So I logged in about a week of actual game time sessions nowadays into the new expansion (that is already ending) and I must say, even though not as good as The Wrath of the Lich King, which for me was the top expansion soaked with lore, it has been a sweet trip so far.
In this post, I'm going to have a look at the 4 areas I completely cleared so far, as well as the two instances I dropped in as of yet.
Still in the progress now of trying to gear up to help the guild with flexi raiding, I've been doing enough so far to at least get to Scenario allowed level, next step will be to raise my equipment level of 426 to the needed 435 for Heroic instances, then make the jump to raid level.
I've set for myself the Heroic deadline at the end of february, and the raid level after the week of holidays in march. If I can log in a few hours a day for a week, this is perfectly feasible for that second part...
BEWARE: Pandaria offers a LOT of sidetracks, especially for a Mount fanatic like myself, as you have factions like The Anglers, The Tillers (with a farming sideline) and The Lorewalkers that focus respectively on Fishing, Cooking and Archeology, and work towards mounts to be gotten...
The Jade Forest
This is your first arrival point at Pandaria, and it starts out with the war that has been renewed between the Horde and the Alliance. You befriend a local faction (Hozen monkeys for the Horde, Jinyu fishmen for the Alliance) and in the end you have another Exalted reputation on your tab (it takes about 20 story progressing quests) and a vanity pet in the form of a Tiny Goldfish.
Other points of intrest in the Forest is the faction responsible for the flying chinese dragons, but I'm trying as of yet to still steer clear of those, I must level gear first before resuming mount chasing...
The Forest itself is rather irritating though 'pre flying enabled' as it has a lot of height differences in the level, making navigating a rather hard job until you can mount up again and take to the skies (at level 90, for only 2000 gold).
The Valley of the Four Winds
Farmers (and cooks) paradise as Halfhill offers not only the farming game (grow your own cooking ingredients) but also a lot of dailies for the Tillers faction. As they have 3 mounts for sale at exalted, it is one of the factions I've been doing dailies for so far, though I haven't been championing them yet. The August Celestial faction so far has my rep bar on Championing (the old tabard system) for the tailoring patterns they provide.
Also of note for tailors here are the Silken Fields, where once a day you can create a sheet of Imperial Silk, that also has a chance to provide an Imperial Silkworm vanity pet, and teaches you new crafting recipies, 458 PvP gear, that you can tailor and sell, or wear to upgrade as I do at the moment.
This area I liked, it's like a big Westfall from the Alliance, but to completely unlock it's story, you'll need to do the next area as well, being
The Kasarang Wilds
Stranglethorn. Dark jungles, ruined temples... we've seen this before. And the home of legendary fisherman Nat Pagle and the Anglers faction. I personally think this a rather intresting faction, as it provides a mount, and a raft (a ship you can sit on to go fish out in the oceans), and you can fish up three dailies to turn in to Nat as well.
For the rest I wasn't to fond of this zone though, it is also the launch point of the War storyline and faction, but I haven't been delving into that so far. It's on the 'to do' though as I now am eligible for the scenarios and you need to complete one to get on in this storyline, where Vol'Jin and Garrosh come to fighting point... and as we all know now from the youtube end movies of the Siege of Ogrimmar expansion, Vol'jin is becomming the new Horde leader with Thrall's blessing.
Next we travelled to Mount (N)Everest and the wow version of Nepal, including a race of small creatures that behave in sherpa like fashion. It's a zone full of heavy phasing (you can't make the archeological digs in the mountains, even though they show on your minimap, before the story is completed with the shado-pan) and a lot of escort missions as you phase between sherpa (I mean, Grummie) camps.
It's long, it was rather dull, though the small Zandalari arc was okay, and bar the Grummie yaks not really something to focus on yet. I'll have to come back here later though as the White Tiger temple is located here.
So far the zoning, but yesterday I also managed to do my first two (well, 3 actually) 'basic' instances after returning from a darts tournament. It had been 20 years since I threw an arrow, but me and my dual partner managed to push through to the quarter finals, my personal performance track ending a positive 5 wins out of 9 single matches. And it was one side of the metal bar difference or we would have made the semis... not to shabby!
But never the less, I managed to join two instances. The odd thing is, even with all 90s I came out second in the DPS meters on all three instances, while I was having a feel I didn't do that much damage at all. Clearly it seems my new rotation is more or less in the right direction though.
The Temple of the Jade Serpent
The first steps in Pandaria instancing, I noticed you follow the same path as you did in the regular quests, but now it has all phased into an instance. Fight the fish guy with his water elementals, help out in the library and then save the misguided priestess and serpent drake before battling a big Sha.
It is a pretty instance, but like it turns out with both of them I did for now, also rather short, barely any trash on the way as you jump into 3 rooms and boss bash.
I did this actually twice yesterday with the PuG because it is fast, swift and easy. Three boss fights, and some minor trash concentrations, nothing to hard and you get through in under half an hour at a casual rate. And the second time, Xin dropped some new shoes for Lÿntaria, all to kind of him.
Instancing is different now. It's short and hectic instead of the hours you could spend in them 'in the old days' unless you where seriously over equipped. This is on the one hand good (for loot chances) but on the other hand perhaps bad (reputation gaining). My personal jury is still out on that one.
Now I'm going to try and grind my way up the next weeks as said to Heroic instancing levels, and try and focus not to get distracted to much, even though I rue the fact I 'forgot' since Wrath to co-level my 'providers' for the Warlock. I just deleted them all (they where halfway their 20s or so) and started fresh ones, each with different gathering and crafting skills, to be slowly levelled up in between to get me my much needed ores for engineering, and bump up the gold levels on all the other excess crafting mats. And do more pet battles all the while...
And resist researching the what to do's for the Darkmoon Faire...
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