WoW

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.
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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.

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.

THE MIGHTY YOPAAT: A Day in the Life

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This post is me taking part in Z & Cinder’s Blog Challenge 20: A Day in the Life of Your Toon because for fuck’s sake I need to blog more often

The Mighty Yopaat, Farseer of the Earthen Ring

Has quite a ring to it, doesn’t it? It makes you think of power and dignity and other assorted stuff like that, right? Well let me tell you, I sure don’t feel it right now.

I seem to spend my time dogsbodying for that lazy mage Khadgar, performing meaningless errands for the disparate groups that pepper the Broken Isles, or babysitting so-called “champions,” telling them where to go and what to do. It seems the Kirin Tor are more interested in playing games with barrels than fighting the legion.

Let’s take today. I went to Aszuna. I freed some of those morose demon hunters and killed their captors. I picked some weird fel flower. I extracted murloc eyes from their heads and stole a hydra’s egg. I killed a ghost, which is surely impossible as they’re already dead. Another ghost gave me a box with nothing of interest inside. Tomorrow I may well end up in Val’sharah doing other pointless errands.

Ah, but you’re not here to hear me complain about my lot in life, are you? Yes, I do try and relax sometimes.

I spend a lot of time in The Legerdemain Lounge. They do the nicest coffee on Azeroth, you know. A rich, dark Kun-Lai roast, none of this icy Highmountain rubbish. I enjoy the kick, it gives me the spark I need to make my own brews. Not coffee, mind, but potions. See, in my spare time I indulge in a bit of alchemy. I refuse to pay those scalpers at the auction house for herbs, mind, so I go and pick my own. I’ve got quite the knowledge of herbs now, though I still occasionally disintegrate Starlight Rose. Fat furry fingers, you know?

The alchemy shop being opposite Like Clockwork is an annoyance though. Explosions and robots fighting day in, day out. At least I’m able to make potions without Deucus’s supervision.

I still see Thrall occasionally. He likes to ask me if I’m taking good care of Doomhammer. Haven’t the heart to tell him it’s collecting dust in the care of some goblins, along with Sharas’dal. Sure, hitting things with a hammer is somewhat cathartic, but I don’t want to fall into that trap of “if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” I much prefer to keep my distance, less chance of being bludgeoned myself, you know?

I don’t tend to socialise much. My fellow shamans tend to be rather stuffy and constantly in a state of elemental reverence, which is fine and all but take a break sometime, yeah? Not that other groups are better. The warlocks freak me out, the mages and paladins are full of themselves, the death knights and demon hunters are too… you know? Just too. Too much. And the druids? Worse than shaman! That said I do have a few friends I see every so often. There’s a warlock that seems less weird than the others, there’s a pretty cute monk I see meditating in Dalaran occasionally, and I know a rogue that opens locked boxes for me, and in return I give her potions. She’s got a missing eye too. Maybe I’ll ask her story one day?

Maybe not. She seems like that might be a sore point for her.

My eye? Oh it’s silly, really. You don’t wanna know.

The Way of the Monk

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Okay so being primarily a Shaman/Warlock player, you might think I am unqualified to be talking about what it means to be a Monk, but let me tell you, everyone refers to me as Grandmaster Lunchi, I’m wearing the clothes of a Grandmaster, and that wouldn’t be the case if I wasn’t a position of authority within the bigass turtle we all ride upon.

LOOK. SEE? Says it right there. Grandmaster.

So, given that I am the undisputed GRANDMASTER LUNCHI, isn’t it my duty to impart my wondrous wisdom upon you? To teach you the WAY OF THE MONK? Yes, I thought so, let’s begin.

  • Roll everywhere. There’s a talent that lets you Roll more. Use it. There’s a brew that makes Roll have no cooldown for an hour. Use that liberally. Travel at the speed of Roll.
  • Be careful when near cliff edges, especially if you are not a pandaren. Other races are not as Bouncy as us, and therefore cannot take the fall.
Sometimes even pandaren struggle if you fall off a cliff high enough.
  • Kick. Punch. It’s all in the mind. If you wanna test me, I’m sure you’ll find that the things I’ll teach ya is sure to beat ya, but nevertheless, you’ll get a lesson from teacher, now KICK.
KICK
KICK
  • It’s important to drink heavily when a monk. Whether it’s MAGICAL TEA that focuses your mind, deeply alcoholic brews that allow you to breathe fire or shrug off hits, or energy drinks to reinvigorate you, pick your poison and become one with it!
  • You know how they say “never work with animals or children”? Ignore that, you have a cat, bird or ox to befriend.
Yes, I blew a 3 minute cooldown just to get this picture. Twice.
  • JAB JAB UPLIFT oh wait that’s not a thing anymore.
  • Utilising your zoning abilities (hadoken, long-ranged normals et al) is very important in controlling the horizontal playfield. A common tactic is to throw a fireball, then use a shoryuken if the opponent jumps over it towards you. Experienced players may well bait the shoryuken followup out of you, leading to a massive punish combo if mistimed.
TENMA GOZANKU!
  • Try to remember some of the basics of CQC.
  • Flying Serpent Kick, if walking upon the wind is more your style, can be an even better launcher than mere rolling or Chi Torpedoing. Skim atop the surface of water! Rush towards your enemies at lightning speed! Plummet to your death off a cliff yet AGAIN!
  • Never use Roll, Chi Torpedo or Flying Serpent Kick when you’re on the Spine of Deathwing. Probably best to not use it where there’s Instant Death Water™ either, such as during the Krosus fight, or Gorefiend.
  • Expecting to need an expeditious retreat? Transcend space and time by mere meditation!
That basically means “you have a Demonic Circle-esque ability, fuckin’ use it”

There are, of course, many more aspects to the Way of the Monk, but I think that is all a beginner like you needs to handle for now.

And yes, this was an excuse to show off what Lunchi looks like. Seriously, that Grandmaster armour set (from the class hall) is bloody amazing-looking, and several of the Sheilun appearances look STUNNING with it.