Vacation Break!

Hey all! Quick update just to let you all know I’m away on vacation in Seattle for about the next week. I just wanted to share a couple of pictures with you all. I’ll be back on the 28th, but moving that week, and then I have family in town for the 4th of July! BUSY! I’ll be back in action after all of that is settled down. Hoping to put out a new blog post next week sometime with some thoughts about Legion.

See you all soon!

Reflecting on Warlords of Draenor

I came into this expansion really excited for a little taste of that nostalgic Warcraft experience I had been hearing about from veteran gamers since day 1. I can’t comment on this expansion lived up to the old timers, but I certainly enjoyed the expansion. It brought a new theme I wasn’t familiar with and was a drastic and welcome shift from pandas and sha. Still, it turned out to be my least favorite expansion, or at least a tie with MOP. Here are my thoughts on the expansion as a whole.

I really have nothing negative to say about the questing/leveling experience. The quests and storyline were fantastic. The story progressed through all of the zones and was easy to pick up where you left off. The outposts in each zone were interesting. The extra dmg boosts made leveling alts and healers/tanks a lot easier for me. I liked the intro quest for the garrison as well. I felt it was very story driven but didn’t drone on for days either. The cinematics during the leveling experience were awesome. It really brought you into the story and helped you to really see what what happening and not miss the big highlights. For me it added that extra bit of emotion and fantasy depth to the game.

The treasures/toys/puzzles. I LOVE this stuff. I actually like the ones in MOP better, because of the gold and XP, but I really liked how many they added in and the variety of rewards. It broke up the questing and encouraged exploration off the beaten path. Stumbling upon all the little random hidden treasures is just plain fun! Even if they rewarded something like garrison resources, I still really enjoyed finding these treasures along the way. I felt that the archaeology ones were a little odd- but fun and sometimes challenging to get to. However, they seemed misplaced and confusing. They were only in one zone, and only for one secondary profession. I spent a bunch of time jumping around on my hunter to finally get to this tantalizing purple bag only to find out I couldn’t open it (my Druid is the only character with max archaeology). If they do something like this in the future, I would like to see it so anyone can open them regardless of skill level, and perhaps it would be a way to level up your professions along the way. The could add in a hidden fishing bag, or cooking pot that rewards profession points and useful items.

Dungeons- I thought they were interesting and well made. They could have been a little harder at the heroic level for me, but the Challenge Modes more than made up for the difficulties. I do however wish they had made new armor models for the Cmodes, rather than just weapons. I always feel that dungeons get wasted. They are useful for about a month or two, until there are easier and higher item level ways to gear up (LFR) and then they fall by the way side. I have hope that the new system will solve some of these issues in Legion. I also would like to see some gating for lfr. At least silver proving grounds or something similar before you’re allowed in LFR.

Raids- I thought that the raids this expansion were pretty darn interesting, other than pacing issues. Imperator and Blackhand were very difficult at the heroic level which was a refreshing challenge, and perhaps should have been just a tiny bit easier. Archimonde was maybe a little too easy at the heroic level, but I think this is only true because of the way the raid was generally progressed through. Which leads me to my biggest gripe about Warlords. I don’t want to do the same raid at 4 different difficulties. I feel that if you completed say, heroic Blackrock Foundary, you should easily be able to get started with heroic Hellfire Citadel, which was not the case for us. We attempted to jump into heroic HFC and got obliterated due to our 685 il. The gear scaling just didn’t line up properly and we ended up clearing Normal HFC, then Heroic HFC, then Mythic HFC with some people also doing Raid Finder, over the course of a year. This just isn’t very intuitive for me. I would prefer that the progression is more linear. Normal progresses to normal, heroic to heroic. Mythics I felt like were almost spot on for HFC. They were exceptionally challenging and had good mechanics. I do feel that certain classes were perhaps too valuable over other classes and made some fights nearly impossible without proper class composition. I understand this to a point, but when you need 3-4 mages and 2 DKs and 3 rogues for certain fights, that to me is too much. Especially considering they are all on the same tier. Requiring a specific class or compensating with say 2 of another would be ideal in my opinion. I also feel the “warlords” theme sort of drifted away with HFC/Tanaan. Also -the monochrome fatigue was real.

Professions- What professions? This used to be one of my favorite aspects of WoW and it was gutted in WOD. I have a lot of hope for Legion and am really happy they put seemingly a lot of effort back into this aspect of the game. Daily CDs are not my thing. As a casual player, I prefer to play when I feel like it and have a block of time, rather than log in just to do a daily CD. I like being able to control how much of something I can do based on materials, not set amounts of time. Gating things like recipes perhaps are useful to a point, but materials should be farmable.

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Garrisons- I didn’t like this idea even on beta. I knew it was going to end up being a place you sat alone for the entire expansion. I enjoyed some aspects of it for a little while, but again daily actives like this aren’t fun for me. I spend hours just sending my followers on missions for gold and getting my herbs and ore. I did like being able to get herbs and ore on all my characters, but I think I still prefer the open world farming. What I would ultimately like to see is guild housing based in or near a major city. I would love to have our achievements displayed and a virtual place for guildies to gather.

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Tanaan- I loved this zone to start. The progression quests and dailies were fun, the rares, balefuls, and a new world boss all were really enjoyable. It had a few optional reps which I think are great for casual players and collectors, as well as giving raiders something different to do. Overall a great zone somewhat reminiscent of the Isle of Thunder which I also really enjoyed.

Overall I really enjoyed the expansion, though it was obviously severely dampened once again by well over a year of no new content. I’ve been playing for a little over 6 years now, and every expansion has had this issue. I recently read an interview with Ion Hazzicostas stating they were going to focus less on “yearly” expansions, and more on more frequent content patches. This was the design I thought they should go with this whole time, but we shall see if they actually deliver. What were your thoughts and experiences this expansion?

Thoughts and preparing for Legion

There has been some rumor that the prepatch might hit- July 19th. That means we all have 6 weeks to effectively finish up this expansion. Here are a few things that I’ll be doing to finish out the expansion and some tips to get you prepared for the patch.

Legendary Ring

Finish up your legendary ring on your main or any alts you may be working on. Once the prepatch comes out the ring quest will not be available anymore to start, however you should be able to finish it up until Legion launches on August 30th. You can make this a bit faster by doing your garrison missions and there is a vendor in Tanaan that will assist you in exchange for Apexis crystals. These rings should still be pretty nice to have while leveling and early dungeons.

Garrison Invasions

I really need to finish up these achievements. To trigger an invasion you have to farm level 100 mobs in the daily garrison zones. You can buy the scouting missive from your garrison vendor for garrison resources if you want to do a specific daily zone. The invasions drop 4 mounts and there are several related achievements.

Moose Mount

If you haven’t killed Archimonde on Heroic yet, you want to do this as soon as possible. The moose mount will no longer be obtainable after Legion. I suggest getting guild groups together, checking the group finder, or most servers have a guild or 2 selling runs for about 20-30k. Its also worth noting Mythic Blackhand also drops a mount but only 1 per mythic run.

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Challenge Modes

Completing all the dungeons on challenge mode silver rewards you with the Challenger’s War Yeti . Completing them on gold will reward you with  15 weapon models. This will no longer be available when the pre-patch drops. The weapons will all be added to the new transmog system coming in Legion.

Professions

We’ve heard a lot about the profession revamps coming to legion, all of which I am super excited about. After having and entire expansion with little use for professions, “supposedly” they are coming back in a big way. I suggest having all your professions maxed and ready to go for Legion. The only thing I recommend crafting is Hexweave bags and supply your alts and the AH.

Making Gold

My goal for pre-Legion is 1 million gold. I’m currently at 330k with minimal effort. Gold is becoming easier and easier to get every expansion. Which means Blizzard puts in more and more gold sinks- such as a 2 million gold spider. Maximize your garrison with treasure finding followers from your Tavern/Inn. You can also try to do this with your shipyard by getting Goblin crews. The only way to do this is to decommission non goblin crews and try again.

I recommend unloading as much of your Draenor mats as possible in the next 6 weeks. These mats will become virtually useless after the expansion drops. People looking to level up professions are going to be buying bulk raw mats rather than crafted items. Running Kaz on all your alts and sell the Fel Blight in raw mats is also a good way to to make a little extra cash.

Farm farm farm. Sell everything. Run Cataclysm raids on 25M heroic and vendor everything. If you love battle pets, level them to 25 and sell these.

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Mythic Dungeons and Heirloom Trinkets

If you haven’t yet, get your heirloom trinkets from Mythic Dungeons. They have a relatively rare spawn but clearing all the dungeons should get you at least your main’s trinket. After which you can then collect the other trinkets for other classes on the same character. Your first one will always be the appropriate ones for your spec. This is a great way to gear up some alts too.

Ashran/Nemesis/PVP

Once Legion launches this place is going to be dead. You will want to finish up your achievements for this zone now. The Nemesis quests and achievements from your garrison will be extremely difficult to finish up with no players available to kill. PVP is the fastest way to gear up new alts for me. You can get to Item Level 700 in a day or 2 by running Ashran, or BGs during the BG bonus event. Questing is a lot harder if you’re running in at 650 il.

Clean out your storage

This isn’t a top priority, but going into the expansion with full bags of old gear, pots, and random flavor items is really frustrating. First, get your toons decked out with Hexweave bags. Get rid of duplicate gear models you don’t plan to use for Timewalking, disenchant your extra gear, and put all that extra flavor crap in the bank for later.

Other Thoughts

With the new transmog, tabarad and shirt UI you may want to collect a few choice items to have for when this system goes live. For me, this is not something I’m terribly concerned about right now, and I’m going to save this for later on. Some achievements and mounts may be harder or easier to obtain after launch. Pepe requires you to kill quite a few raid and world bosses while wearing him. If you die, you have to go back to your garrison and get him again. I finished this achievement already, but I imagine it may be hard to get people to do these raids and world bosses if you are unable to solo them in Legion. Mount drops from the rares may or may not be easier to obtain. Reputations will likely be easier to finish up at a higher item level, but let’s be honest, you aren’t coming back anytime soon.

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This is my “to-do” list- anything else you are doing to prepare for Legion?

I Love My Hunter

My name is Naravia and I love my hunter.

If you haven’t seen the hunter video made by Frostheim of the Warcraft Hunter’s Union you need to head over to Youtube right now I’m a Hunter.

Almost everyone has that class they are just drawn to. That they always come back to. My first character was of course my hunter, and she is still my main to this day. Even with my brief tango as a Protection Paladin in Cata, I still played my hunter just as much during that time because I just couldn’t bench her. My choice to main my hunter from the start was obvious. They have a pet? Sweeet. Deal. That’s what drew me to the hunter class initially, and still 6 years later is my favorite part of the class.  I always have my trusty companion to pull extra mobs, to keep me company, and show off my awesome patience for camping.

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Hunters just have this great feel to them. You can solo level with ease, though we all know you’re never truly alone /pet. You can solo tackle a lot of content, new and old, other classes can’t, tank dungeons, jump off cliffs, and do some pretty awesome tricks (jump shot anyone??). I love pushing my limits with my hunter and seeing what I can come up with. Back before I raided so much, I would build tanking sets and solo current content, and old raids. It was really fun!

Taming rare pets, oh the thrill! Camping for hours, days, weeks, months! Racing back and forth between spawn points. Killing every alliance in sight who might just maliciously kill your beautiful new companion. Threatening rival hunters with the wrath of doom! My very first rare pet was Humar in the barrens. He is a black lion surrounded by his pride. I had my little hunter camped out there forever! Finally one day I logged in and there he was! It’s so addicting… From there it was like Pokemon, I had to get them ALL!

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Play style is an important reason I really enjoy my hunter now even more. I love the new focus vs mana. I never understood the mana thing- am I supposed to be a magical hunter? Weird. I love having a bow, I love firing off tons of arrows and laying traps. Anyone who raids with me knows I’m a Beast Master hunter at heart. I will find any reason to not play Marksman. It’s not that I hate Marksman, it’s just that I hate Marksman. >.< I have hope for MM in Legion. Maybe. Just a little. Survival was my 2nd spec until Warlord’s of Draenor. I really like the spec, but it was a bit boring and didn’t really offer anything special. I am not sure how I feel about melee hunter yet, but I’m excited to give it a try and be shoulder to shoulder with my pet!

I’ve said it before, but the hunter community is amazing! When I was first starting out in Wrath I found the Warcraft Hunter’s Union (WHU). Frostheim was running the show at the time and the site was amazing! He always had the guides up to date, and everything you could want to know about hunters. Sadly he retired a couple years ago and the site isn’t being used much. There are literally dozens of websites dedicated to hunters out there. A few of my favorites are Thrill of the Wild, Eyes of the Beast, The Grumpy Elf, and of course Petopia. If you’re looking for more raid focused info check out Azortharion’s guide on Icy-Veins.

There really isn’t much I don’t love about hunters… except, the transmog. It’s so hard to transmog hunters! I absolutely refuse to wear a dress on my hunter- how am I supposed to sneak through the wilderness and jump disengage in a dress?

I am a hunter through and through what can I say? Did someone say Barrage?

So I’d like to know- what do you love about your hunter or preferred class? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Prequel

“You never used to be like this”

“Are you still doing that game?”

“I can’t believe you turned into a ‘gamer'”

Nara

When did I become like this? Why am I still playing games so much? I tend to get a lot of the above statements when people find out I game, or still game. Even as recently as last night I was talking with a girl friend and she was rather amused that I still raid every week. I certainly play games more now than at any other time in my life. I love it! It’s my favorite past time. My Friday nights now consist of writing WoW blog posts, playing WoW, and sipping ciders. Compared to my friends, it probably is a bit different now that I think about it. So, how did I get to this point?

Well it all started a long long time ago… OK not that long ago. When I was young, we didn’t really have video games. I remember my brother having an old Nintendo that we were only allowed to play when we were at our dad’s house (shhh don’t tell mom). I wasn’t all that interested in it though. I was much more into running around the woods like a wild child. When we were older we finally convinced our mom to get us a Nintendo 64. For the first time I played a game I truly enjoyed- Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. I LOVED IT. I sucked so much I had a walk through guide. I was probably about 12-13 years old. I remember getting to Lon Lon Ranch and then pretty much all I did was ride Epona around. What a fantastic game! I did eventually finish the game about the same time that Majora’s Mask came out. I got to some evil puzzle level, which was too hard for this scrub and I lost interest.

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As I said, I was about 12-13 and went to high school thereafter where I was all about sports and getting good grades and going to college. Don’t judge. In college I played a little Guitar Hero, a little Halo, and that was about it until a friend of a friend introduced me to World of Warcraft. It seemed pretty lame but my brother and I both started to play it and we had a lot of fun. You know how that story ends up, but what was it about WoW that has immersed me so deeply in gaming culture and keeps me coming back? Ill give you a hint. It’s not the game. It’s not the purples. It’s not the constant stream of new content (totally couldn’t write that with a straight face >.< ) .

Its the people.

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Time and time again. It’s the experiences I’ve shared with people that keep me coming back.

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Its the interesting  and unique people I keep meeting. The raids, the guild, the teamwork.

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For me, that is what really keeps me interested, and involved. I never thought of myself as a “people person”, but gaming has really allowed my introverted side to be more extroverted. Talking to, and hanging out with people through a computer may strike images of that South Park episode for some people, but for me, it has been a way to make friends all over the world. Some of my closest friends are people I’ve never met. One of my best friends lives in Hawaii, another in Canada. I have several friends sprinkled all across the US and Canada. I even have friends from Germany. I could have never experienced the friendships I have without WoW. I could never have created a successful raiding guild without my “WoW friends”.

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And for that, Thank You!

-Nara

First blog post

Well here it is, my very first blog post. I am starting this blog with the goal to celebrate the hunter class, showcase my personal adventures, and hopefully provide a helpful place for hunters to find the answers to life’s serious questions- like “how do I get that awesome spirit beast?”

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A little bit about me: Naravia is my very first WoW character and still is my main to this day. I started out in late 2009 early 2010 during Wrath of the Lich King. I played for maybe an hour or two on the weekends, running around in the Blood Elf starting zone picking flowers and skinning cats. I tamed my very first pet “flare” a dragonhawk and it was love at first sight. I was afraid of going through the Ghostlands zone, so I stayed in the starting zone until I had done all the quests, picked all the flowers, and massacred as many trolls as I could. I finally stepped across that bridge and was instantly killed by a mob of bats. Well, got that over with. I  had no one to help me or show me the ropes. I didn’t discover Org until I was level 40, didn’t discover the shiny new dungeon finder until I was in the 30s. I wouldn’t have found out about any of these things if it hadn’t been for a kind soul I met along the way named Mistgun (Mistgoon back in the day). He always seemed to be there to help me, and still remains one of my dearest wow friends.

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My first guild was Dog Soldiers, I wasn’t there long as they disbanned only a few months after I joined. They were a raiding guild and taught me the basics of PVE. They even took me along to heroic ICC once to be the orb bouncer (I was BM… they must have been desperate). After that I joined Mist’s guild the Doom Brigade. They were a great group of people. They really showed me how social and wonderful this new game could be. We did everything together. That guild is where the raiding bug really bit me. Korialstrasz at the time was a very low pop server with few opportunities for raiding. Most people interested were sprinkled across the many casual guilds of the server. Shortly after the launch of Cataclysm we tried to get a raid team going. Recruited, PUGed, joined forces with other guilds. It was that collaboration that lead to my greatest time sink… I mean passion- LUST. So many people kept asking me to make a guild. Why me? I wasn’t the most experienced player, the best player, the best leader, I was just Nara. I guess it worked out for the best! I established the guild in the spring of 2011 and we jumped right into raiding. Unfortunately we really needed a tank so I mained my paladin Scarlët along with my hunter. We cleared all of heroic BOT/BWD 6/7 Firelands and most of Dragonsoul until I decided to move the guild to NerZ’hul. I finished the tier with a guild called Veiled Shroud, which is where I met several current guild members.

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WoWScrnShot_042315_194417.jpgWith the launch of Pandaria we really got into our raiding stride and I brought my hunter back as my main. We had a solid 10M heroic raiding group and cleared most of the heroic content while it was available. Many familiar faces joined during this time. We pushed all the way through “mythic” Kormrok and then the raid team and my personal life hit a snag, and we quit raiding until WOD launch. We gained some amazing new people for the raid team as well as the social aspect of the guild. We killed all of Highmaul on heroic, all of Blackrock on heroic, and are currently 10/13 MYTHIC in Hellfire Citadel.

I truly love this guild and have enjoyed every moment being GM of this awesome group of people. Being a hunter, and my guildies, are two of my favorite things in life. Thank you all, and I look forward to writing more about hunters, pets, and the guild in the future.