Posted in World of Warcraft

Levelling as I Write

It’s so wrong isn’t it? As I type this blog post my pally is on her way to Azshara to observe the fighting from a safe distance and then will fly down to Tanaris where she will actually do some fighting and then over to Eastern Kingdoms to observe some more and so on and so forth. Yes while at the start I was fighting hard in every single invasion I’m now flying to the area and waiting in a safe space if I have to do other things at the same time so that I don’t miss out on all this easy experience for characters I’ve long neglected and want to boost to 100. And yes I know if everyone did that in every invasion then an invasion would never end and no one would get any experience. So in my defence when I do sit down to play I go and fight toe to toe and give it my all. So I am doing my bit – sort of. And I’ve fought in many invasions while noticing lots of people standing round doing nothing. You give a bit, you take a bit right? Maybe. I can role play in  my head that my character is learning vital things about the Legion as she watches from a distance and I make tea. And then it’s my turn to fight and in I go letting other people take on the recon role. Oh how we try to justify the things we know are wrong. How will I feel getting from 88 to 100 through a mix of fighting and watching invasions? Um ok I think. I’ve done the content I’m skipping on my mage and druid so it’s not as if it means I’m totally missing large chunks of the game. I’ve boosted two other characters through WoD and Legion so I’m not averse to the quick route. Any my pally has more than earned her time at 100. I started playing in BC so she had to walk until she was 40! I mean c’mon, the hardship she has endured. And if I was 100% fighting every invasion  – well I’m still grinding the same thing over and over again just to get her to 100. Its a grindy boost rather than a paid one but still a fast track of sorts. And when she gets to 100 – oh how I’ll play her. She’ll probably become my main again. It’ll be her time to shine. She just needs to gain more vital intelligence by watching a few more invasions (a lot more now that they’ve reduced the experience gain) and join in when she (I) can. The road to 100 has never been so clear.

Posted in World of Warcraft

Resisting the Thoughts

I hearthstoned back to Stormwind yesterday & left my character for five minutes alone in the inn. When I came back her task bar had completely changed. “Something’s happened,” I yelled to no one in particular. “My taskbar is shorter, the icons bigger, and my nose is tickling too.” Husband came over. “It’s your screen size, it’s wrong.” Where this came from I’ve no idea as  my screen size was exactly the same as it always is. Daughter came over. “This has happened to me before,” she said confidently, “You have to press this or this or that or those. ” At which point she started randomly attacking all the keys on my laptop. Husband saw my face and stepped in and gently escorted her away. So I googled “WoW taskbar changed” – nothing, just stuff about adding things to your taskbar and lots of things about the Windows taskbar (apparently Google thinks WoW could be a short hand for window which I guess is true). Just as I was about to restart Battlenet it suddenly occurred to me to actually check the spells in the taskbar. And then I noticed the buff in the top right of the screen. And then I realised I had fallen prey to dark thoughts. Only took me about 15 minutes to understand what was going on. A personal record.

Next came the angst. Should I use any of the abilities, out myself as a Legion supporter and face the wrath of Stormwind? What to do, what to do? I could cause hysteria amongst a group of allies (nice) and take on the appearance of a target including most NPCs. My first thought was Alison the innkeeper. This is because I have no imagination and was stood right next to her. I could also become a Dreadlord for a minute.

I toyed with the idea of doing all of the above just to see what it was like. I was curious and tempted – emotions that have led many an individual down a path of no return. And I’m no saint –  in the Wrath event I turned zombie and chased people. I think I might have eaten one or two. It was what you did back in the heady days of the scourge invasion. But it seems I’ve changed. I just couldn’t bring myself to go all Legion yesterday. It just felt too big, too bad and too wrong. Plus I was scared of being beaten up. Yes cowardice – the safe road to the moral high ground. So I clicked off the buff and flew away to afk in more invasions. I think King Varian would be proud.

Posted in Blogging

Mindfulness through Blaugust

Well I’m halfway (ish) through Blaugust 2016 so thought I’d pause a moment to reflect on what it’s been like writing a daily post. I’ve never posted daily, although in the early days of Bravetank I used to do about 3-4 posts a week and do remember occasionally posting twice a in one day. Keen much?!  Things have calmed down considerably over the years.

And it is years – I had an anniversary pop up on WordPress yesterday and I’ve been blogging 5 years. And I’ve published 200 posts. Actually I’ve published more than that but I’ve turned some back to draft when I later wished I hadn’t posted them. These are usually the personal outpouring “woe is me” type posts. I write them, post them, then regret them. I hate the idea I’ve revealed too much of myself on here – not so much to people reading who I don’t know, but definitely to people reading who might know me in real life. That said, not many real life people know about the Bravetank blog, but some do and it’s when I think about them knowing this or that about me that I get uncomfortable and want to redact what I’ve said. So there are about 20 or so posts in draft which were just too personal, too revealing and show too clearly that I have a tendency to overshare!

But anyway back to Blaugust 2016. The actual doing of it has been easier than I thought it would be. I’ve got into a routine of writing a post as soon as I get up. This means I’m writing between 5-6 every morning. This routine seems to work. The biggest challenge has been ideas on what to write. I’m not someone who posts about the state of MMO gaming,  why WoW player group X are wrong and WoW player group Y are right etc. I just write to record my personal experiences and feelings when playing WoW. And I have lots of experiences and feelings when playing WoW – some happy (ooh pretty zone, yay I have new gear, double yay I survived LFR), some sad (boo more fel leggings, sob I just got told to L2P, utter trauma – Varian). But when I come to actually write a post I often forget what all those feelings were (what happened in WoW yesterday – did someone die? ) So I have started noting ideas down in draft as and when I play if something occurs to me that makes me think or when something I see makes me laugh or cry, cheer or rave.

And some of this I’ll keep doing after August. Not the daily posts – it’s eating into my pre-work playtime! But I will try to do about two a week from now on. I like the fact that Blaugust has made me more mindful about my WoW experience. By looking for ideas to write about I’ve been really engaged with the WoW world and much more aware of the things going on around me – the things I’m doing, the choices I’m making, the people I’m interacting with and how it’s all making me feel. So Blaugust for me has been less about rediscovering a passion for blogging and more about rediscovering my passion for WoW through the act of blogging – an interesting difference. And the fact this has all happened during the run up to Legion is even better because this is exactly the time I want to be engaged in the world, really feel a part of the storyline and really feel my emotions tugged and pulled and torn as the events unfold. So Blaugust is helping make this month a much deeper and richer experience.  I never thought it would give me that when I first signed up. I’m really glad to be a part of it. Here’s to the next 15 posts.

Posted in World of Warcraft

Invasions with Benefits

I was told yesterday that invasions can really boost lower level characters. So I jumped on my mage Seashell (95) and yes having completed an invasion found that she had a decent sized boost to her experience bar. Daughter tried with level 14 hunter and after I think about 7 invasions managed to get up to 25. She’s pleased with that. She finally has riding so no more walking (having to walk anywhere in the worth- real or Azerothian – is an experience akin to visiting the pits of hell apparently …wasn’t like that in my day of course).

So anyway this got me revisiting all my alts to see which ones I’d like to do some quick levelling on and it was interesting. I could see from the level/zone they had been abandoned in which areas of WoW I’m bored with and which class I am confused by. So Terema my Pally, first ever WoW character, had been left as an 87 in Pandaria. This was the result of extreme boredom with Pandaria as a place after thoroughly experiencing it with Seashell, and confusion with the Ret Pally rotation (too much Holy Power watching – it was never like that when I first started with Terema on WoW and I just never got to grips with the changes).

Luxmii my Shaman is stuck in early Draenor as is Seashell my mage. Having done Draenor with my Druid Frip, and not being someone who likes re-running areas too soon after completing them, I struggled getting going with those two.  Plus around that time I stopped playing WoW due to real life things.

Then there’s Salno my Horde Warlock. Stuck in Northrend unable to find her way around Warsong Hold. Every time I go on Salno I just feel weary with it all. The act of being in that Hold brings on an existential crisis of some sort. It’s remarkable really. I have to log off, leaving her and demon companion weeping in the corner. However, husband has now set up his own Horde guild – The Slapdash Squad (perfectly named for my play style) so Salno might finally have a chance soon (if he organises a rescue mission to get her out of there).

There’s the original Pally Bravetank on Defias Brotherhood. I shan’t be levelling her. It’s a PvP realm and I couldn’t face doing invasions in a PvP realm. And there’s Beanie of course. Level 35 Hunter. Beanie with whom I was having so much fun last week but who hasn’t seen the light of day since the pre-Legion stuff. Beanie is a good case for the invasion boost but I was actually enjoying exploring the world with her. I want to keep Beanie as my Explorer/Loremaster character. Plus with my problems figuring out maps, boats and portals it would take me an eternity to get her anywhere.

The obvious ones for me then are Terema – my first ever character who deserves her shot at 100 and beyond, and Seashell – my main for so long who has the added advantage of portals.  Since doing two invasions with Terema this morning I’m slowly figuring out the newly redesigned (again) Ret Pally rotation & looking forward to trying out Holy, so I think she’s going to be the first priority. I’m assuming invasions end when Legion arrives properly. Shame.  For alt levelling alone it would be great for invasions to be around forever – or something like them. But with far less travel of course. Some things remain beyond me and efficiently travelling around the Azeroth world remains one of them – as the comments on yesterday’s post will show!

Posted in World of Warcraft

Open the Map

Yesterday I was finally able to complete two invasions. The first one was in Westfall. I went as Disc Priest with the idea of supporting the fight by healing everyone and basically saving the day. When I saw the chaos that is the invasion I realised that was impossible & so I continued to effectively tickle the mobs to death with my Disc Rotation. And yes I did kill things (even they seemed shocked) and I didn’t die so it scores 2 for 2 on my basic requirements. But the fights were long. Very long. That said going in my gear was 640 so it might get better as I gear up. And from Cymre’s comment on yesterday’s post I understand the Artifact will help too. So I guess I’m going to have to stick with it and wait and see. Or go insane (as per yesterday’s post).

The invasion itself was fun although there was a phase when everyone ran  off to do their own thing and I felt abandoned and confused. I wasn’t sure what I should do. I ended up finding the nearest Legion group and just started fighting them – hoping I didn’t pull too many.  Then another person joined me, cheered me (awww), and we started to work together (sort of). I did manage to try out atonement healing on him/her so that was good.

At the end I had some nethershards, boots and leggings and was very happy.

Second invasion was slightly different. It was in Tanaris and I wasn’t quite certain of the quickest way to get there. I hearthstoned back to Stormwind and found my hearthstone took me to Stormshield. Aargghh. Finally getting to Stormwind I flew  up and down the harbour waiting for (a) the Darnassus ship and (b)wondering if there was a second ship that went anywhere useful (I’m now thinking there’s a Northrend ship which isn’t useful but that there used to be a Menethil Harbour ship?). Then I remembered the portals. I flew over to them, took a guess that Twillight Hinterlands was in Eastern Kingdoms (because obviously it’s way too hard to open a map) and portalled there, only to then decide to check the map and realise I was just in a slightly different part of Eastern Kingdoms. So I hearthstoned back (to Stormshield because I had still not remembered to change my hearthstone to Stormwind – by this time I was feeling mightily sorry for the Alliance that they have to rely on people like me in the fight against the Legion) and repeated the whole thing but this time went to Hyjal and flew down to Tanaris while in real life I got changed for work. When I came back downstairs I was in Tanaris and already had a small loot box. I joined in some of the fighting (still Disc) but this time took on more than I could handle and ended up dying several times. In a pout I stormed off to the inn to drown my sorrows change to Shadow and by the time I meticulously sorted out my action bar and talents the invasion was over. Felt a tad guilty but less so when I saw what I had for it – more leggings and boots. Hoping I have more luck today in lots of different ways including remembering to set my hearthstone to Stormwind and now and again cracking open a map. It’s not too much to ask of myself is it?

Posted in World of Warcraft

I’m going slightly mad

So yesterday my Priest Darllen completed the Stormwind bit of the Broken Shore scenario but didn’t have  chance to do any invasions. Hoping to do some today. It feels good to be back on a Priest but having done a couple of fights as Discipline I realise I’m going to need to go Shadow. The fights took forever and while I was in ruddy good health at the end it was really frustrating. So decided I need to get a good Shadow Priest build sorted.

So I went to Icy Veins & read that the following is an ideal single target rotation:-

    1. Enter Void Form by casting Void Eruption
    2. Cast Mind Blast.
    3. Apply and maintain  Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch.
    4. Cast  Mind Flay
    5. Once in Void Form cast Void Bolt
    6. Cast Shadowfiend if available at low Voidform stacks
    7. Cast  Shadow Word: Death
    8. Cast  Mind Blast
    9. Cast Shadowfiend if available at higher Voidform stacks
    10. Re-apply Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch if necessary
    11. Cast Mind Flay as filler

Some of this looks much the same as before but the bit about Void Eruption to get into Void Form and having Void Form stacks is new. Previously I basically lived my life in Void Form. In fact I used to forget what my priest actually looked like.

So I now discover Void Form is activated by casting Void Eruption. It increases all damage you deal by 20% but means my  insanity will drain until it reaches 0 and Voidform ends. When Voidform ends I gain Lingering Insanity (no problem – I have this on a daily basis), but have to cast Void Eruption to enter Void Form again.

So going into Void Form turns you insane or, more precisely, you need to be insane to use it?  Ah ok. Was that always the case? I recognise Shadow Priests draw on dark powers but insanity? I always felt ok in Void Form, but there again if you are insane you’re probably the last to realise it. I did keep seeing lots of purple balls floating around me but I assumed everyone saw them.

So Insanity itself is a resource to draw on in the fight between good and evil. Interesting. A a Shadow Priest I’m venturing into the void, drawing power from the corrupt Old Gods and turning quickly insane in the process. As I’m no longer drawing on the light I’ve also lost all the usual heals and instead use Shadowmend which wraps someone in shadows to heal but at the same time means they take damage. Eh? Only someone insane would have thought that one up. I basically heal and hurt at the same time. Exactly what my already over developed guilt complex needs.

But I’ll give it a go. Just for questing. In nice 5 mans (hoping I get chance to do some with the guild) and LFR I would like to be a healer. If I’m wrong and Discipline is viable for solo questing let me know. But if it’s not viable then it has to be Shadow for questing which means I have to embrace the darker side of life. One plus to this  of course – if I go truly insane maybe I’ll finally get to meet Harvey. I’ve always wanted to do that.

 

Posted in World of Warcraft

Carried by the Crowd

Yesterday I completed the Broken Shore event and made a Demon Hunter. On the latter  – my Demon Hunter looks amazing. But I’ve achieved this by making her as undemonlike as possible & giving her bright yellow hair. She looks like the Canary on the Arrow rather than a DH so when I play her I feel like a darker superhero/assassin. Interesting.

I can’t say I’ve massively enjoyed the first level of the DH experience though. It’s all so dark and green. Not my favourite look (unless it’s on Mark Gruffalo). There was quite a lot of people around as you’d expect – although no lag and plenty of things to kill. My screen just looked too busy for me and I felt too caught up in the feverish rush to complete quests. This meant I didn’t really read anything. I just went round killing everything randomly  and looking for areas marked with a circle on the map and then those marked by a question mark. It was a good refresher on those basic shapes but not much else in terms of understanding the mission of the DHs. But I accept that was my fault and I need to slow down.

I like my DH when she is hitting stuff. The rush thing she does though (the one which is supposed to burn everything in her path) – well this often results in me badly overshooting and then having to spin around to hit the mob. Not sure if I’m doing it right – am I doing a cool move or a slapstick one? Can’t tell.

In regard to Broken Shore – again lots of people, movement, red mobs, fighting, transitioning from phase to phase without much of a clue as to which way is up and…trying to heal. Quite possibly it was pointless trying to heal in this scenario but my boosted level 100 is a Priest & I want to try out Discipline Healing. I found it confusing & I didn’t seem to have enough heals to click. I need to read up on it more. But I think I helped some people last a bit longer and I got to try stuff out so it was worth doing from that perspective.

And the ending. Oh my goodness. While I’d seen it on daughter’s screen it was very different experiencing it and I did find it incredibly emotional. It was a fantastic piece of work by Blizzard. My feelings for Sylvanas became all conflicted until I later watched some cut scenes on the Horde side of things and I was able to love her again.

So in conclusion on yesterday – I enjoyed most of it and I’m finally starting to get excited for when Legion properly arrives. But I still love my level 31 Beanie. I will not abandon her for long. She will not be like all the others. I hope…

 

 

Posted in World of Warcraft

An Unexpected Moment

Warning – Legion Spoilers coming up. Can anyone still be spoiled about Legion & the storyline we are going to see unfold? Possibly. Hence I repeat spoilers, spoilers, spoilers (and I first mistyped that as “soilers, soilers, soilers” which is a completely different warning.

 

Ok that done I just had to write about what I saw yesterday, As you know I’m in the EU – or more precisely I play on EU servers. I am assuming Brexit won’t impact this arrangement and I won’t have to arrange a new trade deal or something. So yesterday in the EU we did not have the preinvasion event. We have it now (as husband has just informed me) and I will be logging on when this post is complete to see what it’s all about.

But anyway yesterday was the calm before the storm. I was out in Stonetalon Mountains with Beanie (beautiful place but far too many mountains for someone who can’t yet fly and constantly likes to take the shortcut) when daughter said, “What’s going on in the throne room, everyone is acting weird around King Varian?”). Now I do know what’s going to happen to the King. While I’ve not done much reading about Legion & never used the beta invite myself (shame, shame), daughter did use it for about half an hour and I watched some of the events over her shoulder. So I know what’s coming. And when I looked at daughter’s screen I saw that other people know too as there was about 10 or so people all kneeling before the King. It unexpectedly brought a lump to my throat. Husband brought his rogue on & went to have a look himself and when he got there and saw what was going on he promptly kneeled. Then daughter kneeled too and at that point I was close to tears.

I did not expect to feel that way yesterday but suddenly the imminent death of our leader became very real and very sad and it felt important to show him respect. So I brought on Luxmii (who I never play and who still hasn’t readjusted to all the new patch changes and was way too excited to be selected ) and she also knelt before him.

But then the madness started. Daughter decided to commemorate the moment by taking a selfie. It was a tad inappropriate (I rarely see selfies being taken with people at death’s door or selfies before the coffin at the funeral – although given everything else people post on Facebook I suspect it’s a matter of time), The end result was inappropriately hilarious – Varian all grim, serious and frowning at the camera; daughter’s warrior smiling broadly, delighted to be having a photo with the King. After she’d taken about three I instructed her to move away from him – I was worried players would call her out for being disrespectful. But then another player walked up to the King, turned around and faced us all and shouted, “You’re all lapdogs”. Harsh. I’m no royalist but I don’t see anything wrong in showing deep respect for and crying over a computer game leader. It’s completely normal.

Then someone popped out Lil’ Bling. Ooh. Now “respect at imminent death protocol anxiety” kicked in. Was it wrong to click him? I finally decided to creep up and click from maximum distance so no one would know. I still the shame.

Then another Lil Bling appeared and the two started scrapping in front of the King. It was all now too surreal for words and I left at this point. I have put a screenshot below.

The whole thing felt really powerful until it descended into Monty Pythonesque scenes. It is the end of an era in WoW. So go gently King Varian – or rather go in the heat of battle fighting for all you love and hold dear. I salute you.

WoWScrnShot_080916_201709

Posted in World of Warcraft

Been There, Bought the T Shirt

I’m going to be in work today when things start to warm up in Azeroth so I’ve been doing a little bit of reading to see what to expect later when I finally get a chance to log in. According to Blizzard Watch  invasions will occur in Azshara, Dun Morogh, Hillsbrad Foothills, Northern Barrens, Tanaris, and Westfall. There’ll be a green icon on the map to show where to go & you basically enter a world scenario. Assuming you have to be 100 for this (if you want to survive anyway).

During the invasion you have to kill the demons, lieutenants and commander, achieve certain objectives and then defeat the boss. Sounds like typical day in the office.

If you complete the invasion you get Nethershards and sometimes chests with ilevel 685/700 equipment. You can trade Nethershards at Illidari vendors in the capitals and invasion zones. I notice Blizzard Watch mentioned transmog opportunities in regard to the chests that drop and in regard to what you can buy from the Nethershards. I guess transmog is now a thing right? Beanie is still rocking her eclectic look (i.e. nothing matches and the colours ill suit her complexion) because she’s too lazy to go to a transmog. Husband swears he saw a portable transmogrifier the other day. I have never see such a thing (I don’t get out much) so I googled it and discovered the Reins of the Grand Expedition Yak. How did I ever miss this? Oh I know – never cared about transmog and will never have that much gold. But now there’s all these uber well dressed players around me and I’m starting to feel inadequate. But I’m also lazy. I need that yak. For free. In the mail when I next log in. According to the Law of Attraction this should definitely work. I’ll let you know.

It does look as if these invasions are a good way to get ilevel 700 gear (via the Nethershards). But you need to grind for it. I’m assuming iLevel 700 will be the level 100-101 gear drops that we get in Legion so I will probably just gear up via basic quest rewards. I don’t need anything too fancy in my line of work (killing boars in Elwynn). But it will be fun to do at least one of the invasions. Just to get the “Been There, Bought the T Shirt” achievement. (Is that a real achievement? It so should be.)

 

 

Posted in World of Warcraft

The Cool Factor

Asked daughter yesterday for an idea for a blog post and she suggested I write about why there isn’t someone like Sylvanas on the Alliance side. She loves Sylvanas – the look, the attitude, the power. She doesn’t know anything about Sylvanas’s history yet and hasn’t played any storylines that actually take her to see Sylvanas in game but she still loves her. The power of the image. I also think the cinematic trailer for Legion has a lot to do with it.

So I’ve been trying to think about Alliance females with the same cool factor. My first thought was Jaina which I promptly dismissed –  she’s powerful and strong but for me there’s a grammar school head girl quality about her that I don’t think would appeal.

The next name that came to mind was Veeresa – very similar to Sylvanas in many ways (less dead of course) and has her own interesting story. Might take daughter to see her in Dalaran – if that’s where she still is. I think  she’s a contender.

Then I remembered Admiral Rogers – some strong appearances in MoP. However, outside of specific MoP scenes and quests not sure what else I can say about her so I don’t think she’s the one.

Other possibilities –  Aysa (daughter already really likes her as she has played the starter Pandaren storyline) and Yrel (daughter has encountered her in early WoD stuff).

But then I remembered Tyrande. Night elf leader and high priestess of Elune, strong, passionate, loyal, brave and to top it all – rides a frostsaber tiger. I think both Tyrande and Veeresa might well have that cool factor daughter is looking for on the Alliance side. Both elves of course like Sylvanas when alive (night elf and high elf – not sure I fully understand the difference yet). Is it something about the females of that race?  I ask this as someone who generally levels humans and feels too tall when playing a night elf. Maybe I’m just scared to embrace my inner elven cool factor. Maybe some cosplay would help. Of course if I did this I’d look like Moira Thaurissian trying to dress up as Sylvanas – an interesting look no doubt.