¡Viva la Darkspear Revolución!

***SPOILER ALERT!!!  The following post contains events from Patch 5.3, so read at your own risk!***

Staging the Attack

“Da Darkspear never gonna give up.”

– Vol’jin

Patch 5.3 hit last week and the time to end Garrosh’s reign as the leader of the Horde and take back Orgrimmar has begun!  The first thing I did Tuesday was to start the new questline, which involved the new scenarios.  With these new scenarios came Heroic versions as well and weren’t too difficult to complete.  Completing your first Heroic scenario of the day can reward you with a ilevel 516 item, which is a nice upgrade from your standard ilevel 502 drops from LFR Throne of Thunder.

The first scenario you’re given by Lorewalker Cho is Blood in the Snow, which is a story told from the Alliance side, so Hordies get to be transformed into the Alliance, similar to the Culling of Stratholme instance.  This scenario was pretty quick, just be careful of the patrolling mobs, they could make your Heroic run messy.

Blood in the Snow

Hekima's Heal-Halter

Heed the Weed

The next scenario you’re given is the Dark Heart of Pandaria, which involves investigating the hole that the Horde dug up in the Vale of the Eternal Blossoms.  The only tricky parts I found here were pulling too many of the Elementals at the beginning and make sure to keep moving on the last boss.

Dark Heart of Pandaria

I also noticed this giant Mogu NPC named Norushen at the end of the scenario.  I wonder what role he has in all of this..

Norushen

Afterwards, Cho sends you to Sen’jin Village to meet with Vol’jin, Chen and Thrall.  Vol’jin plans on taking over Razor Hill, which will act as his staging grounds for the upcoming assault on Orgrimmar.

Onwards to Razor Hill

Once Razor Hill is under control, Cho will send you on a quest in Kun-Lai to help Seer Hao Pham Roo get to the top of Mount Neverest where he gives you information on the final Sha and rewards you with ilevel 502 boots.

Back in Razor Hill, you’re given a weekly quest to gather supplies from certain mobs in the Northern Barrens to assist in the siege of Orgrimmar efforts.  You need to collect 150 supplies of wood, meat, stone and oil and you’re rewarded with 200 Valor points and a Radical Mojo.  The Radical Mojo can be used to purchase a mini hydra pet, Gahz’rooki, a Brawler’s Guild quest or to convert any of the Kor’kron vestments you find in the Barrens to a ilevel 489 armor piece for your spec.  Kinda pointless for your main toon since they should have better, but would definitely help out any alts that might need it.

After completing the weekly quest, you’re rewarded with an achievement.  If you are Horde, you are also granted the title, “Darkspear Revolutionary”.

Darkspear Revolutionary

Darkspear Revolutionary Arvash

Sadly, it’s not a sharable title that you can have on your other Horde toons, so you’ll have to complete the questline again if you want it.  I think the title goes great with any Troll, but my hunter is only 86, so he’s got a long way to go, lol.

Completing the questline on the Alliance side grants you the “Hordebreaker” title, which sounds sooo much cooler.  I’ll have to get working on Val so that she can sport that title in true Alliance fashion.

I thought the story progression for 5.3 was done well, albeit short, but it definitely sets us up for what’s to come in the 5.4 raid.  Look out Garrosh, your time as ruler of the Horde is about to come to an end!

Collecting rocks and picking flowers just got easier

I pity the Fool's Gold!

I pity the Fool’s Gold!

Sometime soon, the latest 5.3 patch will bring a change to all profession gathers of the rock and flower variety.

From MMO-Champion:

  • Miners can now level mining from a low skill level completely in Pandaria. Nodes will yield Ghost Iron Nuggets with the amount being determined by your skill level. You can combine ten nuggets to make one ore.
  • Herbalists can now level herbalism from a low skill level completely in Pandaria. Nodes will yield a partial herb with the amount being determined by your skill level. You can combine 10 of the partial herbs to form a complete herb.
  • Currently on the PTR, you will sometimes get fragments and the actual herb or ore when gathering near the minimum level for that node type.

This is one change I’m looking forward to.  I have all the professions covered and maxed across my alts on Drak, so any new characters I make, I usually make them Miners/Herbalists.  This also goes for new toons I make on new servers.

My little gobby Warrior, Dizzee, is at level 85, waiting for her turn to experience Pandaria.  She is one of my dual gatherers, with her Herbalism skill at 40 and Mining at 46.  Because I’m spoiled with tank insta-queues, I leveled her as Prot mainly through LFD, so her professions suffered as a result.

The same goes for my pandaren Monk, Siopao.  She’s at 53 Herbalism and 42 Mining and is only level 50,  but with full Heirlooms, the Enlightenment buff and the insta-queues as a Brewmaster tank, she’ll be in Outland and Northrend before I know it, not being able to farm at the appropriate level without having to go back to Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms.

The only downside I see to this change is the supply of the lower level ore and herbs and the Auction House economy.  My toons off Drak that have Mining and Herbalism rely on selling these low-level materials on the AH to provide them cash flow for riding, flying, etc.  The lack of these mats will hurt those leveling Alchemy, Engineering, Blacksmithing, Inscription and Jewelcrafting, especially if they can’t farm for themselves.

We’ll see what happens when the patch comes out.  But for now, I’m excited to catch up on my gathering professions for my alts on Pandaria.

Running Challenge Modes with the CMN and SR

Ready for More CMs

Sorry this post is a little dated by a week or so, but I wanted to post some our screenshots and achievements with Challenge Modes lately.  I think the most interesting part about this latest string of runs is that each one involved a different lineup.

Ready to Run Gate

Here is a Gate of the Setting Sun run that we got bronze in.  This is the original Challenge Mode Noob (CMN) group of me, Navi, Lush, Luxy and Karn.

Luxy, Arv, Lush, Karn, Navi and friends in Gate of the Setting Sun

Luxy, Arv, Lush, Karn, Navi and friends in Gate of the Setting Sun

Gate of the Setting Sun: Bronze

Another bronze medal was earned in the Siege of Niuzao Temple.  We didn’t have Karn this time, so I brought in Zug to join us.

Arv, Zug, Luxy, Lush and Navi in Siege of Niuzao Temple

Arv, Zug, Luxy, Lush and Navi in Siege of Niuzao Temple

Siege of Niuzao Temple: Bronze

The hardest Challenge Mode of the bunch, Shado-Pan Monastery proved to be just that.  Navi invited another fellow Frostee, Souglyy, to join us for the run.  We had a rough time with this CM and didn’t medal, but we pushed on and still finished it through.

Arv, Navi, Luxy, Lush and Souglyy in Shado-Pan Monastery

Arv, Navi, Luxy, Lush and Souglyy in Shado-Pan Monastery

Shado-Pan Monastery Challenger

We wanted to do another, but Souglyy was feeling tired, so Luxy asked another friend, Ut, who came along and brought his pally, Makemebad.  This time we hit up Stormstout Brewery, which I missed on a previous run that the Frostees had with Zug and Adoe.  This time, we got a Bronze.

Makemebad (Ut), Arv, Luxy, Navi and Lush in Stormstout Brewery

Makemebad (Ut), Arv, Luxy, Navi and Lush in Stormstout Brewery

Stormstout Brewery: Bronze

Later that night, we had another go at a CM I missed, Scholomance.  This time, Navi asked their warrior, Fallnapart, to come along.  We came close to getting another Bronze, but just fell short.  I did get the Challenge Conqueror achievement for completing all the Challenge Modes.

Luxy and Arv in Scholomance

Luxy and Arv in Scholomance

Scholomance Challenger and Challenge Conqueror

We tried our hand again in Scarlet Halls, a Challenge that we didn’t medal in.  Short again a dps, Navi asked one of their warlocks, Azadelta, to come.  Three brezzes!  This time we were successful in getting a Bronze medal.

Luxy, Arv, Lush, Aza and Navi in Scarlet Halls

Luxy, Arv, Lush, Aza and Navi in Scarlet Halls

Scarlet Halls: Bronze

Zug was feeling the CM bug one Monday night, so he got me, Adoe, Shadeey and Slice to group together for a Gate of the Setting Sun run, the first Shadow Rising CM run in a long time.  We ended up running it three times in a row, each time getting faster and faster.  On the last run, we were making good time for Silver and were surprised that we didn’t get it after killing Raigonn.  The reason:

Two More Enemies!

Yep, two freakin’ mobs, lol.  We quickly ran out of the instance and ran back in and took care of a few adds that we skipped at the beginning to finally claim our prize.

Shadeey, Zug, Arv and Slice in Gate of the Setting Sun (Not Pictured: Adoe)

Shadeey, Zug, Arv and Slice in Gate of the Setting Sun (Not Pictured: Adoe)

Gate of the Setting Sun: Silver

This past Monday, the original SR Challenge Mode team of me, Zug, Adoe, Sorak and Slice decided to go back to Gate and improve on our Silver and go for the Gold.  On our best attempt, we completed the run in 16 minutes, 4 minutes shy of the Gold.  We would have had more attempts at it, but with all the resetting we were doing, some of us got the “You’ve entered too many instances recently” message or were having login issues.  So we left it at that for the night.

Navi mentioned on her blog that I might be getting CM burnout from running on two teams, but honestly, I’m enjoying it.  Different compositions call for different strategies and you’ve really gotta think quick on your feet to adjust.  With the CMN team, we’ve got at least two brezzes from Navi and Lush, so you have a little leeway if someone goes down.  With the SR team, we have no brezzers, so you really have to pop CDs and blessings at the right time to keep everyone alive cause you can’t really afford to be a man down if you want to make good time.

But no matter what, I’m determined to help both teams reach their goals, whether to get all Silvers for the mount or even Golds for the transmog gear. =)

PvP and Arena Fun

An interesting thing happened over the weekend.  We actually did some pvp with the guild, lol.  Saturday night, Psynite and Slice were chatting it up in guild chat and someone mentioned about running some BGs as a group.  I was messing around on an alt trying to get a second farm going, but I quickly abandoned that and switched over to Arv to tag along for some BGs.  Adoe and Lyss also joined and so we had a nice 5-man group ready to pvp.

Our first BG was Silvershard Mines.  I noticed that the northern cart was close to the depot, so I made a run for it as soon as the gates dropped.  I was accompanied by a few Hordies and there was only one Alliance there to challenge us, so we quickly took control of the cart right as it entered the shaft for a nice achievement.

End of the Line

We ended up winning that BG pretty decisively.  I’m not sure what it is about Silvershard, but I’ve won it in every group I’ve been with.  Crazy luck maybe?

We had a couple of games in The Battle of Gilneas, which went really well and also turned out to be both Horde victories.  I decided to go Prot with my pvp gear on to protect and AoE around the flags, which turned out really well.  The Alliance could not assault a flag that I guarded. =)

Next up was Warsong Gulch.  For capture the flag BGs like this and Twin Peaks, I usually go Prot and volunteer to be the flag carrier.  Right off the bat, I raced over the Alliance base and quickly ran back, ready to capture it.  It didn’t take long, as our Horde flag carrier kill group quickly downed the Alliance flag carrier for a quick capture.  As Slice mentioned that night, the Alliance quickly gave up and didn’t bother trying to cap our flag from that point on.   They pretty much hovered in the middle, trying to get Honor kills instead.  That seems to be the norm, though.  I ‘ve been in many Horde groups where we would also lose the first flag and everyone would just give up.  I’ll at least make a game out of it; I’ll keep running after the flag even if we’re down 2-0.

It didn’t take too long to cap the other two flags, the Alliance tried to slow me down on the third, but I popped my trinket and sped up the ramp for another quick capture and another achievement for finishing in under 7 minutes.

Warsong Expedience

The next BG was another Silvershard Mines match.  Like the previous SM game, the Horde dominated and we were capturing carts left and right.  We had such a big lead that I even had time to run around to find the Restoration and Berserking buffs for an achievement.

Greed is Good

And I even escorted a cart from the spawn point all the way to the depot.

The Long Riders

Those final achievements finally pushed me in the 17,000 club too.

It's Over 17000!

Our last BG of the night was Arathi Basin, which we didn’t win.  We couldn’t overcome the Alliance resources and they pretty much controlled 3 out of the 5 territories the entire match.  Still, winning 5 of 6 BGs was a pretty successful night for us.

Adoe, Lyss and Slice decided to call it a night after the AB game, so Psynite asked me if I wanted to do some 2v2 arenas with him.  The last time I did any arenas was with Slice and Adoe towards the end of Cata.  I’ve been wanting to get back into them, as this is the easiest way to cap your Conquest points for the week.  So I dropped the team I was on with Adoe and joined Psy’s Morphlings.

Before Psy joined SR, he was an avid pvper back on his other server.  He mainly ran as either a paladin or a hunter and I think he mentioned he did 2s, 3s, 5s and even rated BGs, so he has a lot of experience.  Sorak invited his Rogue over to Drak to help fill our raid dps when we were short peeps and has done an awesome job getting raid ready with all the gear he’s been getting.  He’s been pvping on his Rogue a lot lately, and even though it was new to him, he still tears up the charts, lol.

While waiting for our first arena match, I bought the last two Malevolent pieces I needed to complete my set, the bracers and cloak, with the Honor points I accumulated that night.  I didn’t get to gem or enchant several of my pieces before the matches started to roll in.

Our first handful of matches were…..bleh.  I was rusty and it showed.  I was popping my trinkets at the wrong times, blowing my CDs on the wrong target and was just getting owned.  I was worried that Psy was thinking he made a mistake pairing up with me, lol.  But we kept at it and eventually started to get some wins in.  I took a break about halfway through our matches to gem/enchant/reforge my gear and it definitely made a difference.  Psy noticed it too, as my burst was quicker and damage higher, which increased my confidence.

As double dps, we had to rely on a lot of burst and damage on one player, throwing in CCs when we could.  We tried different strats on the start, from going in stealth with Psy cloaking the both of us to me running in like a madman to bait the other team from coming out of stealth.  Once a meat shield, always a meat shield, right? Lol

We found success against teams with double dps too, Death Knights seemed the squishiest, so we always targeted them first.  We did go up against add odd pairing, a Hunter and a blood DK, who was sitting at 480K health.  We tried to focus down the DK, but he was doing some crazy self-healing and the Hunter eventually picked us off one by one.  We met the same group a few matches later, this time we burned the Hunter down and slowly killed the DK.  I’d like to try going prot once, but I doubt I’d last as long as a blood DK.

Teams with healers gave us the most difficulty, especially ones with Holy Paladins and Resto Druids.  I hate Holy Pallys in BGs because they’re so hard to kill and they are just the same in arenas.  We did find success against Disc Priests and Mistweaver Monks.  In the monk fight, I got caught up in their disarming ability, which was pretty annoying, but I don’t think their team was well geared because they went down fast.

Psy and I played enough winning games to reach the 1800 Conquest point cap for the week, the other 400 points have to come from rated BGs, which I don’t see myself getting into unless I can find a group, lol.  Our win-loss record may be abysmal, but hey, it was our first night running together.  =P

Morphlings Debut

I was able to snag the Tyrannical helm with my Conquest points to go along with the Tyrannical gloves I got off Nalak last week.  Psy said that the Tyrannical weapons are really good and he hopes to get one in a couple of weeks.  I’ll probably work towards that too, Starshatter is ok, but unless I get a two-handed drop from ToT, the Tyrannical one is my best bet.

Thanks guys for an awesome pvp night and thanks to Psy for getting me excited about doing arenas again!

Friday Fun Night – Twilight Harbingers

Lyss, Arv and Van on Twilight Harbinger Drakes

Lyss, Arv and Van on Twilight Harbinger Drakes

After having a week off from doing our Friday Fun Nights, we finally finished the Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider meta and got our drakes last Friday.  Grats to everyone that got them!  The mount looks awesome and the model looks like Alexstraza’s dragon form.

All that was left was to complete Madness of Deathwing, starting on Kalecgos’ platform.  We had most of our FFN regulars (me, Lyss, Slice, Stunnah, Van, Bocat, Vaunt and Luxy) and brought in Zug’s sis, Galanna too.  It was a quick run and it only took us an hour to do.

Chromatic Champion and Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider

Vaunt and Bocat still need a Madness kill on Ysera’s platform for their drakes and Stunnah is halfway done with the daggers, so we’ll probably be doing DS for a few more weeks.  Thanks to everyone for coming to these DS runs and helping out get these awesome mounts!