WoW: Adventures in Azeroth (Pt. 6)

Survival Hunters are awesome.

Of the many changes that occurred during the pre-expansion patch there are few more surprising than Survival Hunters. Unlike their Marksmanship or Beast Mastery counterparts they’re no longer ranged DPS, instead their pets will join them in glorious blood drenched close quarters combat. They’ve still got their traps, too. It’s an oddly satisfying way to play a Hunter and pretty good for soloing due to the health regeneration on kill. In fact, I managed to solo the entirety of both Auchindoun and Coilfang Reservoir (Heroic) with my Lvl 73-74 Hunter.

I wasn’t planning to do that- but it’s pretty cool, no?

Levelling is once again becoming a major consideration for how best to use my time. Naturally, I’d like all of my characters to hit Lvl 90+ as that would significantly reduce the amount of work left to progress each one. That’s not really a realistic short term goal, though. There’s probably a good couple of months of levelling left in those characters yet.

I’ve begun the process of levelling my latest Pandaren Monk, too. I’m fairly certain she’s going to last. Unlike the other two. Decided to try out the Mistweaver Monk this time, which will make this levelling experience quite interesting as I don’t believe I’ve ever levelled as a healer before. Then again, I don’t even know if that was possible back when I made my first characters. She might not have as many offensive abilities (or anywhere close to a similar DPS) as a Windwalker- but she can still fight. She’s got a few kicks, a taunt (for some reason), and a whole bunch of abilities I’ve never seen before. I’ve always been particularly fond of healing over time so I’m glad it looks like she’s going to be doing a lot of that.

Once more to Redridge Mountains.

Once more to Redridge Mountains.

Otherwise we’ve been winding down for closing time. I’ve done a final sweep of the banks, the inventories, and even the guild banks to make sure that I’m holding onto the correct materials. I also built a flying machine that I can’t use! My Gnomish Engineer requires Artisan Riding (which is incredibly expensive). But, hey- I built it. It’s in her inventory. I should also get started on the Flying Carpet for my Orc Warlock. Then again, have you seen the prices of Golden Draenite these days?

They’re almost as ridiculous as the prices of Khorium.

The birth of the new Monk also marks the end of this series. I originally planned to have six posts and I’ve tried to make sure each is about a specific topic, event, or character to keep things fresh and interesting for everyone reading. This doesn’t mean there won’t be any more posts, though. It really depends on whether I feel it’s appropriate to continue the series.

I think it’s one of my best series, too. One of the best I’ve written, one of the most enjoyable to write, and probably quite interesting if you’re a fan of World of Warcraft. Even better if you’ve been away for a while too. You’ll be just as confused about all of the new changes as I am. It’s been great getting to know all of the classes again, though. Seeing all of the recent changes, all of the updates, and participating in the questing experience present in Warlords of Draenor. I’m much more interested in Legion as a result of it. If I ever make it to the Broken Isles I might expand this series, but until such a time- thank you for being here! It’s been great! Glad to have had you along for the ride.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Nostalgic (Pt. 2)

How many kegs can a Brewmaster brew?

I figured I’d carry this post over to a second part as I feel World of Warcraft deserves it. I know it’s not something I talk about much any more, nor am I likely to return to playing it full time (as it were), but it’s always had a special nostalgic place in my heart. I know I’ll never get the old days back. But there’s nothing wrong with highlighting something that once meant a lot to me.

Why did I leave? Many reasons. I knew a lot of people back then who no longer play now. I also felt some of the pre-Mists of Pandaria changes affected the class identity of some classes more than others. I’ve also been feeling like MMOs aren’t really my thing any more. For the most part, it wasn’t even about World of Warcraft as a whole. I just felt the need to move on and so I did. I know this’ll confuse some people as I’m actively playing Guild Wars 2- but I can’t promise that will last, either.

It’s odd how the community hasn’t really changed that much, though.

There’s always a dividing line in every Blizzard community over some issue or another. World of Warcraft has them, Diablo III has them, and I would bet good money that even Overwatch will have them at some point. Still, as a whole, it’s a funny little community all the same. There’s still a whole bunch of players in starting zones, questing, exploring, and generally never saying a word to anyone else. There’s still a hub of activity in every major city. It’s still very much the game it always was at the heart of it all. Which, when I think about it that way- I want to return. I want to see what’s lying in wait for Moggie as he ascends to the new level cap.

"You were quite right. I wasn't prepared."

“You were quite right. I wasn’t prepared.”

Playing a new Pandaren Monk and seeing the world through fresh eyes once more is always an exhilarating experience in MMOs. Too often, once you reach level cap, you fall into a routine of doing the same five or six things over and over again. But with a new character there’s so much to see and do before returning to that drudgery.

That said, I barely know anyone on EU let alone anyone that plays. I don’t really mind the financial investment but would prefer not to. I’m also not entirely sure I want to set aside that much time, as I would, as I would be paying for it, when I’ve been without it for so long. It’s interesting to say the least. Especially considering I’ve felt a dip in my gaming experiences of late. Still, all of that aside, I did want to make space for a little bit of World of Warcraft on Moggie @ WordPress. I’ve never really had the chance to before.

I’ve had fun in the last seven days of revisiting Azeroth (perhaps for the last time).

It’s nice to know I now have the Starter Edition at the very least. I could always start over in a little corner of another realm with a ragtag group of Lvl 20s, doing low level things, exploring the world, and all that stuff. I don’t know how much appeal that would have. But it’s nice to know I could stop in and see the ol’ Kul Tiras folks now and then. Funny how you get attached to and nostalgic over things, I guess. Then again I have invested a good three-four years into World of Warcraft at this point. Natural to assume I would be sad to see it go. In any case, I hope you liked this two part series where I got all nostalgic and dreamy eyed.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Nostalgic (Pt. 1)

Once more to Azeroth we go.

I got a rather interesting e-mail from Blizzard the other day. They were offering me seven days game time for World of Wacraft (as they do) but had included an extra incentive- an upgrade to Warlords of Draenor. I last played World of Warcraft a few years ago, I think Mists of Pandaria had been released, and I had remained in Cataclysm as I wasn’t going to be playing any further. However, recent developments show I may be completely confused about that sequence of events.

I’m not entirely sure if the upgrade to Warlords of Draenor is a permanent activation on my account, either. If it is I’ve just saved a good £40-50 in expansion costs right there. I’m also way behind the expansion curve with only two Lvl 85s- so I have a lot of ground to cover before the sixth expansion launches later this year.

That said, I don’t know if I could ever return to World of Warcraft as I once would have.

It also turns out that any account which was once fully subscribed reverts to a Starter Edition when the subscription ends. Which means absolutely nothing to any of my characters, as many of them fall outside of the restrictions of a Starter Edition account- but it’s nice to know. As I expected there have been many changes, too. Moggie (my Paladin main) seems to have lost a few skills and class specific mechanics. There’s also a new Reagent Bank and bigger stack sizes for crafting materials. The character statistics have been tuned heavily (along with enemy statistics). The character models (and general textures) have been updated, too. There’s a whole heap of new things to fiddle with and get to know once again.

Just pick up a soldier and carry him home.

Just pick up a soldier and carry him home.

I took Moggie out to solo some Lvl 65-75 Outland/Northrend dungeons to get used to it all again. Turns out there are rewards for completing dungeons (even if you solo them) now, and they seem to be quicker/more streamlined than before. I wasn’t entirely sure if this was going to be a thing that I could do any more as his health had dropped to 44k from 141k, his damage was (supposedly) lower, and everything had been balanced to a different standard. However, all went as well as could be expected and a fair bit of money was made.

I was expecting that I’d need to redo my keybinds, update my characters, sift through mail, collect special pets, and do all sorts of other things when I got back in. It’s been so long now that I can’t even remember what hardware I was using back then. It’s also definitely tugging ever so gently on my heart strings, too. Being all nostalgic.

I’ll admit I’ve been curious about the newer content for a while.

Especially the updated character models which I’ve been curious to see how my folks look. I also had a Lvl 20 Pandaren Monk who I don’t even remember making nor have any screenshots of. I’ve since deleted said Monk and remade them as a Horde Pandaren. Again, I don’t really know why he was ever an Alliance Pandaren as I would’ve wanted to keep both my Alliance and Horde characters fairly balanced. Naturally, as I always do, I decided to go to Thunder Bluff instead of Orgrimmar to begin the short process of levelling this Pandaren Monk. Not sure how far I’ll get due to general unfamiliarity with new systems, the time limit, and general interest in the game- but I’m hoping Lvl 20 (at least).

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

The Storm Breaks

It’s time for something a little different.

I decided to go on a little Hardcore run in Diablo III. I already had a Hardcore Barbarian which has apparently (according to achievements) existed before I purchased Reaper of Souls, but I felt like creating a new Hardcore Monk. I like Monks. Plus, if she dies, I’m not too sad as I’ve only known her for a little while. But she’s not going to die, right? Right!

Monks (despite a plethora of survivability skills) still feel the squishiest to me. They do have healing, though. Which has saved her life more than once in the earlier levels due to some inexperience and misplays on my part. Like, for instance, who knew that the Jar of Souls event has changed? Not me! Probably a lot of other people, though. Still, I don’t want to rely heavily on her healing and so I’ve singled out one (technically two) skill(s) to help her along. Breath of Heaven is employed more as an offensive skill with the Circle of Scorn rune, while Mystic Ally with the Enduring Ally rune comes in as her second healing skill. When activated it gives her a full heal and passively it helps regenerate lost health.

Crippling Wave with Concussion builds into her passive choice of Resolve. Together, when using Crippling Wave, she’s going to reduce incoming damage by 40%, while with any other skill she’s going to take 20% off. Mantra of Salvation with Hard Target gives her a 20% boost to both armour and resistances (with a further boost on activation), while Dashing Strike gives her the mobility she needs, and Lashing Tail Kick with Sweeping Armada gives her an offensive capability that is almost unrivalled so far.

She also scored an early Rivera Dancers which is fantastic for her build.

"Ytar has raised me to new heights!"

“Ytar has raised me to new heights!”

Finally her passive choices of The Guardian’s Path and Alacrity play into a synergy I thought could be useful. One increasing her Spirit generation and the other offsetting the slow weapon speed, which, while it only affects Spirit Generators, is still incredibly useful as many of her other skills are one shot hits. They don’t need to happen quickly.

I’ve had my doubts about succeeding on this run. Particularly surrounding Act II (and Belial). I haven’t fought Belial in a long time, probably as far back as when I was levelling up my two Crusaders after the Reaper of Souls launch. I also had the ability to die in those fights and not lose everything. Act III I wasn’t really too concerned about as most of the enemies seem easier than their Act II counterparts. It’s odd how that worked out. Also, Act IV, and Diablo himself, are minor concerns at the point where I have the ability to attain that level of gear. The challenge now is to live long enough to see the end of Act V. Malthael, like Belial, is a fight I haven’t done in a long while.

Mostly ventured through this Hardcore run on Expert as that’s all they’d give me in the early stages. Had a lot of fun with it, too. She’s managed to build quite a tidy collection of Blacksmith, Jeweller, and Mystic upgrades along with a fair few Stash upgrades. Hopefully she’ll live to progress into Adventure Mode ever cautiously while trying to build more impressive progression. I thought this would be fun, given I’ve never really paid too much attention to Hardcore (or Seasons for that matter) in Diablo III.

Let’s hope she doesn’t die a horrible death any time soon!

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Anomaly Monk

Who exists outside the realms of normality.

The Monk is one of my favourite classes in Diablo III. I wasn’t too keen on them when the first pieces of pre-release information came through, though. They seemed to be heavily focused on a chain system which reminded me a lot of the Assassin in Diablo II (which I didn’t really enjoy playing). However, at release, they were a completely different beast with fast hits and heavy damage and a rather neat selection of martial arts type skills. I finished Inferno with them after the Barbarian in the classic release, too.

That said, they haven’t had too much love since the release of Reaper of Souls. Or mine hasn’t.

He’s always been trailing in the back of the ranks and hasn’t really accrued any great equipment. He’s also faced a rather crucial change to his build, in that, initially, he was dual wielding with a heavy focus on dodge. Which, since the change to Dexterity, is much less effective. It’s also the least effective (in my opinion) as while it negates all damage it’s not guaranteed.

Or even slightly guaranteed. Which means unless he can dodge- he’s going to take damage. Given that he used to be able to reach 75-80% dodge with his old skill set, it wasn’t really as useful as the straight damage reduction from armour. Even at those percentages he still got hit fairly often. There’s also the problem I have with finding a set of skills that share the same damage type (besides holy), and so I find myself limited in skills. However, I recently decided to do something a little odd with him and it’s working surprisingly well. Combining Resolve (one of my favourite passives) and Mantra of Conviction (with the Intimidation rune) means he should be able to reduce enemy damage by 35% fairly consistently.

"Break beneath the endless tide!"

“Break beneath the endless tide!”

By dual wielding he’s almost guaranteed to keep this reduction applied. This also gives him a rather high attack speed. Which with the Exalted Soul passive and the Mystic Ally skill (with the Air Ally rune) allows for incredibly high Spirit generation. However, the most important skill for this, and the first actual Kanai’s Cube power I’ve used, is Wave of Light. Which (with the Pillar of the Ancients rune) is a beast of a skill. I’m not entirely sure if every lightning bolt reapplies damage reduction, but, if it does, this is almost too good.

I’m also toying with the Bane of the Stricken gem for further damage application.

What is most incredible about this build is that he’s running <600k DPS and yet is comfortably completing things in Torment II-III, and he recently done a Torment IV Greater Nephalem Rift with time to spare. Considering he’s also lacking heavy defences I’m not really sure what to make of these results.

Wave of Light is certainly the biggest contributor to success that he has. However, Seven Sided Strike does do an impressive amount of damage to enemies and that’s only improved with an activation of Mantra of Conviction. Mystic Ally also allows for an instant boost of Spirit which means he’s got all the capability to fully unload on bosses immediately. The weakest link is Exploding Palm which I actually thought would help deal some damage over time. But, in his current state, it’s almost redundant as most things won’t survive a few activations of Wave of Light. That said, Wave of Light could be used as a catalyst to trigger Exploding Palm.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie