Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The First Week of 6.2

So I'm looking back on the first week of 6.2, and I must say that overall I'm enjoying the new content quite a bit.  Blizzard seems to have found a good way to leverage some of the things they learned from Timeless Isle while really effectively encouraging people to group up to get things done.

In my first week, I managed to get my Saberstalkers rep to Revered, working with a couple of different groups over a few hours.  I also managed to get my Vol'jin rep to Honored and I'm making some progress with the Order of the Awakened folks.  They're clearly going to be the last to Revered.

So far I'm enjoying things in Tanaan Jungle.  You seem to have several different options for things to do on any given day and it provides a nice catch up mechanism for alts, although at the moment, I'm preoccupied enough with getting it done on my main, that I have tried running any alts through yet.  I'm not sure the content there would be as soloable with an undergeared alt, so there would be a lot more incentive to find a group in that case.  Or you'd be looking at a sad dead mage.

On Shipyards, so far so good.  I managed to upgrade mine to level 2 and am starting to work through the various legendary naval missions (or at least will be once the servers come back up).

I managed to blow through all the rares that I needed in Tanaan to get the various equipment blueprints in a fairly short period of time.  I still need to do the Whale Shark, but there seem to be plenty of groups for that these days (although I need to get that done before those dry up).

So all told, the current impressions are positive.  It is giving me plenty to do, and not something I'm quickly getting bored with.  I'm anxious to try the first LFR wing of Hellfire Citadel once it is out today and see how that feels.

I've also done a little bit more leveling on my rogue.  I'm anxious to get him to max level, because he's my last profession holder, and having level 3 profession buildings will make it a bit more efficient to knock that last one out.  So he's sitting at level 95 and working his way through Talador.



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Content! Faction Quest Hubs! And Now With More Boats!

So Patch 6.2 drops today in the U.S. and I'll be interested to see what the new faction quest hubs in Tanaan Jungle are like, as well as getting started on my shipyards.

I've sort of missed maxed level quest content this time around, so I'm anxious to try it out and see how they've learned from the various lessons of Mists of Pandaria.

I managed to finish up the non-Tanaan prerequisites for flying on my main, so I'll be pretty focused over the next couple of weeks on finishing up the rep grinds for that and also starting on the next stage of the legendary quest line on the three toons that I've been doing that on.

There seem to be quite a few new mounts available in this patch, so I may work on seeing if I can knock that stuff out as well.

Not much else in the way of updates this week.  I was away on vacation with the family last week, so no WoW was played at all.

The rogue is sitting at level 94 and parked in his garrison waiting for my main to award him flying to make the whole leveling process easier and faster (it'll be interesting to see how it impacts my leveling times!)

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Lot of Consistency in Leveling Speed

So I managed to hit 100 on my mage late last week, marking my 10th toon to get to max level in Warlords of Draenor.  The interesting thing is my last three toons leveled have all done it with full heirlooms and with full use of Garrison experience boost potions, and there has been an enormous amount of consistency in their leveling speed.

Here are the played times from 90 to 100 for the last three:

Priest:  12 hours, 9 minutes
Monk:  11 hours, 58 minutes
Mage:  12 hours, 7 minutes

So three characters with played times all within 11 minutes of each other.  That is some crazy consistency.  Now I will say that is at best a complete coincidence, especially given the amount of time that I spend just alt-tabbed out on the phone or doing something else while that character just sits there (these are in no way meant to represent record of fast leveling speeds given my play style)

But it still surprises me.  I only have one level 90 toon still to make the trek through the Tanaan Jungle starting area to be ready to go for the run to 100, and that is my alliance paladin.  And I may go ahead and knock that one out this week sometime.

Next up for me is my rogue.

I've also been going back and doing a little bit of work on the various alliance toons that are sub-90 for me, working both the alliance mage and the alliance rogue a bit through Hellfire Peninsula and a bit into Zangarmarsh for the mage.

So that's it for this week.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Outland Dungeons and Thoughts on Flight in Draenor

So after finishing up my monk to level 100, I started on my mage.  He's not sitting at level 64, having made quick work of Gorgrond.

I also went back and started working on a few of my alliance toons.  I picked up the alliance mage as well, who had just gotten started on Hellfire Peninsula in Outland.

I'm not sure what got tweaked or when, but there is now a significant difference in the amount of xp per hour to be obtained when running dungeons (which for me tended to run between 800k - 1.2 million per hour) and the xp from questing (which tended to be in the neighborhood of 400-500k per hour).

Part of this is with cross realm zones, there is a lot of competition for mobs in Outland, particularly named quest mobs, so you may spend a fair amount of time either waiting in line or searching for spawns.

The net result is that if you're planning to level through Outland, I'd highly recommend going the dungeon route as much as possible rather than questing.  Queues for me at least, were extremely short.

I did manage to get the alliance mage to level 65 and I may pick up the rogue next, who has also just gotten started on Outland.

So there has also been a lot of discussion in the community this week about Blizzard's announcement that there will definitely be no flying in Draenor.  I haven't weighed in on the discussion at all (other than a few of my normal smart-ass tweets) and I sort of feel bad for not having contributed at all to the discussion.

But try as I might to get excited about it, I just don't care.  Flying just isn't a part of what I feel like I need to do in Draenor.  There are no daily quest hubs that require a lot of moving around.  The Apexis dailies, to the extent that I even care about doing them at this point, all have easy flight point access, and with the introduction of the mine and herb garden, I no longer need to fly around farming nodes on anyone.

Frankly, if there is one area where I wish they had allowed flying, it's Timeless Isle, not Draenor, but only because I hated running all the way up to Ordos.

There seem to be a lot of people looking at this announcement and also the decline in subscriber numbers and pointing to it as an indication that Blizzard has lost touch with their player base.  And maybe they have.  Or maybe this is just a 10 year-old game, and there are more options than ever out there for video game entertainment for people.

As I've pointed out in blog posts in the past, this game is just a cash cow for Blizzard.  They're not looking for growth from this platform - they're just looking to generate as much cash as possible to finance the other areas where they do see growth.  Even if subscriber numbers dropped to 4-5 million, I still don't think that would concern them in the slightest.  It wouldn't even surprise me if they had those kinds of drops built into their financial models for Warcraft.

But I digress.  Back to the topic of flying.  As long as the game is entertaining me, I'll continue to play, and I won't give a crap about flying.  Honestly, I'm hoping I'm not even in Draenor that much longer, but if I am, it'll probably mostly be in my Garrisons.  And if I feel the need to fly to check out some of my pretty flying mounts, I'll go to Azeroth where I can still do it, or level some toons through Outland or Northrend or Cata zones, where I can still definitely do it.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Top Ten Things I Still Love About Warcraft

In not so subtle tribute to Dave Letterman, thanks for so many years of laughs.  It's going to be as hard getting used to you being gone as it will be getting used to the fact that there actually is a "t" in Colbert.

Number 10.  Through all the expansions, hero classes and new additions, there is still no "Accountant" class, making it a decent escape from my everyday life.

Number 9.  I can play a game, with my son, even though he's 500 miles away.  How cool is that.

Number 8.  Chaos Bolt all the things.  Especially Gnomes.  But generally everything.

Number 7.  There is always some little nugget or something that I hadn't noticed before.  I nice little touch in an out of the way place.  Despite having leveled a ton of different toons at this point, no two times are the same and I can really add a ton of variety to my approach.

Number 6.  For the Horde!  I know it's probably no longer cool, but I still have a ton of faction pride. Unless I'm on an Alliance toon in which case, not really for the Horde...

Number 5.  Look, I'm a cat.  Look, I'm a bear.  Look, I'm a tree.  Look, I'm a owl thingy.  Sometimes you have to go play with your druid just because shapeshifting makes your kid giggle.

Number 4.  There are 6 elemental shaman in this LFR and we are chain lightning'ing the hell out of everything.  "crackle"

Number 3.  I've been in the same guild for like 6 years.  Some of my guildies are kinda weird.  Okay, most of them are kind of weird.  I don't get to spend as much time chatting with them anymore as I used to, but I still love the place.  A great group of people.

Number 2.  The Wrathgate.  That still gets to me.  Every time.

And the Number 1 Reason I Still Love Warcraft:  The character creation screen.  Even with so many alts, there are still permutations that I haven't tried, and approaches to leveling that I haven't done yet.  It still provides an almost endless variety of entertainment for me.  (Let's do a Blood-Elf Fury Warrior leveled purely through battlegrounds this time!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Back to Leveling!

So do you know what is the most exciting thing coming out in 6.2 for me?  No really, I'm asking.

So I've been doing a little PvP over the past couple of weeks, on both my alliance hunter and my Horde shadow priest.  I still enjoy it now and then, although it usually doesn't take long to see some of the same childish behavior that made me stop PvP'ing regularly to begin with.

But it was fun for a bit.  I also tried Ashran for the first time.  I was surprised that there seem to be a lot of people doing Ashran these days.  Some pretty decent groups fighting back and forth up and down the roads.  Not sure I ever really figured out what the point was, but it was fun to do while waiting in queue for my battlegrounds.

I'm working on leveling the monk now.  He's sitting at level 94.  I decided to hang out in Gorgrond for a bit longer, so we'll see if that makes any kind of difference.  Like the shadow priest, this one is going incredibly fast.  If I just focus on leveling, I'm curious how many of the remaining level 90's I can get done between now and when Hellfire Citadel releases.  Especially if that ends up being mid-June.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Ding, Level 100 #8, Impact of Heirlooms on Leveling Speed

So I managed to hit level 100 on character number 8 last night.  This was the first one that I ran through with a fully upgraded set of heirlooms, so I now have a full set of data to support how much time I wasted on my paladin.  Now I'll caveat this by saying I'm not an absolute speed leveler.  I tend to AFK now and again, get distracted by things, sit there chatting with Thrall, mess around in my garrison, go running after treasures, etc.  My fastest leveling time prior to this character was 17 hours and 51 minutes played.  With fully upgraded heirlooms, and full use of xp potions, this one came in at 12 hours and 9 minutes, so almost a full 6 hours better.

I was pretty happy with how the priest felt while leveling.  He seemed a bit squishier than what he's been in the past, which is in no small part due to the inability to keep renew rolling for added heals.  I may try to do a bit of PvP on the priest now rather than immediately jumping to starting on leveling the next toon, which will definitely be the monk.

I also managed to finish the legendary quest chain on my third character, the death knight.  Interestingly enough, with Death Knights being known throughout Azeroth for their stealth, I was able to finish the Garona quest on the very first attempt.  I'm sure that's because of the extreme stealthiness of my DK and not because of all the practice I've gotten on other toons.

So that's it for this week!  With the added xp from monk dailies, it will be interesting to see if it's faster than the priest.