Tag Archives: Warlords of Draenor

Pet Battle Level Fest

I was going to just write a post about my daily pet leveling routine.  I start with a level 1 pet, because I seem to have a huge number of level 1 pets, and get them up to level 25 in a little less than 20 minutes, collecting some gold and experience along the way.

I guess that every pet you get through a quest reward or a drop or other method other than catching them is level 1.

The idea here was to have an easy daily task that would level up a pet and have some side benefits.  Having half a dozen level 100+ characters helped here, because to do this you need access to Draenor.  Also it helps to have the Safari Hat toy, which gives you a 10% boost to pet experience from battles.

I take one of my not-yet-level-110 alts and start them off in their Draenor garrison which, on the alliance side, happens to be very close to the first destination, the trainer Ashlei in Shadowmoon Valley.  Ashlei’s lineup is good because it includes an Elekk plushie, which has no attacks, so it is safe to bring in a level 1 pet into the fight.

Facing Ashlei with my Tauren, Safari Hat on!

With the Safari Hat on and a lesser pet treat consumed (25% bonus) the fight will boost a pet up to level 12 or 13, which is enough to make that pet safe to be swapped in on the other fights they will face.  There are plenty of viable, never fail teams for this fight.  I happen to use Grunty and Deathy, two BlizzCon reward pets, but those are hardly a requirement.  Just swap in your level 1 when only the Elekk Plushie is left on Ashlei’s team, stay a round, and they swap back to another pet to finish it off.

That’s the thing, a pet has to survive a full round in battle to get credit and experience.

From there I fly off to the the Spires of Aarak to face Vesharr.  I used to be on the hairy edge with this fight, where a couple of crits would cause me to lose, but have since found a safe team with Chromius and the Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling that works.  This fight can pump the leveling pet up to as much as 19 with the treat active.

From there I head to Talador and the trainer Tarelune for the third fight.  My team here isn’t optimal, featuring Rascal Bot and a Nether Faerie Dragon, but mostly works and, even when it fails, it comes close enough, and the leveling pet is high enough level by this point, that I can still finish it off and get the experience.

After Taralune I use my Dalaran hearth stone and from there use the portal to Pandaria.  There is a stable master right there after you use the portal to heal up pets, after which I fly out to Aki the Chosen, one of those fights where the Anubisath Idol makes all the difference.

Anubisath Idol up front in Pandaria, Safari Hat on!

After that fight, if I have a treat up, the pet I am carrying is well into level 24.  In order to get the maximum use out of the treat, which lasts for one hour, I recall back to my garrison and log off, having used less than 20 minutes of the treat’s time and saving the remainder for the next day.

I have a pile of those treats, but I like to conserve them because there is some effort to earn them.  I can used another character out in the world to get that last level, or just throw a one of the leveling tokens at it if I have one handy.  Either way, another pet to level 25.

If I did not have a treat up I will fly off to the Burning Pandaren Spirit in the Townlong Steppes for one more fight.  The spirit’s team can be taken by a snail or whelk, you just have to swap in the level pet at the right time.  Once the fight is done it will be level 24.

Taking on the burning Pandarian Spirit with snails

Each fight rewards gold, the last two also add in a bag of random items, and experience for the character who you’re using.  The experience is good enough that my rogue went from about 103 to 110 on it, when I then started using a level 100 mage, who is well on his way to 110 now too.

I could do more.  With some additional effort I could probably level up a second and even a third pet every day.  But the plan was to keep it from becoming a grind, and just four or five battles a day is easy and leaves me time to do other things.

Unless there is a pet battle event.

Last Tuesday after patch 7.3.5 hit I came home, interested in that, but started off doing my usual pet thing, only to find that my level 1 pet jumped to level 19, with only the Safari Hat giving any experience boost, after the first fight.  It was only then that I noticed that the week’s special was a 200% boost to pet battle experience.

Oh yeah, that helps

That seemed like an opportunity.  I wasn’t keen to burn myself out on pet battles, but I started looking up leveling pet strategies for the other NPC trainers in Draenor and Pandaria determined to not let this go to waste.  So rather than my usual 20 minutes or so I spent most of my play time working on pet battles.

Or at least as much time as I could stand.  I happened to have updated my standings over at Warcraft Pets just before the event, so I had a baseline of where I started.

Stats before the event

That showed me with 248 pets at level 25.  After six days of the event I had Warcraft Pets import my latest standings and found that I had leveled 61 pets up to 25.

Stats as of Monday morning

Again, I probably could have done more but I have a sense of how much I can really binge on something like this before burn-out becomes a possibility.  And I still have this evening to run through the trainers one more time.  I should probably use the last day to boost up as many level 1 pets as I can, as once they have a few levels the options for raising them further safely are greater.

Meanwhile, because pet battle yield experience, gold, items, and even faction in some cases, I had a number of other achievements pop up including hitting exalted with one of the WoW Legion factions I was still working on.

Exalted with the Nightfallen now

Of course, one of the things that made this all viable for me is the Rematch addon I wrote about previously.  Not only does it let you setup teams, but you can also create a queue of pets you want to level up and allows you to create teams with a placeholder that it will automatically fill with the pet at the top of the queue.  I still have to juggle the queue sometimes to make sure I have a pet appropriate to the battle I am facing (no level 1 pets for the Mana Trap battle above, as one of the foes has an attack that hits your back line pets as well) but otherwise it helps me keep things going quickly without a lot of fuss.

So I made some progress on leveling up.  I still haven’t found time to return to the Celestial Tournament in Pandaria, but I now have a big enough field of level 25 battle pets that I ought to be able to take it on successfully.

Pet Battles – Beyond Catching Them All

When Pet Battles were announced as a feature of the Mists of Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft I was a skeptical.  Pets had been a thing forever in Azeroth, if a bit rare.  I remember getting that worg pup and a spider back in vanilla WoW, but they were akin to mounts back then in that they took up bag space and didn’t do much when brought out aside from follow you around… though that was enough at times.

Children’s Week brought along some more pets to show off, first in Azeroth then the Outland version.  Things evolved, pets and mounts became manageable through a different interface, ceased to take up an inventory slot per pet, and became cross-wide items.  I collected some along the way, including a few from BlizzCon Virtual Tickets, because I tend to be a collector and also because achievements began to show up for them.

Grunty from BlizzCon 2009

Still, as a Pokemon player I was dubious about Blizzard attempting to graft something akin to Pokemon game play onto WoW.  When I did finally pick up Mists of Pandaria during its second year, I treated pet battles as more of a collection game than anything else.  I picked up pets opportunistically as they appears, tried my hand against a few of the NPC pet masters, but generally treated it as very much a secondary or tertiary activity.

It wasn’t until Warlords of Draenor and the need to defeat some bigger pets in order to unlock the menagerie in the garrison that I started to consider doing more than level up a few pets for a catching group.  Then I started building something of a pet army, enabled by the Pet Battle Teams addon.

At that point I built up teams to defeat the pet battle masters throughout the game as well as the daily garrison challenge.  I leveled up pets and collected the badges to buy stones to upgrade their quality, but I never quite got around to the Celestial Tournament, the big pet battle event on Timeless Isle in Pandaria.

Before I got to that I burned out on Warlords of Draenor and garrisons and did not return until WoW Legion was looming.  At that point I was more about getting flying in Draenor then the pre-launch events for WoW Legion and then the opening of the expansion itself, during which time battle pets were not a priority.  After my initial run to 110 in WoW Legion I tired and took another break.  It was only with my return late last year, after switching to the Rematch addon for pet battles, that I was back in the saddle.

The main Rematch UI

But I still wasn’t up for the Celestial Tournament.

The Celestial Tournament is a series of seven battles against a couple sets of possible foes, three battle masters and four epic pets, during which you cannot heal or revive any of your own pets.  It your Pokemon faints battle pet passes out they are out and if you need that battle pet again you had better have a dupe.

While I have read that you can do the Celestial Tournament with as few as 18 level 25 pets, they do have to be the right pets.  I was able to put together teams from my 500 pets to take out the initial three masters, but the four epic pets would thwarts me every time.  Looking at guides, I discovered that I lacked most of the recommended pets for these battles.  So my goal became hunting those down and then leveling them up.

A few possible contenders, like the Iron Starlette, I had but just needed to level up.  Some candidates were fairly easy to find.  I stumbled upon an Unborn Val’kyr on my first attempt to find one, and bagged a pair of Emerald Proto-Whelps along the way.  Others took a bit more time.  I had to run through Ahn’Qiraj about a dozen times before I managed to get the Anubisath Idol pet as a drop.

Anubisath Idol up front in Pandaria

I also came up with a daily leveling routine that would take a level 1 battle pet all the way up to level 25 in five fights, which I will post about later.

In the mean time I took on the Wailing Caverns and Deadmines pet battle dungeons.  Those are somewhat easier events based on the Celestial Tournament model, where you battle a series of challenges in the dungeon environment but cannot heal or revive your pets.  Doing Wailing Caverns has a chance to award pets when you finish, while the Deadmines awards you tokens that you can use to buy one of three pets.

At the Mining Monkey in the Deadmines

Then one evening as I was killing the same mobs over and over on the Isle of Giants in Pandaria looking for one of the Zandalari pet drops, I decided that maybe I ought to go check out the auction house.  Most pets you catch can’t be traded, but some you get through other means can be caged and handed off or listed at the auction house.

A visit to the auction house and 50,000 gold later and I had filled most of the gaps in my potential Celestial Tournament line up.  (Remember when that was a lot of money?)  I wasn’t aware that quite so many pets were tradeable.  Granted, they were all level 1, so I had some leveling up work to do, and a few need to be boosted to rare quality, but I had a clear path forward.

And then, when adding those pets to my collection I crossed the 600 pet mark, which gets you an achievement and another pet.

Stormwing is the reward pet

Meanwhile, I stumbled across another achievement reward out in the Broken Isles when I did the 30th unique world quest pet battle.  That gives you a token to up your battle pet storage.

Space for 1500 pets

I was actually starting to wonder about storage.  The initial limit was 1,000 pets and, while there are only currently 946 pets you can get (Warcraft pets says that number is 917, with 960 total, so take your pick) you can have dupes.  You can catch up to three of any pet… and I have dupes of some of my more useful ones… plus any pets that pre-dated Mists of Pandaria you got one for every character that had it, which is how I ended up with five Creepy Crates in my collection.  So my total was edging up towards 800.  But now I have more breathing room on that front.

At this point I think I have all my Celestial Tournament pets at 25 and boosted to rare quality, so I plan to give that a serious run this weekend.

And collecting… that keeps on going.  My count is currently at 614 unique pets and I have a bunch I can still get if I work at it.  I’ll never get to the full 946 though.

Recount collection stats

That count includes pets that came with collector’s editions of the game and, while you can find a collector’s edition of the 2004 release of WoW still, the price is way too steep for me.

Picking My Favorite WoW Expansion by Reputation

There is always a desire to rate and rank things, to quantify things down to a simple calculation.  Sure, you wrote a nice 2,500 review of that game, but how many stars did you give it?  What is the Meta Critic score.

And I am not immune to such things.  I can ramble on for hundreds of words about something, how I feel about it, what I liked and what bothered me, but sometimes I’d like a nice objective measure of my real reaction.

Which brings us to World of Warcraft expansions.  I had this idea rolling around in my head and then Syp moved me to action by essentially praising what I found to be one of the worst aspects of the first WoW expansion, The Burning Crusade.

Looking out from the Portal

I find expansions problematic in general.  They must change the game and, in doing so, alienate some segment of the game’s population.  They seek to extend the support of the fan base yet risk driving it away because every horrible feature, no matter how seemingly universally reviled, is somebody’s favorite.  So when an expansion makes something better it inevitably wrecks the game for somebody.

I’ve long said, only semi-sarcastically, that EverQuest: The Ruins of Kunark was the only “good” expansion, mostly because it expanded Norrath without changing it too much.

And yet I am always at least somewhat enthusiastic for expansions, so I am even at war with myself over the idea.

Anyway, my gut ranking of WoW expansions has generally been:

  1. Wrath of the Lich King
  2. The Burning Crusade
  3. Mists of Pandaria
  4. Warlords of Draenor
  5. Cataclysm

Vanilla can’t really be ranked in that list, it is more of a baseline, and WoW Legion is still active and I am still playing it, so the jury remains out.

But I do wonder how much of an effect distance in time has on that ranking.  If it wasn’t for a peeve of mine about quests in TBC it might actually contend for first spot.  I mean, I loved the dungeons, there were plenty of them and, at the time, that was more important than a lot of other things.

So I started fishing around for a way to quantify my activities in each expansion.  Ideally I would be able to extract something like total play time or number of quests or number of dailies or number of dungeons run while each was the current live expansion.

I stopped for a bit at measuring the number of characters who hit the level cap during the expansion, that being at least theoretically being a measure of how much I enjoyed playing in an expansion, but discarded it when the list turned out like this:

  1. Warlords of Draenor – 7
  2. Mists of Pandaria- 3
  3. Cataclysm – 3
  4. Wrath of the Lich King – 2
  5. The Burning Crusade – 2

Hanging with Khadgar and Thrall in Draenor

This is more a measure of how easy it was to level up rather than an indicator of enjoyment.  Plus, WoD started the trend of giving players a level boost and ended on the pre-launch event for WoW Legion where I managed to get two character to max level.

So I fished around some more and settled upon factions.  More specifically, how may factions from a given expansion did I end up getting to exalted status?  It is a decent measure of how long I stuck with a given expansion and it is something I tend to do with a single character.

So I went over to the WoW Armory and looked at Vikund’s standings, took the total number of “main” factions and the number I managed to get to exalted and ranked the expansions based on the percentage, which looked like this:

  1. Mists of Pandaria – 10 of 12 or 83%
  2. Wrath of the Lich King – 8 of 11 or 73%
  3. The Burning Crusade – 6 of 13 or 46%
  4. Warlords of Draenor – 3 of 8 or 38%
  5. Cataclysm – 1 of 4 or 25%

Jumping into Pandaria

Of course, there are problems with that measurement.  To start with, not all expansions have the same, or even comparable, numbers of factions.  And there there is the question as to which factions should really count?  I put “main” in apologetic quotes above for a reason.  I somewhat arbitrarily decided individuals in Mists of Pandaria should not count, nor should the Sholazar Basin factions in Wrath of the Lich King.

If I add those in MoP goes to 63% and WotLK goes to 61%.  Since that keeps the ranking the same I dismissed that for the moment.

Going the other direction, I might argue that the sub-factions of Alliance Vanguard in WotLK ought not to count the same way the Sholazar Basin factions didn’t count, which would give the expansion an 86% score, putting it on top.

And then there is the question of which factions did I get to exalted in one expansion AFTER a later expansion appeared.  Things get ugly for TBC with that, since I did at least three of those factions long after the fact, and even uglier for Cataclysm, which drops to zero.

  1. Wrath of the Lich King – 8 of 11 or 86%
  2. Mists of Pandaria – 10 of 12 or 83%
  3. Warlords of Draenor – 3 of 8 or 38%
  4. The Burning Crusade – 3 of 13 or 23%
  5. Cataclysm – 0 of 4 or 0%

Valiance Keep Harbor

This is the reason I cannot rate Vanilla, I am pretty sure I only had one or two factions to exalted at the most during the reign of the original game, and maybe not even that.  The Argent Tournament in WotLK got me to exalted on most of the main alliance factions  Also, there are a those wacky factions, like the Bloodsail Buccaneers, or raid only factions, like the Brood of Nozdormu, that I was never going to crack.

And this brings in a side issue, which is the expectations set by the previous state of the game.  After Vanilla my expectations for TBC were pretty high.  They were met on the dungeon experience side of things, but were dashed by how Blizz decided questing should be handled.  And don’t get me started on ugly equipment or the introduction of some really dull daily quests.

So my expectations were more modest for WotLK.

Then came Cataclysm, the expansion I spent the least amount of time playing.  That set expectations so low that I punted on Mists of Pandaria until it had been out for a year, then found it to be a really solid expansion.  But with only 5 level boost in the level cap you could get to dailies and follow on items like playing with your farm or doing fishing quest pretty quickly.

That realization, along with the return to TBC vibe that Warlords of Draenor started with and the idea of housing, again set expectations high.  The zones were fine, the dungeons good, but garrisons sucked the life out of things, seemingly having been designed to prove a comment that Blizz made long ago about why they didn’t want housing; they pulled people out of the world into their own little domains.

To add to the list of things that this might measure, I should also consider what I got out of getting various faction standings to their current state.

In WotLK getting to exalted unlocked mounts.  Many mounts.  Likewise, mounts were a motivator in MoP.  I know that the only faction I have at exalted in Cataclysm is there because I wanted that camel mount, while in TBC the Netherwing and the Sha’tari Skyguard specifically to get their mounts.  But in Warlords of Draenor I either didn’t want mounts or they were not there.  I can’t remember.  All I really wanted was to unlock flying, and that

And over the course of all of this the game has changed, the market changed, and we have all changed.  Goofy stuff that my daughter and I used to do, like wander far afield just to find a specific pet, have been replaced with other tasks.  The instance group, with whom I ran though Vanilla, TBC, and WotLK, started to fall apart as the years went by, our lives changed, and our ability to stay up late diminished.

So I have gone from a situation where the dungeon content has been supreme in my mind to being much more interested in solo items with some touristy group things via Dungeon Finder and LFR.  That means my rankings are flawed in an even more esoteric fashion.

So TBC and WotLK were good at dungeons when that was important to me while Cataclysm was not, while MoP was very good for solo when that was important to me while WoD wasn’t quite there.  But WotLK was also very good for solo for me once the group tired, while the TBC solo content didn’t hold me very well once the group was done with dungeons.

So maybe, in my own little world, I can admit that WotLK was a good expansion and put it alongside Ruins of Kunark.

Basically, 1,500 words in, I think I have decided that I have wholeheartedly liked two MMO expansions, but I don’t expect you to agree with me.

Resumed Pet Battle Campaign

On coming back to World of Warcraft I was a bit bemused to find that one of my key pet battle addons, Pet Battle Teams, appeared to have broken again.  I had run into problems with it before, when Blizz changed the name of the pets window in the game, so I checked on that.  But that did not appear to be the problem.  So I setup my base catching team, the Terrible Turnip, Grunty, and Deathy, and continued to catch pets in the Broken Isles while I tried to get the addon straightened out.

Grunty in Action, Turnip Face Down

Grunty and Deathy are BlizzCon rewards and are two of my favorite pets.  They are unique and a bit OP and work very well for a lot of my general needs.  Grunty was the first battle pet of mine that hit level 25.

I tinkered with Pet Battle Teams some more, tried uninstalling and re-installing the addon, and eventually removed all data and started from scratch.

That last bit appeared to do the trick.  Somewhere along the line my team data went out of date and when I came back to the latest version of the addon.  That was a shame, as I had already set up teams to handle many of the trainers and challenges in the game.  The problem I have with managing my pets is that with over 600 of them in my collection, including duplicates, finding the right pet for the right battle can be a challenge on its own.  I like to have some set up for specific battles and other set up for opposing different pet types, like aquatic or flying.  That at least puts a few of what I am often looking for quickly to hand.

My Pet Window with the Teams Addon

Of course, I should be working on flying in WoW Legion.  But if I spend all my time doing that it will start to feel like a grind, so I do a bit of that every day, the look into other things.

And with pet battles I actually have a lot of options.  I have a bunch of nice pets I want to level up.  I have the collections for various areas to finish.  And then there is Pandaria.

Pet battles came in with the Mists of Pandaria expansion, but that was the expansion I did not play at launch.  Because of that, when I did finally join in on the expansion… and it turned out to be one of my favorites… I was way behind the curve when it came to pets.  I had a bunch of pets, but they were all level 1.  So I wasn’t going to be challenging the master trainers in Pandaria.

So, for me, pet battles really started in earnest with Warlords of Draenor.  I had to work to build up a team to unlock the menagerie in my garrison.  While I have a number of negative comments about garrisons in Draenor, the menagerie was not something I would knock.

The menagerie became the cornerstone of my pet battle experience.  Between that and Trainer Ashlei I was able to level up and improve my collection dramatically.  As I wrote back in early 2015, my pet battle enthusiasm had been unleashed.

Now, running around the Broken Isles doing world quests, I was finding that pet battles were on the list of options.  In building up teams for that I started to realize that I had a something of a collection going.  Checking my stats over at Warcraft Pets, I saw I had well over 100 max level pets.  So I decided I might be ready to go back to Pandaria to face some of the trainer challenges there.

I may have binged on it a bit.  After a rough start I managed to get in the two beginning challenges for trainers there, racking up a number of achievements along the way.

Pandaria Pet Battle Achievements

Getting those required some research.  WoW Head has posts with basic information about each fight, which is a start.  It is the comments where the real meat comes in about the sorts of teams that might be successful.  However, it isn’t just copy the team and go at it… mostly because I almost never have the battle pets suggested.

Literally I think all of my pet battle problems would be solved if only I had the Anubisath Idol pet, as it seems to feature heavily in successful teams.  However, I don’t have him or a number of other favorites.  So I looked at what had been successful to see if I can use those ideas with pets I actually have.

A team that didn’t quite work…

I got a few on the first try, but most took a couple of runs to come to victory.  Eventually I ended up at my last fight.

This time I have you

Success there led me back to the quest giver.  That both yielded a reward, a new pet, of course.

I went for the Earthen spirit

That also opened up daily versions of the quests in order to get the pets I didn’t choose.  So I have more battles ahead of me.

In addition, I still have a lot more pets to catch.  In some places just one pet awaits me, like the one I am missing in Northrend.

It only spawns when it is snowing in the zone…

In other areas I have to get there at the right time.  And then there are the raiding with leashes pets.  I have a couple of those, but there is a list still waiting for me, including the aforementioned Anubisath Idol.  So much left to do… enough to keep me busy for a while I imagine.

Meanwhile Back in the Garrison

Despite being critical of the so-called “game play” of garrison missions and Blizzard having nerfed garrison gold farming back to the stone age with the 7.0 patch back in early August, I still hit garrisons with Vikund and several alts every day.

Why am I doing this?

Well, there is still that garrison shipyard achievement I want, “Master of the Seas,” so I will have the title “Captain.”

I will be called "Captain" before this is done

The current score is 19 out of 25 required

The naval bonus missions are the rare ones, so I check in daily to see if one has popped up, then run some missions anyway (including the one for 400 oil) because I might as well get the “Fleet Commander” achievement while I am there.

But mainly I have been going back for garrison resources.

After the 7.0 patch, Blizzard took away gold as a reward for many things… though you can still get occasional ilevel 655 or 670 items from missions that are worth… but boosted the garrison resource output.  I imagine that this is to help alts and others showing up in the post-Draenor era build their garrisons.

So all those follows with the extreme scavenger trait that I optimized for in order to boost gold returns on mission, they now return piles of garrison resources instead.

That is a pile of resources

That is a pile of resources for three resource missions

The salvage yard now hands out garrison resources with each box or bag you open as well.

I am taking all of those garrison resources to the vendor at the trading post, which I have built on several of my alt garrisons as well, and but supplies for my tail who then turns them into hexweave bags.

Making bags

Making bags

I save some of them for the auction house when the price is good, but my main goal is to outfit all of my characters, inventory and bank, with 30 slot bags.  I figured that I might as well put all of those alts hanging about in their garrisons waiting for their turn in the Broken Isles to use.

It is funny, at times, to see the array of bags that my characters have.  There are plenty of 16 slot mageweave bags, along with a fair number of the old school, no-bind, 16 slot traveler’s backpack.  I remember when getting one of those as a drop was a big deal.

There are bags that were quest rewards and bag that were drops from old raids that I ran back and did once I was high enough level to solo them.

I even have the Haris Pilton “Gigantique” from back in the Burning Crusade era.  A 22 slot bag for 1,200 gold, a time when both 22 slots and 1,200 gold seemed like a lot.  I did not, however, bother to buy the so-called “Portable Hole” bag from Haris Pilton, a Wrath of the Lich King era addition to her stock.  It wasn’t because it was too expensive, though you can get a 30-slot hexweave bag for less these days, but because nearly seven years back it simply annoyed me that Blizzard decided to use that name for what is otherwise a rather modest sized bag.

I’ve looked in a portable hole before, it holds more than 24 slots worth of stuff.

WoW Legion Sales Numbers Stacked Up Against Past Launches

Today, Blizzard announced that players have forged a truly formidable defensive front—as of the expansion’s first full day of launch on August 30, more than 3.3 million copies of Legion had sold through, matching the all-time record achieved by previous expansions and making it one of the fastest-selling PC games ever. In addition, World of Warcraft’s launch-week player concurrency climbed to its highest point since the 2010 launch of the Cataclysm expansion…

Blizzard press release, September 8, 2016

WoW Legion launched, which almost requires that there be some celebratory press release in which Blizzard referred to itself in the third person.

WoW Legion coming to a server near you

WoW Legion has been up for a week now

My guess is that they had that press release ready to go for a bit now, as they didn’t even bother to fill in the date before they posted it.  I imagine they will fix that before the day is out, so here it is a screen shot for the record.

Roman numerals maybe?

Roman numerals maybe?

So we got some numbers.  Blizzard kept to its promise not to mention subscription numbers ever again, so they had to make due with vague claims about concurrency. (No numbers = vague in my book)

The number we did get was 3.3 million copies sold in the first 24 hours. (Yes, they said “more than 3.3 million” in the press release, but if it had been 3.4 million they would have run with that number, so it is likely 3.3 million and change.)  As usual, with any number standing alone, I start looking for context.  Fortunately, the internet provides context if you look for it.  The first day sales track record looks like this:

  • WoW Legion – 3.3 million
  • Warlords of Draenor – 3.3 million
  • Mists of Pandaria – 2.7 million (first week)
  • Cataclysm – 3.3 million
  • Wrath of the Lich King – 2.8 million
  • Burning Crusade – 2.4 million
  • World of Warcraft – 240,000

So, for first day sales, WoW Legion ranks with… I don’t want to say “the best,” since its peers at that level are not my favorite expansions… past top sellers.

Warlords of Draenor did just as well according to the Blizzard press release from its launch, which included a mention of exceeding 10 million subscribers, a mark that would soon drop precipitously.

Mists of Pandaria, which in hindsight was a pretty good expansion, maybe my second favorite, and which held on to the player base admirably compare to WoD, had to go a full week to get to 2.7 million sales, which put it below every expansion save Burning Crusade.  The pleading for a new expansion towards the end of Mists of Pandaria now seem almost quaint given the mass exodus from the game that came with WoD.

Then there was Cataclysm, which I am going to say was probably the first point when digital sales made up a significant portion of the first day sales, setting a record as yet unbeaten, with 3.3 million sales.  There were some good things in that expansion, but the destruction of the old world still stings.

Then Wrath of the Lich King and Burning Crusade check in at 2.8 and 2.4 million units sold on the first day.  That was back when Fry’s was open at midnight to sell you a copy and they had pallets of boxes out on the sales floor.  That was the era of growth, which Cataclysm put paid to.

And finally, just for completeness, there was World of Warcraft back in 2004, which sold 240,000 copies on the first day, which was a record at the time.  No digital sales in that number I bet!

So that is how the list stacks up.  WoW Legion sold well enough, though judging from what I have seen… or not seen… on store shelves, it was almost all digital. (I was at Best Buy on Monday and they had a single standard edition, wrapped up protectively in an anti-theft device and sitting alone at the bottom of a shelf.  No display.  No signs.  No big deal.  How times have changed.) That likely means WoW Legion sold directly into the currently subscribed base in the US/EU.

It would be interesting to know what the subscriber base jumped up to with the launch.  I suspect that if it had passed 10 million, Blizz might have mentioned it.  But maybe not, and we’ll likely never see a number to prove it either way.

I will have to hang on to the two WoW Legion boxes we got at our house.

Retail Boxes! Old School!

Retail Boxes! Old School!

Given the state of the retail channel for the expansion, those might be collectible in a few years.  I mean, a DVD for WoW Legion?  I am not sure why they even bother.  The patcher had everything in place already.  All I needed was the code off the label and I was upgraded and playing.  Modern times.

Pondering That Legion Level 100 Boost

We just entered the second week of pre-Legion events.  I have been running through them just to make sure I do not miss anything.  Last week’s, the opening of the invasion, was pretty fun.  This weeks seems to mostly involve listening to Khadgar talk.

Have shovel, will... listen to some old guy talk and talk...

Have shovel, will… listen to some old guy talk and talk…

Okay, it wasn’t all talking.  I had to travel to Dalaran’s new location… though it is still in its old location as well, though I am sure somebody will tell me the lore says that there are not two Dalarans… and there was something about retrieving and overdue library book.  It was hard to tell, as Khadgar is not voiced, so his monologue is all in the chat window in a yellow/tan colored font that blended right into the background colors, rendering it illegible to me.  I could only really follow when people were shouting… and people did shout… though I felt like I missed something in between shouts.  However you just have to follow Khadgar around, click on whatever sparkles, kill whoever is red, and you are about set.

I assume next week we will have a new chapter in the pre-Legion events.

My daughter was doing the invasions with a low level character once she discovered that they scaled to your level.  She was out there with a level 32 paladin fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with level 100s and everything worked perfectly, plus the exp was huge, allowing her to level up.  So Blizzard nerfed that.  The cynic in me says that you can’t have people catching up too fast when you want to sell level 100 boosts.

Which brings us to today’s pondering.  When the WoW Legion expansion finally arrives at our home, it will include a level 100 boost as part of the package.  As I wondered what to do with the Warlords of Draenor level 90 boost, now I wonder what the upcoming level 100 boost.

The choice ought to be easier this time around.  I already have five level 100s here at the eve of WoW Legion, compared to just three level 90s before Warlords of Draenor.  So I can drop the following from the list:

  • Paladin
  • Hunter
  • Druid
  • Deathknight
  • Rogue

Add in the fact that I will also get to roll up an effectively level 100 Demon Hunter and that will be six characters ready for Legion covering half of the available classes.

Which leaves the following to choose from for the boost:

  • Mage
  • Monk
  • Priest
  • Shaman
  • Warlock
  • Warrior

At this point, with half the classes at level cap currently, I have to start wondering which class would even add anything to my play experience.  I have rolled up all of the classes and, aside from the warlock, played them up to at least level 40.

My gut is to go with the warrior, another plate wearing melee class, which is more my style for solo play.  I haven’t really enjoyed the cloth wearing caster classes in WoW over the life of the game.  That would leave Monk or Shaman as alternatives, though the Shaman has always been a strange bird as well.

On top of all of that, we just had the WoW 7.0 class revamp patch a few weeks back that made some people unhappy.  I am certainly unhappy with my Hunter, and doubly so because I was looking forward to having three viable Hunter specs.  Instead I feel like Blizzard just wants people to stop playing Hunters.

I am also a bit cranky still with my Paladin.  I have gotten somewhat used to the retribution spec at this point, but it still feels awkward.

On the other hand my Druid(s), at least in feral spec, seems to play just fine.  I like being able to cast moonfire… along with a bonus healing touch now and again… when in cat form.  Works for me!

So I might have to throw out what I know about some classes and ask which of them actually got better after the 7.0 patch.  I have noticed  of late that in any group, the top damage output always seems to be some arcane missile throwing Mage.  But I have also heard people bitching about the Warlock changes.

And then there is the wildcard in the equation for me.

When it came to the Warlords of Draenor boost, I eventually went with a Deathknight, mostly because he was over level 60 and so also got me trained up on a pair of primary professions with the boost.  However, given the state of crafting in Draenor, that was less of a bonus than I thought it might be.  I did play him through to level 100 and I did get him a level 3 garrison, but I didn’t do much else with him.  He hasn’t built a shipyard or been to Taanan Jungle or anything.

In hindsight, however, I feel as though I made an error.  And not just an error in choosing a Deathknight, but an error in choosing which faction.  After my third or fourth time through Draenor as an Alliance character, I began to wonder if perhaps I ought to have gone with a Horde character so I could at least play through their version of the story line and maybe play with their (pointy) version of a garrison.

In fact, one reason I did not boost a Horde character is that the ones I have are all still in their 60s and one of the things on my long term “To Do” list is to play the Horde side of the story in… basically all the expansions.  And I haven’t done that yet.

So I am thinking that this time around I will boost a Horde character… and get back to the previous expansions at some later date.

Of course, that just throws the gates wide open on class choices.  If the difference is going to be storyline, it doesn’t matter so much if I do it with another Druid of Paladin I suppose.

And then there is the question as to what server I should roll up my new character.  Again, without a guild or any Horde pals, I am not exactly tied to Eldre’Thalas.

So I have a couple weeks to figure that out.  What are you doing with your level 100 boost?  And what would you do in my position?