Friday, November 13, 2020

More Of The Same


Time for a few bullet-point updates on how things are going in World of Warcraft Retail. Keeping it short because this kind of stuff tends to run away with me and sometimes even I roll my eyes when I read it back.

  • Invulnerable Hunter Pet

Yeah, I don't have one any more. After I finished writing about it, I went back to hunt and quest in Northrend for a while, before moving on to the expansion Chromie expected me to be in, Warlords of Draenor. I wondered if that would set things back to normal but no, the cat remained all but indestructible as I plowed through nearly two full levels, logging out out just before I hit fifty. 

I only saw the pet take significant damage once. It was while I was on an escort quest alongside two other players, all of us doing our own thing. It was a farcical sight, three of us running along behind identical triplet NPCs, each of them getting ambushed by three sets of mobs. 

At one point there seemed to be a mechanic where mobs kept spawning and in a few seconds there were so many of them all you could see was a big, red blob where all the nameplates blurred together. I was tabbing through as many mobs as possible, setting the pet on all of them, and after a while his health did drop a few notches. 

When some of the mobs peeled off onto me I had to feign and I watched while the cat fought an army. Couldn't see him for the crowd. He went to maybe 80% health at one point. Mobs kept dying but more kept coming in and he clearly wasn't going to make much headway but nor was he in any danger of dying so I stood up, whereupon a bunch came at me and killed me. I may have shot some of them first.


Other than that, nothing could put a scratch on him. Didn't matter what expansion, zone, mob or difficulty level. I even logged right out of the game once to see if that would make a difference but nope. Just the same when I got back in. 

Then this morning I logged in, decided to go  to my Garrison and finish a few things, picked up a quest there to clear some racoons out of the herb garden, set the pet to gathering them up so I could multi-shot them and next thing I knew he was dead and I was feigned, trying to figure out what happened. Since then the pet's been completely back to normal, taking the damage you'd expect, needing to be healed all the time, losing aggro if I go too fast (did I mention the invulnerable pet also held aggro like superglue?).

No explanation for what started it or why it stopped. I hadn't changed anything I was aware of. I'm putting it down to a bug but who knows? All I can say is it was nice while it lasted and if someone wanted to make hunter pets work like that all the time I wouldn't be the one complaining.

  • Garrisons

Since I've mentioned them...

I read a lot about WoW's garrison feature back when Warlords of Draenor was the new not-so-hotness. Opinions seemed to be mixed. Those who'd been hoping for something like a real housing option were disappointed while others, taking the system on its own merits, seemed a lot more impressed. Since I wasn't playing WoW at the time I didn't pay that much attention but I got the impression that it was kind of a fun mini-game and potentially very profitable. 

When the EverQuest games added the Overseer feature last year I saw a number of comments comparing it, unfavorably, to the mission system that comes with having a garrison. I really like both editions of Overseer, particularly the more filled-out EQ version, so I was expecting to enjoy my garrison when I finally got one. 


And I do. I can easily see how people got addicted to it when it was a live option. Even as a legacy relic it seems like it could be a lot of fun. As housing it reminds me very strongly of Guild Wars 2's Personal Instances: a bunch of buildings you can't do much to customize with a load of NPCs wandering around looking like extras inbetween takes.

It clearly beats GW2 in that you do at least get some choice in what buildings you see and where they're placed and the overall structure has a form of progression but compared to any game that has actual housing... well, this isn't that. On the other hand, it's better than nothing and it does feel somewhat like a place your character might want to hang out.

I can also very much see the attraction of having all my facilities somewhere I can teleport to from anywhere on a twenty-minute cooldown. I haven't had much of a chance to dig into the mission system yet, but it looks interesting. If it wasn't for the fact that everyone did all this to death several years ago, I could see a number of blog posts in it, too, but I'll do my best to restrain my enthusiasm for going into this outdated content no-one cares about any more in nit-picking, tooth-grinding detail.


  • Ding! Level 50 Hunter

The last five levels seemed to go reasonably quickly. Or it did until I came to do the last five per cent this morning.

Is it just me or is it sadistic to have a death mechanic that gives you a ghost form and a map marker so you can return in complete safety to recover your corpse and then allows you to die somewhere that's not only impossible to reach but where even your ghost dies if you try. Your ghost ffs! How does a ghost die? And then you're back in the same graveyard, looking at the same map pin in the same damn place and if you go for it again the same damn thing happens!

It went like this: I lit up a quest marker and saw it was most of a zone away so I got on the griffin and hit autorun. Then I tabbed out to do something else. I tabbed back in and out a couple of times and I was still flying. Then I tabbed in one more time and I was dead. 

I'd died of exhaustion, apparently. I figured maybe I had the angle wrong and flew too high. That'll kill you in some games. But no, when I checked the map my gravestone was way out at the furthest edge, in the ocean. In the opposite direction from where I'd been heading. Somehow, maybe one time when I logged in and out, I'd managed to get turned around and flown off the edge of the map, or tried to, whereupon the game killed me.


Fair enough. My mistake, no doubt. I'll just run and get my corpse. Long run. Maybe I'll just tab out... and I'm dead again. I tabbed back in just as I was about to arrive at the marker but I didn't see the revive button pop. 

Second time around I paid more attention. Didn't tab out. Looked at the screen up the whole time. Watched the yards count down... 

About a couple of hundred yards out the exhaustion warning came on. The two timers raced to meet in the middle and the exhaustion timer won. I never got the option to resurrect although I was only about fifty yards away when my ghost, um, gave up the ghost. 

It appears my corpse was beyond the point the game would let me go, which I understand, only why even let me think I could get there? I took the durability hit and rezzed in the graveyard (and then nearly got killed by a passing bird but let's not mention that). When my rez sickness wore off I got back on the griffin, flew the right way for once, did my hand-in and dinged. There wasn't much time for a celebration before Chromie whisked me back to Stormwind. Which was handy because...


  • Farming The Rares In Icecrown

Back in Stormwind I got the quest for the Shadowlands pre-event and its going pretty well, thanks for asking. I did a couple of rounds with the shaman last night and got another nice purple. Then today I took the hunter through the Alliance version of the questline before spending a couple of hours doing the dailies and hitting each rare as it popped.

Things have gotten much more organized. When I was first doing it a couple of days there seemed to be radio silence on the map. I never heard anyone speak. Today there's plenty of chatter and someone calls every rare, in advance, with a map pin linked in general. 

It makes a huge difference. The event suddenly feels communal and relaxed. There's plenty of time to get to where you need to be even with slow flying, just as well since I can't afford the 4,000 gold for the hunter's training yet.

The twenty minute fixed spawn (I was misinformed when I reported it as fifteen last time) is perfect for having the event on in the background while I'm writing a blog post. It reminds me enormously of last year's combined fifteenth anniversary and pre-expansion events in EverQuest II, when I spent several weeks killing dragons on a very similar schedule. That was a better event all round, not least because the dragons took longer than fifteen seconds to kill.

The drop rate is reasonable. I've had two purples on each character so far, plus a ludicrous number of Pitch Black Scourgestones. There's a daily for those but it only needs twenty-five. I've got almost a thousand already. I think you can turn them in for rep with the Argent Dawn somewhere. Yay! I guess. Not sure how long I'll keep it up but I do find these things quite moreish.

  • Caravanserai

Perhaps the most surprising thing that happened last night was when I took a quest from some priest or other and he started telling me about a caravan "led by a woman that looked like a wolf". Hang on, that sounds familiar...

And so it should. It turned out to be none other than Fiona, my friend from the Plaguelands. Only of course she's not my hunter's friend at all. He's never met her before. She's a pal of the shaman's. There was nothing in the dialog to suggest otherwise but it made me wonder whether there would have been, had the shaman been doing it. I'm going to have to bring her to Draenor to find out.

It's a very nice piece of continuity, anyway. So far there haven't been any actual wagon rides but I live in hope. Fiona and her boys are solid characters. It's good to see them being used again in a later expansion. Did they make a cameo appearance in Mists of Pandaria, too?

I could look it up but why spoil the surprise?

And that's about it for now. Didn't really keep it all that short, did I?


  1. The daily for 25 scourgestones is repeatable. There's one daily which requires you to pick up 10 or scourgestones (it has a bar you fill up), and that unlocks the repeatable 25 stone dailies.

    1. Yeah, don't hang on to your scourgestones! Turn them in for Argent Commendations and buy yourself some ilevel 100 gear. Or a putrid geist. Or a broom that I can't figure out a use for.

    2. Oh, That makes a big difference. Thanks for pointing it out. It's weird, though. I thought I checked if it was repeatable when I did the first hand-in. Either I didn't or I must have misread it (or, y'know, some weird glitch - because WoW has those - so many...). It was probably me just missing it, though.

    3. Ah, I see what's happening now. There's a discussion about it in the comments at Wowhead that explains it, although even that isn't very clear. I think how it goes is that if you have the daily running it blocks the repeatable quest so you can't hand in any extras you might have. Since I've been getting the daily as soon as I log in, I never got offered the repeatable. The comments are a bit vague on whether you need to to the daily first every day or whether if you don't take it again after the first time you can just stick with the repeatable but if you *do* take it you definitely have to finish it first.


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