[WoW] Everything old is new again. 5.04 and preparing for Pandaria.

MoP_login

Yup, this is the Mists of Pandaria loading screen. The image of ‘two statues flanking an entrance’ bears (sic) a resemblance to both the Vanilla WoW and TBC login screens. Again, as with the intro trailer, the message is that the game is getting back to its roots thematically.

Has it only been a week or so since I last mentioned how I was getting on with WoW? It feels much longer than that. I was getting set to screenshot my achievements, note that I had tried a LFR pickup raid into Dragon Soul and comment that I’d cleared up two of my Cataclysm bucketlist goals by getting Pebble on my Warrior and leveling my goblin priest chick to 85, and running a few instances with her. So ultimately, although I had been feeling very antsy about running heroics again, I felt that I got back into the swing of things with a couple of characters.

I also ran through the Firelands raid with my guild, which was good fun. (I never really disliked it as a raid, and it’s nice to have been able to go down Ragnaros. Again.)

So yay for that, then patch 5.04 hit and everything changed. And of course, that meant all the addons too. And if anyone is interested,  Noxxic, Icy Veins and MMO Melting Pot have guides for every spec in 5.04, which will get you started if you’re feeling confused.

Residual Notes on LFR

The raid I saw was the second half of the Dragon Soul, which involves a few set piece fights,  of which the most memorable is where the raid attempts to pry metal plates off Deathwing’s back while he’s spawing antibodies and trying to throw everyone off with barrel rolls. It probably isn’t as interesting as that sounds, or at least not on LFR.

I didn’t find it fun enough to bother queueing for the other half. It was nice to see the raid, I guess, but the Hour of Twilight instances were a lot more fun and had a better storyline (for what that’s worth). It is entirely possible that the raid encounters are more engaging in regular 10/25 man mode.

Really the odd thing about this raid is that it really does play like a collection of set pieces. In some cases the raid literally teleports from one location to the next and I half expected to see scrolling text on the screen during the transition reading “X hours later …” I guess that gives things a cinematic feel but it was a step too far for me, I prefer my raids (and instances) to feel like actual locations in the world rather than film sets.

I am in favour of LFR as a concept, I just don’t think that raid was particularly engaging.

Shared Achievements and Pets

After the patch hit, the majority of achievements and pets have become account wide. Yes, that means Horde alts now have access to Alliance only quest pets such as Withers and the Faerie Dragon. It also means that any rare or no-longer-attainable pets (eg. the ones you used to get for logging in during WoW anniversaries) are now part of the account-wide collection. It also means that, having logged on all the various alts on which I have dithered since the start of the game, I now know on exactly how many alts I completed the mechanical chicken quest. (Two.)

Account wide achievements also mean that I could create a new character tomorrow and display a variety of titles and achievements which aren’t in the game any more – sadly the Vanilla PvP titles do not go account wide, not that I ever got very far with those but I did have a couple on a no-longer-played alliance priest. Effectively, looking at my list of pets and achievements now makes it look as though I’m far more of an achiever than I really am. I suppose that’s good, but I wonder if characters feel more like adjuncts to the account than individuals now.

Some of the achievements can now be completed in bit parts across different characters. So for example, you could explore the Night Elf areas on an Alliance alt and the Blood Elf areas on a Horde alt and get completions on both of them account wide. Or in other words, simply logging in all your characters post-patch is likely to have resulted in extra achievements being noted. I am quite proud that despite all this I still ‘only’ have around 7700 achievement points on Spinks, Achievements are not really my thing.

The pet list also includes all the pets that exist which you do not (yet) own, including the Pandaria ones. My first reactions are that:

1. There are a LOT of reskinned pets. I don’t expect Blizzard to work miracles, but even Pokemon managed to give each of the pokies their own unique look.

2. I am going to be SO addicted to pet battles. I love Pokemon so this was never going to be a hard sell, but you have pets associated with different types, each of which has a variety of attacks of different types, and the various types are strong/weak against each other. I suspect pet battles will be far more strategically interesting than most WoW fights. Plus I suddenly got more interested in filling out my pet list.

I like the idea of starting Pandaria and favouring the pets I actually like best (usually due to having fond memories associated with them, like the mechanical squirrel that was given to me by a friend, or the crimson whelp that Arb gave me.)

Stoppableforce has a great post on Pet Battles in MoP, and I suspect that like me, he is a chicken fan. Ignore the haters, fun pokemon is fun.

Learning to play your class all over again

As has become the norm for WoW, the new class mechanics enter the game the patch before the expansion and they are currently live. I am still experimenting with my warrior but my first impressions are:

  • I like the tanking changes, I think it will be interesting and hopefully fun. But I wish I could do this with fewer buttons; warriors have a ton of utility and with the addition of an extra shield ability and the war banners, finding buttons and binds for them all is going to be a pain. I also think I need to find an addon to help monitor rage more closely.
  • Do not like the new Arms. It used to be such a fun, fluid rotation (I mean up until last week) and now it feels awkward, with lots of waiting around for crits and procs. I also think that one single target rage sink should be enough for anyone, so having two abilities that pretty much do the same thing (Slam and Heroic Strike) is just adding unnecessary complexity.
  • Fury looks OK though, my first impressions were mostly good. Also I’ve always wanted to try Bladestorm while dual wielding 2-handers.

The actual mechanics of being forced to relearn your class every expansion can get a bit wearing. As Beruthiel eloquently notes:

This is now the fourth time I’ve “relearned” to heal. The second time with massive mana changes. And you know what? It fucking sucks. I’m tired of trying to work small miracles with my toolkit, figuring it out, only to have it yanked out from under me and made to go through all the learning pains of learning your limits again.

It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for that position, especially for anyone who really quite liked how their character played in Cataclysm.

A proportion of the WoW player base expects both themselves and everyone else to learn the ins and outs of a new spec pretty much instantly, which does up the pressure. I personally expect to get some practice in from levelling through MoP and running instances, and will probably come back to how warriors play later once I have a better feel for the spec. (I don’t know about anyone else but I do usually fret for ages about which character to play as a main in a new expansion and then end up playing my Warrior again anyway.)

I’m also tanking ICC for a guild run later this week so we’ll see how that goes.

Preparing for MoP

The last few things I intend to do in preparation for the expansion are to finish up the Fishing skill on Spinks and level my warlock from 83 to 85. I have toyed with laying in some materials so that I could grab 10 points in Blacksmithing as soon as the crafting cap is raised (ie. by making PvP gear which is currently orange to me), I just don’t know whether I can be bothered.   My priestlet now has engineering and tailoring up to 500, which will let her pick up the Pandaria upgrades and my enchanting alt also has enchanting at 500 for the same reason.

As WoW players will know, it is extremely common for players to have a few crafting alts. I kind of wish Blizzard would just allow crafting skills to be account wide at this point, because no one should have to level enchanting more than once, ever.

I have also been selling off various bits and pieces, but without the sort of laser intensity or the scale that gold making glyph sellers apply to their work. Having said that, belt buckles and weapon chains both turn a good profit, as do bags (as usual) and crafted engineering pets. I will probably go into the expansion with about 50k gold on my main and 20k gold on a couple of alts, which is plenty for anything I might need to do. I also suspect that the main money making window for Blacksmiths will be in crafting entry level PvP gear at the start of the expansion and every arena season, at least if things follow the same pattern as Cataclysm.

Everything old is new again

In a few weeks time, the busy Cataclysm endgame zones will be quiet again. Only the starting zones will see an influx of levelling characters who will probably reach the expansion max and move on before ever spending time in the Firelands daily quest area or Twilight Highlands.

I flew round the now-deserted old TBC endgame zones, to remember again how this impacted previous expansions. Some drink to remember, some drink to forget.

netherstorm

How are you spending the last few weeks of Cataclysm, if you are playing WoW?

[WoW] How to play your class in the 4.0 world

So it’s patch week, and this patch contains all the Cataclysm class changes. And if you’re wondering how to spec or glyph in this brave new world, plenty of bloggers have chipped in to help out.

Jaded Alt has a compilation of class guides here.

MMO Melting Pot has also gone through a similar exercise and picked out their favourite guides for each class and spec.

There have never really been many active DPS warrior bloggers so it’s not surprising that Arms/ Fury specs are not well represented in the lists. I imagine most Fury warriors will stick with Titan’s Grip (since they already have two 2-handed weapons) for now though.

Becoming a Crusader: Guide to the Rep Grind

In order to sport the Crusader title in WoW, you need a few exalted factions and a lot of jousting under your belt. As well as becoming a champion (via the Argent Tournament) of every Horde or Alliance city faction, you must also be exalted with all of those factions and with the Argent Crusade. This will also involve picking up a few other titles along the way.

Madness, or is it?

The title is neat enough if you like such things, and in patch 3.2 there will also be some additional daily quests for people with this title, and possibly some extra rewards also. There are also extra daily quests for people who are exalted with the Sunreavers/Silver Covenant (also reps that you can get from doing Argent Tournament dailies) as well as being a champion of at least one faction.

It’s never wise to jump the gun on patch notes that are still in test (because they can change) but if you’re interested in those, like the titles, or want to do it for the challenge then step right in.

Guide to the current Argent Tournament Dailies

You can’t do better than Siha’s 3-part Tourist Guide to the Argent Tournament over at Banana Shoulders:

  • Part 1 (Introduction, Side-Quests, Aspirant phase)
  • Part 2 (Valiant phase)
  • Part 3 (Champion phase)
  • Part 4 (Updates include all the latest tweaks from patch 3.2)

How much rep from the Argent Tournament?

For reputation purposes, each quest in the valiant phase gives 250 Sunreaver/Silver Covernant rep, 250 rep for the city faction for whom you are questing, and 62 spillover rep for the other city factions.

As a general rule in WoW, when you gain reputation for one city, you will also get 25% of that reputation for the other associated cities. This is why characters started during TBC or later usually have good city reps by the time they reach level 80 – a lot of the levelling quests do give city rep, at least in the old world. Characters started before this or afterwards (i.e.. when the levelling curve was relaxed) may find that they have to work a bit harder on their reputations if they want the titles.

The Valiant phase for each city provides 4 daily quests, which have to be repeated five times before you can move on to the champion phase. So if you do the minimum amount of dailies to become a champion of every city you will receive:

  • 5000 rep for each city from directly doing Valiant quests
  • 1250 spillover rep for each other city whilst doing those dailies.

eg. Spinks does enough daily quests to become a Champion of the Undercity. She gains 5000 Undercity rep, plus 1250 rep for each other faction.

If she continues to become a champion of every city (and there are five cities for each faction), she will have earned 10000 rep for each city. 5000 for doing the valiant for that city, and 5000 from spillover from the other four city reps.

So if you are 10000 rep or less from being exalted with all your city factions when you start the Argent Tournament, you don’t need to do anything more to get your Crusader title than simply become a champion of each city in turn. In particular, don’t turn in your champion quests for writs that you don’t need (the writs can be turned in for city rep), take the cash instead.

Using Valiant Quests for Extra Rep

If you don’t have enough reputation to hit all those exalted factions just from making champion, but want to do it anyway, you’ll have to consider other options.

As long as you don’t complete your valiant stage, you can continue to take the 4 daily quests (with associated 1k rep plus 250 spillover for other cities). Keep an eye on the other city reps, you don’t want to do more dailies than you need to and the spillover might be enough to save you some extra grinding.

This may be useful for Silvermoon or Exodar rep, since they don’t offer as many reputation-bearing quests while levelling. This is particularly true for Silvermoon because one of their starting zones gives Tranquilien rep instead.

How about those Champion Quests?

Once you have become a champion of at least one faction, you also have access to four daily champion quests. These award 250 Sunreaver/ Silver Covenant reputation and 250 Argent Crusade (or Ebon Blade if you are a Death Knight) reputation each.

They also award you with a Champion Seal (which you can spend on stuff ™) and your choice of either a bag of 10g or a Champion Writ (which you can turn into any faction you have already championed for a token that grants 250 rep for that faction.)

So by doing all the Valiant and Champion dailies, you can potentially gain 1000 City rep, 2000 Sunreaver/ Silver Covenant rep, 250 spillover City rep for the other cities, 1000 Argent Crusade/ Ebon Blade rep, and your choice of an extra 10g or a token to hand in for 250 city rep. It’s a sizeable haul.

And of course you don’t have to do all the dailies. If there are some you don’t like or you don’t have time you can always skip them. There’s no special time limit in place.

Argent Tournament Side Quests

There are two daily side quests which give cash but no reputation. And then there is the Black Knight questline (not repeatable) which gives Sunreaver/ Silver Covenant rep and Argent Crusade/ Ebon Blade rep.

Once you have completed all the side quests, and become a champion for all 5 city factions, it’s very likely that you will also have maxed out Sunreaver/ Silver Covenant reputation. If not, then keep doing champion and valiant dailies until this is the case.

If you find you are behind on Argent Crusade reputation, then you also have the option of their other daily quests in Zul’Drak, or just grab a tabard and run some heroics. For the Crusade!

Hit those Low Level Quests

wow_lowquest

You can set your minimap to find available low level quests in a zone by clicking on the magnifying glass icon and selecting ‘Low Level Quests’ in the drop down list, as I’ve shown here.

Quests in the starting zones for each race give good reputation. Generally you can start doing low level quests for reputation at the first real town that the race encounters (ie. not the actual level 1 starting zone but the quest hub that you’ll hit at around level 5 or so). Low level quests don’t always grant spillover rep, but can give a large amount of specific reputation.

There are also higher level quests which give city reputation. I find that the amount of time you spend travelling probably isn’t worth it to chase these down. With one exception. Instance quests.

If you haven’t done the quests for an instance, they can provide a good hit of reputation for content that you can probably solo at level 80. In addition, you can grab a few stacks of cloth to turn in (see below).

Repeatable City Quests and Cloth Turnins

As well as the regular quests, there are some repeatable quests that you can do for city rep. Whilst these can be useful for people who want to gain reputation at low levels, they’re typically slow and laborious compared to the Argent Tournament quests.

However, one of the repeatable quests involves handing in stacks of cloth to the local representative, who will probably be near the tailoring trainer in the capital city of choice.

You can get 250 rep for handing in 60 wool cloth, 60 silk cloth, and 60 mageweave cloth (that’s 750 rep for those who are counting, with no spillover).

This unlocks the next stage where you can hand in 60 runecloth for another 250 rep.

And finally you get to the repeatable stage where you can continue to hand in 20 runecloth for 75 rep per stack (until you run out).

Buying cloth from the auction house and handing it in is the easiest way to convert gold into reputation, if you have lots of one and not enough of the other. It’s very unlikely that runecloth will be cheap enough to make it worthwhile taking the 10g from the Argent Tournament Champion quests and using it to buy cloth for turnings rather than taking the writs, but you never know.

This is wowwiki’s list of repeatable reputation quests. Knock yourself out on these if you like, but don’t say you weren’t warned. Cloth and AT dailies is the easiest way to do this.

Battleground Quests

Some battleground quests also give Horde/ Alliance reputation. In particular, the hand in quests you can do from Alterac Valley can give good reputation.

This used to be a real staple for city reputation (if you read any old guides they’ll probably recommend it), but these days people tend to rush AV so you probably won’t have time to complete even a single one of these. If you want to try anyway:

  1. Pick the quests up from the entrance to AV.
  2. Have a trinket equipped that will port you back to your home base.
  3. Loot every single enemy corpse you find as fast as you can.
  4. As soon as you have a stack of items, port back and hand them in. Hope that you can do this before the other team rushes your base.

Holiday Quests

Some holiday quests also give Horde/ Alliance reputation. If you aren’t in a hurry and were planning to do the holiday quests anyway, it’s worth bearing in mind.

Good luck, and may your cup of rep spilleth over.