Light & Leafy

Archive for the ‘expansion’ Category

Hi! It’s been a long time since I’ve been around, but with the New Year approaching, and with new inspiration for Cataclysm,  I felt the desire to start blogging again. Bear with me while I readjust, and please feel free to send hugs and happy vibes my way =)

Preparing for the ‘Clysm!

So we’re officially 75 hours away from the release date! (Ok, more like 85 if you live in an area like I do that ISN’T having a midnight release. You’re responsible for my pouty face, Best Buy!) I hadn’t really been on my toons except for my teams’ weekly raids, but from right before the shattering until tonight, I’ve been on a little every day, preparing my characters as best I can for the leveling blitz! I’ve moved all my characters to new homes, fully taking advantages of all the Inns I’ve never seen before (Who knew there was more than one in Ironforge!?).  I’ve leveled my little gnome mage and given her some much deserved attention before she gets shelved for another x amount of months until I’ve finished leveling all my healers to 85 and gotten them to the point where I feel like I can let them sit for 5 minutes while I toy around with something that doesn’t involve the end game.

And I’ve mapped out Edainne’s leveling spec. Since I’m a masochist and stubborn, I don’t want to tarnish her record of Never. Being. Shadow. Although, I will say this now –  none of my other characters will level that way. They all have dps specs; I’m not that mean to myself….

Also, having 4 people to instance with makes me dance a little bit in my seat. When we were leveling in Wrath, there was a group of 8 of us or so that would join up and queue together. It made the learning curve SO much less stressful; there wasn’t ever a fear of being cursed out or ridiculed for wiping.

RIP Old Azeroth

I surprised myself a little when I actually felt sad to see the old world replaced by the new order. I thought I had come to terms with the changes, but part of me wished that I had appreciated the Old World a little more before it vanished. I spent my last weeks farming the vanishing reps (and helping my friends do the same), and I didn’t really look around too often. The night before the patch was released, I found myself gazing at the trelisses that used to  adorn the buildings in Stormwind’s (now destroyed) Park District, and realized I had never noticed how pretty they were before. I took some last screenshots, then headed over to the roomier, less densely populated inn in Old Town, and logged out to the Sindragosa load screen one last time.

I do have a little consolation though; even though I never got around to taking all the pictures of Pre-Cataclysmic, Angelya at Revive and Rejuvinate has an AWESOME gallery of screenshots.

Leveling – Oh god, is it fun!

In BC, right before Wrath came out, I remember spending all my time on my 70s just enjoying the new talent trees and having one last hooray at raids that were made much, MUCH easier by the changes. This time around, I’m spending all my time online on lowbie alts. I’m leveling new hordies to experience their side of the stories (plus, my troll druid looks like she had an accident at the Crayola factory; it’s AWESOME), and my mage just feels like the awesome little ball of fire she is.

Plus, the new quests keep everything interesting, and everything flows SO well together. I’m loving the quests being right in the front of the instance when you start; I like feeling like there’s a reason for me going into a decrepit, haunted mansion isolated on an island in the middle of hostile territory. Before it was all, Shadowfang Keep? Uh, I’ll let the werewolves eat the vampires undead so I don’t have to deal with them, thankyouverymuch.  I will admit, though, that I still feel a little weird every time I ding because I picked a flower (Oh look! Peacebloom! <You have reached level 29!>  /anticlimatic shrug).

AMG More Mini Pets!

Clearly, this was my first priority when I patched my game. I mean, really, what else do you when the world explodes around you? I picked up a little Sunflower on each of my healers the week of Pilgrim’s Progress (since 3 of them needed to head out to Undercity anyways for the feasting….mmmm undead turkey!). The PvZ mini game is a lot of fun, albeit a bit more frustrating and not nearly as cute as it’s inspiration, but it is totally worth the singing sunflower. You guys, she stops mid trot to hum to herself!

My priest then headed across the Maelstrom to collect Withers from the new questline in Darkshore. It didn’t take nearly long as I remember it on the Beta (with a level 14 worgen. With no heirlooms. Or Mount…..). As alliance, you basically do all the quests in the new village until you reach the Troll Battle. Once you head back to town, there will be a final quest that gives you Withers as a reminder of the tragedy that struck Auberdine. The quest lines are poignant, especially for anyone who ever quested in Darkshore while leveling, and take about 30 minutes start to finish with a level 80 (not including the travel time to Darkshore).
I think my new favorite pet though is the Moonkin Hatchling. I knew I wanted one when I saw the previews on Blizzard’s new site, but after I was given one as an early Christmas present, I’ve been taking him out every chance I get and just giggling at his preposterously huge brown eyes and his baby drood dance (HIS WINGS DON’T REACH ALL THE WAY BACK!) and his spontaneous flower spawning. It’s amazing I get anything done with him around. Seriously.

So, what have you been doing since the patch that changed the world? Have you been leveling that gnome priest you’ve always wanted? ( I’m making one, even though I have 2 priests already) Are you exploring the shattering and wondering (like I did as I was completing Pilgrim achievement on my druid) where the HELL is the patch of land that connects Northern Barrens to Southern Barrens (Hint: go alllllllll the way to the top of the chasm. Don’t try to jump in the lava and then scale the wall….) ?

Before I get into anything else, I do want to apologize for my silence in the blog, on Twitter, and in the SAN community, I took over a former co-worker’s position, and not only has it been stressful, but it has also thrown me out of my normal rhythm of writing during my lunch break as…well…I haven’t really had a proper one in the last two weeks. I’m now trying to get into a rhythm of writing at home, which, until this post, I’ve utterly failed at doing. So bear with me during this transition. ❤


So it’s here! I didn’t see it until someone emailed it to me at 7:30 this morning, but when I did I just about let loose a raucous burst of giggles in my cubicle. I’m only going to highlight the discipline/holy portions of the preview because in my world, shadow priests don’t exist. Well, maybe they do. I’ve heard rumors. But really, they’re just warlocks that return my mana. This just in! Hardcore Holy Priest Edainne has gone to the darkside (sort of). After deciding to roll a newbie priest on a PvP server that has some of my long-time friends on it, I decided that I would level her shadow (with a healing offspec, of course!). I know. It goes against every fiber in my being. But I will not give up! That being said, I still know jack-squat about being an effective shadow priest, and as such I still suggest you go find a real one to fill you in on the shadow priesty changes announced for Cataclysm (though according to Cassandri in the comments, there’s not much).

Here’s the breakdown we’ve gotten so far from the WoW Devs. If you’re really interested in all three trees and spells, head over to MMO Champion for a complete transcript of what the blues had to say. As with anything regarding the new expansion, anything written here, including opinions, are subject to beta-testing and change.

Masteries and You

In Cataclysm, each talent tree will have three masteries associated it. Think of masteries as bonuses for the tree : the more points you place in a given three, the more benefit you will get from that particular tree’s masteries. As of right now, your main tree will be what you get your masteries from (edited as I had originally used old Blizzcon Information only to be corrected =) )

The discipline and holy trees both have two of the same masteries: Healing and Meditation. Healing is exactly what it sounds like – for every point spent in that particular tree, you will notice an increase to your healing done. Meditation is directly related to your mana regeneration (think of like the current discipline talent, only you get it with each point you spend!).

For me, this is exciting news! Instead of placing points in talents just to earn more spell power or more regen, we can put points into interesting new spells or buffs that will boost our individual playstyle. At BlizzCon, the presiding theme over talent trees was to turn them into something more exciting and less cookie-cutter, and getting rid of all the talents that passively boost your healing output (and thereby make them “mandatory” to take) seems like a way to allow players to be more creative with their spec choices.

Now, Discipline and Holy trees each have one more mastery that is unique to that particular tree. Holy priests will receive a mastery called Radiance which esssentially adds a heal-over-time component to your direct heals. Depending on how large the heal over time is, it could be nice to counter static raid wide damage (think of Queen Lana’thel’s aura or Garfrost’s stacking debuff) or it could be a huge source of overhealing. The Discipline tree will have the third mastery of Absorption which, omgawd nowai!, increases the amount absorbed by shields and aegis and barriers, oh my! It seems like a fairly straight forward concept, and while it might not be shiny exciting mastery of gloriousness, to me it’s still quite an appropriate and dare I say expected mastery for the bubblers. I’ll let a real discipline priest chew on that more though as I am most certainly a holy priest first and foremost and a discipline priest amateur.

New Spells (and Talents!) of Awesomeness!

Yoink! I mean…Leap of Faith

This might be my new favorite spell in the game, if it makes it through the beta-testing. As developers mentioned in their chat yesterday, Leap of Faith is a spell all priests would get at level 85 that on a 45 second cool-down would allow the priest to yank friends out of danger.. That’s right. You can force people to gtfo of the fires. It is the antithesis of Deathgrip!

I love this idea. I don’t know how it will play out, or if I’ll be able to really use it effectively if I’m in tunnel-vision healy mode, but the concept alone wins in my brain. I am going to LOVE yoinking stupid melee dps who purposefully stand in the gosh darn fire because they can’t BEAR to loose their precious dps for one millisecond and force me to heal them through avoidable damage. Ahem.

I also really appreciate it from a pvp standpoint (a flag carrier who’s getting focused on in Warsong Gultch mayhaps), though it makes me a little bit worried for my survivability. If you knew that I could life-grip a person on my team to me if they were in trouble, wouldn’t you just kill me first? I find we already are boosting a giant HAI KILL ME NAO PEESE sign for just being the squishy balls of lights we are. But let’s be honest here. I only pvp’d enough so that I would have to spend beau coup gold to gem all of my alts.

Power Word : Barrier

It doesn’t seem like they’ve fully fleshed out this idea, but I’m drooling over the idea of it. Then again, as only an honorary shield-spamming bubblematic, I may not have any ground to stand on when it comes to discussing awesome discipline spells. But placing a freaking barrier over my group of friends to protect them from harm is the first thing that has really made me think, oh! Maybe it’s time to switch Eda’s spec.

Heal

In Cataclysm, the idea for healers is to have one efficient spell that covers their basic healing needs while everything else has its own niche (Greater Heal being only for situations that really need massive healing and Flash Heal being only for situations where you need that heal quickly, mana be damned). We’ve had this spell before, it just needed some attention after being on the highest shelf in the broom closet of the storage facility for the last two expansions By itself, it’s kind of an uninteresting spell, but the implications that come with it should be very exciting once we get more details about how exactly healing will work come the expansion.

Inner Will

We get to choose armor types! Inner Fire will still exist in its current form, granting spell power and armor. Inner Will will increase movement speed and decrease the cost of instant cast spells. It gives us a choice to make each fight to decide which will be more helpful. Inner Will might be more helpful on future encounters like Saurfang where you’re constantly tossing instant casts (bubbles, renew) on the raid while running around from things like those icky blood beasts. I really enjoy having to assess situations and adapt for new strategies.

Chakra

The developers described Chakra as a Holy Priest talent that would increase a certain type of healing after using a spell appropriate to that type of healing three times. So, imagine you’re healing a tank with Greater Heal. After the third cast, you would be granted a stacking buff that would increase your healing done to single targets. Or say if you did the same with Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing – your area of effect healing would then be increased.

This was another theoretical talent that I really enjoyed the sound of. Sure, spamming the same spell from the same type may not be your typical raiding style, but being able to increase your specific healing niche for a fight seems like a very practical tool in a holy priest’s arsenal. One of the most enjoyable parts of playing my priest as holy is knowing that no matter the situation, I can handle it. I am the jill-of-all-trades healer, and Blizz seems to be supporting that style by allowing us to choose moment by moment what kind of healer we are.

Imagine if you will, a fight where a dedicated tank healer is needed. It’s you, a holy paladin (assuming they are still the undisputed kings of the single target heal), and a druid healing (assuming again that encounters need three healers). The holy paladin was just bludgeoned to death by a pack of marauding murlocs (don’t laugh, I’ve seen it happen). All of a sudden, the tank has no healer! Now, druids are perfectly able to heal tanks (I’ve done it. That’s the beauty of having so many healers I suppose), but you’re able to switch directly from healing the raid to healing the tank (with increased single target healing!) simply by casting a spell three times. It’s kind of like your very own ruby slippers. Only, instead of taking you home, they take you were you actually need to be.

In Conclusion

I’m EXTREMELY excited for the priest changes in Cataclysm. They seem to have read my mind and taken everything I loved about priest healing and just amplified it; well maybe not Life Grip — I was never creative enough to imagine that. To be honest, I’m just excited about healing changes in general – I like having to THINK about my choices rather than just spamming any and all of my spells with no consequences at all to my mana.

Deathwing is coming. You can feel in the air. People are reporting minor tremors across Azeroth. In the blog-o-sphere, curiosity was piqued when the blues released some information regarding stat changes to gear in Cataclysm. Greg Street and Cory Starkton hinted at previews of the female Worgen model in the near future during their developer chat on Twitter last Friday. Most bloggers are reveling in this quickening release of data; they’re giggling as they postulate about what changes could mean for their particular niche and eagerly lap up any tidbits the devs  see fit to publicize.

And who could blame us? It’s an exciting premise: the world (of Warcraft) as we know it will be completely destroyed. Barren lands will become lush oasis.  Elemental planes long forgotten will reemerge, bringing with them new threats to civilization. Flying mounts will soar over the old world!

Sometimes my internal monologue turns into that of an excitable puppy: “Oh-gosh-look-it’s-the-new-neighbors-can-I-go-sniff-them-now?-I-bet-they’ll-let-me-sniff-them-and-then-maybe-rub-my-tummy-ohboyohboyohboy! Can-we-go-now-pleaseeeeeee?!” *scratches at door*

Then the “adult” portion of my brain kicks in and reminds me that I haven’t yet seen or done everything I’ve wanted to do yet in Wrath of the Lich King. And my puppy begins to panic.

So, I thought I’d come up with a little list, and cross them off as I’ve completed them. It’s all well and good to be excited about Cataclysm, but I feel the need to take that abundant energy and reroute it towards things I can accomplish now. Some of these things might not be possible after the Cataclysm rocks Azeroth. And I don’t want to leave Northrend with any regrets.

Get my hunter to 80. This should be fairly easy seeing as she’s now sitting at 15% of the way to 73. I only have 7.85 levels to go, and the way Osy’s pushing us to level I’d be surprised if it took more than a couple of weeks. I want to have a pure dps at the level cap as well; normally if I have the choice on a character to dps or heal, I’ll gladly heal. This is putting me out of my comfort zone and giving me something fresh and exciting to play with. And I love my pets.

Get Edainne her dragonhawk mount. Ever since the 100 mount achievement went live, I’ve wanted to get my priest her blue alliance dragonhawk (like the one the flight trainer rides on Krasus’s landing). I think it’s an absolutely gorgeous mount, and really the only thing preventing me from obtaining it is a lack of trying. I need about 5000g and some mind-numbing hours in Stratholme and Magister’s Terrace.  I don’t know if they’ll still offer a dragonhawk come Cataclysm, and I don’t want to regret never getting the one mount I really wanted.

Max out my character’s professions. I know this sounds silly, but I want everyone at 80 to be as close to maxed out in their given professions. I know I won’t want to spend the time once Cataclysm comes out to get my professions up to date before I go off to level my characters to 85, and I really don’t want to have to go back and do them all once my toons are settled at the new level cap.

Create a photo album of all my favorite locations in the Old World. We all know that some zones are going to be drastically…redecorated. I don’t want to forget the WoW I fell in love with.  Some of my happiest memories from leveling my priest were the adventures I had when leveling actually took a lot of work and questing in a lot of areas. My goal is to try to get at least one picture of my favorite area in each zone before they’re gone for good.

Explore all the Zones I’ve Never Been to Before. While I’ve travelled a LOT on Edainne, I’d still love to take the time to really see all that Azeroth has to offer.  I’ve never been to Stone Talon Peaks, or Burning Steppes. I still mix up Felwood and Feralas.

Do a few more of Horde Starting zones. I’ve never really leveled a hordie. I’ve always been curious to see their storylines, but all my friends have always played Alliance, and as I’m a sucker for pretty races, I’ve never even goofed around on anything more than a blood elf or a really cute tauren. Even if I never put too much time into them, I think it would be really awesome to see the Undead and Orc/Troll starting zones.  Heck, I could probably stand to do the human and dwarven starting areas as well!

Earn the title Starcaller and get my Rusted Protodrake. Starcaller Edainne just has a pretty ring to it. I know I vastly outgear Ulduar now, but it’s never lost its beauty for me. I’d rather wipe in there week after week than constantly stare at the same one room as Tirion Fordring parades “challenge” after “challenge.”  I have a pretty stellar (bad pun, sorry) group to finish the last 4 achievements, but coordinating a schedule might prove harder than first assumed.

Defeat the final encounter of ICC and watch the cinematic for myself. I’ve been avoiding lore posts and youtube videos for the last 3 weeks whenever the word “spoiler” shows up in their titles. I don’t even go near the fountain in the center of Dalaran. I have no desire to watch someone else beat the Champion of the Scourge.  I leveled my priest during the Burning Crusade; I never felt connected to Illidan’s story and I never thought I’d come close to killing him. But now? I’m literally 3 bosses away.  Arthas’ story has consumed my characters’ lives for the last year and a half or so. More if you include all the time they were frolicking in Outland while the scourge infestation grew at home.I feel so involved and I want to be the one who sees how all of this ends.

That’s my wish-list for Wrath of the Lich King. I’ve loved this expansion. I’ve loved the accessibility of all the raid instances. I’ve loved the way the lore was woven into every zone and experience my characters have had in Northrend. I’ve loved the difficulty of the hardmode encounters. And the perfect way to send myself into Cataclysm would be to complete at least some of these goals before the world is broken asunder.

Blizzcon got underway today and there were some big announcements: changes to Battlenet accounts, the development of Starcraft II, the new Monk class in Diablos III. Oh, and some little thing about the new World of Warcraft expansion.

HOLY CRAP!!!! Their copyrighted phrase ended up being the name of the new expansion. AMAIGAWD NO WAI!!!!!11111oneoneone…..

Ok, most people could predict the name of the new expansion that follows Wrath of the Lich King. But we did get to glimsp at some of the awesome new features in the expansion:

  • 2 New Races: Worgen (for the Allies) and Goblins (for the Horde). Worgen have some really epic lore behind their addition to the Alliance; they were summoned into this plane of existence by both the Dalaran Archmage Arugal (of Shadowfang Keep and Grizzly Hills fame) to protect Gilneas from the scourge, as well as by the Scythe of Elune (see the Alli quest in Darkshire for more info about this) to help turn the tide against the demons in Kalimdor. Goblins are supposedly taken under the wing of the horde after the Cataclysm leaves them stranded on the Lost Isles; but don’t worry all you Booty Bay fans — the goblins attached to the horde are not the same as those from the Cartels that run the neutral cities.
  • Deathwing is back! After years of slumbering beneath the earth, and being taunted by whispers of the old gods, Deathwing has erupted (quite literally) back into Azeroth, tearing whole continents asunder and retaking his fortress at Grim Batol (where years earlier he kidnapped Alexistrasza and forced her to be hsi consort.).
  • New secondary profession! Archeology will be available to all characters and allow characters to be more customizable via Paths of the Titans.
  • Old world Azeroth is getting a complete face lift due to the awakening of Deathwing. Whole new quests and redistricted zones will be yours to explore.

There are few other nifty things, such as an underwater zone, flying mounts in the old world (!!!!) and the level cap being raised up to 85. There was also talk about restributing stats on armor to get rid of things such as armor penetration, spellpower, attack power etc. and focusing more on the basic stats that will provide conversions for those.

Lots more to be discussed, but those were the things that really popped into my mind while I was watching the live coverage. That and Jay Mohr was completely toasted and spouting out hilariously inappropriate jokes. It was amazing.