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Home Sweet Home – My Alliance Garrison

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.

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My Horde Garrison

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.

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Daily Missions – MasterPlan Add-On

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.

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Daily on the left, shipyard on the right.

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.

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Tailoring Hut on the left, Enchanting Hut on the right, herb garden behind both between the trees.

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.

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Draenor Pathfinder – Finally, Flying For Everyone!

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.

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Garrison – The Front Gate

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.

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The views from flying were spectacular!

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.

 

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When choosing a game, the amount of pleasure you will derive from it is usually equal to the research you put into your game selection.  World of Warcraft is a game with many aspects and has been molded to try and provide a jumping in point for almost everyone.

For those with a smaller attention span, they offer a character “boost” which will allow a new user to start with a level 90 character.  For a certain fee (a little pricey for most people, currently at $60) Blizzard will raise your character up to level 90 immediately, enabling you to partake in some of the more entertaining aspects that become available at level 90 (currently the highest level a character can obtain). At this time (pre-Warlords of Draenor release) a free boost is offered with a pre-order of the WoD software.

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For those of us who love the lore, collecting mounts and pets, the constant opportunity to upgrade our skills and gain achievements there is a wonderful experience waiting when you level up a character by yourself for the first time. Planning how to experience all the game offers can be easy and fun if you know the variables to look at.

All At Once or One At A Time

At this time, World of Warcraft (WoW) gives you an opportunity to create up to 11 characters per server.  This allows you to create one character of each class if you want to experience all the game has to offer or just one if you prefer to concentrate on a single character.

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There is a lot to be said in support of creating one of each character.  While the benefits of when and how to level your character set are a much more individual preference, having one of each character not only helps you understand whether success or failure of any task DOES have something to do with your own personal play, but in the case of a healer helps you understand another person’s health limitations in certain situations.

Which Character To Raise First

There are three different types of character play.  The first is the tank.  A good tank personality would be someone who is concerned about protecting other players from being damaged.  They tend to like being in charge and directing others. Being a tank is NOT about controlling others, but directing them much like a director of a major motion picture – you need to ensure everyone is there and ready to start the fight. Your job is to ensure the NPCs are beating on you, not the other players in the game.  You are their protector and their leader, not their owner.  Marines make good tanks since their main job is to storm the beach head. A good tank will also be able to assess the group of players with him in case they need to be broken up in groups.  They may also be responsible for calling out when to pop cool downs, which order raid bosses and trash should be killed and in some situations should be able to plainly tell others what to watch out for during a fight (yes it’s true – sometimes groups are made up of several new players who have no idea the dungeon journal in the game exists).

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The second type of character play is DPS or damage.  This character’s job is to deal damage in BIG quantities.  They should not be worried about taking damage, only how much damage they can contribute.  Their job is usually to ensure specific targets are killed as soon as possible and are usually geared to deal out the most damage possible.  You will often hear tanks reminding their damage cohorts to KILL THE ADDS as soon as possible. If your world is all about destruction and you cherish your peripheral vision, damage may be the character type for you.

The last type of character play is the healer.  These players are responsible for keeping people alive throughout the fight.  A healer personality would most closely resemble a mother or nurse who is concerned about everyone’s well being.  Healers have spells that not only help keep damage to a minimum, but restore a player’s health so they can continue their task.  Healers are best when they have played each class as this will allow them to understand why another player is taking so much damage.  Healers should have a thick skin though – they have to deal with all types of unbalanced and uneducated personality types blaming them for everything under the sun (another reason to have played one of every class). The last healer mantra to remember is “you can’t heal stupid.”  If a tank insists on running ahead and starting without his entire group present or a DPS refuses to be aware of corrupted pools that are eating through their health, you may simply have to let them die to manage your mana.  Sometimes tough love is required.

My own personal play style when I began (and still today) was partial to healers and preferred to focus on one specific character that would provide the greatest benefit for my other characters as they raised up in levels. During times when I felt like a change, I could always play any one of my other 10 characters until I was ready to go back to my main character.

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I chose to raise my Tailoring/Enchanting Discipline Priest first so all my characters would be able to benefit from the largest bags available (lots of room to store goodies in both your bank and what you carry around) and the financial ease of making my own enchantments.

In the Mists of Pandaria WoW expansion, enchanting your armor is one of the most important parts of making your level 90 character the best it can be. With a possible 14 slots of armor which can be enchanted to enhance your play, it can get very expensive at level 90 to buy the enchants off the auction house. At any given time, some of the enchantments can sell for over 1,000 gold coins, so it is best to save your gold by being able to create your own.

I did make the mistake of leveling my Druid (who is an alchemist) next, because I liked the idea of being able to fly as soon as I pressed the button to fly (mounts require a few seconds to load).  I also liked the idea of being able to go invisible and run anywhere riding mounts were not available.  Had I thought a little further about what I’d have to buy I may have chosen to level up my jewel crafter (monk) or my inscriptionist (shaman) next.

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Glyphs, which are made by an inscriptionist (along with shoulder enchantments) are an easier financial purchase and can often be found for a lower price (as opposed to the 500 gold coins you see now and then).  You can also only utilize 3 major glyphs and 3 minor glyphs at a time and the minor glyphs are technically not necessary.

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Jewels can also often be purchased as low as 30-50 gold, depending on their stats. While primal diamonds (the main jewel for your head armor) can get pricey, they usually only require getting replaced two or three times as you collect higher iLvL gear.

I chose to level my inscriptionist after my druid, then my leather worker.  While leather working provides a good group of additional DPS enchantments for armor, they can also create 36-slot mining and inscription bags (with the right reputation). It seemed logical to access glyphs before jewels as inscription also offers a nice off-hand for new 90 intellect users, but again this was a personal choice.

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How to level your characters based on their professions will be completely up to the type of game play you are interested in.  For example, someone who is very interested in PvP play (player versus player) may choose to place their Engineering profession higher up on the list to take advantage of a glider – often helpful in battle ground play when getting there first is important.  PvE (playing against non-player characters or NPCs) Engineers also have the advantage of providing services to raid groups such as mailboxes and armor repair bots normally unavailable in dungeon or raid situations. If you are one who loves to find out everything about a game, I recommend you create a character/profession plan which lays out which class and race will have which profession.  Some races get bonuses for specific professions that allow them to raise levels in that profession a little faster.

If you are entering the World of Warcraft by yourself take advantage of all the perks you can.  BEFORE you install the game on your computer or set up an account, be sure to get a link that gives you the opportunity to make triple experience and allows summoning under certain circumstances (you can request one by visiting our guild web site knightsoftwistedfate.com and enter your information under the recruitment tab).  Get a 60 day play time card to use when you create your account to keep superfluous trial accounts off your main log-in screen and visit Wowhead.com to research professions and formulate a plan that allows you to utilize all the different facets of the game. Wowhead.com has a way for you to look at all the default patterns any given profession provides as you raise it up.  These are all good things to do BEFORE you create your new World of Warcraft account.  We do offer tutoring services (hourly rate) if you are a person who is a more “hands on” learner and wants personal instruction. Otherwise, we are happy to help our guild members free of charge as time permits.

In my next blog I’ll be discussing how to create a strategy if your family or a group of friends wants to play World of Warcraft together.  I find World of Warcraft is a wonderful way to keep in touch with family and friends that are physically too far away to socialize with.  There are so many different levels of game play that even the most timid of game players can find a place to shine. Hope to see you there! 🙂

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