Another 50

Nothing quite like exploratory ding sneaking up on you. After getting in good with Highmountain, I had Saintvache visit Suramar, since I wouldn’t mind a Nightborne. Once again failing to look up what is required bit me in the rump. I figured it would work the same as the Highmountain in that I needed to complete the initial group of quests. As you likely know, that’s not the case. But at this point, I’d now done two of the factions for “Uniting the Isles.” So it was off to Val’Ashar for some more samaritan work. It was while wandering about there the 50 happened. At this point, I’ll probably keep him up in that area to continue to unite the isles. That’s now the Paladin and Druid that are level capped for me. I think up next is someone on the Alliance side. The who is still up for debate.

Because I Got High (Mountain)

After dipping my toes in over the weekend, I decided to get my hooves wet. Saintvache was off to Legion Dalaran as I decided if I couldn’t have a Zandalari, I could at least get a Highmountain Tauren into the fold. Plus, it gave me a chance to do some leveling, which…wow. Such an improved experience. I’ll elaborate on a later date but I definitely approve. Saintvache is now 47, and that’s just from doing the main Highmountain story and a couple of bonus objectives that happened to be where I was questing anyway.

It didn’t take too long to complete that main story and set up the meeting between Baine and Mayla. I was in for a bit of a surprise as I never looked up how any of the alliances worked. I figured I would fly back to Orgrimmar and it would be a simple case of “hey, thanks for all your help. You proved the Horde is good. We’re in, ok?” Needless to say that is not what happened at all. I really enjoyed the story that lead to them officially joining the Horde. Though I can only imagine what it was like to have to do that chain without a flying mount. Dear Illidan it was like a classic WoW questline – all over the damn place.

In the end, though, it all worked out. The most difficult thing was getting back to Orgrimmar because everyone is logged in for Shadowlands.

See? Just a few people. I actually had to go to Pandaria and use the shrine portal to get back. Then I was able to scoot off and get my new mount and more importantly unlock some new friends. It didn’t take long for one to fall into the fold.

Not a fan of her default armor, but we’ll get that fixed eventually.

Waking Up To 6.0

Patch 6.0 is now live and with it came many changes, but none more than the vast amount of visual ones.  Almost everyone I spoke to yesterday was headed straight for the Barber Shop to see what they had to work with.  Many weren’t keen on what they saw when they logged in, while others didn’t mind the initial look when things went live around 1:30 EST.  Personally, Tum was far more angry than I wanted.  To be honest, almost all of the dwarves are surly/angry looking.  Not that it doesn’t fit the race, because it most certainly does.  It’s just that it wouldn’t hurt to have one lighthearted option.  As you can see by this image, I did the best I could with what I had.

New Tum
Initial one on the left, new on the right.

I had to change Saintvache as well, as logging on to him I was blinded by an albino.  I just wish we had more hair options for the Tauren.  As for the rest of the team, I’ll check them in due time.

It wasn’t just character models that changed.  From what I saw last night and this morning, nothing sparkles anymore.  No quest items, no nodes. Nothing!  Instead, you’ll get a faint outline that gets stronger once you mouse over it.  Even characters gain an outline now (green for friendly, red for not) when targeted, though I’m sure there’s an option to turn it off.  Still, at a glance it took me a second to complete a couple of quests because I was looking for the shiny.

Action bars have obviously changed, with some spells removed and others simply changed.  But speaking of spells, they even look better visually.  The animations are fantastic, though I’ve only seen Paladin, Mage, and Warlock.  Once again, I’ll get to them in due time…or simply see them amidst my travels.

This isn’t even documenting some of the bigger changes that came with the patch either.  Things like the new level UBRS, the Iron Horde invasion (which I’ve started Horde side…so far so good), Garrisons, Premade Groups in the Dungeon Finder, all the class changes, etc.

With the game seeing an increase of over half a million players, this patch is well timed.  Many of the changes brought the game up to relatively modern standards and introduced a lot of things the players have been yearning for, for quite some time.  Will it translate to more than 7.4 million players and sustain them for a while this time?  Hard to say, but you can’t say the new expansion isn’t setting up to take a big swing at it.

30 Days (April) – Favourite Male Character

It wasn’t always the case, but Hamuul Runetotem is hands down my favourite male character.  Other than his involvement in the Cenarion Circle and obviously being the top Tauren Druid I couldn’t have told you anything about him.  Then came Stormrage, The Shattering, and the Molten Front.  Like other Druids, Hamuul had prominent time at the front of the story.  In fact, the former Malfurion student nearly dies…twice, in that time period.

The first time is during the Druid meeting in Ashenvale when they’re confronted by a group of orcs and one puts an arrow in Runetotem’s back.  The lot are all killed, though Hamuul survives.  He sends an owl to Thunder Bluff to report what happened and then, in my personal favourite, nearly succumbs to Leyara, Druid of the Flame.  I’m glad I had gotten to know the character more by that point because when he fell, I was genuinely saddened and angry.  It made continuing on the quest chain all that much more important to me because Hamuul needed to be avenged.  Imagine how I felt when he later shows up and jumps into bear form to help take her down!

Hamuul, which to be perfectly honest is just fun to say, epitomizes the Tauren way.  He always thinks things through and looks at the bigger picture.  He maintains reason and council to the High Chieftain, as well as his fellow Cenarion Circle druids.  For the near future, I have no doubt Hamuul’s work is done for now as far as the players are concerned.  He may be part of a Horde council when plans are set to send heroes back in time after Garrosh but we will not see him in the front line again.  But that doesn’t mean he won’t be as vigilante, or diligent, as ever.  I’ve said before the Druid is my favourite class and I connect far more with Hamuul than Malfurion.

A little bit of coincidence in all this comes from a little story.  I played on Maelstrom (US) when I started the game, as that’s where the friends were that wanted me to play.  When my wife officially signed up as well, I said to make her character whatever she wanted on whichever server and I would make a character there of the same race.  The server she ended up picking?  Runetotem.  I should’ve known then.

30 Days (April) – Favourite Race

Of all the things I answer, this one should never ever be in question.  Yes, there are a number of races I’m incredibly fond of.  In fact, almost two years ago to the day, I wrote about them.  I would be hard pressed to think of any reason why that would change in the time since.  There really isn’t much more to add to the explanation that I didn’t say then, either.  It’s straight and to the point.  I guess you get a short read for a change.

Darkside of the Toons

Finally!

So, quite some time ago I picked up the Shield of Impenetrable Darkness during a Laid Back Raid.  I had always meant to make an outfit for it, complimenting it with the Crystal Spire of Karabor.  Today was to be that day.  All I needed was the legs and gloves and I was set.  Husband of Ysera’s Daughter happened to be on and made me some Vicious Ornate Pyrium Legguards and Boots.  I then hit the JP vendor for a set of Bladebreaker Gauntlets and was good to go.  Or, rather, I thought I was.  I realized I still needed the Wailing Nightbane Pauldrons from The Unforgiven in Stratholme.  Fortunately it only took killing him twice to get them.

However, you’ll notice in the picture Saintvache isn’t sporting a Mace.  That’s because of a very annoying transmog limitation.  You see, you cannot put a Main Hand item over a One Hand item that you’re holding in your main hand.  So, that idea went out the window (no 85 Maces on the AH either at the time).  So, his tanking look remains the same as it’s been for the past six months.  Instead, I took his healing gear and knowing he was holding a sword grabbed The Turning Tide from his bank.  The other pieces of the outfit are Bogslayer Breastplate, Gilded Thorium Cloak (which dropped last night during a Kara run with Ratshag, Helke, and a few more), Vicious Pyrium Belt, and Heroic Skullcap.  I used the Argent Crusade Tabard to cap it off.  Made him just a hint less of a Death Knight.  And yes, as I pointed out to Arvash this morning, in pure ass-backwardness my tank outfit is light and my healing outfit is dark.

Now I no sooner finished that and switched over to Larfleeze to see what the Runetotem Auction House had for me to discover (cheap Primordial Rubies was the answer), when I came across my first Jeweled Onyx Panther in-game.  Brezell barely sat still long enough for me to get the shot, but you can see it alright.  That’s what happens when you take the four colours and merge them.  So you’re looking at about 100-125 thousand gold there.  Sexy, but I like the four others better.  Speaking of which, I still haven’t seen a green one in-game.

Dance, Tauren, Dance

Indeed, Saintvache hit 85 this afternoon.  Gotta love an old-fashioned exploration ding!  Much like Kamalia last month, I now have more end level characters than I did when I came into the expansion.  Granted, three isn’t all that many.  But when you’re a proverbial Octopus reaching into various cookie jars, it’s still something.  More importantly, it’s my first level capped Horde.  Heck, it’s the first non-Death Knight-Horde I got past level 40 (yes, that will change).

Once I started getting down to the final four bars, it was exciting.  After doing some of the red dragonflight cut scene quests in Twilight Highlands/Grim Batol, I noticed I needed about three thousand experience, so I took to the sky and a short time later…

Booyah!

With limited time before I had to carry on with the rest of my day, I made my way to the Justice Points Vendor and immediately bought my first epic.  I figure trinkets might be hard to come by via drop, so I bought the Singed Plume of Aviana.  The reason being, I’ll be healing far more than tanking when I run things (finally) with Myth, so I figured it was a good step in the right direction.  I then equipped the healing set I had built thus far…

…and quickly realized how Illidan-awful his outfit is.  Next step: design a transmog set.  You know, had I been thinking this through, I would have had Rhianous do that instead of Elcombe.  Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.  I’m looking forward to doing the Thrall chain now, as well as Molten Front.  Yes…I realize how sick that sounds, but I actually like the Front.  Regardless, I’m going to enjoy my freshly minted 85.

Tomorrow.