Archive for November, 2012

Come patch 5.1 there will be a new mount achievement to obtain 150 mounts. For most mount fanatics, their collection, (even if they’re not particularly hardcore at it), will probably be hovering around 160 mounts already, assuming they’ve bought some of the MoP ones. The really serious collectors will no doubt not be far off the 200 mark, but they are the minority, albeit comprising a fair few players.

I’ve read a lot of lamentation on forums about the reward for 150 mounts, which appears to be a Pandaren Kite. I believe it’s the green Kite that some NPCs you rescue during Shado Pan dailies ride off on. I must admit, although I do think the colour of that kite (if indeed it is that) is rather nice, I’m a bit disappointed this is the reward for collecting 150 mounts.

A lot of people aren’t that impressed with the Albino Drake reward for collecting 50 mounts, which first appeared way back at the end of Burning Crusade when achievements were initially introduced. Maybe it is a bit ‘meh’ to people now, but you have to bear in mind that when that achievement appeared there were NO drake mounts in the game at all, just the Nether Drakes, which are utterly different. To be able to ride a mount that was of a model only lent to us in the Caverns of Time Durnholde Keep instance seemed amazing at the time. I can remember us doing that instance and people saying, as we rode our Bronze Drake NPCs to the start of battle, ‘wouldn’t it be fab to have these as mounts?’ We got our wish later on with the Culling of Stratholme instance, where that mount could be won on a timed run, but before that… it seemed like an impossible dream. Few serious mount freaks would be seen dead on a Bronze Drake mount now, they have become so common, but the idea of getting one at the start of Wrath seemed fantastic. So, point number one: whatever later achievement-gatherers might think of the Albino Drake now, back when it was first introduced, it was pretty special.

Wrath also introduced the 100 mount achievement, which to start with was punishing, since you’d need rare drop mounts, expensive mounts and possibly TCG ones to hit that figure. As Wrath progressed, and especially with the introduction of the Argent Tournament and its mount piñata, that figure became more easily attainable. The reward for it was a Dragonhawk, red for Horde, blue for Alliance. Initially, there were no Dragonhawk mounts in the game, apart from a few taxis you could take. When I finally got mine on my Alliance Druid, I thought it was a fantastic mount. There was no other like it. Eventually, when I levelled my Horde characters, I got my main Hordie the even better black/red Dragonhawk from Argent Tournament dailies. When mounts and their associated achievements became account wide, all my Hordies found they had a nice red Dragonhawk too, (thanks to Alliance characters and their mount collecting), as well as every one of them being able to use the AT Dragonhawk. But again, when the 100 achievement first appeared, the mounts associated with it were different from all others and could be considered special.

So, the Kite. You can get one as a reward by raising all Mists factions to exalted, and to be honest I haven’t really read anything about players being enormously excited about Kites.  They’re ok as taxis, but I’m not into them myself. I think if my characters could sit on them they would be better. I have the same beef with flying carpets. I find that standing on this type of mount in a surfing pose just looks ridiculous. So I agree with all those who are QQing a bit about the 150 mount reward – if indeed it does prove to be the Kite, although from what I’ve read it’s almost certainly that, well at least it’s that on the PTR. Maybe it’s not such a milestone mount because so many will just log on the day after the patch and get that achievement immediately. But for those players who’ve only recently managed to get 100 mounts, (or not even that yet), perhaps the idea of getting another 50 is somewhat more daunting than it is to those of us who’ve been mount freaks for years and have already got over 150. I personally think all achievement mounts should be special to start with. OK, we have tons more Drakes in the game now, and several Dragonhawks, if you include the TCG one, but the fact remains at the time of their appearance they were fairly unusual. I don’t find Kites that unusual or exciting, and it appears a lot of other players feel the same, although of course there are going to be others who think they’re great. It’s just down to personal opinion again.

I also think it’s odd Blizzard haven’t put in a 200 mount achievement yet, since for the serious mount collector this would be something to strive for, as we strove for the 100 mount one back in the day. The fact is, it’s not difficult to get 150 mounts now, if you’re prepared to grind faction rep and shell out for the mounts at exalted. Admittedly, if you were starting from scratch this would make a massive dent in your gold reserves, or would require a lot of saving up. I do know that a couple of people in our guild, who aren’t that serious about mounts, but have pottered about getting them casually over the years, already have well over 100 and won’t find it that difficult to hit 150 for the next achievement. So to me a 200 mount achievement would have been good to include in the patch too. When new pet collecting achievements came out some time ago, Blizzard added a couple at once.

As to what would have made a nice 150 mount reward, I’ve read some interesting suggestions. An Infinite Drake – yes, I’ve always wistfully thought of having one of those. A recoloured Heavenly or Thundering Cloud Serpent – again, good suggestions, don’t think anyone would complain about that, even though we already have a few Cloud Serpents to collect. Cloud Serpents have certainly been a big hit with our guild, with some saying they are the best flying mounts ever introduced. But how about something that’s not yet a mount we can acquire? My personal vote would be for the Arcane Wyrms/Serpents in Coldarra of Northrend, who fly around outside the Nexus/Oculus/Eye of Eternity structure. Every time we go over on a Friday to have a go at Malygos I think how fabulous it would be to have one of those Wyrms as a mount. Missed opportunity there, I say. They’re not that different in shape to the Cloud Serpents so surely wouldn’t be that hard to turn into mounts. There are other flying beasts in Northrend who have never been utilised as mounts, such as the Ember Wyrm and a certain type of Frost Wyrm, but perhaps these are a bit old hat, so not really suitable for the Pandaria era. I don’t think the Arcane Wyrms fall into the same category, but I admit to being biased. If we want to think really bizarre, how about a Fel Reaver mount, which can also liftoff vertically and become a flying mount? That would be pretty awesome.

Something else about Arcane Serpents. I was looking up these creatures on Wowhead to get their correct name and made the happy discovery that on the PTR there are four different colours of wyrm now, (blue – arcane wyrm, purple/pink – arcane serpent, white – spirit of the north, and red – crazed mana wyrm). They have been transformed into beasts from dragonkin, and three types (not the red) will be tameable by Hunters. What excellent news – subject to nothing changing when patch goes live, of course! Now if Blizzard could only take that one step further and make them mounts…

An Arcane Serpent

An Arcane Serpent pic I got from WoWhead

Glorious suns have started to burst through the sky all over Pandaria. Suddenly, my heart is lighter, my mood well… sunnier. The end of the faction grind is in sight.

For what has seemed like years, but in fact is less than two months, I’ve been dragging myself through various sets of dailies, and have ranted about the downsides of it in fair detail on this blog. Now, all the ends seem to be coming together at once. What were maverick trains, apparently careening in all directions at different speeds, have somehow come together. I finished Klaxxi two nights ago, finished Shado Pan tonight quite unexpectedly (I thought I had two days left) and Golden Lotus is due to end tomorrow. August Celestials, which has dragged behind the others simply because you don’t get as many quests for them per day, is due to finish in a couple of days. Not sure how they caught up! I thought I’d need another week, or thereabouts, on them. I’ve bought the Klaxxi Amber Scorpion mount, the Shado Pan riding tigers and did the quest chain that comes after exalted with SP to get myself an Onyx Cloud Serpent. I really feel I’ve worked for these mounts.

Finishing the faction grinds gives a beautiful feeling in game. Such a relief. It’s so euphoric, I’ve even considered doing it all again on another character in a while. Not immediately, of course. I’m not that masochistic, and one of the reasons the dailies have become less painful for me is that my Hunter has far better gear now, as he slowly works through buying the valor point gear and getting a few drops from raids. I knew this would happen, because it did before in Tol Barad, but it was hard to visualise it at the start when the mobs were so tough and took ages to kill. I know starting again on a new character will be just as horrible to begin with, and I’ll wonder why the hell I’m bothering. I won’t even consider doing this until after the next patch with the reputation improvements. Then, I’ll see. All I can say to everyone still doing this content they might not particularly enjoy is stick with it, because the glorious dawn of putting it all behind you (for now at least) will come for you too.

I don’t know if it’s the same on every realm, but for the past week or so I’ve been doing my dailies late at night, just after the reset, which is 2 a.m. in the UK, and there have hardly been any other players around. Each daily hub has been painless to do and I’ve managed to get the whole lot done very quickly. The only bad quests are the ones that require items from slain mobs; the drop rates are still bad. But if you’ve got herds and herds of mushans roaming about, for example, it doesn’t take that long to get your four rare tongues off them. This will be because more and more players are finishing their grinds. Only a short while ago, there just wasn’t a good time to do the dailies because everywhere was always busy, at whatever time of the day or night. Pretty soon, the peak time of early evening will probably be the only time it’s a pain in terms of competition with other players.

One thing about finishing the rep grinds – it’s going to take a massive chunk out of my weekly valor point earnings. We’ve not been doing many heroics recently, mainly because with no useful gear from them for anyone they’ve become a bit dull. I’ve been doing LFR (shudder) to help boost the VPs and will have to continue with that. I don’t really fancy doing dailies for nothing, other than VPs. A group of us tried a Challenge Mode dungeon again earlier tonight, thinking this might be a good way to earn our VPs post faction grind. We tried Temple of the Jade Serpent, which went great. We got to the last boss with about 12 minutes to spare for a Bronze Medal on our first try, and were dizzy with excitement, but then everything went bad. The adds on the last boss defeated us, well made mincemeat of us. We realised we’re going to have to practice these, and keep practicing, and read up, and watch more videos on You Tube for tactics and tips, but it will all be worth it in the end, I think.

I want to talk about our experiences of raiding in Mists, but will do that another time. I’m quite busy at the moment in real life, so haven’t had time to write anything thorough. Soon!