Friday, July 5, 2013

Ding! 86

Long time, no ding.  Nearly two years and five months since Jalindrine's gone up a level!  Wow.  I've been playing this game too long.  Heck, this blog is over six years old, and it started when Jal was already level 62 and over two years old himself.  I've been playing over eight years?  Sheesh.

Moving along...  ;^D

I fell into some after-work time this week and finally feel off of the wagon.  I received the collector's edition of Mists as a gift months ago, so I figured I'd finally put in my unlock code, slap down my $15, and play for a few hours rather than grift more under 20 free time.

It's been fun.  I'm starting to re-realize why I liked this game so much.  Even though it's still been pretty grindy, I've enjoyed soloing and running a few old Cat instances.  Justice points have appreciated quite a bit since last I played, so it's a no-brainer to run a Cat regular dungeon once a day, where my rust isn't a big hindrance.  When you're with some 84s who haven't gotten to Mists, even poorly managed DPS is insanely good.

There's still lots of folks dropping from LFG groups as soon as you hit the instance, however, much like there was shortly before I signed Jal off last time.  I don't get it.  If you want a specific instance, queue just for that instance.  If you want the daily bonus, what about the Lost City (the zone I hit today) isn't to like? It's fast, and you're quickly in the points.  Even so, we had our tank drop the second we got in.

I mean, I guess I do get it, but it's sad there are so many virtual-life flakes.  Maybe there are just a few instances you don't want, and you think you want to get in asap figuring one of those won't come up (though with the number of drops I see almost before your free round of buffs, that's probably not it).  Or you'd kinda like to instance, but you decide you've got something more important to do (watch TV, finish your quest, whatever) when your number's called.  But goodness, bad manners.  ;^)

So we sat around for a while.  I was tempted to get back to leveling and rejoin LFG.  It's great to have healz, as that's half the limiting reagents, and we all obviously didn't want to get in the back of the LFG line, but we sat around for probably a good five minutes before we figured we'd give Jal a shot off-tanking a four-person group.

Enjoyably, it worked!  If you bring up that image, above, original size, you can see another dps say, "if we can get past the general, you're hired."  And though I ended up going panzerkin mid-way through the General (wait, what?  The first panzerkin appearance since BC?!!), we did make it through that first sub-boss.  Luckily, a tank joined us at the end of or immediately after we took the General down, and we quickly finished the instance.  And yes, I did roar the loose mob in the picture back shortly after hitting PrtScn.  Ooops.

Now look, being able to tank a regular Cat instance is not impressive.  I'm a 85+ level, partially Mists-geared druid running a Cat regular, but with good healz, it was no problem.  Shoot, you could probably throw a well-equipped squishy in and do what I did.  But it was fun.  I even remembered how to swipe and roar mobs who lose threat back to me.

At some point, I need to learn another spec and become competent at it.  I keep thinking that should be resto, but it seemed like tanks were becoming pretty scarce too at the end of my last run.

Anyhow, there you go.  Pandaria's okay.  It helped to have taken a six-month break, I'm sure, as when I took my free ten days of Mist back in December, I really didn't play too much at all.  The typical expansion inflation has happened, and it's hard to think they aren't going to re-calibrate experience points at some point.  Really, 8.7 million for level 86?  Getting a little ludicrous.

I have noticed that the level took a while.  I played two good sessions before leveling, even though patch 5.3 apparently made each level 33% quicker to achieve (how do they do that?  Is 8.7 XPs only 2/3rds of what folks used to get, or are mobs, etc, worth 33% more?  Guessing the former -- wow, 13 million?!!  It's time to take off a few zeroes).  The expansion has given me a pretty good bit of soloing so far, and the level design is less stodgy and slapped together than, say, Vashj'ir felt.  Though, admittedly, Lorewalker Cho is probably the only really memorable character yet.  Well, him, Sully, Gizmo and Socks.

Poor Socks.  Oh, that might be a small spoiler.

I may try a monk later, and do want to get back to my Death Knight in Outland a little, but we'll see how long my latest Azeroth visit lasts.  I'll probably cancel now and ride out the month rather than "accidentally" let it renew, which has been known to happen.

Fun to be back, even if I'm ultimately just visiting.