WoW

THIS IS FAR FROM THE STRONGEST OF SWORDS

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Oops sorry, no swords here, but here we do have the finest hat. The best hat. The most… tentacular.

But all these fabulous fedoras, these stunning sombreros, this majestic millinery, these brilliant bowlers, they distract us from the most important thing.

Stealth follower missions are the biggest piles of shit in this entire expansion

Thanks for your time.


Oh, in other news, I’m going to give you some advice on the LFR fight MOTHER.

  • Nominate someone who knows the fight. Make them group leader so they can send raid alerts.
  • Tank in group 1, Other tank in group 5. Healer in each.
  • Send over groups one at a time from one room to the next. Wait until everyone’s healed, send in the next group.
  • Kill the adds.
  • DON’T all run into the second room at once. You’ll die.
  • DON’T keep MOTHER in the first room until it explodes. You’ll die.

Thanks for playing.

Oh, and bounce the ball on Zek’voz. If you don’t, you guessed it, you’ll die.

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THEY COME

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The Old Gods are coming! The Old Gods are coming! THOQ FSSH N’ZOTH! ETH’RAZZQI WORG ZZ OU! A̭͍͕̦̠̭̿͌̓̆Q̣͚͎̭̤̣Ě̬̮̙̰̣̻͌V́̅ͮ̍ A̯̯̪̱ͥ̌̓͊̆ͪ̚Q̘̖̰̺͉̪̭͎ͫ̆̄͑͊̎E̜̘̲̱̮̘̯͇ͭ͑͊̎ͥ͒V̜͙̥͇̺̰̰̾͆ A͈̩̼͚̗͓̖͒Q̗̪̻͉ͫ͛͜͝E̴̢̥̲̻͎̦̞̣͐̿ͩ͌ͅV̧̛͓͇̄͡

I mean, probably.

Things I Love In The Prepatch So Far

  • 8.0 Demonology is honestly the best, most fun iteration of Demonology I have ever played! It combines the demon summoning of Legion (but cuts out the boring Demonic Empowerment spam) with the Molten Core gameplay of Mists (but cuts out the stupid Metamorphosis weaving) and honestly, it ends up being something just supremely fun and interesting! Plus, the chance to summon Prince Melchezaar is just lovely. Give me Jaraxxus too and I’ll never change spec again.
  • Sticking on the Warlock front, 8.0 Affliction is actually rather interesting too. Reap Souls has thankfully gone into the bin (sadly so has Soul Flame but we can’t have everything our way), and I enjoy the Deathbolt gameplay so far. Going back to a casted filler rather than a channelled one feels a bit better as well. No more do I feel like a bargain basement Shadow Priest.
  • STORY. MORE STORY. It’s not exactly going the way I’d like it to so far, but I am confident there’ll be some interesting twists and turns. REMEMBER PEOPLE, this is just the prologue to the expansion, there’s a shitload more stuff to come, and I fully expect some of it to be tentacular.
  • I like that Mistweaver Monk has the castable Soothing Mist back, and you can do instant Vivify/Enveloping Mist through it. Makes it a little different to other healers. Plus I love Fistweaving, and a few of their new talents gives that gameplay style a very tidy little boost. Can’t wait to test it out in a raid environment!
  • The anticipation everyone has for the new expansion. It’s so close!
Also I am enjoying levelling this minx up

Things I Hate In The Prepatch So Far

  • Something feels like it’s “missing” from Destruction. Probably the lack of fire-spewing portals from the artifact. I liked those.
  • “Your talents have been reset” nooooooo now I have to look things up!
  • I, like many, many others, am a little miffed at the events that have transpired in the story recently. Still, there’s another week to go, and I suspect the Alliance will get a satisfying retribution. For all the moaning that the Alliance is losing an important racial capital on Kalimdor, it’s important to remember the Horde are losing their only bastion on the Eastern Kingdoms too. Whether or not that is a like-for-like is up to you to decide, but this whole faction conflict does not seem entirely one-sided. Shame it has to be the Horde ACTING, and the Alliance REACTING yet again though.
  • Inxy, the lovely Goblin up there, is currently flying around the WoD zones, levelling via bonus areas and collecting treasures, and rocketing her way to level 100. Kinda wish that was viable in Legion content too. Powerlevel via exploration!
  • Sylvanas’s movie needed a sea shanty like Jaina’s. Yo ho ho and a bottle of plague, that sorta thing.

The Best Things About Legion

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I did the worst yesterday, here’s the best today!

Thal’kiel

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

Warlocks get the best stuff.

Raiding

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.

*hiss*

Cinematics

The cinematics were fantastic this time around, and I am confident they will only get better going forward.

But still, Ysera… *sob*

World Quests

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.

Trilliax

Filthy, filthy, FILTHY!

Void Elves

Practically topless. Rippling abs! Solid pectorals! And that’s just the girls!

SOMETHING’S NOT QUITE RIGHT

AN ILLUSION! WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?!

The Worst Things About Legion

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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.

Ysera

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.

Priests

Their campaign basically amounted to “SAVE US, PALADINS! HELP! WE’RE QUITE USELESS!” which is a bit of a disappointment really.

Warlocks

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!

Fishing

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.

Khadgar

“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”

Ur’zul

Jesus fucking Christ what the shit.

Gul’dan

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.

Demon Hunters

“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.

Christmas Break is OVER

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Time to get back to the grind in WoW.

(with a little more Civ woven in of course, I mean the expansion is next month, and oh god Dynasty Warriors 9 is out soon too)

TO THE GRIND STONE

Fings Wot I Want

  • A void elf, but that apparently involves getting the last Legion reputation to exalted, and ugh Mac’Aree sucks.

  • That snazzy mage tower appearance for Affliction, but that involves getting a specific legendary and the game seems to want to give me anything BUT that legendary. Even going so far as to not give me ANY affliction-specific legendaries at all, let alone the one I want.
  • To kill Argus the Whateverthefrig on Heroic, but then that’s going to happen sooner or later, we’re making good progress through Antorus the Uncomfortable Seat.
  • To get Affliction to 75. I’m at 73. This is probably the easiest to do, maybe I should get right on that?
  • The Celts in Civ VI wait that’s not WoW-related!
  • Though while I’m on the subject of Civ VI, another African or South American civ would be lovely too.
  • The enthusiasm to level my horde character to come back. She’s level 60, and she’s stalled. Though I’ve been playing the game as a whole less recently, due to a random Civ renaissance in my life.
  • MORE WARLOCKS.

Fings Wot I Don’t Want

  • I… I just… Look, Eonar is an atrocious fight and I hope to hell Blizz never do anything like that again.
  • Norgannon’s Foresight.
  • Another East Asian/European civ, bar Georgia I guess. Give us some underrepresented areas! Wait that’s not WoW-related!
  • To be stuck at 3-set the whole bloody tier.
  • Malfurion.
  • Like, just in general Malfurion, he’s awful.
  • Mages.

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!

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.