Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jocelyn the Tank?

Jocelyn the Tank?

Well, not exactly. Jocy began her early life as a Holy spec paladin. She didn't know any better. So, when she was able, Jocy chose the Retribution spec as her secondary to improve her abilities and speed her advance. Jocy has been "Ret spec" since her boost to level 90. She's worked hard to get to level 91, but she still lagged behind Wild and Fist.

Skinnemuva, a long time friend with some expertise in being a paladin, suggested that leveling in Protection spec would speed her advance even further. Well, Jocy was not planning on using her Holy spec during leveling, so there was an opportunity to replace that spec with Protection to see how that worked. It took some maneuvering with the Paladin Trainer, but Jocy was able to shuffle her specs around and now has Protection as her primary spec with Retribution still her secondary. Jocy is losing a bit of time by making this switch, time which includes learning another spec, but now is the time to experiment. Jocy was 50% of the way to level 92 when she made the switch. Her average DPS in Ret spec was 2656 DPS.

After spending a couple of hours leveling with Jocy in Prot spec I have to agree that Jocy has become incredibly hard to even nick much less do any real damage against her. She crushes everything around her. She raised her DPS by a nice margin (3381 DPS), but its her ability to protect herself that is so impressive. Jocy reached level 92 and gained an i529 gear score.

Jocy has also outpaced Wild and Fist in one area. She is getting a lot more out of her Garrison and followers. She has four followers now she's keeping them all busy.


The maintenance was a real pain. I say that, knowing that it's actually pretty unusual for there to be any serious issues logging after maintenance. Not this time. For the past 45 minutes I've been trying to get to the Silvermoon realm with no success. Oddly, I did get to the Scryer's realm, where I still have three characters languishing in my short, now long abandoned effort on a role playing realm. Makeda is my top toon there, a mage at level 6. I also have a rogue with a name I'm holding on to - Ribsticker.Later in the evening I was finally able to log in. It was still not working at 100%, however, so around midnight I called it quits.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Natives are Restless

The Natives are Restless

Leveling three characters at the same time is proving to be a bigger challenge than I thought. The idea was that by giving leveling time to all three in sequence it would result in faster leveling overall, since the second and third time I did the quests the faster I should be able to complete them. That isn't working out so well.

The reason may be related to the changes in the game that eliminated a lot of the chain quests - ie, as each quest is finished a new quest is offered. Many players didn't like that and so there are fewer of such. I've been all over the map and still have scattered quests laying around and I still haven't gotten out of the starting zone. I hate leaving open quests in a zone - they should all be completed before I move on! The Blizzard gods also find it amusing to place the starting quest at one level of the terrain and then force me to climb mountains or into dark dungeons to complete them. Having coordinates don't mean much when you don't know if I should look up, down, or sidewise. Maybe I'm still kicking off the rust of not doing any leveling since Fist.

Anyway, Both Wild and Fist have made it to level 92, leaving Jocy still to get there. If I were leveling one toon, that toon would be at level 94 by now, or at least close to it, given that the later levels tend to get harder. I'm not giving up, though. I know from past experience that if I level one toon before starting another, those left behind probably won't be leveled any time soon. I'm going to stick to my plan.

Stat-wise (Level, gear, weapon):
Fist (Level 92, i526, with an i522/i532 pair of one-handers)
Wild (Level 92, i534,i630 staff)
Jocy (Level 91, i522, i630 one-hand sword, i494 shield)

I'm still learning the whole Garrison thing. I did learn more about the hostile Frostwall Goren camped outside Jocy's garrison. Apparently that's where the local mine is. Periodically one of my men will go over there and the Goren kills him. Periodically I go out and kill the Goren (sometimes there are more than one). I can't actually use the mine, and there's no mine outside either of the other Garrisons, so I'm still not quite sure what its all about.

Wild's Outpost has been upgraded to a Fort and has been completely redesigned.It's very disconcerting having everything moved around like that. The Frostwall Goren is here, too, and there is a quest available - if  Wild decides to go kill the Goren and see what it is. Wild did decide to take the Goren on. Wild won that fight and now has a working mine he can use. Have to let Jocy know about that, but she needs to get to level 92 first.

Jocy is going to get some extra time to get to level 92 and will get first crack at level 93. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Home Away From Home

A Home Away From Home

Garrisons are a new development found only in the world of Draenor. Garrisons have almost all of the same amenities as a large city, even when it's still in the building stage. I like Garrisons. Having a home away from home is so fundamental I wonder why it took so long to implement the idea. The concept is great. The execution of that concept - well, I'm still trying to figure that out.

Wild was the first of the family to build a Garrison. What struck Wild first wasn't what was in the garrison, it was what was missing. Was it an oversight that there is no access to either Wild's personal bank or the guild bank? More likely that was intentional, forcing Wild to have to return to a city when he needed access a bank. It's not that much of a burden, though. Wild still has his hearthstone, for an instant return to his selected city inn. Another nice feature is that Wild's garrison has its own hearthstone, so Wild can instantly return to his garrison at need. There is no access to an Auction House in the garrison, either, but I can understand that. Auction Houses have always been limited mostly to the larger cities.

Going beyond those basics, things start to get more complicated. Owners of a garrison have an opportunity to build more structures. In addition to that, garrison owners will begin to collect employees. They are called "followers" and I think they're the key to being a successful garrison tycoon. Creating anything requires supplies, and it's the followers that are sent out on missions to collect supplies and perform other functions, so that more "stuff" can be created.

Things then get truly murky. In an attempt to help us new property owners, a series of quests are available. Well, more than just available. Most of the garrison based quests Wild has come across so far are mandatory. If not completed, further progress is stymied. Getting past that, things open up a bit. Wild was able to build an Enchanting Studio using supplies and the architectural plans to build it. At this still early stage Wild has little choice what to build, because he doesn't have the building plans. Unfortunately, Wild doesn't really know how to go about using his Enchanting Studio beyond being able to disenchant things - which Wild, as an enchanter, can already do. I'm missing something here, I'm sure. Anyway, Wild has a follower that has completed his first mission. I'm not quite sure what he's doing now, though. It's pretty confusing.

Broadening things a bit, a lot of what garrisons offer involves professions, like Wild's enchanting profession and Fist's leather working profession. Building things that can aid in professions is one way to use a garrison, because they can replace/complement? professions Wild already has and add professions that Wild doesn't have. I haven't really seen it in practice, yet.

Finally, Garrisons seem to have several names. I've seen Town Hall, Outpost, and Fort so far. I think it depends on what building level has been reached - there are three levels, and each new level grants more building and access to more plans. Wild is already tinkering with that, but I'll leave that discussion for another post. Wild's friend Unbleached has even more experience, and I'll get her thoughts in the next post as well.

The leveling process continues for the triplets:
Wild's gear level is now i524, he is 60% of the way to level 92.
Jocy is i520 and is 9% toward level 92
Fist has only i516 gear but has gotten most of the game time, now 82% toward level 92.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

More Than Mashing Buttons

More Than Mashing Buttons

Wild failed to kill a level 92 elite mob last night. Until now all three of my levelers had conquered every quest and killed every mob without dying a single time. It wasn't just a fluke, either. Wild couldn't kill the elite mob, despite four dismal attempts. The elite is Grosh the Mighty, and he has a nasty stun that Wild simply could not figure out how to counteract. Wild only has Bash for an interrupt, on a 50 second cooldown. Grosh does its stun every 10-15 seconds, constantly stopping Wild's casts while Wild stands in flames waiting for the stun to wear off. I'm thinking Wild will have to drop into cat form and run away to heal before each stun. That's Wild's plan for the next attempt, anyway. Jocy and Fist are waiting in the wings to get their chance at the elite, too, but they are still a little behind Wild in the questing.

Speaking of leveling, Fist finally caught up and is now level 91, equal with Wild and Jocy. Jocy got a nice break at the Auction House. The i600+ gear on the Auction House was selling for outrageous prices  - as high as 100,000 gold for one piece of i663 gear! So I think someone goofed when they posted an i630 one-hand sword for 12,500 gold. That sword, a Starforged Saber,  is now in Jocy's scabbard. She even got hot new weapon enchant called Mark of the Shattered Hand. No one in the Wild family has ever owned a piece of gear above i553. She was almost embarrassed, though, to have to admit that the shield she bought to complement that beautiful blade was a mere green level i494 called Shield of the Merciless. Still, the blade/shield combo and other upgrades sent Jocy's i450 gear level all the way up to i520. Wild still holds the gear lead at i522, while Fist tries to catch up, going from i503 to i511. I know, ho hum for you raiding types, but pretty nice for the Triplets (that would be Wild, Jocy, and Fist for those of you not paying attention).

Auction House Bag Flood

On some Auction House news (ok, you can snooze now), Happy made some good decisions (mostly) to hold on to some of the pre-WoD enchanting materials. There was a rush to get those mats once WoD was released - pent up demand for players getting toons ready to go. Happy sold a LOT of stuff. Oddly, it was the pre-WoD high end mats that DIDN'T sell, mostly jewel crafting stuff like gems. I should have known better. Old gems become almost instantly worthless when new gems are introduced. There just isn't a market for them. Gems that Happy sold for 70-100g each now sell at under 10g each and still dropping - if there is anyone left still buying them. Happy is considering selling the gems to replace lost teeth. ;-)

Then there is the bag market. The gods of warcraft decided, for the first time ever, that there would not be a new, larger general purpose bag rolled out with WoD. The 26 and 28 slot bags that came with Pandaria were painfully difficult to craft and very expensive. They still are, even now, costly at up to 2,000g apiece. With so many items stacking to 200 (instead of just 20) the need for those large bags is close to nil. So, what does that mean? It means Happy has a window to sell the much cheaper 20 and 22 slot bags. The 20 slot Frostweave bag cost 120g to make prior to WoD. Oddly, when WoD dropped, so did the cost of frostweave cloth, and Happy bought thousands of them at the cutrate price. The bag sold for around 180g normally, Demand for them skyrocketed, though, and Happy is currently selling them for 248g and the price is still rising, even as the cost of frostweave cloth starts to rise to meet demand. Happy can't make enough of them, primarily due to a shortage of the infinite dust needed to make them. Happy is smiling all the way to the bank.

An even better deal (for Happy) is the 22 slot embersilk bag. It's relatively expensive to make at 338g, and it normally sold for for around 400g. A tidy profit, but not outrageous. Happy sells that bag for 648g each right now. Again, Happy can't make enough of them - in this case, both embersilk cloth and the needed hypnotic dust are rapidly rising in cost.

Happy will ride the bag wave as long as it lasts.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Wildshard Reunion With Meitha

Wildshard Reunion With Meitha

Wild stopped raiding with his raiding guild, Meitha, during the last days of the Cataclysm expansion. In a nutshell, the raids had become boring. Wild was burned out. The guild continued on without him. When the next expansion came out, Mists of Pandaria (MoP), Wild dutifully leveled from 85 to 90 and actually had fun doing it. However, the urge to raid never came to him. Wild stayed with the Meitha guild but never entered a dungeon or raid throughout MoP. The whole Wild clan went dormant with the exception of Happyface.

Warlords of Draenor (WoD) was different and interesting enough to give the game another try. As already reported, I have three level 90 toons who are leveling in WoD. Wild just made level 91 last night and was taking a break in Orgrimmar, when I saw a very familiar face, one I hadn't seen in quite some time.

"Bloodnuckle!" Wild gave him a mighty shout and a wave. Blood, or BK, among his several nicknames, waved back and asked, "How the hell are you doing, Wild!?" The veteran tank looked good, but he was only at level 88. BK had also taken a long break from the game and obviously had not even had the time to finish leveling in Pandaria, yet. We talked of old times and I even sent another old friend, Talatiana (Lady Tala, to us old cabal friends) a few tickles. We talked for a bit and it seems that there are several of the old guard back in the game to see if the new expansion is worth playing. Wild is making no promises about raiding, but I have to admit that if enough of Wild's old friends wanted to raid again, Wild would be tempted.

As for the triplet of 90s now leveling in Draenor, Wild and Jocy are now both at level 91. Fist should get there today sometime. I'm going to try that approach for awhile. I will level all three toons a level at a time. It will take a lot longer to get to level 100, of course, but I think I will level faster overall because I will be very familiar with the quests and such the second and third time I do them. It also ensures that I leave no one behind, like I've done before. Poor Jezzi and Philly are still at level 85. The once mysterious Tiphaine came out of the shadows a couple of expansions ago but got stalled at level 72. I held Jezzi and Philly back because I wanted to level Fist from level 1 to 90 and focused only on that. Then Wild, being the senior, got the chance to level from 85 to 90 after Fist was done. Jezzi and Philly have a long wait ahead of her. Tiphaine may never catch up.

Wild's propensity to get lost has not manifested itself yet, but I did balk at taking the flight to Ashron recently. It seemed a simple quest, but once I accepted it sent Wild to the over side of the world, it seemed to him. I still had many quests to do back at the Garrison area, so I just turned around and took the flight back again. Wild is a very linear thinker and doer. Ashron can wait. Meanwhile, Fist, still short of level 91, has improved her gear skill from ilevel 503 to i509 now.

Jocy has improved her retribution gear to i512. Her healing gear began at its very basic. As a "boosted" toon, she received a set of i483 healing gear, i485 overall. Maintaining at least two separate sets of gear has always been a necessary chore for any player who wanted to play multiple roles. With WoD, a truly nice change in gear stats has made that much less of a chore. Let me use Jocy as the example. Her primary stats are intelligence (for healing) and strength (for killing things). Before WoD that gear could only have one or the other stat, not both. Much (though not all) gear now carries both primary stats. Only one can be active at a time (based on the spec), but in many cases the same gear can be used for both specs. That change meant that Jocy's healing gear could be instantly upgraded simply by switching to healing spec and using the same gear she uses for retribution spec. Her healing gear jumped from i485 to i497.

I've touched lightly on Garrisons so far. It is a major addition to the game. More about that in the next post.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jocy Joins the War

Jocy Joins the War

Today Jocy took the plunge into Warlords of Draenor. Trained and outfitted as a Retribution Paladin, she sported the finest armor gear available from the Timeless Isles. Her overall ilevel was i503, not good enough for dungeons or raids, but - hopefully - adequate for banging heads with the new baddies she would be facing. She is one of three level 90 toons that will have a chance to level up to 100 in the new expansion.

Jocy toned up a bit with the target dummy in Orgrimmar, but that quickly got boring. The best way to beat the dust and - let's face it, fear - away is to get out there and start hacking things. Spell rotations and such go out the window and what becomes important is to stay alive. She hopped on her flying mount and dove into the portal that deposited her in the Blasted Lands. Already the war was in full swing. She was given some quick orders she barely heard and didn't pay attention to anyway. She picked on the biggest bad guy she could find, wondering if she would be soon pushing up daisies.

Jocy proved her mettle, killing her first mob in WoD.

When Jocy first joined the war she was told that it might be some time before there would be a break in the action. The battles raging back and forth took close to two hours. The pace finally slowed when the tide of battle took her beyond the Blasted Lands and into the world of Draenor in a land called Frostfire Ridge. It was here that Jocy helped build her own Barracks, named Jocelyn's Outpost. At the Barracks Jocy also learned how to assign her first follower, Olin something or other, and gave him a mission. She likes having her own minions doing her bidding.

At last she was safe. For now. Next: Jocy takes her first flight path from her Barracks to the town of Wor'Gol. She hears that there are ogres to kill there.

Jocy  is 85% of the way to level 91. Her modest DPS against level 90 creatures was 2467.

Seeing the success that Jocy had in her first encounters, grizzled Wildshard, also a level 90, followed in Jocy's footsteps. Wild got almost as far as Jocy, getting 79% of the way to level 91. Wild was a little better equipped than Jocy, sporting i516 gear, and did significantly better in DPS (dealing damage) with 4568 DPS on average. Moonkin form rocks - at least for now. Jocy hasn't yet upgraded her gear with the new stuff she collected, but Wild did. He added three new pieces of gear and raised his ilevel to i520.

The most interesting comparison between Jocy and Wild was probably against the elite monster Gronn (I think that was its name). Jocy needed some help from nearby players to kill the monster. Wild faced the beast alone, and took it down with only modest effort. Jocy is still learning how to be a paladin. Druid Wild has years of practice under his belt, so Jocy gets the benefit of the doubt.

There is one more level 90, the Monk Fist, and I'll have to get her going soon, too. At some point I'll have to focus on a single character, but right now it's fun just trying to get all three of them to level 91.

PS - Wild's friend Unbleached went from level 90 to 100 in a single 24 hour binge beginning at the opening bell of Warlords of Draenor. Now that takes perseverance and pure stubbornness.  Gratz for making level 100!




Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Rugged Road Home

The Rugged Road Home

Wildshard's adventures are nothing compared to the last four weeks of real life adventure for our real family. Our three week family round trip from California to Virginia and North Carolina and back again was both fun and exhausting. We returned on 14 November. Right before we left on the trip my computer failed. Dead. Kaput. Of course I had backups of important stuff. Now I'm trying to put everything else back together, stuff that I didn't think to backup that turned out to be more important than I thought. Email addresses, for one. So here is a shout out to my readers. Please comment on this post with your email address or send an email to me directly (charliewb@cox.net) so I can re-connect with ya'll.

Since you are reading this you know I've gotten the new computer up, but I'm a long way from being back to normal. World of Warcraft is up and running, including the latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor. However, all of the addons, displays, etc, are gone and I'm having to rebuild everything from memory. Happyface is back and running the Auction House, but the rest are still bare bones.

I'll be updating my other blogs as well. If you are interested in the progress of my novel please check out http://jadedwalker.blogspot.com. I should have an update soon.