A raider asked the question recently ‘How long do you think it will be before we start raiding?’ in our forums. That is a very interesting question and one that deserves a good answer. This, however, is not it. But it did make me think about the experience I had during the last patch so I thought I would share with you what to expect, in case you are thinking about getting to the level cap quickly.
It’s the evening of the big launch. Cans of V/Lion Red are cooling in the fridge and in the freezer is an assortment of ‘easy to nuke’ meals. To your side is an open beer next to a bag of your favourite lollies. In front of you is the portal to your world for the next 48+ hours. Mumble is full to the brim with people chatting and commenting, talking about things like ‘Where do you get Stormwind flying from when it drops?’ and ‘How come you didn’t get the download version Dak?’ It’s a little hard to hear one specific conversation over another but you’re not really listening anyway. You’re checking though your bags and making sure everything that doesn’t HAVE to be there is cleared. You have a couple of flasks, some potions, and a little buff food maybe but your off spec gears are sitting safely in your bank along with your favourite train set. Zygor’s Quest Helper is up and ready to go and with a quick re-read you familiarise yourself with where you’re going and who you’re going to talk to first.
Then, it hits… Server Restart in 15 minutes. All of a sudden Mumble quietens down. Just for a second you wonder if you’ve disconnected but the conversation starts again, albeit at a slightly higher tempo. Then a question occurs to you that you hadn’t considered… should I log out before the restart or should I let Blizzard boot me. Which is faster? You Google but can’t find anything. I’ll let Blizzard kick me I think, that way I’ll know exactly WHEN the server is down and I can start trying again.
Before you know it, it’s go time. You refresh the WoW Server page and watch as they drop one by one. Then yours goes down and it begins. Mumble is completely void of conversation as people logging out or already logged out have abandoned ‘push-to-talk’ buttons in favour of password keys…
Password, password, what’s my god damned password!!! On your 5th try you get it… connecting…. disconnected from server… password… connecting… disconnected from server…
3 minutes later…
Connecting… success!!!… oh yeah baby!
2 minutes later…
Something’s wrong…. Cancel… password… connecting… disconnected from server… #$%@!
After a few more minutes that seem like hours you’re in!! Of course you and 200 hundred other people (who have no idea about server loads) thought it would be a good idea to park yourselves next to the ‘Want to fly in Stormwind?’ trainer. You’re lagging out something fierce but even with the slow loading of your environment there are already more people in front of you than you’ve ever seen in Stormwind at one time. Of course the trainer should be renamed ‘You can fly in storm wind if you can manage to click on me with 500 other people standing on my feet’ guy. /1. General is spamming the name of the trainer with target/interact advice. Good advice too as it’s the only way you’re going to be able to accept quests for a while. You are prepared for this moment though and with a couple of macros you have your flying in SW training and you’re ready to go. So what’s the first thing you do?
Fly circles… omg, omg, omg, what’s next!!!
Finally you calm down a little and remember that Mr Zygor is here to help. Then, you’re off and the journey begins.
3 hours later…
The crowd is thinning out now. You did still wait next to a strange totem clicking madly with 50 other players waiting for an egg to spawn but these quest choke points are becoming fewer and further apart. Many guildies have already fallen by the wayside as the initial surge of people is just too much. These comrades have either retired for the evening or might be spending time elsewhere to let the crowds die down. You can already tell who the front runners for the Guild first 85 are and now it’s just an endurance test. The initial excitement is ebbing and you’re down to the grind. Mumble is still buzzing with comedy yet you notice there is a distinct lack of people talking about how far along they are. Competitiveness is a curse sometimes. You’re constantly checking the guild list to see if anyone has hit 81 yet because you’re close yourself so they can’t be far away. The same group of people seem to be in each questing area with you wherever you go and are starting to get a feel for how fast you are going. You’ve decided the Warrior from HOLY is moving along at a nice pace so you make sure that if he’s gone from an area that you are not too far behind. Boy, am I glad I didn’t to the water place first… you think to yourself.
8 hours later…
You’re starting to get tired now. The good news is most things are becoming robotic; the bad news is you are missing steps and it’s slowing you down. Quests that could be done at the same time you are doing in order and you’ve missed opportunities to empty your bags more than once. The problem is you weren’t the first to ding last time which means mistakes like these are costing you the lead. Eating is done only between long flights or cut scenes at which time it becomes necessary to stuff your face. The V is giving you the shakes and you’re worried about a crash. Soon, you’ll be fighting every impulse not to log off and go to bed, but for now, it’s on to the next quest. Mumble is completely dead but there are still quite a few people there. Soon more will arrive as they log back in from last night. They’ll talk and chuckle for a bit before abandoning any hope of getting more than a two syllable response from the front running glory seekers.
You’re not sure if you are in day two or some hellish extension of day one. Your feet are ice cold no matter how many pairs of socks you have on and the threat of deep vein thrombosis is now very real. There is a possibility that you need to change your shorts but since your arse went numb many hours ago you can’t be sure and find yourself largely indifferent. Instead of cooking meals now you’re recycling the food that’s clinging to your beard and shirt front, owed to the rapid consumption previously. There is a strange tingling sensation creeping up the back of your neck and you briefly wonder if sanity will ever return. I must nap you think if only for an hour, surely the others will need a nap. Then you succumb. The couch has never been so comfortable and re-assured that you will only be sleeping for 60 minutes you drift off into the deepest sleep you’ve had in a long time.
5 hours later…
Oh god what time is it!! Oh no!!!….
You log back on and curse yourself to see two guildies have already hit 83 and you are still only halfway there. You feel awake now and cannot fathom why you thought it was a good idea to sleep. You carry on with renewed vigor.
8 hours later…
Oh THAT’s why…
You can feel the insanity creeping back into your brain. You’re pretty sure there is a smell hanging around you now but since it’s not directly impacting your game play it’s soon forgotten. People are dinging 84 but you’ve caught up somewhat and are only just behind. You can no longer remember a time when you weren’t playing wow. It all seems like some type of crazy dream you’re caught up in. But then the real grind starts… 84 – 85 seems so far away and compared to the previous levels it is. A dark mood has taken hold of you. If that Shammy smiles at you one more #$%#en time!
12 Hours later…
You’ve had a small, uncontrollable nap on your keyboard and you come back to the guilds first two 85s… some sneaky rogue followed shortly by a certain shadow priest. The good news is you’re NEXT! There is an amazing relief that washes over you having completed such a monumental task in such a short space of time. You take a moment to enjoy the GRATS through guild chat and rest your eyes…
…now let’s get GEARED!!!!
Let me sum up by saying that the race to level cap is amazing fun but it is hard work. If you are prepared to let the world slip past while you quest almost in a dream state then go right ahead. I know some of us are already preparing for the big push but it’s not for everyone. Zesh came first, followed by Anjanti, and Bannox was third last time around. I aim to do better this time and I hope some of you will join me in what will be the longest playing stint of most of your WoW careers.
And to the two in front of me last time… awesome achievement…
But I’m COMING FOR YA!!!
Bring on MoP!
Here’s some video from the Running of the Bulls of suicidal Tauren. Warning: This may be the weirdest video you’ve seen in, oh, at least the last week.
War Machine presents “The Running of the Virtual Bulls!”. Unfortunately due to censorship issues and a none too polite email from our marketing team we are unable to divulge any of the activities for this event. Suffice to say fun times will be had by all (plus we don’t want to tell you because that’s how we get our fun!).
The event kicks off at 8:30pm ST on Saturday 3rd of March. Register your interest on the event in-game (one signup per player please).
A challenge has been thrown down to the man who says he can eat any amount of anything at any time. Your main spec healer… BOOMTREE!. What is the challenge, you ask? Boom’s Magnum Opus will be to eat twelve cupcakes from the Delish Cupcakes store. These awesome tasting perfectly made pockets of pure sugary heaven are great… in moderation… but BOOM intends to slam all twelve back within sixty minutes. This task may seem easy to the casual observer but I assure you it is anything but. The flavors chosen for this event are Pineapple Lump and Chocolate Gnash. These are two of the heaviest and most flavor filled cupcakes they serve. Visit the forums to read a full breakdown of the event and its rules and regulations. Come… why not wage a copper or two?
After much planning, the first ever War Machine Amazing Race is only a few weeks away. Guild members should’ve received an invite in-game with more details – if you didn’t, this is what it said:
We at War Machine in conjuction with Legion of Light cordially invite you and one other to attend the AMAZING RACE! To be a part of this fun night simply complete the application form on the War Machine website ‘www.warmachineguild.net’ no later than Wednesday 2nd November 10PM server. The event will start approximately 8:30pm server time on Sunday 6th November 2011 and will last approximately 2-3 hours. Details will follow receipt of application.
To sign your team up, head to the application page.
As a sneak preview of what I’m working on at the moment, here’s the first leg of the Naked Gnome Madness run we did last week on Dreadmaul. More to come soon…
Shannox has fallen to the onslaught of the mighty War Machine! Last night we ran an impromptu 10 man with the intent of getting to Shannox as fast as possible and dropping him, and it certainly worked. Well done to all involved. Here’s the video – excuse the language at the end, Bannox was very enthusiastic.
Oh, and ignore me dying, and getting trapped. That didn’t actually happen, honest.
Well done all on the guild-first kill of Al’akir last night! Here’s footage of the event (with a bonus achievement!)
And to top of it off, we went and cleared Bastion of Twilight right after and got a video of our Cho’gall kill:
Hopefully I’ll have a Nefarian kill video to add to the list later tonight!
Only a few days now until the latest content patch is upon us – Patch 4.2: Rage of the Firelands. Quite a bit of stuff is included in the patch, from class changes across the board to brand new quests, zones, interface changes, a caster DPS legendary staff and a raid instance (and of course all the shiny new gear that comes with that!) The patch is scheduled to go live on the 28th of this month, so in order to be ready to go as soon as the servers come up (because I know some of you will be ready and waiting) there’s a few things you might want to do beforehand.
4.2 introduces two new daily quest hubs – the first at the Sanctuary of Malorne in Mount Hyjal (also known as The Regrowth) and the second being the Molten Front in the new Firelands zone. The quests at the Regrowth lead to unlocking the path to the Molten Front so you’ll need to start there. However, to get access to the Regrowth dailies you must have completed at least part of Hyjal’s standard quest chain. Specifically, you want to have completed the quest Aessina’s Miracle, which results in the area known as The Flamewake in Hyjal getting an infusion of life and becoming the Regrowth. This quest is about halfway through Hyjal’s chain and is pretty quick to get to and through.
Once you have completed Aessina’s Miracle, a new quest will be available at the Sanctuary of Malorne. This begins the chain that will eventually lead you to the Firelands.
But what about the raid? Good news for those of you that hate questing – you don’t need to do the dailies to get into the Firelands raid. The raid entrance portal is located in Mount Hyjal at Sulfuron Spire. You can see the portal in-game now, it’s just behind a gate.
Caster DPS will be salivating at the thought of finally being able to get their hands on a legendary weapon, and it’s definitely a shiny one. Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest will be available in 4.2, though it won’t be easy to get. Blizzard estimates it will take around four months for a guild to complete their first staff, and that’s with the focus being on just one person in the guild getting it. We will indeed be giving the first staff to a specific person, though that person has yet to be determined. For those of you that are keen to get the chain started (and I suggest you do if you are at all interested in getting the staff), there are requirements:
In order to begin the process of assembling the staff, players must first kill a Molten Lord in the Firelands, or have completed any of the achievements Bastion of Twilight, Blackwing Descent, or Throne of the Four Winds. Once any of these achievements have been unlocked, players can accept the quest A Legendary Engagement from Ziradormi in Grommash Hold in Orgrimmar, or Coridormi atop the Wizard’s Sanctum in Stormwind (players who have already completed any of these achievements are immediately eligible for this quest).
Source: 4.2 Patch Notes
Some of you will already be eligible from downing Cho’gall, others may still have a bit of work to do. We will still be running the older raids, and with the considerable nerfs being applied to them (20% reductions in damage and health for the most part) it should be easier to get us through them.
Since there’s a new tier of gear coming with 4.2, there’s going to be a lot of changes coming for the current gear. The major change is seeing all current items purchasable with Valor points being instead available for Justice points. This should make acquiring the gear considerably easier in preparation for Firelands (and for finishing off the BoT, BWD and TotFW). To go with this change, all your current Valor points will be downgraded to Justice points, up to a limit of 4000 JP. Anything over 4000 JP will be converted to gold (at a rate of 47 silver per point). What this means is if, for example, you currently have 2500 Justice Points and 2000 Valor Points, when 4.2 hits you would have 0 Valor Points and 4000 Justice Points, and receive 235 gold in exchange for the 500 excess points. If gold isn’t an issue for you, your best bet is to make sure you have no more than 4000 points between your VP and JP when the patch hits. I would strongly advise against spending Valor Points in order to even your points out, as anything currently available for Valor will be available for Justice after the patch, and JP are much easier to come by.
For those of you that PVP, the same thing is happening with Conquest Points and Honor Points, but at a rate of 35 silver per excess point.
For lore junkies (like me!) there’s a fantastic new quest chain being added with 4.2 that focuses around Thrall. An NPC at the Eastern Earthshrine in Stormwind (aka portal island) starts you on the chain, sending you to meet with Thrall in Hyjal. I’m not going to spoil the quest for you, but there’s some quite dramatic occurrences and is a lot of fun. And you end up with an ilevel 365 epic at the end of it.
There’s a bunch of other changes coming in the patch including as I mentioned many class changes, as well as the new Dungeon Journal UI feature, but I’ve outlined the big ones that require a bit of preparation beforehand above. For more on the patch check out Blizzard’s guide to Patch 4.2 as well as the patch notes. But beware of spoilers!