Blog Archives

You Can’t Take The Sky From Me

aviana

If you play World of Warcraft, have access to social media in some form, and have a pulse, you’re probably aware that Blizzard has now officially stated that flying will not be happening in Draenor, or any expansion in the future. Being the rational, level-headed group that it is, the WoW playerbase started burning everything down, from 500+ page forum posts, to heated exchanges on Twitter, to folks just outright unsubbing.

Some of us decided that screw this, we were going to fly one way or the other. The “other” way was by using Aviana’s Feather.

Getting Aviana’s Feather is simple enough. It’s a quest reward from a random quest picked up in your local garrison’s Inn/Tavern. Get the quest, complete a Heroic Dungeon, and hand it in. As simple as it sounds in theory, putting it into practice can be a little more difficult.

Many people tend to get a bit tight in the collar at the thought of running Heroics. Maybe they’re afraid that they’ll suck, or more likely they’re afraid that they’ll be told by others that they do in fact suck. There are steps to be taken that will keep the humiliation to a minimum, or at least to a bearable level.

Prove Your Worth
There are two barriers that will keep you from queueing for Heroics. The first is that you must complete the Proving Grounds scenario on Silver (for whatever role you plan on running in the dungeon). This is actually a good thing. I’ve only done this as DPS, so all I can tell you is that if you can pull off the DPS to complete Silver, you should be able to hold your own when it comes to not putting up embarrassing numbers on Recount. It also has the additional benefit of being a solo scenario, so no one else will be there to point and laugh at how bad you suck.

You Need The Gear
To keep you from being thrown to the wolves and torn into meaty pulp, the UI won’t let you queue for Heroics unless you have an iLevel of 610. If you find yourself on the lower end of that 610 prerequisite, there happens to be a few ways to beef up your iLevel. Crafted gear is probably the easiest, but with the caviat that you can only wear three pieces of it at a time. The first stage of the Legendary ring is pretty easy to get, and it’s a nice iLevel bump. Apexis gear is an option too, if you have a pile a crystals at your disposal. If you happen to have a War Mill, work on quests in Nagrand. The War Mill will give you a chance to have your quest reward gear proc into an upgrade. Or hey, just run garrison follower missions and let your followers bring you piles of gear upgrades.

Addons
Nobody likes to do stupid shit when they’re running a dungeon for the first time. The peanut gallery members in your group will put you on blast, and nobody wants to be That Guy (or Gal). Still, even if you read the dungeon journal (btw, read the damn journal), stuff happens during an encounter. Addons can seriously help to keep that kind of shenanigan to a minimum. If you don’t already have them, there’s a couple of addons you should definitely consider getting. Deady Boss Mods is one of them (notifications and warnings during an encounter are so win). GTFO is another, because it will tell you in an annoying tone when you’re standing in the bad.

Belly Up To The Bar
Congratulations! You’re ready to run Heroics! You have adequate gear, you know what the dungeon bosses do, and you have addons to keep you on point. All that’s left to do is wait for the quest to show up in your garrison’s Inn or Tavern.

You DO have one of those in your garrison, don’t you? If you don’t, get one. Next, wait for the quest “Aviana’s Request” to pop up in the Tavern. All that remains is to then run Heroic Skyreach, kill the end boss, and collect its plumage as per the quest.

Is this going to replace flying? No. Does it beat walking? You damn well better believe it.

Isle of Thunder – Patch 5.2

I’m a little slow.  There I said it.

Patch 5.2 has been out for, well, a little while now but I’ve been busy doing mostly non-Patch5.2 stuff.  Specifically I have been leveling Jewelcrafting on Herculano the DK.  Seemed like the thing to do, since I was Exalted with the Cloud Serpent people which gave me access to the cool JC Panther mounts.

Like Power Rangers, but without the stupid boss fights.

Like Power Rangers, but without the stupid giant bosses in ugly suits.

 

Leveling Jewelcrafting on a low pop server sucks so much ass.  You can’t find low level mats, not even ore to prospect.  And when you don’t have a miner to help with the process, well you just want to find a way to kick yourself in the balls and do it repeatedly, knowing it would be more fun than profession leveling.  But perseverance (and server transferring a character with Mining) paid off, and Herc hit 600 JC.

Success!

So what’s with the Isle of Thunder that I’ve heard so much about…

I think I got the original quest at some point, the one that prompts you to go to the Isle of Thunder.  But something got bugged somewhere, and the quest didn’t show up in my Quest log.  Therefore I had no idea how to find the Isle of Thunder.  As luck would have it, I found a Youtube video that showed me the way.  Here it is, for those of you like me who are just a little behind.  So watch, learn, and I’ll be back with some Death Knight updates soon!

Mists of Pandaria Leveling Map

 

To say it’s been a rough couple of weeks would do the past a disservice.  People who follow me on Twitter (@The_Herculano) know the story so there’s no point in rehashing it here.  My astute conclusion has been therapy via World of Warcraft, and while it might not have been very therapeutic, it has been productive.

First, Hello to Mists of Pandaria.  Leveling was going to be “fun”.  The quotes are not accidental.


There is so much I want to discuss about leveling, the expansion, general experience, but for the sake of brevity let me just say this:  it took me 1 Day 4 Hours 6 Minutes 4 Seconds to see this pop up on my screen –


And so it beings.

Titles Are Punny

You can’t label me, bro.

If I hadn’t been so lazy this week (the heat, I blame the heat) my recent achievements would have seemed a little more impressive since I did all of this in a single week.  But folks, these are the cards I’ve been dealt and will therefore shuffle them in my hand and try to slap on my poker face.

My p-p-p-p-poker face.

The week was all about titles.  Titles are always a fun little way to change things on your character.  I managed to pick up three of them in a little over a week.

 

I can be Extremis…ly patient.

The first title <Name> “the Patient” was one I wasn’t even consciously trying to get.  I was running an endless stream of Hour of Twilight PUGs, and just got the title.  It was a side-effect of running too many PUGs, but unlike lowered self-esteem and hemorrhoids this was actually a side-effect worth getting.

 

Taking fashion to the Extremis.

The “Flame Warden” title wasn’t hard to get.  If you can put in the time, you can get this title.  I mean, completing the Midsummer Fire Festival isn’t all that tough to do.  As long as you can find enough fires to Honor or Desecrate, Flame Warden is one of the easier titles to grab.  I still say the title should be <Name> “Pees on Fires”, but that’s why I’m not working for Blizzard.  Well, that and the restraining order, but I’m legally prohibited from discussing the issue.

 

I am Extremis-ly proud of this title.

 

Getting the title <Name> “of the Shattered Sun” was a multi-stage process.  First, you need to have Exalted status with the Shattered Sun Offensive.  There’s two ways to get there – either run dailies on the Isle of Quel’Danas, or run Magisters’ Terrace, like, a whole lot.  I went with Plan B for a few reasons:

  • There was no limit on how often I could run it every day.  I would still get decent rep by running Regular versions of the instance, so I’d start with a Heroic and then switch to Regular until I was bored.
  • I was getting Faction rep through tabards.  In fact, Boss kills were giving me more rep (while wearing the appropriate tabard) than I was getting with the Shattered Sun Offensive.  I managed to get Exalted with Gilneas, Ironforge, and Gnomeregan while grinding SSO rep.  It’s always nice when you can get two things done at the same time.
  • Transmog Gear was plentiful.  I picked up the Sun-Forged Cleaver for myself, and farmed a great deal of greens that sold quite nicely on the Auction House.  If you have to grind rep, you might as well make some gold at the same time.
  • Sweet Chicken Mount.  There’s a 4% drop rate on the Swift White Hawkstrider, obtainable only in Heroic mode.  I managed to pick up this bird on my last Heroic run.

Ohhhh, what have we here?

Achievement unlocked! Another mount I will never use!

My one-eyed Willy looks on in disgust. No, not that one.  I’m talking about the pet. Pervs.

Congrats on Exalted with SSO.  Now you just have to get a single quest where the dude rubs his hand across his palm and says “Can u spare gold plz?  For the cause, dude.”

One.  Thousand.  Gold.

Are you shitting me? I’ve paid less for epic fucking mounts!  When Quel’Danas was considered “end game” back in the Burning Crusade days, beggers would spout mighty dirty erections whenever they saw someone with the “of the Shattered Sun” title.  It meant that person had waaaay too much gold, and had no problem throwing it away.

Which reminds me – I am now broke.  Maybe I’ll run MT one more time for some sweet Transmog gear.

Back In The Saddle

My SWTOR run has come to an end.  For now.

When I originally switched over to Star Wars: The Old Republic, I had moved my subscription money to the new game.  WoW was given a time card and a kind thought.  At the time, it was like putting Granny in a senior’s home – you give her a hug, push her towards the orderlies who are waiting to start stealing her pension bingo money and all the good shit in her room, and you promise to visit when you can.  Just like visiting Granny in the Home, I’d pop into WoW long enough to make some money and then get right back out.

But the new hotness didn’t stay hot, and for that I actually have WoW to blame.

What was good about SWTOR:

  • The Story.  I knew right off the bat I’d be playing a Jedi/Sith Warrior.  There was so much to like about the class.  I’ve always been a fan of standing in the pocket, going toe to toe with the mouth breather in front of me and hoping I’d kill him before he killed me.   After I started playing a Sith Warrior, I really dug on the class.  I had the black lightsaber due to my pre-order (the same kind I had in SW:The Force Unleashed) and loved using it.  The story was boss, and the interactions were pretty slick.  It kept me wanting to move forward.

What was bad about SWTOR:

  • The Class Specialization.  At level ten, you get to switch between the two branches of the primary class.  In my case, it was either Sith Juggernaut (tank/dps) or Sith Marauder (dual wield dps).  While they do a passable job describing the subclasses, they have to be played to get a good grip in them.  Sure you can dps as a Juggernaut, but how does that compare to dropping fools as a Marauder?  You really can’t tell until you try.  The problem is, once you try you have to buy.  You pick a subclass and that’s it.  No going back.  If you find that after a level or two of trying the class out in the World that it isn’t clicking with you, you’re screwed.  You have to start over from level one.  What kind of bullshit is that!  The subclass has no bearing on how you progress in the main storyline, so why lock you into it?  It felt, like most things I didn’t like about the game, as if it was designed just to slow down the leveling process and extend the game life.

  • The Story: Don’t get me wrong, I like the class story.  The first time through.  The second time it’s not as shiny as it was the first go round, but maybe you make different selections during your interactions that can change things up.  The third time through, you’re hitting the space bar to skip the chatter.  And I found myself going through storylines multiple times (switching subclasses, starting on a new server).

  • The Quest/Mission layout is stupid.  This is where WoW spoiled me.  In World of Warcraft, you would arrive at a quest hub, pick up 1-4 quests, travel for maybe a minute to find the quest objectives, and then go back for the hand-in.  There was an efficient time to quest ratio that SWTOR just didn’t have.  Not only were they the same style of quests that WoW had (kill X, loot Y) but they were kinda all over the place.  There’d be one or two quests in an outpost, sending you either west or south, clear off your current map.  We’re talking multiple minutes of walking in various directions just to reach the objective.  Finish that up, trek all the way back to the questgiver, and they want to send you back out across the map again.  Plus, they don’t identify Heroic missions until you accept it and it pops up as HEROIC +WHATEVER in your mission menue.

That’s when it started to get to me.  After leveling multiple toons into the teens,  it came down to my Sith Juggernaut.  I picked the subclass and hoped the dps spec would be as much fun as the Marauder was on another server.  I tried, and tried, forcing myself through missions I had just finished on my other character and running all over the damn zone to do so.  But I just wasn’t feeling the Juggernaut.  I knew I’d have to start over as Marauder.

I was done.  I couldn’t go through all of that AGAIN.  All of that chattering.  All of the WALKING.  All of the stupid layout missions that felt like they kicked me in the BALLS every time I accepted them.  It felt like the game developers knew that people would chew up the content quickly, so they put in artificial speed bumps to slow them down.  Make you start over for class choices.  Force you to run through entire zones that existed only to add time onto the quest objective.

I decided to walk away from SWTOR.  It wouldn’t be forever.  I would probably go back at some point, but I needed some time to forget.  Forgive.

As luck would have it, both SWTOR and WOW subscriptions were running out on the same day.  I’d be switching back to WoW, just in time to start hoping to get into the MoP beta.  Even if I didn’t get in, there was plenty of other things I wanted to do.  Maybe I’ll feel that way about SWTOR one day.

But for now, Granny has left the Home and is kicking up her heels out on the town.