Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Level 110 #23, #24 and #25 are done...#26 in progress

So it's been a while since I've posted because I feel like there hasn't been much to talk about.  I'm running 5 toons through daily emissaries now (warlock, hunter, paladin, druid and death knight) trying to get all their weapons to 75.  Will probably only run the warlock through Antorus LFR as it opens.

I'm also starting to look at finishing leveling the various professions.  At the moment, I have all the gathering professions at max level and also both tailoring and enchanting, but that's it.  Jewelcrafting, Leatherworking, Blacksmithing, Inscription, Alchemy and Engineering still need some love.  Inscription and Engineering are the farthest behind with me literally having done nothing on those.

So I'll start leveraging the Darkmoon Faire when I can (should have been doing that all along, darn it), and may work on finishing all of those up.

On the leveling front, things continue to move briskly.  I finished three more toons since the last time I posted about it here.  I did the paladin purely as prot, then Havoc Demon Hunter and then most recently a third warlock (leveled as Destro).  Leveling time for all of those was pretty consistently right at 9 hours played.  I'm working on the third hunter now, and leveling as beast mastery, just because I love it so much.

After the hunter, I'm going to do a third druid.  This one will be leveled as guardian, just because I've never done that.  After that, it'll be a rogue, and that'll be the last of my existing 100's.  Beyond that I have got a shaman sitting in the 80's somewhere, and it's probably fine to work on that without spoiling the scaling changes coming with 7.3.5 (assuming that doesn't drop by the time I get to the shaman).



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Initial Reactions to the New Expansion

So after watching some of the Warcraft news coming out of Blizzcon, my initial thoughts was that there wasn't a whole lot for me to write about.  And I said as much on Twitter, and then started to say more...at which point it became apparent that there was a bit of a blog post there.

So let me start by saying that I've always enjoyed PvP.  It's never been a huge thing for me, and I tend to generally avoid PvP servers, but I've got almost 100,000 HK's on Joar and I have had a character parked on a PvP server just for the fantastic world PvP on that server.

Sometime in the last few expansions, it feels like PvP sort of died, and was something I stopped doing.  But the idea of reinvigorating it isn't something I'm opposed to.  It's just different from what I have been doing.

So the idea of scrapping the whole artifact weapon system and scrapping class halls seems fine.  The process of grinding Artifact Power and Resources seemed to get a lot of complaints, so I don't necessarily mind them getting rid of that.  Although it seems like I'm going to be grinding Azerite instead?  I'll reserve judgment on the new Heart of Azeroth thing until I see more details on how it's going to work.

The other thing that has really peaked my interest in the new expansion is the concept of Warfronts.  Wintergrasp was always one of my favorite things in game during Wrath, so something that brings back some of the flavor of that is something that I'll definitely look forward to.

Some of the really interesting news from my perspective was around streamlining the leveling process.  Being able to choose between Outland and Northrend for 60-80 and then between Cata and MOP for 80-100 both feel like really interesting options for mixing things up for new leveling.  I'm not sure why Draenor seems to have gotten left off of those lists, because the one thing that I did think worked pretty well in Draenor was the leveling process.  I actually wouldn't mind if we had the option to choose between Draenor and Broken Isles for the 100-110 portion.

The allied races are also something that I'm particularly excited about, as I'll likely start working on all six of those once I unlock the quests.  So between streamlining the leveling experience and allied races, there's definitely enough there to keep me in the game and doing my leveling thing.  Oh, and if we might be getting more than 50 character slots?  Well, that would be fine with me too.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ding! Level 110 #22 Is Done

The monk is done.  Leveled him entirely as Brewmaster and never once looked back.  Found the spec to be pretty smooth and easy for leveling.  Consistent with every other class, getting to 101 with heirlooms seems to present the most challenge because the initial heirloom scaling at 100 is completely out of whack, but once you hit 101, everything becomes much easier.

Also finished the Arms Warrior since the last update, which I also really liked, and the priest.  Much like the first time Horde-side on the priest, I never did find a spec that I really liked.  Leveling as holy worked surprisingly well and honestly would have been fine just doing that the whole way.  I did end up switching to shadow at some point, but never felt really that great about it.

Working on the paladin as protection now, and then the demon hunter will be last to give me a full set of alliance toons of each class.  Then we'll start on the 3rd class set, which is another Horde set.  There's only 4 toons in that set currently sitting at 100 (hunter, warlock, druid and rogue), so it'll be further to go to get that full set of 12 to 110.  Although with the next expansion announcement still not here, there may be time.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Initial Thoughts on 7.3

So I've been trying to gather thoughts for this blog post for a while now because I wanted to get my initial thoughts down on patch 7.3.  We're now in the third week of the patch, and I'm still not sure what I think.  We've got two new factions to grind rep with, and a bunch of new world quests, and several new currencies that I have to figure out exactly what the hell they're for, and a tiny bit of new profession stuff, but overall, I've been pretty underwhelmed.

So here are the positives.  I really have enjoyed the story line from the first three weeks.  Although now that that story line is over, I'm not sure what else I have to look forward to for the foreseeable future.  I also really like the new dungeon, although I'll be damned if I can figure out why the queue's for it are running 30 minutes and more.

I like the Star Trek teleporter system (beam me up, Scotty!)  On the rep grind, I'm glad we have emissary quests to contribute to the rep on the new factions, although I'm not entirely sure, other than the Argus Flight Whistle, what I'm really trying to get to exalted for, other than to say I've done it.  I sure as hell am not paying 500,000g for a new mount.  The collection of mounts from Argussian Reach are cheap enough that I'll buy them, so that's something I guess.  Gating the Flight Whistle behind the hardest to get rep faction is a giant pain in the ass, and if that thing doesn't apply account-wide, I'm going to have a breakdown.

I'm not sure I'm all that interested in doing a bunch of world quests, just to do them, on mobs with insanely large health pools in areas that aren't particularly easy to get in and out of.

Right now, I'm running it on two characters - my warlock and my hunter, and that's about all I have the patience for.

I guess I'm reserving judgment on the Netherlight Crucible.  I'm not really interested in the best possible tree or min-maxing anything, so if you're willing to give me extra abilities or power and let me pick what I want, I guess that's okay.  I don't really care.  I don't have time for that anymore.  But if you're handing out free pie, I'll eat it.

So that's about it for 7.3  I may run an extra toon or two through eventually.  In the meantime, I managed to get toon #20 to 110 - my alliance priest.  I'm now working on alliance arms warrior.  After that will be monk.



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ding! Level 110 #18.

So I finished getting the enhancement shaman to 110 yesterday.  In general a very enjoyable class to level.  I also did a little PvP this time while leveling.  My original feel while looking at the XP per hour data told me that it wasn't slowing me down much, but the final time to 110 tells a slightly different story.

For this toon, I came in at 10 hours and 26 minutes, compared to basically everyone else since heirlooms were released coming in around 9 hours and 15 minutes.  But that extra hour is probably a small price to pay for a little bit of variety in the process.

Overall this toon felt pretty smooth through the whole process.  I also did Valsharah and Stormheim this time instead of my normal routine of Aszuna and Highmountain, so that also could have impacted the leveling time.

Next up will be Outlaw rogue, followed by priest.  I'm a little torn on priest.  For my Horde priest, I started off leveling as Disc, but found I didn't really enjoy it that much, so switched to shadow and found that worked much better for me.

I don't think there is a viable way to level while questing as holy, and I'm not quite crazy enough to level a toon completely through dungeons (or am I?...hmmm...)

So I guess we'll see.

The artifact quest line for Outlaw was pretty decent and so we're off to the races on the next toon.



Monday, July 31, 2017

Another 110, and the Impact of Heirlooms on Leveling Time

So I managed to finish up my feral druid last week, making my 16th level 110 of this expansion.  Feral was fun, and like most of the toons that I've been leveling with heirlooms, seemed to get progressively easier as the leveling process went on.

The addition of heirlooms have knocked quite a bit off of the leveling time, dropping it from an average of around 16 hours or so to right around 9 hours for the last couple of toons leveled with heirlooms.

That's pretty consistent with where things were at this point in Warlords as well.

Up next is frost mage, followed by enhancement shaman.  I'm going to try doing more dungeons with the frost mage just to see what the impact is on leveling time.   Indications are that it will take longer that way, but I'm curious as to how much longer.

Beyond that, I'm continuing to run world quests on the warlock for reasons that I don't entirely understand.  I keep switching back between affliction and destruction, but both are fully maxed at this point, but so not sure it really matters that much.

That's about all the update for now.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Two More Level 110's

So almost within a day or two of my last blog post about giving up on the warrior class mount, I managed to get it.  I had a bunch of Broken Shore shards, so went and upgraded a few pieces of gear, and then just got "lucky" with the interrupts on the first boss.  The other bosses in the scenario gave me no difficulty at all, so the warrior class mount was mine!

I also managed to finish leveling two more toons to 110 - the unholy death knight and the survival hunter.  The interesting thing that I'm finding with heirloom scaling is that it gets significantly easier the farther along you get to 110, which seems odd.

Once hitting max level on the hunter, I switched him over to MM and am working on gearing him up a bit.

Next up is the feral druid and after that we're going to do frost mage, then enhancement shaman.

I've continued to run world quests on the warlock just to finish upgrading all his legendaries and to also get Concordance on a second weapon.  I've stopped on the hunter, but may pick up another toon to start doing world quests on if I get tired of doing the warlock.  Not sure who that might be yet though.

So far, LFR has been pretty easy on everyone.  I've been running it on both warlock and hunter and other than some groups having some confusion over which way to go to get to Mistress, everything seems to proceed relatively smoothly.



Friday, June 30, 2017

Back to Leveling

So the class mounts are done.  Or at least most of them are.  Because warrior is my least favorite character (no judgment at all to those of you that love warrior - it's just never been a class that I've gotten the feel for), I can not for the life of me get through the Trial of Rage scenario to get the class mount.  That first guy with his Rampage and his totems gets me every time.

But that's okay.  I got the other 11.  And I'll come back and try again every now and then.  Eventually, I'll outgear the thing and it'll be mine.

So I've unlocked Concordance on the warlock and the hunter and running them through Tomb as it opens, so for now, I'm back to leveling.

I'm working on the alliance death knight at the moment.  I'm leveling him as unholy, which hasn't been my 100% favorite so far, but I'm sticking with it.

He's sitting at level 105 and working his way through Highmountain.  I want to try to get in some of Stormheim on him as well because I totally forgot to do that zone on the warlock, and I believe that's the only zone where the alliance content differs a little bit from the Horde.

Up next will be the alliance hunter, who I plan to level as survival, because I've not played that spec at all yet.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Class Mountapalooza

So the edge of your seat, riveting story line that was the Broken Shore campaign (/sarcasm) is now complete, and class mounts are now available all around.

I managed to get three right away as I'd been working all three toons through the steps of Breaching the Tomb.

While Blizzard appears to have outsourced the development of the Broken Shore story line to a Roomba with a pen taped to it, they've done a much better job with the quests for each class to obtain the actual mount.  I won't include any actual spoilers here, but at this point, I've done hunter, warlock and death knight and so far the hunter is my favorite.

The warlock one was a much bigger pain in the ass, so I'm not sure why there is such disparity in level of effort to obtain each mount.

I also like the death knight one!

So now I've decided I need them all, so I'm working all my Horde toons through the process of completing the aforementioned fabulous Broken Shore quest chain.

At this point, the remaining 9 toons are all through the Marks of Sentinax stage and 8 of the 9 are working on the 12 world quest portion.

My demon hunter is just waiting for the servers to come up today so he can collect his completed mission for the last part and then run off to do the demon hunter quest.

I think the ones that I'm least interested in are probably paladin and mage, so those are the last two that I'm running through.  Shaman is up next after the demon hunter.  As much as I've hated that character this expansion, the shaman class mount is really unique and I must have!

So that's it for this week.  Once all of those are done, we'll be running Joar and / or my hunter through Tomb once it opens, and then we'll probably go back to leveling the alliance portion of the empire.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The First Alliance Toon of the Expansion is Done

I managed to finally hit 110 on my first alliance toon of the expansion, so yeah, go me.  The death knight is up next, but now seeing that heirlooms will be scaling to 110 starting with the next patch, I will probably just wait at this point.

In the meantime, I'm working on getting to the Concordance trait on 2 or 3 toons as well as finishing up the Broken Shore quest line on 2 or 3 toons as well.  This is proving to be a bit of a challenge on my death knight, because I hadn't actually done anything to gear up his various followers, so he doesn't actually have any Broken Shore Order Hall Missions available.

So we're gearing up a follower or two and we'll see if that shakes a mission loose to complete.

My warrior is the only toon that isn't gear enough to do Nighthold LFR at this point, although I'm not really enjoying melee much this expansion (which is a continuing theme from Draenor), so I'm not sure I care.  The warrior is also the only toon that doesn't have a legendary at this point, so I'll likely just keep doing emissary quests to try to get one to drop.

Finally, I've been doing some healing in Nighthold LFR on both the paladin and the druid, just to give it a try.  I've been a little sad to discover that Vuh'do appears to be too glitchy for me to use.  Not sure if it's how it interacts with other addons that I use, but the frames seem to change around mid-raid, making it impossible to use.  I've never been a big HealBot fan, so I'm going to give Grid and Clique a try.

I also thought this was a good opportunity to try my shaman as resto since I haven't been a big fan of elemental this expansion, so I went through and grabbed the artifact weapon for resto.  So I might give him a dash through Nighthold once the servers come back up later today just to see how that feels.

I've also never done healing on the monk and I may give that a try just to see.

So that's what's on the list for now.

  • Continue to do daily emissary quests on warlock and hunter, working towards the Concordance trait.
  • Do daily emissary quests and/or Nighthold LFR on the warrior until the poor little bloke finally gets a legendary.
  • Try out both resto shaman and monk healing (Mistweaver? - see, really know nothing about it)
  • Finish Broken Shore quest line on the DK - need to get a Broken Shore quest to pop on the Order Hall mission board.
  • Dive into whatever this weeks' installment of the Broken Shore quest line is going to be.
Not sure if we'll be able start actively working on class mounts this week or not, but if so, that'll be a definite focus.



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Extra Artifact Traits Unlocked All Around

Well, that's all done.  I managed to finish not only unlocking the Broken Shore, but also the extra artifact traits on all twelve max level toons.  Why, you may ask?  I have no idea.

I'm also diligently working through each week's new installment of "content" on 3 different toons - my warlock, hunter and death knight.  Sadly, I pretty accurately called this week's installment.

OK, so it was only 3 instead of 10.  If next's weeks is the 1,000 Legionfall War Supply thing I'll be anxiously awaiting a check from Blizzard.

I'm continuing to work through emissary quests and all that on both the warlock and the hunter.  And yes, I have no idea why.  I guess I'd like to unlock the fancy Concordance thing on at least a couple of toons, just to see how it works.

Lastly, I've gone back to starting to level my alliance toons.  My warlock is sitting at level 107 and is finishing up Val'Sharah, before heading to Highmountain.  Using the Legion invasions as provided quite a boost to the leveling path.

I started the warlock as demonology, but found I really wasn't enjoying it very much, so have switched him over to  destruction.

Next up after the warlock will be the death knight, who I intend to level as unholy.



Friday, May 12, 2017

Unlocking the Broken Shore for Everyone

So I finished unlocking the Broken Shore on all 12 max level Horde toons and have now also started the process of getting the new Legionfall Champion and opening up the elite Broken Shore world quests (which often have 880 gear and other upgraded rewards).

It's been interesting to see all the stories for each class surrounding the Legionfall Champions.  At this point, I only have the warrior left to do.

Consistent with the rest of my Legion class quest experience, this time around Elemental Shaman was once again my least favorite.  If that wasn't already one of my wealthiest toons because of the good old days of inscription, I'd park his butt in front of the auction house for the rest of this expansion (or maybe just re-roll him as enhancement).

I'm also planning to unlock the additional artifact traits on everyone if possible, although at this point, I've only completed that on 5/12 toons, so that may take a little while.

Also, one quick tip that I got this week from an in-game friend.  Six of the twelve classes have an ability in their class order hall that can be researched that allows you to complete one World Quest per day for free with no effort.  Those classes are Warlock, Death Knight, Paladin, Demon Hunter, Mage and Warrior.  This is not only an easy way to get gear on these toons, but is also a way to keep a regular flow of resources coming in to enable you to keep running order hall missions for other rewards.

My plan is to blow through class hall missions to finish filling out artifact traits on those toons where that isn't already done.  And then work through the quests to unlock new artifact traits.



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Legionfall Grind Continues

So now that the Horde class leveling is done, I've chosen to focus on doing world quests, Legionfall content and world bosses on just a small number of toons - primarily my warlock, hunter and death knight.  So far, that's been working out fairly well.

I'm not in a big rush at this point to get to Exalted with Legionfall, because I think I'm pretty close to the point where the regular weekly new "content" will get me there before the Tomb opens as long as it continues to be 1,500 rep per week.  (I'm sitting at around 14,000/21,000)

Don't get me wrong, the alliance toons are set up, ordered and ready to go.  I'll be starting off with a demonology warlock, the unholy death knight, and survival hunter.  I'm focusing mostly on specs that I didn't do at all horde side.

Because my champions and professions are getting higher levels across the entire contingent, I'm also making gold at a faster rate than I did at the end of Warlords, which is still completely unbelievable to me.  The only profession that I'm actively using at this point to make gold is Tailoring, with a tiny bit of Jewelcrafting on the side.  Other than that, I'm just running order hall missions, doing world quests and selling mats.



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Level 110 #12 Complete. Warrior Completes the Class Set

So I managed to get the warrior to 110 on Sunday, marking the last class for me to get to 110 this expansion.  I'm still working on finishing up the class order hall campaign on the warrior, but it seems that a substantial portion of that is doable while leveling, so it doesn't seem that I have very far to go on it at this point.

It actually made me wonder if there had been some subtle nerfs to the leveling requirements, because the warrior was the fastest toon to 110 for me so far, by over an hour.  And I did not have flying unlocked yet for any portion of the leveling process.  So the warrior ended up with a total leveling time of 13 hours and 48 minutes, with the next fastest being the monk at 15 hours and 2 minutes.

I did manage to also unlock flying this past Tuesday, so have been enjoying the new level of freedom that provides.  It certainly makes getting from world quest to world quest much easier.

So I'm continuing to grind out Legionfall rep, although if each week's new content continues to grant 1,500 rep, and if there are 8 weeks remaining, There shouldn't be too much more of that to do at this point.

Now it's just a matter of deciding if I want to start working on the alliance side of things, or just focus on gearing up and grinding for Legendaries on the various Horde toons.  So far, only two of my 110's don't currently have legendaries - the mage, and the newly 110 warrior.  First up for the alliance would be my warlock, who I intend to level as demonology for something different.  That'll be followed by the death knight (unholy) and hunter (survival), basically maintaining the early order on my Horde toons, but using different specs wherever possible.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dear Sons of Hodir Shao Hao Legionfall Shitty Rep Grind Masters

So it's another rep grind.  At least I'm not wandering around killing Yaungol for no reason or polishing some giant's ugly ass helmet.  But in the guise of the largest content patch in Blizzard history, we seem to have gotten the same old same old in terms of rep grinds.

We did receive the first installment in the promised eleven week continuation of the class order hall campaign.  So far, I've just done the warlock and hunter versions, and both were pretty good.  The warlock one especially had a lot of really cool class flavor to it.

I've also done several zones worth of Legion invasions and have found those to be really fun as well, although it's a bit disappointing that you only get rep for the first one that you do.

Finally, while it is still just a rep grind, the world quests that have been introduced in Broken Shore have been pretty good, with a nice amount of variety in quest types.

So it's annoying, but like every other expansion, I'll get over it in the interest of getting what I want.  At least in this case it's flying and a mount and not just some stupid enchant.

My warrior is working his way through Highmountain and is sitting at level 105.  There is a lot of class order hall campaign to do on the warrior before 110 (completely unlike the mage), so that is adding some nice variety to the leveling process.

I've also been taking advantage of the new higher gear rewards from world quests to gear up some of my other alts.  Doing so, I've managed to get legendaries now on 10 of my 11 max level toons.  Only the mage still needs one.

So that's it for now.



Friday, March 24, 2017

And the Mage Makes 11!

So I hit 110 on the mage earlier this week.  Leveling as fire ended up being quite a bit easier than I was expecting.  What it lacks over frost in control, it more than makes up for in sheer burstiness.  And adding a frost-based bodyguard brings back at least a little bit of those control features.

The class order hall campaign for the mage was a bit odd in that there was almost no content available while leveling.  Unlike most classes, where there is a series of things available around level 105 or 106, there was pretty much nothing after the original 101/102 stuff until hitting level 110.  I'm not entirely through it yet, but so far it's nothing out of the ordinary.

I'll be working on the warrior next (in fact already have him sitting at 103).  He's not going to make it to 110 before 7.2 drops, so he may end up getting paused for a bit while I work on Pathfinder Part 2 and on whatever is necessary to make progress on class mounts on 11 different toons, which sounds like it'll be a bit of a nightmare, since I need all 11 to get to Exalted with the new faction in order to get there.  I'm seriously hoping they change that little bit at some point in the future.

I also managed to get yet another legendary this week, this time on the druid.  This one dropped as loot off a random world rare kill, which is the first time that I've ever had that happen.  But hey!  I'll take it!  That brings me to having legendaries on 8 of my current 11 max level toons.

Also, next week is Spring Break, so there will be a break in the play time for vacation and holiday.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Rogue Makes Level 110 #10

I hit level 110 on the rogue about two weeks ago.  He's getting close to being done with his class order hall campaign as well.  I'm still enjoying subtlety, at least for world quests and that kind of thing.  From a leveling speed time, the rogue ended up being pretty quick, coming in as the fourth fastest toon so far.

I also managed to get a legendary on this guy almost right away, as one dropped out of an emissary box on the "Do 20 world quests" part of the class order hall campaign.  That makes 7 of my 10 max level characters with legendaries at this point with the Druid, Demon Hunter and Shaman being the unlucky 3 without.

Once I get those last two classes leveled, I'll probably focus on doing world quests on those until they get one.

I'm now off working on the mage.  I'm leveling as fire for the first time ever, which has been relatively decent.  What it loses over frost in terms of control, it definitely makes up for in sheer burst damage.

After the mage, it'll be the warrior and then I'll be done with all the Horde classes.



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Updates on Leveling and Thoughts On Artifact Power

So I managed to get my elemental shaman to 110 a week or so ago (the exact date was 2/2).  The leveling time on this one was right in the middle of the pack at almost exactly 18 hours of played time.

Elemental wasn't my favorite, but ended up not being all that bad by the time it was done.  It is also incredibly fun in dungeons, so I did a bit more of those than normal.

I also managed to get all 5 of my 910 legendaries upgraded to 940 grinding out essences, mostly from LFR runs and from emissary chests.  Wasn't too bad by the time it was all said and done.  I'm not sure it was 100% necessary, but what the heck, right?

I also managed to get the moose mount from the weekly archaeology quest.  It ended up taking about 3 hours and definitely helped having the Surveyor enchant on my gloves.    It was a welcome distraction from other things.

I also started working again on the fishing artifact.  I've finished up the rares in Aszuna and Val'Sharah and am starting to work on Highmountain rares.

Also a welcome distraction.

Meanwhile, I've been leveling my rogue as Subtlety, which I had totally forgotten was even a spec. But with my favorite leveling spec, combat, completely gone, I had to pick something, and I didn't have two daggers, so Sub it was!  It's actually been pretty decent to level, with a few abilities that give it really decent burst and power.

Finally, there's been a ton of controversy swirling about artifact power and limits and developer blog posts and thousands and thousands of Maw of Souls runs.  I'd like to get really engaged in this.  I really would.  But where I am as a player right now and what I'm doing in game, I don't care.  I really don't.  The system is clearly not working as it should for high end raiders and Blizzard absolutely needs to figure out how to address that and needs to be good about communicating what they are doing in that regard.  But for me.  It's not an issue.



Friday, February 10, 2017

An Analysis of Blizzard's Q4 Earnings Release

So after saying on Alternative Chat's Blog that I wasn't going to comment on Activision Blizzard's Q4 earnings release, after reading through it again, I just can't help myself.

I won't be providing the normal line by line in depth analysis, because frankly, very little of it is driven by Warcraft anymore, and it can all pretty much be summed up by "we made a shit load of money!"

But here are a few things that I did want to highlight:

They did report that Warcraft had a 10% increase in MAU's year over year and a 20% increase in the 4th quarter, which sounds pretty positive on the face of it.  But think back to the fourth quarter of last 2015.  I went back a looked at my blog from that quarter and there were titles like "Not Much of An Update" and "Why Not Level a Third Warlock?  What Else Is There To Do".  The fourth quarter of 2015 was the absolute pits of disgust and boredom with Warlords of Draenor and to only post a 20% increase over THAT.  Well, to quote a certain current world leader.  SAD.

The other interesting thing that they did start to provide data on is a new metric on "play time" which is not something that we've seen them publicly reporting on by platform before.  But they did disclose that this quarter for Warcraft was the highest amount of play time of any non-launch quarter in the last four years.  Which at least implies that, while their user numbers may have dropped off following launch, they are maintaining a decent amount of time per user (no doubt grinding out artifact power, but hey!).  That does at least imply they are getting something right about the pace of content releases this time around.

They also disclosed that Blizzard had record levels of full year and fourth quarter "in-game content" driven by World of Warcraft in-game content.  What is this "in-game content" that I'm paying for in World of Warcraft?  I don't recall any content / quest chains, DLC's, or other things that I have to pay for in game.  Oh yeah.  That would be the Token market.  Apparently that is working out quite well for them.

Oh, and one other interesting data point.  Blizzard's revenue and operating profit was higher this year than Activision's.  And that hasn't happened before.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Completed Toon Number 8

So I managed to finish the Joarfu the windwalker monk last week.  So this was the first toon that I leveled with a class hall follower body guard.  I know, I know!  As a result, it was perhaps also unsurprisingly my fastest toon to get from 100 to 110 with a total played time of 15 hours and 2 minutes, making it almost 2 hours faster than the next fastest toon, my beast master hunter.

The monk stayed fun to play throughout the entire leveling process and felt smooth and powerful the whole way.

Next up is the shaman, and I can already tell I'm going to have issues deciding between elemental (which was my original plan) and enhancement.  Elemental seems much more fun in dungeons, but with 30-40 minute queues for dps in normals while leveling, dungeons just aren't that big a part of it.

For regular questing, enhancement seems much more powerful and capable for taking down mobs with minimal downtime.

After a fair amount of leveling this weekend, the shaman is sitting at level 105 and is working his way through Val'sharah.  Highmountain is up next and at the rate that is going, I will likely hit 110 in Highmountain without moving on to Stormheim (which means I'll have to run around to grab some flight paths later on for world quests).

I'm also working on the Touch of a Titan quest gathering essences for the various toons that have 910 legendaries.  It's a total of 5 legendaries that I have to upgrade.  I've already managed to finish it up on my hunter.  I've got two on the warlock, one on the death knight and one on the priest that I need to upgrade, so it'll be back to running world quests on both the death knight and the priest. I may put this on hold though to pursue the new goal, which is to get the remaining classes leveled to 110 in time for the class mount questline to be released in 7.2

With the shaman currently in progress, it's just the rogue, mage and warrior still to go, so I may try to get those knocked out and the class order hall campaigns completed before I go back to worrying about legendaries.

That's it for this week.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Completed Seven Class Order Hall Campaigns

So I managed to complete my seventh class order hall campaign this morning.  They've all been pretty interesting as content goes, and I'm not sure that I could pick one that I've liked more than others.  But it's been pretty interesting working through all of them.

I wasn't a big fan of having to grind out the various dungeons on the demon hunter campaign (as I understand it, that also happens in the mage campaign, which I haven't done yet).  My main issue there is I never really did decide if I preferred playing as tank or dps.  I was questing mostly as tank, so I wasn't doing real well as dps in those dungeons.

My monk is still sitting at level 103, so I've got a ways to go at this point before I'm in a position to start doing much on his order hall campaign.  The windwalker monk has been fun so far, but I'm not in a huge hurry to finish leveling him.  I don't particularly see that as a class that I'm likely to do much beyond finishing the order hall campaign, much like the demon hunter.

I also managed to fill out the 35th trait on my weapon on the warlock, and I'm getting close to a full weapon on the hunter.  Rather than continuing to fill up the warlock destruction artifact, I decided to switch over and start putting points into the affliction weapon.  So we'll see how that goes.

Beyond that, with Nighthold opening today, the quest to upgrade your legendary is out, so it's important to grab that before you open any emissary chests, because the quest items can drop from those chests.

At some point, I also need to go back and work on the leatherworking and alchemy profession quests as well.



Friday, January 6, 2017

The Long-Term Patient Approach to Generating Artifact Power For Alts

So I'm going to write up the approach that has been working well for me in terms of generating significant amounts of artifact power for alts with what seems to be a minimum of effort.  While I'm putting this out there, I also fully acknowledge that this approach will definitely be impacted by the release of Patch 7.1.5, which is right around the corner, although in general, the changes in that patch may actually make this method slightly easier to execute on.

So here's what I do:

Once you hit level 110, don't do much of anything other than the regular artifact knowledge research every couple of days.  You can certainly finish up the class order hall campaign if you want to, although there are also benefits to waiting on that.

The one thing that I do make sure to do is the Nighfallen emissary quests every time that they come up.  You can do Kirin Tor emissary quests as well, but frankly those have gotten to be enough of a pain in the butt, that I can certainly understand passing on them.  Note that without unlocking most of the Suramar story line, it'll likely take you more than one day to do the Nightfallen emissary quest because of the limitations on the world quests available.  The good news is that means it'll be a bare minimum of time each day.

The rest of the process starts once your artifact knowledge gets to something over 20 which takes a little over 3 months at current rates, but will become significant faster once 7.1.5 drops and you have the ability to "buy" alts up to artifact knowledge 20 instantly.

At that point, go out and do the the full Suramar story line.  If you did the full 3 month wait approach, while doing the regular Nightfallen emissary quests, you should have enough rep with Nightfallen to knock out the entire thing.  If not, it's going to take you quite a bit longer.  At level 25 of Artifact Knowledge, the Suramar story line is going to earn you enough artifact power to fill all 35 traits on your weapon.  And it's a hell of a good story in the process.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016 Year In Review

So when 2015 came to a close I had just finished leveling my 19th character to max level in Warlords of Draenor.  I ended that expansion with a total of 27.  I'm a little surprised that it was only 8 more from the beginning of the year until Warlords end, but that's probably mostly an indication of how much time I was spending on garrison gold making over that period of time.

I also spent a little bit of time on other games as Warlords wounds down, dabbling again in Rift and in SWTOR as I looked for things to do.

I also started publishing more detailed analysis of Blizzard's regular earnings releases and public filings, both on my blog, and in a couple of instances on the Starting Zone podcast, both of which have been fairly well received.  While I intend to continue with that exercise, it's somewhat complicated by the fact that, as Blizzard has continued to grow and expand, they now disclose almost nothing in their regular filings about World of Warcraft specifically as it just isn't that material to their overall business anymore.

I've been somewhat re-energized with the launch of Legion and the new World Quest and Artifact Power regime and am back to being fully dedicated to Warcraft.  This is somewhat balanced by the demands of real life, which have served to somewhat reduce my available play time.  Even with that, I managed to level 7 toons to max level within the first four months of the expansion, and three of those will likely cap both artifact knowledge and their artifact traits within the first week or two of the New Year.  As usual with this game for alts, if you're willing to play a little bit of the waiting game, you can very quickly catch up your alts with a few tricks.

My plans for 2017 are to continue to level my toons until I get all 12 of each class finished and through their class order hall campaigns.  If I stick to the current pace, that should take me to the end of March or so.

It will be interesting to see when the XP nerfs hit this time around.  The unlock of flying will certainly make that an easier process (assuming it is account-wide again), but the real benefit from a leveling standpoint comes from the gross XP nerf and the ability to boost heirlooms to work until 110.  No world yet on when either of those are coming, but rest assured, you'll hear about it here with new expected leveling times, when that happens.  Interestingly enough, in Warlords, it was only 3 months between launch and when level 100 heirlooms were made available, so we're already past that point.

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 ...