Tag Archives: Battle for Azeroth

The Rise of Azshara Update brings Flying to Battle for Azeroth

The long discussed 8.2 update for World of Warcraft, the Rise of Azshara, goes live today in Azeroth.  The servers might even be up by the time this goes live.  There was an extra long downtime scheduled. (Also, too much stuff happened today, so now I have my fourth post of the day here.)

The 8.2 update splash screen

This is a pretty major content drop for Blizzard.  There is a lot of stuff coming, practically enough to qualify as a full on expansion for some other MMORPGs.  The update notes go into things in detail, but we were given a brief summary a while back.

Rise of Azshara Features

That ought to be enough to keep people busy over the summer as we wait for WoW Classic to show up.

Of course, new zones and new raids aside, the big item for me is the second part of the pathfinder achievement which, when unlocked, will grant you the ability to fly on your flying mounts in the Battle for Azeroth expansion.

Flying is Coming

You even get a flying mount for unlocking the ability to fly in BFA… and the bar doesn’t seem so high.  At least not for me.  They tweeted a little video about what you had to do to unlock flying.

Since I have done all of the part one pathfinder tasks, it looks like I just need to get two factions in the new areas to revered standing and I will be there.

In the process there are two new zones to explore and a raft of quests to complete.  Blizz even has a survival guide video for the new content.

 

It is time to set aside my alts, with whom I have been tinkering for the last month, and get back to focusing on my main.  My summer goal for Azeroth is set.

Waiting for Flying and Leveling Up

We have slowly been getting bits and pieces of information about the World of Warcraft 8.2 Rise of Azshara patch.  Blizzard has released some info of its own accord while a lot more has been data mined from content on the public test realm.

The 8.2 update splash screen

What hasn’t come out way is an actual date for the patch.  I was hoping we would see it this month, but we’re almost to the mid-point already without a word.  To my mind June works well because we haven’t had a big drop in a while, it coincides with the tail end of the six month period that Blizzard locked a bunch of people into with that special mount offer, and it is far enough out in front of the late August release of WoW Classic that some of us can get in there, get flying, and be ready to swap to the old school.

However, what I think doesn’t necessarily mean anything down in Irvine.  Blizzard will move at its own pace, which is both a luxury it enjoys as well as being a bit of a curse.

While we have been waiting I have finished up all of the prerequisites for unlocking flying.  I am exalted with everybody, the ilevel on my main is high enough that mobs in the world are easy again.  I am well over that hump.  Feeling done there, I am on to some alts.  I think all of my level 110s are at least 111 now due to various activities, but I went all in with my hunter, traditionally my main alt, and got him up to the level cap.

Tistann to level 120

I leveled him up the straightforward way, through the quest content in the expansion.  And, as with my first run through that, there clearly hit a point around level 118 where the mobs out in world were clearly getting a lot tougher relative to my own power.  Up until that point just upgrading with the gear awarded by quests was enough to keep me feeling viable, but then there is that jump for the NPCs and suddenly one add is a disaster and you wonder if something has gone really wrong with your play style.

But it isn’t you, it is the game.  I still don’t know why Blizz thinks this is a good idea, but there it is.

I did start lining up some upgrade gear for level cap as I went along.  As it turns out leather working now yields a ranged weapon, and my hunter does skinning and leather working, so I was ready to go with that.

I made myself useful gear in WoW?!?!

Fortunately the hunter class, at least in beast mastery, is somewhat resilient to bad situations.  You can always sacrifice your pet and run away or feign death.  You do spend a lot of time healing your pets… and I oddly found my tanking pets harder to keep alive than my DPS pets… but you can power through.

Once up to level 120 I was able to start gearing him up via world quests and he is pretty much over the hump and back to feeling a bit more powerful in the world.

Such is not the case with my feral druid.

As I mentioned in a past post, my druid was my first alt to 120, and I did that entirely via pet battles.  That was a mistake.

I decided to see if I could get some world quests done with the druid and, as it turns out, being level 120 with all your 110 gear is not at all viable.  Running around in cat form makes you a bit squishy to start with, but this made even single NPCs a dodgy proposition.

Of course, I figured it could just be me.  I read up on Icy Veins, got an addon to help with my combat rotation, and I still managed to die horrible way too often.  Gear upgrades via my hunter did not tip the balance.  My druid is stuck at the bottom of an ilevel hill and working my way out of it feels like more effort than I want to expend.  It could still just be me being bad, but I have leveled him up normally in the past.

However, he might just be a pet battle character from now on.

I do have a couple of tougher alts, a DK and a warrior, that might be options.  But I am not sure I am feeling it for leveling up again at the moment.  Knowing that hill is waiting for me around level 118 is a disincentive to dig into that again.

Claiming the Pets of Children’s Week

It has been quite a stretch since I have done anything with Children’s Week in WoW.  I cannot even remember when I last did one of the quests, which probably means it has been a few expansions.  But for Battle for Azeroth the added in a new set of quests with a new set of pets, and once I noticed that I was pretty sure I had to give it a look.

While getting all the achievements for Children’s Week is an annoyance with which I haven’t bothered, the actual main quest that earns you a pet generally isn’t all that tough.  As has been the case in the past, the BfA version is a tour of some locations.  Once I found Orphan Matron Westerson it was the same routine as past versions.  Having hit level 120 with my main and done all the story lines and explored all the places… or most of the places, though I may have just forgotten some I visited so long ago at this point… that I was able to run through the quests little orphan Liam doles out easily enough.  And once I returned him to the orphanage the quest line was done and I was able to claim one of the four new battle pets.

I chose one and thought about how it was going to take three more holidays… three more years… to get the rest.  It has been long enough since I did Children’s Week that I think I only had my main in position to do the quests back then, so I collected the pets slowly, over years.

But after Warlords of Draenor and Legion I have a ton of alts… well, at least six… in place and able to run around Kul Tiras.  I just got an alt to level 120 last week.  So I got him out and found that, at some point, I had done the intro quests for BfA.  So I took the portal from the fancy new portal room in Stormwind (Orgrimmar got a better room) and went to the flight master to take the ride over to close by where the orphanage was.  However, the flight master didn’t have anything for me.

When you’re new in town

I could walk to the orphanage, that was just on the other side of town.  But the rest of the locations… well, I could ride there, but it wasn’t going to be as lickety split as having the local flight point.  Then I remembered something I bought from the 7th Legion supply office after I hit exalted with them and was picking up all the things they had on offer.  It was some sort of scouting maps that said something about flight points.  I had clicked on it, but it didn’t do anything for my main, so I wasn’t sure what it might really be for.  But it was bound to account, which meant I could send it to alts.  So I sent it to my druid.

The 7th Legion comes through

And sure enough, after I clicked on that the flight path options expanded greatly.

What you get after you show them your card

That made getting through and running the quest easy enough. My druid hadn’t upgraded his gear, save to buy a weapon at the auction house, since at level 120 the artifact weapon from Legion looked puny compared to green drops available on the auction house, and upgrading just that would keep his ilevel down, avoided the bad half of the difficulty ramp.

So I had two pets.

I got my hunter out.  He was level 112 and had been in Kul Tiras since early on.  He even had a few flight points.  But once I sent him the scouting report he had them all and soon enough I had three of the new pets for Children’s Week.

But at that point I was out of easy answers.  Anybody else would have to go through the intro story to get into BfA which I recall being long and tedious after a while.  Still, I thought I would give it a shot.  I picked my Dranei death knight.  I had started him on the pet battle run to get some levels.  He recalled to Stormwind, picked up a better weapon at the auction house, stopped off at Darkmoon Faire, then went to find Mathias Shaw.

Why yes, I have been to the fair. How did you know?

Fortunately my memory of the intro includes a bunch of the pre-expansion stuff from last summer.  Instead off all that you jump straight to Siege of Lordaeron, skipping past all that tree burning build up.  It is still a group event and you have to queue up for it, but there are enough people still doing it that the queue popped pretty quickly.

Fish Head in Lordaeron

That ran pretty well and did not take as much time to get to Sylvanas as I thought it might.  She got her big monologue and escape and then it was back to Stormwind for discussions and then the task to sail with Jaina Proudmoore to Kul Tiras.  I groaned a little bit at that as, while I enjoyed the whole jail break scenario when it was new, I had done it a couple of times already.  Fortunately Jaina is a good commander and has her troops covered.

Or you can just skip all of that…

There is still a little intro quest, but the fourth stop is the flight master and I was headed there anyway.  I had sent the scouting map to my DK so he was quickly at the orphanage.

Is this were I rent an orphan?

So little Liam rode around with my DK and saw the sights of Kul Tiras.  For the fourth run it was a bit of a whirlwind tour.  I had all the trigger locations set and didn’t hang around for conversations or tours.  Sorry Liam.  But he still seemed as excited at the end.

And you have that battle pet for me, right kid?

And so I ended up with all four of the Kul Tiras Children’s Week battle pets.

All in my leveling queue

Now I am trying to remember if I did claim all the pets for the earlier versions.  It might be time to go check before the event ends tomorrow.

Addendum:

I was missing one pet from the Burning Crusade version of the event.

Legs acquired

That has been taken care of now.

My First WoW Alt to 120

I finally have an alt up to level 120 in World of Warcraft.  120 was the level cap introduced with the Battle for Azeroth expansion.  That expansion launched over seven months ago, so this isn’t anything like a brag.

The moment – who can tell me where I am?

In a way, it is something of the opposite of a brag.  Because the funny thing about my alt, an alliance druid named Alioto, is that he hasn’t been to Kul Tiras or Zandalar yet.

There are a couple of reasons for this.

The first is that while he did go to the Broken Isles in Legion, and has his feral spec artifact weapons, I fell off the wagon there after a couple of levels.  The changes to druids between Warlords of Draenor, where I played him quite a bit, and Legion were enough to put me off the class.  And that didn’t seem to get much better with the coming of BFA.  Still, I might have given it a shot save for the next item.

Second, there is/was/remains the whole bit about how mobs scale up faster in difficulty than you do as your level and ilevel go up.  That was a serious drag with my ret pally main, and I felt pretty good about playing him otherwise, and led to all sorts of angst in the community about levels and what not.  Even I was wondering what the point of levels were if they actively made you feel weaker against the exact same content, and I kind of like levels despite their problems.

I am past that with my pally.  He hit level 120 months ago and has boosted his ilevel past the point of punishment and it is fun again to go out and do world quests and follow the story line.  When the expansion stops punishing you for upgrading things are pretty good, because aside from that I have enjoyed the zone content and the story line.

But I am not keen to dive in with alts quite yet.  I will probably wait until I unlock flying on my account before I dive into that.  And I am certainly not hankering to dive into BFA with alts that are classes that I feel weak playing to start with.  I’d probably be okay with warrior, hunter, or death knight, all of which are ready to go, but my mage, rogue, and druids… those all feel like they would end up being an unhappy slog.

Basically, BFA has made me focus on my main even more than Legion did, and Legion really felt geared to make you focus on a single main to start with, something that was a bit jarring after the alt happy Warlords of Draenor expansion, where I ended up with a bunch of characters at level cap.  And all of this was compounded by the fact that allied races came in with the run up to BFA, so Blizzard was essentially pushing alts by giving you a passel of new level 20s to grind up, while delivering an expansion that made leveling up alts feel like a chore.

Is it any wonder that Blizzard is fretting about levels and talking about crazy things like a level squish?  In hindsight they seem to have set themselves up for trouble.

All of which is part of the public debate about WoW, but leaves out how my druid managed to get to level cap.

He got there via pet battles.

And not just any pet battles, but the battles against grand master pet tamer NPCs in the Warlords of Draenor and Mists of Panaria.

Due to the quirks of the way pet battles have evolved over time, the easiest way to level up your battle pets is to run through some daily NPC pet battles in those two expansions.

I have been over how I can run a level 1 battle pet up to level 25 daily without a lot of effort.  With the right set of teams it is not a big deal, save for the occasional bad luck with the RNG. (I still highly recommend the addon Rematch for managing your pet leveling queue and teams.)

The side effect of running these pet battles, which are all in areas where the level cap was lower so they are pretty safe to travel through even if you haven’t unlocked flying, and completely safe if you have, is that they also yield experience for your character.  They are all daily quests, but due to the fact they are pet battles, they scale up with your level, handing you a solid at level quest worth exp with each one.

Seriously, from where ever through to level cap each battle gave my druid nearly 4% of a level of experience. With Legion, and carried on with BFA, the master trainers became world quests, which means you need to unlock access to them and can only battle them when they are up in rotation.

While there is a limit to the number you can do on a given day… you can only battle each master trainer once… doing enough to level a pet up to 25 each day gets you a good chunk of a level.

In fact, I think the master pet trainer daily quests in all of the content up through Warlords of Draenor do the same, and there are a lot of them.  There is even an achievement for doing them all in a single day, which I will do some day (with an alt well shy of the level cap).  I haven’t done it yet because, for me at least, pet battles are best done in small doses lest they become tedious.

Anyway, there is a way to level up an alt.  I’ll probably start in with another character… probably my mage, which is the level 110 alt I am least likely to ever play… and carry on with the pet battle dailies.

Addendum: I am not the only one on about mob scaling in BFA today.

Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder Part One Done

Well, that was pretty quick.  Last week, with the preview of Battle for Azshara and the promise of flying, I had something new to focus on in WoW.

Don’t know when it is coming, but it is coming

I was immediately looking up what I ought to get done to get myself to flying when it became available to unlock.  The prerequisite was the Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder Part One achievement, and I was a few items short on that.

Where I stood last week

I had two out of the five achievements done to get the meta achievement, so I set about over the weekend on the other three.

Exploring is always the easiest to pick up and I only had two zones left to cover on Zandalar anyway, so I set about on those as I did world quests.

Quickly done

Ready for War however, I wasn’t even sure where to pick that one up.  But I figured speaking to the guy with the orange exclamation point over his head on the alliance ship in Boralus would be a good place to start.

Actually, it ended up being the exact place I needed to go, though I only figured that out as I progressed on down the various quest chains and noted that further items were getting checked off on the list.  I moved along with Jaina Proudmoore, freed from her cell and now wrecking vengeance on those undermining Kul Tiras, with an oddly familiar cast of characters.

I’ve worked with some of these people before… that’s me in the middle

That wrapped up in not too long with me back in Stormwind speaking to King Anduin Wrynn.  He congratulated me on the work and gave me the nod for the achievement.

There in the throne room

That left the final achievement, Azerothian Diplomat, which needed me to get to revered standing with the main Alliance factions in the expansion.  Faction is not something easy to rush through.

Granted, it did help that I had been working on faction via world quests for a while already.  In fact, I only needed the Champions of Azeroth faction at revered to get there.  I wasn’t even too far off on that AND it was their turn on the emissary quest rotation.  So I ran over to Darkmoon Faire, rode the merry-go-round for the faction gain boost, then set out to do as many world quests for Champions of Azeroth as I could.

It wasn’t quite enough.  I went through all I could find as was just shy of the mark.  All I had left was a quest for my followers, but that would take 8 hours and it was already late in the evening.  I wasn’t going to be able to do it all in a day.

But when I logged in the next morning I was set.  My followers succeeded and I was done.

Mission success – no bonus, but still good

That set me up, I hope, for the Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder Part Two achievement, the gateway to flying, that we will get with the Rise of Azshara update.

In the mean time, I will just be a little faster on Zandalar and Kul Tiras.

The pathfinder bennie

I can use that to keep up with my fellow waterstrider riders on the world quest hunt.

Blizz was right on that score

Also, along the way I managed to get to exalted with the Proudmoore Admiralty.

I suspect that will come in handy at some point, but for now it let my buy another mount.

Battle for Azeroth Flying on the Horizon

We have had the World of Warcraft 8.1.5 update in our hands for a little while now, so Blizzard has started telling us about the 8.2 update, Rise of Azshara.  They had a half hour stream on Twitch yesterday that gave an overview of what to expect.

The 8.2 update splash screen

We are slated to get a lot of things with 8.2 and a 30 minute presentation gave just a brief overview of a lot of what to expect.

Rise of Azshara Features

I have not been very engaged with the Battle for Azeroth expansion.  Some aspects of it seemed almost designed to discourage and dismay all but the most determined.  And, as with Legion, it wasn’t a particularly alt friendly design to get into.  It is a better plan to pick one character and do all the things first.  And so I have pottered about, playing then falling by the wayside off and on since the expansion dropped.  But the first ray of light for alts came with this update with the announcement that the unlock for flying will be part of the 8.2 update.

Flying is Coming

We knew it would be coming, though that hasn’t stopped some people from being angry it hasn’t been in since day one.

Flying will be unlocked for your account when you finish the Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder Part Two achievement.  You will get that nice mechanical parrot mount pictured above for your efforts as well.  As for what will be required for that achievement is not yet certain, but now I at least have a mission; get the Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder Part One achievement complete.  I’m lagging on that.

Where I stand today

Still, I can wrap up part one with a little effort I think.  The exploration achievement is easy enough and I am only one faction shy on the diplomat front.  With those, and four more war campaigns to finish for the Ready for War achievement, I will be there.

Also on the topic of mounts, the 8.2 update will also introduce an equipment slot for your mounts in order to give them a special ability.

Mount Equipment

There are three options which will give all your mounts water walking, resistance to being dazed, or a parachute to deploy if you are dismounted in the air.

It was openly stated that this was in reaction to the Azure Water Strider mount, which has the innate ability to walk on water.  Putting this in the game during the Mists of Pandaria expansion was almost as big of a change as when they put in flying.  Being able to ride on water at will is such a huge boon that I use this mount all the time, both on alts and any place where flying is not available.

An alt riding on water

And apparently I am not alone.  This mount gets used everywhere and I see other people on it all the time.  So Blizz, realizing they let the water walking genie out of the bottle, is going to make it so any of your mounts can walk on water if you so desire.

What was left out was whether or not the water strider would keep its innate regardless of what was equipped.  I suspect it won’t, but if it does I don’t expect that usage of the mount will go down since you’ll be able to have water walking with that AND one of the other buffs as well.  We shall see.

Time for a Pet Battle Binge

While I have not been playing World of Warcraft all that diligently… last month EverQuest was my main focus… I do make sure to log in at least once a week to do the pet battle trainer challenge quest that pops up in fresh in your garrison every Tuesday.

(Odd aside: despite garrisons not fulfilling the housing role I still end up visiting mine regularly.  It probably helps that we were given a special hearthstone to get there, meaning that I don’t have to figure out where yet another portal is now located.)

The task is to defeat five pet battle masters out in the world, though the quest has an odd bug where sometimes just one win will finish the quest, while at other times you do actually have to defeat five.  The reward is ten leveling stones, which I sock away for later.  Otherwise I have the regular routine I run when I have a mind to… Ashlei, Vesharr, and Tarelune… which will get a pet from level 1 to 20 in a few minute, so long as I remember to wear my pet battle safari hat.

I don’t log in daily to do that routine, nor do I tend to follow on with further battles that would finish boosting the current leveling pet to 25, about which I wrote previously if you want to see the full routine.  Just getting to 20 keeps things nice and light so it doesn’t become a chore that keeps me from wanting to log in.

But this week, this week it is time to go nuts.  This week’s bonus is to pet battle experience.

Time for pet battles!

For bonus experience I can get on board doing pet battles every day for a week.  I figured this would get me pretty far on my level 1 battle pet backlog.

And then I looked at my backlog and realized that I don’t have all that many level 1 battle pets left to boost up.  In fact, I only had six left.  The whole queue in the Rematch addon, which organizes you pets and lets set standard teams, was 28 deep, but half of those were level 20 pets, which would hit level 25 in a single battle given the bonus.  The rest were scattered between levels 8 and 12.  I wasn’t sure I had a weeks worth of pets to level up.

My immediate response was to go out and catch some new pets.  Vikund, who I take out to do World Quests in Battle for Azeroth a couple times a week, was my starting point for that.  As I went out in the world I watched the map for areas with pets I had yet to catch.

Another addon does this, but I forget which

I would just do some world quests for the current factions that had emissary quests up on the map, stopping by to pick up stray pets with my catching team as I went.

Out in the field catching new pets

I also happened to get the achievement for doing 100 different BfA world quests.

Another achievement on the pile

Just doing catch as catch can I managed to pick up an easy half a dozen new pets while I helped out the 7th Legion on Zandalar.

Some new pets in my queue

That did boost my total pets caught, but didn’t give me a lot more things to level up.  Since all the pets out in the later expansions are level 25 by default… losing two levels when you catch them… each of these needed just one pet battle to hit max level, with or without the bonus experience.

I need to find some fresh level 1 pets to take full advantage of this event.  I can always spend some gold at the auction house for a few, though I am now at the point where my missing pets are getting pretty pricey.

I do have one more pet I need to catch in the Eastern Kingdoms, the one that spawns beneath Karazhan at midnight server time.  Then there are three from the Celestial Tournament I still need, though any of those would take longer than the event lasts.  And there are a couple I could get if I upped my BfA factions standings a bit.

But otherwise I seem to be out of immediate access to low level battle pets that I haven’t already caught and upgraded to at least rare quality.