Back in the Saddle

Asmodar in StormwindIt’s been a long time since I have posted but I actually have been playing. Recently I reconnected with an old friend and started up a new Death Knight on his server on the Alliance side of things. Asmodar just finished the DK starter zone and is now making his way through Outland. I hope to get him to Pandaria before too long and then go back to fill in what to me are essentials like the Argent Tournament and maybe even Firelands for mounts, etc.

One thing I may do that will slow my leveling just a little is making sure my Pet Battle team is leveled up once I get to the later parts of Northrend. If I am lucky enough to run accross an Unborn Val’Kyr I want to make sure I can attempt to capture it. Other than this I intend to press forward and perhaps try the new method of leveling of Mining/Blacksmiting once I get to Pandaria.

I am also leveling him in Blood spec so I can solo effectively both during the leveling process and at endgame. Once he is 90 I will be going back to solo old raids for the pets and transmog gear and from what I have read around the interwebs a Blood DK is about as good as it gets for that activity.

Suffer well.

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The Road to Firelands

Leveling with Malcore has been going very well. I guess that isn’t surprising as Death Knights are pretty tough but without leveling speed bonuses I was afraid I might get a bit bored and stall out at some point. The easier leveling curve in Outland and Northrend has made a big difference in that regard. I have been able to focus on the quests and hubs I enjoy the most. As of today he is already starting the quests in Zul’Drak and I hope to have him into the Cataclysm content by the later part of next week.

For his professions I have been leveling Mining and Blacksmithing. Since this is my “no support” character this combo made the most sense. I can make him some armor and weapons and take advantage of any of those specific recipes that become available from the rep vendors later on. Without a gathering alt Mining is also essential so no dual crafting for him!  I will be getting all of his secondary professions done eventually (even Archeology) but I will wait on those until I am closer to the level cap. At this point I have Mining current and Blacksmithing is getting close. Even gold has been easier to come by now that he is in the Northrend content. I have to admit this is going much smoother than I had expected.

As a last note I want to mention one perk I am really enjoying as a Death Knight. The Acherus portal makes things just a bit easier for me overall. From Acherus it’s only a four-minute flight to Silvermoon so I don’t have to feel locked into making my home base Orgrimmar. Undercity might be a little closer but I like the layout of Silvermoon better and as a Blood Elf it feels more like home.

Right now I am just trying to keep my momentum up until I can finish leveling and get going on both the Tol Barad and Firelands Dailies. I may yet stall out but I am hopeful Malcore will make it through to 85 so I can spend some time on him in the Battlegrounds and catch up on all of those secondary professions.

I swore I would never level what I call a “complete adventurer” again. After everything is maxed I may even get him the Crusader title. After the fifth one I swore I would never do that again either but Malcore seems to be the exception to all my rules.

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Soloing Again

Although it’s been over a year since I last posted I am starting up the blog again. I’ve been playing WoW since my last post but I’ve also tried some different games and even spent some time in the Mists of Pandaria Beta. With seven 85’s I have enjoyed playing WoW but at one point this past spring I just couldn’t bring myself to level another alt.

Still, here I am again. Oddly enough, it wasn’t Mists on the horizon that reinvigorated my interest in the game. It was actually a combination of factors and a little luck.

Just after the release of Wrath Blizzard offered free transfers off my original Horde server. With the queue times on Moongard exceptionally long our small friends and family guild took them up on the offer and moved all of our characters over to Sisters of Elune. I couldn’t stand the thought of just abandoning our 2-tab guild vault so I made a Death Knight to take over as guild master and promptly left him behind in Shattrath City.

Like many players I had been in the “end of expansion” doldrums lately and despite an arsenal of heirloom gear I still didn’t want to bother with leveling and gearing a new character. During this time I gave Star Wars the Old Republic a try but the games buggy nature and excessive (to me) downtime made that short lived. LotRO hasn’t been of interest for awhile and I even went back to Rift for a time.

As always I started to miss Azeroth again so I jumped back into WoW but the doldrums were still there. I just didn’t feel like leveling a new guy or playing any of my 85s. Because of Real ID our friends and family guild on Sisters is also largely unused since we use Real ID to keep in touch instead of the guild chat so we can play either Horde or Alliance without losing touch. Consequently we all went different directions with our characters, joined different guilds and whatnot.

On almost a lark I decided to log onto that Death Knight on Moonguard (named Malcore) I had left behind a few years earlier. I had a tough day of work ahead of me so during my morning game-time I just wanted to relax. To do this I thought I would just run around Eversong Woods and start to level his Mining. It was mindless but I love the zone and that activity really helped me to unwind.

I ended up logging in on Malcore again the next morning (my only time to play is before work) and I kept working on his Mining. It was nice to have the two-tab vault so every now and then I would head back to a city and dump all the mats into the extended storage space he has. I wanted to keep the mats as I had decided Blacksmithing would be my profession of choice if I continued to play him. A few mornings later I had caught up his Mining to 300 and I could gather Outlands mats. My first thought was “okay, now it’s off to Hellfire Peninsula”.

There were a couple of problems though. The big one was that for the last few years I had always had heirloom gear for leveling – but that was all on another server with my 85s. Another was that when we left Moonguard we had stripped out all the cash and mats from the vault and I had only left Malcore with about 10g in his pocket. He also had no glyphs, flight training, or any gear other than what I had received from the DK starter zone. The guild itself was from before guild leveling existed so it had no guild levels and no guild perks.

Then it hit me – what a perfect soloing experiment. Death Knights are great soloers in general so I decided to make that my theme for him.  Malcore would be self sufficient to the best of my ability. I wasn’t even going to make a bank alt for him. I would have only one character on this server with only his personal guild to add extra support. I don’t know anyone on Moonguard any longer so that fits well also – no help from anyone outside the guild either.

I took advantage of the guild rename feature and choose “Solo of Fortune” to reflect more accurately my little project. Old timers will probably recognize the name from an old Cyberpunk supplement and career type. That in itself was a play on words from the magazine called Soldier of Fortune. The name just seemed to fit all around.

Thanks to Real ID I am not that isolated and I can chat with my family and real life friends whenever they are online. I must admit that at first I thought Real ID was a useless feature (sorry about that Blizzard) and now I couldn’t be more thankful it was added to the game.

Malcore is now embarking on his adventures in Outlands and beyond.  My initial concern about the lack of heirlooms, cash and guild perks has actually made it more fun to play him. I am sure this style of play isn’t for everyone but for me it has been like a breath of fresh Azerothian air.

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Fisherman’s Gloves

It may be an old habit but I still like having a pair of gloves with the Angler enchant on them. The bonus to Fishing used to be more important when most fishable water had a minimum skill level required to use it. Although I don’t really need the bonus anymore I keep them in my pack along with my Weather Beaten Fishing Hat.

In the past I have put the enchantment on a grey or interesting looking quest reward glove that I would otherwise vendor. Recently, while leveling one of my Goblin alts, I ran across a quest that even gives you a pair of gloves that are perfect for the Angler enchant – Fisherman’s Gloves.

You get this as a reward from a quest called “Beware of Cragjaw!” that starts at a sign beside Cragpool Lake in the Stonetalon Mountains. This is a Horde-only quest chain added with the revamp to the old world in Cataclysm. Before you rush out to the lake to pick up the quest (as I did on Tazok) it is actually gated along with all of the quests for Krom’Gar Fortress. This should have been a one-off quest but with the new quest structuring you need to do a chain to access it. It’s mildly annoying but it doesn’t take long.

To get everything started you need to pick up the breadcrumb quest in Ashenvale at the Horde occupied outpost of Silverwind Refuge. Take the quest that has you ride a wagon into the Stonetalon Mountains and then sit back and watch as you bounce along.

After this you pick up the quest from an Orc named Saurboz to rearm the mines along the path. Once completed he then sends you to find a missing Goblin engineer. The Goblin is dead but a note on his corpse leads you to a leader of the Night Elves who is at a nearby tent with her pet cat. After defeating her you get the Alliance Attack Plans and then Saurboz finally tells you to take them to Krom’Gar fortress. This opens the quests at the fortress along with the one at Cragpool Lake for the gloves. Just fly over to Cragpool Lake and pick it up. Cragjaw may look mean but even at level he is very soloable.

So if you are a Horde player these might be worth a little side trip to pick up. The gloves are cloth so any class can use them. On Tazok (then level 82) it took about 20 minutes or so to do the whole chain.

Happy Fishing!

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Assignment: Goblin Operative

Back in early December I wrote a post about wanting to change my poor, long suffering Rogue from a Human into a Goblin. I say long suffering since he has undergone several racial incarnations at this point and a few faction switches to boot. I did it the first time before there were any faction changes. At level 56 I was so tired of being Undead I deleted him and rerolled as a Troll. Sadly, it didn’t stop there and I am at the point where I now RP him as an agent of Ravenholdt Manor. I look at each change as a new assignment he has been given and his new race as his disguise for wherever Lord Jorach is sending him.

After seeing and later playing the Goblins I still wanted to make him one.  Then last week, while I was in the midst of uncertainly about which main character to play, I found myself inspired by the Horde for Life podcast to try out the Wyrmrest Accord server on the Horde side. I mulled it over for awhile (okay, I asked my wife if spending the money was crazy) but in the end I bit the bullet (with her patient smile of support) and made the change.

I knew from past experience that the main things he would lose with a faction change were his Crusader title and all of his rep with the Silver Covenant/Sunreavers faction. At least he got to keep his Argent Tournament Tabard and can still use it.

Although he kept all of his Horde faction reps I was surprised that his Orgrimmar rep was changed over to Goblin. Now he is only Neutral with Orgrimmar but he did keep his wolf mounts and can still use them. I guess if I need to do one rep over again then Orgrimmar isn’t a bad one. There are lots of quests around that grant the rep even if I decide not to go back and take it to exalted while regaining my Crusader title.

It is sure nice to be settled though. Wyrmrest is turning out to be a great server and I am so glad I made the move.


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Why do These 5 Levels Seem so Daunting?

When I log on these days I have continued to suffer from an odd feeling of restlessness. I don’t think its burnout, especially so early in an expansion, but something is certainly up. With only 5 character levels ahead of me I have had less motivation than ever to level my existing 80’s or even new characters beyond level 30 or so. This lack of leveling ambition feels strangely out of place given the new content and races and race/class combos that are now available. This should be the perfect time to start fresh – perhaps even on a new server and do it all over from scratch. So what keeps holding me back?

Whenever I have felt like this in the past I have just started a new guy and off I would go. This time around I have noticed that I stall out on all of these new alts once I began to get serious about their professions.  This expansion may have only added 5 character levels but the professions have advanced as if it were a full 10-level expansion.  With 75 more points and the addition of Archeology I have found that starting a new character seems like a more daunting task than ever.

This got me thinking about the next expansion and what it might bring. My guess is that the next and subsequent expansions will all consist of 5 levels. This seems like a reasonable expectation, especially if Blizzard is shooting for an 18 month development cycle for new expansions. Increasing the cap by 5 levels is probably more achievable with that time frame in mind.

I think the next expansion will also include a content update to Outlands and any remaining parts of Azeroth that haven’t been already done. However, I think the professions will continue to advance by 75 points each time. From this point forward I feel that a character’s leveling will be much easier to max out than their professions. This is especially true with Fishing and now Archeology. Both of these are pretty hefty time sinks to level up.

I think we may very well have seen the last of the 10 level expansions. I doubt Blizzard is in any hurry to have the max level reach 100. Stretching those levels out over the next three expansions makes a lot of sense.


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Diving Back In

Still struggling to find a new main for this expansion I decided to level my original main, a Tauren Hunter, while I puzzled it out. With a three day weekend I had a little more time to play him than normal and managed to take him from 80-82 and get him into Deepholm.

I may be slow but it took me from 80 to 81 to feel comfortable with the way Hunters work now. I shelved him after the change from Mana to Focus not because I thought the change was bad but because I didn’t feel like taking the time to relearn the class right then. Since I felt like I was in a bit of a holding pattern anyway I thought it was a good time to dive into it and I’m glad I did.

So, for the time being I will be writing about life as a soloing Hunter. It’s a great soloing class but my struggle will be when I try out battlegrounds again on him at 85. I had a mixed experience with it during BC and Wrath but hopefully I can have fun with it until I settle on a new guy to level.


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