World of Warcraft
Having a laptop that’s capable of running graphical settings at higher than the lowest level means I can now make pretty, pretty pictures.
I can see where my time is going to be spent from now on. Searching high and low for the pretty things!
I did the worst yesterday, here’s the best today!
Not just ol’ Skelly here, but all the talking weapons we got over Legion have buckets of personality, and I have hopes (slim as they are) that they’re allowed to be chatty when transmogged to in Battle for Azeroth too, even if it’s just their generic battle phrases (like when you use Call Dreadstalkers, Jack Skellington goes “RELEASE THE HOUNDS!”).
Warlocks get the best stuff.
Every raid had its standout (in my opinion!) boss. Il’gynoth, Star Augur, Odyn, Maiden of Vigilance, Imonar. The fact we had a decent number of raids compared to Warlords was another triumph, and while I’m a tad bored of fel green, the general aesthetic of each raid this expansion was very strong thematically.
I’ll never get bored of Old God purple though. Just saying.
The Mage Tower
Those challenges were amazingly fun, at least for warlocks. The twins were frustrating without Sacrolash’s Dark Strike, but easy enough after that. The demon worm and his master was a challenging ask, making such an interrupt-heavy fight for a spec that ordinarily has no interrupt! Demonology had Sigryn and her cronies, which was a mechanically demanding fight but by far the most fun of the three.
Also no spec had Agatha, because fuck Agatha.
The cinematics were fantastic this time around, and I am confident they will only get better going forward.
But still, Ysera… *sob*
I know, they’re repetitive, grindy, and frustrating for people who just can’t leave a single quest undone, they’re still an amazingly solid addition to the game, and mean that rather than be holed up in our garrisons like we were in Warlords, we’re still, even at this late stage of the expansion, flying around the world actually DOING stuff. Long may they continue.
Filthy, filthy, FILTHY!
Practically topless. Rippling abs! Solid pectorals! And that’s just the girls!
SOMETHING’S NOT QUITE RIGHT
AN ILLUSION! WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?!
Coven of Shivarra
Fuck your RNG bullshit. I used to like shivarra before this boss, but now my succubus shall stay a succubus out of sheer protest.
FUCK YOU XAVIUS. YOU DESERVE EVERY DEATH PLAYERS HAVE UNLEASHED UPON YOU. STOMP YOUR FACE INTO THE GROUND UNTIL THERE IS NOTHING LEFT BUT MUSH.
Their campaign basically amounted to “SAVE US, PALADINS! HELP! WE’RE QUITE USELESS!” which is a bit of a disappointment really.
Warlocks are just too good and cool and awesome, it saps all the fun out of every other lesser class. Warlocks get all the best stuff!
Ugh it was too easy to progress to max level, FISHING SHOULD TAKE YEARS yet I went from 700 to 800 in the space of an hour.
“Ah yes, remember that time I asked you for a ludicrous amount of Apexis crystals? Oh what larks we had! Ooh watch out for that Vrykul, he’s looking rather mean! Anyway yes, as I was saying…”
“LEAVE ME ALONE”
Jesus fucking Christ what the shit.
Hyped up to be the main villain of Legion, yet we offed him really early on. Still, it feels as good to beat him as it did to beat Xavius. THIS IS FOR VARIAN/YSERA etc.
“I’VE SACRIFICED EVERYTHING, WHAT HAVE YOU GIVEN?” oh honey have you seen the amount I cast Life Tap? Plus, you’ve been asleep in a vault for years and years napping. I had to build a garrison with my bare hands, damn you.
As Legion draws to a close, I’d like to take a brief look back at the raid bosses of this expansion. This is the first expansion where I have raided the entire duration at a higher level than LFR, and that’s been such an amazing experience, and thankfully we’ve had some really good fights during that time as well! Here are my favourites:
Il’gynoth, Heart of Corruption
This fight is probably my favourite fight in Legion, primarily because it has a lot of storyline significance, at least as far as his whispers go. Offering us little hints about where the rest of this expansion and the next will go, puzzles to figure out, references to scour. Her third death? A sea of stars? Her heart is a crater?
Plus, I absolutely adore instant death mechanics, and Il’gynoth’s door slam is up there with Elegon’s pit in my opinion. It’s a shame it dies in the first heart phase now because I GUARANTEE people’d still not leave the chamber even now.
Odyn’s appearance in the Trial of Valor raid was an absolute masterstroke. It basically took his Halls of Valor boss fight, and went “what if we upscaled this to a raid format and also threw a couple of the other bosses in at the start?” and what we got was a long, difficult but ultimately pleasing encounter. Also, any opportunity to see that glorious beard is fine with me.
Star Augur Etraeus
Taking place on one of the prettiest boss rooms to date, Etraeus is a relatively simple fight, but my favourite thing about the fight was how the heroic additions were reinforcements of what you needed to do already. Phase one, you generally stacked in three groups (two groups on each side, melee in the middle) and the additional mechanic, Frigid Nova, had damage reduction based on how many players were near you. Phase two you’re generally spread out, trying to avoid dropping fel pools on people, and the new Fel Nova sees you take less damage the further you are from him. Phase three, you’re generally stacked as a whole on top of the boss for healer ease, and Void Nova just damages and adds a stacking DoT, making the stacking even more helpful to the healers.
Grand Magistrix Elisande
This fight was won or lost based on how well you handled the very first phase. Take too long in it, and say hello to a shitload of Arcanetic Rings in each subsequent phase. This meant expedient killing of the speedy add, and judicious usage of Heroism (i.e. right at the start of the fight!). The combinations of mechanics, and the fact they echo in later phases, made this a difficult but very satisfying fight.
Honourable Mentions: Trilliax, Gul’dan, Kil’jaeden.
Not every fight was a winner, mind. Some fights I just plain hated:
Eonar the Life-Binder
This tower defence fight. Waves after waves of enemies lurch from portals, and eventually Eonar blasts a ship out the sky. I hate this fight, it feels less like a boss and more like trash that rewards epic loot if you’re lucky. Never mind the fact that everything seems to be dead just as I arrive somewhere, more than anything, it commits the crime of being utterly DULL.
The Coven of Shivarra
Antorus ain’t doing so brilliantly, having two bosses in the hated section. This fight earns my ire for its use of RNG. This fight can be easily lost by the flip of a coin, based on what titan is tormented and when. Every time I’ve died on this fight, it’s because of the Norgannon adds. Here they come to stomp all over me in my safe zone from the Storm of Darkness, giving me the choice of dying to the adds, or dying to the storm outside. Here they come to stomp all over me because Diima bunged her Orb of Frost on me, reducing my movement speed by 85%. The fight has ridiculously nasty overlaps, and it’s almost impossible to practice them consistently because they change from pull to pull.
This fight takes ten fucking years and everything’s so dark and not even the presence of tentacular tentacles can save it. Odyn was a long but fun fight. Helya is a long, terrible, painful slog and that stupid orb needs to STOP TARGETING ME. STOP IT! I DON’T HAVE MOVEMENT SPEED INCREASES FOR THE LOVE O- I’m sorry, I lost myself a little there.
High Botanist Tel’arn
Utter, utter chaos in the last phase and it makes my laptop slow down to a crawl, so I ain’t moving for love nor money. It’s really odd how this is the only fight in the Nighthold that does that, especially with Etraeus existing. Anyway, those stupid spiky spores and the Call of Night and the Parasitic Fetter can bite me.
Dishonourable Mentions: Mistress Sassz’ine, Elerethe Renferal, Spellblade Aluriel.
But not every fight even inspires a sense of hatred. Some fights were just… there. Underwhelming, boring, mechanically limited, here are my most disappointing fights of Legion:
Just… what the hell was this? Stand in the middle and spank the boss? Occasionally move out then back in so the blades avoid the raid? Nothing else? Ignore all those adds at the end because they do literally nothing except lag my laptop? And this is an END BOSS?
Oh look, it’s another “stack on the boss and every ten years, spread for 5 seconds” snoozefest. At least this one had murloc adds. Mrglrglrlgl!
Oh look, it’s another “stack slightly behind the boss, then move side to side every so often” snoozefest. At least this one gave a person a reason to move outside the raid (8 yards only though) so they don’t spread disease about.
Argus the Unmaker
Look, this is meant to be the end boss of the expansion, yet it too boiled down to “stack up, move if you have a bomb/he makes a cone/there’s a swirly” and for an end boss OF THE EXPANSION that’s just a bit too simplistic. The saving grace of this fight was the transition from phase three to four (INSTAKILL!) and the usage of death almost as a resource (for tanks to drop stacks, for people to collect orbs to activate Titanforging) and the need to keep the tree alive.
But a strong phase 4, the phase you’re probably in the fight for the least, does not a good end boss make. The first three phases, unless you botch up the cone of death in phase one, you just don’t feel like you’re under any palpable threat.
Honourable Meh-ntions: Tichondrius, Portal Keeper Hasabel, Cenarius.
Anyway, there’s the notable bosses of this expansion for me. But what about you? Who did you love or hate? Who do you forget even exist? Let me know! As for me, I have a void elf to level.
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?
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?
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?).
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.
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.
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:
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?
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).
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.