~*~*~*~*~ Potential spoilers ahead.~*~*~*~*~

EDIT: adding more pics of little things like this as I find them. See them at the bottom of the post. 

This latest reset has seen a few new things appear in game. For those who have not yet killed Kil’Jaeden on Normal or higher difficulty, the skies would have been empty for them. Until today. Today, Kil’Jaeden became available in LFR difficulty, and to coincide with that, Argus appear in the skies for everyone to see. And the world has responded.

Today when I logged in, I noticed the Doomsayers were back.

They are handing out their pamphlets again (though not sure if the achievement is still available). They seem a lot more smarmy than usual, too.

But then I noticed other things. On Krasus’ Landing there were clumps of NPCs hanging around Kirin’Tor guardians, demanding answers.

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There were clumps of draenei huddled together…

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Investigations were being held on the edge of the platform, and Kirin’Tor Guardians were on high alert patrolling the outskirts of the city.

I wandered into the main areas of the city, and there are draenei everywhere. (That dude walking around with the book- I wish Cinderstorm could do that!!)

The citizens of the city are afraid, and as a leader, they are coming to me for answers. Which right now, I don’t have.

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We know we are headed to Argus soon… Very soon, judging by what’s happening in game right now. But other than that, I don’t really know what’s going on. And I LOVE it. It’s been really great not looking at PTR patch notes- for the most part I don’t know much at all about what’s going to happen when we get to Argus.

It’s fun speculating what will happen, knowing I’m probably completely wrong. One of the things that I found really interesting about the Draenei NPCs is some of the wording they have been using. One said to me “By the Light’s blessing, our path begins anew.” And it made me stop and think…

I was reminded of the scenario in the Exodar with Prophet Velen and Rakeesh and all that unfolded there, with us ultimately destroying Velen’s son. At the end, Velen announces he is done, and he is going home. Home, being Argus. And I just couldn’t help but wonder… did Velen know what Illidan was up to? Did he help Illidan?

It’s interesting times, for sure! For me, I love this part, where the whole world around me is responding to things that are happening in game. It really adds to the immersion. Their sense of doom and fear is driving me to keep fighting. We’ve all come too far to just roll over and let the Legion win. I can’t wait to see Argus!!

 

EDIT 1: So I just went to the Alliance bank in Dalaran and came across two goblins, Pixxy and Shnivel, emptying out their loot from the bank…
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~*~*~*~*~Spoilers ahead. If you don’t want to see any of the Tomb of Sargeras stuff yet, please turn away now.~*~*~*~*~

This week the Tomb of Sargeras opened. For me, it was a bittersweet time, as my partner Thor had made the decision to stop playing WoW. It would be the first time we weren’t raiding together in years. In addition to that, I was having all sorts of dramas with a new PC (more on that in a later post!) and generally being less prepared than I would have liked. So I went into Tomb, well, flustered.

But in we went, a much stronger team than we were going into Nighthold. And oh, how amazing this raid is. It’s always nice to see some new fights, of course. And for the most part, we powered through normal (with a shut down in the middle of our first night!). On our second night we cleared 6 bosses on heroic, and last night a few of us went in again to get the 7th down.

After we called it for the night last night, I ran around the Tomb to take some screenshots. It’s an amazing mix of beauty and terror. Especially in the real Nightborne areas- things look beautiful, but upon closer inspection, and down right horrific. In one of the pics below you’ll see a statue of a beautiful female night elf holding a large pan. And the light and colouring is so beautiful and serene. But then when you get closer to her, and you look at her face, you see her eyes have been gauged out, and she has an eerie grin that says she’d love to do the same for you… So creepy.

~*~*~*~*~ Post raid spoilers ahead! ~*~*~*~*~ 

I’ve put the spoiler tag just in case, but there have been loads of pics of this around absolutely everywhere. As many people will know, Argus comes to Azeroth, thanks to some tomfoolery from Illidan (of course). Getting to that point, though, was absolutely incredible. Seeing battles with Kil’jaeden in the background of the Fallen Avatar fight was really great. It was nice to see the other NPCs doing something other than standing there watching us fight.

Once the Avatar is down, we portal up to Kil’jaeden’s ship, and in doing so, we are treated to a mini-cinematic featuring our own toons! It was hands down one of my favourite parts. The Kil’jaeden fight alone was really interesting (ok so I was definitely unprepared for this fight! Kinda winged it!) Afterwards, when Argus was in view around the world, I popped an Inky Black Potion and took pics of it, because it looks so bloody  intimidating. It’s amazing seeing the world change like this because of our actions.

The end cinematic for Tomb was bloody brilliant. I had been so busy in the lead up to this that I’d had no spoilers at all, and really no idea of what was to come. So I spent a lot of it just going “OH MY GAWD!!” Here it below if you want to see it. (Goes without saying, massive spoilers!!)

The last thing I wanted to mentioned about Tomb was some random runes I found around the place. The first one I noticed was on a wall as we headed in to the fight with Mistress Sassypants (that’s totally her name, guys). I didn’t want to click on it during raid in case it did something bad, so last night I went back down there to see what happened. Here’s what happened:

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Yes, I turned into Gul’dan. Not only that, but I got a new spell bar, with 3 of the spells he used in the fight with him in Nighthold. And boy are they fun to use!! One of the runes even set off a short roleplay scene, but I couldn’t hear anything, I just saw Gul’dan kill a bunch of people.

I looked it up on wowhead, and there’s 5 entries for orcish runes in the database, but no other information. I found 3, so I’m curious about where the other 2 are, and what they are all for. Do they need to be clicked in a certain order for something to happen? I really don’t know. But you know, it’s weird. Even though Gul’dan was a giant dick, running around as his ghost for awhile was, well, kinda sad.

Anyway, those are my adventures in the Tomb of Sargeras so far!

My lovely friend Zeirah and I have turned our weekly blog challenge into a public blog challenge for anyone to participate in. Each week there is a new topic for everyone to write about and share. This topic was put up to help get some great positive posts out there, to remind people why the love WoW. You can read everyone’s thoughts about this on our website here.

It’s funny, I’ve put off writing this post for awhile. Not because I don’t have anything to love about WoW, but because there is so much to love and I’m finding it difficult to pin down only a few things to talk about. Like Ann, I just love it all and could go on for days. But I won’t! I’ve chosen a few things to talk about, but this by no means is everything I love. Hands down one of the biggest things is obviously the people I have had a chance to meet through WoW. And the characters and the story will keep me coming back for years to come. But I want to talk about some of a couple of other reasons. 🙂

The music

The music in WoW constantly breaks my heart with its beauty. I went looking for a favourite piece to share with you guys for this post, and here I am crying my eyes out just listening to it already! (I know, I’m a sap!)

Some of my favourite memories from WoW are because of the music. I loved all of the music in Mists of Pandaria, but the moment that stood out for me randomly happened the day after the Vale of Eternal Blossoms had been destroyed (good one Garrosh!!). I was kinda just afk-ing in the zone, just looking around at all the beauty we had had a part in destroying and feeling really awful about it. And then the music came in… the music had changed. When the Vale was pure and alive, the music was sweeping and beautiful and generally what you expect from such a stunning zone. When it got destroyed, the music changed. It still had similar themes, but they were sad and quiet, like a wounded song bird. I cried, I truly did. It was just a small thing, but it was the final straw for me. I felt so terrible about what had been done there – it was destroyed in so many ways.

More recently… well, we’ve had quite a lot of heartache already in Legion, haven’t we? So of course the music is just going to rub salt in the wounds of our already breaking hearts. The first time I knew the music was going to kill me in Legion was in the Broken Shore was of course during the Legion cinematic trailer.  But the real clincher for me came in the Broken Shore cinematic…

It just… oh man, it just gets right in there. It starts out well enough, all dramatic and action-y while everyone is fighting, but it starts to change as everything goes downhill, getting more and more tense. That moment when Varian realises he’s not going to get on that ship to freedom, and music softens as Varian asks Genn to give his son the letter… and then it sweeps up into this huge damn heroic moment as Varian lets go, and falls to battle to the death. It’s heroic as fuck, there’s no other way to describe it. But then, he defeats the demon, and the music stops, and in that tiny breath of silence we have hope, a tiny feather of hope that maybe, just maybe, he might survive, even as we hear the motors of the ship flying away. And then the demons come, and he’s a hero again, fighting until his very last breath until we’re at the feet of Gul’dan, and he’s saying that Varian has died for nothing, but we know otherwise, and Varian shouts “For the Alliance!” and the music confirms it – he’s a hero until his dying breath. And god that music, the way it works at that moment… my heart feels like Varian does as he shatters into a million pieces. #cries

We get to hear bits and pieces of those themes throughout Legion as we run around the world and to the raids and experience the important quests and what not, and every time my heart twinges.

I mentioned the original Legion cinematic earlier – re-watching that again to write about this music I realised that the other music I wanted to write about was actually featured very briefly in that! The other big music moment I had in Legion happened quite by accident again, and it made me cry as well (I’m sensing a theme here…) Obviously the death of Varian has hit me pretty hard, so I have a soft spot for this.

It happened shortly before Legion launched, and I was flying in Stormwind from the Keep to the Mage area where the Demon Hunters were hanging around at the time. Those who know Stormwind well will realise that in doing so, I flew right over the memorial to Varian, Lion’s Rest. I stopped to look and pay my respects. And then this happened:

I don’t know what it is about this piece, but it pulls on all the heartstrings. (And those darn lyrics don’t help, either!) It seems a beautiful farewell for a fallen warrior. ❤

Anyway, as you can tell, I have a thing for the music. It’s always so fitting, and really helps me feel so immersed in the game. One of my favourite parts of any new expansion or zone is hearing the new music that comes along with it. If you haven’t done so, I recommend turning the music on in game while you’re running around doing your World Quests and what not.

It’s beautiful

I mean, come on…

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Shadowmoon valley.

Shadowmoon valley.

Being a hero

This is a big one for me. One of the questions that Leeta asks her guests on Behind the Avatar is whether or not they play male or female characters, and why that is. When I first read that question it got me thinking about why I always play female characters. Of course part of it is that I’m female, so I want to play someone like me (hence a chubby pandaren suits me just nicely!) But it’s become more than that.

For me, in my real life, I feel like a lot of it is out of my control. I feel like I’m not good enough, and I feel like I’m not talented or useful in any way (hello anxiety and self doubt!). But in WoW I am so much more than that. I am strong. I’m (somewhat) intelligent (why did I have to set Gul’dan free again at the start of WoD?!?!). I am a hero. A hero! I get to wield strong weapons and use the elements to hurt or heal, and I love that. And despite it not being real (I promise I’m not throwing buckets of water on people in real life in an attempt to heal them!!!) I have found that as a result of me being a hero in WoW, I have more confidence to try things in real life. I feel empowered, and sometimes I even feel strong. And that to me will always bring me back. That and to me, there is no better sound in the world than the quest completed sound!!

 

So those are some of the slightly different reasons why I keep coming back to WoW. To be honest, I’ll probably end up doing posts about my thoughts on the other reasons as well, but for now, this is it. 🙂

What are your reasons for coming back to WoW time and time again? Why do you love it? Leave a comment below, or join the blog challenge!

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Well ok that’s a misleading title. I keep getting random Christmas songs in my head so I dunno, it just happened.

So earlier this week I was bumming around damaging eternity by killing time just kinda not really doing anything. I’ve been spending a lot of my game time doing my emissary quests and getting artifact power, and on this night I just didn’t feel like doing that. I was staring at my character screen trying to decide what to do. And for whatever reason I decided to log on to my paladin to get her Ashbringer. I’m glad I did!

~*~*~*~*~Paladin artifact spoilers ahead. Proceed at your own risk!~*~*~*~*~

Our journey begins in Dalaran, with one of the most impatient little shits I’ve come across in game – Lord Maxwell Tyrosus. I didn’t get a screen shot of him at the time, unfortunately, but oh my gosh did I want to throw him off Dalaran! I was running around to my profession trainers to get the starting quests and this fellow kept following me around and kept butting in with “I must speak with you at once”, and “I must interrupt, this is of upmost importance” blah blah blah. Yes dude, it’s important, I get it, but I need my profession quests, dammit!

Anyway, he tells me to go gather some friends and meeting him again for a very important journey – to get my artifact. I’ll level my paladin as Retribution for awhile, just to see how it plays out, so Ashbringer was the way to go.

Despite seeing Tirion die on the Broken Shore directly below us, we get sent away to speak with Uther at his tomb, so off we go.

There are a couple of little quests to do there, which was handy because it gave me a chance to figure out how to play ret again. Once the quests were done, we speak with Uther, which, I have to admit, was pretty cool. Lord Maxwell practically jizzed his pants he was so excited by it all. I had to giggle.

Unsurprisingly, Uther tells us Tirion (and Ashbringer) can be found on the Broken Shore. SHOCK HORROR!!! But before we go back, we need to get more people to fight with us, so we head to Light’s Hope Chapel for troops.

Then, it was back to the Broken Shore.

In news that will surprise no-one, Tirion did not actually die during the Broken Shore scenario – he’s just mostly dead. And unfortunately is being tortured pretty badly. To be honest it’s quite awful. So I felt a lot of righteous anger welling up in me as I cut down those damn demons one by one. (For the record – ret pally, super strong! I had no gear and an outdated heirloom weapon and still managed to kick butt!)

We discover Tirion’s location, and also the location of Ashbringer, so off we go to claim it before the evil demons do. Fun fact – I found this place very early on in the beta when there was nothing there. I remember wondering what it would be used for – I particularly loved the light breaking through the crack in the cave ceiling – really beautiful.

So Ashbringer was in my hands. And of course demons don’t like us being powerful. Especially not this one – we were going to take away his toys! And a great battle was had, in which he attempts to capture us to torture us the way he is torturing Tirion. I may have gotten a little sassy…

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There actually a really beautiful moment where you’re trapped, ready to be taken away and destroyed. And then this calm comes over you, and you hear Tirion’s determined voice say “Light, grant me the strength to shatter these bonds”, and you get an extra action button to do exactly that. It was genuinely awesome.

Battle over, Lord Maxwell comes back to tell me Tirion is asking for me by name, and is running out of time. He then tells me I must take up the blade, and come the Ashbringer. And then the light leaves him. It’s pretty emotional. 😦

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We have to get out of there quickly, though, before more demons rock up, so we take Tirion to lay him to rest at Light’s Hope Chapel. This is where we discover there has been a secret section underneath the chapel all this time – amazing!

Looks a little suspicious at first… but as you head down it starts looking as things should.

At the bottom of the stairs are some people who are waiting to greet you.

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Then, as you start walking past you, they bow to you, like the damn hero you are.

I RP-walked the whole way down to the alter. Not only because I got a kick out of everyone bowing to me, but also it just felt like the right thing to do. This was Tirion’s farewell, a moment to mourn a leader, and a moment to recognise shit’s about to get real.

At the alter, Lord Maxwell gives a wonderful speech about Tirion, and also about me and how there’s no-one better than me to lead everyone in the dark days of battle ahead. I am going to be the saving light. So I write my name in the glowing golden book, people pledge allegiance to me, and everyone in that chapel cheers for me. Of course it’s lovely for the ego, but that aside, it was a really beautiful moment.

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I didn’t get to do anything more than that. I had intended to see what was on the weapon racks for me to see if my transmog pieces were showing up, but it was really late so I logged off. But I really, really liked that artifact acquisition quest line, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the order hall campaign plays out.

Legion has now been out for three weeks. It has been an amazing three weeks, I have to say. The Emerald Nightmare raid opened last night, so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how Cinderstorm got to this point.

**note: there will be some spoilers in this post. If you’ve been taking your time with things and I don’t want to be spoiled, please don’t read.**

My journey began in Stormwind. I happened to be near Stormwind park when I first logged in about an hour or so before Legion was due to drop, and I noticed Varian’s monument had appeared. So of course I had to pause and pay my respects. The music here is heart wrenching. It really gets deep inside you and squeezes your little heart to pieces. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and visit the monument, turn your music on and just listen.

I’m glad I saw the monument was up when I did, because this has really been the theme for me going through Legion. This is the trigger for me – this is why we fight. Because other people fight. And because Azeroth is worth fighting for. I’d hate for Varian’s sacrifice to be in vain. So I fight.

It was off to Dalaran, which was getting hit pretty hard by this point. It’s decided the city will just be moved. I mean really, moving a city is no small feat!! And so we arrive at the Broken Isles.

In terms of the “go live” moment, I actually got access to the opening quest about 10 minutes before it was due to come up. I wasn’t sure if it was a bug, so I waited a little before accepting it and moving on. It was weird because the quest had popped for me, but not for Thor (who was sitting right next to me, and was also in Dalaran). Something to do with the phasing I suppose.

First stop was to visit Thrall and Aggra and their little boy, Durak! Look at him! He’s so little! He was a cheeky bugger, running around his parents and around the well. Too cute. Thrall sent me off to find the remaining members of the Earthen Ring, who are hiding out in the Maelstrom while they regather strength and sort out a plan for kicking the Legion’s fel-butts.

My plan for levelling had been to level as elemental (as that was the dps spec I knew best), but put all of my artifact power in to my restoration artifact when I got it so that it would be ready for raiding. So with that in mind, I set off to get my Fist of Ra-den.

When I came back, we established my order hall – the Heart of Azeroth. (Class Hall appreciate post coming soon!!)

I decided to start my Legion adventures in Azsuna. Even though this was the zone I spent most of my time in during beta and I was keen to see some new zones, it was the zone that my jewelcrafting started in, so it made sense to go there first. The beauty of this place keep making me pause just to soak it all in. That, and I had deliberately not listened to any of the music beforehand. I wanted to hear the music in the zones as I was going through them. I was not disappointed. The music in the whole game is STUNNING. I listen to the soundtrack at work and it still brings me to tears. I love it.

I digress.

Here’s some pics in Azsuna.

As soon as I hit 102 I was offered the quests to pick up my other two artifacts, so I immediately set off to get my restoration artifact so that I could give it the artifact power that was taking up space in my bags. I also decided to see if I could get Doomhammer without being enhancement. The answer was yes, yes I could. (And lucky I did!) I’ll post more about these quests later, but here are some highlights.

None of the artifact quests proved to be too challenging (not even the restoration one, which was brutal during alpha/beta testing!)

I’ll continue this journey in my next post – this is turning out to be a lot larger than I expected! Next stop – Val’Sharah!

Last weekend I completely geeked out because I was lucky enough to be a guest on one of my favourite podcasts, The Training Dummies. I’ve been listening to Rob and Darryl for awhile now (TTD and Realm Maintenance were some of the first podcasts I listened to after Girls Gone WoW got me in to them!) so it was a big nerd time for me to talk to them and be on their awesome show.

I had an absolutely amazing time. The topic of the show was about bringing the love back in to WoW. As a die-hard fan, this was easy for me, but not so much for others lately. My goal for the episode was to help people who are in a bit of a rut in the game feel a bit more positive about it, and to get back to that point where they fell in love with the game.

The episode is up on iTunes and Stitcher, or you can listen to it directly from their website here: Episode 131 – Dear Warcarft: It’s Not You, It’s Me.

In preparation for the show, I asked readers and twitter followers to let me know what it was that made them fall in love with WoW in the first place – what made them come back after that first day. I got so many responses! THANK YOU!! Unfortunately because there were so many I couldn’t read them all out in full during the show, but I wanted to share them all with you so I’ve posted them below. Sometimes we need a reminder of the wonderful things that are in WoW, and you guys really came through with some wonderful memories. (If you’re wanting to hear mine, you’ll need to listen to the episode! 😉 )

What made you fall in love with World of Warcraft?

@froothe thing that I fell in love with (coming from EQ) was my footprints in the snow in the Dwarven starting area.

@spankyhunterwhat made me fall in love with wow was the huge co op that wow had. 25+ players all working together. also a game that always updates. you dont lose everything when a new version of the game comes out, eg call of duty 2/3/4 etc etc. all your personal progression stays. also its a game that has a restriction of paying so back then it dettered a lot of cheating cause it took a lot of time to get a character to the point of being useful. if you lost your toon it was a lot of lost time.

@Mominatrix75The community. No other game I’ve played has a community like this one. Not only large but diverse and mostly positive.

@espirothA combination of my class (Druids) and the fact that I can do whatever I want in game. It’s not all about raids and dungeons. There are places to explore, professions to learn, pets and mounts to collect. There’s just so much stuff 🙂 I am the person that spent ages collecting things in Skyrim so I could make stuff. I like that kind of thing 😛

@SpazzWessonthe game itself. On my way to max I explored everything and at max I went to do old raids that I hadn’t seen.

@NavimieDruid I loved the variety that the game offered. I really liked the lore and doing things with others but I also loved that I could also do those things by myself. At first I played because I had friends to play with and then we got into a guild and got more friends to play with and then there was PvP and raiding… all these things that just seemed to add more and more things to enjoy and not enough time to do it all.

These days it is the addictive nature of achievements and collections that keeps me in game but the ties of friendship make the WoW cake even sweeter. I love that I can make friends because of a game and get to know them as well as I would amyone I met IRL. 10 years ago people would think it was weird to make friends on the Internet but now it seems to be nothing out of the ordinary. WoW inspires my imagination and makes me write my thoughts, fiction and poetry and I can’t imagine putting it down any time soon.

@Disneygirl85I’ve been playing WoW since 2012, and I have to say the thing that made me fall in love with the game is the story. Even though my main is a Mage, I didn’t create a Mage until Mists of Pandaria came out. My first character was a Shadow Priest, but she didn’t resonate with me. So, with the help of a couple guildies, I decided to create a Mage for Pandaria and THAT is when I fully fell in love with WoW. As soon as I found the class for me, it was so easy to become engrossed in the story of the game.


Thank you so much again to everyone for sharing your stories for the show. I hope that it helped reignite some love for WoW for you! And thank you again to Rob and Darryl for having me – they are both such lovely guys and made the whole experience so much fun.

 

****If you do not want ANY information about Legion, and don’t want any spoilers about anything at all, please don’t read this blog post! I will be talking about the Restoration Shaman levelling experience (without giving quest details away) and will be sharing some screen shots. Proceed at your own risk!****

 

Regular readers will know that one of the main reasons why I was hoping to get early access to Legion was to test out the levelling experience as a healer. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to do this, as it has really given me something to think about. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do when it comes to levelling my shaman through Legion. So I’m using this post to not only give you guys some insight in to the experience, but to also talk through my thoughts about what I’ll do!

Background (or, why does it matter if you level as dps or healer?)

There are a couple of factors that made deciding whether or not to level as a healer a difficult decision. Firstly, there’s how it plays. Secondly, there’s the artifacts. So I’m going to break this down a bit.

Healer damage

Dps-ing as a healer has always felt weak and slow. And it’s understandable – we are built to heal and care for other people, not destroy enemies. For Legion we have been told that healers will have their damage increased so that they feel more comfortable dps-ing mobs and levelling up. But will it be enough?

The artifact effect

With Legion we are getting artifact weapons. These are superpowered weapons that you can “level up” to grant extra abilities, stronger spells etc. They are spec specific, they have their own quest/scenario experience to obtain and they are quite simply freaking AWESOME.

BUT

We get our artifact immediately after completing the Broken Shore scenario, and are unable to get a second artifact for a different spec until at least level 102 (as per testing on Alpha at the moment). As you level, you get quest rewards to boost the power of your artifact or to give it relics etc. This is where healers are starting to get worried. Is healer damage going to be strong enough to be able to level as a healer and power up our healer artifact? Or do we need to level as dps and then panic about getting our healer artifact later in the game and getting it levelled up in time for raiding?

How does it play out?

I’ve levelled my restoration shaman to about half way through 102. Not very far, but far enough to have spent a reasonable chunk of time out in the world levelling and experiencing quests etc. I’ve also dabbled as a holy paladin doing the Broken Shore scenario and holy paladin artifact scenario, but I’ll focus on the resto shaman here.

The damage

I will be honest – I still feel weak. But worse than that – it’s slow. It still takes a long time to kill mobs as a healer. The longer the mob is up, the more damage I take so I have to heal myself up, and so it takes even longer to get the mob down. There were times it was taking so long to kill a mob that they would respawn almost immediately after killing them. And if you were in a gauntlet style area, you were really in trouble.

It was also really disheartening seeing dps smash through mobs so much faster. It’s to be expected, I know, but it makes you feel bad.

The restoration damage rotation is very basic – flame shock, lava surge, lightning bolt and chain lightning. There are some talents you can take to make life easier – I took:

  • Torrent for the level 15 talent – just makes quick heals on yourself a bit stronger.
  • Gust of Wind for the level 30 talent. It’s bloody brilliant! I love this talent so much! So helpful for getting out of damaging abilities quickly. And you can do it in ghost wolf form, too!!
  • Lightning Surge totem for the level 45 talent – stuns the mobs around you (very helpful if you’re getting overrun) (Voodoo totem can be good too, but it has the same rules as Hex and only works on Humanoids and beasts, which means no demons. And there are a lot of demons!)
  • Earthen Shield totem for the level 75 talent – helps with mobs that are dishing out too much damage. Just helps shield you a bit
  • Echo of the elements for the level 90 talent – gives an extra lava surge which can be nice
  • Wellspring for the level 100 talent because the other 2 are no good when you’re levelling and doing damage (also, it looks cool!!)

Overall, the spells are fine. However I did find it difficult when there was more than 1 mob hitting me. Chain lightning just didn’t feel like enough. If Flame Shock were a little stronger and didn’t have a cooldown, it might help to just dot up all the adds and then chain lightning them all. Maybe?

Zone scaling

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Azsuna is absolutely stunning!!

Firstly I just want to say that this is such and amazing feature of Legion. I love that a zone will have purpose and provide a challenge, no matter what level I’m at!

Most of my resto shaman levelling was in Azsuna (which I’m going to share a picture of because holy heck is that place STUNNING!!!) I will say that I felt a shift in my damage when I got to 102. I felt a bit stronger and the mobs dropped a little more easily. Given everything scales to my level I don’t think it really mattered that I was a higher level, but perhaps the way it’s scaled at 102 makes my damage a bit better… I don’t know.

The other thing for me to keep in mind is that I will start with much higher gear than what I’m using on the Alpha at the moment – when making a new 100 on the Alpha you get kitted out with level 680ish gear. I’ll be much closer to 740 at launch so that will make it easier for me. The scaling for the zone is purely based on character level, so if you have higher level gear, life will be easier for you. This will help to a point – eventually the world will catch up and the gear will get replaced. But it will help for some time.

Does the artifact help?

Nope. The restoration shaman artifact has no damage increasing traits on it at all, so doesn’t give you any bonuses at all. Other than the fact that it looks AWESOME.

What do to, what to do?

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The way I see it, there are a handful of options here.

1. Level as a healer and suck it up

This a route that a lot of people will take. Having their artifact weapon raid ready is most important to them, so they’ll just level as a healer and deal with any frustrations they may feel. This is one of my personal choices.

The added benefit of this is that I can also go straight in to dungeons as a healer, with a nicely levelled healer artifact.

Also, I feel this is the intended path Blizzard want us to take (which truthfully I appreciate, but isn’t a deciding factor for me).

2. Level as a healer and group up with people

A reasonable approach, but not one that I will take. Levelling for me is one of my favourite things in the game. And I am slooooow. I like to read all of the quest text. I like to stop and take loads of screenshots of the beautiful world around me. I like to go exploring on strange paths. People who are keen to get to max level get really fed up. And I get fed up at being rushed. So this is not an option for me – levelling is always a solo adventure for me!

3. Level as dps and worry about your healing artifact later

A viable approach for some. Levelling as a dps will definitely be faster, giving you more time at max level to sort out the healing artifact and powering it up with world quests etc. However, it’s not something I’ll be doing. Even if I’m dps I’ll still be slow! And I don’t want to worry about my healer artifact being behind, nor do I want the pressure of getting it up to level if I’m starting off behind.

4. Level as dps and change loot specialisation before completing quests to get healer artifact loot

Now this is the real option to think about! While you are levelling you can get artifact power and relics as quest rewards, and sometimes as world drops. From what I’ve experienced so far, the world drops are generally the artifact power (which look to be able to be applied to any artifact, not just the one you have equipped), whereas with quests you can get both the power and relics. However if you change your loot specialisation, the quest rewards (relics etc) will change to suit that spec – not just the artifact you have equipped. Which means that I could level as elemental, with the elemental artifact (that I won’t power up), but keep my loot specialisation set to restoration, giving me restoration artifact rewards. When I am able to get my restoration artifact at level 102, I can immediately boost it with all the stored up relics etc. So in the end I get a faster levelling experience by being dps, and I get a powered up artifact.

I doubt this is what Blizzard has in mind, but again, that’s not a deciding factor for me – being raid ready as a healer is most important (and my sanity).

The downside to this option is that I don’t know for sure if this will be possible in Legion. i.e. will this approach survive alpha/beta? And is this available in all zones, or was I just lucky in Azsuna? This is something I will be doing further testing on in the coming weeks.

Last thoughts

Honestly, my preferred option would be for healer damage to just be stronger so that I could level as a healer. I’d like a “world buff” that makes all my damaging spells 500% stronger when I’m out in the world, so that I can damage things properly without wasting 5 minutes killing a mob of 3. I don’t want to fiddle with work arounds – I’d like it to work as intended.

At the moment the levelling is still slow and frustrating. Perhaps it will be different in other zones (I haven’t levelled healer anywhere else except for a handful of quests in Highmountain).  I’m also mindful of end-game content such as World Quests – I don’t want those to be a burden because of slow damage (hence the buff being a world buff).

BUT

It is better than current healer damage. So if you’ve been ok with your current healer damage and wanted it a little stronger, you will be quite pleased. I have also read comments that Discipline Priests smash through content (surprise surprise!!). (Holy Paladin damage in the Broken Shore scenario was awful, to put it bluntly. But I’ll do a separate post about that later).

So those are my healer damage thoughts so far. Has anyone else seen anything about healer damage? What do you think? Is it viable?

 

****If you do not want ANY information about Legion, and don’t want any spoilers about anything at all, please don’t read this blog post! I will be talking about the Restoration Shaman artifact quest experience (without giving quest details away) and will be sharing some screen shots. Proceed at your own risk!****

 

Today I went and did the Restoration Shaman Artifact quest line for the second time. The first time I did it I forgot to take screen shots! But I also wanted to do it again because the first time I found it quite difficult, and I wanted to see if it had changed at all to be any easier. It hadn’t really, but because I knew what to expect I only died 3 times instead of the double digit deaths I had the first time I did this.

We start at the Maelstrom (which I LOVE!!!!!!)

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So, without going in to specific details about the quest content itself, the main point is that we head off to collect the artifact weapon (that has changed names multiple times now! I believe it is currently being called Sharas’dal, Scepter of Tides, but is referred to by different names in the game still – something that will be sorted out by live date). You are accompanied by some other characters who are there to help, and it is your job to keep them alive while you go get the artifact. 

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out little band of adventurers

One of the characters in the group is the giant that you see in the screenshot above. He has quite a large health pool. He acts as the tank role and gets hit in the face a LOT. And HARD. When any of the players with you have their health drop too low, they get a debuff that makes them stop attacking until they are healed up again. Because the giant has such a huge health pool, it takes a LOT to get him healed back up again, but it only takes about 4 or 5 hits for him to drop low enough to trigger the debuff. What this means is that you as a healer get all the aggro, and you drop like a tonne of bricks once the mobs start hitting you instead.  Also, when you die and run back, the other players still have their debuff, so they’re just standing there not doing anything, which means the mobs are back on you straight away. You have about 5-10 seconds maximum to try and get at least one of them to have enough health to hit things again. It can be hard to do. But obviously not impossible – just need to be very clever about which cool downs and talents to use. I’ll be putting together a guide for this when it gets closer to release date to help people out (if they are interested).

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Heading up to the next level of the zone

There is another section with waves in it that I really struggled with the first time. I was going to struggle this time around, too, until my partner pointed out that I should try doing something a little different – it worked perfectly. The wording for that part of the scenario could be better. The way it is at the moment the wording implied (to me) that I would get control of the giant and would need to move him through the room. This is not the case. I needed to run into the room and try to dodge the waves so that everyone else could just walk straight through (why they couldn’t try to dodge with me is beyond me!) It worked out in the end, but I think some wording that suggests the intended approach might be good there.

The last boss is a fun fight, but I think needs to be a lot more difficult- the trash mobs posed more of a problem than this boss. She has some interesting mechanics, and there’s a scene at the end that makes me laugh a lot. Once she is defeated, the artifact is all yours!

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Artifact name changed so many times it’s just “Artifact Shaman Restoration Weapon” now 😉

The weapon itself is quite lovely, and has a really great animation that splashes water about the place when I run that I LOVE. At least I know I’ll be able to find myself out in the world! Just look for the leaking bucket running around!

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Getting water all over the place! 

 

Overall thoughts

I like that this is difficult. I say fairly often that I think there needs to be difficult content in the game. This borderlines on being a little too difficult though, only because of how hard the mobs hit you when the other players’ health pools get too low. There’s no real catch up ability – once they drop, it’s a vicious cycle of spam healing to get one up enough before you die. It can be quite debilitating – you end up getting completely helpless. The first time around that I was doing this I ended up staying at the res point on my own until all of my cool downs reset so that I had the best chance possible to catch up. I think it would be good if there was a “start over” option here for those who would want it. It still makes the scenario difficult, but not made overly complicated because of the debuff cycle. (Like I said, those mobs hit like a truck!)

I also found it a bit odd that the last “boss” was not difficult. I wanted her to be more of a challenge. In this scenario, the trash mobs pose more of a difficulty than she does, which seemed a bit out of place to me. I would like her difficulty scaled up a bit.

My biggest take away from this, though, is just how addicted I am to my Elvui and Vuhdo addons. I ended up making hover-target healing macros to try and make it easier for me, but I really did miss my ability to click my spells on my raid frames! Hoping that vuhdo will be up in time for the Legion launch so I can use it straight away.

I do love the artifacts, though. I feel a real connection with it because it’s something that I had to go and get on my own, in my own little adventure. I’m looking forward to getting my real one when this is all live, and nurturing it to full strength! 🙂

I’ve been doing some levelling as restoration, and I have to say, the world is so so stunning. I spent some time in Azsuna and it is overwhelmingly beautiful. I don’t want to post any pics because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I did want to show the resto shaman idle pose, which I also really like.

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Communing with the waters

So far – loving restoration shaman. Here’s hoping she’s strong in raids in Legion.

 

****If you do not want ANY information about Legion, and don’t want any spoilers about anything at all, please don’t read this blog post! I will be talking about the Demon Hunter starting zone (without giving quest details away) and will be sharing some screen shots. Proceed at your own risk!****

On Sunday night my guild was doing mythic Archimonde, which I am nowhere near geared enough for at the moment, so was on the bench. I decided that it would be a good time to get back on the Alpha, and have a look at the Demon Hunter starting area.

I had initially started a Demon Hunter when I first got in, but had a whole of 10 minutes available so didn’t get very far.

Getting started

If you’re like me, character creation is going to take a long time. There are so many choices! The skin tattoos have loads of different designs and colours, there are loads of skin colour choices (feels like more than previously? But I could be wrong) I particularly liked the eye covering choices – there was a lot of variety, so you could really go for something that just suits you and what you have in mind for your character.

Here she is:

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My night elf Demon Hunter!

I’m not going to talk about the starting areas quests themselves, other than to say that I really liked the flow of them and how the story was revealed. I also really liked how we got new abilities – I thought it was very clever indeed! There were a few cinematic not included which is just fine by me – they would have been full of story spoilers that I’m not interested in seeing just yet!

The zone itself is quite dark with LOADS of green all over the place. It’s definitely easier to see in a dark room, so bear that in mind when you have a go at this in Legion. But check this out! How amazing does it look!?!!

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The fel & the universe look amazing!

Abilities

So, on to some abilities.

First up, one of the most commonly used abilities is Fel Rush, which zooms you forwards (damaging anything in your path!) I really like this ability. I’m not very good with it yet, but it will just take some practice. Here’s a gif of my showing it (not very well! But I tried!)

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Testing out the Fel Rush ability

Fel Rush works really well with another ability that you get a bit later on called Vengeful Retreat. Vengeful Retreat jumps you back around the same distance Fel Rush dashes you forward, so it’s a really great combo to use when you need to get in and out of bad stuff (it also looks AWESOME!)

Next up we have Spectral Sight. This one is just kinda cool… not sure exactly how useful it will be in anything other than levelling. The spell allows you to see enemies and TREASURES through walls or that are stealth etc. Look out rogues! The ability looks like this when you use it:

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Using Spectral Sight ability.

The green around the edges is a bit much, I feel, but otherwise it’s a neat ability. You can see the enemies outlined in red, and a treasure chest outlined in purple in this screen shot.

Ex-warlock spell, Metamorphosis is AWESOME. It has a 5 min cooldown and with a targetable leap, slams you in to the ground as you turn into a hellish demon for 30 sec. It looks fantastic, too. This really made me feel strong, and also a little scary. You really don’t want to mess with a Demon Hunter!

 

The wings that you see there also come out during another ability called Glide, which, as the name suggests, allows you to glide from high distances, slowing your falling speed. This can either be toggled on by clicking the spell, or by pressing the jump button 3 times – once to jump, the second for your double jump, and the third to activate Glide (assuming there is still distance from the ground beneath you).

At one point during the questing we Glide off of a very high place. However when I did this my game crashed, and when I came back in again I was lower than where I needed to be and didn’t make my destination. I ended up continuing to fall. Which worked out alright because I got this killer screen shot of my Demon Hunter Gliding!

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Using the Glide ability

There are some other great abilities, like Throw Glaive, which does as it says and throws out a glaive to an enemy (which will make it nice and easy to pull some mobs from a distance), and Blade Dance, which has you zipping about all over the place. And of course there’s Eye Beam which I foolishly forgot to get a screen shot of. Aside from looking super cool, it’s a very strong multi-target ability that will annihilate anything in the beam line in front of you. You can move from side to side with this, too, though you can’t move forwards or backwards.

The Artifact questline

I’m not going to go in to any details about what you do in this. I struggled a little with this because it was lagging terribly, so it was difficult to jump out of damaging abilities in time. Having said that, I only died once, which is a LOT less than when I did the restoration shaman artifact quest!

The lag will be a problem in general because this class is aaaallllll about the movement. But aside from that, getting this artifact was a lot of fun! I felt it really suited the class fantasy perfectly. It’s such a “zippy” spec that it makes it feel really engaging and so much fun. I felt really powerful going up against this big scary guys and just zipping around the place and beating them up. It’s a little difficult (judging distance for rush etc, mobs hurting a lot), but I like that (and I will also put some of that difficulty down to lag as well).

Like I said, not going to give anything away about the quest line or story behind it. Instead, have a screenshot of me getting these killer glaives!

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Getting the Demon Hunter Artifact. LOVE these little cut scenes featuring ME!

Overall thoughts

I chose the Havoc specialisation because I have more experience with DPS and can talk about that a bit better than tanking (although I will definitely try out the Vengeance tank spec at some point!). As a DPS spec, it is really good fun. It’s such a mobile class. (DH’s will definitely be responsible for mass ressing raid wipes because they will always get back first!!) Generally I’m not a huge fan of melee classes, but this has you jumping in and out and all over the place, so it feels really engaging and not at all like you’re just standing there hitting things with your face.

Pros

The Vengeful Retreat + Fel Rush combo is a LOT of fun – I think that’s what made me feel so strong. At one point while I was fighting an elite I did the combo and found myself yelling out “yeah you can’t catch me, can ya?! Suck it!!” and then laughing maniacally. It’s a great feeling.

The Metamorphosis ability is excellent – I particularly love that I’m able to target where I’m going to leap to and land, as the landing has an AoE damage and stun so will be great for fights with lots of adds. A couple of abilities are made stronger when you’re in that form, so it just feels like a really badass time. And it just looks cool.

I don’t know how it compares in damage to other classes as I’ve only done the introductory area and have gone in to my class hall. However I felt quite survivable whilst doing those quests – I took a little damage, but not so much that I had to stop and wait to be full health before pulling again. There were times where I was taking on groups of 3-5 mobs (because accidental pull!) and didn’t die, which I felt was on par for health/strength.

For me, the double jump takes a little getting used to. There were times that it just failed entirely because I (probably) didn’t hit space again at the right time. Lag will contribute to this being a successful ability, too, so bear that in mind before taking a running leap over a chasm! Similarly, Glide is a nice ability, and I like that there are multiple ways of activating it. I’d recommend having it on your bars in case you can’t get it with the jump button properly. And again, it looks cool.

Also, from a transmog perspective – the gear you get while levelling looks AWESOME!!!! Here’s what I look like after finishing the intro quests and getting my Class Hall set up:

Cons

It’s going to sound really lame, but I honestly didn’t really have any. I think the only real con for me is how much of an impact lag has on this being a successful class to play – these starting areas/quests expect you to be quite mobile and the lag can really impact on that. So hopefully that won’t be an issue when it comes out.

There were a few bugs that I reported, though nothing drastic. Just things like a kill not counting for a quest or a bridge not being solid – stuff you’d expect in Alpha.

I think the only con (if you can call it that) is getting used to Fel Rush etc, and just how mobile this class is. That’s definitely not a bad thing – the rotation (so far!) is very limited. The real joy of this class comes from using those few abilities to get around. And it’s fast. Fury is easily generated and spent, so you always have something to do. You’re never sitting there waiting to have enough power to make spells work, you just use your abilities to generate the Fury you need to use a particular ability, which makes it nicely fast paced and quite controlled. So if you like a slower style of play with not too much moving around, Demon Hunters are not going to be for you.

Last word

Overall, I had a LOT of fun getting my Demon Hunter started, and I’m keen to make another one when Legion comes out. Blizzard have done a really brilliant job bringing this class in to the game. These questing is great – makes sense, logical, engaging, and I don’t feel needs too much knowledge of Illidan etc. to get an understanding of what’s happening (though it’s nice if you do know!). The class fantasy is perfect. I feel a little evil, but I just want to do the right thing – I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way! 😉

Nice work, Blizzard! 😀