Legion’s Pre-Patch: Jumping into the Madness

The pre-Legion patch dropped on Tuesday, and I jumped head first into the madness. You all know that I’ve been waiting to play a Gnome Hunter. So as soon as the patch was live and I managed to get home, I boosted my Gnome Hunter up to 100.

Thankfully I started with some decent gear. Blizzard provides iLvl 640 gear and mailed everyone a new set of weapons with iLvl based on their HFC progression. Given that my gnome was brand new, I received a fairly weak weapon.

What to do first?

This was my biggest question. I realized I was woefully unprepared. I need gear. I need to level crafting. I need to learn what my abilities do, and figure out how to actually play my class again!

Transmog All the Things!

I decided to tackle Transmogs first. The new system is really great because it’s one window with filters and all the items you have. I logged into various characters to unlock the transmogs that I’ve held onto for over a decade. I found my Rhok’delar bow, my full set of Giantstalker, my Dragonstalker set, etc. Awesome.

Then I logged into my dozen other characters with all of their gear and got those unlocked. The process took longer than I had anticipated due to the transmogs taking a while to propogate (server lag). I built myself a nice little set of gear that looks fantastic on a Gnome Hunter. Look = Done.

Tradeskills

My Gnome Hunter is going Engineering/Mining. I fumbled my way through Ashran looking for all of the recipes and trainers. I learned what I needed then used all of the ore I had saved up. In less than 10 minutes I had my Engineering up to 645. I’m told I only needed like 300? I still don’t understand that. Anyway, I’m now still trying to figure out what I have to do to get some Engineering goodies. Are there teleporters I need to get? If so, where? Anyone know?

Now the mining problem… The Garrison Blizzard gave my boosted Hunter only has a level one mine. I don’t have Draenor flying because I couldn’t stomach the dailies in Tanaan. So now I have to roam around and look for nodes and somehow manage to get that up over the next few weeks.

Stats and Balance are Messed Up

With every expansion comes a retuning of stats and abilities. Legion’s artifacts exacerbate this problem because our classes are tuned around having abilities and stats we do not yet have. I jumped into a Mythic Dungeon (already a mistake with iLvl 640 gear) with some friends. They said they’d carry me. I facerolled my hotbars having no idea what I was doing.

We wiped a bunch and realized that Mythic Dungeons were ridiculous. Blizzard confirmed this yesterday by saying they were nerfed, but we tried them again shortly after that statement and came to the conclusion that the nerf must not have been implemented yet.

PvP Scaling

So we jumped into PvP thinking maybe I could get some gear there. We thought it was tuned, but sure enough it isn’t I had 243k HP, and people in gear had 300-400k. Definitely not working. That ended with my slapping people with a wet noodle and being obliterated.

Learning the Ropes

I’m becoming more confident in my Survival Hunter spec. I feel like I finally understand the gist of gameplay. I wasn’t prepared for the rotation to be so intense. I have to worry about executing a lot of abilities at their most opportune time. I also have to worry about keeping certain abilities up.

My experience will most certainly improve as I actually get into Legion content, have an artifact, have more abilities in my rotation that make more sense, and build muscle memory around my skills. I also need to tweak my UI to better show my Mongoose bites, etc.

Preparing for the Burning Legion’s Invasion

The invasion comes in probably two weeks or less. I’m slowly improving my gear already. I’m almost to iLvl 670, which really only takes a bit of Tanaan to accomplish. I want to be about 680’ish before the invasion in order to give me a chance at surviving the fights and feel like I can burn though them. The higher the better.

The invasion will give gear 700+, so that will be more than enough to prepare me for Legion — at which point the first quest drops will replace everything anyway.

More to come on my adventures.

Gnome Hunter Hype

Friender the Mechano Wolf

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m hyped to play a Gnome Hunter in WoW’s Legion expansion.

Here’s why:

  1. Gnome are the best race in WoW.
  2. Hunters are the best (at least my favorite) class in WoW.
  3. The flavor of pets, quests, and playstyle will be overwhelmingly cool.

A few months ago, I posted about wanting to play an Orc Hunter because Rexxar. That’s when I first learned about melee hunters (survival spec) and the idea carried with it a certain nostalgic flair.  I could be an orc wielding a giant polearm with a great pet, but that was quickly overshadowed by the idea of a tinkering gnome with mechanic pets.

After turning my attention to gnomes, I began debating what tradeskills will be best in Legion. Turns out, JC isn’t going to be the strongest after all. The JC gems are going to be BoE, and unique (1) which means anyone can use them. I’ll go Engineering and Mining. Engineering to craft awesome pets, Reavers, and gadgets; Mining to get the ore to do so and sell.

Then I recently found out about the really cool quests for Hunters. I think all classes (even professions) will have unique quests that send you to different places and have you solve puzzles. They remind me of the old school Rhok’delar quest. I was the first Hunter on my server, and I think in the top 5 in the world to do that quest. It was a huge deal. I was so proud of that accomplishment (still am), so the idea of having neat quests to do sits well with me. I’m a fan of the true ‘quest’ part of these quests.

iron juggernaut gnome hunte rpet

One of these cool quests involves getting Friend the Mechano wolf from Gnomeregan (pictured at the top original source I think from EyeoftheBeast.com).  Solve some puzzles, avoid being 1 shot, and you got him. Another quest involves the Siege of Orgrimmar and building your own Iron Juggernaut. They come in multiple colors and involve actually making the pet which is neat.

My Gnome Hunter plans include rolling a fresh level 1 Gnome on Fenris server right when the patch goes live. I’ll level him up to 60  using heirlooms and dungeon runs, then from 60-100 I’ll use my level boost. You couldn’t pay me to do 60-100 again on questing. I don’t have it in me. Using the level boost from 60-100 will raise my tradeskills instantly to the pre-Legion cap — another thing I wouldn’t want to do manually.

Decided on your class for Legion yet?

Redefining WoW’s Endgame

WoW World Quests

Yesterday I mentioned how WoW’s zones will scale in the Legion expansion. Utilizing such a feature, Blizzard plans to do away with Daily Quest Hubs and replace them with ‘events’ that will rotate in and out. These events seem to operate similarly — from what little information I have — to those “public quests” (wrong analogy but they are open to everyone to open their map and go to) used in other games, with the exception being many seem to be geared toward solo players.

The “World Quests” are designed to offer more of a guide or structure to endgame play sessions rather than act compulsively on players as a “you must do these quests in this order every day” type of mentality. As someone who has never liked dailies, and currently stuck doing them in Tanaan on my Monk, I am definitely looking forward to a system that presents me with opportunities rather than forcing me to feel compelled to “do my dailies.”

“World Quests will show you quests, rare elite spawns, rare spawns, pet battles, outdoor PvP activities, world bosses, special dungeon activities, profession activities, and more. Want to know what there is to do in Azeroth today? Just open your map!” – Muffinus, WoW Designer

As I alluded to in the beginning, I think this will work nicely with the zone scaling. Players will have reasons to go everyone in The Broken Isles rather than all congregating in one final zone. We’ll be able to choose what types of activities we want to do each day when we log in. Some of these quests will be daily, weekly, or even hourly events.

There will still be rep grinds. There will still be a legitimate argument to be made about semantics. In a way, these are still “dailies.” You’re still logging in each day and doing activities, otherwise you’ll miss out on potential progression. Blizzard is simply expanding the scope of the definition to include more play styles and a slightly more forgiving presentation.

Despite the semantics, this is a step in the right direction. I like choices. I like logging in and being able to think, “What would I like to do today?” Any step away from “go to this hub, take these 10 blue exclamation points, and come back tomorrow” sounds good to me.

I’m Turning Into A Goblin

I'm a WoW Goblin

I think “Goblin” is the correct term, anyway. Isn’t that what the people addicted to the WoW economy call themselves? The people who want to make lots of gold? Yeah, I’m becoming one of those. I recently decided that I was tired of being poor. I’ve played WoW on and off since it launched, and I have never had anything close to an excess of gold. I had to work my butt off to buy a mount, and I slaved away at the grind to afford an epic mount. Even in modern WoW I’ve never had luck with making cash… until recently.

I discovered something calling “TSM” or “TradeSkillMaster.” It’s an addon which essentially does all of the work for you — once you can configure the thing. Configuring it all takes an undergraduate degree in economics, but it’s worth it. Now I practically feel like I’m cheating.

TSM has a program that runs in the background and automatically syncs told prices to my WoW client. I know what every item on the auction house goes for and my program will automatically post items based on routines I program in. When I open the auction house, I can automatically buy low and sell high at the click of a button. If someone puts up a valuable transmog, my program finds it, buys it, and reposts it at a higher price. See why I feel like I’m cheating?

I thought I had nothing on my characters worth anything. Then I used TSM and now I have 10,000 gold in one day. So the addon takes care of the knowing what to sell, and finding stuff on the AH to resell, but that’ll only last for so long. The real money game here is in getting the items and posting them. I’m going to start farming pets and running old raids (for gold and pets) to sell. I’m also going to farm lowbie tier dungeons to get the valuable transmog items and sell those too.

Why am I doing this? Simple. I don’t want to pay for my sub. I joined the garrison party too late to farm gold like so many others — they’re rich already. Garrisons are being patched out of existence here soon [Translation: You can’t make gold anymore] so I figure now’s better than later for getting my economy set.

This has breathed new life into the game for me. Sure, I’m still leveling from 94-100 right now on my new server, but that boredom has been mitigated by the obsession and lust for gold. If you’re a goblin, I’d love to get some tips on how to make gold in WoW.

Blizzard Responds to Nostalrius Drama

The talk of the town today has been Blizzard’s response to Nostalrius. Let’s take a look at what they have to say, and then I’ll address a few key points.

Obviously there’s PR speak going on here. The “we hear you” and “we too feel this way” and “even I’m here because I love classic” or “we’ve looked into it and its hard” stuff is a tad sycophantic. But that’s all there because of what follows.

Blizzard has to protect their IP, otherwise they lose their rights. That’s the part everyone with even a whisper of a clue knew because that’s how intellectual property law works. I don’t think that comes as a shock to anyone, nor is any of that why people are talking about about this release. The real reason….

Pristine Realms

Here’s where people are going a bit nuts and not only reading waaaay too far into this, but also missing the mark entirely. First — no, this does not mean Blizzard is missing the point. They know you want vanilla. It’s at least a public acknowledgement that there has been thought to a solution.

I believe people underestimate what a big deal it is to support a classic server. Blizzard employs an army of customer service representatives just to handle a game that has a consistent experience. Imagine if the customer support had to be (1) trained and (2) taking the time to manage multiple version. You think they’re slow now?

Looking at the only major example of classic servers out there right now, we see that even EverQuest hasn’t been able to recreate a true “classic” experience. Their “progression” servers or “time-locked” servers all have modern conveniences built into them. They have major updates they simple can’t remove.

People don’t REALLY want Vanilla

At least I don’t. I don’t miss that version of WoW. I think modern WoW is way better. When it comes to a themepark, I prefer the convenience. If I’m looking for an experience that takes commitment and dedication then I want more than questing and gear treadmills from that investment. I’ve done the ‘first to kill all the raid bosses’ thing on 3 different WoW servers. I’ve done the competitive play. That’s not fun for me. What’s fun is the journey, and that’s why I dabble in EverQuest classic servers, but WoW lacks that journey. WoW has -never- been about the journey.

Blizzard knows most people would agree. Most people want modern WoW and its conveniences. When I say most, I mean enough that it doesn’t make financial sense for them to do classic. If classic meant way more money, then as a public company seeking to make profit they’d do it. They’re not in the business of testing something publicly just to see if it works. They’re crunching data, and I bet you the data shows it’s not worth their time. If they wanted to have a classic experience, it would have already been done.