Garrison Architects

Today is a good day to build.

It’s also a good day to run around the overflowing wilderness of Draenor trying to earn the Draenor Pathfinder achievement. It’s an interesting achievement that is feasibly doable at Lvl 100 if you’ve got the gear for it, which only the daily reputation quests might prevent if you’re going solo. But only if you’re having trouble fighting the elites out in Tanaan Jungle. Otherwise it’s just a few daily quests. Moggie was fully geared during the pre-Legion invasion event so he’s pretty much able to kill anything and everything Draenor has to offer.

Even as far as being able to solo some of the dungeons out there.

I’ve managed to get through Bloodmaul Slag Mines, The Iron Docks, and Auchindoun with relative ease. I don’t really want to push much further than Auchindoun, though. They nearly managed to kill ol’ Moggie. The dungeons in Warlords of Draenor are smaller and less loot intensive than those I’ve experienced prior, but they’re still well made encounters. They’re diverse, too.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the steadily decreasing size of dungeons (and other instances) since Wrath of the Lich King, though I am pleased to see more story being put into them. Story that usually ties into the zone the instance is in or the quests available in the instance. By the way, if you’re wondering, this post isn’t particularly related to the ongoing series– I’m just reflecting on the joy that is Warlords of Draenor. Attempting to earn the Draenor Pathfinder achievement (and working towards adventures with Legion content) has reignited my interest in this expansion. It’s pretty good. I’m really enjoying how the garrison helps to not only develop your professions but also opens up new locations to visit.

The Temple of Karabor.

It’s definitely a gamble as if you don’t enjoy the garrison you’re out of luck. Incredibly out of luck. You’re also going to have to deal with being on the ground for the majority of it, either until you earn flying or leave Draenor never to return. But I like it. I can’t really explain why but there’s something about it that’s refreshing. The crafting is incredibly simplified compared to other expansions (including Legion it would seem) but it’s enjoyable all the same. Especially if you’re planning to carry on to Lvl 110 and want to burn through 600-700.

The art direction is perhaps the best I’ve seen in World of Warcraft, too.

The halls of Auchindoun are ridiculously beautiful. The dark, charred, Fel scarred landscapes are gorgeously haunting. The music is deliciously fitting and helps tremendously to create an enchanting atmosphere, whether it’s holy or unholy, which helps to deliver key story elements. I still enjoy the core gameplay but a lot of my return is thanks to Warlords of Draenor.

I’m particularly fond of the Horde story as Thrall is a major part of it. For reasons I won’t explain (as not to spoil it) he’s a particularly notable inclusion in the events to come, which helps develop his character further. The Alliance story is pretty great, too. In fact- all of it is great. It’s probably a good thing that I’ve got numerous other characters to experience the content with. In any case, I just wanted to highlight this expansion as more than just a setting for my ongoing series. It really does deserve the praise. I’ve also got three out of the five requirements for Draenor Pathfinder met, with the last two being the quest lines for the zones and the daily reputation grinding. So I guess I’ve got some work to do.

Have a nice week, all!


WoW: Adventures in Azeroth (Pt. 10)

The elements are no longer silent.

Warlords of Draenor has certainly been a treat. I didn’t really expect that much from the expansion to begin with, but as I’ve experienced both the Alliance and Horde stories I’m convinced it’s one of the best expansions. Especially from the Horde perspective. While the Alliance perspective has some great stories, plot elements, and key battles- the Horde perspective is peerless. Fighting alongside Durotan in a campaign that mirrors what Thrall did for the Horde is awesome.

It’s also an expansion oozing with alternate history.

I’m a massive fan of the changes to questing, too. How you can find rare and powerful equipment from specific rare or elite mobs. How you can level up through exploration and completing tasks specific to the zone. How the way that you develop your garrison has an impact on how you interact with the world. It all works so well without you even realising it.

The pre-Legion patch changes to Enhancement Shamans have likely played a part in this as well. That said, I’ve always enjoyed the way that Shamans have played (even back in Cataclysm). Even if I am bummed out that they’ve lost their totems. Or, rather, that they’ve lost the ability to summon four. I think I’ve seen that for Elemental Shamans, though. I’ve met a few out in Draenor who seem to be able to summon totems like I used to. Those were the days. The days where you could die in the starting zone as they had waves of hostile mobs near that cave. They weren’t really the days- I’m just contractually obligated to say that as I’m older than the dirt in Orgrimmar. These days are better. Mostly.

Embrace the fury of the elements.
Embrace the fury of the elements.

I’ve also managed to get nearly every one of my Alliance characters outfitted with a set of four Frostweave Bags, with only my Rogue left unaccounted for. She’ll get them soon enough. Moggie and/or Flint will be going to either Icecrown Citadel or Naxxramas some time soon. Or maybe I’ll throw Voljaarn into the fray. It’ll be interesting to see how powerful he has become. Soul has actually run out of things to learn in both of her professions as a result of these bags, too. She needs to hit Lvl 75 to start learning more.

It’s not an impossible goal, either.

I’m actually incredibly pleased with how this subscription has played out. Despite playing less time than I usually would, I’ve managed to not only reach but exceed a number of the goals I’d set out at the start of the month. It’s promising. It shows me that I don’t need to be playing full time (as it were) to get value from the subscription at least.

It’s been fun talking about the different characters, too. It’s nice to think that there are many different participants in these Adventures in Azeroth, which isn’t even counting the characters you’ve not met/heard of yet. Or the ones that don’t exist yet. I’m looking at you future Demon Hunter who will likely be a tank/DPS. Not that it’s technically possible to be anything else. Unless you never activate a secondary specialisation. I think you’ll like my Druid. She turns into a cat. I actually surprised my friend with her bear form, once. She thought I was a random bear mob and wondered why it was following her despite not being hostile. The dance animation for bears is pretty neat, too.

Have a nice weekend, all!


Nostalgic (Pt. 2)

How many kegs can a Brewmaster brew?

I figured I’d carry this post over to a second part as I feel World of Warcraft deserves it. I know it’s not something I talk about much any more, nor am I likely to return to playing it full time (as it were), but it’s always had a special nostalgic place in my heart. I know I’ll never get the old days back. But there’s nothing wrong with highlighting something that once meant a lot to me.

Why did I leave? Many reasons. I knew a lot of people back then who no longer play now. I also felt some of the pre-Mists of Pandaria changes affected the class identity of some classes more than others. I’ve also been feeling like MMOs aren’t really my thing any more. For the most part, it wasn’t even about World of Warcraft as a whole. I just felt the need to move on and so I did. I know this’ll confuse some people as I’m actively playing Guild Wars 2- but I can’t promise that will last, either.

It’s odd how the community hasn’t really changed that much, though.

There’s always a dividing line in every Blizzard community over some issue or another. World of Warcraft has them, Diablo III has them, and I would bet good money that even Overwatch will have them at some point. Still, as a whole, it’s a funny little community all the same. There’s still a whole bunch of players in starting zones, questing, exploring, and generally never saying a word to anyone else. There’s still a hub of activity in every major city. It’s still very much the game it always was at the heart of it all. Which, when I think about it that way- I want to return. I want to see what’s lying in wait for Moggie as he ascends to the new level cap.

"You were quite right. I wasn't prepared."
“You were quite right. I wasn’t prepared.”

Playing a new Pandaren Monk and seeing the world through fresh eyes once more is always an exhilarating experience in MMOs. Too often, once you reach level cap, you fall into a routine of doing the same five or six things over and over again. But with a new character there’s so much to see and do before returning to that drudgery.

That said, I barely know anyone on EU let alone anyone that plays. I don’t really mind the financial investment but would prefer not to. I’m also not entirely sure I want to set aside that much time, as I would, as I would be paying for it, when I’ve been without it for so long. It’s interesting to say the least. Especially considering I’ve felt a dip in my gaming experiences of late. Still, all of that aside, I did want to make space for a little bit of World of Warcraft on Moggie’s Proclamations. I’ve never really had the chance to before.

I’ve had fun in the last seven days of revisiting Azeroth (perhaps for the last time).

It’s nice to know I now have the Starter Edition at the very least. I could always start over in a little corner of another realm with a ragtag group of Lvl 20s, doing low level things, exploring the world, and all that stuff. I don’t know how much appeal that would have. But it’s nice to know I could stop in and see the ol’ Kul Tiras folks now and then. Funny how you get attached to and nostalgic over things, I guess. Then again I have invested a good three-four years into World of Warcraft at this point. Natural to assume I would be sad to see it go. In any case, I hope you liked this two part series where I got all nostalgic and dreamy eyed.

Have a nice weekend, all!


Nostalgic (Pt. 1)

Once more to Azeroth we go.

I got a rather interesting e-mail from Blizzard the other day. They were offering me seven days game time for World of Wacraft (as they do) but had included an extra incentive- an upgrade to Warlords of Draenor. I last played World of Warcraft a few years ago, I think Mists of Pandaria had been released, and I had remained in Cataclysm as I wasn’t going to be playing any further. However, recent developments show I may be completely confused about that sequence of events.

I’m not entirely sure if the upgrade to Warlords of Draenor is a permanent activation on my account, either. If it is I’ve just saved a good £40-50 in expansion costs right there. I’m also way behind the expansion curve with only two Lvl 85s- so I have a lot of ground to cover before the sixth expansion launches later this year.

That said, I don’t know if I could ever return to World of Warcraft as I once would have.

It also turns out that any account which was once fully subscribed reverts to a Starter Edition when the subscription ends. Which means absolutely nothing to any of my characters, as many of them fall outside of the restrictions of a Starter Edition account- but it’s nice to know. As I expected there have been many changes, too. Moggie (my Paladin main) seems to have lost a few skills and class specific mechanics. There’s also a new Reagent Bank and bigger stack sizes for crafting materials. The character statistics have been tuned heavily (along with enemy statistics). The character models (and general textures) have been updated, too. There’s a whole heap of new things to fiddle with and get to know once again.

Just pick up a soldier and carry him home.
Just pick up a soldier and carry him home.

I took Moggie out to solo some Lvl 65-75 Outland/Northrend dungeons to get used to it all again. Turns out there are rewards for completing dungeons (even if you solo them) now, and they seem to be quicker/more streamlined than before. I wasn’t entirely sure if this was going to be a thing that I could do any more as his health had dropped to 44k from 141k, his damage was (supposedly) lower, and everything had been balanced to a different standard. However, all went as well as could be expected and a fair bit of money was made.

I was expecting that I’d need to redo my keybinds, update my characters, sift through mail, collect special pets, and do all sorts of other things when I got back in. It’s been so long now that I can’t even remember what hardware I was using back then. It’s also definitely tugging ever so gently on my heart strings, too. Being all nostalgic.

I’ll admit I’ve been curious about the newer content for a while.

Especially the updated character models which I’ve been curious to see how my folks look. I also had a Lvl 20 Pandaren Monk who I don’t even remember making nor have any screenshots of. I’ve since deleted said Monk and remade them as a Horde Pandaren. Again, I don’t really know why he was ever an Alliance Pandaren as I would’ve wanted to keep both my Alliance and Horde characters fairly balanced. Naturally, as I always do, I decided to go to Thunder Bluff instead of Orgrimmar to begin the short process of levelling this Pandaren Monk. Not sure how far I’ll get due to general unfamiliarity with new systems, the time limit, and general interest in the game- but I’m hoping Lvl 20 (at least).

Have a nice week, all!