PSA: Argent Tournament

One of my long-term stated goals for my paladin has been to get her the Argent Charger, ever since they took away the paladin horse from draenei paladin and gave them the dumb elekk instead. (I’ve been using Tyrael’s Charger instead, but it’s not quite the same thing, although it’s a lovely mount.)

The problem was, I’d done a lot of grinding at the Argent Tournament already. As in, two characters fully maxed out twice (due to faction changing, which resets progress), all pets and all mounts except the paladin horse.

I started my paladin out, but gave up very quickly. I got through Aspirant, got to Champion with Exodar and did one day’s work of the Darnassus Valiant line, then I got bored.

Recently, I was looking through my achievements and saw that I’m quite close — 9853 / 10000 at the moment — to the final daily quest achievement. (Alts. Lots of alts. What can I say.) Naturally, I started looking for useful ways of incrementing that counter. I started working on Cloud Serpent reputation for the level 90 characters that are missing it, resumed pet battling, and such. Then I took a look at the paladin, saw the Valiant’s Charge quest in her quest log, and thought, “I might as well.”

She still had the Black Knight quest in her log as well, so I dropped by Westfall and picked up the objective, and dropped in to the Crusader tent to deliver it when I hit the Tournament.

I was in for a bit of a surprise.

Nope, never did any rep grinding.

My paladin is very much not a Crusader. And yet, she has all the Champion, Crusader and Silver Covenant dailies available to her, and the Crusader’s Quartermaster is more than happy to talk to her.

Turns out that somewhere along the line, I don’t know when (the only mention I saw of this on Wowhead is a comment dated 12 January 2014), the Crusader achievement from the Argent Tournament went really, truly account-wide. If you’ve unlocked the whole thing on one character, you’ve got access to the Crusader’s Quartermaster vendor on all characters.

[EDIT] For science, I took a character that had never set foot at the Argent Tournament there. You do get the two Crusader dailies, access to the Crusader’s Quartermaster vendor, and access to your own faction’s vendor. You don’t get the Silver Covenant (or horde equivalent) dailies unless, I’m guessing, you have the reputation (my paladin does, the character I took does not). You don’t get the Champion dailies unless, I’m guessing, you’ve championed a faction (my desire to do things for science stops at doing more Argent Tournament things).

You also need to finish the Black Knight quest chain to unlock Threat From Above for a specific character, regardless of whatever else you have unlocked. Note that the daily unlocks once you’ve gotten the It’s Just a Flesh Wound achievement, but if you’re doing this to buy something with Champion’s Seals (which I’d imagine you are, because otherwise, why would you), you want to continue the chain — you get three Champion’s Seals from The Black Knight’s Fate.

What this means for you:

  • If you want a weapon for transmogrification on a character that’s never touched the Tournament, the most painless way of getting it (at 90) is to run H-ToC and do the two Crusader dailies every day. Minimum effort invested, 5 Seals per day, 5 days to the weapon.
  • If you’re missing some pets and mounts, check any alts of that specific race that existed back in Wrath and ran H-ToC for Champion’s Seals. Even if they’ve never touched the Tournament, they’ll have access to their own faction’s vendor, and the stockpile will be, if nothing else, a start. Depending on how far you are from what you want, you might make it there on the minimum-effort 5 Seals per day, or you might want to, while you’re there, work on unlocking the Champion dailies (which will take 8 days — 3 to work through Aspirant and 5 to work through Valiant).
  • If you want the paladin horse, again, it depends how far you are, how many seals you have and how much time you want to spend. My recommendation would be to spend the 8 days to unlock the Champion’s dailies, while you’re there — they’ll speed up the rate at which you get Seals quite dramatically. It’s still a bit of a pain, but not nearly as huge a pain as before (when if you were starting from scratch you needed 3 days to work through Aspirant and then 25 days to get to Champion with all factions, plus the time you needed to get all of them to exalted if you didn’t have them there already).

[/EDIT]

(Disclaimer: I have no idea if this works cross-faction. I have one horde character and no desire to trek her out to the Argent Tournament. It would not be 100% confirmation anyway, even if the vendor was available for her, since I did grind this out again during my brief stint as horde.)

To say that I am happy about this is an understatement. My paladin already has 45 Champion’s Seals from running H-ToC back at level, and she has access to all dailies now. Given you can get 14 Seals per day without running H-ToC (which I don’t know if I could solo on a level 87 Protection paladin, honestly), it’s going to take me just four days of dailies to get my horse.

Login screen change

Huh. It used to be that hitting “Esc” on the character screen brought you back to the login screen, same as clicking the “Back” button below the character list. Now it does… well, this:

And there’s an extra button under the “Shop” and “AddOns” button, too:

How new is this? I could swear it wasn’t there last night.

On the one hand it’s a nice change — I never liked that you can switch settings before you log in or after you’ve loaded a character, but not on the character screen. On the other hand, I got a second account in TBC. That’s years of being used to hitting “Esc” to get back to the login screen to switch accounts. That’ll be obnoxious to unlearn…

[EDIT] Well, that’s interesting. That extra button is only there if you launch the game through the new Battle.net launcher, which skips the login screen and logs you in to the selected account automatically. If you then log out and log back in, even without closing the game client, the button disappears. That explains why I’ve not noticed it before — I usually skip the launcher and just start the game manually. It also makes sense (if you skip the login screen, you otherwise have no way to change game settings without loading a character).

On the other hand, here’s an extra annoyance:

I don’t mind the “Shop” button on the character list, I really don’t. Assuming they’re going to be selling character services in the shop (and not just level 90 boosts, either, other character services such as transfers, renames and such would make sense also), having a button there makes sense. “You need to log in to buy a character service, but then you need to log out to do it” doesn’t really work from a usability perspective.

What annoys me is the button doesn’t reskin to blue when you select a death knight, like all other buttons do. That sticks out like a sore thumb. Sigh.

Analyzing the infodump

Today, in “everybody’s talking about it so I might as well do the same thing” news…

Fair warning: I’m pulling the info from Wowhead’s post on the racials and other changes, and I’m focusing only on the races and classes I play enough to have a semi-informed opinion on the matter.

Draenei: Heroic Presence is now +X to your primary stat. Gift of the Naaru heals for the same amount but over 5sec.

Sounds good. I like the Gift of the Naaru change, also — in its current state, it’s helpful but not that great. Speeding up the heal will improve it.

Humans lose the Mace/Sword racials. The Human Spirit becomes +X to two secondary stats of your choice. Every Man for Himself, we’re still evaluating. Itemization changes may mean no nerf needed.

Letting you pick the stats is a fascinating mechanic. I don’t really use the trinket racial much, since I don’t PVP on my one human character.

Here’s an unpopular opinion, though: I really wish they’d get rid of the stupid Diplomacy racial. As long as they gate things behind reputation, anybody who doesn’t play a human will be at a disadvantage.

Night Elves: Quickness also increases movement speed by 2% passively. They also got a new passive which is quite unique… (Remember, no more haste breakpoints!) Touch of Elune, a new passive which grants 1% Haste at night, 1% Crit during the day. Shadowmeld is unchanged.

Yay, Shadowmeld is staying! I love that racial. I really love that racial. Not only is it inordinately useful for “oops, I pulled too much, I don’t wanna die” situations when I’m soloing, but it can also help with wipe recovery if I manage to be the last one alive during a raid. Passive movement speed is excellent, especially as a tank. The new passive is fascinating, but could be annoying — “We’re making sure that everyone benefits from them”, they say, but they haven’t proven to be very adept at balancing secondaries so far.

As for abilities…

Q: Regarding removing CDs, which is likely gonna be cut for Ferals Berserk or Tiger Fury or both? A: Both of those are staying. Tiger’s Fury is on the border between feeling like a DPS cooldown and a rotational button.

I agree with this assessment and I’m glad both are staying. TF is pretty rotational, what with the short cooldown — you can certainly hold off on using it and line it up with a burst phase, but it’s not essential.

We’re keeping Bloodlust/Heroism [and Time Warp/Ancient Hysteria] as the only raid-wide throughput cooldown. No more Stormlash / Skull Banner.

Huh. I wonder if those other abilities will remain as a personal cooldown, or just go. I mean, they pretty much just got added…

This is making me look forward to the Warlords of Draenor beta that much more. (Assuming I get in, of course, which is not a guaranteed fact but would be very nice.)

Once more unto the breach

That's HEROIC Nazgrim, for the record.

It all started a week or so ago. There I was, innocently leveling my priest, when I got a whisper from an old friend. I’d met him in my old raiding guild (the one that exploded), then he quit due to a combination of burnout and RL issues; he resumed playing the game pretty recently.

The whisper said, more or less, “Hey, we need a tank for Dark Shamans heroic. [Mutual friend, also from the old raiding guild] was going to tank it, but he can’t get online. Wanna come?”

To which my first reaction was a less-than-eloquent “um…”, which I firmly squelched. Instead, I whispered back that honestly, I hadn’t raided seriously since the first tier of Mists of Pandaria, all I had was LFR experience, my gear wasn’t the best, surely they could find a better tank?

“Nah, it’ll be fine, just come.”

Okay then!

So I went, and a merry evening of wiping on Dark Shamans heroic was had by all. We didn’t kill it on heroic, although we had a 1% wipe — raid time ran out, so we just killed it on normal. I got a belt that nobody else needed and, on coin roll, a trinket. Yay!

After the raid, the friend roped me back into Mumble and I had an illuminating chat with him and the other person who’d led the raid. They were the second raid team in their current guild, but better progressed despite shorter raid times (3 hours two days a week at the time); and they wanted to split off into their own guild, and needed a tank. Would I, perhaps, be interested?

I said I’d think about it, then thought about it, then decided to tell the friend that yes, I wanted in, next time I saw him online.

Then he disappeared for a week, and I wondered, maybe something had gone wrong?

Then he reappeared, and the moment we were both online simultaneously, he whispered me. “Hey, we split off from the old guild yesterday, are you interested in joining?”

Yes, please.

And then they took me to a flex run, and I got a bunch of upgrades. And then yesterday we went to do our first raid with me as a tank, and we cleared the 8 heroic bosses they’d already downed in three hours of raid time, and I got a bunch more upgrades, including two tier pieces. From 540 equipped item level that I had, I’m now at 560.

Here’s to continued raiding fun!

That was quick

As Mists of Pandaria winds down, I’ve been working on my (seemingly endless) bucket list. I got my priest to 89 by sheer force of will and spite (and a desire to have an extra character to farm the nonexistent Big Love Rocket), but smiting my way through quests and healing dungeons have both gotten very old, so she’s sat there accruing some rested XP before the last push to 90. My other 85+ characters are similarly waiting for now.

Poking through my achievement list for things to do, though, I realized I was still missing some of the zone-specific quest achievements in Eastern Kingdoms, since I got Loremaster long before the zones were split and then never went back to do the quests (largely because most of my existing characters have huge inventory issues already, and I know from experience that I will want to keep a lot of quest rewards for transmog).

I also knew I wanted the Thundering Serpent Hatchling pet and the Thundering Jade Cloud Serpent mount. They’re both relatively easy to get if you’re in a raiding guild, but, well, I’m not. The achievements associated with the pet and the mount are impossible to get if you’re the sole occupier of the guild you’re in.

I’ve also been meaning to level a monk.

So what I did was simple — I rolled a shiny new pandaren monk, I got her out of the Wandering Isle and then I sat in trade chat for a few hours advertising that I was looking for a guild with both the pet and the mount that would take me on as social. A kind person pointed me in the right direction, I whispered an officer and got an invite.

I promptly strapped on a Renowned Guild Tabard and went to quest. About an hour ago, I hit level 40 and, very shortly after, exalted with the guild.

I’ve bought and learned the pet and already bought the mount as well, just in case they decide to punt me out (I was very honest with the officer about my reasons to want to join as a social); while it does require level 85 and Artisan Riding to learn, that’ll come in time (and right now it’s the 85-90 leveling stretch I want a break from, anyway, so it shouldn’t take long to get to 85).

Unless they punt me out, though, I’m sticking around. God knows what other guild achievements they’ll add in Warlords of Draenor — it behooves me to have a character in an active raiding guild, in case I can’t find one for my main, just for the sake of buying any new guild rewards. Not that I couldn’t repeat the process with a different guild if need be, of course, but that’s no reason to waste effort.

Evolving your transmog sets

The more I play a particular character, the higher the chance I’ll end up changing what they’re wearing.

Sometimes, it happens because I got a new item and I like how it looks. Such is the case with my warlock, who is wearing a completely unmogged set of Timeless Isle gear (although I do want to transmog some pieces, I haven’t managed to get the relevant instances to cough them up yet), or my warrior, who is still wearing the Hateshatter Battleplate set as her tanking set (minus the helm and with different gloves) long after the items stopped being relevant.

Sometimes they’re born out of necessity — such as when I got my druid a Stormherald, Reborn to tank in, only to realize that no 2H mace in existence fit the transmog I was using at the time.

And sometimes they change slowly, bit by bit. My druid’s tanking set — the current incarnation of which is the header image for this post — is one such set.

When I built it, my expectations weren’t terribly high. I just wanted something to match one of the few 2H maces I already had on hand (Herald of Woe), that didn’t require much farming and could be thrown together quickly. I fully intended to drop it and go back to my previous set the moment I got a staff or polearm to replace the 2H mace.

Here’s the first iteration:

Shoulders: Savage Gladiator’s Kodohide Spaulders
Chest: Grand Breastplate
Gloves: Mogubreaker Gloves
Belt: Titan-Forged Belt of Triumph
Legs: Mind-Expanding Leggings
Boots: Boots of the Neverending Path
Weapon: Herald of Woe

Wowhead link

As you can see, it’s largely the Brazen Trespass Armor set, with different shoulders (because I didn’t like them), chest (ditto), gloves (because I already had them) and boots (same skin, but I prefer the “stompy boots” model to the slimmer one). Literally everything was either something off a vendor, a BoP item I already had, or a BoE item I also already had.

And then it just… started changing.

The first to go were the shoulders. Although I like the model, the set needed a druid touch. So, again in the interest of farming as little as possible, I replaced them with Thunderheart Pauldrons.

Then I went to a Mogu’shan Vaults LFR run — back in the day the Timeless Isle didn’t exist, so as a relatively fresh 90 I was struggling a bit to get my item level high enough to run Throne of Thunder LFR — and I got Stoneflesh Leggings. They didn’t look bad at all with the set, so I left them unmogged.

Then I got my item level high enough and ran Throne of Thunder LFR, and got the tier legs. The green fit in nicely with the brownish tones of the rest of the set, I thought, so I left them unmogged, too.

A few weeks later, I got the normal-mode tier legs off Nalak. The blue-grey highlights were a bit off, but they still fit well enough, so I also left them unmogged.

Then I stopped playing for a bit.

The reset I picked the game back up, Oondasta dropped me Arielle’s Ancient Legwraps. I added them to my DPS set without even paying much attention to how they looked.

A few weeks later, I got the same legs off Oondasta again, added them to the tanking set and realized they looked quite nice, matching the bright blue highlights of the shoulders. So I left them unmogged as well.

Then I finally got a non-mace weapon to tank in. By this point, I was quite attached to the set, so I dug through my extensive collection of staves and came up with Dreambinder, to coordinate with the blue highlights in the legs and shoulders.

And then, last week, I helped out a friend’s guild in normal Siege of Orgrimmar and got Damron’s Belt of Darkness out of it. It might be from a completely different set, but it also matches the general feel of the set. So I left that, too, unmogged.

The only items still there from the original set are the gloves, chest and boots. I wonder if they’ll end up replaced as well, or if the set will stay how it is…