Creeping through the corridors

We did it!

Corridor Creeper

As I’ve written in a past post a duo run at the Twisting Corridors with Prot Paladin and Arcane Mage nearly ended in tears ( or more realistically in a damaged desk, so we joined up with a Resto Druid and Destro Warlock (I switched to my Warrior in Prot spec) and we chipped away slowly at the Twisting Corridors, doing one layer every Saturday (unless we had to move it), so after 8 weeks we finally did it yesterday. Most layers took around 2 hours, taking it slowly and killing every mob and the last 2 actually taking even close to 3 hours. But it was time well spent chatting on Discord, hanging out with people we couldn’t meet for months, and the added benefit of an achievement and a handy mount (which will maybe be obsolete when Patch 9.1.0 hits, we’ll see).

Yesterday we actually had a little oopsie when someone accidentally used the Ravenous Anima Cell on the floor 3/9/15 vendor in floor 3… but at least we could save up and still buy stuff in 6/12/18. Also surprisingly as a tank I only ever died once if I remember correctly, by failing to move from a poison bomb on the floor 18 end boss, otherwise it was only the others being oneshot or someone walking into a trap or falling off a ledge. Bit weird, healing was basically not needed up to layer 6 or even 7, only in layer 8 our healer wasn’t fooling around or dpsing and had to heal me like in a normal instance. Also Arcane Mage does get quite a few i-win buttons, but of course me being able to debuff enemies to take an extra 90% damage also helps.

Overall I’m really happy to be done and that I don’t have to go in there ever again. I’m all up for helping out people if they ask, but Twisting Corridors? No, we’d be talking a lot of money or cashing in the biggest favor I’ve ever owned someone. Nope.

Castle Nathria – meh

Apparently we had a little bit of guild drama and that’s one of the reasons I had to tank a lot more on progression the last 2 weeks, interesting to find out so long after the fact.

I’d finally got up and just ground out the remaining Soul Ash on the weekend so I could craft my Level 4 Tank Legendars, Reprisal (recently buffed with 9.0.5) and use that 235 item instead of my 235 DPS pants, and it felt really good, esp in the Denathrius fight where I can actually charge in P1.

Sadly there wasn’t a lot of progression, we got P1 finally down to 90% survival rate but we didn’t enter P3 with everyone alive a single time last night, but we started with only 10 and made it to 14 by the end, a month or two ago we were always raiding with 25 people… but we lost a few once we had cleared normal, so apparently that was enough and I can’t blame them. But I really, really, really want to get him down, and very preferably also get the Ahead of the Curve achievement, with buffed 9.1.0 gear it will be kinda pointless I guess. Still making too many errors myself, but I’m mostly tanking out of necessity and trying to improve, but the fight isn’t great for a Prot Warrior in P2 – a ton of magic damage and a lot of movement through the mirrors where the boss can hit you in the back.

Also I got a slight headache and we have our Layer 8 of Twisting Corridors scheduled for tonight, when the guild decided yesterday to run M+, so that will be fun either way, I guess.

Oops, I did it again

Actually wanted to run my 2 wings of Torghast last night because I want to craft the new Level 4 Tank Legendary, but I got a migraine and went to bed early. I think this also might be the second day since Shadowlands launch that I didn’t log into WoW at all.

So I got up before 8 today and started my first run with ~65 minutes until the daily reset (not sure if it’s also the Torghast/weekly reset on Wednesdays) and made it out the second wing with ~7 minutes spare.

I usually don’t play games before work, as I’d much rather start work early and not stay longer, but sometimes… and in this case it’s the second week in a row. Let’s see if I manage to get my 2 runs in tonight…

Heroic Denathrius is a road block

Nothing too exciting happened in the last week, mostly a really good Wednesday raid with 9/10 Heroic down without overtime (despite me offtanking again) and then 2 nights of banging our heads against Sire Denathrius, if I heard it correctly we’re at ~115 wipes, far too many in P1. There was even some grumbling and blaming at the end of the last night, which is really uncommon for my guild. We’ll see how that develops this week.

In other news, I have 6 characters at Renown 40 and for 2 more I just need to hand in one of the 2 weeklies, I was simply too lazy last week. My Horde Rogue is at 33 and needs a little more focus, I really want to have all factions to Exalted on him, but I might wait for 9.1 to do that. Moonkin Druid is 55 and I’m still running a random daily dungeon whenever I have time.

Most alts have transitioned to “log in once per night to run some adventures, log in once per week to do the world boss and fill up to 1000 anima”, which is nice and relaxing. Sure, sometimes a calling, but mostly focusing on Warrior, Paladin, and Shaman now. I got my “Fun Gal” title on the Warrior for getting Marasmius to Exalted, and I learned that it’s a very boring “Mycologist” in German WoW clients, guess they couldn’t translate the pun at all.

I’m actually just waiting for Heroic Denathrius to drop then I might actually skip a raid (so far I have 100% attendance since we started mid-December) not because I am completely burned out or annoyed, but that was my goal and I really want to play some more EVE and not have 3 fixed evenings occupied per week. I’ve never been a huge fan of farming instances (except to get gear to be stronger to progress), but I think I want to complete my Heroic Plate set for transmog.

Oh and we had to move our Saturday Twisting Corridors run, so only did Layer 6 last night, uneventful and Arcane Mage with the right perks is the secret weapon. I’ve also been blasting through Layer 8 Torghast solo as Fury, I simply don’t understand if they changed it again since my failures in Layer 4/6 or if it was simply the most unlucky combo of wing + perks ever for me and I formed a wrong opinion…

Castle Nathria progress

Yep, we’re still raiding. We got Stone Legion Generals down not long after I posted about our first tries in February, actually just 2 days later and since we’ve been working on Sire Denathrius (not extending, doing a full clear of Heroic and a skip clear of normal still). Like on Normal , we’re not really good at phase 1, and until last week Phase 2 was also still hard. But something clicked and in a very small raid of 10 people last Sunday we actually saw Phase 3 for the first time. Then a few latecomers joined and by the end of the night we were at 25%. Very far from a kill, but not always failing in Phase 1, which is nice.

Today at ~23:00 I finally gave in and tried Layer 7 (Upper Reaches) of Torghast. Yes, I know, with my 215 iLevel it should be a joke but I still remember how much it sucked on Layer 4 as Fury and then Protection Layer 4 and 5, then failing at 6. Now this was a real walk in the park, just as most people have told me it is. So after that I went into Layer 8 of Mort’regar and that also wasn’t a problem. So maybe my Layer 6 try was so early that it was before the nerf or I don’t know. Weird experience. Anyway, nearly at 2k Soul Ash now and I guess I can just plan 2 Layer 8 runs in the coming weeks until I have enough for a Level 4 Tank Legendary.

About the Army of Alts: My Rogue (and Warrior Main obviously) is at Renown 40, and I have 6 more classes at 39, so will hit 40 next week I guess (Getting the 1000 anima together is just about how much effort I can muster for most of them). Paladin and Shaman are above iLevel 200, 4 of them are at 195ish and the Priest is lagging behind at 185 but I didn’t bother buying all the Covenant set piece upgrades. My Horde Rogue is close to Renown 30 and at 175, I want to get LFR done once for the achievement, otherwise no real plans to play Horde at the moment. Oh, and I’ve been leveling my Druid as Moonkin via 1-2 random dungeons per day when I have time while reading stuff during the queue time. It’s fun to play but I have no grand plans for her once she hits 60. That would be 9th class at max level already, 4 months into the expansion – missing Mage, DK, and Monk.

Overall I’m still not 100% sure I’ll keep the warrior for the next raid tier. Fury is absolutely fun to play on most fights, you bring some amount of utility (or even a lot on some fights), but I am so not happy with my damage output. Of course it doesn’t seem to be the class, I just don’t seem to be really good at it. Looking at Warcraftlogs it’s mostly green parses, some grey even, and on Normal only blue and never purple :/ At least I’m not dying all the time and I’m usually straight in the middle of our guild’s dps rankings, and I can offtank and usually not mess up moving seeds or other specialty tasks, that’s at least something. Still very unhappy as I was pretty much used to topping the damage meters on my Rogue in my old guild, or at least competing for the top 3 with others, depending on boss and raid.

Defining expansion features

Reading Shintar’s blog post about WoW TBC Classic and the mention of the pre-patch enabling people to already start a new Draenei or Blood Elf character made me think about what changes in WoW really mattered to me personally (and although I had heard about this change at the Blizzcon panel already, reading about it again gave me the idea for this post).

So let’s start with the Vanilla patches, because some of them brought some important things, although I was such a newbie that I probably didn’t even notice most of the important changes…

  • Patch 1.9.0 (January 2006)
    • Ahn’Qiraj raids (I went to the 20man one later)
    • Linked Auction Houses
    • Multiple Battleground Queues
    • Gates of AQ (read about this, didn’t take part)
  • Patch 1.10.0 (March 2006)
    • Weather effects
    • New Final Destination Flight Paths
  • Patch 1.11.0 (June 2006)
    • Naxxramas raid (not for me though)
    • The cost to unlearn talents will now decay over time
    • Temporary item buffs (e.g. poisons) will persist through zoning
    • Detect Traps is now a passive skill – Swirly Ball 🙁
  • Patch 1.12.0
    • Cross-Realm Battlegrounds (I was still doing a lot of PvP back then)

After writing the list I actually do remember a few things, the linked AHs were huge, especially as a newbie. Also the BG queues and being able to use the flight master and go AFK.

On to The Burning Crusade – the first expansion! In Europe it launched in early 2007 and I’d already played long enough to be actually excited and I’d been actively waiting for it.

  • Release (January 2007)
    • New races: Blood Elves & Draenei
    • Alliance Shamans & Horde Paladins
    • Flying mounts
    • New profession: Jewelcrafting
    • Arena
  • Patch 2.1.0 (May 2007)
    • Druid Epic Flight Form (Druid was my main alt)
    • Ogri’la & Nether Drakes – my first long grinds
    • The Black Temple raid
  • Patch 2.2.0 (September 2007)
    • surprisingly… nothing?
  • Patch 2.3.0 (November 2007)
    • Zul’Aman 10man raid
    • Guild Banks!
    • Vendor Discounts based on Rep
    • Blue exclamation marks for dailies
  • Patch 2.4.0 (March 2008)
    • Sunwell Isle zone & raid

While I didn’t immediately start a Paladin, many people did and it made complete sense to have both classes on both sides. Jewelcrafting shaped the meta a lot, depending on the expansion (not so much nowadays). Guild banks were a very welcome addition to the game and the dailies have been a staple since TBC. For Druid players flight form was huge.

Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion is next:

  • Release (October 2008)
    • New class: Death Knight (never was a fan)
    • 51-point talent system revamp
    • Rogue Poisons don’t need reagents anymore
    • Achievements!
    • New profession: Inscription
    • Barber Shop!
    • Focus Frame
    • Pets & Mounts are spells/casts now
  • Patch 3.1.0 (April 2009)
    • Ulduar raid
    • No more dismounting in water
  • Patch 3.2.0 (August 2009)
    • Trial of the Crusader Raid
    • Raid IDs can be extended
    • 25man raids are no longer called Heroic, it’s 10+25 N+H now
    • Rogues can use 1h Axes now
    • Uninterruptible casts have the shield icon now
  • Patch 3.3.0 (December 2009)
    • Icecrown Citadel raid (one of my alltime favorites)
    • (Cross-Realm) Dungeon Finder

The first new class, being added to a 4 year old game. Some QoL improvements for Rogues. Focus Frame is so important in high-level play these days. Another new profession. Extending raid IDs is a big thing and the shift to less server identity in full swing here. Also achievements. Overall pretty much important and good changes.

On to Cataclysm, the third expansion:

  • Release (December 2010)
    • Revamped zones
    • New races: Worgen & Goblins
    • New race & class combos:
      • Dwarf Mages, Shamans, Warlocks
      • Gnome Priests
      • Human Hunters
      • Night Elf Mages
      • Blood Elf Warriors
      • Orc Mages
      • Tauren Paladins, Priests
      • Troll Druids, Warlocks
      • Undead Hunters
    • Reforging
    • New profession: Archaeology
    • Guild levels & perks
    • 3 new raids: BWD, BoT, Tot4W
  • Patch 4.1.0 (April 2011)
    • nothing?
  • Patch 4.2.0 (June 2011)
    • Firelands zone & raid
    • Dungeon Journal!
  • Patch 4.3.0 (November 2011)
    • Dragon Soul raid
    • New Legendary: Fangs of the Father
    • Raid Finder in its current form was introduced
    • Transmog! & Void Storage
    • Darkmoon Faire moved to Darkmoon Island

This expansion has the second key point why I though this post would be interesting, the new race / class combos, my Shaman is a Dwarf and I had planned to change my Blood Elf Paladin to Tauren for ages, but ultimately didn’t. Many people were in love with their Troll druids as well. The Dungeon Journal is immensely helpful and I love it and use it a lot. Also as a Rogue main of 5ish years I was very happy to get my Legendary Daggers, as we didn’t get any Warglaives.

And of course, most importantly I guess, Transmog! I had dutifully kept all my Tier sets from Vanilla, TBC, and WotLK and could finally display them.

And then Mists of Pandaria, the fourth expansion and my final one as a regular player:

  • Release (August 2012)
    • New race: Pandaren
    • New class: Monk
    • The big talent revamp with 6? rows with 3 choices each
    • Account-wide Achievements, Mounts, and Pets
    • AoE Looting
    • Cross-Realm Zones, further nullifying server identity
    • Poisons are changed again: Lethal and Non-Lethal
    • Dungeon Challenge Modes
    • Pet Battles
    • 11 Character slots per server
    • Sunsong Farm, the first weird type of housing
  • Patch 5.1.0 (November 2012)
    • Brawler’s Guild
  • Patch 5.2.0 (March 2013)
    • Isle of Thunder zone & Throne of Thunder raid
  • Patch 5.3.0 (May 2013)
    • Raid loot: Choose a specialization
  • Patch 5.4.0 (September 2013)
    • Siege of Orgrimmar raid
    • Flex Raid difficulty
    • Timeless Isle zone
    • Proving Grounds
    • Connected realms

Of course I tried out a Pandaren Monk like everyone else, but I never loved the class. It felt a bit like a gimped Rogue, despite being powerful. Account-wide achievements & mounts were huge for me, and the expanded character slots. Proving Grounds were fun and much better than Torghast, strictly optional and quick.

Wow, that was quite a list. As I stopped actively playing in early 2014, at the time of 5.4.0 and the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, I’ll also finish this post here. That’s nearly 10 years of WoW changes already! (although only close to 8 years for me personally). And this all started when I was thinking about how Blood Elf Paladins were introduced in TBC…

Giving the contents here a last hard look I’d categorize the bullet points into these categories: Rogue changes (incl Legendary Daggers), UI changes (Focus), Dungeon/Quality of Life changes (LFR, Dungeon finder, char slots per server), non-game-breaking awesome changes (Transmog, Pet Battles, new races & combos), and game-breaking changes 😛 (raid sizes, talent revamps, new classes).

I only included the new raids because that’s how I mentally sort my timeline (Expansion X, Raid Y) and only then can backtrace what year it probably was and which guild I was in, etc.pp.

Still progressing in Castle Nathria

We’re still raiding and we actually got Sludgefist on Heroic down last reset and we’ve been pretty consistently quickly clearing Heroic (with some hiccups at Darkvein this week) kinda fast and only doing normal with the skip now (aka Shriekwing, Sludgefist, Generals, Sire). Friday was a bit of a clusterfuck and so we only killed Sludgefist for a second time yesterday, still using Vantus runes and many wipes.

But let’s start at the beginning, our offtank wasn’t available and our #1 dps didn’t quickly shout so I stepped up and properly tanked for the first time. I had done Shriekwing normal the week before because our second tank was late, so I’ll not count that. But last night I actually did Shriekwing, Sludgefist, Generals, and Sire on normal, then Sludgefist Heroic and then we tried to get Generals down. Didn’t kill it but it wasn’t my fault, I actually only messed up a bit on one try, so pretty happy with my performance. My mainspec gear is 213 and in tanking gear I’m 210, which isn’t too shabby. It was pretty fun, except Sludgefist as a Warrior offtank because our main tank is like 13 iLvl higher (DH in PvP Vers gear…). Your only job is to stand on the main tank and not die. This is harder than it sounds because Rage isn’t exactly easy to come by. Shield Slam and Thunderclap to gain Rage, Shield Block and Ignore Pain to mitigate. Rinse and repeat. Anyway, at some point he fell and Generals is a lot more fun to tank. Manageable and not complete chaos, unlike it is for DPS and healers it seems 😛

Sludgefist Heroic (first kill)

Twisting Corridors

I didn’t write about it at the time but last Sunday was the first time since I played WoW when I was close to smashing something out of frustration.

We set out to do the Twisting Corridors of Torghast as a duo, Protection Paladin and Arcane Mage and everything went kind of fine until we got to the last boss. To cut a long story short, we wiped a few times and did not finish. Just underlines my hate of Torghast.

So Saturday night we were meeting friends for a chat on Discord and when we got to WoW as a topic we heard they also failed on the 18th floor. Because all of us didn’t have anything planned we switched to WoW and made a group. Protection Warrior, Resto Druid, Arcane Mage, Destro Warlock. So we went to the Twisting Corridors and surprisingly breezed through and nuked the last boss (I’ve heard stories of people saying 5man Torghast can be pretty hard, so we were a bit wary). Then we made plans to come back for Layer 2 next Saturday, maybe there’s a chance to get the mount after all. On the other hand playing with friends makes everything better, especially if it replaces a stupid “I need to get this done although I hate it” chore, which Torghast 100% is for me.

January in review and raiding

So it has come, the last day of January and the end of my prolonged vacation between two jobs, starting a new one in ~9h (maybe I should really go to bed).

We killed the Council of Blood Heroic on Friday, today we did a full normal clear and got a few tries in on Sludgefist, 50% only though. But that’s 7 bosses on Heroic, so 2 213 choices in the vault on Wednesday, I just need to get my one +10 Mythic key done. I have a Sanguine Depths one and it’s a horrible week, maybe lower than +10 will do, we’ll see.

Council of Blood Heroic down

As it’s back to a normal work schedule my gaming time will greatly suffer, but I’m happy with the final tally, 10 weeks after the expansion launched: 8 characters at Level 60, 5x Renown 28, 2x Renown 24+. Sure, I could’ve done some other things as well but WoW was fun and I needed to play a few classes to decide on a main alt. I think it’s Protection Paladin, but Resto Shaman isn’t out of the picture yet. DPS Demon Hunter feels odd this time, had the least fun playing that one. Assassination Rogue is fine and mostly fun, Shadow Priest is surprisingly fun. BM Hunter is ok, as usual. Marksman feels really weird, basically like a caster with that Aimed Shot. Still unsure about Warlock. Demo is ok but not great and I haven’t really tried Affliction yet.

There are no immediate plans to level any others, but I did start on my Orc Rogue and put my Draenei DK through the Maw for professions. Druid is the FOTM class and some people love it, but I don’t feel a big draw. Windwalker Monk seems a little OP but I don’t really like playing Monk. And Mages… I’ll never get how people can like and play Mages proficiently.

Also I’m still on the fence how alt-friendly Shadowlands really is. It’s quite easy to get to ~190-195 iLevel with the Covenant gear, even though Raid Finder is only 187. But then it gets hard really fast as you’re basically forced to PvP to do high Mythic+ keys. Heroics are a joke this time. You probably ding 60 at item level 130-140, so either you spend a little time doing the covenant campaign until you can queue for Heroics at 155 or do a few normals from 144 on and hope for drops (or buy a few BoE blues) . But the moment you are at chapter 3-5 with the campaign and have a little anima spare you can upgrade stuff to 177 or more and then you’ll only need 2 trinkets, 2 rings, and a necklace from Heroics or Raid Finder (unlocks at 170 iLevel), because you also get a weapon token (187) for finishing your campaign. I mean, that’s fine per se, but Heroics are completely useless now – they weren’t at the start because the campaign was time-gated, now you only get your renown up fast enough, so maybe if you are gated on the campaign on a certain day/week it might make sense to run a few. There is some rep gear at decent item levels (I think one 200 piece per faction) but when not grinding it out, my main was decked out in 200s from raids and the Great Vault (and M+) long before I hit Exalted.

That are the alt-friendly aspects. The unfriendly ones are The Maw, where you need to grind your rep again and Torghast, where you needed to unlock the layers separately on every character, but that’s supposed to be changed this Wednesday. Getting the 1250 Soul Ash per Legendary shouldn’t be the problem for the alts, depending on their spec. Also it seems to be so much easier with two people than solo. Or maybe Warrior was just a really bad pick at the start before the nerfs.

Raid update, week 7

The seventh week of Shadowlands raiding concluded and we’ve actually managed to get to 6/10 Heroic, with a quick first night of a full clear and Huntsman on Heroic, a second night with two first kills, Xy’mox and Sun King, and a third night with another first kill, Lady Inerva Darkvein.

Wanted to post that on Tuesday night and forgot. So today I dinged 60 on my 8th character, a Worgen Shadow Priest. As much as I hated leveling him back then from level 90ish to 112 and speced Disc in early BfA, as much fun it was now. We’ll see if and how much of the covenant campaign I’ll get done until Sunday because then it’s back to work and my playtime will decrease sharply again.