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Three Weeks a Fire Mage

Illume Header

Frost was okay, but nowhere near the big hits I was used to on Draenor, so I decided to do something decidedly boring.  That’s right, I swapped to Fire. Like, apparently, every other bloody mage in the entire game.

The problem with Fire for me was that I had gotten Ebonchill pretty far down the ol’ upgrade tree, then swapped out to Felo’melorn; running around with a child’s dinky in an adult’s body, as it were. At 110, you’re expected to be toting a 110-level weapon and gear to match.

So I held on to Ebonchill for those moments when I needed to swap out, but concentrated on Fire whenever I could. After all, practice, practice, practice.

As one might expect, survivability is not a thing with Fire mages. We’re not really designed for that.  But Felo’melorn does have some tools for us, such as a thing that causes Blink or Shimmer to heal you for a little bit. So your rotation often consists of taking a quick blip right after Dragon’s Breath.  And sometimes that brings more to the party.

The next piece of the puzzle was getting Belo’vir’s Final Stand from an Emissary loot box (Highmountain, if you must know, but WoWHead isn’t telling how many times it comes from what).  I’ve often been a critic of people blaming gear for their lack of <your thing here>, but I am here to tell you now that that robe made a world of difference in my damage output and survivability.

So I guess, for great differences, you do see some significant effects. Shut mah mouth.

Of course, changing specs calls for a new transmog. All those blue tones just don’t go with my flaming balls of doom, after all.  So I borrowed from the past.  Long time ago, Jasra made the Robe of Power(1) to wear – that was before she found something more sensible for her line of work – and it was available, so I grabbed it. And then I reached for the Mantle of Three Terrors and … hey, where is it?  It’s not in the box!

Okay, so  you know that there is a thing that any armor appearance you may have had in the past is available to you and your entire account provided they can wear it.  So Jasra’s robe was available to me, but anything class-specific wasn’t. The Mantle of Three Terrors, however, is not class bound, and Flora once had it.  We even have pictures.  Hell, she blogged about it. With pictures.

Let’s be clear – there has never been a more perfect shoulder piece for a fire mage. Two large dragon heads with little flames flickering in their maws and eyes, flanked by two more little dragon heads each. Fierce. And unique, too. There’s only one of these in existence, nothing that looks like them drops from anything else in the worlds.

So when I pinged Blizzard customer support, I was expecting a “wow, not sure how that happened, we’re restored it to your account”. What I got was “our records do not show that you ever had it, have a nice day.”

Thanks a lot, @BlizzardCS.

So what’s a mage to do?  Grind, that’s what.  When possible, I’ve been hitting The Black Morass to try to get Chrono Lord Deja to drop the things.  First note here: the drop rate on WoWHead is deceptive. I suspect it is for the Heroic version of the instance, which you cannot repeat more than once a day. You can reset the instance all you want, but it won’t actually reset. So you have to run it on Normal, and you get only so many tries if you’re efficient at it (nine to ten, generally).  Long story short (too late!), it took forty tries, but I got the damned thing. (that’s 2.5% for those keeping score)

Illume Fire MogStill not happy with the sword mog, but it’ll do for now – most sword models are so elaborate and fussy that they get caught on … well, everything. Brandishing the thing about during casting is an invite to any number of mishaps if you don’t manage it properly, and, let’s be honest here, bladecraft is not normally high up on a mage’s training regimen.

At any rate, let this be a warning to you – not all things you won in BC might have made the trip to the future with you. You might wanna check now and try to get @BlizzardCS to help out if you can figure a way to make that happen. Too late for me, at this point, but if I can help somebody fend off a last minute panic, so much the better.

At this point, fire magely speaking, I’m pretty satisfied with the spec, though I haven’t tested it in an instance or anything.  The DPS is pretty impressive compared to the frost spec with better weapon, though, so I’m hopeful.

An interesting thing about Felo’melorn is that I’ve been getting accosted by NPCs, only Sin’dorei so far, asking to look at the weapon. Once they do, you get +50 artifact power, which is helpful.  I wonder how many other NPCs there are wanting a gander at the blade? And I wonder how many there are out there interested in other class’ weapons? Ebonchill never got this sort of attention. Then again, this is an important part of Sin’dorei lore.  However that plays out, it’s a nice touch.


1 Hipster mode: remember what a gigantic pain in the ass it was to get that pattern and the mats to make it?  WELL I DO.

150,000 Apexis Crystals

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I grinded Karazhan for six months before Midnight dropped. And once he did, I found that he didn’t fly.

By way of appology for not researching matters properly, Grimm has been grinding Apexis missions in Tannan to gain me the Corrupted Dreadwing.

150,000 Apexis crystals. Now that’s love.

Today, as a result, we haz the peen.

Dreadwing

Now, let it be known that Grimm is out of things to do, and 4 1/2 months is way too long to let a dorf with a gun just idle around.

I’m sayin’, hide your moms.  Little bastige has a thing for Titan constructs, so decoys are a possibility.

Can I also comment this: if Warlocks had a decent flying mount comparable to our Dreadsteeds, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.  Like, maybe, making our Dreadsteeds fly?  Can we talk, Blizz?  I mean, at least for those of us that worked our asses off for it?

That’s a Wrap

When they said that there would be no flying in Draenor, I was okay with that. I was in complete agreement with GhostCrawler, in that flight pretty much ruined a lot of the game’s “magic”, as it were.

I’ve also been of the opinion that Blizz could fix this by simply being bright enough to factor flight into their zone designs, but to date that has not been, shall we say, evident in their efforts.  Blizz took the easy route, and banned flight from Draenor.  Again, I was fine with that.

And when they introduced Draenor Pathfinder, I absolutely had no problem with it.  You want flying? Fine, here you go – but you’re gonna have to work for it.

I just don’t think I’ve ever said I wouldn’t take a shot at getting it myself.

Grimmtooth Draenor Pathfinder

There are a couple of motivations behind this. First of all, it’s one of the few achievements I can acquire in this expansion since I don’t have a raiding guild under me anymore, and I’m an abject failure at PvP (Ironically, Jasra the Disco priest has a better record at PvP than I). So this is one of the few real achievements I can gain while it’s still relevant and not relegated to the ignominy of the Stormwind Flight Trainer.

Secondly, while I’m not raiding I still have a path to some pretty sweet crafted gear, but it requires felblight, which as most of us have found out, is more easily harvested if  you have a flying mount.

Looking back at what I’ve written so far, it sounds almost like an apology for doing something that was difficult to do and well worth the effort. Let’s make that clear: I’m not apologizing for anything. Maybe I need to  make it clear where I’m coming from, but in the end I achieved something that was not easy to achieve, and I’m very happy I did so. It’s nice to fly around again, and I’ve immersed four characters all the way to level 100, with two coming up in the ranks above 90.  I’ve experienced this game from the ground about as much as one can. I’ve paid my dues, kapich?

One weird thing, though.

Flying sure does bring out the spikes in Orcish architecture, doesn’t it?

All the spikes

At any rate, with this achievement I’ve accomplished about all I can accomplish on Grimm except for the Corrupted Dreadwing, which I am saving up  for. That will be a special present for Flora since she found out that Midnight doesn’t fly. Hella grind only to find out it was a ground-only mount. My bad, I confused it with the Headless Horseman’s steed. So I have a bit to make up for.

Legionary Warlocks

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Blizz released their preview of the Warlock class for Legion in a post on 2015-11-09.  This will be my final detailed analysis of the previews, as beyond that I have less than casual acquaintance with the classes being previewed.  I might do a little overview thing if I can muster some opinions.

Background

Floramel is my third raiding main, and in many ways my alternate raiding main.  Through Kara, I raided with Grimm primarily but brought Flora in when we were heavy on the boomstick toting crowd. Flora was also my main DPS raider in Cata for my main guild, as at that time Grimm was off with the Effers and there was no cross-realm raiding.

So I’ve spent a lot of time in the Warlock suit, and have spent time as well in all the various specs. As one does when one is a raider. So I’ve played Aff, Destro, and Demo on and off for years.

I guess I need to explain my feelings, which I have many, about the three specs.

  • Demonology has long been my favorite spec, though it has not often been the one with the best output.  I suspect that its past similarity to the Beastmaster Hunter spec has played a large part in my fondness for it. At any rate, I feel that this spec in many ways exemplifies the very core of Warlockdom.
  • Affliction  also “feels” like a perfect fit for the Warlock idiom, based in no small part to my experiences with the early Warlock Class quests, which had a definite “evil” flair to them – and the whole idea of inflicting pain to further your ends is just diabolically excellent.
  • Destruction – Of all the specs for Warlocks, this one seems most ill at ease, especially considering that in the BC days it was customary to sacrifice one of your demons to gain power as Desto. And then there’s the rivalry between Destro and Fire mages. Why Destro didn’t have green fire from Day One is beyond me, but the fact that they don’t is a constant source of confusion with regard to Fire Mages.

As I have said, I have played all three. I’ve only really raided a lot on Aff and Destro.  While Demo has been pretty good for an expansion or two, my non-LFR raiding opportunities have been few and far between. Not that I’m complaining. Any day you wake up as a Warlock is a good day.

My views of the three specs plays a lot into how I mentally RP Floramel. Sarcastic, snarky, with an undercurrent of anger, Flora cuts a wide swath through any environment she encounters, be it physical or social. She does one thing, she does it very well, and then she moves on. She isn’t interested in making friends or cultivating ties unless you’re another warlock with some connections she can exploit. She’s fiercely loyal to her family, but outside of them, you’re all soul shards waiting to be harvested.

An Overview of the Preview

So here’s what we know now, but be mindful that it is all dependent on further revelations based on talents and the Artifact weapon.

First, a quote that sets the tone:

[…] while Affliction and Destruction Warlocks have maintained consistent, distinguished fantasies, the core identity of the Demonology Warlock has strayed too far from its roots in recent years.

Warlock resources have also become too cumbersome, causing confusion that outweighed their depth. To this end, we’re going to once again standardize Warlocks on their most class-defining resources: Mana and Soul Shards. Finally, demons have always served various utility purposes, but most of them are very niche, while the same one or two demons see the vast majority of limelight

Translation: Aff and Destro, you cool. Demo, stand by for heavy rolls.

We want to re-incentivize demon variety, strengthening the various utilities that each demon supplies, and causing some demons to be favored based on the Warlock’s spec.

Translation: See, Blizzard DOES care about diversity!

So here’s how it all rolls up.

  • Affliction – DoTs are stronger, spells that DoTs used to accentuate are de-emphasized. Agony is now your main resource generator, and it’s accentuated when you have multiple Agonys up.
  • Demonology – Moving away from the Warlock becoming a demon, and more towards MOAR DEMONS.
  • Destruction – You’re fine. Big difference is that burning embers are now soul shards, like it is for the other two specs.

And the good news is: even though soul shards are coming back in a big way, we don’t need soul shard bags for them. (You remember those, don’t you?)

Afterthoughts

I have hated, with energy too great for meager words to express, the Demonology rotation post-Cataclysm. Having to learn and program two rotations of two sets of similar but unrelated spells was ridiculous, and I’m glad that that’s going out the window.

I am simultaneously amused and annoyed that Shadow Priests are picking up the bifurcated rotation (Shadow/Void Form) in our stead. And I am hopeful that that can be reconsidered before that particular train wreck goes live. Whoever thought Normal/Demonform was a good thing should have a long talk with the present Shadow Priest designer – unless they’re the same person, which is a distinct possibility.

That said, amping up the importance of demons and getting rid of the Demon Form thing altogether put a little fel sparkle in my eye.  These are good things and I am happy to hear about them.

 

On Untold Stories

I have a post ready to go that tells the story of where each of the inhabitants of this blog end up, but some of them are dependent on stories yet untold. To provide a bit of context, I’d like to provide a précis of those untold backstories.  Most of these stories are already written to the greater extent, but I’ve never really been ready to publish them, and now that’s not going to happen at all.

Floramel (Human Warlock)

Flora’s origin story involved her – as a young girl – working for a character I had introduced before, a fellow named Milo Oddcog, the head of the criminal underground in Stormwind, who also happens to be a warlock.

She had been teaching herself the ins and outs of being a warlock using “borrowed” tomes from his office when she fell in with one of his old rivals, who offered to train her more fully in exchange for certain bits of intelligence on his business. 

It all came to a head when Milo brought her along on an exchange between himself and a Dwarf named Grimmtooth. Her erstwhile teacher ambushed Milo, got torched for his troubles, and Grimm got accused of trying to double-cross Milo.  Thinking on her feet, Flora changed the balance of power in the ensuing standoff, in favor of Grimmtooth. 

Which earned her the gratitude of said Dwarf, who put Milo in charge of her Warlock training in exchange for his life.  She became the first of Grimm’s “adoptees” and was instrumental in establishing his estate in Ironforge.

Illume (Human Mage) and Slithmere (Night Elf Rogue)

One cannot discuss the story of Illume without also discussing Slithmere, for, you see, he fell in love with her and attempted many times to woo her.  She rebuffed him, however, being betrothed to someone in Gilneas who she had not yet given up on quite yet.

When the Graymane Gate was shattered, Slithmere used his contacts to locate this person, who he found had become “worgenfied”. He hired assassins to kill this worgen.  Even so, news of his death (minus context) was not sufficient to earn her love.

When she found that he was the one that hired assassins to kill her fiancé Effington, she spurned him, and the clan at large expelled him from the group. He has been on his own, a lone wolf in he darkness, ever since. Nobody knows what his intentions are.

Faiella (Dwarven Death Knight)

We know Faiella’s origin as a Death Knight, but her defining moment has yet to be described.  As she wandered the frozen wastes of Icecrown Glacier, she encountered the ghost of Mathias Lehner, the alleged lost innocence of Arthas Menethil, who brought her face to face with her fear of slaying her family at the command of The Lich King. This has been her greatest fear since her Enlightenment. She lacked conviction that she was not, in fact, a ticking time bomb, and feared that she would, at the worst possible time, slay all those who she loved.

She came to some level of peace with her inner demons during this episode, but remained aloof from her family ever after.

Orlee (Draenai Warrior) and Kutath (Draenai Shaman)

Orlee was originally a priest in Karabor, but when the Orcs invaded and sacked it, her spirit – but not her body – was broken. When she awoke on Azeroth, she eschewed her priestly upbringing and embraced the way of the warrior, claiming that the worlds would never be safe until every damned Orc that ever existed was dead.  She has dedicated her life to this goal, and it has made her perhaps a little less balanced than one would expect from a Draenai. Not that she cares. There’s murdering to be done.

Kutath, her brother, tried as hard as he could to rein her in before she turned her back on her upbringing completely. He does his best to smooth out any conflicts she may cause amongst the group, or Azeroth in general, but otherwise he is fully dedicated to the Shamanistic path, and has become fascinated by the Shamani of the Wildhammer Dwarves.

Yarley (Night Elf Druid)

Yarley’s family was in Warsong when the Orcs invaded, and what she saw has forged her as an extremist Druid; basically, anything the Horde does is viewed through her very narrow point of view of whether it is good for Azeroth or not. With that in mind, she has concluded that pretty much everything the Horde does – including the Tauren – is destroying the planet, and thus she has concluded that the only good Hordie is a dead Hordie, nurturing the earth with their rotting remains.

Wojo (Gnome Monk)

Our newest member has an inherent curiosity that drew her to the Zen philosophy of the Monks of Pandaria. Grimm adopted her when he found her stowing away in his luggage on the way to The Jade Forest, and promised her a place among the Hidden Land if she would apply herself and gain the experience necessary to survive in this new land without an escort. She has been doing so every since, in the land of Khaz Modan.

Her curiosity makes her a lot less prone to judgment, and thus she is the sole member of the clan that maintains contact with Slithmere. Her main point of inquiry: what makes someone like him tick? Was it love alone or something more sinister?  She’s yet to draw conclusions.