill Nathanos Blightcaller for the ilvl 115 weapon he drops on some of my other max level characters.

Another Halfhill farm

After spending last week leveling Kintri I decided I wanted to do something different, but first I thought I would take her to Halfhill to start on the farm there.  I spent quite a bit of time maxing out all the reputations on Kanter and had farms for several other characters when Mists of Pandaria was live.  This time, I just want to use it to level some of my cooking skills while getting some experience from using the farm.  I've done it for a week now and have completed three of the five required votes to become a member of the Tillers.  The story is locked behind Tiller reputation and I am getting double reputation (I'm not sure if that is from the anniversary event or something else") so it seems like the story is advancing every other day.  Certainly much faster than it used to during the expansion.  I also took a side trip to Kun-Lai summit to complete a quest and get her trained for Pandarian Leatherworking.

I expected to spend this week leveling Kantree, my druid, to 50.  I thought it would be good to mix it in with the Mists quests of Kintri.  I started ok, going through the initial quests and advancing to the first town so he'd have rested experience but I haven't been back since then.

The Shadowlands expansion is now less the a week away (November 22nd) and I am still pretty confident I won't be buying it for a while.  I went ahead and stopped my subscription which will end on December 1st.  Maybe I'll wait to finish advancing Kintri and Kantree to 50 during that week when almost everyone will be in the Shadowlands.  I'd like to take Kintri to the Warlords of Draenor expansion after I hit 30, have flying, and open to the primary Mists hub in the Valley of the Four Winds.  I also have a Horde demon hunter I'd like to level to 50 in Legion.  I don't think I've ever been subscribed during a new expansion launch without owning it so that'll be interesting.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Vulpera Kintri Joins the Horde


New Vulpera Rogue Kintri Outside Grommash Hold at Level 20

After leveling my mage to level 50 in World of Warcraft last week, I wanted to do something different before leveling my Alliance druid or my Horde demon hunter, who are both in their fourties. I decided to create a new Vulpera character since I love their appearance and I wanted to try out how the new leveling works.  My first decision was what class to choose.  I wanted something appropriate for a Vulpera and preferred something I hadn't already leveled.  I never was much of one for stealth and so I never leveled a rogue but decided it seemed appropriate for a fox and this was a good time to try it out.  It was fun playing with the different appearance options and ended up with the cute female Vulpera, Kintri, you see above.

The next decision was where to level her.  I remembered reading an article in Massively Op about the different leveling experiences.  Initially I was thinking about Warlords of Draenor since I never saw the Horde side and it seemed like it would be quite different. It was also supposed to be the quickest expansion to level. However then I saw that Mists of Pandaria was ranked as the top leveling experience and it was probably my favorite.  Again, the Horde side should be quite different.

I know Bhagpuss had some issues being able to choose where to start but I didn't seem to have the same issues he had.  When I arrived in Orgrimmar I was given two quests, one of which started the Battle for Azeroth chain with Sylvannas and the other was to go to the Warchief's Command Board.  I knew about talking to Chromie but I thought I'd go ahead and complete the Warchief's Command Board quest to see what it offered.  Interestingly, as you can see above, there seemed to be a prompt to go to Chromie and then quests for Legion (Broken Shore) and Warlords of Draenor (Tanaan Jungle).  I was curious how it would work if I took one of these quests beside Chromie but I did want to get stuck so instead I went to Chromie without taking the flier to see what she would offer.

No issues with Chromie either.  She offered the six level experiences I expected. (Cataclysm is combined with the vanilla leveling experience and I already had the quest for Battle for Azeroth).  However, once I chose Wilds of Pandaria I ran into an issue.  I got the quest to go to Grommash's Hold and could see the quest but when I entered it, I would phase and Sylvanas would be there.  I tried logging on and off to see if that would help but it didn't.  Eventually I dropped the Battle for Azeroth starting quest, logged off and logged back in and I could then see Garrosh in Grommash's Hold.

Once I started the Mists of Pandaria everything went well.  It seemed like I was a little overpowered but there was one boss that I died to because I didn't avoid his special attack.  I enjoyed using my combo points and it was nice to be able to stealth to avoid fights.  My goal was to reach level 20 (allied races start at level 10) and I did that over one weekend without playing that much.  The story was just a Horde variation of the Alliance story but at least there were some parts with the Hozen that were quite funny.  I was able to get skinning and leatherworking first in Orgrimmar and then the Pandaria variant of skinning though it looks like leatherworking will need to wait until a later zone.  I'll probably also try out cooking since I enjoyed the farm and cooking quests as Alliance. 

So far, I really like the new leveling options.  It's great to be able to actually see a full expansion on a character.  Previously you'd only get through a small part before it would send you to the next expansion.  It also seems about right to finish one expansion to see the new content.  You can always create another character if you want to see a different one.  Before Battle for Azeroth, I had decided I would never see the Horde side of the story because there was too much catching up to do.  However, now, between the level boost and the ability to level an allied race character through only one zone, I'm interesting in visiting at least the revised vanilla zones and Warlords of Draenor.  Maybe I'll try out the Isle of Exile as well just to see what it's like.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Joining back for World of Warcraft Pre-patch


I haven't posted in a while.  I mentioned that I don't typically post unless I'm playing an MMO (almost always World of Warcraft).  I wasn't sure whether I'd join back for the pre-patch but a few things made me decide to do it today.  First, I received an invitation from Blizzard for the Shadowlands Beta.  Next, I saw that the expansion, pre-patch event and anniversary event would all be happening now.  Finally, I saw that the Mechagnomes, the only allied race I didn't have, no longer required exalted status so I could get access to them with only a run of Operation: Mechagnome.  I also figure this will be good chance to use the leveling advantages of the anniversary for a few characters that used to be between levels 110 and 120 (and are now in their 40s) and possibly one or more allied race characters.

Before I subscribed, I'd tried out the Shadowlands Beta.  I'm not really interested in playing much of the beta but since I wasn't subscribed it gave me a chance to play without paying.  I made a level 60 Hunter (the only option was to make level 60 characters), did quest to choose a covenant.  After talking to the four covenant representatives, I decided to go with Night Fae.  The introductory quests were fun (not at all serious) and I felt confident I would enjoy this covenant.  I'm not interested in min/maxing and I'm pretty sure I'll take four characters through Shadowlands to see each covenant eventually.  After that, I'm pretty done with the beta.  I might try it out again, but most likely I'll wait to play it when I purchase Shadowlands.

Once a bought the month of time (I had been unsubscribed for about two month), I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.  I opened the anniversary gift.  There were fireworks (I set them off a few times, they don't get used up during the anniversary, only can't be used after).  There was a Celebration Package that gives a experience and reputation buff doesn't doesn't help much if you are max level.  Finally, there was a quest that sends you to the Caverns of Time where you can get 200 Timewarped badges.  You can get two mounts for earning Timewarped badges in Alterac Valley (one each for Horde and Alliance).  I don't think I'll bother.

After looking at my options I decided to focus on three things:

1. Earning the ability to create Mechagnomes, the only allied race I didn't already have,
2. Doing the introductory quests for some of the allied races (I had only done the introductory quests for Vulpera, Zandalari Trolls, Nightborne and Dark Iron Dwarfs),
3. Leveling some of my level 40 characters and possibly one or more new or allied race characters with the Anniversary boost.

I have 3 Alliance level 50 characters and 2 that are in their 40s, while only one level 50 and one Demon Hunter in the 40s on the Horde side.  Getting the three level 40 characters to 50 shouldn't take too long though I may either get bored with Battle for Azeroth or if I try to go to a different expansion, I won't be able see much in so few levels.  It will be good to get back to 5 level 50 Alliance characters since there are 11 professions and that will let me level all but one (Inscription).  The Allied race characters start at level 10 and get a special set of armor if you level them to 50.  If I created a new character, I'd be able to see the new Exile's reach introductory area.  I could see some Legion class halls that I missed and how the Horde side of the story is different in the games (I've only seen Battle for Azeroth as Horde).  However, I'm sure the 30 days will go quick and I'm sure I'll have time to do more than one, particularly if I advance those in their 40s.

In any case, I decided to put this decision off and get access to the Mechanomes and do another allied race introductory quest.   I only needed to finish one quest in Operation: Mechagon to gain access to the race so I flew out to Mechagon Island, got the quest and queued for it on my hunter, Kanter, who has all the Alliance allied race achievements.  As DPS there was a 25 minute queue, so I started on one of the allied race introductory quests while waiting.

Since I already did three Horde races and only one Alliance race I decided to try the Void Elves.  I don't care for elves but the stories for both the Void Elves and the Nightborne were interesting, so I thought I'd at least do both introductory quests.  The Void Elf quest was a little odd because it centered on a group of Blood Elves (a Horde race) that were banished from the Horde because they were investigating the Void.  It was sort of the reverse of the Nightborne tale where Alleria Windrunner was the seen as 'bad' for causing a void to appear in Silvermoon. It was ok but certainly not as good as the story for the Dark Iron Dwarfs.  I did get yet another allied race mount I will probably never use but I still enjoy getting them.

The queue for Operation: Mechagon was faster than estimated and I joined soon after I had flown to Ghostlands for the beginning of the Void Elf questline.  I had put off this quest because I wasn't that interested in running dungeons and therefore not very efficient at it.  However, my gear is ok so I'm hoping people will forgive it as long as I do ok.  For the most part the run went fine but I did have issues with a part where I was supposed to sneak by some bots and I kept getting pushed back.  Eventually they fought a battle without me and told me I could bypass the bots.  It took a little searching to find the port that took me to the next part of the map but I was able to join them, help the group for the last two boss battles and complete the quest.

I'm looking forward to playing for a month but I don't plan to resubscribe or buy Shadowlands yet.  Between the level squish, the allied races, the leveling boost and the pre-expansion event, I have plenty to keep me busy.  I doubt I will play any of the remaining allied races, but I would like to see their stories.  I'll need to do some research to determine which to do next.

It will be a little odd to have a week where everyone will be busy exploring the new expansion and to not have bought it but, as I've mentioned in previous posts, because I play World of Warcraft primarily solo, I don't get much benefit from being there at the beginning. I'd rather wait and buy the expansion on sale when there is more content available.  That's my plan now but we'll see if the expansion hype gets me to change my mind.