An awful lot of goodness, this WoD.

There’s so many changes with this latest expansion, it really does feel “all new.”  Honest.  (And ten years on, it’s still an enjoyable game.)

The introduction quest for Warlords of Draenor introduced all the major players, you included, along with a run to the boats to escape.  A combo quest-cinematic.  The graphics of each major villain, introduced with a marquis and subtitled trash talk, was very cool.

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I’ve spent the past few play sessions in Frostfire Ridge, and it’s a great feeling place.  (And a couple of epic followers, an epic drop, and some new toys, it’s like Christmas morning already.)

And if I’m “killing rats” it really doesn’t feel like it.  Not really.  At least not the old way.

And the garrisons are a blast.

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Very compelling in that I feel I always want my followers to be up to something.  (I’m up to 6 now.)

 

 

 

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My level 2 Garrison.  (It’s all mine.  Thrall came to visit the other day, for crying out loud.  Thrall. *The* Thrall.)

They had a rocky launch, true enough.  Just the millions coming back for another heaping helping of goodness.  And the DDOS thingy.  (Punks hate success.)

It’s good.  Good in the Warcraft ‘hood.

 

 

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Welcome back, Pointers.

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I am so going to the Argent Tournament for a little while longer.

;)

And so I try again tonight… no connection possible.  Absolutely unable to connect to anything Blizzard related.  No WoW, no forums, nothing.

:)

Patience was rewarded.  And the wife got in as well.  We sent our Orcs to go help Kadhgar and Thrall and disappoint the Iron Horde’s invasion plans.  Portal destroyed.  Forward Operations Base underwater.  Portal back to Orgrimmar created.

Mmmm.  What’s the problem?  Oh, you want me, *me*, to create my own garrison here among the Frostwolf Clan?  Sure. … And now that I have … crap.  Where’s that portal again?

And I don’t know about you, but having Drek’thar in my base, *my* base, makes me a little nervous.  I played enough Alterac Valley to know what happens to him.  Often.

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Best loot drop ever: Ding, Level 90!

My DK slugged through Panderia on his own.  As did my Paladin.

A Warrior went through the land along with my wife’s Shaman, and my Druid with my wife’s Druid.  From the Jade Forest to the Dreadwastes.  We tromped a lot of miles.

We also managed to avoid Panderia by boosting two 60’s, my Warrior and my wife’s Warlock, by pre-ordering.

But, otherwise, I can say I’ve seen plenty of Panderia. (And there is a lot that’s very enjoyable to see.)

But that left a few more characters yet I needed to take care of.  I’m thinking now’s the time to strike while the fire’s hot. The end of the last expansion, the next expansion not yet out.  Folks are going to be as well geared as they’re going to be, and if they’re going into the dungeons, they’re going to do so in pretty good gear and with pretty good handle on the events.  I was not wrong.

My Molten Core/Naxxramas raiding Shaman, languishing on an alt server, was at level 82 for easily more than a year.  I pretty much leveled him to 85 by doing archeology (while after the dragon mount alchemy recipe).  And upon hitting level 85, I sent him to the Jade Forest to get the starter gear, and then into the dungeons.  That’s where he dinged level 90.  He did a couple of starter quests in the Jade Forest, but left it intact before Horde and Alliance created the Sha that destroyed the jade statue, and never had a need to venture into the farmlands and beyond.

Once I told the wife about this she thought it might be a way to get our Paladin/Mage couple leveled up without doing all of Panderia.  And so we did.  We quested in the Jade Forest while we waited for dungeons to pop.  We visited maybe half the quests in the forest, the jade statue remains intact, horde and alliance haven’t engaged, and dinged level 90, with full sets of decent (for us) gear.

And the Hunter I undeleted at 85, having sold all his gear and weapons before deleting him, came back, did the starting quest in the Jade Forest to acquire a weapon, crafted a few pieces of gear, bought a few more off the auction house, and he’s level 88 1/2 now, with a full set of gear, needing to upgrade the starting weapon (but holding his own damage-wise without doing so) and he’s barely scratched the surface in the Jade Forest.  He’s just rescued the Humans from the Hozan and gotten down to the Jinyu camp.

My Shaman and Hunter learned the dungeons, the tricks, paths, tactics, and our Paladin and Mage did pretty well.  Tonight they to the portal and do the intro (Iron Horde Invasion) quest.

(And I hope my Hunter can get this as well prior to the 13th.)

And that leaves me, with a small child that gets some attention, and following a 14 month break while I deployed to Afghanistan, and a year before that mostly living out of a motel room, with 8 level 90s before the expansion.  That’s the most “expansion ready” characters I’ve ever had.  And a testament to the accessibility of World of Warcraft.

Dungeon Finder’s been a hoot.  We saw some places we’d never been, killed some bad guys we’d never seen, and aside from the raids, can feel we’ve seen more than we expected to.

Kudos to Blizzard for taking care of us casuals.

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A Pre-expansion Exposition

Ah, the upgrade to 6.02.

A pruning of abilities.  New character models.

It’s been good.  When my Warrior partied up with my wife’s Shaman, she granted me a Mastery buff, and I granted her a Vengeance buff, both done automatically it seems.  We were synergizing by grouping, not clicking on buttons.

I *think* I’m missing a few buttons that I used to use, but I’m not missing them.  There’s enough left that give me something to do.  (And top the damage chart on the Headless Horseman fight with my Warrior.)

The character model changes are a mixed bag.  The Night Elves changes looked okay.  A particular moustache style became a fu manchu style, so it was a trip to the barber shop for several of them.

The Tauren looked incredibly improved.  The Orcs all seem Warcraft parodies of themselves now.  “More work?”  They look good, but I wish I was more Thrall, and less Peon.  The Troll upgrade was subtle, but an improvement.  The Undead were also improved.  Human males, though, it was tough finding an appearance I liked.  My Monk previously had an asian appearance.  Brown, slightly slanted eyes, black hair.  Now he’s very caucasian, with the same black hair, but he’s looking paunchy and short now under it.  I had to give him gray eyes because the brown eyes came with wrinkles that aged him to 70 plus.  Of the races that got upgraded, the Human Male graphic upgrade was the least successful I think.

Heirlooms for sale.  I don’t make much gold in the game.  I don’t sell things on the auction house.  I figure if I got it, folks can just get their own.  Who would buy a stack of leather on the auction house?  (Guilty hand raise.)  But I’d accumulated a few thousand across my 80s and 90s.  So I picked up the 4 heirloom cloaks, and 2 heirloom helms.  My plate wearers and shammy are going to have to go commando.

My mage, a solo character, does have cloak, helm, chest, shoulders, staff, trinkets, heirlooms, and he’s pretty solid.  I seem to be leapfrogging content, which is not a bad thing.  I can see the places long enough to get a feel for the changes to the place, and then move on.

It’s funny, but there are SOOO many changes from Vanilla WoW to pre-WoD WoW, in the old vanilla areas, it’s crazy.  I remember the naked frun from Teldrassil to Ironforge through the Wetlands.  Because the Night Elf capital may as well have been the most forgotten place on the planet.  Ironforge, with the Auction House, the most sought after place to be.  It’s funny though, Stormwind City is now the place to be, and Teldrassil is still just as abandoned, and they’ve all got auction houses now.

If they want Teldrassil to have some zing, they need it to be the stepping off point for adventurers to travel through to the Emerald Dream.

And put the launching off point for our conquest of Argus out in best spaceport, that of Netherstorm in the Outlands.

I didn’t mention the stat squish.  We’ve got 1/10th the health we had previously.  And the decrease isn’t even noticeable in practicality.

What is funny, is my level 85 Paladin, who’d gotten a crafted helm with decent stats to start adventuring in Panderia with, donned his Headless Horseman’s plate helm which he picked up at level 80 a few years back.  The difference in stats (crafted lvl 85 Panderia green versus level 80 epic) would previously had been HUGE.  Now it’s a couple of points.  … Interesting.  (This suggests gear should last longer in the leveling path.)

And I got my Hunter back with the undelete function.  I’d deleted him at level 85, and he returned to me naked as a jaybird with just a tabard on.  Ironically, it was the Tabard of the Protector from the FIRST dark portal event back in 2007.  I sent him some leather and he crafted a couple of pieces, and I bought 3 more pieces, and I’m still missing gloves, neckless, rings, trinkets, and sent him to Panderia to start the last expansion’s questing.  He didn’t do too poorly, and soon scored a new weapon.  But rather than quest in Panderia I’ve sent him back to Sholazar Basin to look for the cat rumored to be there that I’ve never, ever, seen.  (Except as pets belonging to other Hunters.)  So he logs in, looks for Loq’who?, and logs out for another day.

It’s good in the WoW ‘hood.

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While my client quietly patches.

Ah, all those years ago.  November 2004.  Fall bringing down the leaves off the trees.  A new game coming out of the box.  (Remember those?  Six sides?  Cardboard.  … Physical?  I’m dating myself, I know!)  World of Warcraft.  It was the guilty pleasure that pulled me from my tanks in Call of Duty (the wife-to-be listening to the rumble of tank engines across the house) or my hand of cards (the wife-to-be on the other end of the internet connection) in Magic: The Gathering.  But this Warcraft was something better.  Where I could play a character in a world with fun graphics, and a sense of humor.  And with other people, grouping for profit, and fun.

Characters surviving from vanilla WoW include Msaker, Stormsoul, Honorus, and Darkhand.  (And with this pre-expansion patch I’ll recover my level 85 hunter, Arcarius.)

I remember the Burning Crusade, January 2007, going through the portal to a new, broken, world, the Outlands (aka Draenor).  The aboriginal Orcs, the proud Draenei.  The new Draenei and Blood Elf races.

I remember the Wrath of the Lich King, November 2008.  Boarding the ships that transported us up north.  Coming in to dock after passing the embracing cliffs, from which was hung a flaming boat, a warning from the indiginous giants, and not catching up with the Lich King until the last zone.

Cataclysm, December 2010, with the shake up of the existing world and the addition of Worgen and Goblins.

And the Mists of Pandaria, Sep 2012, where we discover more new land, this time to the south, and the  Panderians.

And here we are, on the eve of Warlords of Draenor, November 2014, with todays update upgrading us to the new game mechanics and graphics, in preparation for a month from now when we travel back through the portal to a Draenor that’s taken a different path.

We’ll be there, the wife and I.  We’re ready to hit the road again, once more into the breach dear friends, once more.  And we’ll be there, no doubt, as we move on into the Emerald Dream, (defending it from the Burning Legion perhaps), then chase Sargeras down, hitting Argus next.  (We’ve got the starships parked over old Netherstorm.  And goblins can strap rockets onto anything.  Let’s ride.)

And given how friendly World of Warcraft is, maybe Jr. will come along as well.

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I can’t complain about my luck.

I remember Msaker getting the Green Protodrake with his first egg there in Sholazar Basin.

I worked my butt off and got the Brewfest Ram on Msaker as well.

And tonight, fifth (or sixth) visit to Coren Direbrew I got the Great Brewfest Kodo to drop.

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My Shaman on another server

I remember, way back, seeing the “others” come from another server.  Seems they’d left their overcrowded home world and came to ours.  With names like Hammerclaw (a PvP Paladin.  A Paladin??!?!!) and gear like “Who are those guys???,” me and mine felt very provincial in comparison to these “big city” types with their sophisticatitude.

Then came the battlegrounds, where these “others” stayed on their own servers, but joined us in the fray of Alterac Valley because now my humble little RP server belonged to a Battle Group.  Just so we could tell them apart, their names got appended with their server names.  Leetdude-Oneofamillionservernames <ROFLCOPTER DOWN> hits you with a snowball.  And that was great.  Meant we had enough again to reduce wait times for the battleground matches.  (Something the zerg rush ultimately nailed into it’s coffin.)

Things progressed, and suddenly these People-FromElsewhere appeared in my gameworld, not just in the battlegrounds, but poking around in the auction house, inn, spider camp, and everywhere.  Okay, so we’re taking the idea of “merges” a little further.

And that’s where I thought it ended until I got an invite on a new character from a Guild Master on another server.

I’m not the fastest scooter in the turtle store, so it took me a bit of time to realize all the wife’s and my folks on our 2nd/Alt server could join the 2-player guilds we had on our 1st/Home server.   Researching which servers were linked to which, I created a place holder character on a 3rd server who is a member in the guild now.  In fact, the wife was so attached to one particular character name she’d lost, unable to create that character on either of our two servers, she created him on this 3rd server, and she and I, on a new character on the 2nd server, both members of the guild based on the 1st server, did a little knocking around Brill the other night.

Which also means my Tauren Shaman, the one I raided Molten Core with, took to Illidian’s Welcome mat, chilled out in Naxxaramas with, he’s finally “viable” again, a member of the guild, able to easily mail anything back and forth with my “mains,” not just heirlooms, and in the last few days have gotten him two levels to 84.  I’m after the Vial of Sands, so I’m leveling him with Archaeology which rewards solid xp with every successful survey.  (And I’ve seen the Twilight Highlands often enough.  I only want to herb gather there.)

It’s certainly a nice discovery for an altoholic like me that my alts and mains are only seperated by server list screens now, and little else.

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