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It’s been over TWO years since I posted to this blog site. While it was never my intention to become a daily/weekly/monthly blogger, I originally felt I could share tips regarding a game I loved. Time passes quickly when you’re having fun though.
Upon looking back at earlier posts, the tips I provided as a “newbie” player made sense. Two years have gone by and I have fallen into “experienced” player mode; those people who’s vernacular is full of abbreviations the uninitiated wouldn’t understand.
I now have 12 level 100 Alliance characters. 11 of them are one of each class, the 12th being a resto/feral druid that gathers herbs and ore. These are the characters I play on a daily basis. I also have 12 Horde characters I rarely or never touch of which only six are level 100.
My Horde characters were created at a time when there were three of us exploring the game and wanted to know all the aspects of both factions. I never felt connected to my Horde characters, from their races to having to take an elevator to almost anywhere. Consequently, when the others in our group fell into their real-life obligations I stopped playing any of my Horde characters for the most part and kept to my Alliance heritage. That feels both good and right.
Now that we are two months away from the next expansion pack in the World of Warcraft (WoW) saga, I can look back over the best and worst parts of Warlords of Draenor.
Draenor Was Alt-Friendly: Warlords of Draenor was built around the garrison system. Each of your alts had their own garrison and their own daily missions. As you can see above, garrison mission rewards were anything from gold to honor to a plethora of helpful items to boost your garrison to top level, help you gather more mats to craft items or get free gear tokens. Some items were transferable, such as honor you could send to another alt if they had none (The Botani Stirr above). As a PvE player, I used honor to buy a seal that gave me a free roll on loot in Hellfire Citadel raids – a great way to have another chance at raid gear.
There were mission tables for both the Town Hall and your shipyard, which netted many FREE items. All you needed to do was run through both tables on every alt which could take as much as 3 minutes or 5 if you wanted to pick up extra garrison resources outside your town hall and do the daily mat creation for your profession. If you REALLY wanted to make the most of your alts, each one had an herb garden and a mine in their garrison you could collect resources from daily if you had the time. Extra herbs and ore could be transferred to whatever alt needed it on any given day and you didn’t have to contend with others over an ore or herb node.
Professions Were Quick and Easy To Do: If you know much about WoW, you know that each character or “alt” can only have two crafting professions. Unfortunately, the game has MANY craftables almost every character needs. Whether it’s enchants or gems (to add valuable stats), inscriptions (glyphs, staffs and trinkets), flasks or potions, armor (cloth, leather, mail or plate), bladed weapons or engineering marvels such as a Findle’s Loot-A-Rang you still need one character with each profession. This includes a rogue who can open all your locked boxes as blacksmiths were not allowed the pleasure in Warlords.
While I originally created one character of every class so I could learn how to play them (and as a healer know what they WEREN’T doing to mitigate damage), having enough characters to have one for each profession was a necessity. You don’t want to have to pay for glyphs for each of your characters if you can just make them yourself. In addition, if you are part of a team running a weekly raid group and want to support those raid members with less time to play having those extra professional resources is worth it’s weight in gold.
Once You Had Flying, ALL Your Alts Had Flying: While the lack of flying in the beginning of Warlords was a highly debated subject, in the end (and WAY too late) Blizzard relented by creating an achievement-based flying mechanic. This allowed Blizzard to make flying something you had to earn by showing you had at least once, learned all about the new zones (the reason they were against flying). Certain items that required exalted reputation, however, became very tedious to grind rep for. Without flying it would have been intolerable. For those of us who played several alts, flying was a Godsend.
Home Sweet Home: As you can tell by the picture at the very top of this blog post each character was given their own personal space in the game called a “garrison.” It was a quiet place to go home each time you played. It wasn’t filled with strangers acting like immature 13 year olds and you could invite anyone to your garrison you wanted, from your raid or party group to complete strangers looking for different garrison amenities through the Premade Group Finder. You could receive a special forge buff from the Blacksmithing Hut that kept you from having to repair your armor (as long as you didn’t die) or take a mage portal from the Mage Tower to any of the main areas in Draenor. Each garrison was customizable for each character and those of us who were lucky enough to have two World of Warcraft accounts could keep one open with a Salvage Yard, Bank and Auction House for all our the other alts to use.
I greatly enjoyed the Warlords expansion pack and was a bit sad to hear Legion was going to be released so soon. I didn’t have time to get all of my Horde characters raised to 100 (we stopped leveling them together at around level 73), nor did I have time to work on achievements, pets or mounts once they announced the drop date on the new expansion. Some characters I used my Legion Pre-Purchase boosts on while a couple others purchased a Level 100 boost ($60) because I just couldn’t bear to finish leveling them and I needed their special services.
And For The Bad Things: The only truly hideous thing I disagreed with in Warlords was Blizzard’s decision regarding flying. Blizzard waited WAY too long to introduce flying in the area covered by the Warlords expansion pack.
Once the huge drop in active subscriptions happened (otherwise known as kids with short attention spans), Blizzard should have introduced flying. This is the point when people who have loved what this MMO offers had an opportunity to raise up their main character and were starting on their alts. They would already have all the requirements for the flying achievement from leveling up their main and be ready to get to work on their other characters. The fact the conversation took SO long on Blizzard’s part (purists who never want ANY Blizzard expansion to have flying and the more realistic of us with multiple characters who love flying and need the mobility flying offers) made the day it was finally released a bit sour. We were very happy to be able to FINALLY get around, but the days spent walking everywhere we’d already been were incredibly time-consuming and a detriment to the game. To Blizzard’s credit, the achievement route was the best option because it gave credit where credit was due. It not only rewarded people for playing all the parts of the new expansion, but acknowledged that we cared enough about the game to stick with it and play additional characters.
There are so many other specific things I liked about Warlord’s gear, items and play. This blog post could go on for days were I to list them all. I will end this entry by saying I will continue to end the day in my Warlord’s garrison as opposed to the “Inn” or “Class Hall” provided in Legion. While you can be sure Blizzard will nerf the mission table mechanics once Legion is released, they can’t take my home away from me completely. It will still be a place for friends to gather and a spot of quiet solace (as opposed to a Class Hall where you will ultimately be molested by 13 year old boys who’s parents thought a computer would do a better job raising them then they could, but that’s a blog entry for another day). I will cherish these last two months of Warlords of Draenor as I also prepare our raid group for what to expect in Legion.
I haven’t posted to this blog in a VERY long time. It’s not that I haven’t been playing World of Warcraft. My ability to post was more related to a tinge of OCD or what some consider perfectionism. I could edit a post 20 times before I’d consider it good enough to live on the web forever and some times posting seems more like a daunting task. What’s changed in a year?
I have six natural level 90 characters now – 5 Alliance, 1 Horde and two unnatural level 90 characters (boosted). By natural I mean I actually spent the time to level all these characters up the hard way. My main character, Shavai, now has iLvL 547 gear instead of struggling with quest gear (and the top level of gear has gone up twice). The guild master from my old guild quit the game to focus on other things in life, but very kindly helped me transition into my own guild. Most notably, my son and his girlfriend are now both playing World of Warcraft with me.
Playing a game for over a year gives you an amazing perspective on the game and the people who play it. World of Warcraft has so much to offer in play types and places to play, yet many people want quick and instant gratification. In a game so rich with things to do and places to go, finding those who really appreciate all the game’s aspects is a rare and joyous occasion. We’ve had a few people join the guild with alts, but none who are regular players.
Currently, I own two Level 25 guilds – one Alliance on the Dalaran server and one Horde on the Gnomeregan server. My hope is to make our guilds learning guilds. I look forward to getting all my characters up to Level 90 so I can concentrate more on creating guild resources and do guild recruiting. Our goal with the learning guilds will be to provide tools and tips to everyone who wants to explore the depth of the game and more casual, less regimented opportunities to try and learn some of the harder aspects of the game such as raids.
At the end of this year, Blizzard will release a new expansion pack for World of Warcraft called “Warlords of Draenor.” If bootleg videos of people flying over unfinished lands is any indication, there will be plenty to explore in addition to being able to create your own town.
If you are new to the game and interested in trying it Blizzard offers a free trial. As someone who went the trial route and ended up playing the game I recommend just jumping in as the trial route creates two different accounts which can get confusing to newer users. You can usually find the game software on sale. I recommend buying a 60-Day play time card from your local Wal-Mart and getting a link to special perks which gives you an opportunity to get triple experience and a special “Summon” ability from the person who gave the link to you regardless of which class you are. These perks only last for a couple of months though so it’s best to make use of them immediately. You can request a special link to these perks by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the e-mail address you’ll be using for your World of Warcraft account. It’s important you have this link available for use before creating your account.
Chances are upon creating your first character you’ll be bombarded by requests to join a guild. Make sure you choose a Level 25 guild to take advantage of all the perks (a list of these is available on the home page of our Alliance guild web page). Don’t worry about being stuck with any one guild. You can leave at any time and switch to a guild that better suits your play needs.
You may want to find a guild that caters to newer users so you don’t suffer the wrath of players who treat new users with contempt. Unfortunately, abuse of new players has become the staple of today’s barely raised children looking for a way to feel better about themselves at the expense of others. There are plenty of mature users in the game. You just have to find them.
Playing World of Warcraft can be a fun way to keep in touch with family who are no longer physically near you. It can also be a good way to teach your child to be a responsible internet user instead of an internet abuser. It’s a great way to focus on something else when dealing with daily pain management and a great way to relax if you have smaller children who go to bed early. It allows you to socialize and achieve things all in the safety of your own home.
Now is a great time to get ready for the Warlords of Draenor expansion whether you are a new player or coming back to the game after a long period of inactivity. Hope to see you there! 🙂
I thought I’d check out the Darkmoon Faire this month. After all, the portal for it was in my home town of Goldshire. I still have no idea no idea how to use the game interface most of the time, so after realizing a right click on the portal would get me there, I took a stroll through the Faire. I found the experience to be a mixed bag for me. (The exit portals are at the end of the pier; one for Alliance, one for Horde.)
If you’ve never been to the faire before, it consists of games to play, different things to eat or drink, some different pets and items you can purchase. The better items have to be purchased with tickets, tickets that you win when you complete quests within (and sometimes outside of) the faire. Most of the games (quests) can be played daily.
One of the down sides of not having gone to the fair before is how it works. Being unfamiliar with RPG games, I didn’t realize once I bought my sack of tokens I needed to right click on them until the coins landed in a box in my inventory bag. I stood at the Whack A Gnoll game for a long time. The lady kept throwing me out because I hadn’t taken the coins out of my bag (even though I clicked the “I’m Ready” button). Clearly she knew they were in there.
Some of the games require you to click on the bullet, then the target before you shoot, some require you click on the target first and then click the bullet (Tonk). You just have to figure out which game works which way. When you meet the requirements for the game (quest), the time will continue to run out at which point you can go back to the person who let you in and collect your ticket prize. I found the Tonk game to be the easiest to play.
One of the problems I had with some of the games, such as the shooting gallery, was the buffer between the game and my computer was way off. The guns always went off way after I clicked for the target and the target light had moved. I noticed other people were hitting the target frequently. I can only surmise that I just don’t understand how to use the game interface correctly (more aiming involved than just clicking the cursor where you want the bullet to go).
There were other equally frustrating buffer problems. For example, you can get blown out of a cannon and hope to hit a target in the ocean, but the movement commands didn’t seem to start working on my computer until I was right on top of the target and by then my over compensation had already lodged itself in the buffer. The swim back was obnoxious. For some reason my avatar wouldn’t swim straight and moved VERY slowly. Once you got back to the shore, you had to ride all the way back to the cannon. The Human Cannonball quest won’t disappear from your list unless you abandon it or finish it. I decided to abandon it as it seemed a rather unproductive use of my time.
The other problem I had with the faire were the unmarked places. Most people who have played WoW for a while probably know what a PvP (Player vs Player) arena looks like. I had no idea. When I went up to investigate, I found myself in the ring wishing I hadn’t been so curious. If you get TOO close and hit the wrong button, it throws you right in. I don’t PvP specifically because anyone else in the game who’s been playing a while most likely has the BEST equipment. I don’t know what the restrictions are for levels either, all I know is some really big dude popped into the ring and cut me down with one slash.
The only good thing I got out of the faire was a storage box with more storage space than the bags I currently buy to hold my things. It only cost one ticket. The rest of the faire was pretty annoying, especially the girl next to the “Test Your Strength” machine. To complete that quest you had to go kill 250 NPCs (ones your own size). I did it in one day, but I have no idea if that’s normal. I received 10 free tickets for it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything I wanted to use my 10 tickets with. Whether my achievements roll into next month’s faire, I do not know. What I do know is there is an awesome staff I could use at the faire grounds, but it costs 160 tickets – far exceeding the 11 tickets I managed to come up with this week.
On Sunday WoW did an update to their software around 1:00PM. Nothing worked right the rest of the day. There was constant lagging, and oh, did I mention hackers managed to get through the system while they were upgrading? That’s right, if you look around YouTube, you’ll see the carnage. Blizzard had to shut down the servers until they could figure out how the German hackers got in and cut them off at the pass. Somehow, the hackers had created a level one character with the powers of a God – able to kill people with one slash of the sword. There were a lot of dead players who weren’t looking for a battle.
Blizzard put their purchasable mounts on sale half price yesterday. Instead of paying $25, they were $12.50. I was getting tired of using the gryphons, so I thought if I bought this mount (Winged Guardian) it would solve my problems, after all it said you could use it at level 20. I went into the game, received it into my in-game mailbox, right-clicked on it to get it into my mount area and hopped on. I couldn’t get the darn thing to fly! Apparently, if you buy a mount you only get to use the running part of it until you are level 60 (I believe) and can learn how to fly. Disappointing to say the least, but it was a lesson learned. For now I’ll keep using my horse for transportation because it makes me feel happy.
I finally leveled up to 35 so I could wear my pirate hat. When I put it on, my hair style suddenly changed. Not sure why. I also noticed when I just went in the game to get a print screen of my new equipment (new hat, staff, belt, gloves and boots that look more like toe-less socks), it said they were planning on doing more upgrades at 1:00PM (ET) today. I just hope it doesn’t turn into the horrible mess it did last time.