I finally did it! I’ve been working on this quest chain for ages, ever since I was high enough ilevel to run a normal Emerald Nightmare group without embarrassing myself. This has been a long, slow slog through raiding, in part thanks to my gaming anxiety that seemed to pop up with a vengeance in random raid groups.
I don’t really have any fantastic tips for others attempting this quest chain, but in my experience a few things helped.
- Queue as a healer if possible. You don’t need to be outstanding – that’s why there’s multiple healers. Do your best and follow the encounter mechanics and generally no one looks closely at you.
- Be patient in the group finder. Avoid groups that list themselves as “big dick DPS” (I don’t know why that’s a thing and I wish it wasn’t), or who use profanity in their description, or say something like “know fights and be good or kick.” Groups like that are generally full of people with big egos and bad manners.
- Look for groups that list themselves as being chill or laid-back, or who specifically say they are working on the Balance of Power quest. Groups like that are more willing to be courteous and forgiving of mistakes.
- Run the raids on LFR a few times first if you’re super nervous about encounter mechanics. They are the same between LFR and normal modes, so you can learn in LFR and be more confident in normal.
If you’re a nervous raider, like me, and you find yourself in a group full of assholes…leave. It’s not worth it. Raid groups for normal mode are a dime a dozen and you’ll find another one. Normal mode raids in Legion are on a loot lockout, not a boss lockout, so if you have to join another group you won’t be screwed. You can still kill the bosses again, you just won’t be able to loot them. That is, in my opinion, a better use of your time than slogging through with an awful group full of bullies and morons.
My experiences raiding normal mode Emerald Nightmare and Nighthold on Sylvestris weren’t actually that bad. Most of the groups blazed through with little to no issue, were generally respectful so long as you didn’t cause a wipe, and didn’t seem at all preoccupied with DPS meters. I had a good time overall, got some decent gear, and some awesome new artifact appearances.
Mythic groups are a separate beast from normal mode raiding. Don’t get discouraged. The steps above apply as well: look for groups that are advertising themselves as chill or easy going, or groups that are working on the quest line. Don’t stress yourself out by joining mythic+ groups. Mythic zero is where you want to be.
Good luck, friends.
I fully intended a much more robust update schedule for the past month, and then got totally, utterly and completely absorbed in Legion.
I am really just stunned at how beautiful and emotional this whole expansion story line has been, and we’ve only just begun. The writing team has outdone themselves creating the story lines for each zone, and the art team ought to win some sort of award for Suramar City alone. Have you seen that place yet? The amount of detail is staggering.
I played through every zone in its entirety on my druid, and I’m loving feral spec so much more than ever before – especially with all the new models and skins for cat form. I am close to getting my hidden artifact appearance, owlcat form, and I am going to be so heartbroken when I have to leave behind all my beautiful new druid forms after this expansion has played out. How can I ever go back to boring old night elf cat form?
And once I unlocked World Quests, well, that pretty much did in my free time. I really love this new system of ever-changing quest options out in the world. I even enjoy grouping up for the harder ones.
The only drawback I can see – and it really isn’t a drawback at all to be honest – is that there is so much to do on my druid that I haven’t really touched my army of alts yet. Several of them have gone through the Broken Shore scenario, watched Dalaran blink across the continent, and established their class halls. But they’re all just sitting there, fiddling with their shiny new artifacts, waiting patiently for me to grow bored of my druid.
Except I don’t think I will.
Hope you all have been enjoying this new expansion as much as I have. When I finally get my hands on owlcat form, I will be posting a guide with the details of my experience. Happy demon killing, guys 🙂
It’s a beautiful new world out there, guys. I managed to get some play time last night after I got home, between my doctor’s appointment and the DDoS crap that happened later in the evening. I am absolutely floored by how gorgeous Val’Sharah is, and it was the perfect choice to begin my adventure as a druid. I took a smattering of screenshots as Sylv traipsed around smelling the flowers, so this post will be a photographic journey through the druid artifact quest (for the Feral daggers) and into Val’Sharah. I do not believe any of the screenshots offer spoilers, but the captions might.
The moment I set foot in Dalaran, I was asked by Archdruid Hamuul Runetotem to pretty please fly my ass over to Moonglade because reasons. Like, I know demons are attacking and the world is being threatened and all but, druid things are more important. So I went to Moonglade, gathered my posse, and pounced whiskers first into the Emerald Dream.
It. Was. STUNNING.
Okay but seriously look at the flowers. There are a ton of varieties and they’re all so freaking detailed and pretty and they move when I walk through them and I spent like 10 minutes just running around eyeballing the flowers and loudly exclaiming to an empty room how awesome the art team was and you can tell I’m excited because of the run on sentence! FLOWERS!
LOOK AT THEM.
I finally focused long enough to kill the Big Bad and make it to my class hall, which I think is in Val’Sharah? I’m not sure. I was too distracted by flowers to pay that close of attention.
The druid class hall is really just a big open space full of flowers and nature and dryads and all things green and druidy.
Sylv stops to sniff the milkweed.
I spent too much time trying to climb up those huge roots to see what was up there. I don’t think anything is.
There are a lot of little houses in the druid class hall and if you go inside you can see druids hard at work. Doing something. Druids are book nerds, apparently.
This one looked to be where druids go to sleep and enter the Dream. It had some comfy looking beds off to one side. I would definitely stay a night or two here.
This proud papa moonkin is teaching his little fluff ball chicks how to dance. It’s so cute I might die.
After exploring the druid hall, I got down to business. There was an artifact weapon to be procured, and no time to waste! The Nightmare is encroaching on Val’Sharah, and features prominently in the Feral quest line.
I picked Feral because I have been enjoying it since the pre-patch. Sylv has not been a kitty druid since his creation, back in 2005. He became a resto druid in the Burning Crusade and dual spec’d to bear sometime thereafter, and has not done a stint as feral in a very long time. He was a moonkin once for all of a week but we don’t speak about that. I will go back and get all of the artifacts when I’m able, and Sylv will continue to be a tank/healer, but I thought Feral would best serve me as I level up.
This place is so serene. I plopped my fishing line in the water here for a bit.
The Feral quest line asks you to retrieve the weapons from a deranged druid who stole them to keep them safe. He does such a poor job of it that you have to kick his ass to get them back.
We sneaked our way into a series of caves below ground, which of course were infested with spiders. Why did it have to be spiders?
And finally, we wrested the blades from the idiot who took them, smacked some sense into his furry little head, and wen’t back topside to gloat and continue on our journey.
After we got the artifact, we were sent into Val’Sharah proper to begin questing. Of course I picked the druidy zone to start in!
And this is why.
We spent some time lurking around caves where druids like to hibernate.
And gorgeous lakeside forests teeming with harpies. Which, of course, Sylv shredded into feathery piles of goo.
Time for a nap! Sylv and his ever-present corgi Augustus have a well-deserved rest after saving a bunch of druids from the Nightmare.
This is why we have to fight. If the Nightmare takes over, all of Val’Sharah will look like this. And personally, I prefer the greenery.
That’s it for this time! I’ll update randomly with more adventures of Sylv and his flaming corgi pal. Enjoy the expansion!
Well guys, here we are. On the eve of the expansion pre-patch once more.
It has been a long, tumultuous couple of years since Warlords launched. Some of it was beyond fun, some of it I could stand to have done without. And now it’s all over.
Of all the things coming tomorrow, I think I am most excited for the wardrobe feature. At the very least it will clear out a ton of bag space across the board, and make transmog more accessible to those who aren’t able to hoard massive amounts of gear.
Unfortunately as of right now my poor old computer just can’t handle the pre-patch download. I am officially out of space on my hard drive. My lovely husband is working on remedying that as I type, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to download and play 7.0 tomorrow.
The good news is that the parts for my new computer have arrived, minus the motherboard which is still shipping, and we’ll be getting down to business on the build sometime this week.
The first thing I’m going to do when I log in during 7.0 is clear out my void storage, bank, and bags on every alt. I’ve been stockpiling gear ever since they announced the wardrobe and I’m full to bursting with armor sets and weapons. I think the next thing I’ll do is make sure my druid’s spec is tweaked accordingly and then take him through some Timewalking to get the hang of the new resto/guardian features. I don’t think resto has changed much, but I’m not sure about guardian. We’ll find out.
Of course I’m going to have to try out the new demon hunter class! I know almost nothing about them except for the preview we got at Blizzcon, so I’m really excited to poke around and learn. In the meantime, I have a laundry list of stuff I’m working on to kill time in-game.
I’ve been working on killing the bosses needed to get the Pepe whistle, collecting a few random pets that evaded me all this time, finishing up some archaeology achievements, working on gathering Lunkers for Nat, you know what I mean. Random stuff I never did during the expansion.
And of course I’m still crossing my fingers in hope of the Grove Warden mount from Heroic HFC. The RNG gods have not been kind to me when it comes to the Friendship Moose random draw, so if anyone out there is willing to take a resto druid along for an Archimonde kill, don’t be shy. 🙂
Over the last month or so, the Blazing Drake and the Azure Drake both dropped for me. Actually, the Azure dropped twice in one day, which made me a little sick. Deleting rare mounts was never my favorite feeling!
I was one drake away from Awake the Drakes, awarding the Emerald Drake mount, so I decided to take my alts to Malygos one at a time and see what happened. I used it as an excuse to log each level 100 in and clean up their bags, so I had a purpose other than farming a mount that wouldn’t drop.
Except it did.
Five characters in and the Blue Drake dropped for my rogue, awarding her two dragons and the achievement, and now Sylvestris soars across Draenor on the very druid-appropriate Emerald Drake mount. Hooray!
Maybe I should head over to ICC and see if my luck holds? 😀
So I haven’t PvPed in a very long time and recently got back into it, as I am wont to do towards the end of an expansion. I’ve been loving me some Ashran and have been working hard to earn the PvP titles from the garrison building. Sylvestris, Slayer of Sin’dorei just sounds so damn good.
But I totally forgot that at the start of a new season all conquest points are lost…and I didn’t know to spend them before they reset…and I just logged in to find a couple thousand gold in my mail and several thousand conquest points gone from my currency tab. Ouch.
As the launch of Legion is still a long time off, and massive changes to the beloved bear-spec druid are not yet on the horizon, I decided to write a bit about why you should totally consider leveling your druid as a bear. This druid is, and always will be, a versatile class. Druids are capable of fulfilling all roles, and are the only class currently in game that can do so. They’re also the only class with four separate, distinct specializations. So why should you choose Guardian over Feral, Balance or Resto?
Survivability. A Guardian druid has hands down the best survivability of any druid spec. If you enjoy the idea of pulling large numbers of mobs and shredding them to bloody pieces while suffering negligible damage to yourself, then the bear druid has your name written all over it. Bears have an exceptional arsenal of abilities that let you mitigate or avoid damage. Survival Instincts, Pulverize. and Barkskin will decrease the amount of damage you take, while Savage Defense will both reduce incoming damage and increase your change to dodge, thus avoiding damage outright. Add that to a large health pool and the inherent bonuses to survivability in Bear Form and you have a hell of a chance of surviving even the biggest oopsies.
Self Healing. Your ability to heal yourself while in bear form is actually pretty decent. Your level 30 tier of talents offers three options for self healing. I favor Renewal for a burst of healing, which comes in especially handy when I’ve done something dumb like stood in the fire and taken a chunk of damage all at once. For smaller amounts of damage over time, your level 90 tier talent Nature’s Vigil is a must. When activated it turns 40% of the damage you deal into healing. If you’re solo, all that healing goes to you. Pair Nature’s Vigil with the level 60 tier talent Incarnation and you can out-heal almost anything.
Solo Ability. Your ability to solo as a bear druid is top notch. Whether it’s a quest, a rare spawn, or elite mobs and bosses in old raids or dungeons, you’ll find you can outlast and out-gun almost anything. If you enjoy soloing old content for mounts, pets, or transmog, consider giving it a shot as a Guardian druid. Run through, aggro everything in sight, gather it up, Thrash, loot, and repeat. It’s that simple. You don’t have to wait until max level to tear through old raids and dungeons for goodies and gold. While you’re leveling up, the bear’s exceptional survivability and self healing mentioned above means you can rip rare spawns and “group” quests apart all on your own, no assistance required. Rare elites? Nothing a Nature’s Vigil/Incarnation combo can’t handle. I have downed every elite and rare elite in Warlords as a bear druid without issue. When I tried it on other classes, or even as a druid in another spec, I found it more difficult. Restoration and Balance druids will have trouble interrupting, for example, and Feral druids lack the damage mitigation cooldowns.
PvP Capability. While I prefer to heal when I PvP, there is a lot to be said about bears in battlegrounds. I don’t arena and probably never will, so I can’t comment about the viability of Guardian druids in 2v2 and so on. But a well-played bear in a random battleground in an awesome force of nature. Bears can charge, stun, interrupt (both with Faerie Fire and with Skull Bash), knock back (with Typhoon), incapacitate (with Incapacitating Roar), slow (with Faerie Swarm)…the list goes on and on, depending on which talents you select. While these talents are available to all druid specs, combining them with the sheer unstoppable survivability of a bear makes them double trouble to the opposing faction. There really isnt anything more badass than charging into an enemy’s bunker and shredding them to little sticky pieces with your bear (haha!) paws. Bears are hard to kill which makes them perfect for tasks such as carrying a flag or defending a base. If you enjoy PvP while you level, give the Guardian druid a shot.
PvE Flexibility. The Guardian druid is the perfect choice if you want to quest and queue for dungeons while leveling. Doing so as a Guardian means no collecting or maintaining another set of gear, no switching specs when the queue pops, and best of all, no queue time. I have leveled as both bear and tree druids, and while healing queues can sometimes vary, the tanking queue is almost never longer than 10 seconds.
Strong Tanking. A low level druid may not have access to all the goodies of a max level tank, but don’t dismiss the bear druid as a viable tank for leveling dungeons. Bears get Thrash at level 14, which makes it available for use when you can start running dungeons at level 15. Thrash is an AoE that hits fairly hard, has no cooldown or rage cost, and has no limit to the number of mobs it can hit. It is an essential tool for low level bear tanks in your typical “gogogo” LFG run as it helps them hold threat on a large number of mobs simultaneously. Savage Defense is learned as soon as you choose Guardian spec at level 10, giving you immediate access to damage mitigation. Your job as a low level tank is mostly just to hold threat and survive, so between Thrash and SD you’re covered. Of course, all the survivability reasons listed above are also a factor in bear tanking, as well as the general druid utility (resurrecting, buffing, pinch healing, etc) that you bring to a group.
The biggest advantage of leveling as a bear druid is simply your ability to outlast anything that comes your way. The bear’s ability to mitigate damage while dealing a respectable amount of its own, as well as tank, PvP, quest and solo all in the same spec makes the bear druid a seriously fun spec to play . If you enjoy being an unstoppable mass of fur and fury, then the Guardian druid sounds right for you.
With the holidays firmly behind us (and the memories of that one night we got smashed on eggnog in Darnassus…) I headed on to Stonetalon Mountains. Iarann has been dutifully plodding her way through quest after quest, all the while avoiding death to the best of her ability, and keeping to zones that are slightly beneath her level has paid off. Even so, you don’t know fear until you’ve leveled under the “no death” clause. Suddenly everything is terrifying: Horde troops, rare spawns, falling ten feet down a mountain side, suspiciously placed peacebloom…
The transition from shady, cool Ashenvale to arid, mountainous Stonetalon was a little jarring.
The scenery may have changed but the Horde presence remained the same. I got a little sick of them by the end of the zone. Having leveled through here as Horde once before, I sort of remember the story line, and Garrosh’s role in it. The Alliance side was not quite so compelling. Oh well.
Questing here took Iarann through many perils. We encountered my worst phobia in a little vale just off the path:
And this one, too, which I killed. Hard. With my bow. DIE. (Actually I was tempted to tame it but didn’t have the room.)
There was also this colossal fish which I took down with the help of several elven archers that I had freed from Horde cages earlier.
The perils continued with dickbag quest givers who say rude things to you when you turn in quests. Not to name names, but it was this guy:
Seriously though, he was super rude. So I took a screenshot of him so that everyone would know to /spit on him next time they’re in Stonetalon.
It was not all dickwads and jerkbags, though. One of the quests in the first base you come to in Stonetalon has you repair a very large battlebot named Big Papa at the behest of a little girl named Alice. Last time I was here I didn’t get the reference, but having played the Bioshock games since then, I was totally thrilled to get to do that quest.
We then headed onward through the trees towards our next quest hub. For being a war-torn land, Stonetalon has some beauty to it.
We did some quests with the Grimtotem tauren, possibly one of my more favored tauren tribes in the game. I’m still not over Cairne’s death but I have to admit that Magatha is an awesome antagonist and I wish we would see more of her. Alas, with the next expansion focusing on Draenor, it’s unlikely. But I did get to do some quests for this guy:
As an aside, I love love love tauren architecture and culture. Also, Grimtotem tattoos need to be a thing for players.
After creepily taking pictures of a half naked tauren chieftain without his permission, I scuttled off to do some quests involving a bomb I had encountered early in the zone. It seems I wasnt as successful at diverting it as I had hoped, because I found it again back in the hands of the goblins some time later. Here’s how it went down:
On a side note, though, rescuing helpless druids made me mad. Way to be an embarrassment to druid-kind, guys. You’re druids! You’re not helpless! Shapeshift! Pop barkskin! Entangling roots! Dash! MOONFIRE SPAM! Ugh, nevermind. Just run around screaming and die. You know, if Sylvestris had been arch druid of this school, this wouldn’t have happened. I mean really, the head druid guy was about as useless as a naked mole rat. “What?! The Horde is going to bomb my school?! Quick! Hop on my hippogriff and…rescue five of my 60 students. Yeah, just five will do. But make it the brightest five, okay? And when you’re done with that, we’ll just sit back and watch the bomb drop…”
I paid my respects and moved on. We soon came to a pretty little enclave of Gilnean folk situated on the bluffs overlooking the sea. As with all things Gilnean, ravens were involved, trees were abundant, and it smelled vaguely of dog.
“Houndmaster” sounds like a hunter spec that needs to happen. At the very least, I want the option to walk my pet around on a badass chain like in the picture.
The furry dog guy in the dress sent us on our way to poke at a dragon’s nest using a slightly terrifying device engineered by a gnome who wanted really badly to get jiggy with a werewolf. None of these things gave me much confidence in my mission, and being blasted around by a pair of rockets strapped to my back was not my idea of playing it safe. Did you know you take fall damage if you rocket launch yourself too far? I didn’t. This quest is not Iron Man Challenge friendly. Be careful!
As it turns out, big black drakes like to live in active volcanoes.
They are also not very fond of people who come in, kill their whelps, and smash their eggs.
Despite the occasional aerial sneak attack by an angry black drake, I returned to the Gilnean base unscathed (though slightly singed by faulty Gnomish technology.) I didn’t linger, though I would liked to have done so, and made my way back across the zone headed west. I decided to hit up the Southern Barrens next instead of Desolace, because Desolace would have made for some fairly bland screenshots. Also, it’s icky.
We end our journey here, at the edge of the Barrens, in an Alliance base where Iarann can catch some resting bonus, get off her hooves for a while, and flirt with the many identical human men in armor.
She can also spend some time training her newest pet. I found a rare spawn raptor in a cave just off a path in Stonetalon, and while I usually slaughter anything with a silver dragon around it, I decided to tame this one. Good call, too, as this model of raptor isn’t available again until Northrend levels. His name is Ahuizotl, after a character in the My Little Pony series. Say hi!
That’s the adventure so far, folks. I’m not dead yet and I’ll be hitting up the Barrens soon. Wish me luck in my quest to 90 with zero deaths!
Last night I had a dream that I accidentally queued for LFR as a tank, and didn’t realize it until we were already inside making a bee-line for the first trash group. I panicked and switched to bear form and tried to tank but I couldn’t generate threat and mobs were running loose everywhere. Then I accidentally face pulled a huge group of trash and half the group had already ran ahead to the next room so I was left to deal with them on my own with a few dps left to help. It was awful. No one said anything to me but I did wake up rather quickly. Stupid dreams. They ought to know I don’t tank for strangers.
Last time, we left off just as I was beginning to quest in Ashenvale. Today, I’m gonna ramble about my questing experience there and show you some random pictures, too. As before, click the screenshots to view a high-res version. They might even make a good desktop background!
Ashenvale is gorgeous. It is one of the first zones I quested in back in classic WoW on Sylvestris, so it holds some sentimental value to me. Of course, it’s no longer the same after Cataclysm, but the peaceful green and blue woods and aura of night elfishness are familiar all the same.
Their lush boughs and verdant vales are a little deceptive, as I found out while trying to level my little hunter. On more than one occasion I found myself beating a hasty retreat from ravenous furbolgs and elite druids in bear form. The Horde is also to be handled delicately if you’re running as under-equipped as I am. About half way through the zone quests, I ran in to a tauren NPC kneeling beneath a tree. I cautiously crept closer to see what he was doing there, realized he was an elite level ?? guard, and ran away screaming. Good times.
Ashenvale is home to many threats. This includes but is not limited to wayward fire elementals:
Invading Horde armies:
And legions of demons:
I recall two near-death experiences. One while completing the quest chain where you acquire Dartol’s Rod and help the friendly furbolg, and the other while trying to grab said rod out of a cave guarded by an elite bear patrol. Obviously I didn’t die or this post would be titled “Iron Man Challenge: Cue The Sad Trombone”. Heh.
There was so much more to Ashenvale than just fighting the Horde. I took some time to thoroughly explore the zone (my goal is to get both the exploration achievement and the questing achievement for every zone I participate in before moving on) and found some pretty little things tucked away in corners people don’t visit anymore.
Like this moonwell. Gosh I love moonwells.
And these creepy trees tucked away in a demon camp in the south. I always loved the contrast between the gorgeous greens of the forest and the dead grey demon hollows hidden away out of sight. Near these particular trees I found a rare spawn demon and two flanking demonic guards. I killed all three without any hassle, I’m proud to say.
I think the size of this fallen, half buried statue really gives you some idea of how massive the elvish empire was before it crumbled during the invasion by the Burning Legion (thanks a lot, Azshara). I can only just imagine how incredibly large that statue must have been before it was toppled.
I made a point of visiting Bough Song while I was in eastern Ashenvale. When I was a new player, I died here a few times to the elite dragons. Now that these dragons aren’t elite anymore, I took my revenge and slaughtered as many of them as I could, including some of the larger drakes that came out of the portal.
I also paid my respects to the monument left in honor of Grom Hellscream. It’s a shame his son has done nothing worth honoring.
Exploring Ashenvale and completing all of the quests got me to level 29. So far I haven’t had much of an issue surviving as long as I can keep my battles one-vs-one. And now that I have Freezing Trap, I can take care of any battles that aren’t in my favor. I’m keeping myself entertained by shooting screenshots and switching out my active minipet every level as a reward.
I have decided not to pet battle as I level up, because pet battles allow you to gain experience without any real risk of death, and that doesn’t seem to be in the proper spirit of the Iron Man Challenge.
Finally, Fluttershy my ever-loyal moth got an upgrade to a prettier model today. I exchanged the starter moth that draenei hunters come with for one of the blue moths found on Bloodmyst Isle.
Wish me luck as I head into Stonetalon for the next set of quests!