The Long March to New Stuff

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The time has come. We have a new expansion looming (well, it’s actually a long way away but still), and it’s time for Panda Steve to get all his ducks in a row and sort out what he wants to do, and when he wants to do it by. And maybe who he wants to do it on. Let’s start with the main, shall we?

Shokei

Sitting at a juicy 930, Shokei the Demonology Warlock is by far my most geared character. Aims?

  • Get to at least level 75 on the artifact. This’ll be really easy, as she’s who I actively play as, and who I’ll be taking into Antorus every week.
  • Complete the Affliction mage tower challenge. Apparently I need a particular legendary for this, Sacrolash’s Dark Strike. I’ve tried without it and I get absolutely mullered, so I throw myself onto the mercy of RNG. Still, having got both the Destruction AND Demonology appearances, getting the Affliction one would complete the set!
  • Finish off Balance of Power I suppose? And maybe the Illidan stuff with Xe’ra? And get the class mount?

Lunchi

Having been used quite a lot in the Nighthold, alongside Yopaat the Shaman, both their progress has sort of been halted by the resurgent Shokei. I may use Yopaat on and off in the future, but Lunchi’s a character I definitely want to get up to speed again, if only for the usefulness of having a backup healer in the guild. Current item level is a shocking 904, artifact level (Mistweaver) 50. Aims!

  • Crank that item level up. Argus content will help with that.
  • With the ever-increasing AK level we’re getting, firing up her weapon will also be relatively straight forward.
  • Attempt the mage tower challenge on her again. It went very badly the last few times.
  • If we get the opportunity for Antorus alt runs (and let’s be honest, we’re looking at another 9-12 months until BfA, so we definitely will), drag her along and throw magical mist clouds at people.

Well, that’s the Alliance sorted, but with two separate levelling experiences for Alliance and Horde next expansion, it behooves me to level up another character, one that can see the other side of the story, over there in Zandalar. Say hello to:

Ellesario

Panda Steve’s token Horde representation is here in the form of Holy Priest Ellesario. She’ll gladly heal your wounds, for a price! While levelling her in BfA is not a priority (getting Shokei to 120 and raid ready is), she’ll be the side project, the one I play in downtime, when I wanna see the other half of the story. Priorities here:

  • Getting her to level 110. She’s 29 at the moment, and dungeon spamming. She loves it when Warlocks and Hunters leap off ledges in Gnomeregan without dismissing their pets. Please drag EVERY ENEMIES to us, it’s so fun.
  • Getting her to a decent item level and artifact level. I’m gonna settle for a tidy 920 and eventual 70.
  • Getting her some priest tier sets! Gotta look fabulous at all times!
  • Taking more screenshots of her, because hot DAMN goblins are almost as photogenic as pandaren. Almost.

Battle for Azeroth is literal decades away, but it doesn’t mean we can’t start readying our characters for the transition! New content ahoy! Sort of!

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Battle for Azeroth Speculation

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A blog post two days in a row? From me? Who am I and what have I done with the REAL Panda Steve?!

So on Friday, Battle for Azeroth was revealed as the seventh expansion for World of Warcraft. Shit has gotten cray-cray, yo. Some tree got burnt down, a ruined city has been… more ruined? The Horde and the Alliance have never been further apart, despite coming together so many times, and now, they battle… FOR AZEROTH!

The Heart of Azeroth

We get some fancy-ass jewellery straight from Azeroth herself, courtesy of Magni Bronzebeard.

You know, the large dwarf-shaped crystal? Now, ignoring the mechanics of the thing (leave that to theorycrafters!), let’s talk about the ramifications.

The king of diamonds has been made a pawn.

Remember Il’gynoth? He’s that evil tree we faced back in the Emerald Nightmare raid.

no, the OTHER evil tree

He had things to say, and man did he love to say them. That quote up there about the “king of diamonds” sure sounds like it’s referring to Magni.

From the earth, he draws strength. Our earth. Our strength.

And it sure sounds like he’s mistaken in who he’s been chatting to while being a literal rock in the ground. My theory goes like this: Magni, who has been communicating with “Azeroth” while a crystal, has actually been in touch with N’Zoth (no doubt he’s been putting on an obviously fake girl voice that Magni’s too ROCK HEADED, heh, to see through). N’Zoth’s aim, as an agent of the void lords, is to corrupt Azeroth’s world soul so it can become a dark titan. The Legion, led by Sargeras, wanted to prevent this happening by destroying Azeroth. Better a dead world soul than a living dark titan, after all. N’Zoth prevented this by posing as Azeroth; he told Magni about the Pillars of Creation, how they were needed to close the portal in the Tomb of Sargeras. Illidan unwittingly took this a step further; he opened up a portal to Argus itself, so we could march on through and stop the Legion permanently.

All good for N’Zoth.

Alliance vs Horde

The threat of the Legion is ended. Sargeras is no longer a danger. N’Zoth needs more time to fully corrupt the world soul, and what better way to buy time than to make sure that those who would stop you, who have stopped your “brothers,” who have saved the world time and time again, are more focused on each-other? Anduin is a Priest, and they have a relationship with shadow and the void that a lot of other classes do not. He could be more susceptible than most to the whispers of an old god.

The boy-king serves at the master’s table. Three lies will he offer you.

At the hour of her third death, she will usher in our coming.

Sylvanas has felt the touch of the void too; after the death of the Lich King, she threw herself off the Frozen Throne, and soon realised that all that would wait for her when she died was the void. She made a pact with the Val’kyr, so long as they live, she does too. It seems unlikely that she’d risk her life, the life of her Val’kyr, by giving the Alliance cause to retaliate strongly against her, and it seems equally unlikely that Anduin, he who values peace above most things, would launch an unwarranted attack upon the Undercity.

Why would someone burn down Teldrassil? Because they were compelled to. Who would do that?

N’Zoth! N’Zoth! IIYOQ NEL’OTHK AR’AFGH!

He is the one instigating this war. He’s throwing out those subtle corruptive whispers that old gods do so well, quietly diverting attention away from himself while he goes about his work. Magni is a small spanner in the works, he’s gone to the leaders of both Alliance AND Horde, and was turned away from both as they prepared to attack each other. Now, he turns to you, to me, to those ragtag heroes of Azeroth, and entrusts them with a relic. The Heart of Azeroth.

Another thing that N’Zoth probably has a tentacle in. Another insurance policy. Using the blood of a slowly corrupting titan soul to power this titan artifact? Who’s to say that a little bit of N’Zoth won’t get in there? And as it grants us power, it taints US as well.

 In the sunken city, he lays dreaming…

Ny’alotha will rise. N’Zoth will rise. The Battle for Azeroth will begin, us versus old god, the light versus the void itself.

…Of course the title could just be all about the faction war. Hey ho, here we go. Speculation begins.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

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I don’t know either, but let’s talk about Demonology instead. It’s been noted that the spec has issues, some of them stemming from Demonic Empowerment and the slow ramp-up of the spec in general. “This is a large problem that requires iteration, not just a numbers fix” says Ion Hazzithingymajig back in December last year, so how can we improve the spec?

Here’s my idea. Note that this is more of a revamp, not a “WoD Survival Hunter to Legion Survival Hunter” complete overhaul. I love the idea of being a summoner, and I’d like to… refine it? Help improve it? Well, we’ll see.

Soul Shards

Gone. No more. The core of my idea is moving to a more cooldown-centric style of play, as opposed to “filler to make shards, spend, filler again” like we do now. A few spells would change as a result, so let’s look at the core rotational abilities, namely Shadow Bolt, Doom, Summon Dreadstalkers, Hand of Gul’dan, and Demonic Empowerment.

Doom

It’s rarely worth casting this on any add as it only ticks the once, and by the time you’ve Doomed a number of things, they’ve started to die, unless you drop a Hand of Gul’dan on them with the Hand of Doom talent. Your Darkglare would have nothing to shoot its lasers at! My fix? Ehh, make it tick twice over the duration? Once halfway through, once at the end.

Hand of Gul’dan

With my proposed binning of Soul Shards, Hand of Gul’dan would become a combination of the version of the spell we have now, and the version from Mists. Basically, make it instant cast and have 2 charges, with a 10 second recharge time. The meteor drops, enemy is hit, 4 imps are summoned. These imps last 30 seconds. Why so long? Because of a new ability I would add that I will detail later on.

Summon Dreadstalkers

Eh, frankly this ability is alright as it is. Don’t take my feldoggies away! Maybe make them last longer but with a longer cooldown (15 seconds duration/20 second cooldown?).

Shadow Bolt

The filler, the ability you cast when there’s nothing to do. Give it a 10% chance to generate a charge of Hand of Gul’dan.

Demonic Empowerment

Currently, this buffs all your active demons’ haste and health by 50% and 20% respectively, and through your mastery also slaps on a damage boost to them. In my version of Demonology, the damage boost via mastery is a passive, at-all-times damage boost, and Demonic Empowerment becomes a 2 minute cooldown that buffs your the haste and health of your demons, and DOUBLES the effect of your mastery for x amount of time. This is a spell you’ll have active on your demons at all times anyway, so the damage boost might as well become a passive and the spell itself be used as a major DPS cooldown.

Life Tap

I know you’d like me to say “GET RID OF IT!” but in my Demonology vision, it becomes even more integral due to a BRAND NEW SPELL I would add:

Demonic Sacrifice

Remember I said I’d extend the duration a group of imps stays summoned for from 12 seconds to 30? Well, here’s why. This spell, on a 90 second cooldown, costs all your remaining mana and all of your imps, and from their/your energy, a powerful new demon is summoned.

  • 4 imps, or one Hand of Gul’dan-worth, nets you one of those fancy Demonic Jailers. You know, with the cage on their back?
  • 8 imps? An Inquisitor is yours!
  • 12 imps? Gosh, here’s a Fel Lord!
  • 16 imps? I dunno, a dreadlord?
  • Did you get lucky with your Shadow Bolt procs and have 20 or more imps? Well here’s the PIT LORD you always wanted!

The fact this summoning drains all your mana to use as well as eats up all your imps necessitates the usage of Life Tap. Combine this with Demonic Empowerment for a hugely powerful demon! It’d naturally have to be worth the cost of the spell, so have each of the demons do a similar amount of damage as the equivalent number of imps used to summon it, +4. While I’m at it, making new spells, how about we bring an old one back?

Imp Swarm

Back in Mists/Warlords, you could use Glyph of Imp Swarm to give you the ability to summon 4 imps instantly, on a 2 minute cooldown. Seeing as my Demonology vision bins the Soul Shards, make Imp Swarm a level 100 talent that replaces Soul Conduit. It contributes to burst, especially when opening, and would help you get a Fel Lord out through Demonic Sacrifice relatively quickly (2 Hands, Imp Swarm, Demonic Sacrifice, Life Tap, resume normal rotation).

Conclusion

This is just an idea. We may not even get a revamp for Battle for Azeroth, but it’d certainly be nice for some of the issues that have been addressed by Blizzard themselves to be sorted out. Maybe my idea would create MORE issues, I don’t know, I’m no designer. Just an enthusiastic Warlock who’s stuck with Demonology through thick and thin this expansion.

I love the spec, but it can be improved. Here’s to hoping.

Don’t go thal’kiel, I’ll miss you! 😦

You Know What’s Missing From WoW?

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I haven’t done a list of things in a while, so here we go. NOTE, some things may not be entirely serious.

  • Red Mage-esque hats for clothies.
  • Also, let us have some neck items that actually show up on characters! Not just necklaces either, but things like ruffs! Ascots!
  • Player housing for the love of god.
  • PANDAREN WARLOCKS.
  • Shit just make Pandaren be every class, that way I can race change everything and finally be happy.
  • Odyn-shaped training dummies, because MAN I’d love to beat that guy up on a regular basis without having to traipse through the Halls of Valor for 6 years.
  • Wrathion. More dragonbro please.
  • Hunter healing spec where they shoot bandages and medicine at people.
  • Warrior healing spec where they charge/heroic leap around and shout at people to make them feel better. Every ability has a yelled emote like “PAIN IS JUST WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY!” and whatnot.
  • Tentacle mount. Slither slither.
  • Old God mount. Like, I want a miniature Old God to fly around on.
  • Val’kyr mount. We helped Eyir out a few times, have her be all “strap a saddle on me and let’s fly away together!”

  • That mask above as a permanent transmog item. Preferably without the tanks on the back too.
  • Khadgar-shaped training dummies.
  • Affliction Warlock combat animations. ’cause aside from Drain Life, what is there to look at? Everyone knows the bigger the firework show, the more damage you do!
  • A proper, in-game capital city for gnomes. Let them have Gnomeregan finally, or maybe even let them build some new steampunk-esque city somewhere!
  • I would say let Worgen have Gilneas back too but I don’t care enough.
  • Playable ethereals!
  • 80’s hairstyles. Think Bonnie Tyler or Kim Wilde.

So, the sooner Blizzard start working on this stuff, the better as far as I am concerned, darlings.

Panda Steve’s Totally Serious Guide To Soloing Argus Stuff

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Yes, it’s me, it’s your boy Panda Steve and today I’m going to give you really amazing advice on how to survive that hellscape we call Argos wait, we’re not talking about the catalogue shop?

1) Be A Warlock/Hunter With A Pet/Tank

Yeah, seriously. Mages can kite stuff, but everything’s so tightly packed together you’ll end up backing away from demon motherfuckers right into OTHER demon motherfuckers, or fuckin’ fel lava, or off a small cliff into a crevasse you can’t jump out of, or just off the planet completely (THANKS MAC’AREE).

That’s seriously all the advice I have for you. That place is ruddy brutal on everything I’ve played, bar my Warlock. Being a tanky clothy helps, moreso though having Arakzekeel tank everything with that gormless face of his.

Those invasion portals? Those are quite fun. I’ve done a good number of those, hoovered up the AP rewards, sent the tokens to my alts, collected Argus Waystones which’ll be removed from the game come reset. That mushroom planet and the ice planet, though? They can fuck right off.

Mac’Aree doesn’t seem to want to spawn any world quests either. That seems to be a problem.

In Warlock-related news, I’ve fallen back in love with Demonology, thanks to a “meme build” that uses Shadowy Inspiration, Power Trip and Soul Conduit to generate/keep Soul Shards, and spam Demonic Empowerment/Instant Shadow Bolts to take maximum advantage of the new golden trait, Thal’kiel’s Ascendance.

Basically, you use Doom, Hand of Gul’dan and Summon Dreadstalkers as you normally would (when it’s about to drop, when you have 4 shards, and on cooldown respectively) but your filler becomes Demonic Empowerment (to fish for the proc, fish for a shard with Power Trip, and to proc Shadowy Inspiration) followed immediately by Shadow Bolt (made instant cast thanks to Shadowy Inspiration). I’ve seen a lot of people moan about this playstyle, but I find it immensely fun and rewarding, which means it’ll probably be nerfed before long. FUN IS NOT ALLOWED.

Oh, also did I mention?

BYE BYE FOREVER, ULDUAR.

Alts

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While I’ve migrated back to the Warlock, thanks to Destruction actually becoming fun again, I’m spending more time at the moment on my alts, with Fuhai the Hunter getting her days in the spotlight right now.

Initially she was Beast Mastery (even acquiring the “best” DPS legendary for it), she’s since switched to Marksmanship because I’m finding the heavy hitting nature of it pretty cool right now (and whaddya know, I got the “best” DPS legendary for that spec too today, what a coincidence). This is a common theme for me; a lot of my alts started off as one spec (“this spec is the best and most fun!”) only for me to realise that actually, I prefer one or both of the others. Case in point, Huomofa, whose name in Chinese is 火魔法, which literally means FIRE MAGIC, started off as a Fire Mage, and is now a Frost Mage. Shokei the Demonology Warlock is now Shokei the Destruction Warlock. Muirisc the Arms Warrior is now all about that Fury.

It’s never a numbers thing. It’s always a playstyle thing.

8 down. 4 to go. Two of them with a considerable amount more to do. Maybe the Druid will be the next pet project? She’s a worgen, ’cause pandas can’t be Druids yet.

She’s also apparently wearing the same mog as my Hunter, which means one of them is going to have to go home and change.

Look to the Future? NAH

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7.3 is set in Argus, but who gives a crap about that? That’s decades away, or it may as well be. What’s going on NOW?

Tomb of Sargeras

This is a pretty damn fun instance. Okay sure there are boring fights (HI GOROTH, HARJATAN) and this tier seems to be the tier of “everyone stack to split the damage of something” (HI HARJATAN, DESOLATE HOST, MOON SISTERS, MISTRESS SASSZ’INE, MAIDEN OF VIGILANCE, KIL’JAEDEN, gosh this is a prevalent theme) but it’s still really good. Desolate Host on Heroic is a weird clusterfuck and I don’t know what’s going on even though I’ve read guides and watched videos. It’s just… what the what? Also when I do my opening burst AoE right at the start of the fight I have a frightening tendency to get briefly targeted by the boss and instakilled. Huzzah.

5/9 HC so far. Mistress Snakebitch can do one.

Warlockitude

I’m slowly gearing up my Warlock so she can perform a coup on my Shaman and become my main again. It’s honestly stunning how a simple change as “bringing back the Burning Embers mechanic” made me fall in love with Destruction again. Shokei is item level 900, with the Destro artifact’s Concordance of the Legionfall, and she’s as skimpy as ever. I think I might sort out Demonology’s artifact next, considering it too is a fun spec. Gotta hear what Thal’kiel thinks of all the fancy places we go to!

Just know that when the day comes that Pandaren can become Warlocks, I am race changing the SHIT outta Shokei. PANDAREN FOR LIFE.

Having recently got some fantastic Destro legendaries (Feretory of Souls, Lessons of Space-Time) I feel pretty comfortable with my Warlock again. It’s a good place to be in.

WORLD QUESTS FOREVER

So many. So numerous. Never-ending. You’d think the inhabitants would be able to sort their own shit out by now but apparently not. It must be me killing the dinosaur-bird-things, or fetching materials, or playing barrel games with the Kirin Tor who REALLY have better things to be doing, honestly.

Being FABTABULOUS

Of course all my characters look fantasWHAT THE FUCK ARE THOSE?!