Those Highly Anticipated WoW Allied Races

There was no Overwatch League this week, so today’s gaming post goes to my WoW leveling adventures.

If you have been catching my stream prior to the release of the Zandalari trolls, you would have probably heard me lament about wanting to play a Zandalari. This was a race that I have wanted to play since they were announced, all that time ago. I excitedly picked up the alpha and beta of Battle for Azeroth, where I was hopeful that I could play one. It wasn’t ready yet. I was disappointed but I quickly became happy when I could play that Nightborne, a race I have wanted to play since the Suramar quests in Legion.

At launch, I was disappointed again. Still no Zandalari. I get it, they wanted it to fit in with the lore. Sure, great. I just wanted my troll! Those druid forms were amazing, especially the moonkin form that resembled the Arakkoa of Warlords of Draenor. (Which I also wanted as a class, but this came close enough.) Admittedly, I was less excited about the Kul Tiran race. They were just dopey looking, fatter Humans. They were nowhere near as cool looking as the Zandalari appeared.

All last week, I worked hard to level up my Zandalari to 100. It was worth every second, even though their moonkin form doesn’t have a dance. They were cool looking. The voices were less annoying than the Troll’s voice. They even have a different dance. I had a lot more fun customizing it. It was everything that I had wanted them to be. Did I mention that druid form? Those druid forms are amazing. The WoW team did an amazing job with this race and honestly, this one was well worth the wait. I may even level another one, a pally. Because those pally mounts look awesome.

But what about the Kul Tiran? I got as far as making a KT druid. I couldn’t decide which class to do, but those druid forms were much cooler looking than I thought they would be. The race is about as awful looking as you would expect, but I did manage to make one that I was pleased with. Today, I will probably get started on leveling my Kul Tiran, though I will likely switch back and forth depending on Legion Invasions, which are still the best way to level up through Legion.

I should be getting other characters up to 120, but I refuse to waste the effort until I can fly again. If you’re interested in some Allied Races fun, check out my stream this week.

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Will This Patch Bring BFA Back to Life?

Tides of Vengeance Part 2 is coming out tomorrow. While a casual like me probably won’t get into a raid until LFR opens up later on (especially since Uldir was boring to me so I only did the first wing before saying “nah”), there are some exciting changes that I can’t wait for. For instance, being one step closer to the Zandalari troll that I so desperately want. This also brings me closer to earning flying in the expansion, something I desperately need to start leveling up those pesky high level alts. Yes, I’m addicted to alts. They are fun and I enjoy the grind more than I ever enjoyed raiding.

BFA does seem like a dead spot. It started off strong with an interesting story, but because of inconveniences and the coolness of new features like island expeditions wear off, it seemed to fizzle out. I liked the story, but there are so many unanswered questions. Will Sylvanas be locked away when Saurfang and the Alliance finally beat her? Will she join forces with Queen Azshara to continually plan out Azeroth’s demise? Will the resurrected Calia Menethil take rightful command over the Forsaken and Lordaeron? It could be interesting to see where these still open story lines go, but they need to make sure the game stays interesting enough for people to stick around for the answers.

This new patch, being touted as “Season 2” seems exciting but it seems like a much needed attempt to bringing this game back to life. This expansion did fizzle and while the Night Warrior new design and story was interesting enough, it was quick and over with. Then you were just left to farm Darkshore for new items that you’ll probably never get. The final question remains then: Will this patch be the one to bring Battle for Azeroth back to life?

Does “Tides of Vengeance” Do Enough?

There may be some storyline spoilers. You have been warned.

I’m in the minority. I actually enjoy Battle for Azeroth. I like the prequel novel and the other stories that have set the stage for the new expansion, making me excited to see how the story goes. Does Sylvanas win? Will Saurfang take control of the Horde? Will Zappyboi end up as the new warchief? (Let’s be honest, they’ve done crazier things with the storyline so why not continue to fulfill everyone’s love for some random character in a cinematic who then becomes one of the heroes of the expansion?) Will we see (spoiler alert) a holy undead Calia reunited with her daughter? (Ok, so this may not have been confirmed officially yet.. but this is probably the case.) There is still so much story left to tell. This may not be my favorite expansion, but it is far from my least favorite. (Anyone who watches my stream knows just how much I complain about leveling in Warlords of Draenor.)

“Tides of Vengeance” is the first real big patch we have seen for Battle for Azeroth. It promised excitement. Some went in hesitant, since they felt so disappointed with the new expansion. Due to a busy schedule that tends to come around holiday season, I haven’t played too much of it to be a good judge. I really want to check out the new island expeditions, which I probably will check out later. But I did experience enough to say that I’m still pleased with the expansion. I’m someone who likes the grind. In fact, I suspect most people who played at a hardcore level back in Vanilla were originally hooked because of the grind. It was work. Yes, I had to grind up Zandalari Empire rep if I wanted to play that Zandalari troll I have only been talking about forever. Yes, I did that even after the gruesome grind to get my Dark Iron (which I immediately leveled up to 110.) To me, there are 1000 things to do. I have mounts I still need from this expansion and others. I have toons that still need their class mounts. I have things I can do to keep me occupied. Plus, you need that sub for WoW Classic anyways.

I liked the Battle for Darkshore. I liked the Alliance scenario with the Night Warrior transformation Tyrande went through. First of all, I applaud this expansion for finally bringing back Badass Jaina and Tyrande instead of the whinier versions in the last couple of expansions. (“Oooh my beloved. Where are youuu….?!”) I think this does exactly what people wanted: Take a group of people, who were once believed to be peaceful pacifists, commit mass genocide against them and show why everyone feared them to begin with. The Humans aren’t going to be the heroes of the Alliance in this expansion. The Little Lion King won’t lead them to victory; the vengeance in Tyrande’s and Malfurion’s hearts will. Plus, my Night Elf gets this really beautiful appearance as seen in the featured image. (Isn’t it great though?) I like the invasions because they offer a quick way to get gear for alts and people like me who haven’t spent a lot of time in raids. I like this patch.

I’m torn about what I’m most excited about as this expansion comes to a close. At first before I even saw the stunning images of the “Tides of Vengeance”, I was most excited about Calia potentially facing off against Sylvanas and becoming the new leader of the Forsaken. (Stranger things have happened.) Then I wanted to see her go the way of Garrosh, with Saurfang becoming the leader of the Horde. Now, I want to watch Tyrande as she makes the world burn in starfire while she avenges her people and her home.

Did “Tides of Vengeance” do enough? There’s still more left to go, but I’m personally very pleased with it. It might not fix all of the problems that people have had but I think it makes up for a lot of that. There’s still more patches to go and this game is always evolving. That’s why we still play it though.

Was WoW Classic the Home We Were Promised?

Prior to this weekend at Blizzcon, we knew that there would be a playable demo that digital ticket holders would receive. When the demo was first unlocked, there was a time limit to play. Now there isn’t. I played about 2 hours of the demo, a little on each side. I’ll continue to play to enjoy the demo while I still have it. But the question that we all were wondering was “Could we really go home again?”

The first toon I created was a Human priest, the OG Leighanneore. I did have a couple toons that I created before settling on her. One was an Undead rogue, but that got boring quickly. I went to the Alliance side to those cool looking elves, trying out the druid. Again, I wasn’t quite feeling it. I was starting to think that maybe this game wasn’t for me when I first got the game. I was ready to give up. I decided to try a Human priest. I wasn’t quite sure what made me go that route, but my gut told me to. Since that time, over a decade ago, I have remained loyal to my Human priest though the Void Elf makes it really hard to stick to. But if nothing else, I’m loyal.

Naturally when trying out the demo, my first character was a Human priest. After creating (recreating?) Leighanneore, who looks much different back then (maybe it’s all the war and saving the world that has made her younger and prettier), I was boosted to level 15 and dropped down into Westfall. I groaned. I really hated Westfall. Those gnolls and murlocs have a way of never stopping their chase after you and aggroing entire camps of them even if you’re not even close. At first, I took the same approach that I did leveling her as holy. I slowly grabbed one mob at a time and slowly holy’ed them to death. Until I remembered that I had Mind Blast at that level, which made things go a lot quicker. I would dot something to pull it only to remember that back then, dots didn’t matter. My mobs would get stolen left and right and no one would group with me to help. They didn’t care. It was just like Vanilla.

Then there were the people who you could instantly tell never played Vanilla in its true form. They were mass pulling entire camps as hunters, only to die because this is Vanilla not BFA. It was all fun and games until the hunter would feign death and the innocent bystander killing gnolls in my own little corner would die because of their stupidity. They didn’t learn; they continued to do it. Those guys are never going to last when Classic does come out. It’s going to be great.

I did die a lot. It felt like home. There was something comforting in the frustration that I had to actually read quests now. Mostly because back in those days, we didn’t have the quests pop up on the map to tell us where to go. We just had to read to figure it out and when we couldn’t, there was this really awesome site called “thottbot” where we would stalk to figure it out. Or, the classic dungeon guides and books. Yes, we had to read back then. It was awesome.

Then I realized that it was exactly what I had hoped it would be. In the live game, I can mindlessly grind without any real effort being put into the game. You can see that from how quickly I level my characters up. People didn’t have 20 alts in Vanilla. You barely had time for the 1 that you had. You couldn’t hit 20 levels in a day. You couldn’t just spam dungeons in the LFG. You actually had to go to an LFG channel in chat to look for groups. You actually had to zone into a dungeon, which sometimes meant killing elites to get into them. You couldn’t just pull every mob in the area, even with a group especially at lower levels. It was hard. You had to farm and farm to get money, not just have 1000 drop from completing world quests. It was exactly what I wanted.

I was scared that they were going to give us something half-assed; something that would appease the people who only heard of Vanilla in stories. I desperately wanted them to give us that experience that made fans fall in love with the game. Where you formed friendships and bonds with people from all over. Where you need to work together for goals. Being an introvert, I like being able to do my own thing on my own terms with people I just like hanging out with. Back then, I was forced out of my comfort zone to complete “end-game content”. It was great for me because I had to communicate with others to complete goals. I created friends in the later part of Vanilla/early BC, some of which I still talk to all of the time.

They didn’t. They stayed true to the spirit of Vanilla with WoW: Classic and as a long-time fan of the series, I’m so excited. I could play the demo all day and not get bored. I like being frustrated every time a mob kills me out of nowhere. I like that I can’t just keep dotting everything until they die. I’d like to thank the team for being so passionate about doing this for fans. I’d like to thank them for reminding some of us veterans of the game why we love it. Even when we hate it.

In case you’re wondering, I’ll probably be streaming a little bit more of the demo while it’s still around. Right now the first stream is archived on Twitch but it will be uploaded to YouTube by tomorrow.

The Great Gnome Race

The minute that I saw the micro holiday event of “The Great Gnomeregan Run”, I knew that was something that I needed to do. For the most part, I don’t really bother too much with these micro holidays, especially after the first time. This one? This one needed to happen. I imagined the rows of RPers taking this a little too far, but isn’t that part of the fun? I got on my Dark Iron, in hopes to squeeze out a little extra XP to get to 110 for my heritage armor. (So far, 106. Not bad in the short time I’ve dedicated to her.) It granted 20k, which was a bit more than a single Legion quest and I received exploration XP. Not too bad.

I admit that I used my flying mount to cheese my way through it. At some point I joined a group, but they were moving at a turtle speed to the finish. (No seriously, they made everyone mount up on a turtle.) I quickly decided that this went far beyond my RP limit and left to hurry up with this event to see if the XP was worth my time. It may not have been, but it was an interesting break from the grind.

What this micro holiday did accomplish was showing how much detail the design team is capable of adding into anything. The fireworks every time that you cleared a gate. The tables with water for the “runners”. The road blocks and rows of gnomes cheering you on as if this were a serious marathon. It was cute. It was really really cute. (I wish I had time to stream myself completing the event, because it was hilariously fun.) As I described how cute it was to my husband, he said “well, maybe the guy in charge of that team should be leading the WoW Development team.” He’s a reformed WoW player, who gave up after the 1st raid of Legion due to raiding again turning him off of the game. I haven’t actively raided since defeating the Heroic Lich King and received both ICC achievement mounts. Things happened, completely turning me off of the hardcore raiding thing. I nearly quit the game, feeling it was ruined for me. I didn’t. I went back to a core of players that were genuinely fun to be around and who have also been reformed raiders.

He may be right. I love BFA, but I wondered if I could love it more. I love the Allied races, as someone who is a confirmed alt-aholic. I love the island expeditions, but I gave them up for the sake of alts. Because I love alts more. I do the warfronts and the quests because those are also fun, but my character has hit a point where aside from going back to raiding there is nothing really for me to do. I’m exalted with all the new factions. The only quest zone I found fun to level in on the Alliance side was Drustvar. I haven’t played Horde yet, (but I just may level my Nightborne all of the way to despite swearing not to touch 110 alts until flying) so I can’t say whether or not the Horde side had a better story. From what I saw in Beta though, the Horde side had a more cohesive and entertaining story. Though listening to Bwonsamdi every time I die is not something I want to experience again.

I’m not even sure what they could have done to improve the experience. The time-gating is lame, but I get why they do it. Could it be less annoying? Sure. But I’m happy with it since it gives me more time on alts. Maybe give a cooler story line for Stormsong, which was the most annoying zone for me. Maybe they could have also made getting turtle rep more worth it. The Jaina storyline was awesome, and Taelia’s was also pretty interesting. I can’t wait to see where that goes. But Stormsong was meh, at best. It could have been more interesting if it didn’t feel so disjointed. Drustvar was all about the witches. Every quest revolved around the Heartsbane. The story with House Waycrest was interesting and the instance that completed it was also well-designed. Tiragarde Sound was about fighting pirates and Lady Ashvane, as well as Jaina’s and Taelia’s story. But Stormsong? That was all about Tidesages who turned evil. And fighting the Horde. And fighting the Naga. And helping the turtles. It was like they had all of these things that they wanted to do and just tossed them together in Stormsong. It makes sense, in a way. They had to introduce the Queen Azshara story somehow. That was the main storyline of the zone, but I thought that gets lost in every other storyline they tossed in the zone.

With new content coming in the near future, maybe things will turn around. But for now, I still stand loyally by this game that has offered me way too many hours of entertainment.

Do We Really Want WoW Vanilla Back?

I was at the grocery store recently and I noticed that they had Count Chocula in stores. (And Boo Berry… and Franken Berry…) I was excited to have a taste of my childhood, though I was always a bigger fan of Honey Nut Cheerios. Those other cereals were way too sweet for me and even today I tend to avoid overly sweet treats, since I feel so nauseated and lightheaded after eating them. Naturally, I bought them for nostalgia factor. I sat down while knitting and decided I wanted to try them to see if they were exactly how I remembered them. After a quick, small handful, I decided that they were exactly how I remembered them. Which was sad to me because they were completely disgusting to me now. I actually spit it out. The kids loved it. Maybe I had just outgrown this treat that became extinct in my childhood or built it up to be something better in my memories than it actually was.

I may have gotten into the World of Warcraft game late, but I did manage to get in before the game had any expansions. After trying a few characters, I settled on a Human Priest. I struggled through quests as a holy priest, making a lot of friends along the way because everyone loved a pocket healer that could actually heal. Eventually, I made it into a top guild on the server as a healer and got to experience the magic of end-game content at a competitive level. It was intense. The content was hard. I missed the “Opening of the Gates”, but I spent countless hours wiping on raids even clearing the original Naxx. I can reminisce with the sentiment of “I remember when content was really hard”. That’s not to say that the Burning Crusade content wasn’t difficult, but when compared to the original game it wasn’t really that bad.

As the game went on and after a couple of less than stellar expansions, people began lamenting for the “good ol’ days” of Vanilla. Vanilla servers popped up, giving people the ability to relive the time before the game was tarnished by “casuals”. These were short-lived as Blizzard quickly shut them down. Then Blizzard listened to the masses: they promised us Vanilla servers! The veterans of the game rejoiced, excited to relive the game. Everyone who played the original was excited to relive the glory days. New players were excited to see why people kept saying “I miss vanilla”.

But is this what we really want? We’ve grown from those days. I’m certainly not the same person I was 10 (::cough:: or so) years ago. Will I be as disappointed reliving this experience as I was when I took that bite of Count Chocula? Or will it be as natural and entertaining as it can be watching classic 90s cartoons like Rugrats? In about a month, we’ll find out. People who are at Blizzcon, or who purchased a digital ticket, get to try out the demo of WoW: Classic when Blizzcon starts. Yes, I will be streaming the experience. I’m afraid to go back because I don’t want my memories of the original game to be destroyed. But, what if it really is as good as I remember?

 

The Thing About Alts

The reason why I have a great time playing WoW is that I like the grind. I like leveling alts up. I don’t necessarily have the taste or desire to do anything really hardcore anymore. Time and real life responsibilities can get in the way of that anyways. I’m a very goal oriented person. I like setting goals and I get an incredible high off of completing them, in both real life goals and in games. That’s why I like doing challenges like NaNoWriMo. I like the challenge. I like being told that I can’t do it, only to not-so humbly shove it in their faces when I do. That’s just who I am.

The thing that is so great about alts is that you can relive an experience. Maybe when you speed through the levels to get maxed quickly, you don’t stop and experience the game. With alts, there’s no rush or pressure to get up there quickly. You can enjoy content anew. You can speed through areas you hate. The new system where you can choose where you want to level rather than being forced into one area is awesome. I never have to level in Burning Crusade ever again. If only I could get out of leveling in Warlords of Draenor, which is in my opinion the worst of the expansions to level in. Even if I do have flying, it’s still annoying. The instances are awful. The zones are well-designed but the whole place is boring with annoying quests. The only redeeming quality is the XP pots you can use to level quicker and the ability to use garrison missions to farm up XP for you. And that you can now farm herbs/mine to level up quicker. Which is why all of my toons now have mining/herbalism. Should they all get to level 120, I may end up rolling in the gold from the ore/herbs.

You can make the game into any experience that you want. I like Allied races because I like how I feel there’s this incredible story to them. Sure, I used to kill Dark Irons while leveling in Vanilla but now I can be a Dark Iron killing the same Vanilla Dark Irons. I can be a Nightborne, something I have been dying to be since first meeting the race in Suramar. I can be an Alliance character one day and the next see the other side of the story on the Horde. I don’t feed into this us vs. them mentality that a lot of players immerse themselves in when they play. (Much like I don’t feed into this in real life politics.) And I still have fun.

My first alt order of business, if you’ve been following my stream, is my Dark Iron. I was on my Nightborne, until the Dark Irons were able to be unlocked and now I’ll work on that until at least I get my heritage armor set. I’ll probably go back to the Nightborne to at least get my heritage armor for her. Then I’ll have to make a decision of which Horde character I need to start farming on so I can be ready for the Zandalari troll release because I need one of those in my life. I don’t want to go priest again. So my choices will end up being my BELF Pally, my Troll Furby/boomkin, or my Undead or Nightborne Mage. My instinct is one of the mages, but we’ll see when I get there. If you have any suggestions for me, let me know. Otherwise you can see me failing my way through WoW (and sometimes Overwatch) on my stream, which is linked on the sidebar.