For now, Sylvanas…

"Thou shalt have three suits of Lincoln Green each year, and forty marks in pay."

“Thou shalt have three suits of Lincoln Green each year, and forty marks in pay.”

In days of old, I spent my time in pursuits of a more innocent nature: hunting beasts for meat and skins, working with leather, fishing, cooking, reading, honing my skills with a bow, and enjoying my life in peace.

Many of the most recent years have, however, been filled with war. War against the scourge, the sha, the Legion, the orcish Horde, the mantid, the mogu, the old gods. Restless ghosts and corrupted dragons and beasts and humans and trolls and elves, and seemingly every other humanoid or other such foes.

I am tired of war.

I came back from Draenor bored, exhausted, and disgusted. I shut down for a long while at my farm in the Valley of the Four Winds, numbing my thoughts and feelings with drink and contemplating retirement from… well, I’m not sure I should say.

The dwarves and pandaren seem to have no problem handling their brews.

I, on the other hand, am simply a moody, cynical drunk. After weeks at the farm – drowning in suds – I felt no less exhausted or downcast than I did the night I arrived, until one morning I awoke and decided to simply stop drinking.

My life changed immediately: my outlook improved, as did my energy level and my ability to rest and rejuvenate. I ate well and enjoyed the company of my pandaren friends. I shed the burdens of slow suicide and instead took flight, revisiting some of my favorite places on that wondrous continent. I put together a new suit of armor made with materials of the color of trees, and burnished and refurbished my bow. My sister Anacrusa joined me presently, and we hunted together with teeth and claws and arrows; feral nature and marksmanship in harmony. It was a time of revitalization and renewed confidence, and reminded me of my younger days, before the wars.

Then, several weeks ago, the Burning Legion returned.

We each received a summons from King Varian Wrynn, travelling with Alliance forces to The Broken Shore to face the Legion, only to be forcefully rejected by Gul’dan. We lost Tirion; we lost the King, along with untold numbers of Alliance soldiers. We worked in concert with the Horde until the very end, but we were overmatched. Ana, who maintains contact with druids all over Azeroth through the Cenarion Circle, learned from tauren and troll druids that the Horde also lost their leader, Vol’jin, and had at least as bad a time as we did.

Since our return, young Anduin Wrynn has ascended to the throne of Stormwind, and the druids report that Sylvanas Windrunner is now the Warchief of the Horde. The Kirin Tor moved Dalaran back to the Eastern Kingdoms temporarily, and we accompanied Archmage Khadgar to Kharazan, where he searched for any knowledge that might aid us against the Legion. The result of his efforts has Dalaran preparing to blink once more, this time to the Broken Isles. I have never been there.

Lady Jaina Proudmore cannot get past her grief and anger at the Horde, and has, to my knowledge, left the Kirin Tor. Dalaran will be whole again under Khadgar’s vision, with Horde rejoining Alliance in that vaunted floating city, but Jaina could not abide the Council’s vote to make it so, and excused herself from our efforts. I am hopeful that she will return to us in some capacity, for I am certain that Khadgar is correct: we need to stand together in our combined strength, in order to save the world.

If I haven’t been clear enough thus far in this journal entry, I am a man of peace. I believe that most in the Horde are good, and I wish that we didn’t seem to be constantly in a state of war with them.

Furthermore, while I was a “commander” and “general” in Draenor, I am also a footnote in history. I am an adventurer, unnamed in the history books. I come when called, if I choose. I am loyal, but I am loyal to honor. I am loyal to those dear to me. I am loyal to those I respect. I am loyal to the Alliance, but ultimately I am loyal to Azeroth, and to the sons and daughters of Elune and the Earth Mother. I believe this is pragmatic.

The Legion has begun attacking Azeroth. We have fought off demons outside Stormwind and Orgrimmar, Ironforge and Undercity, in Dalaran, and in other parts of the world. So far they have been vanquished, but only temporarily; they soon return again as if arriving for the first time.

We have fought valiantly, side by side with the Horde. They’ve fought under Gryan Stoutmantle and the Three Hammers; we’ve fought under Varok Saurfang and Prince Galliwix. We’ve even fought under Helcular in Tarren Mill.

Last night, I was in Tarren Mill. We fought off the Legion and cleaned up the entirety of Hillsbrad. In the process of doing so, I revisited the ruins of Southshore. I had to pause.

Where great things happen no more.

Where great things happen no more.

Until a few years ago, this was a port, a town with men, women and children who lived and grew and worked hard to have a life. It was the last remnant of old Lordaeron. Sylvanas Windrunner destroyed it.

I have seen Sylvanas on several occasions. For a banshee, she still looks like an elf. A dead, cold, reanimated elf, who gave herself over to revenge and calculated, brutal destructiveness and cruelty. Countless innocent people have suffered from her particularly heinous methods of war. She didn’t simply bring war on Southshore: she brought the plague upon it.

The above photo is all of the evidence necessary to say these things with certainty.

Take note, Genn Greymane. Take note, Lady Proudmoore…

In talking with greener members of the younger races in the Alliance recently, I’ve found some who have a particular fascination with Sylvanas. They find her attractive and mysterious, both “hot” and “cool,” as they say from time to time. Some of these young ones are Alliance soldiers.

I find her to be none of these things. She is a Ranger General, and I respect her skills and acumen. They are necessary, and should prove valuable to the efforts against the Legion in this desperate fight for the future of our world.

She is an ally in this war. I will fight in concert with her. I will do whatever I can to ensure we are victorious. However, I must strongly disabuse those who want to cozy up to her of their delusions.

Southshore. It lies in ruins, fouled by stench and ichor and vile green pools. Its families are deceased – or, worse, they have been raised in undeath. Which is not “cool,” though it is most certainly cold.

(This does not excuse certain actions of the Alliance, of course. The burning of Camp Taurajo comes to mind, for instance. I am still angry about that tragedy.)

Today I am back in Pandaria, where I keep my hearthstone. I expect to hear from Khadgar or the Alliance any day now. I will go where I am needed as I can. I will fight alongside our allies, including the warchief if necessary. For now, Sylvanas…

But I will not forget what one finds these days at the ruins of Southshore. I will not trust her or cater to her like a blithering fool.

For, if we are able to escape extinction at the hands of the Burning Legion, will we celebrate together, and then work to mend the world and our relationships, and build a better future?

No, we will collectively return to our petty wars at the cost of more innocent lives, and the decimation of our military strength against future threats to our existence.

And I want no part in that. Wrathion be damned.

-Mushan

***

(OOC: Plans have changed, and Mushan the Marksmanship Hunter will be my first toon in Legion! I hope you found this post mildly entertaining… thanks for reading, and have fun!)


My alt and profession priorities for Legion

The Dream...

The Dream… (Anacrusa)

For the first time ever, I got into the beta for an expansion.

I spent virtually no time in it. Frankly, work pushed me about as close to my limit in June as it possibly could, and I could never justify jumping into beta during very limited play-time/energy when there were things to do in Live. So the invite was, sadly, basically wasted on me. Hopefully next time – if there is a next time – I will have more time to be a contributor, both here and in the beta.

Anyway, I said all of that to say this: I know very little about the upcoming expansion. I have read some, class-mechanic, stat, and gear-wise, but I got basically no experience on beta other than some time on a target dummy about a month or so ago.

That being said, here are my rough priority lists for Legion:

Primary

  • Feral druid leveled through Legion, in a Loremaster-y – as opposed to world-first-y – type fashion.
  • Once I finally hit 100: world quests, dungeons, PvP, and whatever the class hall requires, in order to have fun and possibly get geared for raiding.
  • Her professions on their way to being whatever they end up as in Legion.

Secondary

There are 5 other toons I want to bring into Legion, in relatively this order:

The frost mage...

The frost mage…

1. Frost Mage – if my druid is my melee toon (and possible healer) for competitive or instance play, the mage may be my ranged option. Fire is cool too, but I love frost from a greater conceptual standpoint, and so far I am enjoying playing him in the pre-patch.

(As a bonus, he is also my Tailor / Jewelcrafter, which I get some value out of…)

2a. Prot warrior – I really respect prot warriors and enjoy the challenge of playing mine. As frustrating as he is to play in certain situations, I love this toon, and I want him to get his sword and shield, and at least see how the spec plays in Legion. So far, he feels fairly powerful in Tanaan, given his relatively low gear level.

2b. Frost DK – because his weapons are reforged from the shards of Frostmourne! Do I get to talk to the new-and-improved Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon? I’ll find out soon enough (those who know, DON’T tell me!!)… Heck, that’s almost enough to make me take this toon into the Broken Isles FIRST.

(But I won’t. But it will happen sooner than later!)

2c. Mushan (hunter) – because he is my hunter, and because I still want to try to live my fantasy of the class in a casual sense, even if it means not prepping him for all the raiding stuff, etc. But his stock is sinking rapidly with respect to having a fun gameplay experience, in my observation thus far this patch.

3. Ret Paladin – …do I really have to say?

It’s Ashbringer!

This is, admittedly, a tertiary priority, because I really just want the artifact – I don’t know if I will really be able to give much time to her. But, since the expansion will apparently be at least 2 years in length, I have time to maybe do so.

Tertiary

Off-the-cuff thoughts:

– I am making a Demon Hunter, just to check it out.

– Can you believe I have not ever played a Pandaren toon yet?

– Can you believe I have not leveled a shaman to 100?

– Can you believe I have never leveled a Horde character to max level?

– Or a warlock, monk, or priest?

– . . .

Well, if I at any point thought that there was nothing left for me to do in-game, I was overlooking a lot. Now, it’s not like I’m retiring from my job and plan on spending the next several years immersing myself in everything WoW before the servers go down. But I would like to tackle a few of these, if not all. Here’s what I have in mind:

  1. As noted above, make a Demon Hunter (the easiest, obviously, to get to max level at this point).
  2. Level a Pandaren Monk. Alliance side.
  3. Level a Shaman (probably Dwarf, otherwise Tauren).
  4. Level a Tauren Druid if the sham is a Dwarf, otherwise Tauren Shaman).

*Side note: I still have both my level 90 and 100 boosts. I may use the 100 boost at some point if I get one of these toons to 90, because I like the leveling process – I’m just done with the WoD process. But the 90 boost I may never use. We’ll see.

Other

I was going to try to list some other things I have in mind, but really that stuff is so far off anyone’s radar right now that I won’t. The above list is enough to cover me for activity into the foreseeable future, especially if my future schedule ends up allowing me to do some raiding!

I’m not terribly interested in Professions this time around. Let me rephrase that: In Legion, I’m not going to go for broke on maxing out each and every profession to cover all of my bases. I’ll get Ana all done, and probably the mage, and the rest may or may not follow. My main focus is one to two toons, and I’m determined to leave a few of my 100s on the bench this time. That’s an idea that’s a direct rejection of the ‘jack of all trades’ meta-game in WoW. I need to focus on having fun. I already have a job. I worked 70 hours at it last week.

The Wrap

Three months ago, my plan for the Legion expansion period was to make a bunch of new toons and level them to 100 without taking them past Pandaria / to Draenor, because I do not really want to play WoD again for a long time, and wasn’t interested in working my WoW endgame ‘job’ again in Legion, in addition to my real job. Now, I’ve got plenty of potential fun on my plate along with some energy to direct toward it!

***

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. 


I join the growing chorus

Anacrusa stops by the Herb Garden of her garrison for a photo while preparing to leave AU Draenor for Azeroth, July 18th, 2016 [Photo by Mushan, Petty Mirror Images]

Anacrusa stops by the Herb Garden of her garrison for a photo while preparing to leave AU Draenor for Azeroth, the evening of July 18th, 2016. [Photo by Mushan, Petty Mirror Images]

There comes a point in the lives of certain bloggers – people like me, who name their blogs after their main characters in World of Warcraft – when you start to wonder what you’re going to do about the name of your blog.

As of right now, I have no concrete plans to change anything with respect to that. This is Mushan, Etc. I will very likely play Mushan, the toon, the hunter, in Legion. To some extent.

On the other hand, I will definitely play my druid, Anacrusa – last my main four expansions ago – in Legion.

***

The news

In an announcement that is months in the making, I’m writing today to tell you that, barring ‘Cataclysmic’ changes – to MM hunters, cat druids, or both – between now and Legion’s launch, Anacrusa will be my main at the start of Legion.

(I've even changed her back to being my main on the character screen!)

(I’ve even changed her back to being my main on the character screen!) *[yes I know, I haven’t used my boosts yet…]

Believe it or not, this is actually a positive thing!

Wait, what? (You scratch your head, puzzled…)

Well, it’s been a while, so let me briefly paint you a picture of the last few months.

WoD was not fun for me. This was caused by both real life circumstances – my work volume since mid-2014 has made it nearly impossible to participate in group content – and by… well, the expansion itself was not that much fun for me.

With Legion’s announcement, I felt minor pangs of anticipation, but the slow creep of development seemed to have finally bested me this time. By February, I was contemplating the heretofore unthinkable: that I would keep playing WoW for free (thanks, Tokens, for saving me $180/year!), but that I would deliberately not purchase an expansion for the first time in 10 years.

I was somewhere around… here:

“I don’t have time to play consistently, but at least I will still be able to get on from time to time to chat with the few friends I have left who still play the game. And I can revisit some of that nostalgic old content that I enjoy, delve a bit more into lore occasionally, and not worry about anything further…”

A not-insignificant subset of my reasons for potentially going this route included the fact that certain people that I am close to decided that I would love to hear about certain beloved lore characters who are going to die in Legion.

Yeah. I shut that faucet off quickly.

When I found out about who I found about about, it ruined my day, and I began to think it was time to admit to myself that Blizz has indeed jumped the shark, and that it was time for me to get out while I was ahead.

For several weeks, I ruminated on this premise.

***

The hunter

Survival as I know it is dead, and its memory is being partially forced into Marksmanship, and partially split off into a different hunter fantasy: the melee hunter. As such, Mushan – a long-time SV/MM hunter – doesn’t know whether he knows everything now, or, alternatively, nothing anymore (“Me forget how Survival, but me also learn some old Survival stuff as Marks?” . . ah, fuck it. ‘Gameplay trumps lore/fantasy,’ blah blah, but that shit – continuity – is important to me).

Subsequently – and I apologize, but I can’t articulate it like other hunter bloggers have – I feel sick about my hunter. What’s happening to the class in Legion doesn’t seem right. The way the class is being changed, I wasn’t going to be interested in taking Mushan into Legion, without roleplaying part of my own class fantasy away from what it is turning into and isolating myself from others in the game.* At least, that’s where my mind was headed.

*Apologies, I know that is vague. It’s hard to describe feelings sometimes, as well as the personal way that one plays this game. I spent enough time feeling like crap about my hunter that I’m trying not to dwell on the minutia.

***

The druid

And then, one Sunday, I happened to dig a bit into the Legion beta feral druid. And something amazing happened: for the first time in years, I felt a love for the feral spec that had long been elusive. Something long-dormant welled up in my chest, and sparked my mind, and it stayed there – and it’s still there: druid-related excitement that I haven’t felt in a long time.

I’ve been playing her for several weeks now, almost exclusively. She is now my highest (modestly) geared toon, and she’s starting to feel powerful like she used to in WotLK… back when she was last my main.

The cat druid doesn’t seem like it will be THE perfect spec – that’s not what I’m interested in. However, I’m thinking of it as a spec I will enjoy both for PvP and, possibly, if I have the opportunity to get back into raiding again this fall.

***

The wrap up

This was rambly, but what I’ve tried to say, in short, is that, if it hadn’t been for falling back in love with my druid, I might not have purchased Legion. As such, it’s a good thing that I’ve switched mains.

I’ve tried to cut a lot of the negative hunter stuff out of this post. Why? Well, the truth is that, unlike a couple of months ago, I am excited for Legion, and it starts with my druid. It continues with certain artifact weapon quests that the lore nerd in me is excited about (along with other nerdy lore stuff that I love), and culminates with the possibility that I might be able to begin raiding again in the fall if the stars, both IRL and in game, align. More on those things to come.

***

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc.


Wild/Warmongering Gladiator’s “Tunic”…

WoWScrnShot_070816_001503

…is a fucking bra.

Let me back up.

So, I was reading Bendak’s recent post about how to acquire a serviceable Survival weapon once Patch 7.0 drops, and one of the options he listed was picking up a PvP weapon beforehand.

I haven’t done a thing with PvP since the early days of WoD, and so I was entirely unfamiliar with the fact that there was any PvP gear available (because I just didn’t care, didn’t have time, etc.: My experience with Ashran in early WoD left me so unimpressed that for the first time since Burning Crusade, I failed to enter a battleground or care about PvP for the entirety of an expansion.)

I know I’m late to the party. Due to real life situations, WoD was like the lost xpac for me. So my knowledge is lacking in some ways. But, I figured, “I’ve got a few of these Honor/Conquest thingies you can get from doing garrison missions… maybe I can use them to grab some modest upgrades for my druid.”

So I bought myself a solid Conquest trinket upgrade, and then I started looking at how to use the remainder of my currency. I picked up a ring upgrade, and then decided to check out the chest pieces.

The Season 2 chest was “Wild Gladiator’s Tunic.” Mind you, that’s tunic. T-U-N-I-C. Those links take you to generally accepted definitions of “tunic.” Usually covers your chest and waist, and so on.

Meanwhile, here’s that picture, again, of Blizzard’s definition of a tunic:

WoWScrnShot_070816_001503

It’s a fucking bra!

For un-funny giggles, I checked the Season 3 version, “Warmongering Gladiator’s Tunic.” It wasn’t much better:

WoWScrnShot_070816_001525

Hmm… oh, wait-

IT’S A FUCKING BRA!!**

**My reaction had me thinking of this video, in which Lars Ulrich of Metallica reacts to the ridiculousness of Jason Newsted leaving the band and then leaving butt-hurt messages about the band not paying attention to his messages, demands, and angry tirades. He sort of snaps and goes off for a minute. After I came down from yelling, “IT’S A FUCKING BRA!” at my screen about 15 times, I started laughing when I thought of this..

(I know it’s not a perfect one-to-one analogy, but it’s kind of how I felt. In a different way…)

Anyway…

Then, just for comparison, I checked the alternate Season 3 choice, the “Chestguard.” Which… actually covers.

WoWScrnShot_070816_001534

Oh, hey, a chestguard.

Still, though… a tunic is not a bra! Look it up, you tone-deaf dev-people! I even provided links before the damn screenshots, so you don’t even have to type anything.

Sheesh.

Anyway… ultimately, none of them looked cool in the slightest, and there was no question that I was going to transmog the shit out of whichever piece I bought. So I bought the Season 3 “tunic” (Pfah! I can’t even accept that it’s called that..) along with a couple of other bits, and I did, indeed, transmog everything back to my idea of what a normal, respectable, ancient night elf druid would wear into battle.

Or, around town, for that matter.

***

It’s been a while since I stuck my beak into the argument against this kind of crap. But it seems like not much has changed in the couple of years since I made whatever contributions I made toward the conversation. But really, Blizz? In an expansion setting including a place like the wilds of The Everbloom, you can’t have a more druid-y, plant-y, robe-y “tunic” for us to wear in PvP? You have to go the ‘basically underwear’ route?

Fiannor at Misdirections wrote recently about the fact that someone needs to donate a ton of dictionaries to Blizzard, because sometimes they seem to have no clue what the fuck they’re doing. In this circumstance, I was 100% with her.

Anyway, apologies for the rant/language; next time, we will be back to our irregularly scheduled programming. Thanks for reading.


Warlords of Draenor cinematic, release date, and other miscellaneous thoughts

It’s been quite a while since I chimed in here…

But now, with November 13th now solidly penciled in on the calendar, we have some long, long,

LONG…

-awaited closure with respect to the Warlords of Draenor release date.

As I mentioned back in March, the 11/13/14 release date means, since it is indeed after October 21st, that

“Warlords will have both A) taken the longest time-after-previous-expansion to release of any expansion in the game’s history and B) given players the greatest amount of down-time after the previous expansion’s final content patch in the game’s history.”

So, we’ll have to see how this expansion unfolds, with respect to measured content updates and shorter downtime between final patches and new expansions. That will be another year or two (or more). Blizzard says that they are already working on the next one, but we’ve heard that before. They’re still bleeding subscriptions, and they failed to solve that problem this go-round, so we’ll see.

The question is, how many of us will see…

* * *

Anyway, how about that cinematic? I have to say, I loved it, in spite of the exclusion of anything other than male orcs and a demon. The setting was compelling, the production spectacular, and the action was thrilling. I absolutely loved the flying-Grommash-axe-to-the-head killing of Mannoroth.

I’ve watched the cinematic approximately twenty times. It makes me want to do two things: re-read Rise Of The Horde, and read all of the books post-The Shattering – in particular, War Crimes. That’s something to put on the list of things to get done within the next three months.

It was quite possibly the best cinematic yet. As good as Cataclysm’s seemed at the time, this and the trailer for Mists absolutely destroy it, in my opinion. Wrath’s was awesome too, and I loved the original WoW trailer as well. Darkbrew published a list of his favorites, and mine would be similar.

Here’s a recurring thought I have every time we get the expansion trailer: Blizzard should make a complete movie with CGI. I’m willing to be impressed by the live-action movie that will grace us in a couple of years, but I would love to see something killer like the past couple of cinematics become a major motion picture. Perhaps the cost/risk would be too great – I don’t know about these things. But hey, a guy can dream, right?

* * *

I’m still playing, although I basically stopped raiding near the end of June. My job has been stressful, and I wasn’t finding it a productive use of my time to come home from work and promptly beat my head against a wall until a couple of hours after midnight, particularly when I would have to be back at work early the next day.

In fact, I’m becoming convinced that my raiding days may be behind me. Barring a change of circumstances, I’m not going to have the time and focus to commit to raiding and raiding well. Real life comes first, and I am at an age and in a situation where I can’t let structure in WoW interfere with my future. The idea of not raiding can be a painful one, but the way I’ve felt the past few months, I don’t know that I can do it going forward.

With that (and other things) in mind, my plans for Warlords have been shifting over the past couple of weeks.

I had already planned to not race to level 100. What’s shifting may surprise the socks off of some of you…

I’m thinking of leveling a different toon first. As in, not Mushan.

* * *

Why not Mushan? I know, it seems anathema to lifelong hunters out there, but I’m not the average WoW hunter. I’ll be honest: I’m not terribly happy with what I’ve read about the changes to Survival. It seems like it’s a shadow of its former self. I know that’s a simplified way to look at changes to the spec – and I’ll certainly try it out when Patch 6.0 goes live – but I’m not feeling it right now.

And, while I feel a little better about Marksmanship than SV, it seems like, pre-numbers-pass, Beast Mastery is the way to go. And (here’s where I know I differ from other hunters) I don’t enjoy BM. To me, it’s like being a guy with a water gun and a remote-control car, and you shoot your water gun and remotely control your car, which sometimes gets stuck on a rock in the dirt or some other protrusion and ends up getting stepped on. Perhaps this reflects the true lack of skill I have in the game, but I’ve never enjoyed playing a hunter less in the post-mana era than when I went BM for Council of the Elders in ToT.

Anyway… *washes hands of the issue* I’ll be able to better make a decision on that when the patch goes live and I’ve had a chance to try out each spec to see if I like one of them.

* * *

As for what I’ve been up to in WoW, there hasn’t been much of note.

I’m steadily making cloth for Royal Satchels: So far, Mushan and my druid, Anacrusa, are fully Satcheled-up, with a few other Satchels on various other toons. Now that we have a release date, I’m certain that I will not have full Panda-bags on each of my main toons, but I won’t need that space immediately since I am not racing them all to 100 ASAP, so I will probably leave Modhriel (my Tailor) at Halfhill for the foreseeable future while that project is going on.

I’ve taken up PvP on my druid, which has been interesting. With a gear set largely composed of Timeless Isle gear, about a week ago I stepped in and started losing a lot of random BGs. Compounding the gear problem was my inability to play the spec well, and vice-versa. It’s been a long time since I PvPed regularly on my druid – three years or so – so there has been a lot to learn. I felt a bit guilty for holding my teams back, but I shouldn’t have – I wasn’t the main problem. Most games, we were getting crushed. Ana in full Prideful gear wasn’t going to turn most of those matches into wins, believe me.

Along the way, I’ve picked up a few pieces of Grievous, and the weapon will be next (and a huge upgrade). Things are getting better: I’m getting the hang of the spec, which is my #1(a) goal, with #1 being to have fun doing something that is both old and new.

Aside from that, I’m casually grinding Valor on my warrior, druid, DK, and paladin. My mage has had horrible luck getting a weapon to replace his T14 Sha-Touched sword, so I’ve basically given up on that (and on grinding other gear and Valor) with him. When he finally gets to Draenor, he’s going to destroy mobs anyway, so I’m not terribly worried about it. Frickin’ guy has a 544 ilvl, so I think he’s going to be just fine, even in spite of his 491 weapon…

I’ve also been hitting up some old raids on Mushan. A couple of friends and I went into Ulduar last weekend and wiped the floor with 25-player mode, which scored me a boatload of achievement points. Before that, we did the same in ICC-25. I also finally completed my Valorous Cryptstalker set on my hunter (at least to a point where I could use the gear), which I may talk about in the near future.

* * *

Without making this a book, these are just some miscellaneous bits from the world of Mushan.

Etc.

More, soon. :)

* * *

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. You can follow me on Twitter at @MushanEtc. Comments are welcome!


Beta/launch dates, “killing” the Greench, and what I’ve been up to

Mushan surveys the mess created when the Greench shoved Christmas into this cave.

Mushan surveys the mess created when the Greench shoved Christmas into his hole.

With the holidays in full swing, raiding has been on hold since Thanksgiving. As such, things haven’t been very exciting for me in WoW, and I’ve consequently been playing less. I’ve also been playing less because work becomes very stressful (and the hours more extreme) this time of year, so my life around the game is something of a cycle of boredom and fatigue. “Not much goin’ on..” and “Don’t really care.” It’s weird, but it has felt like we’ve been in the pre-expansion doldrums since October, and my real-life commitments haven’t helped to alleviate that feeling for me.

Anyway… I was, for some reason, uncharacteristically excited about a holiday for once. I’m a Christmastime baby, and have always loved the season, so perhaps that partially explains why I was looking forward to The Feast of Winter Veil so much this year. That, and that there’s not much else going on.

I haven’t been that plugged in to the community lately either. Yes, I’ve read blog posts; and I’ve hopped on Twitter on occasion, but Twitter seems to be becoming so much like Facebook lately that it’s.. it’s just difficult for me. So I’m not as in the loop as I’m accustomed to being, but I am, somewhat.

At any rate, I am playing a little bit almost every day, when I have the energy. I’ve been writing, too, and some of those posts may survive and be published at some point. In the meantime, I have some thoughts to share about topics that are getting old at this point (because I’m usually late to dinner when it comes to putting in my two cents).

Beta speculation

One thing that there has been much excitement about since Blizzcon has been speculation on beta and launch dates for Warlords of Draenor. In my small world, The Godmother has been the most vocal about it, recently organizing a pool of sorts, where people could pick release dates. She also writes consistently about the expansion at her blog, Alternative Chat. From what I can tell, she is both a proponent of a quick release schedule and believer that it is likely to happen. It’s all fun, and speculation is just that, but I tend to be much more skeptical about such quick roll-outs than (I think) she is.

After Blizzcon, I read people who wondered if a beta would release before the end of the year, or, at the latest, early January. Spring 2014 for WoD to drop. Faster patches, faster releases! I could never catch that excitement. I’m just not a believer. I’ve spent too much time over the years, pining for something new to happen “sooner-than-later” – to no avail – to now, all of the sudden, think that Blizzard is going to start pumping out expansions at anything close to their stated goal of one per year. And yes, this is in spite of the fact that it sort of seemed that Blizzard pumped out content for MoP faster than in the past…

I’m going to have to see how the cycle for the Warlords xpac pans out.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at “recent” expansion-release history:

Cataclysm cycle

  • Announced: August 21, 2009
  • Beta testing begins: June 30, 2010
  • Expansion released: December 7, 2010
  • Beta-to-release: 160 days

Mists of Pandaria cycle

  • Announced: October 21, 2011
  • Beta testing begins: March 21, 2012
  • Expansion released: September 25, 2012
  • Beta-to-release: 188 days

Warlords of Draenor cycle

  • Announced: November 8, 2013
  • (speculative) Beta test begins window: mid February to early April
  • (speculative) Expansion release window: mid-July to mid-October
  • (speculative) Beta-to-release: 135-180 days

Here’s the not-very-scientific way I came up with these vague predictions:

A) Once the holidays are over, players will be chomping at the bit to get into the beta. Given the experience that we have – historically – prior to every patch, beta, and expansion release, we’ll get to sit and simmer through two-to-four months of “When is beta starting??” “Soon(TM). Not yet, but Soon(TM).” So with the goal a quicker turnaround, but without sacrificing quality, I can see them getting some basic beta features up as early as mid-February, but I’m not holding my breath.

B) Based on the last beta period, which lasted a full four weeks longer than the beta for Cataclysm, I’m predicting that the best that Blizzard will realistically be able to accomplish from beta to release will be about 150 days, or approximately 20% less time than the MoP schedule. Allowing for them surprising me, I’m giving them a 15-day margin of error on the early side of that, and for the skeptic in me, I’m allowing for an extra month on the long side of that “goal.” Thus, the rough release window that I’ve given above.

More thoughts on beta speculation

While I have doubts that we’ll see Warlords in the spring or the beginning of summer, it’s not only because of the history of recent releases. To me, there are some features that don’t seem very fleshed out yet.

Those features include – to name a few – the player character model revamps, garrisons, adjustments to professions, and class mechanics changes. Some of these things will likely be refined and completed during the beta period, of course. However, it seems to me that the slow pace of updated model reveals could be indicative of how long it could really take to see the beta.**

I could be wrong: it’s quite possible that the beta will come out with just a few character models, with added models as the beta period progresses. But it seems that they would want to have a majority of the models playable at the start of the beta in order to facilitate a quick release rollout, rather than dripping them in periodically and asking for feedback over and over again.

**I say this about model updates, because it seems that they’ve been in development for so long that it’s unlikely that they’re going to whip out both sexes and all of the variables for all eight original models in a rapid-fire fashion at this point. After all, they announced that they were actually working on such a revamp in October of 2011 originally, so apparently a lot of work is going into them, and that doesn’t seem like something they can just finish up, publish, and move on from in a quick and efficient fashion.

So much is unclear about this and other features – which is par for the course, by the way, but doesn’t seem to be par for a faster schedule. It’s likely that information will come out much more quickly after the holidays end, but meanwhile, time continues to tick. Right now, with no beta announced, we’re just nine months away from the two-year anniversary of Mists of Pandaria. In terms of the history of WoW expansions and their beta lengths, that isn’t much time to cut the turnaround time from MoP to WoD by a whole lot less time than previous launch cycles.

The Greench

This may seem kind of mind-blowing, but this year was the first time I killed The Greench since he was revamped a couple of years ago. Hence, my photo at the top of this post.

When they revamped him, I was so uninspired (for whatever reason) by the idea of going to kill him like a world boss that I never even took the “You’re A Mean One” quest to kill him, rescue Metzen, and recover the Stolen Treats. I just never even thought about it.

However, this year, as a result of my excitement over the coming of Winter Veil, I decided to take the quest and see what it’s all about.

I got the quest in Ironforge, flew up to the Alterac Mountains, and found the Greench’s lair. There were dozens of players around, but no Greench. His cave was there, and as I landed, I got quest credit for freeing Metzen… without freeing him. All I did was arrive, and nothing else.

“Okaaay…”

There were several sparkling bags around, so I looted one, and got the Stolen Treats. I looked up at my Quest Tracker: the quest was complete. I didn’t have to kill the Greench at all.

“. . .”

I did anyway. I waited for him to respawn, he went down fairly quickly, and then I flew back, turned in my quest, and got my achievement.

But I was disappointed. While I understand (I suppose) why the quest works that way, I was disappointed that I didn’t even have to “face him,” as the quest text suggested. It sort of killed any kind of excitement and immersion that could come from such a quest.

Having done it a few times now, I don’t know if I’m going to do it any more. I don’t really care about the pet, and going up there and finding a dead Greench and a virtually completed-for-me quest has no real pull for me.

What I’m doing right now

Lately, I’ve been doing the following: leveling my new hunter, hitting up the Timeless world bosses on my hunter and druid, farming old-world mats as part of a hare-brained scheme that I may write about in the future, helping my girlfriend in old raids from time to time, and writing posts or post ideas and not posting them.

I’ve done LFR a couple of times over the past few weeks on my Resto druid as well. She’s up to 534 now, isn’t working on the legendary quest (because I can’t be bothered with the grind), and is fun to play when I do play her. And that’s what it’s all about at this point – having fun – so that’s been rewarding, particularly as one time I was with my friend Somb, who’s always a blast to play with.

I’ve also been playing other games. I picked up a bunch of cheap used games recently for my 360, and I’ll be bumbling around*** in some of those over the next couple of months as the spirit moves.

***Truth be told, I’m not actually a very skilled gamer.

As for what the future holds? Who knows… raiding is officially on hiatus until January, but we have unresolved open spots on the team. So all of that’s up in the air at this point.

We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, I’m not sure that I’ll write a separate post on Christmas Day, so I’ll say to you now: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, my friends. I hope the season is treating you wonderfully.

***

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!


My alt and profession mindset for Warlords

Many alts

On Wednesday, I wrote a ton of words about nerfing myself for the launch of Warlords of Draenor. Today, I’d like to elaborate more on some of the more structural changes I’d like to make, with respect to some other aspects of how I play the game.

I’ve reached a point in my life where the rat race like the one I embarked upon in Mists of Pandaria isn’t appealing, practical, or enjoyable. At the time, I did it, but I was looking forward to better times – and they have certainly come, to some extent. But the way I played in Cataclysm and MoP – many level-capped alts, all ten professions capped (sometimes more than once), seven full farms, plenty of Auction House action, and so on – is something that I just don’t have the energy or interest in anymore. So, while I still farm those farms, post those auctions, use those profs, etc., I am winding down as the expansion does, with an eye toward a more streamlined experience in WoD.

Originally, I had intended to write this post in point-by-point sections, but with the nature of alts and how I play/use them, everything is connected. So, one section it is.

. . .

Like many players who have several alts and most/all professions, I use my professions to support both my raiding toon(s) and each other. Miners provide ore for Blacksmithing, Engineering, and Jewelcrafting. Skinners provide leather for Leatherworkers. Herbalism provides herbs for Alchemy and Inscription. Tailors, um, tail stuff, or something. And all of those profs benefit each of my toons, directly or indirectly. Additionally, they support my gold-making activities. And while I am no AH expert, and do not use addons for that activity, I’ve done well for myself casually auctioning my wares.

In fact, I’ve done so well this xpac that I could probably not sell anything on the Auction House for the entirety of WoD, spend gold like I usually do (which includes paying for all of my own repairs, by the way), and still have more than I need left.

In the absence of an active interest in the gold-making meta-game, there are diminishing returns the longer someone like me continues to fight the AH fight. Unlike some of my peers, I don’t do much wholesale raw material buying, flipping, min-maxing my profit margins, and so on. I’ve done a little bit of that in isolated circumstances, but for the most part I’ve sold what I had/farmed/made, and left it at that. Going further – toward anything remotely approaching the gold cap – just doesn’t interest me much. So with a tidy savings in the bank, I think it could be time for a rest.

With that in mind, I’m planning to chop the number of professions that I max out in WoD to less than half. I currently have 15 primary profs maxed over eight toons, so I’m thinking six-to-eight total would be good…

Before I go further, I’ll also say that that number will correspond approximately with the number of toons that I take to 100, or even into Draenor. Of my current seven 90s and one 85, only three or four of them will likely be heading to 100. Certain profs will hit the chopping block as a result of this.

My 85 druid scribe is the first to come to mind. I’ve never really enjoyed Inscription, other than the concept itself and the convenience of making my own glyphs. I don’t really need a second druid any more, since I made her for the express purpose of leveling as a healer back in the day, and now that I heal on Ana, the other druid has no purpose other than those conveniences and the fact that she has a guild bank. I haven’t decided if I will delete her – for now, she stays, but that could change on a whim. But I’m done putting any effort into Inscription – that much is certain.

Anyway, one of the themes of the next expansion for me will be, as I wrote in my notes for this post, “Less alts. Period.” I should have written “Less alts at max level with maxed profs. Period.” but… I knew what I meant when I wrote it. When something is as much of a time/energy drain as alts have been this xpac, you don’t forget.

Aside from Inscription, I don’t necessarily dislike the other professions, since I finally got an Engineer (DK) to max-level. That was a rough one to level, but now that it’s up there, I don’t hate it. But it won’t be a priority in WoD, in part because my DK will itself probably not be a priority.

. . .

My priorities, in fact, will look something like this:

Mushan – hunter, main raider; LW/BS.

Anacrusa – druid (healer), potential raider; LW/SK.

Droignon – warrior (tank), potential raider; BS/MI.

Those toons will be my three level 100 toons in all likelihood. And, because I probably won’t be able to resist, I’ll probably level my mage (TA/JC) at some point, because I like playing him. But he’s not a priority. His profs will also not be a priority.

Additional profs that have potential to be leveled at some point include Enchanting (2nd hunter), Alchemy (paladin), and Engineering (DK). However, unless I decide to level the DK instead of the warrior for tanking purposes, all three of those toons will be sitting in SW collecting dust for the foreseeable future, and their professions will be leveled incidentally (particularly Enchanting, because of, you know, Disenchanting…) if at all.

So, with those things in mind, if I level the three main toons, I’ll have five different professions maxed. Six if I’m able to level Enchanting while my worgen hunter sits on his butt in a tavern. Eight if I level the mage’s professions. Eight is enough… right? Right?

. . .

It’s my hope that by not letting gold/prof concerns drive my playing activities, I will cut down on wasted time and enjoy a higher percentage of my playing time. I pretty much hate playing the paladin, the 2nd hunter will be unnecessary, and the DK will be dormant until some unknown point until I get very bored. Cutting out a lot of that “toon-bloat” should make me something more of a lean, mean playing machine, or something.

And anything I need that I can’t make myself or have made by a friend, I’ll buy. I sold all that stuff for a reason. This will be the time to use the proceeds.

. . .

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!