Category Archives: World of Warcraft

Another Rush to Draenor

After our runs through Skyreach the previous week we were, as a group, off the leash and headed to level 100 in order to get access to the final four normal mode dungeons in Draenor.  And once I turned Tistann’s experience back on and started using him for pet battle dailies along with catching up with some of the quests in Spires of Arak, I found his levels quickly mounting.  He is already into 99 with what does not feel like all that much effort.

So I decided to slow him down a bit.  I didn’t want to be first to 100 necessarily, and what would the point be getting there when others in the group are still working on hitting 98.

It was time to bring out another character.

I guess I could have worked on all of the garrison related quests and building related things, but I do like the leveling game in WoW and always seem to have a character somewhere I am working on.  So it was more a question of which one I should return to this time around.  I have been spending some time now and again with my Orc hunter.  But, in looking down the list, I decided to go with my other druid on Eldre’Thalas.

For reasons unclear to even me I ended up with two night elf druids on the same server.  They used to even have the same spec and professions.  The second druid, Selirus (one of those name generator names that I took before ever trying to pronounce aloud) was actually the senior of the two, but somewhere fell by the wayside as Alioto moved ahead.

While Alioto sits at level 100, Sel was just level 83, somewhere in the Cataclysm content, close enough to Draenor that I could get that sixth garrison soon enough, but still with some work to do.  His gear was a bit of a mess, having tried to be both feral and resto by turns, so the first thing I did was decide to go with healing and concentrate on just that.  If nothing else, when he catches up with the rest of the group, that would give us a secondary healer option so Skronk isn’t always “it” for instances.

Fortunately, after splurging on heirloom gear over the years, I had a selection of items for him to wear for his role.

Restoration Druid Heirlooms

Restoration Druid Heirlooms

That would keep me outfitted until 90, when the Draenor gravy train of gear would take over.  With crafted items, mission and quest rewards, and things that pop up as drops, I have yet to miss heirlooms past level 90.

Leveling as a healer means either slogging through quest content in a spec that doesn’t do much damage or doing random dungeons.  And what better way to get back up to speed on druid healing than jumping into the mixed bad that is Dungeon Finder groups!

I downloaded the Healium addon, threw some healing skills on my bar (I nearly found them all!), and queued up to see how bad it could be.

The first group was rough.  They were in Stonecore and their healer had just dumped the group after the second boss for reasons that became very clear very quickly.  As a whole, the tank and the DPS seemed to be operating on the “everybody pull a mob and tank it, the healer will sort it out” philosophy of instance running.  Also, run run run and grab the next mobs even when the healer is trying to ress after the last batch.

There were deaths.  But there were no wipes on my watch.  I quickly went back to my baseline of putting lifebloom on the tank and keeping him alive, then me, and then any DPS way out in distant third position.  We managed to make it through and finish up, and I felt no compunction about hitting need on drops from the final boss.

After that though, I hit a good streak.  I ran with four groups all of whom seemed t have their act together, including one team in Grim Batol that was so in tune that we had what must have been the most efficient run ever.  Everybody knew the instance and nobody stood in the fire.

Having a full blue bar, a pile of heirlooms, being able to do the quests with each of the instances, and getting the bonus experience from doing randoms, I saw my levels mount quickly.  After Grim Batol Selirus popped to level 86 and was out of Cataclysm and into Mists of Pandaria.

I was wondering how that was going to work out.  I thought at one point you actually had to hit the right quest line to be able to open up dungeons in Pandaria… or at least get onto the ground in the expansions.  But from my perch in Stormwind I was able to queue up and quickly found myself in Stormstout Brewery.

The brewery awaits

The monkeys awaits

The first run in Pandaria was a good one, with only one death when our rogue ran ahead.

My final instance of the evening wasn’t so smooth.  I was dropped into a group at the start of the Temple of the Jade serpent, which is an easy enough instance.  We did it as a four player group at level back in the day.  And things were about 80% fine.  As a healer, I just happened to have one problem child, a dwarf paladin would just had to stand in the gunk like he had a death wish.  Up to and back from the first boss, there is just one simple rule, don’t stand in the water or you will die.

He wasn’t obnoxious or rude or anything, he just wouldn’t listen to my suggestions that he not stand in stuff and that he pay attention to his health bar.  He never said a word and eventually I just stopped healing him simply to get his inevitable death out of the way quickly.  Checking the Recount numbers, nobody else was healing him, nor did he use his lay hands ability or anything.  I didn’t feel bad about that, though in hindsight maybe I shouldn’t have stopped ressing him, instead telling him to release and then shouting “Run, fatboy, run!” to encourage him to catch up on his own.

Alright, I didn’t shout that, but I did leaving the resses to his guild mate who was also in the group.  If only he could have explained how to not stand in things while casting.

Anyway, everything aside from my little death eating pally pal was fine on that run, as it tends to be on most Dungeon Finder runs in my experience.  Out of six runs in one evening, four were good to excellent, and the other two were only slightly annoying.  But the negatives hang in your mind, so I can barely recall anything from a couple of the good runs while I am sure I will remember that pally for a long time to come.

All of which left me on the edge of hitting 87.  At that point I did the intro quests for Pandaria so that I would at least have access to the continent via the portal in Stormwind.  At this rate Selirus will be in Draenor and I will have that sixth garrison to tend this weekend.

Complaining About Small Things in WoW… Yet Again

The time has come to once again gripe about a few small issues that are bugging me in World of Warcraft and see if people commiserate or call me crazy.

Tabbing Out

At some point when I wasn’t paying attention, Blizzard decided that if you are playing full screen and you tab out of the game, well, fuck you.  Auctioneer stops getting data from the auction house, pet battles patiently wait for my return, and redraws stop happening so I have to go through a loading screen when I tab back in.

It wasn’t always this way, was it?  I mean, I remember, at one time, being able to tab out of WoW and not having my auction house scan just sit on the same page the whole time.  Tabbing out is so ingrained in me that I am sure it must have worked fine at some point.

And I get the whole not using system resources when you don’t have focus thing, but this seems like it has gone too far.  My of my processor cycles to go the idle task anyway, feel free to waste some.  They aren’t roll-over cycles.  I can never get them back.

Losing That Highlighted Feeling

All your bags open up when you access a vendor.  They all close again when you close the vendor window.  Big deal, right?  Been that way for half of forever.

And it was fine… until Warlords of Draenor.  And then Blizz introduced that thing where it highlights new items in your bag.  Cool feature.

So now you hit the vendor, bags open, you buy something, it is there highlighted in your bags, but you can’t click on it or anything lest you sell it back, so you close the vendor window, and your bags close.  Then you open them up again to find your new thing and… the highlight is gone, because it only lasts though one bag open cycle.  After that, it is old business and hidden in amongst all your junk.  And since Blizzard is still using the same 27 icons from 2004 for everything, sometimes finding you new purchase can be a chore.

There is a work-around.  If you open your bags before you hit the vendor, they don’t close, so you don’t lose the highlight.  But I forget to do that about half the time.  So I feel like that first pass with the vendor shouldn’t count for the purpose of turning off the highlight.

Carnie Dialog in Darkmoon Faire

When running through Darkmoon Faire… and I run through it with a dozen characters every month… I am done seeing this.

Yeah, yeah, get back to work already

Yeah, yeah, get back to work already

When does every carnie have to put up a dialog?  At what point did somebody say, “Hey, I know what people wanr!  More windows to close while playing!”  I play with sound on, if they have something to say to me they can mumble it out like the other NPCs.

I know there is a sweet spot for doing the carnie quest, a distance from them that is far enough not to trigger the dialog box yet still close enough to bandage them.  But I get too close at least half the time still, so I’d rather Blizz just turn this off so I don’t have to see it come up a couple dozen times a month.

Parental Controls on the iPad

I have complained specifically about aspects of Blizzard’s parental controls before.  But even with my gripes, their parental controls are the best I have seen in any online game.  In fact, in my experience, such controls are almost non-existent in online games, especially in kids games.  I remember LEGO Universe touting their parental controls, which were pretty much useless, while Club Penguin parental controls were a joke last time I looked.

So Blizzard’s parent controls work out pretty well for me… as long as I am at the computer.

But there I am, sitting on the couch, watching a movie and my daughter asks for a little more WoW time.  I reach over for my trusty brain extension… erm… iPad, always close to hand so as to be able to look up actors or whatever, and then stop.

That won’t work.

You cannot (or at least I cannot) use the Blizzard parental controls UI with a touchy-feely tablet interface.  I have to get up off the couch and wander back to my office, log into Battle.net, and change the time there if I wish to grant my daughter this boon.

Blizzard, stop making me get up and move about!

Also, setup parental controls for your other games already.  You have a decent template.

EVE Online Problems

So, a while back, WoW got update 6.1 and EVE Online got the Scylla expansion, and now they do not play well together.

This is important to me because EVE Online is often a game where it is good to have another game to play in the background.  For all you fans of the old days of EQ, downtime and waiting and all that are still very much alive in space.  So for quite a stretch I was doing pet battles in WoW while waiting for things to happen in EVE.

But when I do that, tabbing in and out, WoW is horribly choppy, to the point of being nearly unplayable.  Pet battles are manageable, but if I have to actually travel to get to one, things become painful.

I suspect that CCP is the main culprit here.  EVE certainly doesn’t stop using resources when you tab out!  But WoW is doing something odd as well.  Having either game running seems to kill performance with Paint.net.  And I have had my own odd problems with WoW in the past, like that stretch of time where the game would crash whenever I was in Dalaran.

Of course, it could be that I need a video card upgrade as well.  Having had to go back to my five year old nVidia GTS450, a modest card back when I bought it, after the big power supply blow up last November, I am certainly nowhere near the leading edge on the GPU front.  At some point I am going to have to find some money and buy an upgrade.  Maybe if I can find a GTX 960 on sale.

Anyway, those are my current top five annoyances with WoW at the moment.  What is bugging you?  Are you feeling any of these?

 

Falling off of Skyreach

After our last run, which brought us through Auchindoun, we spent a week off getting everybody up to the minimum level to get into the next dungeon on the list, Skyreach.  Take my complaints about level locking dungeons from walk-ins as read.

Fortunately, the goal was pretty modest and we were all at that minimum, level 96, when last Saturday rolled around.

  • Earlthecat – Level 96 Human Warrior Tank
  • Skronk – Level 96 Dwarf Priest Healing
  • Bigbut – Level 96 Draenei Monk DPS
  • Tistann – Level 96 Dwarf Hunter DPS
  • Ula – Level 96 Gnome Mage DPS

Skyreach is out in the Spires of Arark, out at a flight point that only a couple of our group characters had, Skronk and Earl to be exact, and we had to walk in, because Skyreach is locked until 97 if you want to use Dungeon Finder.  But that was fine, we walk in by tradition, so those two flew out and summoned us to the stone.  Tistann was first, and he joined in the summoning.

I fucking love summoning!!!

I fucking love summoning!!!

Sorry, I just had to use that screen shot because of the expression on Tistann’s face.

There we assembled, wondering how we would do.  As I mentioned before, four of us went in with level 100 alts, led by Earl’s “done all the raids, got all the upgrades” insane fury warrior, only to get out asses handed to us on the first boss.  Healing on the move was a problem, but we should have had enough DPS, to my mind, to blow past on that alone.  Instead we wpied six times and called it a night.  So facing this with five level 96 characters seemed like it might be a challenge.

I did go grab Alioto, who does inscription, and made Bigbut an item level 630 staff for his monk so as to up our game a little bit, but otherwise we were going in pretty much as we did in Auchindoun, which barely added up to a faceroll for out four level 100s.

We got in, buffed up, and started, getting ourselves into a bit of trouble almost immediately, at the second fight.  We engaged one group right as a mobile group walked into aggro range, which gave us a lot of targets and we ended up with a couple of deaths.  That was sloppy, but we learned from it and used a bit more care, clearing the mobs right up to the first boss, Ranjit.

Eying Ranjit

Eying Ranjit

I am still not sure who brought the shirtless lumberjack in that shot.

We went through what to expect and what we had learned from our past fiasco, which largely amount to “stay moving and stay out of the wind.”  Skonk had changed his priest spec from discipline to holy base on our experience.  Then, with nothing else to say, we ran in and started the fight.

In with a hunter, who can fire on the move, the fight wasn’t too bad for me.  I had gone in as melee DPS with the 100s, and the wind is always a problem then.  However, nobody else seemed to be having much of a problem either.  Skronk especially seemed to be holding up and keeping people healed.  So, after a few minutes of running all over Ranjit’s platform, he went down while we were all still standing.

Ranjit, dust in the wind now

Ranjit, dust in the wind now

That was something of a “wait, what?” moment.  The fight wasn’t super easy or anything, it was more a matter of the five of us (which amounted to considerably less combined DPS) working with our regular group characters managed to keep it together long enough whittle Ranjit down.  The fight easily took as long as any two of our level 100 wipes.

We let that sink in for a moment, then started on toward the next boss, Arknath.

Amongst the beams of light

Amongst the beams of light

Here is a tip I figured out too late.  The first guy you fight, he isn’t the boss, so you shouldn’t necessarily unload all of your focus and any skill that has a cool down on it when you engage him.  Not that the fight was tough, we blew through it on the first go, but I was thinking, “Wow, we are capping this one in record time” only to find myself flatfooted and using auto attack for a bit because I shot my load.  (I didn’t know the bosses name until after the fight.)

Anyway, we blew past him and around to the next platform and Rukhran, who has a set of mechanics we had to figure out.  First there were the birds on the platform that we need to kite around to kill.  Unfortunately, kiting around managed to aggro the whole set on the platform, causing a wipe.  But at least we had most of them down, so the return was just a clean up operation.

Then it was on to Rukhran himself, who summons flaming bird minions from piles of ash who go after specific party members.  You have to put DPS on them and kill them before they reach their target, or they explode for many, many dice worth of damage.  However, if you kill them right by any of the piles of ash… and when you kill one it leaves a pile behind… another one will spawn.  Or something.  We were figuring this out as we went along and managed to wipe on the first go.  The second run through, however, we managed to pull it together and at least make less mistakes, bringing Rukhran down.

After that, we were on to the most deadly part of the whole instance for me, the windy stairs.

Seriously, after Rukhran there are some steps up to a platform, and some steps up from there, that are plagued by winds trying to blow you off the platform.  The first bit is fun.  I ran up the stairs and let the wind blow me back down, ha ha.  And then I got to the platform.

The whirl of wind

The whirl of wind

There you have to get in the right groove and go the long way around to get to the second bit of stairs.  I first tried to go straight through and got blow off to my death.  Then I tried to run a shorter route through the platform and got blown to my death.  Then I again I got caught in the wrong guest, but Skronk hit me with Leap of Faith and pulled me up to the top of the stairs, saving me.

Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith – it has its uses

Ula got through easy because she used blink to get across, while everybody else seemed to have figured out the pattern of the winds on the first try.  And then, of course, at the top of the stairs we managed to pull aggro on everything, wiped, and we had to go through the wind again where I managed to die because I managed to get hit by all of the birds… they wait for you to pass and take a run at you… on the way back for another death before finally making another trip up the far stairs.

Once you get here it is easy

Once you get here it is easy

As Skronk had his Hypnocroak platforming problems, I had my wind issues.

After that, we cleared the rest of the trash, we were left at the final platform facing the big boss, High Sage Viryx.

Facing the high sage at last

Facing the high sage at last

The Viryx fight is one of adapting to mechanics.  He bombs the crowd.  A mechanical assistant shows up and shields him, so you have to kill the assistant.  He has a giant laser that targets people, which you then must run from without dragging it over your comrades.  But the most exciting dynamic are the Solar Zealots he summons, which pick up a player with the intent of dropping them over the side of the platform to their death.  All of that ends up keeping the ranged part of the group in motion quite a bit.

During the fight

During the fight

The Solar Zealots were certainly the most troublesome and, like back at Arknath, a good reason not to blow your cool downs until you really need them.  I was the first to get picked up, then Ula, then Skronk, then me again.  We managed to save people, burning down the Solar Zealots and then returning to the fight, while Earl and Bigbut continued to keep the boss busy.  Our dancing around was a success and we brought Viryx down and got the achievement for the instance.

SRachiHowever, that happened while I was in the grip of yet another Solar Zealot and, having been caught too close to the edge of the platform out of focus and on cool down yet again (having poured everything into the last bit of Viryx) things looked grim.

Carried way over the edge...

Carried way over the edge…

Sure enough, before we could kill it, the Zealot dropped me and I plummeted to my death.

And there I go!

And there I go!

So I had to release and run back up to the group.   Fortunately, at that point, the wind was turned off on my personal platform of death.  It was time for a screen shot of the group.

At the end of Skyreach

At the end of Skyreach

All in all, that run did not take us very long, so we outside, reset the instance, and did it all again.  Earl, who runs an addon for boss fights that, among other things times your fights, reported that our second run at Ranjit took less than half the time.  In fact, we shaved time off of all of the bosses and managed not to wipe.  I even made it through the wind without falling off.  So we seemed to have mastered Skyreach on normal mode, and picked up some upgrades along the way.

That puts the group half way through the eight normal mode instances in Warlords of Draenor.  The remaining four all require the group to be level 100 to walk in, so it is time to start leveling up.  Everybody in the group was close to 97 by the end of the night, though both Ula and I had turned off experience in order to not get too far ahead.  We can turn on exp now, and I think almost all of us were 97 before the end of the weekend.  But with our varied play schedules it may be a while until we all hit the level cap and can pile into The Everbloom, the next instance on the list.

And The Sims Shall Continue to Rule Them All

I haven’t seen an Entertainment Software Associate sales chart in a while, so I was keen to see their new 2015 Essential Facts publication that includes a couple such charts.  The big news, The Sims still dominate the chart when it comes to PC gaming.

 

The Sims and a few of the usual suspects

The Sims and a few of the usual suspects

Yes, the source is NPD, whose data collection has flaws.  But some data is better than no data I guess.  They say they are better at collecting data on digital distribution in any case.

Blizzard is pretty well represent, with World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Diablo III all hitting the charts for both base games and expansions.  And you can see the hole that The Elder Scrolls still has on gamers.  It is also nice to see Civilization V on the list.  But 8 out of 20 on the list for The Sims is pretty funny.

On the console list, which holds less interest for me, I will note that Mario Kart 8 made the cut for the Top 20, which I am going to guess means that every single Wii U owner bought a copy.

And then there was how we buy games.

Digital vs. Physical

Digital vs. Physical

Digital sales are clearly the bigger slice of the pie now, though if you look at that footnote as to what counts as digital, that casts a pretty wide net.  For what NPD counted, physical still looks like a force that cannot be ignored.  I guess GameStop won’t be going out of business any time soon.

Anyway, the report is an interesting little glimpse at video games in 2014.  Game Informer sums it up if you don’t want to look at the PDF.

CCP Copies Blizzard’s WoW Token Idea

I suspect that the headline above is how some World of Warcraft players will react to PLEX, should they ever hear about it or the existence of a game called EVE Online, now that Blizzard’s WoW Tokens are going live in North America.  That is the way these things tend to go.

But $20 will apparently get you 30,000 gold in WoW a some point today.  (There is even a video to show you how it all works.)

The WoW Token highway has no exit

The WoW Token highway has no exit

You and I though, we know better.  We know that EVE Online has had PLEX for over five years at this point.

Current prices are around 800 million ISK in Jita

Current prices are around 800 million ISK in Jita

And we know that, after CCP introduced PLEX into New Eden other MMOs adopted similar currencies to allow their players to exchange real world money for in-game currency.  So we have:

  • KronoEverQuest & EverQuest II and maybe other titles.
  • CREDDWildStar
  • GRACEAnarchy Online
  • DUELDarkfall
  • REXRift
  • APEX – ArcheAge

Interesting experiments, with a mix of subscription-only and free to play titles to observe.  But those are all small time compared to WoW, with populations totaled all together barely matching a small percentage of the 10 million players last reported in Azeroth.

With WoW Tokens, the PLEX idea is hitting the big time and, going forward it will like be the benchmark system against which all others are compared.  PLEX may have come first, but WoW Tokens will likely be the biggest such item for a long time to come.

Of course, Blizzard is taking steps to cover itself on the WoW Tokens front.  The WoW Token market is setup region-wide, so they have populations larger than EVE Online to keep the prices stable.  And should stability be an issue, they have setup a system where they can control prices.

I will be interested to see where the prices go over time.  30,000 gold for $20 seems like a reasonable price, enough to steer people away from illicit RMT.  We will have to see if, over the longer term, 30,000 gold is worth 30 days of game time to the richer players in game.  That joke about CREDD might come true for some in WoW.  And I do find it interesting that, while the starting price for WoW Tokens is 30,000 gold, the intro video I linked above shows a payout of nearly half that.

15,864? Where is my 30K Gold?

15,864? Where is my 30K Gold?

I am waiting for somebody to setup a site to track the pricing and compare it across regions.  It will be interesting to see what sort of split, if any, ends up being necessary to support pricing sufficient to fight illicit RMT.  How much gold will Blizzard have to inject into the WoW economy in its own version of quantitative easing?

Will WoW Tokens have the same effect that PLEX did in EVE Online, where suddenly everything can now be converted to a real world value, where we know how much a titan is worth in dollars and euros and yen?  The mainstream press obsesses over that conversion when it comes to EVE Online because dollar amounts make for better headlines.  I am waiting for the WoW addon that converts all gold values to real world currencies.

Also, now that WoW gold will effectively that have a real world monetary value, we can examine the exchange rates between currencies in various games.  Right now it looks like about 27,000 ISK in EVE Online will buy you 1 gold coin in WoW, which feels about right I guess.  That would give me about 200,000 WoW gold worth of currency in EVE Online.  More than I have in WoW, but ISK is probably more important to me in New Eden than gold is to me in Azeroth.  Necessities versus luxuries.

And, finally, I am now waiting for some site (like maybe The EVE Onion) to start valuing the cost of battles in EVE Online in terms of WoW gold.  So that 75 billion ISK brawl in Pure Blind the other day, that was worth nearly 2.8 million gold!

Hrmm, I might need to put together a conversion spreadsheet to track that exchange rate.

Anyway, others writing about WoW Tokens on their launch day:

And, from the comments, a site to track the price of WoW Tokens.

Left Hanging after Auchindoun

Way back when Warlords of Draenor was announced… back in late 2013…  one of the things I was excited about was the return to a 10 level expansion.

Leveling

Crazy? Indeed!

The previous 10 level expansion era, the time of The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, was a high point for our regular group.  Of course, we call it “the instance group” because we are a five person team that likes to run dungeons together, and both TBC and WotLK offered up 16 normal mode dungeons a piece to work through while leveling up, and then heroic versions of each after that.  Yes, the last few normal mode dungeons were meant for the level cap of the time, but there was still more than one dungeon per level and, with doing the lead-in quests out in the world, you could make your way to the cap by following a happy dungeon running path through the expansion, if that was your thing.

That, however, was a different era.  Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria and a lot of changes in game philosophy have come and gone between those days and Warlords of Draenor and its 8 normal mode dungeons, four of which lock out anybody below the level cap.

In fact, all of the dungeons are locked out to players below a set level, even if they walk in the front door… and we always try to walk in the front door.  No longer can we try out a dungeon a few levels ahead of its designated prime.

And so it was that, after a couple of weeks of leveling up a bit, our group was back together and standing in the entryway of Auchindoun, the third instance in Draenor.

Busy in Auchindoun

Busy in Auchindoun

Our party line up was

  • Earlthecat – Level 95 Human Warrior Tank
  • Skronk – Level 95 Dwarf Priest Healing
  • Bigbut – Level 95 Draenei Monk DPS
  • Tistann – Level 96 Dwarf Hunter DPS
  • Ula – Level 96 Gnome Mage DPS

We only had to be 94 to walk in it seems, but in-game the only way to check is to actually try to walk in or via the dungeon finder and, as it turns out, the DF requires one more level to queue than to walk in… at least for the first four dungeons… so we thought 95 was the bar we had to reach.  Ula and I actually went a bit too far.  I got Tistann to half a bubble shy of 96, intending to turn off exp at that point, only to stop and do a couple of pet battles on the way to the guy… oops.

Anyway, we were there and in the instance and… well… thing went pretty smoothly.  Huge equipment upgrades from garrison missions and crafting put us all above the item level required for the run so that yard trash melted before us and the bosses barely had time to take a breath before they moved to their next special attack or event.

The instance is something of a horseshoe in shape.

Auchindoun map

Auchindoun map

You go to the first boss off to the left, then run back to the middle again for the second, then off to the right for the third, before heading back to the center again to head straight up the middle for the final encounter.

The first fight with Vigilant Kaathar involves hiding behind his shield at the right… and clearly indicated by the announcement in red letters… moment, and then beating him down.  Then it was back to the center of the horseshoe and Soulbinder Nyami, who has a great voice, but whose special attack I cannot even recall at this point, it having gone by so quickly.  Then around to Azzakel, who summons helpers and who might be the ugliest boss so far in Draenor.  When he is alive his green skin pulsates with what looks like horrible sores.

Dead Azzakel and his skin condition

Dead Azzakel and his skin condition

After that, it was time to get to the center of the whole thing, which involved a few warm up fights on platforms around the center stage.

Eying the eventual goal

Eying the eventual goal

Finally, we hit the central platform and squared off against Teron’gor, whom we burned down so fast he never really got a chance to move off of his spot.  He just sort of fell off the back side of the platform and that was that, mission accomplished, time for a picture of the team.

It is very pink in the middle of Auchindoun

It is very pink in the middle of Auchindoun

It all went past so quickly that we went back and did it again, stepping out of the instance, resetting it, then heading straight into the thick of things.  That is the only reason I know that Teron’gor moves, because we didn’t kill him quite so quickly on our second run through and he actually left his spot during the fight that time.

The runs, while quick, did yield more gear upgrades.  Bigbut was a primary beneficiary, as leather gear seemed to be dropping in abundance.

After that we decided to run around Talador picking off rare mobs and wrapping up a few quests that people had.  We actually had a few deaths in that big mob melee event down the hill from the mining camp on the road to Shattrath.  But otherwise we were slaying all who stood before us.

Like this big mook

Like this big mook

Of course, I’m sounding pretty cocky at this point when it comes to the ease with which we have slipped through the first three instances in the expansion.  Now we all just have to get to 96 so we can walk into Skyreach, the next… and last pre-100… instance on the Draenor hit parade.

The cockiness might end there.

The previous weekend, when only four of us were on, we got out our level 100s and tried to do a four person run and came up short on the first boss, Ranjit.  We got close, but couldn’t quite power through it.  It might have been because Skronk, attempting to heal for the first time with his pally alt, was getting overwhelmed.  Or maybe we just didn’t get the mechanics of the winds and how we needed to position ourselves.  Or maybe the instances finally start ramping up at the fourth one, leaving us facing a real challenge.

But first we have to get everybody leveled up so we can even get into the instance.

April Fools at Blizzard – 2015

The date is upon us, the usual suspects are out complaining about it or feeling the need to warn people (just in case you’ve never run across the phenomena before I guess), and so we have another in an ongoing series of posts about April Fools and Blizzard.  Previous entries:

This is what I found this morning rummaging through Blizzard’s various sites.

Blizzard-wide

The first entry for April Fools this year is the B’Motes Expression Packs that allow a wide variety of pre-recorded emotes and expressions to be applied to Blizzard games.

BMotesPacksPacks are available for everything including BNet chat.

World of Warcraft

In Azeroth we have T.I.N.D.R. (like Tinder) a matchmaking application to allow your followers to find their perfect match… for adventure.

On the T.I.N.D.R. box mission

On the T.I.N.D.R. box mission

When matched up, your followers can use their S.E.L.F.I.E. to record their results of their date.

And, of course, there is the usual round of patch notes to go with the date.

StarCraft 2

On the StarCraft 2 front, Blizzard has come up with an item to celebrate the Legacy of the Void expansion going into beta, the Spear of Adun.

The Spear of Adun keepsake

The Spear of Adun keepsake

The page describing the Spear of Adun links to the Blizzard store where the item appears to be out of stock… and a bit pricy.

Add it to your wish list

Add it to your wish list

Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm introduces Big Head Mode for April Fools.

Boom, headshot

Boom, head shot

Wasn’t that an EverQuest II April Fools think like eight years ago?

There is also a Noblegarden skin available, but I am not sure if that is a joke or not.  I’ve seen goofier things in other games that were not a joke.

Hearthstone

As with the Noblegarden skin, Hearthstone has a special April item that may or may not be an April Fools.  Announced yesterday, there is a new card back with a cupcake on it.

Cupcake Card Back

Cupcake Card Back

Whether or not is is real, it seems to be in the spirit of the day all the same.  And there are always those April 1st patch notes.

Elsewhere

Diablo III only had the B’Motes item (and their latest patch notes look real) while the Overwatch site was still in full “some day” mode, as it has been since around BlizzCon.

All in all, an okay array of jokes.  Nothing too over the top, like some of the past entries.  The Blizzard folks must be hard at work, as they did not have time to put together a full fledged browser game like they did back in 2012.

What else is going on in the world on April Fools Day?

MMORPG.com and Massively OP both have columns up this morning covering the wider world of MMOs and their April Fools fun.

Addendum: