Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge Topic 38: How do you level in Battle for Azeroth?

Cinder and I have opened up our shared blog topic challenge for everyone to join in on. The more the merrier!  

I took a completely different style to levelling in BFA than any other expansion. Normally I’d group up with a bunch of friends and we’d run through the quests and  queue dgn  but this time I really wanted to see the story so I decided to quest by myself so I could read as much or as little of the quest texts and poke around sightseeing and it was by far the best choice I’ve made.

I had a ball actually reading quests and finishing off each quest line and zone achievements before moving to the next.  I had taken a few days off from work so I didn’t have to rush I picked up every side quest I came past but im still surprised by how many I find now that i missed. I do want to go back and finish all the little ones ive missed before BFA ends.

I felt I was levelling really slowly since I was taking my time but I reached 120 on the Thursday night after release so it was actually quite fast. I only popped into dgns when the story brought me to them because I didn’t want to see spoilers for the quest lines.

My ally levelling was a lot more fractured because there’s been huge gaps while I’m been on my Horde doing the main story and then world quests and gearing on my Horde girl.  I was determined to see the Ally story in full, just like Horde so I picked up every quest and fully completed a zone before going to the next

While it felt a little strange at the start not being in a group, I actually had a lot more fun questing this way and I’ll be doing the same next time too.

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BFA – Alliance levelling

Zee’s journey to 120 was pretty fractured because Talarial hitting 120 first meant  she had all the playtime running dgns and doing world quests for rep most nights leaving little time to level but Zee finally got there.

While the Alliance story was quite enjoyable, overall it certainly didn’t have the impact on me that the Horde side did and felt almost underwhelming in comparison.

On Horde side the events were on a global scale with threats of Old Gods and sneaky dangerous deals on the side with powerful forces. The final cut scene for Horde had me on the edge of my seat impatient for the patches to roll out so I could see the effect that the events would have on the world. In contrast the  Alliance side flet like it wss very small scale and localised.. There were references to Azshara and her interference which could have been presented as a major event but it seemed to just be brushed over and was quite subtle.

Onto the actual levelling though. I started with Tiragarde Sound as I figured it would be a good  place to start helping the people of Kul Tiras and gain their trust for the Alliance.  I kept warmode off because there was way too many Horde running around doing their world quests by the time I started questing. Between being very rested and the extra exp for picking flowers along the way, I was levelling way faster than my priest anyway.

I went to Drustvar next, solely because I love the  dark witchy zone and I didn’t want to hit 120 during it and interrupt the levelling questing flow. This zone was amazingly good and pretty dark for a WoW zone.

Witches popping around the place were the stereotypical old hags mostly.

But I really loved the Wicker constructs.  I was overjoyed to find I could assemble a wicker pup of my very own.

Abby Lewis is one creepy little human. She genuinely seemed worried for her cat’s wellbeing until she sacrificed him for a nasty tea party.

I also found this really cool portrait in Drustvar. If you stay and look at it long enough, a skull appears under the face, and then vanishes again. Things like that being added into WoW are really quite cool.

Around the 117 mark the scaling started to take effect and in  feral I was getting my butt kicked. I found it faster to go into tank spec around this level. A neat trick I found that lasted right up to 120 was to attack a mob a level 110-112 had started on as it seemed to stay scaled to their level not mine.

I went to Stormsong last, and reached 120 on the second story chapter. This zone was the most fragmented for me because I did take a break to go farm world quests for a few nights after hitting 120 and then came back to levelling once I’d done enough quests to get better gear. I was pretty unimpressed with the Brendam village quest hub where the Horde attacks. Horde had nothing in their quest line to suggest we invaded Ally lands and its feels like an artificial “lets keep the Alliance hating the Horde” interjection than actually really necessary to the story line.

Stormsong was a mix of folksy helpful neighbour quests, collect the wood, gather the flour and eat the cookies!

And right at the end a teaser that Azshara is out and about meddling with the sailors and fleet of the Kul Tiran.

Overall, while I enjoyed levelling Alliance to see the story, it really didn’t leave the impression on me that the Horde side did. The zones are gorgeous with the little houses and farming hamlets in the hills but I don’t feel that’s enough to make up for the relatively bland narrative.

Looking in from both sides, it feels like two completely different world views is at play. Horde are facing threats that are going to rock Azeroth to her very core and Alliance are milking goats and shearing sheep.

I went onto finish the final scenario to find and reunite Jaina with her mother. I’m glad she wasnt fully forgotten about because after coming to Boralus and the inital scenario with her she’s pretty much not mentioned again. Out of sight out of mind I guess.

I’m sounding incredibly negative about the whole Alliance side I know, and the Jaina ending didn’t do much to change my mind. It was touching and well done seeing Jaina finally face  her demons and her mother forgive her, but come on, this is the woman that’s touted as one of the strongest mages in history. It feels lacking to relegate her to the role of poor damsel that needs rescuing. I would personally have like to see us rescue her earlier and get her out and kicking butt with us similar to how Princess Talanji plays a large role for the Horde.

All up though, the Alliance lands are gorgeous and the questing was fun. I’m glad I could see both sides and now its time to wait for the next patch to bring out more story!

Tucker’s Toys in Boralus

Tucker’s Toys in Boralus is a tiny little gem of a toy store with 2 little details that make it a great place to visit and explore.

The first reason is on the top floor where a little Clockwork Rocket Bot is wandering around. If you bring out your pet Rocket Bot, you can spark a Bot war.

Most of the time, the shop Rocket Bot won the fight, but a few times both Bots knocked themselves out at the same time.

The second reason is to watch a really cute scene play out. I noticed a Kul Tiran lady come in and load up her arms with a couple of soft toys and head out of the shop.  

I decided to walk with her for a bit to see where she was taking her new toys, though I was fully expecting her to probably despawn not too far from the shop.

I was really surprised when instead of vanishing, she entered a house and climbed the stairs to the next level.

Walking over to the bed, she paused by the edge, and then really quickly her arms emptied…

And the toys appeared on the bed!

This was a really fun to watch play out and it’s sparked my curiosity about the other citizens of Boralus. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for any other NPCs that are out and about with a purpose.

Mag’har Orc unlocked

I’ve been watching my Honorbound rep creep up and up as my priest has been slowly working through all the world quests over on Kul Tiras. I  finally hit Exalted so it was off to make a Mag’har Orc.

The first couple of scenarios, to kill an echo of Gul’dan and an Echo of Warlord  weren’t too bad. I did them as disc spec and there wasn’t much too much damage I had to worry about and though the fights took a bit of time, the bosses died quite easily.

Garrosh was a whole other story, skipping out of the way of his nearly fatal whirlwind and avoiding the decidedly fatal iron stars took a bit of negotiatin to get right. After a few deaths, I tried Shadow but didn’t find it much better so went back to disc.

I swapped a few talents around. Taking Halo meant I could damage him even when I had run quite far away to get out of his whirlwind range and Shining Force meant I had a pushback when he got too close. Fear worked really well for every 2nd or so Whirlwind, it only breaks to damage so I’d fear him as he was casting whirlwind and he’d run away caught in it. Left alone, Garrosh would be caught in the fear for the full duration and it completely negated  whirlwind as he’d come out of it and start casting the iron stars mechanic. The break while he was feared gave me a chance to make sure I wasn’t about to be in the path of the balls of death.

Once through his little room of pain, it was off to an instanced Draenor. I have to admit I completely lost track of the story here because it just didn’t make sense. It was all about the lightforged Draenei being baddies which completely retcons  history and I didn’t like it one bit so stopped paying attention. I also know there’s a big spoiler/retcon with the new Maghar Warlord and the little tweaks to the past history Blizz are making now feels weird.

But, after all that I got my Mag’har!

 

My personal feeling on the allied races is that it’s a load of baloney that you need to raise a rep to exalted and do the unlock scenario on an independent 110 then level a brand new level 20 toon all the way to 110 to get a set of armor that can only be used on that particular race. Its feels like an irrelevant gating system. Why not tie the armor to the unlock achievement  so race changing is possible, surely the majority of players have the max level toons they want to play by now so going back to level 90-100 levels feels like a thinly veiled means of keeping players paying the monthly sub.

Having said that, levelling my orc is something to do here and there I guess, though I haven’t decided on where or how she wants to level yet. Without the fel blood she doesn’t have the desperate blood lust needs to sate and despite being welcomed by Sylvanas, Azeroth is not Draenor and she doesn’t feel the loyalty necessary to follow her orders and mindlessly go and kill races she hasn’t met yet so she has some big decisions on how she wants to make her way in this new world.

How are you going with the new races?

Crazy Cat Heaven

I’ve been in heaven so far in this expansion because there are so many pets that can be interacted with, so when I read that there was a whole house of pattable cats up in Boralus, I made a beeline for it.

Catherine Morgan is the Crazy Cat Lady, though she tells you it didn’t start out like that.

It started with three cats. Three cats! That seemed reasonable!
But then a friend moved away and needed to rehome her cat. Then I found a sad-looking stray on the street. A neighbour passed away. One had kittens. A couple just… showed up!
I love each and every one of them. I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world!

I was on discord with Hip and Drew, two guildies from Deadline and they were both quite underwhelmed by my discovery and weren’t anywhere near interested enough in learning all the cat’s names. They just haven’t discovered the joy of being able to interact with the cutest kitties yet. I’ll keep trying to help them with this.

I spent a ridiculously long time in this house, everywhere I looked I could see a cat that I hadn’t seen before. 

Catherine’s house also has another secret, Scuba Pepe! You can click on him through the fish tank and then your Pepe has a chance to turn up wearing his scuba mask from then on.

If you want to head up to Catherine’s house, you’ll find her in the rather posh sounding suburb of Upper Borough, just above Unity Square in Boralus.

Boralus has so many hidden gems, I think I’ll be spending a lot of time here finding them all.

 

 

Stromgarde rebuilt

I was directed to head up to Arathi Highlands last night to go help out our forces. Once there, I was sent by a little goblin to go scout a few places, but to be honest I wasn’t paying him much attention at all as I was completely captivated by a rebuilt Stromgarde.

I’ve read Before the Storm which has a few major parts take place in the area and noticed all the pets and toys in my journal that come from Arathi, so I knew that it would become a major hub of this expansion but I still wasn’t prepared for the scale of the rebuild.

Before

After

I spent a long time on my Blood Elf exploring around the place. The aggro radius on the guards and civilians was very low so I could get quite close. Not sure if that was intended as Blizz knew there’d be lots of curious Horde tourists or just luck, but it meant I could poke around quite well.

 

I was really pleased to see the one guard that I got a bit too close to, was decked out in the traditional red of Stromgarde rather than Stormwind colours.

However, I wasn’t quite expecting the mixed feelings I had about the rebuild. Arathi is one of my favourite zones and Stromgarde is so imposing and beautiful even in ruins  that I’ve longed to see it rebuilt.  But  it actually happening with very little in-game participation feels like the history has just been wiped over.

When I was reading Before the Storm where there is a great deal of interaction with the Keep and surrounding area, the first reference to Stromgarde is when Stormwind forces stroll in to a fully functional intact fortress.There’s no mention of the ruins it is in game; broken down and filled with Syndicate members and enemies and no mention it was rebuilt, it was just there intact again.

I was sort of hoping there might be some in-game reference to Stormwind forces heading up and rebuilding, not just log into a fully re-built keep in place. I am coming from a Horde perspective so maybe I’m overlooking some Alliance quests, but I checked with a couple of Ally friends and they didn’t mention any quests or references to Stromgarde being rebuilt in game? On Horde side, apart from a few mission table quests that reference the zone in their title, there was nothing about the new Horde encampment right out the front either.

It really feels like so much of the lore/story is placed outside the game into books or not referenced at all before the world is changed without comment or a nod to what needed to happen to get to where we are now.

I’m thinking Zidormi will have to be placed in the area, or the people trying to farm Syndicate rep for the Insane title are going to have a difficult time.

Even with my mixed feelings, i am really looking forward to taking my ally toon up there for a really good look around without the risk of cranky guards.

Kermit and Miss Piggy

Well actually it’s Kremit and Miggy but we know who it really is meant to be.

I was out doing world quests last night when Hip called me down to Nazmir to come see the rainbow he had found. When you click the guitar next to Kremit, it triggers the rainbow to show. I spent a ridiculous amount of time clicking the guitar each time the rainbow faded to bring it back.

I don’t like the muppets in general but I do really like Kermit and Miss Piggy. I have a Kermit the Frog t-shirt that gets worn to death and I had the cutest Miss Piggy doll when I was little, I wonder what happened to that?

I’m guessing this is a reference to Kermit’s “Rainbow Connection” song.

I didn’t have my map open at the time to pull out the coordinates but if you fly into Gloom Hollow and run south you should be able to come across them.

Priesty Adventures

I’m still spending a lot of time on my Priest, in between Mythics and World Quests there hasn’t been a great deal of time spent on my Druid yet, so my priest is winning out on play time so far.

I’m really liking my priest though she doesn’t feel quite as familiar as my Druid, I’m hoping that will come in time. Shadow is rather rubbish at the moment so I find I’m doing my world quests as disc where I can pretty much pull 3-4 times as much as I can in Shadow spec and nothing can kill me, it’s just a little slow burning the mobs down.

One of the best things about playing a new class is all the lovely cloth transmog that I’m not used to. I swear I’m going through ridiculous sums of gold transmogging my priest daily, sometimes hourly, into new outfits

Hanging out with all the Sheep in Stormsong Valley. I love Sheep irl, and seeing so many dotted around the hills in the Valley is lovely.

My friends find it pretty amusing that I’m getting distracted by transmog even while I’m meant to be doing world quests, and I can usually be found perched on my transmog mount halfway between quests making a new outfit. Hip made me two gorgeous jewelcrafting staves, which automatically meant new outfits to match each one.

I’ve been dipping my toes into Mythic and have popped into all of them now. I find it a little difficult to gauge if I’m just being terrible at being a priest when someone dies, and then I second guess myself and try to decide if I was playing my Druid, would I have healed better? I’m running a lot of mythics even after being locked because it  gives me lots of chances to practice healing.

I’m really not keen on Shrine of Storms at all, I’ve gone in twice this week and both times it was pretty sketchy. The 2nd boss is just ridiculous on damage and a real nightmare, and then the 3rd boss just falls over as soon as you look at it. Maybe Blizz needs to average those two bosses out and rejig or something.

I’ve done Temple of Snakes Mythic once to get the achievement and I’m not going back. I am an utter fail at the maze of balls and dread it popping up in the random heroic queue as I know I’m going to hold my group up as I hit balls and get bounced back a ridiculous time, so I’m not going to willing choose to go in there.

Still can’t get over how gorgeous Priest spell animations are.

I was hoping I’d get into raiding on my priest but I started a new job yesterday and I’m thinking I don’t want the stress of learning a new role irl and a new role/raid strats in-game, not to mention the train commute into the city is going to take a bit to get used. to; I was so tired last night. Maybe it’s quite ok to take a more of tourist route for a bit and play my alts and just ra.mble around the world at my own pace.

 

 

 

 

Z & Cinder’s Blog Challenge Topic 37: First Impressions of BFA in pictures

Cinder and I have opened up our shared blog topic challenge for everyone to join in on. The more the merrier! To celebrate exploring a brand new expansion our topic this time is to share the screenshots we’ve taken in BFA so far. We said 5, but to be honest sticking to just 5 is near impossible, so I’ve gone over a bit a lot.

I’ve been playing as both Horde and Alliance and both zones are just so gorgeous. I think I’ve got a small bias towards the scenery and zones in Kul Tiras over Zandalar, but pretty much every step I take no matter what zone I’m in is just simply gorgeous and picture worthy.

Zuldazar is a gorgeous ancient golden city full of tropical rainforest and waterfalls. I adore waterfalls in real life, so this city just feels like a tropical haven.

Deserted beaches in Nazmir are beautiful and spooky.

Moving from the tropics of Zandalar up into Kul Tiras makes me feel like I should be transmogging into winter clothes.

Next to waterfalls, rainbows are one of my favourite natural phenomena and Tiragarde Sound gives me both.

The skies are simply stunning in every zone.

This was the cutest reference to come across.

The details are so well done, the spoons in a little house in a fishing village are fish-shaped!

I’ve collected Honey Bee battle pets and I’ve seen Hunters with Bee pets, I’m really hoping there’s a Bee mount hiding somewhere in this expansion too.

This expansion really brings the children into the scene.

This was a gorgeous tea party to stumble across near the maze in Boralus. The human girl is holding an adorable patient cat in her arms.     

Even ducking underwater gives some gorgeous views.

This is one very beautiful expansion. There’s a lot of exploring yet to be done and I can already see my screenshot folder filling up after only a fortnight.

 

BFA – Horde Levelling

The decision on who to level first was won out by the Priest. I surprised myself because I always level my Druid and even though I was 90% set on Priest I figured I’d change my mind at the last-minute. I’m so glad I didn’t though because the Horde story line was simply fantastic to play though. I can’t imagine the Alliance side could be as good but I’ll be going over there soon enough to see.

I had a quick poke around the beta but only from ally side so starting out as Horde was all new.  Running through Stormwind on a stealthy rescue mission to go find Saurfang was nerve-wracking as I kept scrambling to keep up in the stealth field.  Saurfang was not interested in coming anywhere with us so we rescued the Zandalari prisoners from the next cell instead.

Jaina turned up to stop our escape and was scary stalker mage chasing us through the streets. I’d love to know how she knows  where to be at just the right time, seeing the future isn’t a mage skill? Luckily our pyromaniac troll prophet got her off our back by setting fires all over Stormwind and we escaped to Zandalar.

I started on Vol’dun which is one big sandy desert which actually reminded me lots of the desert in Ark.

I fell instantly in love with the little Vulpera people and their alpacas…  please let these be a mount and a pet.. I want an alpaca family!

I was questing with warmode on and wasn’t seeing any alliance which was great as I’m a huge chicken in PvP and didn’t really want my levelling experience interrupted but I also wanted the extra xp because I wasn’t sure there’d be enough xp through questing alone. I shouldn’t have worried because doing all the quests in Vol’dun got me to 114 before I had to move on to Naz’mir.

Naz’mir is one big, misty swamp full of voodoo blood trolls. It was a really good intro to the darker side of trolls. There’s a lot of Old God interaction and references in this zone.

My absolute favourite Loa is Bwonsamdi, the Loa of death. He seems quite jovial and a bit of a joker but a few times in the quests he gave glimpses of his darker meaner side. This could be one scary guy if he wanted to be. He’s at all the rez points when you die and his flavour text is awesome, and often class themed.

He’s asked my priest if she wants to swap faith and my hunter if she failed at feigning death. The best I’ve heard though is him asking a warlock if they forgot to soulstone.

I saved Zanzuldar for last and it was a good choice as the zone story brought in lots of the NPCs and Loa’s I had met in the other zones. The story was amazing and I actually hit 120 still with 2 storylines to go so I didn’t have to worry about not having enough xp to level just from questing.

Zanzuldar is a full tropical rainforest full of dinosaurs.      There’s a public transport dinosaur which walks up and down Zanzuldar which you can hop a ride on. It’s slow but nice to wander along for a bit. 

The final scenario was riveting and left me hanging to see where the story goes. I cannot wait for the patches to roll out. I think we’re going to see some real twists in the future.

Overall I adored questing because the stories were so engaging and really captured my interest, and the details in the zones were so intricate and added to the atmosphere.

The zones are wild and rugged which seems to be the way that Blizz views the Horde; no pretty manicured towns for us.

Now my priest is 120, it’s time to look at gearing up enough to make the world quests easier and to dip my toe into mythic dungeons. I’m still not sure at all which class I want to play or which side to play on, so I’ll be levelling my Druid soon so I can compare between the 2  of them at max level.