Friday, February 10, 2017

Catching Up - Mythics and Nighthold

I was running a Mythic Plus the other night with my old crew (Wichita, Black, Lakini and Donk) and one of them mentioned how he missed reading the old blogs I did. Most of my writing free time has been devoted either to my Blizzard Watch columns or to the novel I'm working on. Something had to give, and for a long time, that's been this blog. Lately, though, I've found that I, too, have missed the outlet.

I'm going back to my original vision for this space of chronically my adventures through Azeroth. At most, I'll post weekly. These articles won't be as polished as my Blizzard Watch stuff. The editors over there are first class and help me take my writing to whole other level. What you'll see here is raw Honors Hammer.

Mythic Plus Shenanigans

That Mythic Plus I did was amazing. These guys have many different toons, but I think the composition was Paladin Tank (yours truly), Hunter, Balance Druid, Rogue, and Demon Hunter. It was a Darkheart Thicket+2, but the interesting part to me was that we ran it with one tank and four DPS. No healer. Well, technically, I guess you could say I was the healer as well as the tank. Basically, my crew could kill stuff so fast that my self healing through Judgment of Light, and Hand of the Protector plus my cooldowns could sustain me. With my Relics, I've gotten Ardent Defender down to almost a 1 minute cooldown. It wasn't until we tried Maw of Souls+6 with Raging that Lakini switched over to Resto. Maw is the Mythic I know the least, but even with it being maybe my 3rd time in there, we still beat the timer. The only real problem I had was the Seacursed Swiftblades. These guys turn into ghosts, teleport and then whack you pretty good. With the Raging buff, those guys could about one shot me.


On the raiding front, I'm firmly cemented as a main tank in Voracity. We're a normal mode, 3 hour a week guild working our way through Nighthold. We've got Skorpyron, Chronomatic Anomaly, and Trilliax pretty well on farm at this point. I take the little scorpions on Skorpyron. With Avenger's Shield, Consecration, Eye of Tyr, and Blessed Hammer picking them up is not a problem. I drag them to the boss where our melee DPS cleaves them into bits. Chronomatic Anomaly is an interesting fight. Our healers are amazing and we've never had much trouble with it. I adore the voice acting on Trilliax and its a fun fight overall. There isn't anything 'Paladin' specific I do on either of those two fights.

Sorry for the Wall-O-Text. Here's a picture of my current Trasnmog:

Spellblade Aluriel

Our roadblock has been Spellblade Aluriel. We do fine on the Frost and Fire stages, but Arcane is usually a mess. I have to stay with my coTank as we move out of Arcane Fog while mitigating Annihilate. Sometimes we have to do that with a bunch of Arcane adds in the way. If we get separated, one or both of us is going down. For Annihilate, I try to make sure I have multiple charges of Shield of the Righteous ready. When I have two stacks of the debuff, I'll add in a cooldown. This is one fight where I like having Aegis of Light talented as it can help both me and my coTank, but I usually only get one use of it per fight. We actually managed to get her down (our fist kill), but it required a battle rez used on each tank. I'm not sure how repeatable it is at this point.


We had enough time left over to go take some stabs at Krosus. I still owe this guy big time after what he did to Tirion. Do you I've forgotten, Krosus? Do you think I've forgiven?

We made some decent progress, but didn't get it down. It's something of a relief to have a fight that is mechanically simpler after the more complicated Spellblade fight. It looks like we are going to be cutting it real close on the DPS check for this fight. All I can do is try to stay alive, but if the other tank goes down the debuff is going to do me in in short order.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tin Foil Hat: The Titans Aren’t Dead

Throughout the Legion expansion, we have been recovering the Pillars of Creation, items used by the Titan’s keepers in the ancient past to shape Azoerth. We’ve also learned the Titans who gave those artifacts their power are dead, killed by their own champion, Sargeras.

But are the Titans dead? My own theory, to borrow a line from a famous philosopher, is the Titans are only dead “from a certain point of view”.

A simplified story

I think we’ve received a simplified version of the story; the same way a wise parent will simplify a horrific story for a child too young to comprehend it. We know that when the Titans died their essence came to Azeroth and inhabited the Keepers. Only Keeper Ra understood what had happened and it sent him into a deep malaise. The other Keepers couldn’t even process it.

But could being as colossal as a Titan’s have their entire essence housed in a Keeper? I think not. We are talking about the beings of such enormous size and power that they killed an Old God like we might swat a mosquito.  Not all their essence went into the Keepers. It couldn’t have. I think some of the Titan’s power infused into the planet itself and from there into its inhabitants, and it might have been Amun’thul’s plan all along.

We know the Titans scoured the universe for sleeping world souls. Like Sylvanas, they realized they had no way to produce more of their kind. They even called Azeroth “the Final Titan”. At that point, Amun’thul must have realized there would be no more Titans.

We are told that in the final battle with Sargeras, Norgannon wove a spell just before the Titans were destroyed. I don’t think Norgannon came up with that in the spur of the moment. A spell that powerful must have been prepared. We’ve seen from the Forge of Origination that the Titans loved fail safes and Azeroth itself may have been a final fail-safe for the Titans. Amun-Thul knew there was a real chance Sargeras would defeat them, and if he did, it would mean the entirety of Pantheon wasn’t enough. To save creation, they needed a larger, more powerful Pantheon. But Azeroth was the last world soul. There would be no more Titans, no additions to the Pantheon. The fundamental problem still existed.

How do you make new Titans?

Before their battle with Sargeras, Amun’thul worked with Nargannon to create a way to send the Titans essences to Azeroth. If the Pantheon defeated Sargeras, they won. If Sargeras defeated the Pantheon, he wouldn’t kill the Titans, he would free their essence to inhabit and power an army of heroes creating a new pantheon larger and more powerful than the first and one capable of defeating Sargeras once and for all.

The champions and heroes of Azeroth are the reincarnation of the Titans.

This is like the concept of the Bhaalspawn from Baldur's Gate. Spoiler alert for an 18 year old game but your character and all the enhanced individuals in Baldur's Gate are Bhaalspawn -- the mortal offspring of the now dead god Bhaal and females of various races.

We aren't the mortal offspring of the dead Titans but in the same way that Bhaal spread his ... err.. essence into Abeir-Toril, when the Titans died, their essence spread into Azeroth. Over time it coalesced in certain individuals. Sometimes it found a compatible spirit with a Titan forged like the Dwarf or Gnome. Other times it found a receptive host in a native being like an Elf or Troll. Even sentients from others worlds like the Draenei and Orcs possessed compatible spirits.

These Titan essences are what set our characters apart from the other ‘normal’ individuals on Azeroth. From our first adventures, we have been working to continue to better harness that Titan power within us, getting stronger and more powerful with each passing day.

Each Titan essence gives the hero a bent towards particular powers.  Those who have the essence of Eonar the Lifebinder become Holy Paladins, Disc/Holy Priests, Resto Druids, and Mistweavers. Norgannon’s spirit gave rise to all Mages, and Balance Druids. Khaz’goroth and Aggramar’s essence leads the adventure to becoming a physical DPS or tank. I couldn’t decide which one would fit. I think tanks fit Aggramar given his Pillar, but Prot Warriors carry a scale of Neltharion whose power came from Khaz'goroth. Golganneth’s essence powers all Shaman. Aman-Thul, like his Keeper Odyn, is the all father and all of Azeroth’s champions carry a tiny spark of him in them.

The Titan’s aren’t dead

They live on in each of us, and through us, they will again face off against their wayward brother Sargeras. Only this time, instead of five Titans, it will be an army of Azeroth’s mightiest heroes, and when that happens, Sargeras will fall.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Starting Legion

Once we got to the Broken Shore, we found ourselves face to face with the huge horde of demons. There were some familiar faces from our past battles like Brutallus.

Tirion Fordring

We found Tirion being held in a Fel prision by a big demon named Krosus. Tirion broke out of a similar prison during our fight with the Lich King, but this one was much stronger. We had to watch helplessly as the demon crushed Tirion and he fell into a pool of Fel tainted water.

Tirion Fordring. THE Highlord. THE freaking Ashbringer. He deserved a better end than this. I would have liked his end to be similar to that of Varian with Tirion making some great sacrifice to save us, but that was not to be.

Ulduar and Karazhan

Once we got back to Dalaran, I was sent to talk to Magni Bronzebeard. He was alive. After the downer of Tirion's death, finding out Magni was alive was a much needed lift. It only got better. I was going with Magni and Braan to Ulduar! Man, I loved that raid. We talked with Mimiron because we are tight now that Yogg isn't in his mind anymore. We learned about the Pillars of Creation. There was also the major reveal that Azeroth is a Titan, or at least a Titan in potentia. But she is awake and alive enough to talk to Magni in his crystalline state.

Khadgar decided he needs a book from the library at Karazhan to figure how where the Pillars of Creation are. Ulduar and Karazhan in one day, I was having a blast. Like Ulduar, things are a bit quieter in Karazhan now that the place has been de-Malchezzar'ed . That didn't last long as the Legion showed up and we had a fight on our hands. We managed to get the book and high tail it out of there.

We had a big meeting in Dalaran and Khadgar convinced the Council of 7 to let the Horde back into the city. Jania lost it, resigned from the Kirin Tor, said peace out and teleported away. I can't really blame her. The Horde haven't exactly been trustworthy allies, well, ever.


You get a choice of which zone you want to start with and I opted for Stormheim. I met up with Sky Admiral Rodgers again and we set off. Once we arrived over Stormhiem, we were immediately attacked by the Forsaken. I guess they didn't get the whole "we have to band together to save Azeroth" memo. After a long battle they managed to blow up our ship. At this point, Sky Admiral Rodgers is never letting me back on one of her ships again. Between the last two sky ships and the boat in Vash'ir, people are not going to want to travel with me anymore.

I had to find the Aegis of Aggramar which the Vyrkyl had but weren't too keen to give up. I had to prove myself worthy. I completed the first two challenges but during the third, I get banished to Helheim. The ancient King whose blessing I needed also got stuck in there with me. In the course trying to escape, we witnessed Sylvanas making some sort of deal with Helya, the Vyrkyl deity that runs Helhiem. I don't know exactly what Sylvanas was up to but I'm pretty sure its not good for anyone who is still breathing. Despite her heroism at the Broken Shore, I'm not sure if she's totally on board with the whole "band together to save Azeroth" thing. It was the Forsaken, after all, who attacked both the Horde and Alliance at the Wrathgate. Sylvanas claimed no knowledge, but I've never believed that. She's got too many eyes and ears to think Palatress did all that without her at least knowing about it.


I got out of Helheim and got called to Greywatch to talk to King Greymane of Gilneas. This seciont brought to you by the letter 'G'. It's still kind of weird to have werewolves in the Alliance but, hey, I'm not telling them no. It turned out the Forsaken were cooking up a new patch of the Plague right here in the Broken Isles. Nothing says "band together to save Azeorth" like trying to Plague everyone!

At this point, I have to wonder if the Forsaken aren't working for the Legion. All their actions seem to help the Legion more than hurt it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Dearest Mylra (the Broken Shore and Demon Invasions)

Please note there major spoilers for the Alliance Broken Shore scenario contained in this blog post.


The King Returns

My Dearest Mylra,

I’m sure by now, even in Deepholm, you’ve heard of King Magni’s return. While it thrills me to see him moving again, I am relieved he is allowing the Council to remain ruling Ironforge. The last thing this world needs is another War of Three Hammers and you know better than anyone how my heart would be divided in a such a conflict. I could never stand against my fellow Bronzebeards, nor could I take up arms against your Wildhammers. With the Council still in place, it will not look odd or out of place for a Wildhammer and a Bronzebeard to be seen strolling together through the Commons.

It is hard to believe it has been four years since we first met far above the rocky surface of Deepholm. So much has happened in that time: the rediscovered of Pandaria, then the reopening of the Dark Portal and the battle against the Iron Horde and the Fel Horde. I know how angry you were each time I left and you didn’t hold back your elemental fire. All I can tell you is I did it for the good of Azeroth, and to protect the future that I pray to the Light we may one day have together. With Archimonde vanquished atop Hellfire Citadel, I returned to an Azeroth at peace. I even picked out a little spot near Farstrider Lodge on the edge of Loch Modan where we could build a house together. The Tram should be here soon to take me to Stormwind and from there to Deepholm.

I can't wait to see you again.

With all my love,

Theogrun Bronzebard

The Summons

My Dearest Mylra,

As I got off the Tram, I was handed a summons from Varian Wyrnn, the human king.

The Legion has returned to Azeroth.

A ship to take me to the Broken Isles is already prepared and I must leave at once. My mission to Deepholm, must, once again, wait. My fellow heroes and I will drive the Legion back to the Twisting Nether from whence they came and then you and I shall be together.

With all my love,

Theogrun Bronzebard


My Dearest Mylra,

I write this as we are recovering from the failed assault on the Broken Isles. We have lost so, so much. First, the Legion destroyed the Highlord right before my eyes. The Light that had saved him and protected him from Arthas atop Ice Crown Citadel proved impotent against the immense demon Gul’dan summoned. I can still hear his tortured cries for the Light as he fell. But even after losing Tirion, we pressed on and had gained the advantage. Victory was in sight. Varian called for the Horde archers to clear the skies, but nothing happened. As we looked to the place where they were stationed, they retreated! Looking up on that ridge, and watching the demons fill it to rain down all hell upon us, it was like reliving the betrayal at the Wrathgate. I could almost hear Putress’ voice. 

Wasn't the Wrathgate enough? Wasn’t Theramore enough? How many times are we going to trust the Horde and watch as they betray us? If it wasn’t clear to everyone by now that the Horde cannot be trusted, I don’t know what more it will take. We can’t spare the strength now with the Legion at our throat, but should I survive the coming campaign, I promise you this. when it is over, the Horde will receive justice.

Varian called for a retreat, but a great Fel machine grabbed our airship. As I slid towards its maw, I prepared myself, knowing I would never to see you again, but Varian lept from the gunship and cut the monstrosity down, sacrificing himself to save us.

 As a man who once lost his own King, I know something of what the humans are going through, but we have no time for sorrows, for now we prepare for the full Legion invasion. 

With all my love,

Theogrun Bronzebard


My Dearest Mylra,

After defeating a Legion incursion at Gadgetzan, I received news of another attack, this time at the Crossroads. I wondered if I should let the Legion just have the Crossroads. Give them Durotar and the Barrens for all I care.  I am saving Azeroth for the Alliance, not for those blood thirsty, backstabbing monsters. But, as quickly as the thought came, I knew it was wrong. We can give the Legion no quarter, not one spec of dirt on the whole of Azeroth to call their own -- even if it means saving a Horde settlement.

I fly north. May the Light and the Elements protect me.

With all my love,

Theogrun Bronzebard

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Tanks' Dilemma

You ever read something and identify with it -- like the person was telling you your own story. This  happened to me reading the comments on the Officer's Quarter post "The repentant quitter and the wandering officer" on Blizzard Watch.

User Fyresparxx said this:

Guild searching often makes me feel like a hooker. (Am I allowed to say that?) I want a mythic tank slot more than anything else. Those slots are really hard to come by. Which often makes me consider what I'm willing to do to get one. I've raided with guilds I actively dislike. I've put up with abusive environments and rampant guild drama. I've tolerated corrupt leadership. I consider joining guilds I know for a fact that I won't enjoy. But I want that tank slot. It's like a drug. I need it and I'll do just about anything to get it. 

I would say I feel more like a mercenary. I've never had any ambitions of being a Mythic raider, but I understand the craving for a tank spot all too well. I wouldn't call it a drug, but a choice. The Tank role happens to be the one I like the best, but the math works against me. If I wanted to heal, there are 4-6 spots in each raid. If I loved to DPS, well, you can always use another DPS, but whether it's a 10 or 30 man raid, there are two and only two tank spots. Two tanks, to be exact. And ixnay on the wishing for more tank spots. That's all. Two. Uno, dos. No substitutions, exchanges or refunds.

I think there is going to be tremendous social pressure on Tankadins, Brewmasters, and Guardians early on in the expansion. There are going to be a legion of new Demon Hunter tanks (see what I did there?). Demon Hunters, Warriors and DKs don't have a healing spec. With all specs (and dimensions and realities) open to us, I can see the following scenario happening with some regularity. The Avenger's assemble, err, I mean the raid assembles, and lo and behold, we're short a healer. We've got three capable tanks: a Brewmaster, a Vengeance Demon Hunter and a Protection Warrior. The Prot Warrior and the Vengeance Demon Hutner can't do anything but tank or DPS. The Brewmaster, though, can switch to Mistweaver and be our missing healer. Maybe he doesn't have his artifact leveled up, but with more gear than ever workable for multiple specs, a lesser healer is still better than no healer at all.

It puts the Brewmaster in an unenviable position. Either he goes Mistweaver or we don't raid tonight. Maybe he goes along with it for one night, but then it happens again. How many times does it happen before he's no longer a Brewmaster, but a Mistweaver, or before he starts casually looking through the Recruitment forums?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

[WoW] Legion Patch Day

Welcome to Patch Day!

It looks like a longer maintenance today (as expected) so if you need a suggestion passing the time, I'd start with reading up on the changes if you haven't already. I've got both a Protection and Retribution guide up on Blizzard Watch.

After that, I'd recommend the Legion comics. They are well done, and the Madefire Motion Book editions bring them to life with music and movement. My favorite was Fault Lines, but A Mountain Divided was solid as well.

Highmountain: A Mountain Divided
Nightborne: Twilight of Suramar
Magni: Fault Lines

I got pretty much everything done I wanted to last night before I logged off. I didn't make a huge amount of gold, but every little bit helps. I sent out the team on one last gold gathering mission. I'm assuming the rewards won't change for an active mission and I'll still get the gold for the last time. We'll see tonight.

One mount I've been able to use in Beta that I'm going to miss is the Champion's Treadblade. I'm tempted to save up and buy it on Live. With us being grounded again, it's all about the ground mounts for the foreseeable future in Legion.

The biggest thing I'm looking forward to when I log in again is getting my bag space back. I'm a horrible packrat. I still have stuff like the Mudskunk Lure and the old Librams that we used back when we had a Relic slot. I'm sure for as long as I've been playing Honors, I'll have unlocked quite a few looks.

I imaging the Auction House will be overflowing with BoEs tomorrow. I've still got dozens of Salvage Crates to open and I don't have the first clue how I'll price the BoEs that come from them once I verify I don't need the appearance anymore.

Monday, July 18, 2016

[WoW] The Last Night of Warlords

Tonight is the last night before everything changes. I expect the servers will be somewhat unplayable tomorrow. The maintenance for these large patches often gets extended and then when the servers do come up, they can be a little unstable.

In preparation, I've been working on liquidating my Garrisons on my 4 'mains' : Honors, Kishuf, Theogrun and Rophe. I'm keeping more Primal Spirits and Garrison Resources on Honors because I'm still trying to level up his Jewelcrafting. Thank you to everyone on Blade's Edge selling near vendor priced Blackrock Ore. It's making leveling his profession much easier.

Blizzard Watch has a good guide on getting all the gold you can out of your Garrison before the patch. All 4 guys have dozens of Salvage Crates ready to go to unload all that sweet, sweet Transmog gear, but once again, having them scattered all over creation makes it more difficult. If I get a cool Plate item on my Tanaris toons, Honors on Blade's Edge can't use it. If I get anything other than cloth on Kishuf, he might as well sell it, but that's because he's my only Horde toon.

It is the same reason I'm still holding my Level 100 Boost. I'm pretty sure it will be a Monk, although given how ridiculously easy they are to level, I might go with Druid, but then I can't be a Dwarf. I have a max toon of every armor type except for Leather and Rogues and DHs don't appeal to me -- although like everyone else in creation, I'll make a DH, I think I'd have more fun playing a Monk or Druid. The biggest reason I'm holding the Boost is I'm still unsure what server to put him on. I'd love get all my max level toons on one server, well, except for Kishuf. It's just so blasted expensive, and then if anything happens to the guild, I'd have to move again and that's more expensive the more toons I have to move which is the biggest reason they are scattered all over creation to begin with. I know I won't be playing any of my alts anyway once Legion hits until Honors is kitted out for raids, so it doesn't make much sense to spend money to move them now. I'll be starting Legion at least 3 days late after we get back from Disney so there will be plenty of catch up to do.

I've got a Tankadin guide going up on the Blizzard Watch site Soon(TM). I was also asked to fill in for our Ret columnists which led to a marathon session of forums, You Tube and running around Beta as a Retribution. That guide will be up later today on Blizzard Watch.

I'm anticipating most of my addons will break on Patch Day, so I've taken the step of trimming down to a minimum. Auctioneer, Master Plan and DBM are about all I have loaded right now. I'll check on ElvUI after I patch to see what kind of shape it is in.

I've also been working on clearing out my quest log. Most of the quests I had were Lunarfall Inn quests to run various Heroics. I have to say I'm not a big fan of the new combined queues. Each time, I've been grouped with someone from the Latin America servers and while they have been good players, my utter lack of ability to speak their language has made communication difficult. Luckily, but also in some ways unfortunately, you don't need to communicate much to run Heroics in these late days of Warlords of Draenor.

The rest of my quests are all Tanaan. I'd like to keep working on those reputations as I pursue the "Beloved" title.

It feels like we've been waiting on the pre-Patch for a long time, but it is finally here.