Alpha to Omega – Warlords of Draenor
I think I can safely say that I’m done with leveling for a long time.
Odingreen, the Swole Sorcerer, has become the fourteenth character I’ve taken to the promised land of level 100. But what makes him different is that he was the first mage I’d ever played, and the first character that I powered through from the first level of one, all in a few hours a week. I didn’t play often, but when I did I was solely focused on leveling him up. Zone by zone, expansion by expansion, each had it’s highs and lows.
Oddly enough, Warlords of Draenor was just more of the same.
There’s a reason I held WoD at a different standard going into it. For all intents and purposes, this should have been the easiest stretch to level through. There are ample posts describing fast and easy ways to knock out those levels in about two hours. There’s videos too, like this one –
Leveling from 90 to 100 in Two Hours
As you can see, the key to this speed leveling process is prep work. The formula is simple to follow: enter a zone, find each bonus objective in the zone and complete the required kill/collect tasks except for one (one kill, one item to be collected), then move on to the next bonus objective. Drink an Elixir of the Rapid Mind, finish off each objective, gather some treasures in between, and watch the levels fly by.
Sure, seems easy enough when you look at it like that. Actually it is easy enough. I’ve used that very same strategy with Hunters, Warriors, and Death Knights. Here’s where I became frustrated with Mages, and the process in general.
- Lack of gear. Heirloom items are great to have, but when you have a character with a mix of gear that fluctuates between iLevels 100 and 500, your performance is going to suffer. This can be a problem because…
- Mages are glass tanks. I’m used to using classes that are either Hunters with tanking pets, or melee dps classes that can stand in the pocket and throw down, face-to-face. Mages have to try and burn down the mob before it gets to them, because if they don’t they’re going to get torn apart. Bonus objective mobs tend to hit a little harder than regular mobs, which makes completing them quite painful when you can’t take a punch.
This process was painful. There were many deaths. Many, many deaths. Odingreed died more in this expansion than he did in Wrath, Cataclysm, and MoP combined. This could have been a result of me being a raw rookie when it came to Mages, but the fact that he had to take punches from giants wearing nothing but the same items you’re probably wearing when you read this.
But in the end…
As good a feeling as that might be, Odingreen’s journey wasn’t over yet. Step One was to take a class I’d never played before and level him from 1 – 100. Done and done.
Step Two was to get him raiding, and to kill Archimonde, the final raid boss in Warlords of Draenor. Odingreen was going to go from killing boars outside Goldshire to killing giant World Beaters on other planets, all in a couple of weeks, just to show that it doesn’t have to be intimidating to get into the raiding scene. But the next step is going to involve gearing up, since he’s going to need an iLevel of 650 to get into LFR for Archimonde.
Now before any of the elitist raiding community comes down on me by saying “LFR isn’t real raiding anyway”, I’d like to direct your attention to the general direction of my dick. LFR is a tool, a gateway into a more committed raiding mindset. Or at the very least, just a way to see some cool content/mechanics/find out what the hell everyone keeps talking about.
Is LFR raiding? It’s right there in the acronym – Looking For Raid. There’s philosophies regarding this, but I’m not sweating that right now. This isn’t about labels – it’s about killing. And isn’t that what gaming is all about?
Top Three Essentials in WoD
I’m gonna need all you people to take a breath and for sure relax a little. Okay, we all know that Legion will have plenty of cool stuff (except Demon Hunters – let’s not forget who the original Hero class is, bubba). But before everyone starts planning their moves for the next expansion, let’s make sure we have all that we need from the current steaming wad of WoD.
Looking back at Mists of Pandaria, I have zero regrets when it comes to grinding the rep dailies for The Anglers. Sure it was a pain at the time, but the reward was ultimately quite worth it – the Azure Water Strider. That mount was on the toolbar of every character that I leveled through Draenor. We may not have flight (Yet? Ever? Come on WTF Blizz!) but the Water Strider helped get me through zones quicker by tearing over the water, rather than forcing me to go around it.
Does WoD have its own Azure Water Strider? Are there “quality of life” items in this expansion that would be worth having in the next?
You daaaamn right there are.
- Garrison – You had to know I was going to get this in the list somewhere. Normally I sing the praises of garrisons because they’re stupid easy to use to make gold. But that’s not why I included it in my list. Blizzard has said that we will be keeping our garrisons going forward. In fact, they want us to be able to go back to visit them. Now, everyone has a garrison hearthstone. So why not make it worth using? Get your bank, transmog, supplies, whatever. Make your garrison your one-stop shop. You have a hearthstone for the place, so you might as well make sure you have reasons to go back there. Make it worth keeping the hearthstone.
- Professions – For the most part, professions in WoD have been somewhat lackluster. No love there, that’s for sure. But from all the talk around the water cooler, Blizzard is planning on giving them value again in Legion. Don’t wait until then and end up playing catch-up. It’s never been easier to level professions, so get everything capped at 700. Except Archaeology, because screw that noise.
- Aviana’s Feather – As we patiently(?) wait for Draenor flying, Blizzard hinted that there would be similar hoops to jump through in Legion when it comes to flying in that content. Aviana’s Feather already works in Azeroth, so there’s no reason to suspect it won’t work in Legion. It might not be flight, but it’ll speed things along until flying goes live in Legion.
Are there any more items to snag before Legion? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Ding 100 Yet Again
While World of Warcraft players are fleeing the game like rats from a sinking ship, I can’t seem to stop leveling characters. At last count, I have now taken one Monk, two Warriors, two Hunters, and three Death Knights to level cap. I have one more DK who is tucked away in his bare bones garrison, gathering resources to buy xp potions should he get the leveling nod.
Damn, that’s a lot of Death Knights. That probably reflects on a whole post of other issues, ones I won’t get into here because content. (Stay on target — Editor)
Unlike Mists of Pandaria, which twists my guts into a knot so profound that it would prompt a sailor to give a thumbs up with his obvious erection at the sight of it, I have no problem with the leveling process in WoD. It’s faster this time around because there are so many ways to earn experience – treasures and bonus missions are the bomb-diggity. In fact, this may be the most number of characters I have at level cap since I started playing World of Warcraft.
Speaking of the physical distress I get from leveling through MoP, I have two characters currently sitting in Pandaria. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them, if and when I decide to take my final DK to the “promised land” that is Level 100ville. Will I boost them to avoid questing through MoP? Will I bother leveling yet another Warrior and Hunter up to 100 at all? Should I start a new class from scratch and see what life is like there?
It’s just too bad I’ve got nothing to do with them once they reach level cap. Guess there’s always transmog runs through old content.
It Sucks To Be AFK
Every few weeks I find myself having to leave home for a two week block due to work obligations. Half a month away from home, from family, and all familiar comforts therein. It sucks to be away from home, away from loved ones. And especially from my computer.
I know we’re living in the 21st century and most of the civilized world has embraced cellular technology. Towers everywhere, blessing the masses with 3G and 4G coverage. Sadly, there are pockets in this wireless blanket of coverage where you are lucky to have a single bar of service, and God forbid if you happen to move twenty feet to the right or left once you find that sweet spot of service.
This is where I spend my two weeks – in the deadzone pocket.
Since I can’t log into WoW by conventional means, I am forced to spend my two weeks on Twitter living vicariously through the posts of others. My work schedule has been a particularly cruel mistress, as I have been away during a few, well let’s call them pivotal moments in WoW.
– Blizzcon (I had a ticket to the event that I ended up not using, and couldn’t even stream it due to the mighty One Bar of Service).
– The release of Warlords of Draenor (which might not have been a bad thing – DDOS attacks I’m looking at you).
– Patch 6.1 (my damn, so many in-game selfies WHY PEOPLE WHY).
It sucks to constantly be out of the loop like that. I miss being behind the progression of events. I miss not being able to level my characters, or not doing their daily profession cooldowns. Why, that’s throwing money away. That’s pissing gold away. Hey…
(Please don’t — Editor)
Fine. I will skip the golden shower reference.
(He doesn’t, and yet still does — Editor)
Back to the point, there are things in game that I miss. If it wasn’t for the fact that I bought a subscription to a mobile desktop service so I could do my garrison missions on my phone, I would slowly lose my mind. Don’t say it.
(Wouldn’t dream of it bubba — Editor)
And now, I pose the question to you dear reader – What do you miss about World of Warcraft when you are away from it for an extended period of time?
The Day The Message Died
What a difference a week makes.
November 7 – Blizzcon 2014: During Blizzcon’s opening ceremony, Blizzard President and co-founder Mike Morhaime gives an impassioned speech about the negativity and bitterness poisoning the gaming community. He didn’t mention GamerGate specifically, but he addressed the entire thought process. He asked everyone in the gaming community to take a stand against hatred and harassment, and redouble our efforts to be kind and respectful to one another. Remind the World what the gaming community is really all about.
Hear that cheering crowd? Everyone, attendees and Twitter folk alike, really got behind the message. Hugs all around.
They forgot the message less than a week later.
November 13, 2014 – Blizzard’s new World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, went live. Two things happened that Blizzard was not expecting:
1) They were the victim of a serious DDOS attack.
2) Ravenous players attack the new starting areas in numbers much larger than were expected.
For almost a day, the game was unplayable. Servers were down while Blizzard tried to deal with the DDOS attack. Then, to regain server stability, they lowered the player cap per server. This created queues that were thousands of players deep. Wait times in the neighbourhood of 8-10 hours were not unusual. People who had taken vacations from their jobs so that they could play, were left staring at a login screen.
Well, players lost their shit.
People hated on Blizzard something fierce. “Unacceptable,” they said. “How does this happen after all this time?” Valid questions, and while there may have been technical answers the players decided to make up their own conspiracy theories. Blizzard became the Big Bad who, according to some, were deliberately keeping them from playing.
The poor Community Managers took the full brunt of the player’s wrath. They apologized, and assured everyone that Blizz was doing everything it could to get things running smoothly. They released hourly updates all weekend so that everyone knew exactly what was going on and what steps were being taken. Friday, servers came down for patches and updates, and equipment was upgraded.
Saturday, adjustments were being made on servers to allow more people to log in. But players were reaching their breaking point. Things got uuuuuugly.
There were those during this “crisis” with fully functional brains who realized this was a video game. They often reached out, offering a reality check and asking those less patient to take a bloody chill pill.
Some folks didn’t get the message and tried to make a point.
If they hadn’t started turning on each other yet, they started doing it now in droves. The angry and entitled vs the patient and devoted. Those who tried to hang onto Morhaime’s message of kindness, and those who wanted to burn it all down and piss on the ashes.
By Sunday, things had calmed down. Queues were short or non-existent. People were tweeting about garrisons, leveling, or just how pretty the game looked. Fewer and fewer complaints as more people managed to log in.
Today, people are discussing tips on making gold, leveling, or running instances. It’s pretty much business as usual. But for some, the damage has been done. I’m sure there are still plenty of angry players out there who feel Blizzard let this happen intentionally. I’ve read forum posts where they accuse Blizzard of being “cheap”, not wanting to do the hardware upgrades and just let the angry players unsubscribe so they didn’t have to spend the money. This release has left many with a sour taste in their mouth, and they will never fully forgive Blizzard for it.
Blame Blizzard? Sure. They knew what their sales were. They had to know how hard their system was going to get hit. They could not predict the DDOS attack, but they freely admitted that they underestimated the number of people who were going to log in at once. They’d never seen numbers at a launch like they did on Thursday. Blessing and a curse to be so popular.
Mike Morhaime’s message to the gaming community though… I don’t think he changed any minds. Good people are going to be good people, and haters gonna hate. Blizzard may have been at fault for much of it, and nobody is arguing that (including Blizzard.) But the players were in full control of how they handled the situation. A great deal chose to handle it poorly, and that vocal minority who overreacted and raged to anyone who would listen, suffocated the voices calling out for patience.
The World of Warcraft gaming community had the opportunity to show the World something this weekend. They did. But instead of sending out a positive message, I think all the World saw this weekend was a bunch of gamer nerds who lost their shit because they had to wait to play their video game.