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!)


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.


100

Beyond The Dark Portal

Beyond The Dark Portal

I started playing Warlords on launch day – November 13th – during the day. I took my time with it. Regardless of my decision not to blow through the content, I didn’t have much of a choice anyway. In real life, I work retail, and during the past month-plus the place has been devouring all of my time and energy. As such, I started playing that Thursday, spent the next week doing little more than a few quests at a time when I could snatch an hour to play, and finally hit 100 eleven days later, on Sunday the 23rd.

(And here I am, nine days later, finally writing about it. Yeah.)

I had a good time. The game looks beautiful; I took more than 2800 screenshots along the way to 100, both to have a record of quest progress and to simply capture the beauty from time to time. I read the quest texts, and will re-read them the next time I take a character through.

An ancient road in Gorgrond

An ancient road in Gorgrond

However, now that I’m 100, I don’t know what to do. Since I am not raiding, I’m not trying very hard to gear. The only real post-100 gear that I’ve been going after, very occasionally, is PvP gear. More on that in a moment. I’m basically spending time at 100 doing Garrison dailies, a little bit of PvP, and trying to decide which toon to bring to Draenor next. And that’s about it for now.

Anyway, here are some of my early thoughts on the expansion…

Gearing for Leveling

So far, only Mushan has stepped through the Dark Portal, so I can only vouch for how this worked for that character. However, I can tell you that early-Pandaria heroic dungeon gear is more than adequate for leveling on Draenor.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I started WoD with an item level of 471 (upgraded Heroic dungeon gear). I kept every piece until I was a good way past 92, at which point I picked out the best pieces I had gotten from quests and rares and equipped those. This brought me to ilvl 511. Then, I kept all of those pieces equipped until I was 95, at which point I swapped gear again and bumped my ilvl to 543.

Second gear swap on Draenor

Second gear swap on Draenor

So halfway through the leveling process, I was still basically wearing gear roughly equivalent to Siege of Orgrimmar flex, before upgrades, with no set bonuses.

Before I go further, let me also mention that I did the first couple of levels without a pet. My first use of a pet was during my first Garrison invasion, before which I tamed a wolf because I felt that it was time, and because I did not know what to expect during the invasion. Before that, though, I did the group quest where you kill the elekk elite near your fort by myself, with no pet. I took some hits, but I managed to kite it well enough that I was able to persevere and take it down with little problem.

Anyway, I kept that gear until I was level 98, and when that swap was complete I was up to 580 and had finally eclipsed my top Mists ilvl.

Third gear swap on Draenor

Third gear swap on Draenor

 

I rode that gear until I hit 100, and then I made my final mass-swap and jumped up to 604. I haven’t built much upon that since, although I haven’t had any real problems out in the world with that gear.

I like that I was able to get some use out of the gear acquired through leveling. I enjoy that part of the leveling process – getting gear as I progress – and I believe it helped me appreciate the enemy encounters along the way much more than if I had Husqvarna-ed my way through Draenor with SoO gear.

It was also nice not banging my head against the wall in SoO over the last couple of months trying to get gear and the heirloom weapons (or legendary cloaks for my alts). I got weapons at regular intervals throught Draenor, as I had suspected I would, and they served me well. It was a much less stressful way for me to play.

PvP

After hitting 100, I went to check out Ashran.

After about an hour and a half of play there over three occasions, I don’t have many thoughts on it, other than that the same two bosses always seem to be engaged, and that the fighting always seems to be taking place on the road in the same place. The zone is pretty cool – I’ve enjoyed exploring around – and has been compared to Wintergrasp, but my early impression is that it doesn’t hold a candle to Wintergrasp. I’m pretty disappointed overall. I still want to try out Southshore vs. Tarren Mill, and get my feet wet in some other BGs again. But overall, my time in Ashran has caused me to be more interested in leveling my next toon than in PvP.

Garrisons

I’ve enjoyed the Garrisons more than I thought I would have. I’m glad that I didn’t fuss over them extensively before the launch. It was fun to have the ins and outs revealed to me as I progressed.

I decided to go with the Barn and Tannery to supplement my Leatherworking and Skinning. This has turned out to be beneficial, since I don’t really have time to go out and acquire mats for the daily cooldowns. I also went with the Salvage Yard, Stables, Storehouse, Barracks, and Gladiator’s Sanctum. I’m still leveling my buildings, since I missed a lot of days leading up to and during the holiday. It’s fun, but it also seems like a lot of busy work.

I like having followers. There are some cool people hanging out at my Garrison now: I really like having Admiral Taylor, Rulkan, and Lantresor of the Blade around. I like doing missions, although I’m somewhat handicapped by the fact that I have no followers who can mitigate spells. I’ve got, like, 37 rogues, 12 priests, 15 warriors, and 26 paladins. At least, it seems that way. For now, though, I don’t really mind. I’m still not done doing everything in the game yet, like some of the quests and all of the dungeons, so we’ll see what happens.

I just wonder what spending time in my Garrison will look like six weeks from now…

Dungeons

As much as I love dungeons, I haven’t gotten into any of them yet. I got invited to one last week while I was partially afk, and didn’t have time to do it. Other than that, though, I’ve only been doing content that I can leave at any time, because, as I mentioned, I’ve been very busy, and when I get home from work, I am usually extremely tired.

Story (Alert!! Possible spoilers below, if you haven’t finished all of the questlines yet!)

A couple of random story thoughts…

– Deaths. AU Velen, I was feeling a little shocked, but I understood and admired his sacrifice. Maraad, I was quite saddened by. AU Orgrim, I thought to myself, “oh shit, no way!” but that didn’t affect me like Maraad’s death, and I was just glad that AU Durotan was still alive.

However, I absolutely loved the cinematic at the end of the Nagrand storyline. Dude had it coming, and he got his in epic fashion!

– At the end of the Auchindoun questline, we defeat a demon, and then take the gate to Auchindoun, where Exarch Maladaar and Soulbinder Tuulani seem to have different and somewhat bizarre reactions to the disappearance of Gul’dan and Teron’gor…

The Exarch is happy that we slayed several baddies. His reaction is completely without regard to the situation on the ground, or in Auchindoun:

Yay, we won! :P

Yay, we won! :P

Meanwhile, Tuulani is saddened and mystified:

What happened?? :(

What happened?? :(

Apparently neither really knows how instance portals work…

Generally, the leveling story was pretty good, but I felt there was something important missing at the end of this questline. Any normal player/hero knows that they jumped into the instance, which took them out of PvP. Right? And Teron’gor is a boss in the Auchindoun dungeon, so… yeah.

It just didn’t seem written well at all.

Huntering

Man, I miss Scatter Shot.

I also kind of miss Arcane Shot as Marksmanship, but I’m okay without it. In Warlords, it would have made rotations smoother. But I generally enjoyed MM for leveling: the Aimed/Chimaera double-whammy was nice on single mobs. And while Multishot seems terribly ineffective, Explosive Trap is awesome when you pull a bunch of little podling b-holes…

As I said, I had no problem leveling with no pet for a while, and with simply using the leveling gear.

Closing

There are a lot of words in this post, and not a heck of a lot of substance. Oh well. I hope you don’t mind; I just wanted to check in since I have a rare day off and the servers are down for maintenance. I’m still here, and checking the game out a little bit at a time.

I’d like to decide today who I want to take over there next. I’m actually thinking of starting more than one: I have a mage, warrior, and death knight, and I’d like to see which of them I want to take to 100 first. The problem with the plate toons is that I don’t know if I want to level them as tanks or damage specs. I’ll probably stay Blood/Prot, because ultimately I’d like to tank some dungeons once the holidays are over and I (theoretically) have more time, but we’ll see.

If I get all three into Draenor this week, I can start on their profession stuff, which will be nice.

Until next time, hope you’re all having fun!

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


Mushan’s New Journal: Preparing for the Iron Horde

Mushan, awaiting orders in Stormwind

Mushan, awaiting orders in Stormwind

Hello.

My name is Mushan. In order to protect my online privacy, I will not be disclosing my surname.

I am a hunter. I can do almost anything that hunters around the world can do, but I specialize in pinpoint marksmanship, and I always have. To be certain, I have spent more than my fair share of my time working different magics into my arsenal, but lately I have been trimming the fat from my shot selection. In my opinion, there is nothing more satisfying than eliminating an enemy with carefully aimed, heavy, devastating shots.

Recently, I received a summons from King Varian Wrynn, and so I reported for duty in the Blasted Lands. For those who are not familiar with the situation there, Orcs calling themselves the “Iron Horde” are flowing from the Dark Portal, which is now red. Interestingly, they are attacking both Alliance and Horde alike. They allied with the ogres in the region, and took both Nethergarde Keep (killing several friends of mine) and Okril’lon Hold. I was charged, by Vindicator Maraad and other Alliance officers, with a variety of missions designed to weaken their offensive, destroy their commanders, and, from what I understand, allow us to begin to set up a defensible situation there.

Once I had completed those missions, I reported to King Varian, who recognized that this incursion by the Iron Horde is a serious threat. I left him to come up with his plan, and assume that he will be contacting me within the next few weeks with further instructions.

Since then, I have been preparing for the worst. I am not privy to the king’s thoughts, but to my mind, the “worst” is likely to mean that he will be sending Alliance forces through the Dark Portal again. It has been years since I was there last, and I have no idea what is on the other side. I assume that Outland is our destination, but without having walked through it yet – and, assuming that the Dark Portal is still a two-way portal… and that I come out on whatever is on the other side alive – I cannot say for certain. However, as I mentioned, I am preparing for whatever journey the king and his commanders deem necessary.

Preparations have included many tasks.

First, I cleaned out my bags. I will take what I need, but I intend to travel light. In addition to not knowing where I will be going, I will not risk losing valuables in a possible trip through the Dark Portal.

Once the bags were ready, I prepared food packets to take with me. I do not expect that I will not be able to provide for myself wherever we go. After all, I am a hunter. However, without knowing what kinds of fish and game are available on the other side of the portal, I could do worse than having dried noodle soup available when I need it. Perhaps by now the entirety of Outland is completely devastated like Hellfire Peninsula was years ago. If that is the case, I cannot rely on the availability of boar, talbuk, clefthoof, and other game.

Nevertheless, I took some time on a recent Saturday to clean, oil and test my bow and supply my quiver. I also made certain that my tackle box was well-stocked. If there is still fishing to be done over there, I will be fishing if time allows.

A major decision that I made was to jettison the armor that I picked up during the Siege of Orgrimmar. If you have yet to see what was available there, it was heavy gear that made me look like a cyborg. I prefer something far more more lightweight, for both comfort and style.

I packed various supplies into a couple of bags. I have bandages and potions, thread, leather and other supplies for repairing my gear and skinning beasts, traps, a charm that will allow me to breathe underwater, various other charms and gadgets that could prove useful, an anatomical dummy for target practice, my inflatable fishing raft, various tools, and writing materials. I also packed extra bags, since they have a variety of uses in a pinch.

Everything else I will leave at home or put into storage.

I have several pets, but I will not be bringing them along with me through the Dark Portal. It is simply too dangerous. I am willing to put myself at risk to defend the lands and citizens of the Alliance, but I will not put my friends in danger. They will be in good hands. This weekend, I am going to hire someone to look after those that choose not to simply wander the land while I am gone. I consider myself capable of defending myself against Orcs, and will be better able to do so with the peace of mind that comes from not worrying that my pets could be ripped to shreds by potentially unstable forces during the journey through the portal. If there are beasts to be found on the other side, I may tame one there.

Of course, I have also been practicing my marksmanship and woodcraft, running and exercising, and trying to sleep well. With so much uncertainty about the near future, I will treasure the remaining nights that I am able to spend sleeping in a bed.

This entry does not do proper justice to the amount of effort I have put into making preparations for my imminent journey. However, I intend for there to be many more entries, and thus more details.

Until then, Ishnu-alah.

* * *

Editor’s note: Dear readers, this is the first journal entry that Mushan has ever given me. I didn’t even know that he journaled; however, I’m happy to pass along whatever he is willing to share with you.

Sincerely, “Mushan at Mushan, Etc.”

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


Gearing down for Warlords

The new Mushan?

The new Mushan?

Yes, I wrote that correctly…

In the wake of the Warlords of Draenor announcement at Blizzcon 2013, I wrote a few posts about my desire to approach the leveling process differently. One of them described my desire to self-nerf: to gear down, as opposed to “gearing up” for the expansion.

There was some discussion about the subject here at the time, and then I put it on the back burner. My preparation for Warlords over the past year – gear-wise –  has basically consisted of keeping a reserve of Timeless Isle tokens on an alt so that, at the least, I could slap that gear on and be done with it.

At the time, Quelys suggested going in with T14 gear, but I got rid of those pieces as I replaced them, for the most part (basically, I kept Fang Kung, Tao’ren, and the DMC). I was thinking I would probably just go with Timeless Isle gear, as I didn’t see myself putting too much effort into it. However, with Patch 6.0 drawing near, over the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself soloing MoP heroics, painstakingly assembling a dungeon set. Of course, being the behavior-driven nerd that I am, I found myself upgrading that gear once I discovered that I was Justice-capped. This, in turn, set up a nice cycle for me, where I drove myself to get both the gear that I wanted and the JP to upgrade it.

Mushan's end of MoP dungeon set

Mushan’s end of MoP dungeon set (almost)..

^^Possibly my last screenshot of the old Mushan?

As you can see, as of today, my mission is almost complete. I’m having no luck to-date with respect to pants and helm, but I do have some time before leveling begins. And if worse comes to worse, I’m going with the Golden Lotus JP pants and the 476 PvP crafted helm. The goal is to get down to an overall ilevel of 471 (463 plus upgrades, on average), and I think I can get there with that combination if I can’t come up with those last two pieces.

Some thoughts:

  1. In this set, I’m doing roughly 60k DPS single-target (casually, un-buffed) on a raid dummy. It’s interesting how many times-over the damage multiplies from the beginning heroic dungeons to the end of the expansion. Additionally, I’m sitting at about 55% of my SoO health level.
  2. I’m unclear about how my health level will translate with the stat squish, particularly with respect to mobs on Draenor. However, I’m still confident in my ability to handle them, even though…
  3. I’m planning on leveling as Survival. While part of me wants to try leveling as Marksmanship (and that was my plan previously, because I’d love to try “one-shotting” stuff), it seems to be the new (and only) hotness as far as hunter specs go (thanks Obama Blizz). On the positive side: as gutted as it is, leveling as SV could present me with some challenges, which is something I am definitely interested in. I’m looking for an epic experience, and playing hunter with no Kill Shot and no Multi-Strike… will most likely make killing mobs more challenging, if not epic.
  4. I’m planning on carrying my raid gear with me for dungeon purposes, particularly at the lower levels. I don’t necessarily know that I will run dungeons along the way, but the possibility is definitely there. And if I do run dungeons on occasion while I level, I will not be causing my group any extra anguish brought on by my self-nerfing activities.
  5. I’m still going to level like I have in the past in new expansions with respect to buffs, enchants, gems, etc. I’ll be appropriately specced out, have consumables with me, use drums, etc. I just won’t be starting out grossly overpowered like I used to.

* * *

I mean no offense by this, but I get a chuckle whenever I read about people specifically “gearing up for WoD”… and doing so by raiding. Needing that cloak, needing that heirloom, needing that 4-piece. I fully understand the players who are looking for those items because they’re great to have, but I’ve seen many, many people who are frantically chasing after those pieces for their alts… “for Warlords.” On Twitter. Blogs. WoW Insider.

More power to them, but to me it seems unnecessary.

Think about it this way: I am very, very far from being among the best players in the world… But when I level a new toon, I don’t stop at level 80, get a bunch of raid gear, and then proceed to 85, get some more raid gear, and then proceed to the next endgame; I simply go to the new zone and start tearing it apart. All of my level-90 alts that are between ilvl 510 and 550 are very prepared, gear-wise, to romp through the opening levels of WoD before they start to get some gear… and none of them have either heirloom weapons or legendary cloaks.

It just seems like when we do that, we’re actually “over-preparing to overpower”… like we’re trying to get the biggest hammer possible in order to smash a sandwich with it.

* * *

I’m looking to stretch myself a bit as a player – perhaps for the last time in this game.

I may have mentioned this on Twitter briefly a few weeks back, but I got another promotion in September – my second in the last five months – and, where my free time was limited over the summer, it’s downright precious now. I’ll be very surprised if I raid at all in Warlords, and once I get done playing through Draenor, I don’t know that I will keep going. However, that’s a decision to be made sometime down the road.

As such, I’m looking to have an experience on Draenor. Discovery, story, taking my time and enjoying the scenery. Testing my skills as a hunter. Talking with my friends about it all, here and on Twitter, as time and energy permit. I’m looking forward to it!

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


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. :)

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


My favorite raid encounters as a hunter in Mists…

All of them.

Ok, well not really – that’s just my own predilection for hunters shining through!

Today, The Grumpy Elf wrote about his three favorite raid encounters as a hunter in MoP, and Delirium followed with his top five. As I read each of those great posts, I got to thinking about some of the fights I particularly enjoyed because I was playing a hunter, even if I wasn’t in love with the fights themselves. Here then, in no particular order, are some favorite moments/mechanics:

Imperial Vizier Zor’lok

  • Disengage to the furthest shield during Force and Verve on Platform 1? Check.
  • Continue rotation uninterrupted – by casting on the move – while avoiding discs during Attenuation on Platform 2? Check.
  • Quickly change targets to burst down Converted players on Platform 3? Check
  • Combine all three on the floor in Phase 2? Good fun.
  • Jump-Disengage from platforms –> Deterrence to avoid Pheromones of Zeal damage when transitioning between platforms? Check.

T14 was a butt for my raid team. We struggled to get past certain bosses like Stone Guard, Elegon, Blade-Lord, Garalon… yeah. It was rough. But I had fun on Zor’lok.

I used to try to Disengage directly into my assigned shield during Force and Verve. The first time I did it, I called it a ‘three-pointer,’ although it was more like a hole-in-one. It’s the simple things, right? Not an amazing feat, but fun nonetheless. But while Zor’lok wasn’t necessarily a ‘use all the tools in your toolbox’-type of fight, I really appreciated being a hunter on that fight.

Lei Shi

Let’s see here… how about I start with running while casting during Get Away! ? Yeah, that was great. I enjoyed that benefit while playing my hunter, but my appreciation for cast-on-the-move grew when I took my frost mage and resto druid into ToES. What a difference.

I also got to use Wyvern Sting to CC Animated Protectors during Protect, because it was instant / more reliable than Freezing Trap.

On the other hand, one of the more annoying things was having virtually nothing to do during Hide. Watching mages and warlocks rain down ice and fire made me nostalgic for good ol’ Volley in that case. And, in general, that fight was a pain with all of the phase changes and so on, so I didn’t necessarily enjoy it. However, being a hunter certainly served me well against Lei Shi.

Thok

Thok has “hunter fight” written all over it. Both Grumpy Elf and Delirium wrote about how great that fight is for hunters, and with more detail and expertise than I could. Nonetheless, it has to be mentioned here. Casting not interrupted? Jump-Disengaging with Posthaste when Fixated, while still damaging Thok on the move? Tranq Shot if necessary on the adds? The fight is a lot of fun for hunters. I’ve only ever done the fight on one other toon – my resto druid – and it’s a complete pain in the ass. But for hunters, Thok is definitely a good time.

* * *

I could continue with my list, but most of it would just rehash the posts that inspired it. I have to agree with Grumpy Elf that Sha of Pride was great for hunters. Additionally, I absolutely love his ‘welcome’ speech:

“Come, face me. Give in to your pride. Show me your ‘Greatness’.”

So, so condescending. I love it.

So many other fights were good for hunters. Gara’jal, Tsulong, and Immerseus come to mind immediately when I think about taking out adds in something akin to a turret-style manner. There are many abilities one can use during Will of the Emperor for add-control. Disengage is handy in so many fights, from Feng to Sha of Fear, Jin’rokh to Lei Shen, and throughout SoO. I’ve used Deterrence a lot on Stone Guard, H Jin’rokh, Dark Shaman, Lei Shen, and so on; Concussive Shot on Tortos, Will, Immerseus…

It’s been great to be able to interrupt/silence, slow, root, and otherwise impede mobs in raids – while almost continuously dealing sweet, sweet damage – throughout this expansion. It’ll be interesting to see how that kind of thing pans out in Warlords with a less diverse toolbox. In the meantime, it’s fun to look back and remember how, in spite of variable class balance *cough*, Mists has been a pretty fun expansion in which to play a hunter.

Thanks to The Grumpy Elf and Delirium for the inspiration for this post, and for sparking some good memories!

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