Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Year In Review

So looking back on in game happenings in 2013, it was a fairly productive year.  I managed to level a total of 7 characters from 85 to 90 and made good progress on the other 8 toons in the Joar alliance army.

I've also managed to do some LFR raiding on all of my Horde toons, including killing the current xpac end game boss, Garrosh, on 9 of my 11 max level a Horde characters.  And the other two should be complete in the first couple weeks of 2014.

2013 also saw me do a little pet battling (which I may pick up again once my LFR goal is behind me).  It also saw me trying some world PvP on a PvP server - something I'd long avoided.  Finally, I made a concerted run at the 150 mount achievement, grinding out some BC rep to pick up the last few I needed.

I also kept after my various gold making activities.  Inscription, enchanting and jewelcrafting continue to be my go to professions for gold making, but I've also started to get more into blacksmithing and tailoring.  So far for 2013, I've found that doing a little bit, but doing it consistently leads to pretty sizeable profits.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Progress Towards Killing Garrosh on All Toons

So I managed to notch another Garrosh kill on another member of the Joar empire this weekend, with the priest taking him down.  That makes toon #5, and puts me approximately half way to having it complete across all 11 classes.  Except for an incredibly bad LFR group in the Downfall wing, I might have been able to get it done on my monk as well, but spent two hours watching a series of tanks wipe on the first set of trash in Downfall.  Apparently "don't tank lots of sentinels together" is way too hard to understand.

So after maintenance today, I'm going to take another shot at it on my monk which should make toon #6.  I also managed to finish the first wing on my Shaman this past week, so after the monk is done, the Shaman and Mage should be ready to start their way through.

I'm also hoping to make the blacksmithing healing belt for my paladin today, which hopefully will put him over the ilvl point of being able to run SoO as well, and give him a shot at being toon #9.  Then my rogue and warrior are both in the 490's and just need hopefully a single ToT run to push them over the threshold.

I've also been working on leveling my alliance hunter a bit, who will be my 13th level 90.  He's currently sitting about half way through 88 and working through Townlong Steppes.

With patch 5.4.2 dropping today, it's going to mean good things for all of my alliance toons.  Nice sets of Timeless Isle gear will be heading to both my DK and my hunter just in case I want to do anything further with them.

And my next toon to be leveled, the warlock, will now benefit from a full set of BoA gear, which should make his life immensely easier as well.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Leveling, More Garrosh Kills and the Rest of the Joar Empire

So along the way a couple of weeks ago, I managed to get my 12th toon to level 90, my Alliance death knight.  He managed to ding somewhere around November 25th or so.  I've decided to bag the process of leveling them all a little bit at a time in order to maximize rested xp and just do them straight through one at a time.  It's likely not quite as efficient, but it'll be easier on my sanity.  So the hunter is up next and is currently working his way through the Valley of the Four Winds.  After that, the warlock will probably be next.

I've also managed to get a total of four toons to kill Garrosh at this point, my warlock, death knight, hunter and druid have all taken him down at this point.

My monk has finished through the 3rd wing, and I'm about half way through the second wing on my priest, so those two will be next, making #5 and #6.  After that, it's just my mage and shaman of the toons that are geared, and then I'll be back to running ToT a time or two with my warrior, rogue and paladin to finish getting them geared.  I may end up able to make the blacksmithing healing belt for the paladin in the next few days, which would likely put him over the edge of being able to go straight into SoO.  I may also do quick burden dashes to the burning chest on both the paladin and warrior which should give both of them a little ilvl boost as well.

Here are the changes in my various character's ilvl since my last report in late October:

Warlock - 531 -> 540
Death Knight - 512 -> 526
Hunter 509 -> 511
Druid 504 -> 511
Priest - still at 503
Mage - still at 498
Shaman - still at 498
Monk - 496 -> 502
Paladin - 487 -> 491
Rogue - 485 -> 493
Warrior - 484 -> 493

I'm also grinding out Shahao rep on my warlock for reasons that completely escape me, other than PRETTY MOUNT!.  So I'm spending about 30 minutes every day killing the requisite 20 yaungol.  Still trying to decide if I want to bother with the dinosaur bone grind.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Female Role Models in Warlords of Draenor

So I don't normally get involved in the various controversies swirling around the Warcraft community.  My blog posts tend to be primarily focused on my recommendations and thoughts around leveling and handling large numbers of alts, but I've read some excellent material lately on this topic and had a point of view on this that I wanted to share.  This may get me flamed I guess, but I'm going to jump into the fray anyway.

"Daddy, weren't there any strong female leaders in the past?"

"Daddy, weren't there any strong female leaders in the past?"

Strangely enough, when I got to thinking about it, the idea of a Draenor from the distant past not containing any front and center female leaders who got to be in the painting so to speak, didn't seem all that different from our own past.  But does that mean those female leaders and role models weren't there.  Clearly not.

But does that mean that when I decide to time travel to go back to old Draenor, or to the time of the American Revolution, does that mean I'm shit out of luck if I need to find a good female role model.  Not at all, because fortunately for me, I take my role models with me.

It's too bad for the writers and developers if they've decided to not bring Aggra, Tyrande, Jaina, Garona, Sylvanas, Keristrasza or any of our other strong female NPC's along and give them a key role in the next expansion.  I'm also going to add Aysa Cloudsinger and Yalia Sagewhisper of the pandaren to the list.

But when I look around at the World of Warcraft Community and the people that I follow and that play this game every day, I see plenty of outstanding female leaders who will undoubtedly be running through the portal into Draenor with me.  Members of the community that aren't afraid to stand up and hold Blizzard accountable and generate dialogue about the decisions that are being made.  They're doing it now as Blizzard begins fleshing out it's new expansion.  A lot of time has past, but I remember a lot of the same folks speaking up and holding Blizzard's feet to the fire when Ji Firepaw was getting out of line and behaving inappropriately during the MoP beta.

So Blizzard could decide to the fill the next expansion solely with Gelatinous Blobs, and I'll still have plenty of female role models.  So Daddy, where are the strong female leaders?  Well here's a list.  Watch these people.  Listen to what they have to stay.  Engage in a dialogue with them, and I'm confident you'll be fine.

(I apologize for the people that I'm sure I left off this list.  This wasn't meant to be by any means comprehensive, just a list of folks that I quickly cobbled to together that I look up to and respect)


Thursday, November 7, 2013

What I'm Hoping For From Blizzcon

Tomorrow is the official start of Blizzcon.  People are already starting to line up outside the convention center.  The Sha of Happiness and AngryOrc have already been spotted together in public.  It's quite a commotion already.

There's been a lot of traffic in the blogosphere over the last few weeks over what folks are wanting to see out of this Blizzcon, and out of the presumed announcements for the next expansion, fueled even more by the discovery that Blizzard had trademarked "Warlords of Draenor."  So I thought I'd add my two cents worth, overpriced though that may be.

One thing that I'm pretty convinced of, is that regardless of the actual geographic setting, what we are likely to get is lots of really gorgeous, interesting new content, new quests, new dungeons, new raids and likely other new shinies.  Whether it's going to be 10 levels or 5, I'm honestly not sure I care, because I'm assuming that Blizzard will be shooting for about the same amount of time to get to the next max level, regardless of the numbers in between - likely around 24 hours played.

Will there be new races, or new classes?  I'm honestly not sure I care.  Unless we further expand the character slots on each realm, I don't have room for another character in the existing Joar empire, which would lead me to having to make some hard choices.  We seem to be in the mode of introducing a new class every other expansion, which would seem to weigh towards no new class this time.  Given that, there will probably be two.

Don't get me wrong, if there are new races or classes, I'll be jumping right in, but it's not something that's going to drive me toward participating in the new expansion.

Most of what I'd like to see in the next expansion are really pretty minor game mechanic type items, so here they are:

  • The ability to send BoA items cross server.
  • Solutions to the bank and bag space issue.  More bank tabs, bigger bags, more void storage, and a system for storing tabards, similar to the key chain of old.
  • A new primary profession.  It's been too long since we've had a new one.
  • It would also be nice to give players the ability to do quick catch ups on professions similar to the way they handled cooking in this expansion.
  • The ability to run old content at scaled down gear levels to give the feel of doing it at level.
So those are my hopes.  Pretty minor compared to some of the other things being thrown around, but I'm generally pretty OK with new and exciting stuff no matter what.  Even ended up getting into pet battles even though I swore I wouldn't.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

400 Headless Horseman Kills, and Still No Mount

So I hit an interesting milestone last night.  Based on data previously reported on this blog and in a few spreadsheets I'd kept in various places, I was able to calculate that last night represented my 400th Headless Horseman kill across my various toons.  This number may be low by 10 or so kills, because in 2008 and 2009, prior to the introduction of the use of the dungeon finder tool for taking on the Horseman, I likely did defeat the Horseman a handful of times by actually assembling a group and traveling to the instance.  But I'm guessing it wasn't more than a handful, so we'll ignore it for purposes of this story.

So, 400 kills.  No mount.  Frustrating yes.  What are the chances?  Which of course prompted the follow up identical question, seriously, what actually are the chances?  And now it starts to involve some math.

I'm going to start with the assumption that the reported drop rate on wowhead is correct, or at least close to it.  They're reporting it as 0.5%.  To calculating the odds of "not" having something happen a certain number of times in a row is actually pretty straightforward.  You take 1 - (chances of it happening), which in this case is 99.5%, to get the probability of it "not" happening.  You then raise that number to the power of n, where n= the number of attempts.  So in my example, this would be 99.5% to the 400th power, which is 13.5%.

So if the drop rate is accurate, there's a 13.5% probability that I would kill the Horseman 400 times and have no mount to show for it.  Which is not as low as I thought it might be.

In any given year, if I'm running the Horseman every day on 11 characters, that works out to a 46.2% chance of not getting it that year (99.5% to the 154th power, with 154 being 11 characters times 14 days), or inversely stated, it's a 53.8% chance of getting it in any given year, so a slightly better than 50/50 shot every year.

Now let's say that wowhead has it completely wrong, and do a little sensitivity analysis.  What if the drop rate is only 0.2% instead of 0.5%.  (Based on personal experience so far, I'm going to assume the drop rate isn't higher than they've reported).  In that case, the probability of me not getting it at all after 400 attempts actually rises quite a bit to 44.9%.  The odds of getting it in any one year (again, running it every day on 11 different characters) drops to 26.5%.

So, back to our old scenario of a 0.5% drop rate.  If I want to be 99% sure I'm going to get the mount, how many times do I need to kill the Headless Horseman to have a 99% chance of actually getting it.  The answer to that, is around 900, or slightly more than 3 more years worth of runs.   I'll actually get to the point where I have about a 95% chance of getting it sometime during the 2015 event.  Maybe I'll just go buy myself a sky golem instead.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Garrosh, You Did Not Disappoint Me

So I managed to get Garrosh down on two of my characters this week, which I consider quite an accomplishment given how difficult the fight is.  My first attempt on Tuesday night on my warlock, I gave up after several hours and 9 stacks of determination.  I finally went back to it on Friday evening and was able to get him down.  With only 6-7 stacks this time.

I then went back with a guild group on Saturday night on my death knight and managed to get him down on the third try.  Go guild group!

So that's two down and nine more to go.  At the moment, only 6 of those 9 are actually geared enough to get into Siege of Orgrimmar, so I've got some ToT work to eventually do on 3 of them. I plan on taking a shot at it on my hunter tonight, who is the only other toon that I have that has also finished the third wing.

The fight itself is pretty interesting and there seem to be a few pretty simple keys to getting it done properly.

First, you need someone you can count on taking down one of the engineers.  It's a relatively easy job.  For my warlock, it's a one chaos bolt type of task, so I can portal over, blast him with the bolt, and get right back to helping with adds.

Second, folks with interrupts need to be focusing on the Far Seer's right away with strong AoE taking down the rest of the adds.  During phase 2, it's mostly being aware of the ramifications of the empowered abilities are, taking out mind controlled players as quickly as possible and interrupting their casts always.

Once people get the priorities on the adds right and really start hitting on the interrupts, it is actually a pretty straightforward fight from there.

For the other 5 toons in SoO, my druid and priest have both done the first wing but nothing more.  My shaman, monk and mage haven't done any of SoO at this point so will all be starting from scratch.     At this point, given the amount of time it is taking to run each of these wings, it will likely be a long time before I get all of this done.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Assault on Garrosh Begins Tonight

So the end is now in sight for my goal of having all 11 of my max level toons take down Garrosh.  Thank you Loot Pinata Island for making all the gearing I did before patch 5.4 seem like a complete waste of time.

So of my 11 max level characters, 8 of them are currently geared enough to roll all the way through Siege of Orgrimmar.  Three of them have already done the first 3 wings, and two more have at least done the first two.

Unfortunately, that leaves 3 toons that may need to take a run or two through ToT in order to hit the minimum ilvl requirements for SoO.  Of course a few more Timeless Isle drops could potentially help with that too.  I need one more set of plate gloves, a leather helm, and a neck piece.  Of course, I should see if I can pick up a cheap valor neck for my rogue as that might go a long way towards putting him over the edge.

There's been some decent ilvl progress on these toons, but not a ton.

So here are the ilvl changes since my last update in mid-September:

Warlock - 520 -> 531
DK 496 -> 512
Hunter 498 -> 509
Druid 499 -> 504
Priest 501 -> 503
Mage - holding steady at 498
Shaman:  496 -> 498
Monk 490 -> 496
Paladin 481 -> 487
Rogue 478 -> 485
Warrior 473 -> 484

I've also taken to storing all of my Timeless pieces on a single toon to make tracking and distributing them easier.  I've got a simple little spreadsheet that shows which toons still need what upgrades, and I've been using that to hand things out after they drop on various toons.

I will likely be working through this in the order that they're listed above, with the hope that the already geared toons can do a little Timeless Isle farming while they wait in queue and hopefully get additional drops to help along the bottom three.

I think the biggest issue is that all three will likely need weapons out of ToT in order to hit the magic 496 mark (unless I want to pay up for crafted 502 weapons for each of them, which I don't).  So my plan is to use coins to get the enough Mogu Runes of Fate to have bonus rolls on all the ToT bosses that drop weapons for them (and maybe trinkets too since you're limited to one TI trinket per toon).  In any case, once the first 8 manage to down Garrosh and I can focus on the last 3, getting them the rest of the way to 496 shouldn't be too time consuming.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Hatred of Gates of Retribution Prompts a Return to Leveling

So before I start with anything else, let me just clarify that while the sheer time required to complete Gates of Retribution has turned me off of raiding quite as extensively as I was, I have by no means given up on it.  I'm still taking 2-3 characters a week through the complete set of available LFR content - currently my warlock, death knight and hunter.  

It also doesn't mean that I've given up on my plans to run all 11 of my Horde toons through to a defeat of Garrosh at some point.  It just means that I'll probably only be doing it once on most of those toons.

Which, assuming the next expansion is coming any time before late next summer, leaves me an enormous amount of time to go back to working on the rest of the alt army - notably the Alliance side of things.

Those alliance toons have really been completely neglected for the last year or so as I've focused on Pandaria on the Horde side, gearing up and raiding on my stable of Horde toons.  

The last update on this blog on the leveling status of my Alliance army was on August 21, 2012, just shortly before the release of MoP, followed by a brief update in September that I had in fact managed to get my Alliance hunter to 85 before MoP released.

So here is where those characters stood on the last update, along with where they are now:

Death Knight - still at 85
Hunter - still at 85
Druid - 36 -> 40
Mage - 35 -> 39
Paladin - 34 -> 40
Priest - 33 -> 39
Rogue - 34 -> 37
Shaman - 34 -> 40
Warlock - still 38
Warrior - 32 -> 39
Monk - new at level 10

I'm really looking forward to the new LFR wing being released later today and hope to have run through it on my warlock by the end of the day.  After that, we'll see if the death knight and hunter get runs all the way through this week as well.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Some Advice for Gates of Retribution

So I've been spending a fair amount of time in Siege of Orgrimmar on various toons at this point.  I also managed to get an 8th toon geared for the place with the addition of my monk, getting some good drops in ToT as well as some Loot Island love and now being officially all ready to go.

At this point, barring some corrections coming out of today's maintenance, I have to admit that the 2nd wing of LFR is not my favorite thing in the world.  I've run it four times so far on various toons, and each time it has taken right around 4 hours.  Not something to be taken trivially.

In almost every case, the problem had nothing to do with either our dps, the amount of heals or the gearing of our tanks.  In each of those cases, multiple wipes on each boss was almost always the result of the fact that the majority of the people who had queued had absolutely no understanding of the fight mechanics.

When did it become OK to queue for a fight without doing at least a little bit of research?  After all, it isn't really all that difficult to pop over to Icy Veins and spend 5 minutes doing a quick read through of each fight. Hopefully this wing will get easier as more folks experience it and start to learn the fights, but for now, it has really turned me off of LFR.  I just don't have that kind of time to invest at each go.

So here are my quick and simple pieces of advice for LFR groups on the various bosses in Wing 2 of LFR:

Galakras.  Set up your Tower Team before the pull.  Kill adds.  Don't stand in fire.  Wait till the demo is down to head up the tower. When Galakras drops, everyone stand in a straight line behind him.  Whoever gets the fire ball, just go straight backwards.

Iron Juggernaut.  Pop a defensive cooldown and stomp on mines occasionally.  Make sure you don't have the Laser Burn dot before doing so.  Don't stand in bad stuff.  During the siege phase, put your back to something and move out of bad stuff.

Dark Shaman.  Holy crap blizzard.  Maybe a little less trash here?  (Unless you're an elemental shaman, in which case, squeeeeee!!!)  Kill slimes, ASAP.  If you can't kill them at range, stay the hell away from them.  Don't stand in bad stuff (do you sense a theme here?).  Tanks, keep the bosses moving, but not too fast, so people aren't forced to dodge lots of bad stuff.

Trash before Nazgrim: run right up to the demos in the drag and take them out ASAP.  On the shaman in the drag, pull one out of group one at a time, mark him, and burn him down, to keep them from healing each other.

Nazgrim.  Kill adds.  Kill adds.  Oh yeah.  Kill adds.  Stun.  Silence. Watch for the whirling ax and don't stand in it (see theme above).  Melee - just stay the hell away from the Bonecrusher guys and let the ranged take them out.  Go deal with the other adds instead.

So I've gone back to working on leveling other toons.  So the long-neglected Joar army of Alliance toons, (which all happened to be named variations of Mel instead of Joar for reasons that completely escape me) has been getting a small bit of attention.  No mass moves in leveling, but I've rediscovered some of what I enjoyed about just leveling toons in the first place.

I also started an elemental shaman on Thrall to get started on the next batch of Horde toons.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Timeless Isle Thoughts for Altoholics

While my play time has been somewhat limited this past week, I've been spending a fair amount of time on Timeless Isle since the patch, initially focused on getting my legendary cloak, and then more lately just as a way to pass the time while having some more alts wait in queue for LFR.  It's been an interesting experience so far.

It seems to be a great way to get additional gear for alts that you don't play a lot, or for a character where you're looking to change specs (playing a holy paladin and want to switch to ret, playing a resto druid and want to switch to feral, etc.).  I was able to accumulate a rather huge amount of gear in the short time that I've been on Timeless Isle that has provided a decent benefit to my alts.  And it's definitely something different to do other than running dailies or doing pet battles while waiting in queue, which I appreciate.

For my, while it has had a reasonable impact on my alts, it hasn't necessarily been huge, primariliy because, as a result of the process of trying to get everyone ready for SoO, most of my alts were already pretty well geared.  So it's had the most benefit for the one character that I had that wasn't at least geared for LFR.

A lot of people have correctly observed that you seem to get a disproportionate amount of drops for armor class of the character that you're playing on.  This has actually been a bit of a problem for me as my warlock main is getting mostly cloth drops, but my other two clothies are already very geared and don't really need many upgrades from Timeless Isle.  So I've had to be a bit more strategic about who I was playing Timeless Isle on to maximize the potential benefits.

It's likely going to impact the order that I run characters through SoO as well as I'm going to want to accelerate my plate and leather wearers (as that's where I have the most needs for upgrades), so it might push my mage and priest down the list of the weekly order on LFR runs.

The larger benefit was what was apparently a short term boost to drop rates in ToT during the first couple of days in the patch.  As a result, my shaman was able to gain an unbelievable 15 points of ilvl during the course of one clear of ToT.  In later runs on my monk, that drop rate has been significantly reduced.

So here are the changes in ilvl since my last post (ranked in descending order by current ilvl):

Warlock 519 -> 520
Priest 500 ->501
Druid - 494 -> 499
Mage 496 -> 498
Hunter 486 -> 498
DK 496
Shaman 477 -> 496
Monk 464 -> 490
Paladin 475 -> 481
Rogue 469 -> 478
Warrior 457 -> 473

The Shaman and Monk have obviously been getting most of my attention the last two weeks and the warrior has been getting the most help from Timeless Isle.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Still Gearing Toons for the Siege of Orgrimmar

So I managed to get my fourth toon, my Death Knight, over the now official 496 hurdle and ready for the Siege of Orgrimmar LFR.  I've also got two more toons working their way through ToT - my hunter and my druid, and both are getting somewhat close, so there's a pretty good chance that I'll have as many as six toons all geared up and ready to go.

Finally, my last toon is getting very close to being ready for LFR.

Here is the official update on the 7 toons not currently sitting at 496 or better with the change from the last report on August 13th.

Druid - 488 -> 494 (just need a damn head piece to drop in ToT and he'll be in good shape)
Hunter - 479 -> 486 (still desperately needs a ToT weapon)
Paladin - 473 -> 475
Shaman - 471 -> 477
Rogue - 464 -> 469 (only toon that hasn't gotten the Barrens questline boots - so that should push him over the edge to HoF/ToES)
Monk - still at 464
Warrior - 442 -> 457

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Toon #10 Geared for LFR - One More To Go

So I managed to get my monk to 460 ilvl pretty quickly, mostly through generous use of auction house drops.  That leaves just my warrior, who I'm going to go ahead and gear purely through heroics.

So right now, I've got 3 toons at 500 ilvl and all ready for the Siege or Orgrimmar raid - warlock, priest and mage.

I then have 2 other toons working their way through ToT - my druid and my death knight.

My hunter is desparately trying to get a weapon to drop either off of Will of the Emperor or Lei Shi in ToES, which will put him over the ilvl threshold for ToT.

My paladin and my shaman are now both over the ilvl limit for HoF and ToES as well and are going to start working through that.

So that leaves just my rogue and my monk working their way through MSV.

And my poor warrior still stuck on heroics.

So here's the quick ilvl summary including a comparison from my previous report on July 9th:

Druid - 484 -> 487
DK  483 - 494
Hunter - stuck at 479
Paladin - 468 -> 473
Shaman - 464 -> 471
Rogue - still at 464
Warrior - still at 442
Monk - new to the game at 464

So with two weeks to go until release of the new patch and the new raid, I feel like I have a reasonable chance of getting the DK geared up enough to become the 4th toon ready for the new LFR, but not thinking most of the others will make it, barring some incredible luck on drops by the druid.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ding! Level 90 #11. A Max Level Toon of Each Class (Again)

So I finally managed to get my monk to 90 last night, so after a short delay caused by the creation of the new monk class in MoP, I'm now back to having a max level toon of each class.

My total played time to 90 on the monk was an unbelievable 2 days, 10 hours and 35 minutes.  Certainly the xp buff from the monk daily quest plays a huge role in that, along with a new piece of heirloom gear.

By way of comparison, the last character that I leveled straight through to max level was my warrior at the beginning of Cataclysm, and at that point, it took a played time of 3 days, 23 hours (and also with full heirlooms, other than the pants, which didn't exist then).

So they've clearly done a lot to further streamline the leveling process.

So the downside of the speed up in the leveling process, is I didn't have to quest anywhere close to all the way through Dread Wastes before hitting 90, so even with the shiny new ilvl 450 staff that you get from the level 90 monk class quest, my ilvl is still sitting at 426 or so.  So I'm not ready to jump right into heroics.

I've got a decent amount of JP accumulated though, so I'll see what I can do with that, craft some things on my leatherworker, and then see what 476 stuff is available for a decent price on the auction house, and hopefully that will do the trick.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Almost There on the Monk

So I managed to hit 89 on the monk last night, and am planning to just not stop until I successfully hit 90 on him later tonight.  No clue what my /played time has been as I haven't really been looking at it, although my general impression is that it's been pretty fast.

I also got to 11/12 Titan Runestones on my warlock last night, so I can limit myself to just one wing next week, and then I should be all caught up on the Legendary questline, after I finish the Celestial Blessings quest of course.

Not a whole lot of change in gear level on my other toons as I've really been focused on the monk outside of the requisite runs on my warlock.  I did do one half of MSV on my rogue, and managed to bump his ilvl up to 464, but other than that, not a whole lot of progress to report.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Trying a Little Mistweaver Action

So I've decided to go ahead and finish leveling my monk to 90 before finishing my work on gearing up my other characters.  I've been playing the monk as Windwalker throughout the whole leveling process to date, but the ability to buy a full set of gear upon reaching Pandaria prompted me to try a few dungeons as Mistweaver.

So far, I'm not entirely sure I like the play style.  I seem to have problems mostly with fights that require a lot of movement.  That an a problem with drawing groups full of people that like to stand in bad shit.

It feels like a spec that would be a ton of fun for raid healing, so I just have to decide if I'm willing to continue to plow through running dungeons for those last 3 levels and then see if I can auction house my way to a 460 iLvL pretty quickly after hitting 90.

I really actually enjoy the Windwalker playstyle a lot, but of the characters that I still have to gear all the way through MSV, HOF, ToES etc., they're all essentially melee, especially if I don't switch my shaman over to elemental or resto.

It may just be that I need some more practice at Mistweaver and it will start to feel a lot more intuitive.  So I may give it a few more dungeons next week on the way to 90 before abandoning it.

Not much other progress to report.  I continue to run the last two wings of ToT on my warlock to finish with Titan Runestones, where I currently stand at 8/12.

My mage and priest are now both fully geared for the next raid, with the DK and druid not far behind.  My hunter just needs to get a little luckier on drops in either MSV or ToES and he'll be ready to start running ToT as well.  Then the shaman, paladin and rogue are all working their way through MSV.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Rogue Hits MSV - Toon #9 Geared for LFR

Well, quite a bit of progress since the last post.  I managed to get a Lei Shen kill on my 5th toon, the Death Knight, the Hunter is now the only toon working on HoF and ToES, and the Paladin, Shaman and Rogue are all working their way through MSV.

Here is the comparison of ilvl's from my last post to now:

Warlock  512 -> 513
Priest - 500
Mage - 492 -> 495
Druid - 482 -> 484
Death Knight - 479 -> 483
Hunter - 473 -> 479
Paladin - 468
Shaman - 460 -> 464
Rogue - 449 -> 461
Warrior - 440 -> 442

Also managed to get my monk to level 75, so he's coming along nicely as well.  Even after how many years, I can only stand so many runs of Utgarde Keep before the place starts to drive me nuts.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gearing Alts for LFR

So I've started the bat shit crazy process of working through gearing all of my alts through various levels of LFR.  I've currently got 8 toons working through various stages of LFR, with 2 toons already geared enough for the new raid coming out in 5.4 (warlock and priest), 2 toons working their way through Throne of Thunder (Mage and Druid), 2 more working through Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring (Hunter and Death Knight) and then the final two working through Mogushan Vaults (Paladin and Shaman).

My poor paladin just can't catch a break.  He was one of the first 4 to get geared enough for LFR in general, but can't seem to get a drop in MSV to save his life.  Poor guy is just stuck there.

My rogue and my warrior are both geared enough for heroics at least but I haven't really had the time to start gearing them up for LFR.

My monk just hit level 68 and is heading to Northrend.  He's hoping just to hit level cap before the next expansion hits.

For most of these characters, I've been gearing them strictly through random drops.  No running dailies for valor gear.  A lot of them have finished the leveling process at Revered with Klaaxi so they've had access to at least belt and pants from there.  Add that to the 522 neck from Shado Pan Assault, and it's a pretty good way to spend valor early on for some quick ilvl boosts.

Before 5.3 dropped, I was also going after rares on the Isle of Thunder trying to get keys for Elder Charms, but now the Isle of Thunder is a ghost town, so there's really not many options for that any more.  The Isle is now a neglected hulk, hanging out with other neglected zones like the Molten Front, the Argent Tournament and the Isle of Quel'Danas.   They get together for canasta every couple of weeks, talk about their gall bladder ailments and discuss old times.

So here is the current ilvl parade for my ultra casual group of LFR raiders and wannabes:

Warlock - 512
Priest - 500
Mage - 492
Druid - 482
Death Knight - 479
Hunter - 473
Paladin - 468
Shaman - 460
Rogue - 449
Warrior - 440

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gearing More Alts for LFR

It seems odd not to have posted in a while, but there just isn't really anything all that interesting to talk about at this point.  I've continued to work my various toons through the Throne of Thunder instance.  My shadow priest managed to get a new weapon out of there on his first run.

My warlock on the other hand, has killed Horridon a total of 10 times, and used his bonus roll each and every one of those times, and still hasn't gotten the weapon to drop. I've also got 7 total Dark Animus kills without the weapon dropping there either.  I have something like 4 different off hands available to use with that weapon at this point...but no weapon.

Ah RNG gods, I hate you.

So I have two toons that are running through ToT, two more (mage and hunter) that are working their way through HoF and ToES to try to get geared for ToT and a total of three that are working their way through MSV (druid, death knight and paladin).  The mage only needs one drop (or some quick August Celestials rep after this patch) to be geared enough for ToT, but the hunter is a bit farther away.

I've also started working on heroics on both the rogue and shaman in an effort to get them geared enough to start running LFR.

Finally, my monk is still working his way through Outlands and is sitting at level 63, still pounding through Hellfire Peninsula.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

World PvP

And now for something completely different, I went ahead and moved my shadow priest over to a PvP server and have been participating in a decent amount of World PvP.  Raiding each other's shrines and capital cities, battling on the Isle of Thunder.  That kind of thing.

It's something that I haven't really done before at all, so it's been a nice change of pace.  There seems to be a huge amount of drama between the various guilds on the server that do a lot of World PvP, but it's more entertaining than anything as long as you try not to get too caught up in it.

I'm continuing to run LFR each week on my warlock and am anxious to see the final wing of Throne of Thunder when it opens up later today.  I'm just hoping there's no Durumu equivalent where the whole raid dies at a certain point in each fight with everyone left wondering what the hell just happened.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New LFR Wing

So I tried the new LFR wing as soon as it was released last week.  Like most people, I found the Durumu fight to be utterly frustrating.  My group finally got it down after accumulating 8 stacks of determination.  We essentially burned him to the point that the 4 or 5 people that were actually able to see the safe spots on the floor were able to get him the rest of the way down.  After a quick poll, we determined that those five people were all running very current machines with super upgraded graphics cards, so they were somehow able to make out the purple discs of death, within the purple smoke on the purple floor and find the spots where none of that stuff was. 

The rest of us just got to stare at our release buttons.

Primordius and Dark Animus ended up being totally fine.  Of course, no gear for me, but that's OK.  It's just fun to see the content.  I'm really hoping Durumu gets fixed somehow.

In the meantime, I've been doing more PvP on my shadow priest.  I've moved him over to an actual PvP realm to try my hand at some world PvP.  So far, that's going pretty well, and I'm finding I still enjoy the PvP side of things a lot.  Especially after the frustrations of LFR.

My monk is still stuck in Outland and not feeling any love at all.  I will finish him up at some point, but no big rush.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Maybe a Little More Focus Would Be In Order

So I know have a total of 5 toons that are geared enough to at least run Mogushan Vaults in LFR.  Two of those 5 characters are also geared enough to run the new Throne of Thunder LFR wings when the first of them is released later today.

On top of this, I've been working on gearing up two more characters to be able to run LFR - my druid and my death knight.

It all raises the question with me of why I am bothering.  It's really quite daunting, especially when you consider that making it over the hump to 470 and then 480 is either going to require multiple weeks running MV LFR and getting some lucky drops, or running lots of dailies in order to unlock all the valor gear that could be used for upgrades.

At a minimum, it seems that I'd need to get to revered with Golden Lotus, Klaxxi, August Celestials, Shado-Pan and Dominance Offensive in order to get access to all the possible upgrades.  Now I could focus each toon on just the faction that they absolutely need, but in a couple of cases, those are definitely gated behind Golden Lotus.

So I'm thinking about working one more toon - probably my mage - through to being ready for the new Throne of Thunder LFR and maybe not worrying about the rest for now.  Of course, there is always the option of working the pally through to that level since, as a healer, he's going to have shorter queues for LFR anyway.

So I'm debating.

The seven toons currently in progress leave me with only three that I haven't touched at all - Shaman, Rogue and Warrior.  I'm comfortable leaving the three of those on the bench for now.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Gearing Up for 5.2

So I was really hoping that by introducing a new raid Tier and a new faction, that 5.2 was going to eliminate the need to grind out dailies for all the original MoP factions in order to gear up.  As I'm analyzing the gearing path for most of my level 90's, it doesn't look like that's going to work as planned.

Granted, it's still possible to get fully geared for the Thunder King raid without doing any of the dailies and getting faction rep.  You just need to grind out heroics until you pass the magic 460 ilvl to let you do Mogushan Vaults, and then run those two wings enough times and be lucky enough with drops to boost your iLvL to 470 using the 483 items that drop in there.  Will likely take several weeks.

Then you're adding 3 more wings to run every week, to boost you those last 10 ilvl points to 480.  It's certainly possible, but getting the factions to revered so that you can spend some of your valor points on 496 gear will certainly help get you there faster.

I managed to get my Pandaren Monk to level 60 last week and safely ensconced in Outland.  And then I sort of got bored with leveling, so I went back to gearing some of my existing level 90's for LFR.

At the beginning of the week, I had three toons already geared for LFR - warlock, shadow priest and paladin, with the warlock and shadow priest also both being geared enough to run the new Thunder King LFR when it comes out.

I decided to work a bit on the hunter and the mage.  As it turns out, I got extremely luck on the mage on a Sha of Anger run, grabbing not only the boots, but also Tier Pants, and that was enough to put me over the edge with the Mage.  My luck continued in LFR that evening as I had both chest and shoulders drop for me, so managed to add four nice upgrades in about 3 hours.

On the other side of the coin, was Mr. Unlucky.  My hunter.   I managed to run about 8 heroics over the weekend without a single upgrade.  My hunter is still rocking green head, back and waist as well as a 350 Arena of Annihilation weapon.  And yes, I know I could just go buy 3 pieces of crafted PvP gear for those 3 slots and take care of the difference in a heart beat, but at this point, it's almost become of a matter of principle.

I did start working on the dailies on the hunter as well, and he's just a day or so away from Revered with Klaxxi.  At that point, he can buy the belt, and that'll put him over the edge.  But for now, it's just a bunch of frustration on the hunter.

In any case, all these other toons will likely go on the back burner for a bit as I start working through the new faction dailies on the warlock and shadow priest to get ready for the first LFR wing to release next week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Loving that Windwalker Monk, and Level 90 #10

So I managed to finish off my shaman last week, getting them to 90 right about on average at 21 hours.  So I've now started leveling my new Pandaren Monk and have managed to get him to level 44 in just a couple of days.  The experience boosts that come with the Monk class are a huge help.  Probably doesn't hurt that I have him completed kitted out in heirloom gear as well.  So if I'm doing the math right, he's getting a 50% xp boost from the monk dailies, a 25% boost from guild perks and a 50% boost from heirloom gear.  So we're flying through stuff at this point.

I also managed to finish archeology on my warlock.  The changes to that profession now with 5.1 have made that a lot easier.  It took just an hour or two to go from 485 to 600.

I'm still working on getting the Spear of Xuen for my monk.  I've done about 7 pandaren artifacts so far and no luck yet, but I'm going to keep at it.

My plan is to try to get the Monk to 90 before 5.2 drops, but we'll see if that's really possible.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Most Efficient MoP Leveling Path - It Doesn't Matter

So I just finished leveling my warrior from 85 to 90.  This time, I tried what I'll call "the really long way." This involved fully questing out the starting area zones, and not moving on to the next zone until each was done.  As a result, I ended up hitting 90 early on in Townlong Steppes rather than in Dread Wastes.

Interestingly enough, my played time from 85 to 90 for this particular character was almost exactly in line with all of my other characters, and actually toward the faster end of the range.  The warrior came out with a total played time to 90 of 20.5 hours, which makes him just slightly slower than the hybrid level and a half method that I used with the rogue, who finished at 20 hours, and toward the low end of the range of the other characters who varied from 20.5 hours to 25 hours played.

So the definitive answer in terms of what the most effective and efficient leveling path to 90 is in MoP seems to be to do whatever the heck you want.  It honestly doesn't matter.

Well played Blizzard.  Well played.

I have one more character to level to 90 before starting on my Monk and that is my Shaman.  He's getting pretty close to level 87 and is getting toward the latter portion of Valley of the Four Winds.

After that, it's going to be time to Monk things up!

Here are the played times for each of my characters that I've leveled 85-90 so far:

Warlock - 28 hours (started on launch day, so always slower)
Death Knight - 23 hours (changed as soon as leveled)
Druid - 24 hours (changed as soon as leveled)
Paladin - 25 hours (started as shockadin - probably slowed him down)
Hunter - 22 hours (changed as soon as leveled)
Rogue - 20 hours (hybrid - stay a few bars past level)
Mage - 25 hours (changed as soon as leveled)
Shadow priest - 20.5 hours (changed as soon as leveled)
Warrior - 20.5 hours (fully quested out each zone)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Now to Try the Really Long Way

So after the leveling results from my rogue, I've decided to do the next character, a warrior, what I'll call "the really long way".  My plan is to fully quest out the early zones.  I expect based on what I've heard from others that this will result in me actually hitting 90 somehwere in Kun Lai province, or possibly the very early sections of Townlong. 

We'll see how it goes though.

Just one more toon after this though and it's going to be monk time! 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Leveling Path Results - the Long Way Isn't - Ding! Level 90 #8

So I managed to get my rogue to level 90 today, so have the first set of results on the delayed leveling route.  This involves staying in the earlier zones a few bars longer than you otherwise would before skipping to the next zone.  So I stayed in Jade Forest until about 6 bars into 86, stayed in Valley of the Four Winds / Krasarang until just a few bars from 88, stayed in Kun Lai until half way to 89, and stayed in Townlong until 7 bars into 89.

For my previous 6 toons, not counting the character I started on launch day (always slower), my leveling times have ranged from 21 hours to 25 hours played time from 85 to 90.

For this character with the slightly delayed leveling approach, his total played time to 90 was 20 hours.  Imagine my surprise to find that doing it the "long way" actually resulted in a faster leveling time.

I'm now somewhat curious as to what the speed would be to totally play out each of the early zones.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A New MoP Questing Path

So I've been hearing a lot of chatter lately about the potential benefits of a different questing path than the one that I've been using in MoP.  My strategy with my seven previous characters to date that I've leveled to 90 is to immediately switch to Kun Lai upon hitting level 87, then immediately switch to Townlong Steppes at 88 and Dread Wastes at 89.  There is a substantial difference in the xp awarded per quest in each of those zones, so in theory, everything should go much faster taking advantage of the higher xp quest turn ins.

The counter argument that I've been hearing is that the quests are so much harder at those levels for the gear that you have, that it takes quite a bit longer to complete them than it would if you just stayed in the earlier zones, so the average xp or the xp per hour that you're getting ends up being lower.

So with character #8, my rogue, I've decided to try the other approach and go "the long way".  This is going to involve fully questing out Valley of the Four Winds and Krasarang, which should get me to the point where I'm just a few bars from 88.  Then going to Kun Lai and probably questing there until I'm probably almost half way to 89, then switching to Dread Wastes when I'm about 30-40% in towards 90.  My average leveling time from 85 to 90 on my first 7 toons ended up being between 21 and 25 hours, so it'll be interesting to see if the rogue falls significantly outside of this range.

The next character up after the rogue is my warrior, so if the results from the rogue aren't conclusive, I'll give the same approach a try on the warrior for additional data.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ding! Level 90 #7

So this is a little bit delayed, because I actually hit 90 on the mage on Thursday of this past week, but I'm a little slow in updating the blog.  The leveling time on the mage was a bit disappointing - 25 hours played from 85 to 90.  That basically ties him for last with the paladin (excluding the toon that I started leveling on launch day).

I'm going to try a different approach with the next couple of toons and am going to stay in the earlier zones longer to see what kind of an impact that has on my leveling times.  There's obviously a huge increase in quest turn in xp as you progress to the next zone, but I'm wondering if the difficulty in doing those quests earlier on slows me down enough to compensate for that.

So the next two characters at least I plan to do by delaying a bit before heading to Kun Lai, Townlong, etc.  We'll see what kind of difference that makes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Closing in on #7

I managed to hit level 89 on my mage yesterday, so he's in the home stretch toward becoming my 7th max level character in MoP.  After feeling a bit squishy and underpowered at level 87, the mage has really started to strengthen back up at 88 and the quests in Townlong went much better than Kun Lai did.

Server maintenance today is likely going to delay me getting there until Wednesday, but it should still be getting done shortly.

I'm also down to just running one or two LFR wings per week on my warlock.  All he really needs at this point are two more Tier pieces which both drop in the second half of Heart of Fear.  I may actually start gearing another character since both the warlock and the priest are essentially fully geared at this point as well as being all rep'd up.

After finishing the mage, I'm likely going to go back to leveling the rogue, who is about half way through the Valley of the Four Winds. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year

So I took a bit of a break from WoW over the holidays and have just now started to get back into playing a little bit.  I did get a chance to do relatively full LFR runs on both my shadow priest and my warlock over the weekend. My warlock is now sitting at a total of 8 Sigils of Wisdom, with another shot tomorrow at finishing it up and getting the legendary gem from Wrathion.

My shadow priest actually has 10 Sigils of Wisdom, but no sha-touched weapon to put a gem in.  Doesn't that just figure.

I've been leveling both the rogue and the mage a little bit, and both are currently sitting at 86. Both so far have been incredibly easy to level and both have fared very well against the soul crushing virmin warrens of the Valley of the Four Winds.  Keeping recuperate and leeching poison up on the rogue makes him essentially indestructible.  The mages ability to freeze, blink away and then huge burst makes him equally good against packs of multiple mobs.

I've also been playing a little bit of Rift in between.  I'm still working on getting my mage to the new max level, and he's now at level 53 and working his way through Seratos and Eastern Holdings.  I'm still having a hard time getting into the new Storm Legion zones as the questing and story line just doesn't seem to progress as well as it did in the earlier levels, and I find myself quickly out of quests to do and getting outleveled by the zones.

The new carnage quests are interesting in the sense that it brings a new twist to the "go kill 10 boars" quests in that, the first time you kill a boar, you'll be automatically granted the quest and can turn it in right from your screen as soon as you kill the 10th boar.

The only problem is that there are so many mobs that trigger these carnage quests and the amounts involved tend to be pretty large - typically around 16 each.  There's no rhyme or reason as to why you're killing these things and after a while it gets a bit overwhelming.

Necromancer Done. Only Warden Remains

 I managed to get the Necromancer to level 50, so now only the Warden remains.  He's currently sitting at level 39, so it's not too ...