WoW: who to play in Legion?

The launch of the new World of Warcraft expansion next week brings with it the dilemma of which characters to concentrate on playing first. It’s more complex than in the past given this expansion’s new leveling zones combined with the new features of the class hall system and the artifact weapon progression system.

It seems likely from the class revamp preview available since last month in the pre-expansion patch that I will be dropping my Shaman down the pegging order at least several notches. He’s been my main character since the Cataclysm expansion, he took on the inscription profession (which I loved but Legion has utterly wrecked) and I discovered a love for the Shaman healing style back then. My Balance Druid main has languished woefully out of date for some time, but with the super quick levelling in the Legion invasion event that was quickly resolved.

My Shaman may be on the bench in Legion

My Shaman may be on the bench in Legion

The Balance class/spec as it currently stands seems to be a lot more enjoyable than I found it during the twilight days of the eclipse mechanic era. He’s also my alchemist character, and that’s one of my all-time favourite crafting professions. Incidentally he’s a pure DPS character, always has been despite my love of playing the healer role.

The Boomkin is back

The Boomkin is back

I’ve also insta-dinged two characters, a hunter and a mage: classes that I’ve never played to cap although I have lower-level Horde-side alts for both. Mage has some very powerful utility spells still – teleports, portals and food conjuration (in the new era of healers running low on mana) plus some good crowd control – the latter always useful in early expansion dungeon runs where overpulls are likely to be fatal. Hunter’s have something rare in this game, at least for ranged characters, they have lots of mobility. Having played so much The Secret World, Wildstar and Guild Wars 2, I’ve found it painful to be locked in place when casting so much in WoW. If I were to consider dipping my toes in the raiding waters again this expansion (certainly only the easiest mode) then Hunter would be a very sensible choice since I can still do damage while moving out of the endless amounts of fire/poison/etc that spawns in boss fights.

Hunter on a named-pet hunt

Hunter on a named-pet hunt

So I read with interest, if a little wariness for spoilers, Justin of Bio Break’s post about his ranking of class halls. I’ve not even read about the Legion beta in any length, let alone stepped a character into it – I want the expansion’s new content to be fresh and ready to discover come next week. But it would be very difficult to choose who to play first without some information, and the general impressions Justin where just informative enough to help my own decision. It’s an interesting coincidence that his top three ranked class halls happens to coincide with my likely candidate for main (Druid) and my two insta-dinged characters (Mage and Hunter) that I’ll certainly want to practice playing more in this expansion!

I’m hoping the class halls will be a positive aspect of the expansion for players like myself, who like to play different characters in MMOs; the garrison system in Warlords quickly became a burden given it’s linear development and heavy entanglement with the levelling zone stories. Class halls at least should present, I presume, an extra layer of variety (however thin) to the levelling process for each new class you take through the expansion.

Do you have any character dilemmas for who to play in Legion?

Posted in Gaming, WoW | 2 Comments

EQ2: free heroic (level 95) character

Kind of a public service announcement post today. Daybreak is offering a free heroic (level 95) character on any account if claimed by 6th September.

My Shadowknight was dinged from the low teens to level 85 using the original heroic boost, back when the boost was introduced. I’ve since levelled him to the cap of level 100 through normal questing.


However, I’ve since come to realise that, although I love playing the Shadowknight class for solo and public event-style content, it’s not necessarily the best choice for proper group content – since I have no interest in actually playing him in the tank role.

So this offer is rather well-timed as it will allow me to boost either a ranged DPS class or maybe healer to near the cap so that, after dinging the remaining 5 levels, I have a capped character that is more suited to guild dungeon runs.

To boost or not to boost..?

To boost or not to boost..?

I’d be tempted to boost my Warden healer as it’s a character I enjoyed playing when I first started the game, but I kind of abandoned him because healer’s aren’t always the easiest role to level solo in MMORPGs. Likewise I could ding my existing Inquisitor, another class I really enjoyed playing but left behind to concentrate solely on my Shadowknight.

I haven’t played any pure DPS characters in the game before so that would be more of a learning curve than if I boost a healer. Based on my experiences of melee DPS in other games (WoW, LOTRO etc) I think I’d be better opting for a caster/ranged DPS character as melee tend to get take a whole lot more damage in group content.

Lots of potential options here, but thankfully I have almost two weeks to think about the options and to ask guild mates for their opinions before making the final choice!



Posted in EQ2, Gaming | 3 Comments

WoW: Invasion thoughts

One week after re-subbing to World of Warcraft (via Token), I’ve had the opportunity to play quite a few of the Invasion events on various characters so here are some spoiler-light impressions.

Alongside the titular events are the two sections of story quests. They take little time to play through but are well put together with the usual mix of in-game NPC dialogue, cut-scenes and combat. They also feature instanced solo content but do not take long to complete. The events themselves are pretty accessible: they’re available for characters of level 10+, showcasing the level-scaling tech that WoW is introducing to the new open world areas of the Legion expansion.


Active participation in the events rewards your character with the obligatory event currency (Nethershards), a chance at level appropriate random gear (item level or ilevel 700 for a capped character) and a goodly amount of XP. The events are good for levelling low-level characters or gearing capped characters for the expansion or a combination of the two.

So far I’ve geared my Shaman main, levelled a hunter his last few levels to 100 and fully geared him and dinged a lower Horde Warrior alt three levels (now level 85). I still want to take my Paladin from 95 to 100 and gear out my level 100 Mage. We’re saving out reward chests on any levelling characters to open once they reach 100 the chance at a full set of ilevel 700 gear is just too good to pass-up on lower gear that your character will very quickly out-level.

Follow that zerg!

Follow that zerg!

The events are typical zergy public-quest style fun: in my opinion best enjoyed in moderation. There’s not that much variety to them, at least in comparison to the rift-system in Rift. But as a pre-expansion event I think they’re one of the better offerings Blizzard have given us. The complete removal of tapping and, at least on our PVE-RP realm, the presentation of opposite faction as friendly (green nameplates) the events seem friendly and griefing-free so far.

The difficulty level of the events, as a measure of this new scaling tech, is harder to judge. I’ve found them to vary a lot in this regard. Lower level characters, even a plate-wearing Warrior, may have a rough time with the tougher named mobs and ‘Commander’ boss fights. I’ve suffered a good number of puzzling character deaths, not counting those due to obviously standing in the bad stuff or not running away from a big attack move.
It’s less enjoyable on melee characters as things tend to die before you even reach them if the event is well attended. On my Hunter or Shaman I’ve had no problems tagging everything, whereas the events are an exercise in frustration on my Warrior.

Best to not get too close

Best to not get too close

I’ve also found it much more enjoyable on characters with healing spells. Any character can pick up special super-bandages from their faction capital but they have a cooldown on use. Having a stack of Draenic healing potions is a good idea if your character can’t cast heals, as the boss mobs do lots of sudden and high damage attacks, and healing from other players is not dependable in such a casual grouping scenario.

More healing, less taking screenshots needed...

More healing, less taking screenshots needed…

Overall the events are fun for what they are; they’ve certainly proved the remedy to having a lot of cherised alt characters stuck at the start of Draenor with no real motivation to repeat that expansions content in a rush before Legion launches. I do hope there’s still a little more to reveal story-wise before the expansion launches next week.

Posted in Gaming, WoW | 2 Comments

LOTRO: finally there (105)

Without really paying that much attention to it, the last level of my champion flew by during recent Lord of the Rings Online gaming sessions. He now stands at the current cap of level 105 – my first ever character at the cap in this game.


According to “/played” he has 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour 31 minutes and 40 seconds of playtime in total. It doesn’t seem like that much really, considering I created him way back in October 2009. That doesn’t sum up my true involvement with this game though, as I have spent many hours on my stable of alt characters, some of whom are more developed crafters than my main: my warden for example has max-tier weaponsmithing even though he’s only character level 27.

First ever screenshot

First ever screenshot

It’s been a sporadic but ever-enjoyable journey to get him from his home in Combe to this distant field of battle. That journey doesn’t end with the cap of course, I’m still working him through Volume IV Book 6 of the epic quest-line. To actually have a character up-to-date with the epic story will be another first.


The last few of these epic story quests have been pretty breathtaking in their execution, grand adventures indeed! The questing is interwoven amidst a sprawling battle between multiple armies (four at least?) with notes of urgency, desperation and hope mixed in.

Beyond catching this character up with the current epic story; I should really start to work on his deeds as he has so many incomplete slayer and explorer deeds to finish off. I also have a desire to start doing some group content in LOTRO once more, so I’m contemplating levelling my minstrel or a new runekeeper so I can get some healer practice in the game’s dungeons and skirmishes. Whatever I do next, more adventures in Middle Earth await!


Posted in Gaming, LotRO | 1 Comment

DDO: instance scale (and Karazhan)

We played another session of our new Dungeons & Dragons Online trio earlier in the week. In that time we managed to quickly wrap up the final quests on the Isle of Korthos and to transition across to Stormreach city proper.


The last dungeon, Misery’s Peak, is singular in the early experience because it showcases what a dramatic scale the game’s instances can take. The design of the instance truly gives the impression of delving deep into a whole system of caves beneath a mountain. Cavernous chambers, with multiple layers accessible by ramps, are contrasted by tightly sloping passages.


The next zone for the game, the Harbour, is the most constrained perhaps. Adventures there are mostly confined to the sewers and the warehouses found in that district. Getting lost was a problem for me when I played DDO originally – the dungeon maps were often larger than I was used to and distinctly non-linear!

My first proper MMORPG, World of Warcraft, has/had some stellar examples of sprawling instance design – Blackrock Mountain, Maraudon, Uldum – to name but a few.  Many dungeons are smaller, “corridor” dungeons. A model of dungeon where a few groups of trash mobs are scattered between each boss fight with no real choices of order, direction or approach. That’s probably a good thing as the contrast in scale makes the very large dungeons noticeably that more impressive. Back in DDO the sewer and warehouse dungeons that follow Misery’s Peak are claustrophic in contrast so it’s natural to look back at those caverns with a renewed wonder.

Definitely not a linear corridor...

Definitely not a linear corridor…

It has just been announced at Gamescom, that the first patch post expansion (7.1) for Legion will include a revamp of the Karazhan raid as an epic 5-man ‘almost-raid’. That announcement definitely has me interested – Karazhan was one of the first raids I ever took part in towards the very end of the Burning Crusade expansion era.

The original was a masterpiece of intricate and lore-rich design (as a non-raider I won’t comment on the boss-fight design merits). If the pattern follows from Cataclysm and subsequence revamps of 5-man dungeons by Blizzard, it is likely to be a lot shorter and more linear than the raid was (12 boss fights across a sprawling multi-level map). But the location and lore offer Blizzard the materials to produce a very interesting and non-linear new dungeon so perhaps the devs will keep some sense of scale to this iconic location.


Posted in DDO, Gaming, WoW | 1 Comment

WoW: back to Azeroth

Yesterday I bought a WoW Token at the login screen to get me back into the game ahead of the launch of the Legion expansion. There was some sorting of character abilities and inventory to do but I only have two level 100s at present so not much effort was needed.

Talent respec

Talent respec

I decided to stick with my Shaman main for the first run through of the Broken Shore scenario that leads your character into the demonic invasions event. As per usual I’ll avoid spoilers as much as possible although the screenshots may have some minor spoilerific details.

Continue reading

Posted in Gaming, WoW | 1 Comment

Feeling left out

Stargrace of MMO Quests posted about feeling left out by not playing No Man’s Sky at launch. Other than a mention of it on my WoW guild’s Facebook page, this particular space sim hasn’t been on my radar. However, I can empathise with the feeling all the same for different reasons.

Unfortunately I unsubbed after the last chapter before realising there was one more release due. The big reveal at the end of part 15 just seemed like a “cliffhanger season-ender” to me, and by coincidence my sub was due a couple of days after that content dropped, so I cancelled the renewal with no thought there might be one more chapter.

Since my playthrough of chapter 15, I’ve barely logged into the game as I have so many gaming priorities. So for now I’m deliberately missing out on the excitement of discussing the real story ending and am having to avoid blogposts about it.
I’ll be back in-game: either for the launch of the next expansion, or if World of Warcraft keeps me occupied longer, in time for the cinema release of Rogue One. It’s a safe bet that watching a new Star Wars movie will get me back in the mood for some SWTOR again.

Having just mentioned the game above, the other MMO release I’ve not touched yet is the pre-Legion patch for World of Warcraft. As a consequence I’m also having to avoid a lot of blog posts about that new content as well. As you may imagine my blogroll is full of posts I can’t read at the moment! At least I’ll be able to start on WoW sooner – my husband returns from working away next week so we’ll find time to do the pre-Legion events before the expansion launch at the end of this month.

Despite missing out on the buzz of new content as it drops, I can’t really complain since I’ve had good gaming sessions in other MMOs to fill my free-time.

Posted in Gaming, SWTOR, WoW | 1 Comment