The Shadowlands Project

I’m ok with the delay of Shadowlands. I had gotten my Atherne copy character to level 58. She would have gotten to 60 but there were several quests which were the breadcrumb to the next area for her that were not working for one reason and another for a week and more.

Because I was only running one character, trying to be very focused, doing all the quests, writing bug reports and comments, I was stuck till there was a fix. My goal had been to try out the Covenants and see how it all worked.

Because of the very linear nature of your progress through the various Covenant lands, being stuck at those junctures so late in the testing was going to be a problem. I haven’t been reading the forums or Wowhead so as to preserve my own impression of how things work.

Now, there was a beta character wipe, and you have the option to go in and test out the level 60 characters, and how exactly the Covenant experience plays out. I don’t expect the delay for release to be long, so I didn’t want to start again with a copied character at 50.

Here’s what I think.

I’m not fond of any of the covenants, having played through all of their introductory areas except just a little of the Venthyr. Those areas and quest lines are quite lengthy, and I think they give you a good feel for each race and what you’re in for.

Each has it’s own philosophical bent.

The Kyrians are supposed to look and feel (?) either like angels or val’kyr. They’re anything but pleasant. The angelic looks just made me think, you can’t fool me after bingeing 15 seasons of Supernatural this year. They seemed to draw quite a bit from the Pandarian sha of anger model.

The Necrolords present as demi-gods who don’t think much of you as you’re puny and not worth their warlike time. Too much saber rattling.

I had high hopes for the Night Fae, thinking Ardenweald was some gorgeous forest area. It’s a forest alright. The fae are right out of Kelethin Forest in EQ2. Those high squeaky voices….I’m dying here. As a plus, there is The Wild Hunt with centaur like creatures who are very cool. They’re all very nature oriented and are trying to save the groves.

The Venthyr were the biggest surprise of all, with a Prince who is a super cartoony mustache twirling villain (I think he’s one, maybe I’m wrong.) This area is like a madness infested Gilneas/Shadowmoon Valley hybrid.

Next post, creating all new level 60 characters to see what life is like at 60.

The Running of the Gnome

This year I decided to try the Running of the Gnomes event on the Scarlet Crusade server. My character was created Thursday and I got her to level 6. I pictured that she’d be in this huge pack of gnomes and no harm would come to her.

By the way, she initially had a soft lavender hair color, then I saw a picture of a past event with all pink haired gnomes. Pink it is. I had to resist playing her too much. You know how appealing new characters are. I also resisted getting her a Tradeskill set. So hard to resist! My plan is/was to delete her after completing the event.

I meant to wait till the event officially started, but I peeked in early, and there were lots of people in the gnome starter area, but no one seemed to be running. Nearby was the npc with the race quest. Click and Accept! Before I knew what was happening I was running through the first banner and the race was on!

There are gnome npcs and markers along the race course to let you know you’re on the right track. The course took an unexpected turn in Elwynn forest near the Brackwell Pumpkin Patch that led right over the river into Duskwood. I knew my level 6 girl would be safe because Elywnn autolevels 1-60, but I thought I’d have some deaths in Duskwood. Luckily, I didn’t die till way on the other side of Darkshire, to a stealthy worgen. This I now know is because the race helpers had cleared the way earlier on in Duskwood.

Right after my first death, I noticed a couple of players flying over head, and then one with a name very like Piglet (thank you, Piglet!) flew ahead and ran interference for my little gnome, killing off predators. Even so, I died to three of the Young Panthers in Northern Stranglethorn.

Near Fort Livingston, my last death was to a stealthed tiger. They’re always going to get you.

And the finish! About 25 minutes to run the distance. Five deaths. Perhaps if I do it next year I’ll go with the crowd. Perhaps I’ll level this character and next year she can run interference for some level 6 gnome 🙂

Screenshot Saturday September 5, 2020

Just because I have some screenshots I like this month, here’s August in Wow in pictures.  A few non-spoilery Shadowlands pictures at the bottom.

 

Atherne and Jaina side by side in a Tides Of Vengeance quest.

 

Tides: Be the Water Elemental!

 

Tides: In the Treasury, with the Monster

Tides: Atherne Indiana Jones:

 

Atherne snacks in Boralus and ponders her next move.  I’m going to miss Boralus.

 

One of the most annoying sequences in the game: Flynn Lovesick and Lost as he stumbles drunkenly in circles.  It feels endless!  I finally figured out once I had the quest for the flies etc done here, I could fly low over his head while he stumbled around and I wouldn’t have to fight the creatures over and over.

 

I love my Panda Monk!  Cutest pirate in the game.

 

More Monk, traveling in the Tidesage watercraft:

I’m going to miss be rowed from here to there.

 

I was so happy getting the Pride of Kul Tiras questline completed.  It’s 25 quests long.   (Whine)  I thought I could make my Kul Tiran right after this.

 

Wow and it’s use of disguises!   My favorites are the wooden trees.   Nothing odd here, folks.

 

 

Into the Shadowlands we go.

 

Transmog does not seem to be working in the beta.  This is such an ugly outfit and I can’t make it go away.

 

 

I like the whole concept of the In Between.  Very science fictional.

 

 

Modeled after Captain Obvious?

 

 

Your flight is ready for departure.

 

 

I can’t tell you how much I love these guys.  I want a Halloween costume just like these.

 

 

Your friendly neighborhood grocer!

Gaming Goals September 2020

Except for in World of Warcraft, my August Gaming Goals were a bust:

World of Warcraft

Windwalker Monk to 120   Yup!  Got a 120 of every class now on Blackwater Raiders

Paladin, Proudmoore to 120   With ease!  Paladins at higher levels are easy!

Work on Various Achievements.

I got all kinds of achievements.  Notably, thanks to my son deep diving into Allied Races, I decided to try for the only one I want, the Kul Tiran Human.  I have the Exalted Rep, had tons of the Tides of Vengeance quests done,  Have Loremaster of Kul Tiras.  Needed Pride of Kul Tiras.  Finished Tides with ease.  Did the Pride of Kul Tiras sequence, and I really liked Jaina’s story.  I’m glad I finished that out.

All I need is a Nation Divided.   It turns out in order to get that, I need to do the Siege of Boralus (raid) which you can now queue for a heroic version of.   The less said about my initial try on that the better.   I’m going to have to watch the play throughs of it a few times and try again.

So close to my girl, who will look like this:

 

I noticed how huge the rewards were for the 7th Legion stuff while working on Tides with Ath, so my Mage is working on the War Campaign as well as World Quests.  She is comparatively low on item level (389) and Neck (41) but her fights have improved incredibly, and my Mage, if you can imagine, was able to take on five mobs and take barely any damage.  This has never happened for her.

 

Elder Scrolls Online

Daily logins (ha, nope.)

Complete initial questline and begin Greymoor with Nord Warden.    I did not. When it was on sale during Gamescon I did purchase the expansion though.

 

Lord of the Rings Online

Do a minimum of five quests with my Hunter.  I think there were still problems when I tried logging in so, nothing here.

 

Steamy Life

Pick any five new games and see what I think.   None at all.  They’re calling to me, (as my mother in law would say), but not loudly enough.

 

Sunday Afternoon Getting Beat To A Pulp Report

I was doing so well with my Atherne beta copy character.  I started playing her and abandoned the stock level 50 character when I saw she was having an easier time of it.   Breezing along, I was. Today, all of a sudden, a few boxes from level 53, whammo.   This fight right here.

Multiples just kept coming and coming.  I had to get ten items from these, and the drop rate was perfect.  Once I had them, the dang things just kept coming.  And they hit hard. I had to use Shadowmeld to stop the fight.

After this, there was a Fill In The Bar With Bad Guys area, and I could barely survive a fight with two of them.  Somehow I had been weenie-fied!  Sad Panda.  You’ve got to do those Bonus Objectives though, for the xp and gold.

The picture below is for my spouse who will appreciate the name.

 

Atherne does look cool here, though, a very dark purple.   Shadow Ath!

 

I did manage to get through all the bad fights until I was dreamily in a field picking flowers and, Cone of Shame, a little dog creature came and just shredded my poor cat.   You’d think it was several levels above her or something.

Here’s how it looks when you’re dead.  All dark and gloomy.

 

I’m looking at my other live characters again and am thinking I’d better try to get them geared as well as I can, and level their Heart of Azeroth up as much as possible.  Though the effects aren’t there, the item level is.  Atherne’s gives her a necklace item level of 131.

Also, on the live server “real Ath” needs to stock up on Health Potions like mad.   Ath Beta version can make a health potion, but the herb is dropping as petals, so she doesn’t have enough to make what would help her here so far.

Feeling Puny!  Happy Sunday!

Exile’s Reach The New Player Experience (Not Too Spoilery)

I’m not going to talk about plot points because everyone should get to to see it play out at least once for themselves.   I feel the same way about the other new areas.   It should unfold for you as something all fresh.

There’s a new area of the game called Exile’s Reach that basically serves as a very long tutorial.  It’s levels 1-10.

I created a Night Elf Druid and she’s on a ship right away, heading to her destination.  You learn all the movements, the UI, how to fight.

With each level gained, you get a new skill.   My Druid started with Wrath.  There’s even a Druid Quest.

Now my Druid had no choice of Exile’s Reach or another destination.

I briefly created a Human Paladin and she could choose Exile’s Reach or Stormwind.   Note: I now see that the first character created on the beta server as a level 1 was treated as a brand new account and she was automatically sent to the tutorial.  Any new characters created can choose a starting location). I chose Stormwind so I could see if they had changed the low level experience in the old world.

The opening cinematic was talking about King Varian Wynn, a bit about the Lich King and Cataclysm.  So they still need to line up the cinematics at lower levels to bring your new character into the events of the present day.  I didn’t play through this area because fresh Paladins are really so sluggish to play.  They just feel like they stand there forever before striking anything.   Crusader Strike with a 6 second cooldown …agh.  Anyway.

Exile’s Reach has a decent plot line, interesting enough characters, except for one who was annoying, and whiny.

For truly new characters, you get a couple of bags as rewards, which is always welcome.

There are treasure chests, a wandering Silver Elite my level 7 character could take on easily.  Three mini-bosses two of which had swirly stuff for you to avoid stepping in.

At level 9, they threw me off, way off.  You need to queue for a dungeon!  I didn’t do it right away because I assumed there would be queue times and who knows what to deal with in the dungeon.  My Feral Cat had only two skills at that time to use.   How is this going to work, I thought.   Whoa, you’re in the dungeon with no wait time, and no other players, nope it’s two NPCs.  One acts as a tank and one a healer.  Shocking, I say.

Back in Stormwind at last.  I was very disappointed that my Night Elf did not get any time in Kalimdor.  How does does she know how to be an elf?

Even more extraordinary to me, there’s a summons to Stormwind Keep where the scenes play out that send you to Boralus.  Level 11 and sent to Boralus!  The rest of the world doesn’t exist for her?  Yikes!

Though they send you to Tol Dagor, that whole scenario is no problem for the character. Still!

Here I’ve been, leveling characters and I’m always so happy to get them to level 110 and hear that great Boralus music.  It’s a proud moment for them.

It feels quite a bit different to be swept there without all of the adventures that Azeroth has to offer, boom you’re just there, and getting the tour of Boralus with Talia.  Everyone in Boralus (players) seemed to be either level 11 or 50.   I’ll explore more later.

I’m sure there’s more that happens soon for the character, but I’m anxious to get back to my level 51 Druid in Bastion.

I did out of curiosity copy a level 75 Warlock to the beta.  Boom, level 28, off to Boralus!    She did seem to get a quest option that would take her to Pandaria, but it kind of messed with the whole follow Jaina and go to Boralus shuffle.

Very interesting.

 

 

Into The Shadowlands

I spent some time last night and this evening playing in the beta.  My method anytime I’m testing is to have my handy notebook and I write down all the changes I notice, the quests (last time I even wrote out all the quest texts), any problems I see.

This time I have my laptop serving for note taking.  I’m reading all the quests but am only noting the title, the quest giver and the objective.  Many times I’ve got a pile of quests and can’t recall who gave me what.  This fixes that.

Starting out, I created a Night Elf Druid with the pre-made level 50 character.  I just wanted to re-create Atherne and get going.  There are a ton of new hairstyles, and that’s just the Night Elf.  I kind of got lost.  You have some necklace choices and some viny stuff for your hair.  New hair colors!  Black, a lavender, and one that is almost blond.

Not to be too fiendish, but here’s one called Looped. They actually have named all the hairstyles, even the existing ones.   Yellow eyes!

 

For once, I remembered to write down my toolbar skills layout, so I could just copy it to the beta character.  However, it initially appeared that most of my skills were gone.  It turns out, they have split up the spellbook so there are overall Druid skills on one tab, and the Feral Druid skills I thought were missing were on a separate tab.

 

Then, I cleverly forgot to do my my talents.  I was already in the Maw, but luckily they’d provided Tomes of the Quiet Mind so I could fix it all.

So this level 50 isn’t my own character, she’s got good item level 75 gear.  Still.  My answers to some of my questions so far:

 

Well, how horrible is The Squish? Why isn’t anyone whining about this?    It doesn’t feel like you’re squished.  It isn’t any different of an experience than a new expansion ever is, you just gear up as you go along, pick your fights carefully.

 

Is this expansion depressing?   So far I will say no.  The Maw was only depressing as far as the psychological welfare of some of the characters you meet.   Despite place names like The Crucible of the Damned, and little ghostly gnomes and drenai stuck in the floor, the game has had many dark areas where it’s all gloom and doom.  There are also areas of the afterlife where everyone is all cheery and philosophical about souls passing through.

What are my initial impressions?   I’m finding the story so far to be interesting.   I would use the word immersive.  It’s telling a story World of Warcraft hasn’t told before, which is something.  Of course dread, icky Sylvanas lurks somewhere, but we knew that.  As long as she doesn’t get much prominence and meets a grisly end, I’ll be ok.

I think the changes to appearances are pretty great.  I should make a human though and see if they still look like Olive Oyl with a squished face.   Agh, and did they fix the gnomes?  I’ll have to check.

Will I wish I’d spent more time gearing everyone up?   I’d have to do a character transfer to see if my girls get flattened.   It always works out.  I’m not worried.

They’ve Opened The Floodgates!

 

This is what happens when you keep checking your launcher.   Can’t play till later, but I have questions, and am very excited, as always, to see what’s next.

 

Here are my questions:

Well, how horrible is The Squish?  Why isn’t anyone whining about this?

Is this expansion depressing?

What are my initial impressions?

Will I wish I’d spent more time gearing everyone up?

Will I wish I’d kept working on Horrific Visions and Corruption?

Or can I just start wherever I am and work my way to better gear within the expansion itself?

I plan to send four characters to do four different Covenants.  What are they like?  Do they add anything interesting to the game?   Is there some strategy to picking a particular Covenant for a particular class?

Are they killing off any NPC characters I care about?

The leveling experience.

Just how accelerated is this?

Can you still play through the quest lines of previous expansions if you want to, or are they so altered they may as well have been removed?