Vulpera

So as mentioned, I was rather disappointed by the confirmation at BlizzCon that we won’t be getting cross faction play, mainly because I was hoping to get the chance to play Night Elf again but of course having the opportunity to play with some friends who are still Alliance was also a factor. With the release of the new patch however, that has lessened somewhat with the Vulpera being available.

So cute

They are obviously a completely different feel to Night Elves, but still, I think they are the first Horde race I can feel at home with though admittedly it is early days and time will tell. Just hoping we don’t get another raid like Dazar’alor where one gets turned into the other faction, since Mechagnomes are the Alliance counterpart and while I do find the concept cool, they just aren’t my jam at all. Though the race changes in Dazar’alor were somewhat random anyway, not following the counterpart rules of the Orb of Deception at all—played Forsaken, got turned into Human instead of a Night Elf for some reason.

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Benediction

I managed to find the Eye of Shadow in the auction house to a somewhat reasonable price of around 360 gold, and off I went to the Eastern Plaguelands in order to complete “The Balance of Light and Shadow” for the final part of the puzzle: the Splinter of Nordrassil. This was definitely the most difficult part of the whole ordeal: Molten Core is rather trivial and perhaps half the raid needs to be somewhat awake in order to get through it in a reasonable time and you just need to get lucky with the drop in order to get the eye from there; the Eye of Shadow mostly requires patience, either through farming or having enough gold; but this final part actually requires you to do something alone, or well, I did it alone at least.

To expand a bit on that, I saw some old comments saying other priests could actually help with the quest, as long as:

  • they only helped by healing and not doing damage
  • they also have the Eye of Divinity in order to see the NPCs
  • they don’t move, since apparently even moving potentially triggers the failure state

There was another priest queuing for the quest after me, but he decided not to risk it and assist me and I managed to complete it anyway which was nice.

The quest itself is somewhat curious, waves of ghostly NPCs spawn that you have to keep alive while they get bombarded by skeletal archers as well as melee skeletons that spawn, the melee skeletons will also aggro you once you start healing so some way to deal with this is recommended, I ended up using Oil of Immolation which made rather quick work of them and saved me a lot of mana. I also saw recommendations to use Stratholme Holy Water but that feels somewhat overkill since one would need a group to farm it and the oil made short work of the skeletons anyway. What I definitely would recommend however is a couple of big mana potions, the quest has you pretty much constantly in combat and healing so you will probably be stuck inside the five second rule meaning mana will be a problem; using Renew worked well for me, downranked to rank three as well as max rank.

What makes this quest curious however, is that while you are essentially spothealing a raid, you don’t get any of the usual UI elements which you would normally use to do this and instead have to completely rely on the nameplates. What makes this somewhat more annoying are the debuffs which the standard nameplates don’t display meaning you do also have to keep an eye on the NPCs themselves in order to see if they are diseased or not—curing the disease quickly is vital since it deals quite a lot of damage.

Overall the quest proved a positive surprise since I’m not actually expecting to find much difficult content in Classic which was nice, though the biggest challenge being actual UI problems as well as proper consumable usage does dampen that somewhat. The unecessary waiting between tries forced by the 20 minute or so respawn of the questgiver is also somewhat disappointing but still a lot better than the original two hour one, that was actually something I was very happy to see has been changed in Classic—or maybe it was changed in one of the later patches, not sure, though a lot of old comments indicate the timer used to be two hours.

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End of Year

So the year is slowly coming to an end with the holidays approaching and we had our last raids on Sunday and Monday, retail and Classic respectively. There will probably still be some non-mainraid activity going on, potentially an alt raid on Friday and an optional Classic raid on Monday the 23rd, though it will be interesting to see how far we get since I’m assuming attendance won’t be especially high.

Current progress on the Naxxramas set from Wrath of the Lich King

In the meantime, I think I’ll continue farming some transmog, with my current target being finishing the Naxxramas 25-man set. Only the gloves are still missing and they quite stubbornly refuse to drop, had an especially unlucky run yesterday with two pairs of set-gloves actually dropping from Sartharion but neither pair being the Priest ones unfortunately.

Another thing on the agenda will probably be finally getting the +15 achievement from mythic+, have somehow completely neglected that so far this season and it’s rapidly coming to a close so I’ll slowly be in somewhat of a hurry to complete it. Still, only 5 dungeons are missing so the bigger challenge will probably be finding the correct keys rather than actually completing the dungeons themselves, at this point in the season most of us are rather overgeared for +15 keys so they tend to go rather smoothly when we aren’t fooling around too much. I’ve also had a couple guildies mention they are happy to help, so getting the group together shouldn’t be a problem, it’s more the actually engaging and asking people that will be the “challenge” I think.

So that’s retail, as for Classic, I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled on the auction house since I got lucky and won the roll for Eye of Divinity on our previous Molten Core run which means I need the Eye of Shadow in order to do the quest for Anathema/Benediction.

Screenshot of Das Auge der Offenbarung - the Eye of Divinity
Das Auge der Offenbarung – the Eye of Divinity

Unfortunately, we actually somewhat recently transferred over from our overpopulated and Horde-biased server to a somewhat smaller server where we avoid both the rather long queues—an hour or two during the weekends and evenings—as well as the constat gank squads in the open world which is nice but the new server being smaller means both that the Eye of Shadow is somewhat more expensive here as well as a bit less available meaning it isn’t simply a quick matter of buying the trinket I do have to do some waiting. I did briefly try farming it with a guildie with no luck, unfortunately the droprate isn’t the greatest either and the mobs have a sufficient amount of health to make farming them somewhat tedious.

Still, I’m sure I’ll end up getting the trinket eventually, and probably still this year, but it is something of an unexpected setback in the sense of something I hadn’t considered while we were changing server.

All in all, I’m rather looking forward to this small lull in activity going forward, even if the two raids a week haven’t been exactly bad and actually quite fun so far, it’s still nice to have fewer things on the todo list for a while. Especially so considering 8.3 will probably be hitting sometime early next year, which means a lot more farming coming up with the cloak as well as new levels on the neck.

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100

It seems I’ve now hit 100 posts on this here blog, which considering the date on my first post doesn’t seem like a whole lot—the first post being dated 2015-09-01—though it is still something of a milestone. The last couple of years beginning sometime in Legion have seen a somewhat higher level of activity from me than the Warlords’ days, though I still seem to keep something of a rather relaxed pace which seems understandable since I mostly write for my own enjoyment rather than to reach any specific audience or make money.

Looking back at some of some of my older posts, the blog also serves as a nice platform for myself to think through some of the things happening in my (gaming) life which enables me to put a better perspective on things, it’s also kind of nice to be able to go back and look at how I though of certain situations at the time and then be able to reflect on how that has changed.

A perfect example of this is looking back at my switch to the Horde which I was even at the time somewhat miffed about but I think actually took better back then than now. Having played my Hunter somewhat recently has really brought back how much I actually miss being a Night Elf as strange as that may sound and the recent disappintment with no upcoming cross faction play in Shadowlands kind of made that feeling worse recently while at the time I was taking a more optimistic stance to the whole thing. Maybe the eventual introduction of more customization along with Forsaken heritage armour sometime down the line will lessen that feeling somewhat but for now it is one of my major annoyances with the game at the moment.

But I guess all of this is just a very long way of saying: an arbitrary milestone has been reached, it has been nice so far, and hopefully I’ll end up hitting the next milestone a bit sooner than this time around!

Misc

Paladin Epic Mount

Yesterday we ended up doing something interesting in Classic, namely helping a guildie finish up their Paladin epic mount quest. Due to us all being much poorer back in the day, this was something I never did end up doing during the original release of the game and as such was something of a new experience for me.

The final part of the quest

Now, of course, me playing a Priest and not a Paladin I didn’t get see all of the quest, only getting some snippets here and there of the quests that we did in dungeons and even then I’m not sure I participated in all of the fun but still, it was interesting to see what all needed to be done as well as the Paladin-specific final event in Scholomance where we had to fight through waves of shades and finally a Death Knight in order to free the spirit of the horse.

This final event proved surprisingly interesting, mostly when the caster shades arrived since they spawned and started casting on the nearest person it seemed, leading to a close call with myself and another party member before I managed to shackle one while we killed of the rest. Aside from that though, the event wasn’t overly taxing though this was probably partially due to our somewhat strange party composition consisting of two healers—myself and the Paladin.

Everything before the final event was mostly in the category of “do the dungeon normally, but the Paladin needs some quest items or needs to activate something for a quest” which meant it wasn’t really overly interesting from an outsider perspective though doing the dungeons was fun as usual.

Still, it was all well worth the experience and fun and now our Paladin doesn’t get left behind while running to the raid since he too has a fast mount so that’s an added bonus!

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Recovery

So as noted a while back I was in the hospital and have been in recovery a good while which has lead to me not talking as much about some of the recent interesting events—namely, PTR and BlizzCon—as I would have otherwise liked.

Recovery however, has been going well and I’m slowly starting to feel like I’m in somewhat good condition again and maybe I can slowly start gaming more again.

BlizzCon

So BlizzCon this year kind of went like expected, we got a lot of new announcements and they all looked quite interesting though the apology at the start did end up feeling a bit hollow since there was no action taken alongside that apology.

Seeing more story content for Overwatch is nice, having recently actually taken the time to read some of the comics the story and the world does seem really interesting so in a way it’s something of a pity that there hasn’t been more story in-game that we could explore.

Diablo 4 seems nice, though while that is a franchise I enjoy it’s not one I’m overly invested in, getting more story to play like with Overwatch will be nice but I’m in no real hurry to get to play it.

StarCraft ended up being ignored a bit it felt like, with not much new content on the horizon though that is somewhat understandable but still a pity since StarCraft was one of my favourite games growing up though I never got into the competitive side of it.

As for the “main dish” for me at least, World of Warcraft, the announcements left me rather disappointed. There was really one primary thing that I had wanted from this expansion, and that was being able to play Night Elf again and that unfortunately got definitely denied in the Q&A they held at the end. This kind of extends to my fear with the new Covenant system, there are some really nice cosmetic effects tied into choosing a covenant however there is also player power gated behind that choice meaning I might again be “forced” to make a choice I don’t really want to make.

As for the rest of the mechanics, Blizzard seemed quite clear in pointing out that most of the systems were in very early stages with them even being unsure how loot would work and 8.3 with the corrupted gear being one of the deciding factors there which means it feels a bit early to comment on all of that, though so far aside from the concern voiced in the last paragraph regarding the covenants the systems do seem a lot better than the ones in Battle for Azeroth with the tower having the potential to be as interesting as Mythic+ was in Legion which would be nice though I am slightly skeptical of the rogue-lite nature of it since that type of game hasn’t really been my jam so far.

Public Test Realm Raid Testing

The PTR has also been out for a while and we’ve gotten to test every single boss I think, some of them even on mythic—and some of them on mythic when they weren’t supposed to be available on mythic; due to some bug on the PTR, for the first Wrathion and Ma’ut testing we were thrown into mythic instead of heroic which while a fun experience was more buggy than the PTR is usually leading to not very useful testing on our part.

As for the rest of our tests, they have gone decently well and given us a rather good feel for the bosses—except N’zoth, that fight was too buggy for us to do any real testing—which is always nice to have in preparation of the actual content. However the tuning has as usual been completely out of whack, so if we actually want to get any practice on the later phases we’ll need to focus on the tests that come shortly before release.

Still, so far the raid seems rather fun with some bosses even bringing in some rather fresh mechanics—looking at you, Prophet Skitra—which is nice to see and others bringing back very annoying mechanics, namely the Void Miasma at Drest’agath—healing people when line of sight is a major issue never really felt fun, and was one of the more annoying parts in the Queen Azshara encounter so I’m not overly thrilled to see it will probably play a major role again.

Overall though, I’m hopeful when it comes to the raid even with the Discipline nerfs coming out on the PTR and look forward to progessing it after a nice holiday break.

Misc

Hospital

So I spent the last almost two weeks in hospital, got into the ward Monday last week with the surgery scheduled for Tuesday and they deemed me fit enough to come home yesterday. It was an interesting experience, especially as someone who has generally not had many problems with her health, to spend such a significant time in hospital, completely bound to the bed for the first several day even, not being allowed to get up or move too much due to that potentially damaging the wound that was healing after the surgery. The healing is naturally still onoing, but I’m afforded a lot more movement now though sitting is still taboo.

It’s also interesting to notice that the things I expected to be problematic were really the minor things, like boredom or pain, and the much more mundane things ended up being the real problem. Case in point, as I wasn’t allowed to leave bed until Monday—almost a week after the surgery—I ended up being put on a liquid diet in order to spare my bowels a bit of work and pain. This unfortunately did not quite go as planned, and I spent the weekend with a very stuck stomach and even now though I’ve been eating solid food for the best part of a week my stomach is still catching up a bit. It all seems rather obvious in hindsight, but this was definitely not something I expected to be dealing with during my stay there.

Another kind of related point, eating when you can’t sit is actually really annoying, even more so in hospital where though you do have an adjustable bed it is made to be ergonomic and doesn’t allow you to contort your back in such a way as to allow your throat to go somewhat straight down while still not putting too much pressure on ones nether regions so as for it to count as sitting—basically putting more pressure on one’s behind than one’s back is bad. This was especially rough with certain types of food like rye bread that have a tendency to be rather rough and as a consequence were somewhat difficult to eat. One learns ways to work around this and as noted it does get much easier at home where one can assume a less ergonomic but more manageable position but still it was one of those things one doesn’t really appreciate before experiencing it.

Overall though, my hospital stay was an overwhelmingly positive experience: the staff was awesome with a great sense of humor, it was interesting hearing the stories and experiences of other people in my room who seemed to come from almost all over the country, it actually felt surprisingly freeing basically being absolved of all responsibility for one’s being with only the single-minded task of resting and getting better. Due to the flurry of activity, time also went by surprisingly quickly and there was rarely a moment where I really felt bored. So while I can’t really recommend that you try to get hospitalized, I do feel I can say that it can actually turn out to be a surprisingly positive experience overall.

Misc

Fast kitty

Screenshot of Night Elf on Swift Frostsaber

So I managed to get myself a fast kitty in Classic, in other words the epic mount. It was actually surprisingly easy, considering how short a time Classic has been out and I haven’t really done any moneymaking activities in the game, mainly just ran dungeons. Sure, those dungeon runs were fairly successful and with a mage so my costs were low—not even water—but still, wasn’t expecting it to be this profitable especially consindering I played back in the day and was always pretty poor, always sitting around 50-100 gold.

Because of that, felt nice being able to achieve this in Classic, something I never managed back then only buying my epic mount while leveling in Burning Crusade though there I did later manage to afford the epic flying mount.

In general though, the epic mount seems much more common than back then, not sure if this is due to the patch we are playing or if players are simply that much more skilled or knowledgeable these days, I know that’s the case for me but it’s still interesting to see. What probably also helped me is that I’m just a lot more motivated to play the game now than I was back then somehow, and actually set goals and achieve things. My playstyle used to be a lot more aimless with several breaks which probably is what caused me not to achieve too much back then.

Still, with how seemingly easy it is to get the epic mount now, I would recommend it since the extra movement speed is nice even for someone like me who spends most of their time in dungeons or raids. It’s also one of the few sensible places to invest one’s gold I find, so that helps as well.

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Classic

World of Warcraft Classic was released pretty much exactly two weeks ago by now, Tuesday morning at one in the morning. The launch uptill pretty much the last few days actually went surprisingly poorly considering how well Blizzard handled both Legion and Battle for Azeroth, with the game being unplayable for most people due to the queues on the servers. Basically if you didn’t log in sometime before midday you probably weren’t getting in in a reasonable amount of time which at times proved problematic for me with the queue being longer than the time until the next raid. I was rather disappointed to see this, since Blizzard had specifically deviated from the way the original game was launched and introduced layering in order to avoid this very problem, but apparently they didn’t go far enough with this approach.

Beyond that pretty much utter failure on Blizzard’s part, Classic has actually been a ton of fun and it has been interesting to see how differently people approach the game now that everything is a bit more well known than it was at the start as well as how the different pace of modern games seems to influence it as well. I think the most notable example of this are the “bombing runs” of dungeons that seem to really start when Scarlet Monastery becomes available and then continues in Zul’Farrak and later in Blackrock Depths. It seems to basically boil down to the Legion-style of large AoE pulls of packs which then get nuked down in order to level up quickly, not really doing the dungeons for the loot but for the experience. It is quite an effective method, especially with the amount of players on the servers since all of the outdoor content is very heavily farmed, so having your own instance to farm is quite a bit more efficient. I’m sure some of the professional levelers have more efficient methods of leveling, but for the more normal player like me this has been a very effective and fun way of keeping up the pace.

Gear in Classic tends to be a bit of a mishmash, but I kind of like the idea of you just looking like an adventurer that has picked up the gear most fitting to the task.

Doing the dungeons, it has also been interesting to see how my approach to healing in them has changed or rather stayed the same. I’m still trying to get in as much of my healing as possible through Greater Heal only, in order to stay as manaefficient as possible—the big difference to back in the day is that due to how big the pulls are I still end up running out of mana with this strategy, while that only used to happen when we had a really bad pull back in the day. Actually kind of used to pride myself on being able to do dungeon runs without needing to sit and drink, but that just isn’t realistic when you pull several packs and the tank is in need of pretty much constant attention.

Something else that’s a bit different this time around is that I’m now assining spell damage and healing a somewhat higher value than before, since it does seem to be one of those stats that no one really realized was good back in the day. I still really like spirit, but it of course doesn’t help much when my primary task is spamhealing the tank though that is getting to not be as important as we have moved into Blackrock Depths since we can’t quite do the pulls we did in Zul’Farrak and we also kite the mobs a bit more than before. Still, my higher priorisation of spellpower probably means I will need to start thinking about downranking at some point, something I purposefully avoided back in the day since I didn’t feel like stepping into the five second rule more than necessary was a good idea hence trying to only use my most powerful and manaefficient spell but spellpower naturally changes the HPM calculation on all spells.

Personal experiences aside, I also have to say, overall with the implementation aside from the queues Blizzard has been fairly successful keeping most things as they were along with some small interface improvements like the new raidframes which I don’t really mind since basically everyone used an addon for those anyway. There is a small list of things I’ve found so far that they’ve missed though:

  • K was completely unbound instead of being bound to Skills like it used to be
  • T was also unbound instead of being bound to auto-attack
  • As introduced in Legion, you can’t buy partial stacks from vendors which at times is somewhat annyoing especially with water or the like
  • Warlock pets despawn too quickly, making me unable to ressurect them

Now, admittedly, all of these are very minor things and the first two are easily fixed by going into the keybindings, but they were still things that stood out to me as deviations from the original.

The final deviation is of course the Battle.net integration and layering, but both of those were pretty much forseable so they’re not really worth mentioning—and layering is getting removed at some point in the future anyway so.

All of that summarised means I’ve actually been quite happy with Classic at the times I’ve gotten to play the game and this has lead me to putting in quite a significant chunk of time into the game which has been a rather welcome diversion from Azshara progression. Here’s hoping Blizzard sees this as a success as well and considers Burning Crusade servers since from the people I’ve spoken with quite a few of them would probably enjoy those even more it for many having been one of the best if not the best version of the game.

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Queen Azshara kill

We did a thing

We did the thing a few days ago actually, just been too busy with Classic to post. I don’t really have much to say about the boss really, except that it’s probably the most complex and annoying boss I’ve played so far and from a healer point of view not overly fun, which was kind of to be expected when the world first was with only two healers. Still, finally getting the kill felt really good, probably even moreso due to that!

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