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Legion Spoilers and Alpha Testing

I am so super excited for Legion I can hardly contain myself. I’m anxious to see my class hall, experience the artifact quest lines, explore the Broken Isles…all of it! I purchased the digital BlizzCon package and spent a couple of days back in November nerding out and getting excited over all the possibilities.

That said, I have decided to decline participation in the alpha/beta testing phase. The biggest reason is that my play time is limited right now (and will be for the foreseeable future) and I want to spend it playing the live game. I don’t have the time to help properly test a beta version of the game.

My second greatest motivation is to avoid burnout. I don’t want to play the Legion alpha and/or beta and then feel like all that content is old hat when it is finally released live. No matter how you slice it, testing content in the beta phase is still playing it, and I’d like to have that content feel fresh and amazing when it comes out.

I beta tested Cataclysm, way back eons ago. It was a lot of fun! But I remember also that I was sort of meh about the Cataclysm stuff when it finally released. I’d already seen a good chunk of the content and it just wasn’t shiny and new anymore. I’d like to avoid that with Legion.

I am also trying to avoid spoilers. I’m not going out of my way to avoid everything Legion related, but I’m trying to tiptoe around any major lore/story spoilers as best I can. I’m not concerned about little things, but I don’t want to know the big stuff. I still have zero idea who the big bad is in Legion (I’m assuming Sargeras, but I have no clue), I don’t know who any of the major players of this expansion are (the cinematic leads me to believe that Sylvanas and Varian will be involved) and I don’t really know what the plot is aside from demons invading. I’m happy with my ignorance for now. Things will be that much more interesting if I haven’t discussed them to death months before Legion hits.

I am eagerly awaiting the next expansion, but even so I’m trying to focus on Warlords. It bugs me how an expansion announcement almost automatically renders the current game obsolete and boring. People start discussing the new content and dismiss the old. There’s still a lot left to do in Warlords, at least if you’re as casual as I am. I still have pets to collect, achievements to work on, a moose mount to get….there’s still stuff left for me in Warlords. Not enough to keep me busy for 5 or 6 months, but still a lot.

I’m enjoying farming up rare mounts. I got one of the drakes off of Malygos, and the drake off of Deathwing a few weeks back. The real prize is Invincible’s Reins, but I doubt I’ll see that any time soon 😉

I hope y’all are enjoying the end of the expansion lull, whatever that means to you. Whether you’re still playing or taking a break or only just now beginning your journey to Draenor, have fun and keep your fingers crossed for an amazing Legion expansion.





Random Beta Observations

It is Wednesday and I hate Wednesday. Not dislike. Not “sigh and drag my feet” tolerate. Hate. It’s too long and not interesting enough to justify being so long and 5 hours of research psychology makes me insanely grumpy and tired.

Now that that confession is out of the way, I came home to find my Cataclysm beta client, which has been downloading an update most of today while I slogged through school, was done. Yippee!

I was reading the beta notes on the launcher and was startled to see that you are now required to purchase “Azerothian Navigation” to fly in Azeroth. WHAT IS THIS CRAP I bellowed to myself (inside my head of course. Boyfriend is sitting close by). I logged in in Dalaran and immediately popped through a portal into Stormwind to see if this was indeed true. I was able to mount up my Argent Dawn Hippo(gryph) and rejoiced! Obviously I could still fly! Hooray! But no. Your flying mounts now adjust their behavior according to your riding skill and what is permissable in a given area, it seems. Pressing the space bar did not yield flight. Instead, my hippo reared and tossed himself about regally or hopped, flapped his wings once, and then touched back down. Blast! I ran to the flight trainer (currently located near the flight master in Stormwind) and prepared to be sickened. I wasn’t. While I am thoroughly annoyed that you must pay to fly in Azeroth – because obviously the flight conditions in Outland and Northrend are so wildly different as to warrant more training! – the cost is a meager 200 gold. If you are any kind of competent, you can afford this. It’s stupid and annoying and all other forms of blah, but it isn’t insurmountable.

Now, I already have 310% flying on the live realms. I have the violet proto drake from the holiday achievements. It is my understanding, and every bit of Blizzard quotable evidence corroborates this, that if you already have 310% flying then you will retain that once Cataclysm launches. In addition, all of your flying mounts will then scale to this 310% benchmark without any effort required on your part. That is to say, you do not need to pay extra for a skill you already earned. However, upon poking the flight master to buy my Azerothian Navigation (grumble grumble) I noticed that “Master Riding” was listed, with a hefty cost of 4,000 gold (I am exalted with Stormwind which may or may not account for the cost). No doubt this is the upgrade to 310% flying that everyone was promised – but why am I seeing it? I already have 310% flying. What’s more, apparently purchasing this awards an achievement, “Breaking the Sound Barrier”, which I do not have. I cannot tell if my 280% mounts have scaled to 310% yet. It’s a hard thing to judge just by eyeballing. I’m a little confused. I am hoping this is clarified before launch, because if I still have to pay for a riding speed I already (painstakingly) earned there will be bitching.

Harrison Jones makes his comeback from Grizzly Hills to train students of Archaeology in Stormwind. He is seriously the most epic win of all WoW NPCs. I love Indiana Jones. I giggled aloud when I saw him. And of course I bought Archaeology training from him. I just wish I could sit in on one of his lectures and bat my eyes at him…

Anyway. I am getting the hang of Archaeology. Slowly. Supposedly there are only a few “dig sites” up on a continent at a time, and once you exhaust them new ones pop up. You set down a survey kit and it tells you which direction to go next and how far away the treasure is. It’s kinda neat, really, but I had a heck of a time figuring out what I was supposed to do to hunt down my fossils. You then dig up the fossil or whatever once you’re close enough and it is added into a little field journal thing which keeps track of your progress on yours finds. I can see this being very addicting.

On an ending note, I noticed my frame rate died in Cataclysm. I get 75 on the live realm running at close to max video settings. On the beta, I am lucky to get 25. It’s hovering around 20-ish right now. If this is just how it’s going to be once Cataclysm hits, I am going to be very upset. I just upgraded my system majorly and I cannot accept that Catacylsm is so graphically advanced that it is going to cut my FPS by almost half. However, I can’t seem to actually adjust my video settings on the beta. I attempt to, and then they reset themselves almost immediately. Still, it looks like I’d have to reduce them drastically to get a good frame rate. I’m already frustrated. Here’s hoping it’s just a beta thing, and will not persist after the live launch. Trading 75 FPS for 20 is unacceptable in my opinion.

Altoholism and the Gnomeregan/Echo Isles Events *Spoilers*

I created a new orc shaman yesterday. Just out of the blue. I suddenly wanted to play a shaman healer. My alts are more and more frequently being rolled as Horde. Perhaps this is some delayed-onset reaction to having to delete my old Horde mains years ago. More than likely, it is a symptom of my raging altoholism.

Seriously. This blog should have been called “The inane ramblings of an insane altoholic”. It’s has very little to do with trees, much to my distress. Fact is, I have little to do with my tree lately. I raid a few nights a week and then poke around my plethora of alts. It’s not a bad existence, to be honest, but I started the blog with the intent of blogging about restoration druids. It’s since digressed into a few tanking paladin posts and numerous ramblings and ranting about people in the LFG system.

I digress.

Yesterday I created an orc shaman with the sole intent of leveling up via the dungeon finder! Seeing a pattern? I can’t help it; it’s just what I enjoy. The Boyfriend labeled me insane. He’s likely correct. So alt number four-thousand-and-one is made. I was inspired by a shaman healer in a random Mana Tombs I ran on my boomkin druid alt (alt number three-thousand-and-seventy). He was not a stand-out healer. We got through just fine and I would never have noticed he existed had I not randomly had The Urge to create an alt. The Urge is not something I question anymore. I just obey.

Welcome Nthati. I realized about 8 levels in that I don’t really like orc women (or men) all that much. This is not a new concept. I have never liked orcs. I don’t know why I keep rolling them. But I’m far too lazy to reroll and replay the starting zone again as a troll (my preference). Instead, I wandered to Sen’jin where, lo and behold, the reclamation of the Echo Isles is being staged.

You have to be level 78 or something equally ridiculous to actually physically participate in the final battle for the Isles, so at level 8-ish my journey ended with the discovery of a troll druid and kicking her face in. It was, however, an extremely fun quest line that I highly recommend to anyone who, like me, adores trolls and Vol’jin and would love to see them kick ass. It’s also a fair bit of experience if you arent 80 yet.

You start off collecting frogs, which are then bewitched to be spies for the troll army. You fly around the isles on a bat and chuck the wee croakers at strategic areas (where presumably they land unharmed and begin their wee froggy spying). Then you gather recruits for Vol’jin’s army and ask the spirits of the troll ancestors to bless your war effort. That’s as far as you can get without practically being level capped, but you get a really unique flavor reward for your contributions. The Darkspear Pride is just a vanity item that transforms you into a Darkspear Warrior for 30 minutes on a 4 hour cooldown. The Darkspear Warrior has some truly bad-ass unique armor, reminiscent of Zul’Aman. I got a real kick from running around Durotar as a tricked-out troll woman, so it really was worth the time I spent even if I couldn’t participate in Zalazane’s death.The entire event is just plain fun. You get a feel for the soul of the Darkspear people, and a taste of how spiritual the trolls really are. Overall I felt it had a lot of depth and added a lot to my perception of trolls.

The event also explains some of what I saw while playing the Cataclysm beta. I rolled a troll druid just to peep at the starting zone and the new forms, and the druid trainer was named Zen’Tabra. She was just some random NPC to me until I played through the event on the live realms. Turns out, troll druids have been in hiding on the Echo Isles (and presumably elsewhere) for a long time, and show themselves at your insistence in order to help Vol’jin reclaim the isles. You are sent to investigate a very powerful tiger spirit on one of the islands, and when you get there you find that the “spirit” is actually Zen’Tabra in tiger form. She then agrees to bring her druid friends to aid your cause. So I have to ask…does this mean all those tigers we’ve been skinning for that quest were druids in tiger form? I might be sick.

I have also taken several characters through the reclamation of Gnomeregan. In comparison, it is lacking. It’s still fun, but if I had to set it side by side with the Echo Isles event, it would fall short. While I do like gnomes, I’ve never actually cared that they were forced out of their home city. Perhaps that is a bias that rose from hundreds of hours spent lost deep in the irradiated bowels of Gnomeregan trying fruitlessly to shepherd groups of people towards the final boss. Perhaps it’s just that, after so long, I’ve really just lost interest in what the gnomes do or don’t do. So while the reclaiming of Gnomeregan is certainly pivotal for the gnomes…I just don’t see why I should care. Unlike the trolls, the gnomes aren’t being forced out of their adoptive homes due to the egotistical war-mongering of some irritable orcish despot. They just seem to have…randomly…decided to retake their old city.

What’s more, the rewards aren’t nearly as cool. Turning into a little gnome in what looks like dive-gear isn’t nearly as awesome as turning into a voodoo-inspired troll warrior in murloc-esque Zul’Aman armor. And then there’s the end to the quest, which involved Gnomeregan exploding in what appears to be more radiation. It doesn’t really explain how the gnomes retake Gomeregan. For the trolls, you kill Zalazane and restore order among the spirits and Vol’jin talks about rebuilding the troll home on the islands. It’s clear how they got from point A (live realms) to point B (currently the beta version). For the gnomes, it’s not clear. At least to me.

And thus ends my comparison of the two events. Both very fun. I like the trolls better. In other news, I’m slowly working up the courage to heal an instance or two on my druid in the beta. I have not heard encouraging things about mana regen (which is going to rip me apart because my druid, on the live realm, has virtually limitless mana). I have heard the new dungeons are cruel and unforgiving and healing is too hard and everyone dies and Santa isn’t real and I just don’t have the courage yet to check it out. I’m getting there. Slowly.

Beta Invite!

I totally just got an beta invite for Cataclysm. I thought it was spam in my inbox at first, but confirmation on the site (which you MUST do, don’t trust emails!) shows the Cataclysm game next to my WoW game. I’m in! Downloading now. If it ever finishes (so…slow…) I will be posting about it here. Cataclysm news coming soon!