My lovely friend Zeirah and I are challenging each other with a weekly blog post. We choose a topic and both write about. This week’s topic is all about our favourite Legion screenshots. You can read Z’s post about this topic right here.

***Heads up there may be spoilers in here if you’re not completely up to date with everything. So please proceed with caution.***

Ok so this week we’re taking things a little easier (or so we thought!) by having our topic of the week be our top 5 favourite screen shots that we’ve taken in Legion. I say it started out easy, but this is a really tough one. For starters we had initially said our favourite 1 screen shot. Not 2 minutes later Z asked if we could make it 5, which I laughed at because I was about to ask the same thing!

The thing is, how do you decide which screenshots to share? Do you share the ones that look pretty? Or do you share the ones that have a funny story or a sweet memory behind them? For me, I’ve gone with a little bit of everything. But it’s been really tricky to do, because Legion has been an amazing expansion so far, and the world we’re playing in and the memories I’m making right now are beautiful and plentiful.

(btw these aren’t in any particular order!)

First up – a memory

wowscrnshot_083016_145108

This screenshot to me represents everything we’re fighting for. This is the reason we have moved an entire city to the heart of danger – so that those who fight have not fallen in vain. Varian’s death makes me cry, even today. Regardless of whether you’re Horde or Alliance, you can’t deny the sacrifice that Varian made for his people, and for the whole of Azeroth. He knew that when he let go of that ship, that he was going to die. But he did it anyway, because it meant buying a little extra time so his comrades could escape. And in turn, maybe they would be able to find a way to defeat the Legion. He knew what would happen, and he did it anyway.

Right before heading to the Broken Isles I stopped by the patch of grass in Stormwind to pay my respects – I was over the moon to discover that Varian’s memorial was up. And so I turned the music up, knelt down and cried a little and gave thanks, and stood up to go kick some serious demon butt.

Next – a summary of being a restoration shaman!

wowscrnshot_092016_232133

Ok it’s really tricky trying to choose one picture about what it means to be a shaman in Legion, but this comes close. This was taken in my class hall in the water area (totally appropriate for my resto shammy!) and she’s casting her artifact ability (and looking damn fierce doing it!) This was taken right before Emerald Nightmare opened, and it really is the culmination of a lot of research, patience, trying/retrying, gold and tears to get to this point. It’s been tough. But great 🙂

Next up is just a “pretty” one.

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This is the ceiling in the mage order hall. I LOVE the order hall – it’s full of books and magic-y colours. It’s such a beautiful place. There are also portals to all of the different zones. But mostly, it’s the books that I love. There are little corners that you can sit in and watch the world (the view outside is, of course, Dalaran).There are some parts where the books are flying/floating around. It’s a really magical place and I just love it.

Next up we have (slightly spoilery!!) pretty and story –

WoWScrnShot_093016_212216.jpeg

This here is what happens after you defeat Xavius in the Emerald Nightmare. Killing him cleanses the Emerald Dream back to its intended state. And it.is.stunning. The beams of light coming through the tress, the lush green grass, the beautiful flowers, the beginnings of a yellow brick road. And of course Ysera (and well, everyone else we had to kill to cleanse the place!) Killing Ysera was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in the game. I bawled my eyes out when I realised that’s what we’d have to do once she was corrupted by Xavius. It was painful, no matter how necessary. To see her back here in the Emerald Dream makes me feel a bit better – that she’ll always be here is a comfort. I mean, if you’re going to be left somewhere to live out the rest of your days, there are definitely worse places to do it!

And lastly, another beautiful + story pic (and also spoilers)

WoWScrnShot_102216_153351.jpeg

This happened for me yesterday. Right before you hit Exalted with the Nightfallen you’ll be offered a quest that involves (essentially) charging up the tree in Shal’Aran. It’s a detailed and dangerous process that even cost a life. But in the end, the tree survives. And even better – the fruit it bears cures the withered. Again, this one made me cry. I was crying before I got to the end because I was so worried about people dying in the scenario. And then when you see it was all worth it – well.

 

So there you have it – 5 of my favourite screen shots. There are so many more in my folder (over a thousand from Legion alone!!) so picking 5 really has been quite a challenge. Hope you liked them 🙂

 

 

 

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This weekend was the annual running of the gnomes. It’s a fun in game event created by some lovely people to raise money for breast cancer research. It’s a great event that the WoW team even featured this year!

This was my second year running it, so I was a bit more prepared – I had my tabard already from last year, and had at least a vague idea of where I was going. The servers went down a fair bit, but Blizz were hard at work getting them going for us all again. In the end the start was a little rough, and people ended up just starting to run as soon as they were able to. Which ended up working out fine. I managed to find Klor and we grouped up at Ironforge, but got split up when the servers kept crashing for us at different times.

I successfully went the wrong way a few times and died. But in the end I made it! I was really glad to be there for the forming of a the heart – last year I missed it. And even better – we all actually managed to make a heart shape!

It was a lot of fun, and I hope it continues on in years to come. This year they managed to raise over $5000 and had a bit over 2800 people do the run in total. If you didn’t make the even but still want to make a donation you can, just head over to the donation page.

My lovely friend Zeirah and I are challenging each other with a weekly blog post. We choose a topic and both write about. This week’s topic is all about professions. You can read Z’s post about this topic right here.

This week’s post topic was suggested by Elgaric (who has a new podcast coming out soon – Azeroth or Bust). Thanks Elgaric!

Professions in Legion have changed quite a bit. It’s no longer a case of grinding out crafting items to level up – there is story and questing involved. And quite a lot of RNG. Whether it’s good or not depends on the person you speak to. Me… I am absolutely nowhere with my professions. But I think the changes are good.

My two professions are mining and jewelcrafting. Towards the end of Warlords, when it was becoming apparent that I’d probably want a gathering profession to compliment my crafting profession, I switched things up a bit and made my professions mining and jewelcrafting. The gems were going to be handy, plus there’s that cool toy (which I have not yet made!), so I figured this would be a good choice. So far I have not been able to get to max level on any of my professions. Not mining, not jewel crafting, not fishing, cooking, archaeology or first aid. And I’m not too sure how I feel about it.

It’s an odd thing, because I think it’s drilled into us that we need to have our professions maxed at all times. It’s probably just psychological, but it feels really weird not being maxed out right now. In some ways it makes me feel like I’m not playing the game “correctly” by not having maxed out professions. Like I’m just being lazy or something. Which I promise you, I’m not!

Mining

At the moment, I’m 3 points off maxing out my mining. All the nodes are grey, and despite how much I have been mining, I still only have rank 3 in one of the mining skill types. So I just have to keep at it and hope for the best. But I don’t see me getting rank 3 in each skill type for quite some time. Mining nodes aren’t nearly as common as they have been in previous expansions either, and while we don’t have flying it takes longer to get the ore, too. So this one is just a patience thing. The only real benefits to the ranks are that you get more ore from each node, and from what I can see, there’s no real benefit to getting to max level mining anyway. So I’m not overly bothered about this. This one is definitely psychological.

Jewelcrafting

Jewelcrafting on the other hand, is pretty painful. There are a couple of elements to JC that makes it rough to level. Firstly, the base patterns/recipes will only get you so far through the levelling process, and rank 3 doesn’t help much either – at about 784 they turn yellow, and 790 they turn green, which means you have to make a lot of items to level it up.

Now this wouldn’t so much of a problem if gems were easy to come by, but they’re not. I already mentioned above that mining was a little rough. It’s even rougher when I can’t spend excessive amounts of timing farming ore all day. So having ore to prospect is already difficult enough as it is. But it gets worse, because gems just don’t like to drop from the ore. You will always get gem chips (which are essentially useless). If you’re lucky you’ll get small gems (which, once you’re around 764 are usable in 0 JC recipes). Then if the RNG gods smile upon you, you’ll get the big gems. I wish I was exaggerating with this, but I’m not (well, not too much). Thor bought me a 200 stack of each of leystone deposit, and felslate. At the time it cost him around 20,000 gold. (no, there are not too many zeros in there). All up, from both stacks, I got 3 big gems. 3. (the RNG gods really don’t smile upon me).

To make matters worse, there is no levelling up from cutting big gems after a certain point (I forget this one, sorry). And besides, you need to keep your big gems for the rings/necks you’ll need to craft to try to get a skill up after 784. And even then… I have rank 3 for the Vindictive Pandemonite Choker (demon hunter class neck). You know what it takes to craft one of those? 3 Pademonites, 1 Furystone and 2 Infernal Brimstone. So you can now see why the average Joe is needing to charge well over 20k for the class necks.

Right now my Jewelcrafting has hit a lull. Gems are still hard to come by (even more so because I actually need them for raiding now – 5 pieces of my gear have gem sockets!), but what’s even more difficult, is getting the rank 3 patterns to drop. Most of them drop from heroic dungeon bosses. And they’re not a guaranteed drop (which is obvious given I don’t have any of them yet). I’m currently stuck at 785 jewelcrafting until a rank 3 recipe drops so that I can have a chance at getting 1 skill point. It’s not the greatest feeling.

All I can say is thank goodness for the Darkmoon Faire. At the very least, I’ll be max level JC in January (oh god!!) Again, I wouldn’t mind this so much, if it were not for the fact that there is a really nice, strong gem – Saber’s Eye – that can be crafted only at 800 jewel crafting. It gives +200 of your primary stat, so it’s really nice. It’s also expensive to make. But so far, a long way off for me to even think about making.

The others

I’ll be honest – I haven’t touched any of the secondary professions in any meaningful way. I started doing cooking until I realised that Nomi was going to keep burning my food, so I held on to it so I actually had mats to craft my food with. That and Thor managed to get the recipes that I needed, so I just get my mats and send them his way for cooking. Fishing I’ll do if there’s a world quest, but I’m not going out of my way to do it.

First aid has been interesting – without researching it, I have no idea how to level it. However the random times where there has been a quest pop up asking me to go apply first aid to an NPC out in the world has been quite interesting. If there’s a way to trigger those events that would be cool so I can level that up. So far I’ve not come across anything.

And Archaeology. That I’m doing a little bit. Not a lot, but a little. If the digs are nearby I’ll go do them. And obviously the week that the spectral moose mount is up, I’ll be digging up the Broken Isles like crazy!

So overall, my professions are still quite aways off.

How does it feel?

I can’t speak for all of the other professions (although I have touched on Enchanting & Herbalism on my mage, too), but I have to say – I don’t hate it. It does frustrate me, but I don’t hate it. I do like that professions are more challenging. I REALLY like that there are quests and story to go along with levelling the professions (the mining of felslate stuff is really quite gross but awesome). I’m not overly bothered by not being maxed out (though still wish I was!)

I have 2 thoughts on how to potentially make jewel crafting not so brutal to level:

  • Have a recipe that allows us to combine 20 small gems into one of the big gems. This was datemined on wowhead at one stage, but it hasn’t made it to the live game. I do wish that it would.
  • Make it so that you can level to max level JC with ONLY the base recipes, but in turn, make the drop rates for the higher ranks more rare. This way you’re not relying on RNG twice to get your skills up (RNG first time to get the recipe to drop in the first place, then RNG again every time you craft something in the hopes that it will give you a skill up). People will still be encouraged to farm for the higher ranks so that it’s cheaper to craft the rings/necks given you don’t get a guaranteed item type when you craft it (e.g. I can’t specifically craft a Vindictive Pandemonite Choke of the Quickblade every time – the suffix will always be different.)

What I do like, is that professions give you gold. I’ve managed to craft 3 of the Demon Hunter necks, and sold all 3 for a reasonable amount, as well as a couple of the rings. The random crafting mats (like fish, meats etc) that I pick up while doing World Quests are all selling for a pretty good amount, too. So it does feel rewarding to craft and sell things.

I don’t think professions are in a bad place at all. In fact, I think they’re doing quite well. They’re not perfect – there are definitely some improvements that can be made (Nomi, hon, I’m looking at you! You’re better than this!!) But I don’t think they’re worth the public outcry. Honestly, I think it’s mostly psychological.

Overall, I like what has been done with professions in Legion. I’m looking forward to seeing them progress over the expansion.

 

My lovely friend Zeirah and I are challenging each other with a weekly blog post. We choose a topic and both write about it. This week’s topic is a bit different – this week we’re talking about ingame persona vs. real life persona. You can read Z’s post this right here.

There’s something about being in your own safe home with nothing but the glow of a screen to keep you company that offers a sense of security and confidence that is not otherwise afforded. In some ways it’s like when a surgeon puts on his mask or a police officer puts on her uniform or the actor puts on their costume – the “real” you is hidden away, and you start playing the role the mask gives you.

We see it all the time online, where the freedom of appearing to speak into a void with unseen consequences causes people to put on the mask of online vigilante. Some people say things they wouldn’t say to people if they were standing right in front of them, but when they’re mere pixels on a screen and the online mask is on, the new persona comes out and the behaviour changes, and suddenly making inappropriate and threatening comments are the norm.

This is obviously an extreme example of what happens when we live a life online, and not everyone behaves the same way. But the point is that, for a lot of people, the person they are online is not the same as the person they are in real life. In some cases it can be seen as a negative difference, in others it can be positive. I feel I fall into the positive changes.

Under the mask – the “real life” Cinder

The real life me is difficult to explain, especially to those who have not had similar experiences. But we’ll try anyway!

The short version is that during my final year of high school I suffered severe anxiety and became agoraphobic. Which basically meant for me I had a lot of difficulty leaving the house and being around people. My school was great and found ways to work with me to help me graduate, and I in turn found ways of coping with my anxiety so that I didn’t fall back in to being fully agoraphobic, and found ways to leave the house to go work, even live overseas for awhile.

My anxiety is a struggle to deal with every single day. The easiest way I have of explaining it is actually with a WoW quest. Remember in Mists of Pandaria there was a quest with a fellow named Mudmug who  was in Valley of the Four Winds? He had you run around the water areas to fill up a vial that kept leaking. (It’s this quest here for those who don’t remember). That broken vial is me, and the liquid inside it is the energy I have to interact with people (or be out in the world). It is constantly depleting. Some things make me deplete more than others. I am (probably unsurprisingly) massively introverted. (My personality type is INTJ-T which you can read about here. I’m around 90% introverted). Being around people exhausts me. Crowds are the equivalent of tipping that vial over and pouring the contents out. I don’t cope well. Getting on the tram each day to go work, speaking to anyone, talking on the phone (oh god phone calls), sending emails, buying my morning coffee, going out to dinner with friends – all of it depletes that vial. And some days I don’t even start with a full bottle. Being with Thor helps (it is nothing short of a miracle that I found someone who understands my anxiety and helps me deal with it. Thor is my rock, as corny as it sounds.) He understands when I don’t have it in me to go to the movies or the shops or even outside the front door. But he also helps to keep the vial from getting empty when we are our in the world. It really helps.

Things that help me energise essentially involve me being alone. Things like reading or playing WoW or watching movies or just sitting staring into space – they all help me keep calm and able to leave the house again the next day.

 

Essentially the real me, if it were up to me, would live in the mountains by a stream with some books and pen and paper (and good internet access!). And I’d be totally ok with that.

It’s hard to explain this to people who have not had anxiety or who do not understand introverted behaviour. People don’t understand that if I’m upset or frustrated or angry, I’d rather be alone. People will say things like “go spend time with your friends” or “just smile anyway” or “just be positive” or “these things happen for a reason – it’s what you do next that matters most!”. It doesn’t work like that. Statements like that, while well meant, upset more than they help, because they say “you are broken and what you do to try and function in the world is not enough, and you are not right to feel the way you do”. Sometimes it upsets me; sometimes it offends. A lot.

The real me likes to have a laugh, (over)thinks a lot, tries to be creative and just generally tries to be a decent human being. I’m just better at doing those things on my own than with/around other people.

The Cinder that leaves the house

Obviously, I’m not a hermit. I still have to function in the world – I still have to go to work and pay bills. And I do like to venture out to the movies and things like that. I don’t like to miss out on everything. So I needed to find a way to do that. And it comes back to what I used to do in high school – I would act. I would put on a mask and pretend to be someone else to help me get through the day. All the while that vial underneath is getting emptier and emptier as the day wears on. Sometimes I do alright – I can do the pretending just fine, and deal with it all when I get home. Other days I’m not so great and don’t get too far (or out of bed).

The Cinder that leaves the house is not the real Cinder. Just a functioning one. 🙂 It’s the Cinder that people at work know. Sometimes it’s the Cinder that even my friends know (depending on how well I know the friend).

The online Cinder

Which leads me to who I am in WoW and online in general – the third Cinder, if you will. The online Cinder is who I would prefer to be in real life. Both my in game characters and who I am on my blog and in my podcasts – that’s who I would like to be in real life. Funnily enough, my online self is actually a lot closer to my real self than my day to day self is (i.e. the Cinder that leaves the house)

My characters in WoW are all representations of who I am, even with some of the negatives. My shaman in particular really embraces the split personality types that I have – the carer who wants to help and protect those around her, and the fighter who will stand in front of blades if it means doing the right thing. And already, every character I have played in the game is different to my real life self in that they talk to a LOT of people. They do everything they can to help, they stand up to fight when they’re afraid, they are good and they are kind. Mostly, they are strong.

The way I interact with people online is different as a result. My characters give me confidence that isn’t always naturally there. I have learned to channel my inner Cinderstorm and speak up when I want to say something and contribute to discussions and share things. Being in a raid team has really taught me how to work better with others and interact with them to achieve something. Because I’m doing that in game, I’m doing that in teamspeak as well. I’m also more confident in game to speak up for myself when I disagree, or even getting angry at people who are being dicks.

The other reason I’m more confident online is that people can’t see me. They’re judging me by my personality and my actions rather than how I physically look. Given that I am overweight and not an attractive person, I find that people interact with me very differently face to face in real life. There are automatic assumptions made about who I am as a person because of how I look. I’ve learned to ignore it, but it’s draining. In WoW and online I don’t have to worry about that because people can’t see me. It’s very freeing.

I think other things that also help with online confidence is that I’m talking to people who love what I love – they love this game. Sure it’s probably for different reasons, but having something in common with someone else is a big step towards making interaction a little easier. Doing the podcasts also really helps with this. No-one wants to listen to me be a robot. So I put on the “online Cinder” mask and do the best I can to be interesting and entertaining for people – I try to be the me I would like all the time. And yes it is exhausting – the energy is always dripping out of that vial – but it’s a different kind of exhausting. It’s draining but in a more satisfying way.

Changing

The overall point is that, yes, I am somewhat different online to what I am in real life. But I am trying my hardest every day to work towards being more like my online self. I will always be very introverted (that’s never, ever going to change) but I am trying more and more to be who I am online in real life as well. I’ve found at work I have more of a voice – I will stand up for myself if someone is being bossy or a bully, and I’ll make suggestions for alternative ways of doing things if I think they’ll be better. And it’s good.

When it comes down to it, I have a lot to be thankful for WoW. Not only because I’ve made some wonderful friends all over the world, but it’s helping me be better in the real world, too. And I like that. 🙂

 

The new raid week started for us last night and we absolutely powered through a full heroic clear in no time at all. Then we went in to mythics and cleared Mythic Nythendra on just the second pull. We headed off to spider bird but only managed to get 1 pull in (which we got below 50% before wiping), but then the servers went down so we called it a night. So overall it was a really great raid night. Except I spent most of it in tears.

I have been looking forward to a new raid tier for ages. I only joined my current guild at the end of Hellfire Citadel – once mythics had all bee cleared. And by that point everyone was so much more geared than I was and knew the fights that restoration shaman mastery was kinda useless (who needs stronger heals on low health players when no-one takes any damage?!) That and I was up against priests and pallies… I didn’t really stand a chance. So even though I didn’t feel good not being top of the heals, I just plodded along and made sure I contributed dps where I could, and did mechanics so I wasn’t a burden. And I waited for Legion and new raids where I’d have a chance to show I could do this.

Except now we’re here in Legion and I’m still shit.

Last night I was constantly at the bottom of the heals. There were times when I was in a brilliant rhythm and doing everything I was supposed to do at the right times, and got to do some of my bigger heals in moments where people were at low health. And I’d get excited, thinking surely this was the moment I’d edge up those healing charts. But no. There I am at the bottom. And sometimes below the warrior tank. What.The.Hell. It’s not just in comparison to other healing classes either – when I look at the logs and look at how I do compared to other resto shamans, I’m doing poorly. It’s devastating to the ego. By the time we got to Xavius last night I was bawling my eyes out.

I love my resto shaman so much, I really do. But I’m finding her tough at the moment. There are a lot of my abilities that rely on people to be close-ish together and to actually stand in the things. Abilities like healing rain, spirit link, earthen shield totem, one of my healing trinkets, and of course my artifact ability, can all really shine when people are stacked up (which is why I can do really well on trash pulls!) but no-one is standing stacked up in raids. It feels stupid dropping these abilities on just tanks, or a handful of melee who run out of it anyway (except for maybe the shield totem). I’ve been trying so hard – I’ve been researching the fights and working on gear stats and trying different rotations. And it just all feels like for nothing. I am just shit.

What to do?

Today I’m not feeling a lot better, but Z was kind enough to listen/read my rants this morning and offer some advice that was confirming some changes I was looking at making. Namely, I’m looking at changing my build. For restoration shamans, it’s always mastery mastery mastery. And for good reason – when people are low for a reasonable amount of time, I can physically see my heals bringing up groups of people all at once – it’s great! But in raids (so far) that doesn’t happen enough. I feel weak. I feel like what I do doesn’t make enough of a difference. I mean even healing tide totem doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything anymore.

The build

I’ve spoken of my love for Ask Mr Robot plenty of times before, and I do love the site and what they do. So of course as Emerald Nightmare was coming up I went on to see what my best pieces would be. What it was showing me was really weird – I couldn’t figure out why it was telling me to not wear mastery gear. Then I saw the optimum build was nothing to do with mastery, and everything to do with Critical Strike.

Instead of

Intellect > Mastery > Critical Strike > Haste > Versatility

Ask Mr Robot was giving me

Intellect > Critical Strike > Versatility > Haste > Mastery > Leech

Quite different. In the end I manually built the stat weights in to be the order I thought they needed to be in and went from there. But now, I’m beginning to think I should try the Mr Robot build. The build is called “Sustained HPS” and I’m guessing the theory behind it is that more crits = more mana regen = more heals I can cast and for longer. The versatility will just make my heals a bit better, too. I’m wondering if, with a crit build, I can do more chain heals. It used to be that that’s where a lot of my healing would come from. Right now it’s all coming from riptide (which is unlikely to change) but maybe I can bring up the AoE heals a bit more. The positives and negatives of this are the same – Ask Mr Robot is based on pure math, which in some ways is great because math doesn’t lie. But in other ways it’s not always great because I’m not a machine – I make mistakes and/or make different spell choices based on situation. But I think it’s worth a shot.

The talents

With that in mind, I’m also going to look at changing my talents around. I had tried the Cloudburst build, but I was not great at it. And a lot of the time the damage didn’t line up with the cloudbursting-ness, so it felt wasted. I absolutely love the Wellspring talent – it looks awesome and it feels satisfying, but it’s mana intensive making, it pretty expensive. And there is a better talent choice if I’m looking at chain healing again.

This is what I’m leaning towards as new talent choices (or see this link if you want the interactive version)

new_resto_talents

Torrent is lovely with Echo of the Elements (Echo lets me riptide more often, so I think they work well together) And I do love my fart talent (Gust of wind) but I’m thinking of giving Graceful spirit a go for awhile so that I can cast on the move more often.

The tier 60 talent I’m moving to will be Deluge, which just means I need to start chain heal on a riptided target or someone in my healing rain (which means I need to make my vuhdo frames show me who’s in healing rain!)

I’m sticking with the Earthen Shield totem as I’m finding it a lot more useful the more I remember to use it. And it’s good fun to have for trash. Echo is there of course because I failed at Cloudburst and because Bottomless Depths is only good on low health targets, which we’re not really getting at the moment.

The last line has been the one that hurts my head. As I mentioned, I’ve been using Wellspring, and it has been great and is good when people are quite spread out. Ascendance got taken away as a base line ability and put in as a talent here, but I’m just not feeling it. Again, it requires players to be close by to each other, and because everyone is spread out it wouldn’t get used to its full advantage. High Tide is where I’m going to move to, I think – it will heal an additional target AND the falloff with each bounce is reduced, making my chain heals a bit stronger overall. (Chain heal’s heal drops off each time it hits a target).

To make this build work I need to make sure that I’m actually using chain heal more often. Which will probably need to change when Tier 19 set bonuses come in to play. But that’s not for awhile yet, and right now I’m fighting to keep my place on the team (not that anyone is telling me it’s in jeopardy – I just don’t feel like I’m contributing enough to the heal team right now. I’m letting everyone down).

The patience of a great healing team leader

I’m lucky that my heal leader (Bume) is awesome. I cracked it in healer chat last night just saying I was done with it all because I suck. Bume started whispering me asking what was up and I explained, and he’s offered to go through my logs and help see where some improvements can be made. Which is really lovely. The point is, it makes me feel better, and I appreciate the help. Because right now I’m just so lost.

Let’s see how this goes

So all of the above might be wrong. It might just be shit, and it might make things worse. I won’t do anything for tonight because I won’t have the time to think through the above before raid, but I’ll be making some changes over the weekend to see how it plays out.

Anyway, that’s where things are at the moment. Giant sooky Cinder.

My lovely friend Zeirah and I are challenging each other with a weekly blog post. We choose a topic and both write about. This week’s topic is our favourite Legion dungeon. You can read Z’s post about her favourite right here.

I’m going to preface this by saying that this is actually a really hard decision to make, because I think that all of the dungeons so far in Legion have been amazing. And with the next one including Karazahan, well it looks like they’re just going to keep on getting better.

I do have a bit of a ranking for my favourite dungeons, but it does seem to change a fair bit depending on the group. Eye of Azshara for example is right near the bottom. Too many of the fights can go completely south if you have a bad group, and as a healer it’s so frustrating having to “fix” everything all the time. However, when I do that dungeon as a dps or with a great group who know what they’re doing, then I have a much better time of things. (I will admit, I think I hate it a little bit only because I haven’t managed to get my hidden artifact appearance from there yet!)

Vault of the Wardens is another that’s not too high on my favourites list, but that’s only because I’m so terrible at Cordon’s fight! Those darn walls of ghosts in Mythic… I’m just terrible at them! I was very grateful when I was running this yesterday to have a guildie who was a demon hunter. Demon Hunters can use their spectral sight to see where the ghosts are after they’ve disappeared, so I just followed him around to stay alive. The story for the Vault is pretty cool, too.

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Cordana in Vault of the Wardens

I have a good time in all of the dungeons, though. I really like falling down the water holes in Neltharion’s Lair. It was particularly fun on Pirate’s day – looked like I was surfing my way down!! As for the dungeon itself, it’s the only dungeon I feel a bit disconnected from. I put this down to the fact that I *still* haven’t finished Highmountain yet. (that’s a story for another time).

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I wasn’t around during Wrath so I had no frustrations going in to Assault on Violet Hold. I quite like it! I like that it’s different every time. My only frustration is the spider boss not giving me a titanforged version of the healer trinket! Halls of Valor seems to be a dungeon that a lot of people dislike, but I really enjoy it. I liked Stormheim as a zone and I enjoyed the story going in to it. And that golden/rainbow bridge is so beautiful to go across!

Maw of Souls also ranks quite high on my list. The whole concept is just really interesting to me. It’s also short, and I love a good dungeon that can be quick to run through but still be challenging. Helya is an awesome boss – she looks amazing. The fight itself drives me up the wall, but in a good way. It’s only frustrating because I’m a clumsy pandaren who keeps falling in the holes 🙂

Favourite dungeon/s

But my top two favourite dungeon/s are the two mythic only dungeons – The Arcway and Court of Stars. And of course I have no screenshots of these dungeons, so I’m going to have to direct you over to the Wowhead guides for these dungeons for you to see some pics.

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This doesn’t have a lot to do with The Arcway dungeon… but it’s a pretty cool screenshot, no? 😉

Arcway first. 

It’s basically a power station for Suramar city, helping to send around ancient mana to the city’s population. But it’s also full of creepy shit, and of course demons are hovering about the place to take advantage of some of its power, too.

I like the randomness of this dungeon (although to be fair I’ve only been in here once!) Each week the other the bosses appear in is different, making it a little more interesting to run repeatedly. I like the Ivanyr encounter best of all in here. The fight itself is quite straight forward – get off interrupts, don’t stand in crap, make a pretty shape with the Nether Link etc. But I like fights like that. I like fights that are relatively simple to execute, but deadly if you make the smallest mistake. Miss an interrupt on this fight and it can hurt a LOT. Run away with Nether Link instead of working as a group to make a small shape – you gonna lose. I just like it.

I also just really like the spell effects that are in this dungeon. It’s refreshing having all this purple/white/blue everywhere (except for the demon part, of course). When I went in this dungeon we also managed to get a couple of the achievements done which was nice. Overall, I really enjoyed this dungeon.

My top favourite is Court of Stars

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For this dungeon, we get to go to a party! I really love this dungeon. It’s only 3 bosses (short and sweet!) but has some really interesting mechanics to not only the bosses, but to the trash and buffs you can get.

The premise of the dungeon is that there’s a party (but of course!) and Grand Magistrix Elisande is rumoured to appear. Which is great, because she needs to go down. When we first get to the dungeon we’re escorted to the party in our own private gondolas (when will these be a mount, btw?!) Throughout this dungeon is one of the most interesting aspects of it – scattered around the place are buffs or items to help players defeat the dungeon, however these buffs are specific to your race, class or professions. For example Druids and herbalists can pick a flower (Umbral Bloom) that will give everyone in the party 10% Haste.  Death Knights and Monks can consume a drink that will give the whole party improved health and mana regen. Stuff like that. The buffs are randomised, so it’s different each time. (The Wowhead guide for this fight has a map and detailed list of what each buff/item is and where to find them.)

I found the trash leading to the first boss harder than the boss himself. Which is fine. There are beacons that need to be turned off as we get closer to him, to help disguise our entry (though I personally found turning out the lights a pretty obvious indication that something suspicious was going on!) The boss is pretty straight forward, so we head off on to the next one, which is where the profession specific items come in handy. The boss itself is straight forward, however it’s her companions that cause trouble. They all empower each other, so fighting them all together is pretty much impossible at this stage. You need to use items around the area to distract one emissary at a time, so that the boss is eventually left on her own. And I like her fight because of the fire 😀

The next “trash pack” is the best idea for a dungeon in ages. The premise of this is that a party is happening in one of the nearby buildings and Elisande is probably going to show up at it. We want to kill her, so we head in that direction. However there is a Burning Legion spy in the room who is bound to stop us, so we need to take out the spy first. To do this, we all get the Masquerade illusion from Ly’leth Lunastre. We then walk around the party and speak to 5 Chatty Rumourmongers who give us clues as to who this spy might be. All 5 clues will help identify who the spy is. We confront them, and then kill them out on a the balcony when they turn into their demon form. I just really like this idea. It helps slow down the pace of the dungeon in a nice way that doesn’t just rely on brute force. It really fits with the theme of sneaking around Suramar, too. Looking at the guide again now to write this post, I see that there are also other ways of identifying the spy if you’re a Protection Paladin or a Demon Hunter with the Spectral Sight ability. Either way, it’s a very cool idea, and is the main reason I chose this dungeon as my favourite.

Elisande, of course, pisses off by the time we get to the balcony. Apparently she has more important things to do. Good for her. So we kill her Advisor, Melandrus. The fight is straight forward really. Just lots of moving around!

All in all, I find this dungeon to be really, really interesting. I love the theme of it, I love how it looks, and I love that there are unique elements to it (the buffs and the “spy trash”). I am also extremely glad that this dungeon is mythic only. This really does need to have an organised group to do. Or at least a group that will communicate with one another. I can just imagine being in a random pug with people who don’t know the dungeon or don’t listen or wait to follow the dungeon correctly, just pulling everything in the world… *shudder*.

So that’s my thoughts on the Legion dungeons. I am really impressed with them all so far (and that’s a big deal coming from me – I’m not usually a dungeon fan at all!) I’m really looking forward to seeing how Karazhan will turn out!

 

My lovely friend Zeirah and I are challenging each other with a weekly blog post. We choose a topic and both write about. This week’s topic is the saddest quest in Legion. You can read Z’s post about her favourite right here.

Z and I are both softies, which is how this topic came up. When talking about our experiences in Legion we kept coming back to quests that made us cry. So we decided to write about which of these made us the saddest. Unfortunately I didn’t take screen shots the first time I did this particular little quest line, so, even though I had said I would never do it again… I had to go an do it again. 😦 But after THIS time I won’t do it again!

I also have a sneaking suspicion Z and I are going to be writing about the same quest…

The quest I chose is the unnecessary genocide of primitive Ravenbears in Stormheim.

1wowscrnshot_092416_114857This quest line is quite short – only takes about 5 -10 minutes to have your heart ripped open, so you don’t have to wait long. The first quest can be found on a Frightened Ravenbear in Stormheim, not too far from the Stormtorn Foothills flight path in Stormheim. He is visibly distressed, jumping up and down to catch your attention.

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We follow him down the path to find the reason for his distress – bastard dragons are tormenting his friends and family. All of them look terrified and are in trouble – of course we’re going to help them!

Inside the cave that is their home, I meet with their chieftain and attempt to communicate with him. We figure out that he’s in trouble, so taking down some of the jerks tormenting his people is a no-brainer. But it also looks like they’re trying to put something together to help appease the “lord” that is causing them so much distress. So off I go to get some bits and pieces for that, too. But not before hanging out with some of them.

 

Outside we get a better picture of what’s happening here. Some awful, awful dragons are taking much delight and pleasure in tormenting these primitive creatures, who are squawking for dear life, and paying for the dragons’ entertainment with their lives. You can also see the decoy Ravenbears they’ve made to help divert the attention away to something that won’t suffer at the hands of these dragons. I don’t think it’s working, though.

Once we’ve collected the reagents for their ritual and killed off some of the evil dragons, we go back to the chieftain, who is delighted with us, and expressing it the only way he knows how – by flapping his little wings ❤ He’s so happy we’ve come to help him that he invites us to come along to the ritual. So off we go…

The ritual area shows the Ravenbear’s primitive nature, but there’s something really beautiful about it. They make a dragon out of their reagents, and perform a sacred chanting/movement that involves dancing, waving and flapping our wings, all in an effort to appease the dragons who take pleasure in causing these creatures so much pain.

They are successful in catching the attention of the leader of these dragons – Nithogg…

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But he is less than impressed with their efforts. And so rather than ignoring their primitive ways, or laughing off their primitive attempts, he kills them all. No hesitation. Just full of malice and hatred. All of them dead.

The first time I did this quest I cried my eyes out. I was so upset and so mad. So mad, in fact, that I logged off from the game for the rest of that day. They were just trying to be little Ravenbears. Nothing more. They just wanted to live their lives. They weren’t hurting anyone. They were just there. And these awful creatures come along and torment them and annihilate them for no reason other than that they can. I think it upset me because I feel like in some ways this is how our world is becoming. People don’t like certain races or colours of peoples’ skin or religious beliefs, and so they torment them and annihilate them just because they have the power and because they can. And it really upsets me.

Thor tells me if I don’t start this quest line again, then in that reality they’ll always be alive. Which is all well and good. But I tell you, when I saw Nithogg as the first world boss the other day,  I took much satisfaction getting rid of him. I killed him for the Ravenbears. Poor little creatures.

So that’s the quest that tugged on my heartstrings the most. Why didn’t I choose Ysera for this? Technically I cried a LOT more with Ysera – I was sobbing as we were defeating her. But I knew that it had to be done. It was an awful, heartbreaking situation, but we had to do it or there would be terrible destruction as a result. With this quest, there was no reason what so ever to kill these Ravenbears. They were just trying to live their little lives, and they got wiped out. It was unnecessary and sad.

Also, this little quest was a close runner up:

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Have you guys come across any quests that got you in the feels?

Legion has now been out for three weeks. It has been an amazing three weeks, I have to say. The Emerald Nightmare raid opened last night, so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how Cinderstorm got to this point.

**note: there will be some spoilers in this post. If you’ve been taking your time with things and I don’t want to be spoiled, please don’t read.**

My journey began in Stormwind. I happened to be near Stormwind park when I first logged in about an hour or so before Legion was due to drop, and I noticed Varian’s monument had appeared. So of course I had to pause and pay my respects. The music here is heart wrenching. It really gets deep inside you and squeezes your little heart to pieces. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and visit the monument, turn your music on and just listen.

I’m glad I saw the monument was up when I did, because this has really been the theme for me going through Legion. This is the trigger for me – this is why we fight. Because other people fight. And because Azeroth is worth fighting for. I’d hate for Varian’s sacrifice to be in vain. So I fight.

It was off to Dalaran, which was getting hit pretty hard by this point. It’s decided the city will just be moved. I mean really, moving a city is no small feat!! And so we arrive at the Broken Isles.

In terms of the “go live” moment, I actually got access to the opening quest about 10 minutes before it was due to come up. I wasn’t sure if it was a bug, so I waited a little before accepting it and moving on. It was weird because the quest had popped for me, but not for Thor (who was sitting right next to me, and was also in Dalaran). Something to do with the phasing I suppose.

First stop was to visit Thrall and Aggra and their little boy, Durak! Look at him! He’s so little! He was a cheeky bugger, running around his parents and around the well. Too cute. Thrall sent me off to find the remaining members of the Earthen Ring, who are hiding out in the Maelstrom while they regather strength and sort out a plan for kicking the Legion’s fel-butts.

My plan for levelling had been to level as elemental (as that was the dps spec I knew best), but put all of my artifact power in to my restoration artifact when I got it so that it would be ready for raiding. So with that in mind, I set off to get my Fist of Ra-den.

When I came back, we established my order hall – the Heart of Azeroth. (Class Hall appreciate post coming soon!!)

I decided to start my Legion adventures in Azsuna. Even though this was the zone I spent most of my time in during beta and I was keen to see some new zones, it was the zone that my jewelcrafting started in, so it made sense to go there first. The beauty of this place keep making me pause just to soak it all in. That, and I had deliberately not listened to any of the music beforehand. I wanted to hear the music in the zones as I was going through them. I was not disappointed. The music in the whole game is STUNNING. I listen to the soundtrack at work and it still brings me to tears. I love it.

I digress.

Here’s some pics in Azsuna.

As soon as I hit 102 I was offered the quests to pick up my other two artifacts, so I immediately set off to get my restoration artifact so that I could give it the artifact power that was taking up space in my bags. I also decided to see if I could get Doomhammer without being enhancement. The answer was yes, yes I could. (And lucky I did!) I’ll post more about these quests later, but here are some highlights.

None of the artifact quests proved to be too challenging (not even the restoration one, which was brutal during alpha/beta testing!)

I’ll continue this journey in my next post – this is turning out to be a lot larger than I expected! Next stop – Val’Sharah!

Z and I have been chatting about Legion a fair bit lately, and it came up that we’re both feeling like we’re not blogging enough (well, I sure am not! Z has been doing quite well indeed!) Anyway, we decided to set a challenge where we would both blog about the same topic, to encourage us both to write more.

This challenge is our favourite Legion NPC. You can find Z’s blog post on the same topic right here.

Ok so anyone who has ever read anything I’ve written will know that I’d not very good at favourite lists, because I always want to choose more than 1 option. And that’s no different this time! I have two, but only because they’re both technically not Legion NPCs, so I thought I needed to make up for that.

So without further ado…

**note: there are spoilers in this post about the Shaman class order hall campaign and artifact acquisition. You’ve been warned!**

Stormcaller Mylra

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Stormcaller Mylra is a follower in the shaman class hall. And she’s a BOSS. We first met Mylra back in Cataclysm. She was in Deepholm on the alliance ship and had us flying around on her gryphon to get some Twilight’s Hammer types. Even then she was wonderfully sassy, joking around about how stupid the Twilight’s Hammer were, and how we needed to kill them all, before changing her mind to capture one as prisoner to “ask him some questions” (which translated to “hold him upside down above a propellor and “accidentally” drop him when we’ve got the information we need”). She’s sassy, but deadly.

And that’s no different in Legion. We first meet Mylra when Dalaran makes its move to the Broken Shore. She flies us to the Maelstrom, which will become our Class Order Hall, and helps us fight some demons who follow us there. Later, it is she who flies us down to Deepholm to chase after a seriously wounded Thrall who is trying to find Doomhammer. Thrall gets pretty mopey down in Deepholm, but Mylra keeps our spirits up with her sassy comments, (“He’s wounded. He’s likely to kill himself down here and I don’t wanna be the one who has to tell his wife!”) even when on the brink of death!

Later on we’re able to have her as a follower for our Order Hall, and even better – as a bodyguard. I took her out with me while I was levelling as healer (argh!) and she was the best bodyguard to have! Not only was she great at hitting the right things and not pulling other stuff, but she was sassy! She’d run around yelling “I’m gonna kick yer butt!” in her dwarf accent and it’s just… it makes it feel like she’s really there with me – that we’re a team.

I just found myself really drawn to her as an NPC because she was strong (I mean she will take you down if you mess with her!), but she’s also funny, smart and genuine. I really love her, and hope that we get to know more about her in the future.

Archmage Khadgar

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And now you’re seeing why I’m including 2 choices here! So of course Khadgar has been around for quite some time. But as someone who didn’t start playing until Cataclysm, I missed a lot of his earlier involvement in the story. For me I got to know Khadgar during Warlords of Draenor. And even then I didn’t pay a lot of attention to him (other than wondering why on earth he felt my shipyard was an appropriate place to hang around for almost an entire expansion!)

Something happened, though, after I saw the Warcraft movie. Now I know the two Khadgar’s are different, but for me it was an opportunity to see where he came from and to get to know him a bit. And he’s sassy, too! (I’m sensing a theme here!) But it’s not just that. I mean this man is extremely powerful, but he runs around joking with us every day. Why is that? To be honest I think he’s a bit lonely. And also he is one of the few who truly understands what’s happening at the moment. I think power and knowledge like that can be a lonely experience. So we kinda keep him company. Well, it’s what I like to think anyway 🙂

 

So those are my two favourite NPC in Legion so far. There are actually quite a few others I have liked, but i didn’t grab screenshots while I was levelling with them so I didn’t include them here. Maybe when I’ve levelled some alts I’ll come back to this!

Who are your favourites so far?

It seems to be that barely a few weeks go by before we are saying “farewell” to another Blizzard employee. And it’s always followed shortly after with the chorus of “Blizzard is collapsing” or “this is the end of WoW – even the devs know it, that’s why they’re jumping ship” conspiracies. What people tend to forget is that most of people who have been leaving Blizzard recently have been there for 5+ years. And no-one really does that anymore! I’m not interested in conspiracies here. People move on – it’s just how things are.

It’s an interesting thing, this, being impacted by the employees of an organisation. It’s not a TV show with actors we’re watching each week, where suddenly there’s a face missing or a new on in its place – where it’s obvious something has changed. These are all behind the scenes people. We see their faces every now and again, but that’s about it, so why does it impact us like this when one of them leaves?

When I hear news about devs leaving, I tend to get upset. And it’s not because the person is leaving, per say. It’s the same reason I cry during awards ceremonies – I’m watching people who are passionate about what they do in life, and I feel like I’m wasting mine. It’s a personal thing. But it boils down to witnessing people who have figured out life. They’ve got it. They have found that thing they are good at and that they love. They are winning (in every sense of the word). It’s an amazing and beautiful thing to see. In one way, devs leaving is more about me than them.

I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to these people. Which sounds so fluffy, but it’s there. Every day I play a game that was built with the heart and souls of hundreds of talented, passionate human beings. And the combination of all of those human beings have made an incredible game that means so much to me. They are responsible for an experience that sparks my mind alive with stories and adventures and beautiful imagery and heart wrenching music. It’s because of them. These people are also the reason I have found new friends (when I am so bad at that naturally!) who mean the world to me. It’s because of them. It’s hard not to be grateful for all of that.

When something new comes out, I picture everyone who worked on it presenting it in their small hands saying “I made this thing. I hope you like it.” And I just want to shout out YES! Yes a million times over I like it. I love it! Even the things that frustrate me – I love them! You made this thing and it is beautiful, and I am immensely grateful. We all are. And this is why everyone at Blizzard has a special place in our hearts – because they are the reason we have this.

And this is why I get upset when they leave – because I haven’t been able to give something back to them. I haven’t been able to repay them for the happiness they have given me. I don’t feel like I’ve said “thank you” enough.

When devs say goodbye, and I respond with “thank you for everything – I wish you every happiness in the world” I mean every single word of that, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And if I shed a few tears, it’s only because I’m going to miss what you bring to my life.

xo

 

Can I just take a minute to say how absolutely AMAZING Legion has been so far? And look how darn beautiful it is!

 

This is (obviously) only a handful of the screenshots I’ve taken over the past few days. I’m blown away by how beautiful everything in the game is, and wanted to share my love and appreciation.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Legion time!

xo

 

 

I hope everyone has an amazing experience levelling in Legion. Remember to eat, drink plenty of water, get some sleep, and get up to stretch your legs every now and then. But mostly – HAVE FUN!!

 

Last week my partner Thor and I were exceptionally lucky to be able to attend the Melbourne Legion release party, hosted by Blizzard and featuring guest visits from Celestalon and Gen St Michel (3D artist – check out her AMAZING stuff here https://www.artstation.com/artist/lazypixel). We got there because of two AMAZING human beings – Spazz Wesson (my Reins of Azeroth co-host) and Asylun (whom I met through Girls Gone Wow!) The both had spare tickets to the launch and were kind enough to let Thor and I tag along with them!

It was a really wonderful night – I had so much fun. I was also completely hyperactive (partly because zomg Legion, but also partly because sometimes my anxiety likes to manifest itself in hyperactivity). So I was bouncing about the place a fair bit!

We got there a bit early so we could find and meet each other. When we arrived we could see some green things covering the windows of the venue. We were all eventually shuffled in to a line, and then later some amazing women in a demon hunter and a night elf cosplay roamed up and down the line to chat with people. They looked incredible.

And then we were in. Everything was green – green lights everywhere, mixed in with some black light that made my green nails and my hearthstone pendant glow, which was awesome. They had loads of food and drinks. Gen and Celestalon came out and roamed around everywhere to talk with everyone. There were raffles and trivia and stuff.

A big highlight for me was getting to meet Dayani. She was the first Restoration Shaman I found when I first started looking for people to follow for tips and advice. She’s always struck me as being a thoroughly wonderful and intelligent human being. I love her guides and her cooking tweets!! I was super nervous about meeting her. But thankfully Thor is a champion and encourages me to do things even when I’m terrified, so off we went to find and meet Dayani. And she really was as wonderful as she is on twitter. And she gave us cookies!!!! They were delicious.

It took me all night and a big push from Thor for me to meet Celestalon. I was mostly terrified of turning in to a gushing buffoon. I mean, he’s part of the team that puts together this amazing game that we love so much. WoW is such a big part of my life at the moment, and he helped build that. So of course I was terrified. But I ended up getting to say hi, and he signed my Illidan funko pop and took a photo with me. I thought we were done, but then Spazz (who is just the most amazing people person!) came up and said “this is Cinder – she’s the other host on Reins of Azeroth with me”. And Celestalon says (I shit you not) “Oh, that mount podcast!” CELESTALON KNOWS ABOUT A PODCAST I DO! Oh man it was incredible.

The worst part was when I met Gen. I couldn’t see her when she was up on stage because there were taller people in front of me, so I didn’t know what she looked like. I was patiently waiting with Thor for Celestalon, when a space cleared and this lovely lady turns to me with an expectant face. Thor says “That’s Gen!” except I didn’t hear him, and I yelled “Who?!”. When I realised what he’d said, and what a dick I’d just been to a wonderful artist, I was mortified, and was a bumbling mess for the whole conversation. Gen was so delightful and kind! But I was so embarrassed and not thinking straight. So much so that although I remembered to ask her to sign my Illidan pop, I forgot to ask for a pic 😦

I could go on about it all for ages, but I won’t. Suffice to say, it was a really great night. So here are a bunch of pics for you!

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Blizz also posted pics and a video on their page at (I nicked the billboard pic for my featured image for this post because it’s SO DARN AWESOME) You can see them here:

 

 

 

 

There are plenty of other things to write about right now, but this draft has been sitting here for weeks so I’m just going to post it!

 

So I finally got the chance to transfer my mage back over to the Alliance. I  was having troubles trying to decide what race to make her. She has SO much transmog, so it was really important to me that she be pretty (I don’t care how shallow that sounds! My own body doesn’t look like this – I may as well play dress up with a body that does look good!) I was tossing up between Draenei, Night Elf and Human. I even ran a poll on twitter to get some advice. Draenei won out. But I didn’t feel it in my heart.

You see, I’ve been needing to change her name for a LONG time. I was taking her moving servers as the opportunity to do this. So I was thinking and thinking about what to name her… basically trying to recreate this character that I’ve had for so long (she was my first to max level back in the day!) She never felt quite right as a blood elf (even if she did look pretty!) The more I thought about her, the more the notion of her harnessing magic stuck with me. And so I thought about my favourite magic wielders, and of course Harry Potter came to mind. But I needed a woman. And then I thought about one of the strongest women in that book – Lily Potter (Harry’s mother). She was a powerful witch, and she loved her family fiercely – so fiercely she protected them with her own life.

And so Cinderlily was created. And of course she had to be human. I always imagined Lily with red hair for some reason, and of course she has her green eyes. I dressed her up in a new transmog and got her pet/patronus out for some pics. 🙂

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She’s going to be a fire mage in Legion – I can’t wait! 😀

 

 

This weekend I took a bit of a break from social media. I was (and to a degree still am) incredibly angry and disappointed with some in the WoW community on Friday. The frustration just got too much for me, and rather than blowing up at everyone, I shut it all down and stayed away for the weekend (minus one pop-in on twitter on Sunday to wish Leeta a Happy Birthday).

If it’s not one thing…

There were a few things that lead up to that moment. If I’m completely honest, I’ve been frustrated by some in the community for a long time. It’s the constant stream of negativity and complaining at every opportunity. First it was flying, then it was Legion beta not being available, then it was the striders, then it was the Legion release date being so far away, then it was who was allowed in to the Alpha, then it was flying some more, then it was vanilla servers, then it was beta coming out, then it was the transmog system changes not being what people want it to be, then it was UI changes being made in the beta, then it was the pre-patch coming out and then it was the camera changes, then it was people complaining the audio drama wasn’t animated, then it was blaming Blizzard for DDoS attacks, and then it was the camera changes some more. I know this has been going on for a long time, and continue on for a longer time still, but it was too much. Too, too much.

Earlier last week, WoW pvp developer, Holinka, retweeted some of the messages that he has received on twitter. They’ve all been taken down now (the user as gone in to protective tweets mode), but one of them said the following:

@holinka if i lived somewhere in usa, i would definitely will travel to find you and murder you without regret

The others were along similar veins. One said something about crossing the street to stab Holinka, and that he (the tweeter) would proudly sit in jail for doing so.

To say I was upset about this is putting it mildly. I know it’s not directed to me, but these messages upset me greatly. Holinka is a person, just like every other dev working at Blizzard. They are people who show up to their jobs every day to work on a product that some of us buy. That’s it. And yet they are dealt with messages like the above every single day, just for showing up to work.You wouldn’t want to receive messages like that for showing up at your job every day, so why do people think it’s ok to do this to Blizzard employees?

It makes me sad for the human race that this is how people are about pixels on a screen – the level of entitlement that exists because they bought a product. That feeling that Blizzard owes them something because people gave them money for a product.

We go back to that list above and we see it’s the same thing as those death tweets, just a weaker version of it. It’s bullying, no matter how you look at it.

What tipped me over the edge on Friday morning was the response to Blizzard’s attempt to address the issues people are having with the camera changes in WoW. I was happy to see them because I was hoping it would help address the issues people are genuinely having with camera changes in the game. (I know of some people who are directly affected by the camera changes. I also know some people who are just whinging.) So I was really disappointed that my twitter feed was full of messages of “it’s the least Blizzard could do”, or “this is not good enough”, or “this won’t fix the problem”. The changes weren’t even live in the game yet – people weren’t able to test them out – but Blizzard were faced with instant dismissal of the changes. And I just had enough.

I know everyone is not like this. There are so many wonderful things that the WoW community is capable of. There are beautiful support networks and organised group runs for mounts and charity events, the shared art, not to mention the love and good times everyone has during Blizzcon. This community is capable of so much good.

For some people, nothing Blizzard does will ever be good enough, but I don’t have to agree with it. I made a deal awhile back that I would try to make my positivity louder than the negativity, and I have been trying really hard at doing that. This weekend I just had to take a step back before it broke me. But I can, and I will, do better. I need to blog more, even if it’s just about random things I’m doing in game – anything that will help fill people’s timelines with good WoW news instead of the negativity a lot of us are seeing.

Check out…

In the meantime, while I get off my butt to write more, go visit some of my favourite things:

Z is for Zeirah’s blog. Z took a bit of a break from WoW and is back to it full time and has been posting wonderful blog entries about her latest adventures.

Natanie & Moogyver’s WoW Roadtrip is a brilliant new blog that collates Moogyver’s roadtrip adventures throughout Azeroth. Natanie also shares some of her latest adventures. (Also – check out the little hoofprints on the maps! ZOMG just the cutest!!!)

Adventures in Azeroth is a new podcast with Leeta and Stone, and is just delightful. Together they share what they get up to in WoW, and it’s loads of fun.

As for shameless plugs, you might be interested in the two podcasts I co-host on. Battletagged is all about what’s happening in game – we laugh a LOT during this show (we can be a bit silly sometimes). And Reins of Azeroth is all about achievements and mounts and collecting things – all the different things you can do and collect in game.

If you know of a blog or podcast or anything you think others might like to know about that promotes a good time in game, let me know and I’ll mention them in a future post.

As for now, go be loudly positive!

xo

 

I’ve taken so long to write this because my Dropbox is full and I can’t get screenshots while I’m at work anymore!!

I always feel behind when it comes to new content coming out. It’s the difficulty of time zones. The 7.0 Legion pre-patch ended up going live some time in the wee hours of Wednesday morning for me, which meant that I didn’t get a chance to get in to the game until I got home from work last night – somewhere around 6pm in the end.

I knew going in to this new patch that there would be some big changes, and that things might not work. So I didn’t hold my breath that things would be ok. But things were PERFECT. Every addon that I use was working. The new addon I downloaded was working beautifully. My vuhdo didn’t need anything done to it – it just worked! My Tell Me Whens needed minor tweaks due to spell changes, but they were minimal. I even managed to sort out the graphics issues that I was having on PTR – everything looks stunning. And for me, it just works. I know that I am immensely fortunate, and that many other people haven’t had such a smooth run. I do hope their issues get sorted quickly.

Transmog

So you’d think that I would have been up to all sorts of adventures given everything went so smoothly for me. But no. No, I’ve been in a never-ending transmog purgatory. I knew I had been hoarding a lot of BoE pieces in preparation for the pre-patch, but I didn’t realise it was this much. All I can say is thank goodness for Can I Mog It? It has been a huge time saver! But I still have a very long way to go.

I started working on clearing out my transmog on my old Horde server, where I had my only max level plate wearer. Because everything needs to be soulbound in order to be added to the Appearances, I had to make sure I had a toon available to wear everything. On the Horde server I had all 10 character slots taken up, and every single character had full bags and bank (all toons had at least Embersilk bags for all bag space – some had all hexweave bags). In addition, one of those toons had a maxed out guild bank with all tabs full of BoEs. And then there’s my main Alliance server which has another 4 toons with full bags. Plus all my other random lower level alts who will have bits and pieces I’ve kept over the years. It’s a bloody big job!

So far I have managed to get through most of what’s on my Horde server. My main goal has been to transfer my paladin and mage over to Alliance, which meant I had to get through all of my plate gear before I could move my paladin. I believe I got it all done! So she packed her bags (full of leftover BoEs to sell on my new server) and now she’s a cheeky Draenei again! ❤

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Cinderdawn – my cheeky Draenei paladin

It feels great to have an Alliance paladin again (although I will confess, I did like her as a blood elf, too!).

Once my paladin was moved, I worked on sorting out as much as I could of everything else, mailing between all the toons, learning what I could and returning what I would sell. I made my mage guild master of my bank guild, with the plan to move her and the guild to my Alliance server (just in case I wanted extra space!) In the end, I still had way too many pieces to take in the guild bank (even though it was jam packed full!), so will have to leave some behind. I can’t transfer her yet, though, because I discovered much too late that she needs to be guild master for 7 days before she can be transferred. So I won’t get to do that until Sunday.

I still have my Alliance server to go through and all of my little lowbie alts, but I really can’t be bothered right now. I’m transmogged out for now!

Turtles

So what have I been doing since then? Fishing. Yeah you heard me- FISHING! Most people will know by now that the murlocs that spawn in the waters around your fishing shack have a chance to drop both the Sea Turtle and the Riding Turtle. With the loot changes made in the pre-patch, personal loot options mean that a raid group of 40 can fish together and everyone can loot the murlocs. The loot is personal, so what drops is unique to you, but it means that with everyone fishing together, there are more Carp/Minnow captured to spawn the murlocs, giving you a better chance at the mounts. And of course I had to try.

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Chances of getting turtles from fishing greatly increased by hilarious hats!

Each day I’ll spend about an hour or so fishing in these groups. I got lucky and managed to get the Riding Turtle on my second day of trying! Still trying for the Sea Turtle – hopefully I’ll get lucky with that one soon. The beauty of this also means more chances of Nat’s Lucky coins, which can be used for purchasing pets and another Strider mount (if you have the reputation). I grabbed one of the pets, but need to work on the rep for the rest of the goodies.

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Cinder’s ADORABLE riding turtle!

Raiding

We actually dove straight into raiding on the Wednesday night. It was a mistake, but only because some people had broken addons which were messing up their UI etc. which made trying to do mythic Mannoroth a bit difficult to do! So we called it until the Sunday night to give people time to fix their UIs etc. Additional nerfs ended up happening prior to that, so come Sunday we just face rolled it, and same again Wednesday just gone. Still not luck rolling the mount, but given I never expected to be going in to mythic Hellfire Citadel at all, I’ve been really lucky.

Ready for the demons

There’s still a lot of work I need to do before I’m ready for the demons – I need to figure out ALL of my alts (haven’t touched any of them!) and finish up sorting out the transmog. And I want to go on a bunch of transmog runs so I can fill up some of the spaces in the Appearance tab. But I think the demons are due soon…

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My bank alt sits in the new Stormwind Park

 

We have a pre-patch date, and it’s just a few days away!!!

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Come July 19, we will have officially made it. The wait for new things to do is officially over! From here on in we’ll be having loads of content headed our way for months to come.  (and here I am slightly panicking because I still feel like I’ve not done everything I wanted to do by now!!)

It’s bittersweet, because it’s also when we say goodbye to Warlords of Draenor. And even though it hasn’t been the most popular expansion for everyone, I have had some really wonderful times during it. I’m definitely going to be sad to say goodbye to my Alliance garrison. The gold is nice, sure, but I liked having a space that way my own.

Now to frantically change a few last minute things. Happy pre-patch everyone!! 😀 😀 😀

 

 

Well! I did not expect the response I got on my post yesterday. I am so overwhelmed at how many people came out in support of what was said. It made me happy to hear that so many other people feel the same way – that they too are frustrated by the loud negativity. But it also made me sad that so many have been put off like this. I do hope that knowing there are so many of us out there helps encourage us all to be a little louder with our positivity.

But it has been one surprise after another this morning. I jumped on to the WoW site to see what’s going on and see the latest This Month in WoW is up. So I go through and start reading and I swear my heart leaped in to my throat when I saw this:

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I’m on that podcast! That’s my name on a Blizzard site! ZOMG!!! I know it’s really silly to be so excited about it, but hey – you all know I’m a dork!

Ok that’s enough bragging for now. Off to find some tea and get back to levelling my druid 🙂

 

I’ve been pretty quiet here on my blog recently, and for pretty good reason. I’m angry. Well, actually, that’s an understatement. I’m down right pissed off. And up until now I’ve figured it was better to just stay quiet so I don’t upset anyone or ruffle any feathers, because I don’t like arguments or being yelled at. But you know what? Fuck that.

The WoW community can be absolutely amazing at times, especially when it comes to fundraising (like the Gnome Run, or the pets in the Blizzard store that give to charity) or helping group people together, like for the moose mount. One of my favourite times has been on twitter with us all watching the Legion trailer at Blizzcon, and watching everyone lose their shit when the transmog announcements were made. It was amazing and so much fun. But it was short lived, and it seemed people fell back in to a toxic cycle of negativity that just gets worse and worse.

The mob mentality I’m seeing at the moment is awful. People are so quick to jump on the bandwagon of negativity. One of the recent “issues” was about the max draw distance changing in WoW. All it took was for a handful of people to (incorrectly) talk about this and everyone and their dog lost their shit, saying that it was crap and that they wouldn’t be able to play anymore. My voice was tiny in this mob of angry villagers and would not be heard, and I felt awful. I felt small and awful and eventually silenced. (For what it’s worth – the max draw distance was changed so that a console command couldn’t be used to zoom out by huge amounts. This was used by a very small number of people in the game (myself included). What they did do was actually increase the max draw distance available in the UI itself, which is what the very vast majority of people use. Which means if you didn’t use the console command, your zoom out has actually been increased.) This is just one small example.

This used to be funny to me. I used to be amazed at how quick people were to get angry about changes in a computer game. I used to laugh it off. But now… well now I’m just exhausted from trying to keep being positive. Now I feel like my voice doesn’t even matter (it probably never really has, but I liked to hope that I helped even just 1 or 2 people get excited about things in the game).

I’m tired of it. I am tired of constantly getting super excited about something in World of Warcraft, only to be surrounded by a sea of negativity, saying that it’s crap, that Blizzard are useless and don’t listen, that their lives are over and it’s all Blizzards fault. Really? I’m tired of this behaviour being labelled as “passionate” instead of what it really is – a rude, whingy, entitled & moronic behaviour.

And I am really fed up with being made to feel like I’m an idiot because I’m a fan of the game and don’t get up on my fucking high horse and preach hatred every time something changes. You know why I don’t do that? Because there’s no reason to! If Blizzard want to change something in the game, or bring in something new or remove something that doesn’t work, they can do that because it’s their product. I will continue to buy their product because I continue to enjoy it. If there comes a day where the changes don’t suit what I like and I’m no longer having fun, then I will stop buying it. It’s as simple as that. I shouldn’t be made to feel like I’m less of a person because I get excited about the game, and because I acknowledge this is a commercial product.

Do you know how lucky we are? We are so fortunate to play a game where the developers actually get us, the players, involved in the development of new expansions. How many other companies do that? How often are we given the opportunity to make a contribution like that, where our contributions can actually shape what happens in the game? And yet people sit here thinking that it’s the “least they could do”. Excuse me? Just because you purchased a product does not give you the right to dictate how future products are developed. When was the last time you got to have a say in how the bread you buy from your supermarket was baked? Or how your car was built? You are not entitled to anything more than what Blizzard choose to give you as part of their product. It’s how commerce works. To actually get a chance to contribute to WoW is a fucking privilege, and a lot of people would do well to remember that.

And I will continue to preach this until I am blue in the face:

World of Warcraft is supposed to be entertainment. This is supposed to be an escape. You are supposed to enjoy this, because it is a game and games are supposed to be fun. If you are not having fun stop playing the game. No-one is making you play it, and no-one is forcing you to stick around if you don’t want to. But if you are going to play the game, don’t ruin it for everyone else with your shitty attitude.

moving forward…

It’s all well and good to say “just ignore it – you keep being you”, but there’s only so many times you can be punched in the face before you start losing the ability to smile. And baby, my smile is wavering.

I’m tired of the default response being “if you don’t want to see it, then block them/don’t go on the internet/stay away”. NO. No, no, no. If people like me – people who want to see the best in this game and who want as many people to enjoy it as possible and want to talk about it positively – if we leave because of the shitty attitude of others, who will be left? What will be left? The attitude should not be “this is just how it is”. The attitude should be “this kind of behaviour is not ok – we need to do better.”

And why should I have to remove myself and change things about myself to allow others who are making a negative impact on the community have a louder voice? Why should I miss out on watching interviews with the game developers I have a great deal of respect for because of the awful comments section? Why should I have to turn off chat channels in game because of trash in these channels, potentially missing out on being able to actually help someone? Why should I have to change my behaviour?

The only behaviour I’m changing is keeping quiet, because I am so done. There are so many actual problems in the world that people are (very rightly!) upset about. Changes to a computer game are not the end of the world. They just aren’t. And I just can’t sit here and be quiet while so many people insist on bringing down everyone around them with their constant negativity and bullying attitudes. So I’m not going to. I’m going to be loud about my love for the game. I’m going to be loud about the things that make me happy. And maybe other voices will join mine and we can be loud together and just have fun.

 

I’ve been playing around on the Legion beta a little this weekend to see how well I hit things as restoration shaman in her mythic WoD gear (very well, by the way!). At one point I took a flight from Dalaran to Azsuna…. and suddenly I’m flying around on an Onyx Panther! This was one of my favourited mounts…. it seemed a little odd, so I got to testing. I set my Pureblood Firehawk as a favourite mount, and what do you know? Flight from Dalaran was on my firehawk!!!

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On a flight path from Dalaran on my own mount!

It doesn’t do this when flying to Dalaran, nor does it do it anywhere else in the world that I’ve seen yet (I went back to Pandaria to test – no dice).

I don’t recall this been announced anywhere previously. I do know my partner Thor has tweeted two the Warcraft devs this very suggestion. It would be VERY awesome if this was permanent and intended! I think it’s a great way for people to get to use their own flying mounts while we are learning flying for ourselves.

Here’s hoping it stays!!

I sure am getting around lately! (Not like that, silly!)

This week I had the pleasure of visiting EJ and Raven from Girls Gone WoW to talk about levelling, and especially about levelling in Legion. You can have a listen in Show 227.

Unfortunately Skype was a colossal asshole for us – we were all constantly cutting out or disconnecting, so it’s a bit messy in that way, but we pressed through! I also struggled to brain because I had to get up at 4am to be ready, but hopefully some things made sense and that it was helpful to people 🙂

I will say, some of what I said ended up being different 24 hours later when a new beta build came out . As of the newest build, it was decided that Court of Stars and The Arcway will no longer need to be unlocked – these will be mythic dungeons only.

And as I say in the show – things are still likely to change. I strongly recommend doing a little research in advance if you’re worried about artifact weapons for raiding with  multiple specs.

Anyways, I hope you all enjoy the episode!

(And I promise to write something more thoughtful for here over the weekend!)

 

 

Last weekend I completely geeked out because I was lucky enough to be a guest on one of my favourite podcasts, The Training Dummies. I’ve been listening to Rob and Darryl for awhile now (TTD and Realm Maintenance were some of the first podcasts I listened to after Girls Gone WoW got me in to them!) so it was a big nerd time for me to talk to them and be on their awesome show.

I had an absolutely amazing time. The topic of the show was about bringing the love back in to WoW. As a die-hard fan, this was easy for me, but not so much for others lately. My goal for the episode was to help people who are in a bit of a rut in the game feel a bit more positive about it, and to get back to that point where they fell in love with the game.

The episode is up on iTunes and Stitcher, or you can listen to it directly from their website here: Episode 131 – Dear Warcarft: It’s Not You, It’s Me.

In preparation for the show, I asked readers and twitter followers to let me know what it was that made them fall in love with WoW in the first place – what made them come back after that first day. I got so many responses! THANK YOU!! Unfortunately because there were so many I couldn’t read them all out in full during the show, but I wanted to share them all with you so I’ve posted them below. Sometimes we need a reminder of the wonderful things that are in WoW, and you guys really came through with some wonderful memories. (If you’re wanting to hear mine, you’ll need to listen to the episode! 😉 )

What made you fall in love with World of Warcraft?

@froothe thing that I fell in love with (coming from EQ) was my footprints in the snow in the Dwarven starting area.

@spankyhunterwhat made me fall in love with wow was the huge co op that wow had. 25+ players all working together. also a game that always updates. you dont lose everything when a new version of the game comes out, eg call of duty 2/3/4 etc etc. all your personal progression stays. also its a game that has a restriction of paying so back then it dettered a lot of cheating cause it took a lot of time to get a character to the point of being useful. if you lost your toon it was a lot of lost time.

@Mominatrix75The community. No other game I’ve played has a community like this one. Not only large but diverse and mostly positive.

@espirothA combination of my class (Druids) and the fact that I can do whatever I want in game. It’s not all about raids and dungeons. There are places to explore, professions to learn, pets and mounts to collect. There’s just so much stuff 🙂 I am the person that spent ages collecting things in Skyrim so I could make stuff. I like that kind of thing 😛

@SpazzWessonthe game itself. On my way to max I explored everything and at max I went to do old raids that I hadn’t seen.

@NavimieDruid I loved the variety that the game offered. I really liked the lore and doing things with others but I also loved that I could also do those things by myself. At first I played because I had friends to play with and then we got into a guild and got more friends to play with and then there was PvP and raiding… all these things that just seemed to add more and more things to enjoy and not enough time to do it all.

These days it is the addictive nature of achievements and collections that keeps me in game but the ties of friendship make the WoW cake even sweeter. I love that I can make friends because of a game and get to know them as well as I would amyone I met IRL. 10 years ago people would think it was weird to make friends on the Internet but now it seems to be nothing out of the ordinary. WoW inspires my imagination and makes me write my thoughts, fiction and poetry and I can’t imagine putting it down any time soon.

@Disneygirl85I’ve been playing WoW since 2012, and I have to say the thing that made me fall in love with the game is the story. Even though my main is a Mage, I didn’t create a Mage until Mists of Pandaria came out. My first character was a Shadow Priest, but she didn’t resonate with me. So, with the help of a couple guildies, I decided to create a Mage for Pandaria and THAT is when I fully fell in love with WoW. As soon as I found the class for me, it was so easy to become engrossed in the story of the game.


Thank you so much again to everyone for sharing your stories for the show. I hope that it helped reignite some love for WoW for you! And thank you again to Rob and Darryl for having me – they are both such lovely guys and made the whole experience so much fun.

 

Hi everyone!

A couple of weeks back I mentioned that I was going to be a guest on some podcasts coming up. The first of these was Realm Maintenance (Episode 192!) which was amazing and loads of fun. I’ll be on Girls Gone WoW again in a couple of weeks (which I am really looking forward to!), but right before that I’m going to be a guest on The Training Dummies!!!! Oh my gosh I’m so, so excited!

It’s just over a week from now and I’m getting myself all prepared. So I’m hoping that you can all help me for a minute. It won’t take long I promise!

What I want to ask you, is this:

What made you fall in love with the World of Warcraft game?

This isn’t necessarily what your favourite things are to do in game or anything; this is about what it was that made you come back to the game after the first day? What was that moment that made you say “I love this game”. Was there a zone you walked in to that took your breath away? Was the class you picked a perfect match for you and you wanted to get to know your character better? Did one of the quests resonate with you? What was the thing that made you love the game, and made you want to keep playing it?

I’ll be sharing my favourite things on the show, but I was really hoping that I could also share some stories from you guys. You can put it in a comment below, or tweet me at @cinder_tweets or send me an email to cinder@cindersays.net.

Thank you in advance!!

 

 

 

 

Regular readers will know that I’ve been ummming and ahhhing about how to level in Legion – do I want to make it as quick as possible by levelling as DPS but potentially causing troubles for my healing artifact? Or do I want to power up my healing artifact from the very beginning but have a boring and slower-feeling levelling experience?

I have been doing some very casual testing on Alpha/Beta to see how it feels to level (early testing can be read about here). It is doable as a restoration shaman, I won’t deny that. But even now, after trying again, it still feels really flat. There’s nothing that you can do to make your spells hit any harder or faster – what you’ve got is it. So when it comes to killing elite mobs it just takes a really, really long time. There’s nothing there to “mix it up”. In addition, something that truly breaks my heart – chain lightening hits like a wet fish. So AoE is slow and boring.

The concern about levelling as restoration has always come down to the artifact weapon, and whether or not levelling as elemental with an elemental artifact weapon would put my healing artifact weapon at a disadvantage. Also of concern was that, until recently, there was a cost applied to changing specialisations. This cost has now been removed, thus eliminating one of the factors causing my indecision.

Dayani to the rescue!!

One of my favourite restoration shamans, Dayani (also known as healiocentric) has put together the numbers in this amazing post. In this post Dayani lays out the cold hard facts and numbers to show just how hard resto shamans hit, how long it takes to level as resto and compares that to elemental damage and levelling. Also, most importantly, she confirms that yes, it is entirely possible to level as resto. I don’t want to spoil her post by reiterating it here, so please go and take the time to read it, because it really is a great read.

One unanswered question I had that was not addressed in the post was about doing dungeons without healer gear/trinkets if I level as elemental. Dayani again came to my rescue:

I’ve seen you talk about healing and WoW in general enough to know that you’ll be quite fine in a leveling dungeon without “spec-appropriate” trinkets, or using your Hellfire Citadel trinkets. The Artifact Weapon isn’t even needed (I’ve done quite a few without a weapon just while I was stuck on phasing issues or other questing bugs). The stats from a HFC weapon will get you through the dungeons just fine.:)

The only healing spec that I wouldn’t do entry-level dungeons in without an artifact weapon is Disc Priest. That’s just because I’m terrible at Disc so I need every advantage I can get.😛

I feel comforted knowing that I’m not going to be too much of a burden going in to heal dungeons with ele trinkets in (or my mythic HFC trinkets), and that it is entirely do-able.

My decision…

…is to level as elemental.

When it all comes down to it, whilst I can level as restoration, that doesn’t mean I should. The psychological side of things weighs very heavily on me. Even though it’s technically not, it feels so much slower to level as restoration. With elemental, I feel like I have choices in what I want to do, and when it comes to elites and rares, I have a bunch of cooldowns that I can use to make me a bit stronger. So overall I feel stronger. And that makes a big difference to me.

I will go in to the Broken Shore scenario as restoration (because this all happens before the artifacts etc. are out). Once Legion hits, I’ll be elemental for awhile to kill all the demons. I’ll be holding on to anything that makes my artifact weapon stronger and keeping them safe until I get my restoration healing artifact weapon at level 102. After that I can continue to level as dps and do dungeons as heals, and push artifact power in to my resto weapon.

(fwiw my parther, Thor, will be shaking his head at this point – he has been telling me exactly this for quite a long time now! As always, he was right! 🙂 I just like seeing the numbers, too.)

 

Today Watcher Dev made a post on the forums about removing the cost of changing specs (that is currently on the Legion beta) but instead implementing a cost for changing talents. I’ll post both of his comments below (these can be found on the forums here)

We’ve definitely heard much feedback to this effect, and this is something we’d been discussing quite a bit internally as well over the past couple of weeks. In an upcoming build (hopefully the next one; if not, then the one after), the respec cost is gone, and players can freely switch between all specializations with the normal restrictions of cast-time, needing to be out of combat, and so forth.

Ultimately, the intent behind the respec cost (which isn’t really a new concept, dating back to 2004 class trainers) was to help reinforce a bit of spec identity through declaring a “primary” spec to which you could always return for free, and to serve as a mild gold sink. But in practice, changing specialization is a pretty significant transformation in terms of action bars, optimal gear in some cases, artifacts, and so forth, and already not something that people were taking lightly. I suspect the cost will not be missed.

An area that has appeared to need a bit more friction, however, is actually talent changes. Especially with no reagent cost at all now, it can be all too easy to activate AoE talents before larger packs of enemies in a dungeon, and then switch back to single-target talents before a lieutenant or a boss. Or someone might switch to a passive movement-speed talent when traversing an area, and then back to something functional before entering combat. At that point, we’re often hardly talking about a meaningful choice at all, but rather a nuisance of extra button-presses or UI navigation before you can use your desired talents.

And so, alongside removing the respec cost, that same upcoming build will also restrict the ability to change talents when away from a safe area (defined as an area that provides the Rested state). We currently plan to give Scribes a recipe to craft a consumable Tome that can be dropped in order to allow all nearby players to retalent freely for a time – particularly useful for group play.

and

A couple of clarifications, one of which will probably be a relief and the other likely less so: The Inscription consumable as currently planned would be something that anyone could drop, not a profession-requiring item like a Jeeves. But, in terms of the materials required, we’re thinking of something that’s more aimed at groups, and probably not the sort of thing an individual is likely to carry a stack of and use freely.

This is clearly more restrictive than the way it works in Warlords. Why would we ever add restrictions to something like this? Do we just sit around and amuse ourselves by thinking of things to take away from players? (We don’t.)

Ultimately, for a choice to be meaningful there has to be some associated cost or trade-off in the process. Do you want to eat your cake, or do you want to save it for another time? If you could do both, that wouldn’t be much of a choice.

When it comes to talents, which serve the primary purpose of customization and differentiation, consider two extremes in terms of how they could be handled. Please, take a moment to think through the following scenarios:

First, what if you could switch talents freely, at any time, including while in combat? You’d effectively no longer have a talent system – you’d have a spellbook with another 21 active and passive abilities in it, with keybinds to swap between them as needed. Every player of a given spec would have identical capabilities, with some cumbersome interface management required to swap among them on the fly.

Second, what if you could literally never switch talents, short of making a brand new character? Choosing a talent would be a far, far weightier choice than any decision you currently make in the game (other than choosing your starting class, I suppose). Some favored cookie-cutter specs would emerge, but with 2187 different permutations of talents, there’d be significantly more variety among players. But some niche talents would likely go almost entirely unused (though players who did choose them would be invaluable when those situations arose). And feeling like you’d made a mistake, and were stuck with one or more talents that you didn’t like at all, might completely sour your enjoyment of a character.

Anyway, we are of course doing neither of those things, but there’s a full spectrum of choice that lies in between. We’ve generally moved away from the second scenario and closer to the first over time (years and years back, respecs were so expensive in relative terms that players often waited for class changes to automatically refund their talents rather than spend the gold to move a point around). Other than the combat restrictions, the live game is not terribly far off from the first scenario.

There’s still a fair bit of thought that goes into which talents to select for a raid encounter, where you’re in combat for several minutes in a row and facing a variety of threats, and you may have to weigh whether you want better AoE damage for minions in the first phase, or better single-target burst later in the fight; whether you want a passive movement-speed increase for higher overall uptime, or an on-demand active movement ability in case you get targeted by a specific troublesome ability; and so forth.

But most other content, whether it’s a single quest boss out in the world, or a dungeon that breaks down to a series of sub-1-minute combats, don’t offer nearly that much variety. And so you take the AoE talent for the AoE pack, and the single-target talent for the lone boss, to the point that you might as well just have both of them all the time, which might be powerful, but wouldn’t be a choice.

So where does this leave us?

simpsons_bees

Of course the world is ending. Of course this is worst change ever. Of course Blizzard are stupid. /end sarcasm

You are not the only person playing the game

I’ve said this many times in the past, and I’ll keep saying it until I’m blue in the face. To be fair, these posts have only been made in the last couple of hours, so a lot of responses are gut reactions, and I can totally understand that.But throwing around “this change personally affects me greatly, so go back to the other way so that I’m not screwed over” is not what this conversation needs, because pretty much everyone can say that.

Which is why I’m here. I want people to take a moment to stop, take a breath and a GREAT big step away from the situation at the moment and think outside of how these changes directly impact you alone. Let’s talk about how these changes impact different types of players and see if we can find a solution that suits everyone.

There are a few points to cover:

  • removal of spec change cost
  • change of how talents are changed
  • possible alternatives

Healers/Tanks rejoice! No more cost to switch specs.

Firstly, the removal of spec change costs. The cost of changing specs has been a concern for me since it was first revealed. (See this post about it!) The TL;DR overview of my thoughts on the cost of changing specs is below, and hopefully point out why this cost was an unbalanced one:

  • many (if not most) healers don’t like to level as healers, so have a dps spec they use on a regular basis to level or do dailies with
  • locking in, or making it difficult/expensive to change specs means healers/tanks may get sat from raids instead of being able to stay in and changing to a different spec because they can’t afford to change
  • small raid teams who are already struggling to find raid numbers may have more difficulty finding even more numbers because aren’t willing to pay to switch specs (so where you could get away with having “swing heals/dps” players, you might need a separate person for each spec)

Many of the arguments I’m seeing on the forums at the moment are from people complaining that spec changes happen less often than talent changes, so why punish people for the thing they do most often? That’s a fair enough call. However what it doesn’t take in to account is the size of the impact on the people are are affected. It may not impact everyone, but those it does impact have some big quality of life reductions. To put it bluntly, this cost to me always felt “unfair” to hybrid classes. So I am glad this cost is removed.

Oh, to change a talent

So the second announcement in the above post, and the topic I feel needs some thought and open discussion, is around the proposed change to how talents are swapped. The proposed change is essentially that if people want to be able to change their talents, they need to be in a a resting area, and they will need a tome crafted by inscriptionists that can be dropped by any player.

There are two key points that this change brings up…

Player disruption

This is the big one. The loudest argument against this change is that it is incredibly disruptive. Players have become used to changing their talents whenever they want to, and putting in this restriction is going to be time consuming, expensive, and overall and very negative experience for players.

The reasoning behind putting in this restriction comes back to that ever present notion of “class/spec identity”. Love it or hate it, this concept is going to be sticking around. And this way of changing talents definitely reiterates that, the notion being that you need to decide if you’re a restoration shaman who likes raining on people all the time or if you want to use your totems for healing boosts (for example). But is it the right thing to do here? Possibly not. Ion’s explanation behind the dev’s thinking is that there is no real “choice” in what you’re doing – you’re just going through the motions and swapping out one spell for another with little impact.

My feelings are that some disruption is necessary. Others have argued in the past that associating a cost with talent changes doesn’t play in to class fantasy or make them think about their choices – they see it as a burden. I can understand this, especially when in the past the new talent system was promoted as something that allowed you to swap in and out of talents as fights needed them.

I think what the developers have in mind for how this fantasy plays out is not necessarily about how this plays as class fantasy, but how this plays as overall game play fantasy. The scenario is this – we as a team walk in to a raid zone together, with the purpose of taking down the “big bads”. As a group we get a battle plan together – who will stand where and do play what role (not just who tanks and who heals, but what a warlock might do to quickly move the entire group etc.) Part of that planning and strategising is sorting out what tools people will need to defeat this boss. And it’s at this point that changing talents would come in to play.

This idea is further reiterated with Ion’s comments:

…in terms of the materials required, we’re thinking of something that’s more aimed at groups, and probably not the sort of thing an individual is likely to carry a stack of and use freely.

The whole idea is based on a group mentality. This is a viable option for organised teams and raid groups, but is less so for pugs (which are still heavily promoted), especially if the mats required to make these tomes come from various profession sources.

So to sum up. my thoughts are:

  • a cost for changing talents is understandble
  • what the cost is should be given more thought
  • a group cost might not be the best approach.

We’ll come back to these points in a sec.

Boost for scribes

This is the point that most people are kind of washing over, because it doesn’t affect a lot of people. But let’s face it, Inscriptionists have gotten a bit of a raw deal so far in Legion. One of their primary purposes – crafting of glyphs – has been removed, so they’ve been a bit useless. Having this tome as a raid-required material is actually a really great idea. It helps them craft a consumable that would be needed over and over again, like potions and flasks or food or enchants and gems. I think this this is a really great improvement to the profession to make it viable long term.

What are our options?

If we take the above in to account, we can try and find a “happy medium” here somewhere. Discussing this with my partner and throwing ideas around, we talked about options and he came up with the idea of the cost still being a crafted tome, but one that is for individuals that has charges on them. This way the items are still useful for inscriptionists to craft; there is a cost involved with changing specs that is meaningful but not burdensome, and; people still have a feeling of freedom when it comes to their personal choices during raids/world content. And even though I’m not a fan of there being a cost applied to changing specs, this tome could also be used to change specs, giving it multiple purposes.

What do you think? What happy medium can you see here that could be suitable for all player types?

I don’t think there is ever going to be a time that I’m not worried about being good enough in this world. When it comes to World of Warcraft, I’m always worried that I’m not a good enough healer, or that I’m not a good enough raider, or that I don’t contribute enough to the community etc. Sometimes it gets to me – last night was one of those nights.

During raid last night I was asked to be the swing healer who would dps unless needed to heal. Which is fine – I enjoy playing elemental, so it was no big deal, other than the fact that I hadn’t dps-ed in HFC for quite a few months, and never at mythic level. So I was a bit terrified. I wasn’t at the bottom of the dps, but I wasn’t doing as well as I would have liked, and as the evening wore on I just found myself feeling worse and worse, which meant I performed worse. Our last fight of the night was Gorefiend which I thankfully got to heal, but I still made a couple of mistakes (nothing wipe-worthy, but silly enough mistakes that I shouldn’t have made). At the end of the raid I was just feeling a pretty blah.

Then I’m dragged in to a different channel in Team Speak that our healing team is in, and I start to panic. I know that I’ve been approved for the team, but like I said, I’m still always worried I’m not good enough and they’ll change their mind (thank you anxiety). I thought this was going to be it. But it wasn’t. Instead, it was our healing team leader wanting to get us all together to say thank you to us for being a great healing team and for doing so well. That he was happy with everyone and felt that our healing team was strong going in to Legion and he wanted to say thanks. It felt really great to get that feedback, you know? Especially after feeling rubbish throughout the night.

I then took the opportunity to say thank you for having been accepted in to the team permanently, even though my heals had been low coming in late to the expansion. And then all 3 of the other healers all at once immediately jumped to my defense and said the most wonderful things about how no, actually I was doing a really great job, and I’d been especially awesome on Archimonde, and sure numbers may play a part in it, but more than that it’s about being able to follow mechanics and use cooldowns etc. when they’re called and I was doing all that really well. And it was just so lovely to hear that from all of them, and that they could see that I had been trying and working my bum off to do things right.

So that’s all this post is – to remind people that even if you’re not feeling great about how you’re doing, chances are someone is out there seeing the wonderful things that you do and they are glad for it. And I also just wanted to say that I am very grateful for my new raid team. I’m excited about raiding in Legion more than ever.

 

 

I know that I’ve spoken about the legacy server discussion a bit on Battletagged (episode 12 to be precise, if you want to hear it!) but I thought a post was in order as well because this topic won’t go away!!!

TL;DR version is this: A group of people hosted a legacy version of World of Warcraft on their own servers, which they named Nostalrius. Blizzard told them to take the servers down, which they did, but it has flared up the debate about whether or not legacy servers should exist.

Now this is a very dumbed down version of the overall conversation, because it’s not entirely just a case of whether or not legacy servers should exist. What gets dragged in to the conversation is whether or not this is worth Blizzard’s time and effort to build; what do people think they’re going to get from a legacy server; are there enough people who want this?; and the BIG one – whether or not people should have to pay for it.

What happened?

As of today, two big things have happened. Firstly, Blizzard addressed the “Nostalrius situation”, which you can read here. This is one of a handful of occasions that Blizzard has openly talked about legacy/vanilla servers in any sort of depth. Secondly, Blizzard have invited the Nostalrius team to the Blizzard offices to “have a discussion”. I will say, I am disappointed that Blizzard invited the Nost team to their offices at this time – not because I don’t want them to have the conversation, but because at this point in time it looks like caving in to the tantrum-throwing toddler. Whilst the Nost team leaders themselves may have been fine, many supporters of legacy servers (including users who have openly said they played on Nostalrius) have been less than mature about the topic, with offensive, abusive messages littered through the WoW community such as on offical forums, reddit threads, twitter, and through direct targeting of individuals (the abuse that Panser has received from these supporters is absolutely disgusting). I would like to have seen the Nost team either tell everyone to pull their heads in, or distance themselves from these types of people before Blizzard agreed to meet with them.

The survey

This post is about a survey that the Nostalrius team have asked World of Warcraft players of all types (legacy server supporters or not) to complete, the results of which will be taken with them to their meeting with Blizzard. Here’s how it’s being pitched:

We want this survey to be shared with the largest possible audience: former Nostalrius players, legacy players in general, but also anyone who played World of Warcraft at some point or signed the petition.
– from Nostalrius offical forums http://forum.nostalrius.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=44103

and

Goal of this survey is to provide feedback from the World of Warcraft community as a whole.
– from the survey itself

So essentially, they want as many World of Warcraft players to complete the survey. No worries – I am all for that!

Regardless of what my opinion on the topic of legacy servers is, I was keen to be able to contribute to what I was hoping was a balanced, open minded attempt at providing feedback. But it’s not. The survey is full of questions so leading that I had to stop filling out the survey because there was no way for me the accurately and honestly answer some of the questions. In addition to that, it’s so easy for this survey to “down vote” opposing opinions that it is very far removed from a balanced indication of player thoughts on the topic.

Let’s take a look:

First page is very straight forward – age, gender, location in the world, how long you’ve been playing WoW and how you rate each expansion. Sounds straight forward, but here we have the first example of being able to boost support for old content and downgrade support for current content. Whilst we are asked which expansions we have played, we are able to provide a ranking of all expansions. So if I were a person who wanted to push support for older content and downgrade newer content, I could give ratings of 10 to vanilla and BC and 1 to Cataclysm, MoP & Warlords of Draenor, regardless of whether or not I played them.

The next series of questions are for people who have played on Legacy servers and why they did so. I did not answer any of these questions as I have never played on a legacy server. However again, there was a question that made this section a bit leading. The section covers how long users have played on legacy servers for, which expansions they played on them and reasons why they did so. But then comes this question:

Did playing unofficial legacy server bring you (back) to official Blizzard Wow?

The response is Yes or No. The problem with this question is that it’s trying to give the result “people who played legacy servers were encouraged to play official WoW”. What it doesn’t capture is how many people left official WoW entirely to play legacy servers. The distinction is important, because if people left WoW to play free legacy servers, well that’s a different point altogether.

Moving on.

The next series of questions are about the World of Warcraft experience. Although there could have been better questions asked here, it’s not overly problematic, so we’ll move on to the next section which is where I was prompted to write this post. The section is titled “If Blizzard launches legacy servers”. It’s here that I’ll point out that all questions in this section are compulsory (most of the previous questions (except for those on the first page) have been optional). Here we are asked if we would play on Legacy servers if they were free? Would we play them if they were more expensive than WoW (no question about whether or not we’d pay the same as current WoW prices).

But it was this question that got me cross:

If needed, I would buy Legion to play on a Blizzard legacy servers *

If needed. The response to this question is True or False only. And this is where I stopped, because I can’t answer this question. I am an average World of Warcraft player and I am buying Legion because I enjoy the game and I want to know what happens next in the Azeroth story. I understand what they are trying to get at here – they are trying to show that if there were legacy servers, people would be willing to purchase current content to access them. It’s a nice statistic to throw out there. But how do I answer that question? As someone who is buying Legion because I enjoy WoW and isn’t invested in legacy servers, how do I answer this questions accurately? If I say “False” it boost numbers that support people don’t like current content. If I say “True” it lumps me in with a then falsified statement that loads of people would buy Legion “if only they had access to legacy servers”.

The following question (although broken) asks whether we would play on a legacy server if it required an active live subscription and if so, how long would you play on a legacy server for. (The question is broken because the second part is compulsory to answer, even if you said that no you would not play if it required an active live subscription, and there is no 0 option).

Up next we get asked:

Is it a good idea to have Blizzard legacy servers with players from multiple regions like Nostalrius? *

Having not played on a legacy server, I don’t know the answer to this. Yet it’s compulsory to answer. At least here you get the option to explain your answer.

Now we start getting in to the nitty gritty of what would be on these servers and how they would behave. We’re asked two questions that, as someone who has not been heavily involved in the ins and outs of legacy servers, I don’t understand, regarding timeframes of releasing content (I can only assume this is something that is referenced in legacy server groups? Doesn’t bode well for trying to get an honest and accurate response from all player types. And yes these questions are compulsory). Then we’re asked just how much we want legacy servers, or progressive legacy servers.

Up next we get to rate the importance of some aspects of WoW, all of which are compulsory. We’re asked to rank how important things like “Challenge” and “community/social aspect” are to us. But then we’re asked to rate how important “Realm-wide events and memories” are to us (as if that is something any game can just hand over to you with you putting any effort in to it). Next we rank the importance of “no pay-to-win”, which made me pause. Pay-to-win? Either that’s being thrown in for shits and giggles, or it has been included to imply that this is something that is currently in the game. The only thing I could think of as being “play-to-win” was the paid character boost…. that boosts you to 10 levels below maximum and gives you nothing other than that. That’s not winning. (And how do you “win” WoW anyway?!) Skipping a couple, the last ranking of importance is for “Abusers punished” which made me laugh like the cynical cow I am (oh the irony).

The last question on this page relates to server size, stating:

The original Blizzard legacy servers had around 1500 players cap. Nostalrius had often more than 13k online players. What should be the best cap for you? *

We are given a list of server sizes by number (e.g. 3000, 7500 etc.) as if people are sitting there counting how many people would be good to have on a server at a time. Surely a better response here would be to suggest a server size that is “Small country town – not a lot of people around / relatively busy -there are some people around / bustling busy city-like / holy crap is this a peak-hour train in Japan??!!

The last page of questions has a large focus on streaming (??); whether you will be going to Blizzcon (as a yes or no question – no acknowledgement of the multiple ways Blizzcon can be supported outside of attending the event itself); whether or not Legion and legacy servers can co-exist; a “pat yourself on the back” question about how you made your voice heard to support legacy servers (they missed the response of “I was an ass and went and harassed people”); and lastly, a free text section at the bottom if you have anything else to add.

Why do you care about a survey?

I know I am overly critical with this and that generally this post has been a boring ramble. But I really don’t like this kind of “research”. It’s misleading and is designed to tell only one side of the story, and I just get really frustrated by that. Whilst pro-legacy supporters have been given ample opportunity to promote their argument in this survey, those who are not in support of them or who are indifferent to them are given a 500 character limit free text box at the end of the survey. I think doing a survey to capture exactly what people would like from legacy servers is a really great idea – it’s a nice way to collate the information to present to Blizzard. But don’t present this as a “balanced opinion of WoW players”, because it’s not that. My voice is not captured here.

I don’t care one way or the other about legacy servers. If Blizzard are happy to have them and people want to play them, I am all for that – I want as many people as possible to love and play World of Warcraft! The reason this survey and the whole legacy server drama has frustrated me is how people have behaved – it’s toddler-like behaviour. And what I so very passionately don’t want to see is that behaviour validated. Which is why I don’t want there to be a survey out there claiming to have a open mind for everyone to complete when it is so very strongly biased to the one argument. I don’t want that to be the only answer that goes to Blizzard. I don’t want this survey to say that it “speaks for the WoW community” – my voice is not there, you do not speak for me. And I don’t want legacy servers to be implemented on the back of this behaviour and this attitude. I want proper discussions and grown up conversations about it, and decisions to be made from that. I know, Blizzard aren’t stupid and they’ll be able to see through crap. But also, Blizzard aren’t stupid and if there is potentially an opportunity for money to be made from here then they will probably go for that. Like I said, I would hate for a decision to be made without all sides of the discussion having been explored. There are people out there who are just as passionate about not having legacy servers as there are those supporting them.

What I would like to have seen is a survey written by someone who is not close to either side of the discussion so that all opinions could be captured. This survey doesn’t give people the opportunity to say why they may not want to see legacy servers brought out. This survey simply validates one opinion, and right now it’s the opinion of people who are throwing tantrums. And those are not my people. This survey is not my voice.

 

 

This week, I got an achievement I did not expect to get. This week, I killed Mythic Archimonde.

defilers_end

Because my new guild only had a few kills on Mythic Archimonde, I didn’t expect to be in there for a little while yet. They needed to keep in strong healers to help out any lower level/newer dps players. But on Thursday, they got me in there as there were a few dps missing and one of the healers needed to go boomkin. I was terrified. I had watched the videos a few times, so I knew what abilities to expect etc. But watching videos is very different to actually being in there and doing the fight itself.

Turns out, I didn’t have too much to worry about. In the end I think I actually did alright. My healing wasn’t as strong as the others, but I held my own, and I did all the mechanics properly so I didn’t kill anyone (which is nice!)

It took a few goes – there are some mechanics that can very easily wipe the whole raid. But in the end, Archimonde went down. AND I was still alive at the end!!!! I was quite emotional. I honestly didn’t think that I would get the chance to even attempt Mythic Archimonde, let alone kill him. But here I am. 🙂

 

It’s been awhile since I posted. I’ll be honest, I’ve been busy and not really having a brilliant time of things so haven’t had a lot of energy to write. That’s not to say that things haven’t been happening, so that’s why I’m here.

Raiding

manny_cinder

All dressed up for a Mythic Mannaroth fight

The biggest thing is that I’m now 12/13 mythic bosses down in Hellfire Citadel. Things with the new raid team are going alright. I still feel like I’m not good enough, but I am trying my best and hopefully it’s enough. I’ll probably feel a bit more stable about things when my trial period is over. The existing healer team is very strong, and as a restoration shaman going up against well geared priests and paladins… well it was always going to be a bit rough. I just focus on doing the absolute best that I can, and making sure I do all boss mechanics properly (or admit to failing them when I do!).

The guild has a really interesting dynamic – everyone is very passionate about raiding and doing it well, which can lead to heated discussions. There’s also no issue with calling people out if they do something wrong in a fight. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea – and I never thought I’d do well in a team like that – but it actually works well with these guys. None of it is taken personally – if you’re called out for making a mistake in a fight, you’re not being called out on a personal level, just the mistake that you made so that it doesn’t happen again and so that other people don’t make the same mistake. It makes me work harder – it makes me want to be better. And like I said, it’s not personal. Everyone jokes around and seems to have a good relationship with one another. I’m liking the guild and the raiding – I really do hope they keep me!

The only downside at the moment is having to grind out valor. My game time has been shrunk a bit lately because of how busy I have been, and how often we raid. It feels like all my WoW time is going in the valor capping, and it’s awful. One of the better ways of getting valor is with mythic dungeons, which I personally am just not a fan of. But more than that, it just means that what little time I do have in game is spent doing that. I haven’t done mount farming for weeks. I forced myself over the weekend to do what I wanted to do (more on that later) but the niggling in the back of mind that I should be grinding valor was there the whole time which soured things a bit. I’m trying to find a compromise with myself, but haven’t got there yet.

Moving alts & transmog

WoWScrnShot_042416_131434

Silly Cinder…

I did have a realisation the other day that avoided what could have been a bit of a disaster – I’ve been wanting to transfer my paladin and my mage to my new server (hoping I get to stay there!). I feel really naked without my alts with me, so I was wanting to bring over the 2 others I had definitely planned on bringing. Thor suggested I wait until we’re in the team for sure, which is good advice. But then I realised something else. On my old server (where all my other toons are) I have 7 other max level toons as well as a bank toon with a jam packed guild bank, and another level 65ish DK with big bags that are probably about three quarters full. Most of these toons are hoarding huge amounts of transmog gear. Some has been to sell, but a lot is being held in preparation for the new transmog system in Legion.

With the new transmog system, a player needs to be able to equip the gear in order to have it added to the wardrobe. So for example if I wanted to add a plate chest to my wardrobe, a paladin, warrior or death knight would need to be able to equip it (which means they would also need to be at the appropriate level to learn it, too). I only have 1 plate wearer – my paladin. If I had have transferred here now, I wouldn’t have been able to learn all of the plate transmog gear I’ve  been holding on to! (She has no bag space either… I really am a bad hoarder!) So I saved myself some heartache there. What it does mean, though, is that no toons will be moving until the pre-expansion patch releases that brings out the wardrobe system. Very glad I realised all that before I made the move!!

Making a monk

WoWScrnShot_042416_211938

Cindersong – fierce, but adorable!

Speaking of feeling lost without my alts – I can’t afford to move all my toons over to the new server. It’s a server and faction change, which is over $60 per toon. I have 7 plus the guild bank toon, which means a small fortune to move them all. I’ve made the decision that I’ll definitely be moving across my paladin and my mage (because they were my first toons and I always find myself falling back to them.) I miiiiight move my warlock because she has the green fire and title etc. and I worked really hard for that! But not sure yet.

Anyway, this means that I need my other alts. So I have started levelling a monk. Most of the time I play her while on the bench from raiding (I’m not in for Archimonde fights) but this weekend I decided to spend a decent amount of time levelling her, so that I could feel like I’d had some “me” WoW time. I really love levelling. The world of Azeroth (and beyond) is so amazing. But there is so much content that gets skipped over. (definitely a topic for a future blog post).

Anyway, Cindersong is currently level 64. She’s Windwalker at the moment, but I’ll get her doing Mistweaving again when she’s higher level. For now, she’s having a blast kicking things in the face 🙂 (Monks really do have awesome animations!) After my monk, I’ll get back to a Night Elf druid I started levelling awhile ago.

All over the internets

So in addition to the WoW stuff, I’ve also been getting around the interwebs. A couple of weeks ago now I was approached by Dorelei who writes for the Chain Heal website (which is a GREAT site for restoration shamans, btw! Check it out!!). She wanted to do an interview with me for their “Shaman Meet Up” segment. So that was a lot of fun. You can read it here.

Battletagged has been going well – we’ll be doing episode 13 on Tuesday which is all about datamining. Should be a good conversation I think.

Reins of Azeroth is also going well, with episode 14 of that due to be recorded next Tuesday as well. I’ve been spending a load of time on the website for that, including making a huge spread sheet of all the mounts we’ve covered, which hopefully people are finding useful. It is starting to get to a the point where we are going to have covered all of the mounts, so it’s in the back of my mind that we need to figure out what to do after that. Achievements? Toys? Pets? All of the above? Who knows. People seem to like the show, though, so we might just ask what the people want 🙂

In addition to all of that, I’ve going to be a guest on 3 different podcasts in the next month. I am geeking out about all 3. One is Girls Gone WoW which I’ve been on twice already, but EJ and Raven are so lovely, and it was the first podcast I got into so it always has a special place in my heart. The other two podcasts I won’t mention yet because the shows haven’t mentioned me being on there yet! But they are two other podcasts that are right up there on my favourites list, and I am so stoked to have been asked to be on them! I’ll definitely be posting when they are out.

 

Ok, that’s enough from me! I think we’re all caught up here. 🙂

 

****If you do not want ANY information about Legion, and don’t want any spoilers about anything at all, please don’t read this blog post! I will be talking about the Restoration Shaman levelling experience (without giving quest details away) and will be sharing some screen shots. Proceed at your own risk!****

 

Regular readers will know that one of the main reasons why I was hoping to get early access to Legion was to test out the levelling experience as a healer. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to do this, as it has really given me something to think about. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do when it comes to levelling my shaman through Legion. So I’m using this post to not only give you guys some insight in to the experience, but to also talk through my thoughts about what I’ll do!

Background (or, why does it matter if you level as dps or healer?)

There are a couple of factors that made deciding whether or not to level as a healer a difficult decision. Firstly, there’s how it plays. Secondly, there’s the artifacts. So I’m going to break this down a bit.

Healer damage

Dps-ing as a healer has always felt weak and slow. And it’s understandable – we are built to heal and care for other people, not destroy enemies. For Legion we have been told that healers will have their damage increased so that they feel more comfortable dps-ing mobs and levelling up. But will it be enough?

The artifact effect

With Legion we are getting artifact weapons. These are superpowered weapons that you can “level up” to grant extra abilities, stronger spells etc. They are spec specific, they have their own quest/scenario experience to obtain and they are quite simply freaking AWESOME.

BUT

We get our artifact immediately after completing the Broken Shore scenario, and are unable to get a second artifact for a different spec until at least level 102 (as per testing on Alpha at the moment). As you level, you get quest rewards to boost the power of your artifact or to give it relics etc. This is where healers are starting to get worried. Is healer damage going to be strong enough to be able to level as a healer and power up our healer artifact? Or do we need to level as dps and then panic about getting our healer artifact later in the game and getting it levelled up in time for raiding?

How does it play out?

I’ve levelled my restoration shaman to about half way through 102. Not very far, but far enough to have spent a reasonable chunk of time out in the world levelling and experiencing quests etc. I’ve also dabbled as a holy paladin doing the Broken Shore scenario and holy paladin artifact scenario, but I’ll focus on the resto shaman here.

The damage

I will be honest – I still feel weak. But worse than that – it’s slow. It still takes a long time to kill mobs as a healer. The longer the mob is up, the more damage I take so I have to heal myself up, and so it takes even longer to get the mob down. There were times it was taking so long to kill a mob that they would respawn almost immediately after killing them. And if you were in a gauntlet style area, you were really in trouble.

It was also really disheartening seeing dps smash through mobs so much faster. It’s to be expected, I know, but it makes you feel bad.

The restoration damage rotation is very basic – flame shock, lava surge, lightning bolt and chain lightning. There are some talents you can take to make life easier – I took:

  • Torrent for the level 15 talent – just makes quick heals on yourself a bit stronger.
  • Gust of Wind for the level 30 talent. It’s bloody brilliant! I love this talent so much! So helpful for getting out of damaging abilities quickly. And you can do it in ghost wolf form, too!!
  • Lightning Surge totem for the level 45 talent – stuns the mobs around you (very helpful if you’re getting overrun) (Voodoo totem can be good too, but it has the same rules as Hex and only works on Humanoids and beasts, which means no demons. And there are a lot of demons!)
  • Earthen Shield totem for the level 75 talent – helps with mobs that are dishing out too much damage. Just helps shield you a bit
  • Echo of the elements for the level 90 talent – gives an extra lava surge which can be nice
  • Wellspring for the level 100 talent because the other 2 are no good when you’re levelling and doing damage (also, it looks cool!!)

Overall, the spells are fine. However I did find it difficult when there was more than 1 mob hitting me. Chain lightning just didn’t feel like enough. If Flame Shock were a little stronger and didn’t have a cooldown, it might help to just dot up all the adds and then chain lightning them all. Maybe?

Zone scaling

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Azsuna is absolutely stunning!!

Firstly I just want to say that this is such and amazing feature of Legion. I love that a zone will have purpose and provide a challenge, no matter what level I’m at!

Most of my resto shaman levelling was in Azsuna (which I’m going to share a picture of because holy heck is that place STUNNING!!!) I will say that I felt a shift in my damage when I got to 102. I felt a bit stronger and the mobs dropped a little more easily. Given everything scales to my level I don’t think it really mattered that I was a higher level, but perhaps the way it’s scaled at 102 makes my damage a bit better… I don’t know.

The other thing for me to keep in mind is that I will start with much higher gear than what I’m using on the Alpha at the moment – when making a new 100 on the Alpha you get kitted out with level 680ish gear. I’ll be much closer to 740 at launch so that will make it easier for me. The scaling for the zone is purely based on character level, so if you have higher level gear, life will be easier for you. This will help to a point – eventually the world will catch up and the gear will get replaced. But it will help for some time.

Does the artifact help?

Nope. The restoration shaman artifact has no damage increasing traits on it at all, so doesn’t give you any bonuses at all. Other than the fact that it looks AWESOME.

What do to, what to do?

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The way I see it, there are a handful of options here.

1. Level as a healer and suck it up

This a route that a lot of people will take. Having their artifact weapon raid ready is most important to them, so they’ll just level as a healer and deal with any frustrations they may feel. This is one of my personal choices.

The added benefit of this is that I can also go straight in to dungeons as a healer, with a nicely levelled healer artifact.

Also, I feel this is the intended path Blizzard want us to take (which truthfully I appreciate, but isn’t a deciding factor for me).

2. Level as a healer and group up with people

A reasonable approach, but not one that I will take. Levelling for me is one of my favourite things in the game. And I am slooooow. I like to read all of the quest text. I like to stop and take loads of screenshots of the beautiful world around me. I like to go exploring on strange paths. People who are keen to get to max level get really fed up. And I get fed up at being rushed. So this is not an option for me – levelling is always a solo adventure for me!

3. Level as dps and worry about your healing artifact later

A viable approach for some. Levelling as a dps will definitely be faster, giving you more time at max level to sort out the healing artifact and powering it up with world quests etc. However, it’s not something I’ll be doing. Even if I’m dps I’ll still be slow! And I don’t want to worry about my healer artifact being behind, nor do I want the pressure of getting it up to level if I’m starting off behind.

4. Level as dps and change loot specialisation before completing quests to get healer artifact loot

Now this is the real option to think about! While you are levelling you can get artifact power and relics as quest rewards, and sometimes as world drops. From what I’ve experienced so far, the world drops are generally the artifact power (which look to be able to be applied to any artifact, not just the one you have equipped), whereas with quests you can get both the power and relics. However if you change your loot specialisation, the quest rewards (relics etc) will change to suit that spec – not just the artifact you have equipped. Which means that I could level as elemental, with the elemental artifact (that I won’t power up), but keep my loot specialisation set to restoration, giving me restoration artifact rewards. When I am able to get my restoration artifact at level 102, I can immediately boost it with all the stored up relics etc. So in the end I get a faster levelling experience by being dps, and I get a powered up artifact.

I doubt this is what Blizzard has in mind, but again, that’s not a deciding factor for me – being raid ready as a healer is most important (and my sanity).

The downside to this option is that I don’t know for sure if this will be possible in Legion. i.e. will this approach survive alpha/beta? And is this available in all zones, or was I just lucky in Azsuna? This is something I will be doing further testing on in the coming weeks.

Last thoughts

Honestly, my preferred option would be for healer damage to just be stronger so that I could level as a healer. I’d like a “world buff” that makes all my damaging spells 500% stronger when I’m out in the world, so that I can damage things properly without wasting 5 minutes killing a mob of 3. I don’t want to fiddle with work arounds – I’d like it to work as intended.

At the moment the levelling is still slow and frustrating. Perhaps it will be different in other zones (I haven’t levelled healer anywhere else except for a handful of quests in Highmountain).  I’m also mindful of end-game content such as World Quests – I don’t want those to be a burden because of slow damage (hence the buff being a world buff).

BUT

It is better than current healer damage. So if you’ve been ok with your current healer damage and wanted it a little stronger, you will be quite pleased. I have also read comments that Discipline Priests smash through content (surprise surprise!!). (Holy Paladin damage in the Broken Shore scenario was awful, to put it bluntly. But I’ll do a separate post about that later).

So those are my healer damage thoughts so far. Has anyone else seen anything about healer damage? What do you think? Is it viable?

 

****If you do not want ANY information about Legion, and don’t want any spoilers about anything at all, please don’t read this blog post! I will be talking about the Restoration Shaman artifact quest experience (without giving quest details away) and will be sharing some screen shots. Proceed at your own risk!****

 

Today I went and did the Restoration Shaman Artifact quest line for the second time. The first time I did it I forgot to take screen shots! But I also wanted to do it again because the first time I found it quite difficult, and I wanted to see if it had changed at all to be any easier. It hadn’t really, but because I knew what to expect I only died 3 times instead of the double digit deaths I had the first time I did this.

We start at the Maelstrom (which I LOVE!!!!!!)

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So, without going in to specific details about the quest content itself, the main point is that we head off to collect the artifact weapon (that has changed names multiple times now! I believe it is currently being called Sharas’dal, Scepter of Tides, but is referred to by different names in the game still – something that will be sorted out by live date). You are accompanied by some other characters who are there to help, and it is your job to keep them alive while you go get the artifact. 

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out little band of adventurers

One of the characters in the group is the giant that you see in the screenshot above. He has quite a large health pool. He acts as the tank role and gets hit in the face a LOT. And HARD. When any of the players with you have their health drop too low, they get a debuff that makes them stop attacking until they are healed up again. Because the giant has such a huge health pool, it takes a LOT to get him healed back up again, but it only takes about 4 or 5 hits for him to drop low enough to trigger the debuff. What this means is that you as a healer get all the aggro, and you drop like a tonne of bricks once the mobs start hitting you instead.  Also, when you die and run back, the other players still have their debuff, so they’re just standing there not doing anything, which means the mobs are back on you straight away. You have about 5-10 seconds maximum to try and get at least one of them to have enough health to hit things again. It can be hard to do. But obviously not impossible – just need to be very clever about which cool downs and talents to use. I’ll be putting together a guide for this when it gets closer to release date to help people out (if they are interested).

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Heading up to the next level of the zone

There is another section with waves in it that I really struggled with the first time. I was going to struggle this time around, too, until my partner pointed out that I should try doing something a little different – it worked perfectly. The wording for that part of the scenario could be better. The way it is at the moment the wording implied (to me) that I would get control of the giant and would need to move him through the room. This is not the case. I needed to run into the room and try to dodge the waves so that everyone else could just walk straight through (why they couldn’t try to dodge with me is beyond me!) It worked out in the end, but I think some wording that suggests the intended approach might be good there.

The last boss is a fun fight, but I think needs to be a lot more difficult- the trash mobs posed more of a problem than this boss. She has some interesting mechanics, and there’s a scene at the end that makes me laugh a lot. Once she is defeated, the artifact is all yours!

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Artifact name changed so many times it’s just “Artifact Shaman Restoration Weapon” now 😉

The weapon itself is quite lovely, and has a really great animation that splashes water about the place when I run that I LOVE. At least I know I’ll be able to find myself out in the world! Just look for the leaking bucket running around!

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Getting water all over the place! 

 

Overall thoughts

I like that this is difficult. I say fairly often that I think there needs to be difficult content in the game. This borderlines on being a little too difficult though, only because of how hard the mobs hit you when the other players’ health pools get too low. There’s no real catch up ability – once they drop, it’s a vicious cycle of spam healing to get one up enough before you die. It can be quite debilitating – you end up getting completely helpless. The first time around that I was doing this I ended up staying at the res point on my own until all of my cool downs reset so that I had the best chance possible to catch up. I think it would be good if there was a “start over” option here for those who would want it. It still makes the scenario difficult, but not made overly complicated because of the debuff cycle. (Like I said, those mobs hit like a truck!)

I also found it a bit odd that the last “boss” was not difficult. I wanted her to be more of a challenge. In this scenario, the trash mobs pose more of a difficulty than she does, which seemed a bit out of place to me. I would like her difficulty scaled up a bit.

My biggest take away from this, though, is just how addicted I am to my Elvui and Vuhdo addons. I ended up making hover-target healing macros to try and make it easier for me, but I really did miss my ability to click my spells on my raid frames! Hoping that vuhdo will be up in time for the Legion launch so I can use it straight away.

I do love the artifacts, though. I feel a real connection with it because it’s something that I had to go and get on my own, in my own little adventure. I’m looking forward to getting my real one when this is all live, and nurturing it to full strength! 🙂

I’ve been doing some levelling as restoration, and I have to say, the world is so so stunning. I spent some time in Azsuna and it is overwhelmingly beautiful. I don’t want to post any pics because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I did want to show the resto shaman idle pose, which I also really like.

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Communing with the waters

So far – loving restoration shaman. Here’s hoping she’s strong in raids in Legion.

 

****If you do not want ANY information about Legion, and don’t want any spoilers about anything at all, please don’t read this blog post! I will be talking about the Demon Hunter starting zone (without giving quest details away) and will be sharing some screen shots. Proceed at your own risk!****

On Sunday night my guild was doing mythic Archimonde, which I am nowhere near geared enough for at the moment, so was on the bench. I decided that it would be a good time to get back on the Alpha, and have a look at the Demon Hunter starting area.

I had initially started a Demon Hunter when I first got in, but had a whole of 10 minutes available so didn’t get very far.

Getting started

If you’re like me, character creation is going to take a long time. There are so many choices! The skin tattoos have loads of different designs and colours, there are loads of skin colour choices (feels like more than previously? But I could be wrong) I particularly liked the eye covering choices – there was a lot of variety, so you could really go for something that just suits you and what you have in mind for your character.

Here she is:

DH first go

My night elf Demon Hunter!

I’m not going to talk about the starting areas quests themselves, other than to say that I really liked the flow of them and how the story was revealed. I also really liked how we got new abilities – I thought it was very clever indeed! There were a few cinematic not included which is just fine by me – they would have been full of story spoilers that I’m not interested in seeing just yet!

The zone itself is quite dark with LOADS of green all over the place. It’s definitely easier to see in a dark room, so bear that in mind when you have a go at this in Legion. But check this out! How amazing does it look!?!!

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The fel & the universe look amazing!

Abilities

So, on to some abilities.

First up, one of the most commonly used abilities is Fel Rush, which zooms you forwards (damaging anything in your path!) I really like this ability. I’m not very good with it yet, but it will just take some practice. Here’s a gif of my showing it (not very well! But I tried!)

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Testing out the Fel Rush ability

Fel Rush works really well with another ability that you get a bit later on called Vengeful Retreat. Vengeful Retreat jumps you back around the same distance Fel Rush dashes you forward, so it’s a really great combo to use when you need to get in and out of bad stuff (it also looks AWESOME!)

Next up we have Spectral Sight. This one is just kinda cool… not sure exactly how useful it will be in anything other than levelling. The spell allows you to see enemies and TREASURES through walls or that are stealth etc. Look out rogues! The ability looks like this when you use it:

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Using Spectral Sight ability.

The green around the edges is a bit much, I feel, but otherwise it’s a neat ability. You can see the enemies outlined in red, and a treasure chest outlined in purple in this screen shot.

Ex-warlock spell, Metamorphosis is AWESOME. It has a 5 min cooldown and with a targetable leap, slams you in to the ground as you turn into a hellish demon for 30 sec. It looks fantastic, too. This really made me feel strong, and also a little scary. You really don’t want to mess with a Demon Hunter!

 

The wings that you see there also come out during another ability called Glide, which, as the name suggests, allows you to glide from high distances, slowing your falling speed. This can either be toggled on by clicking the spell, or by pressing the jump button 3 times – once to jump, the second for your double jump, and the third to activate Glide (assuming there is still distance from the ground beneath you).

At one point during the questing we Glide off of a very high place. However when I did this my game crashed, and when I came back in again I was lower than where I needed to be and didn’t make my destination. I ended up continuing to fall. Which worked out alright because I got this killer screen shot of my Demon Hunter Gliding!

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Using the Glide ability

There are some other great abilities, like Throw Glaive, which does as it says and throws out a glaive to an enemy (which will make it nice and easy to pull some mobs from a distance), and Blade Dance, which has you zipping about all over the place. And of course there’s Eye Beam which I foolishly forgot to get a screen shot of. Aside from looking super cool, it’s a very strong multi-target ability that will annihilate anything in the beam line in front of you. You can move from side to side with this, too, though you can’t move forwards or backwards.

The Artifact questline

I’m not going to go in to any details about what you do in this. I struggled a little with this because it was lagging terribly, so it was difficult to jump out of damaging abilities in time. Having said that, I only died once, which is a LOT less than when I did the restoration shaman artifact quest!

The lag will be a problem in general because this class is aaaallllll about the movement. But aside from that, getting this artifact was a lot of fun! I felt it really suited the class fantasy perfectly. It’s such a “zippy” spec that it makes it feel really engaging and so much fun. I felt really powerful going up against this big scary guys and just zipping around the place and beating them up. It’s a little difficult (judging distance for rush etc, mobs hurting a lot), but I like that (and I will also put some of that difficulty down to lag as well).

Like I said, not going to give anything away about the quest line or story behind it. Instead, have a screenshot of me getting these killer glaives!

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Getting the Demon Hunter Artifact. LOVE these little cut scenes featuring ME!

Overall thoughts

I chose the Havoc specialisation because I have more experience with DPS and can talk about that a bit better than tanking (although I will definitely try out the Vengeance tank spec at some point!). As a DPS spec, it is really good fun. It’s such a mobile class. (DH’s will definitely be responsible for mass ressing raid wipes because they will always get back first!!) Generally I’m not a huge fan of melee classes, but this has you jumping in and out and all over the place, so it feels really engaging and not at all like you’re just standing there hitting things with your face.

Pros

The Vengeful Retreat + Fel Rush combo is a LOT of fun – I think that’s what made me feel so strong. At one point while I was fighting an elite I did the combo and found myself yelling out “yeah you can’t catch me, can ya?! Suck it!!” and then laughing maniacally. It’s a great feeling.

The Metamorphosis ability is excellent – I particularly love that I’m able to target where I’m going to leap to and land, as the landing has an AoE damage and stun so will be great for fights with lots of adds. A couple of abilities are made stronger when you’re in that form, so it just feels like a really badass time. And it just looks cool.

I don’t know how it compares in damage to other classes as I’ve only done the introductory area and have gone in to my class hall. However I felt quite survivable whilst doing those quests – I took a little damage, but not so much that I had to stop and wait to be full health before pulling again. There were times where I was taking on groups of 3-5 mobs (because accidental pull!) and didn’t die, which I felt was on par for health/strength.

For me, the double jump takes a little getting used to. There were times that it just failed entirely because I (probably) didn’t hit space again at the right time. Lag will contribute to this being a successful ability, too, so bear that in mind before taking a running leap over a chasm! Similarly, Glide is a nice ability, and I like that there are multiple ways of activating it. I’d recommend having it on your bars in case you can’t get it with the jump button properly. And again, it looks cool.

Also, from a transmog perspective – the gear you get while levelling looks AWESOME!!!! Here’s what I look like after finishing the intro quests and getting my Class Hall set up:

Cons

It’s going to sound really lame, but I honestly didn’t really have any. I think the only real con for me is how much of an impact lag has on this being a successful class to play – these starting areas/quests expect you to be quite mobile and the lag can really impact on that. So hopefully that won’t be an issue when it comes out.

There were a few bugs that I reported, though nothing drastic. Just things like a kill not counting for a quest or a bridge not being solid – stuff you’d expect in Alpha.

I think the only con (if you can call it that) is getting used to Fel Rush etc, and just how mobile this class is. That’s definitely not a bad thing – the rotation (so far!) is very limited. The real joy of this class comes from using those few abilities to get around. And it’s fast. Fury is easily generated and spent, so you always have something to do. You’re never sitting there waiting to have enough power to make spells work, you just use your abilities to generate the Fury you need to use a particular ability, which makes it nicely fast paced and quite controlled. So if you like a slower style of play with not too much moving around, Demon Hunters are not going to be for you.

Last word

Overall, I had a LOT of fun getting my Demon Hunter started, and I’m keen to make another one when Legion comes out. Blizzard have done a really brilliant job bringing this class in to the game. These questing is great – makes sense, logical, engaging, and I don’t feel needs too much knowledge of Illidan etc. to get an understanding of what’s happening (though it’s nice if you do know!). The class fantasy is perfect. I feel a little evil, but I just want to do the right thing – I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way! 😉

Nice work, Blizzard! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of weeks ago, for no other reason than that I could, I decided to run through the Worgen starting zone in Gilneas. I really love this zone. I find it to be incredibly beautiful (even though it’s full of rabid dogs and undead types!) I just love the building style and the accents and the gear that we get! So I made myself a warlock named Cinderaven and had myself a little adventure.

Here are some of my favourite screen shots… I may have gotten a bit carried away…. (Note – if you haven’t done the Gilneas opening area, there are some spoilers below!)

My poor neglected blog!

I have been so busy lately, and to be honest I’m not completely sure why. Just lots of stuff happening I suppose, and time passing much too quickly.

A little over a week or so ago I transferred servers to trial with a guild for Legion. I am back to being Alliance. AND I’m on a PVE server, so no more ganking! I can’t even tell you how much of a relief it is to be able to run around and do dailies and not worry about some awful person coming along and killing me repeatedly, making it so I can’t get anything done. Talking to Thor about it last night, he was saying that coming back to a PVE server has actually brought back some of his love of the game again, which makes me really happy.

So couple of days after we transferred our new guild got Mythic Archionde down, and were ready to start Mythic farm, which we both would be invited to go along to. It has been a very frantic time reading up on the mythic changes in the fights, and I’ve just generally been shitting myself because, other than the run I did with Navimie the other week, I hadn’t raided since around November last year – well over 4 months ago!

I was also nervous about raiding with a new team. Other than Thor, I didn’t know anyone in the raid, and that always makes me nervous, too. And then add to that the fact that this was farm for the team – they already had their strats worked out, they already know what they are doing. I find it a lot more difficult to go in to situations like that where everything is already sorted. I like learning with a team and figuring things out together.

But, having said all that, things seemed to go ok. Last Sunday night the healing leader got me in the teamspeak and introduced me to the rest of the healing team. Then an hour before our first raid on Wednesday night he spent time with Thor and I going through how they do things and the fights etc. He was very kind and patient, and made me feel a lot more comfortable about everything.

The raid nights themselves were alright. My lack of gear is painful. I’m healing for considerably less than everyone else. What doesn’t help is that everyone is so geared, so they don’t take too much damage, and as a resto shaman it means my mastery doesn’t kick in all that much. But I did the best that I could, and made sure to focus on doing all of the mechanics well (though I did get one-shot by the Barrage on Iron Reaver!)Looking through the logs for the fights afterwards, I was generally very low on the “unnecessary damage taken” meters which I think it good. Hopefully the raid leaders were happy with that!

Over the 2 nights I got 8 mythic bosses down, and was very lucky to get a few pieces of gear (including a new shield and my bis legs – warforged!) Unfortunately I didn’t get to do a couple of bosses that had key pieces of gear that I was after, however as the farm nights get easier I’m sure I’ll be able to eventually get in there and get the goodies.

So overall, it’s been a really interesting time. It’s great fun raiding mythic bosses again! And the guild are lovely – they give each other crap during raids, they’re serious about getting stuff done, but they also have fun and I like that. So hopefully they are happy with me and want to keep me for Legion!

In the meantime, I’ve been drooling over my Alliance garrison, which is just so darn beautiful!

A few weeks back, for a period of 24 hours, WoW was all about the Water Striders. Namely a change that had come through datamining one of the latest Alpha patches that showed in Legion, Water Striders would only perform their trademark water walking ability in the zones of the expansion they were available in. (That meant Azure Water Striders would only work for Pandaria content, and Crimson Water Striders would only work in Draenor).

I had a couple of rants on both of my podcasts that week about these proposed changes, and I was disappointed. It wasn’t that I shouldn’t complain about changes, it’s that I need to realise that sometimes people are listening to what I have to say and perhaps I should look at setting a better example. Don’t get me wrong – this post isn’t an apology. My feelings were real and other peoples’ feelings are also real, and I can’t apologise for that. What has led to this post is the notion that my outburst has contributed to the toxic environment that is currently so loud, and I don’t want that to be the case. I want to encourage thoughtful, constructive, passionate, discussions.

The Rant

Unfortunately the suggested changes were still fresh in my mind when I sat down to record the 2 podcasts I co-host. And whilst I have been disappointed/concerned about other Legion changes proposed, this was the first one that I really felt instantly negative about. Too bad for me that I was recording 2 podcasts that night and the topic came up, and I let my initial feelings be the first thing that was publicly heard. I’m not happy about that. Because what it shows is me displaying the exact type of behaviour that frustrates me to no end from players. Even more frustrating – I didn’t get the opportunity to share my more calm thoughts because the proposed changes were reverted the next day. But that is no excuse.

My reaction was from my gut. It came from a place of having spent an exceptionally long period of time partaking in an activity I’m not a fan of (fishing) to get a mount that I wanted mostly for its utility, and partly for the completionist in me. The frustration was raw. And again, I’m not dismissing feelings here. What I’m annoyed about was that I didn’t take a breath. Instead, I became another instrument in the rant orchestra; something I don’t want to play in.

Think first

I try to avoid the WoW forums, MMO-champ comments, reddit etc. when there are things to discuss, because for the most part, there is no discussion. It’s mostly a cesspool of self important toddlers throwing tantrums and cussing out developers for not doing things “the right way”. It honestly makes me sick. There are ways to disagree with proposed changes without resorting to “you don’t know what you’re doing”, “do you even play Warcraft?”or “you’re useless, go die in a fire.” As I write this, there are threads on the WoW forums complaining relentlessly about class hall portals being available in Dalaran instead of being a personal spell. Now this is Alpha and things are of course likely to change (and often!) We never had those spells. They have not been “taken away” from you. And yet, the riots are happening.

It’s ok to be disappointed or angry about a change you see in the game. It’s understandable  – people don’t particularly like change, so it can be difficult to have an initial reaction other than “oh what now?”. Go ahead – feel that. It’s totally ok! But what I want people to do is to take a deep breath and move away from their computer and go somewhere else until that initial feeling has passed on. The angrier you are, the longer you stay away. And like a rational adult, process why it is you’re feeling that way. Is it really the end of the world that X spell now does Y? Really?!

Blizzard doesn’t change things just for the hell of it. There is always thinking and reasoning behind what they do. Sometimes these changes don’t align with what you have in mind. You know why? Because you’re not the only person playing this game, and that change was not for you. For every change that you feel “breaks the game” are a whole crew of people breathing a sigh of relief that the change was made.

The goal

For myself, I want to do better about broadcasting more considered thoughts rather than the guttural reactions that seem to be everywhere on the forums etc. I want to contribute to thoughtful discussion about the game we all love so much. It’s fine to have a gut reaction, but I don’t want to add to the cacophony of moaning and complaining about every little change Blizzard puts out. I want to present the reasons why I’m having that reaction, and explore options about whether this is something I can just get over, or if it’s something that I feel needs alternatives suggested.

And I would also like to challenge others to do the same. Because whilst you may not care about the Water Striders changes or class hall portal location, chances are that one day there will be something that strikes a nerve with you and you’ll want to react. Go for it, but think before you respond. Remember – there are real actual live people behind every twitter/forum avatar. Blizzard is made up of human beings, and they deserve to be treated with respect (the same way we all do).

You can bitch and moan about changes – everyone is entitled to how they feel about a change. But don’t let that be the only reaction you have. You are capable of many emotions – get past the initial anger/disappointment and do something constructive with it. Post a thought out reply on the forums, tweet a dev, write a blog post, choreograph an interpretive dance – whatever floats your boat!

At the end of the day, Blizzard can do whatever they want. But they cannot please everyone. If you don’t like what Blizzard do to the games you play, that is totally ok – maybe you’re best finding a new game to play that makes you happy.

 

 

P.S – this has been sitting mostly finished in my drafts folder for weeks!! Lazy Cinder!!

 

 

The hunt for a new guild/raid team is still going strong, and I’m not having any luck at all yet (which will be the topic of a future post, I’m sure). However it hasn’t been a complete loss. On Wednesday the ever so delightful Navimie happened to notice my post on the forums about looking for a raid team. She was there looking for numbers for her guild’s mythic runs. Long story short, Navi invited me and Thor to come along to their raid run that night, which we happily accepted!

It was a really fun night, and was a stark reminder of how much I really enjoy raiding. I was so nervous, though.  Thor and I figured out that it had been about 4 months since our guild had stopped raiding, so I had the “omg I’m going to fail so bad!” jitters. We ran through on heroic as we didn’t have the numbers for mythic, but that didn’t matter. Navi’s team got to bring along some alts which helped get them some gear which is always helpful. I did a few bosses (including Archimonde!) as elemental, which was terrifying! But I don’t think I was too much of a burden (hopefully!). I was able to heal later on which I was loads more comfortable with. It really confirmed for me that healing is what I love to do, and that’s the role I need to be in for Legion.

I tried to sneak in a few pics of Navi, but they are a very “on the ball” team so I didn’t get much of a chance. Instead, after we were done, Navi came to my garrison for a dance and to get some pics together. And so I was Navispammed!

Thank you to Navi for letting me and Thor tag along to your raid, and for being such a delightful person to know. And for Navispamming me! I feel truly honoured 😀

 

 

Well today I finally made a decision about where I want to be in Legion, and have decided to look for a new guild and raid team. I have loved being in Deadline – the people are amazing. We always have a laugh, we know how to have a good time. It has been awesome. But there are some niggling issues that have lead to me wanting to find a new home.

Firstly, a lot of the players in the team have been paying WoW for a long time, and just aren’t interested in spending loads of time in raids trying to get mythic bosses down or doing achievements etc. I thought that this would be something I’d be ok with, but I’m really not, because what it leads to is people disappearing all the time making it impossible to even consider raiding past getting heroics down. Since I started playing WoW I’ve been in raid teams that have done the hard modes. I love how challenging they are, and I love the buzz of working your ass off on a boss and finally getting it down. Unfortunately this isn’t something the guild shares. And that’s ok – we’re just in different places and wanting different things from the game.

Secondly, I loathe being on a pvp server. Particularly this one. I was talking to my partner about this earlier and we’ve been on other pvp servers and it’s never been as bad as it has been on Barth. It’s brutal – groups of opposing faction just ganking relentlessly making it impossible to do what I want to do is not my idea of fun. It makes for a really miserable experience and I just don’t want that anymore. I want to be able to level in Legion without having the fear of looking over my shoulder or hearing that damn rogue sound, warning me of impending doom. So no pvp server.

Lastly, I am an Alliance girl through and through. I’m glad that I’ve spent time on the Horde side to check out the story, but I don’t like it. I don’t like how cranky and rough everyone is. I can’t remember who it was, but someone wrote in to Girls Gone WoW a few weeks ago and made the great point that if you like the Camelot style of stories, Alliance is for you. And that’s how I feel. I like things to look nice. I like to have seats to sit on, damn it! And I like the NPCs being kind. I want to go back to that.

So! I’m now on the hunt for a guild and raid team that I can call home from Legion onwards. I’m looking a team that is:

  • Alliance
  • non-pvp server
  • doing mythic raids in Legion
  • still loving the game!
  • ideally Oceanic server

I’ll be wanting to play my restoration shaman (with elemental off spec). And I do believe that my partner, Thor, will be coming along with me too as a frost/unholy DK (he’s crazy amazeballs).

If you know of any teams that would fit the bill, please let me know! Otherwise, please keep your fingers crossed for me that I can find a new home for Legion.

 

 

 

Today I finally got off my butt and did the Field Photographer achievement. I had been putting it off for the longest time because I wanted to be smart about it and not waste my time zigzagging all over Azeroth. Then I came across this splendid guide on wowhead – http://www.wowhead.com/guide=2952/field-photographer-achievement-a-guide It has both a text version and a version with the locations marked on maps, which was immensely helpful to me.

So of course the first thing I did was make myself a new transmog for the journey. With that done, off Cinderstorm went to explore the world.

You know what? It was the best. It really was. I got to see places I hadn’t seen in ages, and in some cases I hadn’t even seen at all. I had the music playing while I was flying and it was so nice to hear the different pieces as I moved through the world. I really love this game – it is so, so beautiful.

To me, this was a day well spent. 🙂

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This week I found out I was the lucky winner of a competition Skog was holding on twitter. I won myself a new twitter banner and a wallpaper! And I am in LOVE with them. And as an extra special bonus, he made an animated version of the wallpaper that loops!! ❤ ❤ ❤

I absolutely love what Skog has put together – it’s so far beyond what I was expecting. I think Cinder looks so great in these. She looks so fiercely protective in her healing one, and a little bit happy (in an evil way) in her elemental one. It’s just how I see both sides of her.

If you want some awesome work done yourself, Skog can be found on twitter @SkogDesigns and his commissions are currently OPEN. Check out his website for more samples of his work and to set up a commission – http://skogdesign.weebly.com

I made slightly smaller versions to share with you – check them out!

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My restoration twitter banner

Cinderwallpaper by Skog Designs smaller

My elemental wallpaper

And a preview of the animated version is here (unfortunately I can’t upload videos here myself):

If I ever decide to stream I’m prepared! 😉

 

I am a very, very fortunate person indeed! Thank you, Skog!!

I started writing this when the topic of Epic Battle Stones was still being discussed. Today Blizzard has responded to the feedback and decided not to go ahead with the Epic stones. So my post is probably a little useless.But here I am anyway.

I felt that the discussion around the epic stones was relatively polite and considered. The posts that I had read about this were passionate, yes, but they didn’t attack the devs as being “stupid” or the idea being “a waste of time”which a lot of other posts/changes have generated. It was refreshing to see actual discussion. I have noticed, however, that since a decision was made, people who thought the stones were a good idea are angry.

With that in mind, I’m going to still publish this post about my thoughts on the Epic stones (which is below), but I want to do another one in the near future about the “bitch away the changes” mentality that people seem to have, or seem to think is there in places it may not be.

So without further ado, here’s my thoughts on the future of pet battling…

The Epic Battle Stones discussion

There are arguments for both sides regarding adding Epic stones.

The thing I think that is most important about this “debate” all parties (who are interested in pet battles) would like to see new content added for Pet Battles. I am yet to see a comment from someone saying “don’t change anything! Don’t bring in anything new! Leave it exactly how it is and don’t add new content!”. It’s not there. Everyone who has an interest in pet battling would like to see some additions. With this in mind, Blizzard looked at ways to do this for Legion. One suggestion was to bring in Epic Battle Stones.

Adding Epic Battles stones would bring in another level of quality for pets, giving 5 rarities in total. No word was given on how often or how these stones would drop (i.e. could we farm these a get at least 1 per day? Or would they be super rare?) so it can be a bit difficult to comment in some areas. However, here are my initial thoughts about the stones.

Arguments for the epic stones

Gives pet battlers something to do

Pet battling in general is suffering the same fate as the rest of the game at the moment – that is, people have done most (if not all) they can do with pet battles (or what they are willing to do) and are left with nothing/little else to do with their pets. Many people have collected all of the pets they can from the wild, and some people have even upgraded them all to rare and levelled them all to 25. Which leaves them with nothing to currently do with their pets other than to farm, raise and sell them, which not something everyone enjoys.

Adding in a new level of quality would give people something else to do, even if that is just to grind out a new quality. This has been the general argument for having the stones brought in to the game.

It’s the next natural step

This is true, and is an point Rho argues very well in his recent episode of Realm Maintenance – just like it’s natural for players to have a level increase or gear increase every expansion, it should/could be expected for pets to do the same. Progression is expected in an MMO, and pets should experience that progression too.

I can understand this, and I don’t disagree with the mentality in general. But for battle pets it’s a bit different. In the rest of the game when you get higher level gear for your character, it’s for a purpose – it makes raiding easier, or world PVE easier. Where previously you may have needed a group to kill a rare, you can do it with 1 other person, or even on your own. Also, it looks different, so you can show off your hard earned super leet gear for all to see. There is a payoff for spending the time and energy to get the upgrades.

With pet battles, I query what that benefit would be. It may make your daily tamer battles a little easier, but that’s about it. Unless there was a cosmetic change too, your pets would look the same. So there isn’t an immediate sense that there would be a payoff for the “higher level”. Quintessence made a great point in one of her posts about this:

“It’s not like epic pets will make upgrading to rare any faster; it’s not the same as upgrading your gear, which then makes previous content faster. Epic pets may make trainer battles go a little smoother, but actually upgrading your pets to rare? It’s still a slow process as you collect battlestones and charms and continue hunting for rare quality pets. So there goes our grind to rare, long and now obsolete once epic pets are implemented.” (from “Epic Pet Idea – Epic Pet Slot” by Quintessence)

There is no “end game” benefit to having an epic level pet. The only content that it will make “easier” is pvp pet battles (which not a lot of people do) and the pet trainer dailies (which I feel haven’t been a huge challenge anyway). So the only additional gameplay coming out of this is more grinding with no real benefit at the end of it other than a menagerie of purple pets.

I feel like the whole pet battle system is a bit backwards to MMO gameplay. Where in your MMO you level up by questing in different zones and having a story line then doing raids/dunegons to get your gear, pet battles don’t have that. With pet battles we kind of skip straight to that “boss kill for better gear” mentality by simply finding a pet in the wild, defeating it, and hoping for a better quality drop pet. To argue there should be progression in the pet battles isn’t wrong, but I would argue that perhaps, given pet battling is already a bit backwards, could we look at ways of bringing in “questing” in to pet battles?

Arguments against epic stones

Too much grinding to do/not interesting game play

This is an argument that has people divided – Completionists will feel they must get all their pets to epic, so would be looking at grinding out stones for over 700 pets – ouch! Others argue that you don’t need to do that – just make a few key pets epic and let that be that.

I tend to fall on the “completionist” side of the fence, mostly because I’d be worried that I would upgrade the “wrong” pet. I can avoid that by just upgrading them all!! My bigger concern with this approach is that, which pet battling in general is well suited to players who don’t mind the super long grind, it’s not interesting game play, and perhaps there are better alternatives here. Or perhaps a better reward for the work it would require.

 

Difference between casual and “hardcore” pet battlers will increase

This is actually my biggest concern with having epic stones. For epic stones to be worthwhile, there will need to be pet battles where they are needed for a player to defeat the fight. If someone decides they want to start getting in to pet battles, there is a huge gap there for them that would make it immensely difficult to get involved. It would also be terribly daunting. So I’m concerned that adding this new level of difficulty would be a hindrance to getting more people involved in pet battles.

The flip side to this argument is that this mentality already exists within WoW – there are different levels of raiding suited to the different play styles of players. Some players are casual and would prefer an LFR/Normal level difficulty. Others want to go all out in to Mythic difficulty. So why not a similar approach with pet battles? I don’t disagree, but there would need to be a way for players to play at the level suited to them. At the moment there’s no option to set a difficulty level on a pet battle or a pvp pet battle. I don’t know how difficult that would be to implement, but that could be one way to address this.

 

Alternatives to the epic stones

I don’t disagree that there is a lack of things for pet battlers to do, but I personally don’t feel adding a new level of quality for pets alone is the answer to that problem. If epic level pets are to be brought in to the game, I feel it needs to more than just “here’s a purple pet”. So what are some other options?

Unlock skins/spell effects etc. for the pet

This is purely cosmetic, but could be a lot of fun. I know some pets already have loads of skins available for the various types. So how about unlocking different spell effects? Or how about unlocking a “trick” that your pet could do? e.g. if you have a pet spider out, when you AFK it will start building a web on you. Silly fun things like that.

Unlock a 4th spell slot

This could be complicated, but interesting. The 4th slot could have new abilities, or better yet, lets you choose one of the existing abilities your pet already has. This may change the game a bit too much, but is an interesting idea anyway.

Have a quest line for collecting/battling pets

This is my favourite idea and I hope that it’s something that Blizzard will look at doing at some point down the line. I mentioned above that pet battles work a bit backwards to the normal MMO experience. What’s missing is a story line to go along with collecting pets or completing pet battles.

I’d really love to see an interesting story line where players need to work their way through a series of pet battles in different regions with some “hard bosses”. Hell, maybe we could have a Legendary Pet quest line that means we need to fight a whole bunch of pets and collect tokens and things from them and catch a certain pet to help you on your way so that it can save a legendary pet that you get to keep. It doesn’t even need to be a combat pet – just a super unique, completely awesome and amazing pet. Something that will take some time and creativity in pet choices to get through.

Gives a small buffs

This was a suggestion Rho made on the previously mentioned Realm Maintenance podcast, and it’d definitely my favourite idea that I’ve seen. It’s not to boost raids/dungeons etc, but to give buffs like a small XP boost for example.

Other people have also suggested that it could buff your pet battle team to give extra experience gains, or increase your chance of getting other levelling stones.

 

All in all…

… there are quite a few alternatives available to a simple stat increase for epic pets. Part of me thinks that Blizzard knew this, but made the suggestion on the forums to get people thinking about what they do want for pet battles in general. It’s a great strategy if that’s what they did, because I really think people have come up with some great thoughts.

Can’t wait to see what’s to come in Legion for pets!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am still in a bit of shock as I write this.

This evening I managed to get the “Proven Healer” title for completing 30 waves on endless difficulty in the Proving Grounds. I have been working on this achievement since Mists of Pandaria. This has been about 3 years in the making. And today I finally did it.

I know so many people have done this and found it a piece of cake. Not me. I always had mana issues (in that I had NONE), I had nothing that would keep the tank alive when he was getting wailed on, and it just seemed that the dps would stand in everything in the world and die at the drop of a hat. Today I figured out why. I was always too over geared and the scaling was screwing me over.

Like I said, I’ve been working on this since it was available in Mists. Back then I was trying mostly on my paladin (which should have been a lot easier by default) but could never get it, no matter how hard I tried. I tried for awhile on my shaman as well during Mists but still failed. I tried again in Warlords briefly – still failed. I had looked at guides, I had tried all different stats, gear sets, talents/glyphs etc. Failed every time. I got in the 20s a couple of times but always fell flat. It was a very disheartening feeling, because so many people I knew managed to get the achievement without any troubles at all. Even people who didn’t main a healer. It was demoralising and I felt that I must just be the worst healer. It honestly made me question whether or not I was good enough as a healer to raid at all, and more than once had me on the verge of calling raiding quits.

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selfies during the down time between waves 🙂

I was inspired to try again today by this post on reddit from a user who has managed to get endless wave 30 on every single class, on every single spec. Amazing. I figured it had been some time since I’d tried again, so why not? I read through this guy’s advice. The way proving grounds works in Warlords is a bit different to Mists – in Warlords the mobs scale to your gear rather than your gear scaling to the instance. The goal is to get gear as close to about 615 ilvl as possible (some people say you can go as high as 635 – it’s whatever you can get really). In the end I was at 627, which was a bit on the high side, but still worked for me. The other trick is to use your legendary ring (the proc won’t work but the stats should be good) and use 2 great trinkets.

Gear

For most of my gear, I actually ended up using the Shaman set from the Salvage yard. It’s at 610 and suited me just fine. Also, I already had all of it for transmog (except the legs) so that was easy. The rest I either crafted or got from the Auction House. (And of course I transmogged it all, because everyone knows you heal better when you have a new outfit!)

My gear was as follows:

Helm: Streamtalker Coif
Neck: Heirloom – Eternal Horizon Choker (has an on use heal ability, however I didn’t realise this was a shared cooldown with healthstones, which are a stronger self heal, so you may prefer something else here)
Shoulders: Streamtalker Pauldrons
Back: Embroidered Wolfsfur Cloak
Chest: Streamtalker Tunic
Wrists: Streamtalker Armbands
Hands: Streamtalker Gloves
Waist: Streamtalker Belt
Legs: Packrunned Leggaurds of the Fireflash
Boots: Streamtalker Boots
Ring 1: Whispering Blackrock band of the Feverflare
Ring 2: Etheralus, the Eternal Reward (legendary ring)
Trinket 1: Corrupted Egg Shell (from a Timewalking Dungeon. Has an ilvl of 660. Has a mana regen ability)
Trinket 2: Demonic Phylactery (heroic) (Reduces mana cost of all spells)
Weapon: Soultwisting Staff

Talents

I got a bit ahead of myself and started the event before I had changed my talents or eaten any food (silly me!!), so I didn’t get a chance to change my talents. I figured I’d wipe pretty quickly and could change them after so went ahead anyway, but I managed to get this on my first attempt tonight. Here’s what my talents were:

PGtalents

If I were to do it again, I would probably keep most of it, however I’d change the level 100 talent to the Cloudburst Totem, as I was trying to avoid using chain heal as much as possible to save on mana. Elemental Blast is a brilliant talent for this, especially if you have mana shortages. It also helps to buff up some of your other stats for a bit which is nice 🙂

Glyphs

Glyphs weren’t anything special, although the one that I would definitely recommend is Glyph of Healing Wave, which also heals you for 10% of the heal you do on an Ally. Free heals for yourself means you’re spending less mana.

Other stuff

Don’t be a dunce like me and forget to eat – I’m sure it will help! Also, I realised part way through that I (still!!) hadn’t put a Chomp! identifier on my vuhdo bars. I highly recommend doing this as the target with Chomp will take constant damage until they are healed to full. It helps knowing who has that on them as soon as it goes out.

Don’t be afraid to use your cooldowns. People have set times in the fights that they prefer to use them, but I just used them as I needed them. There were times I would have been using a CD when it wasn’t needed if I had have done them at specific times and would have gone to waste. I also threw out my Fire Elemental to help out with DPS to push the wave through quicker.


 

So I just went for it. I managed to get through the first 10 waves no worries at all. Which I thought was a little weird but figured it was only the first difficulty so it would get harder and I’d fail soon. When I was at about wave 17 I thought that I might actually be able to do this. Going in to the 20s and I start getting nervous that I’m so close and I could really get it. And so I did. I started crying when I hit wave 30 (relatively easily in the end, mind you!) and it all fell apart at wave 32 because my eyes were all welled up. But it didn’t matter – I had finally done what I had set out to do so many years ago. And I worked my butt off and I did it.

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The end!

I know it’s stupid to be emotional about this, but this has really been playing on my and my confidence as a healer. Tell you what, I’m never taking this title off. Ever.

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Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of the Girls Gone WoW podcast. They have great discussion topics and are fantastic to listen to. For episode 211 EJ and Raven were joined by Leeta to discuss “How alt-friendly is WoW”? It’s a great episode – have a listen here.

There was great input from everyone about what would make WoW more alt-friendly, or what already is alt-friendly in the game, what’s almost there but not quite. But it really got me thinking – why do people create alts in the first place? Answering this question will probably make it easier to figure out how to make WoW more alt-friendly. So I undertook some “research” and asked twitter:

I was overwhelmed (and grateful!!) by all of the responses, and really loved hearing other people’s reasons for having multiple characters. I’ve broken down the general themes of everyone’s thoughts below. (I was going to link to everyone’s tweets, but there are SO many and you guys covered different thoughts in each tweet, so if you would like to see everyone’s tweets, check them out here.)

So let’s get started!

Provide services (i.e. materials/gold etc.) for main character or account as a whole/be self sufficient

This was a pretty common sentiment, and is also one that I share. I have a mentality where I feel that if I can make an item, I don’t want to pay extra for it on the Auction House, so I’ll make it myself. There’s also something very satisfying about making your own gear or enchants or glyphs etc. For me, it adds to the fantasy of the game. I imagine my characters all know and interact with each other in the world to give each other the products and materials each one needs. And this way, I don’t pay any extra to buy what I need. Sometimes I’ll even have extra mats that let me make extras to sell to make gold – win win!

To make gold

This can sometimes tie in with the point above (but often not). Having alts gives you great opportunities to make some extra gold – especially now with Garrisons and Shipyards. There’s a little work involved in getting yourself set up, but once you have everything built, you can sit back and watch the gold pile up. There’s also the gold generation from levelling your toons, as well as the mats they collect and the items they make.

I have one bank alt who has her own guild that I use to make gold. She posts (mostly) transmog pieces and extra pets/bits and pieces my characters pick up. I like having her as the one to look after all the gold – it makes it easier to keep track of what I have, rather than having to switch between a dozen toons trying to remember who sold what on the AH. Works well for me!

Able to play/raid with friends on other servers/in other factions

I think this one is pretty important. There are some limiting factors to WoW that make it impossible in some instances to play the game with your friends. If you play in a different faction to your friends, there is not a lot that you can do in game with them. Also, if you play on US servers, you’re never going to be able to play with those on EU servers. Even more than that – you have to have a completely separate account and subscription to have access to the other region’s servers. Which is how we end up with random alts scattered about – friends are in different places and we want to play with them.

Try out different classes/specs

This one resonates most with me. There is so much more of the game that can be experienced by playing a different class. The most obvious is Death Knights, and Demon Hunters will also have this in Legion. But more than that – if you play a hunter, there’s almost a mini-game in collecting all of the pets and capturing them in different ways, as a mage, getting portal around the world at your leisure, and druids shape shifting at will – taking off  to fly above the world or shifting in to a seal to swim. I makes for a different experience.

Also, just playing the game as a melee dps as opposed to a ranged dps – you see the world and interact with it differently, giving you quite a different experience.

To understand other raid roles/dungeon or raid as a different role

This one links nicely with the previous point, but I felt it deserved its own section because it goes a bit beyond just trying out different classes or specs. Raiding as a healer is a very different experience to raiding as a dps, and different yet again to raiding as a tank. Raiding as a different role can make a tired raid zone feel very new again!

“Leftovers” from previous mains

Ah, the result of changing your mains. I’m guilty of this (though can’t see myself doing it again). When I first started playing WoW I mained a holy paladin and a mage – at the same time. Which is why I switched to Shaman at the end of Mists of Pandaria – so that I could have 1 character who could play the 2 roles I wanted to play most – heals and ranged dps. It means, though, that I have 2 characters, with a decent amount of history and reputation, sitting on the sidelines. They do both tend to be the first “alts” that I level because I have a very soft spot for them!

To have all professions

For the completionists! Having alts lets you have the ability to get all of the professions, which can help with the crafting and the gold making etc. I personally need to do an analysis of which alts have which professions and look at streamlining them a bit. I have 3 toons with alchemy (from the days of specialisations), which I’m not sure is relevant any more. Anyway, the point is, the more alts, the more professions you can have!

To see more of the story in WoW – see the other faction’s story/other races’ stories

Another one I strongly relate to. I have enjoyed seeing Warlords of Draenor through the eyes of both Horde and Alliance – I didn’t really get to do that during Cataclysm or Mists of Pandaria. Especially in Mists, there was content that I will never get to experience because I played Alliance at the start of that. I’ll never see the Horde’s involvement in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, or Theramore’s Fall (pre-MoP event). Now that I have max level toons in both factions, I’ll make sure I can see both sides of the story.

To farm old content/Multiple chances for mounts and rewards

For those who like to collect things, having alts is almost essential. Mount farmers especially appreciate being able to run [insert current raid/dungeon on farm] on multiple toons, though it’s not limited to mount farming.

Having alts makes it easier to farm old content without impacting on your main. For example, if your main has no bag space at all, it can be very difficult to farm old dungeons/raids/zones because you are constantly having to stop to sell what you pick up. Giant pain in the butt (can you tell I’m speaking from experience here?!) I’m now in the habit of gridning out achievements etc. on alts because they just have the bag space! That and some classes are better suited to farming – I’m glad I’m farming Tol Barad rep on my mage because she can run around casting scorch as she goes, making the process a whole lot faster!

For achievements

There are actually a few achievements in game, especially designed towards having alts, such as Double Agent (for reaching max level on both an Alliance and Horde character) and Master of all (for levelling all primary professions to max level – can only do this if you have alts!)

For something different to do/it’s fun

As you can see from above, there’s actually quite a lot to be gained from the game by having multiple characters. And it IS fun!

Addicted to the game 🙂

Well, aren’t we all?

 

So, there are a lot of reasons to make and play an alt (or 2 or 10!) I really enjoyed hearing other people’s reasons behind creating their alts. Some are more attached to them than others, and that’s ok. It does help shed some light on how Blizzard could make WoW more alt-friendly, too. A step forward is to support these activities here.

 

We all know I like to talk, especially about WoW! So I was really flattered and jumped at the opportunity when SpazzWesson approached me about co-hosting a podcast with him that was all about mounts in World of Warcraft. AWESOME!!

The show is just about collecting mounts in WoW, how to go about it, and sharing stories about how we go some of our favourite mounts. We recorded our first episode last night and it’s now up on our site (and should be iTunes & Stitcher in the next couple of days). The website is http://reinsofazeroth.podbean.com/. We’re also looking for people to share some of their stories about the mounts they have collected. If you have a story please let us know! Email us reinsofazeroth@gmail.com or tweet us @reinsofazeroth.

Hope you like the show! 😀

I’ve been playing quite a bit of Diablo 3 of late. Season 5 started the other week and I have been playing away in the hopes of getting all of the Season 5 achievements for an in game pet. I only have 1 achievement left – to complete a class dungeon. So far I haven’t been able to. But I’m working on it!

Anyway, this is the second season I’ve played of D3. I had heard of “not a cow level” and a level full of rainbows and stuff, but had never seen them. UNTIL YESTERDAY! Thor and I were running through doing bounties when he spotted a rainbow treasure goblin. We killed him, and he opened a portal to a magical land of wonder and destruction – Whimsydale!

Everything is so colourful! There are rainbows and happy clouds that wee when you tickle them, and trees that are actually green and flowers and unicorns and cuddly bears. Of course all of it wants to kill me, so I do what I must. For the loots.

I’ll be honest with you – I had a huge goofy grin on my face and was giggling the whole time. It’s a great place. 😀

I do find it fascinating how worked up everyone gets about suggested changes to World of Warcraft. There are so many outraged voices making a lot of noise about how “stupid” the devs are and how this is the final straw and they’re quitting WoW.

Just another day in overreaction city.

So what’s all the drama about? Well, it’s this:

Essentially, on the Legion alpha at the moment, there is a charge being applied for switching specs. I will say upfront – the cost here is mostly irrelevant, which Celestalon has reiterated:

For me, I’d like to discuss whether or not assigning a cost (of some sort) to switching spec is a good change for the game, and what is the real issue Blizzard is trying to combat with this change?

You can skip right to the end for the tldr if you don’t want to read my justification for my opinion.

Disclaimer

As regular readers will know, I play a shaman. I consider my restoration spec my main spec, as this is the one I (usually!) raid with. However, more often than not I am in my dps elemental spec to “survive” being out in the world on a pvp server, to do my dailies, to run old raids/dungeons and to raid with when fights get easier and we need fewer healers. I constantly switch between these two specs. So I do have an initial bias about this topic that I am going to put aside for the moment to try and get to the bottom of what these changes are getting at.

Gold sink vs. stick to one spec

For me, this change points to two possible dilemmas that Blizzard is trying to combat:

  1. there’s too much gold in the game
  2. players are not committing to specs.

These are two very different issues, and right now I don’t feel it’s clear which Blizzard is aiming to combat here. But let’s explore these ideas a bit further.

The gold sink

It’s Rho’s fault I’m writing this, because he got me thinking with this post that he wrote about how this change could be considered a gold sink, and what that meant. This part really struck a point:

rho_goldsink

Read Rho’s whole post at http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1so7d6e

It’s very easy, as someone who’s greatest gold accomplishment was getting to 500k on all her toons just this week, to feel upset about the argument that there’s just “too much gold in the game” and that “players are too rich”. I, for one, don’t see it because I’m not “rich”. But that’s because I only see how much I have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that there are plenty of people out there who are rolling around in gold like Scrooge McDuck. I see it on the Black Market Auction House all the time, when items hit gold cap within minutes of being released, or players going out and buying whatever mounts they want, or not being affected by price hikes in enchants/gems etc. But I, like everyone else, don’t see the overall numbers and can’t fathom how much of a problem it is for the game. So I have to trust Blizzard on this one.

I don’t like gold sinks. I understand their purpose, but I don’t like it. I feel like there are too many rewards/items associated with the gold-making mini-game. And let’s face it – making gold in WoW is a whole other game in and of itself. If gold-making isn’t something you like to do, there is an awful lot of content in the game that you can miss out on – there are loads of cosmetic items in game that simply cost a bucket load of gold, and if you don’t have that gold, you’re going to have a hard time getting them.

The point is that Blizzard needs to find ways to get players to let go of some of their gold, and perhaps tying it to something many players do often is one way of going about it. But is assigning a gold cost to switching specs a fair gold sink?

Not all classes are created equally

My biggest concern with the proposal to charge to change specs is that it’s not an activity that is spread evenly across the specs. Hybrid classes are definitely getting the raw end of the deal here, as they are more likely to change their specs often (as I have explained for myself above). This isn’t an uncommon activity for hybrids at all, and in some cases it is expected of us to switch our specs based on the needs of the group we are raiding with.

DPS will definitely change their specs as well, but this is not as often as hybrids.

So for this argument, I say that no, this approach is not equally balanced across all classes.

New players

I think my biggest concern with specifically a gold sink being attached to a spec change is how that will impact new players. I’m talking about the shiny, brand new players who will come in to the game because of the movie. They come in to it with nothing – no gold, and also little to no knowledge of the classes/specs available in the game. Because of this they may end up switching specs to “try them out”, which they won’t be able to do if it costs a small fortune. There is the possibility of the cost scaling by level, or the cost only being implemented at a certain level to help alleviate this, but I think saving up for flying feels more satisfying for new players rather than paying to change their spec.

As a slight side note, if it was decided that the cost would be something other than gold, it’s important that this is available to non-max level players. So I don’t feel that it could be attained with valor, conquest etc.

Cost per healer

There is an argument for hybrids in that they could charge for their services. Much the same way mages would charge for others to use their teleports, healers and tanks could take a similar approach and sell their services (and their faster queue times!) on a cost recovery basis. Or at a profit if they so desire. Likely? I’m not sure. I do think this would depend on the cost of switching specs in the end. It could get out of hand, though, but it is an option if the gold cost ends up being a bit high.

So is it about the gold?

Personally, I don’t think this is about a gold sink. There are too many limitations for new players if it is. And honestly, there’s just something yucky about putting a gold cost against game functionality, and I don’t think Blizzard would do that. But I do understand that gold sinks need to exist – there should definitely be some more thought and discussion given to this.

Which leads me to believe it’s not about the gold at all.

All about that spec

I feel that class fantasy and sticking to one spec is what this change is about. “But why would Blizzard want players to stick to one spec?” I hear you say! I asked the same thing of my lovely twitter followers and they said the following:

specs

I think Marie really nails it on the head here with her comment about identifying with one spec. Artifact weapons really emphasise this. Players will need to choose which weapon they are going to focus their energies and time on. And whilst we can get artifacts for the other specs, it will be very time consuming and not quite as strong as your primary artifact.

It’s about the fantasy

It’s pretty clear that class fantasy is high on the priority list for Blizzard in Legion. It was the focus of the first blog posts that came out after Blizzcon, and is reiterated time and time again when talking about class changes. It is really hammered home with Artifacts – each spec has its own specially crafted quest chain to obtain the artifact. It’s allllll about the class fantasy.

It could be argued that if class fantasy is so important, why are there multiple stats available on gear? That allows us to use that gear for multiple specs. So why limit access to the other specs? I suppose the answer here is that they don’t want to take the option to change specs away (if they wanted to do that they would completely lock down classes so that you could only ever play the 1 spec), but by introducing the cost element they want to limit how often it happens.

Having a cost associated with changing spec can reiterate class fantasy. By changing spec you’re changing in to a different mindset, and to emphasise that, it should be acknowledged that this is happening. Having a cast time to switch specs helps with this, as does wiping our resources and having a spell effect like we already do. But perhaps there can be more to it. Adding some sort of cost to this is another step that could make players pause for a moment to actually think about what they’re doing before they do this. Or it might just annoy them.

But class fantasy can’t be ignored. It’s important, it’s a focus for Blizzard and we need to adapt to this.

Why am I being punished all the time?!

So this is where my bias is going to come back in. Like I said above, I switch specs all the time. I don’t want it to cost me *insert price here* every time I do it. It feels like a kick in the gut. It’s already going to be incredibly time consuming for me to get 2 artifact weapons – it’s further punishment to make me pay to change specs. Artifact weapons already limit a player’s ability to play multiple specs – why does there need to be a cost added to it, too?

Another personal gripe is the impact it would have overall on our raid team. As many of you know, I’m already cross about mythic raiding being limited to 20 players (read this and this). Our team is small and rarely has over 15 players. As such, we don’t get to do mythic raiding not because we’re not good enough, but because we just can’t get the numbers. Because of our small team, we also have to do things large teams don’t – we don’t have “benched players” in our team. Everyone who shows up raids because we need the numbers. That means that if a fight requires an additional healer, one of our hybrids switches spec. If we need more dps, generally I’ll switch to ele to fill the gap. We are not the only teams to do this. So who would pay for that? The player who is just trying to help out their team? Or the guild who is already forking out for guild repairs/pots/food and not getting income from leveling members? Again, big kick in the gut for some of us.

Side note – healers can now dps

This, for me, is one of the big things I’d like the opportunity to test in the Legion alpha/beta. A lot of the arguments made about the cost of changing specs could be redundant if healer and tank dps is viable in all aspects of the game. Hybrids won’t need to change spec, so the cost (whatever it may be) doesn’t matter.

It’s a very big ask to get this balance right. I will be honest though, if I can charge through ICC on my ele shaman in no time flat, but it takes half an hour to do on my healer, I don’t care that my healer can dps, I’ll be switching to ele for it. And I don’t think I’m alone in that mindset.

This is a really big topic that I have loads of opinions on, so I’ll save it for another post. But it is worth having in the back of the mind while we discuss this.

Get to the bloody point, Cinder! What is your solution?!

Ok ok this has gone long enough, and you’ve done really well to get here if you have (thank you!)

Based on what we’ve gone through above, here’s what I think:

The ability to switch specs should not be used as a gold sink, as it punishes some players more than others (hybrids will generally switch more often than pure dps classes). Given that artifact weapons will already make it difficult for players to maintain more than one spec, adding another layer of difficulty (by charging) feels like a kick in the gut for those players.

Having said that, I do feel that class fantasy is important, and that some form of acknowledgment when changing a spec could have an impact on a player and make them more “aware” of the fantasy of their class. I feel like this could be achieved by using a Tome of the Clear mind for 50 silver. This is a minimal cost that new players could afford, that can also help players get in to the mindset  and appreciate the class fantasy.

I think the most important part of this change is that players need to feel like they still have the choice to change their spec if they want to.

 

So that’s what I think. What do you think?

Seems like everyone is talking about the fact that players can now purchase Crystallized Fel with valor. Wowhead have done a write about up about this which you can read here: http://www.wowhead.com/news=250679/crystallized-fel-now-available-for-valor-points

Crystallized Fel are used to upgrade the Legendary Ring +3 items levels each time (up to a total ilvl of 795 for your ring). And interestingly, you are able to purchase multiple of these, allowing you to make significant upgrades to your ring each week. i.e. if you earn maximum valor each week, you will be able to purchase 7 upgrades every 2 weeks (the wowhead article shows you the maths!)

Initially, I was excited about this. I raided as healer so I always upgraded the healing ring, which meant that my dps ring has been neglected. This way, I now have the option of upgrading that ring, too. Excellent news for dual spec players! And I get get multiple rings

But then I got to thinking about it. Why are Blizzard doing this? What’s the motivation? And what are the consequences going to be?

Nerf?

My first thought has been whether or not this is a “nerf” of sorts by giving players stronger gear. Maybe some groups are still struggling to get the Heroic Archimonde kill for the moose, and these upgrades are an attempt to help people in that situation. (Especially given you can upgrade multiple times a week).

It’s an interesting thought. It’s not uncommon for there to be nerfs made to the raid content, especially towards the end of the expansion. This option will give a bit more of a nerf without having to change the difficulty of the fights themselves which isn’t so “insulting”. I’m just curious about whether or not this is needed? Are teams still struggling with Heroic Archimonde? (Genuine question – I’m not trying to be a smart ass.) I suppose outside of the moose, there are teams still raiding just for fun who may have hit a brick wall in their progression, so these upgrades may be that extra little push they need.

Get more people in to end game content

My next thought was perhaps this was a way to get people more involved in end game content. As wowhead points out, you can make 4875 valor per week by running all of the end game content – Hellfire raids (LFR included), Heroic dungeons, Mythic dungeons and completing the weekly bonus quest. Maybe this is a way to get more people involved in those activities.

But is an upgrade to your legendary ring enough of a motivation to run all of that content? Probably not. People who weren’t motivated by valor upgrades to gear are unlikely to be moved to upgrade their rings. I personally haven’t given 2 hoots about actively farming valor and upgrading my gear. And whilst upgrading my Legendary Ring would be nice, it’s not a priority for me. I’d much rather run the end game content for my alts who still need to get their rings and who need gear. Running all of that content (where no gear is an upgrade for me) just for +3 on one item honestly doesn’t appeal to me.

What does this mean for guild runs?

Crystallized Fel only drop from Archimonde on a Normal or higher difficulty level raid. i.e. anything but LFR. Which means that until now, an organised raid team has been required to get the Fel. In addition, we were limited to 1 per week. With the new system you can get at least 3 Fel per week without having to step foot in to a normal+ raid. If you and your raid team were at the point of just farming HFC for ring upgrades, will this system replace that and cause the team to stop raiding?

Or has the collapsing of guild teams contributed to this decision? There are a lot of guilds not raiding at the moment because of end of expasion burn out. At least this way, if your guild team has fallen apart/taken a break you can still get better gear without them, which is nice.  It makes me sad, though, if this is the case.

Why?

I can’t help but still come away from this asking ‘why’ it’s been done. I’m not saying it’s a good or bad move, I’m just curious about the motivation behind it. I know of some people who will be very happy at being able to get some better gear without having to focus on difficult raid content, and I am really happy for them! I also know some people who will be disappointed with the decision and see it as a bit of an insult to those who raid harder content for better gear.

Either way, the option is there. Will you be farming valor for ring upgrades? And why do you think Blizzard did this?

 

Today I finished the last battle in the Celestial Tournament! It took me awhile, but I got there in the end. I doubt that it will happen, but it would be nice if there was another similar type tournament in Legion. I like this PVE-style of pet battling, where it’s just me against a series of pets. (I’m really not a fan of the PVP pet battling at all!)

All in all, it took a LOT of work to get through all of this, and an awful lot of patience. But it was worth it. All 4 of the pets are gorgeous and unique and I love them.

If you’re interested in taking on the Celestial Tournament, you’ll need 15 pets at maximum level just to enter, and a lot more than that to be able to complete the fights. In the end there were 2 guides that I used, both from wowhead. The first, and the one I used the most, is the A Pet Battler’s Guide to: Defeating the Celestial Tournament. I found this guide really useful because it has multiple stats, and best of all offers a series of alternative pet options if you don’t have what the guide suggests. The second guide I used is Celestial Tournament with 18 pets. I only found this guide towards the end of my attempts, but it has some great strats for the Celestials themselves. The guide does make use of the “healing pets up” strat where you have a pet with an AoE who can heal up any pets who haven’t died. The guide explains it well, and it works well, too. I used it as a backup for any strats that didn’t work out for me in the first guide. Both guides are great, so check them out!

I took all 4 of my little pets around to their parents’ temples for a visit and to get some family pics. 🙂

Best of all, this ticks off another item from my bucket list!

My poor little blog has been neglected of late. I had a very busy week at work in the lead up to me flying off to visit family for an early Christmas, so I didn’t have much time to post before I left. I didn’t have any way of posting while I was up there either.

And then the day after I got back home (Monday last week), I went in to work and found out our whole department had been made redundant. Merry Christmas indeed! (the joys of being government funded). So the past week has been, well, difficult to say the least. I tend to go in to shut down mode during times like this hence the lack of blog posts. As it is I’m still struggling to put words together but I need to snap out of it as I have jobs to apply for that require me to be articulate.

 

I won’t bore you with details, but I’m basically in a situation where I need to make that choice between having  job that doesn’t interest me/is not in my field, but pays the bills vs. taking a risk at finding (and getting!) a job that I would be passionate about (and that I know I would be good at). It’s all coming down to whether or not I have enough faith in myself, and boy that’s a bloody big question. But I think I’m going to take the chance…

Anyway, that’s enough about that! I do have a great big post that I’ve been working on that will probably need to a wait a little longer as my days are filled with job hunting and resume writing, but hopefully I’ll get it to you all soon. In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying the end of the year. Here’s to a successful and happy 2016!

 

P.S – what do you think of the new blog layout?

christmas_cinder

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, may it be full of love, laughter and happiness.

xo

(yeah I feel dirty about the title, too!)

So this weekend I found myself drawn once more to my mage. This always happens – when I feel a bit lost for something to do, I fall back on to my mage. I’m pretty sure it’s the portals – it makes getting around the world so easy! But also, she’s super pretty and I like blowing things up with my spells.

At the moment she’s playing as Arcane, which is super easy. Her gear is still low so she’s not very strong, which means she does die when I pull too many mobs in Tanaan. But the rotation is quite straight forward and gets the job done.

This weekend I did my Tol Barad dailies with her each day (still got a little while to go yet, and will lose about 4 days because of my holiday this week). I ran her through Dragon Soul (still need the Ultraxion mount!) and will do ICC tonight. I then decided that I’d get her the legendary ring. I haven’t really been too bothered with it on any of my alts yet. My warlock is up to the point where she needs to get the from Hellfire Citadel; my paladin has all of her Abrogator Stones, but still needs the tomes from Highmaul; and my mage is now up to the Abrogator Stone collecting stage and the tomes.

I really should finish the quest line on my warlock – she’s not far away from finishing it at all. It’s just that I’m soooo bad at playing her that it makes the experience a bit more harrowing than it needs to be.

Anyway, back to my mage. I think I’ve been playing her a lot more lately because I still haven’t really decided what my main alt will be in Legion. My shaman will always be my main, but I usually have a “main alt” that’s not too far behind her. For WoD is was my warlock, but I’m just terrible at her. I feel like I’ve really let her down.

I find myself always falling back to my mage and my paladin. They were my first 2 toons so it makes sense that I do this. And I do love them. I think I’m leaning more towards my mage at the moment because the Fire Mage Artifact Weapon – Felo’melorn – is absolutely gorgeous. **POSSIBLE SPOILERS – wowhead have some images of the variants of Felo’melorn right here. (These were seen during the Blizzcon presentation, too.). Don’t click if you don’t want to see theses!! The model second from the left is right up my alley!**

Also, as fire mage, they have an ability called Cinderstorm!! (which was like, totally named after my shaman hehe) But seriously, I’ve always really enjoyed playing fire, I’ve just always been very unlucky with critical strike so my numbers were always low. And it’s a lot slower to play, so hasn’t always been practical for levelling (which may still be the case in Legion!) but I just really like fire so it suits me well.

So with all of that in mind, I’m going to work to get my mage kitted out in at least LFR gear in time for Legion so that if I do decide to play her, she’ll do alright.

Anyway, those were my magey adventures this weekend! Got a bit of work to do with her, but she’ll get there 🙂

This week I was a guest on the Girls Gone WoW podcast with the ever lovely ladies, Raven and EJ. As usual, I had a brilliant time. You can check out the episode on their website here (or iTunes, Stitcher etc). The episode was about all things Beta. We talked about our experiences with Betas, how to be a good Beta tester etc. It’s a great show and I highly suggest giving it a listen, especially if you are in a Beta right now.

The main purpose of a Beta is to test, test, test. During the episode we talked about how to give feedback and I gave a (thoroughly entertaining!) analogy of how to give good feedback (it’s all about the detail!) (and it wasn’t that entertaining, but hopefully made sense!)

Since the episode, though, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I would like to see tested in the Beta, and what I would test the crap out of if I were one of the chosen ones for beta testing. Here’s my list:

Can I really level as a healer? Or is it still going to be very slow?

Blizzard have talked about how healers and tanks will be able to put out a lot more damage than what they have been able to previously.

dosomedamage

This, to me, it’s pretty clear that Blizzard expect healers and tanks to level in their respective classes rather than levelling as dps and switching to their support role for raiding. Some people will be really happy about this – they are healers or tanks through and through and don’t like having to figure out a dps rotation just to level. For me, I prefer levelling as elemental. I am a shaman, and whilst my primary purpose is to heal those who face the demons of the world, I recognise that I sometimes need to do that myself. I have command of the elements as a shaman, so it makes sense that I am able to use those to heal or to zap my enemies and generally kick some ass as elemental. But that doesn’t seem to be the intent in Legion, and it looks like I may need to level as restoration.

So an important aspect for me in Legion is how viable it is to level has a healer. Is the dps output strong enough that it doesn’t take 5 minutes to kill a mob?

I will say, I think it’s very important that this is tested by healers or tanks, rather than those who usually play dps specs, as dps will instantly feel weak. The tanks and the healers who are used to mobs taking a long time to die need to be the ones to see if we are feeling stronger, so they’d be better placed to determine whether it’s any faster now. I expect dps as a healer to be slower and lower and that’s totally fine – just how much slower will it be?

Getting more than 1 artifact weapon – when can you do it, and how viable is it to maintain 2 artifacts?

And a whole bunch of other related questions…

(I understand these are probably difficult questions to answer in beta – I’m hoping some can be, though!)

This follows on from my previous point. Like I said, I much prefer levelling as elemental, but I would need my artifact weapon to be raid ready for healing.

This comment was made during one of the Darkmoon Faire interviews at Blizzcon:

2artifact.JPG

Ok, yes we can have 2 artifacts, but they will never be equal. I can absolutely deal with that. It’s the same situation with my legendary ring at the moment – my healer ring has been upgraded every time it could have been; my dps ring hasn’t been upgraded at all. It doesn’t need to be because I level and do dailies only as ele, whereas my healer ring, well that’s where I save lives! I need that to be as strong as possible.

My real question is, if I were to level as elemental with the elemental artifact weapon, would I have enough time to get the resotration artifact weapon and level it up to be raid ready in time for the first raid that opens?

Am I able to get my elemental artifact and my restoration artifact immediately after? (i.e. essentially have both artifacts while I’m levelling?) Or do I have to wait until I’m 110, or some other point in time in the levelling process?

If I can get them at pretty much the same time, am I able to choose which artifact gets the upgrades, or will it default to what spec I am in at the time?

Again, loads of questions and some that are probably tricky to answer, but they do dictate how I’m going to level and play the game overall.

What is group composition like now with all of the class changes that have happened?

In particular, how melee heavy is group make up?

I’m coming at this from a raid leader’s point of view and wondering how much I need to worry about there being too many melee players in a team now. Does it really matter or have things kind of balanced themselves out?

I’m also curious about how the healer changes will affect group composition, too. With holy paladins moving closer to melee range, mistweaver monks coming out and holy priests being somewhere in between, how does that change how the groups are made up? Or does it not make much of a difference?

That one is difficult to test without raid testing having started. Though I am also curious about how the healer changes are playing out in the dungeons that can be tested right now, so there may be some information available.

 

So these are my initial thoughts so far about what I’d like to see tested out. This is in addition to the usual “How have professions changes?” and “oh god how do I play my class again??!” questions.

If you are a Beta tester and any of the above are things you’d be keen to test out, I’d love to hear your feedback! If you’re not a tester, what are you wanting to see tested?

So for the past few weeks a couple of us have been hard at work putting together a brand new podcast, and we are now ready to share it with the world! Battletagged is a podcast hosted by a bunch of Battletag friends – Neuro, Klor and myself – and we talk all things Blizzard games. I.e. the games you play with your battlenet friends (with a heavy focus on World of Warcraft, because that’s the best game!).

The show is designed to be like the discussions you have with your guild mates in vent/mumble/guild chat etc – light hearted, thought provoking, a little bit silly at times, with lots in depth discussion and of course loads of laughs. We’ve been recording for a couple of weeks now to get in to the swing of things and to get used to the whole podcasting experience, so there are a couple of episodes ready for your ears.

You can listen/download the show on Battletagged.com. If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can email us at battletagged@gmail.com or add us on twitter @Battletagged. We’re always keen to hear from listeners, whether it’s a story you want to share, or a show idea or just general feedback – get in touch!

Hope you like the show! 😀

P.S. We do sometimes swear on the show, so if you’re not a fan of the occasional naughty words, please keep that in mind. 

I’ve been a bit quiet on here this last week. I’ve still been playing WoW, but not a great deal. This is for 2 reasons – 1. My work situation is pretty stressful at the moment, so I’m either too tired or too stressed out when I get home to play too much. 2. Most people are on a break, so there aren’t a lot of people online anymore. It makes for a lonely place at times.

The work stuff will get sorted out, one way or the other. The quiet guild will not get any better until Legion comes out. Which makes it a long time to be playing relatively alone.

Also, I miss raiding. A LOT. It’s only been a couple of weeks since we called it, but I miss it. And I’m not the only one. One of my lovely raid mates left the below message on the forums yesterday:

miss

It made me feel better to know that I’m not the only one already missing everyone.

I need to make a decision about what to do. I either need to just suck it up and wait until Legion comes out, knowing that things will be better then. Or I need to find a raid team in the meantime. Neither option really fills me with excitement. I do want to raid, yes, but finding a raid team that is doing the difficulty level you want to do, that raids at times that suit you, and that has nice, friendly people in it is just damn hard and time consuming. The other issue is that I don’t necessarily want to leave my current raid team, so I may only be looking for a temporary solution here, and I’d feel bad doing that to another team.

There is the option of pugging, but that doesn’t appeal to me – half the fun of raiding is playing with people you know and have fun with. That’s a lot more difficult to get on a regular basis.

I have been toying with the idea of getting the Legion pre-order and using the boost on making an alliance shaman and finding an Alliance raid team for her. I do miss being Alliance very much so it could be a good option. Still need to find a raid team though.

Anyway, this has been a bit of a rambly useless post today. Sorry!

In more exciting news, I’m on Girls Gone WoW again this weekend which should be a lot of fun. And hopefully this weekend I’ll have some very exciting news of my own to share with you all. So stay tuned! 😀

NOTE: THERE ARE NO LEGION SPOILERS IN THIS POST! 

It’s taken me a little while to write this post for a few reasons. The main one being that I’ve been quite cross. I wanted to write this post with a clear head, but it has definitely taken a little for it to clear.

So. Here we are.

Last week the Legion alpha started showing up, and a couple of days later that invitations were sent out to the usual suspects to try out the Demon Hunter starting area. As expected, the datamining started immediately. And so did the trolling.

The community seems to fall in to one of three categories:

  1. Those who do not want to hear or see anything at all about the new expansion until the day it is released.
  2. Those who don’t mind either way.
  3. Those who want to know what is going to happen and actively seek out spoilers.

I fall in to category 1. I don’t want spoilers. The whole point of an MMORPG for me is that is has an immersive story that you are a part of and that you play out (with story is the key word here). I like to learn about what’s happening in the world of Azeroth on my own. I want the gasping moment of realisation when something exciting happens; the tears when someone dies and the elation when an enemy is defeated.

Many other people do not feel this way. they fall in to category 3 and want to know what’s happening now. Which they are entitled to. What they are not entitled to is disrespecting those  who don’t want to know what’s going to happen until they’re actually playing it. What’s not ok is posting story spoilers on social sites or in trade chat in game where anyone can see them, regardless of whether or not they want to. What’s not ok is being a trolling dick.

This is not ok: (there are old school Star Wars spoilers in the below clip, so don’t watch it if you’ve never seen a Stars Wars movie and plan to one day)

Some people (like Homer) do it by accident out of ignorance. Other people do it on purpose. And it’s not cool.

What do I do?

So here’s the dilemma. Many of the people who deliberately post spoilers take on the argument “stay off social media and websites if you don’t want to be spoiled” to which I say “screw you, buddy”. I’m not the problem here – your shitty behaviour is. Wowhead and mmo-champion have big buttons for me to press if I want to see a spoiler. If I don’t want to see it, I don’t. But when you post these in public spaces, you are taking my choices away.

It’s just not realistic to expect someone to stay off twitter or facebook or out of trade chat for months at a time. And why should I live in an isolated bubble because of someone else’s poor behaviour? Sure, there’s the option of blocking/unfollowing people who do post spoilers, but you’ll need to see the spoilers to know to block them, so you’re getting screwed anyway.

I’ve been pretty lucky to have not seen any spoilers in my twitter feed. (Thank you lovely twitter followers!) But others aren’t so lucky.

So you now have a choice. You can bury your head in the sand and set yourself up in a cave in the hopes of avoiding any spoilers; you can shrug it off and say “what will be, will be”; you can get angry about being spoiled, or; you can get spoiled on your own terms.

Or you could do this:

For trolls, one of the biggest highs they get (and the reason they keep trolling) is because of the reaction they get. The bigger the reaction (the angrier/more upset you get) the more they do it. They feed off those reactions. So I made a conscious decision that I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.

Getting spoiled on your own terms

I had to make a decision. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay off social media etc. until Legion came out (and to be quite frank, I’m offended by the notion – it’s blatant victim blaming “well you shouldn’t have been in that place at that time anyway”). I also knew that the chances of me staying spoiler free were slim to none (the server I’m on is terrible for that sort of behaviour). I came to the conclusion that if I was going to get spoiled by trolls, that I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of them getting a reaction out of me. So earlier this week I told my boyfriend what I planned to do, and very quietly went in to our room with my iPad and read the spoilers. And that was that.

My boyfriend has not read all the spoilers. He unfortunately has had some part of the story spoiled for him thanks to some leaky tweets, but he’s still trying to avoid the rest as best as possible. I will not tell him what I know. And I will not tell you what I know. Which is why I’m doing this post. I wanted to give you some food for thought about spoilers to help you make your own decision about how you want to handle them. If you fall in to categories 2 and 3 above, you don’t really have a problem here. If, like me, you fall in to category 1, you’ve got some decisions to make the main decision being how you want to handle yourself if you do end up getting spoiled.

My spoiler policy

Alternative Chat (as usual) had some good advice and suggested everyone make a spoiler policy for their blogs. So you can read my spoiler policy right here. This will let you know what I will and won’t be posting on my blog over the coming months.

 

 

This weekend I finished levelling my Alliance toon to 100. What a wonderful experience it was! The levelling felt different, even though a lot of the quests are the same, they were in different orders or for different purposes so they had that “newish” tinge to them.

I levelled my Death Knight as Blood because it’s just loads of fun gripping everything in and never dying. Actually now that I’m thinking about it the only time I died during the whole experience was during the garrison campaign where we go to far north Gorgrond to get the artifact back and there’s the big tree guy and loads of enemies to kill and what not. I decided to be a smart ass and did Gorefiend’s Grasp, pulled almost everyone and I exploded. I had a good laugh at my stupidity. Still, I recommend levelling as blood – yes, it’s slower, but it’s fun 🙂

So one of the biggest differences between the Horde and Alliance levelling experience is the garrisons. And there is just absolutely no comparison at all. Alliance genuinely get a castle. There’s a fountain. There are actual roads. It’s just beautiful, and now I’m even more bitter about my Horde garrison!

There were quite a few other instances where the Alliance story made other things make more sense. For example, I better understand Socrethar now, Ner’zhul’s situation makes more sense now, too (and is actually a bit devastating). The cinematic at the end of the SHadowmoon Valley quest line had me in tears (darn you Blizzard making me cry all the time!)

And Yrel. Wow. I loved Yrel before hand. We saw her every now and again as Horde, and she always struck me as pretty badass. But then I got to know her, and boy is she is brilliant character. Honestly, I don’t see how she would stay in AU Draenor while the Legion is kicking our asses. It seems very out of character for her. So I’m hoping we’ll see her again, soon.

As usual I took a truckload of screenshots while I was levelling, and have made a little slideshow of them below. PLEASE NOTE: there are spoilers in these screenshots!! If you haven’t done the Alliance quest line yet and would like to do it without being spoiled, don’t look at these pictures!

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I know a lot of people got this excitement earlier in the week when it first came out, but tonight was our last guild raid night, and we all got our moose. And it’s so lovely! It has a funny run and flies weird, but it’s so pretty and I love it so much.

WoWScrnShot_112215_203827

look at the pretty blue stuff at his feet!!!

It is a bittersweet night tonight, because it was our last raid as a guild for Warlords. So I’ll be feeling a bit lost for awhile until I can decide what I want to do about raiding until Legion comes out. I haven’t quite decided. A break is probably the best idea so I’m not burned out by Legion, but I know I’ll miss it and want to raid again in no time. We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, I have this lovely moose to remind me of my awesome guild and raid team. Can’t wait for Legion!

It’s WoW’s 11th birthday! And boy did we get some goodies this year. The one that everyone is talking about (because everyone always talks about it!) is the Inflatable Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker. I’ve only ever had one in Diablo, so this was a novelty for me. My favourite thing about it, though, is that when you equip it, a bolt of lightning shoots down on you from above! Very dramatic. I also like that the weapon enchant transmogs that you have on your weapons also apply to “Inflatable” Thunderfury. So my warlock, with her red set, looks kinda cool with a dripping red-tinged Thunderfury.

Other gifts that we got were the usal experience boost, wands to turn you/party members in to a murloc or a Gnoll, and a costume to turn you in to Edwin VanCleef. I haven’t used that costume yet, so I don’t have any pictures, but you basically turn in to him.

I really like these little gifts that we get each year. It doesn’t matter if they’re silly or pointless, to me it’s just Blizzard’s way of saying “hey, thanks for being here!”, to which I say “thanks for making a game that makes me want to stay!”.

Somebody on twitter reminded me of the Call of the World Shaman quest line from Cataclysm the other day. I did this quest chain once on my paladin but I was so new to the game at the time that it didn’t mean a lot to me then. It was interesting, but I didn’t know all of the characters and the history well enough to full appreciate it. Raid was cancelled again tonight due to not enough players, so I decided to do the quests on my shaman (because she really ought to have done it!) Boy am I glad I did this.

***For those of you who haven’t done this quest chain and want to be surprised by it, I suggest you head off. I have done a bunch of screen shots from the whole quest chain, so you will be spoiled. ***

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The quest can be picked up from your faction’s capital city where all the portals are. It will take you to Hyjal, where you have a chat with Thrall and the Aspects about the dramas with the Twilight’s Hammer, who of course show up to ruin the day. Thrall gets split in to the elements, and Aggra and I have to save him.

First, the air element, and we get to ride in a cyclone in Ulduar.

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After that, we headed underwater to the abyss where we saw a few visions of Thrall’s greatest desires. The first one that we see was interesting, actually. It’s between Thrall and Varian Wrynn, and see Thrall kneel before Varian and put down Doomhammer to call peace between the Alliance and the Horde. Knowing that in Legion, enhancement shamans pick up Doomhammer, it makes we wonder if this scene will become a reality?

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Next is to Deepholm to battle the earth elements, and get cross with Aggra at Thrall’s demands to be “patient”…

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And lastly, to Firelands to battle fire. Another interesting moment where Thrall screams at Gul’dan that he will burn his way through the afterlife to find Gul’dan in whatever hell he’s in. Why he told us to set Gul’dan free in AU Draenor is beyond me. But perhaps this is hinting at an event in Legion, too?

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So we set Thrall free and he and Aggra devote their lives to each other, and a whole bunch of important people are there to witness it, which is lovely. Thrall gives you a cloak to say thanks, then everybody cheers and Jaina cries (go figure).

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I really enjoyed this quest chain, even more so now that I better understand what is going on. I’m hoping this is similar to what we do in Legion to obtain our artifact weapons – a quest chain that I can do on my own, rich with story and epic screenshot moments 😀

This weekend I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my back so have been taking it easy. Which means a lot of time in WoW. This week’s bonus event is one of my favourites, the Pet Battle Bonus. It’s a brilliant opportunity to level up some of your pets very quickly. I have two pet related items on my pre-Legion bucket list. One is to get the pet battle monument by completing 2000 (argh) pet battles in Draenor. The other is an equally stupid goal of my own to get all of my pets to 25. So why not kill 2 birds with one stone while also levelling up one of my toons at the same time?

One of the best places to level up pets nice and quickly is actually right outside the Horde garrison. There are loads of little Icespine Hatchlings that respawn very quickly. That and with my little team below, they are perfect for levelling pets very quickly from level 1.

pet team

My super levelling pet team

Here’s my team:

Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling
Breath
Thunderbolt
Decoy
(note: Decoy is really the only ability you need from this pet, so if you have another with Decoy that you would rather use, go for it. Just make sure your other 2 abilities will be useful in the rare event that Xu-Fu will go down). 

Xu-Fu, Cub of Xuen
Bite
Feed
Prowl

Levelling pet – any pet that you want to level, even level 1

The strategy:

  1. open with Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling and drop Decoy
  2. switch to your levelling pet. Don’t do any abilities – the decoy will take the hit so your low level pet doesn’t take any damage
  3. switch to Xu-Fu and take the hit
  4. do prowl
  5. do feed – generally this should bring you right back up to full health
This is how your level 1 pets will survive the fights - that decoy!

This is how your level 1 pets will survive the fights – that decoy!

From here it’s a straight forward rotation of doing bite until prowl is available again, then doing prowl, feed and repeat. Xu-Fu does most of the hard work here, but he’s a brilliant little pet. His self healing is what makes this so easy to get through. I work it so that the last hit on the opposing team is Feed which usually bring Xu-Fu back to full health, ready for his next team to fight. It means you don’t spend a lot of time having to heal up your pets outside of the battles. Also, if you’re very lucky, you’ll get 2 critters on the opposing team – each can be taken down with just 2 hits from Xu-fu (sometimes even just 1 if he crits well!).

Sometimes you will get unlucky and Xu-Fu will go down, especially if the other 2 pets are Twilight Wasps (flying), but following the above I’ve only ever had that happen on the 3rd opposing pet, and the mechanical dragonling does just fine to finish off the battle (drop decoy, thunderbolt and breath and you should be done).

You can make the pet levelling process WAY faster if you wear our Safari hat, and use both a Lesser Pet Treat (25% pet exp. bonus) AND the Pet Treat (50% pet exp. bonus) – both will treats will stack, so with everything combined with the pet battle bonus experience, you’re looking at 275% pet experience bonus. VERY nice. 😀

It’s quick and easy. My priest dinged 100 today having essentially the very basics in Frostfire Ridge to give her a garrison, and from then on she did pet battles. It’s definitely a slow levelling process, that’s for sure, but it was something different, and is another alt to cross off my list to have to max level before Legion.

If you try this team out, let me know how you go. Hope it works well for you, too 🙂

Feel Good Friday! is a weekly exercise to help bring some positivity in to the gaming community by sharing stories to make people smile. They may be heartwarming or funny stories, tales of your epic kills or something that you’ve found in game – anything that gives you some good vibes.

Feel Good Friday! this week is all about Blizzcon. Well, not specifically about Blizzcon itself, but the people who attended, whether in person or via the Virtual Ticket.

murkadin

gahhh!!! SO adorable!!!

This was my first proper Blizzcon, even though it was only by Virtual Ticket. Previously I had only really got the Blizzcon info from sites like mmo-champion and wowhead after it had all happened. Which is all well and good, (and they have done a wonderful job again this year, along with Blizzard Watch), but it didn’t really get me too buzzed.

This year, though, I decided a Virtual Ticket was in order. Not just for the Murkadin pet (who is frekaing ADORABLE by the way!!!) but because I wanted to see all of the panels that you can only see with the ticket. I wanted to hear all of the news first hand, and to see the excitement and passion from the Blizzard team themselves. I expected to enjoy watching the videos and hearing the news. What I didn’t expect was to feel like I was almost there thanks to the wonderful WoW twitter community.

I watched the opening ceremony with you all. I was there when our twitter feeds went silent as the Warcraft movie trailer and the Legion trailer played, and then when our feeds exploded in to shouts and woops and tears and excitement once they were finished. I was there when we oohed and ahhed over the beautiful new zones that are coming, and I was there for all the BACON!!!! & transmog tweets. I felt like I was there with you all. Getting to experience that together was really heartwarming. I know it sounds corny and stupid, but it was a really wonderful experience to share that time together, even though we were from all corners of the globe. For last weekend, we were all hanging out together, and it was glorious.

So this week’s Feel Good Friday! is for everyone! All of you who shared the excitement on twitter; all of you who shared their pictures from Blizzcon itself and helped us to feel like we were there; all of the beautiful cosplayers and the photographers who captured their hard word; all of you who worked your bums off so that we could get all the behind the scenes or non-Virtual ticket content; and to Blizzard themselves for working so hard to pull it all together. I had an amazing weekend, and look forward to Blizzcon 2016.

Thanks everyone! ❤

If you have a story you’d like to share that made you feel good, share it below in the comments! Or drop me an email at [cinder (at) cindersays (dot) net] and I’ll feature it in a future Feel Good Friday post. It doesn’t have to be a World of Warcraft story – it can be from any game at all. And it doesn’t have to be long – it can be a short message if you like. Just something that brings some positivity back to the gaming community.

One of the good things about keeping expectations in check is that when you are looking forward to an announcement, if it’s not super exciting, you’re prepared. It’s for this reason that I’m not overly disappointed with the Restoration Shaman changes announced in the Shaman class preview blog shown today. The short, initial reactions from most people is that nothing is changing. Which is true to a degree, but is a bit misleading.

The biggest change for restoration shamans is a change that is applicable to all shamans, and that is totems are changing. In a nutshell:

  • totems of a similar type can be dropped at the same time (e.g. Healing Stream Totem and Healing Tide Totem)
  • totem health is based on a percentage of your own health
  • totems that need to be placed in a specific location can be targeted before placing

All good things!

Where things start to fall a bit flat for some people is that, other than these totem changes, there isn’t a lot else changing for restoration shamans. For some people this is great news – for others they are incredibly disappointed. Personally for me, I don’t mind either way, as long as I am a strong healer for my raid team. The main reason I’ve been frustrated with my resto shaman is that I’ve always felt conflicted about the Shaman Mastery: Deep Healing. Essentially, the lower a player’s health is, the bigger the shaman heals get. Which is brilliant for beginning of raid tiers where people are lower geared and don’t know what they’re doing so they’re taking more damage. But as raids go on, players get stronger and smarter, and shamans start to feel a bit useless. I start to feel like I’m only there for when the huge damage goes out and my healing tide totem is needed.

Having said that, with what was presented in the class preview, the mastery is being buffed quite a lot. I’m hoping that it will be a lot more useful with Disc absorbs being reduced/removed.

Interestingly, all spells seem to be costing a lot less mana than what they currently do. In addition, the cast reduction time from the Tidal Waves passive going from 20% to 40%, which means I need to get a lot better about taking advantage of that passive!! So far there is a pretty large nerf to the chain heal, with the bounce due to be reduced by 30% each jump (currently base spell has this at 10%). But otherwise, very little else has changed (and is still subject to further change).

Sample future restoration talent

Sample future restoration talent

We have a sample talent given to us, which to me sounds like a lot of fun. It’s essentially a Light of Dawn for resto shamans, but I’m hoping it has an actual wave of water flowing from us as the animation. I really like this talent, and I’m looking forward to seeing what other creative talents come through.

But like I said, not much else has changed. This indicates to me that the bulk of new abilities and really anything that will have an impact on the spec will come from the new talents and from the artifact weapon itself. (I don’t expect a lot to come from the minor glyphs) So it just means that I need to wait a bit longer before we know the real impact of changes. Which means it’s really difficult to give any kind of feedback on what we think about this at this stage, other than to say that I like my resto shaman at the moment, I just don’t like my heals being made useless by absorbs – which is something the developers are aware of and are addressing.

There are a few points that I’d personally like a bit of clarification on:

  • The introduction to the shaman class preview mentioned that one of the issues with totems is that they currently drop at the shaman’s feet. However the tooltip for the new Healing Stream Totem says it drops at the shaman’s feet… not sure if this is a typo or intended. It would be nice if it could be positioned.
  • Overall comments about healers in Legion have mentioned that healers will be able to contribute more to fights, and will have reasonable dps abilities. I would like to know whether we still get to have Flame Shock, Lightning Bolt and Lava Surge as restoration shamans. If so will they still be free to cast (especially given we don’t have Maelstrom power to use them…), and will they have similar properties to the elemental version, in that there’s no CD for Flame Shock?
  • The mana cost of spells has been dropped quite considerably – does this mean the mana regen from crit is going away?
  • Do I get to keep my spirit link totem, and will it be able to be placed wherever I want?
  • Do we still have Spiritwalker’s Grace? And Ascendance? (I know these will be answered later, I’m just curious).

There are plenty of other questions but they can wait. For now, those mentioned above are most pressing for me.

The QQ is real, though, and it’s really disappointing. The post on the WoW site itself has a lot of disappointed comments, and the WoW subreddit for the shaman changes topic is already very toxic. I stayed and read some comments for 5 minutes and had to leave, because the number of people saying “this is crap/Blizzard always lets shaman’s down/ Blizzard doesn’t listen to shamans” was overwhelming. I kept looking for suggestions on exactly what was wrong with what had been put up and no-one ever explains why. It was just shit. Which is useless and terrible feedback that is worthless to the developers.

I understand that there is a feeling of disappointment given how “big” the changes for other classes have been. Seeing minor changes to the Shaman classes have been a bit underwhelming. But the complaining is immature, honestly. There is so much more information that is still to come out – this is only the very beginning.

I for one am really looking forward to not having to learn too much about my spec. I really struggle with the changes to specs sometimes (i.e. the changes to mages in WoD made my mage not feel like a mage anymore, and I just don’t play her). But what I’m most looking forward to is seeing what fun talents are available. The way I see it, given the base rotation of restoration hasn’t changed a lot, it means there are going to be interesting talents and artifact weapon enhancements that will spice things up.

So for now, I just wait a bit longer to see what’s coming, and hope that some of my questions above get answered at some point.

Shaman crest

What a weekend. I was awake at 5:15am on Saturday so I was up in time to watch the opening ceremony. Mornings are not my thing, but I was pumped, and have stayed pumped since. It’s an interesting phenomenon really, isn’t it? Even just watching people have fun and get exciting about these games that we play can transcend time and distance and be felt through a computer screen thousands of miles away. Amazing.

I’m slowly winding down, but am still buzzing a fair bit. There are also a few panels that some website folk were lovely enough to video for panels that were covered by the Virtual Ticket that I still need to watch (and the irony of that website being one I criticised very heavily in my last post is not lost on me!).

So because I’m still pumped, and because I still have more information to soak up, I’m not going to talk about what has been learned yet. I want to be able to talk about it with a clear and unbiased mind. At the moment I’m still all “Blizzard is the best! That was amazing! I love everything!!” etc. and I don’t trust my thinking just yet. Some processing time will do me good.

Having said that, initial reactions have me very excited, and if I had the cash right now I’d probably go out and pre-order the Collector’s Edition of the game. Yes, I’m that happy with what I’ve seen so far. The highlights of the weekend include:

  • TRANSMOG TRANSMOG TRANSMOG!!!! Holy moly it was everything I could have asked for and more. I will admit that there were genuine tears in my eyes during those announcements. Amazing. And great evidence of Blizzard listening to our wishes, no matter how big or small they may be.
  • Scaled questing zones – lets you level in whatever order you want to. YES PLEASE.
  • The competitions – the sound was awful for the bands, so I felt bad for them. But the videos and the cosplay were out of this world. I was audibly gasping as each of the cosplayers came out – really phenomenal work this year. And while none of my favourites even placed, it was still a lot of fun to watch (and I just adore Wil Wheaton) You can check out some pics from the cosplay competition on wowhead here (the official Blizzard pics aren’t up yet).
  • Legion Cinematic panel – I really enjoyed this! I would like to have heard some information on the music side of things as well, but there was limited time. Very fascinating to get some insight on how they put together the cinemantic, though.
  • The Legion cinematic itself
  • The Warcraft movie trailer
  • Being able to share the experience of Blizzcon with so many people on twitter. Seeing my feed explode when the transmog announcements were made filled me with warm an fuzzies. Equally, when my feed went completely silent during the movie trailer and Legion cinematic trailer, then exploding again when they were done. Great fun 🙂
  • Starcraft World Championship final – I caught the last half of the grand final. I had absolutely no idea what was going on, but it was fascinating to watch. I loved hearing everyone gasp when something interesting happened, and the cheering when someone was making a strong attack on the opposition. Like I said, no idea what was happened, but it was lots of fun to watch. I may get in to esports yet!

There’s heaps of other content that I really enjoyed that I’m forgetting right now. Yeah… still buzzing too much to be coherent.

Blizzcon 2015 Goody Bag!

Blizzcon 2015 Goody Bag!

In the meantime, my Blizzcon Goody bag just arrived at work! I’m pretty happy with it. The little vinyl pop I got was Lich King which I’m pleased with – he’s adorably evil! 😀 The bag itself is also going to be very useful as I’m looking at getting the iPad Pro when that comes out and will need a bigger bag to carry it around in. So overall I’m pretty happy with it.

One thing that I would suggest everyone keeps an eye out for is a series of blogs that Blizzard will be posting over the coming weeks about the class changes that are coming in Legion. It’s called the Legion Class Preview Series and will go through the expected changes coming for each of the classes. As I’m typing this they have released the initial blog post explaining what they will cover, and the Hunter class post has just been published. The initial post has a timetable for when each class is due to be published with links to each class as they’re done, so you might like to check out when yours is due!

I’m angry. And probably not for the reasons you think.

There are less than 8 hours until the opening ceremony of Blizzcon, and there have been two pretty big leaks – one about Overwatch and one about World of Warcraft. And I am PISSED.

I’m not angry about the content of the leaks (though I do have reasons to be annoyed by both). No, I’m annoyed that the leaks happened. I am annoyed that people feel they have the right to spoil the hard work that Blizzard have put in to their games by taking away their shining moment. Particularly regarding the Overwatch leak, which included a release date/timeframe. It makes me livid. That was Blizzard’s news to tell. They are the ones who have been working their asses off for years on this. They are the ones who have put their hearts and souls in to this game, so it was them who should have been able to make the announcements. It’s like when you’re questing, and you have to collect an object, but there are 10 mobs around the object that you need to kill before you can get it. The people who leaked these announcements are those assholes who come along and click that object while you’re still killing the mobs that were protecting it. NO-ONE THINKS YOU’RE CLEVER! You’re just an asshole. Fuck you if you do that, and fuck the people who leaked that news. Real people worked their asses off and would have been really excited to make those announcements, and you took that away from them.

Yes, I’m really mad.

People are arguing that the WoW leak is their own fault – Blizzard uploaded an image making it publicly available. But I disagree – the image wasn’t actually published on any of their sites. You couldn’t go on to the Legion website and see the image – someone went out of their way to find information that wasn’t theirs to share, just so they could shout “first!”. I don’t care what the content says, it was a dick move.

The Overwatch news has apparently been confirmed (though at the time of posting this there wasn’t anything official on their sites). The WoW leak (I refuse to call it news) has not been confirmed, and the image has been taken down. It was up for quite a long time before it was removed. You know what I’m hoping? I’m hoping it was deliberate. I’m hoping that Blizzard put the WoW picture up on purpose so that tomorrow during the WoW Legion discussion panels, they can say “haha fooled you! It’s actually coming out *insert date here*. Don’t believe everything you see.” That’s what I’m hoping for.

There’s a longer discussion to be had about the value of datamining as a whole, but that’s a discussion for a time that I’m not livid.

If nothing else, I implore you to read my last post about keeping expectations in check, and I suggest you add “don’t believe it until Blizzard formally says it” to the last as well.

/gets off soapbox

Blizzcon is this weekend, and the hype train is speeding along. I, like most fellow WoW players, are hanging out for any news about Legion. I’m pretty sure the one question everyone wants to have answered is “when will Legion be released?”.