It’s time again for the compilation album I make for my guild. While not all of it will make sense, I think there’s enough cross over in the boss mechanics from Siege that you guys can appreciate some of this!
And a bonus album!
Despite the expansion being possibly 6 months away, the feeling that we are coming to the close of Mists of Pandaria lingers. When MoP was announced, I was not quiet about how un-interesting I thought it sounded–until I played the beta. It swept me off my feet and hasn’t stopped.
I wanted, then, to take a look at my characters as we round out the last few months of Pandaria and prepare for our next great adventure:
The last time I did a summary of my characters like this was way back in 2010–hard to believe how far they’ve come (and my, how they’ve grown!) in 4 years.
My little team is poised and ready to jump into Warlords with both feet!
I’ve had my eye on these invitations since they first appeared on the BMAH, but they were far too rich for my blood with auctions ending upwards of 50k. However, as Madam Goya continued posting the auctions and more and more people got their hands on invitations, prices quickly came down. Last night I grabbed one at just under 10k. I didn’t think I’d win it, and at first I had a bit of buyer’s remorse. Would it be worth it?
The answer is unquestionably, unmistakably: yes.
I fought through Rank 1 last night and Rank 2 this morning, and it has been the most fun I’ve had in game outside of raiding in a long time. Quick introduction, in case you’ve never seen the Brawler’s Guild, and then I’ll tell you the reasons I love it.
What is the Brawler’s Guild, Exactly?
Walk through a small door in the Deeprun Tram (Alliance–not sure where you Horde folks go) and down a quick ramp, and you find yourself in a bar with a huge pit in the middle. Inside this pit, bosses spawn, and competitors take them on one-on-one. If it’s your first night in the guild, here’s how you get in on the action:
The bosses get progressively harder and go from Rank 1 to Rank 8. There are boss mechanics and enrage timers, so you will need to be on your toes!
Why I Love It
The Challenge. Prior to this, my most favorite thing I’d done in-game was the staff quest from Firelands, in particular, the part I had to solo in the Nexus. After a raid, the second thing I love most is a solo challenge that really tests my skill. How well do I know my class? How good am I at handling mechanics when there’s no safety net? This is that kind of challenge, and it’s exciting!
The People. I might just be lucky, but the people I’ve run into so far in the Brawler’s Guild have all been incredible. I was scared the first fight, worried that someone would call me a noob or yell insults at me if I did something stupid, but that was directly the opposite of what actually happened. Instead, people cheered me on, buffed me, joined groups with me so we could buff each other, rezzed me, and whispered me to encourage me and give me tips. I hope this experience continues, because it has been extremely rewarding so far.
The Experience. The whole setup is just fun. It’s fast-paced, you can watch other competitors, you feel like you’re progressing through the levels, you’re testing your skill–it feels exactly like what they described: a Fight Club for adventurers looking to test their mettle.
That is why I love the Brawler’s Guild. If you can get an invite grab one and step into the pit. You won’t be sorry!
I’ll be posting the December Challenge later this week, by the way!
We’re almost a month into Mists of Pandaria; doesn’t seem like that long, does it? We’ve tilled our farms, we’re earning our rep, we’ve stepped into some heroics or LFR or raids, and we’re starting to get a feel for this expansion.
So far, I dig it. I was never overwhelmed and blown away, but it’s like the whole expansion sneaked up behind me and surprised me with little bits of awesome. I’m enjoying the expansion as much as any other at this point, and that’s saying something, since MoP had me concerned from the get go.
Here’s a few thoughts from my experiences so far; how have yours differed? What’s going on so far with you, or what’s demanding your attention?
About Those Dailies…
I like dailies. I really, actually do. They’re a great way for me to get things accomplished without being chained to my computer for 30+ minutes at a time. I can stop in the middle, go hang out with my kids, answer the phone, chat with a friend, and when I come back, I’m right where I left off.
I will say that unlocking Shado-Pan and August Celestials made my head spin a little. Shado-Pan is probably my least favorite group of dailies, mostly because my Pandaren companion hasn’t learned to Shadowmeld and Swift Flight. We’re working on it, though.
In order to raid, my guild needed more healers. I’ve certainly healed here and there along the way for particular fights, but I haven’t been a dedicated healer since Burning Crusade. However, the biggest problem I’m having is one that I’m sure a lot of healers have had this expansion: healing as if the way we use mana hasn’t changed.
Even though I know exactly what I should be doing, I end up falling into old habits when the damage starts getting high, and pretty soon I’m watching the Innervate cooldown. I’m going to have to keep working on making new habits.
The good news is, I actually enjoy healing again (SHH, don’t tell anyone). It’s been long enough that it doesn’t feel like the same old, same old way it used to feel.
Plus, I’m a tree again. That alone is enough to make it worth it.
Guilds & Priorities
Right before and right after an expansion hits, it’s not unusual for a guild to go through some growing pains. Some people move out, other people move in. This time, though; it was a big deal for me. Several people I’ve raided with for years were unsatisfied with 25-mans and decided to leave to join a 10-man guild. It’s better that they did this in the long run than be unhappy, but I find that I miss them quite a bit.
It’s led me to think about what my priorities really are when it comes to raiding. Do I still care as much about 25-man content as I thought I did? I don’t know right now. Do I need the “epic” of 25-mans (bigger raids have always felt more epic to me; I know not everyone agrees) or could I be satisfied with a 10-man?
With that group went some of the people I consider my closest in-game friends, and perhaps just as importantly, the ones that took me seriously as a player and to whom my opinions mattered. I’ve discovered that particular aspect is more important to me than I realized. I’m interested to see what happens in the next month or so as we progress, and how I ultimately decide my priorities. Right now, it’s still unclear.
Raiding is still fun; that much hasn’t changed, at least!
Here we are, Mists of Pandaria is about to be officially released and handed out to a bunch of very level-hungry World of Warcraft players. I don’t need to ask if you’re excited!
Unfortunately, for reasons beyond my control, I’m not able to get Mists of Pandaria on release. However, thanks to the very considerate intervention of some pretty awesome people, I’ll be getting it only a week late instead of having to wait until November. Continue reading
Best advice I have for pre-patch is read all the blogs. See the bottom of this post and the comments for resources, posts, and guides. If you have one, please link it!
Here’s the problem. In the past, I did patch days like everyone else does patch days in the blogosphere. I talked about my class, I wrote guides, I talked about all the changes. Here’s what I’ve decided: there are so many people doing that way better than I would.
So instead, we’re going to amble down the path of the many, many half-finished blog posts I’ve written about this patch and Mists and the game in general. We’re going to hit each point as succinctly as possible (which means this post will go on forever…) and, yeah. That’s the plan.
Point 1: Where I Stand on Mists of Pandaria
When MoP was announced at that fateful Blizzcon, I looked at my husband and said, “You have got to be kidding me. Pandas? They’re going to base our entire expansion on an April Fool’s joke?” Later came: “Who am I fighting? What will I be raiding? What is my purpose?”
I would never completely discount something without seeing it first, but my initial response was slightly more than reserved, slightly less than annoyed. Internally, I gave Blizzard this challenge: you’re going to have to sell me hard on this one.
For months, no matter how interesting the news came out, I dismissed it. Over and over again I brushed it off, sneered, or sighed at “monk” this and “pandaren” that and “Horde” this and “Alliance” that.
Then I played the beta. I wanted to play because it was beta, not because my mind had changed. I wanted to see it for myself. This was it–the moment Blizzard would have to sell me on Mists of Pandaria.
First off, let me point you to a couple of thoughtful posts about druid beta stuff I read this week, because this will not be one of those posts:
No, my post will be about, as the title suggests, random reactions to things I experienced in beta since it stopped crashing every two minutes. With pictures, of course.
The exact words that came out of my mouth when the above screenshots were taken: “Ooh, that’s pretty!”
Okay, I was all for keeping my moonkin form, but I have to admit these stars are cool. I might change my mind.
Created a premade monk for my husband to play with. Could that guy look any cooler?
I’m asking for a race change for my rogue when it’s my birthday. I’m not kidding.
Wait, what? I can rename my pets?! Meet Botty, Shivers, and Chili.
This is both extremely awesome and terribly awkward.
Tree form. Tree form. I’m a TREE. OMG, I MISSED YOU TREE FORM! I missed you so much, don’t you ever leave me again. I’m going to hug you and squeeze you and name you George! I love you, George! /flail. /squee.
In Trade yesterday, someone mentioned that the expansion is ending. Someone replied, “what do you mean, ‘the expansion is ending?’”
Mists of Pandaria is around the virtual corner. Some guesses put it as soon as June, some as late as September, but regardless of when it comes, we’re wrapping up Cataclysm. We’re in the last tier of content, we’ve killed the Big Boss, and Blizzard has repeatedly confirmed there will not be a filler raid between now and MoP. Further, beta started this week. The door is closing.
I don’t do postmortem breakdowns. There are plenty of MUCH more qualified people doing that (specifically, Blizzard itself). I’d feel remiss, though; if I didn’t go back and ruminate a bit on what Cataclysm was for me and figure out how to wrap it up in proper style.
I’m going to be honest, even if it’s a bit fangirl-ish: content-wise, I loved Cataclysm. My introduction to World of Warcraft lore took place in three parts, or more correctly, one story in the parts: War of the Ancients. Knowing that I would get to team up with and face off against the characters and dragons I’d read about put me on the edge of my seat for the expansion.
I enjoyed every raid. Really. Okay, I didn’t love Throne of the Four Winds, but I adored Blackwing Descent. It was everything I wanted the first raid to be. The fights were fun (okay, maybe being a moonkin on Atramedes when Lunar Shower still rocked made it a little more fun, but still) and everything felt fresh again. I needed fresh after months and months of Icecrown.
Although I took a several month break from the game and missed the introduction of Firelands, I’m glad I got the chance to see it. I never got to see Ragnaros in Molten Core, at least not when he was the Big Boss. I liked the environment and the fights, even if the instance and I had our disagreements. Plus:
I mean, even I can’t argue with that.
I grinned all the way through the 4.3 heroics, despite the fact that I don’t like the Tyrande’s voice acting (not because the acting was bad, but because I don’t feel like it fit the character). While seeing Deathwing meet his “end” was a little anticlimactic since I fought him in LFR before we ever got to him as a guild, I still liked the encounters and the story.
My Raiding Experience
I started out on a great foot when the expansion began. I knew that I knew my class, and I proved it over and over again. Even when things got rocky and the guild I was in switched to 10-mans, I did pretty well in every role I was asked to fill (which often ended up being healing).
The only thing I wasn’t completely comfortable with was tanking, but this is where I have to give a shoutout to the awesome people of Ephemera who encouraged me to try and gave me ample opportunity to practice. They were persistent and non-judgemental, and I love them for it.
After my several month break, I returned, ready to raid again. Things had been in a bit of an upheaval, and I ended up returning to my guild Chi Cerca Trova while I got my feet wet in Firelands. What a culture shock. I’d never taken a lengthy break from raiding like that, and it took me a while to get my bearings straight.
Even now, I don’t feel like I’m back to where I was. I struggle to see the numbers I want to see. I get irritated with myself for not performing the level I feel is acceptable. Right now I sit in a place of deep frustration, and if I can’t find a way out of it, Mists might see me taking on a new role or even a new class. Tastes Like Death…Knight? Tastes Like Holy Priest?
I intend to moonkin to the best of my ability until this expansion officially ends. Time (and beta) will determine where I go after that.
What to Do Now?
We’ve got 3-6 months before we’re standing in line at Gamestop to pick up our copies of Mists of Pandaria. It sounds like a long time, but in Warcraft time, it’s not really. What are you doing to pass the time until we’re rolling our monks?
These are the things I’m doing:
I’m reading through WoW Insider this morning catching up on all the newly released Mists News, and I picked out some of the things that stood out to me. All of the quotes and information I’m getting come from WoW Insider’s coverage of Mists, so you should check out the whole thing (it’s a lot!).
The Tillers are hardworking, salt-of-the-earth types who provide the rest of the pandaren with their food, but they’re too busy to take care of some local problems, like the virmen. Help them out and you can become a Tiller too, complete with your own plot of land. Yes, you heard right — your very own farm.
When I was leveling in Westfall, someone mentioned “farming.” At that time, I asked my husband how I could get a farm, and he laughed. Well, they’re 6 years late, but I CAN GET MY FREAKING FARM!
Wait, did I just say beer elementals? Yes. In fact, they’re called “alementals.” This should give you a pretty good idea of the more light-hearted feel of this zone. While it’s not necessarily true that you won’t run into more serious threats in the Valley of the Four Winds, as a Blizzard rep said, “I’ve saved the world a bunch of times. I’m OK with saving the beer right now.”
That last quote, FTW.
While the art was not completed for the press preview, the developers did reveal that the reward for collecting all of the gold medals was a unique mount styled after the qilin from real world mythology.
I love mounts, I like achievements, and I like being challenged. Bring on challenge modes, I say.
The artifact sits in the center of the map. Whoever claims the artifact must hold onto it as long as possible — a difficult task, since not only is the opposing team trying to kill you and recover the artifact for themselves, but the artifact also causes a constantly increasing amount of damage over time to its bearer. The longer you hold it, the more dangerous holding it becomes. Once the bearer of the artifact dies, it falls to the floor and another player of either faction may pick it up.
The Silvershard Mine uses the Payload ruleset from Team Fortress 2. Players must escort a cart of resources from one end of the map to the other as quickly as possible. The cart only progresses forward when its owners are standing near it. The opposing team must stall the cart’s progress as much as possible to prevent a timely capture.
This is AWESOME. I can’t wait to get into these battlegrounds. I love new objective mechanics. I’m a dork like that. I hated Isle of Conquest, though; these sound much better.
To respec, you no longer return to your class trainer and pay a lump sum of gold. You swap out talents exactly the same way you do with glyphs right now. You purchase an item, spend that item to clear a tier of talents, then pick the new one. If you only want to change your level 45 talent, then you only change your level 45 talent. Forgetting one does not cause you to forget them all.
Regardless of how I feel about the new talents (and I’m still meh on them right now), being able to change just one point without going to a trainer is a huge quality of life change. Yes, I realize this wouldn’t be possible in our current talent system. NO, I DON’T CARE. /QQ.
…the appearance options are broken down differently. You choose a category (such as Hair), and then that category expands into a full-sized bar on the screen. That bar is filled with thumbnails displaying the various options.
Additionally, in the bottom right-hand side of the screen, there is a small gameplay video for your chosen class so you can see a little bit of how the game plays in action before you settle on it.
I like this a lot. The character customization process has needed a little love. Not that I’ll find time to make more characters…or will I?
Chris Metzen kicked off the Mists of Pandaria press event by explaining the tone and narrative goals of the expansion. Players have voiced concern because Mists of Pandaria does not have a clear, global threat in the vein of the Lich King or Deathwing.
Mists of Pandaria itself, the game that comes in the box, will be a full, contained story. The entire arc of Mists of Pandaria will be there when you install the game, before any content patches at all. The content patches will be treated as sequels to that story.
While the steps taking us there are still unknown, Metzen did reveal that the war waged in those patches will reach a massive conclusion: We will lay siege to Orgrimmar to remove the mantle of warchief from Garrosh Hellscream’s shoulders.
This was one of my chief concerns when they announced the expansion, so I’m glad to see it addressed straight out. I like the idea of having a complete story and then adding to it. And who doesn’t want to go overthrow Garrosh? I’m down.
…you will be getting an 11th character slot for your monk.
While I’m very glad I will be able to roll a monk without deleting anything I currently have, I’m a little disappointed. They had talked about doing a 50 character limit but not limiting it per server. I’d like to see that, or a much larger server cap, like 15 or 20. I’ve played on the same server for 6 years. I know people there, I’m not currently keen to roll elsewhere.
This is now what will make me roll my Pandaren. I only play female characters (I can’t get used to the way male characters walk. Sorry, guys. I still like you and all, you just walk funny), and I am THRILLED with this model. I can’t wait to create mine now.
I didn’t spend a lot of time actually playing a druid, but I did hear a bit of interesting news while I was playing other classes, so I hopped onto my premade druid to find out for myself. I was able to confirm that, yes, there are some minor glyphs druids are going to absolutely adore. Here they are:
So these basically own, right?
Breaking this down one by one:
The new zones look and sound cool. I’m eager to try them out.
Have I warmed up to Mists? I think I have. I’m not on the edge of my seat like I was for Wrath and Cata, but yeah, I’m ready to see what it’s all about.