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Category: Mists of Pandaria

Looking to 5.4 and back at 5.3/5.2

So – 5.4, whereupon we go and kick Garrosh Hellscream in his huge orange nads, is due to hit servers on September 10/11, depending on you being US/EU-side. I don’t know about anyone else, but for me it’s high time to be getting my teeth into something new.

5.2, with its ISLAND FULL OF THUNDER and the huge Thunder King raid and dailies and Jaina being all shitty, was pretty nifty. The raid is gorgeous, the encounters amazing (for the most part), and the dailies… well. I actually did some. YEAH I KNOW.  5.3… Umm. What was in 5.3 again?

Oh yeah. TROLLAGEDDON! Everyone – EVERYone – is helping the Trolls prepare to kick the arse of Hellscream. Even those of us on the Alliance. Because Blizzard loves the Trolls SO HARD they think we all should 1) help them in their endeavours to overthrow the Big Orange Bastid, and 2) love Troll stuff in EVERY SINGLE PATCH.

Seriously… enough Trolls. Please.

For me, it’s been a decent month. We finally cleared Throne of Thunder on normal modes, and this past week even managed a heroic Jin-Rokh kill. Yes, we’re officially (albeit barely-technically) a heroic-mode guild now. We should have been 2.5 months ago, but – as Chris Metzen is want to say – whatever-whatever.

And so, it’s come to looking towards the next raid and content patch – 5.4 Siege of Orgrimmar.


Looks exciting, no?

The final patch of the expansion – or the final raid patch, at any rate – will be a make or break for Mists of Pandaria in my eyes.  The raid itself needs to be epic, but also have a story which evolves into something satisfying for both sides of the Red/Blue divide.

There’s no doubt that the Alliance have been relatively shafted with decent story – or favourable ones at that – for the last 3 years. Cataclysm was ALL THRALL, ALL THE TIME and MoP has so far been all leading up to Garrosh being the (much-maligned) centrepiece. I’m sure, though, that Blizzard will provide a conclusion to the patch that Alliance can be proud of.

It’ll probably involve Trolls, though.

Catching Up – Where has 10 months gone?

So the last time I wrote here, we were preparing for Mists of Pandaria after the long, long wait through the final 12 months of Cataclysm. Can you remember Cataclsym? I barely can. I remember the excitement of MoP on the horizon though – that feeling of something new just beyond our reach (although dabbled with, by me, in the beta). Mists was going to amazing! It was going to be a complete breath of fresh air after the initially-great-but-soon-rather-rinse-and-repeat expansion that was Cataclysm.


As it happens, it did turn out nicely. The zones were beautiful; the quests interesting (if, you know, you’re into quests); pet battles became This Huge Thing quite quickly. Even the Tillers proved interesting to many people as they worked to unlock the extra plots on their farm.

I took it slowly, as far as dailies and rep grinds went. It was weeks before I even considered working on faction rep with our new Pandarian allies. As it was, I began hearing of the Golden Lotus dailies. How they were… ooft. And you had to do so many of them before you could open up the next two factions.

But that’s all by-the-by. We’re into 5.3 now, with 5.4 breathing down our neck, and the game is in that mid-expansion weird bit. Things are no longer fresh, and even with what promises to be an OMG FREAKIN’ HUGE patch coming in 5.4, many people are focussing on what’s next…

At this stage, I’m happy to still be working my way through the game. The guild is going better than ever; our raid team stronger than ever. We still have some issues to iron out but at this stage of the expansion’s life, those issues – quiet nights, tired players – are common.

So much has happened in the last 10 months, though. Things I’ll write about in due course. Many opinions have been forged; friendships made; battles won, and battles which almost broke me. In due course.

But as we get closer to 5.4 and 6.0… remember: slow down.

MoP Planning #2: Embracing The Adventure

I’m a man of two minds. There is the half of me which admires and strives for accomplishment, regardless of obstacles (real or imagined), and the other that yearns for adventure, be it in the real world or through my imagination.

My two favourite memories from my childhood are winning the ‘Junior Boys All Strokes’ swimming competition at my school (despite not knowing I was in contention for it – I just liked swimming and winning), and the other was me, 8 years old, laying on the back stairs of our family home at the time, in a sunbeam, listening to bees buzz amongst the flowered-vines that lined the walls while I day dreamed.

I approach WoW with two minds, as well. There’s half of me what yearns to build a strong raid team, or accomplish the things I’ve wanted for so long (un-nerfed kills! overcoming difficulty through sheer determination and pig-headedness). The other half has me wanting to take things slowly, to take in the world of Pandaria, to find the little nooks of adventure that others race past on their way to the end-game.

To do both, I don’t necessarily need to sacrifice one in the short term to accomplish the other, but sometimes it feels like it. Doing the first requires some commitment, discipline, and bringing together others to all work towards these goals as a team. The other allows me to just fart-arse about however and whenever I please. I like fart-arseing about.

Is it possible, though, to be balanced with both without necessarily being behind the curve? I’m not going to be pushing the limits of either, but nor do I want to be leaning against the back wall.

In my last post, I covered how my experience in Cataclsym was spread across multiple characters, leaving me to linger too long in the mid-field without really accomplishing anything. I don’t want to make the same mistake in Mists.

While I do have plans to level up a few non-main toons, Reliq will be my focus. And he is a mighty adventurer (even if he does trip over things and fall to his death far too often). It will be his boots which are first muddied by the misted shores of Pandaria, the wind in his hair and soy sauce in his epic beard.

I honestly can not wait until those first moments of stepping into the game and seeing the world anew (albeit covered by hundreds of other players stealing your quest items).

Perhaps I’ll spend the first few days just driving around, as I have done in the beta, to see the world as launch day presents it to us.

I will imagine the sun on my char’s neck, the sense of adventure tingling his skin, the weight of the weapon on his back, and go forth to his inevitable death!

To Pandaria!

MoP Planning #1: Concept of a ‘Main’

When Cataclysm launched, I put my then-main Reliq, a Blood/Unholy Death Knight, to the side and instead focussed on levelling and gearing Baym, my Holy/Protection Paladin. My thoughts were that the guild I was in would benefit from having a healer/tank all set to go when we inevitably began raiding soon after launch.

As it was, the officers decided at launch, or soon after, that raiding would be on the back burner for some time to allow the guild’s members to focus on enjoying the content. By then, I was already set on Baym being my first level 85, and so he would be – and would remain my main focus in the expansion for the first 3 months or so, leaving Reliq to inch his way to 85 whenever I fancied a break.

I moved on to play my shadow priest, Aotearoa, around this time as a break from PVE, and got half-decent on her as a PVP mind-melter. Good fun. But in due course, my attention was being dragged back to what was, in my heart, my first love: my death knight, Reliq.

He is the toon people know me by. It’s the name I use on Twitter, everyone who knows me in-game refers to me as “Rel”, and if you shouted the name out in the street I’d respond (although probably keep walking, because humans confuse me).

So, finally, about 6 months into Cataclysm I took to playing Reliq properly. I’ve levelled and geared other characters in the last 12 months or so, but Reliq has always been the main priority, especially since branching out earlier this year and starting my own guild and raid team. Reliq is our main tank, with only occasional-appearances by other toons (usually my shaman Pakeha), but I now have a definite main.

The crux of the matter, and reason behind this post, though, is my feeling of lost time from Cataclsym; I spent so much time faffing about, that my experience of this past expansion seems fractured due to not having a focus at the start.

I don’t intend on making that mistake in Mists of Pandaria.

While I do intend of levelling each tanking class to max, and getting them geared enough to raid (in time), my main focus will be Reliq. He is the one I will run challenge modes and scenarios on. He is the one who will have his own farm and work on his Tiller reputation. He is the one with the raid achievements first, and priority for everything else.

MoP looks to be an exhaustingly-exciting expansion, based on what we’ve seen coming for end-game content, especially the non-raiding content.

Mists of Pandaria Cinematic – Thoughts (with spoilers)

So, it dropped today as expected, with its world premiere at Gamescom, and being posted to the official WoW YouTube channel a short while afterwards.

Technically, it’s excellent.

Story-wise, I love the fact that it’s the Alliance & Horde landing on a new, unknown world, immediately go into conflict, but are thrown by a new element – a Pandaran rolling into their midst.

It’s an unknown foe to them both, and being the naturally-violent factions they are, they attack it – and choose their closest, but known, enemy as an allie.

The kick at the end, where the panda shows that, the combat is not a major thing to them but part of the balance of their lives, is a perfect balance to what will in truth be an expansion where the Alliance and Horde conflict impacts greatly on this peaceful land with its own problems.

I can’t fucking wait.

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