A Cookie and an Update

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The last few weeks of raiding have been immensely fun for me and I’m a huge fan of how the druid tier set looks. A couple yummy resto pieces finally dropped that now make the electrifying blue druid! Here’s a short update on all the good stuff that’s been going on and what I’m working on for future posts.

Told you I look super blue…it might be time to change my hair colour so I don’t completely blend in! Anyways, thanks to my awesome guildies I’ve been sporting some really cool pieces: Omnotroners finally saw fit to drop Passive Resistor Spaulders for me and now my shoulders match the rest of my outfit; and our very first journey to Cho’gall was marked by one of his minions dropping Chelley’s Staff of Dark Mending. A very happy tree here!

Speaking of Cho’gall…

 

On our very first meeting two things happened: a) it was unanimously agreed upon that he was…well….hideous…and needed to go down before anyone else b) as we took him on, the first thing he did was to put the corruption bar smack dab in the middle of my raid frames. Ha! But yes indeed Cho’gall is on the list and it won’t be long before he shall meet his doom – nobody messes with my raid frames.

In the works is my healing write-up on the Ascendant Council. It’s a really fun yet challenging fight – one of those encounters I’ll never find boring. After three successful encounters I feel like I have a solid healing strategy to take them down with. Also in the works is my current quest of “what-to-do” outside of raiding this expansion…and I may just have found something I enjoy…stay tuned and thanks for reading! =)

The End Game Dilemma: Unintended Consequences

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It’s been a while since I wrote my last post. Now ordinarily, it would be because I got swept up with real life commitments…but this one is different. Truth be told, I’m faced with a strange dilemma now when I log on – outside of my weekend raids, I simply don’t know what to do. It’s certainly not something I expected and yet here I am.

Curiosity led to me to analyse my thoughts further and I asked myself, well what did you do before? And why don’t they work anymore? The answer to me, seems to be a cascade of unintended consequences that the cataclysmic changes to the game brought along peppered with a few other areas of disappointment for me as a player. Unintended consequences, usually undesirable ones, happen all the time everyday. We all have variations of stories where we fixed the water pipe in the house only to break the heater (or some such analogy – I have no clue how exactly these things work) – and it’s not until this happens do we begin to see the connections between all of them.

To understand this better, I went back to looking at the things I usually like to do outside of raiding, and why they no longer offer the fun they once used to. Indulge my analysis, if you will…

So…what do I usually do outside of raiding? And why isn’t it working for me anymore? And where do those unintended consequences play in?

Things to Do: My Experiences

Levelling an Alt

This is usually a great way for me to take a break from endgame things and simply relax as a lovely low level. It’s also a great way to meet new people you would’ve otherwise never met. I levelled a shaman…all the way from 1 to 70 thus far, and my experience was rather different. I mostly quested as I liked exploring the new quests and lore and only did two or three random dungeons. It’s very discouraging but I barely met a soul while questing let alone grouping up.

Levelling had a few new things added to the mix this time around – the phasing and linear questing style and while not quite as new but still recent, cross server LFD. I truly love the new quests and the fact that we can see the world progress. However, phasing had an unexpected result here…you were invisible to the few who were there as they were to you. But even if phasing wasn’t an issue, this is assuming that people were questing. With the convenience of LFD, its entirely possible to stay in a capital city and dungeon your way through the levels.

Professions.

I expected Archaeology to keep me occupied but instead quite the opposite happened. It turned into a tedious activity – a war with the RNG and nothing else. I burned myself out getting Tyrande’s Favourite Doll and the unfortunate result now is that I have almost all the rares with a few exceptions….and all the gold in Azeroth cannot make me pursue those remaining ones.

Achievements and Titles.

These have been a lot of fun for me and although I don’t take it upon myself to get all the achievements ever possible, I do have a few favourites that I would like to get. It so happens, that I’ve already got them as achievement seeking was a big part of my gameplay in the months before the expansion. The ones I truly wanted to get were Loremaster, Seeker, and Guardian of Cenarius (being a druid and all!). Titles like “Insane in the Membrane” and “Salty” aren’t really my forte, although if they had a sleep related title I’d be on it! =P I would dearly love to get “Justicar” and “of the Alliance” but to be perfectly honest, I feel like I have a higher chance of getting a vacation home in Venice. And this brings me to the other activity I like to engage in ocassionally…

PvP.

Alright, first things first. I’m not the best at this but I do like to kill some smelly orcs occasionally. I mean, who doesn’t? And sometimes, I even succeed. So I gave it a shot and I’m at a loss. We had one case where all the druids were healers in the battleground…and so we had the very weird case of having too many healers? And it seems to be my sorry fate that if the universe makes a frost mage angry at me (which they usually are), I have few options but to pray and run. This is disheartening to me since in the past dying to someone meant that I learnt something about how to deal with them the next time around and got better at it. Perhaps I’m missing something but I couldn’t come up with anything on how to save myself from a frost mage. Quite sad.

Random heroics.

These are mixed bag – they offer the convenience of running dungeons any time you want at the risk of dying numerous times and being insulted by strangers. I swore off these a long time ago and the few fantastic groups I get are far outnumbered by the jerks, in my experience. And we haven’t even talked about the dps who queues as a tank yet. I don’t know why they do, but they do.

Unintended Consequences

I made that list up there to help look at my options outside of raiding. I love my guild and our raids are immensely fun but the rest of the week seems surprisingly void of things to do. And this is a result of changes that brought in a lot of great stuff but at a cost that was unexpected.

Solo Leveling:

  • Phasing and linear questing had the social aspect take a huge hit. While levelling my alt there was little chance of impromptu roleplaying or grouping up. 

Jerks in LFD:

  • LFD hit the community as well on various levels. *Picks up cane and shakes it around* I remember days when I healed my way through my friends list. I found great tanks, friends and guilds that way. And while the older method of finding groups was hugely inconvenient, it did have a positive side. LFD’s biggest selling point is it’s convenience but it’s anonymity does have an impact both at the lower levels and at endgame heroics. 

PvP Balance:

  • I know precious little about PvP but even to me, it seems to be the victim of balancing issues. It made me feel helpless in a way I hadn’t before.
Archaeology Burnout:
  • Far from being engaging, this has turned into a tedious grind with few rewards, leaving me shuddering at the sight of a shovel.

I wrote this post with the intent of analysing what’s going on from my experience in the best way I could. I think it’s important to see the effects certain changes have had on the game in it’s current state because sometimes connections aren’t apparent until we see the things we do. For example, pre-Cataclysm I wouldn’t have even imagined that phasing could have the kind of consequences I saw while levelling my alt. Things weren’t perfect in the old days and they aren’t perfect now either. However, thinking about these things perhaps helps us evaluate whether the cost was worth the result or not. Thanks for reading as always!

Special Post: Tsunami in Japan

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This is a non-WoW post I’ve chosen to make in the wake of the tragedy that hit Japan recently. The devastation took place on a huge scale and the destruction is quite horrific. My thoughts and prayers go out to the people in Japan.

I’d like you to take a moment and consider donating any amount of money you can spare to the relief efforts currently underway. Any amount of money, even something that would’ve otherwise been spent on a Warcraft pet, can provide food and other necessities to survivors. If you do choose to donate, please be sure to donate to reputable charity organisations such as the  Red Cross.

In closing, below is a video of a dog trying to protect its injured friend amidst the rubble. The commentary is in Japanese but in summary, they are describing the situation and trying to see if the second dog made it through the catastrophe.

Thank you for reading as always! ありがとうございます。

Change to Living Seed in 4.1 on the Horizon

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I usually like to save blogging about changes until the Patch is actually live on servers, but I was so excited about this one, I just couldn’t hold back. The latest Patch 4.1 PTR Notes included a key change to the resto talent tree and is a wish come true for many of us tree healers out there.

“In addition, Living Seed is no longer a prerequisite talent for Efflorescence.”
Woohoo! Living Seed usually forms an abysmal portion of my healing while requiring a whopping 3 talent points in it just to get to Efflorescence. It’s not a complete talent revamp by any means but it is certainly a step in the right direction and I’m a happy panda about this. =)

A Peek at My Cleric

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So I’ve hit the point where I’ve been mostly twiddling my thumbs in WoW outside of the usual raids. I decided to see what Rift was like and rolled up a healing cleric to have some fun on the side. It’s a blast so far although I must admit, with the stunning landscapes I’ve been taking more screenshots than completing quests. I really like the one I took today and couldn’t resist sharing. I recommend viewing the image in its full size =)  Here’s a sneak peek at my cleric!

Healing Perspectives: Valiona and Theralion (10)

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Our two bickering dragons here are the second encounter in Bastion of Twilight. These dragons will both be engaged when the encounter begins and the entire fight is really quite the dance. Despite their bickering they seem to work rather well together when it comes to chomping on us. However, once everyone has the steps of this crazy dance down, its as easy as pie! As healers, here’s what we need to know for this fight…

Wintersaber Awesomeness

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A few days ago, during an inspired afternoon, I at last made the final push towards obtaining the Winterspring Frostsaber. I killed giants, furbolgs and fed Rivern Frostwind’s frostsabers large amounts of bear and chimera meat. I traversed the region endlessly and hunted the creatures down time and again, and finally my efforts paid off.

 The Wintersaber Trainers saw fit to sell me the Winterspring Frostsaber.

The beast’s fur was as white as the snows of Winterspring itself! With an exalted reputation, and a beautiful mount to call my own, I could’ve hugged Rivern Frostwind. He politely declined but something tells me he’s seen this before. Anyways, yay!

Achievements: "the Exalted" Title in Cataclysm

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In a recent change of pace, I’ve taken a second look at achievements and titles that I’d like to have. “The Exalted” is a title I wanted to get at some point in time but in the months before the Shattering, it took a backseat to Loremaster and farming the Zulian tiger from Zul’Gurub. It’s worth noting that not too long ago, Blizzard changed the requirements of “the Exalted” title from 40 exalted reputations to now be 50 exalted reputations. Since I now have 50 reputations to worry about, I decided to make a reputation road map as it were, and see if it were even possible in a post-Cataclysm world. Join me for the details!

UPDATE: Blizzard originally bumped up the reputation requirement to 50 but have since reverted it back to the original requirement of 40 reputations. Take your pick of the 50 listed below! =) 


Generally speaking, there are a few ways one can grind reputation for a given faction.I’ve listed them in order my preference – keep in mind that this is personal preference and changes from player to player.

  • Quests: By far the easiest and most preferred way of gaining reputation for me. It takes away the grind’s tedious aspect, adds to other achievements (Seeker/Loremaster), and gives a decent amount of reputation for easy, often low level quests.
  • Dungeons/Raids: Heroics give the most significant amount of reputation here. Dungeons aren’t bad if you’re able to solo them (as in BC) but they could be time consuming at 85. 
  • Item Turn-ins: A tedious method but it gets the job done and the best part is you can power through these kinds of reputation. This depends, however, on whether you can speed it up by buying the items off the Auction House or whether they are BoP and must be farmed out. 
  • Dailies: Ugh. My least favourite kind. Dailies and I never get along simply because it makes me feel like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day…I return every day to do the exact same quest since despite my efforts they always need the exact same thing. *Shudder* 
  • PvP: This probably wouldn’t be all the way down here if I were actually good at it. Sadly, I am not and so at the bottom it stays.

Rather than sorting out the various factions by expansion, I decided to sort them out using the categories above to make it easier to know which faction I’d like to start on first and which one I’d like to save for last.

Note: Any reference to the amount of reputation gained does not take into account guild bonuses or racial bonuses. 

Quest-heavy Ones

The capital cities reputation (with the exception of Gilneas) can be easily obtained by completing the low level questlines from their respective starting zones. Although they now offer tabards for championing their cause in dungeons, I highly recommend questing over dungeons for these. 

  • Darnassus
  • Ironforge
  • Gnomeregan
  • Stormwind
  • Exodar
  • Tranquilien (Horde-only) 

Total: 5 for Alliance, 6 for Horde.

    Dungeons/Raid with a hint of Quests

    There are two kinds here – the ones where the dungeon mobs give you reputation and the other where you have to championing the faction in a dungeon. 

    Mobs that give reputation:

    1. Honor Hold/Thrallmar: Initial questing should get you to honoured after which heroics are the next best option. All the heroics in Hellfire Citadel (Shattered Halls, Ramparts and Blood Furnace) grant reputation. These heroics are unlocked with the Flamewrought Key and the Shattered Halls Key – sold by the Honor Hold quartermaster. There is a PvP daily available but with the content outdated, heroics are the better bet.
    2. Lower City: Your best bet is to complete the quests and grind normal dungeons all the way until honoured for the keys to unlock the heroics. And then continue merrily on in the heroics of Auchindoun (Shadow Labyrinth, Sethekk Halls, and Auchenai Crypts). The good news is that you have a chance for the rare mount from Anzu in Sethekk Halls as a perk to your grinding efforts! 
    3. The Sha’tar: There are only a few quests for this faction so its worth finishing all of them. You can get reputation until honoured while turning in items for Aldor and Scryers which works out since its two birds with one stone. After honoured, your choice of heroics are Mechanar, Alcatraz, and the Botanica.
    4. The Violet Eye: Simple and easy – the mobs in Karazhan give reputation from neutral to exalted. There used to be a questline as well – I’m not sure if thats changed with Cataclysm or not. I will update that when I can.
    5. Ashtongue Deathsworn: The faction with the coolest name. *Cough* This faction’s reputation begins with the questline in Shadowmoon Valley from Elder Sage Akama with the quest Akama. Following this, grinding mobs in Black Temple is the path to exalted. You can choose to either clear the entire raid (gives ~8k rep) with a friend or ignore the bosses and simply work on the trash. Easily doable with a few friends at 85.
    6. Hydraxian Waterlords: Molten Core is the weekly hangout for this. The trash in Molten Core grants reputation until revered and then no more. The journey from Revered to Exalted is filled with the mean bosses of Molten Core who are soloable, or at the very least two-mannable.
    7. Brood of Nozdormu: There used to be a quest chain for this which has now disappeared with the Shattering. One starts out at hostile and must work up to Exalted by farming Ahn’Qiraj. A cool name but truly one of the more trying reputations. 
    8. The Ashen Verdict: All mobs in the Icecrown Citadel raid grant reputation towards this faction. Grab your friends and get farming!
    9. Keepers of Time: Durnholde Keep and Black Morass instances are your two sources for reputation.
    10. The Scale of the Sands: Reputation for this faction is gained through farming the raid Mount Hyjal, which can be accessed in the Caverns of Time.

      Championing in Dungeons:

      1. Gilneas: I got this one almost solely with championing in 85 heroics. A quick way to add some rep is to do the quests offered in Shadowfang Keep.
      2. Guardians of Hyjal: Questing in Mount Hyjal gets you all the way to revered, which I highly recommend. After that, its championing for the final lap.
      3. Ramkahen: Completing the normal quests got me to honoured after which I hugged the tabard as usual.
      4. Earthen Ring: Their quests are spread out in Vash’jir and Twilight Highlands. Championing is the sure and easy way to go once the quests are completed.
      5. Kirin Tor: The questline gets you to friendly after which championing is the way to go.

      Total: 15.

      Item Turn-ins

      1. Timbermaw Hold: The initial questline for Timbermaw starts at Emerald Sanctuary and it is worth doing them since they award a signficant amount of reputation and get you to honoured. Past that, farming the Deadpaw or Winterfall mobs and turning in feathers or spirit beads gets you to exalted. Save your items until you’ve maxed out honoured since mobs will no longer grant reputation beyond that.
      2. Sporegarr: After completing the quests, the easiest way to gain reputation with this faction is to turn in Sanguine Hibiscus. These are not BoP and can be purchased on the Auction House. Alternatively, one can do the repeatable quest Now That We’re Friends…
      3. Kurenai: Completing all the quests in Nagrand should get you revered with this faction. Following that, you’re best bet is to kill Ogres in Nagrand which drop Obsidian Warbeads which can be turned in at stacks of 10 for reputation.
      4. Consortium: There are a couple options for turn ins with these guys. Like Kurenai, they also accept Obsidian Warbeads for reputation, so it’ll be a decision as to which faction to turn those into. Alternatively, you can also turn in Zaraxxis Insignias at Area 52 which are easily farmed in Netherstorm. Another great alternative is the Ethereum Prison Key which drops after honoured with Consortium and after completing the quest Seeking out Ameer. These keys allow you to open Ethereum Prisons which grant rep and also give you a Prison I.D Tag which you can turn in at Ameer for rep.
      5. Cenarion Expedition: After completing the quests, Unidentified Plant Parts can be turned in for rep until honoured. Following this, Coilfang Armaments can be turned in until exalted. Both items are not BoP and can be bought on the auction house from time to time. The Armaments can be farmed from heroics in Coilfang Reservoir (in which case you could combine it with gathering Sanguine Hibiscus). Keep in mind that you need to first complete the quest Orders from Lady Vashj to open up the repeatable Armament turn-in.
      6. Cenarion Circle: The easiest way to get rep for the circle is to grind out the Twilight mobs in Silithus. The mobs drop Encrypted Twilight Texts that can be turned in for a good chunk of rep while you get a little bit of passive rep simply from the mobs themselves.
      7. Thorium Brotherhood: This is a relatively easy reputation to get since the Shattering. You can turn in Dark Iron Ores, Fiery Cores, Lava Cores and Core Leather now which grants 2000 rep per turn-in. A handy way to spend all the stuff collected from those Molten Core runs.
      8. Darkmoon Faire: Befriend a scribe for this one or watch the auction house like a hawk. Reputation with this faction is primarily gained by turning Decks such as the Mages Deck or the more rare Tsunami Deck. Normal decks grant 25 reputation while rare decks grant 350 reputation.
      9. Aldor/Scryer: Turn in Firewing Signets/Mark of Kil’jaeden until honoured (and you also get the passive Sha’tar rep while doing this). After honoured, complete the quests offered by these factions both in Terrokkar as well as Shadowmoon Valley and turn in a combination of Arcane Tome/Fel Armament or Sunfury Signet/Mark of Sargeras until exalted.
      10. Explorer’s League: Their base is in Howling Fjord where they offer a daily at the Steel Gate. Alternatively, running Wrath heroics with no tabard equipped gives reputation to this faction. 
      11. The Frostborn: The easiest way is the one above – running Wrath heroics with no tabard equipped defaults to the four reputation under the Alliance Vanguard.

      Total: 11.

      Dailies
      1. Shattered Sun Offensive: Many of their dailies are in the Isle of Quel’Danas with a couple available from Shattrath. You could also throw in heroic Magister’s Terrace to bolster the rep gained per day.
      2. Silver Covenant: All the dailies in the Argent Tournament award reputation. Alternatively, running any of the Wrath heroics without a tabard on awards reputation as well.
      3. Alliance Vanguard: Is really the combined faction of The Frostborn, Explorer’s League, The Silver Covenant and Valiance Expedition. Reputation gains for this one are passive since gaining reputation for any of the four factions adds reputation to this one as well. It does, however, count as a reputation for the achievement. 
      4. Wildhammer Clan: The questline in Twilight Highlands come highly recommended after which many of the normal quests turn into some easy dailies.
      5. Baradin’s Wardens: These dailies are located in Tol Barad and are the only way to gain reputation with them. Le sigh. The total number of dailies doable is 18, depending on whether your faction controls Tol Barad or not.
      6. Ogri’la: Completing the questline that makes you queen of the ogres should get you to friendly or close. After that it’s the long road of hardmode memory games to gain reputation with these folk.
      7. Shatari Skyguard: Located right next to the Ogres, the dailies open up after you do the breadcrumb quest for this faction in Shattrath.
      8. Knights of the Ebon Blade: Based in Icecrown in the Shadow Vault, completing the initial questline and phased content will open up various dailies. Alternatively, they can be championed.
      9. Therazane: Completing the initial questline in Deepholm will get you from Hated to Honoured where dailies will open up for further reputation. Hitting revered will open up additional dailies. Alternatively, you can champion in a dungeon but the dailies do offer some neat achievements and rewards such as Pebble.
      10. Netherwing: After completing the initial questline from Mordenai and going from Hated to Neutral, dailies open up at the Netherwing Ledge. Note that at each reputation tier, new quests and dailies open up so keep an eye out.
      11. Argent Crusade: After completing the normal quests, they offer dailies spread out in their various bases of Zul’drak, Icecrown, and the Argent Tournament.
      12. Wyrmrest Accord: In addition to the normal quests, dailies open up at the temple with an achievement for one of them. Alternatively, championing the tabard works too.
      13. Oracles/Frenzyheart: Dailies available in Sholazaar Basin once the initial questline of A Hero’s Burden is complete.
      14. Kalu’ak: There are three dailies total – one at each hub of the Kal’uak in Northrend. Doing the normal quests can get you to revered after which the dailies give additional reputation.
      15. Sons of Hodir: The questline beginning with They Took Our Men! opens up this faction. Once honoured, the giants offer various dailies for reputation. To speed things up, Justice Points can be turned in for Hodir rep tokens as well. 
      16. Argent Dawn: With the Shattering, the Argent Dawn has now reverted to dailies for reputation. In order to unlock the dailies, follow the questline beginning with Fiona at the border of Easter Plaguelands and Western Plaguelands.

      Total: 16.

      PvP 

      This one really needs no explanation. It is the slow path of winning battlegrounds.

      1. League of Arathor
      2. Stormpike Guard
      3. Silverwing Sentinels

      Total: 3.

      Of Special Note Are…

      At this point, I’ve thought of all non-crazy factions I can think of and the total number of reputations is at…. 50! You’ll notice I still haven’t included the Steamwheedle Cartel since the Shattering took away many of the repeatable quests in Dire Maul and Ferelas. It is still possible to get reputation with them but it seems to be a lot harder than it was before (never thought I’d be saying that but there you go!) That said, there are two important factions that need special note while we’re doing the count:

      Wintersaber Trainers: This is probably the most grindy reputation I can think of and it certainly survived the Cataclysm. There has been buzz on WoW Insider about the Wintersaber mount being obtained by dailies instead of a reputation grind in Patch 4.1 – more in line with its Horde equivalent. The good news is that the mount will be much easier to get. The bad news is the faction will most probably become a Feat of Strength like Zandalar and Shendralar reputations. Not great if I’m trying to avoid those tedious PvP reputations so I’ll probably grind this one out before the patch hits.

      Guild Reputation: Interestingly, this is just like any other faction and counts towards all reputation achievements.

      Remember, this is not counting factions that have been removed from the game but still count such as the Zandalar Tribe. Maybe I can one of those darned PvP factions afterall! I’d say that this achievement is very possible without having to go the way of “insane” reputation grinds such as Bloodsail Buccaneers or Ravenholdt, or even the Cataclysmic Steamwheedle Cartel now. It is by no means easy and the key is to space it out, rotate between the factions and mix things up to keep yourself from going crazy. But it sure isn’t impossible, regardless if you happen to have old exalted reputations or not. Thanks for reading and happy reputation hunting! (Wow this turned out to be a really long post….)