Initial thoughts on the Warcraft Legion alpha

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Why hello there. And yes, that IS a gnome hunter you see before you. A slightly confused survival hunter, mind you, but a gnome hunter all the same. And her trusty mechanical pet, Sparky. 

Creating this gnome hunter was my first activity upon installing the Legion alpha. I thought it would be a good way to warm up before jumping into the expansion, given how many hunter alts I've levelled as of late. But it was actually a pretty strange experience due to survival being the only spec available to you. And survival being all about being a melee hunter. 

Now, melee hunter is not an altogether new concept for me. I do recall being in Scholomance in vanilla WoW and having a melee hunter, who kept dying, as part of the dungeon group we'd assembled. But I honestly hadn't given it another thought until we'd heard about the spec overhaul at Blizzcon this year. Luckily, my experience with the all new melee hunter spec did not involve lots of dying. The hatchet throw works well for pulling a mob away from an area that a patrol might walk too close to, and the harpoon shot is an efficient way to get you to melee range of your target. Right now, however, the leveling experience is a bit off. At level three you get a quest reward gun that you can't use at all. In fact, you are using auto shot and your pet to slowly kill your mobs, thanks to your bare action bars. After a few levels of this minimalism, I was ready to check out the shadow priesting.

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One Shadow Priest's Thoughts on Legion

Anexxia, shadow priest in residence at Bible of Dreams, not in shadow form for once.

I can't speak for any other shadow priests, but as I watched the Warcraft Legion systems panel, I started to get nervous when I saw shadow priests as the third bullet on the Immersion slide. I'm already quite immersed with playing my shadow priests, thank you very much! And I haven't forgotten just how recently Blizzard wanted to "improve" our gameplay by taking away our Devouring Plague, a spell that many Forsaken shadow priests such as myself consider to be a cornerstone of our repertoire and story. 

That said, I kept an open mind as we heard their initial comments on the class changes for Legion:

  • Shadow priests in Legion will no longer be the "poor cousin of the affliction warlock".
  • We gain our powers by tapping into the power of the void.
  • The void is controlled by the old gods, and we all know that spending too much time with the Old Gods drives one to insanity
  • Thus, the new resource for shadow priests= insanity. No more mana or shadow orbs. 
  • As your insanity increases, your shadow form gets darker. You grow tentacles out of your body. And you ultimately end up in void form.
  • "Ultimate but fleeting power" because no one can harness insanity forever.

All of the above sounds interesting in theory, right up until I sprout tentacles and end up in a void form. That's where I start to worry. Worry that this will feel like I'm watching the terrible Blade 1 CGI animations come to life. Only happening to my beloved shadow priest. And then there's the maturity level of my fellow players. I still remember the incredibly crass and insensitive Big Wigs raid warnings that went out in AQ that some teenage boy somewhere thought was amusing. Am I going to get that every time I tentacle out in an LFR? Blech.

Today, Blizzard released more information on the priest class changes, including a narrative around our new insanity affinity. Here's their intro to our class story:

The Light in which many priests bathe is brilliant and effervescent, granting them immense divine power. But the brightest light casts the darkest shadow—and from within this blackness, a rival power dwells. Shadow priests fully embrace this opposing polarity, their faith equally resolute as their holy counterparts—but focused on shadowy magics and mental manipulation. Like all priests, they dedicate much of their lives to worship—but they derive their power from the Void, straying dangerously close to the domain of the Old Gods. To truly understand such ancient, corruptive influence is to be driven mad. This is the state in which these dark priests thrive, embracing insanity and feeding off of the minds of their opponents to reach terrifying new limits.

The blog post goes on to discuss how our key talents will generate insanity, with one notable spell missing from the line-up: Devouring Plague. Was this an oversight? Or is this another run at removing it from our spellbook? Only time will tell. Another interesting decision is removing our healing spells, which makes sense, and giving us a dark mending (which sounds a lot like how we used to be able to use our Cascade to heal), and keeping our Power Word: Shield. But despite the emphasis on making each spec unique, they're also giving Discipline Prests the Dark Mending too. I should also note we'll now have a significant, powerful cooldown: oblivion. Every 2 minutes we can trigger it to gain 100 insanity. 

I'm hoping to get my hands on a BETA invite so I can do some significant poking around with the shadow priest changes and provide feedback. I think the vision Blizzard has presented sounds like it has some great potential. But I'm also concerned it may not really work for me. And as someone who has had a shadow priest main since the end of Burning Crusade, that's a real concern. For now, I'm cautiously optimistic. Stay tuned.

 


Blizzcon 2015 Live Blogging by Anexxia at Bible of Dreams

BlizzCOn

That's right, another year, another blizzcon. I'm at home watching via livestream and keeping up with all the twitter #Blizzcon chatter. Be sure to follow along at home!

Hashtags to watch
#Blizzcon
#Blizzcon15
#Blizzcon2015
#Warcraft
#WarcraftMovie
#Hearthstone
#Overwatch
#TBLIZ

Accounts to follow
@Blizzcon
@BlizzHeroes
@BlizzardWatch
@Warcraft
@warcraftmovie
@PlayHearthstone
@PlayOverwatch
@Wowhead
@MMOChampion
@AskMrRobot

Highlights of what we've learned so far...

Continue reading "Blizzcon 2015 Live Blogging by Anexxia at Bible of Dreams" »


Warlords of Draenor 6 Weeks In

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It's honestly a little strange to think that we're already nearly two months in to Warlords of Draenor. Usually, I spend the first few months of the expansion with the blog in hyper drive, creating to do lists, compiling gear lists, etc. But not this time.

Instead, in part due to limited play time, combined with the significant time sink created by Garrison management on multiple characters characters (at 6 now), I've been MIA on the blog. But the start of a new year seemed like a good time to dust things off and say hello.

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My first level 100 was, no surprise, my Forsaken shadow priest. I've gone the CoP talent build route, but kept insanity. The path to max level was pretty quick, as was the gearing up, despite the 3-piece crafted gear limit. That meant I got to do MC at the end of the first week of the expansion, and go with our first guild group into Highmaul. Unfortunately, that's been my only raid.

I'm crossing fingers we see a regular raiding schedule go up soon, and that I'll somehow manage to get home in time to participate regularly. If I'm not raiding regularly, I find my interest level in the game (along with my amount of blogging) drops off substantially. We shall see.

The guild I'd moved most of my Alliance toons to has been pretty quiet (and I somehow never got my account approved on their website after all this time!) So I've been pretty focused on my horde alts, though I did start leveling a boosted Alliance shadow priest to play with my Friend or Foe peeps. It has been interesting to see what the Alliance story arc entails. So far, the Horde story (and quest mechanics) are winning out over the Alliance, but I'm just about to head to Gorgrand, so perhaps my opinion will change?

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What's on your pre-WoD Bucket List?

Anexxia getting her black wings of legendary doom from the Black Prince (a.k.a. legendary cloak quest line complete).

Now that we have the Warlords of Draenor expansion's release date in hand (it's November 13, 2014 if you hadn't heard), it's time to make that last pass at a bucket list for the Mist of Pandaria expansion.

At the top of the page, those black wings you see are my beloved Forsaken shadow priest getting her black wings of doom from the Black Prince, in exchange for finally finishing off the legendary cloak questline. I'd stalled out and not done the PvP portion of the chain after it taking forever to get my tokens in LFRs. So there's one item checked off my list.

A shadowy Xu-Fu battle pet with Anexxia

I've been doing a serious amount of pet collecting as well, with the 4 Celestials pets at the top of my want list. I've gotten my first one, Xu-Fu, seen here in shadowform with me, and am on my way to the other 3, and should have them in hand before WoD drops.

 I'm also working on getting my first-ever paladin to 90 (she's at 77), and got my first level 90 hunter Alliance side a couple of months back. Which means of course I had to go and start a horde hunter this weekend...

But that's the easy part-- the what I'll be able to accomplish. It's what won't be done that always weighs heaviest. For me, it's the Challenge Mode dungeons. I had high hopes of getting a regular group together to run these, but it never seemed to happen. So I'm actually going to end the expansion without having done even one. Which is a bummer.

So how about you? What's on your bucket list for the next 3 months?


The Joys of the Newbs!

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Lookie! I'm a quest giver, on my new Belf paladin. I've never gotten a Paladin past level 21 before until now. And I hadn't leveled a Forsaken or Blood Elf post Cataclysm, so I hadn't done all the quests out that way either. Tho this one I'd done on my Forsaken shadow priest. Johnny Awesome never fails to crack me up!

Oddly enough, this is not the only baby alt I'm working on at the moment. I've rolled a Panda hunter on a new to me server, to check out a possible place to play some of my neglected Alliance characters. Although my heart belongs primarily with my Forsaken ladies, I do enjoy some gnome shenanigans from time-to-time. Which means I need to find a new place for that, given how many of my D'tan peeps have faded away over the past two years.

I've levelled so many baby alts over the years, and have 6 or 7 90s spread across 5 servers. I love that now, in addition to questing and LFG, I can pet battle my heart out to get that much needed XP, if I'm not feeling a particular questing zone. Mostly, that restlessness with questing sets in when I get to the Cataclysm content. I've pushed about a dozen characters through it in total, and really and truly over it. (see all those level 85s gathering dust after that push).

Honestly tho, I love all the newbie little quests. And revisiting my favorite quest areas. So much has changed post Cataclysm, but some of my favorite places and NPCs are still there to make me smile.

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In other amazing alt news, I finally leveled up my Forsaken mage to 90! That's right, my wee lass who sat out the Cataclysm zoomed up from 80 to 90, primarily through doing my pet battling bidding in the greater Mount Hyjal area. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly she was able to gear up and be ready for SoO LFR, thanks to the island loot pinata. Good stuff.

What's keeping you busy in game?


Live blogging Blizzcon 2013: Day One

Elite Tauren Chieftain Hearthstone card
Elite Tauren Chieftain Hearthstone card now available for Blizzcon attendees/streamers

NOTE: To see my live blogging as it happens, follow @anexxia on twitter.

It was a seriously action-packed Blizzcon opening session this morning, and the behind-the-scenes coverage between panels has been juicy as well.

Tons of information about Heroes of the Storm (the Blizzard MOBA), Hearthstone, and World of Warcraft. I'll keep adding to the below w/more details and clarification as the day goes on.

Continue reading "Live blogging Blizzcon 2013: Day One " »


What to Wear: A Shadow Priest's Guide to the Siege of Orgrimmar

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Now that I've been making some headway into the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, both in 10 regular and flex, I figured it was time to put together one of my perennial What to Wear Guides. But once I got started with it, I saw my usual simple guide format of days gone by just wasn't going to cut it with this many bosses and so many gear options per slot. Thus, instead, I put together a handy matrix in Excel:

Siege-of-Orgrimmar-Shadow-Priest-Gear-Matrix

Download a printable PDF, or save a copy of the matrix in spreadsheet form from google drive.

Know your priorities

Per Icy Veins, stat priority changed up a little bit with Patch 5.4:

  1. Intellect
  2. 15% Hit Rating or Spirit
  3. Haste Rating (until reaching the soft cap)
  4. Critical Strike Rating and Mastery Rating (NOTE if you do not have the 2-pc tier 16 bonus, crit still better than mastery)
  5. Haste Rating (past the soft cap)

Gem Appropriately

If you do not have both a max raid buffed spellpower of 30k and ilvl 505, use these gems:
Once you have both a max raid buffed spellpower of 30k and ilvl 505, use these gems:

Maximize Your Enchants

It can be difficult to keep up with maximizing all the changes in stats as you gain new gear. I highly recommend using the Reforge Lite add-on or maximizing your gear via Ask Mr Robot.


Pug Like a Pirate Day

Puggles all dressed up in her pirate outfit. Arrrrrrr

I hope you didn't miss out on Pirate Day festivities in WoW. But my guildie @glyneth perhaps more fittingly dubbed it Pug Like a Pirate day after encountering me and my beloved pug battle pet, Puggles, above.

I took the Pirate Day festivities a wee step further, thanks to the Dread Pirate costume I bought Puggles on the Isle yesterday afternoon. You see, this gentleman named Whizzig, Merchant of Time, turned up on his giant snail and had them available for a few timeless coins. And I simply could not resist.

Enjoy!

P.S. Even the Dark Lady thought she was adorable:

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The Raid Boss Doesn't Care if You're Not a Raiding Guild

Standing victorious where the Council of Elders previously held court

"But we're not a raiding guild."

That little phrase has been the spark for numerous arguments in the various guilds I've been a part of in my eight years of playing WoW.

Inevitably, it's uttered on the heels of a night of working on a progression boss. A night that has ended up in repair bills. Or even one with a boss kill on the last attempt of the night. It is tossed about with mentions of how raiding used to be fun. And people are taking things too seriously. And how could you have shushed me in the middle of that attempt when I was telling that funny story about what I did over the weekend?

But here's the cold hard truth: the raid boss doesn't care that you're "not a raiding guild." If you and your team want to be taking down new content, at level, while it's still the top-of-the-line tier of instance, you are going to have to take it seriously.

You WILL do better if you have a static team instead of switching players in and out each raid night. Players WILL have to use consumables and ensure they keep themselves gemmed and enchanted to the best items available to them. And your raid leader WILL need to decide upon and coach the team through a winning strategy.

Otherwise, you'll keep hitting your head against the same boss over and over without making progress.

If you want to faceroll content while doing tequila shots, set up a retro raiding night and hit up content from expansions past. Retro raids are a great opportunity to casually play while getting to know guildies and garnering a last few sought after achievements. But it's unrealistic to expect to have a voice chat free-for-all chat fest while taking down new to you content. It takes time and dedication to make progress. And that's not a bad thing.

And that's my 2 copper.