Small Victories: Wrathgate Edition

This weekend, my SO and I got ourselves through the Wrathgate chain. Although this is my fourth time completing it (second time horde-side), I still sit through the entire video, eyes glued to the screen. Yes, I know what’s going to happen, but it doesn’t make the cinematic any less engrossing.

If somehow you haven’t actually made it through the Wrathgate chain and are reading this, stop reading now lest it be spoiled for you.

It is such a great moment watching Saurfang the younger lead the horde in to join the battle with the Alliance forces. Lok’tar ogar! United and fearless, they challenge Arthas together, but are no match for the Lich. Arthas, who sucks out Saurfang Jr.’s soul with Frostmourne after slaying him. But that’s not the moment that gets to me the most. It’s the plight of the Foresaken.

My first time through on my undead, when Putress showed up on the hill and said “Did you think we had forgotten? Did you think we had forgiven?” I have to admit I empathized with him some. As a group, could the Foresaken hate anyone more than Arthas? And didn’t we all have an inkling as we ran errands for the Royal Apothecary Society that it was quite probably not going to be used for humanitarian purposes? Like that cat we changed into a radioactive wildcat for them in Felwood?

Behold, now, the terrible vengeance of the Forsaken! Death to the Scourge! And death to the living!”

But that’s where the sympathy ends. My Forsaken ladies don’t want to cull the earth of the living and the scourge. They mostly want to be left alone. As Bolvar is overcome with the plague, falling to his knees, I am sad that the Horde and the Alliance will both come to mistrust the Forsaken as a result of Putris’ treachery. Sure, we grab Thrall and Lady Sylvanas (Now! With not improved! More emo! Voice acting!) and help take back Undercity, but it’s the Alliance who goes after Putress. And Varian Wrynn wants more than ever to purge the earth of all horde. Can a man who insults Thrall and Sylvanas with Trash like you and this evil witch were allowed to roam free — unchecked.” ever ally with us? 

The Cinematic and the Battle for the Undercity event pulled us into Wrath of the Lich King like no other quest chain had before. The closest event that comes to mind would be the completion of the Alliance Onyxia keying chain wherein you escorted Marshall Windsor into Stormwind. Unmasking the treachery of Lady Katrina Prestor who then murders Windsor in cold blood, summoning her dragons and beating a hasty retreat. Incidentally that s where many Alliance meet Bolvar Fordragon the first time — as he single-handedly fought back her dragon guards, avenging his friend’s death. I had hoped we’d cross paths with Bolvar again and am alwaays sad that we do, only to see him cut down. Could he have helped unite the horde and alliance forces? We’ll never know now.

Thank you Blizzard for this gift to the players. It makes slogging through the leveling worth it each time.

I Took the Faction Change Plunge and Lived to Tell About it

My Draenie shaman is no more. As I had pretty much decided when they announced faction changes, I took the plunge and faction changed her so she could be a part of my horde pirate family. The hardest part of the endeavor was saying goodbye to the friends I have Alliance-side, accumulated over the past almost four years. I still have my druid on the server, but honestly, I mostly logged on this lady to do Jewelcrafting dailies and say hello to folks. Moving her to the horde cements my transition for them, and for me. I will try to chip away at them over time to get them to come play with us horde-side…this means YOU Milch and Thar and El and Jay!!

The overall process was easy enough, though it took me some extra time due to not being aware that read mail in my box would be an issue. Once it was safely deleted, my faction change went through within a couple of hours, and the server move within minutes after that. And thus, on Saturday morning, I was on a zeppelin to Northrend. I had almost all of the Northrend horde FPs, minus Gundrak and one of the Argent Crusade quest hubs. I retained my achievements for number of quests completed but my running tally halved itself. Good thing I am not pursuing loremaster! The contents of my bags all switched over without incident, except for my mechano hog. A GM ticket and a 24-hour wait were all it took, however, for that to be resolved so my SP could be riding in style.

My alliance characters, with so many years under their belts and a wide assortment of professions across them as well, are more prosperous than my hordies. And I had stashed a variety of cloth items for my not-yet-leveled up alts (who may never be leveled at this point.) So I made sure to consolidate all the goodies on my shaman to bring them with me. An especially fortuitous score was the Tome of Polymorph Turtle, on the AH for 350g. I have probably lost rolls on that thing a half dozen times over the course of my many ZG fishing boss summons.

It’s been 8 months since I played my shaman for more than a few minutes time. Thus it took me a while to get back into the swing of things. For one thing, I hadn’t healed on her since I was on my wee laptop and see I will need to install grid or some unit frames to not lose my mind doing that. I am getting her DPS well sorted, tho somehow she only had healing gear — except for the heroic CoS pants. Her sorry state of gear is due in large part to the fact that she and my druid swapped in and out, boss-by-boss for our tiny 10-man guild’s Naxx runs at the beginning of the year.

But even if I am DPSing ToC primarily in healing gear, and white-knuckle healing through the other heroics, it’s nice to actually have the opportunity to get her out and about and playing again. I’ve really missed playing her. And it’s nice to have my pocket JC available whenever needed. It has been strange for me to only have 1 level cap character for the past 6 months horde-side. Ever since vanilla, I’ve always had a stable of alts to choose from — so i could be a swiss-army knife for whatever activity our friends and guildies were up for. It feels great to have that flexibility again.

My verdict? Well worth the money.

Next up: getting the mage to 80!

P.S. I took the shaman for one last chopper joy ride with her main squeeze right before I transferred:

<3 that Wrenzil.

Friday Five: Five Things to Do to Get Ready for a Faction Change

If you’re like me, and have decided to make the faction jump with one of your characters, you were probably itching to go as soon as the news broke on Wednesday that Faction Changes were now available. But before you hit the “Faction Change link on your account management page, there are a few to do’s to make the experience a better one:

  1. Read the FAQs. Even if you’re not a reading the instructions kind of a person. They link out to conversion tables for gear, achievements, and mounts. This way you’ll be mentally prepared for all the changes ahead and not wndering why you have a bunch of chocobo mounts
  2. Since you read the FAQs, you’ll know you can only bring over 20,000 gold on your level 70-80s. So if you have more than that, you’ll have to convert it into items you can use or sell once your change is complete.
  3. To make the most of #2, CLEAN OUT YOUR BAGS! Delete every easily-replaceable food/drink, thread or other cheap crafting materials, etc. Are you really ever going to use those old clown pants? Are you? Be ruthless in your assessment.
  4. If you plan on a server change after your faction change, determine if your name is avialable. If not, put some thought into alternative names you’d like, and see if they are available. The easiest way to do this is to /friend mycoolname while logged on to that server. What you want to see returned is player not found.
  5. OK your bags and bank have been purged, your name researched, and you’re ready to go. There’s one last thing you should do: document the moment. Take a screenshot of your character in one of your favorite faction-specific places to remember them by.

I’m moving my shaman over this weekend and am really excited. I’ll be saying goodbye to an old friend in doing so, but will actually get to avoid the leveling slog to get to play her. At this point, it’s highly unlikely I’ll make a return to the Alliance, and certainly not on my server home of the past 3.75 years.I’m excited at the new possibilities.

Cheers!

Leveling my Mage 58-68 in the Post-patch 3.2 World

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In two weeks of moderate playing, that also included a significant amount of raiding and Conquest badge farming on my main, my baby mage sped from 58 through the Dark Portal to Outlands, and up to 68 and into Northrend this weekend. This is thanks primarily to the many alt leveling changes that dropped in Patch 3.2.

Despite my long-standing dislike of Hellfire Peninsula, I forced the mage to start there, knowing it would quickly provide her with significant staff, hat, and boot upgrades. I did not need the chestpiece since she is rocking the new badge heirloom chest in addition to the shoulders. Together, these pieces provide a 20% XP increase from both questing and killing monsters. This is on top of any rested increases she had from time-to-time.

As soon as she dinged 60, she purchased her flying mount, now available at Thrallmar. This was the final key component to her zooming through the next 8 levels.

I cherry-picked my way through my favorite quests in Hellfire, Zangermarsh, Terrokar Forest, and Nagrand, hitting all the key quests with gear upgrades. I made sure to stop over in Mok’Nathal for the cooking recipe quests, and in Netherstorm for the cool pink goggles. I fully explored the map in each zone, grabbing the flight paths too. Each uncovered zone netted 1200 or so XP on average; in my final day in Outland as I finished up and got the Outland exploration achievement, I earned a solid 6 bars from exploring alone.

Some reminders for mages in this leveling phase:

  • Be sure to go back to Ashzara any time after 60 to quest for your polymorph pig spell
  • You can learn your Shattrath teleport at 60, then the portal at 65
  • Especially if you have the boost from badge gear, keep up your mage armor at most times; the extra mana regen can keep you going from evocation cooldown to evocation cooldown, instead of having to drink every few pulls

I have not yet started any Northrend questing, but I did go through a few essential ready steps:

  • My 80 sent her the heirloom tome of cold weather flight(costs $1,000 g from the cold weather flying trainer in Dalaran) so she could immediately start flying at 68
  • I flew from Vengeance landing to Moa’ki Harbor, then up to Dalaran, grabbing flight paths as I went
  • Once in Dalaran, I set my hearth there (can train for the teleport at 71)
  • Got started on the cooking dailies

It will be interesting to see if her leveling velocity stays the course now that she is in Northrend, or if it is slowed down by virtue of having more folks out there jockeying for quest mobs, etc.

Friday Five: Five Nice Changes for Your Alts

In the past week+ since 3.2 dropped I've seen that many folks were not aware of the many awesome changes in the patch that positively affect alts and leveling. And thus, I bring you today's five great changes for your alts:

  • Inventory your badges and buy your favorite alt their BOA chest with 10% experience boost. If you have more than 1 alt that is a spellcaster, buy the cloth version so you can share them back-and-forth when the mood to play strikes. YES you really can share them with multiple alts– that's totally the point! And the 10% bonus XP from the shoulders stacks with the chest making leveling a lot less of a chore.
  • Get thee to the stables! Chances are your alt is now eligible for a mount: Apprentice Riding (Skill 75) can now be learned at level 20 for 4 gold; Journeyman Riding (Skill 150) can now be learned at level 40 for 50 gold.That's right — epic land mounts to help you zip around as you quest!
  • Get ready to fly your way through Outlands and Northrend. Your level 60 may purchase Expert Riding (Skill 225) for 600 gold from trainers in Honor Hold or Thrallmar. Then, your 80 can purchase the Tome of Cold Weather Flight which will allow you level 68 alt to start flying through Northrend a sollid 9 levels before you were able to do so. Unfortunately, it is consumed upon use unike the other Heirloom BoA items.
  • If you have a baby druid at level 16, run them over to the druid trainer to buy Travel Form. If not, enjoy knowing that you too will save some travel time for your alts thanks to the Azeroth postal system finally adding some more mailboxes to the major ities that previously had one gridlocked box.
  • The days of running to the Blasted Lands to get to the Dark Portal and doing the death ride to Shattrath are over. The portal areas in all major cities now provide a portal to the Blasted Lands that pops you out in view of the Dark Portal. And after crossing through the Dark Portal, players can access a flight path directly from the Stair of Destiny to Shattrath.

Overall, a nice selection of time-saving changes that will make leveling your next alt a lot less painful. Thank you Blizz!