The Grumpy Elf just posted his ‘to do’ list before Warlords is released in November. That made me think, I don’t have a bucket list this time as I’m not playing the game. I unsubbed in March, for the majority of this year I won’t have played Warcraft. However, I did play Mists of Pandaria through from start to finish, I just didn’t stick around for the long content drought.
When Cata was heading into the twilight months I made a number of posts. I looked back at the expansion as a whole, I looked back at what had changed for me in game over that time and I looked at the raid bosses. Now I’m going to write several different posts, instead I’m just going to include all of that in this one. Time to look back at Mists.
What changed for me during Mists?
I went into Mists running my own guild, my second attempt at it. This went a lot better than my first attempt but I still had a lot of issues with maintaining a roster. Christmas was the death knell as a few people quit the game and never returned. Eventually the still active members, five of us including me, joined another guild and I stayed there until shortly before I quit the game. I’m now back in my own guild purely to give myself a guild tag, so really I’m not part of a guild at all.
As I said before Mists I was sick of raid healing. I wanted to smack the boss in the face, I wanted to do what I’d always enjoyed but not done because my friend told me healing would be better for me. Now don’t get me wrong, while I got sick of healing eventually I do have good memories of being a healer. However, I was a lot happier as a tank. As promised I never put together a healer set for my paladin meaning I couldn’t be forced to heal. I tanked most of the time and occasionally went dps when we had more than two tanks signed and were short dps, or taking my turn when it was a one tank fight.
In addition to tanking every boss. I cleared MSV, ToT and SoO in enough time to get the Ahead of the Curve achievements. I was 4/6 on HoF and I don’t think I’d done any in ToES but I may have been 1/4, I can’t remember in all honesty. Even got some heroic bosses down. 5/6 MSV, 1/4 ToES, 8/13 ToT and 4/14 SoE which is really good for me as I count heroic as a bonus, not as my goal. I wanted to clear normal which I did. I raided in Cata but not the same, it wasn’t until Dragon Soul that I joined a proper guild. Mists I raided properly from start to finish.
I went into Mists with 9/10 classes at max level, my hold out being shaman which was level 80. I am going to go into Warlords with 8/11 classes at max level. I only managed levelling that many to cap because I did it with a friend, we had levelling pairs. I didn’t play alts really in Mists at all. They had been a big part of the game for me in Cata but with Mists dependence on LFR I mostly levelled them to cap and then abandoned them. I did gear my monk a little for the first tier and actually tanked some of MSV on it but really that’s about it.
I ended Cata on a completionist note. I’d done all kinds of things, completed lots of achievements, polished off reputations, grinded for rare drop mounts and pets. I’m ending Mists with a lot left undone. I barely touched challenge modes and they are being removed, I didn’t finish all the scenario achievements and I don’t know what’s happening with those. I didn’t finish Brawler’s Guild, I didn’t finish Proving Grounds and those are changing/being updated/whatever as well. There’s other stuff I left undone but I think that’s staying around, so I could go back to it. Maybe I burned out or I just got fed up. In the past I would have been desperate to get it done so that I didn’t miss out, now well it is what it is. I’m not going to worry about it. That’s a huge change in mindset for me, to just go “yeah whatever, don’t care” because I did use to care a lot. In the past I would have looked at wowheads guide to what is being removed, and tried to do it all. Now, I’m unsubbed and not going to even try.
I quit the game. That’s a pretty major change and one that has merited a few posts already, so I won’t rehash old rants at how unhappy I’ve been with the direction blizz has gone in or at least I’ll try not to, this will come up with the expansion as a whole look back.
Last time I did Awesome and Sentimental as two categories worth mentioning, as I don’t think I wanted to go through every boss from all the raids. That seems like a sensible approach, so I’ll just list the bosses that stood out for me.
The Stone Guard – first raid boss of the expansion.
Paladin tanks had changed a fair bit since Cata with the new awesome active mitigation being a thing. However, it was an adjustment and so this boss was like a brick wall. I actually considered for a short while swapping classes as my friend on his death knight was beating me every which way. Thankfully before I made such a rash decision I managed to work out what I was doing wrong and everything slotted into place, it was so smooth and I felt so in control and as confident as I get. This boss was not exactly memorable on it’s own but the consequences it caused were huge.
The next four MSV bosses – a couple of things.
Interrupting Feng was a pain, even when I knew what I was doing, all it took was getting out of sync and oops. Thankfully awesome healers covered my mistakes. Gara’jal was not so bad once I found that addon to work out groups for going in. Spirit Kings was ok on normal, the last boss my fledgling guild managed to down (we got 4/6MSV, 2/6HoF) but man getting those lines right on heroic was hard. On normal I could dodge and take the hit without help soaking, so people could just scatter, on heroic I was responsible for everyone. Oh and Elegon, who shall probably become a meme at some point for all the people that fell through the floor on LFR.
Will of the Emperor – my favourite boss of the expansion and of the game.
I loved this boss. I really had fun. I was dreading it when I read up on Icy Veins but once I worked it out then it was just ‘dancing’. This is the only boss ever where I put music on (Dance Time of course) and just focused and enjoyed. Rarely for a tank I was kinda out of the main part of the encounter, I was just doing my job and didn’t have much interaction with the rest of the team. I’m going to miss this boss. I always jumped at the chance to tank for it but still only managed to do so 14x, it should have been more.
Zor’lok – exercise in frustration.
I try not to be a jerk but the people that failed on Attenuation every damn time nearly drove me mad. We tried all sorts of strategies, putting a star on my head or someone elses that could do it and telling them to follow, explaining how we could see it, finding videos for them to watch people doing it etc. I remember being one of three people left alive right at the end once, they were getting mind controlled and I managed to free them several times and I think we killed it.
Protector’s of the Endless – too easy.
I think we one shot this or two shot it which is distinctly unsatisfying. I don’t know if it was just undertuned but considering you couldn’t get into Terrace until you’d cleared HoF (or had a friend who had done so to create the raid group for you), I expected it to be harder.
Horridon, Tortos, Durumu – paladin hero time.
I liked Throne as a raid because paladins had so many advantages, it was unfair. I could solo tank the three bosses that I’ve named and there were others I could be a hero on. Let’s face it who doesn’t enjoy feeling powerful? Yes it probably wasn’t right but it’s not my fault blizz designed it that way. It was fun topping the dps meter, and the healing meter too but that doesn’t count as it was self directed and mostly wasted. It was fun feeling like I was really contributing to the group. It was fun being able to say “I can do that” and knowing that I could. We’re supposed to be the greatest heroes of Azeroth, well I felt I was worthy of that title in Throne.
Galakras – the stars aligned.
For the most part I didn’t like this boss at all. No matter whether my tanking partner was my dk friend or the warrior we had, I couldn’t seem to keep AoE threat at all. I couldn’t share it with the other tank, I couldn’t keep it from our elemental shaman (though chain lightning is a very cool graphic – sith lord) but anyway I always did the towers. This meant I could do something vaguely useful as even if the healer got thrown off/wasn’t fast following me up I rarely ran into survivability problems. However, there was one really memorable kill. We were in phase two and at about 30% and something went very wrong with the breath and everyone died but me. Somehow, using a combination of cooldowns, crazy amounts of vengeance and luck, I managed to solo him down the rest of the way. The team couldn’t believe it and our paladin healer swore about damn pally tanks but the glow of that victory lasted a while. I loved moments like that where I pulled off something mad.
Garrosh Hellscream – close to 150 wipes before first kill.
He made me work for it put it that way. I grew to dread this boss as it seemed to be the one that would not die, the one we spent all raid night wiping on, the one we extended the lock for and spent a week wiping on, the one I was happy to cancel raids for just so I didn’t have to face him and wipe even more. I get he was the last boss of the expansion, he was supposed to be tough but man, he was tough. I guess that kill really meant something. My first and only kill was on normal. I may have been able to do it on flex before but after wiping so many times on normal, I wanted the first time he hit the dirt to matter so I was patient and waited. Managed to kill him 4x before I quit but he never made it easy.
Random comments on other bosses
Garalon, didn’t need a tank, stupid boss, enough said. Blade Lord Ta’yak, those tornados, getting enough people in to soak, that was a lot of wipes. Primordius, if you ignore encounter mechanics and just nuke, proves to be a lot easier, AoE healing saves the day. Hmm, about just any boss that requires dodging something/not standing in something and I have comments about frustration. Some bosses became very routine and by the numbers. Sha of Pride was so formulaic it was a snoozefest. Oh Kor’kron Dark Shaman, never did manage to quite get that right, it was always messy.
In the end
Not a bad set of bosses to be fair. A lot of the same taunt, taunt, taunt but there was enough difference to keep my attention and of course I now had to worry about the rest of the team. I became a raid leader, I set up markers, I called things out, I gave assignments, I despaired, I sometimes set a very bad example by screwing up myself. I had a co-raid leader who was amazing, much better than me. I had a regular raider who didn’t want to lead but did very clear, concise explanations on tactics, I probably leaned on him more than I should have.
The expansion as a whole
Mists added a lot of new features and side areas to the game. Forgive me if I miss something. Right so let’s start from the beginning though. As always despite my best of intentions I only have Alliance characters and so only know the Alliance perspective. The starting quest in Jade Forest was insane, there were so many choppers in the air launch night that it was laggy as hell, nothing could be seen but choppers and hitting the target was more luck than anything else. It took a crazy amount of time to complete that quest and it wasn’t until I took an alt that I saw it properly. That was getting the expansion off to a bad note. Seriously blizz, why did you think that was a good idea?
I did loremaster as I levelled and there were some nice quests, nothing really massively stood out thinking back. I always wish blizz would make more of the levelling process but it is what it is, I accept that but it makes it not much of note for me. The annoying thing was that every character had to be at level cap before it could fly. I wish there had been some sort of heirloom that could have been purchased on my main once that was at cap so my alts could fly straight away.
Scenarios were different and nice enough. I never really got into them, did them when I had to, when I felt like it or when I was trying to get the achievements. I like soloing and scenarios are queue only, no instance portal in the world. Apparently they are dropping these in Warlords which I think is a mistake as they have their fans, and they are a feature of the game now. Sure, not one that I’m that bothered about but I’m sure some people are. Hopefully blizz will do something with the tech. I think I remember reading a blue post that said they would use them ala Isle of Thunder for storytelling, so that’s something maybe.
Challenge modes were everything I knew they would be and everything I hoped they weren’t. I barely touched these and as I knew they would be, the Mists ones are now being removed in Warlords. I regret not getting the title or the mount but I have to face facts. I’m no good at PvP so those achievements are out of reach and the same applies to challenge modes. I love dungeons but fighting against a timer, I just wish they’d found another way.
Pet Battles were done well. I actually just had to think for a minute to make sure that they were added in Mists and not beforehand, they integrated them so completely. I’m still missing my Minfernal and never really went nuts for this feature but it was a good addition. I liked the Raiding with Leashes they added as it gave me a reason to go and solo old raids again. Once I got my reputation maxed I stopped bothering, this created a lot of content and was a good move.
Tiller’s farm has to be mentioned. It basically made gathering professions redundant for me as I had enough alts that when I needed something, a few concentrated days farming on all of them and I had enough stacks to keep the guild bank stocked. I took care of all our flasks and never had to reach for my herbalist once. I don’t know much about Garrisons and about professions have been screwed over in Warlords but the convenience of the Tillers was a nice bonus in Mists.
Daily quests were alright but there was too much gating. Do these quests to open these quests, then grind the valor to purchase anything. It was fine for my main which did everything anyway but sucked for alts. This kind of all ties together. Mists sucked for alts in my opinion. Dungeons were gutted and were only worth running for xp when levelling, heroic dungeons forget about it. Blizz were pushing everyone into LFR and LFR, well I hate it! hate it! It made alts completely irrelevant for me in Mists, as there was no way to progress with them really.
I ran into a brick wall in Brawler’s Guild on, yup you guessed it, Hexos. I couldn’t do it, no matter how hard I tried. I wish that there was some sort of skip button. I remember being really cross with Brawler’s Guild when it was first released as I thought it was Proving Grounds and I didn’t think that was right. Well Proving Grounds came as well and they weren’t what I hoped they would be. They were ok but I’m not sure that there are a great teaching tool or proof that someone knows what they are doing, like I hoped they would be.
Oh blizz introduced the Barrens, content that disappeared and they changed the Vale in 5.4. Part of me likes this as it shows that actions have consequences but another part of me has never liked content being removed. I got everything possible from Barrens and I’d completed everything in the Vale but that’s not the point. Oh one other thing about Barrens, it was tuned too high. My main cut through everything like butter but I had trouble on my alts I was there to get the shoes with.
Mists wasn’t a bad expansion but it wasn’t great either. Even if we just look at speed of content patches. They started off brilliantly but then we’ll have had 14 months of 5.4. which for a sub game is inexcusable. I said in a comment on WI that blizz is triple dipping, box price + sub + microtransactions and why shouldn’t they? They are getting away with it.
So about Mists. I liked the raids but I hated the whole approach to alts, I couldn’t stand how everyone was funneled to LFR, all roads led to LFR and that sucked. That really is what ruined the expansion for me. In Cata most of my game was playing alts. In Mists in order to raid I really had to step up as raids were more complicated and required more, so I focused more on my main but then I didn’t have the easy fun to fall back to.
Looking forward to Warlords for a moment, I’m cautious and I’m really not expecting much. I’ve decided to resub for the 10th anniversary and I’m pretty sure that I will pay the box price and get Warlords. Though given how unhappy I am with blizz’s direction another part of me says that I shouldn’t support them. I really hope that blizz will finally do for real what they said that they were going to do in Mists. They announced Mists as being an expansion of choices and really there was actually less choice than before in practicality. Well I want Warlords to bring it back but I’m not hopeful. Points gear is being removed altogether, LFR still looks to be king of the hill and I don’t know where dungeons will fall.
What I hope and reality are probably very different.