Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Lesson of the Iron Bough (Monk Week)

Leeeeeet's get appreciating some alts! This week's class is the monk. The newest class in the game, they are a hybrid class that is extremely fun to play. Unfortunately, I don't have a level capped monk myself... I'm trying to work on it, though. I have numerous monk alts scattered across different servers. The one on my home server of Illidan has been grossly neglected and outleveled by a lot of the other ones. Every time I log in to level him, something comes up and I have to stop after a level or two. He is a Pandaren, of course, because is there really any other way to do it? ;)

Although my monk experience is limited, I've been playing Mistweaver on some and Brewmaster on another. Monk tanking is really fun and monk healing even more so. I haven't really fooled around with Windwalker too much yet, but I'm sure that I will eventually. However, I do know that when I come across a MW monk in arena I groan - even when I'm playing disc. Their heals are powerful and they also have a lot of utility.

If anyone has some monk tips and tricks for me or think they can get me more interested in actually leveling the one class I don't have too much experience with, please let me know!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Black Heart of Hellscream

There's nothing quite as exciting to me as patch day, particularly when it's an endgame patch. When the servers go down the night before, I squeal in happiness. I know that when they come back up, there will be new things to see, do, collect and explore. Despite the problems that can and do happen with a massive content patch like 5.4, Blizzard works around the clock to make it launch as smoothly as they possibly can.

5.4 is massive, there's no two ways about it. There are huge changes and tons of additions to the game. I've had a lot of people ask me questions about different patch features throughout the day and figured "hey, may as well blog about it." I figure that if I can lay out all of the information in an easy to understand way and help even one person, my job is done.

Credit to Keo (@tempusfrangit)
The biggest visual change in 5.4 is something that's immediately noticeable upon going outside of your faction's Shrine. The once beautiful Vale of Eternal Blossoms has been scarred, burnt and destroyed with hatred in Garrosh's quest for power. The water is tainted, the land is marred and it's rather jarring to look at.

Where mages once crittermorphed moths in front of Mogu'shan Palace....
Now lies a testament to Garrosh's greed.

Although we've lost the beauty of the Vale, we have a new place to explore. The Timeless Isle is located off the coast of The Jade Forest. It may look small, but appearances are deceiving - it's jam packed full of quests, rares, treasure and new world bosses. Not to mention more glorious, glorious achievements.

So many rares packed on such a small island can be really overwhelming. Thankfully, my good friend WoWMartiean has made another excellent guide for the Timeless rarespawns. These videos may seem fairly long, but they thoroughly cover the many rares that can be found on the Island. You can find part one here and part two here. In addition to the rares, there are many different types of treasure chests hidden around the Isle. MMOChampion has an awesome guide to the locations of these chests here, although I am much preferring to explore and find them on my own. ;) Some of these treasure chests contain Timeless Armor Caches and pieces, which will allow you to create a 496 item level piece of gear for your current gear specialization. These are all bind-to-account and are an incredibly simple way to get some new gear for alts you may have neglected or who just plain need the gear. There are also more than 50 new vanity items that drop from mobs around the Isle and an achievement for obtaining them all. Whew!

Also introduced with patch 5.4 is the endgame raid for Mists of Pandaria - the Seige of Orgrimmar. In this raid, we'll fight our way through the now desecrated Vale of Eternal Blossoms and end up knocking right on the front gates of Orgrimmar to take the battle right to Garrosh Hellscream himself. I was lucky enough to down the first two bosses in the also newly-introduced flex raiding mode on Tuesday evening and so far, I am really enjoying what I'm seeing. Throughout the raid, we will fight off the corrupted army of Garrosh's new Horde. Both Alliance and Horde alike will delight in the eventual fall of the man who dares to calls himself the Warchief of the Horde. 
Seige of Orgrimmar load screen.
Flex is a new raid mode introduced that will allow you to do current content with your friends from the same faction who are on other realms. This difficulty can be done with anywhere between 10 and 25 players and the raid difficulty will scale based on how many people are in the group. Flex has a different lockout from LFR and normal modes and awards item level 540 gear.

Also introduced in 5.4 (getting tired yet?!) are the Proving Grounds. You can access them through an inital quest in your faction's Shrine that takes you to the Temple of the White Tiger in Kun-Lai Summit. The Proving Grounds are a way to test your mettle as a healer, tank or DPS role in a solo environment. You are provided with four NPC companions throughout your trials and can progress through bronze, silver and gold ranked challenges. After completing gold rank, you are able to head into endless mode, which is exactly what it sounds like - endless waves of mobs to fight. They're a great way to learn a new role or hone your skills at the one you already play. But beware - your stats are scaled down a bit. ;)

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more new things in patch 5.4, such as mounts, pets, new armor sets, legendary cloaks, glyphs and even a new boss at the Darkmoon Faire! But... I felt it was best to leave you guys some stuff to see on your own.

As usual, if you have any questions or want clarification on anything, feel free to leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Rituals of Power (Mage Week)

Hello guys! Another week and yet another alt appreciation post! Ah, the mage... be it fire, frost or arcane, there is no questioning the power that a mage wields. They're deadly in PvP and put out massive damage in PvE. They're useful inside and outside of instance groups with the ability to conjure food and time warp. Not to mention their ability to port people wherever their heart desires.... or to play portal roulette with unsuspecting victims. ;) Although mages have always been called the "one button class," they have evolved to have some very powerful spells in their arsenal as well as some pretty great talents.

Many people assume that since I go by the moniker manabrownies, I must main a mage. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. Although my mage has been level capped since January, I rarely play her other than for my weekly mount / transmog runs. I often say that I would like to play my mage more often than I do, but her being on a server that I don't really play on anymore means that she gets pushed to the side a lot more than I intend. Since it's mage week, I am making a promise that I will visit her a little more often and get her up to a respectable gear level... maybe I'll even be take her into SoO LFR by the time it releases.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Steadying Your Shot (Hunter Week)

Who doesn't love a good hunter? Hunter players who know what they're doing are very beneficial to raid and dungeon groups, as well as extremely versatile in PvP. In a raid but you don't have a class with bloodlust/hero/time warp? No problem! Hunter, call out a corehound for lust! Hunters are incredibly fun... when I roll an alt on a different server, 9 times out of 10 I go for a hunter. Unfortunately, other than my PTR toon, I do not have a level cap hunter this expansion. I have so many alts that I'm trying to work on that the numerous hunters I have at various levels sometimes fall by the wayside.

Hunters of Warcraft, I salute you. You guys get more insults hurled your way than any other class. Everyone has heard it or had it hurled at them at one point - "huntard." A word with no respect, fusing your class and a horrible word for a disability in a misguided attempt to elicit a laugh. There are the jokes about only having to spam arcane shot and steady shot to win. Hunters are so much more than that. Powerful, the best class for trying to solo pretty much anything and full of utility that will make your opposing faction cower in fright. Keep on hunting!